Around a dozen of disciples are guarding the entrance of Mount Tao Yuan, looking solemn and alert.
When they see Fang Ye whom most of them recognized, they all bow respectfully, “So Fang Ye Zhen Ren and Fang Zhun Zhen Ren are here. Please forgive us for not welcoming you properly.”
(TN: I have no idea how to translate Zhen Ren into English. It should be something close to ‘the Enlightened One.)
Fang Zhun laughs, “Where is Mr. Shang He? Is he out?”
One of the disciples immediately clarifies, “No! Senior Uncle is waiting for you in Ling Xiao Pavilion. Please let this disciple lead the way.”
This is the first time for Hu Sha to see a celestial mountain that is not Qing Yuan, so she cannot help from looking around in awe.
This place is not the same as Qing Yuan, there are cliffs and sharp peaks everywhere. The name is Mount Tao Yuan, but who would have thought that it would look this way. Their dorms are perched on top of those peaks, it feels like they are going to topple over everytime the wind blows hard.
(TN: Tao Yuan = the land of Peach Blossom.)
The people in the sect does not ride clouds. Instead, they travel by riding mystical cranes and luans. When the wind blows, their robe will flutter with it. They do look pretty aesthetically pleasing whenever they travel.
(TN: Luan is a type of mythical bird.)
They then head to Ling Xiao Pavilion, riding a gigantic Garuda. This is Hu Sha’s first time seeing such a huge bird. In the blink of an eye, it flies over the sharp rocks. The flight itself is smooth and stable. She happily toys with her Xue Suan Ni’s back before speaking in a straightforward manner, “Xiao Guai! It flies better than you!”
Xiao Guai ignores her and glares at Man Qing who is plastering herself to Feng Di. She is almost hugging Feng Di’s arm now.
It is obvious that the Xue Suan Ni thinks that the three men in Zhi Yan House are hers. She wants to kill everyone who dares to approach them.
Hu Sha looks at what she is looking at before saying, “Xiao Guai, how is it possible for you to like both shifu and the First Senior Brother?”
The already angry Xiao Guai is even angrier now. She turns her head around and bites Hu Sha in the arm. Her bite is so painful that Hu Sha’s eyes turns watery.
“Xiao Guai, how could you bully Hu Sha?” Fang Zhun cannot look on anymore and interferes. Hu Sha shows him the arm that was bitten and chokes up in tears, “Shifu, my arm is broken.”
Fang Zhun pinches it twice before gently saying, “Don’t worry, it is not broken. Xiao Guai has incredible control of her mouth.”
The angsty Xiao Guai cries before rushing into Fang Zhun’s embrace. She twists her body around before looking at Feng Di, completely heartbroken.
Fang Zhun pat her in the head, his eyes gentle and warm, “Xiao Guai does not like shifu anymore? Xiao Guai only likes Feng Di?”
The shallow Xiao Guai is immediately drunk in fervor. She sticks out her tongue and licks him in the hand, as though saying, ‘I swear I love only you.’
The aggrieved Hu Sha is left alone in a corner.
“Come, let me see if it hurts,” after appeasing the heartbroken Xue Suan Ni, Fang Zhun slides down Hu Sha’s sleeves, revealing her fair and slender arm. Not a single hair can be seen, it is clear that she is still very young. There are two red marks near her elbow, it is Xiao Guai’s bite. It is not bleeding.
Fang Zhun pinches it, rubs it and then, twists it around.
Hu Sha questions him with a shaky voice, “S-Shifu, is it really broken? W-Why are you taking such a long time?”
He laughs before pinching her arm again, “Sorry. It’s just your arm is too fair and smooth, like a pig’s trotter.”
She loudly replies him, “This is my arm, shifu, not a pig’s trotter!”
“Of course shifu is not a pig’s trotter.” Fang Zhun applies some medication on her arm before finally letting go. “Don’t worry, this is nothing serious. After a while, it will leave only a bruise at worst.”
Hu Sha’s self-esteem takes a beating after her shifu said that her arm resembles a pig’s.
She stands at the sideline, pouting and no longer speaking. Fang Zhun pats her in the head before gently saying, “Okay, don’t be upset. Shifu will redeem myself by singing to you.”
Her shifu wants to sing? Hu Sha’s eyes light up. “T-then, shifu, you must stick to your words! You must sing!”
Fang Zhun laughs, “Of course, shifu promise you. Let shifu tell you a secret, your shifu’s voice is really beautiful….”
Before he even finishes speaking, Feng Di interrupts him, “Shifu, we have arrived in Ling Xiao Pavilion.”
Only then does the two of them realizes that they have stopped at a peak. There is a beautiful palace erected in front of them. Senior Uncle Fang Ye is standing in front of that palace next to a black-robed middle aged man. That person should be Shang He Zhen Ren.
Everyone stares at Fang Zhun in a speechless manner. He fixes his sleeves before idly walking forward with a smile, “Mr. Shang He, I will have to trouble you with this visit.”
That middle-aged man immediately greets him with equal respect. As they speak, Fang Zhun motions Hu Sha to come over.
Hu Sha cluelessly runs over. She can hear him telling Mr. Shang He, “There is a new disciple. Hu Sha, come and greet Shang He Zhen Ren. He already knows your two Senior Brothers, only you he doesn’t know.”
She kneels down and kowtows respectfully, “Hu Sha greets Shang He Zhen Ren!”
Shang He Zhen Ren helps her get up. Since men and women must maintain distance, he simply gives her a good appraising look before politely saying, “Indeed an extraordinary girl. Fang Zhun’s disciples are all special in their own ways!”
Hu Sha does not know that he is only being polite. She thought he is being honest, so her first impression of him is really good.
They are welcomed into Ling Xiao Pavilion and sits down for tea. Hu Sha does not understand what they are talking about, so she simply looks around like a curious little bird only to be pinched by her First Senior Brother. She suddenly hears Shang He Zhen Ren talking about something, “It’s a long story. After going to the meeting last month in Qing Yuan, I thought I should hold a private gathering between us, here. Something suddenly happened to us here, I still cannot tell if it is good or bad.”
What happened? Hu Sha tries to eavesdrop.
“Just a few days ago, our Mount Tao Yuan’s Godly Relic that was hidden in Chun Tower has been stolen away. The two spiritual cranes that guarded that tower had been killed. Our sect turns upside down. At first, we thought it was an inside job. We checked and interrogated all of our disciples, we couldn’t get anything out of that. Then, yesterday, we discovered that a man-eating demon has penetrated our back mountain. Within a night, over 50 new disciples have been eaten. Senior Ancestor Qi Wu used a water mirror and only then did we realized that a beast has trespassed our back mountain. Even I, this celestial is not strong enough to overcome it’s power. According to Senior Ancestor, it is very likely that the beast has eaten the godly relic, hence it’s supreme power. It must have eaten that to enhance it’s demonic power. I thought, since we cannot beat it, might as well entrap it with an enchantment to fence it in and wait for it’s power to run out.”
Fang Zhun is quiet when he hears that. Fang Ye is the first one to speak, “Is the godly relic you are talking about the Golden Pipa? Are you sure the beast has eaten it?”
Shang He Zhen Ren appears solemn, “We are not completely sure, only around 80-90% confident that the perpetrator is it. All of you know that there are many godly relics left in our continent, the Golden Pipa isn’t very known. It is one of the rare ones that are in complete form. Gold, wood, water, fire and earth, the Golden Pipa combines all of the elements using the force of gold. Now that it has been eaten by a beast, chaos ought to follow.”
Hu Sha has a hard time trying to comprehend everything; all that she understands is that a beast has eaten an artifact. They cannot deal with it as of now and can only entrap it. No wonder there were so many people welcoming them in the entrance, looking solemn and all. Such a huge thing has happened.
Fang Zhun is quiet for a long time before suddenly bursting out in laughter. Everyone stares at him, baffled. Shang He Zhen Ren asks him, “Did you find a way to deal with the beast, Fang Zhun?”
He shakes his head while smiling, “No. I just thought that the beast ought to have constipation after eating the pipa.”
After he says that, everyone falls into a bizarre silence. Fang Ye looks at him strangely, “Junior Brother, rather than telling jokes, it is better for you to figure out ways to deal with this. If you have a way, do not hesitate to share it. We are all friends, it is only right for us to be helping them at times like these.”
Fang Zhun gives him an innocent look, “I have no idea what to do as well, Senior Brother. Only the gods can handle this kind of things. Why don’t we make an altar offering? Perhaps, we can resolve this crisis.”
Before he even finishes speaking, Shang He Zhen Ren sighs, “We have started the altar offering today. However, I’m afraid that by the time the gods start to act, the entire Mount Tao Yuan has already been eaten by the beast.”
After discussing for half a day, none of them manage to come up with a feasible solution. Fang Ye brings a couple of disciples with him back to Qing Yuan to report this to Senior Ancestor Jin Ting. Fang Zhun, on the other hand, leads Hu Sha and the rest to their designated accommodation in Mount Tao Yuan.
Hu Sha is arranged to share a courtyard with a couple of other girls. Since Bai Ru left with Senior Uncle Fang Ye, Hu Sha is left in her own device. She is the youngest and the most inexperienced one out of the lot, so nobody pays her any attention. She sits in front of the window, staring at the peach blossom outside. She feels really bored, so she walks out to take fresh air.
The men from Qing Yuan live in another peak, so she cannot even sneak out to chat with her Senior Brothers.
She crouches down and counts the peach blossom on the ground. One, two, three…. “Hu Sha.” Somebody suddenly calls her from up above.
She looks up and sees Fang Zhun smiling while descending from a cloud. “Shifu heard you talking to Feng Yi about meat patties, you must be craving to eat some. Shifu wants to leave the mountain to go to the nearby Bi Luo Prefecture. Why don’t you come with shifu?”
Black lines appear on top of Hu Sha’s head, “N-No…. Shifu, I don’t want to eat meat patties.”
“Huh? Then, is it meat buns that you want? It’s okay, shifu will treat you to some….”
“No, I don’t want to eat meat buns as well…….”
“Shifu didn’t think that you would be such a picky eater. Then, shifu will treat you to eat roasted meat!”
Hu Sha is speechless as he drags her with him.
serene: The shifu is <333!