Mount Hua, Divine Nun Forest.
The odd-shaped peaks stood in great numbers, springs and streams stretched out, and the vegetation was luxuriant. There were tens of thousands of trees, the depths of which obscured the sky. Inside the forest was a fairyland known as the Pure Water Paradise. It took its meaning from “pure and still waters.”
The Divine Nun Forest’s atmosphere was gloomy. The rays of light were dim, and one could occasionally hear an intimidating cry. A person walking through here would seem be traversing hell.
Chen Mo and Lu Xiujing stood outside the fairyland, not entering.
Lu Xiujing respectfully bowed with her hands cupped together: “Great Senior Sister Hupo,1 there is a new Junior Brother who broke through Mount Hua’s Three Checkpoints and received the Ancestor’s recognition. Xiujing has specially brought him to greet Great Senior Sister.”
The inside of the fairyland was quiet, so much so that one could even hear a pin drop.
Lu Xiujing gave Chen Mo a glance.
Chen Mo stepped forward and respectfully said: “Junior Brother Chen Mo greets Great Senior Sister.”
A long while after, the inside of the forest suddenly whined. A white shadow flew out from inside the fairyland.
This white shadow landed on top of a locust tree. Looking carefully, it was a bird-like Strange Beast. This beast possessed white scale feathers like they were carved, yet a curled tail grew from its rear. It had two feet and nine claws, and even its wings had talons.
This Strange Bird had one black and one white pupil, one bright and the other dark. It was utterly monstrous, and standing on the tree, it was like the flag of a ruler, mighty and awe-inspiring, making one lower their head in shame.
Chen Mo felt powerful pressure from this Strange Bird.
The bird coldly glared at Chen Mo. It spread its wings, and then it turned around and flew into the fairyland.
“Great Senior Sister Hupo already knows. Let’s leave.” Lu Xiujing softly said. She deferentially turned and left.
After leaving the Divine Nun Forest, the frivolous Lu Xiujing immediately breathed a sigh of relief.
“Just what Star Name is that Great Senior Sister, it’s so mysterious?” Chen Mo curiously asked.
Lu Xiujing shook her head, “I only know that Great Senior Sister’s True Name is Hu Po. I once heard Ancestor mention it once, but you’ll have to ask the Ancestor about the rest. However, it’s said that this Great Senior Sister Hu Po has stayed secluded at the Pure Water Paradise ever since she entered Mount Hua and has never stepped foot outside it. I heard that she has been here at Mount Hua for much longer than the Ancestor.”
“I feel the Great Senior Sister seems to be guarding something…” Lu Xiujing’s brow wrinkled tightly.
“You’ve only just arrived, what’s the point of telling you about it.” Lu Xiujing smiled.
Chen Mo felt that this seemingly declining Mount Hua was apparently not as simple as he imagined.
“Don’t tell me that the last Senior Sister is as mysterious as she is?” Chen Mo asked.
“Little Junior Sister Xiang’er,2 huh.” Lu Xiujing immediately showed a mischievous expression: “The complete opposite. I think the Ancestor only offered her a place in Mount Hua out of pity. She doesn’t have one bit of potential for Daoism.”
“I’ll tell you the details on the way.”
Chen Mo saw Mount Hua’s last Senior Sister at a small paradise valley to the north of the Heavenly Law Palace, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to call her a Junior Sister.
She looked like a little girl approximately seven or eight years old and wore a red straight collared jacket and a cheongsam as she trained her martial arts earnestly in the valley. Her technique followed a precise routine, appearing proper. However, perhaps because her native Star Energy was too feeble, the girl’s boxing was very weak. It was a bit “flowery of fist” in manner.
But she practiced extremely meticulously, her expression as resolute as steel, beads of sweat dripping down her face. The air was suffused with a particular scent.
Hong Xianghai, the Red Fragrant Child.3
This was this Little Senior Sister’s name, but it was neither her True Name nor her Star Name. Because her personality after she came to Mount Hua was reclusive and mistrustful, she refused to get along with the others. Everyday, she trained in her strange technique from dawn to dusk. It was strange, too, for she trained with all her might, yet her sweat drenched body did not have any odor. On the contrary, she had a rich aroma like hundreds of blooming flowers. Thus, this “Red Fragrant Child” had become her address at some point in time.
Currently, the Red Fragrant Child was still in her gestation period. In the past, she had paid visits to the other Four Moons, but they refused her entry. In the end, she came to Mount Hua and knelt for seven days and seven nights before she obtained Ancestor Chen Tuan’s approval to enter Mount Hua’s fairyland.
Afterwards, she practiced her boxing all the time. She honestly was the most hardworking person in Mount Hua, but effort did not necessarily mean reward. After so many years, her Realm did not grow in the slightest and still maintained itself at a Star General’s most basic gestation phase.
This sort of effort had unwittingly become a joke in the others’ eyes.
So when the girl saw Lu Xiujing and Chen Mo enter the little valley, the girl’s eyes filled with hostility and vigilance.
This type of unyielding expression was all too familiar, reminding Chen Mo of himself back then.
If not for Auntie’s advice, perhaps he still would be constantly training at Azure Dragon Town’s little hill right now, constantly wasting time, constantly suffering ridicule.
“Lu Xiujing, what did you come here for.” The Red Fragrant Child coldly asked.
“Little Junior Sister, you really are improprietous. In any case, I am your Senior Sister.” Lu Xiujing chuckled.
The Red Fragrant Child turned her ice-cold gaze to Chen Mo.
Although the girl was young in age, her air of pride did not lose out to anyone.
“This is Junior Brother Chen Mo. He passed Mount Hua’s Three Checkpoints and has now already joined Mount Hua.” Lu Xiujing introduced him.
“Even this man can pass Mount Hua’s Three Checkpoints…” The Red Fragrant Child ground her teeth, each word seemingly chewed apart before she then spat out: “Very good, too good.”
“Junior Sister, don’t be dejected. No matter what, you are still a Star General.”
“Hmph, leave. Do not disturb my practice.” The Red Fragrant Child turned her head and continued to train her feeble technique.
Lu Xiujing shrugged and hinted to Chen Mo they did not have another choice.
“Then we shall excuse ourselves. Chen Mo shall come greet Senior Sister on another day.” Chen Mo said, adhering to propriety.
“My place does not need a man’s intrusion.” The Red Fragrant Child coldly refused.
Chen Mo smiled.
“Let’s go, I have something to ask of you.” Lu Xiujing pulled Chen Mo out of the valley fairyland.
“Oh, the temper of that Junior Sister of mine, truly a stone in the latrine – rank and stubborn.” Lu Xiujing’s tone was full of derision: “No need to hold back on laughing at such a person.”
“No, each person has a low point some time.” Chen Mo truly did not have any intentions of mocking the Red Fragrant Child. He could see his old self in her. Besides, although the Red Fragrant Child was a Star General, in Chen Mo’s eyes, she was at most a headstrong, immature little girl who did not understand the ways of the world.
She was completely incongruous with an extraordinary sage the likes of Xiyi.
Chen Mo was not so unprincipled as to mock a little girl.
“You don’t need to worry about her identity. Her Star Name has been in gestation for decades. I fear it’s nothing more than a dead Star Name, and that’s why she came to Western Moon Mount Hua and knelt for seven days. She wants to use Mount Hua’s Star Energy to allow her Star Name to shine bright.” Lu Xiujing pursed her lips.
“This should be admired, shouldn’t it? Senior Sister Xiujing.” Chen Mo was serious.
Lu Xiujing was taken aback. She smiled. “Your personality isn’t bad. No wonder you could pass Mount Hua’s Three Checkpoints.”
The two of them chatted as they walked. Then, they arrived beside a quiet pool and open space near the Heavenly Law Palace.
Lu Xiujing looked around. Then, she casually broke off a tree branch. “You’ve met the other Senior Sisters. Now, you should satisfy me.”
“You cultivate the Black Turtle True Spirit, and you have the Black Turtle Flying Swords. Their power should be at least on par with a Yellow Court Realm Star General.” Lu Xiujing stroked her chin and chuckled like a fox: “Among Star Warriors, perhaps only that ‘Dream In A Millennium’ can surpass you. How can such a cute junior brother be so wasteful.”
Lu Xiujing licked her lips.
“Senior Sister, you want to spar with me?” Chen Mo looked at her posture and narrowed his eyes.
“Of course. We cultivate Star Energy. To be able to wield Star Energy to its greatest, we use Heaven, Earth, Dark, and Yellow martial arts. That you were able to defeat and incapacitate Li Xiao demonstrates you have some strength. To battle against you, even I would need some assistance. How about it. As a man, can it be that you would refuse a lady’s invitation?”
“I’m fine either way. But Senior Sister, you aren’t a martial general, are you?” Chen Mo thought about it. Star Generals were split into martial force, magic energy, and spiritual energy types. The different Star Generals specialized in different attributes.
Martial force Star Generals had the strongest martial prowess, magic energy Star Generals wielded powerful Star Magic, but spiritual energy Star Generals excelled in various kinds of tricks. However, before they reached a certain Realm, spiritual energy Star Generals had very weak martial arts. Lu Xiujing obviously could not be a martial general. In terms of martial arts, Chen Mo was very self-confident. To hurt Lu Xiujing’s pride was not good at all.
Lu Xiujing’s figure flickered. A fierce attack pelted down upon him.
Like a bolt of thunder piercing through the nine firmaments, she suddenly appeared in front of him. That branch in Lu Xiujing’s hand seemed to become a sharp weapon. This attack’s speed and power could not be underestimated.
Chen Mo raggedly retreated several steps, his brows raised.
Lu Xiujing stood firm. Her hands gripped the branch like it was a spear. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know? This Senior Sister is a genius. Even if I’m a Spiritual Energy Star General, I just need to train more to still be capable of outstanding martial arts and stand at the top. Otherwise, how did Li Xiao’s ‘Galaxy Drops Nine Heavens’ sword art come to be.”4
“Looks like I underestimated Senior Sister Xiujing.” Chen Mo admitted.
“I am your Senior Sister, after all. It simply won’t do if I’m not the least bit like one. I’m not incompetent like the Red Fragrant Child.” Lu Xiujing giggled.
“Then, please enlighten me, Senior Sister.” Chen Mo subsequently took out Northern Dipper.
His figure flit across the pool, Northern Dipper as heavy as Mount Tai.
Lu XIujing used the tree branch to block. Even while she imbued Star Energy into the tree branch, the formidable strength of Northern Dipper still caught her by surprise the moment they made contact. The Star Energy in her hand barely held on, but the tree branch already splintered.
The shockwave sent Lu Xiujing straight backwards.
The two of them each went back and forth, evenly matched.
“What a tyrannical weapon.” Lu Xiujing said in astonishment. She felt the web of her fingers ache, and her palm was numb. “Just what is the background of your weapon? It has no Casted Stars, but it’s actually able to wield Star Energy to such a degree.”
“Senior Sister has no Star Weapon. I fear we can’t easily continue.” Chen Mo smiled.
Lu Xiujing laughed. She flourished her hand, and a polearm appeared. A Wind Concealment Divine Stone had been casted into the weapon, concealing its shape, but Chen Mo could still sense it was a spear.
“The master of this Star Weapon was a fierce martial general who once wanted to kill me. I killed her instead. Care to guess who the master of this Star Weapon was?” Lu Xiujing towed with the weapon, a cool breeze gusting around.
“Then please show me, Senior Sister.” Chen Mo’s blood boiled over.
“Then please tyrannically crush Senior Sister.” Lu Xiujing beamed.
A coarse and wild storm suddenly roared.
- 琥珀 lit. “amber” ↩
- 香兒 ↩
- 紅香孩 So this one causes me some headaches with translation. Generally, this is supposed to be a nickname (Red Fragrant Child), but at times, the characters will address her as if this is her name (Hong Xianghai). My TL will change based on the context. ↩
- The raws say “Li Bai’s ‘Milky Way Drops Nine Heavens.’ Overall, this sentence was really confusing as to whether or not this is talking about Li Xiao or Li Bai, and even the passage itself was muddled as to whether or not it was talking about a martial general learning spiritual energy techniques or vice versa. ↩