“I- I didn’t do it on purpose,” the girl tearfully said, her lips flat as she twisted her own clothes in guilt. “This Void Forest has always been a place to let the spirit beasts roam around, I never thought there would be human breaking into here.”
The man in black clothes paid her no attention and turned to them before coldly asking, “Who are you people? This Void Forest is a forbidden ground in Qing Yuan Mountain. What did you come here for?”
Hu Sha could not bring herself to answer him because of his cold, frost-like appearance. Those people behind her on the other hand were crying and shouting; in short, everything was a mess. The previous Eldest Senior Brother was the only one calm enough to answer him. “ We- We are just accidentally passing this place,” he said, his voice shaky. They were originally so arrogant, thinking there was nothing special about Qing Yuan’s celestials. In fact, they came here to challenge Qing Yuan’s Senior Elder Jin Ting for a battle. Who knew a random female disciple’s spirit beast alone would be more than enough to put them in their place.
“If so, I suggest you all to leave. I apologize for what happened on behalf of my Junior Niece and I hope you all will not trespass this forest again,” he said lightly.
Those whimpering people then carried their shifu and the injured ones away and left while Hu Sha sat frozen on the ground, trying to see if it was true those two were standing on clouds.
They were really stepping on the clouds! Don’t tell her they were really Qing Yuan Mountain’s celestials?
“Miss, you better leave as well,” the man glanced at her.
Hu Sha muttered low, “But, I came here to be an apprentice..”
“You are seeking apprenticeship?” he looked a bit surprised. “You are in the wrong direction, it’s in Qian Mountain. You can head to the main gate there. If you pass all the test, you will get what you want.”
Qian Mountain? Where on earth was that? The idea of having to pass through all the cliffs she went through again turned her legs soft.
The man in black pondered for a while before he saying, “Never mind. My Junior Niece scared you, let me help you in turn. I will send you to Qian Mountain, close your eyes!”
Hu Sha immediately shut her eyes tight. She could feel winds blowing on her face and before she knew it, the man said, “We have arrived. Take care!”
So fast! Hu Sha opened her eyes and saw a completely different scenery in front of her, filled with greeneries and flowers. There were even butterflies flying around. In short, it was completely different compared to the forest just now. There was an endless road in front, probably leading to the main gate.
Hu Sha sighed in relief, let’s give this another try. She fixed the bag she was carrying and just as she was about to take the first step, she suddenly became aware of a presence next to her. She turned to that direction and saw a youth with white clothes, sitting on the ground. He was probably around 16, his long hair floats around his shoulders as his pair of dark eyes watched her in surprise.
Seeing Hu Sha looking back at him prompt him to smile softly. His long lashes curled upwards as he softly spoke to her, “Excuse me, you suddenly appeared here. Did you used any charm?”
Hu Sha didn’t know why she suddenly blushed, he looked… so handsome. He had a pretty lower jaw, like a woman, but he did not look feeble at all. He was lean, but did not seem to be useless.
“Y-yes,” she stuttered, “I went to the wrong direction just now and ended up in that forbidden ground. And then there were two celestials, one of them sent me here.”
The youth nodded before pointing towards the path before them, “If you follow that road, you won’t be lost. You can reach the big gate within 30 minutes.”
Hu Sha muttered a thanks before turning around. After she walked a few pace, she couldn’t help but to turn around and stared at the youth who was sitting on the ground while coughing loudly.
Was he ill? Hu Sha immediately turned around and walked back to him. She crouched down in front of him before asking, “Are you here to become a disciple as well? Are you sick? Can you walk?”
The youth turned blank for a moment before he laughed, “I am fine. Thank you for worrying, Miss.”
Hu Sha put her bag down and started to search for something. After a long while, she finally found what she was looking for, a porcelain flask. It was called ‘Thousand Spirit Pill’, something Auntie Lu kindly prepared for her. It could basically cure everything from headache to stomach ache.
“I have pill here, why don’t you take a one? It’s very effective,” she handed over a pill to him.
He hesitated for a while before he took the pill and consumed it. Hu Sha looked at his pale face and said, “If you’re sick, why don’t you go back first? There should be a farm around here, why don’t I look for an ox cart for you?”
She immediately stood up after she said that, only to be stopped when the young man grabbed her sleeves. “No need. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Miss. I– I am here to be a disciple. I was resting just now because I felt a little sick. I am fine now. Why don’t we climb the mountain together? At least it won’t be lonely.”
“Are you really okay?” Hu Sha suspiciously asked.
The young man slowly got up. Because he was sitting just now she couldn’t tell, but now that he was up, he was taller than her by a fair margin. He brushed off dirt from him before he warmly said, “Let’s go. And I still haven’t had the chance to ask for Miss’ name.”
“My name is Hu Sha,” she unreservedly disclosed her name, “How about you?”
“Fang Zhun,” he said as he slowly walked down the path. “Miss Hu Sha did not seem to come from Sheng Zhou.”
Hu Sha froze for a while before she slowly nodded. “You’re right. I am not from here.” Not only was she not from Sheng Zhou, she was also not from this world.
“You have come from afar, aren’t your parents worried?”
Hu She felt a little dejected, she did not know whether to nod or not. She did not wish to worry them too, but some things were not within her control. To go home, she had to do a lot of things.
Fang Zhun immediately changed the subject, “Miss Hu Sha comes to Qing Yuan Mountain to learn what?”
She pondered for a while as she smiled, “I am just taking the chance to see whether or not the celestial I am looking for is here.”
Fang Zhun looked surprised, “Who are you looking for?”
“….. Qing Ling Zhen Jun.”
Fang Zhun stared at her thoughtfully for a while before he lightly asked, “Why are you looking for…. him?”
Hu Sha smiled, “Long story.”
“Perhaps this will disappoint you, but Qing Ling Zhen Jun is not in Qing Yuan Mountain. He is one of the isolated celestials, his location is a mystery to everyone.”
“He is not here?” Hu Sha asked in disappointment. Knowing he was not in there, she now wanted to bail this journey and leave this place.
Fang Zhun then said, “But you don’t have to give up. There are always Celestial Meetings, Qing Ling Zhen Jun will definitely attend them. If you can pass the tests and enter Qing Yuan Mountain, you will have more chances to see him during Celestial Gatherings.”
Hu Sha looked at him in admiration, “Fang Zhun, you are so knowledgeable. Do you know how hard Qing Yuan Mountain’s tests are?”
He laughed but suddenly started coughing. This time his coughing sounded so severe to the point where even standing appeared to be a labour for him. Hu Sha held him and assessed the path. Seems like there were still half the distance to go, “Fang Zhun, why don’t I send you back. You won’t make it like this.”
He shook his head and stubbornly pointed to the path while coughing, meaning he wished to keep on going.
Hu Sha gritted her teeth before she says, “Fine. I’ll carry you up!”
serene: Qing Ling Zhen Jun is called a San Xian (散仙), I have no idea what that was but according to baidu baike, San Xian is an immortal who does not have an official duty/position. I have no idea how to translate that term into English, so I called him an ‘isolated immortal’. If somebody knows the correct term, please tell me.
There will be mistakes because I translated this in a rush.