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The Dragon

The Dragon By Oct 24, 2023 6 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Kneeling in the ancestral hall, the twin beauties discuss propriety

The second elder’s face was flushed with anger, and Gu Fuyou was filled with righteous indignation. The two glared at each other, with tensions running high.

Ji Chaoling set down his tea cup, saying, “Enough.” His words were like a refreshing spring breeze accompanied by rain, extinguishing the flames of anger.

Second elder took a deep breath and sternly said, “Sect leader, this girl has spoken recklessly and insulted her elders. She cannot be let off lightly.”

Ji Chaoling chuckled, “Elder, as you’ve said, she’s just an ignorant young girl and is bound to make mistakes. Should we, as her elders, not provide guidance and show some leniency?”

Ji Chaoling then turned to Liu Guizhen and the others standing by his desk, continuing, “Regarding the matter at Yinxue Pavilion, our sect has no specific regulations against it. However, it’s hard to justify punishment based solely on this. After all, cultivators should focus on cultivation, not indulgence in places of wine and merriment. As a penalty, I order you to transcribe the ‘Pure Thought Scripture’ once, to focus your minds and reflect on your actions. Are you satisfied with this?”

Gu Huaiyou, Liu Guizhen, and Si Miao bowed and responded, “We will obey.”

Ji Chaoling’s gaze then settled on Gu Fuyou. After examining her expression, he slowly stated, “Gu Fuyou, your behavior and words were inappropriate, showing disrespect to your elders. In addition to transcribing the scripture, you are to kneel in the ancestral hall for twelve hours. Do you accept this punishment?”

Gu Fuyou remained silent until Si Miao nudged her arm. She muttered, “I accept the punishment.”

This penalty seemed neither too harsh nor lenient, almost not a punishment at all. Ji Xiyan expressed his slight dissatisfaction, “Sect leader, this punishment seems too…”

Ji Chaoling interrupted, “Once the leader has spoken, there can be no changes.”

“But…”

Ji Chaoling raised his hand to stop him, “Enough. This matter ends here. Everyone, please leave. I have other matters to attend to.”

Everyone had no choice but to take their leave.

Ji Xiyan and second elder walked side by side. Ji Xiyan sighed, “The sect leader’s kindness sometimes goes too far. Such kindness cannot establish authority. How will he command respect from the disciples in the long run?”

The second elder cast a cold glance at the departing Gu Wanpeng, sweeping his long sleeves behind him. He sneered, “Kindness? I see it as weakness,” and strode off.

Ji Xiyan quickly followed without saying another word to Gu Wanpeng.

Second elder’s words had an underlying implication, suggesting that Ji Chaoling was lenient towards Gu Fuyou and others due to Gu Wanpeng’s influence.

Gu Wanpeng understood this. He felt guilty for causing trouble for Ji Chaoling and quietly reprimanded Gu Fuyou, “You really need to know your limits.”

Stubborn and currently fuming, Gu Fuyou would not back down if confronted, “Was anything I said wrong?”

Gu Wanpeng said, “It’s not about whether you were right or wrong. Is that how you speak to your elders?”

Gu Fuyou defiantly responded, “He was the one who spoke disrespectfully first. Why should I respect him?”

“Because he’s your master, your elder, you must show the proper respect, even if he was wrong. You can’t just insult him; otherwise, you’re wrong, even when you’re right. You might feel good for having lashed out, but others are left to clean up after you!”

Father and daughter, both hot-tempered, clashed. Although Gu Wanpeng had mellowed over the years, now appearing calm and dignified, befitting a true city lord, he still struggled with parenting. He had difficulty controlling his temper, especially with his daughter, despite his sons being much less of a worry.

“You seem to have forgotten all the manners you were taught at home,” the father chastised, pointing at his son. “You, as her older brother, should keep her in check!”

The son, trying to mediate, said, “Father, don’t be angry. Gu Fuyou is not usually like this.”

Gu Wanpeng grew more heated, “I know what she’s like! She’s been causing trouble since she joined the sect, using tricks to summon her senior sister for a pact, breaking rules to enter Xian Luo, and leading her fellow cultivators into Yinxue Pavilion. She’s not content with her own mischief; she wants others to join her!”

“I had hoped that after joining the Xuan Miao Sect, she would change her ways. Tell me, what has she learned? She hasn’t grown at all. She might as well have stayed at home.”

Gu Fuyou, already angry and resentful, was further triggered by her father’s last statement. She mustered all her strength and yelled, “I never wanted to come here in the first place! It was you who forced me. And now you’re saying I should have stayed home?”

Tears began to fill her eyes after her outburst.

Her brother tried to comfort her, saying, “Ah Man, don’t talk to father like that.”

But she pushed his arm away, overwhelmed by her feelings of injustice. Tears streamed down her face. “It was the Second Elder who started it by insulting Senior Sister Zhong,” she exclaimed. “What did I do wrong? Why am I the one who’s wrong when I didn’t say anything incorrect? I will continue to speak like this! Always!”

“I modified the summoning formation to call Senior Sister Zhong because they all wanted to mock me and laugh at my expense. I summoned her with my own capabilities, so why can’t I establish a pact?”

“I entered Xian Luo, fell into the inner layer, and narrowly escaped death, but you didn’t ask a single thing. You just started reprimanding me. No matter what I do, it’s wrong, just because it’s not what you want.”

Gu Fuyou sobbed, wiping the tears from the corners of her eyes with the back of her hand, her eyes red from rubbing. The tears wouldn’t stop. Pointing at Gu Huaiyou, she spoke between sobs, “You expect him to look after me? He’s my brother, not my father. I am your daughter, not his. If you won’t care for me, who will?”

“Ah Man…”

She was so overwhelmed with emotion that she could barely speak. “You never truly cared about me,” she sobbed.

She turned to leave and noticed Zhong Michu approaching from another path, likely also heading to the ancestral hall for punishment.

Gu Fuyou, with red eyes and a red nose from crying, didn’t want to interact with anyone and headed straight for the ancestral hall. Along the way, she took off the earrings she was wearing and threw them into the bushes by the road with all her might.

Zhong Michu came over, greeted everyone, and also headed to the ancestral hall. Passing by the place Gu Fuyou had walked, she glanced at the bushes, went over, and silently picked up the earring, wrapping it in her handkerchief.

Upon reaching the ancestral hall, Gu Fuyou encountered a woman in cloud-patterned robes, with hair as dark as clouds, eyebrows like spring mountains, eyes like morning stars, walking slowly.

Gu Fuyou hadn’t seen her before but recognized that she was Yunran Xuanzun and stepped aside to salute, “Disciple pays respects to Xuanzun.”

Yunran Xuanzun’s expression was cold, and she walked straight past.

Coincidentally, Zhong Michu arrived just then and came face to face with Yunran Xuanzun.

She paused for a moment, stepped aside, and greeted, “Yunran Xuanzun.”

Again, Yunran Xuanzun walked on as if she hadn’t heard.

Gu Fuyou and Zhong Michu entered the ancestral hall, where disciples were waiting with disciplinary tokens. Upon their arrival, the disciples instructed them to kneel before the golden statue of the sect’s founder, placed the tokens on them, and then departed

The candles in the ancestral hall were ever-burning, the incense was continuously lit, and it was empty and silent.

After her encounter with Yunran Xuanzun, half of Gu Fuyou’s sadness and grievances were distracted and faded away. She didn’t want to cry in front of others, and with Gu Wanpeng not there, she simply tried not to think about those sad things.

Gu Fuyou first removed her own disciplinary token, changed from kneeling to sitting, and then removed Zhong Michu’s.

Zhong Michu continued to kneel properly. Seeing Gu Fuyou wipe away the tears on her face, she reached into her sleeve and pulled out a handkerchief, saying, “Here, this is yours.”

Gu Fuyou took it, opened it, and saw it was her earring. The emotions she had managed to suppress surged back, and she bit her lip, holding back the tears in her eyes.

Zhong Michu said, “Wipe your tears.”

Without hesitation, Gu Fuyou unfolded the handkerchief, covering her entire face, ensuring she wasn’t looking at Zhong Michu.

After a long pause, with a hoarse voice, Gu Fuyou asked, “Senior Sister Zhong, do you also feel that Yinxue Pavilion is a bad place?”

“If you think it’s not good, I apologize for summoning you there last night. I swear, I’ll never let you step foot there again.”

Zhong Michu replied, “It’s not your fault. If I wanted to leave, you couldn’t stop me.”

Gu Fuyou removed the handkerchief, looking at her. She noticed Zhong Michu was glancing her way, seemingly at her shoulder. When their eyes met, Zhong Michu quickly looked away, adjusting her skirt.

“I…” After a pause, Zhong Michu finally continued, “I’m not sure what kind of place Yinxue Pavilion is. I’ve only heard phrases about brothels and courtesans from fellow disciples. When I asked the master, his face would change, avoiding the topic and only saying that it’s a den of demons, not to be approached or even mentioned. I seldom leave the mountain and have never been to those places, so I don’t understand very well.”

Hearing this, Gu Fuyou looked somewhat disappointed, thinking that Zhong Michu also viewed Yinxue Pavilion as an ‘evil den’.

But then Zhong Michu said, “What’s Yinxue Pavilion like? Tell me.”

Gu Fuyou’s eyes brightened instantly. She hurriedly said, “What your master said isn’t entirely correct. While some places might be considered dens of evil, Yinxue Pavilion is different…”

She dragged a cushion close, only stopping when she was a step away from the cushion Zhong Michu was kneeling on, and sat down.

“Let me tell you…”

It turns out that in the previous generation, Yinxue Pavilion was just an ordinary pleasure house. The matron in charge was kind-hearted. After a tragic incident of a girl being abused to death, she wanted to disband Yinxue Pavilion.

But there were problems. First, the girls would have nowhere to go and no means of making a living after Yinxue Pavilion disbanded. Second, even if they disbanded, other girls would still be sold and suffer; it would just be a change of location, and there was the risk that the girls, once released, might be captured and sold again, nullifying her efforts.

In the end, those who wanted to leave were allowed to, and those who didn’t stayed. They were taught poetry and music, gradually moving towards selling art, not themselves. With the little money she had, the matron tried to rescue as many girls as possible.

Zhu Ruo was one of those rescued girls. After the matron passed away, Zhu Ruo took over Yinxue Pavilion. Because of its unique approach, the business flourished, and with enough spiritual stones, she could even buy slaves from Bailu City.

However, even though they advertised their talents and not their bodies, some didn’t respect that. The powerful and dominant individuals were too much for them to handle, and Zhu Ruo often had to bear their demands, making arrangements to accommodate them.

Thus, most in Yinxue Pavilion were unfortunate and not in control of their own lives.

After listening, Zhong Michu remarked, “From what you’ve shared, both Zhu Ruo and the matron are respectable people.”

Hearing this, Gu Fuyou was even more delighted, stretching out on the ground as if a weight had been lifted from her heart, “Yes.”

After chatting with Zhong Michu for a while, Gu Fuyou’s mood lightened considerably. She laughed, saying, “Senior Sister Zhong, if you have any words you don’t understand in the future, just ask me. I’ll explain them to you. Those masters of yours only take advantage of the fact that you don’t leave the mountain to feed you nonsense.”

“Alright.”

Gu Fuyou, recalling her previous encounter with Yunran Xuanzun in front of the ancestral hall, curiously asked, “Zhong Michu, isn’t Yunran Xuanzun your mother? Why did you address her formally earlier?”

Zhong Michu’s hands tensed up suddenly. After a pause, she responded, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” Gu Fuyou asked in disbelief.

“I really don’t know…” Zhong Michu’s voice was even more strained this time.

An epiphany struck Gu Fuyou. Zhong Michu’s “I don’t know” wasn’t about her not understanding why she called her mother by her title, but rather it was about her not understanding why her mother didn’t allow her to address her as “Mother”!

She suddenly understood everything, and other doubts flooded her mind. She had already imagined various possibilities, but no matter which one, Gu Fuyou felt that Zhong Michu was in a situation similar to her own.

Gu Fuyou, feeling a mutual understanding with Zhong Michu, looked up at the ceiling of the ancestral hall and pondered, “Senior Sister Zhong, why are all the parents in the world like this?”

Having overheard half of the earlier conversation between Gu Wanpeng and Gu Fuyou, Zhong Michu knew that there was some resentment in her words. She replied, “There are no perfect parents in the world.”

Gu Fuyou quickly sat up and retorted, “What do you mean ‘no perfect’? If he gave birth to me, he should raise me. Since he raises me, he should love me. If he can’t do that, then there’s something wrong.”

Zhong Michu frowned, clearly not agreeing with Gu Fuyou’s skewed logic. “Parents toil for their children. Why do you speak as if they owe us something? They don’t owe us anything; instead, we owe them for giving us life.”

“They chose to have me, did I have a choice? No, I didn’t.” Gu Fuyou said dejectedly, “If I had a choice, I… I’d rather she hadn’t given birth to me.”

Gu Fuyou hung her head, after a long time, she murmured, “What’s wrong with wanting his care? He’s my father, the closest person to me in this world. If even he doesn’t love me, who in this world will?”

Her words were biased, but they struck a chord in Zhong Michu, shaking her to the core, especially the last sentence. She covered her heart, her face pale as if pricked by a needle, feeling extremely uncomfortable. She desperately wanted to rid herself of this strange feeling, so she retorted, calling Gu Fuyou, “Foolish!”

Disappointed by the response she hoped for, Gu Fuyou pouted and retorted, “Stubborn!”

“You… are unreasonable…”

“You’re the one who’s unreasonable!”

Frustrated, Gu Fuyou dragged her cushion back to its original place, still feeling it wasn’t far enough from Zhong Michu. She walked a couple more steps before putting down the cushion, lay down with her back to Zhong Michu, and stopped talking to her.

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Previous: Chapter 20

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Shakthivel
Shakthivel
8 months ago

Thanks for the chapter… ahman and michu interaction is cute ☺️☺️

Anon
Anon
8 months ago

their interactions are funny

dadin
dadin
8 months ago

so cute .. by the way how old is fuyou now?

Nabong_uwu
7 months ago

I’m quite happy Gu Fuyou didn’t yield though, there is a big issues with all that “I gave you life” gratefulness thingy. As Gu Fuyou said, if they chose to give birth to them, they should at least provide the the minimum, like presence, care, love, a house, man, the baby didn’t birth itself yk

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

We love sentient bits of space dust thinking about small space dust thingssss

MatrixM
MatrixM
3 months ago

I just have to say, this is so well written I can so SO easily picture a Cdrama adaptation in my head of these sequences.