Chapter 139 Plum Wine (d)
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Gumihou
 Qi Chuyun watched as the mystery girl was led by Hong Yu  to the stage.
Now that she had her target in sight, Qi Chuyun felt a little less anxious. Although she was fairly sure that the other person harboured bad intentions, she could maintain a friendly face as long as the other person did not reveal any malicious intent.
“To think we meet again,” Qi Chuyun smiled.
Shiyu understood that this Miss Qi was probably suspicious of herself. The reason why she was escorted here was that Miss Qi wanted to keep an eye on her. Well, Shiyu did not mind, it was natural to be suspicious of strangers, “You can call me Xiao Shi,” said Shiyu.
Finally, the two of them officially exchanged names.
Qi Chuyun warmly greeted Shiyu and invited the girl to sit beside her. To her surprise, Shiyu did not decline but sat down without argument. Which puzzled Qi Chuyun even more.
This person… just what is she planning to do?
Not long after Shiyu sat down, the elders of the Qi Clan and higher-ranking people began to arrive. The selection was about to begin.
Shiyu was a nobody in this crowd. However, since she stood near Qi Chuyun, everyone thought she was Eldest Miss’s friend and nobody thought to question her presence.
Once every one of importance was seated, it was time.
The selection process was very solemn and filled with great pomp and ceremony, as well as speeches. There were a lot of speeches. This lasted until the city square bell began to toll.  The sound reverberated across the square like drifting mist, knocking into the hearts of everyone like a religious gong.
Almost immediately, a euphoric effect settled on the people and the noisy crowd quieted down.
Shiyu was too busy scanning the area for the Venerable Ancestor to notice this effect: Hey, don’t tell me that guy is only going to appear after everything is over?
She was starting to fidget when suddenly, a group of children appeared above the middle of the square.  That’s right, appeared above the crowd. The children were dressed in fluttery clothes and were walking through the air in elegant little steps. Right in the middle of these adorable children with hair tied in cute double buns, was a tall and elegant looking man with a youthful face, but eyes that were wise beyond his age.
He stepped lightly onto the stage and seated himself in the centre, most ornate chair.
All around, people kowtowed and reverent cries of, “Greetings to the Venerable Ancestor!”  echoed around the square.
So, this is the so-called Venerable Ancestor of the Qi Clan?
Shiyu gazed into the young and beautiful face of the Mister Qi. An odd feeling welling up inside her heart. Meanwhile, her forearm felt hot, almost scorching. Ocean Heart Flames was feeling very, very angry.
Just then, Fat Cat’s voice whispered into her ear, “The moment you have the chance. Flee Wushan immediately. No, flee Xuan Chu. The sooner the better.”
Although she had no idea why Shiyu had already gotten used to obeying Fat Cat without question by now and nodded once. Her heartbeat sounded loud in her ears and she did her best not to attract attention.
After Qi Chuyin gave her greeting, she snuck a glance at Shiyu and saw no change on the girl’s face. She frowned.
Is this person pretending to be calm?
Indeed, Shiyu was currently doing everything she could to stay calm and keep an eye out for a chance to leave. As juniors, she and Miss Qi were far away from the ornate chair in the middle of the stage. The only person paying attention to her was Miss Qi. The opportunity to flee would come soon.
As she watched and waited, the discipleship selection had begun.
First, the test of strength. Each disciple was required to lift a certain heavy object. It was very straightforward. If they could lift it, they passed. If not, they failed.
As the youngsters did their best to show off their skills, the people surrounding the disciples soon became caught up in the excitement and began shouting encouragements at their favourites. The elders on the podium also paid closer attention to the children, privately assessing their talents.
Qi Chuyun swept her eyes across these children with satisfaction. As long as a few of these talents became loyal to the Qi Clan, that was good enough for her.
When the first test was completed, a third of the children were eliminated.
More people had qualified compared to last year.
Qi Chuyun instinctively turned to glance at the girl beside her, but there was no one there. Thinking that Xiao Shi must have moved somewhere to better watch the excitement, she glanced around quickly. But no, the girl had disappeared, “Where is she?” Hong Yu looked nonplussed and turned to the guards. However, none of them seemed to have noticed.
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Just beyond the crowd, Shiyu glanced back at the stage from a distance. Fortunately, she had been vigorously practising Chasing Clouds and Moon all the way to Xuan Chu, or she would never have been able to get away
As she fled to the city gates, speeding through streets that were oddly empty of people. Everyone must have joined the crowd at the square to watch the spectacle. As she ran, Shiyu asked Fat Cat, “Just what is going on with that Venerable Ancestor? Just what is he, really? Why did he look exactly like Mister Qi?”
“That’s not a human at all. That’s a Spirit Leopard. A Nascent Formation Stage Spirit Leopard,” Fat Cat’s voice sounded very solemn.
How could a Nascent Formation Stage Spiritual Beast appear in the Ninth Realm? Just how did the beast escape the guardian’s notice?
“Nascent Formation?” Shiyu was shaken. One has to go through all 10 levels of Divine Transformation Stage before breaking into Nascent Formation, ah! That fake ancestor turned out to be a real monster!
According to the book, it is impossible for a Spiritual Beast to transcend beyond the Divine Transformation Stage at the Ninth Realm. Even if they could achieve this at Spiritual Beast Mountain, as San Pang had indicated last time, they would not be able to leave the mountain. Therefore, this beast must have come down from the heavens above.
That’s right, Mister Qi did say that he had offended a beast clan at the Eighth Realm. Could this creature be the same Spiritual Beast that had hunted and killed Mister Qi?
Shiyu suddenly stopped running.
When she thought of the monster killing Mister Qi and taking his place as the Venerable Ancestor in the Qi Clan, she felt uneasy.
“Why aren’t you moving?” asked Fat Cat.
“When I think about how Mister Qi’s descendants are worshipping the enemy, I feel really uncomfortable. I want to tell them the truth, but the Spiritual Beast is too strong. Just a single slip and the whole Qi Clan could be destroyed,” said Shiyu.
“So, I’m going to stand right here and hand the decision over to the Qi Clan people,” as soon as Shiyu finished speaking, a woman dressed in goose yellow clothes flashed right in front of Shiyu.
“You…” Qi Chuyun glared at Shiyu, when this girl disappeared, she immediately gave chase. However, the girl suddenly stopped in the middle of the road for no good reason. There were no assassins waiting to ambush her. If Xiao Shi had run on, Qi Chuyun would probably have lost sight of her in a few more minutes.
“Me? Oh, I was waiting for you.”
“Waiting for me?” Qi Chuyun’s brows cleared for a moment and she attempted to regain the previous fake rapport she had put on while they were on the stage. “Why did you leave without even saying goodbye?”
“Because I don’t think Miss Qi likes me very much. Still, I think Miss Qi is not a bad person at all,” otherwise, I would not have waited for you to catch up to me.
“Humph, there’s no need for your flattery. Speak, why are you looking for me?” Qi Chuyun’s face looked a little unnatural.  She was wary, but yet still trying to maintain some semblance of friendliness
Shiyu blinked at her:  Gurl, you’re the one looking for me…
Well, it’s kind of true that Shiyu was the one who wants to speak with her now though. Shiyu attempted to match Qi Chuyun’s smile, but only managed to mirror her awkward expression instead.
Finally, she gave up and said, “It’s inconvenient to talk in the middle of the street, let’s go somewhere quieter.”
“Alright,” Qi Chuyun tipped her chin up, striving to maintain her dignity as she led Shiyu to a quiet little tavern. The owner of the tavern was a deaf and mute person. It was the best place for secret talks, especially now when it is empty of people.
The two women sat at a table under a Plum Blossom tree behind the tavern.
After the proprietor served their tea, Shiyu slowly opened her mouth…
[Gumihou: Qi Chuyun frowned a lot…]
Gumihou is keeping track so that you don’t have to ~
|Condensation Stage||Stage 1|
|Core Transformation||Stage 2|
|Core Condensation||Stage 3|
|Divine Transformation||Stage 4|
|Nascent Formation||Stage 5*|
*Previous ‘Stage 4’ as per Chapter 39.3 but then it just disappeared one day. Gumihou even thought she imagined it…
Now it re-appeared as Stage 5. Eh, whatever.
 Adjusted Some Details for clearer POV: Clarity! We need clarity! Too many changing POVs here!  Adjusted Details for Dramatic Effect: The description of the bell was originally in the second paragraph. Moved it up for immediacy to create a bigger impact.  Added Details for Dramatic Effect: Come on, it’s the appearance of the fake Venerable Ancestor, let’s lavish more words!!  Union in Support of Minor Characters aka USMiC: The maid, the maid, author-san, if you have given ‘the maid’ a name back in Chapter 135, please use it! She’s Hong Yu! Let Hong Yu have her 5 seconds of fame!  Additional Details for Dramatic Effect: I don’t like it when Chinese text says ‘their faces were unnatural’ like… how…? Pink and blue? Grimace? Twisted? Fake smile?  Changed Details for Comedic Effect: The person who expressed this thought was Qi Chuyun (maybe, POV unclear). But I thought letting Shiyu express it, along with the super modern ‘gurrl’ would increase the comedic effect.
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