The morning sun spilled through the open window, casting its rays upon the wooden bed in the room.
Mo Tianliao frowned and slowly opened his eyes. It felt as if there was something warm on his chest… When he cast his gaze downwards, he realised there was a little white furball nestled in the opening of his robes, sound asleep. Those cute front paws were stretched upwards, one of them even hooked around a lock of his hair.
The orange hues of the sunlight shone on the white fur of the kitten, making him look very warm and inviting. Mo Tianliao couldn’t resist moving his head closer and placing a few gentle kisses on that furry little head.
“Mew…” The kitten let out a sleepy call before placing his paw on Mo Tianliao’s invading lips, blocking them from kissing him any more. After letting out a wide yawn, the kitten finally opened his eyes. The first thing that greeted him was a silly grin on that handsome face.
Out of reflex, the kitten raised his paw and slapped Mo Tianliao on the face.
“Xiaozhao, hehehe…” After getting hit, Mo Tianliao’s grin only widened even more. It felt absolutely heavenly to wake up to a little furball in his arms…
He had thought that he would have to spend many more years to find his cat. He had even been prepared to snatch his little kitten back in case someone had already forcefully signed a blood contract with him, no matter what it took. Luckily, nothing of the sort had happened…
The kitty and his servant laid around in bed and cuddled for a bit, before Mo Tianliao slowly got up.
He had absorbed qi too quickly last night, so the few spirit stones he had placed on the bed had already lost their qi and turned grey.
Mo Tianliao started cleaning up the bed while the kitten crouched by his pillow. When the little cat noticed the grey spirit stones nearby, he extended his paw and swatted at one of them. Since the spirit stones had lost all of its qi, it instantly crumbled into a pile of dust. The slightly messy bed turned into a rubbish dump in the blink of an eye.
Mo Tianliao took in the new dusty appearance of the bed helplessly. He sighed and grabbed the kitten, “Forget it, let’s take a shower first.”
He still felt a little sticky from sweat after yesterday’s practice.
Although this little courtyard was considered a side hall of Qingning Palace, it wasn’t decorated in the same style as the luxurious main hall. This courtyard looked more like a rural villa. However, it still had all the basics: a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen.
There was a bathtub in the bathroom, but no running water. Mo Tianliao went to the well in the middle of the courtyard to draw enough clear water, before concentrating those bits of woodfire flames on his palm and dipping it into the bathtub. The icy cold water immediately heated up and started giving off steam.
“Stay here, don’t move. And don’t get your fur wet. I’ll wash you in a while.”
Mo Tianliao set the kitten down on a high stool next to the bathtub, where the soap was placed. He then turned around to strip off his clothes, before stepping into the bathtub.
The white furball looked down at his own paws.
This… this idiot actually took off his clothes in front of his master… Shameless!
Mo Tianliao didn’t notice his pet kitty’s abnormal behaviour. He was absorbed in his happy bath time. Drawing qi could flush out the impurities in one’s body. In his past life, when he had first absorbed qi, he had turned into a mud man from all the impurities flushed out. However, this time, there wasn’t even a speck of dirt on him. Now that he had become a piece of wood, there weren’t any impurities in his body at all. This was also how Lord Kitty had stayed in his arms for the whole night without disdain for his cleanliness.
“Xiaozhao, how’s your cultivation now? Have you reached the peak of Grade 2 yet?”
Magic beasts also had different levels as a measure for their cultivation or power. For magic beasts, it ran from Grade 1 to 5, similar to how human cultivation had five stages as well. Magic beasts with good genes could take on a human form when they reached Grade 3, which was equivalent to the Core stage for humans.
Since magic beasts were rare and the only one Mo Tianliao had ever raised was Mo Xiaozhao, he didn’t know what the usual cultivation speed was for magic beasts.
“If you were to take on human form, what would you look like?” Mo Tianliao leaned against the side of the bathtub and looked at his little furball. “Maybe a cute child?”
The kitten glanced once at him before looking away. He placed his front paws on the edge of the tub, then tried to catch a lock of Mo Tianliao’s long hair drifting in the water. As expected, the kitten’s paw got wet. He frantically shook it, gifting Mo Tianliao a spray of water droplets to his face.
Now that he had inner qi, many actions became a lot more convenient for Mo Tianliao, at least when it came to using fire qi. When he was done with his bath, he circulated some fire qi all over his body and managed to dry himself off quickly, even down to his long hair. He pulled on his clothes in a relaxed manner before he went to grab a basin of water. He set the basin down in a sunny spot in the center of the courtyard, then went back into the bathroom to bring his kitten out.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“Wljbhtjb, ifa wf ulnf sbe j yjat.” Zb Kljciljb tfjafv eq atf kjafg yfobgf qblcalcu ja atf yjrlc.
Ktf ktlaf oegyjii ibbxfv ja atf mgevf yjrlc, atfc eq ja atf rwlilcu Zb Kljciljb. Llr ajli aklamtfv.
It has been a long time since you gave this excellency a bath… This excellency will allow this just for today.
Rbk atja tf tjv Obgv Blaas’r jugffwfca, Zb Kljciljb lwwfvljafis rdejaafv vbkc tjqqlis ab ufa ab kbgx. Lf ufcais ibkfgfv atf xlaafc lcab atf yjrlc, atfc rajgafv kjrtlcu tlr oeg klat qgjmalmfv wbnfwfcar.
There wasn’t any dirt or dust on the kitten, so a simple rinse was enough. Mo Tianliao wrapped the kitten up in a towel before summoning fire qi to his palm. He quickly passed it over the kitten’s head, all the way down to the tip of his tail. The wet clumps of fur immediately turned into soft, fluffy strands once again. However, when he tried to touch the kitten’s belly, it was clear that it was the limit of the kitten’s patience, as he struggled to get down.
“Don’t move, let me dry your fur properly.”
Mo Tianliao captured the escaping kitten and tried to touch his belly again, but was suddenly given a scratch from one of his paws.
“Meow!” Idiot disciple, where are you touching!
The kitten ran up one of the peach trees in the courtyard and snarled at him. Ignoring whatever Mo Tianliao said, the kitten turned around and ran off without looking back.
“He got angry again…” Mo Tianliao scratched his head. His furball’s temper had only grown worse after these few hundred years apart.
Mo Tianliao cleaned up the house and changed the bedsheets to fresh ones. When he was done with the cleaning and had dressed properly, the second-generation disciples came over after their morning practice.
Mo Tianliao made the disciples wait as he slowly ate his breakfast, before he finally took out a book of names.
“If I call your name, step forward and tell me what you do on a daily basis.” His elegant fingers flipped the book open and he started reading out the names of locations in their abode, as well as the name of the disciple in charge of managing that area. Furthermore, he had them place their jade tokens on the table before him as proof.
The disciples were shocked to find out that their shishu was already at Refining Stage 1 after just one night!
Once each person had explained their responsibilities, they started to report on more recent matters.
“Shishu, the day after tomorrow will be the birthday of Yanlie-shibo from Wotian Abode. Our branch will have to prepare a gift for him as well,” said Suli, the disciple in charge of ceremonies.
Mo Tianliao looked up at him and spoke in a neutral tone, “Are you saying that we have to prepare a birthday present for Yanlie-shixiong on behalf of Woqing Abode?”
“Yes, indeed.” Suli hadn’t detected the hidden meaning in Mo Tianliao’s words and thought that he was simply confirming what he had said. Without thinking, he responded affirmatively to the question.
“Hmph!” Mo Tianliao snorted. “Since Yanlie is a first-generation disciple and his master is still alive and well, what are you trying to imply by sending a gift on behalf of our abode?”
Suli froze up a little. He had been trying to dig a hole for his new shishu. Who could have thought that this shishu would turn the tables on him instead? He immediately changed his reply, “This disciple means that we should send a gift under shishu’s name.”
Mo Tianliao didn’t respond and simply stared at him with an unreadable look. The entire room sunk into dead silence.
Even though Suli was a strong-looking man, when those eyes stared him down, a chill went down his spine. Cold sweat started beading on his forehead.
Just as Suli was about to give from the pressure, Mo Tianliao finally spoke up, “Is this how you normally do things?”
“Uh…” Suli didn’t know how to respond.
“Who here knows how this matter should be handled?” Mo Tianliao ignored him and turned to the other disciples instead.
“Shishu, I know!” A cute-looking female disciple raised her hand. “Yanlie-shibo is celebrating his birthday this year because he recently broke through to the Soul stage. Our Sect Master wanted to reward him, so he declared that we would have a grand celebration this year. As second-generation disciples, we don’t have the right to send a gift. Only shishu is qualified to send a gift under your own name, or our Master’s. Shishu can also remind shizu to send a present as a senior of Yanlie-shibo as well.”
The older female disciple next to her secretly tugged at her sleeve, but the young lady pretended not to notice. Their new shishu was so handsome and so capable, why did they have to go against him?
“Very good,” Mo Tianliao nodded. “What’s your name?”
The young lady who had spoken up wasn’t one of the disciples in charge of administrative tasks.
“Shishu, this disciple is called Suwen,” the young lady replied in a clear voice.
“From now on, you’ll be the master of ceremonies here at Woqing Abode.”
Mo Tianliao picked up the jade token representing the post and handed it over to her.
Suwen’s eyes widened in surprise. She froze up for a moment before happily receiving the token respectfully with both hands, “Thank you shishu! I’ll work hard!”
Suwen had come from a noble family and was well-versed in proper manners, so she hadn’t liked how petty Suli was in dealing with matters for their abode. She thought that he was disgracing their Woqing Abode’s reputation.
In comparison, Suli had turned deathly pale. This post was very comfortable and compensated very well. If he was kicked out of it, then he would only have his monthly allowance to depend on to buy resources for cultivating.
“Shishu, it was Master who decided my post!”
Mo Tianliao looked at him with a cold smile, “Then wait for your master to come back and sniffle at him.”
“Hahaha!” A few of the disciples who weren’t on good terms with Suli burst out in laughter.
When the other disciples who held administrative positions saw what had happened to Suli, they didn’t dare to test their new shishu any further. They replied honestly to all of Mo Tianliao’s questions. After that, Mo Tianliao quickly settled all outstanding administrative matters and re-distributed some of the tasks.
Mo Tianliao delegated the tasks the same way he had in his past life: by meritocracy. He assigned tasks to people with the corresponding skill. Even if you were a great beauty, it didn’t mean you wouldn’t have to pick up poop.
After Mo Tianliao took care of the dishonest and rebellious disciples, the rest of the second-generation disciples became extremely well-behaved. Satisfied with this outcome, Mo Tianliao waved his hand to dismiss them.
“Shishu was so dominating when he handled Suli!” After leaving the courtyard, a few female disciples started gossiping.
“Right? Right? Shishu managed to take the first step into cultivating in just one night! His potential is limitless… See, I told you shizu couldn’t have made a mistake!”
“Did you realise our shishu is the most handsome one out of all our shibos?
“When his eyes swept over me, I couldn’t even breathe!”
The male disciples exchanged glances after overhearing the girls talking. Women always take the side of the handsome guy…
Now that he had sent his noisy shizhis off, Mo Tianliao dusted off his clothes and headed over to the main hall of Qingning Palace.
Unlike the empty hall from yesterday, there were currently many servant girls in white standing in the hall. When they noticed Mo Tianliao approaching, they bowed in unison without speaking. One of them came forward to meet him, “Master Qingtong has already woken up, would you like this servant to report your arrival?”
Mo Tianliao nodded, “Sister, please tell Master that his disciple Mo Tianliao requests an audience.”
The servant bowed in acknowledgement and hurried off.
After waiting for a short moment, he heard some tinkling sounds drawing closer and closer, like the ringing of bells in an ancient desert. The doors of the inner hall swung open, revealing his master dressed in white. Specks of sunlight reflecting off the crystal walls shone brightly in those clear glass-coloured eyes, like an unknown constellation of stars in the night sky.
Mo Tianliao held his breath subconsciously. He scurried over to his master and extended his arm as an offer to help his master to his seat.
Qingtong looked at the large hand offered to him and slowly placed his own right hand on it.
The cool temperature of his master’s jade-like hand on his palm felt like a feather brushing over his heart. Mo Tianliao’s thoughts started running wild. Shouldn’t a master look more… dignified? Like someone with his hair tied up and a long flowy beard? Why did his master look like this instead? Isn’t this just tempting him to give in to his inner demons?!
<Shishu is too cruel, Master please save us>
Disciple A: Master, please save me!
Disciple B: Master, help me!
Disciple C: Master, I don’t want to shovel poop!
Carpenter: They missed you too much.
Shixiong: Oh, you’ve done well then, shidi!
Mo Tianliao calls the servant lady ‘jiejie’, or elder sister, as a polite and more intimate form of address.
Lots of shishu/shibo/shizhi etc. introduced in this chapter… There are just these few to memorise, I hope it’s not too confusing! As you can see from the explanations below, it’s quite hard to find good and consistent translations for most of them @[email protected]
shishu – literally ‘teacher-uncle’, term used to refer to a cultivator who has the same master as your master
shibo – also ‘teacher-uncle’, but this refers to someone who does not share the same ‘teacher-grandfather’ as you
shizhi – literally ‘teacher-nephew’, term used to refer to the disciples of someone with the same master as you (eg: Mo Tianliao would call any second-generation disciples in Woqing Abode shizhi, as they are all disciples of his shixiong)
shizu – literally ‘teacher-ancestor’, term used to refer to the master of your master (like a grandfather/grandmother)