Chapter 81
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Even though the two were seeing something they weren’t supposed to see, it wasn’t as egregious as it could have been.

Most cultivators used a simple water technique to cleanse their bodies, whether they had water element spirit roots or not.

The condensed water that had covered the jade came from the young lady using a water-based cleansing technique.

Even after the technique was completed, a mist would remain around the cultivator, obscuring their body.

This had been a measure put in place because a lot of cultivators had secrets on their bodies which would be inconvenient if revealed to others, so when using techniques like these, a veil of mist could be left behind to avoid such situations.

This young lady didn’t choose to maintain her veil, seeing as she was alone, but the after-effects of the technique had yet to wear off, leaving parts of her body hidden.

Hei slowly leaned forward and touched the jade, switching it to portrait mode, which would only show the head down to the shoulders.

This was based on face tracking formations that the merchant had developed to lessen the work of the ‘cameraman’.

After having switched to portrait mode, Hei turned to the cat.

“Go get my jade.”

The cat turned to Hei.

“Eh? why should I do it?”

“Because you’re the one who put it there.”

“But you told me to.”

“I told you to place it outside. I didn’t tell you to put it on that young lady’s balcony.”

“But you weren’t very specific.”

“True.”

Upon reflection, the cat hadn’t done anything outside of what he had told it to do. It had just done it in an unexpected way.

And besides that, he could have just placed it outside himself. It was his own fault for giving the task to the cat.

“But still. Go get my jade.”

“Why should I?”

“Because if I go myself, that young lady is likely to attack me.”

This was straight from the web novels Hei had read.

There was almost never an occurrence of a main character walking in on a young lady bathing, that didn’t end with her trying to kill him.

At the very least, he couldn’t remember one.

The cat responded.

“So what?”

“So, you’re a cat.”

“And?”

“You can walk in on as many young ladies as you want, and they won’t complain about it. They may even be happy about it.”

“That’s the problem.”

“How is it a problem?”

“What if she takes a liking to me?”

“What’s your point?”

“I’ll probably get waterboarded.”

“Bathed?”

“Right. That’s what you humans call it. And I don’t want any part of it.”

“…”

Left with no other choice, Hei decided to communicate with the young lady directly.

If this were a regular movie jade, he would just let her keep it and forget about it. But this particular movie jade had his aura as an envoy of the heavens.

He didn’t exactly feel comfortable having it floating around.

***

Su Yuying had just come back from a stroll around the town.

She was ready to take a bath when she noticed something on her balcony.

She walked up to it and found that it seemed to be a strange black jade-like thing.

Interested in this jade, she rubbed it with her fingers and found that it was quite smooth. Whatever it was, it seemed to be finely crafted.

Though it was black, which wasn’t exactly a pretty colour, she decided to keep it anyway.

She wondered if it had any special properties, but she wouldn’t be able to find out on her own.

This reminded her of her troubling past.

Even at her age, she was still a body refining cultivator, meaning she was far from what could be called talented.

This alone wouldn’t be much to be upset about, but the problem was, her spirit roots were the best of the best.

By all accounts, she should have been a freakish genius. But she found that when she reached the peak of the body refining realm, she couldn’t break through to the externalisation realm no matter what she did.

This meant she was unable to use anything that required Qi as input.

In order to interact with such an object, one would need to enter the externalisation realm, where they would be able to, as the name suggests, interact with the external.

She remembered how proud her father had been when they discovered that she had such excellent spirit roots, and how he personally helped her in her cultivation every day.

Within a few months of having started cultivating, she had already reached the peak of body refining, leaving any who would call themselves geniuses too ashamed to show themselves.

But that was when her troubles began.

No matter what cultivation resources she had, no matter what method of breakthrough she tried, she was never able to pass that threshold.

At first, her father had the idea that she was practising a cultivation technique which wasn’t suited to her. So, he went and gathered a few cultivation techniques from all over the place.

With her rate of growth, she would quickly regain her cultivation, even if she were to abandon it, meaning she wouldn’t be too far behind her peers.

And as soon as she broke through to the externalisation realm, she was sure to rise above them.

That was what they thought, but it proved to be fruitless.

She tried several different cultivation techniques, reaching the peak of the body refining realm several times, but every time she tried to break through to the externalisation realm, she would be stopped in her tracks.

It was like there was an invisible barrier preventing her from progressing. As if the Qi itself disdained to let her break through.

Eventually, she resigned to her fate.

Her father tried to console her by telling her that she was very pretty and wouldn’t have much trouble marrying into a powerful family.

While that may be true, it wasn’t the path she wished to take.

Sure, she could probably find a family like the Zhu Clan and marry into it, but she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who was currently out on a cultivation journey, experiencing what the world had to offer.

Having come to terms with her situation, she decided she would study the various professions that cultivators practised.

She thought that even if she couldn’t cultivate herself, she should be able to achieve something in the various fields of study.

Unfortunately for her, even professions required one to cultivate to a certain level before advancement.

As such, she ended up an apprentice of all the major professions, but there she remained. Never reaching the one-star level.

Alas, such was fate. She could only wait and hope that she could live her cultivation dreams through her future children.

For the time being, she wanted to try helping her father in his business affairs, but he had told her it was no place for young ladies such as herself.

This left her tremendously bored, which was why she often took strolls around the town.

She decided to take the jade with her as she bathed, and fiddle with it a little more. Even though it wasn’t a very pretty jade, there was something about it that felt comfortable.

She unclothed herself and used a simple cleansing technique to clean her body.

After that, she entered her bathtub, which wasn’t strictly necessary, but it was a time of relaxation for her.

As she soaked, she examined the jade little more, and to her surprise, before long, a projection appeared from the jade and displayed a metal mask.

“Excuse me, young lady.”

“Hmm. A movie jade?”

She was surprised to be seeing this. Most movie jades required formations to read their contents and display them, but this one seemed to work without being rooted.

After a moment, she heard a voice coming from the projection.

“No, this is more like a communication jade.”

“Eh?”

She was surprised. It was almost as if the jade had responded to her words. Quite a bizarre experience.

She waited for the movie to continue, but there was a long pause without any words or movement.

“Is this an amateur home movie?”

This was what she thought.

Who would make a movie with such a long time of nothing?

It seemed the person who created it didn’t know how to edit out these awkward pauses.

“No. Like I said, this is more like a communication jade.”

“…”

It took a moment for her to realise that there was something odd here.

“Hello?”

“Hello.”

“… You said this was like a communication jade?”

“Yes.”

“But I can see you…”

“Yes.”

“… Does that mean? …”

“I’m afraid so.”

A red hue overtook her face as she covered her chest with one arm, adjusted her posture and looked at the jade with a shaky hand.

“How long have you been…”

She was unable to finish her words, but the person on the other side seemed to understand what she wanted to ask.

“Since you took the jade from the balcony.”

The red hue intensified.

She spoke with quivering lips.

“H-how much did you see?”

“At first, all of it, but now, only down to the shoulders.”

“A-all of it?”

“Mm.”

At this point, she was starting to feel lightheaded.

The person on the other side seemed to notice this and continued.

“Ah. Don’t worry, there wasn’t much to see.”

“Wasn’t much?”

At this point, her embarrassment turned to anger.

Was this fellow saying she wasn’t much to look at?

She had always been proud of her appearance, it was the only thing that wasn’t cruelly yanked away from her.

Before she could continue, the person on the other side responded to her.

“That’s right. You were mostly covered in mist, so there wasn’t much to see. Nothing that would cause you shame.”

“Oh. I see. Well, I suppose that's some small consolation.”

She assumed the other person’s words were true, and as such, her anger reduced.

She continued.

“So, why are you watching me?”

Given the circumstances, the immediate assumption was perversion.

But upon further thought, this jade was not planted in her bathroom, it was placed on her balcony. She was the one who transferred into her bathroom, and if someone had those kinds of desires when placing the jade in her vicinity, then the balcony wasn’t exactly the best place to do so.

On top of that, even if they were able to predict that she would take it into the bathroom, there was no way to know that she would actually keep it on her person.

A more reasonable assumption would be that the person was trying to monitor her house for a future burglary.

However, to make their presence known, to reveal that they were monitoring her, it wouldn’t help their cause at all, no matter what it was.

“Ah. It wasn’t intentional. This cat took the jade over to your balcony. I was trying to test out these jades.”

The person on the other side raised a small green cat in front of his mask, which waved to her, then he placed it back down.

“I see.”

After hearing the explanation, she wasn’t quite as upset about the entire situation as she was initially. The cat having brought it over was a reasonable enough explanation.

There was still the question of if the cat did so without instruction, however, she decided to move on. There were more important things than this.

“These jades. Where did you get them from?”

She was quite interested in these communication jades that allowed the two parties to see each other.

“I made them myself.”

“You made them? What do you call them?”

“The originator of the idea called them life-style movie jades. Though these are a bit different from the original concept, I suppose that name will do.”

“Life-style movie jades, huh?”

She thought the name could use a little work but the concept was quite novel.

At this point, the person on the other side seemed to want to wrap things up.

“Now, if you don’t mind, when you finish bathing, please let me know and place the jade back on the balcony. The cat will come to retrieve it.”

After those words, she could hear the cat meowing, seemingly disagreeing with him.

“How will I let you know?”

“All you need to do is activate the jade, that will open a communication channel between us.”

“That’s not going to work.”

“Why not? You aren’t a cultivator?”

She mumbled a few words under her breath.

“Sorry? I didn’t catch that.”

She repeated herself.

“Come again?”

“I’m in the body refining realm!”

There was a long silence before the other person spoke.

“At your age?”

This poked a sore spot in her heart. Her face regained the red hue as she replied.

“Shut up!”

She hid her face in her hands, causing the picture on the other side to zoom in on her eye.

The person on the other side responded.

“Then… Shall we say in an hour?”

Hearing this, she regained her composure.

“Don’t you think you owe me an apology for all this?”

The person on the other side bowed his head.

“My sincerest apologies.”

“…”

She didn’t expect the apology to come so fast, and so earnestly.

“If you’re really sincere, you should apologise to me face-to-face.”

“When should I come?”

“…”

Again, she didn’t expect such a quick affirmative response.

“You can come right now. I’ll be on the balcony. Do you need directions?”

“No.”

With that, the image disappeared.

She wasn’t sure if the person on the other side was still observing her, so she used the cleansing technique to build up a veil of mist around her as she exited the bath.

She was actually quite pleased with this turn of events. If she played her cards right, she may be able to get herself a goldmine.

Even if her father wouldn’t let her help him with his business, who said she couldn’t start her own?

“Life-style movie jades, huh? It will have to compete with the Merchant Association.”

There would surely be difficulties in moving forward.

“But when have I been afraid of competition?”

She firmed her resolve as she excitedly readied herself for this business opportunity.

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