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Chapter 1 – 5

World of Cultivation

 

Chapter 1 – Little Art of Cloud and Rain

“Don’t forget!”

“Even in death, you must not forget!”

……

A strange yet familiar voice seemed to come from deep in the clouds. Again and again, echoing, layering, relentless.

Who?

Must not forget?

Must not forget what?

He suddenly woke. Just as usual, his entire body was soaked, the clothing sticking to the skin uncomfortably. He sat up, the stars and dark sky above his head reminding him that there was still a long time before morning. A gust of wind blew over, whooshing icily.

This dream again!

Habitually blowing out a long breath.

It was still early, he laid back down going back to sleep.

————

Before he could walk to the gate of the mountain, Zuo Mo heard someone yelling from far away. “Mo ge,1 remember to water the fields for me. We made an agreement at the beginning of this month. This year’s harvest is depending on you.”

When he looked over, it was a fifty-something year old man, dark and thin. He was poking around in the field. If he didn’t look closely, he wouldn’t see there was a person there.

The old man’s nickname was Old Black. His real name was unknown. He was the oldest among the outer sect disciples of Wu Kong Sword Sect.2

Zuo Mo wiped at the sweat on his forehead, replying, “Won’t forget. Don’t worry, tomorrow, it’s your turn!”

Zuo Mo’s body was thin like a stalk of bamboo. The purple robe of the outer sect disciples loosely draped on his body. In contrast to the slipperiness of his speech was his wooden face that looked like a zombie, dark and gloomy.

Zuo Mo’s zombie face was his trademark characteristic. In the beginning, everyone avoided him, but gradually they discovered that other than his face, his temper and personality were both extremely good at which point more people interacted with him. After these two years, he was the most popular among the outer sect disciples.

Old Black’s face lit up in joy, his mouth hurriedly complimenting, “Good good good! Mo ge, your specialty, I, Old Black, has never seen anything else like it.”

Zuo Mo’s [The Little Art of Cloud and Rain] was special. He was the only one in the outer sect disciples to have mastered the third level of [The Little Art of Cloud and Rain]. It was with this that he almost had a monopoly on the contracts of rain-making for all the ling3 fields of the sect.

[The Little Art of Cloud and Rain] wasn’t a complicated spell,4 everyone knew how to do it. Its main use was creating rain for the ling fields. One only needed three to five days to learn the first level. The second level, it could be easily accomplished in one or two years. But starting from the third level, it required the ability of comprehension from each individual. In all of the outer sect disciples of Wu Kong Sword Sect, only Zuo Mo had successfully comprehended it.

After [The Little Art of Cloud and Rain] reached the third level, its effectiveness increased dramatically and could drastically increase the production of ling grains and ling vegetables. Because of that, after he achieved the third level, his position in the sect rose. His name went from Little Zombie Mo to Mo ge.

Zuo Mo waved his hand to bid farewell to Old Black.

———–

Zuo Mo bared his teeth and shifted the bag on his back. His shoulders ached. On his back was three hundred catties of ling grain which almost broke his thin and weak shoulders.

A thin and weak zombie carried a cloth bag on his back that was many times larger than his body. He moved with difficulty along the mountain path.

Lugging three hundred catties of ling grain, he wheezed his way down to the entrance to the mountain. Just as he passed the mountain gate, he threw the cloth bag on his shoulders to the ground as his entire body collapsed to the ground, his breath racing.

After resting for a short period and he recovered some energy, he stood up and carefully took out a grass yellow paper crane from his bosom.

The paper crane was the size of a palm, folded from yellow grass paper. Drawn on it in cinnabar, were seals.

As he channeled in ling power, the paper crane began to enlarge. It grew slightly larger than a real crane. Thin stalks of bamboo made up the skeleton and a layer of yellow grass paper was pasted on top. Drawn over the entire body were seals that curved like tadpoles. It was evident that the craftsmanship of the crane wasn’t very good. Many places that were pasted together were frayed. The quality of the yellow paper was very low as fragments of grass could be seen throughout on the paper.

Zuo Mo lifted the cloth bag onto the back of the paper crane, from the ground.

Inside the mountain, the outer sect disciples were restricted from flying. During these two years, Zuo Mo had cursed this rule inside countless times.

Clumsily climbing onto the back of the paper crane, the sound of creaking and groaning could be heard as the bamboo rods of the paper crane bent. He paused in his motions. After a while, seeing that the paper crane showed no indication of collapsing, he exhaled in relief.

“Lil’ Yellow,5 Lil’ Yellow, you can’t break down at this time.”

Zuo Mo patted the head of the paper crane as it swayed and left the ground.

The creaking of the bamboo and paper sounded once again. It was as though the paper crane was drunk. The flight path was strange, suddenly high, suddenly low, suddenly left before turning right. It wheezed as it followed the mountain road forward.

Zuo Mo had a very steady seat. He was very experienced. This was the lowest quality of flying paper cranes. Its maximum load wasn’t even four hundred catties. The weight right now was extremely dangerous. But this “impotent” paper crane was something that all other outer sect disciples were envious of.

In the outer sect disciples, he was the first one to have a mount. Of course, as to whether a flying paper crane truly counted as a mount wasn’t in the limits of Zuo Mo’s consideration.

In the midst of the creaking and crying, after swerving for ten hours, when Zuo Mo’s zombie face was slightly pale, Dong Fu could be seen far away on the horizon.

In the midst of the clouds, Dong Fu faded in and out.

Once upon a time, Dong Fu zhenren6 broke off the peak with one sword strike and used the newly formed plateau as the foundation for his base, creating Dong Fu. After five hundred years, Dong Fu had developed into one of the thirteen primary towns of Sky Moon Jie. Three thousand jie of the xiuzhe,7 Sky Moon Jie couldn’t even be ranked. It was only a minor jie, its history just one thousand and five hundred something years. One thousand and five hundred years ago, Tian Yue8xianren9 found and took control of this jie. She used her own name to name it Sky Moon jie. Tian Yue xianren was one of Kun Lun and so Sky Moon Jie logically became one of the jie that were governed by the realm of Kun Lun.10

After that, some other zhenren came to Sky Moon Jie to start their own sects and it gradually developed into the present day situation.

The paper crane creaked and groaned as it struggled to fly to the base of Dong Fu Mountain. During the journey, he was able to hear the laughter of other people. A thin zombie, sitting on a similarly thin, drunken paper crane. The scene caused many people to laugh.

Zuo Mo sat in a dignified manner, his expression was natural as though he was the perfect zombie. In reality, on the inside, he was drooling at the other flying mounts that flew over his head – those were true mounts!

This one with the grey body and red beak was a red beaked goose. The back of the goose was wide and soft, sitting on it, one would feel almost no shaking, it was called the greatest experience. The lump under that xiuzhe’s feet was Lucky Magic Cloud, travelling on a cloud was so free and outstanding.  The silver hovering on the back of that xiuzhe was Thunder Wings, the lightning sparked and flew at high speeds like lightning, do you want to experience speed … …

He could recite the slogans smoothly, but he was only able to recite the advertisements.

The thing that shocked everyone the most was a Thousand Wings Boat that slowly sailed above his head. The entire boat was like a mountain as it flew across his head. Zuo Mo only felt his eyes become dark and when he raised his head, the light of the jinzhi11 at the base of the black bottom were barely detectable.

The greatest crime of all xiuzhe was extravagance!

Zuo Mo couldn’t help swearing inside, but when he saw the other xiuzhe scatter sorrily, his mood instantly became better.

After flying for another two hours, xiuzhe and crane finally reached the base of Dong Fu Mountain. With Lil’ Yellow’s impotent flying ability that stuck to right above the ground, flying up Dong Fu was just wishful thinking.

He climbed down from the paper crane and loaded off the bag. When he took down the paper crane, cracks could be seen on the surface. Zuo Mo sighed with grief inside. Did he have to buy a new one? This thought made his flesh hurt deeply.

Narrowing his eyes to look at Dong Fu that was over the clouds, and the winding and countless stone steps, and then a look at the bag beside his feet, Zuo Mo’s legs started trembling.

“Brother, do you need help?” A shadow came across Zuo Mo’s eyes.

A man whose half-naked body was steely muscled came over.

“How much?” Zuo Mo asked alertly. His eyes scanned around the surroundings. Receiving encouragement from his look, a few other men sitting at the side stood up.

Noticing that others of his own profession seemed to want to come over, the man’s heart tightened and he hurriedly stated, “Three first grade.”

Three first grade meant three pieces of first-grade jingshi.12

Zuo Mo exclaimed in shock, “Kill me!” And followed decisively, “Just two. If you’re willing, then do it. If not, never mind.” At this time, if he made out a shocked expression, he would have had both sound and look. The ploy was hopeless for Zuo Mo, because his zombie face didn’t move and the atmosphere instantly became weird.

“Too fake!” The strongman jerked his mouth, but seeing the other people that were restless in the surroundings, he gritted his teeth and crisply nodded, “Fine!”

Finishing, his hand that was as big as a fan reached for the cloth bag on the ground. Zuo Mo shouted, “Wait!”

“What?”

“Make a contract first.” Zuo Mo took out a jade scroll.

“Just two, what contract does it need?” The strong man muttered disapprovingly.

“For safety. Otherwise, with my body, if you run, I can’t catch up with you.” Zuo Mo’s face was still expressionless, and his voice was still carrying a smile.

Helplessly, the strong man could only sign a contract with Zuo Mo. Seeing this, the other people finally left.

Finishing the contract, the man picked up the bag on the ground. The three hundred catty seemed weightless in his arms.

Halfway up the mountain, Zuo Mo struggled to crawl up the mountain, his entire body soaked in sweat. The brawny man said with a face full of disdain, “Your endurance really sucks.” Then he urged, “Can’t you be faster? I still want to complete two more job orders today! At this speed, it’ll be lucky if we get there before dark.”

Zuo Mo felt as though he was a fish out of the water. He felt he was suffocating. He put his butt on the stone stairs and panted roughly, one breath disconnected from the next, “I ……I can’t……”

The man instantly panicked, “It can’t be like this. Are you trying to ruin my business?”

Zuo Mo’s eyes rolled and he stated expressionlessly, “You can see it. I really don’t have any more energy.”

The man furiously ranted, “Taking your business, I really lost a lot today.” Finishing, he grabbed Zuo Mo with one hand and put him under his arm, lengthening his stride and started to jog up the stone stairs.

“You guys who cultivate your body, are really admirable.” Zuo Mo who was taking advantage said heartlessly.

“What’s admirable? Just eating based on physical strength. Right now, I’m at the fifth level of lianqi.13 Once I get to zhuji ,14 I can take more orders. These days, it’s hard to make a living!” The muscled man couldn’t help but sigh.

“Yeah! Living isn’t easy!” Zuo Mo felt sorrow in his heart. He suddenly remembered that Thousand Wing Boat he saw on the road and couldn’t help but ask, “Hey, what was with that Thousand Wing Boat? I have never seen it before.”

“That’s the moving palace of Chi Ye zhenren. You have to be careful and not provoke him.” The man gave a friendly reminder, “If you see women dressed in white with a veil, you have to respectfully stay away. They are all concubines of Chi Ye zhenrenand have terrible tempers. Many people have offended them and they didn’t have good endings!”

The man’s strength was astonishing. One hand holding the three hundred catty bag, the other hand Zuo Mo as he spoke without showing any sign of exhaustion.

“That’s true. For us little people, to offend them is to seek death.” Zuo Mo agreed.

The strides of the man were very big and his speed much faster than Xiao Huang. It only took him an hour to finish climbing up the winding stone stairs.

Zuo Mo crisply paid him two first-grade jingshi. The man took the jingshi before turning to rush down the mountain.

“Living isn’t easy!” Zuo Mo looked at the back of the man and expressionlessly concluded.

Zuo Mo was very familiar with Dong Fu. He took up the bag, and after a few turns he found his destination.

This was a store that specialized in purchasing ling grains. It was a small storefront. Outside the door, there hanged a small flag. On it were two words, Ling Grains. The seal arrangement on the flag guaranteed that the two words could be seen from far away even at night.

Three hundred catties of second-grade ling grain, to this kind of store, it was just a small piece of business. The storekeeper didn’t even bother to come out to give a greeting, only sending a shop assistant.

“Thirty pieces of second-grade jingshi.”

The shop assistant had no intentions of bargaining. Zuo Mo also knew he didn’t have any room to bargain and very crisply nodded.

This price was slightly low but it was the same at any other store unless he could bring ten thousand catties or more of ling grain at one time. Then he would have the right to bargain on the price. Taking away the portion that needed to be given up to the sect, three hundred catties of ling grain was the result of his year of hard effort.

Thirty pieces of second-grade jingshi, for him, was a large sum of money.

Having thirty pieces of second-grade jingshi as he walked on the street, Zuo Mo felt that all the passer-by’s eyes were like daggers.

The streets of Dong Fu were wide. In the sky, many houses of different colors and shapes floated. These were also stores, but that was the high-end district. Without a high-grade mount any xiuzhe who could not fly on a sword couldn’t enter, even if they wanted to. Some high-end stores were small islands floating in the sky, with grass and flowers blooming, and music streaming out.

That was a place that Zuo Mo wouldn’t even dream about. He always only looked at what was in his bowl.

 

Chapter 2 – Jade Scroll

Blurred like a fantasy with lights floating, Dong Fu was just as beautiful at night as it was in daytime.

The lanterns on the two sides of the street gave off bright and gentle light. From the sky, there were the barks and squeals of the ling beasts, and the lights from flying talismans were more dazzling than a meteor shower. The cool night air didn’t thin the crowds but made it busier. The merchants were all brimming with energy and the shop workers in each store wore uniforms as they stood on either side of the door. One person holding a copper bell, while the other held a Bagua mirror.

The worker holding the copper bell sent out a spell and a clear voice spread out from the copper bell, “This store sells talismans, all kinds of talismans at great prices. Whether or not you are a lianqi apprentice, or a skilled jindan,15 this store can fulfill your needs……”

Engraved on the copper bell was a Clear Sound Incantation. The voice was mild and moderate, and wasn’t harsh on the ears. Even if it was heard for a long time, the listener wouldn’t be bothered.

The worker with the Bagua mirror cooperated beautifully and had made out a spell at the same time. The Bagua mirror flashed and above his head, holograms of different illusions began to flash, each illusion moving in realistic patterns. As the sound of the bell changed, the holograms changed as well in unison. This was a mirage spell, producing illusions and tricking others to believing it was real.

Stores lined both sides of the street and it was a frequent sight that  the workers from stores opposite one another would glare at each other. Each pair of workers swung the bells rapidly with the lights of the Bagua mirror flashing.

This scene was occurring all along the street.

“Fifth-grade Secret Paradise. Has one ling spring, five hundred ping,16 full of lingenergy. No matter for raising animals or planting ling grains or grasses, we guarantee you have a good harvest! Two million fifth-grade jingshi. Don’t miss it, this deal it won’t come again!”

“This store is selling all kinds of high-grade ling herbs. With a thousand year history , our store’s quality is guaranteed! All of the medicine in our store has been inspected by high-level medicine professors in the Tian Xin School of Medicine! Please don’t worry!”

“Do you want to get into Yi Zi Hui Sword Sect? This training center takes in students all year round, providing training on all kinds of beginner spells, with personal lessons by experienced sword xiu 17of Yi Zi Hui Sword Sect. Guaranteed to pass the first time! Why are you hesitating? Come try! Those who register now will receive fifteen percent off!”

———-

This was the city with no night, the primary town Dong Fu!

Zuo Mo wasn’t unfamiliar with this prosperous primary town, but he wasn’t used to it. He didn’t come often. If he hadn’t brought a flying paper crane, it was hard to even make a trip to Dong Fu.

Even the most beautiful street would have an intersection. Zuo Mo stared dazedly. He was lost.

Damn it, lost again!

He hit his head in frustration.

Helplessly, Zuo Mo walked to a banyan tree and lifted his face. On the branches, he saw many small red birds. The little birds were entirely red and had long crimson tails. When they flew, it was like there was a stream of fire behind them so they were called Flaming Birds.

They were intelligent and psychic. They could understand human speech and were good at learning. Many cities used them as road signs and direction. However, it wasn’t a free service.

Zuo Mo bore the pain as he threw one piece of first-grade jingshi. A flaming bird spread its wings and swooped down from the tree, accurately catching the jingshiand swallowed it into its stomach.

“Free Market.” Zuo Mo shouted.

The flaming bird flew a few circles around his head, and began leading the way.

Zuo Mo hurried to keep up with the bird. The flaming bird didn’t fly very quickly. The long tail feathers threw off red light that glowed brightly in the night.

The red light spread out in the air and quickly disappeared. As he passed through the lantern-lit streets, listening to the calls of peddling, and looking at the holograms changing at the two sides of the street, Zuo Mo became silent and began thinking about how he felt when he had opened his eyes two years ago..

He sighed in his heart and a slightly sorrowful mood pervaded.

The clear call of the flaming bird startled him awake. When he saw the free market not far away, his mood lifted. The flaming bird circled a few times around and turned to leave with a trail of red glowing dots behind. Zuo Mo waved his hand at the leaving flaming bird.

The Free Market was the most common place for low-level xiuzhe. It was called the Free Market because  anyone could put up a stall and sell things. They only had to buy a Mini-Room, and pay some fees before they could freely sell. The price of a Mini-Room was much lower than a store front. Usually when the mini-room was collapsed, it was only palm-sized and easy to transport. Many xiuzhe would buy one to carry around. Then they didn’t have to worry about where to sleep when they went out.

Buying here was much cheaper than normal stores but one had to spend time searching.

The free market was like a gigantic weiqi board, divided into squares. Each square could hold ten Mini-Rooms which were arranged in two back to back rows of five.

Zuo Mo quickly found his goal.

“Oh, Mo ge, you came!” The store owner was a male about twenty seven or twenty eight. He had a pointy head, his two eyes moving rapidly. His name was Fu Jin. His potential was average and he didn’t have much interest in cultivation. Right now, he only was on the third level of lianqi, so he had decided to start a business. He was skilled at managing and had a variety of suppliers. He basically had everything, no matter if it was low-level talismans or some spells. He could get all of them.

Zuo Mo didn’t waste words, “Did what I want arrive yet?”

“Of course, of course!” Fu Jin patted his thin chest and laughed, “What Mo ge wants, I don’t dare not to do my best!”

Finishing his greeting, Fu Jin started to dig through a little pouch at his waist. Zuo Mo looked with red eyes at the small cloth pouch at Fu Jin’s waist. The little cloth bag might be nondescript, but it was a third-grade Thousand Treasure Pouch.

But very quickly, Zuo Mo’s eyes were attracted to the small object held in Fu Jin’s hands. A piece of blue-green jade, about one finger wide and two knuckles long. It was a jade scroll.

“But Mo ge, don’t blame me for not reminding you. This ling plant jade scroll has five kinds of elemental spells. However, not many can learn all of them.” Fu Jin said seriously, “With Mo ge’s third level abilities at [Little Art of Cloud and Rain], why don’t you buy a water spell jade scroll? Don’t be irritated at my chattiness, but I’ve seen a lot over the years and understand that one well trained ability is enough to overcome all.”

Zuo Mo solemnly responded, “Many thanks, Fu ge.”

Fu Jin was looking out for him. He understood that.

Seeing Zuo Mo still resolute, Fu Jin didn’t continue. He handed the jade scroll to him, “Already said the price, twenty pieces of second-grade jingshi.”

Zuo Mo straightforwardly handed over the jingshi.

Twenty pieces of second-grade jingshi was a significant piece of business. Fu Jin’s mood improved and he smiled, teasing, “If Mo ge can learn all of it then you will become a ling plant farmer. At that time, don’t forget to help out this brother then!”

Zuo Mo also chuckled and raised his hands together expressionlessly, “Thanks, Fuge for the words. To become a ling plant farmer, one has to learn three different types of elemental spells at the third level. It isn’t that easy.”

The two finished their transaction happily.

The majority of the jingshi was spent but Zuo Mo didn’t feel any heartache. He carefully put the jade scroll next to his skin. This was a treasure.

Even though travelling at night was difficult, Zuo Mo prepared to return to the mountain after purchasing the jade scroll, if he stayed overnight at Dong Fu then he would need to spend money again.

Without the weight of the ling grains Lil’ Yellow became lighter and nimbler as it carried Zuo Mo, and continued to wheeze as it flew in the direction of Wu Kong Mountain.

When he returned to his residence at Wu Kong Mountain, it was deep in the night.

Zuo Mo laid on his roof under the stars, with his entire body aching. His fingers grasped the jade scroll. Holding the jade scroll in front of his eyes, his eyes narrowed, and he was unspeakably content.

At this Sword River prefecture, there were many people that farmed. In Wu Kong Sword Sect, about seventy percent of the outer sect disciples would choose to farm when they chose their tasks. The sect would also give out some methods of farming. [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] was one of them, but these were the most basic spells. Wu Kong Sword Sect was a sect for sword xiu. They had many sword arts, but the number of spells they had on any other arts were pitiful.

Farming was a deep and vast topic. Zuo Mo, who had continued as an outer sect disciple for two years, had a deep understanding of this.

The jade scroll included five types of five element spells. They were all spells relating to farming. One of those included was [Little Art of Cloud and Rain]. When he saw this, the stone in his heart landed. Worth it! The elaboration included in the scroll about [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] was more comprehensive and profound than what he knew.

Fu Jin wasn’t wrong. Being a master at one thing was more realistic but Zuo Mo had his own plans.

If he could learn all five kinds of the five element spells and if three kinds reached the third level, he could become a ling plant farmer. If [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] hadn’t broke into the third level, then he wouldn’t have had the idea. Now that  he could comprehend the third level of [Little Art of Cloud and Rain], that should mean that he had a bit of a talent in spells that belonged to the five elements.

If he had given up all the ling grains to exchange for contribution points from the sect, then he could have received a decent sword manual.

He didn’t do that. What did he need a sword manual for? To chop wood?

In comparison, farming spells were more useful to him. Even if he didn’t learn all of them, the more he learned, the more abilities he had. The sect didn’t have much, but uncultivated ling fields were everywhere. With enough ling fields, he could grow more ling grains, and get more jingshi.

Thinking and thinking, Zuo Mo’s head became clearer and his drowsiness disappeared.

He sat up and reached out with his palm to touch his face. The muscles on his face were solid and hard like wood. This was why he never displayed any expressions.

He didn’t care about beauty. He cared about another matter.

The faint starlight fell in the yard, giving out a slight silver shimmer. Like the night mist which rose, sorrow rose in the eyes of the expressionless Zuo Mo.

Two years ago, when the head of Wu Kong Sword Sect was returning to the sect, he had found an unconscious Zuo Mo and brought him back to the sect. When Zuo Mo woke up, he found that his memory was blank. In the following two years, he made many attempts but couldn’t recall any of his memories from two years ago.

What was even stranger was his face. Frozen like a stone, Zuo Mo could not make any expressions. The sect leader said it possibly could be a rare kind of affliction. Because of this face, he wasn’t accepted by the other disciples at the beginning and had received quite a few wrongs.

But he didn’t dislike this face of his. It was one of the only two links he could find to his past. Maybe one day, this wooden face could remind him.

Who am I……where is my home……

The other link was the dream that always appeared. Whose voice was that? And what must he not forget?

But he forgot everything!

Sighing in his heart, he shook his head as though he was shaking all those thoughts from his head. He carelessly took up the sound tablet beside him and input lingpower in.

The sound tablet was one of the most popular talismans in this xiu world. It was made up of a base and a round jade tablet. There were seal arrangements and it could receive sound transmissions from large scale seal arrangements. Zuo Mo’s sound tablet was one of the most basic models. A base made out of cedar wood holding a jade tablet the size of a palm. After channeling in ling power, the surface of the jade tablet shone and flickered through a multitude of colors and a melodious voice came out.

“ Bloody Sky Metropolis Jie once again breaks out in fierce conflict. Twelve xiuzhecamps simultaneously suffered large scale attacks from yaomo18 with serious casualties.”

“Zhou Ding Sword Sect has found another new jie. The exploration has already found large amounts of ling veins. According to those familiar with the matter, there are more than fifteen sects that have sent out high-level xiuzhe at the same time. Additionally, as there are a high amount of aboriginals on this jie, industryxiuzhe predict that this could cause the prince of xiu slaves on the market to drastically decrease……”

“After slaying the famous high level Master Xi Mo Da of the yao race, the Western Shang Sword Sect of Western Shang Jie has forged the life feather into a flying sword. Today, the flying sword has finally come out of the forge. It is rumoured the energy of the sword when it came out expanded ten miles. High level experts from forging sects estimate this Gold Feather Sword has reached an astounding seventh-grade~ The Western Shang Sword Sect has a new weapon!”

……

Under the stars, Zuo Mo listened silently. When he had just woken up, this rough sound tablet had helped him gradually understand this world.

Since then, he developed the habit of listening to the sound tablet everyday.

When his mood was bad or jittery, he would open the sound tablet and listen silently. His mood would then calm down.

In the dark sea of the night, the stars shone and a zombie quietly sat on top of the roof and listened to the sound tablet, spellbound.

 

Chapter 3 – The Little Yard

Making rain for fifty mu19 was a significant amount of work for even someone like Zuo Mo who had the cultivation of lianqi seventh level.

Wiping the sweat on his forehead, Zuo Mo expressionlessly said, “Alright, this is killing me.”

Old Black cheerfully gave a thumbs up, “Mo ge’s [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] is just as rumoured!” Finishing, he squatted down with a face full of joy to check the growth of the ling grain.

Zuo Mo calmly accepted the flattery. Old Black’s ling grain had been sturdily planted. Based on his observations, this year’s harvest would be good. Adding on the rain he made, it would easily increase the harvest by twenty something percent. For payment, Zuo Mo would take ten percent was a large sum.

For some reason, when Zuo Mo saw the devoutness and joy that Old Black had when he stared at the ling grains, he himself wasn’t happy.

Old Black had been an outer sect disciple at Wu Kong Sword Sect for twenty years. His cultivation was low and he had planted ling grains in the sect for twenty years.

The rent for the ling fields could be paid using ling grains. Each year, one had to giveling grains to the sect and receive contribution points before they were given continual qualifications to stay and be an outer sect disciple in the sect. If one wanted to learn new spells, then they need to keep contributing to the sect.

Roughly calculating, the amount that a farmer would be left with was pitiful. Theling grains were a harvest that Old Black was reluctant to eat.

It wasn’t easy being an outer sect disciple. Zuo Mo knew that better than anyone.

Even under these conditions here were still countless people trying to get into a small sect like the Wu Kong Sword Sect t. Even if it was hard, they could learn something. When they left the sect, they could find a good job. To someone like Old Black who didn’t have any savings, it was a very steady job.

Zuo Mo’s days were much better. He was an outer sect disciple, but he had been taken in by the sect leader. No one dared to bully him. His innate skill and comprehension were high. After comprehending the third level of [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] by himself, his days became increasingly comfortable.

Zuo Mo had no great ambitions. There were no clues to his history and birth. Other than living more comfortable days, he didn’t have any other wishes.

After the completing the job, he slowly walked back to his own residence.

There was only Wu Kong Sword Sect on Wu Kong Mountain. There was plenty of space. The entire western peak was sectioned off as the residential area of the outer sect disciples. How extravagantly one wanted to live, outer sect disciples could decide and construct yards for themselves. Most people would choose the yards that former outer sect disciples had left. Even if people hadn’t lived in them for a long time, often all that was  needed was a good cleaning.

Zuo Mo’s yard took up a great amount of space. He might be thin and weak but he liked large things so at the beginning, he had picked the biggest yard on the western peak. It was a seventh entry compound. Half a mu of fish pond, about fivemu of ling fields. The shixiong20 that had built this yard definitely would have been a fanatic about farming. There were no fake mountains, no flowerbeds and courtyard, no other decorations. This shixiong had changed it all to ling fields.

Other people had no interest in a yard without any sense of beauty, appeal, and incomplete seal formations, but Zuo Mo liked it.

He didn’t raise anything in the fish pond. Just using the pond to bathe in the summer was a refreshing luxury. Ling fields were good. Zuo Mo had calculated well. If you rented ling fields from the sect, you had to pay rent. Zuo Mo didn’t have to pay rent on the ling fields in this yard. There was also a cold spring in the yard.

There were considerations in building a residence. Normally, it was best to build on top of a ling vein. Living constantly in places thick with ling energy would increase the speed of cultivation. That was the reason Secret Paradises with ling veins were so expensive. There weren’t many places with ling veins at all, so how would it be given to the outer sect disciples like him?

But who could have thought that under this neglected yard, there was a ling vein!

When he had moved in, Zuo Mo had searched everywhere for a place to meditate. He found a secluded room. When he pushed open the door, a rotten smell had rushed at him. There were many meditation mats lying on the ground which all had decayed and rotted. There was only one mat that had kept its shape.

After Zuo Mo put in tremendous effort into cleaning up the seclusion room, only the one mat had been left.

When Zuo Mo sat on the mat for the first time, he froze in shock.

In the location of the mat, the ling energy was much thicker than anywhere else!

Zuo Mo, whose heart had been beating frantically, had first thought it was due to the mat. Quickly after, he found the real reason – under the mat there was a small side branch of ling vein! This section of ling veins was extremely small. It couldn’t be detected even one step away from the mat.

At this time, he finally understood why that nameless shixiong had built such a large yard. It was most likely to disguise this little section of ling vein.

This nameless shixiong quickly became Zuo Mo’s idol.

To be able to find this little section of ling vein on the gigantic western peak and to clear an area for ling fields by himself. With such ability, this shixiong didn’t seem like an outer sect disciple.

After finding the secret of the ling vein, Zuo Mo became even more low-key. He knew the logic of not showing off one’s wealth. If this bit of ling vein was found out by anyone else, there would be plots against him. At bes, it would be taken away by the sect.

Zuo Mo prepared and placed thirty something mats on the floor of the seclusion room. In addition, there were seventy or so mats piled in the corners. The colors of the mats varied, and the shapes were all different. All of them were woven by him. This strange habit of Little Zombie Mo, weaving mats, was known throughout the outer sect. Some people, when they wanted to find him to ask for help, they would go out and buy some exquisite mats as gifts. This caused the number of mats to increase and fill the entire seclusion room.

But normally, Zuo Mo persisted in meditating on the old mat that had been preserved. To not rot after such a long period of time, this mat might have a special attribute. Thoughts of that unfathomable nameless shixiong, lead him to be careful with anything that had been preserved in the room. He wouldn’t dare to underestimate anything.

The only thing that Zuo Mo was somewhat regretful about was the ling fields had been fallow for too long. The grade of the field had dropped, and had become first-grade ling fields. It had taken countless efforts from Zuo Mo for the vitality to revive. But to once again reach second-grade, it needed time.

All five mu of the ling fields were planted with ling grains. The ling grains were waist-high, the leaf edges saw-toothed and very sharp. If not careful, it was easy to be cut. The ling grains had been seeded out at the same time so the height was extremely regular. It was a patch of green, extremely delightful.

At night, it seemed very gloomy.

To prevent from thievery, Zuo Mo put down jinzhi all around the yard. These low level jinzhi didn’t have any attack power but if they were set off, they made a loud fuss.

The entire yard was worn down and rotten. Spider webs were everywhere. All the furniture was broken and rotting. The seal arrangements inside the rooms didn’t work due to years of neglect. No one competed for the yard with him.

None of this affected Zuo Mo. He liked sleeping on the roof at night. He meditated in the seclusion room. All the other rooms were kept empty or as storage holding some normal food. For formations, he had someone carve a light seal formation for illumination during the nights. He was too thrifty to spend money on anything else.

Sitting on the prayer mat, the thick ling energy in the surroundings made him so comfortable he almost groaned. Controlled his emotions he refocused and circulated the ling power in his body.

The core scripture he used in his cultivation was [Ten Principle Scripture]. It was a widely circulated second-grade scripture. Its attribute was steadiness and mildness. Basically, there was no worry of accidentally cultivating incorrectly and becoming insane. The majority of the outer sect disciples of Wu Kong Sword Sect picked it as their main scripture to cultivate. If they wanted to reach zhuji, then the chances of success were very low. Disciples who had greater ambitions needed to use more contribution points of the sect to exchange for higher level scriptures.

It was as though Zuo Mo entered a void. The ling power slowly moved through fixed paths. After one complete round, the body felt a fraction lighter.

With his cultivation of lianqi seventh level, he could persist in three circuits each time. He could feel as he inhaled and exhaled, that a portion of the ling energy inhaled would merge into the ling power that was moving inside the body. The thicker the ling energy in the surroundings, the more he could inhale each time. In these two years, this section of ling vein was of crucial importance for him going from the third level of lianqi to level seven.

After making three complete circuits, his mind retreated from the void.

His entire body felt rejuvenated. The exhaustion of before was all gone.

He casually ate something to fill his stomach. Before entering zhuji, xuizhe still needed normal food. Normal food couldn’t contribute ling power but it was still essential to xuizhe who were still in the stage of lianqi. Thankfully, the price of normal food was cheap and no one needed to worry about starvation.

He took out the jade stick he had brought yesterday. The jade stick was made from good jade, verdant and glistening. Holding it in his grasp, the material felt cold and heavy.

Floating in his head were mountains of ling grains and him laying contentedly on top of it all.

––Such a desirable life!

In this gloomy room, a thin male with a wooden zombie face gave out a stream of snickers that would raise the hair of anyone present.

After finishing dreaming, Zuo Mo focused attentively on examining the jade stick in his hand.

Channeling in ling power to the jade stick, many words instantly floated into his mind.

The jade stick had five kinds of spells, [Little Art of Cloud and Rain], [Art of Earth Energy], [Art of Aged Gold], [Art of Flora], [Art of Crimson Flame]. Other than [Little Art of Cloud and Rain], Zuo Mo had never learned any of the other four.

Being able to learn new spells, Zuo Mo was extremely happy. He couldn’t help taking a deep breath.

He could guess that from now on he needed to focus most of his attention on the remaining four spells.

The first one he tried was [Art of Aged Gold]. In the five elements, the primary use of the gold element was destruction and killing. Most of the spells related to the gold energy were related to killing. Ling grains had many natural enemies that were extremely troublesome, such as many kinds of aphids. They would burrow into the stalks of ling grains, even hollowing out the stalk. Average planters had no way of dealing with them.

The [Art of Aged Gold] was a sufficient method to deal with these pests. It would let the power of gold element permeate inside the ling plants and kill the pests inside the ling plant stalks. This was the spell that Zuo Mo needed the most presently. Other than the contracts he had signed with the other disciples, he himself had rented fifty mu of ling fields.

The harvest from these fifty mu of ling fields made up a significant amount of his income each year.

He read through [Art of Aged Gold] word by word, not daring to miss a word. The number of spells he had learned were pitifully few. Learning a completely new spell, he instantly felt it was a challenge.

After two hours, he made no progress. No matter how he tried, he could not form the aged gold energy that was mentioned in [Art of Aged Gold].

All the spells in [Art of Aged Gold] were made using the aged gold energy. Being unable to form the aged gold energy, he couldn’t learn any of the spells in [Art of Aged Gold].

The zombie face was wooden but that pair of spirited eyes showed a few hints of fierceness.

 

Chapter 4 – Absurdity

The light of the sunrise cut through the darkness, the red sun was slowly rising. As the light streamed into the seclusion room through the windows, his thin fingers suddenly emitted a gold colour!

Zuo Mo brought his index finger in front of his reddened eyes.

There seemed to be a golden layer around his index finger. The expressionless Zuo Mo’s eyes were filled with delight. As the beam of sunlight changed direction and left his finger, and revealed the original appearance. A layer of light gold energy was wrapped around Zuo Mo’s index finger.

It was the aged gold energy!

Just at this time, a melodious bell rang five times,  clang clang clang clang clang. The sound echoed through the mountains.

The gold light on the finger shook and the aged gold energy suddenly collapsed.

With a dishevelled appearance, Zuo Mo jumped up from the ground. Damn it! It was already morning. Disregarding his hunger, he ran outside like the wind.

At this time, if one was observing Wu Kong Mountain, then they would see hundreds of figures running out of their yards and heading to the same location.

Zuo Mo once again cursed the rule that outer sect members were not allowed to fly inside the mountain boundaries, his feet moved frantically as he sprinted.

 

———–

 

The Hall of Hearing Principles was located at the Cow Horn Peak of Wu Kong Mountain. This mountain peak was named due to its shape.

When Zuo Mo ran into the Hall of Hearing Principles, there were already many people sitting down. He randomly found a mat to sit and gasped for air.

At the front, a young man was sitting. He was about twenty years old, his face was like jade, and his eyes like stars. He was in a dark blue plain robe. Among the dozens of people in the room, he appeared as a crane among chickens.

It was Xu Yi, the third ranked disciple among the inner sect. Usually, he was responsible for teaching the outer sect disciple. He was the disciple of Xin YanShishu. He was the most talented at forging among the inner sect disciples. In addition, he had a vast knowledge regarding a variety of miscellaneous topics.

Ding!

On the table, a bell made from jade rang, the sound rose and spreading out. Zuo Mo felt his mind jump and become refreshed, the tiredness from staying up all night was disappearing.

Xu Yi Shixiong’s Green Water Jade Bell Set was one of the talismans that Zuo Mo coveted the most. The rack was made of red copper, and seven green bells were arranged in order of largest to smallest. Carved on each bell were countless miniscule seal characters. They glowed with a green light and it was lovely.

Each bell had a different effect. The effect of bell that had just been struck was [Great Clear Sound Incantation]

Zuo M could only just be envious. This set of green jade bells had taken Xu YiShixiong a tremendous amount of time and energy to forge. Even the other shixiongdidn’t have a set.

Xu Yue Shixiong was well loved by the outer sect disciples. Would any other shixionguse [Great Clear Sound Incantation] to help disciples clear their minds?

Xu Yi swept his sleeves out and the doors of the Hall of Hearing Principles were loudly closed.

Zuo Mo’s attention was on the desk in front of Shixiong. Other than that set of green jade bells, there were also a variety of knick-knacks.

Forging? Zuo Mo instantly rejoiced inside. He had entered Wu Kong Sword Sect for two years but never heard Third Shixiong talk about forging.

Every so often, Third Shixiong would teach some of the methods of cultivation. It was one of the benefits for outer sect disciples. Many people entered the sect just in order to learn these cultivation methods so when they left the Wu Kong Sword Sect, they could find a good job.

Others, unlike Zuo Mo, couldn’t find many jobs. Zuo Mo only had a cultivation of seventh level lianqi, but with his third level of [Little Art of Cloud and Rain], he could find a decent job in a farm or medicine garden. Sky Moon Jie didn’t have many exports but due to the good climate and abundant ling energy, there were many farms and medicine gardens.

Scriptures increase ling power and cultivation. What was needed was the resources and accumulation. Ling veins, ling medicine, jingshi, they could all increase cultivation. If they were not available, then you could only slowly cultivate over time.

Spells were the usage of ling power. What was needed to learn spells were lessons and personal comprehension. There were geniuses who could comprehend the spell arts on their own, but for normal people receiving lessons was more effective.

In some large sects, before disciples achieved zhuji, they were restricted from learning spell arts. That was because they believed  cultivation was fundamental.

For many xiuzhe, the great pat of enlightenment was just a dream. Ling veins, lingmedicine, and jingshi, none of these were things they could even wish for. So, in comparison, learning spells was more realistic. One could find a good job and receive a decent income with spells. Other than guaranteeing a livelihood, they could provide for their descendants so that they wouldn’t find it as difficult to cultivate.

“You have all spent a period of time at this sect. I know how much effort and hardship you have all endured, but you have to keep cultivating and not neglect it. It will help make it easier to find a living in the future. Your efforts will not be wasted. Cultivate through scriptures, so I won’t speak too much on this. There isn’t anything more to say about it. If your scores at the sect assessment are excellent this year, I naturally will pass on high-level scriptures to you.

Today, I am going to be speaking of is how to forge two talismans. The first is LingFragmenting Hoe, the second is Needle and Thread Sucking pouch.

The Ling Fragmenting Hoe is an essential talisman for you in the take care of theling fields. It can excite the ling energy inside the ling fields and help the ling plants absorb ling energy. The Needle and Thread Sucking pouch is used to take in the sap of the ling plants. Remember, you must quickly hand over the sap of the ling plants that are sucked out, otherwise when the ling energy in the sap will dissipate. This will not earn a single contribution point.

Pay close attention. I’ll only say these things once ……”

Xu Yi Shixiong spoke plainly, the vigor in his words that made people trust his lecture.

Zuo Mo listened extremely carefully. This was the first time he touched the topic of forging. He was afraid to miss a single word.

When Xu Yi Shixiong finished his lecture, six hours had passed. Zuo Mo hadn’t ate all night and concentrated for six hours. Zuo Mo’s front chest was touching his back. Quickly returning to his yard, he searched for something to fill his stomach.

Before he could wipe his mouth, a sword light suddenly came from the sky, landing in the yard. The jinzhi around the yard didn’t have any strength to resist before exploding.

A man with an icy expression appeared in front of Zuo Mo.

Zuo Mo swallowed the words that had reached his mouth back into his stomach. His heart beat wildly. Why had this death god come?

Before he could make a bow, he heard the other snort, “You are Zuo Mo?”

“Zuo Mo greets Luo Li Shixiong!” Zuo Mo’s voice was respectful as he made a deep bow. Luo Li Shixiong might be ranked fourth among the inner sect disciples but he had the deepest cultivation among this generation of disciples. His personality was cold and he was fanatical about cultivation. His innate talents were outstanding and among the second generation, he was the only disciple that managed to achieve [Empty Sword]. He was widely acknowledged as the person most likely, in the past two hundred years, to achieve the sect’s lost technique, [Void Sword]. [Void Sword] was the sect’s greatest sword art.

Luo Li was famous equally for his innate talents and his moody temper. He was responsible for supervising a mine for the sect. According to rumors, if the xiuslaves who mined there were even the least bit noncompliant, he would kill them with one stroke.

Luo Li was too lazy to talk to Zuo Mo and he appeared suddenly behind Zuo Mo, and flew off, holding Zuo Mo by his collar.

Zuo Mo might have called himself the first one among the outer sect disciples to have a mount, but it was the first time he experienced such flying speed. He only felt the sky and earth were rotating, the oncoming wind made his face hurt and he couldn’t even open his eyes.

When his feet touched the ground, Zuo Mo almost collapsed.

“So it really is a zombie face.”

Zuo Mo, who had just recovered from dizziness, heard this and instantly formed a negative opinion of the speaker.

A young female dressed in green, examined Zuo Mo with interest. Her chin was pointed and her cheekbones slightly high. There was a smile on her face but her eyes lacked warmth.

Her gaze made Zuo Mo very uncomfortable, but he didn’t dare to show any discontent. He respectfully gave a bow, “Greetings to Hao Shijie!”21

Hao Min Shijie and Luo Li Shixiong were the disciples of Yan Le Shishu.22Supposedly, Luo Li Shixiong was infatuated with her. That rumor seem to be true.

“I heard your [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] is at the third level?” Hao Min pierced Zuo Mo with a stare and asked.

“Yes!”

“Very good.” Hao Min said, satisfied, “I’m going out for a period of time. During this  time, the medicine fields will be in your care.”

Zuo Mo was given no time to speak as she threw a jade pendant at him and coldly stated, “This is the jade pendant and go to the medicine fields. Water the field once a day until I return. During this time, you must take care of the medicine fields.”

Her tone instantly became severe, “My temper isn’t very good. We’ll put the ugly words first. If something goes wrong with the medicine fields, then I won’t forgive you when I return!”

Finishing, she didn’t even look at Zuo Mo. Turning to look at Luo Li she wrapped her arm around his arm, her smile like a flower, and her voice gentle as water, “Shixiong, let’s go.”

A few hints of warmth floated on Luo Li’s face. He looked carelessly at Zuo Mo, snorted coldly and the two flew into the air.

Zuo Mo held the jade pendent, frozen to the spot as he watched the two disappear into the sky.

When a person meets misfortune, even drinking water would get stuck in the teeth. He had never thought he would be this unfortunate.

The outer sect disciples didn’t like Hao Min Shijie. She was ruthless and selfish. Being ordered about by her didn’t result in any benefits. Her temper was nasty and she was fickle as Luo Li Shixiong. If one wasn’t careful, it would result in beatings and a scolding.

From beginning to end, the two never even asked for his opinion.

Zuo Mo screamed inside.

From when he opened his eyes two years ago until now, he only interacted with theling grains. He had never taken care of medicine fields before. Even worse, with his cultivation, he could only do the third level of [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] once every day.

Thinking about the contracts he had signed with the other shixiong, his mouth was bitter.

There were three places in Wu Kong Sword Sect for medicine fields. The one that Hao Min shijie was responsible was in Cold Mist Valley. He held the jade pendant, his heart jumping as he walked in the direction of Cold Mist Valley.

Cold Mist Valley was between two mountain peaks and had mist swirling about all year around. The temperature was lower than anywhere else on Wu Kong Mountain and that was how it got its name. It was one of the important areas of the sect. Outer sect disciples had no permission to enter. If Zuo Mo’s [Little Art of Rain and Cloud] had reached the third level, Hao Min definitely wouldn’t have picked him.

On the road, there were old trees and grass everywhere. The smell of the forest emanated from all around him and he was surrounded by life. Sometimes small animals like rabbits and squirrels passed by joyfully jumping. Zuo Mo had no interest in admiring scenery. His heart beat frantically as he held the jade pendant and furtively made his way, while his two legs trembled.

Everywhere on this road were jinzhi. They were in the open or in the shadows. Some strong jinzhi occasionally would release a suffocating and terrifying aura. With his seventh level lianqi abilities, if he accidentally attracted the jinzhi, not a drop of him would remain.

If it wasn’t that he naturally had a zombie face, his face definitely would be pasty white and bloodless.

 

Chapter 5 – Cold Mist Valley

Using the jade pendant in his hands, Zuo Mo safely reached the entrance to Cold Mist Valley.

The entrance was shrouded in mist, a white curtain of nothing.

Zuo Mo hesitated for a while, and not finding any other roads, he could only stride towards the white mist.

As he approached, as if it recognized him, the white mist parted to reveal a small path. His mind relaxed and he let out a breath. He admired the techniques that the sect had. If one day he could do the same, it would be so refreshing.

His thoughts couldn’t help but wander away.

Following the path he walked half a mile, his field of view suddenly widened.

About five mu of the valley was filled with various kinds of ling medicine. Their colors varied and their shapes were strange. It was as though a colourful carpet had been laid out on the valley. Several dozen rainbow Sparrow-Tailed butterflies flew around. Black-banded Yellow honeybees formed troops and flew to and fro.

There was a silvery waterfall ran down from a cliff to the bottom of the valley, the flowing water roared like thunder. With great force water smashed into a deep pond creating a countless water drops, which formed a fine mist.

Taking a deep breath, Zuo Mo felt unspeakably comfortable. The moisture and the fragrance of all the kinds of ling herbs blended together. He suddenly felt that taking care of the ling fields wasn’t as bad as he had thought.

Remembering that Hao Min shijie warned that he had to water the ling medicine once every day, Zuo Mo hurried and activated [Little Art of Cloud and Rain].

Moisture began to condense from the surroundings, and was visible to the naked eye. It gradually formed a cloud which floated above the medicine fields. The spell on Zuo Mo’s hands rapidly changed and after a series of dazzling movements, the cloud released a fine drizzle into the medicine fields.

This little rain lasted for an hour before the cloud dissipated. Zuo Mo gave a breath of relief. It was very humid here and made it much easier to do [Little Art of Cloud and Rain]. He couldn’t help but start to calculate. The situation was better than he had hoped for. If he toiled hard enough, he could barely finish what had been set out in the contracts.

What he had to pray for was that nothing would happen to the medicine fields, and that they would remain safe and compete until Hao Min shijie came back.

Nothing could be solved by him.

If he had any fantasies before, he understood the cruel reality now. He was very sensitive to the density of ling energy. The ling energy of Cold Mist Valley was very plentiful. To have ploughed medicine fields in such a good location, the grade of theling herbs that were produced wouldn’t be low.

If something really happened on his watch, he would … …

He shuddered.

Even though the path in the mist was layered in jinzhi, there weren’t any in the valley. Zuo Mo went around the entire valley. The pond was so deep the bottom couldn’t be seen. The coldness of the water pierced straight into the bones. The roaring of the waterfall was  thunderous, and echoed throughout the valley.

He crouched in the ling fields, inspecting the ling herbs one by one. He needed to etch the characteristics of each ling herb into his memory. He had only grown linggrains before and had no knowledge of ling herbs, so he could only use this brute method. Right now, he didn’t hope for receiving any rewards, and only hoped that nothing would go wrong.

Any ling herb here, even by selling himself, it would be enough to repay its loss.

He could guarantee he had never focused so hard before.

It was only when the sky began turning dark did he drag his exhausted body back to his yard. When he saw the mess surrounding the yard, the jinzhi that had been ripped to shreds, he wanted to cry.

At this time, he didn’t have the energy to reconstruct the jinzhi. He was so tired that he wanted to die. He didn’t have the strength to even raise his eyelids.

Returning to the seclusion room, he only managed to channel a drop of ling power into the sound tablet before dropping down on the mat and falling asleep.

He woke up in the sound of the sound tablet’s broadcast.

“The twenty third [Sword Test Conference] has finished its qualification rounds. Up until now, four thousand two hundred and fifty three sword xiu have receive qualifications for the competition. This year’s [Sword Test Conference] has plenty of rewards. The top one hundred will receive a fourth-grade flying sword. The top ten will receive a fifth-grade flying sword. The prize for the winner has been confirmed as [Arrowpoint], a seventh-grade flying sword. According to those familiar with the competition, this is the highest grade prize in the history of the [Sword Test Conference]. This has caused the interest of many major sect disciples including those from Wu Shuang Sword Sect, Suo Luo Sword Sect… …”

“Good thing, good thing. I want, I want. No chance, no chance.”

Zuo Mo carelessly climbed up from the mat, and hummed a strange tune.

Walking out of the seclusion room, he started to reconstruct the jinzhi. As to the walls, he would have to  wait and  rebuild them at a later time.

He could see broken bricks everywhere and began to clean the surroundings. Otherwise, he didn’t even have space to set up the jinzhi. With his seventh levellianqi sill, there were many restrictions for him to set up a jinzhi.

Humming a small tune, he cleaned up the broken and ruined walls. This yard had been built long ago and the walls were already in a decrepit state. Now, it was completely destroyed by Luo Li shixiong. Recalling the strong and intimidating Luo Li shixiong as he landed from the sky, Zuo Mo felt his heart palpitate even now.

Ah, Zuo Mo suddenly stopped walking and bent down to pick up something.

It was a little pink paper crane, much smaller than Zuo Mo’s yellow paper crane, and very well made. This was Little Thousand crane, used for passing letters and speech. This was a plaything. It’s speed wasn’t as fast as sending letters with flying swords, especially over long distances. Using it wasn’t very convenient so most of the users were xiuzhe that were lower than jindan.

How did it arrive at his place?

Zuo Mo rudely unfolded the pink Little Thousand crane and suddenly understood. It was a Wishing Little Thousand crane.

Very long ago, when the xiuzhe started to break through the void and search for new jie, they frequently would encounter dangers and become trapped. These trapped xiuzhe found that they couldn’t break free, so they would write their wishes and pleas for help on the Little Thousand Crane and send it away. Since there weren’t any imprints, no one knew where the Little Thousand Cranes would end up, but the life of a xiuzhe was long. If they were lucky, they could survive for a long period of time.

After the first time a Wishing Little Thousand crane was successful in helping rescue a trapped xiuzhe, the Wishing Little Thousand crane became fashionable in thexiuzhe world. As time progressed, this became a game for female xiuzhe to expel their feelings. They would write their emotions on the wishing Little Paper Cranes and send them out. They would also imprint the crane so the one who picked it up could sent the Wishing Little Thousand crane back to owners hands.

What could make a young girl’s heart beat faster than a fate that couldn’t be calculated and was too wonderful for words?

Zuo Mo couldn’t understand it. In his heart, there were only jingshi, ling grains, and cultivation. Romance, this kind of luxury, he didn’t have any of it.

Unfolding the Little Thousand Crane revealed a few rows of beautiful writing.

 

“Hoping so much

To carry a bag

Go out alone to roam

At a place where there was no one else

Sing

Soak in the sun”

 

Sentimental nonsense. Zuo Mo snorted coldly inside and responded with the criticism he thought most accurate. It was such a pity to waste such good paper. He didn’t know what paper it was made out of, but it was at least third-grade quality.

To use third-grade paper to make a Little Thousand Crane was a waste that would raise people’s hairs.

Once the paper was used this way, it couldn’t be used again. Such a pity, Zuo Mo thought.

He was preparing to crumple the pink paper into a ball when he suddenly stopped. Expressionlessly, he tilted his head. Thinking, he started to run into his room.

Rushing into the room, he looked around and found what he wanted.

Fresh and thick cinnabar and a weasel bristle brush.

Taking up the brush, dipping deep into the cinnabar, his wrist flowing as he wrote out a word.

– “Dumbass.”

Smugly looking at the bright red colour that stretched across the pink paper, Zuo Mo roared with laughter.

His life was nerve-wracking and full. It was extremely hard and he didn’t have any time to be depressed. He knew very well the difficulty of life. Everyone was putting their lives on the line in order to survive, for their families, and for their descendants, Like Old Black, even if work was hard and exhausting  Zuo Mo didn’t dislike this kind of life. He felt the opposite. This was life.

Sentimental nonsense. Only people who had idle lives and no ambitions would have that. Zuo Mo looked down on those people.

In a cheerful mood, he hummed a tune as he folded the paper again into a Little Thousand Crane.

“Who’s a dumbass, who’s a dumbass. You’re a dumbass, you’re a dumbass……”

Using the imprint that was on the Wishing Little Thousand crane Zuo Mo channeledling power into the Wishing Little Thousand crane, and threw it up in the air.

The pink Little Thousand Crane flapped its tiny wings and disappeared into the sky.

Zuo Mo’s mood became exceptionally well. He exuberantly cleaned the yard, his steps lighter than usual.

——–

When the jinzhi were finished, it was past noon. He got something to eat before going back to the seclusion room to meditate.

Normal outer sect disciples rarely would spend such a long time on meditation. Compared to learning the spell arts, meditation and cultivation practice wasn’t profitable.

However, Zuo Mo persisted in spending four hours each day on meditation. After he found the ling vein in the seclusion room, he had spent even more time each day in mediation. The cultivation was the foundation; that was a rationale all xiuzheunderstood.. What he cultivated with was the most basic scripture but he had the benefit of the ling vein so the results were still outstanding.

Just how rigid the ranks were in the cultivation world, he had a very deep understanding. If he could achieve zhuji, even if he was an outer sect disciple, Hao Min and Luo Li wouldn’t dare to treat him so poorly. Zhuji was a division line. It would directly decide the quality of your life.

To receive a beautiful life. The only way was to continuously increase your own power.

Once he sat down, he began mediating.

———–

Six hours had passed before he opened his eyes again.

His eyes were filled with joy. Lianqi eight level!

Persisting in cultivating, the reward finally came. He made it to the eighth level!

The cultivation of eighth level liangqi, in all of the outer sect disciple of the entire Wu Kong Sword Sect, it definitely could enter the top three.

He spread out his fingers and started to activate a spell. A layer of aged gold energy appeared around his finger. Once his cultivation increased a level, it was much easier activate a spell. An excited Zuo Mo started to activate [Little Art of Cloud and Rain]

He instantly felt the difference. The speed at which the moisture condensed was much faster, and  raindrops fell like they wouldn’t stop. He took the time to savor the new experiences.

Remembering the medicine fields, he stood up and rushed out of his yard.

Running to Cold Mist Valley in one go, not taking the time to recover, he started to activate [Little Art of Cloud and Rain]. Only when everything had been watered did the stone in his heart land on the ground.

    [1]哥 (ge): brother, could be used as a suffix onto a person’s name. Or as “Hey, bro!”

    [2]无空剑门: Wu 无 is none空 is empty/air/sky.

    [3]灵: meaning spirit.

    [4]法诀 (fa jue): spells are a general term.

    [5]小黄 (Xiao Huang): literally little yellow. Little is a common prefix used in Chinese for nicknames

    [6]真人 (zhen ren): spiritual master in Daoist usage.

    [7]天月界: 天月 (tian yue) is sky moon界(jie) is scope, boundary and in taxonomic terms, kingdom. In many xuan huan novels, jie is another word for planet or world as in 世界 (shijie)

    [8]修者: those who cultivate

    [9]仙人: it usually means Daoist immortal in common usage. Used here as title of respect and power similar to “General” or “Governor.”

    [10]境(jing): means border, place, boundary, territory. In this novel, jing is a collection of jie which are under the jurisdiction of one power, a realm.

    [11]禁制 (jinzhi): restriction. An energy construct in this world.

    [12]晶石(jingshi): crystal rock. A kind of currency.

    [13]炼气 (lianqi): literally refine energy. The first major stage for a xiuzhe.

    [14]基期 (zhuji): literally build foundation. The second major stage for a xiuzhe.

    [15]金丹(jindan): the fourth major stage of cultivation.

    [16]坪: one ping is 3.3 square meters.

    [17]修: shortened form for xiuzhe

    [18]妖魔: yao and mo are two different things. Yao could be considered equivalent to spirits, and mo to demons. They are put together as yaomo because they are both enemies of xiuzhe but they are not one entity.

    [19]亩: measurement of area. Approximately one fifteenth of a hectare.

    [20]师兄(shixiong): senior male fellow student or apprentice

    [21]师姐(shijie): senior female student

    [22]师叔 (shishu): senior uncle. Male of a sect’s older generation.

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