Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 10
Chapter 10: Penniless
Translator: Actias-Myriea Editor: Nou
The name of the mask wasn't actually recorded since none of the three men knew its correct name. In this case, all items of this nature were usually recorded just as 'low-grade Spirit Tool'. Once the record was made, the event had been set in stone and the mustached man regarded Fang Xing emotionlessly. ’’Good. All done now. Congratulations on your new Spirit Tool;off you go.’’
Still pretending to be uncertain, Fang Xing asked again, ’’You're definitely sure this is good? What if...’’
’’Nonsense! You've already chosen this item and it's already been recorded down. You cannot give it back for exchange any longer.’’
’’But... you just said that I could come back and swap it for something else if it's no good...’’ Fang Xing pretended to be in shock as he continuously mocked the three men.
’’Swap?’’ laughed the mustached man, ’’It's not impossible, it just depends on your actions when you come back.’’
It wasn't as though things like this hadn't happened before. Most of the disciples that didn't pay the Spirit Stone in the beginning would come back later and be forced to pay an even higher price in order to exchange their Spirit Tool for another.
Through this, the three men had gained quite a generous savings of precious gems and rare items. Besides, the sect would never be able to find out exactly which item Fang Xing had chosen;the jaded plate had only 'low-grade Spirit Tool' engraved on it. It would be a lot more difficult if the name of the mask or another item Fang Xing chose was known since it would be recorded, making it impossible to secretly swap or exchange at a later date.
’’Okay, I guess that's how it is!’’ As if finally convinced, Fang Xing took the mask into his arms and walked off.
As soon as Fang Xing had left the Pavilion, all three of the men burst out into laughter. ’’He really chose that mask-thing! Hahaha, and look how he's treasuring it as though it was worth something!’’
’’It was his own fault for offending us, yet he actually wanted something good? In his dreams!’’
’’Hah, when he comes back for an exchange, watch me burn a hole in his pocket!’’
As soon as Yu saw Fang Xing walking out of the pavilion, he hurried closer with a worried expression, quickly asking what had been chosen. Once Fang Xing passed the mask to Yu, the man carefully examined the old, tattered mask, finally asking in a confused manner, ’’What is this?’’
’’What do you know? This thing is A-MA-ZING!’’ Fang Xing replied as he snatched it out of Yu's hands. ’’Take me where I'll sleep tonight!’’
Seeing that Fang Xing was confident in his chosen item, Yu stopped his questioning and asked Fang Xing to follow him closely as they walked towards their next destination. Having worked at the Miscellaneous Department for several years, Yu was quite up-to-date on gossip. Though he wasn't very popular, he usually ran the less pleasant errands for every other department.
’’Take a look at this side, this place is known as Qingyin Range, where all of the female disciples live. There's a large pool of crystal-clear spring water running outside of the valley and the female disciples usually take their baths there. Apparently, to prevent any male disciples from peeping into the pool, the elders placed a smog spell around it that they claim to be impenetrable all year 'round. But, there was a Shixiong who claimed that he managed to see them bathing once;he even bragged about it for months after!’’
’’Now if you look towards this cliff, this is where Elder Gu Song holds his classes. He is extremely powerful and knowledgeable, and he's even a bit of a legend here in the sect. He's also one of the few elders that are friendly and easygoing;even for people born with bad zi'zhi like us, if you ask him a question any question he will greet you with a smile and answer you with patience. There's also Elder Song Yan who visits here every ninth day of the ninth month to speak about the ways to cultivate or to give hints and tips for using spells. It's always packed when he comes, and even those core disciples try to get in there early.’’
’’That place over there is known as Danxia Valley, one of the four inner courts of our sect, and all the disciples there are dedicated to studying the path of alchemy. Not one not a single one of its disciples has a good temper and they're all arrogant *ssholes, but everyone needs their help with medicinal pills and elixirs so it's best to avoid their bad side. They do, however, house the highest number of female disciples within the sect, and they're all quite pleasing to the eyes. Maybe when you're a bit older, we'll try to find you a wife there;it should be really beneficial for your cultivation.’’
Yunyin Summit was where some of the outer court disciples lived. It took a total of over four hours before they'd finally reached the summit by foot, and during this time Yu hadn't stopped talking once. To others, Yu could come across as a nuisance, but for Fang Xing this was an opportunity to learn and find out as much gossip and information about the sect as possible.
For Yu, it was finally his chance to show off everything he knew about the sect and he had turned into an unceasing torrent for the entire journey.
’’The inner court disciples live over in that mountain peak. Don't go near it without a good reason...’’
’’Those that have broken the sect rules are sent here...’’
’’That's the Culinary Department;all outer court disciples who want to dine there will have to pay a hundred silver taels per month...’’
’’This is the Pavilion of Appreciation. It has collections with all of our sect's important spells and books, but only inner court disciples can go in there...’’
’’This is where you will stay. Mine is close by, so if you need anything, just let me know!’’
The summit was covered by a white fog that alternated between hiding and revealing the few hundred little cottages that were scattered within it. It didn't seem crowded thanks to its vast size, and the surroundings were also quite pleasant;a small waterfall flowed through the valley and a light breeze of wind would send the bamboo forest nearby rustling with soft sounds.
During this time of year in the Kingdom of Chufung, it was already late autumn, but due to the abundance of its spiritual veins, the courts of the Qing-Yun Sect were still flush with spring blossoms.
According to Yu, the Yunyin Summit was merely one of the ten districts allocated for the outer court disciples, and he himself lived in a neighboring valley a few miles away.
In fact, all of the outer court disciples lived in cottages like this. Only when they had managed to become an inner court disciple and reached tier four would they be able to move to one of the better locations closer to a spirit vein. If they managed to achieve tier seven, they would even be awarded an entire summit for their cultivation use, receiving the same resources and treatment as the sect elders.
Once the pair arrived, a man politely came to the two of them and, though he was in tier two, he was in charge of room assignment and orientation. Once he had checked Fang Xing's token with his name and rank on it, he assigned Fang Xing a cottage next to the spring well and asked whether he would be dining at the Culinary Department or not.
’’If you wish to dine there, you will have to pay a hundred silver taels per month.’’ Yu reminded.
Stumped, Fang Xing gave a bitter smile;he didn't have any money at all. He gave Yu a tap on the shoulder, ’’In that case, lend me a hundred silver taels and I'll give it back to you another day!’’
This only left Yu stumped as well. ’’You don't even have that much?’’
Unwilling to admit his penniless state, Fang Xing responded with a lie: ’’No, I just don't have it on me right now!’’
Unfortunately, Yu did not bring enough with him so he had to ask the man if they could pay tomorrow. It was fortunate that the man agreed without much of a fuss, but it was obvious the man gave a fleeting look of disdain towards Fang Xing.
In the world of cultivation, if one didn't have any extraordinary zi'zhi then the only other way to thrive was if one had money... and even then it was an unlikely bet.
Then there were people like the looks of this boy, unable to afford even a hundred silver.
'It's almost guaranteed that nothing will come of him,' the man thought to himself.
As Fang Xing headed back to his cottage, he took notice of how simple it was, plain yet decorated with a pinewood known to repel mosquitoes. Inside the room was a bed, a table, and a set of chairs, yet upon further questioning all of these too came at a cost.
This would also be coming out of Yu's own pocket, of course.
Since Yu had already decided to pay for Fang Xing's meal plan, there was no point in being stingy and holding back from paying a little bit more. It was, after all, his own choice in friendship that had resulted in this situation.