Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 72
The white-haired youth waited outside the Grand Hall of Promotions until Fang Xing had come out as well. He took hold of Fang Xing's hand before a cloud suddenly formed from out of nowhere just beneath their feet, bringing them up into the air and towards the Peak of divine Epoch before landing them at its foot. The doppelganger pointed towards a small path leading towards the peak right before he turned back into a pine leaf and fell to the ground, leaving Fang Xing astounded and scratching his head before starting along the path he had been directed to.
After following the path for a quarter hour, Fang Xing at last arrived beneath the ancient pine. A black-haired elder sat across from a white-haired youth that looked exactly like the Spirit Body that had guided him here, and the only difference between the Spirit Body and the original was that Fang Xing was now unable to detect the youth's cultivation level. Fang Xing's presence was completely ignored by these two, as they were pouring their concentration on the table between them.
It was a black Weiqi board. Looking on with the [Book of Revelation], the board itself had been made with ancient ice from the Dark Mohai Ocean, a rare material used to craft spirit weapons. The white Weiqi stones were made from crystals of white jade from the Icy Binyou Land, while the black stones were made from the bones of the Black-Horned Rhino Beast, both of which were also extremely rare raw materials that could be used for alchemy.
Seeing that both men were engrossed in their game, Fang Xing decided to take a seat nearby. He knew that all cultivators had some strange sort of temperament, and this could have simply been a test for him of some sort;it was for the best that he stayed well-behaved for the time being.
It was beyond expectation that even six hours later—from noon to dusk—the concentration from both men was still focused so intently upon that Weiqi board. Not once did either of them even notice Fang Xing.
After the first two hours, Fang Xing had already grown slightly agitated. By the fourth, he stood up and took a stroll around the area. Once the sixth had passed, he fixed his gaze towards their Weiqi board and tried to see exactly what was so interesting about the game. On the board, black and white stones crisscrossed in a complex order that formed patterns incomprehensible to Fang Xing. Although he did not know the rules of the game and could not determine who was holding the upper hand, it did seem that both players were going through a bitter stalemate.
Another hour passed before the black-haired elder suddenly widened his eyes and placed a white stone on the board.
The white-haired youth faintly smiled and proceeded to place a black stone on the board soon after. The excited expression of the black-haired elder suddenly faded and he could now only smile bitterly to himself. The elder voluntarily picked up all of the white stones within the circle of black stones on the youth's behalf.
"How do you play this thing?" Fang Xing couldn't hold himself back any longer and had finally let loose his curiosity.
"Why do you ask? You don't even know what this it." The black-haired elder looked to Fang Xing with clear annoyance at the interruption before turning his focus back to the game board.
Fang Xing rolled his eyes and pretended he actually understood. "Who said I didn't know? Isn't it just a matter of the black stones eating the white stones?"
"You're making it sound so easy, so why don't you try to see if you can devour those black stones, then?" the black-haired elder replied.
"How is that difficult?"
At such a response, the black-haired elder looked at the boy with great interest. He was still rather doubtful, but since the boy had answered with such confidence and had caught the interest of his dear shishu, he believed that perhaps the boy was someone with a unique talent and gift. If the boy was able to save him from the current board state where he had been losing for the past year, it would be quite the pleasant thing indeed.
Even the white-haired youth's attention was shifted slightly, as he looked towards Fang Xing with interest. The white-haired youth had summoned Fang Xing intentionally as a means to test his suitability and see if the boy had the wits strong enough to study all he knew. If Fang Xing did have extremely well-established skills in Weiqi, then it would only mean that his wits and power of comprehension would also be quite extraordinary. Thus, the white-haired youth smiled at the thought. "The game is already set and I'm certain I have captured Lishi's dragon head already. However, if you are able to change this situation around, I will teach you a skill!"
"What dragon head?" Fang Xing asked blankly, confused.
The black-haired elder was left speechless by Fang Xing's question. He pointed to the game board and explained, "Our stones are fighting to eat each other. Now that I am in a position destined to lose, we will count that you win if you can help me deal with this situation."
Fang Xing's eyes brightened before he questioned the white-haired youth for confirmation, "Is this true?"
The white-haired youth gently smiled without saying a single word. However, this caused the black-haired elder to scold Fang Xing instead, "With Shishu Bai's status, why would he lie to you?"
Fang Xing smiled before stretching his hand over the board. He grabbed a black stone and threw it into his mouth as though it were mere candy before forcibly swallowing it into his stomach while rolling his eyes in pain. "Is this one enough? Should I eat a second one for you?" he asked after looking back at the pair.
"Ehh…." Both the elder and youth were dumbstruck.
However, Fang Xing licked his lips after swallowing the stone whole. It actually wasn't as bad as he had imagined it would be, and the amount of Qi in the stone was quite abundant since it was made from the bones of a Black-Horned Rhino Beast.
The black-haired elder gave a bitter smile. "So this is how you devour a stone?"
"Eating is eating. What's the difference?" Fang Xing replied.
This left the black-haired elder once again unable to form a response. The white-haired youth, on the other hand, suddenly smiled and placed the stone in his hand back down. "Lishi, the boy has indeed helped you out of your destined loss by eating one of my black stones. If we were to continue from this point, it would perhaps take another year or two to resolve. Let us temporarily put the game aside and finish it off when we both have the time again."
The black-haired elder was overjoyed at the unexpectedly good news and smiled. "Thank you, Shishu!"
The white-haired youth then quickly looked to Fang Xing. "If you want to thank anyone, thank this person who helped you devour my stone!"
The black-haired elder laughed while tapping on Fang Xing's shoulder. "Haha, what a good boy you are! When you come by Duanzhen Valley in the future, I will make sure to thank you properly!" The elder then gave a deep bow towards the white-haired youth and waved his sleeve before a cloud came to take him flying away into the distance. The white-haired youth himself was still smiling while taking a good look at Fang Xing from head to toe.
Fang Xing sat extremely well-behaved before he finally burst out, "You're going to teach me some skills?"
The white-haired youth suddenly opened his mouth with a smile. "Robbed everyone's Spirit Stones at the Black Market as soon as entering the sect doors;wounded a tier two disciple and robbed three C-Ranked disciples after the Spirit Stone distribution;scammed outer court disciple Hou Qing of his Demon Pellet during the next Black Market;murdered four outer-court disciples during the mission at Mount Miasma…."
Such words left Fang Xing nearly terrified, and he jumped up with an irregular yell. "How… how did you know?" Fang Xing was already bathed in a cold sweat;all of these secrets had been hidden so well, so how did this white-haired freak know?
Instead of answering Fang Xing, the white-haired youth simply questioned some more, "When you were doing all of this, were you not scared?"
For Fang Xing, the fact that a Spirit Body formed from a single pine leaf—to say nothing of the actual person in front of him now—was so much stronger than him kept him from rebelling despite the fear within. After a short moment of panic, Fang Xing sat down again with a sigh. "What's the use of being scared? I'm just too poor. How are you going to punish me?"
In the end, Fang Xing decided to directly ask how the youth would "punish" him. By using such a word, Fang Xing hoped that the man would not take his life;no matter how harsh a punishment was, it was still much better than losing one's life altogether.
"Since joining the outer sect, you've broken the rules seven times, deserving of seven individual punishments!" the white-haired youth replied.
Fang Xing was at first startled, but he soon began to count in his head before crying out indignantly as though wronged, "No, that's not the right amount!"
The white-haired youth was slightly surprised. "How so?"
Fang Xing continued bitterly, "I've only robbed the Black Market twice, so that's two. Liu Feng tried to rob me, so I robbed him instead and that's not even my fault. But I did rob that sissy, so that's three. Hou Qing forced me to go to Mount Miasma… that should only be counted as one…."
As Fang Xing paused, he looked up to the white-haired youth who simply held his smile and bid him to continue, "Yes, and?"
By the looks of it, Fang Xing was certain that the white-haired youth knew everything he had done within the sect;there was no point in hiding anything from him anymore. To avoid the wrongful accusation, he steeled himself, "When I robbed Meng Xuanzhao, that's five. If you count me forcing him to return the Spirit Stones just then, all of it together has only been six times!"
"But now I have been robbed of my sure win in that game of Weiqi since you ate that stone of mine. This is also counted as a crime!" the white-haired youth replied.
"Nnngh... fine!" Fang Xing gave up before responding with a more miserable voice, "Dear sir, seeing as I've grown up impoverished and have not a single soul to rely on…." The more Fang Xing spoke, the more pitiful he made his life seem, and there were even signs of teardrops beginning to form within his eyes.
"Don't play pitiful with me, or I'll double your offenses!"
Immediately, all of the misery was wiped clean from Fang Xing's eyes, replaced instead with the expression of a troublemaker. "Then you tell me what you want!"
For those unfamiliar with the rules of Weiqi (Go), whenever a collection of pieces has been completely surrounded with no empty space touching any of the pieces in the formation, the entire formation is removed from the board and given to the capturer as points.