Gu Zuo also walked out, just in time to hear these words. He was astonished: “Isn’t this supposed to be the introductory period?”
That obese manager saw Gu Zuo butt in while Gongyi Tianheng didn’t stop him. His smile was, nevertheless, unchanged. He patiently explained: “It’s like this. Following the Hundred Countries Tournament, junior sect brother Gongyi’s name was already sent back to be registered as an outer sect disciple. It’s already been a month now, so this humble senior sect brother naturally needs to come by to collect this month’s harvest. I’m just following the rules, so I hope junior sect brother Gongyi doesn’t take offense.”
Gu Zuo listened to this and furrowed his brows.
It seemed to appear reasonable, but it still felt wrong somewhere.
Meanwhile, Tianheng smiled faintly: “So it’s like this.” His tone was very tranquil, “To tell the truth, senior sect brother…”
The obese manager slapped his forehead: “This humble senior sect brother totally forgot to introduce myself. My surname is Yang.”
Tianheng gently continued where he left off: “Honestly, senior sect brother Yang, because this lowly sect brother’s nation is far away, we only just scattered the seeds. If you want to harvest, I’m afraid there’s not enough time. I’m not aware if senior sect brother Yang knows where we can buy Scarlet Blood Rice? This humble sect brother will send someone to purchase ten kilograms, and deliver it to senior sect brother.”
That Manager Yang was smiling from ear to ear: “So it’s like this. Junior sect brother Gongyi doesn’t need to worry. The location for making purchases is rather distant. If junior sect brother has faith in me, I’ll buy them in your stead and even deliver them.”
Tianheng’s expression revealed nothing: “You wouldn’t know how much one kilogram of Scarlet Blood Rice costs?”
Manager Yang laughed: “Not much, not much. One kilogram of Scarlet Blood Rice is only one hundred gold. A total of one thousand gold would suffice.”
Tianheng heard this and gestured towards Gu Zuo: “Fetch me a golden banknote.”
Gu Zuo took one from his sleeve and obediently handed it over.
Tianheng took it and passed it to Manager Yang: “Then, I’ll have to thank senior sect brother Yang for the trouble.”
Manager Yang’s eyes brightened as he received that golden banknote. When he looked at Tianheng, his eyes were even more cordial: “Junior sect brother Gongyi is decisive. You’ll certainly have boundless prospects in the coming days!”
After he finished talking, he cupped his hand and politely departed.
Once Manager Yang’s footsteps faded away, Dragon One went to guard the entrance.
Tianheng turned his head and saw Gu Zuo’s confused expression.
Gu Zuo: “Big brother. Just now, that was…”
What strange things did that previous conversation between the two contain?
Tianheng shook his head: “It isn’t anything major. It’s just a vile person being difficult.”
Gu Zuo stared blankly.
Tianheng said: “Just now, that Manager Yang’s words were half true and half false. The distance between the Qingyun Boundary and Qingyun Sect is immense. How could those Immortal realm envoys pass on information so early on? Even if they did have the means, they’d certainly have to pay a price. For us people from the outskirts, it’s probably not worth it.
“To say nothing of that female martial artist getting tokens for us from that hall; if the information was passed on earlier, those things would’ve been prepared long ago. She would’ve gone in and come out immediately. However, she lingered in there for some time. It may be assumed that preparing and registering would be time-consuming.”
Gu Zuo heard this and understood a little bit: “So…”
Tianheng said: “So, our harvest, which should’ve been collected at the end of the month, was one that shouldn’t have been needed for today. That Manager Yang came early, but it was only to rip me off.”
Gu Zuo didn’t fully understand: “Then, why did big brother give it to him?”
This was extortion. They could totally expose this.
Tianheng’s gaze relaxed: “The reason why I said his words were half true and half false was because these so-called rules are fake and registering our names is fake. However, his identity might be real.”
Seeing Gu Zuo’s eyes suddenly widen, he continued to explain, “With his identity, this is about using diplomacy before violence, and bearing my “emergency relief” afterwards. If I didn’t give it to him, he would’ve still been courteous. Later on, however, he might just cause a setback for me, adding a lot more trouble.
“I gave him face just now, using one thousand gold to shut him up. He could also see that I have some financial capability, so he’d naturally want to make friends with me. If he wants to get more valuables from me, he can’t make things difficult for me.”
At last, Gu Zuo understood: “Big brother, this is bribing him.”
Tianheng smiled and nodded: “His temperament is slippery. He’s not the ignorant sort who’d strong-arm others. He wants money, but doesn’t want to break the sect rules and be punished. Thus, when he wants money, he’ll just concoct a scheme. This time, he used the harvesting period to dig through a loophole. The same scheme can’t be used a second time. So in the future, he’ll need to establish a “friendship” with me if he wants a way to get money. And if we can use those golden banknotes to make our passage through the outer sect easier and smoother, then that’d naturally be ideal.”
Gu Zuo nodded his head as he followed along.
He realized that since his big brother was wealthy, he could act willfully. A vile person could be a well-used chess piece. A problem that could be solved with money couldn’t be called a problem…was the idea.
Tianheng smiled: “We can’t avoid coming into contact with him in the future. Ah Zuo, you just regard him as an ordinary senior sect brother. Since I have money and you are someone I care about, so long as he loves money, he won’t treat you too poorly. Merely, Ah Zuo needs to keep his guard up. You absolutely can’t trust him. If we can use money to bribe him, others will certainly be able to do this, too.”
Gu Zuo’s expression became serious: “Yes, big brother. I understand.”
In the Qingyun Sect, he’d certainly redouble his cautions, and he absolutely wouldn’t be separated from his big brother.
As if to prove Tianheng’s words, it wasn’t long after the conclusion of the two’s response that a clamor could be heard from outside. It seemed like a conflict was occurring.
Compared to when Manager Yang got here, the situation appeared much fiercer.
Gu Zuo was a bit curious, but still looked towards Tianheng.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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At the same time, not only did Tianheng’s group of four come to observe, several other bystanders gathered around that courtyard’s entrance, too.
Gu Zuo hid behind Tianheng’s back and watched as the figure of a man was launched from the courtyard. He crashed into a nearby tree and slid down.
That twenty-something year old martial artist had blood trickling from his mouth. He clearly received an internal injury. His strength should’ve been at perfect Houtian stage nine.
But why did it seem like he was beaten up by someone?
Following this, Gu Zuo saw two people walk out of the courtyard. Among them, the short and chubby one had smile and was very polite. The other’s facial expression was a little malicious, and his face carried a fierce look — With one glance, their appearances gave the impression that they weren’t good people.
Reality was indeed just so. The malicious faced individual who just retracted his fist, carried a disdaining smile.
Gu Zuo’s eyes widened.
He recognized him. Wasn’t the fat and short one that Manager Yang who they just saw?!
How long was it since they walked out… Just to stir things up in someone else’s courtyard?
Sure enough, it was as his brother said: That kind of vile person couldn’t be offended.
On the other side of things.
The face of that youth who was knocked into the tree was unreconciled: “Obviously it ain’t time to harvest yet. You guys collecting it by force is just for the sake of extorting us! Bullying your fellow sect disciples is violating the sect rules. You should be punished!”
The malicious youth sneered: “Violating the sect rules? The sect rules don’t mention that fellow students can’t compare notes. Collecting by force? Who saw me do that?”
Manager Yang was still carrying a smile when he sighed: “Why bother getting angry over an injury between fellow students? Junior sect brother Li, your family’s financial situation is rather poor. To make a breakthrough several days ago, you looked for this honorable Manager He for him to lend you a bottle of Meridian Infusion Pills. Now that you’ve failed to break through, you’re actually going back on your word. Saying your money bag is shy… This, this isn’t too good.”
That youth surnamed Li was furious: “When did I find this guy to borrow medicinal pills? I haven’t even made a breakthrough yet! You guys need to stop these malicious attacks and stop slandering me!”
Manager Yang’s tone was vague: “There’s no need, hmm?… Borrowing and returning. This is the right path. You can’t blame us acting the part as senior sect brothers when you borrow without paying back. Keep this in mind, junior sect disciple Li, you…”
Everyone understood what was happening before their eyes. It wasn’t until Manager He and Manager Yang nonchalantly threatened that youth surnamed Li did they leave. Numerous martial artists, all with various moods, also scattered and went their separate ways.
Of course, there wasn’t a lack of people who exchanged information.
Tianheng considered things, but didn’t make any moves.
That youth surnamed Li stood up with difficulty. He didn’t meet the eyes of any of those around him. He just walked, step by step, back to his own courtyard.
Gu Zuo stared, his brows furrowing.
Tianheng transmitted to him: Ah Zuo, for the time being, just listen.
Gu Zuo winked, and settled down.
From the mutterings of those beside them, the two got a general understanding of what happened.
That youthful martial artist who was beaten up just now was called Li Cheng. He definitely wasn’t a disciple who was recruited from another continent. Rather, on the Qingyun Continent itself, he was a disciple from a poor and humble family. He came from a small town and had a long and difficult journey before practicing martial arts.
Because this poor disciple’s family background was lacking, he often had to endure many hardships outside before he found a chance through the sect’s annual disciple recruitment. He came to receive the test, and entered the sect.
Li Cheng was one of this year’s newly arriving outer sect disciples. While being able to cultivate to the peak of Meridian Condensing stage three wasn’t easy, he was rather tight on funds. To be honest, those like him made up the vast majority of outer sect disciples.
The same went for collecting ten kilograms of Scarlet Blood Rice. By comparison, some poor disciples knew the ropes; although they didn’t have enough gold on hand, they could feign civility with those managers, sucking up to them and saying they were temporarily lacking in resources. Then, as long as they handed some amount over, the matter could be considered closed. After all, they were disciples who acted as outer sect managers. No matter how much they thought about extorting others, wasn’t it bad to drain the pond in order to fish? They also couldn’t afford to offend everyone.
However, Li Cheng could be classified as the sort of extremely tenacious, hot-blooded youth. His behavior was pretty good since he didn’t go take advantage of others, but he was unwilling to let others take advantage of him. As a result, when that Manager He found him to demand payment, he just stared blankly at the other guy and got into a huge argument. This caused Manager He to feel like he lost a lot of face.
What soon followed was that, in spite of Manager He being a Xiantian realm expert himself, he gave Li Cheng a little lesson. At the same time, Manager Yang and Manager He, these vermin in cahoots, blacklisted him — It was obvious that he’d encounter trouble and obstructions in very many things from this day forth.
Gu Zuo finished eavesdropping and actually felt a little sympathetic towards Li Cheng.
People’s dispositions were different, so it wasn’t strange for their way of doing things to also be different. Moreover, this matter was originally those two manager’s wrongdoing. Outer sect disciples were too pitiful… Wait a minute. He himself was a nominal disciple, which wasn’t even as good as an outer sect disciple! If it weren’t for Tianheng, he’d probably end up even more wretched.
Gu Zuo considered things, but nevertheless transmitted a sentence in his mind: Li Cheng’s quite out of luck, but Manager Yang and them are too ruthless.
Tianheng’s gaze slightly moved: Ah Zuo, don’t be mad. At least we won’t suffer much.
Gu Zuo nodded. After that, he wondered: Then, this Li Cheng will be suppressed from here on out…
Tianheng smiled: Being suppressed is a tribulation, but it’s not necessarily without opportunities. Li Cheng’s determination of right and wrong is clear-cut, and won’t change how he handles things. Offending vile characters is to be expected. But no matter how boldly such vile people act, they can’t directly kill him. And if he’s able to sharpen himself through this tribulation, his strength will ultimately increase level by level. The vile characters of today will become crickets and ants in his palm in the future. A flip of his hand would be able to exterminate them.
Gu Zuo let out a sigh: Then, big brother, you say that Manager Yang is a crafty one…
Tianheng said: If Li Cheng’s displayed potential is very strong, then Manager Yang might crack down on him even harder. In order to make countless tribulations, he’ll need to put a stranglehold on the initial situation. Now, it’s just a matter of seeing whether Li Cheng is a dragon or a worm, and how capable that Manager Yang is.
Afterwards, while Gu Zuo still worried over Li Cheng, Tianheng transmitted again: Ah Zuo, rest assured. Li Cheng’s potential can’t be determined for the time being; and while that Manager Yang looks smooth and evasive, he’s only clever in trivial matters. If he really had great wisdom and ability, he would’ve succeeded in entering the inner sect long ago. There’d be no need to be an outer sect manager collecting grain. Why waste time on worthless activities?
Gu Zuo felt comforted.
To be honest, Li Cheng was none of his concern. However, it was because Manager Yang extorted them earlier that it sparked a feeling of anger against a common enemy.
As he listened to his dear big brother’s analysis, his impressions were… As expected, the sect was deep.
Wasn’t it just planting a field? Even that contained so much complexity.
He just didn’t understand — Rather than all these shifty methods, why not meditate and practice martial arts?
Tianheng pat Gu Zuo’s head: “Let’s go back.”
Gu Zuo threw away all those thoughts from before, and showed a great, big smile: “Let’s go!”
Let’s go back to refine medicine!
In the following couple of days, Gongyi Tianheng drew support through all kinds of methods as he felt around the basic situation of the outer sect.
In the first place was his courtyard.
This place was where he and his team lived. They spent a lot of time practicing martial arts here. If they were unexpectedly spied upon by someone else, they would deploy something called a “prohibition talisman”.
Simply said, they’d use a talisman that would set up a type of formation that would create a restriction. People who didn’t meet its requirements would be unable to spy inside — Of course, this was merely the theory. If their strength reached a certain level, this kind of prohibition talisman basically wouldn’t be able to guard against it.
However, prohibition talismans were divided into different grades. The higher the grade of a talisman, the higher the strength needed to break through the concealment. So long as one was willing to spend money, there was no need to worry.
Tianheng boldly spent no less than three million gold, purchasing a set of prohibition talismans that were capable of preventing Immortal realm martial artists from snooping around. Even if that snoop’s rank was even higher — Yes, Tianheng already knew that above the Immortal realm was the Atomic realm. They were powerhouses among martial powerhouses. If one tried to spy on them, the set of prohibition talismans would promptly react. Although the talismans wouldn’t be able to ward them off, it could issue an early warning.
To this, Gu Zuo could only gasp in admiration.
Because he knew this was all to protect his secret…
After that, there was some general knowledge that could raise a martial artist’s motivation.
The first thing was the outer sect’s main configuration.
There were nominal disciples who followed their outer sect disciples, the outer sect disciples themselves, as well as those who were doomed to never enter the inner sect and became outer sect managers. Finally, there were the outer sect elders who were eliminated from the inner sect disciple population.
Being able to enter the inner sect was based on a martial artist’s potential.
For example, someone who couldn’t advance to Xiantian before thirty years old didn’t have the qualifications to enter the inner sect. The best outcome for these kinds of outer sect disciples was outer sect manager. If an outer sect disciple advanced to Xiantian before twenty, they could directly enter the inner sect. Those who advanced to Xiantian between twenty and thirty could vie for the qualifications of entering the inner sect through the outer sect examination.
If a nominal disciple advanced to Xiantian before twenty, they could also directly enter the inner sect. If they were between twenty and thirty, by completing many missions and reaching certain standards, they could become outer sect disciples.
Martial artists in the inner sect who broke through to the Immortal realm only after two hundred years would be relegated to outer sect elders. They would be unable to obtain the chances to participate in the inner sect’s countless opportunities as well as the inner sect’s vigorous nurturing.
In general, if one wanted to eke out an accomplishment in the Qingyun Sect, they needed to be a genius among geniuses. The higher one’s aptitude and the stronger one’s might, the better one’s treatment would be.
This ultimately resulted in the strong becoming stronger and the weak becoming weaker.
The second thing was that the outer sect had many unspoken rules.
The type like Manager Yang was merely a only splash on the surface. When outer sect disciples had to draw compulsory missions every month, there were many fishy circumstances where one could set up a scam. At this time, one needed to look at the outer sect disciple’s luck, or their wisdom and strength.
The third thing was the outer sect disciple’s examination.
This examination didn’t assess if one would enter the inner sect. Rather, it was an examination for whether they were qualified to be an outer sect disciple. It was roughly once every month. If one failed the examination, then that month’s monthly allowance was deducted. If they failed three times in a row, they’d be demoted to a nominal disciple. One could only regain their position through great effort.
This move was to discourage outer sect disciples from lacking initiative and not advancing nor retreating along the path of martial arts.
The sect naturally wasn’t willing to expend its monthly allowances on this kind of unmotivated person.
The fourth thing was related to the means of business transactions between outer sect disciples, the methods of exchange for some things, and the small experience of integrating with the outer sect.
Among these, the numerous details made it very complex.
Gu Zuo listened to Tianheng’s explanation, and he felt both fascinated and like his head was going to explode.
It really wasn’t easy to clearly memorize… Should he say that he was fortunate that his psychic power was even stronger now?
Soon after, Gu Zuo’s second reaction was: He needed to speed up his medicine refinement.
They were spending money very quickly! If this continued, the millions in golden banknotes they brought simply wouldn’t be enough… No wonder he previously heard the phrase, “The poor study books and the rich study martial arts.” Without money, don’t think about raising your strength.
What was just mentioned was a matter that couldn’t be avoided.
The quantity of a day’s worth of meals for Gu Zuo and his big brother were already tabulated. They ate 1.5 kilograms of Scarlet Blood Rice as well as five kilograms of wild beast meat of equal grade. The two food items were one hundred gold per kilogram. That is, Gongyi Tianheng consumed six hundred fifty gold into his stomach every day. If they recalculated the costs of his medicinal ingredients — This was still because Gu Zuo worked free of charge and didn’t consider his wage — On average, each day required at least seven hundred gold.
In that case, one month was…twenty one thousand gold.
Nevertheless, this didn’t include medicinal pills. This didn’t include Dragon One and Dragon Two’s consumption. This didn’t include the money for medicinal herbs for Gu Zuo’s pill refining. This didn’t include the things Tianheng had to purchase in the future.
Gu Zuo took a deep breath: There really wasn’t enough money!
His patron was also his big brother, but in the end, how did those poor, destitute disciples provide for themselves? When he thought about it, he felt rather horrible.
Looking at Gu Zuo’s muddled appearance, Tianheng couldn’t help laughing. He ruffled Gu Zuo’s hair, his tone warm: “It’s okay, Ah Zuo. Wealth isn’t obtained by being frugal, but by expanding our financial sources. Just wait for everything to step onto the right track. Of course, I have ways to make money, so Ah Zuo doesn’t need to worry.”
Gu Zuo blinked his eyes, and nodded his head.
He didn’t want to worry…
But how could he not worry!?
At first, he thought that more than one million gold was already enough to spend. Now he discovered that it was all casually used up. No matter how much he believed in his big brother, these heartstrings of his were trembling…
Tianheng shook his head: “Put aside everything else. Ah Zuo, let’s go on a trip.”
Gu Zuo was immediately pulled out from his previous mood: “Go where?”
Tianheng smiled: “In Qingyun City, there’s a Pill Fundamentals Association.”
Gu Zuo was puzzled: “Pill Fundamentals?”
Could it be…
Tianheng faintly nodded: “It’s a conference where pharmacists can compare notes on pill refining methods.”
Gu Zuo’s eyes shined.
Tianheng’s gaze also softened: “Once Ah Zuo goes, you can naturally take a peek at the current methods used by the Qingyun Continent’s pharmacists. It’ll be much easier to make plans at that time.”
Gu Zuo was happy in his heart.
Although maintaining secrecy was important, always remaining hidden wasn’t a way of handling things in the end.
The Pill Fundamentals Association was an opportunity.
But, hold on.
Gu Zuo abruptly snapped out of it: “Big brother, is everyone able to go to that Pill Fundamentals Association?”
Weren’t pharmacists very precious? They shouldn’t be that rash.
He didn’t know why, but an uneasy premonition suddenly arose in his heart.
Tianheng smilingly said: “Ah Zuo, don’t worry. I’ve already spent money to purchase four entrance vouchers.”
These should be tickets…
But Gu Zuo was still vigilant: “How much does a single voucher cost?”
Tianheng slightly pondered: “It shouldn’t be more than twenty thousand gold.”
Gu Zuo: “…”
So, big brother went off to spend money again, huh.
Although it wasn’t wrong for him to spend…
It was still very expensive.
Ah, my heart hurts…
T/N: Thanks, Charysa, for the corrections!
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