Bringing Wen Bao back with them didn’t take much effort.
After his near death experience, Wen Bao didn’t have much hope for the Immortal Path anymore. All he wanted to do was to continue living.
As such, when Wang Lu invited Wen Bao to join him in taking on this trial, he immediately agreed.
He agreed because there simply was no way for him to survive by himself, as indicated by a large wet patch on the front of his pants. The second reason, he thought, “What if Wang Lu could really pass this trial?” Deep in his heart, Wen Bao had not yet given up on the Immortal Path.
However, the one thing he couldn’t understand was why the genius Wang Lu would be willing to work together with him. Apart from the superior amount of fat on his body, what else did he have more than anyone else?
“Haha, of course having more fat is a big advantage. You won’t be easily broken.”
“Eh!?” Wen Bao gave a terrified cry.
“Don’t be afraid,” continued Wang Lu, “whoever designed this trial did not design it to be violent. They’re testing something much more important.”
Wen Bao was a bit dazed. “A more important quality?”
Hai Yun Fan had also been considering this for a long time. Whenever the famous sects took in disciples, they would always test one’s innate talent, character and emotional stability, comprehension, affinity… But what else could they test apart from those?
Wang Lu had already begun setting tasks for Wen Bao. “Alright Fatty, there’s something we need you to do.”
“Eh??” Wen Bao was very shocked. “What do you want me to do?”
“Go and strike up a conversation with every person in the village. Maybe ask them if they need help with anything, but remember to be very friendly and sincere… and then report to me. Simple, right?”
After setting some tasks for Wen Bao, Wang Lu invited Hai Yun Fan to have a meal with him, and they relaxed as they ate.
While eating, Hai Yun Fan shared some of his thoughts. “The key is probably the people. Riches, fellowship, method and place – these are, in order, the most important things in cultivation. Fellowship, or interpersonal skills, is the second most important, but interestingly enough, no sect has ever tested this before.”
Wang Lu was extremely surprised. “Never tested before?”
“At least according to what I know, no other Sect has ever given much thought to ‘Fellowship’. The Immortal Path is, in the end, a lonely one, so most Sects think that having too many interpersonal relationships will only be a burden.”
Wang Lu scoffed. “Well isn’t that a load of rubbish. The Xiuxian world isn’t just some place where retards can survive. No matter how high your cultivation is, interpersonal skills are still important. Unless you’re some sort of supreme God, there are always going to be things you can’t handle by yourself. Come to think of it, Little Hai, don’t you want to go out with Wen Bao and try your luck? Maybe you’ll find an A Rank Quest.”
“Ahaha, no thanks, I bet that Brother Wang already knows what’s going to happen… there must be a reason for you asking right?”
“Of course,” he replied. “Without enough experimental data, I won’t be able to find a way to perfectly conquer this trial. Having perfection means that there must be imperfection.”
“So you’re saying that we need to be careful with our every action and speech here?”
Wang Lu smiled. “Exactly. The Garden of Peaches is a perfect reflection of the Xiuxian world. On the path of cultivation, it’s not so easy to take back or fix up mistakes- you have to be very, very careful!”
Just as the two people were talking, Wen Bao came back.
“Eh, so fast?” Hai Yun Fan was a bit shocked. From the time Wang Lu had kicked Wen Bao to go on his mission, only about one hour had passed.
Wen Bao paused at the door upon realising that he had referred to Wang Lu as “Brother Wang”.
“What is it? Did you find some sort of interesting situation?”
“After leaving for a short while, I- I was stopped by an old auntie, who said I looked a lot like her dead grandson. She blabbered on for a long time, then shoved a bunch of desserts into my mouth, and even invited me to her house to eat tonight… I couldn’t handle how sudden it all was, so I came back first to report, like you said.”
As he talked, he took out a large box.
When he opened the box, a small mountain of desserts spilled out, releasing a wave of an incredible aroma.
Wang Lu’s little pageboy (Editor’s note: who we haven’t seen for like 5 chapters and did nothing when Wang Lu was under threat from those three princes. Like seriously, where the hell were you?) suddenly turned around, and saw that the desserts all looked very familiar. “Ah, these are all the specialty desserts from Old Auntie Liu’s dessert shop. I heard that they’re quite difficult to make, and that she only makes one or two of them for those who are pretty close to her. But this…”
Wang Lu let out a sigh. “Looks like she really sees Wen Bao as her own grandson. This Fatty is quite lucky, finding such a high grade quest. If I remember correctly, that Old Auntie Liu was on quite good terms with the Village Chief back when they were young.”
The little pageboy suddenly jumped up in shock. “Young Master, don’t say such things! Old Auntie Liu is a very upright person!”
“And who said upright people can’t have affairs? You saying this is a severe infringement on the freedom of other individuals!”
“Didn’t you notice last night at the banquet? They were exchanging passionate glances at each other, but were caught by the Village Chief’s wife… this is very important.”
The pageboy was utterly dumbfounded. All he had focused on was eating and staying awake from the wine. Who would be able to take the time and effort to watch an old man and old lady secretly flirt with each other?
Wang Lu smiled at Wen Bao. “Congratulations, I guess this qualifies as an A Rank Quest- especially since it could affect the entire Garden of Peaches. If you can complete it…”
Although he didn’t know what an A Rank Quest was, hearing Wang Lu speak in such a tone caused Wen Bao’s eyes to widen in hope. “If I can complete it…….?”
“You’ll have an adoptive grandmother who’s very good at making desserts.”
“So, please continue to work hard for your adoptive grandmother!”
And with that, Wang Lu kicked him out.
On the same evening, more and more people walked out of the Cloud Wave Map. Naturally, most of them were completely exhausted and famished. Where Wang Lu got a warm welcome, the rest of the competitors received a cold shoulder from the villagers.
“Do you have any food?”
“Do you have anywhere for us to stay?”
However, nothing was free for those who came later. To make matters worse, their currency was near worthless.
“This is a gold bullion.”
“Gold bullion? Can you eat it?”
“Well, eating it would be akin to suicide.”
“What? You want to trade my steamed buns for poison? Keep dreaming!”
“Oi, there’s something wrong with your thinking…”
This sort of conversation occurred all across the village. The villagers were not interested with gold or silver in the slightest, causing many Young Masters to fall into hopelessness. However, people quickly found the ‘currency’ of this village.
And that was labour.
“You want to eat? Easy. Help me clear out the weeds in my courtyard, then fill up the water tank next to the door.”
As long as they were willing to offer their labour, they would be able to receive rewards. No matter if it was a delicious meal or a comfortable residence, these things could only be attained through labour.
This rule didn’t just apply to the Young Masters who were participating in the Celestial Gathering, but was rather a way of life in the village. Apart from trading goods, the only other way to obtain things was through offering their labour.
As this was part of the Celestial Gathering, the Young Masters could only helplessly accept this bartering system reality. And to Wang Lu, it made him very happy that these princelings and young nobles were experiencing the hardships of living a countryside life.
And while most people were struggling just to survive, Wang Lu was enjoying his relaxation whilst instructing Wen Bao on his quest.
On the third day, Wen Bao had officially become Old Auntie Liu’s adoptive grandson.
“Hah, Fatty’s progress has been pretty good so far. However, there have been people who have caught on, and may start to act soon.”
“Well, it’s not like we were trying to hide it anyways. The more people participating, the better it is for everyone. If we can find a Quest for every villager, I might be able to pull off a perfect completion.”
Hai Yun Fan replied. “Wouldn’t doing that be the same as handing over the advantage to other people? I don’t have Brother Wang’s insight, but the way I see it, the quests should have some sort of exclusivity. I doubt Old Auntie Liu would accept another adoptive grandson- her ‘resources’ have already been monopolised by Wen Bao. If Brother Wang’s perfect completion requires Old Auntie Liu’s help, then what will you do?”
“Hah, that’s my problem. Don’t you want a perfect completion too?”
Hai Yun Fan shook his head. “I’ve never sought perfection. As long as I find a place suitable for myself, that’s enough for me.”
“I like that, I think I might use that quote in future. In return, I’ll let you in on a little secret- the best entertainment is yet to come. You think Wen Bao’s quest is going smoothly right now? Trust me, he’ll come back crying tonight.”
“Wahh!! Please help me Lord Wang Lu!”
As he predicted, Wen Bao came back crying.
“The hell is wrong with you?”
Although he had predicted that this would happen, Wang Lu was still extremely annoyed at being woken up late at night.
Wen Bao continued to sit on the ground crying.
“Lord Wang Lu, I’ve run into some troubles, Old Auntie Liu…”
“Shut up, and don’t talk for a while. If you make the slightest noise I’ll get a stick and give you ‘plastic surgery’.”
Seeing Wang Lu pick up a big stick, Wen Bao quickly wiped away his tears and snot. “Old Auntie Liu and the Village Chief’s wife started fighting! The Village Chief’s wife couldn’t beat Old Auntie Liu, so she let out her anger on me, saying that she would get the Village Chief to chase me out of the village… Lord Wang Lu, please save me!!”
“Save you? Get out of here. What’s the point of you if you can’t even handle a tiny problem like this?”
“B-but, she’s the Village Chief’s wife!”
Perhaps Wen Bao’s hesitation developed from the seed of fear planted deep within him ever since he was assaulted by the proprietress of the Ru Family Inn. His homeland, the Azure Wave Kingdom, had many small villages similar to the Garden of Peaches – all of which could be obliterated completely with a simple frown from him. But here on the Immortal Path, Wen Bao’s hardships had reduced him to the equivalent of a maggot.
“You coward. So what about the Village Chief’s wife? A wife who can’t even stop her husband from having an affair is just an inflatable doll. Are you afraid of inflatable dolls?”
“Well, you can’t really put it like that…”
“That’s the only way you can put it! You think the quests in the Garden of Peaches would be that easy? Get an adoptive grandmother, eat desserts every day until you become a ball, roll around a bit and pass? You think too lowly of this trial. I’ll have you know that you’re quite lucky to get to this point in the quest- it means that you’re getting somewhere. Two days ago, my useless pageboy started playing with the kids around our age in the village!”
Hearing this, Wen Bao was a bit shocked.
“What do you mean ‘ah’? I’ve told you so many times that our EQs are being tested here. And the most effective way to test one’s EQ is to shove someone into a group of people and see how well they can handle people they don’t like. Just a passing thought, but the designer of this trial probably isn’t liked very much up there in the Spirit Blade Sect.”
Wang Lu paused for a moment and then looked up at the sky.
He felt as if there were people cheering in the clouds.
“We’ve been waiting for her Divine Tribulation for a long time!”
He shook his head and refocused his thoughts towards the impending issue. “Right now, you’re on the Old Auntie Liu Quest. The biggest obstacle will be the Village Chief’s wife. If you can resolve that, then the quest will be pretty much complete. So wipe away those tears, get up, and finish this!”
And with that, Wang Lu kicked him out.