A resource crisis was now present in the Garden of Peaches. Two weeks after Hai Yun Fan had left, or one month after most of the competitors had arrived, everyone had gathered enough experience and favourability to proceed to the next step – aside from those retarded princelings who had screwed up on their part. After a month, most strategies had been tested by most of the challengers. Although they weren’t comparable to Wang Lu, who spent all of his days hiding away in his room, planning and strategizing, most of the youths here were indeed geniuses from all over the land. Collectively, they gained more and more experience and knowledge through their endeavours.
Everyone had calculated the number of villagers in the Garden of Peaches to be around 120, which meant that there were only enough quests for twenty or so challengers to move on to the next trial. Most of the challengers were focused on gaining the favourability of one particular villager, such that when it reached a certain point, it would trigger a special quest, which its completion would allow them to leave the Garden of Peaches. But once completed, it would never appear again – regardless whether it was an A Rank quest or a B Rank quest etc. The dilemma between the Village Chief, Auntie Liu and Mrs He Lu, or the heartbroken and hairy Little Fong, who could now only eat a ‘measly’ ten steamed buns per meal – their quests would not be available to anyone again.
Most of the A Rank quests had been taken already, or screwed up by various idiots. The B Rank quests were currently being fought over, and people were desperately looking for C Rank quests. For those who had come out of the Cloud Wave Map later, they made up the lack of quality with quantity. Surely ten or so C Rank quests was worth a B Rank quest, right? Perhaps twenty or thirty C Rank quests were worth an A Rank quest? Those who already had an A Rank quest on their hands were extremely careful in handling it. All the competition and fighting over quests quickly depleted the overall pool of quests available. What made things worse was that the resources were not distributed evenly at all: some people had occupied ten or so quests, and some were not able to find any, and resigned to their fate of being stuck in the Garden of Peaches forever.
With such a resource crisis, violent conflict could explode out at any time. At this point, everyone thought of one person: the mysterious person who had locked himself up in the courtyard of the Village Chief’s residence, and had not even attempted any quests…
“Strange, what is this child waiting for?”
Standing on top of the clouds, Liu Xian, who had been observing for close to a month, gave a yawn.
Because of the gambling incident, the Elder had been ordered to observe and invigilate the Garden of Peaches. Apart from meditating and circulating spiritual energy throughout his body, all he could do was to watch the events going on in the Garden of peaches. Luckily, there were many amusing things in the village, such as the incident between the princeling and Little Fong. That incident had almost caused him to start laughing while circulating spiritual energy in his body, which could have resulted in qi deviation. [Qi deviation is pretty much the “uncontrolled flow of Qi (spiritual energy) in the body”, that can lead to one losing their senses and going crazy].
However, as a spectator, there was something Liu Xian was not satisfied about… what was the youth who the Head Elder had his eyes on doing? He had achieved incredible results in the Cloud Wave Map, so why was he doing nothing in the Garden of Peaches?
It was possible to see everything from the clouds, and it was clear that Wang Lu hadn’t gone out in almost a month. Even his little pageboy had already completed his quests, and his completion status was in the top three in the whole village. He was viewed by all the other challengers with respect and admiration, and had a status far above his incomprehensible master.
At this rate, there would only be one outcome. Liu Xian was curious as to what that little Wang Lu was thinking.
“Good morning Senior Brother.”
While he was still deep in thought, a familiarly irritating voice resounded in his ears.
Luckily, Liu Xian was in a fairly good mood, and was able to repress the anger he felt upon hearing the voice.
“Oh, Fifth Junior Sister, what instructions do you have?”
“No instructions, I just came to play with you for a bit.”
The woman in white talked as she deftly walked to Liu Xian’s side. “After twenty days, Senior Brother hasn’t been moved by my genius design?”
Liu Xian examined his conscience. He was indeed shocked, upon finding that there were no actual ‘villagers’ in the village- every ‘villager’ was actually a puppet created by an ingenious illusion array. However, their performance was vastly superior to that of a normal puppets’, such as the Village Chief, He Lu Shi and Old Auntie Liu. Of course, this was not something terribly amazing, as the Spirit Blade Sect’s grand entrance array was thousands of times more sophisticated, but considering Fifth Junior Sister’s cultivation and her intelligence, such an array was shocking.
But shock was simply shock.
“…Do you know how much trouble you’ve caused for everyone? You’ve messed up the entire Celestial Gathering!”
“No. I think the Celestial Gathering has evolved because of me.”
“No one needs your stupid evolution!”
“Senior Brother, you’re being naughty again. Then, what about that boy who walked out of the Garden of Peaches a week ago, I’m sure he’s talented enough for you to be moved, right?”
Thinking back to the youth from a week ago, Liu Xian could not remain indifferent- he had first rate character and emotional stability, first rate intellect, first rate EQ, and although his spirit base wasn’t that great, his other qualities made up for it.
This sort of person was one who could achieve great things, and was far better than some of those evildoers. Indeed, Liu Xian could not help but feel moved…
“What does that have to do with the Garden of Peaches? Hai Yun Fan’s results in the Cloud Wave Map were already excellent!”
“Buuuut at least I helped you eliminate a bunch of defective products.”
“Hmph.” Liu Xian did not agree or disagree. He simply could not tolerate princelings like Xie Qian Long and his two companions. Luckily they had been eliminated in the Garden of Peaches, otherwise, he would have had many headaches to deal with, had the three of them made it into the Spirit Blade Sect.
However, if one truly wanted Liu Xian to admit that the Garden of Peaches was beneficial, it would have been easier to just refine his nine-coloured Yuanying. The Ethereal Peak Elder changed the topic. “So in this Garden of Peaches, are there any penalties for those who just laze around?”
“Lazing around?” The Fifth Junior Sister’s eyes widened. She looked down, and locked on to a certain person, and her expression changed.
“Senior Brother, you’re mistaken. This person isn’t lazing around at all.”
(Come to think of it, Little Ling’Er said that someone completed that chain of tasks I set in the Spirit River Town, could it be him? Tsk, I can’t believe my chain of tasks was completed by such a country bumpkin… however, this trial isn’t as easy. Plus, what do you think about your little pageboy who is about to let you down?”)
Just as everyone was waiting for Wang Lu to make a move, he was met with a surprise.
“Young Master. I think… I think I’ve nearly completed my quests.”
Inside the room, the little pageboy had a nervous and perturbed expression, as if he was a youth who was meeting the father of his pregnant girlfriend for the first time.
Wang Lu maintained his calm disposition that he had displayed for the past month, and while flipping through some of the Village Chief’s books, responded, “Which quest?”
The pageboy paused for a moment, then replied, “All 8 are nearly complete. Following the Young Master’s instructions, I progressed in each quest at the same speed and maintained relationships between the main villagers involved in the individual quests, which indeed allow me to use half the effort, but double the speed at which the quests progressed…”
“Not bad. And?”
The little pageboy stood there in shock for a moment, and then resolved himself to say the words that he dreaded to say.
Wang Lu looked at him. “Since you’ve nearly completed your quests, hurry up and finish them and get out of here. Why are you wasting time standing idly?”
The pageboy was very surprised at his words. “Young Master, I…”
After thinking for a while, he tried again. “Young Master… Although I don’t know what you’re waiting for, I’m still your pageboy, so I shouldn’t leave Young Master behind and go on without you.”
Wang Lu gave a half-hearted laugh. “Hah. Are those words from your heart?”
The little pageboy jumped up. “From the bottom of my heart!”
“Woah, woah, okay, okay. Don’t jump, don’t jump. Just remember that telling lies will result in being struck by lightning. Are you trying to jump higher so that you can get hit by lightning?”
“I…” Once again, the pageboy was at a loss for words. After a while, he sighed. “Young Master… two months ago, no matter what anyone said, I would not have believed that I could reach this point. The fact that an ordinary pageboy from the countryside could have the chance to become an Inner Court Disciple is simply unbelievable. I know all of this was because of the Young Master’s grace on me. And if it wasn’t for the Young Master, I wouldn’t be able to make it here. Young Master’s overflowing kindness, I-”
“As they say, if you show someone a bit of kindness, they might take it for granted. And if you don’t keep showing them kindness, they may start to hate you. If what I’ve shown you is overflowing kindness, haven’t we become mortal enemies?” Wang Lu gave a joking smile, and continued, “Actually, you should just be more honest. You’ve been in this village for about a month, and you’ve talked to the other challengers quite a bit, so you should know what it meant for you to be able to walk past the Golden Bridge. Affinity is affinity. I didn’t give it to you, and you didn’t just find it on the ground. Your affinity is something that would have guaranteed you to enter any other sect, even if you didn’t join the Spirit Blade Sect.”
The pageboy was once again speechless. Before deciding to go and talk to the Young Master, this was how he had convinced himself.
“So now you’re about to walk out of the Garden of Peaches, and straight to the Ethereal Peak. Why do you need to waste time waiting for me? The Immortal Path is full of surprises, and nothing is certain. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage and wait for me. Besides, you’ve already agreed to travel with someone, right?”
The pageboy’s heart almost stopped. The Young Master never left the Village Chief’s residence, yet he seemed to know every single thing that was going on in the village!
The pageboy had indeed made an agreement with someone else to leave together. Because the other person was a prince of noble backgrounds and incredible talent, it was easy for him to convince Wang Zhong to travel with him.
Apart from Hai Yun Fan, no one had left the village yet. If they left now, they would still be far ahead of everyone else. And even though Wang Lu was incredibly intelligent and talented, he had done nothing for a whole month. It seemed that his luck was running out. And whatever he did only affected him and not the little pageboy.
“Whether you want to live as a pageboy for life, or as ‘Wang Zhong’… I think you should really give it some thought.”
In contrast to the little pageboy’s nervousness, Wang Lu had acted very casually, as if he had seen this coming since a long time ago.
“Your awkwardness and nervousness is really off-putting. I really don’t mind whether you’re here or not, so please get the hell out without causing anymore difficulties between the two of us.”
Wang Zhong’s face immediately became red, and did not speak anymore. Instead, he silently kneeled on the ground and kowtowed three times towards Wang Lu, then left.
After the pageboy left, Wang Lu could not help but smile.
“Becoming so bold after kowtowing a few times… Looks like he really did decide to become his own master. Little Hai, you were right: this boy really isn’t anything good.”
Wang Lu’s smile became one of self-mocking. “And as for me… I can’t believe I designed such a strategy plan for him!”
While saying this, Wang Lu flicked his wrist, sending close to a hundred pieces of paper on the table flying into the air. Floating around in the room, no one knew that every piece of paper was worth more than gold.
“After following me for seven years, he’s still not able to work out who the main character is… God damn it! I failed to teach him properly. Ah, I guess this is how fathers feel when their daughters elope.”
“Screw it, forget about him. The great me has finally finished preparations… and now, the time to act has come.”
After speaking, Wang Lu walked to one of the walls in the room and took down the fabric covering the wall.
If Wang Zhong was still there, he would have definitely wet his pants out of shock.
Stuck on the wall were hundreds of pieces of paper. Every single sheet was filled with strategies for every single villager, including diagrams and writing. Compared to the ‘strategy guide’ that other challengers had compiled together, this was hundreds of times superior!
It was true that Wang Lu had not left the Village Chief’s residence for a month, but he had not wasted a single moment. As a challenger who had walked out of the Cloud Wave Map without excellent results, the benefits Wang Lu received were far greater than what the little pageboy had known. The relationship between himself and the Village Chief was not as simple as landlord and tenant.