Had Gu Yu been a more reserved person, he would probably say, "I agree with you . I'll be more careful in the future . "
Had he been the arrogant type, he might reply, "I kill people, so what? What are you gonna do?"
Either way, it would at least show some attitude . Attitudes reflected one's thoughts and thoughts could be realized . In that case, Jiang Chaofan could take it for granted that he had achieved something and report to the superiors, getting the recognition in the process .
However, it never occurred to him that Gu Yu would not even let the talk happen . The fellow simply bounced the subject right back at him: 'You are not ranked high enough to discuss that with me . Next question!'
It was so obvious! The code of conduct and legal definition of cultivators were issues to be considered on a state level . It was never meant to be the concern of a departmental head .
Presently, he was embarrassed and filled with indignation, which he had no one to vent on . His dark chubby face all puckered up; it looked rather funny .
Gu Yu darted him a look and suddenly asked, "Chief Jiang, have you heard what I told them just then?"
"Uh, I have!"
Jiang Chaofan winced for a second and realized right away that he was talking about collecting medicinal materials and unusual minerals .
"Good . I'd like you to pass the word around as well . From now on, Phoenix Mountain is open for business . As long as you have the right stuff, anyone is welcomed . "
Jiang Chaofan jolted . For some unknown reason, this request made him uneasy . He probed, "Mr . Gu, where are you going with this?"
"To trade, obviously . You bring the goods, I give you the price . If we're both happy, a deal is made . That's not against the law, I presume?"
"No, of course not . But, but…"
"Haha, don't worry . "
Gu Yu stood up and made to leave . "I've made a deal with Wang Qi earlier; unfortunately, he is a very inefficient man . I have to do the job myself instead . "
" . . . "
Jiang Chaofan watched as Gu Yu disappeared from his sight . He stared blankly into the air for quite a while before rushing out himself . He drove very fast when he left .
Shengtian, the Yuan Family .
The family had a military background . The grandfather held a local military command, the son Yuan Mei worked in the provincial government . . . Yuan Peiji, the grandson, held no official position and spent his days messing around .
Usually, they all busied themselves in their own circles, so it was a very rare occasion today that the three men were all present .
Having received the gift, the Yuan steward immediately brought it back to Shengtian, which was now set on the table . It was a rather cheap-looking little box and in it were ten incense pellets the size of a longan .
The pellets were azure—a rather unusual color . The surface was of a smooth and glossy texture, which reminded one of porcelain .
"So, that's the gift from that man?" The old man had grizzled hair and a great booming voice, apparently in excellent health .
"Yes, it's just been brought in . We have ten, the Leis have seven, and the Zengs have five . I was told they are burning incense," replied Yuan Mei .
"Mr . Gu's incense-making skill is handed down in his family . This incense must be special," said Yuan Peiji .
As a military man, the grandfather was boorish and forthright . He waved his big hand forcefully, "What the hell, just burn one!"
Hearing that, Yuan Peiji fetched a censor right away . He picked up a pellet with a pair of tweezers and carefully placed it on the mica plate, below which was some high-quality charcoal .
He put the lid back on and went back to his grandpa .
The military men had little experience with all this fuss and the grandfather was rather curious now . Three pairs of eyes all fixed upon the censor, as if their attention could make any difference .
The censor remained what it was . A minute or so later, streaks of smoke started creeping through the hollows, then rose into mid-air and began to gather; the smoke just kept coming .
In the end, it formed a thin pillar of smoke, which shot right upwards . On the top the pillar was a fluctuating, beautiful blue cloud .
Immediately after that, the blue cloud slowly dissipated, as if it had been hit by sunlight . The lump broke into streaks and threads, enshrouding the room .
The three men were all sitting by the table . As soon as the blue smoke entered their nostrils, they felt a faint warmth flowing all the way into their body, nourishing everything along the way .
That was such a familiar sensation!
The Yuan Family was quite prominent and 10 kg of the spiritual rice was their quota . The three men and a few other direct relatives had divided the rice among themselves . Burning this pellet, as it turned out, felt almost the same as eating the porridge, only milder .
" . . . "
Despite the surging emotions inside, the three men remained quiet, waiting for the pellet to burn out .
When it did, Yuan Mei checked the time and let out a soft cry . "Ten minutes!"
"Really? As long as ten minutes?" the old man asked eagerly .
"That's correct, ten minutes," confirmed Yuan Peiji .
The old man was apparently shaken by the result . Moments later, he sighed . "That was indeed something!"
Comparing with the incense, the spiritual rice was not only restricted to one meal per day, the porridge was as thin as water . This incense was not as potent, but the effect was long-lasting, and it would not undermine one's health .
The incense pellet was something Gu Yu concocted based on the Essence-gathering Incense, in which he had reduced the medicinal property repeatedly until the pellet was suitable for ordinary people . It was created purely as presents and for business purposes . Even its name was picked at random: Blue Cloud Incense .
To the Yuan Family, however, it was enough to shake their world!
The silence went undisturbed until quite some time later, when the old man said, "So, you said earlier that he wanted us to get the word out that anyone can go to him to trade?"
"Yes . I couldn't take the liberty to agree to that and we are waiting for your decision," said Yuan Mei .
" . . . "
After a moment of silence, the old man said, "Tell him: yes . "
"What are we going to tell the capital?"
"Nothing . They'll understand . " The old man waved his hand .
Behind the Yuan Family was a military tycoon in the capital city, and behind that tycoon was one of the handful of people on top of the hierarchy pyramid .
When Gu Yu made contact with the families, instructions had come from above, instructing them to establish a rapport with the man .
Now that Gu Yu had made his request, the "currency" he would use for the trade would probably be these pellets . The demand was mutual—Gu Yu needed medicinal materials and unusual minerals, while these people wanted an elixir that could prolong their life .
These people had so many agendas of their own that they were never going to follow the instructions faithfully .
Before anyone noticed, it was September . The heat that had been ravaging the people the whole summer finally started to wear off . At the end of the month, there was even a province-wide moderate rain . Everyone was capering in the long-awaited coolness .
The Yuan Family had sent Gu Yu a message, saying that they had let the word out, only that it would need some time to take its effect .
Whereas in Bai Town, thanks to Long Qiu's frequent efforts, nothing major had gone wrong in the migrant village; neither did any epidemic disease break out despite the intense heat of the summer .
She was not one of those over-confident idealists who wished for world peace . She knew her capability very well; to those within her reach, she would lend a hand whenever she could .
Of course, the girl was still quite green and did not understand all the rules of this society . To that, the two "parents" had always had a positive attitude and never objected or tried to stop her . It was never a bad thing to have a kind heart .
As for Phoenix Mountain, the rice in the valley was ready to be harvested . Although it was a mere two-mu plot, the picture of full, healthy, and golden spikes of rice paving the south bank was very pleasing to the eye .
Right now, the family of three was standing by the plot, ready to start reaping .
Long Qiu was the main player in this activity . She entered the plot holding a sickle . Grabbing a rice stalk with her left hand, she caught it with the blade in her right hand at about 10 cm from the root and pulled . A stalk was cut down .
"See? Cut from here…"
Holding the stalk, she seemed to be talking to the empty air . "Not too low, it'll make the following steps too difficult . But not too high up either, it'll damage the grains . "
" . . . "
An invisible fluctuation responded in mid-air, nodding to her instruction while at the same time sending a message of wanting to start right away .
Long Qiu found it a pain in the neck as she whispered, "Listen to me . Don't eat too much . No one can save you if my brother and sister get angry . Ok, you c—"
Before she could finish her sentence, with an exploding sound, the Golden Silkworm dashed right into the rice field like a wild donkey out of its leash .
As if a mountain wind had swept across the field, the crops billowed and rippled like waves . With each undulation, a row of rice fell down in unison and immediately after that, as if following a tune, the next row followed suit .
In a couple of breaths' time, all two-mu of rice was cut down . The distance between rows and grains was almost identical . The neatness was such a joy to behold .
As it turned out, the Golden Silkworm was such a " Tsundere 1 " type of character . Not only was it a neat freak, it was also an OCD patient, as well as, um, a glutton… for in the furthest southeastern corner, the pattern was obviously inconsistent with the rest of the field—a small area of rice was missing .
Long Qiu was petrified . Gu Yu and Xiaozhai, on the other hand, did not find it much of an issue . The Golden Silkworm was a spiritual creature and they just saw it as its salary .
The reaping it could help with, but the work after that was different . Gu Yu and Xiaozhai had indeed got a few machines up into the valley, including a small generator, a shelling and milling machine, as well as a polishing machine .
After the grains were sun-dried, the machines came to life, making much noise that broke the tranquility of the valley right away .
The grains were loaded into the machine in bundles, where they would be unshelled . The end product consisted of two kinds: brown rice and yellow, powdery chaff .
From rice grains to polished rice, the husk and the peel, seed coat, perisperm, paste layer, and the germ—which together took up about 10% of the total mass—had to be removed, which became the rice chaff .
Gu Yu pinched some up and tasted it . It was a little rough and puckery, but edible with some maneuvering . The more important thing was, the chaff was also high in spiritual essence .
"Too bad we don't have any big cattle . This is the best feed . " Gu Yu found it a pity .
"Big ones we don't have, but there are two small ones . "
Xiaozhai turned around and eyed Brother Fatty and Xiao Qing, who were playing the happy bystanders . The duo shuddered at her gaze . 'Are you kidding me? We don't eat pigswill!' They scampered right away .
Xiaozhai shrugged . "How about making it into some solid food? We can bring it with us on field trips . "
"Yeah, good idea . Mix it with some flour and make it into pancakes . It can be preserved for a long time . "
It took the three of them two whole days to finish processing the harvest .
Setting aside the grains they saved as seeds, they weighed the rest . The yield per mu was about 215 kg and they had 430 kg of spiritual rice in total . Do recall that the yield per mu of Tianzhu Mountain was 103 kg only . Phoenix Mountain was indeed an ideal farmland .
The average foodie would consume 1 kg rice daily, which made it 3 kg for the three of them each day and 90 kg a month . The spiritual rice would barely last them till the spring sowing next year .
They could finally relax now!
Appreciating their small warehouse, which was filled to the brim, Gu Yu felt so hot-blooded that he chuckled . "Next year, we'll open up the north bank as well and cut down a few trees in the perimeter . We should sow as much as we can . "
"Well… it does feel awesome to have enough food at home!" Xiaozhai stretched herself, looking as content as a landlady .ED/N: An anime term for a personality with outwardly hostile or harsh actions and words but warm and kind on the inside (often describing an atittude of person loving another) . Also refers to the quality of doing and saying things opposite to what such a person actually thinks (usually bad-good) .