Gu Yu was fidgeting.
Well, maybe not, but he felt a tightness at his chest that he could not describe. He felt his heart was weighed down by a chunk of lead, making it difficult to breath.
After bidding Tan Chongdai farewell, he went back to Bai Town immersed in such an emotion. He was so overwhelmed that he only came to himself when he was up on the mountain and saw the familiar landscape again.
"Give him a hand. Give him a hand. Be careful, this is the newest sake the old master just developed. Don't spill it!"
In the courtyard of the brewery, Guo Fei was standing on the side, instructing two young helpers carrying the wine jars into the cellar. The old man Gao Mingde was not even here. With all the training of the past year, Guo Fei was capable enough to handle most situations on his own.
With the growing harvest of the fruit and grain on the mountain, the variety and quantity of the liquor was growing as well. Guo Fei and Gao Mingde alone were not enough to take care of everything, so they recruited two more young men, both locals of Bai Town.
"Brother Fei, I heard that the Master is coming back today, is that right?"
"I heard it too. I haven't met him yet since I came here. Why, tell us a bit about him. Is he very strict? I'm a little afraid, with him being an immortal and all."
The two young men closed the cellar and finished their job for the day. As always, they began to nag at Guo Fei for more stories.
"Ahem, let me tell you this: Master is the kindest man. I have never seen him losing his temper. But you have to know your place and behave yourselves, or you two will not only losing your faces, Master Gao and me will be ashamed as well. We two have been here for a long time. Back then, Master asked for us specifically to work here. If only you could see that…"
Guo Fei loved such occasions when he could brag about his history with Phoenix Mountain. He was about to go on when he shuddered, for a voice rang out in his ears.
"Come up here after dinner!"
He blurted out a syllable before covering his mouth to silence himself, then nodded repeatedly.
"Brother Fei, what's wrong?" asked the two young men curiously.
"Nothing! Off you go! Time to sweep the yard!"
Guo Fei shooed the two out of the room and puckered up his face. Damn it, he was caught right in the middle of bragging. He wondered what punishment would he get later.
Gu Yu walked his way up and notified only a handful people along the way. He soon reached the Cottage of Pure Mind.
He had just stepped into the valley when he heard the clear voice. Immediately after that, the flash of a blade ripped through the air with an explosive sound like a stretch of shining silk.
The sword was moving at such an astonishing speed that it was at his nose almost as soon as he heard the voice. It came with a whooshing wind, threatening to destroy everything in its way.
"That was fast!"
Gu Yu was a little stunned. Even with his reaction speed, he felt he did not have enough time. Bending up his fingers, he gave the blade a flick in a hurry.
His fingertip struck right on the face of the blade, making a sound reminding one of a dragon roaring, sending rippling waves through the air. The sword changed its direction and narrowly brushed past his shoulder.
A big tree behind him was cut down in the middle, but the sword did not slow down at all. It flew into the woods, and as if a hurricane had arrived, there was a series of snapping and crackling sounds, leaving behind a stretch of fallen trees.
Our 174 cm tall little girl Long Qiu capered into sight, her gait somehow funny but befitting her at the same time. She was as happy as a little bird as she asked, "How's my sword? What do you think?"
"That was the Whirlwind Sword Manual?" Gu Yu rubbed her head and praised, "You're only just starting with it and it's already this powerful. Sweep across all lands and clean away all ten thousand miles of land—it is indeed the fastest sword!"
"Teehee, I've only just developed my sword energy. It's blue and very well-behaved. Oh, and there's my sword." She summoned the long sword back and swept it across the air. "I refined it again with Hollow Stone and it's much fiercer now. Since I don't have other good materials at the moment, I'm using it to nourish my sword energy for now."
"Haha, that's right. We'll find you a better one in the future." The two went inside while chatting on. Gu Yu looked around and asked, "Where are Xiaozhai and Xiaojin?"
"Jin Jin's working in the training court. Sister didn't find any spider in Sand Ridge, so she went to Mobei. She should be back this evening, though."
"I see…" Gu Yu nodded and asked, "You were saying Shengtian is being replanned over the phone. What's that all about?"
"Um, I don't know how to explain it, either. I kept a newspaper for you. Wait here!"
Long Qiu ran into the room and came back with a thick stack of newspaper.
Taking it, Gu Yu saw that it was the most official local press—Shengtian Daily. This one came with supplement as thick as seven or eight pages. It was packed with relevant issues on this replanning.
Gu Yu was not in the habit of sitting around idly, so he made himself a pot of spiritual tea and lay down under the old tree, reading the newspaper carefully.
According to UN, cities with a population of over a million were defined as megacities, although the actual standard differed from one country to the next. In the Chinese standard, those with a permanent resident population of 5-10 million were megacities and those with a population of over 10 million were megacity behemoths.
Large cities had a population of 1-5 million; medium-sized cities had a population between half and a million; those with a population below half a million were small cities (could be further divided into Type I and Type II small cities).
Shengtian had an overall area of over 12948 km^2 and a population of 9 million. Under its jurisdiction were ten districts, three counties, two county-level cities, 58 towns, and 20 townships.
The distribution of these areas was extremely skewed throughout Shengtian, mainly located in the west and south, leaving the north and east sparsely populated. For instance, the route going through Bai Town was in the east of Shengtian, and only contained one county-level city and nine towns and townships.
This new plan was going to expand towns and townships as a whole. For example, the five towns from Yidao River to Wudao River would take in a great number of migrants from the provinces of Heishui and Wula, making them into Type II small cities with population below 200 000.
The southwestern region of Shengtian was going to be cramped. Cities and roads were squeezed together, hardly having any room in between. Similarly, Shengtian would be upgraded into a magecity behemoth. Maybe because of its special status, Bai Town was not mentioned in this list.
Those were merely the general outline Gu Yu summarized. The actual plan was scarily detailed in all aspects, including housing, education, medical service, civil administration, etc.
Gu Yu let out a long breath after he finally finished reading the newspaper.
He was no professional in policies, but common sense alone made him wonder: where would the state get all the money for the development of such a scale? There was bound to be a massive deficit, and what would the government do? Issue treasury bonds, raise taxes, and print more money.
Even a hopeless student like him could imagine how life would turn out to be for the common people!
Gosh, life simply would not give him a break these days. He had been getting nothing but bad news recently, which was driving him restless.
Before he realized, he had been lying under the tree for an entire afternoon. Little Soap was indeed working diligently. It was evening time, yet she still hadn't come back. Instead, boisterous sounds were coming from the direction of the valley entrance.
"This is even bigger! Has it gone spiritual already?"
"So what if it has! It stood no chance!"
"Obviously! Who would? It's our Fairy Lady we're talking about here!"
Rising to his feet, he saw that Xiaozhai had come back carrying a giant spider with a team of people trailing behind her.
Looking up, she spotted Old Gu and dismissed the others. She then tossed the spider on the ground and chuckled. "Why, having a lazy afternoon here? Have you eaten?"
"I was waiting for you to have dinner together!" Eyeing the spider, Gu Yu made himself sound worried. "You didn't have to go all the way to Mobei for a spider. That must have been very tiring."
See? That was how an experience boyfriend spoke!
When your girlfriend had done something that was either giving you a hard time or unnecessary, under no circumstances should you point it out directly. Instead, you should shift the focus to care for her own well-being.
'You didn't have to go through all the trouble! I was only worried about you! You have been busy all along and you're taking so much responsibility on your shoulders. You're wearing yourself out! What if you fall sick from it? What am I going to do then…' Blah, blah, blah, you know the drill.
Of course, Xiaozhai would never buy it. She knew Gu Yu even better than she knew herself.
She stood still right away and scanned him from head to toe, grinning. "Why so blue? Come, talk to you big sister."