Millennium Snow Ginseng (千年雪参)
It was in my early thirties that the Millennium Snow Ginseng showed up for the first time. I think it was about twenty years ago. As a bodyguard I was in the middle of eating and living every day, and then it was the most peaceful and relaxing time.
The first person to discover the Millennium Snow Ginseng was the young master from the household of Tanmu Family, and his name was Tanmu So. The young man liked to tour the mountain sides, but in the meantime he located a quaint place in Huangshan. The place is said to be covered with ice all year round, and this is where he unearthed it from the mountain.
But a problem occurred since the discovery.
Tanmu So did not find it alone, and he was accompanied by five young elites of Zhuang Alliance (the united factions of the good side), who were called 'five dragons.' They were the young successors of Wulin (武林:the community world of martial artists) and they became aware of Tanmu So obtaining the Millennium Snow Ginseng and soon began to contend for ownership.
There was an intense struggle for it and the attempts at killing each other quickly enveloped many factions of Wulin within the area of Huangshan. The Millennium Snow Ginseng finally fell into the possession of a leader from Zheng Tian (正天:one faction of Zhuang Alliance) and the great turmoil settled down.
I do not know the complete details of why this happened. Because I was only a third-grade bodyguard of a courier company, it was difficult to barely manage myself during that time.
But one thing is certain. In Huangshan, there lies the Millennium Snow Ginseng and I can find it easily before anyone else. I will locate it sooner than anyone else and of course eat it.
Is there a more definite and intense 'strange fate' in the world such as that?
It is legendary medicine which guarantees that the person who takes it will obtain one hundred and twenty years' Neigong. Given the fact that, among the peak-grade (絶頂) martial artists of the best factions who have disciplined themselves for decades, there are only a few people who accumulated Neigong of sixty years. Obviously, the Millennium Snow Ginseng was worth the risk to their lives.
Of course, it does not mean that though you can consume an elixir every day, you cannot become a first-grade martial artist within a day. Without the ultimate martial arts, you cannot reach the summit.
But if I ate the Millennium Snow Ginseng, I would be a master.
I became impatient.
"But Huangshan is far away from here, and I need enough money and physical strength."
From here, it takes about fifteen days to travel, while riding a horse. As a teenager, there is a high possibility of starving to death or exhausting myself trying to reach there, and even if it is not, I will not be able to make the forced march in finding the Millennium Snow Ginseng, sweeping throughout Huangshan as a whole.
If so, there can only be one answer. I would need to collect enough money. So, I can ride a horse, and even if I arrive at Huangshan, I will be able to explore the elixir without attracting attention.
I weighed it up in my head how much money I would need in light of my vast experience as a bodyguard.
As a result, the calculation is that it is ten silver coins (one silver coin is worth 100 dollars). It is a large sum of money. In order to save the money, I have to start thinking about what to do now. Because it is money that could be collected by working for a while as a bodyguard.
I have to collect money, but I cannot figure out what to do. What should I do in this situation?
"No. Let’s think slowly and carefully."
It is at least twenty years from now that the Millennium Snow Ginseng was found in the previous history. That is, if it is possible to find it only until then, there is a possibility of monopolizing it enough.
I realized that the reason I rushed thinking over things was to escape the life of a servant of this gang-like village chief.
In fact, I am still stunned.
Why did I come back to the past without dying even though I was hit by a metal spear in my chest?
I am planning to adapt to this reality quickly, but I do not know anything about what happened to me.
One thing is certain.
There must be a way to gain much needed ‘strength’ and 'money'.
So that I can find out what happened to me with the retrograde. It is a thing that can never be accomplished if I am satisfied with only eating and living every day like when I turned into a third-grade bodyguard.
I visited the stalls and managed to rid myself of the cow dung. It took two hours to get rid of it, and after it was done, I went to the nearest brook, washed my body, and lay down for a bit and rested. I was hungry after a lot of hard work, but the village chief would not give me rice, so I just settled with closing my eyes.
"I cannot go straight to the Millennium Snow Ginseng. First, let’s convince the village chief."
To convince the village chief means negotiating to escape from a servant’s life in this house.
When I was waiting, the son of the village chief, Jin Wancai, came back in a disgraceful manner. The school he attends is famous for holding excellent teachers in writing for the young men of the well-known Families in preparation for the imperial examination. However, I know that Jin Wancai has been drinking alcohol with his friends every day, even while he is supposed to be studying at school. He is really young, but he already knows how to drink.
When I saw Jin Wancai with his pockmarked face, I talked to him.
“Young master, I have something to say to the village chief, and do you know where he is?”
I was forbidden to come out of the stables, so I did not know where the house members of the village chief were going. It was something I had to ask about.
“Well, did you finish the work I ordered you to do?”
“Yes, I had to deal with the stall.”
Jin Wancai looked at the barn as he confirmed, and nodded his head.
“He’ll be in the house. Do not bother me.”
Then, he went back into his room and lay down.
I know that he is only a young boy of the same age as me. But, in the end, he would have a very hard time in suffering extremely, squandering all his family fortune while addicted to wine, sex and gambling.
I ignored him and headed towards the main house of the village chief. Finally, the village chief walked out slowly to the outside yard, and I greeted him as soon as I saw him.
“Sir, may I have a word with you?”
The village chief was a middle-aged man with a simple impression of raising a goatee. He opened his eyes with a narrow look and examined me.
“What is it, cow dung?"
I clenched my teeth.
In the past, I did not have a proper name before I became a bodyguard. The family members of the chief just called me 'cow dung' and took for granted that he also despised me.
I stood for a while and tightened my fists, and said.
“I am not cow dung. Sir, I am Bai Xiong. I have been living with my name given to me by my parents."
The chief seemed reserved when I gave him a natural reply.
“Hum! Don't you know the nickname? Foolish little punk… Tut Tut…”
It was the village chief who stared at me saying 'Tut Tut.' He seemed to be uncomfortable when I refuted my opinion in front of him. Until then, I had never once said any complaints to him.
But it was me who was really displeased.
The village chief should have known my real name, but he did not call me Bai Xiong for nearly two years. He must have been deliberately trying to make me live as his stupid servant for the rest of his life.
I spoke before he grew angry with me.
“All I want to say is that I will be leaving for Wuguan (武館:the martial club)."
"Can I go out to the city tomorrow?”
The village chief was at a loss for words and had a terrible look.
“Are you crazy?”
"I will take the test for the entrance on my own."
Wuguan is the school where martial arts teachers guide the students. In this place, it is aimed to teach the martial arts with a high tuition fee, to train, and raise excellent martial artists.
There are a dozens of Wuguan facilities nearby, but I want to travel to Qinglong Wuguan (青龍武館) only.
And I need a lot of money to become enrolled. Those who run Wuguan are at least first-grade martial artists with great fame, or ones from the Five Powerful Families or ones from the Nine Great Factions of the Zhuang Alliance. It is usually permitted for them to charge the expensive tuition fee directly related to martial arts. It is normal that the ordinary people cannot learn even if they want to learn the martial arts.
However, there is only one way to secure martial arts tuition without paying such high inflated fees. It is to prove your excellent potential of martial arts via the entrance examination. Though the teachers pursue profit-making, they are intent on receiving fundamentally superior disciples to nurture their own faction. If talent is enough, it is usual to accept the applicant even though he does not have any money.
I asked quietly.
“Is there anything wrong?”
“There is something wrong with you. You do not have any potential and talent at all, but you are about to knock at the door of Wuguan.”
The village chief ridiculed as he kept laughing.
“Ok, tell me which one you want to take the exam."
“It is Qinglong Wuguan which is located in Guanzhong.
The eyes of the village chief were narrowed slightly. He seemed to be frightened.
“Cow dung, do you know what the place is like?”
He once again called me cow dung, but I decided to ignore it.
“What is the place?”
“It is the biggest, and most famous Wuguan training faculty set up by Lee Kwang, who was the head teacher of the Imperial army.”
Lee Kwang is a high-level master (just below a grandmaster) in the area of Guanzhong. He is well known for his swordsmanship, spearmanship, and fist fighting; he is called 'the Outstanding Trinity Master.' There are lots of people who admire his martial arts and personality.
“So you do know it well!”
The face of the village chief was distorted like a wild catfish. He pushed his fingers out and pressed his forehead, then became angry.
“You are only a cow dung. It’s a place where even first-grade martial artists cannot be admitted. Yet, are you about to take the test there?”
“I am taking care of you instead of your parents now. Do not think about it and go to sleep.”
I grabbed the village chief ‘s arm.
The village chief screamed because of the pressure that had gripped his arm without a sudden warning. It was not enough to break his arm, but it would have left a red mark because I held it firmly. When I eventually let go of his arm, the chief was embarrassed and stuttered.
"How dare you express your anger to the man who raised you?”
“Look at me well. I have this power."
I walked to a nearby tree and grabbed a beautiful branch. Then with a surge of strength I quickly broke the branch which was supposed to be. It was hard for an adult to have such a good job, so the village chief looked at me with his eyes fluttering. Even if the third-grade martial arts, Liuhe Swordsmanship, is not enough, it can be easily done by the discipline of half a century.
I laughed and laughed.
“If I am attached to Qinglong Wuguan, it will indeed increase your name. Even if I fail, it will not ruin your fame."
The village chief pulled his goatee beard a few times as if to calculating the possibilities in his head. Then he nodded his head with a frustrated face.
“Ok, good. Instead, if you manage to become a disciple of Qinglong Wuguan, you must pay back the money I have raised you.”
What is this?
I looked at the chief because I wanted to hear the unthinkable again, and he seemed to be looking at something.
“I am going to borrow your money if you get a share of it there.”
“Ah… How much do you want me to pay?”
“It will be fifty silver coins (five thousand dollars).”
There was something going on inside me. He had made a teenage boy eat and work in a stall, and he did not give enough food for almost two years. I thought that he is not a human being who can be compatible with others.
However, I decided to endure. I laughed as I slapped my cheek.
“Hahaha! I’ll head out tomorrow.”
Let’s wait and see.
Once I get the strength, I will surely kill you and your son.
I pretended to be purely delighted while thinking such vicious thoughts.
Editors: T0ngan, Calvis