In the blink of an eye, ten more days passed.
Deep in the mountain, in the underground rock forest.
Tens of jade eye stone monkeys jumped in the air with blurred silhouettes.
They continued to leap and attacked Fang Yuan aggressively.
If it was like before, Fang Yuan would retreat without doubt. But now, he stood on the spot with a cold expression, still like a rock.
The stone monkeys slammed, scratched, and bit Fang Yuan’s body, but a crisp ‘ding ding’ sound could be heard, as if they were not attacking a person, but a sturdy jade pillar.
A bright white jade light covered the area as it attached itself onto Fang Yuan’s body. This light, although it was thinner than the Jade Skin Gu’s jade green glow, it had more than twice of the defensive power.
Jade Skin Gu’s defense can only handle up to sixteen monkeys’ simultaneous attack, but now Fang Yuan could face off against more than thirty monkeys alone.
"On the arena, I could break Fang Zheng’s Jade Skin Gu’s defense with my bare fists, but if Fang Zheng used this White Jade Gu, even if I broke my wrist bone, I would not be able to penetrate his defenses."
Fang Yuan pondered while diverting a part of his thoughts towards his aperture sea.
In the red steel primeval sea, the White Jade Gu sank to the bottom of the sea, constantly absorbing primeval essence. Its surface also emitted a faint white jade glow, like a lightbulb.
Every time the stone monkeys attack Fang Yuan, the White Jade Gu’s surface which resembled an oval pebble would flash faintly.
At the same time, Fang Yuan could feel a trace of his primeval essence being expended.
"White Jade Gu’s defense is the same type as the Jade Skin Gu, they both require continuous source of primeval essence. At the same time, the greater the intensity of the attack, the more primeval essence is expended." Fang Yuan concluded in his heart.
At the same time, he counterattacked.
Punches and kicks kicked up a sandstorm. His strikes were simple, yet brutal and effective with an imposing aura.
Although the White Boar Gu was gone, the strength it gave to Fang Yuan still remained in his body.
Endless monkeys were hit by Fang Yuan. Some were kicked away, knocking on the stone pillar; some were killed in midair, turning into stone and breaking into fragments when they landed on the ground.
At the same time, with a flick of his wrist, Fang Yuan sent moonblades flying around, like the scythe of the reaper, harvesting the lives of the stone monkeys.
With the supply of red steel primeval essence, the Rank one Moonlight Gu could cause the greatest attack damage to the monkeys with every hit.
The stone monkeys screamed in fright, retreating.
Fang Yuan had exterminated the stone monkeys in a short moment of counterattack, with only five or six remaining.
Fang Yuan killed another, and the remaining stone monkeys broke down, frantically running around and escaping deep into the stone forest.
Fang Yuan did not chase these escapees, but continued forwards deeper into the stone forest.
These days, he had been working hard to find the next clue for the inheritance. With continuous exploring, he had stepped foot on most of the areas around the stone forest, but did not find anything.
He had a hunch, vaguely guessing the Flower Wine Monk’s idea. He felt that the next step of the inheritance was likely linked to the most central area of the stone forest.
The deeper he got into the forest, the larger the stone pillars were, and the more stone monkeys lived inside them.
Fang Yuan walked as he observed — at the center of the stone forest, there was a large stone pillar. Its circumference was wider than tens of men surrounding it and attempting to hug it.
This stone pillar was his objective.
But, the deeper he got, the larger the monkey gangs, and the higher the difficulty.
Fang Yuan took a crucial step out and entered the alert zone of a group of monkeys.
Squeak squeak squeak!
The black caves in the stone pillar had emerging furious jade eye stone monkeys, and up to a hundred jumped in Fang Yuan’s direction.
Fang Yuan ran for his life.
Against so many monkeys, even with the White Jade Gu, he could not massacre them.
The stone monkeys chased Fang Yuan for a while, then some started to abandon the chase and turned around, going back to their caves. Eventually, only thirty or so monkeys trailed after Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan seeing the time was right, turned around and fought.
After a round of fighting, the last few monkeys ran and escaped, not even daring to return to their original caves.
After a few rounds, Fang Yuan killed over a hundred stone monkeys. On the road there were traces of broken stones from the corpses of the stone monkeys.
"Insufficient primeval essence." Fang Yuan inspected his primeval sea and sighed, forced to stop in his tracks.
If it was before, he would use his primeval stones to recover swiftly, but now, after fusing the White Jade Gu, he had a severe lack of primeval stones, or rather his entire finance was on the brink of collapsing.
Fang Yuan picked up the jade rock eyeballs and stuffed them into his bag.
"It should be at the bottom of the center of that rock pillar. But to reach there, I have to open a path." This feeling was getting more intense, Fang Yuan gave it one last look before opening the stone door and returning to the second secret room.
At the corner of the hidden room, there were some items.
A small bag with hundreds of eyeball jades. Fang Yuan opened the bag and poured his loot in from today.
The jade pearls collided with one another, emitting a crisp sound.
There was another bag, and wild boar tusks were inside. But now Fang Yuan no longer needed to slaughter wild boars.
He used the White Boar Gu and the Jade Skin Gu to refine the White Jade Gu. The White Boar Gu had disappeared, and reduced his necessity for pork to 0.
The new White Jade Gu was more like the Jade Skin Gu, it consumed jade rocks.
Jade Skin Gu needed two liang of jade rocks every ten days. While the White Jade Gu needed eight liang of jade rocks every twenty days.
Normally speaking, the higher the rank, the longer interval there is for each meal. Rank two Gu usually feed every half a month, while Rank three Gu feed every month, or longer.
Of course, higher ranking Gu also consume more food. On average, the White Jade Gu consumed more in cost than the Jade Skin Gu and the White Boar Gu combined.
But to Fang Yuan, he had this rock forest and did not lack jade rocks. At the same time he did not need pork, so he did not need to kill wild boars, thus this saved him a lot of trouble and a lot of time.
Tying the little bag up, Fang Yuan picked up a bullskin water sack.
Inside the water sack, there was golden honey wine inside. Few days ago, Fang Yuan had relied on the Jade Skin Gu and endured the bees’ attacks, and gathered enough honey wine.
"I only have two and a half primeval stones left, it is time to go to the internal affairs hall and turn in the mission."
Fang Yuan kept the water sack well and returned to the tunnel, squeezing out of the rock crack and returning to the outside world.
It was sunset now.
The golden sunset of winter was in fact not cold, the weather bright and fair. The setting sun emerged with comfortable rays of a red-orange colour, the exquisite sunlight passing through the crown of pine trees and shining onto the mountain floor.
Walking alone, he headed towards the village.
Yet Fang Yuan did not go directly, but took a few reroutes to prevent the rock crack from being found out.
Winter wind blew on his face, this was the smell of freedom.
Back in the academy, he could only sneak out at night. Now that he was Rank two, he could move about freely in the day without any suspicion.
More importantly, the death of sickly snake and the others allowed Fang Yuan to move alone with less restraints.
The only thing is, Fang Yuan was now alone without any supporting group members. The following clan mission which occurs monthly, he had to complete one at least, and that would be difficult.
Now, after the small beast horde, all the groups had regrouped. Fang Yuan had missed the chance.
Because of his reputation, Fang Yuan was also ostracized by the Gu Masters. Joining other small groups was not going to be easy.
"So what if I’m left out, the more I float around at the brink, the less attention is on me, and the more advantageous it is for me. As for the clan mission, it is mandatory so I have to take it. But...."
Thinking of this, Fang Yuan’s eyes shone with cold light, he had plans already.
The clan mandates that every Gu Master had to accept a mission every month, but did not force them to complete it.
Being unable to complete the mission will result in falling evaluation. This was something no Gu Master wanted to see, thus they did their all to complete the missions.
But to Fang Yuan, this evaluation was crap!
Walking into the village, there was an endless stream of people walking along the limestone paths of the streets.
At this time, it is normally the peak period.
Many Gu Masters complete their missions with injuries and whatnot, returning to the village. After working for a day, farmers drag their muddy feet and tired bodies, quietly moving along.
In this world, living was not easy, it was full of pain and suffering.
The setting sun slowly dropped below the mountain top, giving out the last ray of warm light. This light would be diminished by the unevenly criss-crossed branches of the withering trees, becoming the fragments of time scattered upon the green jade walls of bamboo houses.
"Oh no, my toy," a girl cried out, chasing her spinning top among the crowd.
The spinning top rolled to Fang Yuan’s feet, and the girl also hit Fang Yuan’s leg, falling on the ground.
"Sorry, sorry! For offending lord Gu Master, please pardon us!" The little girl’s father hurried over. When he saw Fang Yuan’s clothing, his expression was white as paper, bringing the little girl and kneeling down, kowtowing to Fang Yuan.
The girl cried out of shock, pearls of tears trailing down her white and rosy face.
The walking mortals upon seeing this scene, turned away and avoided them like the plague.
Some Gu Masters stared coldly, before turning away and leaving.
"Stop crying, you troublemaker!" The father was frightened, angry and afraid, moving his hand to give her a slap, but Fang Yuan grabbed his hand, not allowing any movement.
"Just a small matter, no worries." Fang Yuan laughed lightly, touching the little girl’s head, softly consoling, "Don’t be afraid, it is okay."
The girl stopped crying, using her teary eyes to look at Fang Yuan, thinking this big brother was really gentle.
"Thank you lord, thank you lord for your kindness!" The girl’s father was overjoyed, kowtowing to Fang Yuan without a break.
Fang Yuan continued forward.
His rented house was not far away.
And on the ground floor of that bamboo house, his uncle Gu Yue Dong Tu stood, staring at Fang Yuan who was still a distance away, evidently waiting for him.