Gu Yue Qing Shu was also an orphan like Fang Yuan and Fang Zheng.
His parents had died in a wolf tide when he was young.
He was personally raised by clan leader Gu Yue Bo.
After he was tested to have B grade aptitude, he received Gu Yue Bo’s personal guidance. His aptitude was outstanding and could be said to be at the top among the B grades, it could even be called ‘false A grade’. Gu Yue Bo had been raising him as a clan leader candidate.
Gu Yue Qing Shu had a warm temperament and was amicable. He was highly praised and received well by the clan members. He was also very loyal to the clan; Fang Zheng’s arrival cut off his hopes of inheriting the clan leader position, but he was instead happy and wholeheartedly took care of Fang Zheng.
On Earth, Yue Fei(1), Wei Zheng(2) and Bao Zheng(3) were people with such character.
Unfortunately, in the wolf tide a year later, the Northern gate would fall; to block this gap and protect the clan members, he stepped forward. In the end, he forcefully used a Rank three Gu with his Rank two cultivation, becoming an impenetrable fortress and successfully defending the village.
However, his aperture was destroyed because of this and he finally turned into a treeman and died.
Thus, Gu Yue Qing Shu had left a profound impression on Fang Yuan.
When he saw Fang Yuan sighing, Gu Yue Qing Shu naturally didn’t think that Fang Yuan was looking back on his death and thought Fang Yuan was vexed due to the Liquor worm.
He smiled, "Fang Yuan, you should already be clear on the limits of Liquor worm. The Liquor worm is only a Rank one Gu worm and can only refine Rank one green copper essence. But you are already a Rank two Gu Master; the Liquor worm has no use towards red steel primeval essence. Although you have a wine tavern now and can easily raise the Liquor worm, why would you vainly raise something that has no use to you?"
He switched the thread of discussion, "The Liquor worm has no use to you but it is useful to other Rank one Gu Masters. Especially in the awakening ceremony next spring, there will be a new batch of students and the Liquor worm will be of great help to them. So, you might as well just sell the Liquor worm to the clan and contribute to clan’s strength."
Fang Yuan didn’t reply.
Qing Shu pondered, guessing Fang Yuan’s intention, "I understand now. You are reluctant to part with the Liquor worm, you even want to fuse it. If I am not wrong, you should be thinking of going through the route of the Rank two White Chrysalis, then the Rank three Mist Perspiring butterfly fusion route, right?"
"This is the most widespread and also the most practical recipe. The Mist Perspiring butterfly is a great Gu worm. But the White Chrysalis has no ability. This fusion route wouldn’t have much value to you. You have C grade aptitude and now have Rank two cultivation; White Chrysalis doesn’t have any ability and will only squander food, it will be of no help to you."
"What is the possibility of you reaching Rank three? Even if you succeeded in advancing to Rank three, you will probably be middle-aged by then. Will you raise the useless White Chrysalis for tens of years? It will be better to use the expenses of raising White Chrysalis on nurturing Gu worms. That is more practical and will be more helpful to you, am I wrong?"
"Liquor worm’s true value lies in refining primeval essence and raising a small realm. If you go through this fusion, you will only be treating the Liquor worm as a material, won’t that be a pity?"
All Gu worms had only one ability.
For instance, the Spring Autumn Cicada was a Rank six Gu, but it only had the ability of rebirth.
The new Gu worm that comes from fusion usually took an ability from one Gu worm and enhanced it. White Jade Gu, for instance, took the defensive ability of Jade Skin Gu and enhanced it, while losing the White Boar Gu’s ability to gain increased strength.
That is to say, if someone obtained White Jade Gu, it would only help in defense and couldn’t increase the Gu Master’s strength.
Qing Shu was correct, the Liquor worm’s value was in refining primeval essence and raising its stage by a small realm.
To Gu Masters, this was another form of increasing their primeval essence reserves while also being an enormous help in nourishing their aperture and increasing their cultivation speed.
If one went through ‘White Chrysalis, Mist Perspiring Butterfly’ fusion route, the resulting Gu worms won’t have the ability to refine primeval essence which would truly be a pity.
In fact, Flower Wine Monk took this route and refined the Mist Perspiring Butterfly from the Liquor worm, using it to enchant women and commit evil acts. After his death, the Mist Perspiring Butterfly continued to degenerate due to not having sufficient food and finally reverted back to Liquor worm.
Qing Shu’s eyes flashed upon seeing the silent Fang Yuan and continued, "Actually, our clan has a recipe; this recipe raises Liquor worm to Rank two Moon Harbinger Gu then the Rank three Seven Fragrances Liquor worm. Seven Fragrances Liquor worm has the ability to refine primeval essence."
"Fang Yuan, if you don’t want to sell the Liquor worm, then we could change it to a business transaction. You will sell the Liquor worm to the clan and if clan can refine it to the Seven Fragrances Liquor worm, you will have the right to use it for five years. If it fails, the clan will compensate for it. What do you think?"
Doing this meant the clan will bear all the risks for the fusion. With such a superior condition, others might eagerly agree to it.
But Fang Yuan only sneered coldly in his heart.
He knew himself.
With his 44% C grade aptitude, advancing to Rank three was almost impossible. In his previous life, Fang Yuan had stalled at Rank two for over a hundred years before finally and coincidentally obtaining a talent-raising Gu worm and becoming a Rank three Gu Master.
Five years of using rights sounded wonderful but to Fang Yuan, it was like trying to catch the moon’s reflection in water.
Gu Yue Qing Shu had said so because he saw Fang Yuan’s ambitions to charge to Rank three, so he intentionally threw this sweet bait to lure Fang Yuan.
But he had miscalculated from the start!
In Fang Yuan’s memories, there was the best recipe for the Liquor worm fusion.
First was advancing the Liquor worm to Rank two Four Flavors Liquor worm then to the Rank three Seven Fragrances Liquor worm. Whether it was Four Flavors Liquor worm or Seven Fragrances Liquor worm, both had the ability to refine primeval essence.
However, it was not easy to refine the Four Flavors Liquor worm.
First of all, its fusion required two Liquor worms; Fang Yuan only had one currently. Next, the fusion required four types of wine, and these four wines should be of four different flavors: sour, sweet, bitter and spicy.
Let’s not talk about the difficulty in purchasing a Liquor worm with there being hardly no supply of it in the market.
Let’s look at these four wines first.
Spicy wines were the most common, ordinary white spirit wine were all of this type. For sour wines, you could get bayberry wine and grape wines; rice wines could fit the sweet wine criteria. But as for the bitter wines, it needed some thinking to be done.
From what Fang Yuan knew, there was a type of green bitter wine which was brewed by using Ai grass. Unfortunately the Ai village was immeasurably far away, how would he obtain it?
Fang Yuan had detained the Liquor worm not because he wanted to wait and sell it for a high price. Rather, Fang Yuan had all along wanted to go through this fusion route; using any other fusion routes could be counted as ruining the Liquor worm.
How could Gu Yue Qing Shu know what Fang Yuan had in mind.
Seeing Fang Yuan not making any moves to agree at all, he threw his trump card, "Fang Yuan, if you sell the Liquor worm, I can mediate between you and Fang Zheng. At least, he won’t use the family assets to challenge you to a Gu battle. You also know the clan rules; the challenge must be accepted. Even if the Gu battle request is not approved by the higher-ups, it must first be accepted. Even if you are sure of your defeat and don’t want to go to the arena, directly throwing in the towel, you still need to accept the challenge."
This world promoted martial spirit; clans didn’t need cowards. If there was a challenge, Gu Masters must accept them. Accepting the challenge proves that you are not a coward. Even if you admit your defeat in front of the public, that too would be a conduct of courage.
Under the oppression of the ruthless environment, this had automatically turned and formed into a system of values.
The clan’s higher-ups would arbitrate according to the results of the Gu battles and resolve any problems and disputes.
The premise to a Gu battle was to have a reason. The challenger should be in the right and the challenge should be reasonable, or the two parties could both make an agreement similar to betting, only then would the Gu battle be approved.
"Fang Zheng’s Gu battle request is reasonable and fair; it will be approved. If this happens, no matter the result - whether loss or win - will be judged by the elders. Who do you think the elders will side with between you and Fang Zheng?"
Qing Shu’s smile became bigger, he looked at Fang Yuan with a burning gaze and continued to add pressure, "Fang Yuan, if you win, you will simply have to part with a tiny bit less of the family assets. But if you sell the Liquor worm to clan, you will be contributing to the clan. The clan will remember you. I can also guarantee that Fang Zheng would never challenge you on the basis of family assets."
The implication was that Fang Zheng could still challenge Fang Yuan with different reasons.
This was one of the things Gu Yue Qing Shu and Gu Yue Bo would be happy to see. They hoped Fang Zheng would defeat Fang Yuan and break the shadow in his heart to build up his self-confidence.
Fang Yuan suddenly smiled, he had been listening to Gu Yue Qing Shu’s chatters from the beginning. And now, he finally spoke.
"You think I will lose if we fight?" Fang Yuan asked Qing Shu.
Qing Shu also smiled, "Fights are full of variations, no one can foretell what might happen. However, I need to remind you, Fang Zheng has already refined the Rank two Moonveil Gu; you won’t have much of an advantage."
"Hahaha." Fang Yuan shook his head, and the smile on his face became bigger, "I will lose, I’d definitely lose."
Qing Shu stared blankly.
Fang Yuan stared into his eyes and continued, "Not only will I lose, I will even lose very miserably. I will hand over all my parents’ inheritance, and from then on I will sleep on the street and wander about begging in the village."
"You...." Gu Yue Qing Shu was smart, he understood Fang Yuan’s true intentions. His expression became grave; no longer was it confident and graceful.
Fang Yuan’s words were a bare threat.
Fang Zheng was being raised as the next clan leader; if it was made known that he had recognized others as his parents, used his cultivation and aptitude to bully his big brother, snatching the inheritance, then there would be a devastating damage to his reputation.
Even on Earth, a person who did this would be shamed and disdained by people. Let alone in this world where the values of family love was raised to a whole new level.
It wouldn’t be anything if Fang Zheng wanted to become a devil. But he was going to become a clan leader, a leader of the righteous path, and that meant he needed to uphold virtue and cherish it.
For a moment, Gu Yue Qing Shu looked dazedly at Fang Yuan. He discovered that despite hearing a lot about Fang Yuan, he had still underestimated the latter.
The dominance that he had build up from his many sentences since the moment they met, had now crumbled with a bang.
Fang Yuan hit the nail on the head, directly indicating the main part to Gu Yue Qing Shu.
If it was another person, Fang Yuan would have spoken differently. But Gu Yue Qing Shu was someone who had extreme loyalty to the clan and in Fang Yuan’s previous life, he would rather sacrifice himself to protect the clan. Thus, he had no choice but to worry because of Fang Yuan’s threat.
However, he quickly calmed down, his eyes staring at Fang Yuan as he spoke between clenched teeth, "But you won’t do this. Because the inheritance has been your goal all along, how will you cultivate if you give up the inheritance?"
Fang Yuan wasn’t afraid. He met Qing Shu’s gaze, his lips curled up in a smile, "That’s why I believe you will give up the notion of buying the Liquor worm and also persuade Fang Zheng to not challenge me, am I wrong?"
Others might not be able to persuade Fang Zheng, but Gu Yue Qing Shu had this capability.
Fang Yuan had no doubt on this.
The situation was in a deadlock.
After a moment, Gu Yue Qing Shu lowered his eyes.
He stared at the wine cup in his hand for a while and suddenly laughed.
"Interesting, we will do just that." His tone carried a hint of melancholy.
(1). Yue Fei (岳飞) - [1103 AD - 1142 AD] Song Dynasty patriot and general.
(2). Wei Zheng (魏征) - [580 AD - 643 AD] Tang politician and historian, notorious as a critic, editor of History of the Sui Dynasty.
(3). Bao Zheng (包拯) - [999 AD - 1062 AD] Northern song official renowned for his honesty.