"What’s the matter?" Fang Yuan looked at Chi Shan.
Even if it was winter, he continued to be topless, his red skin emitting a warmth that made people feel like they were near a heater.
The white snow that landed on his body instantly melted.
This is because his aperture had a Double Orifice Stove Gu.
The Stove Gu was a Rank two Gu worm. It could store internal heat that could be used for attacking. Subduing the cold was just a side effect.
Chi Shan’s expression was complicated, he stared at Fang Yuan and said gravely, "Do you know that these days, Xiong Li from the Xiong clan has been finding you for a contest of strength?"
"I know," Fang Yuan nodded.
Chi Shan sighed, "Xiong Li finding you for a contest of strength is not a mere competition, but it involves the interest allocation of the three clans’ alliance. Under the wolf tide, non-alliance means destruction. But after forming an alliance, the biggest problem is how to distribute the interests and profits. These days, the three clans have been at a stalemate due to that."
Fang Yuan looked at Chi Shan, instantly understanding why he had looked for himself.
Negotiation was the hardest thing to do. For their own interests, the three clans would not give way automatically, and they would have to fight for their best interests. The negotiation table was long filled with gunpowder and smoke, battling wits.
In this world’s system of values, first was strength, second was kinship.
Qing Mao Mountain’s three clans were individual clans, having great conflict towards each other since a long time ago, each bearing old and deep grudges. Of course kinship cannot be used to alleviate their tensions. So to break the tension, they had to rely on strength.
On earth, there are military exercises to display one’s strength. In this world, it worked similarly in that there are Gu contests to display the strength of one faction and achieve greater benefits for themselves.
Xiong Li finding Fang Yuan for a contest to compete strength, was due to this.
As expected, Chi Shan said next, "I have competed with Xiong Li, he has the Brown Bear Innate Strength Gu and already possesses the strength of one bear. He also has the Grand Bear Gu, and can increase his strength by another bear. Together he has two bear’s strength. I am far beyond his match, as much as I want to deny it. But as Qing Mao Mountain’s number one strongest person, the title belongs to him no doubt."
He paused for a while, then continue, "Let’s talk business. Your strength is around mine, so you are not his match either. But you cannot lose, as you were the one who woke up the River Swallowing Toad, the hero that saved Qing Mao Mountain. Once you lose, our Gu Yue Clan’s interests will be compromised. So for the clan’s interests, discard your personal honor and avoid battle!"
Fang Yuan stared silently at Chi Shan.
Chi Shan looked down, "I know that this matter towards you is very difficult. After all, avoiding the competition has a disastrous damage towards one’s own reputation. But it is for the interests of the clan; if you lose, the clan would have to give up much more. The clan has nurtured us, we naturally have to contribute to the clan right? The clan needs you. Sacrificing your own reputation for the clan is only natural! But this matter started due to me, so in my personal name, I will compensate you for it, as part of my goodwill."
Saying so, Chi Shan handed Fang Yuan a large money bag.
Fang Yuan weighed it, and chuckled, "So my reputation is only worth two hundred primeval stones?"
Chi Shan could hear the sarcasm in his words, his gaze sharpened as he said solemnly, "Fang Yuan, please do not have any indignant feelings! Earlier, I tried to console you with kind words, but the truth is I’m here with a mission. Avoiding the competition is the clan higher-up’s orders. Regardless of what you think, this is an order. I hope you understand your position."
Saying so, he turned around and left, leaving deep footprints in the snow.
Fang Yuan looked at Chi Shan’s back as his eyes revealed a sign of understanding.
"In order to get the greatest benefits, the clan has already used the event of me chasing away the River Swallowing Toad as a chip in the negotiation. After all, the River Swallowing Toad was a danger to the entire Qing Mao Mountain. In order to get rid of this chip, the Xiong clan sent Xiong Li to challenge me."
"To the clan, I am but a chess piece. Xiong Li is the same, and Chi Shan is also a chess piece. What is sad is that these people are willingly being pawn pieces, even basking in its glory and finding it natural; this is truly a successful brainwash by the clan."
"But I originally did not want to compete with Xiong Li anyway, the so-called reputation is merely praises from others. This chain that binds people has captured many heroes and geniuses in the past. But to me, what loss is there? Hehe, I have to thank Chi Shan for sending me two hundred primeval stones."
Thinking of this, Fang Yuan smirked.
Why did he attract Xiong Li’s challenge? Merely because he had the glory of saving the village. Why did Chi Shan challenge Xiong Li? It was merely for the reputation of Qing Mao Mountain’s number one strongman.
The so-called reputation is merely a superficial carrot. It has tempted many people and trampled many others, manipulating countless people.
Sad, how sad!
Snow continued to descend slowly.
The entire Gu Yue village was silently erected in the snow. The people beside him rushed through the streets.
"What’s laughable is that these people have had their bodies trapped by this fictitious glory!" Fang Yuan’s eyes drooped down as his eerie dark iris was half-covered by hair.
The light reflecting from the snow shone on his face. The young man’s face was pale and had a sort of coldness.
Suddenly laughing, Fang Yuan recited a poem, "White snow blankets the land as I travel alone through heaven and earth. Alone without any attachments, my solitary shadow travels freely."
He took a large step and continued travelling.
While others rushed, Fang Yuan walked alone.
Whether it was clansmen, snow or the village, they were merely a blurry background.
A moment later, he reached his rental apartment.
The bamboo buildings and the wine tavern, he had already sold them all away. He continued to stay in the rented flat, and although it was very simple, Fang Yuan did not ask for more, he just needed a shelter over his head.
Sitting on the bed, Fang Yuan began to cultivate.
Gu Masters in cultivating to breakthrough a large realm, needed ability and talent. But to break through a small realm, it was merely the accumulation of time. With enough time, the aperture would be continuously nurtured, and it can continue to elevate.
According to agreement, when it reached evening, Jiang Ya came to Fang Yuan’s residence.
"Lord Fang Yuan, these are the primeval stones this time, please inspect it." He walked into the room, handing over five money bags respectfully, filled with primeval stones.
There was more than four hundred primeval stones inside, and as the wolf tide approached, Gu Masters had an increased reliance on the vitality leaves. This caused Fang Yuan’s sale price to continuously go up.
Fang Yuan handed Jiang Ya nine vitality leaves, asking, "The thing I asked you to purchase, have you done it?"
Jiang Ya showed a look of disappointment, shaking his head, "Lord Fang Yuan, this is bad timing. The wolf tide is coming, and the clan has increased its control on resources. Other things aside, that Fish Scale Gu is only slightly less valuable than the Jade Skin Gu. I have already tried my best, but it is difficult to have results immediately."
Fang Yuan frowned.
Fish Scale Gu was used with Stealth Rock Gu to create the Stealth Scale Gu. Without the Fish Scale Gu, he couldn’t refine the Stealth Scale Gu.
"Even with resource control, it does not mean we cannot find a Fish Scale Gu. The root of the problem is Jiang Ya’s ability being too small. It seems that fusing the Stealth Scale Gu would have to drag on." Fang Yuan sighed in his heart.
But he was not discouraged.
Nine out of ten things in this world will not go according to plan.
This is life, and the phrase "smooth-sailing" is only a beautiful greeting.
"Bai clan produces the Fish Scale Gu, and our clan also has them, although less in number. It seems this matter has to wait after the formal alliance."
Fang Yuan was not in a rush, he knew that once the three clans form an alliance, they would create the battle merit board. This would encourage Gu Masters to proactively hunt wolves. By then, he would be able to use his merit points to exchange for the three clan’s resources.
Of course, Gu Yue Clan’s Moonlight Gu, Xiong clan’s Bear Strength Gu and Bai clan’s Stream Gu were the clan’s signature, and would not be exchangeable.
But the Fish Scale Gu was definitely inside.
Danger is accompanied by opportunity.
To Gu Masters, the wolf tide was a strict examination, but also an opportunity to rise up.
Under the attack of the wolf tide, numerous famous Gu Masters died while many Gu Masters gained fame due to it. The older factions in the clan would weaken due to this, but new factions would rise up into the political stage.
At night, unexpected guests arrived.
Gu Yue Qing Shu and Gu Yue Fang Zheng.
Qing Shu got to the main point, mentioning his previous objective, wanting to buy the Liquor worm from Fang Yuan.
At the same time, he also wanted to buy the Black Boar Gu, and even the Nine Leaf Vitality Grass.
Nine Leaf Vitality Grass was a no brainer; Liquor worm had long become the Four Flavor Liquor worm, even if Fang Yuan wanted to, he couldn’t even produce it now, thus he rejected them.
But the Black Boar Gu...
"I have already gained the strength of a boar, so the Black Boar Gu has little value to me anymore. Black Boar Gu’s best advancement path is the Steel Mane Gu. Although it is a Gu with both offense and defense, to me who already has the White Jade Gu, it has little use. I might as well exchange it into a Fish Scale Gu."
Fang Yuan thought of this, and mentioned it.
"Fish Scale Gu?" Qing Shu frowned, then nodded, "I know, you lack a defensive Gu worm. The Fish Scale Gu can be fused into the Rank two Scale Armor Gu. It can provide good defense."
Using the Fish Scale Gu and Stealth Rock Gu to create the Stealth Scale Gu, the recipe would only be discovered two hundred years later, so it was natural that Qing Shu had no clue.
Fang Yuan did not expose himself, "The Black Boar Gu is more valuable than the Fish Scale Gu, so if we exchange it, you have to compensate me the difference in price."
"Naturally." Qing Shu nodded then asked, "Nevermind about the Nine Leaf Vitality Grass, are you really not selling the Liquor worm? It is useless to you already, raising it for nothing is just a waste of your primeval stones."
Fang Yuan shook his head, "Don’t mention the Liquor worm, it is not for sale."
Qing Shu rubbed his nose, laughing bitterly, "Fang Yuan, this matter is more complicated than you think. Do you know Gu Yue Yao Le? She is the granddaughter of medicine hall elder Gu Yue Yao Ji, a new student this year, and has B grade aptitude. Gu Yue Yao Ji loves her granddaughter and once tried to buy a Liquor worm in the treehouse, but did not succeed."
"You’ve used the Liquor worm before, I’m sure you know the benefits it has. I won’t say anymore, but Lord Yao Ji really wants this Gu worm for her granddaughter. An elderly’s affection for her grandchildren is completely understandable. Thus, she has come to you, she is serious about buying it and has offered a high price. She even promises that if you got injured in the wolf tide, you’d get special attention from the medicine hall. I hope you consider it thoroughly."