The temperature these few days had gotten higher.
The sun shone intensely in the afternoon, hanging right over everyone’s head.
The caravan left and the inn’s business fell again.
Fang Yuan stepped into the cafeteria, immediately attracting the attention of the shop assistants.
A familiar face rushed over and gave him a flattering smile. "Oh, young master, you’re here! Please take a seat!"
"Give me a jar of wine and cut me 600g of beef, and serve a few side dishes." Fang Yuan strode through the cafeteria and approached the window seat that he always sat at.
The shop assistant showed a difficult expression, "Young master, my apologies but during the last time the caravan came, the innkeeper sold all of the green bamboo wine. We do not have this wine here anymore."
Fang Yuan nodded, not feeling surprised, "Then give me a jar of rice wine and tell the innkeeper, brew more green bamboo wine this year, I am pre-ordering a hundred jars. As for how much the advance payment will be, you can count first and report to me."
Now that the Liquor worm was exposed and did not gather any suspicion, Fang Yuan did not have to be restrained in buying wine anymore.
"Alright, I will definitely convey your words! Please be at ease young master." The shop assistant patted his chest, sounding confident.
Soon, the dishes were served.
Fang Yuan drank and ate while staring out of the window.
In such hot weather, especially during meal times, there were few people on the streets.
The sunlight shone on the ground and the green coloured bamboo tall-houses.
A few barefooted mortal farmers carrying cement, steel spades or shoulder poles walked in front. They had just finished their farm work, and were heading home.
Two children held the bamboo frame of their windmill toy and ran about. The one behind chased while crying and shouting; it seems that the boy in front had stolen his windmill toy.
At this moment, two young Gu Masters wearing green belts walked hurriedly on the street.
"Get lost, don’t block the way!" A Gu Master pushed the farmer in front of him.
The farmers frantically gave way.
"Hmph." The two young Gu Masters walked through arrogantly.
Fang Yuan looked with a distracted gaze in his eyes, as part of his mind was already focused on his aperture.
Within the aperture, the water wall continued to flow as his green copper primeval sea rose with raging waves.
The Liquor worm was playing around in his primeval sea, at times comfortably rolling around, and at times curling into a ball.
The Spring Autumn Cicada was in deep slumber, hiding its appearance.
The round body of the White Boar Gu spread its wings and drew circles in the sky.
The White and Black Boar Gu were equally well-known, both being precious and rare Rank one Gu worms. Their market value was even greater than the Liquor worm.
Although they had the same usage and similar appearance, their future advancement routes were greatly different.
The Black Boar Gu and the Green Silk Gu would combine into the Rank two Black Mane Gu, and then into the Rank 3 Steel Mane Gu.
But the White Boar Gu was most compatible with the Jade Skin Gu, where it would turn into Rank two White Jade Gu, and later into the Rank three Heavenly Mugwort Gu(1).
The Steel Mane Gu could let the Gu Master’s hair become tough as steel, raising both offense and defense. The Heavenly Mugwort Gu allowed the Gu Master’s body to become tough as white jade while at the same time reducing the damage from attacks such as the moonblade.
Fang Yuan was slightly happy over this.
Getting the White Boar Gu was just one aspect of it, but what made him truly happy was the Flower Wine Monk’s strength inheritance.
"The White Boar Gu can increase strength. The Flower Wine Monk set a giant rock to block the way, so it seems I need to refine this Gu and with enough strength, push the giant rock away and continue forward. This must be the first test."
"With the Flower Wine Monk’s meticulous setup, I can infer that there has to be future inheritance trials, a second or third hurdle. Most importantly, I can confirm that he set this strength inheritance not as a trap, but with true sincerity."
"With this inheritance, I can reach Rank three faster and leave this Qing Mao Mountain, and venture outside, gaining greater opportunities!"
What does a Gu Master need most in cultivating?
The answer is but one word — Resources.
Fang Yuan needs to cultivate, thus he needs resources. But the clan’s resources are limited, so if he wants more, he needs to fight for it.
Not only fighting for resources, he also has to be victorious.
To him, the more he fights and the more victories he obtained, the more he would reveal more of his trump cards and make others more wary.
Wariness when accumulated to an extent, would turn into suppression and hurdles blocking his path.
Fang Yuan killed a family servant, but why did the Mo family stay indifferent? Robbing the classmates, why did their family not pursue it? Fang Yuan resisted the clan and refused to be part of the system, but why did the clan leader choose to be lenient?
It is all because he is weak, because he is C grade.
They feel strong and do not feel like bullying the weak. Under the family’s system, being petty with the weak Fang Yuan not only causes them to face humiliation, it also makes others feel that the person is cold and unfeeling, ruining one’s social relationships.
Weakness was a safety umbrella that Fang Yuan had for now.
But with his continued competition for resources, Fang Yuan would appear stronger. This would make everyone start being wary of him, and begin to try recruiting him. No matter which side he chooses, he would face suppression and troubles from the other factions.
Suppression and restrictions would drag down his growing speed.
Fang Yuan was aware of his predicament, he was in a delicate position. He seemed to have offended everyone, but he had not violated any law in reality.
Yet with time, his cultivation level will rise, and conflicts will arise and worsen.
Fang Yuan knowns that this conflict would escalate, but the later it escalated, the greater benefit he would gain.
Thus, the Flower Wine Monk’s inheritance was perfectly timed!
With this strength inheritance, he would have hidden resources. Using this, he could be free of the system’s control and walk his own path, cultivating at his own speed and secretly accumulate strength.
Once he was adopted into the system, he would need to side with a faction. Even if he did not want to compete, he would definitely be dragged into the political strife.
Inside the system, one is a pawn. You first have to be a proper pawn for others to use you willingly. After they trust and use you, you have the chance to climb upwards, and even during that process, you have to be careful not to become a discarded pawn.
Fang Yuan was clear of this procedure, he knew it too well. Even with his vast knowledge, there was nothing he could do to this situation. These were the rules!
The more crucial part was his C grade talent. To the clan, there was no desire in investing in him. Often he would be treated as a discarded pawn.
The most optimum progress route was to work alone. This way, he could avoid most competition. Towards the higher-ups in the village, the image he had created earlier would be sustained.
"This world’s matters, it is always easily done secretly, but difficult to do openly. Using the Flower Wine Monk’s inheritance, I can cultivate and gather strength secretly without gaining attention and suppression. But the extortion has to continue, for if it stopped abruptly, it would invite suspicion, and I also need primeval stones." Fang Yuan considered his future plans.
He really needed primeval stones.
Other teenagers of his age had only started refining and feeding a second Gu worm. He however, had also refined the Little Light Gu and recently acquired the White Boar Gu, thus having a total of four Gu worms.
Previously, he needed around one primeval stone a day just to feed the Moonlight Gu and Liquor worm. Now after calculating, he needed more than two pieces everyday just as expenditure!
If including his cultivating needs and living expenditures, he would need to use around five primeval stones a day!
Five primeval stones was enough to feed a family of three mortals for five months.
On hand at the moment, he had several hundred primeval stones, but it was not enough to sustain such an expenditure in the long run.
More importantly, the further he got, the greater his expenditure would be. Especially after advancing to Rank two, every time he tried combining Gu worms, it would be cost a huge sum.
Thinking of this, Fang Yuan felt troubled.
The matter of primeval stones was a problem, and by relying on just extortion and the resources on hand, he could only delay this problem from erupting.
Moreover, he had another problem, and that was the White Boar Gu’s feeding.
The White Boar Gu’s food was pork.
Boar, obviously referred to pigs. The Boar Gu series’ food, was all pork.
Black and White Boar Gu had huge appetites. Every five days they would need to eat around one fully grown pig’s amount of meat.
Pork in this world was not cheap, and mortals could only afford to slaughter one during the New Year celebration, and enjoy themselves. Without the large scale cultivation technique of Earth, the price of pork and beef was not something mortals could eat often. At the same time the topography of the Qing Mao Mountain was precipitous, the area of residence narrow, how much space could be allocated just for rearing livestock?
You eat what you can procure at where you live, the villagers were able to eat pork occasionally because of the hunters hunting wild boars in the mountains.
"It seems that I have to go hunting myself from now on, for pork." Fang Yuan’s eyes shone with a glint.
Relying on the village to purchase pork, first was the expenditure of primeval stones, second was that it would attract attention. Even if you loved eating pork, how could a person eat so much in such a short period?
If he hunted himself, it would not only resolve this problem, but also alleviate his current financial stress.
"Shop assistant, bill!" Thinking of this, Fang Yuan hesitated no more, and after footing the bill, he left the inn.
These few days the academy was on break so that the students could refine their second Gu worm. Fang Yuan decided that he could use this time well. He would leave the village and scout the mountains, and then kill some wild boars and get himself some pork.
(1) Mugwort - A kind of plant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_princeps