It was a night without sleep, and once day came, Fang Yuan stepped out of the room and started to purchase stuff wantonly.
The room was poorly furnished and the blankets were torn. If he lived there for long, the chill would enter his body and cause him to get sick.
Fang Yuan’s primeval stones were already half-used up, but he still had to purchase the necessary equipment. He could not scrimp on these things.
Firstly was a blanket, he had to get a large blanket stuffed with cotton, or at least two. He also needed bed sheets and a mattress.
He needed another oil lamp so that it could illuminate the room, and he needed at least two pots of lamp oil.
Thinking about it, although the room was small, it could still hold a table and a chair, thus he bought those as well.
Most importantly, it was a stove.
In the winter, if he did not have a stove to warm himself when sleeping in the room, he would still get shocked awake by the cold.
Other than these, he also bought some dry rations and some water to last around seven days’ worth.
The winter sun slowly rose, giving out languid rays of light.
Gu Yue Jiao San and the other Gu Masters stood at the North door of the village, waiting anxiously.
"Something’s not right. Last night we agreed to meet at this time and place. But it has already been fifteen minutes, and this Fang Yuan still hasn’t shown up?" A female Gu Master asked.
"Calm down and just wait. It is inevitable that a newcomer is late," Jiao Sao laughed. He had been fretting over not having any reasons to fault Fang Yuan with, but to think he faltered on the second day.
"Never mind that we are waiting. Even the group leader has to wait for him, this lad thinks too much of himself!" Gu Yue Kong Jing complained, his tone indignant.
Half an hour later, Fang Yuan was still nowhere to be found.
Jiao San’s face was darker than night.
"This scumbag, did he remember the wrong location? We said clearly that we are meeting at the northern door," Kong Jing said suspiciously.
"I’ll wait here, you guys go look around the different doors," Jiao San instructed, and the three obliged.
Fifteen minutes later, they returned with no fruit.
"Did this Fang Yuan see through our ploy and left the group directly?" A female Gu Master asked.
"You think too highly of him. Even if he is the first place in the year end exam, he is still a young newbie. His age is apparent." Kong Jing said.
Jiao San’s face was grim, "It is secondary to whether he has seen through us. The crucial thing is to find him now. I am afraid that he has left us behind and is trying to breakthrough to Rank two on his own. Once he reaches Rank two, he can abandon this mission and apply for the splitting of assets from the internal affairs hall. Find him, go and find him! The village is only so big and there are only that many rental houses, we must find him and not give him the time to breakthrough to Rank two!"
In the room, Fang Yuan sat on the bed.
In front of him were a few money bags, and inside them was all primeval stones.
"Not enough primeval stones," Fang Yuan sighed, his expression grim.
Primeval stones are the driving force behind a Gu Master’s advancement, and if they are lacking, the Gu Masters would need to rely on their own recovery speed for primeval essence, which would greatly reduce their cultivation speed. At the same time, without sufficient food, the Gu worms would die of hunger.
Fang Yuan’s primeval stones, during his time at the academy, it had reached the peak of being slightly above a thousand. But it could not stand up to the expenditure over time.
A same stage Gu Master up till now, only has three Gu worms.
But Fang Yuan, after getting number one in the year end exam, entered the Gu hall and chose another Little Light Gu for free.
He must choose, for if he gave up, it would invite suspicion.
Like this, he had seven Gu worms on hand!
Undeniably, this was a huge financial burden.
"If this continues, I can only hold out for two months. I must get back my family assets, that is the greatest financial support. But to get them back, the first step is to advance to Rank two." Fang Yuan’s gaze was dark.
To Fang Yuan, advancing to Rank two was not easy.
For a Gu Master’s cultivation, first was resources, second was talent. Without talent, the path of cultivation would be difficult and their accomplishments in the future would be lower.
Talent is split according to D, C, B and A grade.
But this is only a rough distribution.
In fact, every grade has another specific differentiation.
Taking a C grade for example — the primeval essence storage in the aperture would be around 40-59%.
Fang Yuan’s primeval essence was 44%, so in the C grade range, he was only middle-lower class.
Rushing to Rank two, he needed at least 55% black green primeval essence. To an A and B grade Gu Master, this was not difficult, and to the 55-59% C grade Gu Masters, they could pass as well.
Thus, for C grade Gu Masters, once they reach a certain accumulation, most of them would advance to Rank two. Only very few can attain Rank three.
Thus, the talent could determine most people’s achievements in their lives. Fang Yuan being given the cold shoulder, he could not blame the people for being biased.
"Although my C grade talent is only 44%, if I want to break the wall and reach a new height, attaining Rank two, it is still not impossible. The easiest way is to find a talent raising Gu worm. Secondary, I can get a support-type Gu like the Liquor worm, and that can help to break the barrier as well. Lastly, I can attain the help of a higher-ranking Gu Master, but using external primeval essence has a huge backlash, unless I can get the Cleansing Gu in future to eliminate the external presence."
Fang Yuan thought about it while using both hands to take out a primeval stone, using his fingers to rub the smooth surface of the stone.
"But the above methods are not recommended for me. I do not have any friendly Gu Master to help, and even if I do I will not let my aperture be at their mercy. Gu worms like the Liquor worm are too rare, even getting the Liquor worm was my extreme luck. As for talent raising Gu worm, I got it in my previous life and attained Rank six cultivation, and I also know where to find them, but I cannot go to those places now with my current cultivation. Even if I get them, I cannot keep them, or even use them."
"But other than these methods, there is a final most stupid method. Using primeval stones to force it!" Thinking so, Fang Yuan’s eyes flashed as he gripped the primeval stone tightly.
Gu Master cultivation, first was resources, second was talent.
Without sufficient talent, one can compensate using resources to a degree.
"My primeval essence is only 44%, I do not have enough to break the aperture walls. But if I absorb primeval essence while attacking the walls, I can hold on much longer, and in about four to five days, I would be able to smash the walls!"
Making up his mind, Fang Yuan opened his eyes, his heart sinking into his aperture.
Green copper primeval sea raged on as the waves crashed into the aperture walls.
But this time, to prevent his primeval essence from drying up and becoming insufficient to maintain the cracks and causing the aperture to recover, Fang Yuan purposely slowed the attacking speed.
This way, the green bronze primeval essence expenditure would be greatly reduced, but the crack formation would also slow down. Despite so, Fang Yuan continued to absorb the natural essence of the primeval stones.
Primeval essence recovery has to be slightly above the crack recovery speed. This way, even if it is slow, showing less than 1% progress, there would be hope as time passes.
The only thing about this method would be that other than eating and shitting, Fang Yuan had to cultivate non-stop. The more time he wasted, the more primeval stones would go down the drain and the more his hard work would squander.
He could stop for a maximum of fifteen minutes, and after that if there isn't any primeval essence to continue attacking, the aperture would fully recover.
Thus, once the attack began, he had to persevere until he succeeded, and cannot be disturbed. Once he stopped for too long, he would have to restart the process.
Fang Yuan did not have so many primeval stones on hand to do it multiple times.
Time flies when cultivating, and in the blink of an eye, the sun set.
Under the setting sun, Jiao San with a cold expression said, "After finding for a day, you still haven’t found him?"
"No, group leader." Kong Jing wiped the sweat off his forehead and said, "That lad, he did not go to any of the houses we recommended, we have no idea where he is hiding."
"Hmph! Continue searching tomorrow, we have to find him. Remember to search the inn as well, I do not believe that we cannot find him. The village is only so big, no matter where he is hiding, there has to be a trace!" Jiao San walked away in fury.
Until the afternoon of the second day, their search finally bore fruit.
A female Gu Master walked to Jiao San excitedly, reporting, "Found him, found him! Fang Yuan is at a worn-out bamboo building, and has rented the second floor. According to the owner’s description, it should be him."
"Hmph, as I expected, he really hid himself and is trying to breakthrough to Rank two." Jiao San laughed sinisterly, "Let’s go and make ourselves guests in his room and show him some concern. He is a newcomer after all."
"Hehehe..…." The others also started smirking.
The four immediately came to Fang Yuan’s residence.
There was a paper on the door.
Jiao San took it down and read it. It was Fang Yuan’s handwriting, saying that he needed to go into closed door cultivation for a few days and will not leave, as he would be attempting to breakthrough to Rank two. If others saw it, they should not disturb him. If Jiao San saw it, it was a ‘request of absence’ application.
Jiao San snorted, throwing the paper away.
How can I let you advance to Rank two so successfully?
He laughed coldly, knocking on the door.
Knock knock knock.
"Little brother Fang Yuan, are you here?" He purposely said loudly, "We are here to see you, how could you not tell us about your closed door cultivation, seriously."
There was no reply.
Knock knock knock.
Jiao San knocked loudly.
"Little brother Fang Yuan, it’s not that I want to nag at you. But you are making decisions on your own. Now that you are our group member, you should listen to instructions and obey orders, moving together. We have already accepted the wild deer hunting mission, this is specifically for you to train, so why don’t you stop first and complete the mission with us, then cultivate," Jiao San’s eyes squinted as he said in a gentle tone, although his expression was dark.
There was still no reply.
JIao San suddenly raised his voice, "Little brother Fang Yuan, why are you not replying, did something happen to you? It is not so easy breaking through to Rank two, you can ask us for experience. Fang Yuan! Did you hear me, oh no, could it be that you fainted?"
Jiao San talked to himself, smirking coldly but his voice was full of concern and anxiety.
The other three members observed the show.
Kong Jing interrupted at an appropriate timing, "Leader, you might be right, Fang Yuan hasn’t responded after so long, let’s go in and save him!"
"Fang Yuan! Fang Yuan, quickly open the door. We’re really worried if you keep silent. If you don’t open the door, we will break in. You are our newest member, we cannot let you be in danger!" Jiao San shouted loudly.
Still, there was no reply.
Jiao San’s mouth curled, indicating to Kong Jing.
Kong Jing acknowledged and raised his foot.
With a loud BAM sound, the entire door was sent flying, crashing onto the bed!