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Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 3

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Chapter 3: The Book of Revelation

Translator: Actias-Myriea Editor: Nou

’’What a hot day...’’

Midday, the heat peaked as the sun settled high up in the sky. His legs crossed, Fang Xing sat relaxed on a bamboo chair while over in the herb field Wang and the rest of the daotong were doing their best to catch as many pests as possible. This could only be done under the scorching midday sun as these flowers would only blossom to their fullest at this hour of the day. Once the blossoms opened, the pests that had managed to sneak inside their petals during the night would be released and pest control could be carried out more effectively.

Of course, none of this hard labor required any work from Fang Xing. After having stabbed Wang on that one fateful night, he had become the boss of this herb field, and someone even washed and dried his dirty socks for him now.

It wasn't that Wang never tried to get even;the day after he had been stabbed in the chest, he was stabbed again in the leg for staring at Fang Xing with ill-intent. That had been the end of it all for him.

Wang may have been the former boss of this C-ranked field, but he had never really touched a weapon nor would he ever think about actually hurting anyone. The rest of the daotong particularly the freckled boy that now shivered upon seeing Fang Xing had been nothing but obedient from that night on.

Still bored, Fang Xing flipped his [Qing-Yun's Qi Formation] aimlessly. There was nothing he could get out of the manual. He'd tried meditating in exactly the way the manual instructed for nothing: not even a tickle of anything could be felt. After several attempts, he'd pretty much decided that the manual was nothing more than a hoax. It simply didn't work.

It wasn't just him;no one in this entire herb field had felt anything over all of these years. Even Wang later admitted that he had just been bluffing when he said he'd already felt the flow of Qi.

Despite this, Fang Xing still couldn't let it go so easily. Rumor had it that there had been daotong who had successfully managed to master the first stage of Qi through the booklet and became outer court disciples.

It was very rare, but there were always a few days each year when such rumors filled everyone's ears.

’’Maybe I was just born without a talent for this,’’ sighed Fang Xing, hopelessly shaking his head.

This talent was called ’’zi'zhi’’, and it was one of the most important deciding factors between whether someone would work his life for pennies as an ordinary man or become the center of his clan to bring wealth and ongoing prosperity. Although it was said that zi'zhi could be changed by those with great power, most people continued their lives with what they were born with, unable to break free from their predefined fate since birth. Those bestowed with a good zi'zhi were similar to those with innate ability: they were highly sought after by all of the sects and were usually if not always given priority over those with poor zi'zhi when resources were distributed.

Finally giving up, Fang Xing put [Qing-Yun's Qi Formation] back into his cloth-bundle only to notice the book that had been sitting inside of it for quite some time. It had been given to him by his ninth uncle Joshu[1] before his death. The book didn't seem to have many pages, but it was this very book that had resulted in the death of the three hundred or so men in Guiyan Valley and the loss of his nine uncles.

Fang Xing was the sole survivor from Guiyan Valley.

Even Fang Xing knew that the reason he was able to escape unharmed was that Xiao Jianmin likely thought the tenth bandit would be a grown man, just like the other nine that had died under his sword.

Never would he ever have guessed that it was a ten-year-old child.

This was also the exact reason why Joshu had given Fang Xing the mysterious book and told him to run as fast as he could, away from Guiyan Valley once they'd found out how powerful their enemy was.

The title was written in an ancient Chinese writing called Seal Script that Joshu had once taught to Fang Xing, the imprint reading [The Book of Revelation].

With the book catching his interest, Fang Xing opened the book, only to find nothing. Emptiness. He even went so far as to place the book under sunlight to see if anything was written using some of the invisible ink that his second uncle had been inclined to using in his scams against rich traders.

Still nothing.

'Wait, but it can't be invisible ink because that doesn't last long... This book clearly looks as though it's been through a lot...' Fang Xing thought to himself, placing the book back onto his cloth-bundle and on top of his [Qing-Yun's Qi Formation]... Then, it happened: a faded paragraph appeared.

'[Qing-Yun's Qi Formation]. Suitable for Spirit Stage. A manual for beginner cultivation...'

’’What the...’’ Fang Xing widened his eyes, cursing as he saw the words appearing from out of nowhere. There wasn't a large amount of writing, but in only a few short paragraphs it explained what [Qing-Yun's Qi Formation] was, the principles behind it, and even went so far as to point out some of its mistakes and what should be done to improve upon it.

Dumbstruck, Fang Xing lifted the book up for a closer look. The words disappeared as he moved the book away from the [Qing-Yun's Qi Formation], only to reappear when placed on top of the booklet once more.

Excited, Fang Xing placed the book on top of his half-eaten watermelon.

Nothing...

’’Perhaps that was too ordinary for the book?’’

Rummaging through his belongings, Fang Xing saw the snuff bottle given to him by his fourth uncle, remembering what he'd been told: ’’The smog it releases is so powerful that not even an adult bull would be able to stay awake in it!’’

'Low-Grade Spirit Tool. Can be used to contain smog. No refinement category.'

Nothing more than three short sentences appeared after the appraisal.

’’The snuff bottle is actually a spirit tool? I knew he was the most pragmatic uncle out of them all!’’ Fang Xing chuckled to himself before trying a few other things with the book, though nothing else had any reaction.

’’Fang Xing laoda! It's so hot today, so why don't we have some booze to freshen up a bit!’’ Interrupting his train of thoughts was Wang the man that Fang Xing had stabbed twice as he ran towards the wooden house.

Oddly enough, the stabbing had actually brought them closer;as Wang put it, ’’One cannot truly be acquainted with someone unless they've exchanged blows with each other.’’

Fang Xing calmly put aside the book before giving a mocking reply, ’’Is drinking all that you know? Have you finished with your job yet?’’

’’Almost! The others can finish up the rest for me and I'll go buy some wine!’’ Wang took a bite out of the watermelon and stood in front of Fang Xing, as though waiting in anticipation.

’’You stingy bastard! It's not like it costs an arm and a leg!’’ Fang Xing ridiculed Wang, taking out a small silver chunk and adding, ’’Buy some pork, too.’’

’’Of course...’’ Wang beamed with joy as he took the silver chunk, throwing his half-eaten watermelon to the side before rushing towards the village on the mountain's hillside.

A village by the foot of the Qing-Yun Sect's mountain had been flourishing with trade and business thanks to the tens and thousands of these daotong who sometimes preferred fancier meals than those given to them by the sect.

In order to be an effective leader in this world, it was necessary to be ruthless but also let the subordinates know they'd be provided with protection and shared goods. As daotong, they all received a small monthly wage of three taels of silver per person. In the months following the stabbing incident, Fang Xing had made sure all of their wages were handed over to him, but in return he'd made sure most of their meal had been supplemented with meat and wine, much to the contrast of Wang who had hoarded everything good to himself when he was the leader.

After Wang left for the village, Fang Xing allowed his mind to wander back to [The Book of Revelation]. The more he thought about it, the more mysterious it was. He speculated that it had to be some sort of appraisal book, perhaps only effective on items with spiritual or special properties.

’’But no matter how magical this book is, what good is it to me? It's not like I want to become an Appraisal Master...’’ Fang Xing thought to himself, disappointed.

’’Yay! Found some more of these weeds! We can probably make a small fortune out of these!’’ Freckle-Boy holding a small bunch of emerald-green plants with purple roots exclaimed excitedly, returning from the herb field with another daotong nicknamed Ghost-Face.

The green and purple plant was a weed that sometimes made its way into the herb fields. The weed itself was useless for those practicing cultivation, but it could usually be sold for a decent price to the ordinary folk;the weed increased Jing[2], which was useful for improving the nightly activities between a man and a woman.

For daotong, this was usually a good find to exchange for some extra silver in the markets.

'One can first convert the essence of life into Qi...'

At first, Fang Xing didn't think too much of the weed;that kind of topic would be far more suited to his fourth uncle. Then a sentence from [The Book of Revelation] suddenly emerged into his head.

As if remembering something, Fang Xing shot up abruptly, his eyes fixing onto Freckle-Boy.

’’Laoda... I... I swear I'm not goofing off...’’ Freckle-Boy said nervously while Fang Xing gazed at him. Fang Xing's behavior sent chills down Freckle-Boy's and Ghost-Face's spines, assuming they'd done something wrong.

’’Pass me that.’’ Fang Xing snatched the weeds out of Freckle-Boy's hands before they had time to react, and what happened next left the boys trembling in shock.

Notes

[1] Joshu: 九叔, same reason as the third uncle Sanshu (三叔). Except the romanization has been changed to make it easier to remember/read for English readers.

[2] Jing: 精, here it can be translated as the 'essence of (life)', 'energy' or literally as 'sperm/seed'.



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