Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 45
Chapter 45: Free Meal
’’So what does Shidi suggest?’’ the short-bearded elder finally asked.
The elder in the cyan robe smiled. ’’It is very simple. Since the Python Toad is already dead, we
will consider it a success. To the outside, we will downplay the death of Hou Qing and the rest of
them while saying the boy was the first to complete a Duty Talisman mission among the new
recruits. This way, when people see that someone like him was able to complete our mission,
they'll all come to us and we at the Duty Talisman Hall will get much more well-deserved
respect from people.’’
The short-bearded elder listened while thoughtfully nodding.
One thing the cyan-robed elder did not mention was the fact that more disciples coming to the
hall for missions meant their grey income would also grow. This was something all three
elders were well aware of; there was no need to say it out in the open.
’’The sect has its rules. Is this really appropriate?’’ The awe-inspiring elder hesitated, as he was
honest and frank.
To rid the awe-inspiring elder of his worries, the cyan-robed one smiled back. ’’Do not worry,
Shixiong Geng. The original purpose of the Duty Talismans was to help and protect the mortal
realm. There was no such thing as exchanging them for resources; it was only when cultivators
began to increase in number and the resources became scarce that it became the way it is now,
and even then it was just an unwritten rule that was never recorded officially by the sect. As
long as we can confirm that the Python Toad is indeed dead, we can declare that the mission
was a success. This does not go against the rules at all.’’
Finally seeing the light, both of the other elders nodded once more in agreement.
The short-bearded elder agreed first. ’’Of the five disciples that left, only one has returned. It's
definitely quite depressing, so some reward might not be a bad thing. Besides, we all know too
well how the boy survived and how luck must have been particularly favorable to him. In that
case, why don't we add icing to the cake by counting his mission as a success?’’
’’Indeed!’’ The cyan-robed elder clapped his hands as he grinned.
’’Then there is no need to let anyone else know about him not bringing back the beast core,’’ the
awe-inspiring Elder Geng finally spoke after a moment of silence.
The cyan-robed elder responded, ’’Of course. Is Shixiong Geng worried about future disciples
who might imitate him? We definitely will not let it spill!’’
The awe-inspiring elder agreed, ’’In that case, we'll do as you've suggested.’’
The three elders nodded to each other one last time in affirmation.
Fang Xing sat nervously in the outer hall, unsure as to why he had been asked to stay behind.
Specifically, he was worried that they might have found a plot hole within his story.
It didn't take long before all three elders appeared, the cyan-robed elder nodding towards Fang
Xing. ’’It's your lucky day. We've discussed your situation just now and have decided that all five
of you that accepted the Duty Talisman of Extermination were extremely brave and it was the
righteous thing to do. Although the beast core of the Python Toad was not retrieved, the toad
has indeed been killed. Especially since the loss has been so great, a reward is a must; for this
mission, we will allow you an exception and count it as a success. Come with me to receive your
Fang Xing was dumbstruck. In all his dreams, he had never imagined that a free meal so good
would fall into his lap.
Still in a state of disbelief, Fang Xing followed the elder downstairs into the main hall, where
the elder changed the recorded leader of who had accepted the Duty Talisman from Hou Qing to
Fang Xing; this way as far as the records were concerned it would now have nothing to do
with Hou Qing. Following this, the elder gave Fang Xing a reminder, ’’The reward is all yours,
but you will have to remember not to let anyone know that we've allowed you this exception. If
people ask, just tell them you've brought back the beast core and that this was no more than the
standard procedure of reward at the Duty Talisman Hall.’’
It was only then that Fang Xing understood the reason behind all of this and he hastily bowed.
’’Thank you, sir! As you wish, dear elder!’’
Smiling, the elder then ordered the boy next to him to bring the rewards: thirty Spirit Stones,
three bottles of Revitalization Pills, one bottle of Solidification Pills, five bottles of Ansi Pills
all of which were fairly common and of course a small clothed pouch with five ounces of Ore
Essence Powder, the most crucial ingredient in making the Poji Pellet that was used to break
through into tier four.
’’Thank you, thank you, dear elder.’’ Fang Xing was ecstatic as he accepted the rewards with
’’No need to say any more, just work harder in the future. Qingfeng, go and fetch Xuanzhao and
tell him to guide Fang Xing back down the mountain.’’ The boy next to him was then seen off.
Fang Xing was puzzled and felt something was not quite right. If it was just to guide him down
the mountain, this daotong boy named Qingfeng would be more than enough; why would he
specifically ask for someone called ’’Xuanzhao’’?
’’Uncle, you've asked for me?’’ Soon, a man in his twenties entered the hall. His appearance was
clean and bright with long dark hair neatly laid over his shoulders and a composed aura about
him. Fang Xing scanned him as he entered and found that he was in the mid of tier three.
The cyan-robed elder smiled at the youth and nodded slightly. ’’Yes, this young man is called
Fang Xing, your Shidi Fang. He has just finished a Duty Talisman mission, quite an
achievement for someone so young. Please guide him back down the mountain.’’
As soon as the elder had explained it all, the youth responded with excitement, ’’Thank you,
'I knew there was no such thing as free meals in this world. At the end of the day, I'm just a
delivery boy....' Fang Xing being who he was had now guessed exactly what was going to
happen. Inside, he was already boiling in hatred, while on the outside he controlled his
expressions and pretended not to notice their odd exchange of words before he followed
Xuanzhao out the door.
Once the two left, the cyan-robed elder let out a sigh of relief. He had done a lot for his nephew
by persuading the other two elders to recognize the success of this mission. He did not feel pity
for Fang Xing, nor had he wanted to achieve a greater good for their Duty Talisman Hall; that
had been nothing more than empty talk.
The elder's sole purpose had been to create an opportunity for his nephew to get his hands on
the Ore Essence Powder once it had been given to the boy. Under his wings within the sect, his
nephew had been faring quite comfortably, and by now he'd finally reached the mid of tier
three. It would not be too long before he'd be needing those Ore Essence Powders.
Every distribution of these powders would need to go through sect records with strict quotas
and conditions, and even an elder like him would not be able to acquire it easily for his nephew.
With a chance like the one presented to him today, there was no way he would let it slide.
Besides, he did believe that his nephew had taken the hint and would do whatever it took to get
these powders off the boy, and whether it was to buy them or to take it by force was not
important as long as his nephew ended it cleanly. After all, this was just some low-ranked
disciple with no particular background within the sect.
Certainly, Fang Xing did not know all of these thoughts that were going through the mind of
the cyan-robed elder, yet he still instinctively noticed that this youth named Xuanzhao was
there for his Ore Essence Powder. Despite this, there wasn't much Fang Xing could do; even
though the intentions couldn't be any more obvious, Fang Xing could only go along with it as it
came. Xuanzhao had his uncle, after all.
As Xuanzhao walked ahead towards the bottom of the mountain peak, everyone that walked
past greeted him politely, and Xuanzhao would also return their greetings with courtesy. He
seemed to be quite renowned within the sect, as he would occasionally introduce some of these
people to Fang Xing, and they were all also well-known disciples. They either had ample
backgrounds like that of Xuanzhao or had made a name for themselves within the Qin-Yun
Sect's outer courts.
Observing Xuanzhao's actions, Fang Xing felt slightly embarrassed about his own behavior
after remembering how he had acted in front of Hou Qing that fateful night. 'So this is what
people are actually like when they've grown up in the sect with family ties and plentiful
resources. I'll need to play the role a bit better next time....'
’’To complete a Duty Talisman at such a young age, Shidi Fang, you will have great prospects in
your future.’’ Xuanzhao had finally begun to steer the conversation to the reason he was here
for. ’’What is your current level of cultivation, I wonder?’’
’’Ah, it's a bit embarrassing, but my cultivation resources have been extremely limited. No
matter how hard I work, it just doesn't seem to want to increase....’’ Appearing to be flustered,
Fang Xing released some of his Spirit Force towards Xuanzhao, presenting himself as being at
the peak of tier one.
Fang Xing naturally would not let anyone know of his actual level of cultivation. It had been
increasing a little too fast for his own safety if others found out.
Xuanzhao comforted Fang Xing with a smile, ’’That is already fairly decent, especially since we
all know how heavily dependent on resources the first few tiers of the Spirit Stage can be. With
the rewards for completing this Duty Talisman, you will no doubt break through into tier two in
’’Hopefully!’’ Fang Xing answered with enthusiasm, as though his emotions had been stirred up.
Grey Income: Grey income is income that is in the legal ’’grey area’’ and not strictly legal nor
illegal. It is stuff that is off the records, more or less, but isn't strictly persecuted. It is usually in
the form of a bribery.