Plundering the Heavens
Chapter 11: Cultivation Resources
Translator: Myriea_ActiasLuna Editor: celllll, Nou
“I see, so this is the completed version of Qing-Yun’s Qi Formation.” It was already well after nightfall, yet Fang Xing was still awake and sitting cross-legged on his bed with a thin booklet in front of him. He’d received this completed version after becoming an outer court disciple, and although the differences between this one and the last weren’t huge, this version included such things as how to use Spirit Stones to help increase the flow of Qi. The elders of the sect had even left various comments and methods of training as well.
The simplified version handed down to daotongs was only there to see if someone was able to cultivate any Qi at all, so there were no in-depth analyses of the tiers and stages. Besides, regular daotongs would be sent down to the villages after working at the sect for ten years, causing the simplified version to make its way into the hands of ordinary people. By not including more details, comments, and methods, there was no risk of exposing the precise methods the Qing-Yun Sect used for cultivation.
Not even the outer court disciples had it easy. If they didn’t break through into tier two within three years, they would be sent down to the village just like the daotongs. Furthermore, even if they made it through, they would only be given another three years for tier three, and five years after that for tier four. The sect was not a charity that kept freeloaders.
The sect wouldn’t force anybody to leave, but those who decided to overstay their welcome would have the resources they received drastically cut. In order to obtain all the resources required to advance from that point on, the disciple would need to either accept dangerous sect missions or apply for work at one of the various departments for a petty amount of resources and wages, like Yu Sanliang who worked at the Miscellaneous Department.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Still sitting cross-legged, Fang Xing closed his eyes and began to practice cultivation. Beside him, a red Spirit Stone began to float into the air and brightly shine to the rhythm of his breath.
This was a method described in his new manual. It was possible to practice cultivation much faster and smoother with the aid of an outside spiritual source, such as a Spirit Stone.
Ever since Fang Xing had become a genuine disciple at the sect, he no longer used the method of Hwa’jin. The destruction it caused to his body far outweighed the gains; if he were to continue consuming Hwa’jin, it was unlikely he’d live past twenty years of age. It was nothing more than a shortcut—both to cultivation and to the end of his life. Even at his current age, strands of gray hair could already be seen thanks to how often he’d used the weed.
For those who were endowed with great aptitude, Qi could be easily accumulated through simple breathing exercises even without any external help, although this was unfortunately not the case for those like Fang Xing. Without using the weed, the next fastest method was through Spirit Stones or medicinal pellets and elixirs, but pellets and elixirs were far more difficult to obtain, so most cultivators typically only used them to break through a bottleneck. A Spirit Stone, on the other hand, contained a large amount of concentrated Qi within itself, and the method described in the new manual allowed Fang Xing to draw out the Qi from the Stone and use it while practicing cultivation.
This method didn’t harm the user’s body like Hwa’jin did; on the contrary, this method would actually improve his mind and health, increasing lifespan and longevity. Although this method was far more gentle, however, it was also much slower to achieve higher tiers than the method using Hwa’jin, and Spirit Stones were perhaps more valuable as a currency than as cultivation materials. To lavishly rely entirely on Spirit Stones would usually need an entire family fortune—or sometimes even the support of entire clans and sects—to maintain such monstrous consumption.
Even with that being said, it was definitely far more appealing than dying at the age of twenty!
As of right now, Fang Xing was still quite new to this method, and he looked slightly troubled after estimating the stone would likely last no more than ten days at his current rate. With the small amount of Qi he’d accumulated so far, if he did not accumulate more within fifty days, his progress would actually start to regress.
It was similar to when someone had just eaten. They would have energy for the rest of the day, but if no one fed them for the next few days, they would no longer have any more energy. Worse still, they would likely have even less energy than what they’d started with.
It was already Yu Sanliang’s seventh year in the outer court and—due to his own lack of resources—he’d gotten close to the second tier but had never actually managed to make it through. There’d already been two times he was nearly sent down to the village, but both times he somehow managed to bribe his way to remain and was now working ever so cautiously and conscientiously at the Miscellaneous Department. It was unfortunate that the more he did so, the less likely he would be able to gain extra income for the purpose of cultivation or have any time to actually practice Qi.
“No, I can’t be like this forever or I’ll turn into another Shixiong Zhu. I must do something…” Fang Xing spoke softly to himself. He suddenly opened his eyes and the Spirit Stone—no longer shining with a bright red light—dropped into his lap.
Laying the Spirit Stone in his palm, Fang Xing began to think to himself,‘There’s over thousands of outer court disciples, and I’m sure there are plenty with rich families and clans behind them…. The majority are likely D-Ranked, but they’re rich; even if they run out of Spirit Stones, they can afford it with silvers and golds. But I’m penniless….
The bright moon hung innocently above the entire land of the Qing-Yun Sect. Most of its pupils were either heavily asleep or quietly practicing their breathing exercises, and no one would have imagined that their ten-year-old shidi was scheming something involving their fortunes at that very moment.
“Shidi Fang! Are you there?”
Two weeks had passed since Fang Xing became a real disciple at the sect, and his single Spirit Stone was already completely used up. Just as Fang Xing was staring blankly into space, someone from outside had called his name: it was none other than the plump Daoist Yu Sanliang with a jug of wine and a bundle covered in lotus leaves in his hands.
Although Yu Sanliang was always seen bossing around the daotongs, no one within the outer court circle seemed to want to befriend him; not only was his cultivation level incredibly low, but he was also quite poor. Now that the enmity between him and Fang Xing had melted into friendship, he’d been coming over to drink and chat, and it was already the second time he’d come to visit in the past couple of weeks. The rest of the disciples laughed at him, ridiculing him for befriending a ten-year-old child, especially since Yu Sanliang was well in his thirties, yet he didn’t mind—he’d never had someone he could eat, drink, and laugh with until now.
“Come on in, Shixiong Zhu!” Fang Xing warmly invited Yu Sanliang inside, but the boy’s body was so lazy that only his mouth bothered to move.
“I’ve told you so many times: my name is not Zhu, it’s Yu! Why can’t you remember it…?” As Yu walked in, he placed the wine and the bundle of lotus leaves on the table. Once the leaves were unwrapped, a whole roasted chicken was revealed, and Fang Xing began to send the meat down his throat even before Yu Sanliang had filled up the wine.
“By the way, Shixiong Zhu, what did you say about this Black Market thing among us outer disciples?” Even with his mouth half full, Fang Xing couldn’t hold back his question any longer.
“It’s not Zhu, it’s Yu! Look at my mouth when I speak… Yu !” Yu Sanliang shaped his mouth like a fish, but then continued, “About that Black Market, well, even within the outer court, there are plenty of people with money or some pretty neat stuff they don’t need. A group of them started this Black Market where everyone can exchange for the stuff they actually need.
“The sect rules don’t actually allow private exchange markets since we’re supposed to exchange for items we need with the sect, but the exchange rates are so much worse and the items required for exchange are not always what we have or can easily get…. And then there’s also those people who want to get rid of things they obtained through irregular methods… so the Black Market happened.
“No one knows who you are. Everyone goes disguised and nobody will ever ask for your identity or how you got the item.”
“I see. Keep an eye out for the next Black market for me,” Fang Xing requested while nodding his head.
“Why the hell do you need to know? Do you even realize how poor you are? Are you going to magically find something valuable to trade now? Do you know who’s been paying for all of your expenses in the past month!” Yu Sanliang raised his voice while pouring more wine into Fang Xing’s bowl.
“Just do as I say. It’s only like a hundred silver taels; how stingy can you get! Just you wait, I’ll give you back double….”
“One hundred and ten ! Tch, I don’t care if you give it back to me or not anymore; it’s my fault for giving it to you in the first place. Let’s just drink….”