Yuan Tianwen looked liked he was about to lose his temper. Lin Xuanzhi casted a glance at Duan Yuyang and didn’t know what to say. This rascal loses his composure way too easily; the more he acts out like this, the more Yuan Tianwen would dislike him.
“Since Yuan young peak master had personally come over to make this request, what harm is there to share some with them?” Lin Xuanzhi sliced off a piece of venison, pierced it with the tip of a knife and pa.s.sed it to Yuan Tianwen.
“Hold up! Who allowed you to give it to him?” Duan Yuyang jumped up, then glared at Yuan Tianwen and demanded, “Hand over a thousand gold!”
Yuan Tianwen may be rich, but he’s not a fool, and much less someone who would be deceived into paying more than he should be. He looked at Duan Yuyang coldly and said, “Duan Yuyang, your willfulness should have a limit.”
“Yes, I’m wilful, I’m f.u.c.king more wilful than anyone else!” Duan Yuyang pointed at the tip of his own nose and was so angry his chest couldn’t stop heaving, then said, “If you can’t stand the sight of me, then hurry and get lost! Don’t follow behind our a.s.ses.”
Yuan Tianwen stabbed the knife into the deer leg, then said with his eyes filled with fury, “Since that’s the case, then let’s go our separate ways.”
“We were originally going our separate ways anyway, who the f.u.c.k wants to travel with you!” Duan Yuyang roared.
The meat in Yan Tianhen’s mouth almost fell out. Why did they start quarrelling? Wasn’t it just a piece of meat?
Yuan Tianwen turned around and left with vigorous strides. He whistled and summoned his pentcoloured crane, then pulled the Han Yuran who had been spectating the show and immediately got on his pentcoloured crane and left.
“He…he left just like that?” Yan Tianhen still couldn’t make sense of what had just happened.
Duan Yuyang suddenly squatted down and buried his face in his arms, then started to choke out subtle sobs.
Yan Tianhen was startled and couldn’t be bothered with eating his meat anymore. He immediately ran over and squatted down too, then said, “Erm, Yuyang Ge, you’re the one who chased him away, so why are you crying??”
Duan Yuyang raised his head, glared at Yan Tianhen then said loudly, “You little rascal, don’t you know how to comfort people?”
Yan Tianhen felt a bit wronged. He rubbed his nose and said, “But isn’t it just a piece of venison? And yet you demanded a thousand gold from him, that’s really exorbitant?”
“What the h.e.l.l do you know!” Duan Yuyang said.
Yan Tianhen, “…….”
Lin Xuanzhi stood at one side, slowly tore off a piece of venison, then stuffed it into his mouth and began to chew on it.
Duan Yuyang got up, saw this scene and immediately flew into a rage, “Don’t you have any compa.s.sion at all?!”
Lin Xuanzhi lightly said, “You brought it upon yourself, don’t tell me you want to put the blame on me for that?”
Duan Yuyang wanted to wail out loud, yet he also felt that he had indeed brought it upon himself.
Yan Tianhen blinked and asked, “Why are you always so mean to Yuan young peak master? Did he offend you last time?”
Duan Yuyang rolled his eyes at Yan Tianhen, wiped away his tears, then sat down next to their fire with a listless expression on his face. He silently pulled over the other unseasoned deer leg and stuck a branch through it, then started roasting it.
Yan Tianhen couldn’t make head or tail of Duan Yuyang’s reactions, so he casted a puzzled look at Lin Xuanzhi.
Lin Xuanzhi lightly said, “There’s one type of person in this world: the more this person likes someone, the more he would cause trouble for him and pick on his faults to attract his attention. Yet they don’t realise that this is the most foolish method of all that would only backfire on themselves. Once the person they like ends up liking someone else, their love would end up turning into hatred.”
Yan Tianhen looked at the Duan Yuyang who was immersed in his own world, then suddenly had an epiphany. He said, “I understand now. Yuyang Ge, I didn’t expect you to be such a person.”
Duan Yuyang flared up, “What’s wrong with me? Who told you that I like him?!”
Yan Tianhen said, “If you don’t like him, then why would you always try to cause trouble for him? In the past, I really thought that you had proposed an annulment of Dage’s engagement for my Dage’s sake, but I didn’t expect that you did so because you had other ideas about him!”
Duan Yuyang said with a puzzled look, “Who are you talking about?”
“Han Yuran!” Yan Tianhen said, “It must have been because you saw that after Han Yuran and Dage’s engagement was annulled, he didn’t jump into your embrace and went to follow Yuan young peak master instead, so your love for Han Yuran turned into hatred. And as for his new lover Yuan young peak master, you began to hate him so much you couldn’t even stand the sight of him!”
Duan Yuyang, “….”
Right now, he only wanted to use a block of tofu to smash himself to death!
Lin Xuanzhi placed his fist on his lips, then softly chuckled.
He didn’t expect that such a distorted explanation could be made, and it even sounded quite convincing!
Duan Yuyang wanted to flare up, yet he couldn’t release his anger after reining it in for half a day.
Whatever, the ignorant can’t be blamed, so it’s not like he can blame Yan Tianhen. Also, for fear of losing his own face, it’s not like he could grab Yan Tianhen’s lapel and roar at him “the one Laozi1 likes is obviously Yuan Tianwen, that what’s-his-name is a f.u.c.king n.o.body!”
Duan Yuyang gloomily continued to roast his meat.
Lin Xuanzhi didn’t bother with him either, and after Yan Tianhen ate his fill, he pulled Yan Tianhen over to sit with him underneath a huge tree.
Yan Tianhen yawned.
Lin Xuanzhi sat cross-legged, then brought Yan Tianhen into his embrace and said, “We’ll have to settle for this resting spot for now. After we cross Flying Luan peak tomorrow, there’ll be an inn where we could stay in at the foot of the mountain.”
Yan Tianhen nodded, then leaned into Lin Xuanzhi’s arms and looked at him, “Dage, you’re not going to sleep?”
Lin Xuanzhi shook his head and said, “I’ll continue to meditate.”
Yan Tianhen got up and said, “Then I won’t disturb Dage, I’ll go somewhere else to sleep.”
With that, Yan Tianhen walked over to another spot and didn’t even give Lin Xuanzhi a chance to say no.
Even though Lin Xuanzhi felt somewhat helpless, he also knew that Yan Tianhen would never want to disturb him. So, he could only take a pillow out from his storage bag and place it by Yan Tianhen’s side. “Dage will keep watch for you, have a good rest.”
Yan Tianhen hugged the pillow and stuffed it underneath his head, then closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep.
Lin Xuanzhi had to admit that Yan Tianhen was a kid who easily let his guard down. They were out in the desolate wilderness with only the sky over their heads, if it were someone else, they would have probably had to do some mental prep and toss about restlessly before they could force themselves to fall asleep.
Lin Xuanzhi sat down cross-legged, formed his seals and entered a state of meditation.
Within his consciousness, the Soul Bead spoke.
“Rascal, I’m warning you, if you don’t start replenishing my forged stones for me I’ll completely disappear within a few days.”
“Of course I know that.” Lin Xuanzhi lightly said, “The quality of forged stones in Qing city is too poor and its prices are too exorbitant. Once we reach Profound City, I’ll buy forged stones to nourish your soul bead.”
“What soul bead!” That voice roared, “Benzun is a soul plate!”
Lin Xuanzhi casted a glance at the bead that was about the size of his thumb, then didn’t say another word.
Soul Plate was shamed into anger as he said, “Isn’t it all because of a crafty and detestable rascal like you who takes forged stones from me every day! If Benzun didn’t reduce the size of my body, my soul would have scattered a long time ago!”
Lin Xuanzhi chuckled and didn’t think much of it. He knew that Soul Plate was in his current state because of a lack of spiritual Qi and a huge decline in the cultivation level of the soul plate himself — it didn’t have much to do with forged stones at all.
But this concerned the secret to Soul Plate’s past ident.i.ty, so Lin Xuanzhi decided not to expose his lie in case Soul Plate starts to doubt his origins.
Soul Plate probed around Lin Xuanzhi’s body and cried out in surprise, “Not bad you rascal, it’s only been a few days and yet you’ve already reached the fourth layer of the Refining Qi stage! You only need one more breakthrough before you can advance to the fifth layer! The speed of your progress is quite terrifying!”
Lin Xuanzhi closed his eyes and said, “Which is why I plan to break through to the fifth layer tonight.”
Soul Plate exploded, “No way! Do that after you buy more forged stones!”
“I’m crafting a wine bottle tonight.” Lin Xuanzhi said, “Coincidentally, I managed to obtain non-ossified and ossified antlers2 just now. The wine bottle crafted with these antlers will have an added effect of strengthening its user’s physical body. Once it’s crafted, it’ll definitely be at least of a high-grade quality, so its value will naturally increase as well. After I sell it, I’ll spend all the money I sold it for on forged stones.”
Soul Plate was almost choking back sobs as he complained, “When you refined those cups before, that’s what you said too.”
Lin Xuanzhi smiled and said, “I never go back on my words.”
Soul Plate gritted his teeth, then searched around for awhile before throwing out three primary level high-grade forged stones.
Lin Xuanzhi smiled, but didn’t speak.
Soul Plate threw out two more forged stones of the same level and grade.
Lin Xuanzhi said, “I plan to craft a top-grade magic treasure, are you joking around with me?”
“Top-grade magic treasure top-grade magic treasure!” Soul Plate fumed, “Do you think top-grade items are so easily crafted? You were a lucky rascal to have managed to craft a top-grade hairpin the first time, but after that, you hadn’t crafted a single top-grade magic treasure even though you used up so many forged stones! The last time I gave you ten top-grade forged stones, you actually dared to sc.r.a.p the whole pot of them!”
Lin Xuanzhi said with absolutely no remorse, “That was an accident.”
“I don’t care!” Soul Plate firmly said.
“You really won’t give them to me?” Lin Xuanzhi asked.
“I won’t give them to you even if you beat me to death.”
“Okay then……” Lin Xuanzhi activated the contract that he had forced Soul Plate to sign, then took out about ten forged stones from Soul Plate by himself.
Soul Plate, “!!!”
Soul Plate was on the verge of crying. He cried out once, then stopped talking and faked his death.
Lin Xuanzhi took out the “Arabian Crafting Manual”, then flipped to the page on crafting wine bottles. His eyes swept over the contents that described the basic materials and the hand seals that were required, as well as the details on the control of one’s soulfire. He quietly memorised what he had read, then closed the “Arabian Crafting Manual” in his consciousness.
Afterwards, when he took out his wine cup recipe from his storage bag, a half-used Blood Spiritual Bone Marrow fell out. Then he took out a few types of expensive materials that he had bought from some shops along Qing City’s Overlooking Immortals street before he began to calmly kickstart his crafting process.
The forged stones emitted a faint, dark light. The wisps of spiritual Qi continuously drifted into the materials that were suspended in mid-air.
Lin Xuanzhi formed his hand seals quickly and evenly without pausing in between them, and the soulfire within his body was constantly burning. His soulfire was still quite weak as of now. He had only opened up 360 of the 720 acupoints in his body, which could barely support the crafting of a high-grade magic treasure that’s the size of a wine bottle.
However, Lin Xuanzhi wanted to craft a top-grade magic treasure today. This implied that in this crafting process, he needed to simultaneously break through 108 vital acupoints and the remaining 252 acupoints in his body.
This was not something that one could accomplish within a day. In order to refine their soulfires, most craftsmen would need to do it in an enclosed area that was absolutely safe and peaceful. They would ensure that adequate preparations were made before starting, then spend about ten to fourteen days as they steadily use the soulfire in their meridians to break through the acupoints in their body bit by bit.
However, Lin Xuanzhi didn’t intend to do all that.
Firstly, he didn’t have enough time. Secondly, if he wanted to refine this wine bottle into a high-grade — or even a top-grade magic treasure — he needed the requisite soulfire to do so, or else he would most likely fail.
1. Laozi: used to refer to oneself when speaking to someone else with contempt/jokingly↩
2. The Chinese makes a distinction between non-ossified antlers (antlers of a young deer that hasn’t fully grown into its ossified form, it’s quite soft and velvety to the touch; often used in TCM as a medicine) and ossified antlers (antlers of an adult deer, hardened antlers)↩