The Big Miss was obviously eating vinegar; looking at her expression, she was also in a bad mood.
After a while, Juding Zhenren arrived and begun to teach. Lin Shu started a Dan fire for Ling Fengxiao, and the two of them started to cultivate their own alchemy. A momentary silence fell between them.
Today, they were refining Fasting Dan. This wasn’t really worth anything; one hour at a furnace could refine three pills. Those who were cultivating immortality could eat one pill and not need for ten days. In the academy, there was a canteen that served meals. The meals all contained pure spiritual power which could help in cultivation, so the disciples wouldn’t eat those pills. They only carried a bottle with them when they went out. After the disciples had successfully refined those pills, they could be advertised for sale in the Treasure Pavilion. One jade soul for three pills, and people who bought it were few.
Lin Shu sat to the left of Ling Fengxiao. On her right was a teenager with a round head and round face. Halfway through his refining, he ran a hand through his hair and said: “One Fasting Dan Pill can save ten days of food. Yesterday, I heard Mr. Xiuzhao from the Confucianism Institution say in his class that this year’s harvest was not good. Nanxia is full of famine, and disaster relief is also difficult. Why don’t we refine this pill in large quantities and distribute it to the hungry people?”
No one paid any attention to him. After a long while, Ling Fengxiao suddenly said lightly: “How many people are there in a county?”
The round-faced teenager said: “Fifty thousand?”
Ling Fengxiao said: “How many raw materials are needed for fifty thousand Fasting Pills?”
The round-faced boy made an understanding noise: “That would be a lot.”
Ling Fengxiao said: “In a disaster year, there will be famine. Even if the weather is good next year, it will take a year for crops to grow.”
The round-faced boy stopped talking.
After a while, he hesitantly said: “It was me who didn’t think things through.”
Ling Fengxiao didn’t speak anymore, and slowly stirred the spiritual liquid in the furnace with a jade pestle. In the mist, one couldn’t see her expression clearly.
Lin Shu silently calculated in his heart. One year had 365 days, so a person would need to eat 36 Fasting Pills. A county would then need over 200, 000 pills a year, and even then, the hunger in this year of disaster would not be limited to one county alone. It would spread to at least tens of counties, and counting like that, even if all the spiritual gardens were dug clean, it would just be pouring a cup of water on a burning cart of firewood, utterly useless. The heavens were merciless, and human ability was unable to counter it entirely. Even if immortal cultivators had powers to destroy the heavens and wreck the earth, they were only one person, and could not save an entire country of people.
He suddenly remembered that he had been away from Minzhou for more than two months. Minzhou was also facing dry weather this year, and he didn’t know what the situation over there was right now.
He didn’t really care about the situation in Nanxia and whether the common people’s livelihood was suffering. He mostly just cared about the Li Yamao family in Ning’an Residence.
Because of this, he immediately left Handan Temple after class. He saw Ling Fengxiao looking at him through the window in the sunlight, and she seemed very annoyed.
He returned to his room and wrote a letter, asking how the Li Yamao family was faring. Then, he went to Treasure Pavilion to exchange two large bottles that had a total of one hundred Fasting Pills, and later went to use fifty jade souls to rent a spiritual pigeon from the spirit beast emporium to send the letter and the spiritual medicine to Ning’an Residence.
The spirit pigeons travelled very quickly, and they brought a reply from Ning’an Residence within one day and one night. Li Yamao’s words were crooked, but the overall meaning was quite fluent. It roughly said that they were going through some difficult times, but were still okay overall, and could barely maintain their livelihoods. They had received the spiritual medicine, and asked Lin Shu to focus on studying well in the academy, no need to worry about them.
Lin Shu read to the end, and felt his heart settle. Right when he was about to keep the letter, he realised that there was more written on the other side.
Li Yaomao said, ah, around September, a few female unknown female cultivators came to the village to inquire about your situation, saying that they were from the Phoenix Villa and had come under the young lady’s orders. The villagers told them about how you were entrusted to us and spent 10 years in the village. I think the sisters from Phoenix Villa aren’t bad people, and there shouldn’t be anything wrong, but I just wanted to inform you.
Lin Shu: “…”
He should have known, people like the Big Miss, wouldn’t simply observe him in person and leave it at that.
He had put in so much effort to messily spin a coherent story, when the Big Miss had already long sent people over to Ning’an Residence to inquire about his past.
September just happened to be when Ling Fengxiao started to observe him. After the alchemy lesson that day, Lin Shu even saw Ling Fengxiao in Handao Temple, writing and sending letters in the Bamboo Atrium. So, she was communicating with outsiders.
The pufferfish was a person who couldn’t rub at the sand in its eyes. In order to avoid trouble, he didn’t tell Ling Fengxiao about how he was an idiot but had a master. As a result, it looked like he had deliberately deceived Ling Fengxiao, hiding some ulterior motives, and was potentially a dangerous criminal.
Then, that person suddenly pulled a sword on him in Qionghua Forest, testing if he really had no martial arts ability. Afterwards, her attitude slowly turned for the better, sending him here and there, as if hiding some underlying meaning.
Somehow today, Ling Fengxiao began to properly observe him again, so what did he do wrong this time?
Lin Shu fell into deep despair and self-doubt.
Other than the matter of him having a master, what other area could he deceive Ling Fengxiao in?
He couldn’t think of one.
Recently, it would be better to deal with Ling Fengxiao less.
Fortunately, other than the already completed “Introduction to Outer Dan”, he had no classes with Ling Fengxiao for these two days. Ling Fengxiao’s class work also made her busy, and the two of them simply couldn’t meet. Lin Shu also intentionally staggered the timing for him to eat and return home. It appeared that intentionally not meeting was easier than he thought.
On the third day, the academy erupted in celebration—Shuji Zhenren had returned from his wandering journey.
Originally, the problem in the dreamscape was small and harmless. The Zhenren had no need to rush back. Now, however, the entire dreamscape had collapsed, and the situation became more urgent. The High Officer had personally gone out to collect Shuji Zhenren and his other friends that had been playing in famous mountains, bringing them back to start repairing the large array to maintain the dreamscape.
Another incident happened. The person who had been wandering happily with Shuji Zhenren was famously known as Daoist Yushi, and was the teacher of “Mystical Stone Appreciation”. Since he had returned, the Mystical Stone Appreciation class that had never started finally opened, and the first class was scheduled in ten days.
Lin Shu found the ridiculous looking cylinder and put it in a conspicuous position, intending to ask Daoist Yushi how to open it in ten days.
After a few days, the jade seal lit up, indicating that the dreamscape had been repaired and Mr. Meng had returned.
“Fellow Daoist, why did you make such a big incident while I was away?” Mr. Meng turned from the pavilion, bowing slightly to Lin Shu as he smiled.
Lin Shu: “…”
Others might not know that he was Folding Bamboo, but there was no doubt that Mr. Meng, who was closely related to the dreamscape, knew about it.
He said: “I was careless.”
Mr. Meng said: “Fellow Daoist, you do not need to blame yourself. You didn’t expect Huandang Mountain to open earlier than normal. Without the protection of the large array, the dreamscape was much more fragile, and this is our fault.”
Lin Shu said: “I’m in the wrong.”
“Ah, Fellow Daoist, if you can think like this, I suppose it’s also good.” Mr. Meng sighed. “Although I insisted that this matter wasn’t your fault, but that mean spirit in Shangling said that you destroyed a big part of the dreamscape and need to be punished. Xiao Shao was fined a large amount of money, and they also want to punish you.”
Lin Shu was a little flustered.
He had no money to be fined.
Only, Mr. Meng continued: “In the beginning, the dreamscape was confused and switched the image of you and another fellow Daoist, forcing you to use a female’s body. This is just meant to irritate you, but the sly fox in Shangling said that I would be forbidden from changing your image for a year, in order for you to remember this lesson.”
Shangling, this High Officer, it was too suffocating.
Lin Shu remembered that when he first arrived at the academy, he was punished for not discussing with people during the entrance test, and had to stay with argue maniacs. Fortunately, he didn’t really argue with Yue Ruohe, and he was intimidated by Ling Fengxiao, along with how he rarely met her recently, so he didn’t exactly feel troubled. Today’s punishment however, could be said to have raised the level by one bar.
Within a year, if he wanted to fight with anyone, he would have to use this current image of Folding Bamboo.
He still couldn’t not fight. His battle with Xiao Shao had stopped halfway. Without a victory or defeat, he hadn’t climbed up to the 30th place. He still had to continue fighting with Xiao Shao.
He entered the Martial Arts Courtyard, and sent an invitation to battle to Xiao Shao.
Xiao Shao responded very quickly this time, and the words “Xiao Shao accepts the battle” was painted on the stone wall almost instantly.
Lin Shu waited in the ring. Before long, Xiao Shao wore a black robe and landed across him.
Xiao Shao didn’t look at him, and instead slowly wiped his sword and said coldly: “Aren’t you hiding from me? Why did you invite me for a battle again?”
Lin Shu didn’t quite understand.
As soon as the Martial Arts Courtyard opened, he immediately came up to fight diligently. How did he hide?
This guy, he was so strange.