Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Zhou Donghuang left in the morning after finishing his breakfast which was prepared by the servant girls.
In his previous life, when he had returned to Ziyun and Qingshan Town after leaving Earth, he had found that the place had not changed, but the people he knew were gone.
Because the seal within his body was still there, he could not practice for now. Since he was bored with nothing to do, he decided to go out for a stroll.
What I am seeing is really familiar… Yet it seems like a distant memory.
Strolling along the streets and alleys of Qingshan Town, the shops lining on both sides of the street as well as the small stalls in front of the shops gradually jogged his memories from a thousand years before.
More than nine-tenths of the herbs sold in this medicine shop were collected from the Magnolia Guild… I remember having come here twice for deliveries.
The iron ore used in this weapons shop was also provided by the Magnolia Guild.
And this shop… and that shop…
As he strolled on, Zhou Donghuang saw many shops that had business dealings with the Magnolia Guild. He had even personally delivered stock to some of these shops before.
“Young Master Donghuang.”
“Young Master Donghuang.”
There were many people whom he had a vague impression of but could not recall, and they came forward one by one to greet him. Even though he could not recall who each person was, Zhou Donghuang smiled back at them all to avoid any awkwardness.
Although Qingshan Town was considered a small town, it was still bustling with people.
On the main road, horse carriages went past in a constant stream, and the shouts of street vendors hawking their wares and haggling with customers could be heard everywhere.
Zhou Donghuang was just casually glancing at the roadside stalls, but one of the stalls was displaying something that caught his eye and stopped him in the middle of his walk.
Zhou Donghuang stooped down and narrowed his eyes. His heart skipped a beat. Spirit… A spirit stone?!
What caught Zhou Donghuang’s eye was a lamp, which, from the wear and tear on it, looked as though it had a story to tell.
More accurately, what had attracted Zhou Donghuang was the white jade stone set into the lamp.
It was no ordinary jade stone, but a “spirit stone.”
Although it was only a spirit stone of inferior quality, it surprised Zhou Donghuang just by its presence. Spirit stones were special stones formed from ordinary stones that stored large quantities of the Spirit from the heavens and earth.
Upon attaining a certain level of manifestation, further progress by absorbing the Spirit from the surroundings alone was slow; however, with the help of a spirit stone, the rate of progress could be greatly raised.
Usually, on a small planet like Ziyun, only the extremely powerful adepts would have the ability to obtain a spirit stone and use it to aid them in practice. Zhou Donghuang had never imagined that he would be able to find a spirit stone in Qingshang Town. This was something way beyond his expectations.
Never mind Qingshan Town, it would have been inconceivable if a spirit stone had appeared in the country of Yunyang.
If it contains enough of the Spirit, even though it is an inferior quality spirit stone… I could use it to advance to the Great Consummation level of Qi-gathering stage, and become an adept who possesses the strength of nine bulls and two tigers!
At this thought, Zhou Donghuang’s eyes lit up.
Great Consummation of Qi-gathering was the highest level of achievement in Qi-gathering stage. The strength that a Great Consummation level practitioner could release would be unstoppable!
The stage of the Qi-gathering was divided into nine levels of perfection: level-one of Qi-gathering stage, level-two of Qi-gathering, level-three of the Qi-gathering… and so on up to level-nine of Qi-gathering.
After that came Petty Consummation level of Qi-gathering, and then Great Consummation level of Qi-gathering.
Respectively, each level corresponded to the strength of one bull, two bulls, three bulls… nine bulls, nine bulls and one tiger, and nine bulls and two tigers. The strength of one bull was approximately eight hundred jin of force, and the strength of one tiger was approximately two thousand jin of strength!
It was impossible to compare them both.
“Sir, how much for this lamp?”
Zhou Donghuang strode over to the stall, picked up the lamp with the inferior quality spirit stone set into it and began stroking it in an attempt to induce the inferior quality spirit while questioning the stallholder.
The stall was an antique stall.
The stallholder was a shrewd looking old fellow. Seeing Zhou Donghuang take an interest to that lamp, he chuckled and said, “Young Master, no doubt you are the son of Guild Master Lin. You have a pair of discerning eyes… you have identified the most valuable antique in my stall with just one look.”
As the son of Lin Lan, the guild master of the Magnolia Guild, Zhou Donghuang was pretty known among the store owners and stallholders in Qingshan Town.
However, Zhou Donghuang put down the lamp he was holding just as the stallholder finished speaking, leaving him a look of disappointment. The stallholder’s heart had suddenly skipped a beat, and a sense of doubt came over him.
I was overthinking things after all… if there was still any Spirit left in this inferior quality spirit stone, anyone who had manifested his Qi, even though he or she may not have attained level-one of Qi-gathering—they would only need to brush his or her hand against it to realize that it was something extraordinary. How could I have been the only one to spot it?
When Zhou Donghuang had brushed his hand against the inferior quality spirit stone, he had realized that though this inferior quality spirit stone had retained its appearance, the Spirit within it had already been completely expended.
Usually, once all the Spirit within a spirit stone had been expended, it would revert to its original appearance as an ordinary stone.
However, a clear coating of some kind had been applied to the inferior quality spirit stone that was set into the lamp, and this prevented its appearance from changing accordingly as the Spirit within the stone had been expended.
If I had my divine will, I would not have even needed to feel it to know that it was just a used-up spirit stone.
Zhou Donghuang shook his head and straightened up, walking away immediately and leaving the stallholder behind with a dumbfounded look on his face.
The stallholder could not understand how the Young Master of the Magnolia Guild could show such a keen interest in his wares at one moment and lose interest so completely in the next.
Sorely disappointed, Zhou Donghuang hung his head as he continued walking down the street. He had barely gone a few steps when he heard someone call out in derision, “Hey! Isn’t that Zhou Donghuang of the Magnolia Guild? Young Master Zhou!”
Zhou Donghuang snapped back to reality and looked in the direction of the voice.
He immediately saw a youth who looked about his own age in a brocade outfit standing at a distance. The youth was staring at him with a smug expression on his face.
“You are… Wang Feng?”
Zhou Donghuang slowly recognized the identity of the youth before him by digging through his memory.
It was the first young master of the Wang Family of Qingshan Town, Wang Feng.
Wang Feng was only sixteen years old and had already manifested his Qi at a basic level. He had mastered four hundred jin of force and had the potential to master the strength of one bull and attain level-one of the Qi-gathering to become an martial adept before he turned twenty. Within the Wang Family, he was a rare prodigy of the Martial Way.
Whenever Zhou Donghuang had gone out alone and met Wang Feng, Wang Feng would bully him, but Wang Feng would never go too far since Zhou Donghuang’s mother was the guild master of the Magnolia Guild.
And even though Zhou Donghuang had lost every time, he never told his mother of these incidents for fear of worrying her.
Although Wang Feng had not yet attained level-one of the Qi-gathering, he had attained a reasonable level of manifestation of his Qi, and he had already surpassed many adults in terms of ability.
Previously, Zhou Donghuang had been limited by the seal within his body and had no way to manifest his Qi, so naturally, he had been no match for Wang Feng.
“What? Our Young Master Zhou does not even recognize me?”
Wang Feng laughed mockingly, “It seems that Chen Dandan’s betrayal has hit you really hard and caused some memory loss… Come to think of it, your Magnolia Guild will be finished in a few days. Without a guild, what difference will there be between you, Zhou Donghuang, and an invalid?”
Wang Feng’s words had startled more than a few bystanders.
“The Magnolia Guild will be finished in a few days? Is that really true?”
“This is the first young master, Wang Feng, of the Wang Family of our Qingshan Town. What he says may have merit.”
“Master Wang Feng, have you received any news?”
A group of passersby had gathered and were all looking curiously at Wang Feng.
“Everybody, you might not know yet… But the formula for a blood-staunching elixir given to the Magnolia Guild by the Lin Family of the City of Jun has been leaked to the Sunset Guild by the adopted daughter Chen Dandan of the guild master of the Magnolia Guild, Lin Lan.”
Faced with questions from the group of bystanders, Wang Feng replied reassuringly, “The formula for that blood-staunching elixir is complicated, and it is 30% more effective than the commonly available ones on the market. It will monopolize the market for high-end blood-staunching elixirs if it appears in Qingshan Town.
“Apparently, the formula was researched after great efforts by an intermediate-level medicine master invited into the Lin Family at great cost to them. That the Magnolia Guild should leak this formula… do you think the Lin Family of the City of Jun would give Lin Lan a free pass? Can the Magnolia Guild be anything but finished?”
As he reached the latter part of his speech, Wang Feng smiled a brilliant smile as if he would very much enjoy seeing the Magnolia Guild fall as soon as possible.
He had heard this news just before he left home. As he passed by the great clan hall of the Wang Family, he overheard the conversation between his father and an elder of the Wang Family.
“If this is the case… the Magnolia Guild is surely finished!”
“I never thought that Chen Dandan would turn out to be such an ingrate… I heard that she was once a street urchin, and she is only where she is today because Guild Master Lin Lan took her in out of the goodness of her heart.”
“Turns out that Guild Master Lin Lan raised a wretched ingrate!”
Upon hearing Wang Feng’s words, the bystanders were filled with rage and indignation on behalf of Lin Lan.
Zhou Donghuang gave Wang Feng one brief, apathetic glance before turning and walking away without any further acknowledgment.
From his perspective, although Wang Feng frequently bullied him, he saw now that it was nothing more than children making noise and being rowdy. If he were to get into a dispute with Wang Feng, it would show that he had not learned anything from such a long life.
Unfortunately, as he was passing by, Wang Feng put his arm up to bar his way. Wang Feng evidently did not intend to let him leave.
“Zhou Donghuang, did I let you leave?”
“Wang Feng, I’ll give you one chance… Move your arm out of my way now!”
Zhou Donghuang narrowed his eyes, staring coldly at Wang Feng. At this moment, his originally calm voice carried a hint of iciness. Even though he had wanted to avoid any conflict, Wang Feng was starting to push him beyond his limit.
If Wang Feng continued to pester him, he would not object to teaching him a lesson he would not soon forget.
“I’m not moving it… I’d like to see what you intend to do about it, you useless piece of trash.”
Wang Feng smiled smugly.
A useless piece of trash like Zhou Donghuang, who could not even manifest his Qi and whom he had toyed with in the past, dared to threaten him?
“You’re not going to move it?”
Seeing how Wang Feng was not taking him seriously, Zhou Donghuang returned with his own cold smile.
“If that’s the case, I will… move it for you!”