“Fangshanji?” Yu Yuankai asked with a green face.
“Yes, Fangshanji.” Yu Qiu nodded. “So don’t feel bad about eating. Of all the things I bought today, that took up the most money.” Yu Qiu extended his chopsticks and pointed to the thing behind the wall, saying, “Half a liang of silver.”
When Yu Yuankai saw it, it turned out to be a longbow and a quiver, where arrows were densely packed. “What are you buying those for!”
Yu Qiu looked at him with a smile.
Although he didn’t hear his son’s answer, Yu Yuankai could see the answer from his eyes; naturally, he bought these things to go to Fangshanji.
“What a joke!” Yu Yuankai firmly opposed it. “What could I do in a place where birds don’t lay eggs and dogs don’t shit1鸟不生蛋，狗不拉屎 – idiom for remote and desolate; a god-forsaken place!”
The so-called Fangshanji was surrounded by four mountains located in the east, south, west, and north, forming a square in the middle. That is why it was called “Fang2a square.” And the four mountains were called Dongshan, Nanshan, Xishan, and Beishan3Literally, East Mountain, South Mountain, West Mountain, and North Mountain. Moreover, when the Chinese talk about all directions (东南西北), it’s always in the order of East, South, West, and North.. The place was just north of Yulian county.
The small village surrounded by these four mountains was called Fangshanji.
If you wanted to go to Fangshanji, you must cross Fangshanji’s southern mountain. However, Nanshan was not a place where birds would sing and flowers give forth their fragrance. Fierce birds and wild animals were all over the mountain’s forest, not to mention there were also poisonous vines and weeds. Even the oldest hunters dare not rush in. Nine out of ten, ordinary people couldn’t go out. What’s more a party of a youngster and and an old man?
“If you want to make money, you have to take risks.” Yu Qiu filled his stomach slowly, and then carefully put away the dishes and chopsticks.
Yu Yuankai agreed. Although there was lots of danger, if he could earn five hundred liang of silver afterwards in one fell swoop, he would not oppose it. He’d even rush forward to give it a try.
But Fangshanji, as Yu Yuankai just said, was really a place where birds don’t lay eggs and dogs don’t shit. In such a small village, the population was less than one-tenth of Yulian county. It also didn’t have any local specialties. There were mountains all around. What was the point of going there?
If it was a good place to make a fortune, then how could it be so desolate!
Yu Yuankai did not know that, although Fangshanji was desolate, it was only desolate in the eyes of ordinary people. Fangshanji, ever since it was named after the four mountains, was a market. For the many cultivators in the Qi Refining period, who had inadvertently walked on the path of cultivation and wasn’t part of any sect, Fangshanji was the only place within hundreds of miles where they could communicate with each other.
And the importance of Fangshanji was not only that. Going north from Fangshanji and passing through the northern mountain, you can see another beautiful and lofty mountain range–Xuanyang mountain.
The Xuanyang sect on Xuanyang mountain was the only immortal cultivation school within a thousand miles.
For the low grade cultivators who want to join Xuanyang Sect, Fangshanji was their first stop. Because of the unique location, Fangshanji was not only a market, but also a place where many low grade cultivators settled down to farm and support their families.
But Yu Qiu couldn’t explain these things to Yu Yuankai. Even if he did explain it, Yu Yuankai may not necessarily believe it; perhaps he’d even think that Yu Qiu had been swindled by someone else’s bullshit.
“Okay…” While Yu Qiu was racking his brain to find the right words, Yu Yuankai suddenly compromised. “Since you’re determined to go, then let’s go. Let’s go together. I will accompany you.”
“Father?” Yu Qiu was both surprised and delighted.
Yu Yuankai waved his hand and didn’t talk to him much. He went back to the house with his stuffed stomach in his arms and left Yu Qiu alone outside to clean up. Before entering the room, Yu Yuankai looked at the longbow and arrows in the corner.
Looking at these things that cost half a liang of silver, it was like seeing the fighting spirit and hope in Yu Qiu’s eyes.
Yu Yuankai realized he was already old–an old person with an old heart. He was too old to have any ambition. Such an old life was just like that. However, Yu Qiu was different. He had his own ideas, and he was willing to fight, to make a living, and to take risks.
Since Yu Qiu wanted to temper himself, why not go with him? Yu Yuankai only had such a senile life after all.
An hour later, Yu Qiu carried the medicine and presented it before the old man’s eyes. After the old man finished drinking, he took him to the brokerage. He didn’t bargain too much for it. At last, he sold the broken house for five liang of silver.
Then, they packed their stuff and carried it on their shoulders. With the longbow and arrows in hand, Yu Qiu and the old man set off under the midday sun.
Before stepping outside the gates of Yulian county, both father and son looked back.
In Yu Yuankai’s eyes, he saw the decades of his life spent in this place.
But all Yu Qiu saw was… a pile of debt, debt, and debt. Debt to the Ji Family bank, debt to Tianmu casino, and debt to Xiao Chunmian. It was only debt all over his eyes.
Afterwards, the two swore together: They will definitely come back.
If they don’t pay off all the debt, they will be restless in the future.
But as long as they get smoothly to Fangshanji, that debt is nothing! Five hundred liang of silver is already terrible to ordinary people, but for cultivators, even their lowest currency, the inferior spirit stone, can already be exchanged for dozens of liang when it was in the mortal world.
Five hundred liang of silver was only equal to about ten lowly spirit stones,
As long as Yu Qiu reached the third level of Qi refining, find white deer paper and cinnabar, and draw a fire seal of the lowest level, then he could get himself three inferior spirit stones once he sold it in Fangshanji. And at the fifth level, he could draw a gathering spirit talisman, and ten inferior spirit stones can be reached in an instant.
In this way, Yu Qiu felt paying off his debt would be easy.
But first, they had to cross Nanshan…
Two hours after leaving Yulian county, they had just stepped into Nanshan for less than an hour and Yu Qiu had already shot fifteen arrows.
Eight of them shot only air. Five of them did not cause any effective damage. The remaining two killed a huge snake and a wild boar. Yu Qiu pulled the arrow from the boar and wiped it clean. He stretched out his hand to feel the sweat on his forehead, and he couldn’t help but frown.
There was something wrong with the probability of his shots.
Since Yu Qiu chose to buy a bow as a weapon, he was naturally confident in his shooting skills. Even if he couldn’t hit everything, he could at least get seven or eight out of ten. How could he miss so many shots?
They were only on the outskirts of the mountain forest, and Yu Qiu knew that the birds and beasts here were weaker. He had intended to advance deep into the forest today, but now he had to think about how far he could go.
About half an hour later, Yu Qiu stopped and gathered wood with the old man, intending to make a fire.
When he glanced back, he met a pair of green eyes in the bushes.
It was a leopard.
Yu Qiu’s right hand was on his waist, and he immediately took an arrow and placed it on his string. The leopard had already jumped out of the bush and slammed at him fiercely.
Yu Qiu was about to lift his bow, but at this moment, another leopard leaped out from the bushes on the side. It rushed towards the old man who had no idea what was behind him!
Yu Qiu quickly changed his angle and shot out at the one jumping towards the old man. The arrow was fast and accurate, killing the leopard.
But this minute delay gave the leopard before Yu Qiu time to rush towards him! Yu Qiu turned his bow again and shot an arrow in a hurry. However, because he was too anxious, he missed.
Yu Qiu wasn’t too vigilant. Although he felt that the arrow was a bit off the string, he thought that even if he didn’t shoot so accurately, the probability of hitting his target would be nine out of ten.
But it didn’t hit. The arrow flew past the leopard’s body.
It was so close but it still came out empty! Because of this missed shot, Yu Qiu had completely lost his chance.
When a third arrow was placed on the string, the leopard’s claws were already pressed on Yu Qiu’s chest.
“Qiu-er!” Yu Yuankai finally saw this, and his face turned pale from fear.
The beast opened its mouth and was about to bite off Yu Qiu’s neck.
Death loomed near, but Yu Qiu took advantage of this moment. His nose was full of the fierce smell of the leopard’s mouth. The moment Yu Qiu’s back touched the ground, he grasped the last chance he could get and finally shot another arrow.
At such a critical moment, Yu Qiu couldn’t aim well. Fortunately, there was no need for accuracy at such a distance. He almost shot the arrow against the leopard’s neck.
The tip of the arrow pierced the opponent’s throat, impaling the leopard, and a bloody arrowhead came out from the back of its neck.
Yu Yuankai rushed to Yu Qiu’s side and kicked away the wild leopard that had been fatally injured.
“Qiu-er!” Yu Yuankai hurredly helped Yu Qiu off the ground, but then he heard him groaning.
Yu Qiu panted. He opened his front placket, gritted his teeth, and looked at his chest. The leopard’s claws were sharp. Just one was enough to have several blood holes on his skin.
“Let’s call it a day,” said Yu Qiu. “If we go any further, we won’t be able to handle it.”
How could Yu Yuankai disagree?
He was very anxious he even wanted to carry Yu Qiu back to Yulian county right away.
“This is not good. Why did you have to come here to temper yourself!” Yu Yuankai scolded him. “Now, look what happened! We just came here, and you nearly lost your life! Let’s go back right now!”
“Don’t do this, father,” Yu Qiu said with a smile. “This level of risk is something I had expected. This is nothing at all; I can handle it.”
With such a voice, Yu Yuankai’s fear and grief were suppressed. He remembered his determination not long ago, remembered that he had decided to give up his life to run with his son. However, he didn’t realize just how risky the journey would be until now.
“Father, trust me.” Yu Qiu held his hand. “I know how far to go and when to stop.”
Yu Qiu thought of the life-and-death situation just now and vaguely realized something. The reason why he missed so many shots was not because of his lack of skill, but because of luck.
This was hardly a convincing conclusion; after all, luck was too illusory. But beyond that, Yu Qiu could not find a better answer to explain these things. He thought that, compared to his previous life, his luck now was really bad.
… But how could his luck get worse?
Yu Qiu thought about what was so different with him from this life with his previous life. Then, his eyes gradually fell on the circle above his wrist.
Yu Qiu fell deeper into his thoughts and he only snapped back to reality when the old man started yelling: “You little jerk! Let’s just see how far you could go!”
While cursing angrily, the old man puckered his mouth and pulled out the herbs he had prepared from the parcel. He carefully applied them on Yu Qiu and then properly bandaged his wounds.
Then, the two dragged the body of the leopard to a stream they had passed by, washed it with the running water, and peeled off the leopard’s skin. Then they cut off the meat, propped it up with wood, and planned to make some of it into jerky.
The rest of the leopard meat was their dinner tonight.
“This is good!” Yu Qiu took a big mouthful of meat and said loudly, “As long as I catch a little game every day, we will be more comfortable than in Yulian County!”
Yu Yuankai rolled his eyes.
After eating the meat, Yu Qiu let Yu Yuankai rest. Then, he sat cross legged and started concentrating on Qi Refining for two hours. The next day, Yu Yuankai was surprised to find that his son’s wound was almost healed.
In the next few days, Yu Qiu would make a lap around the dense forest and only come back after a game. Day after day, he was getting accustomed to this kind of life.
Yu Yuankai couldn’t help but wonder: Has this kid given up the goal of crossing Nanshan to get to Fangshanji?
You don’t say, this kind of life was actually quite comfortable. After the thrill of the first day, Yu Qiu seemed to have found a way to survive on the outskirts of the mountain forest. He never encountered another life-and-death situation.
And Yu Qiu had indeed found a way: since the reason was luck, then he would no longer depend on luck. So day after day, he acted like he was seriously considering settling down.
Since the odds of 90% were unbelievable, he’ll just avoid all risks and keep the odds at 100% all the time.
After thinking about it, Yu Qiu adjusted his rhythm in a timely manner, and the daily game became extremely satisfying.
As for the circle on the wrist, Yu Qiu observed it carefully for a few days. With no clue at all, he had to set it aside first. Anyway, if it was really something extraordinary, sooner or later it will show its original shape.
Since Yu Qiu had been taking care of his health, his skin was no longer as yellowish as before. It restored its fair and reddish color; even his originally hollow cheeks became plump.
This kind of life was really good!
Yu Yuankai was happy, so happy that he couldn’t dare to remind Yu Qiu of their goals. He jus wanted to live this kind of life a little longer.
Then about half a month passed so comfortably… One day, Yu Yuankai suddenly realized that they had unconsciously reached into the deeper part of Nanshan.
But Yu Qiu still seemed to have the power to deal with it everyday. He dealt with all the fierce beasts he met comfortably; Yu Yuankai didn’t even notice that those beasts were getting stronger day by day.
After half a month of practice, Yu Qiu had now reached the second level of Qi Refining.
Now, if he encountered several strong men like on his first day of rebirth, he wouldn’t need any ghost seals at all. He can directly use force to subdue the other party.
Yu Qiu was stronger. Compared with ordinary people, the second level of Qi Refining was no longer merely floating clouds.
With his old man with him, and with his more powerful strength, he resolutely went north.
Then the terrain before them gradually flattened and the trees gradually thinned.
Then a row of houses finally appeared in front of them.
“We’re… we’re out?” Yu Yuankai couldn’t believe it.
Yu Qiu shook his head with a smile and went on toward the row of houses. Fangshanji, right here.
Suddenly, Yu Qiu felt a shock under his feet.
“Be careful!” He yelled, and quickly retreated back to the old man. All of a sudden, the place where he had just stood had cracked.
Ground fissure–the lowest level, about three levels of Qi Refining.
After judging the strength of the opponent, Yu Qiu stared at the shadow of the house in front of him.
“Haha.” A thin figure, showing a bald head, emerged from the shadows. “This newcomer is quite clever.” As his voice fell, several other people came out from the shadows of the houses.
A total of four people, each of whom was in the third level of Qi Refining.
“What’s the matter! What’s going on? What do these people do?” Yu Yuankai was still immersed in the shock that the ground had just burst open, and he couldn’t understand the situation at all.
“What do we do? Haha…” The thin figure took a step forward and raised his chin to Yu Qiu. “Boy, do you think Fangshanji is so progressive?”
While talking, several people had surrounded Yu Qiu and his father. In addition to the skinny bald man, there was a hunchback full of pockmarks on his face, a fat man with a belly bigger than other parts of his body with a machete hanging on his waist, and a young man dressed in grey cloth who looked relatively upright.
Yu Qiu’s eyes wandered among them, trying to infer their purpose. As much as possible, he didn’t want to fight with them. He was only in the second level of Qi Refining. He had no magic tools, and he didn’t even have time to prepare for a talisman. If they started fighting, he couldn’t beat them.