Chapter 385 – Giving and Receiving Gifts
The members of the shadow cat race were called over for no other reason but to deliver these medicinal pills to the residences of their senior sect brothers and sisters, and their master.
The shadow cat race’s speed was extremely fast. It didn’t take long for nine people to pay their respects and kneel on the ground towards Gongyi Tianheng.
In this brief period of time, Tianheng used different bottles to hold each of these Realm Breaking Pills. After that, he handed a bottle to each of the nine shadow cats, told them the medicinal pills’ miraculous effects, and ordered them to send these gifts one by one. The gifts had to be delivered personally, and the bottles couldn’t be opened by other people.
The members of the shadow cat race naturally accepted the orders with respectful voices, and swiftly dashed out. In the blink of an eye, they had already transformed into remnant shadows and disappeared from view.
After their figures vanished, Gu Zuo remembered something else. His thoughts moved, and both of his hands made a clasping motion.
In the hollow of his palms appeared a glossy and lustrous stone ovum. This stone ovum was black and white, but these two colors were gradually encroaching upon each other, as if they were in the middle of fusing. Once they fused, the pigmentation presented a faint, dark-silver color. It was unusual.
Gu Zuo rubbed the stone ovum, and said: “Big brother, it’s thirsty for blood again.”
Tianheng smiled, extended his wrist, and used a knife to gently nick it — In a split second, a rivulet of blood flowed down and fell right onto the stone ovum.
It was quite a strange sight. Seeing as how the stone ovum was so smooth and glossy, according to reason, the blood should’ve slid off after falling onto the surface. However, not only didn’t the blood slide off, it was rapidly absorbed when it touched the stone ovum’s shell. At the same time, the slightly cool stone ovum gradually warmed up.
Once a few seconds passed, Tianheng pulled his hand back. This time around, he took the stone ovum. Meanwhile, Gu Zuo stretched out his hand, nicked his wrist, and dribbled some blood.
As before, the stone ovum quickly absorbed it, and the temperature rose higher and higher. After the dark-silver area expanded somewhat, Gu Zuo also moved his hand away.
At this moment, the stone ovum, whose life force had increased much more than just a while ago, was spirited and adorable.
Upon seeing this, Gu Zuo couldn’t help rubbing it again.
The more blood he gave, the more affection he felt towards this stone ovum. Whenever the stone ovum was burning hot, it seemed as if he could sense a kind of intimate bond coming from inside.
— Gu Zuo and Tianheng acquired this stone ovum from within a strange phenomenon at the region of the leyline’s dragon head by dripping the blood of two people.
In the beginning, this stone ovum only had two miniature versions of the black and white qi streams. After the pair brought it back, there suddenly came a day when, just as Tianheng surmised, it expressed a pleading feeling. At that time, Gu Zuo was still a little worried, but the stone ovum completely lacked even the slightest hint of malicious intent. Hence, after discussing it with Tianheng, Gu Zuo gave the stone ovum some blood.
Immediately following that, the miniature black and white qi streams continuously expanded in the wake of the blood drops.
Time and again, whenever the stone ovum had a need, Gu Zuo and Tianheng used the blood of two people to satisfy it. Those miniature versions grew larger and larger until each occupied half of the shell, which caused the stone ovum to become completely black and white.
After that, once they continued to nurse it with their blood, the black and white colors started to intermingle. Then, the blending areas changed to a unified dark-silver… But right now, the majority of the shell was still black and white. Gu Zuo and Tianheng had a guess. After the stone ovum completely turned dark-silver, perhaps it could hatch.
It had to be said that Gu Zuo was looking forward to it a little bit.
This wondrous object that was absorbing his and his big brother’s blood… What would it be in the end?
No matter what, just based on this wondrous object’s “bloodline connection” between him and his big brother, he would certainly treat it well.
Once the stone ovum was fed, Gu Zuo placed it on the jade bed in the side hall as usual. At this point in time, those gift-delivering shadow cats ought to be returning, too.
Speaking of which, once the members of the shadow cat race descended the mountain, they dashed towards various directions like soldiers splitting up along numerous routes.
Besides the Blood Transformation Palace Hall, the locations they were heading to were the residences of the eight older personal disciples.
One couldn’t focus on how Gongyi Tianheng was given so many choices when he first arrived. In actuality, the manor, ore vein, and other geographic features that he selected were all within the borders of the Blood Transformation Palace Hall’s jurisdiction — Naturally, the locations of the other nine palace halls were even further away.
As a result, while it could be said that the residences of the eight older personal disciples were rather distant, it wasn’t to the extent of the other palace halls. Granted that they wouldn’t be called “neighbors”, they could be considered of the same “homeland”.
Among them, the one who was the closest was actually the eldest senior sect brother, He Zizhang.
The speeds of the nine shadow cat race members were about the same. Thus, the fastest one to reach their destination would naturally be the one to pay their respects to He Zizhang.
He Zizhang’s dwelling was located in a valley.
The valley was surrounded by mountains. It was inhabited by numerous racial groups under his command and battle slaves who trained arduously all year round. As for the valley encircled by mountain ranges, its area was vast and filled with dense forests and idyllic fields. It was leisurely, free, and comfortable.
Outside the valley, the shadow cat quickly took out a visitation notice.
Not to mention anything else, all battle slaves sent to act as doorkeepers needed to record the names and handwriting of anyone familiar with their master.
Tianheng was one of the nine personal disciples. Although he hadn’t been a part of the sect for as long as those senior brothers and sisters, he was equivalently placed within that batch of personages who were regarded with great importance.
Naturally, this visitation notice was recognized by that door-keeping battle slave at a glance. Right away, the guard didn’t dare to neglect anything, and swiftly notified the chain of command.
The shadow cat youth was also quick to declare his young master’s order, and that there was an object he needed to offer personally.
Not long after, the battle slave returned, and handed over the matter of guarding the gateway to a fellow soldier. Then, the battle slave led the shadow cat youth with swift steps into the valley. After passing through numerous restrictions and formations, they arrived in front of an enormous tree. On top of the tree, whose branches extended far and wide, towered an elaborate housing structure. This was He Zizhang’s dwelling place.
The shadow cat youth flashed onto the premises, bowed, and saluted.
As it turned out, the instant he came, a young man wearing scholarly robes was already walking out of the residence.
At this time, the young man looked mild with his hands clasped behind his back. But in fact, there was a hint of arrogance in his eyes.
He Zizhang opened his mouth: “What thing did my youngest junior sect brother send you to give to me?”
The shadow cat youth immediately took out that bottle, and presented it respectfully with both hands: “Last year, the young master obtained some benefits. Originally, he wanted to share them with his seniors, but it couldn’t be accomplished at that time. Therefore, it had been delayed until now. Today, the refinement was finished, so the young master instructed us to deliver these things to every residence.”
Hearing these words, He Zizhang revealed a smiling expression.
It seemed that, because his dear junior brother was mentioned, the look of arrogance in his eyes turned into gentle warmth. He stated: “My youngest junior sect brother is considerate. Right now, he should still be in the process of saving up resources. All of his profits ought to be kept for himself. Even though he is formidable, there really isn’t any need to constantly have us seniors on his mind.”
Soon after, He Zizhang took that bottle. While bearing a heart filled with curiosity, he opened it.
Although his junior brother came from the Peripheral Continents, Tianheng was far-sighted and astute. He wouldn’t have deemed a withered weed as precious treasure. With this sort of conscientious act, who knew what type of good thing was inside?
It was only seen that, just as the bottle cork was removed, a puff of rich pill fragrance drifted out. Its aroma was pure and clean. When a lungful was breathed in, he could sense the vital qi within his qi ocean becoming restless.
He Zizhang was currently a mid Noble Realm martial artist. Among the nine apprentices under the Blood Transformation Palace Master, his realm fully deserved the title of the highest. There were extremely few medicinal pills that could evoke this kind of feeling in him.
In that moment, he was given a slight shock.
After some thought, He Zizhang poured that pill onto the hollow of his palm, and carefully examined it.
However, he couldn’t recognize this medicinal pill at all. He only felt that there was a profound mystery within that his present realm would have a hard time striving for. If he swallowed it, it would certainly be of great use to him!
He Zizhang looked at that member of the shadow cat race: “Does my youngest junior sect brother have any information about this medicinal pill?”
The shadow cat youth promptly answered in a deferential voice: “The young master said that this pill was developed by his personal pharmacist. Before this, no pill prescription existed. Its name has been initially set as the Realm Breaking Pill. The effects of this pill are…”
Due to the outward appearances and personal strengths of the Shadow-Morphing Black Cat Race, although their states of mind were usually indifferent, when the youth mentioned this type of medicinal pill, his voice still carried a trace of excitement that took great willpower to suppress.
After listening to this, He Zizhang took a deep breath: “Unexpectedly… It’s such a miraculous pill.”
On the contrary, he didn’t doubt whether the pill really had those effects, nor did he doubt Gu Zuo’s ability based on age. Just because they were martial artists, although they might not be able to clarify a medicinal pill’s category, there were many times when the pill’s efficacy could be roughly understood so long as they smelled the pill fragrance — At the very least, unless it was specially hidden, they could sense whether a pill was beneficial or detrimental.
Moreover, He Zizhang was convinced that if that youngest junior sect brother of his wasn’t absolutely sure about the medicinal pill’s effects, he wouldn’t have delivered it with such earnest solemnity. As a result, this pill was certainly real.
Soon after, a feeling of excitement grew within He Zizhang’s heart.
There were nine individuals under the Blood Transformation Palace Master: Two Noble Realms, two Celestial Realms, three Ascendant Realms, one Atomic Realm, and one Immortal Realm. Among them, his realm was the highest. In his opinion, this medicinal pill was the most crucial for him.
With his present realm, wanting to break through as quickly as possible was somewhat challenging. But if he relied on other methods to improve his strength, then it was feasible. Originally, he wanted to look for opportunities and hone himself while out adventuring. With this Realm Breaking Pill in hand, he could enter secluded cultivation. Once his internal qi was dyed with the nature of some source energy, he would go out to gain experience and adapt to this new-found strength. He would get twice the results with half the effort!
He Zizhang closed his eyes. To his family’s youngest junior sect brother, he naturally felt gratitude and warmth. After pondering for a bit, he made a gesture to the side. Soon after, he took out a sheet of cloth and silk. On top of it was a return letter written with cursive calligraphy as bold as flying dragons and dancing phoenixes. He handed everything to the shadow cat youth, who was to deliver it to Gongyi Tianheng.
Immediately following that, the person who had been gestured at swiftly came back having fetched a jade chest. Inside of it was stored many rare spirit medicines. He instructed the shadow cat to bring this back as well.
He Zizhang wasn’t a stupid person. He knew that his youngest junior sect brother gave this medicinal pill, but the capability of that guy’s personal pharmacist was mentioned, too. It wasn’t only due to the friendship between fellow disciples. It was to raise that pharmacist’s position in his eyes. Therefore, he also understood that, if he gave these reciprocative gifts to express his gratitude to his junior brother, that junior brother might feel unenthusiastic. However, if he presented spirit medicines to that pharmacist as gifts, then perhaps that junior brother would be happy.
The shadow cat youth took these two parcels. After bidding farewell to He Zizhang, he swiftly departed.
He Zizhang glanced in the direction of his youngest junior sect brother’s manor. Then, he turned around, and hurriedly walked into a hidden chamber. After entering seclusion, he swallowed the medicinal pill.
Similar scenes were playing out in different locations.
One after another, the Blood Transformation Palace Master’s apprentices received a medicinal pill delivered from their youngest junior sect brother, Gongyi Tianheng. They all listened to the shadow cat race members’ recounting of the pill’s functions. Each of their faces were emotionally moved.
They were the same as the eldest senior sect brother, He Zizhang. Practically all of them took out some spirit medicines to send back to express their gratitude. Although spirit medicines were good to have, if someone wanted to truly display their usefulness, one needed to have a sufficiently outstanding pharmacist. How could spirit medicines compare to the Realm Breaking Pill, which could be of such immense help to themselves? What’s more, the pill’s product grade was so good.
Naturally, although the scenes were similar, not everyone went into secluded cultivation. After all, swallowing the medicinal pill required suitable preparations and a precise grasp of the outcomes. Yet, among them was the fifth senior sect sister. Her realm was already at the peak of the Ascendant Realm. She had long been searching for an opportunity to break through, but she hadn’t been able to make it a certainty. Now that this pill arrived, her heart stirred. While her internal qi bubbled and surged, she decided to break through immediately…
Finally, the Blood Transformation Palace Master himself met with a shadow cat girl.
This girl’s face was expressionless. She deferentially held out a slightly larger bottle with both hands. Inside this bottle was stored two Realm Breaking Pills.
The Blood Transformation Palace Master paused: “My apprentice and Ah Zuo ordered you to deliver this?”
The shadow cat girl lied prostrate on the ground. Her voice was monotonous: “Yes.”
Soon after, she started to systematically narrate the origins and effects of the medicinal pills.
For a time, the Blood Transformation Palace Master remained silent.
As he listened, he opened the bottle.
To be honest, he truly never expected that the grains of source sand near a spiritual source could be utilized. Nor did he anticipate that one could actually extract a sliver of source energy and combine it with many medicinal ingredients and wondrous medicine to form such a miraculous pill.
In his mind, he couldn’t help raising his evaluation of Gu Zuo’s abilities.
Merely, when he discovered that these two pills were flawless and that he could clearly use them without any burdens, the Blood Transformation Palace Master’s mood became somewhat subtle.
How long had it been since his apprentice last brought out something so good…
It wasn’t known how many times he had sighed in his heart about the luck of that all-star prodigy. The palace master pondered over and over again before posing a question: “Is my apprentice and his pharmacist lacking in any resources right now?”
The shadow cat girl shook her head: “Reporting to the palace master, this subordinate doesn’t know.”
The Blood Transformation Palace Master lightly sighed.
There was no other alternative. He could only take out a token, and give it to the shadow cat girl, who properly received it.
The color of this token was blood-red. Written in five large characters was “Class Three Blood Pond Order”.
The Blood Transformation Palace Master stated: “When it comes to other precious things, with my apprentice’s luck, he shouldn’t be lacking in anything. However, if one practices the ultimate knowledge of my Blood Transformation Palace Hall, there’s one thing that only my palace hall should have an easier time obtaining. My apprentice’s appetite is rather large, so this teacher shall bestow this order. Whenever my apprentice’s blood pond dries up, it will permit him to receive a new one. It’s just that this Class Three Blood Pond Order can only requisition a blood pond suitable for Celestial Realms at most. Otherwise, the bloody qi will be excessively abundant, and will cause harm instead. Currently, my apprentice can use this first. One day, if it isn’t enough, he can seek out this teacher to exchange for another blood pond order.”
In his voice, there was also a bit of cold indifference when talking to other people: “You must relay everything that this venerable one has said to my apprentice. Not a single word is to be omitted.”
The shadow cat girl answered in a serious manner: “Yes, palace master.”
After the Blood Transformation Palace Master made things clear, he didn’t have any intentions of continuing the conversation with this girl.
Previously, that Noble Realm He Zizhang was quite eager after obtaining a medicinal pill. This palace master was already a peak Royal Realm powerhouse, so he was naturally even more impatient. Although he wasn’t looking for an opportunity to break through right now, his realm had been stagnating for a long time. However, after gaining these medicinal pills, perhaps he could look for the location of that opportunity?
The shadow cat girl swiftly withdrew. Soon after, she carried away the blood pond order, and dashed straight to the manor.
“Five stalks of spirit medicine.”
“Four stalks of spirit medicine.”
“Four stalks of spirit medicine.”
“Six stalks of spirit medicine.”
Gongyi Tianheng opened those reciprocative gifts from those senior sect brothers and sisters one by one. His mouth curled into smiling expressions several times. He said: “Sure enough, our seniors are well aware of my intentions. Ah Zuo, these belong to you.”
Gu Zuo looked over. Even though the number of spirit medicines he possessed wasn’t low, he still had a desire to stuff everything into his pockets immediately. However, as he considered his family’s big brother, he nevertheless reluctantly asked: “Big brother, aren’t there some things in here that should be put into the treasury?”
Tianheng chuckled: “There’s no need. These are the gains of Ah Zuo’s hard work. Naturally, everything must be returned to Ah Zuo. Although Ah Zuo and this elder brother share accounts, while all the things inside the public treasury also belong to this elder brother, those things can be exchanged at will. It’s better to calculate these things clearly.”
It was also the method that Tianheng came up with after thinking about it for a long time. It was within this manor and compound where he resided that all of his subordinates and underlings, regardless of whether they were servile races, battle slaves, or subsidiary organizations, could quantify their labors in exchange for contribution points. And every item inside the public treasury was quantified by the number of contribution points, which was based on its valuation.
Originally, besides the monthly allocation of resources the sect provided everyone, their master would also distribute some resources from time to time. This earned their unswerving loyalty. Though, how resources were allocated and what types of things satisfied everyone were difficult matters in the hearts of many prodigies and powerhouses — More often than not, a set of finalized conclusions was only reached after lengthy deliberations.
With Tianheng, everyone was allocated contribution points each month. If any racial groups performed any meritorious services, the race would be conferred a large amount of contribution points, which could be internally distributed as they saw fit.
These contribution points were accumulated, and could be exchanged for resources within the public treasury. The time of the exchange, the amount converted, and the type of item to be traded were all decided by the subordinate… The process was incredibly considerate to their needs.
This way of handling things was extremely similar to some rules within the sect, and putting them into practice was rather easy. Earlier, Tianheng simply spent a little more time on the “pricing” of numerous resources in the public treasury, and quickly gave the orders. During this past year, this matter had been implemented well. Unwittingly, it had ushered in the gratitude of many subordinates!
Inside the public treasury, there were all kinds of rare items. Most of all were the medicinal pills, whose product grades left people in a state of disbelief.
Among these, although some conjectures couldn’t be confirmed, it caused some to develop feelings of reverence from the bottom of their hearts.
In particular, Ming Wanzhu and her band of siblings, who had long integrated with Tianheng’s subordinates, had been doing their best to perform many meritorious services since this process was put into effect. However, when they saw the amount of contribution points needed in exchange for the prismatic Innate Mending Pill, they clenched their teeth and hardened their hearts, borrowed funds from all over the place, and exchanged for it with great difficulty.
But the results were also clear and easy to see.
That year, the auction’s prismatic Innate Mending Pill had been real. This time, the pill they exchanged for was also real.
There were numerous maladies that plagued Xue Shen’s body. Under the efficacy of this pill, he recovered swiftly and completely. From that point onward, he could proceed with practicing martial arts and cultivating like a normal person!
— Back to the main point.
Currently, the resources in Tianheng’s hands were divided into public and private treasuries. There was no need to mention the public treasury, but as for the private one… A small portion was kept inside Tianheng’s spatial bangle. The other, larger, portion was carefully stockpiled inside the storage space of the Divine Medicine Palace Hall by Gu Zuo.
Gu Zuo finished listening to Tianheng’s words, and his heart warmed.
With his own ears, he heard his big brother say that they didn’t make any distinctions between what belonged to who… No matter what, this represented a heavy sense of trust, right? Listening to this truly made him feel extremely comfortable in his heart.
At this moment, Gu Zuo didn’t stand on ceremony, and the spirit medicines gifted by the eight senior brothers and sisters were all collected and put away. The Blood Transformation Palace Master’s blood pond order was also delivered.
Tianheng grasped this thing in his hand, and broke into laughter: “Master is really…”
Gu Zuo couldn’t help smiling when he thought about the Blood Transformation Palace Master’s mood, but he also felt that it wasn’t easy for the palace master, who was always troubled with sending gifts in return. Merely, since he and his big brother obtained good things that were suitable for the palace master, they couldn’t be unfilial to their teacher just because the palace master had a hard time finding good reciprocative gifts.
There was nothing to be done. Without any better options, it was like this.
Still, thinking about this situation was very interesting.
At any rate, Gu Zuo believed that all of today’s affairs that needed handling were concluded.
But what he didn’t anticipate was that someone would come bearing information.
And this person was someone whom he would’ve never imagined coming here.
The author has something to say: No, it isn’t Xu Lingxiu. It still isn’t time for him to come onto the stage yet.
T/N: Thanks for the corrections, Charysa.
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