Qin Mieqin walked ahead as he explained Hidden Sword Court’s court rules while Chengfeng and Su Yuehan hurried after him.
“We have clear rules stating that cultivators at every rank receive different allocations of resources. You’re a newcomer, so based on the Spiritual Mountain nine-colour ranking system of ‘red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple, black and white’, you’re currently one-stripe red. All you get is one house, one servant, one crop field, one pet.”
Li Chengfeng wanted to cry, for he had just abandoned his five-court luxury mansion for this tiny house. He felt like he had just made the worst trade.
Qin Mieqin continued. “Your house must not be more than a single storey or more than three rooms. You can’t have more than one servant too…”
“Senior Brother Qin, what cultivator rank do I need to reach in order to increase the number of servants?”
Qin Mieqin did not even turn his head when he scoffed. “There will be an evaluation test in a month. If you get promoted, you can get more.” He then privately thought, ‘unfortunately, you won’t be alive until then.’
“What about the field?”
“Your crop field is limited to one Chinese acre (about 667sq m). Anyone who breaks this rule will get everything in their field confiscated.
Li Chengfeng was surprised. “We’ve got to plant crops too?”
Qin Mieqin looked at him. “Where would your medicinal herbs come from then?”
Li Chengfeng turned to Su Yuehan, who said hurriedly, “Young Master, I’ve never farmed before!”
Chengfeng laughed heartily when he imagined this dainty girl planting seedlings in his field. “If you don’t farm, are you saying I will be the one doing the work?"
She yelled angrily, “I’m not farming, I’m not!”
He feigned anger, “Then I’ll send you home!”
“Send me home then, I’m not planting crops!”
What sort of joke was this? She was a glorious thousand-faced demon, how could she farm? Other people would laugh their teeth off if they heard of this. Her reputation would be ruined! Farming would also mean a majority of time would be spent on the herbs already. Would she have time for anything else?
No way, I’m not farming!
She glared at him with a steely look of determination.
He grabbed her braid. “I’ll make you farm!”
She gasped and sobbed. “I don’t want to!”
She cried loudly but there were no tears. It was all an act.
Qin Mieqin watched them coldly, muttering in his heart: are these two idiots or… actors?
Li Chengfeng let her braids go, exasperated, then turned to Qin Mieqin. “If I buy my own herbs, can I not farm then?”
“Do you know how many pills you need for cultivation?”
Li Chengfeng shook his head. “Aren’t there pill sellers here?”
“There used to be!”
Qin Mieqin’s voice turned colder. “The Nine Cauldron Sect used to be a cultivation sect who specialised in pill concocting. But they’re gone now!”
“Too much power and too much money. Attracted jealousy.”
Li Chengfeng fell deep in thought. “Yet no one continued concocting pills after them?”
Qin Mieqin halted, then turned to him. He took out one red pill and one black pill, one in each outstretched palm. “There are two pills here. Which one will you choose?”
The bright red pill looked dangerous to Li Chngfeng, and it was very fragrant too. The black pill smelled slightly bitter. He was stunned for a moment, then blurted, “Black…”
Qin Mieqin snickered. “You’re dead! The black pill is a Soul-killing pill. You’ll die if you consume it.”
Li Chengfeng paused and looked at the red pill. Qin Mieqin continued, “This is called a Muscle-growth pill. It is a useful supplement.” As he spoke, he then eyed Chengfeng teasingly and grinned. “But… are you really going to believe me? What if the red pill is the soul-killing pill? Then what?”
Chengfeng thought this was a terrifying puzzle indeed. Who could guarantee that they weren’t both poisons? Even if the source was trustworthy, how can you be sure they did not mix any poisons inside? Without sufficient trust, no one would dare consume it even if it was supposed to help you gain immortality! Because no one could truly be sure. Even if it contained 99% good herbs but 1% poison, it was enough to be fatal.
Qin Mieqin kept the two pills and looked at him. “A cultivator can become very powerful but although they can see beyond the mundane world, they still cannot read… the human heart! If you do not consume the pill, can you truly be sure I’m not lying? And would you really hire someone else to test such a valuable pill for you? What if the poison has a dormant period? And only activates when you’re casting spells? Hmmph, with so much distrust, which sect can really take over this business?”
Chengfeng looked at this cold Senior Brother Qin, who coincidentally had an unfortunate name. This senior was willing to explain this concept so patiently to him too. If he had not mentioned it, Chengfeng would not have thought of it at all.
If he was not vigilant against pills given by other people, would he really die?
Li Chengfeg was grateful. “You’re right, senior Brother Qin! Getting your own herbs really is the best way to go. Even using the wrong herb would not be as bad. However, if we consume pills from the wrong source, the consequences would be disastrous.”
“That is why every sect concocts their own pills and every cultivator must learn this skill. They need to learn how to concoct pills, make magical items, make seals, draw arrays… unless you have a partner that you can trust with your life, you must do everything yourself.”
Li Cehgnfeng was smart enough to understand that all these skills had the same concept. If other people bore ill intentions, they could modify these products to malfunction during critical moments. That would be enough to kill.
All these things must be done by the cultivator themselves. No one would place their lives in another person’s hands like that!
Li Chengfeng smiled bitterly. “So that’s why that person needs a partner-servant, right?”
Su Yuehan raged, “I’m not farming!”
“Then you go cultivate, and I’ll farm!”
She giggled. “Alright, you farm and I’ll protect you in the future!”
He pinched her cheek and gritted his teeth. “You ungrateful thing, you’re going to give me a heart attack and take all my money, right?”
She yelled and turned to break free. However, he pinched harder. Angered, she reached out to pinch his face too.
“How dare you! Hmmph!” He used his palm to push her head away so she flailed her arms and could not reach him.
He laughed, delighted with himself but she stopped and looked at him tearfully. “I don’t want to farm, I don’t want to farm!”
Wow, there really was no getting out of this one.
Frustrated, he said, “Fine, fine, fine. I’ll hire someone to farm for us. Alright?”
She wiped her tears. “You promised! No takebacks!”
He glared. “One more word and I’ll change my mind!”
She grinned and grabbed his shoulder with a chuckle. “You’re the best!”
Qin Mieqin eyed them both suspiciously, then said coldly, “One servant per person. Anyone who breaks this rule will be kicked out!”