Cangjian Court, Eagle Mountain, Sky Peak.
Grand Senior Brother and Qin Mieqin stood on a cliff far away, looking down at Li Chengfeng’s shabby house.
“Will this plan work?” Grand Senior Brother looked concerned.
Qin Mieqin replied, “Definitely! We have evidence too! No one can accuse us of blaming the innocent!”
Grand Senior Brother nodded slightly. “We must hurry. There’s not much time left!”
Qin Mieqin nodded solemnly. “Cangjian Court’s survival all falls on this moment!”
“As long as… we chase this guy out, we’ll be able to begin our plans!”
Li Chengfeng walked out of his house to see two senior brothers. One of them had two green embroidered stripes and looked arrogant.
“Greetings, senior brothers. How may I help you?”
The other cultivator with one green stripe pointed at the cultivator next to him. “This is Senior Brother Qiu Chuqiu of Cangjian Court. And I’m An Tong. You’d better remember our names!”
Li Chengfeng bowed. “How do you do, Senior Brother Qiu, Senior Brother An.”
Qiu Chuqiu looked at him in disgust. “I’m here to tell you that Crop Tax Day will be in two days.”
Chengfeng gasped, “What’s Crop Tax Day?”
“The Spiritual Mountain Sect has given you one chinese acre of land. No matter what you plant, you’ll pay forty percent tax. That is corp tax.”
Su Yuehan couldn’t help but blurt in rage, “Forty percent? Might as well rob us then!”
Qiu Chuqiu huffed while An Tong scolded her, “The land belongs to the Spiritual Mountain Sect and we also provide you with seeds! Yet we only take forty percent, what more do you ask for? If you don’t want the land you can leave!”
Li Chengfeng interjected hurriedly, “It’s a good deal, a good deal indeed! My handmaiden is young and doesn’t know much, please pay her no heed. But I just arrived a few days ago. You two also know of the conditions here. This is a rundown house and this piece of land is empty. There are no crops here. How would you calculate any tax?”
Qiu Chuqiu snickered. “I’m here today to tell you that since you have come into our Cangjian Court, you have to obey our rules. I don’t care if you have any crops or not, you’ve got to pay tax.”
Li Chengfeng suppressed his anger. “But there’s literally nothing in the soil, don’t you see?”
Based on Clause 5, Line 2 of the precept handbook, anyone who has no crops will pay a flat rate of one hundred gold as rental per year. Refusal to pay will result in demotion by one rank, while if you are already at the lowest rank, you will be kicked out!”
Li Chengfeng’s jaw dropped. This court was more corrupt than the most corrupt sect he knew!
“You’re new and have not undergone evaluation yet. So you’re currently at the lowest rank. If you do not pay the crop tax in two days, you’d better pack your bags and go back to where you came from!”
Su Yuehan was about to explode when Chengfeng held her back. “Since you have already made your demands, then I guess I am in no position to refuse. But you mentioned you’ll provide us with seeds- I have not received a single seed!”
Qiu Chuqiu and An Tong looked at each other and then laughed hysterically. An Tong replied, “I’ve heard of last-minute knife sharpening before war but not last-minute crop planting before paying tax! I’m dying!”
Qiu Chuqiu laughed heartily. “Alright, to prevent you from saying we did not keep our promises, here!” He took out a pouch from his clothes and tossed it over. Chengfeng caught it.
“Listen up, you punk. You’re holding a pouch of top-grade Rainbow Sickle Senna flower seeds. The Senna flower is a crucial ingredient in pill concocting. You won’t be able to buy this outside, nor is anyone willing to sell it so easily.”
“If you try to slip away with these seeds, I suggest you just give up. I’ll catch you even if you run to the end of the world, and then I’ll skin you alive!”
Chengfeng’s expression was void of anger, merely bowing slightly so they could not nitpick his manners. Qiu Chuqiu huffed, gave An Tong a look and they both disappeared in a flash. When they re-appeared, they were already tens of metres away.
Su Yuehan stomped her foot. “Young Master, they’re targeting you! First they tossed us in this stupid place, now they’re harassing us! They’re obviously trying to chase us out!”
Chengfeng’s expression was solemn. “Looks like I found the Grand Senior Brother’s weakness when I caught those two! They want to chase us out because they’re afraid the martial uncles will know of their dirty acts.”
“Then we’ll go look for these martial uncles! We’ll expose them!”
“Expose them? How? Are there witnesses? Or evidence? We have nothing! What can we prove with just our words?”
Su Yuehan paused for a moment. “Eh, that’s not right. We might not be able to prove the extortion on the mountain but there were witnesses for the fake injury incident. But even if there were witnesses, we have no evidence… If that’s the case, why do they want to kick us out?”
Chengfeng did not know he had been sucked into a vortex of chaos. He merely sighed. “I’m a newcomer, and my entrance was quite dramatic. Naturally, they won’t be very nice to me… Or, they think I’m a spy from Cangjin Court, that’s why they want to chase me out.”
“What do we do then?”
Li Chengfeng fell solemn. After a long pause, he finally said, “We’ll just have to whip a dead horse if it comes to that!” As he spoke, he gave Su Yuehan the pouch. “Go sow these seeds. Plant them three inches apart.”
She took the seeds and left, wondering what he planned to do. I don’t have spells for this, unless… Unless, he wants to…
Li Chengfeng watched as Su Yuehan sowed the seeds, though he was thinking about the cultivation he performed in his dream.
He did not have high hopes either, for this was obviously a dead end. Planting the seeds a few hours earlier made no difference. It was not like the growth difference would be huge.
Li Chengfeng cleaned up the hay they previously slept on, now soaked by the rain. He then cut two slits on the wall in the corner, then slid the wooden plank to serve as a ceiling to block out rain. Then, he told Su Yuehan to start a fire to dry the wet hay. Finally, he used the remaining sword piece to chop up some wood, piecing them together to form a simple door.
The sky had turned dark by now. Li Chengfeng and Su Yuehan were huddled up in the corner of the house by the fire. She looked at the field with their sown Senna herbs, sulking, “Young Master, what do we do if they don’t grow in two days?”
He fell silent, then grinned. “I don’t think the heavens would do that to me!”
Failure was simply not an option!
Although he looked optimistic, his heart was heavy. He was not aware of Su Yuehan’s odd expression either. Both of them heavy with worries, they laid down back to back.
Li Chengfeng was silently thinking about the diagrams he saw in his dream. After a while, he felt a sense of heat, then cold, in his abdomen. The hot current flowed out of the area where his left kidney was while the cold current flowed out from the right. Both currents flowed up the sides of his body, crossing each other at his crown, then flowed back into his kidneys once more.
When the Yin and Yang energies mixed, Chengfeng felt a warm, comfortable sensation within but he did not notice that he was faintly glowing golden. This might be unnoticeable during the day but it was very obvious dark at night.
It was especially obvious when this golden light extended outwards, wrapping tightly around every blade of grass it passed like spider silk. Then, green thread flowed slowly out of these grass along the golden threads back into Li Chengfeng.
This happened about four times until the stubborn grass that could survive winter withered. Any observer would be able to see that Li Chengfeng was currently the central point while golden circles rippled outwards. Green light then flowed towards him, while golden light flowed out. There were now waves flowing in two directions.
When this force field arrived at the land outside his house, the green light flowed directly into the soil instead of returning to him.
In the beginning, nothing happened but after the repeated flow of golden and green light for four hours, the soil trembled. Soon, one green seedling burst through the soil, then the second, third, and then more seedlings germinated like happy children excited to play outside in the morning They seemed to celebrate, an energetic life force gushing out of them.
The seedlings grew at a speed observable by the naked eye, exceeding an inch after a few moments. Then, the green seedlings sprouted their third, fourth leaves, and then grew taller again. When they were as tall as a man’s calf, the first bud grew, then hung its head like a shy maiden.
When the first ray of sunshine reached the ground, all the flowers bloomed consecutively. The first petal, then the second… until the seventh petal opened. Every flower had seven petals- red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple. The Rainbow Sickle Senna flower indeed.
Su Yuehan, who was watching it all in silence, widened her eyes. At this moment, she had no doubt. Such immortal power, such immortal spells… Li Chengfeng was the reincarnated traitorous immortal!