Li Chengfeng knew Zhan Qisheng would come looking for trouble but he never would have expected Qisheng to be this impatient. Even worse, he would not have imagined Zhan Qisheng and Sun Boyi to become accomplices so quickly.
After leaving the tunnel, his surroundings brightened. Light shone from beneath his feet and the front. Using this light, he studied the tunnel to realise the rock walls were actually jade. Pieces of jade were arranged in a manner to form an array. They emitted a soft and gentle glow.
As he walked straight ahead, the light at the other end was so blinding he could not open his eyes. Blocking his eyes with a hand, he continued walking ahead and suddenly realised he was on the mountain again. Stone pavilions were everywhere like a string of pearls dotting the snowy mountain forest. They were filled with many people, either sitting, standing, pacing around or fidgeting uncomfortably. They were all servants to the participants.
The moment Chengfeng walked out, Su Yuehan who was hiding in an invisible form in the stone pavilion opened her eyes slowly. She heaved a small sigh of relief, then tiptoed over to Li Chengfeng.
“Young Master, you’re here! You’re the first to come out too!” Chengfeng heard a bright cheer and saw an ecstatic Su Yuehan squeezing through a crowd.
Su Yuehan was carrying her luggage on her back and hung two cloth bags around her neck, hopping like a fat rabbit over to Li Chengfeng, when she suddenly tripped. This was completely different from the thousand-faced demon who was secretly watching over Li Chengfeng- and for this, Su Yuehan praised herself for putting up such an impressive act. Li Chengfeng caught her and she cheered happily, “Young Master, you…”
A gust of wind blew over and a strong stench coming from his clothes that had been wetted and dried countless times knocked the breath out of Su Yuehan. The world spun beneath her feet as she grew dizzy, instinctively falling backwards, pushing him away and leaping far away. Li Chengfeng was stunned. Since when was this girl so strong?
She pinched her nose and looked at him with disgust. “Young Master, you stint!”
Li Chengfeng looked down and his questions vanished as he glared at her. “How dare you say that? You’ll be washing my clothes!”
In the beginning, Chengfeng did not understand why people brought partners, why cultivation required money. He did now. Cultivators were not immortals free of this mundane world, they had to eat, poop and sleep just like everyone else. Who would wash his dirty clothes?
Would he wash them himself? And who would take care of his food? Did he have to go buy his own? This was not a world with food delivery apps, even if he engaged a smart businessman to bring him food every day, would any cultivator take this risk? What if they poisoned his food? And what if he did not have any magical items? While most cultivators chose to make their own magical items, what about the materials? Would he have to go forage for even the most basic materials?
Someone must be available to help the cultivator deal with the paraphernalia of life, or the cultivator would have to spend half his time solving trivial problems. Plus, cultivators would only trust a servant they brought from home.
Of course, full-time servants were a luxury only Hidden Brocade’s rich disciples and a portion of Hidden Beauty Court’s rich daughters could afford. As for the poorer people… they would have to make do.
A rich person’s starting point would always be a little bit ahead of the rest, this was a fact of the world.
Su Yuehan pouted and sulked. “Young Master, can we change the punishment? I’ll cook for you, alright?”
He yawned. “That’s just part of your chores, why are you bargaining with me?”
She made a face. “I regret coming now, can I go home?”
He turned and walked towards Hidden Brocade Court. “Too late! Hurry up, we’ve got to register at Hidden Brocade Court!”
“Woah, you’re entering Hidden Brocade Court?!” gasped Su Yuehan, attracting stares of admiration and envy from all directions.
He put both hands behind his back and nodded lightly at everyone like a general inspecting his soldiers, even lifting a hand in a salute. “Hello, comrades!”
Of course, no one replied. They just looked at him like he was an idiot. He did not find this awkward at all, he just grinned and left.
After passing the test, the Spiritual Mountain disciples treated him differently, even the older disciples politely pointed out the path to Hidden Brocade Court for him.
They arrived at a teleportation area. The teleportation formation shone brightly and they found themselves at an obscure mountain peak. They shivered as cold, sharp gusts of wind blew.
Both of them looked at the only flight of stone steps. There was a golden palace not far away, some buildings as tall as towers while patches of shorter buildings surrounded them. Some had odd shapes while others seemed to be built isolated from the crowd.
Li Chengfeng and Su Yuehan were impressed by the view, following the flight down the peak when a dark shadow rolled in front of him. The startled Chengfeng was about to kick it when he realised it was a human. It was a fat man as round as a ball.
“Yo, are you a new disciple of the Hidden Brocade Court?” The fat guy’s face was round with soft flesh in a likeable manner, reminding Chengfeng of Po from Kungfu Panda.
“Yeah, what is your name?” Chengfeng quickly greeted him with the Hidden Brocade Court greeting.
He chuckled, “I’m Zhang Jinbao, you can call me Brother Disciple Dabao.”
Heh, what’s with all the ‘bao’? First Xiaobao, then this is Dabao…
Li Chengfeng’s chest tightened when he thought of Zhao Xiaobao. I wonder what he’s up to these days?
He quickly composed himself and said, “Nice to meet you, Brother Disciple Dabao.”
Dabao grinned. “At least you’re polite, not like those idiots we’ve got at Hidden Brocade Court. They’re all snobbish and stuck-ups.”
Chengfeng smiled. “Glad to be here.”
A hint of mischief flashed across Dabao’s eyes. “You should follow me. I’ll bring you to your quarters.”
Zhang Jinbao led them ahead as Su Yuehan looked around curiously and could not help but ask, “Brother Disciple Dabao, can you cultivate despite being so fat?”
Chengfeng quickly slapped her head and glared. “Don’t be rude!”
Zhang Jinbao laughed, not upset at all as he touched his belly. “It’s fine, it’s fine, I…”
But Chengfeng instead scolded sternly, “Don’t say that! He’s just very strong!”
Zhang Jinbao’s smile froze. “You’re funny, Brother Disciple!”
Chengfeng chuckled. “Apologies, I was just joking because you look like you have a great sense of humour.”
Usually, cultivators yearned for people to see them as cold and imposing, hoping that their presence would scare the crap out of everyone. However, Zhang Jinbao was different. He laughed in delight and took a liking to Chengfeng. “Smart of you to notice that! Brother Disciple, my business in Spiritual Mountain Sect’s estate relies on my friendliness and humour! You need that for a prospering business!”
Chengfeng was surprised. “Brother Disciple, you’re a businessman? Or are you a businessman just within the sect? You can even open a business in a cultivation sect?”
In the past, people liked to ask about a cultivation sect’s rules, methodologies and techniques, but no one would ever respect this oddball from Spiritual Mountain: a fat man who worked hard on his business.
Zhang Jinbao was delighted, liking Chengfeng even more. He bragged, “Why not? Any place with people is a business opportunity. In the future, doesn’t matter if you need to make seals or magical items, or you have a crush of any pretty Senior Sisters in Hidden Beauty Court, just tell me!”
He patted his chest loudly with a disgusting expression on his face. Even Su Yuehan looked at him with a little disgust. However, Chengfeng was impressed. “Ah, so you’re Spiritual Mountain Sect’s...matchmaker!”