Athena knew Tigress didn’t mind if she told a few jokes, though it would be different if her jokes involved Ye Lang. And if they were ever mild jabs at him, Tigress would grow defensive immediately.
However, what she couldn’t understand was the fact that Tigress only wanted a simple friendship with Master, to serve and care for him and nothing else.
“You’re such a fox! Tigress, let’s not talk to her. Let’s go out for a walk!” Ye Lang dragged Tigress away, ignoring Athena.
“Hmmph! Wait, what did THAT mean? Master…” Athena decided she had to know what he meant every time he said she was ‘such a fox’.
This wasn’t the first time he told her this. Although she didn’t understand, it was clear from his tone it was meant to be an insult.
Ye Lang also once told her it was indeed an insult used for people who were shameless and annoying.
However, he never told her what ‘being a fox’ meant. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to tell her, he just wasn’t too sure either.
During the earliest days, the fox had the most positive image. A tribe even took the fox as their symbol, and legends denote how a nine-tailed fox blessed Yu the Great with children, hence founding the first dynasty, Xia dynasty, where the lands prospered for years to come.
The fox was one of the most revered mystical creatures during the Qin and Han dynasty, placed on the same level as the Long dragon, the Qilin and the Pheonix as the four symbols of prosperity!
There were often depictions of the nine-tailed fox, rabbits, toads, birds crowding around the Queen Mother of the West (a Chinese Tao goddess/deity) during artwork from the Han dynasty to symbolise prosperity.
There were even elaborated descriptions of the three virtues symbolised by the fox: its soft fur represented moderation and flexibility; its stature being small in the front and larger in the back meant remembering your ancestors and being humble before them; and when foxes died their heads always faced their caves, representing always remembering your roots.
The foxes enjoyed a great reputation for two thousand years from the Xia to the Han dynasty!
However, after the Han dynasty, its reputation fell from the skies. The praise and worship suddenly disappeared and the Chinese vocabulary was left with phrases like as suspicious as a fox, the stench of a fox etc. From this time on, the fox became the symbol of suspicion, manipulation and seduction. Unfortunately, they have yet to turn their names around.
Poor foxes, it was probably going to be difficult for them to clean their reputation again.
Once, a great writer named Pu Songling wrote such beautiful pieces on the fox and yet he failed to turn around the general perception of them…
Ye Lang didn’t care. If Athena asked him again, he was going to tell her the entire story.
Sometime later, Ye Lang indeed told her the story but to his surprise, she fell in love with it. She went as far as telling him he could call her a fox (in that context). Even Ye Lang was exasperated.
She’s an innocent girl, how could she like being called a fox?
Of course, Ye Lang gave in because it was not a big deal.
No one in this world knew what this word meant anyway!
What Ye Lang didn’t know was that he had completely changed the meaning of ‘being a fox’ in this world. In the years to come, ‘to be a fox’ was a compliment to a girl, praising her to be wise and kind.
One word, two meanings, two different eras, two different worlds!
“Tigress, are there any auctions nearby?” Ye Lang wanted to be prodigal again. He had once again accumulated enough wealth to spend. After ‘robbing’ his patients of money at the House of Confusion, he carried with him substantial piles of gold.
And to think he’d given everything he had away at some point- only to earn it back! Was he a prodigal son or a businessman now?!
No one could say for sure!
All Ye Lang wanted to do was to be as prodigal as he could so he could stuff his space ring full of things. It was too empty now!
“No…” Tigress shook her head. This was the tiger tribal lands, how could there be an auction here? Only humans ran auctions.
Most of the beastmen enjoyed bartering here. They exchanged with each other for things they wanted without a fixed price. With a culture like this, how could there be an auction? It was impossible!
“I’m so bored, let’s go to the market…” Ye Lang said, preparing to leave for the market.
The market was a great place where people often brought what they didn’t need to exchange for something they need. Ye Lang often found these exchanged objects very useful even if their owners didn’t.
Hence, Ye Lang spent a lot of time at the market!
“Uncle, uncle! This one, this one, I want this one! What? I have nothing to give you, I’ll give you gold coins…”
Ye Lang had discovered something interesting again. He didn’t have anything to exchange but thank goodness the market accepted gold coins too.
Gold was a universal currency. Anyone from any era anywhere accepted it!
Other than goods exchange, gold was naturally accepted in exchange for goods and services.
There was also an official department in charge of buying up goods the tribespeople did not want. They would then sell it to humans and invest the money in public spending.
The beastmen had a clean government with no signs of greed. Take a look at Tigress’ family. Her father was the chief of the tribe and yet he lived in a regular house like everyone else.
“Woah, this… I want this!” Ye Lang’s eyes were shining as something caught his eye as if he’d just found treasure.
Tigress and Athena turned to find that he was looking at a fur coat stall. These coats were all of the highest quality.
According to Tigress’ understanding of Ye Lang, he had no interest in the actual product. It was likely he thought it was an alchemy ingredient.
“Boss, how much is this?” Ye Lang pointed at a coat.
“This? What do you have in exchange?” asked the stall owner.
“I only have gold coins!” he replied honestly.
“Gold coins? Give me one gold coin then.” This seller seemed to not understand how much a gold coin was worth either. He’d heard one coat could be worth one gold coin.
What he didn’t know was that his coats were all very high quality and he could’ve charged Ye Lang a hundred gold coins!