In Old Ma’s mind, his tavern was much more important than a bowl of noodle. So, as Lu Chen opened the door once again to leave, he was a full and satisfied man, stroking his belly and burping.
This day, Clear Stream Village was much more rowdy than usual. As the day of harvesting approached, everyone started to get busier. This village specialised in the production of Spirit Tea Leaves and Spirit Grains. Although there is a ‘spirit’ word in their names, they were not really nature’s treasures that would be useful for a cultivator’s cultivation to become an immortal.
A true nature’s treasure, similar to the treasures of cultivators, have spirit grades. On those spirit herbs, there would be unique and complete spirit marks. That was the concentration of the world’s five elements, and the mystical effects of spirit materials originated from it.
For a spirit material, regardless of spirit herb, spirit beast or spirit pill and medicine, the more spirit marks there were on it, the higher the grade of the spirit material. Following that, the objects were termed in the world of cultivators as one-mark spirit object, two-mark spirit material and so accordingly.
Usually, even the most ordinary one-mark spirit object possessed extraordinary effects and was valuable. Lest needs to be spoken about the spirit materials with even more spirit marks. Not only were they rare, their value could not be measured. Often, they are sought by and fought over for by cultivators all over the world.
As for the Spirit Tea Leaves and Spirit Grains produced by the Clear Stream Village, the reason why they were bought by a cultivator sect like Thousand Autumn Doors was because they possessed spirit marks. However, these spirit marks were not complete. The spirit power that was contained within was sub-par. There were actually a lot of materials like that, above that of ordinary materials yet below the minimum requirement to be considered one-mark spirit material. Some of them were useless whereas a portion of them were beneficial to cultivators. Thus, cultivators sect would send personnel down to purchase those which they set their eyes upon.
Lu Chen had lived in the Clear Stream Village for many years. All along, to the others, he had been making a living through selling Spirit Tea Leaves. On top of that, he did possess 2 mu of tea field. He bought those when he first came to the village.
2mu -> 1333m^2
Of course, Lu Chen didn’t know how to cultivate a Spirit Tea Tree. The only harvest he could collect from his plot of land was wild grass. However, the true purpose of that plot of land was to conceal the Spirit Stones he claimed from Old Ma every month for his daily expenses until his death.
Thus, when Lu Chen looked at the excited and hopeful look on those who were working diligently on the fields, he could not t help but felt a little sentimental. Pondering over it, it seemed that compared to these people, a little deduction on his monthly Spirit Stones didn’t seem like something he should get too upset over.
Regardless of whether he was deceiving himself or he was simply using it as an excuse to make himself slightly happier, Lu Chen’s felt his mood lifting slightly. As he strolled around, he unknowingly moved toward the end of the village.
By the time he realised it, he could already see the road leading to the exit of the village before him. The corpse from yesterday had disappeared, only leaving behind a dried dark-beige bloodstain. In a few days, as people move to and fro from the village, perhaps, this bloodstain would disappear as well.
Lu Chen stared at the bloodstain for a moment before turning back to the village without a trace of emotion on his face. Along the bluestone pavement, when he was around 10 zhang from the large chinese scholar tree, he saw the old fisherman fishing beneath it yet again. He chuckled and just as he was about to move over to take a peek, he suddenly heard a commotion on the opposite bank of the stream.
10 zhang -> 30 meter
Lu Chen was surprised. He turned to look toward the opposite bank.
A stream flowed through the Clear Stream Village and there were settlements on both banks. However, the people who lived on the east bank, where Lu Chen stayed, was more prosperous. 70% of the people in the village lived here and there were many taverns, inns and convenience shops. On the other hand, there were only unremarkable houses on the west bank. Usually, not much sound could be heard from there.
It was a strange day, for a commotion to break out in the opposite bank. Glancing over, he found a gathering under the green bamboos. There were both males and females over there but what was surprising was the unusually large number of females. There were a few women who he had seen before in the village over there as well.
“Hm?” This time, Lu Chen’s curiosity was piqued. He walked over via the rock bridge nearby to get a better glimpse at the situation.
After crossing the rock bridge, he was just a short distance away from the crowd. Before he managed to get any closer, he heard praises from the crowd. Of which, there were many cries of astonishment by the females, as though they have seen something incredible.
Lu Chen became even more curious now. He hurried over and peered over from the corner which was less crowded. He hesitated. Before the crowd, under a cluster of green bamboos, a young man who looked like a scholar stood with a smile on his face. There was a piece of wooden canvas in front of him, and a white paper was glued to it. He held a brush in his hand was in the midst of painting.
That scholar looked extremely handsome. He appeared to be rather young, and was probably not even close to reaching 20. His appearance with the brush gave him an elegance that surpassed the others. Lu Chen could see peculiar looks of tender affection in the eyes of those aunties who were no longer young.
However, what that brought astonishment to the crowd wasn’t just the youth’s elegant appearance. The youth was drawing a lady on the piece of paper!
His brush strokes were light and carefree as he controlled the thickness of his strokes with ease. With mere black ink, his drawing was lifelike. The charming woman in the painting stood under the flowers. Her gaze was filled with emotions. An indescribable sentiment seemed to be expressed through the paper. The workmanship of the drawing was high.
Lu Chen did not understand much about drawing, but he could tell that it was impressive. In the midst of his surprise, he was hit with a shock. He found the lady in the drawing familiar. Looking closely, the lady in the drawing was clearly Ding Dang.
His heart skipped a beat. He immediately swept the surrounding with his gaze. In a short moment, just opposite of the youth and the canvas, he spotted Ding Dang with an unreadable expression on her face. Her face was slightly red, an expression of anger or perhaps, uncontrollable joy.
The looks of envy of the ladies at Ding Dang could not be concealed.
In just a few moments, the youth finished the painting with nimble movements. Then, he removed the painting and displayed it to the crowd with a smile, evoking cries of praises.
Painting may not be a big affair, but everyone could tell whether a painting was good or not. Besides, the youth was warmhearted and polite, which won him the fondness from the crowd.
In the crowd, Ding Dang humphed, “The painting is not bad. However, you aren’t a very honest guy. Why do you insist on drawing me?”
That youth smiled, “This elder sister here seems to be mistaken. I am just drawing casually. Seeing the beauty of elder sister over here, I couldn’t resist drawing you. If elder sister doesn’t like it, you can feel free to take it and tear it. Actually, there isn’t a scenery or person who shouldn’t be drawn. If you all are interested, when I am free, I can draw a portrait for everyone.”
Alright, for the past chapters, I have been converting Chinese measurements commonly accepted ones but for the sake of the story tone, I will keep the Chinese terms. But, I will keep a note below each time the Chinese measurements are used to reflect their size/lengths etc.
Spiritual Stones -> Spirit Stones
It is a little hard to express, but the youth’s tone is actually extremely polite.