Ascending The Heavens Chapter 5: Rainbow Lotus

Proofers/Editors: nick0
Please give me input on how the story is going.
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Zhang sat atop the boulder for hours on end, dispersing the essence that flowed into his essence points throughout his body. Although the effects were minimal, Zhang could feel that his body was slowly changing. But of course after only a few hours of doing this the changes weren’t very noticeable. His vision was a tiny bit better, he could run a tiny bit faster, lift a bit more, but nothing that could be considered outstanding occurred.

“As things are, I can’t even be considered a fragment realm cultivator…” Zhang sighed, thinking how the fragment realm was the lowest realm and as long as one can open up all of their essence points, they would be considered a fragment realm cultivator.

While lost in thought, a rumbling sound echoed from his stomach. Reminding him that it had been hours since he had last eaten and it was time to fill his stomach.

“I wonder what brother Cai is cooking today.” Zhang mumbled as he jumped off the rock he had been sitting on and headed back toward the courtyard that he and Cai Cao have been assigned to.

Once he reached the front gate, Zhang reached into his pocket and withdrew his door sealing talisman which was then used to open the gates into the courtyard. The instant the gates opened, Zhang’s eyes scanned the place that he had been calling home for the last couple days.

Walking up the now familiar steps and arriving at the place that he had been sleeping for the last couple days, Zhang pushed open the door and walked in.

“Brother Cai, I’m back!” He said in a loud voice to announce his presence. However, there was no reply and when he arrived at the table where the meals are eaten, Zhang found a letter along with a few plates of inedible looking food. The funny thing was all of the food that Cai Cao prepared came out looking horrid but tasted heavenly.

The letter simply said, “going out will be back later tonight.”

“I wonder where he went.” Zhang muttered while scratching his head before sitting down and beginning his meal.

“I better ask if he has a sister who hasn’t married yet the next chance I get… Cause if she’s half as good looking and good at cooking as he is then I’ll be one happy guy.” Zhang thought as he continued wolfing down the food Cai Cao had prepared.

Not long after finishing all of the food on the table, Zhang decided to head out and explore the mountain.

“If I remember right, brother Cai said that on pages ten through thirty in the sect rule book there is a list of medical herbs that should be growing within these mountains and if I collect enough of them we can trade them in for stuff at the outer sect hall.” Zhang thought as he withdrew the Misty Mountain Sect’s rule book and flipped through its pages for the first time as he left the courtyard after grabbing a basket.

The Misty Mountains Sect could only be considered a small sect however thanks to the abundance of herbs and medicinal plants on the mountains, it is able to raise a fairly high number of inner sect disciples. It is also thanks to the efforts of the outer sect disciples who scour the mountains that this is possible.

“Let’s see here, this is a Red Dewdrop plant.” Zhang said as he plucked a red flower with three petals and tossed it into his basket. After leaving the courtyard and only walking but a few steps he had already spotted some herbs that he could collect and turn in.

“These mountains can be considered a pill maker’s treasure trove.” He said as he looked at his half full basket that was slung over his back. The basket was half full already and a variety of plants could be seen.

“Although I have a bunch of herbs, most of these only count for one or two contribution points each…Wait what do we have here?” He mumbled to himself as he flipped the pages of the sect rule book and happened upon a picture of a seven colored lotus.

“The Rainbow Lotus, worth one hundred contribution points each, are said to grow only in places with high altitudes and only in bodies of still water.” Zhang read off the rule book.

Thus began his search for a still body of water, of course he still plucked every single herb that appeared. Perhaps it was because he had nothing to do for the last few days, but Zhang found his hunt for the rainbow lotus and picking herbs very fun. It helped putting his mind into a tranquil state and wash away the setbacks that he was facing on the road to cultivation.

“If I remember right, Brother Cai said there was a waterfall and a lake somewhere near our courtyard. It’s getting late so some more rare herbs might pop up too so I should keep an eye out, thankfully today there isn’t a lot of mist and a full moon is out.” Zhang mumbled as he walked through the forest trying to hunt down herbs. He had been walking around and gathering herbs for hours and the basket slung over his shoulder was roughly seventy percent full. With the moon looming overhead, many nocturnal plants that gave off faint glows could be spotted. These plants were usually very hard to find since the mountain was normally cloaked by a layer of mist and the moon’s rays were blocked.

These plants that appeared during the night were generally worth ten points to the upwards of twenty points each. While an essence supplement pill was generally worth about two hundred contribution points, meaning that once Zhang turned in his basket of herbs then he might be able to trade for one or two essence supplement pills. That was to say that he did not come across any rainbow lotuses.

“That's a Midnight’s Glory flower! Fifty points!” Zhang said as he spotted a faintly glowing flower with pure white leaves and petals. Once he arrived at where this flower was, Zhang bent down and began digging at where it’s stem was sticking out of the ground.

“The manual said that this flower’s most value part was its petals that absorb the light of the moon.” He said to himself as he snapped the flower’s stem and placed it into his robes as to not lose the petals in the basket.

Once the Midnight’s Glory was safely tucked in Zhang’s robes he resumed his hunt once more. After yet another hour or two of herb hunting, the sound a rushing water of a waterfall echoed into Zhang’s ears. The instant this happened a glimmer appeared in his eyes, the thought of rainbow lotuses filled his mind as he quickened his pace. It was already late out and the moon was in the center of the sky, Zhang was tired but the thought of finding a dozen or so rainbow lotuses melted his weariness away.

The funny thing was the thought of someone else already harvesting the lotuses if there were any at all, never appeared in his mind. Maybe there were lotuses, maybe there weren’t but in his mind he was certain that he would find some tonight.

The sound of water became louder and louder until the sight of a pristine lake came into sight after he walked out of the underbrush. A calm, crystal clear lake came into view and to the far corner of it a small waterfall. The corners of a lake such as this was ideal for rainbow lotuses to grow, despite the moving waters of the waterfall the edges of the lake were calm and still.

From the corner of his eye something caught Zhang’s attention, a single seven colored lotuses were floating on the water's edge a short distance away in a corner of the lake that was along the face of the cliff where the waterfall flowed down. It was partially covered by an overhanging tree whose leaves were draping over the waters. Had someone been standing at any other angle then perhaps they would have not seen the lotus at all since one side of it was totally blocked by the cliff.

“Looks like it’s my lucky day.” Zhang said as a smile crept on his face and his eyes glimmered.

Making his way toward the lotus floating above the water’s surface, Zhang carefully treaded over a rocky path. But what can some rocks and a few trees do to stop Zhang when his prize was right in front of his eyes. Maybe even if some horrifying monster appeared he would fight to the death with it to retrieve that lotus.

Arriving at the water’s edge where the lotus was, Zhang was stupefied. There was not one lotus along the water’s edge that was by rock face, but dozens if not hundreds. With so many lotuses Zhang could possibly accumulate enough contribution points to trade for something many times better than an essence supplement pill.

“I’m rich!!!” He shouted in his mind as he walked into the water to begin collecting the rainbow lotuses.

“Wait… Fuck… the basket’s almost full…” Zhang cursed in his mind as he realized the basket slung over his back was filled nearly to the brim. This meant that he would either have to dump out the bounty that he had been gathering for half of the day or leave and come back later and risk someone else coming along and picking them all. Although only a few disciples were assigned to each mountain, leaving lots of space between each courtyard, he couldn’t be sure if a disciple from another courtyard would show up and take away the hundreds of rainbow lotuses.

That was when a thought appeared in his mind. Moments later he walked out of the water and began disrobing, then tied his robes together to make a sort of bag. Once the bag was fashioned he walked back into the water and began collecting the lotuses with glee.

Strangely enough Zhang had never felt so excited about something in his life, it wasn’t because the lotuses had value but an odd sense of accomplishment filled his soul. He had been raised on a silver spoon and had little need for money, so he never felt what it was like to truly have to earn something through hard work. But now things were different, he didn't have much besides the clothes and herbs on his back, quite literally.

While Zhang was busy collecting lotuses behind the cover of the tree that draped over the water, he heard a sudden splash of water sound out not too far from where he was. This was not the sound of the waterfall but of something foreign entering the water.

Peeking out from behind the branches and leaves, he saw something that perhaps he would never forget for the rest of his life. His jaw dropped as he gazed at what could be said to be the most beautiful women that he had ever seen before in his entire life. A young woman who had been favored by the heavens and granted unbelievable beauty.

His heart skipped a beat as he gazed at this young woman, the moonlight seemed to focus solely on the spot where this young woman was, so a few of her features were visible. Long black hair that glistened under the moonlight and floated above the water’s surface, snowy white skin that shone as light was reflected off the water and a figure that only a fairy could possess. Sadly, her silky long hair was partially covering her face so he could not make out all of her features, but from what he had seen so far, this young woman possessed enough beauty to make men raise armies to fight for her.

Zhang’s body unconsciously began moving forward and out from the curtain of leaves that were covering him. As his body threaded through the water while his eyes were focused on what was afar, Zhang stumbled on a rock that was underneath the water and fell over. Once he fell into the water a loud splash echoed through the night and attracted the attention of the fairy that was in the water with him.

“Who’s there!?” A feminine voice rang out as Zhang was trying to help himself up.

Not knowing what to say or do and somewhat embarrassed, Zhang began running like any man would when he was caught peeking. Of course even if he had announced his presence earlier on, the end result would still be that he saw something that he shouldn’t have.

Making his way out of the water, Zhang did not forget to grab the last few rainbow lotuses left floating in the water before speeding into the forest and disappearing. Leaving no evidence of his being in the lake, Zhang sped through the mountain toward his courtyard. With his heart pumping be it from something some people might call love at first sight or being caught in the act of peeping, he made his way through the forest.

Will he ever meet this fairy again? He did not know but perhaps she will always be a part of his thoughts, for tonight was a night that Zhang might never forget. As a person who had just turned into a young man and never having experienced love but yearned to experience it, he will forever be reminded of this moment in his youth.

It was midnight when Zhang had seen the beauty in the lake but by the time he returned to the courtyard it was three hours past midnight. He was unfamiliar with the terrain having only transversed it once and thick clouds and mist rolled in and blurred his vision causing his speed to slow down drastically.

“Finally! I’m home!” Zhang yelled in his mind as he arrived at the front gate that led into his courtyard. The thought of the bed waiting put a smile on his face as Zhang used his door sealing talisman to open the front gate and entered.

Once more walking up a familiar staircase and entering a familiar room, our weary herb hunter jumped into his bed and entered a deep sleep. Cai Cao was sleeping and Zhang did not want to wake him so a talk about what to exchange the contribution points for would have to take place when the sun rose and the roosters crow.

 

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