😀 Hope you guys enjoy this series O_O Thoughts? Please comment what you think so far O_O
Cai Cao had returned to the courtyard roughly an hour, nearly two hours before Zhang with creases on his brow due to being lost in the thick mist that blanketed the mountain. Where he went, only he knows. Having come back very late in the night, he had crawled into his bed without a care for the world and fell into a deep slumber.
But this deep slumber would be abruptly disrupted.
“Brother Cai! Wake up! Wake up!” Zhang's voice sounded out by Cai Cao’s ear.
“Ju-just a little longer…” Cai Cao mumbled while half asleep.
“Wake up we have to head to the outer sect hall, it's already noon!” Zhang yelled trying to wake up Cai Cao. Although their courtyard was fairly close to the inner sect hall, it still took roughly an hour and a half for them to get there. So if they did not head out now than they would have to wait until tomorrow.
But Zhang who was extremely hyped from his large harvest of Seven Colored Rainbow Lotuses had woken up a while ago and went about tallying the number of contribution points that he should be receiving. There was a total of eighty-eight Seven Color Rainbow Lotuses which totaled eight thousand and eight hundred contribution points, then there was about another seven thousand and two hundred contribution points from the rest of the herbs that Zhang had gathered.
So if everything went well, he should be getting about sixteen thousand contribution points. He had decided to split his points with Cai Cao so in the end each person would have eight thousand points which they could possibly trade for eight essence supplement pills or a variety of other things.
After a while, Cai Cao sat up on his bed with a head full of messy hair. “Okay, okay I’m getting up…Now get out of the room...” Cai Cao said as he rubbed his sleepy eyes.
“Alright I’ll wait for you down in the courtyard.” Zhang said as he headed toward the door.
Zhang did not have to wait long before Cai Cao appeared and descended the flight of stairs leading to the courtyard.
“So why are we heading to the Outer Sect Hall again? The meeting that the elders had said would take place won’t happen for another few weeks.” Cai Cao said as he questioned Zhang.
“We are going to exchange these in for contribution points to the sect.” Zhang replied with a grin as he handed a sack full of herbs to Cai Cao.
“Where did you find all of this? I’ve tried to find herbs around the mountain too and have yet to find more than a dozen…” Cai Cao said with amazement as he opened the sack and saw how many herbs Zhang had managed to gather. Thinking back to how Zhang had been bedridden and had only been able to get back on his feet a few days ago, Cai Cao was somewhat dumbfounded at how Zhang had managed to gather so many herbs.
“Eh guess I got lucky. Let’s go.” Zhang said as he headed for the front gate.
Following behind Zhang, Cai Cao soon witnessed something amazing. As the two of them descended the mountain, Zhang would casually pluck various herbs and add them to the stash he had already gathered. Plants that Cai Cao had never even seen before were collected and named by Zhang with ease.
Somehow Zhang had memorized what plants were in the rule manual and the number of points they were worth, which could be considered an amazing feat considering how many plants were listed in the manual. Although there weren’t a lot, there had to be at least a hundred or two hundred different types of herbs and plants listed in the manual.
“Maybe this is why he was admitted into the sect despite having weak channels.” Cai Cao thought as he observed Zhang.
A while later they had descended the mountain and arrived at the Outer Sect Hall, which could be considered a small city ran by Misty Mountain Sect disciples. Every year the sect admitted thousands of new disciples, so over the years the number of disciples staying in the sect grounds accumulated into a vast population. There were some disciples who left the sect to travel or were dispelled but for the majority of disciples, they would stay in the sect grounds to further their cultivation.
Once one joined a sect they would stay with the sect for most of their lives. They would meet the love of their lives in the sect, they would then start families and have children who would join the sect. Making it so that there was a large amount of new disciples who had family already in the sect.
Besides the main hall itself, there were various stores ran by sect disciples and outer sect elders where a large variety of trade and purchases took place. Most of the purchases here would require the exchange of goods or gold coins.
Then there were a few places where goods could only be acquired by contribution points to the sect.
“According to the map in the manual the Herb Exchange Department should be over there.” Zhang said as he led Cai Cao through the bustling streets full of disciples trying to sell their wares.
“I had no idea that the sect had so many disciples, to think that the whole area was closed off on that day to initiate new disciples.” Zhang said.
“Yea, the longer one stays with the sect the deeper one moves into the mountains. Only newer disciples like us, stay on the courtyards that are close to the outer sect hall. Most of the disciples stay in the middle ring of the sect grounds, where there is a Middle Sect Hall. But a lot of people still travel out to the outer ring where we are to trade. There are even clans that live inside the sect, so when in the presence of others, it’s best to try not to offend anyone.” Cai Cao said.
Soon the two arrived at a two story building, where dozens of people carrying sacks of herbs could be seen walking in and out. Upon entering the two were directed to one of the many counters, where a middle aged man with a large mole on his face stood. From his outfit, Zhang could tell that this man was a regular disciple of the sect and not an elder.
“Maybe he earns contribution points or a wage for working here.” Zhang thought.
“What do you have for me?” The man asked in a bored and dull tone.
“Sir we would like to exchange these for contribution points.” Zhang said as he placed a large sack filled to the brim with herbs on the counter. Cai Cao also placed the sack that Zhang had handed him earlier onto the counter.
“Is this your first time doing this?” The man asked.
“Okay let me get you your tally jades.” The man said as he bent over and disappeared under the counter. A few minutes passed before the man popped up from underneath the counter with two small jade pendants.
“These will keep tally of the number of contribution points you have accumulated. Make sure not to lose them or else someone else may claim the points. I’ll see what you have in the sacks and then add points to them.” The man said as he placed the jade pendants on the counter and began examining the contents of the sacks.
He first examined the sack that Cai Cao had placed on the counter. This sack was filled with random herbs while the sack that Zhang had been holding was mostly filled with Rainbow Lotuses.
“Oh you have a Midnight’s Glory in here, worth fifty points.” The man said as he was tallying points on an abacus.
“Seven thousand and one hundred points. You two sure brought in a good haul” He said once he finished tallying the first sack of herbs.
Then he began tallying the herbs in the second sack. At first he only saw the regular herbs that Zhang had gathered on his way to the Outer Hall, but soon enough the man scraped pass that layer and laid eyes upon dozens of Seven Colored Rainbow Lotuses.
Although he had a hint of amazement in his eyes the man did not say a word and continued tallying. He simply did not know what to say or what to ask so all he could do was continue counting.
But once he reached the bottom of the sack he could no longer keep silent.
“Th-this is a Nine Colored Aurora Lotus!!! Worth ten thousand points!” The man yelled, causing everyone else in first floor of the building to look toward him.
“Wh-what!? Ten thousand points?” Zhang yelled as he looked at the lotus in the man’s hand. Only upon closer inspection did he notice a few of the petals possessing a subtle difference in color.
“An Aurora Lotus? That wasn’t listed in the manual.” A disciple a counter not too far from Zhang’s said as he looked over.
“It’s not listed because a single Aurora Lotus blooms every few hundred years. To acquire one of these would require years of searching or a tremendous amount of luck.” The man stated.
“You wait here, the elder in charge of the Herb Exchange Department needs to verify that this is truly an Aurora Lotus before I can give you the points.” The man said as he ran off toward a flight of stairs that led to the second floor with the lotus in hand.
Not long after the middle aged man with the mole returned with a man who looked to be in his twenties but possessed a head of long white hair.
“We pay our respects to Elder Hao Lu.” The majority of disciples in the building said upon seeing the man. Cai Cao and Zhang also chimed in a bit after everyone else as to not be the odd ones out.
“This is indeed an Aurora Lotus! Worth ten thousand contribution points to the sect and on top of that I’ll give the person who found it an extra five thousand points.” Elder Hao Lu said while holding up the lotus in his hand.
Zhang stood dumbfounded as the amount of points he was receiving kept getting bumped up higher and higher. Although he wasn’t sure what he could use the points to trade for, he knew the more he had the better so inside he was jumping with joy.
“Here are your tally jades my fellow disciples, I gave you a little extra on top of what the elder gave you, for a total of forty-three thousand points. Just don’t tell anyone and remember to come back again with more herbs.” The middle aged man with the mole said with glee. It was clear that Elder Hao Lu had given him some sort of benefit for reporting on the Aurora Lotus.
All eyes were on Zhang and Cai Cao as they departed the Herb Exchange Department and headed for the Point Exchange Department which was across the street. The point exchange building was many times larger than the herb exchange building as it was four stories tall and stretched out to twice the width of the herb exchange building.
Once inside they noticed that there were dozens of counters, each with a different sign placed above head. Some counters were meant for exchanging points for weapons, some were for pills, some were to take up missions for points, and so on.
Every counter had a long line of people waiting to exchange their points for goods, well all but one. There was a counter on the far end of the building without a sign and without a line of people waiting. There was a young man sitting behind the counter, clearly bored because he was not receiving any business at all.
“Let’s check that counter out, since there isn’t a line.” Cai Cao suggested. It was his first time here like Zhang so he was fairly curious as to why that certain counter did not have a line.
“May we ask what we can exchange our points for at this counter?” Zhang asked the young man behind the counter when they arrived at the far end of the building.
“If you don’t have ten thousand points each then don’t bother.” The young man said.
Zhang pulled up his tally jade pendant and showed it to the man, who looked back at him in astonishment.
“Well since you have the points I’ll tell you. This counter is where you can acquire a pass into a forbidden section of the sect. Everyone calls that place The Graveyard. If you’re lucky you might be able to find some elementary or even profound grade equipment. If you're really lucky and don’t get mauled by demonic beasts, you might even acquire one of their eggs and get yourself a demonic pet. But for the most part people tend to come back empty handed so not many are willing to part with five thousand points.” The young man said.
Of all the words the young man said, Zhang only heard the words, elementary, profound, equipment, pet and last but not least mauled. Which caused a hint of excitement and thrill to appear in his mind.
“Also I forgot to mention that after the five thousand points are paid you can use your door sealing talismans to enter this forbidden area as many times as you want.”
“I’ll give you ten thousand so we can both enter.” Zhang said without talking it over with Cai Cao. Although it wasn’t Cai Cao’s points to begin with so he did not complain over what Zhang spent them on. As for if he would join Zhang in exploring the Graveyard, that was another story.
“You sure about this?” The young man asked.
While the young man was branding Zhang and Cai Cao’s door sealing talismans with the key for the Graveyard’s entrance, everyone else gawked at the young man who just wasted ten thousand contribution points.
“Now let’s go get some weapons, pills, and manuals.” Zhang said to his friend after retrieving their door sealing talismans.