Chapter 156: The Prize, a Single Seed
Translator: OnGoingWhy Editor: Vermillion
"This is the prize for getting first place?" Bu Fang asked in bewilderment. He expressionlessly watched as Ji Chengxue solemnly placed a seed with the size of peanuts into his hand.
"Isn't this just a peanut?" Bu Fang thought as he endured the impulse to slap Ji Chengxue's handsome face with a shoehorn.
After working hard for most of the day, he did not anticipate only getting a peanut-like seed like this. He was at a loss for words.
Looking at the pitch-black seed, it seemed to be somewhat old and in a bad shape. Its surface was covered with unusual thin markings that resembled an enigmatic magic array... However, it was still ultimately just a seed!
"Owner Bu, this is an extremely important treasure from within the imperial palace. My father highly regarded this seed while he was still alive. Today, I shall gift this to you as a reward. I hope you'll cultivate this seed and help germinate it," Ji Chengxue said with a smile.
Bu Fang glanced at the seed in his hand and then looked at the smile on Ji Chengxue's face. He kept getting the feeling that he was swindled... Bu Fang casually bounced the seed in his hand before storing it inside the system's storage space.
Even though he felt he had been swindled by Ji Chengxue, Bu Fang believed the system would not swindle him. If not for the system's mission, he would not have participated in the Hundred Family Banquet.
Since the system made him obtain this reward, it indicated that this seed was unusual.
The two brothers from Qingyangzhen were standing a distance away. Ah Lu was constantly taking out chicken drumsticks from his apron and popping them into his mouth, while Ah Wei was staring at Bu Fang with bitterness in his heart.
"Big bro, looks like we failed the mission that master gave us. We can't bring back the reward for getting first place," Ah Lu said in a muffled voice.
Ah Wei did not say anything and merely lifted his sharp chin. His mind was rapidly spinning in an attempt to think up a method for obtaining the reward.
"Directly snatch the prize from him? That's out of the question..." he thought. Even though their cultivation levels were slightly higher than Bu Fang's, they were not much stronger than him. Furthermore, they would certainly be hindered by the guards if they openly tried to snatch the prize inside the imperial city.
Snatch something personally awarded by the emperor? They were not stupid.
"Should we make a deal with Owner Bu? However, is there anything valuable on us that could be used for an exchange?" Ah Wei muttered as his eyebrows crossed together.
"Big bro, what's the point of thinking so much? Let's just go back and tell master exactly what happened. If he really needs that prize, just let him provide an item for us to come and trade with Owner Bu. If he doesn't need it, then there's no need for us to do anything," Ah Lu said while holding a chicken drumstick in his hand.
Ah Wei gave Ah Lu a surprised glance, seemingly in disbelief. He thought, "What's going on with him today? Did he become smarter after going through a competition?"
"Alright, then let's immediately hurry back to Qingyangzhen and let Master settle this matter on his own. We've already done all we could. We lost because ours skills are still lacking," Ah Wei said as he slung the black wok on his back and made his way out of the imperial city.
They really did not want to spend even a moment longer here. It was a place filled with sad memories for them.
Bu Fang gave their disappearing back figures a glance but did not pay much heed to them. After thanking Ji Chengxue, he bid farewell with Ouyang Xiaoyi and the others before walking out of the Gate of Heavenly Mystery and disappearing in the swirling snow.
With this, this year's Hundred Family Banquet had also come to a satisfactory end.
A group of eunuchs rushed out from the Main Hall and started clearing up the garbage and objects in the plaza.
Bu Fang fiddled with the black seed in his hand as he walked into the alleyway. Large snowflakes were unsteadily drifting down from the sky.
A piece of snowflake landed on the back of Bu Fang's neck and he slightly sucked his breath as a chill suddenly spread from the spot. He tucked his neck into his shoulders and quickened his pace as he headed toward the store.
As usual, Blacky was lying at the entrance of the store. It seemed to have felt Bu Fang's approach and slightly raised its head while blowing steam from its nostrils.
"Good morning, Blacky," Bu Fang said with a faint smile as he bounced the black seed in his hand. The time of the day was naturally not morning. The sky was already starting to get dark and the day was about to end. However, there should not be much of a difference for Blacky who spent every single day either eating or sleeping.
Blacky rolled its eyes and ignored Bu Fang's immature teasing. It turned its head away and was just about to go back to sleep. Suddenly, Blacky raised its head and its eyes focused on the black seed in Bu Fang's hand.
Bu Fang had already removed the door board and was heading into the warm interior of the store. The seed in his hand was also casually kept into the system's storage space with a flip of his hand.
He was completely unaware of Blacky's gaze. If Bu Fang had seen the seriousness in Blacky's eyes at that moment, he would definitely not think the seed was useless.
Blacky's eyes revealed a hint of seriousness before turning into puzzlement and uncertainty after sniffing the air. In the end, it still let out a yawn and then went back to sleep.
Wuliang Mountain towered into the clouds like a sky-piercing stone pillar that reached into the skies.
At the peak of Wuliang Mountain, there was a rather decrepit monastery with a spacious courtyard and a majestic palace. The entire courtyard was shrouded with mist.
Beside the majestic palace, there was a small two-story wooden cabin. An elderly man with white hair and eyebrows was quietly seated inside with his legs crossed. There were a few brownish yellow jade talismans with unusual markings on them placed on his wrinkled hand.
The elderly man seemed to be taking a nap. His eyes were closed and the faint sound of regular breathing was coming from the tip of his nose.
Suddenly, the jade talisman in his hand started to slightly shake. The elderly man woke up from his nap and slowly opened his hazy eyes. The color of his irises were an odd blue. From a single glance, he seemed capable of staring straight into the stars.
"Why is the Celestial Arcanum Talisman shaking on its own? I haven't started my divination and a strange phenomenon has already appeared. Is some sort of treasure about to appear on the Hidden Dragon Continent once again?" the elderly man thought as he lifted up the jade talisman and stared at it with eyes that had seen through worldly desires.
With a casual point of his finger, the jade talisman immediately settled down and quietly lay down on the elderly man's hand. He stood up before tottering toward the window of the small cabin and sucked in a deep breath of cold air.
The elderly man stood in front of the window with his hands behind his back as he gazed at the layers of rolling clouds that surrounded the peak of Wuliang Mountain. Bright lights seemed to be circulating in his blue irises as if he was attempting to observe everything.
Afterward, he turned away and looked toward the disciples who were sweating like pigs in the courtyard of the Celestial Arcanum Palace.
This was the youngest generation of the Celestial Arcanum Sect and also the sect's foundation.
Suddenly, the elderly man looked into the distance after seemingly noticing something. He saw two figures moving at a rapid pace.
The person running in the front was an elderly man with shabby clothing and stubbles all over his face. He was moving across the courtyard in breakneck speed while hugging a wine calabash.
The person chasing the elderly man was a beautiful woman in a white dress whose hair spilled down her back like a waterfall. The woman's transcendent appearance was extremely beautiful like those of a banished immortal.
"Old drunkard! Stop right there! You promised to give me a tael of Dragon's Breath! You're going back on your word!" A rather alluring voice rang out. The outlines of her voluptuous figure was faintly discernible underneath her clothes as she indignantly chased after the old drunkard in front of her.
The tip of the old man's nose was red and his graying hair was a mess. He turned his head and said with a snicker, "Brat, you're being underhanded. I promised to give you a tael of wine but that was on the condition that you have to finish the wine on the spot. You should know my rules well enough. You're welcomed to drink my wine but there's no way I am letting you take away the wine! Who knows what you're planning to do with the Dragon's Breath!"
True energy flowed within Ni Yan's body as she took a step forward and rushed toward him. She was so fast that it was nearly impossible to follow her movements. However, the old drunkard snickered and increased the distance between them with just a single step as if the ground shrank.
"You... You rotten old man! I am the third elder of our sect! Can't I even ask for a tael of wine!" Ni Yan was utterly exasperated.
"Ho ho, that's right. I don't care whether you're our sect's third elder or not. Even if the supreme elder wants my wine, I won't give it to him either! I've always been someone who sticks to my principles!" the old drunkard loudly snickered like an impish old man as he hugged his wine calabash. Ni Yan was grinding her teeth in anger as she watched him!
The elderly man in the wooden cabin suddenly let out a soft chuckle and took a step forward toward the window... His figure abruptly shook and then he actually disappeared without a trace.
"Did you just say that you wouldn't give your wine even if the supreme elder was the one asking?" The old drunkard was suddenly startled by an elderly voice that came from behind him and his heart almost jumped out of his chest. He even fumbled with the wine calabash and nearly failed to catch it.
"If you take someone by surprise... you might really frighten that person to death!" the old drunkard thought while silently cursing the supreme elder.