In the Lower Lands, villages had no shortage of ways of earning coin. They could hunt and sell vicious beasts or mine for ore, but those methods were dangerous. The most reliable, intuitive way to earn money was by planting herbal medicines.
As a result, it didn’t matter whether a village was big or small; barring extreme circumstances, all of them contained a patch of land reserved for growing herbs. This provided the entire village’s primary income stream, so they depended on it for survival.
Two women with vine medicine baskets on their backs were working in the herb gardens outside of Blue Qilin village.
It was noon, and the sun shone terrifyingly bright onto the Lower Lands. Despite the blazing sun and the sweat pouring down their backs and drenching their cotton clothes, the two women went on picking herb after herb. Midday was the very best time to pick these herbs, so picking them now would increase their price.
“Big Sister Zuo Mo, let’s rest for a bit. My lower back is killing me!” The speaker was a girl who looked like she’d only just reached adulthood. Her eyes darted about strangely, her hands were black with dirt, and her face was overcome with exhaustion.
The other woman looked up. If you looked past the brim of her hand, you’d see this was none other than the woman who’d once held absolute power and incomparable fortunes in the Lower Three Realms, the leader of the Treasure Tower, Zuo Mo.
When she heard the girl’s suggestion, she put her hand to her forehead and looked off into the distance. Afterward, she looked back at the girl, and a gentle smile rose to her lips. “Lil’ Ting, go on and rest. I’ll pick the rest.”
“How can I let you do that?” The girl furrowed her brows, then grabbed Zuo Mo’s arm and grinned wickedly. “Come rest with me, Big Sister. It’s still early; we’ll have time even if we take a quick break!”
The girl pouted her lips. Zuo Mo couldn’t take her coquettish act, so she could only nod in exasperation, “Alright, alright, let’s do as you say.”
They sat in the shade of a nearby tree. The girl set down her medicine basket, then stretched out and looked into the sky. Zuo Mo set her basket down as well, then removed her hat and wiped away her sweat.
It was heard to imagine that after ascending to the God Realm, someone as renowned as Zuo Mo would be reduced to picking herbs in a mere village.
Fortunately, Zuo Mo wasn’t as spoiled or tender as other daughters of prominent families. She’d adjusted to her new start in a new environment.
“Big Sister Zuo Mo, don’t you have any other friends here?” The girl sat back up, and her big eyes locked right onto Zuo Mo.
“I should,” said Zuo Mo. “But we all ascended at different times, and the Lower Lands are so huge, I have no idea where any of them are.”
As she spoke, Zuo Mo rubbed the girl’s hair. The girl grinned, then reached into her pockets.
She pulled out a coin worth one hundred celeste. When she and Zuo Mo left the village, one of the male villagers gave it to her on the condition that she ask Zuo Mo a question on his behalf.
“Big Sister Zuo Mo?” The girl licked her lips, and when she saw that Zuo Mo was looking at her, she paused. Her tiny hands fidgeted nervously with the coin until she finally worked up the determination to finish her question. “Why don’t you accept Big Brother Nan’s advances?”
Zuo Mo froze, then looked deeply at the girl.
The girl shrunk beneath her gaze, until finally, she lowered her head, no longer willing to even look Zuo Mo in the eye.
“Wang Nan put you up to this, didn’t he?”
“He did.” The girl seemed to deflate. She put the coin onto the ground and said, “Big Brother Nan gave me a hundred celeste coin to ask how you felt about him.”
“You little money-grubber!” Zuo Mo flicked the girl’s head, then placed the coin back into her hands. “Go back and tell him that he doesn’t need to waste any more time on me. There’s already someone I like.”
“So that’s how it is!” The girl scratched her head, then giggled, “Was he your dao partner from the Lower Realms?”
“No, he never accepted my feelings for him.” Bitterness flashed through Zuo Mo’s eyes.
“How is that possible?” exclaimed the girl. In her eyes, Zuo Mo was perfect. She was smart, gentle, and more importantly, an immortal king.
Even outside the village, such a person would absolutely draw countless soldiers.
Yet that guy she liked refused to accept her?
“What’s so impossible about that? He has plenty of girls around who are far more exceptional than I am. Furthermore, they liked him first, and are braver than me. I really can’t compete with them. But no matter whether he likes me or not, I can’t like anyone else.”
Zuo Mo chuckled, but the girl seemed dejected. She looked up at Zuo Mo, seemingly pained.
She sensed Zuo Mo’s spirits souring, so she jumped to her feet, put her hands on her hips, and snorted, “Big Sister Zuo Mo, tell me who he is. If I, Guo Ting, get my hands on him…. hmph!”
“He…. His name is Ye Zichen.” After a moment’s pause, Zuo Mo told her, although she didn’t know why. Perhaps it was because she figured no one up here would have heard of him? Otherwise, she most likely wouldn’t have said anything.
“Ye….Zichen?” The girl suddenly froze. As for why…
It seemed that just a few years ago, a man known as Ye Zichen or “Grandmaster Ye” rose to prominence in the Lower Lands. According to rumors, after a grand battle in Raging Flame City, he’d even forced a half-step ruler to retreat.
Rumor had it that Grandmaster Ye was actually a transcendent divine beast, a fire qilin, or perhaps a dragon.
Others said that he was actually a peerless expert of the demon race with an ancient grudge against that half-step ruler of the Xiao Clan; that’s why the two came to blows.
In short, Ye Zichen was the subject of countless rumors.
“Big Sister Zuo Mo, the Ye Zichen you’re talking about isn’t Grandmaster Ye, is he?” The girl laughed drily and gulped. If he was, she couldn’t touch him, not even in a thousand years.
“How could it possibly be him? Just what kind of person is that Grandmaster Ye? The Ye Zichen I’m talking about ascended less than five years ago. How could he possible become strong enough to contend with half-step rulers after such a short time?”
Although Blue Qilin Village was a little behind the times, they’d still heard some rumors of Ye Zichen.
Zuo Mo, naturally, was well aware that rumors were often exaggerated or distorted, but there was still no way Grandmaster Ye was any ordinary man. She’d never underestimated Ye Zichen, but the odds of him growing strong enough to force back a half-step ruler in just five years seemed rather low.
She settled her emotions, looked up at the sky, then placed her medicine basket on her back and her hat on her head. “That’s enough of a break, we ought to hurry back to work.”
The girl obediently put her basket back on, but before they could return to the fields, a youth rushed over. He wore cotton clothes and looked around twelve or thirteen. As he drew near, he shouted with all his might, “Big Sister Zuo Mo, hurry back to the village! Upheaval gang members are here!”
“What?” Zuo Mo furrowed her brows, set her basket back down, then stepped into the sky. After a few mighty bounds, she disappeared from the herb garden without a trace.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I accidentally double posted two days ago; meant to schedule the second chapter for yesterday. Sorry! You're still getting the same amount of chapters this month, so don't worry.