Fang Xiang’s chapter titles are very descriptive… … I’ve added a bit of information to the Cultivation terms and Info page (here). Most of it is directly translated from the Baidu page on 修真世界.
In the words of a Chinese reviewer on the story, Zuo Mo’s first “gold finger” has arrived. I don’t consider this Zuo Mo’s true “gold finger” but this one does play a significant role at this point in the story.
Proofread version: Chapters One to Five
Chapter Three The Little Yard
Wiping the sweat on his forehead, Zuo Mo expressionlessly said: “Alright, this is killing me.”
Old Black cheerfully gave a thumbs up: “Mo ge’s [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] is just as rumoured!” Finishing, he squatted down with a face full of joy to check the growth of the ling grain.
Zuo Mo calmly accepted the flattery. Old Black’s ling grain had been sturdily planted. Based on how it looked to his eyes, this year’s harvest would be good. Adding on the rain he made, it would increase the harvest by twenty something percent easily. As payment, he would take ten percent which wasn’t insignificant.
But when he saw the devoutness and joy that Old Black had when he stared at the ling grains, for some reason, he himself wasn’t happy.
Old Black had been an outer sect disciple at Wu Kong Sword Sect for twenty years. His cultivation was low and he had planted ling grains in the sect for twenty years.
The rent for the ling fields could be converted to being paid using ling grains. Each year, one had to give ling grains to the sect and receive contribution points before they were given continual qualifications to stay and be an outer sect disciple in the sect. If one wanted to learn new spells, then keep increasing the contribution to the sect.
Roughly calculating, the amount that would land on a person’s hand was pitiful. The ling grains that were harvest, Old Black were reluctant to even eat.
It wasn’t easy being an outer sect disciple. Zuo Mo knew that better than anyone.
But even like this, even though Wu Kong Sword Sect was a small sect, there were still countless people that broke their heads trying to get in. Even if it was hard, they could learn something. When they went out later, they could find a good job. To someone like Old Black who didn’t have any savings, it was a very steady job.
Zuo Mo’s days were much better. Even though he was an outer sect disciple, but he had been taken in by the sect leader. No one dared to bully him. His innate skill and comprehension were high. After comprehending the third level of [Little Art of Cloud and Rain] by himself, his days were increasingly comfortable.
Zuo Mo had no great ambitions. There were no clues to his history and birth. Other than living more comfortable days, he didn’t have any other wishes.
After the labor, he slowly walked back to his own residence.
There was only Wu Kong Swords Sect on Wu Kong Mountain. There was plenty of space. The entire western peak was sectioned for the residential area of the outer sect disciples. How big one wanted to live, they could pick and construct themselves. But most people would choose the yards that former outer sect disciples had left. Even though people hadn’t lived in them for a long time, a good cleaning was all that’s needed.
Zuo Mo’s yard took up a great amount of space. He might be thin and weak but he liked large things so at the beginning, he had picked the biggest yard on the western peak. It was a seventh entry compound. Half a mu of fish pond, about five mu of ling fields. The shixiong that had built this yard definitely would have been a fanatic about farming. There were no fake mountains, no flowerbeds and courtyard, no other decorations. This shixiong had changed it all to ling fields.
Other people had no interest in a yard without any sense of beauty, appeal, and incomplete seal formations. Zuo Mo liked it very much.
He didn’t raise anything in the fish pond. Just using the pond to bath in the summer was a refreshing luxury. Ling fields were good. Zuo Mo calculated it well. The ling fields that had to be rented from the sect, you had to pay rent. You didn’t have to pay rent on the ling fields in this yard. Other than that, there was a cold spring in the yard.
There were considerations in building a residence. Normally, it was best to build on top of a ling vein. Living constantly in places thick with ling energy would increase the speed of increasing cultivation. That was the reason those Secret Paradises were so expensive. But there weren’t many places with ling veins at all, so how would it be given to the outer sect disciples like him?
But who could have thought that under this neglected yard, there was a ling vein!
When he had moved in, Zuo Mo had searched everywhere for a place to meditate. He found a secluded room. When he pushed open the door, a rotten smell had rushed at him. There were many praying mats lying on the ground which all had decayed into a bunch of rotten grass. There was only one mat that had generally kept its shape.
After Zuo Mo put in tremendous effort into cleaning up the seclusion room, only the one mat had been left alone.
When Zuo Mo sat on the mat for the first time, he had frozen in shock.
The spot of the mat, the ling energy was much thicker than anywhere else!
Zuo Mo, whose heart had been beating frantically, had first though it was due to the mat. But very quickly, he found the real reason – under the mat there was a small side branch of ling vein! This section of ling veins was extremely small. It couldn’t be detected even one step away from the mat.
At this time, he finally understood why that nameless shixiong had built such a large yard. It was most likely to disguise this little section of ling vein.
This nameless shixiong quickly became Zuo Mo’s idol.
To be able to find this little section of ling vein on the gigantic western peak and to clear an area for ling fields himself. Such ability, he didn’t seem like an outer sect disciple.
After finding the secret of the ling vein, Zuo Mo became even more low-key. He knew the logic of not showing off one’s wealth. If this bit of ling vein was found out by anyone else, there would be plotting against him. The best result would be it would be taken away by the sect.
In one breath, he put down thirty something mats on the floor of the seclusion room. Other than that, there were seventy or so mats piled in the corners. The colors of the mats varied, and the shapes were all different. All of them were woven by him. The strange habit of Little Zombie Mo of weaving mats was known throughout the outer sect disciples. Some people, when they wanted to find him to ask for help, they would go out and buy some exquisite mats as gifts. This caused the number of mats to increase and fill the entire seclusion room.
But normally, Zuo Mo persisted in meditating on the old mat that had been preserved. Not rotting after such a long time, this mat might have a special attribute. That unfathomable nameless shixiong caused him to be careful with anything that had been preserved in the room, and he didn’t dare to underestimate anything.
The only thing that Zuo Mo was somewhat regretful about was the ling fields had been fallow for too long. The grade had dropped once. Right now, it was only first-grade ling fields. It had taken countless efforts from Zuo Mo for the vitality to revive. But to once again reach second-grade, it needed time.
All five mu of the ling fields were planted with ling grains. The ling grains were waist-high, the leaf edges saw-toothed and very sharp. If not careful, it was easy to be cut. The ling grains had been seeded out at the same time so the height was extremely regular. It was a patch of green, extremely delightful.
But at night, it seemed very gloomy.
To prevent people from thievery, Zuo Mo put down jinzhi all around the yard. These low level jinzhi didn’t have any attack power but if they were set off, they made a loud fuss.
The entire yard was worn down and rotten. Spider webs were everywhere. All the furniture were broken and rotten. The seal arrangements inside the rooms didn’t work due to years of neglect. No one competed for it with him.
None of this affected Zuo Mo. He liked sleeping on the roof at night. He meditated in the seclusion room. All the other rooms were kept empty or as storage, holding some normal food. The formations, he got someone to carve a light seal formation for light during the night. He was too lazy to spend the money on anything else.
Sitting on the prayer mat, the thick ling energy in the surroundings made his so comfortable he almost groaned. He controlled his emotions, refocused and the ling energy in his body slowly started to revolve.
The core scripture he used in his cultivation was [Ten Principle Scripture]. It was a widely circulated second-grade scripture. Its attribute was steadiness and mild. Basically, there was no worry of accidentally going wrong and becoming insane. The majority of the outer sect disciples of Wu Kong Swords Sect picked it as their main scripture to cultivate. But if they wanted to reach zhuji, the chances of success were very low. Disciple who had greater ambitions needed to use more contribution points of the sect to exchange for higher level scriptures.
It was as though Zuo Mo entered a void. The ling energy slowly moved through fixed paths. After one complete round, the body felt a fraction lighter.
With his cultivation of lianqi seventh level, he could persist in three circuits each time. He could felt each time as he inhaled and exhaled, a portion of the ling energy that he inhaled would merge into the ling energy that was moving inside the body. The thicker the ling energy in the surroundings, the more he could inhale each time. In these two years, this section of ling vein was of crucial importance for him going from the third level of lianqi to level seven.
After making three complete circuits, his mind retreated from the void.
His entire body felt rejuvenated. The exhaustion of before was all gone.
He casually ate something to fill his stomach. Before entering zhuji, xuizhe still needed normal food. Normal food couldn’t contribute ling energy but it was still essential to xuizhe who were still in the stage of lianqi. Thankfully, the price of normal food was cheap and no one needed to worry about starvation.
He took out the jade stick he had brought yesterday. The jade stick was made from good jade, verdant and glistening. Holding it in his grasp, the material felt cold and heavy.
Floating in his head were mountains of ling grains and him laying contentedly on top of it all.
––Such a desirable life!
In the gloomy room, a thin male with a wooden zombie face gave out a stream of snickers that would raise the hair of anyone else.
After finishing dreaming, Zuo Mo focused attentively on examining the jade stick in his hand.
Putting in ling energy to the jade stick, many words instantly floated into his mind.
The jade stick had five kinds of spells, [Little Art of Cloud and Rain], [Art of Earth Energy], [Art of Aged Gold], [Art of Flora], [Art of Crimson Flame]. Other than [Little Art of Cloud and Rain], Zuo Mo had never learned any of the other four.
Being able to learn new spells, Zuo Mo was extremely happy. He couldn’t help taking a deep breath.
He could guess that from now on for a long time, he needed to put most of his attention on the remaining four spells.
The first one he tried was [Art of Aged Gold]. In the five elements, the primary use of gold was destruction and killing. Most of the spells related to gold were related to killing. Ling grains had many natural enemies that were extremely troublesome, such as many kinds of aphids. They would burrow into the stalks of ling grains, even hollowing out the stalk. Average planters had no way of dealing with them.
The [Art of Aged Gold] was a sufficient method. It could let the power of gold permeate inside the ling grains and kill the pests inside the ling grains. This was the spell that Zuo Mo needed the most presently. Other than the contracts he had signed with the other disciples, he himself had rented fifty mu of ling fields.
The harvest from these fifty mu of ling fields made up a significant amount of his income each year.
He read through [Art of Aged Gold] word by word, not daring to miss a word. The number of spells he had learned were pitifully little. Learning a completely new spell, he instantly felt it was a challenge.
After two hours, he made no progress. No matter how he tried, he could not form the aged gold energy that was mentioned in [Art of Aged Gold].
All the spells in [Art of Aged Gold] were made using the aged gold energy. Not being able to form the aged gold energy, he couldn’t learn any of the spells in [Art of Aged Gold].
The zombie face was wooden but that pair of spirited eyes showed a few hints of fierceness.
 亩: measurement of area. Approximately one fifteenth of a hectare.
 师兄: senior male fellow student or apprentice