Refining the Mountains and Rivers Chapter 1: Qin Yu
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The sun lets out blazing trails that shines upon the herb garden while the thick fragrance from the myriad of spiritual plants flows everywhere.
With bowed head, Qin Yu is stretching the fence wire and making sure everything is in order. When he stood up a violent coughing fit took him over dying his pale cheek in faint red. The setting sun's rays peeking through loosen hair strands illuminating half of his face. His thin body with average appearance, the face sporting a few spots make it seem oddly friendly.
For this exact reason, half a year ago when the garden was attacked by a wild boar, as the master of the garden was about to punish him, his heart softens and so Qin Yu managed to escape from a cruel fate of being beaten to death. But because his injury didn’t receive proper care, even with that fellow Tu Dou taking care of him, he was still left with a cough. And having a paler complexion than others was called by others a sick ghost.
At this, Qin Yu smiled but soon became indifferent. Being an orphan, from a young age he understood that might makes right, knew when to keep his head down and avoid troubles. He continues to arrange the items and clean the bluestone road.
This stone is the Sacred Mountain Sects most famous item. Its quality and toughness makes it perfect for the cultivator sects to use it as a building material. The stone is considered Sacred Mountain Sects main trading item, allowing it to earn quite a profit of spirit stones from it. But of course, spirit stones, these high quality cultivation items, and Qin Yu, as an outer disciple don’t have the opportunity to get his hands on them. Most of them get in the pockets of the Sect Leader and Elders, and a small part is given to the sect’s direct disciples.
The savings that he got while being in Sacred Mountain Sect for seven years, might not be enough to even buy the bluestone beneath his feet. Qin Yu has a slight envious feeling but quickly reign it in. He understands clearly that with his average talent he can’t have these kind of thoughts.
Qin Yu carefully cleans the shovels tip. Being in charge of the bluestone road in vicinity of the herb garden, he needs to clear the leaves, petals and other things that the wind left on the road, that are difficult to remove. Therefore, the tip of his shovel is mixed with a bit of iron essence that is used in magic tools. With just a few grains, the sharpness has been increased several times.
Tu Dou jokingly said that this is Qin Yu’s most valuable item, considered to be 9th grade magic tool. Although, this shovel belongs to the sect and he is only allowed to use it.
“This guy, he has a nasty mouth!” Qin Yu curses in a low voice, with a faint smile.
Suddenly, there was the sound of laughter coming from the distance. Try as it might, besides the carefree nature of the laughter it still couldn’t hide a hint of its arrogant nature.
Startled, Qin Yi quickly stepped aside and cupping his hands.
“Third senior brother’s natural talent is truly amazing! Managed to reach Foundation Establishment from 7th layer of Qi Refining in 27 days. A new record for Sacred Mountain Sect!”
“Let alone Sacred Mountain Sect, even in the Southern Kingdom territory of hundred thousand li1 there is no one that can catch up to senior brother Wei Wei!”
“Senior brother Wei Wei, there is a lot that little sister doesn’t understand about cultivation. I hope senior brother may have some free time tonight.”
“Junior sister Zhang, senior brother Wei Wei’s schedule, besides cultivating each day, is full. Only after three days can you meet with him.”
The loudest and the most brilliant laughter from the crowd belongs to third senior brother. On each side he is surrounded by young girls filled with laughter and orchid fragrance, that sometimes make some innocent touches. Their worshiping gazes makes him more and more proud.
Qin Yu’s look is slightly dazed.
Third senior brother Wei Wei, with unclear history, bragged about being a royal officer clan patriarch’s son, a peak Golden Core cultivator. Once he found out his talent in cultivation, the clan changed his name to bring prestige to the clan when he reaches the patriarchs level.
Before, this kind of talk was seen as a joke, even with third senior brother somewhat grand name, what people said about him wasn’t very nice. That he has a sharp and shameless mouth, other people like to fuss over small details and think whatever suits them, not believing that he came from a powerful clan.
But two months ago, third senior brother to rebuke all the rumors and sayings about him he showed everyone by reaching Foundation Establishment from 7th layer of Qi Refining in 27 days. And continued to effortlessly rise until he reached 3rd layer in Foundation Establishment two days ago.
This kind of speed, not just the in the little Sacred Mountain Sect, even in the more famous cultivator sects is among the top!
On the same day that third senior brother reached Foundation Establishment, he begged all night in tears so that the Patriarch would take him as his Direct Disciple. The second day, he was officially accepted, he managed to turn his fate around and become a well-respected figure.
On that day all outer sect disciples, close to a thousand, were looking on with red eyes.
Nowadays third senior brother, the hope of the sect’s future, became increasingly flamboyant and arrogant, putting pressure on all other direct disciples.
“Everyone, junior sister is exaggerating. Since I began cultivating, have always kept calm. You shouldn’t say bad things about me.” Wei Wei’s indifferent attitude made the other rush to flatter him ‘senior brother is so modest’, ‘we believe you’, ‘senior brother’s heart is unshakable’ and so on.
While walking along the stone path, third senior brother took a light glance of Qin Yu standing at the side, but quickly moved on with an indifferent look. They both have different status and might never meet each other again. Even if they recognize each other, so what?
The sounds of laughter are moving further away, but can still hear faint coy laughter from the girls. It appears third senior brother flowery speech is teasing the young girls.
Qin Yu calmly left after he took a glance in that direction, moving further away, the setting sun shining from the back upon his frail young body make him seem like a lonely tree.
After work, he doesn’t return to his dwelling, instead going through different roads and walking beside a hill for a while and reached a valley.
The lush vegetation here rarely sees human traces, but Qin Yu, after a few breaths, squints his eyes and very fast finds hoof prints, that from the depth they seem to be from a large animal.
Crouching and looking carefully at the hoof prints, he finds that the creature is missing a hoof. His face shows a smile, thinking ‘Finally found you!’. This valley didn’t have wild boars, only, half a year ago one burst in the herb garden and almost killed him. After searching for clues for a long time, Qin Yu finally found its tracks a few days ago.
Not entering the valley, he stands on tiptoes and look at the trees in the valley. Making sure that the trap is well placed and then walking back the same way he came.
The sect’s surroundings spiritual energy is quite dense, making these boars smarter and sensitive to smell. So Qin Yu doesn’t wish to alert it of his presence and ruin his chances.
Dealing with this wild boar, he doesn’t do it just for revenge.
Qin Yu heard that this wild boar with a missing front left hoof for many years has entered the herb garden and eaten many spiritual herbs, containing in his flesh is a great amount of spiritual energy. This is the reason why he is after the wild boar. If he can catch and eat it, his illness might be cured.
Not delaying he went straight to his dwelling, along the way he was made fun of by the people he came across with.
Qin Yu lowered his head with a forced smile, until he reached his small yard where he regains his normal appearance. After freshening up he eats a meal and slowly drinks water. Qin Yu is very clear about the condition of his body, always unwell. When he coughs his chest pain increases, since a few days ago he even started to cough blood.
In the youngster’s heart there is a terrible fear, that with great difficulty resists from thinking about it and continues to eat.
After eating and washing up he rested for a while, and when he was at his calmest began cultivating.
Outer sect disciples can also cultivate; to enter a cultivator sect one must have talent in cultivation, even if it isn’t that great.
The outer sect disciples of Sacred Mountain Sect are using the three pages long True Wood Art. Although Qin Yu is a beginner in cultivation, he also knows that True Wood Art is incomplete and poor, to the point that it doesn’t have a grade.
Not having any other choice, he never complained and for seven years, each and every day Qin Yu cultivates, barely enough to reach the 2nd layer of Qi Refining. By using the Art, he feels a weak cool energy that moves around inside his body, making him feel slightly comfortable.
After two hours, he opens his eyes with a disappointed look. Qin Yu can feel that, after cultivating, the pressure in his chest lessens. But, being just at 2nd layer Qi Refining, isn’t enough to remove it completely.
And each time the energy passes around his chest, it dissipates, not much, but enough for Qin Yu’s speed not be able to recover completely. Recently, he feels that his cultivation is on the verge of regressing to the 1st layer of Qi Refining. When that happens the energy from the first layer won’t be capable to keep his illness in check and it will turn for the worse.
So, Qin Yu can only cultivate for two hours each day.
After getting up and stretching his body, he walks outside and starts slowly running along a desolate trail. For Qin Yu’s tired body after a day’s work, is quite a challenge, but the energy circulating through him helps while he carries on with clenched teeth.
With heavy breath as if working the bellows, the youngster’s pale face is starting to show a hint of red. After an hour, Qin Yu stops with heavy steps, his body swaying slightly and ears ringing.
He struggles to stand straight, closes his eyes and calms his breathing. After his heart calms a bit, turns his body around and going back the way he came.
Running for an hour, the road home takes him more than two hours, and when he will arrive, as usual, he will arrive when the sky turns dark.
Dragging his body, as he was about to leave the trail, Qin Yu stops with a puzzled look. From early age he realized that his senses are sharper than an average person, especially his hearing and sight. The night wind brought with it small noises, making him focusing in the direction the noises are coming from. It seems to have come from not far from here, the wild boar’s valley. Was the trap triggered?
Not knowing where the new strength came from, he happily turned his tired body and went up the slope.
The lands belonging to the Sacred Mountain Sect has dense spiritual energy, making the plants growing here go through a change. Like this vine here, usually even a farmer can gather it, but the ones on the slope, have their toughness similar to cow leather.
Rushing through the vines, out of excitement he isn’t even aware that his legs are stinging from being hit by them.
At the top, he strained his hearing to find out that the noise really came from the valley, eyes sparkling with joy. And as he approached the valley, the scream that suddenly appears makes him stop in his tracks!
No mistake, it’s his.
Why is he here?
Qin Yu at first, was afraid of being wrong, but the sweet smell of blood assaulting his nose, made his forehead cover in sweat. Quietly trying to turn his body and leave, his heart tightened and thrown himself to the ground.
The spears edge flashed blue, cut his robes dangerously close to his head as it went by and struck the ground. Qin Yu’s robe is soaked in cold sweat, if he were hit then he would become headless corpse.
“Junior brother, since you’re here, why leave?” The Patriarch’s head disciple’s face was a bit pale but he still had a smile. His kind words completely stark contrast to the intent to kill from before.
Wei Wei, collapsed on the ground, is sporting a long wound on his abdomen, the blood wetting the ground; gasping for breath like a fish out of water, without any trace of his previous arrogant demeanor. Seeing who it is, his eyes suddenly brighten, in a loud voice he said: “Junior brother Qin Yu, quickly help me! Han Dong is crazy; he wants to kill me!”
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