On the second day in the afternoon during lunch break, Fang Yuan went to the shopping district outside the mountain village again.
As many of them had to work in the day, there was not many villagers at the tentage area.
Fang Yuan walked to the area where the vendor was selling Intimate Grass last night, according to his memory. He reached only to see an empty cart, still on the spot. An ostrich was dragging the cart along.
It stood on the spot proudly, its body size as large as an ostrich while having the appearance of a chicken, the back of the creature bulged into a curved angle. A pair of wide wings were collected on the side of its body, the feathers splendidly bright in seven colours. The chicken head was raised tall, its huge red cockscomb like an agate crown, flashing with the luster of a gem under the sunlight.
“It seems I was still too late, the Intimate Grass was sold out. What a pity, if I were able to buy a few catty of Intimate Grass, I’d be able to save quite a bit of primeval stones.” Fang Yuan’s footsteps came to a halt as he walked away and continued to venture deeper into the area.
“Come, have a taste of the delicious wine from all the different villages. There are more than a hundred types of wine here, like the Lantern Grass Wine, the Nine Tune Wine with a strong aftertaste, the light and elegant Ancient Dragon Well, the sweet and sour Flower Rock Tune, the mouth-watering Hundred Spring Old Cellar, the rich and heavy fragrant Intoxication of Three Autumns……” In front of a blue round bucket before the tent, a shop assistant was hawking with gusto.
A light flashed through Fang Yuan’s gaze as he immediately grew interested. With a turn, he entered the wine shop.
The decor in the wine shop was very unique.
At the most inner part of the tent, there was a long counter. A Gu Master was stationed there, with tens of crystal ladybugs around the size of wicker-baskets behind him, sticking onto the tent’s cloth walls.
On the floor there was no carpet, but rather the uncovered mountain rocks and soil. Among the soil, vibrant coloured mushrooms grew.
These mushrooms had all sorts of colours, looking round and slightly cute. Some were as large as tables, while others were short like benches. They were often distributed where a large table mushroom was surrounded by a few shorter bench mushrooms.
“This is the Innocent Mushroom, purposely grown by a Gu Master. It has the ability to absorb dust and particles in the air to purify it, and it’s a type of grass Gu.” Fang Yuan could recognise the mushroom’s origins immediately upon seeing them.
He chose one of the short mushrooms and sat down. The mushroom’s surface immediately sank down a little, making Fang Yuan feel like he was sitting on a sofa like those on Earth.
“Young master, this is the wine catalogue, would you like to take a look?” A shop assistant walked over.
Fang Yuan glanced at the wine catalogue and realised that the wine here was more expensive than the green bamboo wine.
“I’ll have a cup of monkey wine.” Fang Yuan put down the catalogue.
“A cup of monkey wine!” The shop assistant turned around and shouted.
At the counter, the Rank one Gu Master heard and immediately bent down to take out a bamboo wine cup.
Next he took the wine cup and turned around, facing the tentage. On the blue tent walls were the tens of crystal ladybugs, head facing downwards and tail facing upwards, quietly latched onto the walls as if they were merely decorations for the tent.
These crystal ladybugs were also a type of Gu. Its stomach was empty, as they were often used by Gu Masters to carry precious liquids.
Their bodies were transparent, as if they were made of crystals. From the outside, one could see that within the ladybug’s stomach, different kinds of liquor could be found.
The Gu Master quickly found the crystal ladybug that contained the monkey wine among them.
He placed the bamboo wine cup at the mouthpiece of the ladybug, and gently stroked the exoskeleton of the ladybug with his other hand.
A small amount of primeval essence entered the crystal ladybug’s body, and afterwards it opened its mouth and a gush of liquor flowed into the bamboo wine cup.
The liquor splattered around in the cup until it was full.
The Gu Master placed the bamboo wine cup which was filled with monkey wine on the counter. The shop assistant who had already been waiting for a while quickly held up the cup meticulously and walked a few steps to deliver it to Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan only took a tiny sip, the monkey wine was indeed a fruit liquor, being sweet and refreshing and delicate on the palate.
He stopped drinking, but instead with a thought, Fang Yuan summoned the Liquor worm.
The white and fat liquor worm turned into a flash of white light and curved an arc in the air. With a ‘plop’, it landed in the wine cup.
The wine splattered everywhere, sprinkling onto the mushroom table.
The Liquor worm joyfully beat about in the wine cup, and the monkey wine could be seen decreasing with the naked eye. In a few breaths time, the cup had dried out, with not a single drop left.
“It’s the Liquor worm!” The Gu Master at the counter shouted, his eyes sparkling. He was a Rank one Gu Master with Grade D talent, only able to follow the merchant caravan and work in this wine shop. His objective was to sightsee while finding his chances.
The Liquor worm can refine primeval essence and raise it by an entire realm. To a Rank one Gu Master, it can be said to be an extremely precious Gu worm. Isn’t this the chance he’s been painstakingly searching for?
“This young master, do you have any plans to sell this Liquor worm?” He excitedly approached, a look of sincerity in his eyes.
Fang Yuan shook his head, rejecting him with a determined attitude, getting up to leave after that.
His motive this time was to reveal the Liquor worm in his possession; he had never thought of selling it.
“Young master, young master, please hold on. I am really sincere about this, maybe we can sit down and have a discussion.” The Gu master reluctantly followed Fang Yuan to the tentage entrance but Fang Yuan did not show any response to him.
In the end he could only stand on the spot, his expression extremely regretful as he watched Fang Yuan’s rear view turn around a corner and disappear into the midst of the horizon.
Unconsciously, the sun gradually set as the crescent moon took its place.
In the night, the moonlight shone brightly but was overpowered by the numerous street lights in the merchant shops.
The merchant shop tonight was swarming with business. Fang Yuan was squeezed left and right as he entered, hearing all sorts of conversations inadvertently.
“The stores normally open for three days and three nights. Tonight is already the second night, by the morning of the day after, the merchant caravan would have left on their journey already. Thus, we have to hurry if we want to buy anything.”
“I saw a Golden Bell Gu yesterday, sigh, too bad it was too expensive. After haggling with the shopkeeper for a long time, it did not get any cheaper. I’ll go and take a look tonight.”
“Did you guys hear? Last night, a young man opened a Mudskin Toad and earned a profit of five hundred primeval stones!”
Fang Yuan listened attentively, feeling disappointment in his heart as he did not hear anything about the Liquor worm.
“The Liquor worm is only a Rank one Gu worm but it is extremely meaningful to a rank 1 Gu Master, yet it’s useless to a Rank two or Rank three Gu Master as they are unable to refine their primeval essence any further with it. Thus it is normal that no one paid attention to this. However taking the initiative to expose the matter of the Liquor worm cannot be rushed for a period of time. If I overdo it, it might end up letting the cat out of the bag.” As Fang Yuan walked, he pondered silently in his heart.
At this point, there was a hustle in front of him.
Next, Fang Yuan heard someone shout, “Quickly come and see, there’s a dishonest merchant here selling fake Gu to our clansmen!”
Anger stirred among the crowd.
“Oh? There’s something like that happening.”
“Go and see quickly, which shop dares to cheat our clansmen!”
Fang Yuan followed the crowd and moved towards the commotion as well.
What met his eyes were a group of people surrounding the mouth of a large red tent, the massive crowd swarming it. Some were curiously watching while others stared coldly, but most of the people were enshrouded with a sense of anger.
Outside the tent stood two people.
One of them was a young Rank two Gu Master, whose attire showed that he was obviously from the Gu Yue clan.
The other person had a familiar face – it was the owner of the gambling den, Jia Jin Sheng.
The young Gu Master held a black Gu worm in his hands, raising it up and shouting to the crowd, “My clansmen, this person in front of me sold me a fake Gu yesterday. Lying to me that it was a Black Boar Gu, and sold it to me for two hundred and fifty primeval stones. To think that when I got home to refine it, I realized that it was not a Black Boar Gu but simply an ordinary stinky fat worm!”
Jia Jin Sheng laughed coldly, “Don’t accuse me falsely. Since when did I tell you it was a Black Boar Gu? What proof do you have?”
The young Gu Master on seeing Jia Jin Sheng’s denial, fell into a rage and grabbed Jia Jin Sheng’s wrist, “You cunning merchant, you dare to deny it! You actually dare to lie to me of the Gu Yue clan on Qing Mao Mountain itself, are you trying to look for death?!”
“Let go of me!” Jia Jin Sheng was also furious as he flicked his wrist, slapping away the young Gu Master’s hand, “If you want to find trouble and extort money, you should find a better target. I am not afraid of you! My brother is Jia Fu, a Rank four Gu Master, what can you do to me?”
“You!” The young Gu Master stared with his eyes wide, but did not dare to take action. The name of a Rank four Gu Master was enough to intimidate him.
“Bah!” Jia Jin Sheng spat on the ground, raising his head and looked at the young Gu Master, laughing in disdain, “It was you who wanted to take advantage of the cheap Gu. Didn’t you use your brain to think, why a Black Boar Gu which can raise a Gu master’s strength, being such a rare Gu worm, was sold even more cheaply than a Liquor worm? It is normally sold at six hundred primeval stones. Did you think that you could buy one for just two hundred and fifty primeval stones? Dream on!”
“Bastard……” The young Gu Master gritted his teeth, his face flushing red as he trembled out of anger, his chest burning with the rage of humiliation.
There were chatters among the people as they got restless, discussing furiously. But no one dared to step up, for the Rank four Gu Master status of Jia Fu was like a giant hill in front of them, stabilizing the crowd.
“This lad is too vicious, what a cunning merchant!”
“No wonder he dared to be so arrogant on Qing Mao Mountain, he is actually Jia Fu’s little brother.”
“I heard that they are just half-brothers, but even with that Rank one cultivation, he is able to use this relationship to act unrestrained in the caravan.”
“What happened here exactly?” At this moment, a loud voice spoke out.
“Jia Fu is here!”
“The leader is here to settle the dispute, everyone give way.”
The discussion came to a halt as everyone separated and formed a narrow path between them.
A middle-aged Gu Master having a muscular short body coupled with a giant belly, walked in. He wore a long-sleeved yellow robe, being the leader of the merchant caravan, Jia Fu.
“Sir Jia Fu, my regards.” The young Gu Master was furious but did not dare to say anything. He forced himself to endure the anger and paid respects to Jia Fu.
Jia Jin Sheng was frozen on the spot, not expecting his brother to arrive, his face suddenly pale as anger flashed across his eyes.
This peculiar expression was captured by Fang Yuan who was observing from afar as he pondered about the situation.