Chapter 22: Watermill
The first streak of sunshine shone through the windows and the morning birds were starting to sing in the sky as Hui Yue slowly stretched his worn-out body. The entire night had been spent cultivating, and a satisfied smile adorned the childish face, which seemed to shine with a newfound brightness that was nowhere to be found the day before.
The refinement of Qi had caused the exhausted blue phoenix within Hui Yue’s Qi cave to wake up a few hours before sunrise.
One of the reasons Hui Yue decided to cultivate instead of sleeping was the worry lingering in his heart. However, as soon as the bird woke up, that worry turned into anger.
‘You stupid bird, why would you try to use Fire Spark to take care of such esteemed experts?’ Hui Yue roared at the groggy bird, but the only reply was a muffled word, which Hui Yue could not understand.
The fact that Lan Feng was not exploding in anger could only be attributed to the worry still lingering in their shared soul, which caused a slim smile to slip onto Lan Feng’s pale lips and a warm feeling to spread throughout the phoenix’s body. It had been too long since he had last felt the worry of others.
The sunshine was rising slowly, its morning rays warming up the boy and bird who were seated on top of their guest bed. A pleasant silence accompanied the two as they held the golden memory stone within one of their hands and Lan Feng slowly regained some colour in his skin by absorbing a few Qi strands.
By the time Lan Feng had managed to ingest the Qi strands, the sun was already so high in the sky that Hui Yue could feel the servants running around the family compound, and even sounds could be heard from Deng Wu’s room.
A sigh of relief escaped Hui Yue’s lips as he stretched his sore body, and slowly felt the cold wooden floor beneath his feet as he left the comfort of the soft and luxurious bed.
The sound of a door opening made Hui Yue aware that his host was making his way to his room. The white-haired boy quickly got dressed, as he picked up his conical hat. Although Deng Wu was aware of his secret, it did not mean that Hui Yue had the freedom to be lenient on himself.
“Wake up, my dear friend,” Deng Wu’s voice sounded from outside the door, and a gentle knocking followed behind. A few moments went by before the door handle turned slightly downwards and the heavy wooden door was pushed open, allowing the youngster to enter, followed by a set of servants carrying trays of various foods.
Lan Feng was currently incapable of merging the two auras and he was only capable of keeping his beastly aura hidden, causing these two servants to glance at this so-called expert, wondering why ‘she’ suddenly turned so mellow.
Deng Wu gave them no chance to reply before he grabbed the food and led the servants out the door once again. As soon as he was done, he placed the food on the table and picked up the conical hat, placing it on his own head.
“Interesting design,” he commented before picking a few grapes that he started playing with, throwing one into the air and catching it with his mouth.
“You can have it when I return. Think of it as a souvenir from helping out an extreme expert,” Hui Yue replied with a dry smile as he picked up a slice of bread which he started nibbling on with delight.
A mysterious smile had appeared on Hui Yue’s face, but Deng Wu was unable to see through it, although it was obvious that the younger child was incredibly pleased with himself.
While cultivating all night, Hui Yue had learnt that his rank had raised to the seventh-star Student rank as a result of his previous battle, where he had been forced to stretch his Qi to its limits, causing his body to greedily suck in and refine the essence of the world.
Not only had his rank increased, his ability to control Fire Spark had jumped to a higher rank as a result of Lan Feng messing around with it during the evening. It was obvious that some of Lan Feng’s elemental affiliation had stayed within Hui Yue’s soul. This merge of their souls had caused some of Lan Feng to stay with Hui Yue and some of Hui Yue to stay with Lan Feng. Their souls were even closer entwined now than they were during the soul contract.
The imprint left on Hui Yue’s soul contained some of Lan Feng’s elemental affinity, and although Hui Yue was unable to completely control it, this foreign affinity had allowed him to increase the flame created by Fire Spark to double in size from the previous day. As to the other affinity, Hui Yue had no way of checking it out for now, as he needed more imitation martial art skills to do so.
“We need to rush,” Deng Wu broke the silence with a sigh. “My old man is very likely to drop by as soon as he wakes up to give his respect to you.” While saying this, Deng Wu was smiling cheekily once again and his gaze was roaming up and down on the small ten-year-old child in front of him.
A slight chill went through Deng Wu’s body, as he looked at the child in front of him. Hui Yue looked naïve and innocent, exactly like one would expect from such a young child. Inside his mind, however, everything was hidden behind a layer of cunningness and carefully thought out plans. Deng Wu could not shake off the feeling that this seemingly innocent child would bring calamity.
Hui Yue paid no attention to Deng Wu’s stare, instead he gobbled up a few more slices of bread before reclaiming his conical hat to use it to shield his face from exposure. Once again, he was enveloped in an air of mystery.
“We need to pass by my inn,” Hui Yue added quietly, as he stood up and followed Deng Wu out of the courtyard, somehow sneaking out of the door which was located on the alleyway that they had entered through in the previous evening.
Deng Wu picked up the azure coloured figurine that he had held previously, and as strand of Qi was inserted into it, a pulse ran through the surrounding area, startling Hui Yue slightly.
“Don’t worry,” Deng Wu mumbled, while looking at the eyes of the figurine, his brows furrowed as if he was listening to a low murmur. His stance was frozen in that scene for a few minutes, before a relaxed expression appeared on his young face.
“No one is observing us currently, so you can remove your hat.” After saying that, Deng Wu tapped on top of a memory stone which was embedded in his bracelet and a long black cloak appeared out of nowhere.
Hui Yue felt sick to his stomach upon seeing the black cloak, but after close inspection it was obvious that it was completely different from the seven unknown men from the previous night.
As soon as Hui Yue accepted the cloak, he also tossed the hat back, “your souvenir,” he said before wrapping the cloak around himself, causing the previously esteemed expert to look akin to a girlfriend wearing her boyfriend’s clothes.
The sight had caused Deng Wu to laugh gently, giving Hui Yue a vague impression that it had always been his intention to teasingly ridicule him slightly. A sigh escaped Hui Yue’s lips as he decided not to argue with Deng Wu and his apparent madness. Instead, he pushed his way into the main street and started moving towards the inn where he had left his items the previous day.
It did not seem as if the movement had insulted Deng Wu in any way as he had followed behind, attentively observing the morning buzz within the busy city. As a young lord it was not the time where he would usually move around outside, so seeing the streets bustling with bakers hustling within their shops, stalls opening up on the markets, mercenaries getting their breakfast before going out to battle the magical beasts was a nice change of pace. The people on the street were those who had a busy day in front of them.
Hui Yue had been used to such bustling cities from back when he went to university every morning in his former life, and he paid it no attention as he rushed his way towards the inn, dragging Deng Wu in tow behind him.
While at the inn, Hui Yue still possessed the memory stone key, which had a few hours remaining before he had to check out; Hui Yue quickly switched his clothes while tossing back the black cloak before he rushed down the stairs and checked out.
A nagging feeling of impatience was causing Hui Yue to be impatiently trying to move back to the academy as soon as absolutely possible. If they were to rush back, then he had a chance to arrive in time to check out the building that sold medicinal pills.
“A carriage is waiting for us outside the city gates,” Deng Wu said while looking around with great interest, “I have a few things to talk to you about, but this is not the location.” He continued and Hui Yue nodded slightly. He too had something to talk to Deng Wu about.
The two boys slowly moved towards the city gates, and exactly as Deng Wu had said, a carriage in no way inferior to the Rong family’s was awaiting.
The magical beast in front of this carriage looked peculiar in every way. The body belonged to that of a python, yet the hind legs obviously belonged to a horse. The front legs were claws of an eagle-like creature and the tail was like that of a dragon’s. The head was shaped like a feline creature; two long fangs were visible from the upper lips, paired with two winded and sharp horns proudly protruding from the forehead.
“Say hello to Xiao Mao,” Deng Wu said with a smile. “This is my personal beast. She works well as a mount and to carry the carriage when I don’t wish for others to be involved.”
Hui Yue could only nod after hearing this. It seemed that most of the magical beasts he had met all had useful jobs, but none of them had seemed to be as intelligent as Lan Feng, in fact, not even close to his level of intelligence.
Seated within the carriage, Deng Wu and Hui Yue were opposite each other, neither one taking the initiative to start a conversation. Deng Wu had once again brought forth his azure figurine while Hui Yue were alone. Lan Feng was in deep meditation, refining one Qi strand after another into drops of spiritual energy.
“So,” Deng Wu finally started, “you caused quite some chaos last night. I assume the benefits were worth it?”
Hui Yue observed the black haired youth in front of him for a short amount of time, before slowly nodding his head, “I didn’t cause yesterday’s incident on purpose, but a few people believed that they could bully me.”
Having said that, no more words left Hui Yue’s lips, and Deng Wu never asked. It was obvious that the situation had been desperate for such destruction to have happened.
Unfortunately, Deng Wu was unaware of who would be capable of threatening a saint rank beast to the point of exploding like this.
What Deng Wu did not know, was that Lan Feng was only capable of using the skills which Hui Yue had practiced in, and unfortunately those seven black-cloaked men had caused Lan Feng to lose his calm, becoming quite overbearing and wishing to eradicate them all.
“I was of the impression that you didn’t have more high ranked skills at your disposal,” Deng Wu joked while quietly observing whether Hui Yue would react with fluster, embarrassment or indifference.
Deng Wu himself did not blame Hui Yue for keeping it a secret. Having secrets was every man’s right, especially in a world as dangerous as this. His own secrets were not few nor were they minor; however, when Deng Wu promised not to tell anyone about Hui Yue’s secret, Hui Yue in return could have asked to know a secret of Deng Wu’s to make them even, but that had never been mentioned, giving Deng Wu a much better impression of the smaller boy.
Being faced with the questions from Deng Wu, Hui Yue merely shrugged his shoulders while looking indifferent. He had not lied back then, he himself was really not aware of any other high ranked skills at the moment. As Lan Feng was a secret, it was obvious that he had no intention of revealing neither his bird friend nor said bird’s wide array of skills.
“If you should ever come across other high ranked skills in the future, then just come to me. The Deng family will help you out without allowing you to be bullied afterwards,” Deng Wu said with a grin as he looked at the worn out Hui Yue.
“I won’t need to sell more,” Hui Yue said with a small smile, “I needed some quick cash to get my hands on cultivation resources and now I should have enough to provide for quite some time.”
Deng Wu lifted an eyebrow as he heard this statement. To sell two skills of such magnitude for the sake of cultivation methods was indeed something only spoiled children would do. A medicinal pill could be created by an alchemist, and although alchemists were rare, they were nowhere as rare as those high ranked skills. Skills could take years to complete, which was a time quite unlikely to take just to compose even one the most advanced medicinal pills.
“You didn’t miss out,” Hui Yue finally said after seeing the shocked expression that had appeared on Deng Wu’s face. Deng Wu was a master of keeping his emotions under control, but being alone with Hui Yue had caused him to slightly relax his usually attentive personality, and as a result his poker-face had instantly been shattered.
“The skills that I sold were useless, remember? They were tailored to the creator so even if you are to obtain it, it won’t be beneficial for you at all. By the time you can learn it, you will most definitely have much stronger attacks to rely on.”
A feeling of surprise bubbled within Deng Wu’s chest and the surprise quickly changed to a slight admiration. So far Hui Yue had shown potential to become a cunning person who was able to use his abilities and god-given gifts above the norm,; however, to think that he would intentionally stage such a grand auction only to sell useless skills was still shocking beyond words.
“Hey wait a moment,” suddenly the astonishment and admiration changed to a slight rage, “Rong Xiang and Rong Ming are your friends! How could you force their family to spend that much money on not just one, but two useless skills?”
To hear that Deng Wu cared this much caused Hui Yue to raise an eyebrow in surprise, but his reply was incredibly calm as he spoke, “Rong Liang was not the one purchasing it, it was purchased by some men wearing black cloaks. The same men who decided to bully me later on. Is it not okay to make them pay a large sum of money as a compensation for allowing me to go through something traumatic?”
The blue eyed boy in front of Deng Wu seemed so innocent as he claimed that the evening’s events had been traumatic for him; however, it was obvious to Deng Wu that Hui Yue had no qualms about selling those high ranked, useless skills to the families of his friends. Not to mention that this incident that was supposed to have traumatised him had actually ended with him destroying one of Riluo City’s noble families.
Seeing that Deng Wu was not fully satisfied with the reply, Hui Yue sighed deeply and decided that it was time to return some of the help he had been given by his new friends in this world.
“I have something I will share with all of you,” Hui Yue said slowly, “Your family focuses on fabrication of everything from lumber, grain and other farm materials right?”
The words ‘share with you’ had roused great interest in Deng Wu’s eyes. So far, everything that had arrived from Hui Yue had seemed to be coated in gold, so the chances of his family benefitting from this was also rather high.
“Do you guys have anything called a watermill around here in Riluo City?” Hui Yue asked smilingly. He already knew that most of the very standard machinery which had been common back in his old world was not present in this new world, and although the majority of power was given by spiritual energy or magic cores, there were still plenty of things that could be improved.
“What is a watermill?” Deng Wu asked with a furrowed brow. Although it was a new word, it did not seem as if it held as much promise as a high ranked martial art skill.
“Imagine that a stream of water takes care of creating lumber from timber. You no longer need an insane amount of people to do so manually, nor would you need to rely on spiritual energy, nor people who can cultivate Qi.” Hui Yue said as a sales pitch. He was perfectly aware that it would be most troublesome to convince Deng Wu that this was useful.
“The water does the work?” Hearing this did indeed sound too good to be true, if it was possible, then the Deng family could increase their revenue by a lot, also expanding to other major cities within the Taiyang Kingdom.
“Obviously you will need some people for a bit of manual work, but the majority of the work will be empowered by the stream. I’ll try to draw a blueprint for you,” Hui Yue tempted and accepted the pen and paper which Deng Wu had shortly fished out and handed to him.
A big benefit from riding on a carriage in this world was that although they were travelling at incredible speed, the carriage never moved, it was as still as if Hui Yue was currently sitting within a house, and he spent a few minutes making the blueprints for the main mechanics and while doing so, Deng Wu was staring intently, getting more and more astonished as the minutes went by.
After half of the trip back to the academy Hui Yue had drawn a set of blueprints from which Deng Wu had been informed that Hui Yue could provide a few changes, causing these mills to help produce paper-scrolls, grind wheat, create lumber and even textiles. These watermills would definitely start a new era for the Deng family.
The rest of the trip back to the academy went by as the two boys discussed the watermill, and Deng Wu’s respect was constantly growing. He had indeed no idea what was going on inside that young boy’s mind to be able to come up with such ideas.
Hui Yue’s decision was simple. He required a 5% revenue from the watermills, but in return he would be helping with creating even more mechanics that could further increase the Deng family’s revenue.
A smile was evident on Hui Yue’s face, and within the eyes, a triumphant laughter could be seen. Hui Yue cared about his friends and he wished to help them, however, Hui Yue came from a world where the individual was what mattered, not the family you had been born into.
It was true that Lord Rong Liang himself would never have had the money to squander on two skills the way he did, but if he had done so, Hui Yue would not have pitied him in the least for spending more money than he had. To resist temptation was something which everyone needed to learn.
On the other hand, Hui Yue was grateful to Rong Ming, Rong Xing, Gao Yan, Ma Kong and even Deng Wu, and since Deng Wu was previously starting to show distrust, now was the perfect time for Hui Yue to show them all just how serious he was.
Having studied ancient culture throughout the world, Hui Yue had already found plenty of ways to improve this society. However, back when Hui Yue had attended university daily, he would never have expected that his knowledge would be used to change an entirely different world.