Jing and Li Li reentered Yellow Jade City. Jing didn't notice any strange looks besides the ones aimed at Li Li. A young girl walking with an owl in the afternoon would catch anyone's attention briefly. Most people would turn away continue minding their own business once they saw how average and uninteresting she looked though. Children worked in an opposite manner however. They didn't care how she looked and acted. They only cared about how cool and pretty Li Li looked on her shoulder. Typically Jing would try to avoid the sights of children to stand out less but some moments couldn't be avoided.
Three children surrounded her with sparkles in their eyes. Two boys and one girl. But those sparkles weren't for her, they were for Li Li. The children looked like siblings. They all had black hair, dirty clothes, and messy hair. Jing guessed they were orphans or were apart of a poor family. If Jing was being honest, she was just glad that they weren't trying to ask or beg her for money.
"Big sister where did you find him?!"
"Big Sis can we play with him?!"
"Big sis does he bite?!"
Jing put on a gentle smile.
"One question at a time." She said in an elder sister-like tone.
The children all looked at each other before somehow silently agreeing on what question to ask.
"Can we pet him?!" They asked simultaneously.
Jing looked at Li Li.
"Do you want them to pet you?" She asked.
Li Li shook his head.
The children's faces instantly turned sad. Jing had to stifle a giggle. Knowing how prideful her bird is, she didn't expect anything less. But seeing their sad and almost tearful faces after being denied by Li Li was pretty cute.. She decided to give them a little pet of their own.
"Don't be sad kids. While my little owl might not let you pet him, my other bird will." She told them.
Their faces instantly picked back up. They started hopping around her excitedly.
"I don't see another bird Big Sis!"
"Are you playing a joke on us?" They asked.
"Don't worry I'll show you. But first you all have to close your eyes and turn around." She smiled.
"Is this a game Big Sister?"
"You're not going to trick us and run away right?!"
"Don't trick us Big sis!"
"Ah ah ah! Turn around and close your eyes." She told them with a kind smile.
Although suspicious, the siblings did as she told and Jing got to work. She pulled out one of the recovery pills inside her inventory and inserted into her body. She started refining the pill on fine and soon, on top of her palm laid a small bird. A pure white bird made out of the medicinal ingredients that made up recovery pills hopped around on Jing's palm. An actual sentient pill currently laid in the hands of Jing. The only sentient pill in the entire world laid in the hands of a young girl with no cultivation.
"Alright you can turn around now." She said.
The kids eagerly turned around and saw the small strange bird in her hands. They surrounded her hand with looks of pure innocence and joy radiating off of them. The bird? Recovery bird? Pill bird? Whatever it was, started flying around the three children chirping happily. The kids began playing with the small bird and seemed to forget all about Jing in their moment of happiness. Jing soon wandered away while the children's attention was still taken and continued onto her original goal, getting something to eat.
A few more minutes of playing with the soft birds, the eldest sibling suddenly remembered they needed to thank the Big Sister for letting them play with her bird. He let his two younger sibling, Xu Meng and Su Meng, keep playing with the bird while he, Dai Meng, went to thank the Big Sister for her kind actions.
Dai Meng saw that the Big Sister wasn't on the bench she was sitting before and was gone! He looked around but still couldn't find any trace of her. He was forced to return back to his two younger siblings. Xu Meng, his younger brother was petting the baby bird they got from the Big Sister.
"What should we name him!?" Su Meng, the baby sister, asked.
"Su Meng… We can't keep him… We have to return him to that Big Sister." Dai Meng said.
Tears immediately threatened to spill out from Su Meng's eyes.
"Didn't you just go look for her though? Where is she?" Xu Meng asked.
"I… couldn't find her…" Dai Meng said slightly embarrassed.
"So that means until we find that Big Sis again, we'll have to take care of little Jii." Xu Meng said with a smirk.
"Yay!!! You hear that Jii!? You get to play with us longer!" Su Meng cheered happily as she grabbed Jii from her hair and cupped him in her small child hands.
The bird chirped merrily before a small white pellet exited from its bottom and onto Su Meng's palms.
"Ewwww he pooped!" Xu Meng exclaimed
Su Meng shrieked and was about to panic from having poop on her hands but Dai Meng quickly grabbed her hands and calmed her down. He picked up both Jii and his excrement. It seems he recognized something about Jii's dropping. Su Meng was wiping her hands on Xu Meng's shabby clothes and he screamed once he realized what she was doing.
"DON'T WIPE IT ON ME!!!!" He shouted as he moved away from Su Meng.
"I DON'T WANT IT ON MY HANDS!!!!" She screamed back chasing after him, intent on wiping away all the poop residue on her second brother.
Dai Meng ignored his two younger siblings as he stared at both Jii and his feces. He sniffed the bird and found it to have a pleasant smell. It was like a mixture of smells that came from plants and herbs from the forest. The scent of the bird was so pleasant his body even felt a little bit stronger after sniffing it. He would investigate that later but he recognized this pellet. This is a pellet that cultivators use!
'Why would little Jii poop out cultivator pills? Is he not a normal beast? Did that Big Sister really gift us a spirit beast for free?! Is she mad!? If anyone finds out that we have a pet that can poop cultivation pills, we'll be killed before we even know it!!!!' Dai Meng started freaking out.
He was thinking about killing Jii in his hands now to save his siblings from any future troubles but a voice deep in the back of his mind was whispering to him….
'Think of the money….. This could be the treasure you need to change your family's future for ever… An unending supply of money that loves you…. How could you let it get away…?'
Dai Meng was conflicted between his desires and cautious nature. Keeping his family safe but still in their terrible living conditions… or risk threatening their and his own life for a life of riches… Su Meng walked up to him and started wiping her hands on his shirt after not being able to catch her second brother. She saw him in his dazed state and took the chance to get rid of Jii's poop residue from her hands completely.
'I…. Have to think a little bit more about this… For now I'll just take care of him like a normal pet and throw away any pills he makes.' Dai Meng decided.
Jing is currently seated inside one of the most popular restaurants inside Yellow Jade City, Viridescent Moon. This restaurant was more popular with mortals than cultivators but every now and then cultivators could be seen entering and exiting the building with pleased or neutral faces. And since cultivators are looked upon highly by mortals, they typically follow the trends set by cultivators or followed by cultivators. This is why most businesses try to kiss up to most cultivators. Even getting a single cultivator to buy something from your business will make at the very least 10 mortals buy the same thing that the cultivator bought.
Li Li was perched on Jing's shoulder looking at the menu along with her.
"Fish Head Tofu Soup, Crowned Cow Steak, Leaf-Eating Eagle Eggs… Do you see anything you like Li Li?" Jing asked.
Li Li turned his head topsy turvy as he was deciding on what sounded the most delicious to eat. Eventually he chose from the cultivator's part of the menu and decided on the Gold Shumai. The menu said this was great for cultivators in the early realms. The meat is filled with dense spirit energy and is sure to revitalize any cultivator that eats it and slightly boost their cultivation. But sadly the price was way too high for Jing.
She could pay for it, but all of her current money would be gone trying to pay for it. So she told Li Li to choose something from the mortal side of the menu and he chose the Dragon Cow Steak. Jing decided on Spicy Flying Shrimp with Twilight Rice. Both items added up to a sum of 7,000 yuan and another night in an inn shouldn't leave her completely dry before the sect test tomorrow. And once she passed, she wouldn't have to worry about mortal money anymore anyway! She would be a cultivator once she got inside the sect and learned a cultivation technique.
Jing handed her menu to the waiter after deciding on her and Li Li's choices and were now just sitting and waiting for it to come out. She waited patiently while massaging Li Li's feathers before hearing a loud crash somewhere behind her. She and Li Li looked over and saw that a waiter fell carrying a tower of plates. The plates shattered from his fall and Jing saw a group of people laughing.
'That's the city lord's son..' Jing recognized the red haired handsome youth amidst the young group. Boys and girls of similar ages to Tang Wuyin.
He didn't seem as pleased as his followers because instead of an amused look on his face an irritated one appeared. He got up and kicked the waiter in the side.
"Spoiling my good mood will you mortal?! I could have your entire life destroyed without using a single finger! Do you not know what occasion you just ruined?!" He yelled angrily as he continued to stomp and kick the young waiter.
The young man was whimpering and crying trying to apologize to Wuying but Wuying was having none of it.
"You just ruined the celebratory party of Tang Wuying!"
"The genius that has reached the 5th stage in the Qi Gathering realm!"
"His father owns all of Yellow Jade City and you dare ruin his celebration!?"
[Mission available for host!]
[Teach this arrogant young master a lesson!]
[Reward: 1 epic ticket]
Jing's eye brows twitched rapidly.
'Are you insane system?! That epic ticket isn't worth throwing my life away. Even if I somehow managed to defeat or humiliate him, the people behind him can get rid of me without even breaking a sweat! Li Li is pretty strong but not strong enough to make enemies with an entire city force most likely filled with cultivators. No way am I accepting that mission.' Jing declared as her food reached her table.
[Penalty: Reduced luck in next Gacha.]
She promptly ignored the system and looked at her food with a small smile on her face. It smelled pretty good, which was always a good sign. Li Li's Dragon Cow Steak was around the same size as him and caused Jing to giggle at Li Li's surprised face. Her food didn't look all that special except her twilight rice was a light purple in color. The red spicy colored shrimp and the twilight colored rice had a strange synergy together. It looked rather strange and otherworldly in her eyes but the smell and texture of the two made her stomach rumble in anticipation.
She began digging into her food with Li Li. Jing took small careful bites of her shrimp and rice. She tenderly moved her tongue across the food, tasting it in a delicate and steady manner. Critiquing it with the highest of judgments. After remembering the taste of those heavenly golden berries from before, she was quite scared of never being able to eat regular food again. But it seems she was worried for nothing.
The shrimp and rice tasted well enough. Her taste buds weren't violently rejecting them like she feared, so she started eating happily along with Li Li who was tearing his Dragon Cow Steak into pieces so his small beak could fit the pieces inside his mouth. She ignored the racket behind her with the city lord's son and simply enjoyed her high-class meal.
*ABOUT HALF AN HOUR LATER*
Jing and Li Li finished their first meal of the day and the sun was slowly lowering more and more. Jing paid for their meal and left the restaurant. As she was leaving the restaurant, she noticed a few more vendors setting up but these were a bit different from the regular vendors she's been seeing over town. Manly because these vendors were exclusively for cultivators! They had signs over their booths stating exactly what they were selling but also signs on the front of them that stated prices. Not all of them had price signs and Jing guessed that they were open to some haggling but based on what she was seeing, these vendors only took spirit stones.
Jing pulled out her single spirit stone and chuckled sadly. She couldn't even buy one black rock with her single spirit stone. One of the black stones on a vendor's stall cost 5 spirit stones. She doubted she could haggle with the old man and her looks weren't anything impressive to try and tempt him into lowering the price. Jing left the vendors and started walking towards an inn to sleep tonight.
Amidst her search for a decent inn, she saw a group of people around her age enter into the city.
"We finally made it to Yellow Jade City!" A youth exclaimed with sweat dripping down his forehead.
The youth had a strange split of black and white long wavy hair that reached to the back of his neck. He was the shortest and most thin of the group.
"We need to hurry and find an inn. The other clans and cultivators are no doubt on their way as well." A beautiful young girl hurried.
This girl had long beautiful hair and a face that could charm many young men. Some would call her a fairy or princess based on looks alone.
"What's the hurry Li? Why don't I take you out on a beautiful dinner tonight? Yellow Jade City is known for its beautiful streets and fantastic restaurants. We can find some place to rest later." A handsome white haired youth suggested.
He was easily the tallest and most charming out of all the males present in the group.
"I need to cultivate tonight. Sorry Brother Song." She bluntly declined while looking elsewhere.
"Alas, you wound me so Li! You gave me that excuse far too many times to count now. A great cultivator would know they should take breaks every now and then or be will suffer stagnation in cultivation." Song warned with exaggerated motions of pain.
"Thank you for your warning Brother Song but I believe I know myself best." She said bluntly before focusing her attention on the shortest and thinnest of the group.
"Brother Fang. How are you feeling about the test tomorrow?" She asked with a smile.
No one noticed as Song's face twisted into a deep ugly hatred after noticing the attention and focus Li gave Fang. Song's life has been nothing but greatness until his uncle one day came home with a child. A child that would threaten to ruin everything that was supposed to be his! A child equal to him in age and status within the Huan Clan. A child that stole the attention of his future bride! And the trash that will be supposedly married to his future bride all thanks to his father losing in a duel to his uncle!
'I will kill you Fang! Sister Li will be my future bride and I will become the patriarch of the Huan Clan after killing your father! Enjoy the attention you get from Sister Li now, but soon everything you took from me will belong to me again… Just wait…' Song swore deep into his heart.
Li Huan went ahead of the group to find a place for them to sleep tonight and Song walked passed Fang, bumping into his shoulder and knocking him down, Song was at a higher cultivation than Fang.
"Watch yourself trash… Sister Li will be mine…" He whispered as he and his "friends" wandered into the city together.
Fang felt a strong force of killing intent coming from Song. A deep shudder of fear came from his heart and a source of anger and rage as well. Song has always bullied Fang every since they were kids. He never understood why Song has hated him for so long but he imagined it had something to do with Sister Li. He didn't feel any particular way towards Sister Li besides as a family member. He didn't understand why Song didn't believe him when he said he had no interest in Sister Li. But telling him that only made him angrier and bully Fang even worse.
But even though Song has always bullied him, he never showed such a strong hatred and killing intent before.
'If I don't quickly cultivate and become stronger than Song, I'll surely lose my life!' Fang thought desperately as he started exploring the vendors' booths in Yellow Jade City.
His adopted father only gave him a few spirit stones for his travels and Fang didn't want to waste it on something that wouldn't help him get stronger than Song who was a whole realm above him! He looked around the vendors looking for anything that could boost his cultivation speed before suddenly feeling something strange in his heart.
He turned around and laid his eyes on a black stone. It was as if the black stone was calling to him somehow… He walked over to the old man's stand and asked him what was this black rock. The old man shrugged his shoulders but said he felt Qi coming from it and decided to grab it. Fang asked how much was it and the old man told him 10 spirit stones.
That was all Fang had!! This old man had to be cheating him! But the thumping in his heart and the calling from the black rock was increasing in intensity more and more. It was almost becoming unbearable to the young Fang. He threw all caution to the wind as he gave up all his money to the old man and snatched the black stone for himself. The old man was laughing heartily as he saw the young Fang walking away and tripping over his sandals.
Fang fell and scraped his finger on the pavement. Blood slowly leaked onto the black stone and an intense light started shining from it before suddenly levitating and rushing inside his body. Pain started to wreck and smash his body to all hell. He screamed out on the ground as he felt his bones being destroyed and reconstructed. The last thing he managed to see was Sister Li rushing over to him.