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Bi De’s Great Master was a generous Lord. He had praised him greatly for his contributions to the Great Fa Ram. The slain enemies were sown back into the earth. His seeds were put away for safekeeping, for there was something known as “winter” on the horizon, and they would be unable to be grown. For his diligence, Bi De was awarded a prize directly from His Great Master’s hand.

The Pelt of Basi Bu Shi, fashioned into a powerful artifact. It increased his nobility and majesty tenfold, and kept the rain off his feathers. It even imparted a portion of the beast’s sublime speed unto him.

It was most pleasing to his females.

The Great Master had also bought along new females, and two new potential disciples, or so he assumed. Chun Ke and Pi Pa were odd, hairless things that rooted around and squealed most displeasingly.

But the Great Master fed them his leftovers, and threw them the dried out nubs of Heavenly Herbs, so he stayed his spurs, and watched to see if they were worthy of ascending past their base forms.

His Lord had also redoubled his own efforts, and once more Bi De watched in awe. Trees fell, one after another, and were transformed into logs and planks. The rice was swiftly reaped, and then set out to dry, the fat heads of the foodstuff looking unbelievably tempting.

But now, The Great Master was acting with his overwhelming wisdom again, and he was lost.

His master built great fires, and did place selected stone within them. The fires burned hotter than any before, and when the great master was done, they were white and brittle. From there, he made them into power, and added water, clay, and rocks to produce an odd sludge, which he moulded and poured into the shapes he desired.

The next day, when he examined them, he was enlightened.

His Great Master had made liquid stone. Truly, his Great Master’s intellect surpassed all others!

////////

I breathe out.

Even with qi, my concrete was shit. I would need to do some more testing with ratios. I know mostly how this is supposed to work, so if I keep trucking at it, I‘ll probably succeed eventually.

Until then, it looks like we’re starting with stone. I’m going to try and get the new house finished before the snow hits.... But that probably not happening. I know these things always take longer than you think they will, and I’ve worked on a couple of houses in the Before. Foundation is a definite, though.

I sigh contentedly, and sit down, putting my feet into the water of the stream. Big D joins me, and shouts “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”

“You tell ‘em, Big D.” I mutter, and start scratching my guard chicken’s head. Like a guard dog, but meaner.

The thought takes me. I grin, get up, and get a plank of wood, a chisel, and some ash.

Heh. Hehheh. This is going to confuse visitors so much.

I place my work proudly on the Fence’s gate, and then go for dinner.

Fish tonight, from the river, with Spirit Herb and asparagus.

Delicious. Peppa and Chunky get the leftovers.

I crawl into bed feeling that good kind of exhausted, and breathe in contentedly.

////////

“As quoted by witnesses, the travelling cultivator declared that it was impossible for such weak cultivators to be a part of the mighty Shrouded Mountain sect, much less a Young Master of it.”

Jian Li Wei’s face was stony as he studied the mortal before him. His rage was a quiet thing, gently bubbling beneath the surface.

To be called upon by mortals, claiming that they had captured someone with the gall to declare that they were a part of his sect?

He glared at Third Brother Zeng’s youngest, Zang Li, chained as he was in suppression seals. He would say nothing for now. To lose the Shrouded Mountain Sect face like this, this little brat dared?

At least he had the sense to keep his damn fool mouth shut, and not compound his failures.

“We thank the Verdant Hill for so swiftly informing us of this egregious plot against our Shrouded Mountain sect.” He said, lying through his teeth. “We shall take these...imposters elsewhere.”

The mortal bowed his head. “We release them to you, then.”

Li Wei gave the pathetic boy a once over as he was unchained from the suppression seals. His lightning qi was intact. The Wandering Expert who had defeated him had shown remarkable restraint.

They departed.

“Before you even open your mouth, you brat, I will not be fighting your battles for you. You have shamed yourself.” Li Wei snarled at the boy. Zang Li looked appropriately contrite, if slightly ill. It severed the little bastard right. “Get revenge on your own, or look away from this matter, on your own. Either way, you will be returning to the Shrouded Mountain.”

“I apologise, Uncle.” The little shit mumbled.

Internally, Lu Ban was sweating, and concentrating his hardest on stabilising his technique while the expert carried him like a sack, purposefully making the journey uncomfortable. It had been hard enough under the suppression seals, but he was a dragon destined for the heavens.

On a cursory glance, his qi was that of lightning.

Underneath, oil and blood bubbled.

He let out a breath. The Twilight Cuckoo’s Triumph settled.

His plan was at fruition, though faster than he thought would happen. Now, he would have the resources of the Shrouded Mountain, as he originally intended when he slew the young master and devoured him. He might have gotten a bit carried away while stabilising his technique, feasting upon his lessers, but now...

Lu Ban swore, in the safety of his own mind, that he would slaughter all those who stood before him.

This “Jin” would pay dearly for his near exposure.

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