The excitement of the first ranking tournament started to die back down and the cultivation rhythm started again.
For Han Lingyun, one thing was different though: everyone he crossed now knew about him. In practice, he was now the highest ranked 4th grade disciple. If you forget about the freak Yu Tao for a minute, that would make him the highest disciple without a grade 5 talent.
That netted him a huge boost in notoriety and the respect of many of his peers, which Han Lingyun hadn't anticipated that much. Of course, the big 3 were raised to another level in the hearts of many.
In an environment where everyone is ranked and your rankings can affect your treatment, the high rankers garner a portion of jealousy and another portion of admiration and respect.
Again, this slightly unsettled Han Lingyun as disciples he didn't know came to talk to him at lunch breaks or even to train with him. To be honest, he didn't enjoy the attention very much. Perhaps disciples felt that he was more approachable than the big 3 and tried their luck to make connections?
Today, Han Lingyun decided to go to the mission hall where he had 2 things to do and to change his thoughts for a bit. Shen Lin had started picking missions 2 days ago and had described how everyone was rushing every time a mission that paid well popped up.
The mission hall posted missions on a large board inside the lobby, where a first come first served system was in place. The disciple then had to complete the mission to receive a predefined reward. However, if for some reason the disciple didn't complete the mission within the time limit, he would receive a fine, which would become a punishment if the disciple didn't have the Ps to pay.
Han Lingyun entered the building to find dozens of disciples looking at the missions on the board. The disciples parted to make way as Han Lingyun approached. Perhaps there were some perks to being recognized.
The missions that were not picked proposed small amounts of spirit stones for long hours of work. For example: "Clean Elder Shon's Garden this month for 10 Ps. The disciples around mostly waited for better paying missions with no risks. New missions kept popping up from time to time as disciples ended up taking what was available.
Han Lingyun thought that the time used for these small fees was better used cultivating.
A mission worth 100 Ps appeared in the screen and was immediately selected by a disciple using his badge.
Han Lingyun barely had the time to read. "Help Elder Ma classify herbs and other miscellaneous tasks for one week. 100 Ps."
The lucky disciple that picked up the mission then walked to a counter where an older disciple would provide him with all the necessary details and confirm that he will be taking on the mission.
Han Lingyun wasn't really interested in those missions. One made him raise an eyebrow though. "Train and combat with disciple San for an afternoon. 3P per afternoon."
Han Lingyun was intrigued. Could disciples issue missions?
He went to one counter. "Good morning senior. I was wondering if it is possible for me to issue some missions."
Chang Xin, a 3rd year disciple measured Han Lingyun. "Yes, there are no rules against it, as long as your missions are not ridiculous or taking space on the mission board for nothing. You just have to pay the reward upfront with an additional 5% commission."
Han Lingyun rejoiced. "That's great. Do you know if I could issue a mission for someone at the qi cultivation realm though?"
Chang Xin thought for a moment. "I think it's okay! I would have to transfer your mission to the mission halls of 2nd and 3rd year disciples though."
Han Lingyun clapped once. "Perfect. By the way, I was wondering senior, are you taking on a mission right now?"
Chang Xin was slightly bored so he didn't mind talking about his small job a bit. "That's right. This is a one day per week mission. I get paid 200 Ps upfront + 100 Ps every day I come, so 100 Ps a week."
Han Lingyun still wanted to understand more how the whole system worked. "That's a pretty decent pay for such a job, right? What is your role exactly?"
Chang Xin shook his head. "Actually, it's not that much. Prices for 3rd years can get pretty inflated, but I'm not risking my life here. And I use my time here to practice visualization techniques so I don't lose time by not being able to cultivate. The work is pretty basic. There are every now and then missions sent by elders. I screen them to verify they correspond to the level of new 1st years and were not sent to the wrong hall. Then I press here to post the mission up. I then confirm the details with the disciples."
Han Lingyun mind raced, he smelled an opportunity there. But that would wait a bit.
"Interesting, so that's how it works!" Now that he had a better idea of the price to put on a mission, he began to think of his wording. "So, I would like to issue a mission, but don't send it just yet.
'Bring Han Lingyun to market road at sometime between 3-6 P.M. and back to buy something. Price 100 Ps.'
Senior what do you think about it"
Chang Xin took a second look at Han Lingyun after seeing the offered price. "Seems adequate. Qi condensation realm cultivators need more Ps than us Body strengthening disciples to be moved, but that's basically free money for them if they are also going to market road. Good enough to send."
"Great, here are the 100 Ps +5Ps of commission." Han Lingyun pressed his badge.
"And, all done. Is there anything else?" Chang Xin turned back to Han Lingyun.
Now that his initial objective was achieved, Han Lingyun wanted to see if his new little idea could be made.
"Ah yes senior I was wondering what types of missions are generally posted for 1st years and what are the most demanded missions here? Also is it common for disciple to be fined because they didn't complete the mission?"
"It's mostly Elder's requesting for some manual jobs. For them, it's some cheap labor and their missions are instantly picked. For the disciples, it's risk free and good value depending on the Elder. It's very rare for those missions to not be completed, less than 1% I would say. When the year advances, the sect will post missions happening outside of the sect such as to find wild herbs, hunt animals or criminals, protecting caravans… Those could provide 10 times more points but some disciples also never return. Also 20% of these missions are not completed." Chang Xin didn't mind taking some time to explain to this rich disciple. For him, Han Lingyun's Ps meant that he was one of his year's top disciples, it was very likely that he would overtake him and his grade 2 talent in a year's time.
There was too much demand for missions and not enough supply. The market was inefficient and Han Lingyun wanted to rectify this travesty.
Han Lingyun thought out loud. "So do you believe that some of the risk-free missions from elders would still be picked immediately even if the reward was let's say only half."
"O definitely, especially in the first months, when 1st years are so poor. But if you're thinking about embezzling Ps or something, it's not possible. The arrays in our badges automatically check that the same amount of money the mission provider gives are received by the disciple. And us controllers have our accounts verified for unknown money coming in." Chang Xin warned.
Han Lingyun smiled. "Senior what's your name? you can call me Han Lingyun."
"I'm disciple Chang Xin." He crossed his arms.
"I have a mission for you, senior Chang Xin. Let's call the mission, "Advice on what risk-free missions to take. 50 Ps every day you come to work +2P / mission. What you will be doing, is selecting missions that you think are worth me looking into, of course, withholding from posting them. At 12 every week I will be passing by to hear your advice and take those missions.
You basically have nothing to worry about, I will be the one taking those missions. If I don't come, you could always post them in the afternoon and they would be picked up by disciples by the end of the day. I also will be posting some missions by 12:05 every week. All the accounts would check out because everything is legal. I would receive the exact amount of money the elders offered and the disciples would receive the exact amount of money I offered in my missions. Now how about that?"
Chang Xin was first shocked by the audacity and methods of this 10-year-old boy. Then he considered it and hesitated. "That doesn't break any rules, but that's because rules against this were not made yet. I don't think any disciple ever had the idea or guts of doing that."
Han Lingyun shook his head. "Senior Chang Xin, this legal and upright mission of providing advice to new disciples can help you double your weekly salary with very little additional effort. I'm sure you want to progress faster with your cultivation, otherwise you wouldn't be taking this sort of missions. Right? This is your ticket to snowball into the next rising sensation among 3rd year disciples. 50-100 Ps per week as a bonus, think about the additional resources."
Chang Xin looked nearly sold. "Ah, but there is a problem with your idea. To issue missions you need to pay upfront. That means you need a lot of Ps."
Han Lingyun chuckled; the fish was caught. He whispered to Chang Xin. "I can provide 1000 Ps to this operation right now." Han Lingyun showed his huge balance with to Chang Xi who stared with disbelief.
Han Lingyun continued to whisper. "You know what that means right? I have an elder secretly backing me. It isn't possible for me to gain that much Ps otherwise."
Chang Xin straightened his back and smiled. "Junior Han Lingyun, I would be glad to accept your noble mission."
Han Lingyun smiled and dictated. "Here is the mission. 'Help a new disciple find suitable missions for his classmates and himself. 50 Ps/day + 2 Ps/mission agreed upon.'"
Chang Xin nodded and the two completed the deal.
They shook hands.
"It was a pleasure to receive such insightful advice from a senior."
"It is my duty to guide a junior in need."