Chapter 45: Can’t I At Least Ask About It?
However, Zu An was unfazed at all. On the contrary, he also stretched out his hand and demanded, “Hand over all of your ki stones, and I’ll treat it as if nothing happened at all.”
“Brat, you’re asking for it!” Man Yu lost his temper. He raised his mortar-sized fist and smashed it down toward Zu An’s face with speed, accuracy, and sharpness. This was the move that he had used to curb countless students who refused to obey him. One strike was all it took to erase every shred of confidence of his victim.
You have successfully trolled Man Yu for +177 Rage!
Zu An was a little dissatisfied. Despite the fatty’s furious appearance, the Rage points he was providing was lacking in comparison. He calmly stretched out his fist and stopped the fatty’s punch with ease.
Man Yu was utterly horrified. He tried his best to retract his fist, but it simply wouldn’t move at all.
Seeing this, Zu An sighed deeply. “I advised you kindly, but you just wouldn’t listen. Must things really come to this point? Are you finally willing to hand over your ki stones now?”
His cultivation had already reached the third rank. In terms of strength, he was as powerful as 88 adult men combined. Even at the very most, this fatty was only at a lower second rank, or else he wouldn’t have been sent to the Yellow class. Given so, there was no way this fatty could have been a match for him.
Man Yu was unwilling to give up just like that. He raised his other hand and tried smashing his fist down once more, but it was stopped with extreme ease yet again.
Zu An felt that he had to do something to make this fatty submit to him, so he decided to tighten his grip around the latter’s fist.
“Ouch ouch ouch! Let go, let go!” Man Yu was in such great pain that tears were about to be squeezed out from his eyes. He never thought that he would actually be overpowered by this skinny monkey.
You have successfully trolled Man Yu for +66 Rage!
“Cut the crap and hand your ki stones over!” Zu An said menacingly as he further increased the force of his grip.
“I’ll hand it over, I’ll hand it over…” Man Yu could almost hear the sound of his bones creaking. He immediately glanced at the pouch hanging by his waist and said, “It’s there!”
Zu An was worried that there was some sort of mechanism hidden in the pouch, so he warily released Man Yu’s hand and said, “Take it out and hand it over to me.”
Man Yu quickly pulled out his pouch and poured out the ki stones inside. As he placed them one by one into Zu An’s hand, the fat hanging on his cheeks began to tremble.
You have successfully trolled Man Yu for +9 +9 +9 +9…
“Huh? Only 7 ki stones?” Zu An was incredibly disappointed. He thought that he could make a huge killing out of this, but who could have thought that this bully was so incompetent?
“I only managed to gather this much. As you know, the amount of cultivation resources allocated to those in our class is very little! This is all I managed to collect from those I can handle!” Man Yu explained anxiously.
“What about the ones you have collected before?” Zu An demanded.
You have successfully trolled Man Yu for +666 Rage!
Are you trying to suck me dry?!
A look of indignance appeared on Man Yu’s face as he exclaimed, “I really don’t have anything else. Most of what we collect needs to be submitted upward! Why don’t I just give you 2 ki stones and be friends with one another? I promise that I won’t report this matter upward. Otherwise, once Boss Ye learns about it, you’ll be in deep trouble!”
“Oho, you even managed to form a supply chain out of this trade?” Zu An was amused. “Who’s the Boss Ye you’re referring to?”
“Ye Chenliang from Third Grade Earth class, cultivation of upper third rank. A mere First Grade Yellow class student like you won’t be a match for him at all!” Man Yu sneered coldly.
A frown formed on Zu An’s forehead. That fellow is stronger than me. This is really a bit troublesome.
Noticing Zu An’s reaction, Man Yu laughed heartily. “Are you finally getting scared now? If you’re scared, you better hand everything over to me now!”
This was how human relationships worked. As soon as Man Yu noticed Zu An’s hesitation, he forgot all about his earlier promise of giving him 2 ki stones and instead demanded everything.
“You sure talk a hell load of nonsense!” The impatient Zu An sent a slap right toward Man Yu’s face, causing his consciousness to flicker for an instant. He stowed the ki stones he had just received away and said, “I’ll be taking all of these. Tell your Boss Ye to come and look for me.”
“You skwunk! You’ll wegwet it!”
“Heh, air is leaking out of your broken tooth. I suggest you stop speaking.”
You have successfully trolled Man Yu for +666 Rage!
When Zu An returned to the classroom, he noticed Wei Suo looking around nervously. As soon as the latter saw him, he rushed over and asked, “How is it? Are you fine?”
Zu An burst into laughter. “If you’re really that concerned, why didn’t you follow me into the forest to back me up?”
Wei Suo shrugged and said, “Given how weak I am, I’ll only pull you down if I go together with you. If I get caught and used as a hostage, you’ll have to waste your energy trying to rescue me.”
“It’s not like you’re a beautiful woman. Why would I bother rescuing you?” Zu An rolled his eyes. That being said, he still tossed a ki stone over to him.
“T-this…” Wei Suo stared at the ki stone in his hand in bewilderment. “Where did you get it from?”
“That darned fatty saw that I was handsome and gave it to me,” Zu An replied casually.
“How is that possible?” Wei Suo exclaimed. “That fatty has someone behind him. You need to be careful of him!”
Zu An didn’t think much of it. “Backing? Is his backing bigger than the Brightmoon Duke?” Even though he wasn’t highly-regarded in the Chu clan, it was not as if outsiders knew about that. It would be a waste if he didn’t use this card well.
“Indeed,” Wei Suo nodded in agreement. “Marrying the First Miss of the Chu clan has really catapulted you up to the moon.”
After returning to his seat, Zu An secretly asked him, “How do we use ki stones?”
Wei Suo was intrigued to hear that question. He didn’t think that Zu An wouldn’t know something that was so common sense. Nevertheless, he still explained it patiently anyway, “Place the ki stone on your palm and drive your cultivation technique accordingly. Absorb the ki from the stone to nourish your body.”
Zu An racked his mind, but he realized that there was the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra didn’t contain any techniques that allowed him to absorb ki. Unwilling to give up, he placed a ki stone on his palm and willed his body to absorb the ki, but it was all futile.
It was then that he recalled that the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra was an alternative route to cultivation. Instead of the conventional absorbing ki to temper one’s body, it relied on getting beaten up to grow stronger.
This made Zu An feel a little frustrated. Had it been before, he would have surely switched out this masochistic cultivation technique for another one as soon as an opportunity arose. However, in his life-and-death fight with Pei Mianman yesterday night, he felt the true prowess of the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra.
For one, he found himself growing stronger and stronger as the battle proceeded, such that he was actually able to rival her in terms of strength. On top of that, he realized that for every cultivation rank he mastered, he would gain a phoenix hatchling imprint. No matter how foolish he was, it was apparent to him that this technique possessed extraordinary prowess. It would be a waste to give up on it.
If so, that would mean that ki stones were completely useless to him. Zu An took some time to ponder over this issue before nudging the fellow seated beside him. “Hey, lad. You want to buy my ki stones?”
Wei Suo’s eyes lit up. “How many do you have?”
“I have 7 of them,” Zu An replied. If he could sell them for 10 gold taels each, factoring in the silver taels that he had saved up thus far, he would be able to repay his 1000 silver taels debt.
Of course, he was reluctant to fork out his own money to repay the debt of that dead idiot, but according to the mysterious woman in the gazebo, it appeared that really bad things would happen if he were to break a contract. He believed that it was always better to be safe than sorry.
Thinking of the mysterious woman in the gazebo, he began wondering if he would get an opportunity to see her again. Should I find some time to drop by the gazebo again?
“How much are you going to sell them for?” Wei Suo asked.
Zu An wrapped his arm around Wei Suo’s shoulders as he said, “You mentioned earlier that hardly anyone would sell ki stones, making it an invaluable resource. Since we’re brothers, I shan’t take advantage of you. 11 gold taels each. I’ll give you a special discount and round it down. 75 gold taels!”
Wei Suo blinked his eyes. “I know that I’m not very smart, but you shouldn’t try to fool me either. Shouldn’t it be 70 gold taels after rounding down?”
Zu An harrumphed in displeasure. “If that’s the case, I would have just asked for 10 gold taels each! 75 gold taels is the lowest I can go, and that’s after factoring in our friendship as well!” Zu An passed the bag of the ki stones over. “Here, take the ki stones and give me my money.”
Wei Suo replied bitterly, “I don’t have that much money.”
Zu An frowned upon hearing those words. “How much do you have then?”
Wei Suo flipped through his pockets before looking at Zu An with large, innocent eyes. “I have 54 silver taels.”
Zu An nearly erupted there and then. “If you can’t afford it, why in the bloody world did you ask for the price?”
“Can’t I ask for the sake of it?” Wei Suo replied with a shrug.
Zu An’s face darkened. He didn’t even want to speak anymore. He pressed Wei Suo down under the desk and began beating him up.
“Hey, didn’t you say that we’re brothers?!”
“It was a lie.”
The next lesson was a military strategy lesson lectured by a teacher from the Military Department.
“To win without a fight, leaving the soldiers completely unharmed, that’s the goal of a true general. Compliments! Compliments! Through supporting one another through tough times, a sense of camaraderie and a relationship of mutual interest can be formed. Common enemies will be fought down together, and common interests shall be pursued in cooperation. This is the way to winning without losing a single soldier; an offense without a battering ram; a defense without a moat…
“When a hawk strikes, it pulls in its wings and lies low first. When a ferocious beast assaults, it lowers its posture and prowl warily first. When a true sage moves, it should display the gullibility of a fool…” 
Once again, Zu An found himself utterly lost. He felt like a fly was buzzing around his ears, leaving him feeling so annoyed that he felt like he was on the verge of exploding. He couldn’t accept that he had to go to school again after transmigrating and go through this sort of torturous lesson.
He felt that he was wasting his life away. It was already bad enough that he wasted his previous life, so was he going to squander this life away on useless nonsense like this?
For a moment there, the thought of standing up and walking out crossed his mind. However, the teacher standing before him possessed a cultivation of upper third rank, not to mention that he was an official of the royal court too. In view of that, it was best for him to keep a low profile.
Yup. It’s not too late for me to run away after his lesson too.
Despite Zu An’s prayers, this lesson didn’t pass by in a flash. If anything, it felt grueling long. By the time the class was over, he felt like he was on the verge of going crazy.
“This won’t do! I must leave here!” With a darkened face, Zu An began making his way out.
“Are you heading to the canteen to have your meal? Let’s go together. I’ll treat you!” Wei Suo quickly caught up with him and spoke with a fawning smile. It was apparent that the earlier beating was extremely effective in winning him over.
It was then that Zu An recalled that it was already in the afternoon. If he left right now, he would still have to eat lunch and waste his precious money on buying a meal even! In view of that, he decided to eat here first before leaving.
“Speaking of which, given how well-connected you are in this school, do you happen to know a person named Wei Hongde?” Zu An suddenly remembered Old Mi’s instruction. If he were to leave school without making any progress on his mission, that fellow wouldn’t let him off the hook easily.
“Of course, he’s my older brother! You know him?” Wei Suo asked curiously.
“Your older brother?” Zu An narrowed his eyes doubtfully. Wow, this sure is a coincidence. “But your names don’t sound alike to one another.” 
“Who says that brothers need to have similar names?” Wei Suo grumbled. “My older brother’s name sounds so old-fashioned, unlike mine. Wei Suo, Wei Suo; don’t you think my name sounds awe-inspiring?
Zu An stifled his laughter. “Yes yes yes, your name sounds much cooler. Is your older brother in school right now?”
“He is. His talent is much better than mine, so he’s currently in Grade Three Earth class.” Envy surfaced in Wei Suo’s eyes as he spoke about this matter.
“What does your family do?” Zu An asked curiously. He couldn’t figure out why Old Mi wanted him to get close to Wei Hongde.
“My father used to work for the Chamberlain of Palace Revenue, but a few years ago, he chose to move over to Brightmoon City for his retirement. Of course, we can’t compete with your Chu clan,” Wei Suo replied.
Chamberlain of Palace Revenue?
Based on what he knew, the Chamberlain of Palace Revenue was one of the Nine Ministers, governing the emperor’s treasure vault. Most of those working for him were the trusted eunuchs and servants of the emperor. What does Old Mi intend to do by having me get close to the Wei Hongde?
It was then that a disharmonious sound echoed in the air. “Boss Ye, that’s the fellow who stole our ki stones!”
Seeing this sight, Wei Suo immediately dashed to the side like a frightened rabbit, as if he wasn’t acquainted with Zu An at all.
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