Evening, a time when the crimson sun bids goodbye to the five lonely figures shuffling down the path.
Zhuo Fan walked at a snail’s pace on the weeded path, as if he was going on a road of no return, dragging it out as excruciatingly long as possible.
Yet it only delayed the inevitably cruel fate destiny had for him.
“Steward Zhuo, here is the Labor Office.” Violent Demon lifted a weary finger at the shoddy and small building.
Zhuo Fan was stunned at the sight. It was worthy of its name, a dump just like his house in the slums of Drifting Flowers City.
The only saving grace in that case was that his stay was temporary. While now, he had no frickin’ clue how to leave this shithole.
“Xie Wuyue, you haven’t seen the last of me. You think it’s funny, using a 9th grade pill just to get me thrown in this… thing!” Zhuo Fan spat.
The Four Scheming Demons shrugged.
Violent Demon shouted, “Whoever is in there, get out now!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming…” A panicky voice replied, followed by an old man in ragged clothes and white beard running over. He bowed and flattered Violent Demon, “Ha-ha-ha, elders, what can I do for you?”
Zhuo Fan’s gang looked with disdain at the 5th layer Bone Tempering elder.
[So old yet only in the Bone Tempering Stage. Such a poor talent this secular world has. That’s why he’s here and this is where he’ll meet his end.]
The five shook their heads. The old man ignored their blatant disdain and wore a wide smile.
“Hey, old timer, where are the rest of you? Don’t tell me you’re the only one here.” Violent Demon finally found a chance to be high and mighty. Though the high part was questionable, the mighty part more than made up for it.
The old guy bowed, giving a humble reply, “Elder, they’re all out working. Watering the herb garden, sweeping and cleaning.”
“Are you the one in charge here?” Violent Demon continued.
The old man beamed a yellow smile, “I am Yuan Xinggang, the one taking care of this place and already a hundred years old. “
“A Bone Tempering cultivator got to a hundred in this place?” Zhuo Fan eyed the old timer.
The four pygmies said the Labor Office was the sect’s dump used as consumables in other’s training. The old timer must’ve had some luck to reach a hundred in this hellhole.
The old man noticed his doubt and spoke softly, “Young master, surviving the Labor Office is a bit tricky. Either work hard to be an elder, or lay lower like a pygmy. He-he-he, that’s me, tiny. To be taken away for practice, one must first have some value. I’ve suppressed my cultivation and look utterly worthless to everyone, thus reaching old age. I must admit I am the oldest one here, so I ended up looking after the place.”
Like the old adage, the tallest tree gets the wind. [So this guy kept himself too plain, the king of nobodies.]
Zhuo Fan sighed, “If it were me, knowing I’d one day end up under someone’s knife, I’d just fight my way out. Why wait here for death?”
“Young master, that is such a simple way of thinking. The disciples in the Labor Office all have low cultivation and don’t know how to open the barrier. How can we get out?”
The old man sighed, “The world is cruel, and everyone is its fodder. A man’s fate has always been to struggle against death since birth. And the only thing that can change this is one’s skill. By escaping the depths of misery, one would finally attain strength.”
Zhuo Fan eyed the old timer in surprise. [To think an old Bone Tempering cultivator would have such a deep insight into the world’s nature.]
The old man returned to his servile manner with a smile, “Elders, where are my manners. How may I address you? We will be here together after all.”
“He-he-he, old timer, perk your ears. We are the graceful and magnificent demonic cultivator hero quartet of the Demon Scheming Sect, the Four Scheming Demons!” Violent Demon grinned, his nose way up high.
The old man cried, “Ah, executives, forgive my lack of manners. May I ask what sirs are doing here? Who’s the blind fool that forgot to sweep?”
“That’s not it. We don’t even know our home’s cleaner, he-he-he…”
Violent Demon waved and his brothers laughed, pointing at Zhuo Fan, “We came here because Steward Zhuo has irked the Sect Leader for some odd reason, getting demoted to the Labor Office. It’s fine though, since this’ll be just a short stop. Take good care of him or you’ll be liable!”
“Elders, I’d never neglect young master Zhuo, moreover…” Then he glanced at Zhuo Fan, “With his Profound Heaven cultivation, there’s nothing I can do to him. Only, Labor Office does have some unruly young masters…”
“What unruly? Just use our title…” Violent Demon snorted and barked, causing the old man to shy away.
Zhuo Fan figured out more as he said, “Is your title that well known, to quell anyone? In this dump, everything will rest on me in the end.”
The four exchanged a glance and laughed.
“Steward Zhuo is right. WIth your skills, you don’t need our care. Then sir, have a nice stay while we’ll be making inquiries as to how this happened in the first place. We will get you out!” Violent Demon nodded, his gaze firm.
The other three echoed him.
The old man watched it all with a glint in his eyes.
After mini demons’ repeated warnings to the old guy, they cupped their hands at Zhuo Fan and flew away. Zhuo Fan chuckled.
He never thought the day would come when these four shits would look after him.
“Mister Zhuo has such nice friends. I’ve seen my fair share of strong people coming to Labor Office, but never before like Mister Zhuo, with so many executives looking after him.” The old man spoke simply.
Zhuo Fan smiled, “Just Zhuo Fan. I will be calling sir, Elder Yuan.”
“That won’t do. I can’t accept it.” The old man waved his hands around, “I’m but a Bone Tempering cultivator, a whole stage beneath sir…”
“Ha-ha-ha, what’s that got to do with anything? When I respect someone, they have something of worth. Sir’s cultivation is low, but your insight into the world can’t be compared. All that’s left is for your talent to increase and sky is the limit.”
Zhuo Fan beamed as his hand now held a vial, “This is my clan’s Heaven Reaching Pill. It enhances the body and makes cultivation easier. Let us expound on the heavenly dao together.”
Startled, the old man received the vial. The soothing aroma coming from it had him flabbergasted, “T-t-tenth grade pill?!”
“Elder Yuan is truly wise. At the Bone Tempering Stage yet aware of such a pill.” Zhuo Fan raised an eyebrow.
Gulping and struggling to regain calm, Yuan Xinggang gave a dry laugh, “In my days as a laborer, I helped an alchemist around and had the fortune to witness a 10th grade pill. I never imagined I’d be seeing one again. Mister Zhuo, this is our first time meeting yet I feel ashamed accepting such a lavish gift. “
“Ha-ha-ha, it’s fine. There’s plenty of it where that came from.” Zhuo Fan shrugged.
That had Elder Yuan stumble, looking back at Zhuo Fan with a freaky gaze, “Uh, Mister Zhuo, where did you say you were again? If you have 10th grade pills, why would you come to Demon Scheming Sect?”
“Can’t help it when you’re obligated.” Zhuo Fan shook his head, then looked at the crumbling building, “Elder Yuan, where will I be staying?”
Yuan Xinggang turned from him to the pill, having mixed feelings.
[Holy moly, a big shot has come to town!]
[What a godly return, using a 10th grade pill to pay back for a 9th grade pill…]
In a field of flowers, people with white robes and the mystical word sewn on their shoulders in gold landed.
They all made a sign and the flower field shimmered, turning into a lofty landscape of towering mountains.
One pale woman, with blood on her lips, stepped forward in silence.
Her arrival had people shouting, “Someone help, senior sister Shui is hurt…”