Records of the Dragon Follower
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 55: Herbal Bath
Ning Yu inspected the drawing carefully.
Mo Chen was aware that Ning Yu had vast knowledge in this area, so he might possibly uncover some clues.
“The pendant is just this big?”
The pendant was truly not big. It was about an inch long, and its size was comparable to a peach seed.
“I can’t find any clues from this.” Ning Yu shook his head.
Mo Chen was not disappointed that he couldn’t discover anything. If he could have seen through it all with a single look, then they would have done so already.
“There’s countless strange and mysterious things in the world, and I have only witnessed a few. Let me keep this drawing. I will bring it to Master when I head back. My master might have seen it before.”
“That sounds good. I will have to trouble you again.”
“Hey, what sort of relationship do you think the two of us have? Junior Brother Yun is already a junior sibling of mine, and it’s as if he’s one of the junior siblings in my sect. It’s all the same.”
Actually, wasn’t exactly the same. Ning Yu did not really have good relationships with the martial siblings in his own sect. If they did not have the same master, then they would force themselves to maintain a harmonious exterior appearance. If they had the same master, then the rest could not help but harbour thoughts of ranking themselves. Spiritual Master Hu treated Ning Yu one-sidedly well, so there were several people in the sect who found it irritable.
The number of people that Heavenly Secrets Mountain had was not something that Returnflow Mountain could compare to. However, if Ning Yu had to choose, he would rather have his home be something like Returnflow Mountain. There were few people, and there were few troubles to face.
Yet, even with the few number of people that Returnflow Mountain had, the incident with Chen Jingzhi still happened. It could be seen that troublemakers could be found anywhere.
Ning Yu didn’t come empty-handed but had also brought gifts.
Of course, they weren’t much. Every one of them received a talisman that was said to protect and keep them safe. No matter if they were effective, it was still out of his goodwill. Xiaodong was curious to death when he received the talisman. He could not help but peel open the pocket lid the moment he turned around.
It was a piece of yellow paper with runes that could not be recognised by regular people. The paper was held by a small pocket, and it was really very eye-catching. When touched, it also felt light and floaty. According to the rumours outside, however, this was a rare talisman. The talismans of Heavenly Secrets Mountain were not something that everyone could obtain. In the end, the moment Ning Yu stepped in, it meant everyone should get one with no exceptions. They shouldn’t be that expensive to him anyway.
When he entered the room, Mo Chen saw that Xiaodong was raising that talisman paper. He was looking to the left and right of the talisman, fascinated by it.
“Did you see through any profound mechanisms?”
Xiaodong happily placed the paper down in a rather careful manner. Given how thin the paper was, he might accidentally tear it after all. It would be bad if such a good item was wasted like that, so of course he had to be a little bit more careful.
“This isn’t important. When Ning Yu holds his brush, he can even draw up to a hundred of them in an instant. If you want, you can even have the entire room be stuffed full.” Mo Chen said with a smile, “There’s no need to be reserved.”
Xiaodong was momentarily stunned as he pinched the piece of paper and shook it about. “This… This is fake?”
“It’s not right to call it fake either. When people seek talismans, more often than not they would wish for the easing of the heart. Not to mention regular people, something that’s hard to obtain is not considered rare at all to Heavenly Secrets Mountain.”
“Since it’s not rare, why is it hard to obtain?” At that moment, Xiaodong still could not clear up the confusion in these words.
Mo Chen glanced at him. “Things that are hard to find are expensive.”
Xiaodong blinked. He understood now.
The moment he understood, he felt that the image of the large and mysterious Heavenly Secrets Mountain in his mind had fractured a little.
So people of Heavenly Secrets Mountain and those swindlers on the streets were exactly the same.
Mo Chen knew that Little Junior Brother was rather, mn, pure and naive, so he patiently explained everything.
“For a sect to last long, there requires many conditions. The most important condition of all, is to be rich.”
Xiaodong frowned. Clearly, he felt a little uncomfortable hearing these words.
Mo Chen laughed and stroked his head.
“I know what you’re thinking about. When I was young, I also felt that talking about money is a mundane thing to do. It feels like one’s worth would drop by talking about it, and it’s an awkward topic to bring up. However, after I took over some of the miscellaneous affairs from Master, I slowly began to understand. As people who cultivate the Dao, we are still humans, not immortals. We can’t skip all of our meals and drinks, and still have to eat. We have to sew our own clothes, and we still have to rely on the relationships we made when we go outside. Just like last year, when Master headed down the mountain to participate in an old man’s birthday. Master couldn’t possibly have gone empty-handed, right? And how should he get the gift?”
Xiaodong shook his head. “Senior Brother makes sense. Then where do our clothes, food and lodging come from?”
They could not sell talismans, nor could they help others perform divinations. They didn’t seem to be doing any sort of business either.
“You don’t have to stress about that.” Mo Chen simply wanted to tease him when Mo Chen saw that little frustrated look. “As long as you won’t starve, we’re fine.”
XIaodong of course believed that Eldest Senior Brother would not let him starve. However, he conjectured that Returnflow Mountain was definitely not a boundary filled with great riches. Everything that they wore and used were all very simple and rustic. The things that they had were things that they needed, and were not fanciful. Their meals lacked the aura of a rich person’s. Returnflow Mountain might not have progressed for a while, so everyone had been living in a rather impoverished fashion.
Xiaodong continued to frown. He was still not old enough, and had yet to learn any capabilities. Once he grew older in a few years and became a little useful, he hoped to help the sect earn some money. That way, he could let Master and his senior siblings be more bountiful and comfortable.
He did not say his thoughts out loud, but Mo Chen could pretty much guess the gist of them.
“Money is definitely needed to live, but in the end, something like money is still a worldly possession, and so all you need is enough to get by. People who cultivate the Dao should cultivate the body and temper the heart, and not be distracted by anything worldly, so there’s no need to put in too much effort on such things.” After pausing for a moment, Mo Chen used Heavenly Secrets Mountain as an example. “Heavenly Secrets Mountain is huge and has a large business, with a lot of people under the sect. However, the sect itself is getting increasingly saturated. Disciples with good and bad intentions are mixed all around, yet the ones who are truly outstanding are but a small few. Spiritual Master Hu had once said that he was growing helpless at the fight for authority within his own sect. He felt that people were being restrained by their worldly jobs, and had abandoned their cultivation. It’s truly putting the cart before the horse.”
Xiaodong sat upright and answered seriously, “I have taken Senior Brother’s teachings to heart.”
“Enough, we’re not outside, so you don’t have to be so serious.” Mo Chen packed the talisman back in and returned it to him.
“Alright, go make preparations. It’s about time to enter the bath.”
Xiaodong obediently responded.
Ever since the start of spring, Senior Brother would have him soak in a herbal bath every couple days, stating that they were good for his bones. Xiaodong understood that his aptitude was bad, and he had to be even more hardworking than others if he wanted to walk this path. That’s why he would do whatever Senior Brother said. He had already soaked in the herbal baths twice, and the effects were still not that obvious. It was true that such things would not immediately show results, but he was afraid that the effects wouldn’t show even after soaking tens of times.
Previously, Xiaodong simply felt a little uncomfortable in the herbal bath, but now he had another type of worry.
Just how much money was being spent on every barrel of medicine water? He wasn’t going to make Master and Senior Brother poor from bathing right?
With these thoughts in mind, Xiaodong was a little out of sorts while removing his clothes and tying up his hair.
The weather wasn’t that cold anymore, and Xiaodong had removed everything but his underwear and pants. His hair was tied up tightly, and after binding himself with a bathing robe, he ran into the room with the herbal bath.
Mo Chen had already prepared the medicine water. He tested the temperature of the water with his stretched out hand, turned around and said, “Alright, come in.”