This chapter has been brought to you by me, WanderingGummiOfDoom, Brian, and cactuar0.
Chapter One Hundred and Sixty Eight – Desolate Wood Reef
“Shixiong, Desolate Wood Reef is just up ahead,” A shidi said excitedly as he pointed forwards.
Zuo Mo nodded. He gazed into the distance and a lonely island had appeared in the distance.
Everyone was slightly excited. After flying continuously for two months, everyone sighed a breath of relief as they quickly neared their destination.
Seeing the Desolate Wood Reef, Zuo Mo finally understood why the sect had been so interested in such an out-of-the-way place. Desolate Wood Reef was positioned in a deep expanse of water, the edge of the jie river. If one wanted to pass into Little Mountain Jie, they had to pass through this location. The Endless Ocean was borderless and required long flights. Flying to this place was the limit of endurance for most. Because of this, the Desolate Wood Reef’s location was strategically important. It was necessary to rest at this area and regain strength in preparation for passing through the jie river.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Heart Lake Sword Sect was at the opposite end of Sky Moon Jie and their sect had several jie rivers, they never would have let go of such an important location as the Desolate Wood Reef. Even so, the sect had paid a great price.
But this place really was desolate.
As they flew closer and the island came into view, Zuo Mo couldn’t help but sigh.
He didn’t have any anger towards the sect for sending him to the Desolate Wood Reef; he was actually very happy. The state of the sect was not harmonious, and all the disciples that he was familiar with were no longer present. Such timing had made it wiser to leave. Desolate Wood Reef was far away from the sect so any conflict inside the sect wouldn’t reach this place. He was happy to be so free.
Just at this time, several xiuzhe flew up out of the island.
“Are you the shixiong from Wu Kong Sword Sect?” shouted one of them.
“Yes!” Zuo Mo bowed. He was preparing to take out the sect token, when the other person smiled and waved his hand. “Zuo Shixiong coming personally, I don’t need to see the token.”
“Shixiong knows me?” Zuo Mo was slightly surprised.
The other smiled. The person said, “The recording jade scrolls of the battle between Brother Zuo and Chao An may be rare, but this one is lucky enough to possess one of them. I recognized Brother Zuo from the recording.”
Zuo Mo finally understood, He humbly bowed with folded hands, “Shixiong is too kind.”
“I thought that you guys would arrive soon. We’ve already cleaned everything up. From today on, the Desolate Wood Reef will be under Brother Zuo’s care. This jade scroll contains some of what we have discovered about this island over the years. I hope it can help Brother Zuo. Goodbye.” The other bowed with folded hands in salute to Zuo Mo and then left. He didn’t seem to want to spend another moment on the island. The other people also bowed and then left.
The exchange had been so fast that it was surprising to Zuo Mo.
The people who had accompanied him here felt they had been given much face. Even the disciples of Heart Lake Sword Sect knew the name of Zuo Shixiong. They felt honored to be connected. The Wu Kong Sword Sect had just expanded, and compared to those older sects, there was still a gap in the attitudes of the disciples.
“Let’s head down.” Zuo Mo looked and urged Silly Bird to land.
The other people followed tightly after him.
The amount of investment that Heart Lake Sword Sect had put into the Desolate Wood Reef had been very limited. Other than a few stone buildings on the island, there was nothing. The shidi that came with Zuo Mo did not say anything, but their faces had become much dimmer. They found the place was much more isolated than they had originally imagined.
Zuo Mo did not care. Stepping on to the Desolate Wood Reef, he found the island was better than he had thought.
“We are going to make a home here.” Zuo Mo glanced at them and said calmly, “Everyone first rest for a few days before starting.”
After flying for more than two months, even Silly Bird was slightly less energetic. The steeds of the other shidi were even worse off. Zuo Mo took out a bottle of lingdan. This was the Energy Dan that he had prepared previously. The grade was not very high, just second-grade. But since it was easy to make and the cost was low, he had made an entire batch. Silly Bird liked to eat it and would often munch on them as if they were beans. They were pretty effective at recovering its energy.
As expected, after eating seven or eight, Silly Bird resumed her usual boastful and proud attitude. Her neck was arched high, her upper body unmoving, and her two long, dainty bird legs elegantly stepping out on the beach.
The shidi looked enviously looked at Silly Bird. Even someone blind could see handsomeness of Silly Bird.
They copied Zuo Mo, taking out Energy Dan to feed to their steeds. But they were still quite reluctant, the most they gave was two pills. Before departure, Zuo Mo had given each person a bottle with about ten pills in each.
In this time that the prices of materials were rising, the bottle of Energy Dan was not cheap. They found that following Zuo Shixiong didn’t seem to be so bad, at least it wouldn’t be unprofitable. Even more, Zuo Shixiong was a core disciple.
Those whom Zuo Mo had picked this time were all disciples from minor sects that hadn’t been in the sect for more than one month. They had just joined and had not been pulled into the factions within the sect. As those those disciples that had some fame, he didn’t take any of them.
Ningmai disciples, which ones would obey him?
The people he had picked were all in zhuji with foundations as production xiuzhe.
After resting for two days, everyone had basically recovered.
Zuo Mo called everyone over.
“Starting from today, for a very long period of time, we will be staying at this place where even the birds won’t shit.” Zuo Mo’s language was coarse, but everyone felt a deep empathy with his words.
“However, because this place is isolated, no one will disturb us here. It can be a place of peace. Right now, the sect is a mess, and even I find it troublesome. For you, it would be a dream to think you could have avoided it!”
“All of us here are production xiu, so think about the sect. Is there a place that will allow you to peacefully produce? This place might be isolated, but there is no conflict. To us, it is a very good place! Desolate? We can change it ourselves! I’ll state the rules first. On the Desolate Wood Reef, whoever creates ling fields will get to plant in them. Whoever plants will get what they planted. I won’t take a portion, the sect will not take anything! Also, the sect benefits that you are due will not change.”
“Really?” There was excitement on some people’s faces. Originally, they had felt this place was isolated and had been very unwilling. Hearing Zuo Mo say so, they became excited. They were all production xiu, and none among them were interested in fighting and killing. It might be hard to create ling fields, but if they made them, what they planted belonged to them! The sect would not take a portion.
It had to be said that the portion the sect usually took in rent for ling fields was extremely high.
Zuo Mo shrugged his shoulders. “As long as I am here there will not be a problem. But if the sect switches people then I can’t do a thing.”
The people believed Zuo Mo even more when he said that. At least Zuo Shixiong was not overexaggerating. Poor land? It was only a matter of effort for xiuzhe. Production xiu were hardworking and hardy.
Seeing everyone was becoming motivated, Zuo Mo decided to keep eating while the fire was hot.
“Time is jingshi! Everyone, you don’t want to waste jingshi! I have a plan here … …”
Zuo Mo knew that time was short. There was not a lot of time left for him.
In the past, Desolate Wood Reef was neglected, but as the situation worsened, the position of the Desolate Wood Reef would quickly become essential. Relatively speaking, Little Mountain Jie was even more isolated. It only had two jie rivers, even less than Sky Moon Jie.
The situations was worsening and the amount of xiuzhe that would pass through Desolate Wood Reef would increase greatly.
Having personally made the trip, Zuo Mo felt that the position of the Desolate Wood Reef was even better geographically. Two months of travelling, it took almost one month of flying over the Endless Ocean. Supposedly, there were vicious and dangerous water beasts underwater so few people would chose to travel on the water.
Zuo Mo could not imagine just how idiotic the people of Heart Lake Sword Sect were. Heavens, possessing such a good place yet not using it!
In reality, his thinking had gone askew. Little Mountain Jie only had a jie river towards Sky Moon Jie and one towards Sky Water Jie. Sky Moon Jie was not as prosperous as Sky Water Jie so there was rarely any people that passed through to Little Mountain Jie. The Desolate Wood Reef was too far away from Heart Lake Sword Sect. It was only a stop, so naturally, they did not try to manage it with any significant effort.
Zuo Mo had his own thoughts. Even though Little Mountain Jie was more isolated, it was also further away from Bloody Sky Metropolis Jie. In other words, if the current situation really worsened retreating through Little Mountain Jie then onwards to Sky Water Jie was not a bad choice.
That was his plan.
He estimated that after some more time, there would continuously be people going through the jie river to Little Mountain Jie.
It wasn’t so easy to travel through a jie river. The shortest amount of time it would take was several months, longer trips could possibly take years. The Desolate Wood Reef was the only supply point before entering the jie river. That was an opportunity.
Want to resupply? Alright! Hee hee, passage fee … … accommodation fee … … resupplying fee … … birds will be plucked clean… …
He had decided. Even if it was a mosquito passing by, he was going to squeeze out three drops of blood!
In any case, the sect in the short term definitely had no attention to spare on him. Looking objectively from outside, he finally understood. The sect might look strong now, but before the sect leader could assimilate the newly merged factions, the sect would only remain superficially strong . In reality, it was weak internally. The sect leader definitely could see it, but was yet to be seen if there was enough time for him to do anything about it.
That was up to the Heavens!
Zuo Mo shook his head and threw those nonsense thoughts to the back of his mind. A problem even the sect leader couldn’t solve, it wasn’t necessary for him to waste his thoughts on it. He decided to manage his own little domain.
The Desolate Wood Reef was a treasure. Thinking of being able to sit and receive jingshi was great, but this all required that he had enough strength to support it.
This was what he was directing everyone to do now.
Each person had been given a jade scroll from Zuo Shixiong with the jobs assigned to them.
There were a variety of jobs that were very weird. Ling plant farmers were requested to plant certain ling grasses and herbs at certain areas on the island. The animal keepers were to put some of the worms and beasts they raised in certain locations. Zuo Mo had even drawn out the areas they needed to raise them.
The most common task was to dig holes and canals. Almost everyone felt it hard to understand.
The humidity on the Desolate Wood Reef was very rich. The effect of water element spells like [Little Art Of Cloud And Rain] were magnified. They didn’t really need to dig any waterways. Also, the canals that Zuo Shixiong had requested them to dig crisscrossed the entire island, all of them connected to each other.
What did Zuo Shixiong want to do?
After a while, some of the more sensitive xiuzhe discovered that Zuo Shixiong had not appeared for two days.
Where had Zuo Shixiong gone?
Translator Ramblings: Zuo Mo knows what course of action is good for him and how to get rich. Geographically, Sky Moon Jie has several routes to different places, and Desolate Wood Reef is just one of them. Wu Kong Sword Sect did not have a jie river, so they themselves did not have their own path of retreat, and traded for Desolate Wood Reef to amend that weakness.