"Luo Bao! Man Qiu! Father is calling us to the village hall."
Luo Bao was meditating under a waterfall tempering his body against the harsh elements of nature. Man Qiu on the other hand was throwing rocks at birds practicing her aim while hunting. She came from a hunting family and honing her throwing skills were an essential part of daily routine.
"Why are you in such a rush?"
Man Qiu was first to answer and tied up her hair while passing a towel to Luo Bao. Luo Bao dried his body with the towel and put on his regular outfit.
"Father seems to have a reply from the state."
"Really? Sounds important. Lets go."
Luo Bao fastened the last knot of his clothes and followed Xin Fan. Man Qiu followed suit sticking close behind Luo Bao. The trio entered the building only to see Xin Mu waiting with a slightly unhappy face.
"What's wrong father?"
"Oh It's nothing. The times have simply changed. It looks like a new law has been passed down by the state a couple of months ago. It is now compulsory for registered children below the ages of 10 to start schooling for 5 years. For those who live in remote regions, dormitories are assigned."
Xin Fan tilted his head in confusion as he looked at Luo Bao and Man Qiu.
"What is school?"
"I don't know," replied Man Qiu as she turned to Luo Bao.
"I heard from my mother that a school is where the rich aristocrats take their children to learn as well as establish social connections."
"That is indeed correct...at least from my recollection,"interupted Xin Mu
"However, see for yourself, the state is forcing everyone to go to school. My guess is to increase national power."
Xin Mu handed over a scroll to the three children and unrolled it for them to see.
Luo Bao: Celestial Warrior's academy
Xin Fan: Dragon Root academy
Man Qiu: Dragon Root academy
"Huh...Why is Luo Bao in a different school?"
Xin Fan looked at his father and at his best friend in confusion.
"The Celestial Warrior's Academy is known as the best school to rear powerful fighters. They take the cream of the crop and build a strong network. Looks like Luo Bao has caught their attention with his mythic beast spirit."
Xin Mu looked at Luo Bao in pity knowing the trials that he were to face.
"B...But that means he won't be with us."
Luo Bao looked at his father cheerlessly. He had been with Luo Bao his entire life and this may be the first time they were separated.
"Don't worry. Dragon root is not that bad either. It's actually the best school in the nearby regions."
Xin Mu tried to comfort his child but to no avail. Although he is persistent, Xin Fan is after all, still a child and needs emotional support of those around him. After a solid 10 minutes of consolation, Xin Fan managed to wipe the tears away.
"When does it start."
"According to the message, all schools start in 3 months. A mid ranked soldier will come to pick you up when time comes."
Luo Bao, Xin Mu and Man Qiu left the house on a bitter mood. They grew up together and now, they were to separate.
"Looks like we should start making preparation for our stay."
The three parted ways and returned home. Xin Fan laid on his bead bitterly looking at the ceiling. Unconsciously, he entered his domain world and started farming. The process was now autonomous and now he can plough 10 square meters with no problem. Xin Fan looked at the fields that he had covered and realized that it is time to start planting.
The menu popped up and Xin Fan had grabbed the bucket. Xin Fan had previously experimented with the magic bucket and had found out that it acted like an alternative to a river or a well. Xin Fan tilted the bucket towards the fields letting the water flow into the trenches. In no time at all, the fields were all flooded, just in time to start planting. Xin Fan took the seedlings out of the inventory. They came conveniently inside a basket of which Xin Fan strapped on his back. Xin Fan took the first seedling and plunged it into the icy cold water.
The seedling was mostly submerged with only the tips slightly poking out of the water. Xin Fan laboriously planted until he completely ran out of seedlings. The planting technique that he revived early on helped speed up the process as well as ensuring he planted correctly. Xin Fan collapsed out due to exhaustion. Unlike planting manually, doing it through the technique depletes spirit power drastically. Since Xin Fan is still at the early stages of the Condensation Realm, he had no power for sustained use.
[ Force Exit Domain ]
Xin Fan found himself waking up to the cry of the rooster in the morning. He got out of bed and decided to go on a light jog. He was faster, a lot faster. It used to take him a half minute to run around a small rice paddy. Now he managed to do so in 10 seconds.
"Looks like training in the domain can affect reality."
Xin Fan clenched his fists and punched a nearby tree. The tree shook to a great degree and fruit started to fall.
My arms are much stronger now. Maybe soon I can have my first victory.
For the next three months, Xin Fan trained by ploughing the land in his domain while waiting for harvest to arrive. Days passed and the seedlings were getting taller and taller. The grass began to have an icy aura emanating from it slowly getting stronger. On the 120th day of planting, a system message appeared.
[ Your Plants are ready for harvest ]
It is time.
Xin Fan took out a sickle and cut the first stalk.
As Xin Fan reached the 20th stalk, a system message appeared.
[ Your Cultivation Level has increased to Condensation Realm 2nd Stage ]
A wave of energy flooded inside Xin Fan's body. His muscles grew tighter and retracted back into his skin. He lost the bulkiness he developed over the past months and returned to his ordinary appearance. Unknown to him, his body in reality is also expelling waste through his skin. Xin Fan ignored the temporary sense of euphoria and continued to harvest the crops.
[ Congratulations on your first harvest! User has unlocked the Shop Menu. The Shop will only sell things suitable to users current level ]
A menu appeared in front of Xin Fan with the options of buy and sell. Xin Fan is now accustomed to how the system works and easily understood how to operate. He first tapped the sell button bringing up his inventory.He then realized that all but the Ice Heart Rice was blacked out and he was unable to select anything else.
[ Ice Heart Rice x50 : 2g each ]
He tapped on the rice and a selection for amount appeared. He selected 40 and just like that, the number on the top right corner increased to 80. Xin Fan then proceeded to look around in the buy menu.
[ Buy ]
Ice Heart Rice x50 [ Seedling ]: 20g
Fire Soul Rice x50 [ Seedling ]: 30g
Basic Cooking Combo [ Technique + Equipment ]: 50g
Body Refining [ Technique ]: 100g
Reinforced Hoe [ Equipment ]: 100g
Farmers Clothes [ Grade 1 Armor ]: 200g
Time Dilation [ System Upgrade ]: 1000g
Space Increase [ System Upgrade ]: 1000g
The selection seemed to be limited but Xin Fan decided to buy the Fire Soul Rice and The Basic Cooking Combo.
[ Added Fire Soul Rice x50 [ Seedling ] into inventory ]
[ Added Basic Cooking [ Technique ] into skills ]
[ Added Pot [ Equipment ] into inventory ]
[ Added Stove [ Equipment ] into inventory ]
[ Added Wok [ Equipment ] into inventory ]
[ Added Cooking Utensils [ Equipment ] into inventory ]
After a long series of system messages, Xin Fan took out his stove, 2 rice portions, the bucket and a pot.
Finally, I can eat this. Xin Fan started the fire on the stove and put the pot over it. 2 portions of rice to 2 cups of water. 1 minute... 5 minutes...Time in this world, seems to pass slowly. Finally, after half an hour, an icy mist formed around the pot.
[ Congratulations on first cooked meal ]
[ Steamed Ice Heart Rice ( 1 Star ) has been added to inventory ]
Xin Fan immediately checked the inventory to see his new creation. A bowl of piping hot rice appeared inside of Xin Fan's hands. Xin Fan slowly moved his chopsticks to pick up a few grains of rice. The grains sparkled a against the "sun" and seemed like something out of this worlds. These jewel like grains seemed to represent the purity of the world untainted by evil. Xin Fan slowly put the rice in his mouth instigating an immediate reaction.
What...What is this...
A cool sensation contrasted the heat from the steam of the rice rushed down his throat cooling his heart . And just like that, the first bit of rice was eaten. Xin Fan took another bite and another until he was simply shoveling down the entire bowl. It was unreal. The cooling sensation slowly grew until his entire heart seemed as if it were made of ice.
[ User has gained ice affinity lvl1 ]
I could make a living selling this.
Xin Fan found himself waking up covered in a stinky, yellow mucus. This was the waste from his body that was excreted when he had a breakthrough. As he was busy wiping off the mucus, Qiu He, his mother walked in.
"Son! What happened, you are filthy! Quick go take a bath!"
Qiu He dragged the reluctant Xin Fan into the bathtub and forced him to wash himself completely. Xin Fan spent his time slowly relaxing in the bath tub until his mother called out to him.
"Son! Luo Bao is looking for you."
Xin Fan promptly wiped his body down and quickly put on a new set of clothes to greet his best friend.
"Xin Fan! You look quite skinny today."
"Haha...things happened. What are you here for?"
"I just had a thought...Its a bit embarrassing but were friends and all."
"Out with it."
"Since were going to separate soon, do you want to spar? Don't worry, I'll hold back."
Xin Fan's expression turned serious.
"Are you sure?If it's a fight, I want to fight you at your full power."
Luo Bao also became serious and gave his friend a stern look.
"Okay... Don't blame me if you get hurt. Lets fight at the usual place."
The two made way to the open field opposite to the rice paddies. They bumped elbows and moved back 2 steps.
"Ready when you are."
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