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Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Finally Lu Shu had a chance to visit the central area of the town. Although the floor was muddy and the ground tiles were laid in a haphazard arrangement, at least the environment looked more civilized.
In the countryside where Zhang Weiyu lived, Lu Shu could hardly see anyone else. Most of the people there had yielded to the pressures of life and sold their farms, their land and even themselves in exchange for a better life and Zhang Weiyu was among the few exceptions. Over time, Tiangeng Town had become the landlords’ farmland.
There were not many food stalls along the streets. Most of them were business ones. Inside, the workers had marks on their body – a knife for the Yu family’s, a gold ingot for the Lin’s, and a fish for the Zhang’s. The aristocrats had an even more complicated symbol which consisted of two criss crossing swords.
Major landlords were only allowed to have one symbol, but the aristocrats could have two. The hierarchy was apparent in every detail of their daily life.
However, it was said that the original symbol for the Lin’s was not the gold ingot. They had changed it because Wen Zaifou, the South Lord of Heaven, gifted the Lin’s with a gold ingot after he stayed at their backyard during his land inspection.
From this story, Lu Shu learned that the family symbol was not permanent. Thus, it required a fair bit of art skills to design a good family logo…
Moreover, the Lin’s was pretty good at toadying up to powerful people.
Yu Die invited Lu Shu for a horse-ride, but was rejected. As a result, she walked the horse together with Lu Shu. It was then that Lu Shu suddenly realized that Yu Die was only 3-4cm shorter than him. She had attractive curves as well.
In this world, ability was the only thing that mattered. Despite the landlords’ high social status, their luxurious gowns were tight-fitting and specially designed for combat effectiveness.
As she walked, Yu Die tended to lean towards Lu Shu subconsciously, almost forcing him off the road…
All of the workers in the roadside stalls sized them up secretly as they walked past the town.
After a few days, the entire Tiangeng town knew that the landlord of the Yu family was interested in a commoner and that no one was allowed to mess with him.
Furthermore, the Yu landlord sent him presents everyday and rumor had it that he was rather handsome.
In fact, stories like this had happened before among the landlords. They liked to exploit every means possible to get the commoner woman or man they wanted and they would even trade with other landlords for their slaves.
However, in those cases, the landlords would usually force the commoners to obey them and leave them with little or no room for negotiation. But this one sounded more like a romance story…
Yet, Lu Shu found it similar to a typical romance story plot where a powerful figure fell in love with a small fry.
There was discrimination among the slaves as well. The more powerful ones looked down on the weaker ones, and those who received cultivation techniques from their landlords despised those who could only do the chores in their family business. Those in the business despised the farmers and the farmers despised the commoners.
Logically the slaves had a lower social standing than the commoners, but they disagreed. They disliked the commoners’ dignity and pride as they believed that they were equally incapable of earning a decent living.
People like Zhang Weiyu, who would rather struggle in their miserable lifestyle than to give up their freedom to someone else, was like a stark contrast to the lack of character of the slaves.
In fact, all of the slaves in Tiangeng Town regarded Zhang Weiyu as a pain in their ass. That was how this society worked.
As a matter of fact, the hefty taxes was not the only reason that contributed to Zhang Weiyu’s difficult lifestyle. He would have led a better life if only that were the case, given that he was free from the burdens of family.
Nevertheless, many slaves liked to destroy his farmland when they happened to walk past.
Lu Shu had learned about it from Yu Die, who admired Zhang Weiyu for his perseverance and positive attitude towards life even when his crops were destroyed by the slaves. In the worst case scenario, he would not mind eating tree roots to keep himself alive.
When Yu Die told Lu Shu about that, his impression of Zhang Weiyu had changed as well. His stories were reminiscent of Lu Shu’s childhood, when he refused to steal like the other kids from the orphanage even when he was about to be starved to death in the outside world.
The Yu family had a spacious backyard. When Lu Shu followed Yu Die inside, the slaves guarding the mansion studied him curiously. There was a faint look of disapproval on their face.
In their impression, Lu Shu was merely a weak, incapable boy with a pretty face that attracted their landlord… Now that they saw him in person, they realized that his skin was indeed very fair 1.
As Lu Shu walked in, he asked, “Can you tell me more about the old King of Gods?”
Yu Die shook her head and said, “The old King was a mysterious man and all of our knowledge about him is from unofficial historical documents. It’s said that someone had once advised the old King to set up a department specially dedicated to documenting his daily life and his history, but the old King refused. He said that his life needed neither comments nor records and he did not want to be documented in any written form or whatsoever because words and books are insufficient as tools of expression. As a result, a profession has formed just to study the poems left by the old King, in an attempt to peek into his life and his philosophies. Those people are called experts of the King’s teachings…”
“Oh well.” Lu Shu was amused. “Experts of the King’s teachings”? It would truly be absurd if they could figure anything out from those poems! By the time they finally reached a conclusion, they would realize that either the old King or the experts themselves had gone mad!
At that moment, Lu Shu felt that the old King was a bully who teased the Luniverse folks for their ignorance. He would have been condemned and reprimanded if he were on Earth.
Yu Die diverted the topic. “How do you find my yard? The Lord of Heaven demanded that no landlords’ yards could be bigger than seven acres. I’ve put in much effort and thoughts just to ensure that my yard does not exceed that limit. Take a look here. All the flat stones on the ground bear a story. This is how much thinking I invested in my yard. As for the Lin’s and the Zhang’s, they disobeyed the rules set by the Lord and recklessly expanded their yard. Who knows when the Lord will slaughter their entire families!”
“So serious?” Lu Shu gasped in shock. He had not expected the hierarchy system to be so insanely strict in the Luniverse. They had rules over the size of their own yards and the landlords’ lives depended on someone else’s moods as well.
However, he felt like doubting the intelligence of the people here when he saw the whole collection of poems in the study.
There were over 30 volumes of “300 Poems from the King”, over 40 pieces of “Complete Collection of the King’s Poems” and over 20 “Complete Collection of the King’s Articles”, together with many other books and files…
Yu Die sighed in deep emotions. “The King was fabulously imaginative. Some of the places he mentioned in his works are not from the Luniverse. Thus, we speculate that there must have been a beautiful land of the Gods in the old King’s mind!”
“Yes. Sure. Absolutely,” said Lu Shu. He was having serious thoughts over the sanity of the people of this world.
“There’s another argument that the old King of Gods was actually from another world, and he was missing his hometown when he wrote those lines,” said Yu Die, “Some people believe that the King was very lonely.”
Lu Shu was stunned. This theory was actually possible. Could the old King be an earthling? How else could it explain the fact that the Puppet Masters had gone to Earth?
This world was rich in Spirit Qi, yet it was called the Exiled Land. Honestly speaking, Lu Shu felt that the name was more apt for Earth!
Ch 866 Footnote 1
In Chinese, a “weak, incapable boy with a pretty face” is literally called “one with a fair face”
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