A cloth laid spread in front of an old man wearing a worn-out robe sitting below a blooming plum tree at the side of the street. The words on the cloth said: impart your wealth and glory on me, and I impart the will of heaven.
The old man took a gulp from the wine gourd at his waist, face blushing from the drink, with his greasy fingers from eating a roasted chicken.
The street went eerily quiet, and the old man saw someone draped in a black-feathered robe before him. His face had a mask with a smiley on it. The old man inspected the details on the mask, sensing a hint of demonic nature below the surface.
He came to two conclusions. One, this man was filthy rich, since the black-feathered robe on him wasn’t cheap.
Two, he was going to get his fill of food today, with barely a chance of visiting the pleasure house’s ladies. He was certain he would cheat this youngster of all his coin.
His eyes showed a desolate shimmer and faced Chen Ming while beginning, “I can foresee your death!”
Chen Ming moved aside the bones in front of the old man and eyed his danger value, 4.5, less than a thug, then said, “Isn’t that nonsense, since everyone ends up dead sooner or later? Are you saying that some are undying?”
The old man was struck dumb, Why isn’t this guy following the usual pattern? A normal person would ask me why he is dying.
The old man followed with, “That is something predetermined by fate. I will tell you this, your gaze is far in the horizon but the answer is right before you. You might search for a thousand times yet the one you seek is standing under the flickering light…”
“Are you sure you’re not speaking rubbish again? Talking about horizon means I’ll never meet the one I seek and isn’t it normal for her to be in front of me when I meet her? But this has nothing to do with finding a woman. Say something useful for a change.”
The old man was dumbstruck again, Swindling this guy requires some skill.
The old man pondered, “Then you must consider your future. It will be filled with hardships but a glimmer of hope will light your way, pushing aside the dark clouds and making way for the bright blue sky.”
“Are you still going on about this rubbish? I am a cultivator, it is normal to encounter battles to the death. Everyone knows, the longer one lives the deeper one’s cultivation. If you lived long enough a glimmer of hope will light your way, pushing aside the dark clouds and making way for the bright blue sky.”
“Then what if you die?”
Chen Ming gave a dazzling smile, “If I die, who will come to hound you? How about this then, give someone complete divination and if it’s wrong then they die. If it’s correct then you’re divination is also correct.”
The old man frowned, sensing a complication coming. He was doubtful for a moment then said, “You’re one of us? I have barely started on this path and I didn’t know this was your swindling turf. Ptui, what swindling diviner? True money comes from swindling with facts! Look, wait until I have enough to begin traveling then I will leave this Fengshui place of yours. What do you say?”
Chen Ming’s face went black, ‘It can’t be that all diviners are weird, right? They’re not one bit different from fake mystics! They even blend in the secular world. ‘
The old man saw Chen Ming was silent and continued, “You want me to leave but I can’t right now since I have no coin for the road. But if you give me something… And by the looks of you, you had quite a fruitful business. ”
“How about this, you let me look over your scripture and I will give you the coin. What you say?”
The old man did some thinking, “If you’re saying you want to look at my scriptures, then I won’t be leaving.”
Chen Ming’s though, This old geezer is staying here to wait for Ling Xian. With a weir job like a diviner, if towards the first man he has some fate with, he imparts some wisdom, he will later use the favor to save his life and stand close to him when he becomes great. I.e. Ling Xian.
Hold on, now that you mention it, this might also be considered a true mystic. Because he can see their auras, he can predict who can have great achievements in the future.
Chen Ming said, “Are you waiting for Ling Xian?”
The old man was startled, “Did you also divined it? Since you also found Ling Xian’s destiny then you must have gotten to him already. There’s no point in me staying here any longer. I need to go find the other three.”
Chen Ming ignored the weird old man’s words. He came here to get the scrip after all, “Then what do you want in exchange for looking over your scripture?”
“This is my sect’s most important secret, how can I easily reveal it?”
He was unmovable, staunch and determined. Even Chen Ming felt moved, Seems I’ll have to resort to my special weapon.
“Ten thousand gold taels!”
“A hundred thousand, not one tael less!”
“Fifty thousand, have some conscience!”
“Thirty thousand, I won’t go for any lower!”
“Um, let’s settle on five thousand…”
Through a disturbing event of trading ‘blows’, an exciting battle of words, from which even the dogs were scared, in a battle of experts, Chen Ming came victorious at the mere price of three hundred taels of gold, twenty-four taels of silver and three hundred and twenty-eight copper coins.
The old man fished an old scripture from his chest then placed it before Chen Ming. He picked it up and though, “Comprehend this scripture.”
“Ding! This book has nothing to do with cultivation. I am actually worried about your mind since you’ve been scammed.”
Chen Ming put it down then eyed the old geezer. “It’s fake.”
The old men blushed from embarrassment. He took another one, but after a mere moment, Chen Ming also threw it away, “Fake again.”
At the end of it all, the old geezer took out, from god knew where. no less than three dozen books. Chen Ming was beginning to doubt, Why is this geezer pretending so much? With the help of the system, Chen Ming finally found the right one, Ten Values Dao.
“Comprehend Ten Values Dao requires 3000 merits.”
Chen Ming was stunned. This book had no stages, it was either all or nothing. Cloud cultivation methods were weird to the core.
Chen Ming was left with no choice but to comprehend it. If he missed this, he might not get it later. And so, as a piece of himself was torn apart, three thousand merits also disappeared.
Chen Ming flipped through the book ten lines at a time and soon understood its meaning. As he finished, his eyes also gained a certain sharpness, while the number of his professions increased by one, diviner.
Chen Ming smiled at Old Meishan, “Worth every copper coin.”
Old Meishan nodded, indifferent. Divination was something you either did or didn’t get it, “Alright, then give me my money.”
Chen Ming fished out a thousand gold tael banknotes, “Keep the change.”
Old Meishan accepted the money as he beamed from happiness, “That won’t do, all the change shall be returned in full. If I don’t have enough I will lower the price, not even have a coin must be kept. What should be swindled will be swindled! If it’s too much then it’s no longer cheating.”
And so, he gave his all in returning Chen Ming his change, without missing a single copper coin. He even bit a coin in two so he could give him half.
Chen Ming received his change and the old geezer disappeared without a trace. But as Chen Ming comprehended the Ten Values Dao, he knew where the old man was, This old geezer knows illusions to perfection; he already vanished. Old Meishan doesn’t seem to have only Ten Values Dao.
In the mountain forest, Old Meishan looked back at Ling clan’s surrounding, “When fortune-telling, one must be keen on what’s true and what’s false. My last divination just came to me, seems that this was fate.”