Chapter One [Little Art of Cloud and Rain]
This novel tells the hot-blooded talk of how, in the cultivation world with the laws of the jungle, Zuo Mo, a low cultivator who’s face had been changed and his mind wiped, cultivates, levels up as he tries to find his memories. At the same time, it is the record of the struggles of a miserly, greedy, and shameless “questionable youth.”
Two years ago, zombie-faced male Zuo Mo was picked up by the head of the Wu Kong Sword Sect back to the sect. The amnesiac youth lived a busy and satisfying life, wishing to earn more crystals, and putting in effort into the spiritual wheat. At last, he finally achieved his aim of becoming a spiritual wheat farmer. A once disregarded outer sect disciple, he suddenly became a hot inner sect disciple. A sudden occurrence gave Zuo Mo the chance to find out a powerful person had changed his appearance and wiped his mind. Add that to the hopeless nightmare he would always have each night, he wanted to know the truth of what happened in the past. So he decided to keep cultivating and at the same time, find his enemies … …
Edit (2015-10-02): starting to roll out hovertext along with footnotes for first appearance of a term.
Please use the table of contents to navigate through this story.
ALL READERS: Please read Chapters One to Five instead of this post for an edited version that will have consistent terms with the rest of the chapters.
Chapter One [Little Art of Cloud and Rain]
“Even in death, you must not forget!”
A strange yet familiar voice seemed to come from deep in the clouds. Again and again, echoing, layering, relentless.
Must not forget?
Must not forget what?
He suddenly woke. Just as usual, his entire body was soaked, the clothing sticking to the skin uncomfortably. He sat up, the stars and dark sky above his head reminding his that there was still a long time before morning. A gust of wind blew over, whooshing icily.
This dream again!
Habitually blowing out a long breath, it was still early, go back to sleep.
He laid down again.
“Mo ge, remember to water for me. We made an agreement at the beginning of this month. This year’s harvest is depending on you.”
Before he could walk to the opening of the mountain, Zuo Mo heard someone yelling from far away. When he looked over, it was a fifty-something old man, dark and thin. He was poking around in the field. If he didn’t look closely, he wouldn’t see there was a person there.
The old man’s nickname was Old Black. His real name was unknown. He was the oldest among the outer sect disciples of Wu Kong Sword Sect.
Zuo Mo wiped at the sweat on his forehead, replying: “Won’t forget. Don’t worry, tomorrow, it’s your turn!”
His body was like a stalk of bamboo. The purple robe of the outer sect disciples as it hanged on his body was loose. In contrast to the slipperiness of his speech was his wooden face that looked like a zombie, dark and gloomy.
Zuo Mo’s zombie face was his specialty. At the beginning, everyone stayed far away from him, but gradually they found out, other than his face which people didn’t like, his temper and personality were both extremely good at which point more people interacted with him. After two years, he was the most popular among the outer sect disciples.
Old Black’s face lit up in joy, his mouth hurriedly complimenting: “Good good good! Mo ge, your specialty, I, Old Black, has never seen anything else like it.”
Zuo Mo’s [The Little Art of Cloud and Rain] was special. The third level of [The Little Art of Cloud and Rain], it was the only one in the outer sect disciples. And it was with this that he almost had a monopoly on the duty of making rain for all the ling fields of the sect.
[The Little Art of Cloud and Rain] wasn’t a complicated spell, everyone knew how to do it. Its main use was creating rain for the ling fields. One only needed three to five days to learn the first level. The second level, it could be easily accomplished in one or two years. But starting from the third level, it required the ability of comprehension from each individual. In all of the outer sect disciples of Wu Kong Sword Sect, only Zuo Mo had successfully comprehended it.
After [The Little Art of Cloud and Rain] reached the third level, its effectiveness increased dramatically and could drastically increase the amount produced by the ling grains and ling vegetables. Because of that, after he achieved the third level, his position in the sect flipped around. His name went from Little Zombie Mo to Mo ge.
Zuo Mo waved his hand to bid farewell to Old Black.
He bared his teeth and shifted the bag on his back. His shoulders ached. On his back was three hundred catties of ling grain which almost broke his thin and weak shoulders.
A thin and weak zombie carried a cloth bag on his back that was multiple times bigger than his body as he moved with difficulty along the mountain path.
Lugging three hundred catties of ling grain, he wheezed his way down to the entrance to the mountain. Just past the mountain gate, he threw the cloth bag on his shoulders to the ground as his entire body collapsed down, his breath racing.
After resting for a short period and he recovered some energy, he stood up and carefully took out a grass yellow paper crane from his bosom.
The paper crane was the size of a palm, folded from yellow grass paper. Drawn on it were cinnabar seals.
He put in ling energy and the paper crane enlarged. It was slightly larger than a real crane. Thin stalks of bamboo made up the skeleton and a layer of yellow grass paper was pasted on top. Drawn over the entire body were cinnabar seals that curved like tadpoles. But it was clear that the craftsmanship wasn’t very good. Many places that were pasted together were frayed. The quality of the yellow paper was very low as fragments of grass could be seen everywhere on the paper.
Putting the cloth bag onto the back of the paper crane from the ground.
Inside the mountain, the outer sect disciples were restricted from flying. These two years, Zuo Mo had cursed this rule inside countless times.
Clumsily climbing onto the back of the paper crane, the sound of creaking and groaning as the bamboo rods of the paper crane as it bent instantly sounded. He paused in his motions. After a while, seeing that the paper crane showed no indication of collapsing, he released a breath.
“Xiao Huang, Xiao Huang, you can’t break down at this time.”
Zuo Mo patted the head of the paper crane as it swayed and left the ground.
The creaking of the bamboo and paper sounded once again. It was as though the paper crane was drunk. The flight path was strange, suddenly high, suddenly low, suddenly left before turning right. It wheezed as it followed the mountain road forward.
Zuo Mo had a very steady seat. He was very experienced. This was the lowest quality of flying paper cranes. Its maximum load wasn’t even four hundred catties. The weight right now was extremely dangerous. But this “impotent” paper crane was something that all other outer sect disciples were envious of.
In the outer sect disciples, he was the first one to have a steed. Of course, as to whether a flying paper crane counted as a steed, that wasn’t in the limits of Zuo Mo’s consideration.
In the midst of the creaking and crying, after swerving for ten hours, when Zuo Mo’s zombie face was slightly pale, Dong Fu was far away on the horizon.
In the midst of the clouds, Dong Fu faded in and out.
Once upon a time, Dong Fu zhenren broke off the peak with one sword strike and used the bottom half of the mountain as the base of his seat, creating Dong Fu. After five hundred years, Dong Fu had developed into one of the thirteen primary towns of Tian Yue Jie. 
Three thousand jie of the xiuzhe, Tian Yue Jie couldn’t even be ranked. It was only a minor jie, its history just one thousand and five hundred something years. One thousand and five hundred years ago, Tian Yue xianren found and took control of this jie. She used her own name to name it Tian Yue jie. Tian Yue xianren was one of Kun Lun and so Tian Yu Jie logically became one of the jie that were governed by Kun Lun Jing.
After that, some other zhenren came to Tian Yue Jie to start their own sects and it gradually became the present situation.
The paper crane creaked and groaned as it struggled to fly to the base of Dong Fu Mountain. During the journey, he was able to hear the laughter of other people. A thin zombie, sitting on a similarly thin, drunken paper crane. The scene caused many people to laugh.
Zuo Mo sat dignified, his expression natural as though he was the perfect zombie. In reality, on the inside, he was drooling at the flying steeds that went over his head – those were true steeds!
The one with the grey body and red beak was a red beaked goose. The back of the goose was wide and soft, sitting on it, one could almost not feel any shaking, it was called the greatest experience; that lump under the feet was Lucky Magic Cloud, travelling on a cloud was so free and outstanding; the silver hovering on the back of that xiuzhe was Thunder Wings, the lightning flowering and the speeds like lightning, do you want to experience speed … …
He could recite the slogans smoothly. But, he was only able to recite the advertisements.
The thing that shocked everyone the most was a Thousand Wings Boat that slowly sailed above his head. The entire boat was like a mountain as it flew across his head. Zuo Mo only felt his eyes become dark and when he raised his head, the light of the jinzhi at the bottom of the black bottom were barely detectable.
The greatest crime of all xiuzhe was extravagance!
Zuo Mo couldn’t help swearing inside, but when he saw the other xiuzhe scatter sorrily, his mood instantly became better.
After flying for another two hours, one person plus one crane finally reached the base of Dong Fu Mountain. With Xiao Huang’s impotent flying ability that stuck to right above the ground, flying up Dong Fu was just wishful thinking.
He climbed down from the paper crane and loaded off the bag. When he took down the paper crane, cracks could be seen on the surface. Zuo Mo sighed in grief inside. Did he have to buy a new one? This thought made his flesh hurt deeply.
Narrowing his eyes to look at Dong Fu that was over the clouds, and the winding and countless stone steps, and then a look at the bag beside his feet, Zuo Mo’s legs started trembling.
“Brother, do you need help?” A shadow came across Zuo Mo’s eyes.
A man whose half-naked body was steely muscled came over.
“How much?” Zuo Mo asked alertly. His eyes scanned around the surrounded. Receiving encouragement from his look, a few other men sitting at the side stood up.
Noticing that some of his own profession seemed to want to come over, the man’s heart tightened and he hurriedly stated: “Three first-grade.”
Three one-grade meant three pieces of first-grade jingshi.
Zuo Mo exclaimed in shock: “Kill me!” And followed decisively: “Just two. If you’re willing, then do it. If not, never mind.” At this time, if he made out a shocked expression, he would have had both sound and look. But it was hopeless for Zuo Mo’s zombie face which didn’t move and the atmosphere instantly became weird.
“Too fake!” The strongman jerked his mouth. But seeing the other people that were restless in the surroundings, he gritted his teeth and crisply nodded: “Fine!”
Finishing, his hand that was as big as a fan reached for the cloth bag on the ground. Zuo Mo shouted: “Wait!”
“Make a contract first.” Zuo Mo took out a jade strip.
“Just two, what contract does it need?” The strong man muttered disapprovingly.
“For safety. Otherwise, with my body, if you run, I can’t catch up with you.” Zuo Mo’s face was still expressionless, and his voice was still carrying a smile.
Helplessly, the strong man could only sign a contract with Zuo Mo. Seeing this, the other people finally left.
Finishing, the man picked up the bag on the ground. The three hundred catty back in his hand seemed weightless.
Halfway up the mountain, Zuo Mo struggled to crawl up the mountain, his entire body soaked in sweat. The brawny man said with a face full of disdain: “Your endurance really sucks.” Then he urged: “Can’t you be faster? I still want to do two more orders today! At this speed, it’ll be lucky if we get there before dark.”
Zuo Mo felt as though he was a fish that had been taken out of the water. He felt he was suffocating. He put his butt on the stone stairs and panted roughly, one breath disconnected from the next: “I ……I can’t……”
The man instantly panicked: “It can’t be like this. Are you trying to ruin my business?”
Zuo Mo’s eyes rolled and he stated expressionlessly: “You can see it. I really don’t have any more energy.”
The man furiously ranted: “Taking your business, I really lost a lot today.” Finishing, he grabbed Zuo Mo with one hand and put him under his arm, lengthening his stride and started to jog up the stone stairs.
“You guys who cultivate your body, it really is admirable.” Zuo Mo who was taking advantage said heartlessly.
“What’s admirable? Just eating based on strength. Right now, I’m at the fifth level of lianqi.  Once I get to zhuji , I can take more orders. These days, it’s hard to make a living!” The muscled man couldn’t help but sigh.
“Yeah! Living isn’t easy!” Zuo Mo felt sorrow in his heart. He suddenly remembered that Thousand Wing Boat he saw on the road and couldn’t help but ask: “Hey, what’s with that Thousand Wing Boat? Never seen it before.”
“That’s the moving palace of Chi Ye zhenren. You have to be careful and not provoke him.” The man gave a friendly reminder: “If you see women dress in white with a veil, you have to respectfully stay away. They are all concubines of Chi Ye zhenren and have terrible tempers. Many people offended them and they didn’t have good endings!”
The man’s strength was astonishing. One hand holding the three hundred catty bag, the other hand Zuo Mo as he spoke without showing any sign of exhaustion.
“That’s true. Us little people, to offend them is to seek death.” Zuo Mo agreed.
The strides of the man were very big and his speed much fast than Xiao Huang. It only took him an hour to finish climbing up the winding stone stairs.
Zuo Mo crisply paid him two one-grade jingshi. The man took the jingshi before turning to rush down the mountain.
“Living isn’t easy!” Zuo Mo looked at the back of the man and expressionlessly concluded.
Zuo Mo was very familiar with Dong Fu. He took up the bag, a few turns, and he found his destination.
This was a store that specialized in purchasing ling grains. It was a small storefront. Outside the door there hanged a small flag. On it were two words: Ling Grains. The seal arrangement on the flag guaranteed that the two words could be seen from far away even at night.
Three hundred catties of second-grade ling grain, to this kind of store, it was just a small piece of business. The storekeeper didn’t even bother to come out to give a greeting, only sending a shop assistant.
“Thirty pieces of second-grade jingzhi.”
The shop assistant had no intentions of bargaining. Zuo Mo also knew he didn’t have any room to bargain and very crisply nodded.
This price was slightly low but it was the same at any other store unless he could bring ten thousand catties or more of ling grain at one time. Then he would have the right to bargain on the price. Taking away the portion that needed to be given up to the sect, three hundred catties of ling grain was the result of his year of hard effort.
Thirty pieces of second-grade jingzhi, for him, it was a large sum of money.
Having thirty pieces of second-grade jingzhi as he walked on the street, Zuo Mo felt that all the passer-by’s eyes were like thieves.
The streets of Dong Fu were wide. In the sky, there were also many houses of different colors and shapes. Those were also stores. But, that was the high-end district. Without a high-grade steed, xiuzhe who could not fly on a sword couldn’t enter even if they wanted to. Some high-end stores were like a small island floating in the sky, flowers and grasses blooming, the music streaming out.
That was a place that Zuo Mo wouldn’t even dream about. He always only looked at what was in his bowl.
Translator note: 灵 will be translated as ling and not spirit. There are several reasons for this. Ling energy will not be the only kind of “spiritual” energy used for cultivation. Therefore using spiritual energy rather than ling energy would lead to a misconception. It keeps all kinds of energy used for cultivation on an equal footing. Secondly, due to events further in the story, spiritual energy is actually more appropriate for something else.
 哥 (ge): brother, could be used as a suffix onto a person’s name. Or as “Hey, bro!”
 无空剑门: Wu 无 is none空 is empty/air/sky.
 I’m not sure if purple is the correct translation. The color the author used is 绛青, which is explained in the Song Dynasty by mixing rouge and flower ink for porcelain, which is blue. Red and blue should make purple but the result I picture is brown.
 灵: meaning spirit.
 法诀 (fa jue): spells are a general term.
 小黄: literally little yellow. Little is a common prefix used in Chinese for nicknames.
真人 (zhen ren): spiritual master in Daoist usage.
 天月界: 天月 is sky moon界 is scope, boundary and in taxonomic terms, kingdom. In many xuan huan novels, jie is another word for planet or world as in 世界.
 修者: those who cultivate
 仙人: it usually means Daoist immortal in common usage. Used here as title of respect and power similar to “General” or “Governor”.
 境: means border, place, boundary, territory. In this novel, jing is a collection of jie which are under the jurisdiction of one power.
 禁制: restriction. An energy construct in this world.
 晶石: crystal rock. A kind of currency.
 炼气: literally refine energy. The first major stage for a xiuzhe.
 基期: literally build foundation. The second major stage for a xiuzhe.