Chapter 39.4 Sashimi (d)
Translated by Ultra
Edited by Gumihou
They finally arrived at the entrance of the Imperial College.
Well, it was not the first time that Shiyu gaze up the great gates of the College, but it was certain the first time she passed through these lofty gates 
The first thing that one noticed upon entering the gate was the cool dark greenery that seemed to embrace them and muffled the world outside.  The sentry-like trees that loomed overhead looked ancient, solid and judgemental.
Feng Luo said, “Most of these trees are over a thousand years old. They were moved here from Spiritual Beast Mountain Range when the College was being built. Hundreds of years have passed since then. They are one of the unique features of the Imperial College.”
The wooded area was quite large. It was a good half an hour walk later before they left the canopied darkness into a wide open space. Within the middle of the open space was a wide public square. Beyond the square was a tall and imposing pavilion. The pavilion was made according the Han style architecture. Shiyu noted its soaring wing-like roof done in polished green tiles. As they approached the buildings, they saw that majority of the built up area was done in carved stones.
Since their purpose was to follow Lin Fan and look for that Sexy Instructor with conveniently placed fat deposits, it did not give Shiyu much time to gawk at the sights.
When they finally found Instructor Ping Ting, she smirked at them provocatively. Then, with a sway of her hips, lead them towards the back of the mountain.
This side of the mountain was also covered in greenery, with tall trees reaching up to the heavens. Though the forest has a slightly wild quality to it, it was clearly a residential area with a series of individual courtyards peeping through the foliage. Though the land area occupied by each estate was not large, the privacy and exclusiveness it offered was rather tempting. Shiyu expected that these estates must be reserved for the rich or the powerful.
The tour stopped in front of a bamboo house. Instructor Ping Ting shook a bunch of keys before them and said, “This will be your estate from now on. The rent is 10,000 Contributions Points per month. Since the two of you are freshmen, the rent is due before the start of next month. Well, good luck then.” Ping Ting gave Lin Fan her succubus smirk before throwing two cards at him, “This is where you’ll keep your Contribution Points. Freshmen gets an automatic 100 points upon entry. Hopefully, you won’t missed out on paying your rent before the end of the month. Good-bye, little brats!”
Instructor Ping Ting sashayed off, leaving Shiyu to inspect her card curiously. She had so many questions for this irresponsible instructor. However, Feng Luo’s gobsmacked face distracted her line of thought.
“… …” a sense of foreboding was creeping up her spine now.
“I did not expect Instructor Ping Ting to give this estate to you.” Feng Luo placed a sympathetic hand on Lin Fan’s shoulder. “Take care.”
Just what is this situation, ah?
The two newcomers tilted their heads to the side, puzzled. Feng Luo coughed into his hand and explained, “Within this entire College, there are only 50 such estates, reserved for the top 50 students. In short, it is an unofficial symbol of glory…
Rankings are determined through challenges. At the end of each month, students who owns a estate will have to accept challenges from other students. Your ranking within the College will be recorded within the Seniority List and General List. Since you have made such a great impact on your very first week, I expect that you will see a lot of action close to the end of the month.”
Shiyu and Lin Fan exchanged a look.
Shiyu patted him on the arm, “I trust that you won’t let them kick us out? ”
Lin Fan sighed, but his voice was firm when he said , “I won’t lose this place. ”
Faced with the solid determination of these two, Feng Luo shook his head and laughed. He certainly did not have such faith in himself.
Finally, they unlocked the gate with the keys and entered the estate. The building was not very big, but the man height bamboo fence gave the place a better sense of security and privacy. There was a stone path leading from the gate to the building entrance. It looked like it should have grasses and flowers growing on both sides of this path, but there were only wild weeds and overgrown bushes. Clearly this place had been neglected for a long time. The building itself was a two-story bamboo villa. Simple, yet exquisitely made.
It did not take long for Shiyu to explore the whole house.
There were three rooms on the first floor, a side kitchen and a living room in the middle. It also has a study room with a floor to ceiling window. Upstairs contained three more rooms, Shiyu picked the leftmost room while Lin Fan picked a room to the right.
It’s been a long time since someone had lived in this bamboo villa. There was dust everywhere. Just thinking about cleaning this place made Shiyu’s back ached. Just as she was wondering how to split the cleaning duty, Lin Fan waved his hands. Water appeared out of nowhere within the villa and attached themselves onto dusts. The water crept into crevices between the bamboo poles, the corners on ceilings and other difficult to reach places. Another wave of his hands later, the water obligingly rushed outside with their dust and dirt meal and settled in the garden. 
Look, just look at this! This is the Xuanhuan world, ah!
Shiyu tsked in wonder as she ushered Feng Luo into the now clean villa.
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Word that someone had finally moved into the long neglected Bamboo Villa soon got around the entire College. When they heard that the residents were newcomers, there were a lot of resentment from the more senior students. Hey, they have been with this College for a long time and battled for the right to a estate but still haven’t gotten a foot in you know? Just where did these newcomers get the guts to live there?
However, Instructor Ping Ting had sent out warning that challenges could only be made against the Bamboo Villa residents at the end of the month. Offenders will be fined 1,000 Contribution Points, which curbed some of the bloodthirsty edge of the battle ready people. However, when news that one of the newcomers who had taken the Bamboo Villa was the one who had beaten up the previous top freshman… well, that made the more combative minded students sat up and took notice.
However, none of this had anything to do with Shiyu.
At night, when all was quiet, Shiyu shut her door and entered her secret space with the dagger.
When she had touched the dagger earlier, she had felt her Dantian shook and knew that something had happened within her secret space. However, she could not disappeared off to check on the situation with all those people around. It was not easy to restrain herself from taking a peek until now.
The moment she reappeared in her space, the first thing she noticed was that… nothing had changed. Which was odd, considering how powerful the resonance had been. 
She took a stroll around the area, noting the pool, the vegetable patch with their precious plants and herbs before finally stopping in front of the stone table. The floating book had added another leaf of page. She could now turn it like a normal book, albeit a weird hologram book, in a bloody Xuanhuan world, ah. How weird. 
A closer study on the extra page showed the painting of the very knife she had bought that morning!  There were also a few words written on the painting and Shiyu eagerly devoured it with her eyes.
‘The Supreme Indifferent, Casts the First Cutting Tool, In Years Past.’
Shiyu studied the dagger in her hand carefully, and found words carved into the hilt: The Supreme Indifferent.
So, this dagger was a cutting tool? In other words, it was originally used as a cooking knife?
When she flipped the page over, she found a list of recipes. There were nine dishes, and from the names alone, she could tell that they all required different cooking methods. The one thing they all required was a high level of expert knife skills.
Shiyu tried to flip the next page, but no matter how she forced it, the book would not budge.
“Don’t bother, you won’t be able to do it even after drinking the milk of eight horses .”
Shiyu nearly jumped out of her skin. To think that there’s someone else with her inside this space! She glanced around carefully, but saw no one.  Suddenly, she saw a black spot growing from the middle of the book.  It was a small spot at first, like someone had dropped an ink bottle onto the book. The spot grew and grew, causing Shiyu to panic, but nothing seemed to stop it. The strange blackness spread until it covered the whole book and began to drip onto the table, coalescing into a… black cat.
A fat black cat .
The fat black cat stretched itself before Shiyu’s fascinated eyes. 
Then, it padded forward, large furry bottom swaying until it stopped right at the edge of the table in front of Shiyu. The large bottom plopped decisively onto the table. 
Fat Black Cat said imperiously, “Have you seen the nine dishes?”
Shiyu nodded, still in awe.
“Learn them, make them and feed me. If I am satisfied, I shall let you see the next page.”
“So I should feed you? Who are you?”
“No need for you to know.” Fat Cat said lazily, “all you need to do is that the contents from the next page is very important to you.”
“Can’t you give me a hint?”
The fat cat narrowed its eyes, “It holds the secrets of how to evolve the Fire Seed inside you.”
“!!!” Shiyu gasped. “I shall learn it now!”
The fat cat smirked as it hopped onto the book and settled itself on it. It seemed to sneer as Shiyu rushed around to get on with the first task. The cat butt its head against the book, its eyes narrowed with nostalgia as it thought:
So this is your chosen successor. Let’s hope she doesn’t let you down.
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The very next day, Shiyu went fishing.
The first dish was Sashimi. It was not something unfamiliar to her since she had made it before. She found that there was nothing really complicated about the dish and was fairly confident about her skills.
However, when she offered up the dish to the fat cat, it merely gave the dish a disdainful sniff before sending everything to the floor with a swipe of its black fluffy tail.
After three or four times of this, Shiyu thoroughly lost her temper. Wei, aren’t cats supposed to love the stink of fishiness most? What kind of prima donna kitty are you to disdain the stink of fish?
However, Fat Cat still refuses to accept her dish.
No matter how pissed off she was, there was nothing Shiyu could do about it. The cat was basically a deity she had to try and please. Perhaps it was time to sit down and have think.
She had been too confident of her own skills and expected successes every time. How many times had she been proven wrong already in this world? After the Imperial Banquet, after seeing Cultivation technique used in cooking, could she still even consider skill above average in this Xuanhuan world? 
Perhaps it would be better to take her time with these things. Even in her past life, she wasn’t the best of the best. She was good enough to be part of a team of great people, but even then she was still young and the road to success was long.
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After settling down at the Bamboo Villa, she turned her thoughts to the garden. It would be a waste to just let it sit idle. Having some colour along the stone path would be nice, and little vegetable patch to pick whatever she want for the kitchen would be great too. 
She spent an afternoon weeding and tilling the ground. There were all kinds of flowers, vegetables and seeds for sale at the regular market. However, out of a fit of stinginess the only thing she bought were seeds. When she looked down at her freshly tilled ground, the thought of having to wait for the seeds to germinate and sprout made her eye twitched, and she unconcernedly threw the lot into her space. This could also be considered an experiment, right? Right. 
The next morning, she woke up to find that her seeds had more than sprouted. She basically has a fully formed vegetable and flower garden in her space now.
Pleased with herself, she dug up the plants and transported them from the hidden space into her space ring before going out to begin her planting in earnest . The kitchen garden was soon overflowing with growing green things. At the corner most area close to the fence, luffa vines were coaxed with twines encourage them to climb the fence. Rows of Chinese Cabbages sparkling with dew drops intersperse with rows of garlic chives, shallots and young onions. 
Aside from these standard kitchen basics, she had also prepared a bed for the wild vegetables she had dug up from Spirit Beast Mountain Range. The unusual leaves and shoots, with its deep green hue intersperse with the occasional blood red veins, looked a little half-wild compared to tidy domestic plants. 
There was a large clearing behind the villa, but Shiyu had no plans to turn that into a vegetable patch as well. Instead, she had Lin Fan use his heavy sword to smash up a hole in the ground to make a pond. The young man was then sent to bring spring water from the mountain stream to fill up the pond. Once the water had settled, Shiyu brought out the live fishes she had been storing in buckets from her space and put them in the pond. They had all been bought to make the Sashimi offering for The Fat Cat.
The rest of the clearing was filled with flowers and grasses that had literally sprouted up overnight in her space.  It made sense to move the regular plants out quickly before they go to seed and take over her space thanks to its overly accelerated growing rate… Anyway, the once patchy and neglected clearing was now filled with green plants and colourful flowers. The addition of a table and a couple of chairs soon complete the look of a relaxing and pretty garden.
Shiyu also did not neglect the loft area. She planted ivy along the walls of the villa, intending to let it grow and reach up to the roof, covering the orange-brown bamboo walls with little green and white triangular ivy leaves to give it that enchanting, fairy house like appearance.
Dealing with repetitive and tiring work of hoeing, planting, digging and landscaping was exhausting, but rewarding in its own quiet way.
That night, Shiyu fell to her bed, exhausted. However, she did not neglect her before bed-time meditation, and found to her pleasant surprise that her Meridians, which had been blocked by the Cinnabar Fruit was showing signs loosening. This made her sleep even sweeter that night.
In the silence of the night, no one was there to watch as the plants in the yard made their move. The ivy branches planted at the foot of the villa climbed up the walls in speeds visible to the naked eye. A short while later, the once bare and austere Bamboo Villa had turned into a cute and fluffy, green Ivy Villa…
From afar, one could see faint white mist hovering over the entire estate, but only those who paid close attention could see it.
The next morning, when the sky began to lightened, Lin Fan woke up.
He made his way to the roof to meditate and absorb the first rays Purple Qi , however, all thoughts of meditation fled his mind when he reached the top of the building.
What to address first?
Well, the entire house, including the roof was covered in a thick layer of green. It was so thick that it ruffled like the fur  of some large, green fluffy animal when the breeze hit. Surrounding the green beast was a riot of blooming flowers scattered through the garden. The straight white stone flags leading to the gate, the glassy surface of the pond, and the straight rows of lush green vegetable garden spotted with their own tiny myriad of colours blended harmoniously into the landscape. 
While he stood there, struck dumb by the sight, a transparent old man morphed into being beside him. The vision stroked its beard and smiled, “Looks like your little friend has plenty of secrets of her own, ah. ”
[Gumihou: I love and hated this chapter. So much potential lost through too many or too little words. I had fun ‘fixing it up’. Hope you have fun reading it too.]
 Adjust details for dramatic effect: Of course I have to fix this sentence. What kind of shitty opening sentence is this? It sounds fine in Chinese, but felt like I had tripped and fell face first into a wut?
‘After arriving at the Imperial Academy, upon entering, they were surrounded by lush greenery.’
That’s it, that’s grand opening for this much awaited College entry. WTF?
 Adjust some details: I changed the ‘!’ for a ‘?’ to give a more ‘raised eyebrow, hmm?’ feeling than a ‘yah! Go MC!’ feeling which is inconsistent with Shiyu’s cool behaviour.
 I changed ‘!’ for ‘.’, because again, ! is not consistent with their cool behaviour.
 Adjust details for dramatic effect: The original description was not very magical
‘Lin Fan waved his hand. Upon doing so, water appeared all around the villa. His hand moved again and the water washed away, instantaneously cleaning the villa.’
I was like, wut! But it’s magic! Cleaning magic is the best! and let my imagination/wishful thinking run wild.
 Added more details: Used the ‘!’ here. Come on author, use the power of ‘!’ responsibly!
 Drink the Milk of Eight Horses – To greatly increase one’s strength
 Added more details: I added the ink imagery, as well as the final sentence in the above paragraph and place the cat description for added emphasis.
 Added more details: Instead of just ‘After adjusting her mentality’, I crafted a short self-reflection for Shiyu.
 Added more details: Made the gardening scene more colourful, lol. Pun intended.
 Purple Qi – profound spiritual energy and supernatural phenomenon closely linked to Daoism
 Changed one detail: The original imagery was ‘waving water’, however, considering that the ivy had crept over an entire building, I think a ‘green furry beast’ fits the description better.
The floof is strong in this one!
 Deleted an ‘!’
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