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Golden leaf cuts heaven Golden leaf cuts heaven original

Golden leaf cuts heaven

Author: Miranda_Eriksson

© WebNovel

Chapter 1: Chapter 1

The autumn rain fell relentlessly over the twelve river kingdom, chilling the small figure digging through the wet dirt to the bone.

Her shivering hands clawed through the soil, carefully digging around roots to collect the precious herbs she had found.

Though the hour of the dog was already nearing its end, she took one last squinting look through the ever growing darkness, as not to miss out on anything of value that might be left, but as she could hardly see her hands in front of her, she finally stuffed the last herb she gathered into a large basket which she then carried on her back as she stumbled home.

Leaving the undergrowth she followed the now familiar paths back to her village.

She soon arrived at the small house she called home, gave a sigh when she noticed light coming from inside, and paused a moment before going inside.

-"JinYe, little brat. You dare come home this late!"

-"Granny, I", JinYe did not have time to finish before she had to dodge a slipper thrown by granny Wen who was sitting inside, illuminated by a single oil lamp on the table.

-"Granny, Im sorry. I was out picking herbs and lost track of time, I know my mistake.", said JinYe who had expected this welcome.

Granny Wen still tossed her other slipper at JinYe, though not as hard this time, before peering into the basket the girl placed in front of her.

JinYe hurriedly retrieved the slippers while Granny Wen rummaged through the herbs and looking them over before placing them on the table.

The old woman finally gave a snort and poked JinYe with a sharp finger.

-"These ones are too young to be used, wash their roots and plant them back in the garden", while gesturing to a few herbs.

-" Hang these ones to dry", the old woman continued handing out instructions before sending the girl away to do the assigned tasks, ending by telling her to wash herself off when she was done.

JinYe quickly set to work, heading out into their small backyard, walled off by a high fence to keep from tempting others to take the herbs planted there as they matured, but mostly to keep animals out, such as the neighbours goat who seemed to have developed a taste for some of them.

Once done she finally took some water from a huge jar, and started to wash herself off, somewhat aided by the heavy rain.

She then hung her still soaking wet clothes to dry inside and wrapped herself in a blanket before she sat by the stove to the gentle warmth from the still burning embers.

There she noticed that Granny Wen, who had already gone to bed, had placed a pot of hot tea and a couple of steamed buns for her to eat.

She smiled as she munched on the buns.

Though granny Wen was strict on her, JinYe knew it was out of kindness.

JinYe was born different from other children, her skin lighter, her hair as thin strands of gold and eyes like green jade.

This had caused rumours that she her mother had gotten pregnant from a demon, a ghost or perhaps that it was the result of a curse or strange cultivation technique.

Whatever the reason, granny Wen had adopted her and was the only family JinYe had ever known.

Under granny Wens protection, the people had little choice but to let the girl stay, for only a fool would offend the local physician in a small village such as this.

The entire village relied on the old woman's knowledge and skill not only to treat the humans, but also their livestock.

JinYe was grateful for being allowed to live with her, and to be allowed to learn from her, often trying to help her by gathering herbs and other valuable material to support the households income, but even though Granny Wen was a person she admired, she sometimes felt as if she herself wanted something more than becoming an old physician, treating aches and pains of people, and upset stomachs of oxen in a remote village.

She sometimes dreamed of adventure, seeing the world, perhaps even joining a famous cultivation sect.

She smiled again as she indulged in her imagination, drank the last of the tea and let it fill her with some warmth, before going to sleep.

Suddenly the heavens were split by a bolt of lightning with a thunderous roar that almost shattered JinYes eardrums, as the large demonic beast bared its teeth, still dripping with blood from a careless companion whom it had ripped to shreds.

She readied her sword as she and her fellow cultivators charged the creature and,

-"I will turn you into soup!", one of her companions shouted at the beast, which in turn responded with a loud "Baaah".

JinYe woke to Granny Wen furiously shouting outside.

Apparently the goat had made another attempt to raid their garden, and Granny made sure to curse it and at least five generations of its kin.

JinYe felt cold and sluggish as she sat up, still wrapped in her blanket she went out into the main room and winced at Grannys loud voice as the woman stomped angrily back into their house, muttering something about getting a lock for their door as it seemed like the goat had figured out how to open it.

As the old woman noticed that JinYe was up, she came closer with surprising speed, stared at her face, grabbed her wrist, feeling her pulse.

With a grunt she went to get a porcelain spoon, and tapped her hand on the table.

Knowing what to expect JinYe, still feeling stiff, climbed onto the table to lie on her stomach.

The old woman scraped the spoon hard across her body, from her neck down to her lower back and out across the shoulders, leaving purple spots on her skin.

-"Silly girl, you got an invasion of cold from yesterday. This is what you get from running around getting cold and wet. If you continue like this, maybe one day you cannot have children anymore, how will Granny show her face as a physician if you get sick like that".

JinYe groaned as the scraping hurt, but could feel a surge or warmth going through her body when it was done.

Granny flipped her over, quickly placing a few needles into her abdomen, chest and shoulders, before placing lumps of AiYe, a herb, onto the end of the needles, which she then set on fire.

Soon a pleasant warmth spread through the girls body, and she no longer felt so awfully cold.

Though JinYe wasn't particularly interested in having children, her 15th birthday was coming up soon, and she would be considered an adult and eligible for marriage, and the warmth from the needles did make her feel much better.

However, marrying some farmer or merchants son, which would be counted as a fortunate match in this small village, was something she was even less interested in.

The girl knew that Grannys attempts to set her up with local boys and her constant nagging about having children and a family in the future, was actually a way to show that she cared.

She simply didn't want JinYe to be lonely.

Once the AiYe had burned out and the needles were removed, JinYe put on her clothes that still were not completely dry from the day before, but as it were the only ones she owned, she put them on.

After getting dressed she started her daily exercises next to Granny Wen.

The exercises were simple and paired with breathing patterns, meant to uphold good health and a strong body, as well as a healthy and calm mind.

These kind of exercises were practiced by most people in some form, being easy to learn and a good way to maintain the peoples productivity, the twelve river kingdom encouraged the practice.

The more powerful forms of cultivation and martial techniques were however not as easily available, even the most basic cost more than the average farmer was willing to spend, and there were many secret techniques only taught within a certain sect or family.

Most martial techniques that circulated were however those that spread through the local army.

Young people were often conscripted into the army where they were trained in the basics of combat, and as they returned, these techniques were at times shared or sold in forms of manuals to others.

JinYe however, had no such training.

Not only was she too young, but mostly only men were selected for the army.

It was not just that men were generically physically stronger in comparison, but as individuals they were considered less value to the population.

A population of a hundred men and one woman would still die, while a population of a hundred women and one man could recover.

As most in the village, she did however know a basic barehanded fighting-style, brought back by an elder as he returned from the army in his youth, but as with her other exercises it was taught more to maintain a strong body and health than to make her an able fighter.

JinYe struggled to push such thoughts aside as the finished her daily exercises, before helping Granny Wen pack up wares that they were going to sell, which where the more rare and potent herbs.

The more mundane herbs were usually used in the village, in exchange for food and other services, it was uncommon for the villagers to trade among each other in coin, therefore Granny would at times sell the more potent herbs in the nearest city.

JinYe was excited for another visit to the city, as they were uncommon and far between, and in the cities people were less inclined to view her as a demonchild as merchants who frequented larger cities at times traveled to the far west and met all kinds of people, even people with light skin and hair such as hers, at least that was what Granny Wen told her.

No matter the reason, it was a welcome change from the cautious glances from easily frightened villagers.

Finally she packed her small leather roll with her acupuncture needles, hers being made from steel and copper and much less valuable than Granny's made from gold and silver, but they were precious to her.

They loaded their wares into the wagon of a merchant that had bought grains and vegetables from the village, also to be sold in the city, and that had offered them to ride along with him.

They knew the old merchant well, as he had been coming to the village for as long as JinYe could remember, bringing things for the villagers to buy from far away places, and in turn buying whatever grain, livestock and such they had left after taking what they needed for taxes and to survive themselves.

His nearly bald head had a wide brimmed hat made of straw, and under his thick eyebrows were kind and wrinkled eyes in an equally wrinkled face.

At times he would laugh and say that every wrinkle was a road he had traveled, and soon he must have traveled all the roads in the world.

It was almost a full days travel to the city, and as they arrived the market was already closing.

They went to a small inn to rest for the night so that they could get up early and set up their stall on the market, and after a meal in the evening, they went to bed early, still it felt that she had barely closed her eyes before Granny woke her.

Barely awake the girl stumbled to get dressed and helped the merchant and Granny carry their wares and set up the two stalls on the market, as well as a banner announcing Granny Wen as a physician.

They had gotten a good place and when set up, they rested a bit in the stall until the sun came up.

With the sun came a burst of life to the market, merchants shouting, masses of people passing in conversation and even a small group of performers had set up nearby.

They performed amazing feats where they walked on thin ropes suspended high in the air, dipped their hands in boiling oil and one man broke thick slabs of stone with his bare hands before licking a red hot piece of steel, and another pair fought with steel weapons before the crowd.

JinYe spent her time helping Granny with her customers and patients, and hardly had time to glance at the performers, wishing that she had such amazing skills, but her place was here, learning to be a physician.

In the afternoon however, Granny Wen handed her a small bag of silver and told her to go and explore the market.

She was told to buy a new dress, and JinYe assumed it had something to do with a future matchmaking attempt, but it was true that she did need new clothes.

The rest of the money was hers to spend as she wished.

The girl bowed in thanks before rushing out excitedly while stuffing the small bag inside her shirt.

The market felt unusually lively and large as she started to look around, and she saw a large stream of people on their way to the centre of the market.

She curiously followed them, and after a short while she started to notice a change in the stalls.

The stalls in this part of the market did not hold your every day objects, but there were weapons, armours, talismans and manuals being sold.

Some stalls held small boxes with rare herbs or rows of small bottles containing pills she had never heard of, she then realised what this was... this was a cultivator market.

Wide eyed she stared at the precious objects in the stalls, imagining wielding one of the thin, sharp swords in battle, dressed in the beautiful flowing silk robes.

Cultivator markets were rare in these parts, and she had heard they only happened with several years apart.

She heard merchants selling manuals of martial techniques that would make the user unbeatable, and others promising that their pill would double a persons lifespan.

JinYe knew that she could never afford any of these treasures, but just to look was already a dream to her.

Finally, as she walked through the market she saw a large tent, glancing at the sign outside, her heart stopped.

Inside there were emissaries from the countries cultivator sects, recruiting new members.

She knew that it was rare to be chosen as a new disciple, but maybe if she just... looked inside, and perhaps if the heavens where willing...

She pushed her dreams aside, Granny needed her, she smiled to herself, somewhat reluctantly turning away from the large tent, seemingly calling out to her.

JinYe walked away, darkness had begun to fall and she still needed to find the dress she had promised Granny to buy, but after just a few steps the felt a bony hand cover her mouth and an arm grab her across her waist, pulling her into the growing shadows.

She tried to scream, but the bony hand pressed a fragrant cloth to her face, making her feel dizzy and soon, the world left her, as she fell unconscious.


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
Miranda_Eriksson Miranda_Eriksson

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