Chapter 36 Freak Amongst Geniuses (1)
In a blink of an eye, a week had passed. Huyan Aobo had taught all the basics of creating Consolidated Equipment to Zhou Weiqing, including the various methods as well as a lot of basic information.
Creating Consolidated Equipment Scrolls required the usage of a special type of paper, and this paper was called Consolidating Paper, and the main ingredient in creating that paper was the nucleus core of a Zong Stage Heavenly Beast. Of course, one nucleus core could be used to make more than ten thousand sheets of Consolidating Paper after being ground to dust, as each sheet only needed a small amount. The dust had to be combined with Cat’s Eye Jewels (that usually signified the Spatial Attribute in Jewel Masters) which also had been ground to dust, as well as several other rare and expensive items, in order to create the paper.
In general, the Consolidating Paper was usually only sold in some large cities, and a set of ten thousand of those would cost almost fifty thousand gold coins. That was of course the price of the most basic ones, made from a Low level Zong Stage Heavenly Beast, and if it were from a higher level beast, the price would skyrocket higher.
After having the Consolidating Paper, the next step would be to craft and draw out the design. To create a Consolidating Equipment Scroll, one had to first design the equipment’s type, look, usage and various attributes. It could be said that this step was the most important step, and also an extremely complicated step.
The final step was of course the actual creation of the scroll, and it was also rather complex and required many intricate steps, of which the most troublesome was the blending of Consolidating Ink. Different Consolidating Equipment Scrolls would require different types and different blends of Consolidating Inks, which were usually a blend of Heavenly Beast blood, nucleus cores, various ground precious gemstones, ground herbs and various other precious materials. Just the numerous varied recipes and materials alone were almost countless.
Huyan Aobo was definitely a good teacher – he described in detail every step of the creation process of Consolidating Equipment Scrolls, and with some of his own simpler works as examples, he would show and tell the various design concepts, the theory behind them, how to blend the various Consolidating Inks and many other of the basics, ensuring that Zhou Weiqing understood the theory behind them instead of just memorising. After a week had passed, Zhou Weiqing had at least had a very basic understanding of how to create Consolidating Equipment Scrolls.
To Huyan Aobo, the blending of Consolidating Inks was actually one of the simpler steps, though troublesome. He himself had already mastered more than a thousand types of blending recipes, and within the next few years, Zhou Weiqing could slowly memorise and familiarise himself with them. The most important thing to learn now was the design, after all it was also the easiest to make mistakes on, as it was necessary to consider what Jewel Master was using the particular scroll.
Zhou Weiqing was definitely not stupid, but with such a vast and constant inflow of information, he felt as if his brain was always in a half dazed state. Luckily, he was not a person who dwelled upon things he couldn’t control, and he just tried his best to understand and absorb all the design concepts that Huyan Aobo was teaching him. After all, as Huyan Aobo said, he did not need to rush to memorise all the various blending recipes of Consolidating Inks now, as he could always slowly memorise them in the future. However, design was key, and some of the more intricate details were much better to be learned under the tutelage of a good teacher now, than him having to puzzle it out himself in the future.
“Little Wei, over the past few days, I have taught you many things, and it will take you quite a while to digest it all. From today onwards, we will add an additional 4 hours of practice time. After all, you will be able to learn and digest everything quicker as you try out creating the scrolls yourself, as only when you experience it and practice, will you be able to feel and perceive everything for yourself. One of the most important factors for us Consolidating Equipment Masters is the success rate of our creations. With my current standards, even when creating the most basic Consolidating Equipment Scrolls, my success rate is only about 30%. Do you know what is the significance of success rate?” When Huyan Aobo was teaching Zhou Weiqing, he was always deadly serious, and could be definitely considered a strict teacher.
Zhou Weiqing immediately replied: “The significance is money. Every sheet of Consolidating Paper wasted is 5 gold coins wasted. If we include the cost of the Consolidating Ink, that would be almost a dozen gold coins wasted in total.”
Huyan Aobo nodded in satisfaction, he was indeed a miser after all. “That’s correct. Every failure is a huge loss in gold, time and energy. As such, when you are creating the scrolls, you must have your full focus and concentration, even on every tiny detail. During this period, you should be at the peak for your spiritual energy and do so with your utmost enthusiasm, where the Consolidating Equipment Scroll is your everything.”
Atop a table, there lay a sheet of Consolidating Paper spread out to reveal various lines and traces emanating energy, coming together to form a detailed design. This design was what Zhou Weiqing had created yesterday, and it was of a shield, done with Huyan Aobo’s Xuan Wu Shield as a base design, and was mainly focused on defence. After the design had been outlined and completed, the actual creation process would be to use the Consolidating Ink coupled with Spatial Energy, to meld together with the Consolidating Paper and form the final product of a Consolidating Equipment Scroll.
Zhou Weiqing picked up a weasel hair brush with a jade body, dipping it into the Consolidating Ink which Huyan Aobo had prepared for him. Taking a deep breath, he released his Heavenly Jewels, spinning his attribute wheel to the silver area, and focusing his full concentration on the Consolidating Paper before him, he slowly dipped the brush down.
This Consolidating Ink was a pale gold colour, and as he slowly circulated his Heavenly Energy into the brush, it quickly started emitting a pale silver glow. Zhou Weiqing followed Huyan Aobo’s instructions, moving his brush slowly and firmly, moving it across the paper with strength, following the design’s trace.
Huyan Aobo stood behind him, staring at his work without blinking, a satisfied look in his eyes. Zhou Weiqing’s Physical Jewel was strength, and that helped keep his hands steady without any trouble, and that was an unexpected satisfying find.
At this point, Zhou Weiqing had barely drawn less than an inch when he suddenly felt as if something unknown broke, and the originally glowing trace of the design suddenly dimmed and vanished. “Stop.” Huyan Aobo said solemnly.
Zhou Weiqing lifted his head and looked at him, confusion in his eyes.
Huyan Aobo said: “You’ve just started creating the scrolls. Remember, you must definitely go slow, to allow the Consolidating Ink to properly combine with your Spatial Energy, before fusing completely with the Consolidating Paper; only then can you continue going forward. At the same time, you cannot go too slow as well, or too much of the Ink will be left at a particular spot, ruining it. To Consolidating Equipment Masters, the most difficult thing is to grasp the perfect timing, and this can only be done by countless of hours of practice, until it is ingrained in your muscle memory. Different Consolidating Ink and Consolidating Paper will have a different level and rates of fusion, and the feeling of the complete fusion is also different. You have only just begun on your journey of learning, and you do not need to rush things. Without at least ten thousand sheets of practice, you will likely not be able to succeed. You must be patient.”
Zhou Weiqing said with a heartbroken look on his face: “Just like that, one sheet of Consolidating Paper is wasted? That’s 5 gold gone in an instant! This is literally burning money! Teacher, I no longer think the price you set for your Consolidating Equipment Scrolls are expensive!”
Huyan Aobo gave a humph and said: “Did you think grooming and developing a Consolidating Equipment Master is that easy?! It’s all a matter of burning time and money. You still have four months together with me, and I hope that by the time you have to leave for the Fei Li Military Academy, you can at least succeed once in creating a basic Consolidating Equipment Scroll. Once you succeed, you just need to maintain practice everyday, and hopefully you can become a Low Level Consolidating Equipment Master within 3 to 5 year. The basics are extremely important, so you need to ensure you master them well. Do not worry about the materials, I will prepare them for you.”
Zhou Weiqing nodded, and though he couldn’t bear the thought of such waste, he threw the ruined paper to the side. From the other side of the table, he took a new sheet from the stack that lay there. Huyan Aobo said: “You just keep practicing slowly, I will call you when it is time to eat.”
“At least creating Consolidating Equipment scrolls will not be a complete waste of time in terms of training; although it will not help you improve your cultivation level, it is very good training in terms of cultivating your heart and spirit, and will also improve the control of your Heavenly Energy. As you practice creating Consolidating Equipment Scrolls, you will also find that your control over your Stored Skills will be much finer. Alright, you go ahead and practice, I’ll go rest first.” Huyan Aobo was no longer young, and he still needed time to recuperate from his two years of painstaking effort.
After Huyan Aobo left, Zhou Weiqing started on his second attempt at creating a scroll. This time, he still failed after barely an inch of drawing, though the failure was due to him being too slow and causing the Ink to gather. He could actually distinctly feel the time taken for the Consolidating Ink and Paper to fuse, and Huyan Aobo had also pointed out the several points he needed to take note of, but when he was actually doing it and when he circulated Heavenly Energy into the brush, he found that it wasn’t as easy to control as he felt. Just like what Huyan Aobo said, it was a rather strange and profound feeling when the two fused. It could be said that almost every Consolidating Paper, even when made from the same nucleus core, had a very minute difference, but sometimes even those extremely minute differences could cause the entire creation process to fail.
Zhou Weiqing continued trying for the next seven sheets, all resulting in failure, and by now his entire forehead was coated in sweat. Due to an over concentrating and focusing of his spirit, his eyes were stinging.
Putting down the brush, he muttered to himself as he thought through his experience: “The grasp of the timing… perception… timing… perception… How can I use my perception to master the timing? That’s too difficult, no wonder Teacher said it requires at least ten thousand sheets of practice before having the possibility of success. I’ll need to rest my spirit for a while, so I can focus properly once again, otherwise there’ll be even less chance of success.”
As he thought that, Zhou Weiqing just lay back onto the ground, releasing his Heavenly Energy and Jewels. As he rested, a sudden flash of brilliance struck him.
Colourless… Time. Zhou Weiqing suddenly flipped back up into a seated position, glee in his eyes. “That’s right! Isn’t the key to this the grasp of timing? If I can’t control the perception, then why not control the time directly. My 6th Attribute is Time after all!”
As he thought of that, excitement filled him. Since he had gained his second set of Jewels, the Absolute Delay Stored in his first Jewel had evolved, but its effect was still paled in comparison to his other Skills. Its range had increased from 5 yards to 6 yards, as well as improved in terms of the control time. The only good point about the skill was that its cooldown was very low, being only 3 seconds. However, it did take up quite some Heavenly Energy, and with his current cultivation level, he could only use it 8 times in succession; with the recovery of the energy whirlpools, it was still only 9 times at max. With such a range and only a second delay, Zhou Weiqing had not found much use for it in battles, at least not yet. He had always felt that there wasn’t much of a point with just a second of delay.