Chapter 56: Armament Pavilion
Time flowed, and another two months passed.
During these two months, Qin Lie had stayed inside the tavern and focused all of his energy towards inscribing Spirit Gathering diagrams, losing track of time.
Following his two months of practice, of the twenty four spirit tablets, fifteen of them had turned into scrap, and only nine of them had successfully been engraved with Spirit Gathering diagrams.
“I wasted fifteen spirit tablets. It seems that I am still quite far away from being able to truly master it.” Within the room, Qin Lie furrowed his brows as he opened the windows, silently musing to himself, “I don’t have any more usable spirit tablets. If I want to continue practicing, I must buy more spirit tablets. Only, once I enter Nebula Pavilion, I might not be able to be so laid back…”
Outside the window, cultivators of varying levels were passing by. They were all headed towards the Commerce Street located between North and South City.
From the room that he lived in, he could see the many shops on Commerce Street on the other side of the river, as well as the Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion martial practitioners who were moving along Commerce Street.
Looking carefully, he could even secretly watch the martial practitioners of Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion oppose each other as verbal conflicts arose and proceeded to glare at each other.
However, they all abided by the rules as they only shouted mutual provocations and nothing more, not daring to truly fight on Commerce Street.
Qin Lie observed out the window for a while as he rubbed his chin in deep thought, trying to determine how he was going to get more spirit tablets in order to continue practicing spirit diagram inscription.
Before he had left Ling Town, he had left all of his spirit pills and stones to Ling Feng and the rest. All he had on him were things like the wooden sculpture, some fire crystals, and the Nebula Token. Amongst these items, only the wooden sculpture and Nebula Token were extremely valuable. Meanwhile, the fire crystals were just ordinary materials and weren’t valuable. Furthermore, in the future he would need them as a fire source for smelting artifacts, and thus, they couldn’t be traded for spirit tablets either.
His fingers tapped on the wooden table as he looked at the nine spirit tablets which had been engraved with Spirit Gathering diagrams. After thinking awhile, he suddenly got an idea: Could spirit tablets engraved with Spirit Gathering diagrams be sold in order to buy more blank ones?
This thought caused his expression to visibly change. He might as well try his luck and see if there were any shops on Commerce Street which would be willing to buy them.
He walked down the stairs. After walking across a stone bridge atop the river, he arrived at Commerce Street which was located in between the two cities. He looked the bustling figures atop the street, many of which were either wearing the special uniforms of Shattered Ice Manor or Nebula Pavilion. There were also a few unaligned martial practitioners who wore casual clothes like him mixed in.
The two sides of Commerce Street had all kinds of various shops. There were shops selling many different things, including spirit pills, spirit herbs, spirit grass, and even various levels of cultivation art formulas.
In the center of Commerce Street was a magnificent, grand wooden five story building. At its doors, an endless stream of people flowed in and out.
Most of the slightly higher level martial practitioners would all go straight to this shop. It was as if their true purpose of coming to Commerce Street was this largest shop.
Even from extremely far away, Qin Lie could see the light reflecting off the store’s dazzling sign, without any idea how the sign had been propped up. Under the sun’s rays, the two characters “Armament Pavilion” were illuminated, attracting the attention of many.
In front of him, the martial practitioners of Nebula Pavilion and Shattered Ice Manor, as well as a fair amount of regular pedestrians, moved towards Armament Pavilion. Thus, Qin Lie also subconsciously went over.
Arriving at the store’s main entrance, he raised his head and once again looked at the store’s sign. He was surprised to find out that, upon looking at it from so close, the two characters “Armament Pavilion” weren’t overly glaring.
Instead, it seemed as if the flashing light was just used for attracting people. Once the people had been led over, they would no longer be uncomfortably bright.
From just this one small detail, it was clear that Armament Pavilion was not simple. Qin Lie inwardly nodded as he went in along with the crowd.
The first floor of the pavilion was extremely spacious. Alongside all of the walls on this floor were extremely exquisite glass cases. Within these glass cases were various delicate and beautiful spirit artifacts. There were all sorts of dazzling swords, golden spears, rings of varying colors, and hammers which flickered with light… there were at least more than ten spirit artifacts.
Many of the martial practitioners who came to Armament Pavilion were gathered in front of those glass cases displaying spirit artifacts, asking the shop’s attendants for descriptions as they tried to discern the artifacts’ functions, prices, and grades.
“…Common Grade Three, Common Grade Four, most of them seem to be of this grade. However, it’s no wonder that everyone comes here as, unlike all of the other stores which only sell spirit pills and spirit materials, Armament Pavilion sells spirit artifacts on the first floor. Here, they can even purchase a finished product.”
Qin Lie quietly observed for a while, paying attention to the various ongoing conversations. In no time, he understood how this place operated.
Armament Pavilion’s first floor only sold Common Grade Four and lower spirit artifacts. The second floor sold Common Grade Five spirit artifacts, the third sold Common Grade Six ones, and the fourth floor sold Common Grade Seven ones. On the fifth floor… even Profound Grade spirit artifacts could be bought!
However, starting from the second floor, there were restrictions required to ascend — one either needed to have reached the Natal Opening Realm or pay some spirit stones to prove to Armament Pavilion that they were wealthy enough to afford artifacts of that quality. This way, it would ensure that they wouldn’t waste Armament Pavilion’s time.
Carefully looking around, he discovered that the majority of people who came just stayed on the first floor, wandering between the Common Grade Three and Four spirit artifacts as they asked the shop’s attendants about prices.
Only a select few people didn’t bother staying around on the first floor and instead headed straight for the stairs to the upper floors.
In front of the stairs to the upper floors were two of Armament Pavilion’s guards. They would quickly inspect anyone who attempted to proceed upward, identifying them either as a practitioner of the Natal Opening Realm or someone who had sufficient spirit stones before standing aside to allow them passage.
Everyone who went upstairs had a proud expression on their face and didn’t bother to take a glance at those who remained on the first level. It was as if they had been born with superior status.
As for the people on the first floor, when they looked at those going upstairs, their expressions would be colored with envy and awe. Some would even make a slight bow and smile to express their humbleness.
“The person who just went up is Hall Master Pei An of Nebula Pavilion. He is a subordinate of Elder Wei Xing and his cultivation is of the early stage Natal Opening Realm.”
“The one who is going up now is called Ji Feiwen. He’s the patriarch of the Ji Family which is under the control of Shattered Ice Manor. It’s rumored that he is extremely powerful and has reached the middle stage of the Natal Opening Realm.”
“Eh, that is?”
The martial practitioners on the first floor were constantly whispering to each other, clarifying the identities of each practitioner who went upstairs. Suddenly, at this time, their eyes all showed astonishment towards a young martial practitioner.
This youth seemed around twenty years old and wore the practitioner clothes of Shattered Ice Manor. He looked very handsome and, with an indifferent expression, bore a surprising resemblance to Feng Yi.
He directly went up the stairs.
“Feng Kai! He’s Feng Kai! Over half a year ago he was still cultivating within Nebula Pavilion. I wonder why he suddenly defected and entered Shattered Ice Manor,” someone shockingly shouted.
From amongst the crowd, Qin Lie secretly sized up Feng Kai, his pupils shrinking.
“So this is Feng Yi’s brother, the one who clearly stated he would kill me. Unfortunately… he doesn’t seem to recognize me.”
“Feng Kai! You traitor! You, along with the Feng Family, will definitely be ruthlessly executed by Nebula Pavilion!” At this time, the Nebula Pavilion martial practitioner, Pei An, who had gone upstairs earlier could be heard on the second floor, verbally threatening Feng Kai.
“Hmph, you can try. Let’s see just who will kill who!” exclaimed Feng Kai on the second floor, not showing any weakness.
As for Qin Lie and those who remained on the first floor, they could only hear the sounds of arguing coming from above and were unable to see what was happening.
“Be quiet.” An irritated sound emanated down from above. Snorting, a deep and powerful voice said, “If you don’t abide by my rules, then scat!”
As soon as this remark was made, the sounds of Feng Kai and Pei An’s argument immediately ceased. Their two mouths moved as they simultaneously apologized, “Elder Pan, we apologize.”
“Elder Pan? Who is he?” quietly asked some newcomers who had just entered.
“Elder Pan refers to Pan Jueming, the person who was put in charge of this Armament Pavilion by Icestone City. Even Shattered Ice Manor’s Lord, Yan Wenyan, and Nebula Pavilion’s Master, Tu Mo, have to give him some face, so what do you think about Feng Kai and Pei An?” quietly explained a knowledgeable practitioner.
As Qin Lie listened from within the group of people, he quietly looked towards the start of the stairs, bitterly smiling inwardly.
His cultivation wasn’t high enough nor was his net worth. Clearly, he wasn’t qualified to shop upstairs. After thinking for a moment, he decided to take advantage of the fact that everyone else’s attention was still fixated on what had just happened. Finding a female shop attendant, he took out one of the Spirit Gathering inscribed spirit tablets and asked, “Does Armament Pavilion buy spirit materials?”
“Of course. However, it depends on the grade. We won’t buy ones which are too low,” replied the female attendant. She was in her twenties, and her looks were rather ordinary. There was also some acne on her face. She glanced at Qin Lie from head to toe and then indifferently continued, “For spirit materials, which are below Common Grade Five, I suggest you go sell them at another shop. Even for Common Grade Five spirit materials, it would be best for you to sell in bulk. The pavilion isn’t very interested in a few of them.”
Qin Lie was slightly stunned as he quietly sucked on his tongue. He hadn’t expected that even one of Armament Pavilion’s minor shop attendants would be so hard to get along with.
“This spirit tablet is inscribed with a Spirit Gathering diagram and can gather the world’s spirit energy, increasing the spirit energy a cultivator can gather by a fourth. I wonder if the pavilion has any interest in buying it?” Qin Lie had a premonition that he was about to fail. However, he was currently strapped for cash, and thus, he could only bite the bullet.
“Spirit tablets which are used for practicing inscribing spirit diagrams are only considered low level spirit materials. Even if there is a Spirit Gathering diagram inscribed within, it doesn’t make a difference,” said the attendant, shaking her head. With a cynical look in her eyes, she very clearly rejected him, “I’m sorry, but even those smaller shops outside might not be willing to buy them, let alone our pavilion.”
Qin Lie’s expression became somewhat embarrassed. Nodding, he didn’t continue speaking. He didn’t even have the face to stay and could only disheartenedly exit Armament Pavilion.
“Let me go try out the smaller shops outside…” Reaching Armament Pavilion’s entrance, he took a deep breath and smiled bitterly before stubbornly trying every shop.
“My spirit tablet can gather nature’s spirit energy nearby and increase the amount a cultivator can gather by one fourth. I wonder if you have any interest towards it?”
“No interest, go try another shop.”
“High level practitioners have spirit stones when they cultivate and have no use for such things. Increasing the spirit energy of nature by one fourth isn’t considered much anyway as you can just find an area where the spirit energy is dense.”
“Sorry, we don’t buy them.”
“My apologies, but my small shop is not interested.”
Qin Lie went from shop to shop, but the results were all the same as he was politely rejected time and time again. They clearly had no interest towards his spirit tablets.
“I wasted an entire afternoon. The sky is beginning to darken. Hm, there is still one more shop left, might as well try it. If it doesn’t work, then I’ll go home.”
Just as he was about to give up, he saw one more extremely small shop tucked into a remote corner of Commerce Street.
The store was extremely remote as it was a good distance away from the bustling main road. Atop the door hung a sign on which the name “Li’s Shop” was written crookedly with peeling paint…
Within the building there was only the faint figure of a person sitting in a rocking chair. Perhaps it was because business was too slow, he seemed to have already fallen asleep.