Chapter 222 – Visiting the Arsenal of Arms Again
The old man was actually quite surprised. Normal people would treasure a precious cultivation method that they had obtained to great extremes, such that they would not even show it to their wives, children, or good friends.
Li Qingshan had only obtained an incomplete manual worth a little over a hundred spiritual stones, yet the value of the complete version was at least ten times that much. His generosity was truly surprising and admirable!
However, Li Qingshan’s ambitions lay beyond the Nine Heavens. No matter how precious a cultivation method was, it was just a process to him. After taking this step, who knows how long the future journey awaiting him would still be.
The field of view determined the open-mindedness of a person.
Li Qingshan talked a little more in the bookstore with the old man. He learned the old man’s name was Sun Fubai.
Sun Fubai was knowledgeable, and he had travelled the world before. Li Qingshan felt that he had benefited greatly from their conversation.
In the heat of the conversation, Sun Fubai gave Li Qingshan a few more books. They were all binded paperbacks. The pages had already yellowed slightly, while the edges had even roughened.
Li Qingshan hesitated. Sun Fubai smiled. “Don’t worry, they’re not like that. They’re my favourite books and annals.”
Li Qingshan stopped worrying. He casually flipped to a page and discovered many additional notes in red in the margins. Clearly, they were books that Sun Fubai had regularly read. A book lover was giving away the books he usually read. That was quite a gift.
He said politely, “Thank you for your gift, uncle!”
Sun Fubai said, “The only thing young people nowadays think about are divine arts and secret manuals that can make them powerful overnight. They don’t know the true essence of books. I can see that you have a valiant and powerful character, with a bold and generous disposition, and you have quite the talent as a Qi Practitioner as well. You’ll definitely make a name for yourself in the cultivation world in the future. However, if you don’t know how to handle the affairs of human life, you’ll still be a brainless person under the control of others no matter how powerful you are. You are welcome to read these books carefully. You’ll definitely benefit tremendously.”
Li Qingshan said, “I heard that histories make people intelligent, while cultivation methods and secret manuals can only make people stronger. However, real books can turn cowards into the courageous, fools into the wise. Not a single cultivation method can rival this effect. This is true strength.”
Sun Fubai was delighted. “As long as you understand this.”
At the very centre of the town was a small, lonely building that stood three storeys tall. It did not neighbour any other stores.
Although it was rather tall in respect to the entire town, it was still very inconspicuous. The vermillion paint on the building was peeling, making it seem extremely old.
A set of bead curtains covered the entrance. Every single bead was a pearl worth thousands among regular people, so it was rather wasteful to turn it into a set of bead curtains. And, because no one cleaned them, they had already yellowed.
Only the two gilded words—Miscellaneous Goods— on the blackboard continued to sparkle.
There were thousands of miscellaneous goods stores in the world. There was nothing surprising if a few dozen of them could be found in a large city. However, there was only a single store in this market for cultivators, and it was impossible for a second one to appear in this town.
The moment Li Qingshan lifted the curtain and stepped through the entrance, he felt like he had entered a different world. Before him was an unbelievably spacious foyer. The floor seemed to be sculpted from a single piece of marble, and it was shiny enough to reflect his appearance. The raucous sounds of the streets were completely blocked by the curtains.
A few elegant women dressed in palace wear sat at the tea table in the lobby, conversing quietly.
However, whenever they raised their voices slightly, it would end up echoing through the lobby. This place had also used a formation to expand the space here, but it was much more sophisticated than the inn.
The women in palace wear saw Li Qingshan. They looked at one another and came up with excuses, as if they were all rather reluctant.
In the end, a pretty woman stood up helplessly and dragged her palace wear over to receive him. “Are you looking to buy anything, fellow cultivator?” She had a thin layer of makeup on. Although her smile was resplendent, Li Qingshan could tell with a single glance that it all came from training, and it was unable to disguise the reluctance on her face.
The woman in palace wear was actually a third layer Qi Practitioner. Even though the puppet waiters that the Hundred Flavours restaurant used were flexible and clever, using Qi Practitioners to receive customers clearly seemed more extravagant.
This really was the very centre of the town, the main base of the school of Miscellany, after all.
Li Qingshan had learned a lot about the town from Sun Fubai. This place was called the Town of Flowing Clouds. It was not fixed to one location. Instead, it would constantly migrate to places where Qi Practitioners gathered in larger numbers.
It was like a market among regular people, but it would last for much longer. It had chosen the Green Vine mountain this time because the Herb Gathering ceremony of the three mountains was drawing near, which had attracted many Qi Practitioners prepared to venture underground.
Before the ceremony, there would be a great demand for talismans and spiritual artifacts that could increase strength, while after the ceremony, Qi Practitioners would bring back various mineral deposits and spiritual herbs, beginning a whole new wave.
All of this was hosted by the school of Miscellany among the hundred schools. They were responsible for protecting all Qi Practitioners in town, as well as for maintaining regular trade. Otherwise, why would stronger Qi Practitioners bother to haggle over the price with weaker Qi Practitioners? It would be much faster if they just killed them and looted their items.
The Qi Practitioners in the teahouses and restaurants did not come from the school of Miscellany. They all needed to pay a yearly fee of spiritual stones to the school of Miscellany to set up business here.
When Li Qingshan asked where the best place for purchasing spiritual artifacts was, Sun Fubai immediately recommended the store of Miscellaneous Goods to him. Although it would be slightly more expensive than the streets, there was a guarantee for quality. Since Li Qingshan had plenty of spiritual stones, and he lacked the insight to discern quality, it would obviously be most appropriate for him to come here.
Li Qingshan said, “I want to buy a weapon.”
The women by the tea table giggled quietly. “What weapon? Can’t you call them spiritual artifacts? You can tell with a single glance that he’s a bumpkin who has just emerged from the jianghu.” “Don’t tell me he wants to buy an inferior spiritual artifact!” “Ruping’s commission will be impressive this time.”
Although they had stifled their voices, Li Qingshan still heard every single word that they uttered. As it turned out, this woman was called Ruping, which sure sounded familiar1. As it turned out, these female cultivators were not just responsible for receiving customers, but for sales too. No wonder they were so snobbish.
“Please come with me!” Liu Ruping said indifferently. Although she could not hear what the others were saying, she knew that they were mocking her.
Liu Ruping moved her hips from side to side as she climbed up the stairs. Her moving buttocks made him think about the boss of the inn from last night. He wondered whether the female cultivators he would introduce to keep him company included her. He turned around and looked at the lobby, Perhaps they all might be included!
A daoist in blue robes walked in. Both his daoist robes and the ancient sword on his back flickered with light. In a world of Qi Practitioners, this was what the wealthy looked like.
The women in palace wear basically all wanted to rush over and receive him. A sweet-looking woman said loudly, “It’s my turn.” In the end, only she ventured forward, like a victorious hen, arriving before the customer. Her smile was much more sincere.
Although it was impossible for him to call anyone to keep him company at night as Xiao An was with him, he still could not help but feel relieved. Fortunately, he had not, or he would have been pitiful. He was still technically a virgin, so how could he lose it to a woman like that?
Arriving before a room on the second floor, his gaze was immediately drawn away by a board. Surprisingly, the board detailed three words—Arsenal of Arms. He had purchased the Tyrant’s spear from the Arsenal of Arms back in Qingyang city. He had never thought there would be a branch in a town of cultivators as well.
However, most Qi Practitioners did not care for the silver and gold used among regular people. Why would a store that could sell spiritual artifacts sell weapons in a small, remote city? Their ability was obviously exemplary to be able to set up business in the store of Miscellaneous Goods run by the school of Miscellany.
Liu Ruping introduced with a professional smile. “The Arsenal of Arms is renowned throughout our Clear River province and even the entire Ruyi commandery. The weapons in here have all been tested by masters, so their quality is definitely the best of the best, unlike the stalls outside that offer goods of uncertain quality, who sell low grade spiritual artifacts that end up cracking after just a few battles.”
“Then let’s take a look!” As soon as Li Qingshan stepped into the store, he shivered. All of his hairs pricked up. He felt like an army that had been ambushed from all sides. Vicious, murderous intent poured over. He took a step instinctively, and all of his bones resonated. His aura suddenly rose up, like an army pouring their strength together, with a commander charging up ahead, about to kill their way out of the encirclement.
However, Li Qingshan immediately saw that there were no ambushes at all. There were just thousands of weapons placed neatly on weapon racks, spanning as far as the eye could see. A middle-aged man with an ugly, coarse appearance stood at the centre of the weapon racks, looking at him in a stunned manner.
“What’s wrong, sir?” Liu Ruping was three steps away from Li Qingshan as she looked at him carefully. Just moments prior, this man who had a unique figure but seemed extremely simple and mild suddenly became a vicious beast, ready to pounce and kill. This was the first time she felt that this man might have been much more complicated than he seemed.
Li Qingshan realised where the sharp, murderous intent originated from. It was from these weapons. He restrained himself and said in surprise, “Didn’t you feel it?”
Liu Ruping was stunned. “Feel what?”
The coarse man walked over. “The murderous intent on people is easy to sense, but the murderous intent on weapons is difficult. You can’t develop such a sharp sense for it if you haven’t been through a few life-or-death battles and claimed a few dozen lives with your own hands.” He clasped his hands at Li Qingshan. “I can tell with a single glance that you’re someone who knows his weapons. How may I refer to you?”
Li Qingshan said, “My surname is Niu. And how would I refer to you, sir?”
“That’s a good surname, a good surname. You really are as sturdy as an ox! My surname is Zhang. There’s no need to be polite with me, so you can just call me little Zhang.”
Liu Ruping smiled. “Old man Zhang, you’re trying to act young again. Don’t you feel any shame?”
Little Zhang said, “Cultivators pursue longer lives. There’s no hope for me this life, so can’t you just let me have this? Right, elder sister Ping?”
Most of the shopkeepers responsible for the stores were older Qi Practitioners. In the end, they were still unable to cultivate faster than the rate at which they naturally aged. There was basically no possibility for them to make anymore progress, so they chose to live a more peaceful and comfortable life.
Liu Ruping spat in contempt. “Who’s your elder sister Ru? Cut the nonsense. I’ve brought you the customer, so hurry up and choose a weapon for him!”
Just when Li Qingshan wanted to say something, Little Zhang raised his head. “There’s no hurry, sir. Let me guess what weapon you want, alright?”
PS: Currently in Sanya, technically out travelling, but I stayed in the apartment all by myself for an entire day, eating instant noodles for lunch and pumping out eight thousand characters. Afterwards, I went to an internet cafe to upload the chapters. What the hell is this supposed to be?! Furiously requesting for monthly tickets for the month. With your support, good moral character will live on!
1. May be a reference to a 2001 Chinese drama called Romance in the Rain.