Chapter 34 – Grey Market
“So that was initial spell mastery! When I was training in the Wind Blade Spell the other day, suddenly I felt optimistic; not only did the spell release become faster, the strength was also thirty percent stronger. However, this result only appears after training diligently until finally, the spell becomes near instinct. If there is a initial spell mastery, certainly there must be a complete spell mastery. And in this case, the Nine Spiritual Pulse Disciples might be the same as the Three Spiritual Pulse Disciples, without any advantages. As for me, I can use my talent of doing two things at once to train on spells alternately; it can be a great advantage for me in this case.” Liu Ming said to himself, his face carrying a curious but excited look.
TL: We assume that Liu Ming has gone to the Intelligence Pavilion since he mentions going at the end of last chapter
Today, among many of the older disciples at the Small Competition, there were definitely disciples who trained their spells until they achieved the initial spell mastery level. But the number of disciples who reached such a level did not number more than ten, and the spells they mastered were mostly easy spells such as Wind Blade or Fire Bullet.
No one had trained in higher-level spells, such as Icicle Technique or Flame Snake Technique, until the initial spell mastering level.
Thinking carefully, that was not strange at all.
High-level spells were much more confusing to cast and the amount of Fa Li needed to cast them was far greater than the low-level spells, that made them a few times harder to practice.
Obviously the most important thing that most disciples spent their time on was training their Cultivation Method and their own Fa Li. It was rare for people to view the training of spells as important.
After all, one’s cultivation status was the basis for everything. Becoming a Spirit Master like the Gu scholar meant that one’s life expectancy would rise drastically and have many, many more opportunities to become stronger.
For Liu Ming, if he did not have the talent of doing two things at once, he would have probably made the same decision to pursue the path of training Fa Li. However, knowing that his talent can be a great advantage in this situation, Liu Ming, who chased after strength wholeheartedly, would make a different choice.
Mastering the confusing high-level spells would be quite a stretch for Liu Ming. But for easy spells like Wind Blade, Liu Ming decided that he could make time to practice them in the future and see if there are any more surprises.
After Liu Ming stood in the courtyard and thought about his future path for a while, he finally went into his training room and sat down cross-legged.
He hesitated for a while before taking out the Calming Heart Incense he had just acquired from his sleeve. Then, he set it aflame with a finger swipe and stuck it nearby.
Following the rise of the wisps of green smoke, a strange fragrance filled the whole room.
Liu Ming took a deep breath, closed his eyes, became motionless and began to meditate.
Lines of incantations composed of gray letters emerged in his mind; this was the method of training for ‘Soul Shackling Chains’.
Even though the scroll for the Soul Shackling Chains had been given back to the Scriptures Pavilion, the actual contents that were recorded on it had long since been perfectly imprinted into Liu Ming’s mind.
Although Liu Ming hastily went over it when he was trying to memorize the technique, when he saw the requirements of being a Beginning Spirit Apostle to practice it, he gave up on comprehending it immediately and did not continue exploring the meanings behind each word.
Now, with help of the Calming Heart Essence, Liu Ming planned to completely understand the secret technique in one go.
Time passed day by day while Liu Ming stayed in the room, not going out for five days and nights.
In the morning of the sixth day, Liu Ming finally opened his eyes with exhaustion filling his face.
“In order to practice this Soul Shackling Chain, I have to refine a live ghost. If I remember correctly, there’s a special place in the sect that nurtures ghosts called ‘Soul Swamp’. As long as I pay a certain amount of Sect Contribution Points, I can go in for a certain amount of time to catch a live ghost. Also, in the sect, there’s a Grey Market where disciples trade different things with each other; maybe there will be people selling live ghosts there. Without any Contribution Points right now, I’ll start with the second way.”
After Liu Ming quickly considered his options, he made his decision. However, before that, he needed to sleep for a long time in order to relax his overworked mind.
In the morning of the second day, Liu Ming, riding a cloud, left his dwelling.
Following the map that Li Zong gave him, Liu Ming flew towards a specific spot in the sect.
At the end of mountain range for the Barbarian Ghost Sect, an inconspicuous bamboo forest was located between two mountain peaks.
At times, some inner disciples of the sect would ascend and drop down into the empty area at the center of the bamboo forest.
After Liu Ming descended in the bamboo forest, he examined his surroundings with curious eyes.
Around the empty area, there were already simple booths of various sizes set up. Behind each booth was a Barbarian Ghost Sect Disciple; most of them were inner sect disciples while there were a couple of outer disciples.
There were also a couple of disciples that were walking from booth to booth and occasionally picking up an item to examine more carefully. There were even a couple of people in a heated debate with the stall owners over items that caught their fancy. This scene gave Liu Ming the feeling that he was in a mortal country market.
After calming down, Liu Ming copied others as he slowly walked from booth to booth and occasionally picked up an item to look at.
The things placed on the booths ranged from Pills to Glyphs to various materials to even Totems! It could be said that almost anything could be found within this grey market.
There were also some weird and unique things that Liu Ming had never heard of. For example, the “Stinger of Bloody Corpse Bees” , “Wing Feathers of Corpse Eating Eagles” or “Fine Blood from a Hundred-Year Fish Demon”.
As for the plain and regular ghost that Liu Ming was looking, it was available at various booths. However, when Liu Ming asked for the price for them, he was stunned.
A low quality ghost costed ten Spirit Stones, a regular quality ghost costed thirty Spirit Stone. As for high quality ghosts, no one at the grey market were even selling them and instead, some of the booth owners expressed interest in buying a high quality ghost for hundreds of Spirit Stones.
Even though Liu Ming was quite tight on Spirit Stones, he took the chance to understand the use and appearance of “ghosts”.
Ghosts were usually sealed in porcelain bottles that had special glyphs on them. Once the cap to the bottle was opened, it would turn into a cloud of black smoke as it rushed out of the bottle. While in cloud form, it would turn into various shapes and figures such as a tiger, leopard or a ghost’s face.
As for the attacks that ghosts could use, it could use simple illusion spells to affect one’s consciousness at close distances and was extremely bitingly cold by nature.
Overall, a ghost could not be considered a true demon. It was only a ‘thing’ that was born of miasma and had no intelligence of its own. It’s attacks were more instinct than thought out actions.
TL: Miasma is like a type of Qi unlike Worldly Qi that’s in Spirit Stones
Thus, catching normal and low quality ghosts was not a hard task.
However, for high quality ghosts, the situation was entirely different.
First, high quality ghosts were extremely rare with only one being born out of a hundred ghosts. In addition, they hate moving and love to hide within thick miasma.
Secondly, high quality ghosts have an extra skill of being able to split into clones when trying to escape. Thus, catching them was also a matter of luck.
In the legends, ghosts of a quality higher than high quality ghosts existed but this was only a rumour; no one had ever seen one with their own eyes.
TL: We’ll call those super high quality ghosts – perfect ghosts
Of course these ghosts were all caught from the Soul Swamp by the inner disciples who paid Sect Contribution Points to catch them before coming here to sell them at a high Spirit Stone price.
Liu Ming asked and inquired around. In a short while, he gained all the knowledge that was needed. At the end, Liu Ming still gritted his teeth and paid ten Spirit Stones to buy a low quality ghost in order to first familiarize himself with the whole subject of ghosts.
Once he bought what he wanted, Liu Ming was ready to ride the cloud and leave but he was suddenly stopped by a girl’s shout coming from behind.
“Eh, isn’t this Junior Bai!”
Hearing this, Liu Ming paused and looked back. There was a male and female couple standing behind him.
The male was twenty one or twenty two years old and was wearing blue clothes. His brows were high while his expression was quite haughty and cold. The female was a girl that was at about the same age and wore a white dress. Her face was quite pretty as she smiled; she was Mu Xiao Yun of the Mu Clan that Liu Ming had met in the Opening Spirit Ceremony.
“Oh, it’s Lady Mu. Hello.” Even though Liu Ming felt a little surprised, he still cupped his hands together.
“Junior Bai, you had agreed to come visit me. It’s already been half a year and I’ve been waiting this whole time for you to come.” Mu Xiao Yun smiled with her red lips as she spoke.
“Ehem……Lady Mu, don’t blame me. After I joined the Sect, I was forced to train in the mountain with my peers and was unable to leave. This senior is……” Liu Ming replied ambiguously and looked at the emotionless teen who was standing at her side.
“Du Hai of the Baleful Yin Faction,” the teen answered simply, his face showing no expression.
“So you are a senior from the Baleful Yin Faction,” Liu Ming said, his complexion changing slightly.
Among the many factions in the Barbarian Ghost Sect, the Baleful Yin was among the strongest, one of the top three factions. Also, this faction had quite a grudge with the Nine Infants Faction which meant that the relationships between the respective faction’s disciples had never been good.
“Junior Bai, don’t worry, Senior Du is a good friend of mine that I have known for a long time, His relationship with us won’t be affected by the relationship of our Factions. Oh yeah, what does Junior Bai wants to buy coming to Grey Market? I know some friends here, so maybe I can help you in one or two things.” Mu Xian Yun offered two sentences as explanation and asked, laughing.
“Thank you Lady Mu for your kindness but I already bought what I wanted, so I will not bother you,” Liu Ming pondered quickly on the offer and kindly rejected it.
“If that is so, then I will not impose myself upon you. By the way, junior, do you need some Sect Contribution Points?” Mu Xian Yun was a little bit surprised by the rejection but remained as her normal self and asked.
“Sect Contribution Points?” Liu Ming heart moved a bit by hearing these words.
“That’s right. Recently, I, Senior Du, and some other friends are preparing to take an important mission but we are still missing two people. If you, junior, are interested, we can count you in,” Mu Xian Yun said without thinking much.
“If it is an important mission, I am afraid I cannot help as I only joined the sect half a year ago. And even if I do, how do you plan on dividing the Sect Contribution Points,” Liu Ming replied with his eyes sparkling.
“Junior, do not worry, this mission is special. It does not need much strength but rather a team of people in order to complete it without failure. As for the Contribution Points, we took the mission together so naturally we will divide it equally.” The young woman explained in detail as she saw Liu Ming’s interest.
“Alright then, if there is no danger and it does not need much strength, then count me in,” Liu Ming promised after considering it for a while, thinking that he might as well see what a Sect Contribution Mission looked like.
“Junior, you made a wise choice. This kind of mission, that requires a team, is the best for neophytes like you. After three days, come to the second level of the Duty Hall; we will gather there and take the mission together.” Hearing Liu Ming’s words, Mu Xian Yun replied as an alluring smile crept up on her face.