"The high market has everything you would expect from a cultivation town. There are many restaurants with diverse specialties from the whole region. Some restaurants even serve meat from magical beasts. Apparently eating some is beneficial for cultivation. But the prices are… restrictive. I was still able to try one last year at the Shu family annual meeting, hihi.
There you will find specialized shops for every profession related to martial arts. Those shops are regulated by the sect and supervised by sect elders. Experts will be in charge of valuing and certifying anything up for sale.
But that's not all, there are also auction houses with weekly and monthly events. Those always garner a lot of attention." Lan Ruoxi kept on talking as the two pasts next to the shops.
Han Lingyun pointed at a particular looking building which boasted a lot of traffic and with no sign at the front to indicate it's use. "Is this a restaurant?"
Lan Ruoxi grimaced. "It's a brothel. Only those above 16 are allowed inside."
"Oh, it's really like a small town." Han Lingyun joked.
As the two moved on, Han Lingyun noticed that most of the people around here were 3rd years disciples or older.
"Those who can afford the average goods at the high market are the older disciples but the official shops still have things for everyone, with a portion of the merchandise reserved for younger disciples." Lan Ruoxi explained.
It was an eyeful for Han Lingyun. They passed shops specialized in swords, lances and spears, sabers, daggers, shops selling pills for cultivation, shops selling ingredients for alchemy, shops selling talismans and the materials to make them, shops selling array materials, shops that sold food for magical beasts and shops Han Lingyun had no idea what they sold or were used for.
Finally, they arrived at the end of the road, in front of the largest and tallest pagoda of the whole market road.
Lan Ruoxi presented the place. "And this is the thousand treasure pavilion. It hosts by far the largest number of magic treasures. You can also find some super valuable pills or very rare medicines inside."
"Aren't they taking on the business of others if they sell these materials?" Han Lingyun asked.
"It's not really like this. When the sect was first founded, there was only the thousand treasure pavilion. The sect later decided it was best to avoid a monopoly and giving too much power to those supervising the pavilion. So historically, the specialized shops are the new competition. Also, prices tend to be a bit lower at the specialized shops, especially if you want to buy materials in bulk.
Let's say for example you want to buy herbs for pills, you would first go to the pill pavilions before coming here to try your luck if you miss a specific or rare ingredient. In addition, if you are trying to find a treasure sword, I recommend you visit the White sword pavilion first, then come at the Thousand Treasure pavilion. And you won't find any basic materials here.
But there are a lot of unique weapons sold at the Thousand Treasure pavilion, so it's always good to check out the possibilities and see if something might fit your style. Apparently, the thousand treasure pavilion also has a bigger market share of the very high-end goods, stuff that Elders want to exchange. But at our level, we only have access to the 1st floor. Want to take a peek inside?"
"Yes, I can't wait." Han Lingyun excitedly nodded.
As they passed the entrance, a young man greeted them.
"Good afternoon, if you are searching for anything in particular, I could be your guide." He smiled.
Lan Ruoxi shook her head. "We are not buying anything, just taking a quick look. Is that okay?"
He stepped aside. "Yes, but please don't bother any customers. And don't take too long."
"Thank you, sir, we will be quick." Lan Ruoxi bowed.
Lan Ruoxi and Han Lingyun made their way in the alleyways, roughly categorized by types of magical weapons, which were displayed at arm's length. Faint golden symbols rotated around the magic treasures: those were sealing formations to prevent any theft. An alarm would sound if someone tried to snatch a treasure, which wasn't a very bright idea with the core formation elders stationed at the higher floors. Not to mention, snatching a treasure was already no small feat, with the level of arrays used as protection for the treasures!
The magic treasures came in all sorts of forms, ranging from the classic treasure sword, to magic fans, discs, high-speed flying carriages, armor, protective talismans, gourds, maces, zithers, shields, magic chainmail, a glowing blue flower, whips and more. The Thousand Treasure pavilion was well named!
All those treasures had one common point: a price in the thousands of Ps!
Han Lingyun whispered. "Can you afford any of this?"
"Not really. I could save up for the lower prices with some work though. I got my flying sword from the sword pavilion too. Ah but there should still be a corner for young disciples. Let's find it." Lan Ruoxi suddenly turned around.
Han Lingyun followed her again. No wonder a guide attended for every customer; it was a real maze!
After a bit of searching, the pair found an alley with a couple young disciples looking around. Prices on the shelves included an age restriction. The magic treasures in that section were more basic but more affordable. Han Lingyun was interested by a very long and super thin thread between two handles. The thread could withstand great pressures without breaking: it seemed like the ideal component of a devious trap! The price was 500 Ps though. Han Lingyun still noted it down. This sort of treasure could prove quite useful.
Lan Ruoxi saw him taking a pause. "Does this thread interest you?"
"Yes, I feel it could be a good side weapon. Imagine for example a situation in the forest, where I'm pursued by magic beasts or stronger cultivators with bad intentions, I could lead them to the threads I positioned beforehand as a trap." Han Lingyun described.
"Hum, that's a very specific situation. Most of the time, combat is messy and never goes as planned." Lan Ruoxi objected.
"It could also be a defensive trap I install if I need to rest, recuperate or work on something. Or I could also learn to use it during direct combat, like it seemed to be originally intended. I think this thread is quite versatile." Han Lingyun explained his idea.
"Indeed, seen like this it's not such a bad pick. But if it's still not being bought with a price at the lower end of the spectrum that's because it's hard to use in actual combat. A beginner is more likely to hurt himself with such a weapon." Lan Ruoxi reminded him.
"I think I could handle it." Han Lingyun smiled confidently.
"Well, if you were hoping for me to make you a gift, I'm sorry to disappoint minor Lingyun. After buying my new sword, I don't have much left." Lan Ruoxi smiled self-depreciatingly.
"Don't worry miss Lan, if that thread is still here in a year's time, I'll buy it myself." Han Lingyun reassured.
The minor and major pair left the Thousand Treasure pavilion after looking around a bit further. Han Lingyun was truly amazed by the diversity of the treasures. Apparently, cultivators mostly use commonly seen types of magic treasures but they also like to keep trump cards with more unorthodox treasures to get their opponent by surprise at a crucial moment. He also learned that the cultivation world is more diverse than Han Lingyun could ever imagine. He guessed that the sect was deliberately presenting magic treasures, like ziphers, that weren't used in the sect to widen the disciples' horizons and be more prepared when facing cultivators from other sects or parts of the world, preferring those quirky methods.
"Do you have anything in particular you want to visit, minor Lingyun?"
Han Lingyun thought for a moment. "O right, is the array pavilion on the market street? I met elder Wen at the disciple selection and he offered me to come when I want to pay him a visit."
Lan Ruoxi looked dazed. "I'm amazed at your networking talent; you must have a grade 8 networking talent or something! How is that even possible? An elder of the array pavilion inviting you during disciple selections? Why is life so unfair?"
Han Lingyun pursed his lips. "So can we visit?"
Lan Ruoxi looked at him strangely. "Yes! Of course we go!"
The array pavilion was a lot calmer than the bursting street and the thousand treasure pavilion. Array and formation experts were not that common after all. Han Lingyun and Lan Ruoxi made their way to the counter, where their heads were not even reaching the edge. A young bony man in his twenties was looking down at the two young disciples intriguingly.
"Excuse me sir, is Elder Wen available? I am disciple Han Lingyun. Elder Wen told me to visit him if I could."
The bony man frowned. "I'll go check upstairs. You better not be playing a little game, young ones."
Han Lingyun and Lan Ruoxi patiently waited.
Soon the bony man came back, looking slightly bewildered. "Both of you, follow me." He led them to a fine room with a balcony looking down on an inner garden.
As the two children were looking around, elder Wen entered with a laugh. "If it isn't our little math genius? Disciple Han Lingyun, what brings you here?"