Lei Weimin and Han Lingyun landed in front of the market road's gate, still as crowded as ever.
They both went their separate ways, having established a meeting point 2 hours later.
Han Lingyun went straight to the Thousand Treasure Pavilion, at the far end of the road. As he entered the majestic pavilion, a coquettish female disciple stepped forward. "How may I help you little one?"
Han Lingyun bowed to show his respect. "Hello senior, I was hoping to buy a treasure that I spotted one month ago in the section for young disciples."
The female disciple led the way. "You might be disappointed young man; those cheaper treasures tend to be bought out and renewed fairly quickly."
Han Lingyun started to get a bit tense but he soon realized that he could always get something else and that it wasn't too critical. He still breathed out a sigh of relief when he spotted the familiar thread treasure.
"That's the one! Oh, and it's down to 500 Ps now!"
The coquettish disciple examined the thread with curiosity. "No wonder the price was lowered, we tend to have too much of these low-end treasures in our vaults. Disciples often sell them to us if they picked up one during missions."
"This thread treasure is suitable for body strengthening disciples only and doesn't need any qi to use. However, it should be a tricky one to handle." She commented.
"If you have made up your mind on this one, please place your badge on the price label."
Han Lingyun did just that. He had already made up his mind.
She smiled brightly. "Thank you for your purchase. I recommend you look at the other treasures in this aisle. Half of those would be suitable for young body strengthening disciples like you."
They took another half hour to examine some of the treasures the female disciple recommended. She was very polite and was never becoming insistent or irritated after Han Lingyun only listened carefully without buying. He found it quite helpful to get to know how all these diverse types of treasures were best used. In truth, the advice was already priced in the purchase.
Han Lingyun left quite content from the Thousand Treasure Pavilion, with his thread warped up in a new durable bag hanging around his waist. He had to cough up 50 more Ps for that one but it was necessary to buy something quite durable to carry his stuff around.
Han Lingyun tried to ask for directions but everyone walking on market road seemed to be hurrying around. He walked back down and stopped at a rather empty stall, with a bored owner, which suddenly put on a smile as he thought a new customer was approaching.
"Excuse me, do you know if I could find a store specializing in cultivation resources for body strengthening disciples?"
The disciple holding the stand showed his disappointment that it was just someone asking for directions. "Haven't you heard about the Cub's Den? It's the orange building with two statues in front on the east side."
"Thank you for your time." Han Lingyun quickly disappeared into the crowd.
The orange building looked out of place. When Han Lingyun stood in front, he started to wonder if the disciple hadn't played a joke on him. There were indeed two statues of young heroic disciples, but they were holding a huge sign that read in capital letters: FORBIDDEN FOR DOGS AND ANYONE OLDER THAN 11. It didn't cost anything to enter though. But could the owner be into young disciples or something?
What Han Lingyun didn't know at the time was that this shop was owned by a certain elder Guguai, a very eccentric one. It was rumored that he was one of the most powerful elders. However, he always did things that seemed a bit bizarre to others. His decision to open a shop was no exception. Even more unusual for someone at his level, he didn't hire any employees and took the job of running the store himself.
Elder Guguai also exclusively sold highly expensive goods for low level body strengthening disciples. In fact, another of his traits was his elitist ideals. It just so happened that the sect wasn't really on the same page when it came to the distribution of resources to new disciples as it was established that they should obtain resources by their own means to prove themselves and grow a good mentality for the future.
This meant that those young disciples would not be able to purchase any of his goods on their own.
There also wasn't a clan like culture or a widespread idea of elders sponsoring young disciples they favored. The older cultivators that were still at the body strengthening stage were also banned from entering.
This all meant that Elder Guguai had virtually no clients. It wasn't rare for an entire day to pass by without anyone buying from his store.
Only a dozen or so 2nd years occasionally saved up for a purchase but the store would also attract the wealthiest 1st years before the end of their year, when they had accumulated enough. Some also received a helping hand from their major and older members of the family.
The disciple that had referred Han Lingyun to this store indeed had the idea of playing a little trick on him because he was quite upset of his own situation, not realizing Han Lingyun could be a potential customer.
Han Lingyun glanced around at the glowing herbs and pure white pills carefully displayed in expensive translucent cases of some sort. He suddenly felt a burning gaze piercing his neck.
Han Lingyun turned around to see a hawkeyed old man squinting at him. Han Lingyun bowed stiffly and even had the impulse to just run out of this unwelcoming shop. The old man seemed to lose his interest and closed his eyes again.
Han Lingyun felt the pressure come back down and approached the pills to take a closer look. At least their exterior appearances hinted at something incredible.
Pristine Lunar Pill
For female only. Increases the talent by 5% by bathing the qi pathways under the radiance of Europa. Has a very small chance to increase one's talent by 1 grade.
Only works if consumed at the body strengthening realm.
Price: 30 000 Ps.
Han Lingyun gasped when he read the description and price. In the Sun Empire, Europa and Calypso were the names given to the two moons orbiting around the planet.
To come back to the pill, Han Lingyun first wondered if this wasn't just a scam. How could a pill increase talent? This would help a disciple all the way to the core formation realm! But the price was absurd! Han Lingyun thought he had accidently landed on the store's prize possession.
The elder let out a cold snort, as if he had just read Han Lingyun's musings.
Han Lingyun looked at a second pill. This one was multicolored in appearance.
Fallen Rainbow Pill.
Contains a great concentration of qi that deeply cleans the body. If consumed at the early stages of body strengthening, will increase drastically the process of absorbing trace amounts of qi. A Cultivator can directly breakthrough to the next level of body strengthening. Is Best used when cultivator has reached the peak of body strengthening to wash the body one more time.
Caution: should only consume this pill once.
Price: 10 000 Ps.
Shocked, he turned to a bright red one.
Blood Soul Pill.
Can heal a body strengthening cultivator with nearly no blood left, regrow severed limbs and internal organs. All this in a couple of seconds.
Caution: do not consume lightly! The pill's violent effect might bring important side effects. In rare and severe cases side effects can include a loss of a cultivation level or a decrease of talent.
Price 20 000 Ps.
Happy Tongue Pill.
Turns the one having ingested the pill into a very cooperative friend. Turns down any inhibitions in the mind for 2 hours.
Only functions on qi condensation cultivators or less.
Caution: Might result in some brain damage and/or soul damage. The one having consumed the pill may act vulgar and should be restrained beforehand.
Price: 5000 Ps.
100-Year-Old Fire Lily.
True name: Cyrtanthus huo ventricosus.
Effect: Gain a level 1 fire affinity.
Consume in a cold bath or very cold environment.
Price: 30 000 Ps.
Heartless poison pill.
Melts in a cup of water. Poison is odorless and invisible.
Stops the drinker's heart after one hour. Traces of the poison are undetectable by anyone under the Core formation stage.
Price:20 000 Ps.
Supreme Condensation pellet.
99% chance of achieving a perfect condensation when consuming this pellet.
Caution: Can only be consumed at the peak of body strengthening.
Price: 10 000 Ps.
Bright Soul Pill.
Increases the strength of the soul.
Caution: Can only be consumed once.
Price: 100 000 Ps.
In fact, Han Lingyun soon realized to his shock that every pill or herb had miracle effects. But the prices…
Incredibly, he found a use for his promised Ps way earlier than expected.
It was at this point that he realized that there was a problem with the sect and teacher Xian's narrative about not being able to greatly help disciple at their level. If the sect wanted to, they could definitely turn a couple of the best 1st years into monsters with affinities in all elements, a superhuman foundation and even increase their talent. So why were they not doing it?
Han Lingyun faced the closed eye elder once again.
"Please Elder, can you explain why the sect doesn't provide these kinds of pills to the grade 5 talents or the most promising disciples? I don't believe that it is only to shape our mentality, nor that the sect is lacking in resources."
Elder Guguai opened his eyes again and let out a dry laugh. "Hehehe. I'll tell you why they won't. They don't want to invest too much into disciples that would probably leave the sect when they turn 16, that's why!"