Han Lingyun put the mission to the back of his mind. He first went to the Mission Hall and paid another 20Ps for a mission to contact one of his "big brothers" if they were available.
Sadly, neither Zhang Fang nor Lei Weimin was in the sect at the moment. Han Lingyun decided to try his luck with a mission for 2nd years to ask for Lan Ruoxi. She would be able to guide him with the process of finding a flying sword too.
This time, Han Lingyun was in luck with Lan Ruoxi and she fixed a rendezvous through the mission. It was quite practical that the one taking the mission could send a report through his badge once the mission was completed. That was Han Lingyun's go-to method to communicate. What was infuriating Han Lingyun was that this meant that the badges were capable to serve as telephones with their arrays but the sect hadn't integrated that functionality for disciples.
Lan Ruoxi, in a jovial mood like always landed next to Han Lingyun. "What is it my little minor?"
Han Linyun raised his chin to the sky. "Hehe have a guess."
Lan Ruoxi circled around the statue Han Lingyun, inspecting every detail. "Is it something to do with Elder Wen?"
Han Lingyun showed his muscles. "Not this time hehe. I have reached qi condensation!"
"No way! That fast?" Lan Ruoxi put both her hands on her gaping mouth.
"If you were in my year, I think you would have been the first!" She hugged her minor. "I'm so proud of you! But wait, I was looking forward to catching up with Zhang Fang but doesn't that mean you'll catch up with me beforehand.?"
"Hehe, you should be careful major, I'm coming." Han Lingyun said half-jokingly.
"So, are you going to purchase a flying treasure?"
"That's why I needed your help to get to market road."
"All right let's go then, I want to see you struggle with your treasure, that will teach you from criticizing my handling."
The pair landed at the front gates and Lan Ruoxi led her minor to the White Sword Pavilion.
She pointed at the white jaded entrance. "That's where I chose my flying treasure; I recommend a flying sword as it could also be used as a weapon at short and long range."
They entered and Han Lingyun began examining the flying swords for qi cultivators. Every flying object had to be inscribed by special with a mixture of attributes combined together. To simplify, the building blocks could be concepts like "wind", "fly", "speed", "precisions". The key is in how to combine them that the user only had to circulate his qi in the treasure to experience the desired effect.
The choices here were mostly esthetic. However, some swords were additionally heavier, others had runes that specialized in increasing its sharpness.
Some sword maximized speed at the expense of handling. The difference remained quite marginal though as the base model was considered the optimal sword in terms of speed and handling for qi cultivators.
Those that searched for faster flying treasures or those with special additions often found their happiness at the thousand treasure pavilion.
Han Lingyun mostly wanted a good functional treasure and the sword seemed like a good fit. It's questionable if a faster flying treasure could outrun cultivators at higher cultivation with basic flying treasures. Not to mention, flying swords were already one of the fastest and more agile flying treasures.
For individual uses, the sword trumped all the competition in value for money.
Han Lingyun settled on a dark blue sword, a bit longer than a meter in length, which was on the shorter side for flying treasures.
It boasted an excellent sharpness and durability and was more on the expensive end of the spectrum for qi cultivators flying swords.
The price was still very reasonable though, at only 4000 Ps. Reasonable for Han Lingyun, that is. Perhaps he had become used to the luxury goods from the Cub's Den.
More importantly, Han Lingyun loved the sword's design and felt at ease handling it. This was without joke one of the main factors in his decision. In fact, enjoying one's weapon played an important part in the fluidity with which a cultivator could channel qi into it.
Lan Ruoxi looked wide eyed as Han Lingyun purchased the sword.
"O my, you are so rich! I, I don't think that my account has reached that value yet." She eyed him with a bit more passion than previously. It wasn't that she hadn't earned 4000Ps in a year, but she would always use her Ps nearly as she received them on various resources.
"Ahem miss Lan Ruoxi, the weather is perfect to learn how to fly don't you think?" Han Lingyun hurriedly changed the subject.
Lan Ruoxi indeed already forgot about the price as a new idea flashed through her mind. A faint grin crept her way on her beautiful face. "Yes, it's perfect! Let's go to the 2nd year's place. I'll take you there or you will humiliate yourself at the gate in front of everyone coming and going to market road."
"That sounds like a good idea, are you talking from personal experience major?" Han Lingyun teased.
"Thankfully no, my friend had warned me in advance to not rely on my innate skills to come back from my purchase."
They stopped at an open area near the 2nd years settlements where Han Lingyun put his sword on the ground listening to his major's instructions.
"Now, feel your qi leaving your body through the sword and reconnecting. When you feel the connection clicking in, picture yourself taking off. Then you control the flight with your mind. Concentrate on the natural qi pathways imbedded in the sword and focus on keeping the flow."
Han Lingyun's first problem was to move qi. He soon figured it out though. It helped to picture tiny specks of light moving around following his will. However, he found out that every time he tried to control a strand of qi outside his body in the air, he would lose control of it and it would dissipate.
It was easier to control qi in an object that was in direct contact, just like the sword under his feet.
At some point, he felt as though the sword had been riveted to his feet. He slowly wielded it to go up in the air and the sword followed his will perfectly and he started to hover a couple of meters in the air.
"Wow! You are doing great! I'm amazed."
A sense of pride and jubilation swept up Han Lingyun after receiving his major's compliment as he realized that he was actually doing it! He reflexively started to laugh heartily.
"Haha, I knew I co… AAAAAAAh" *Crash* That was enough for Han Lingyun to lose focus and faceplant in the dirt right in front of Lan Ruoxi.
"Pffffttt. Hahaha, I would pay for this every day. Hahaha." Lan Ruoxi was gasping for air as she grabbed her belly after a good minute.
Han Lingyun slowly stood back up with a vacant look, face full of dirt. To his dismay, he realized than Lan Ruoxi would never let him live down this moment. That sinking feeling soon transformed to a sense of doom. He wouldn't have any face left in future family meetings.
Less than an hour later, Han Lingyun could control his sword around in large arcs, fly forward and move vertically. The feeling of flying around was really something! It was a dream come true. The only downside was that it needed his full concentration for now so he wasn't able to jubilate or to appreciate the moment while in the air. Lan Ruoxi didn't tell him but deep inside she was absolutely stunned: his rate of progress was terrifying. In comparison, it took her at least one week to somewhat reach what Han Lingyun could do in an afternoon. In fact, when she had picked up Han Lingyun at the beginning of the year, she had boasted that she had just picked a flying sword the previous day but that wasn't the case: Lan Ruoxi had been bitterly trying to learn how to use it for the previous week or so. Lan Ruoxi suddenly felt less inclined to laugh at Han Lingyun's earlier mishaps.
After a bit more training, Han Lingyun waved his major goodbye and flew to the 2nd years exchange hall, where he was assigned an empty house. The houses were much more spread out than at the first year's village. There were still 800 houses that dotted the area so Han Lingyun just occupied a house assigned to one of the last ranks: there were more houses than 2nd year disciples.
The excited young disciple then flew back to market road to meet Elder Wen, who was very pleased with Han Lingyun's progress. He provided him with two books: Essential Runes for disciples I and An Introduction to Arrays, with additional pages of practical exercises. For now, Han Lingyun could work on his own and come find Elder Wen if any questions arose.
Han Lingyun also asked Elder Wen if he could get the suite of his martial art without taking on the mandatory mission, to which Elder Wen responded that this mission was for his own good and would help him assimilate better the corresponding martial art.
This was a rare occasion where the sect imposed a disciple to take a mission, as it mainly functioned on volunteering and disciple's need for Ps the rest of the time. Indeed, magical arts where too valuable and couldn't be passed out for nothing. One had to earn his martial art as well.
Han Lingyun finally accepted the idea of finishing that mission.
Now that he had come to terms with it, that mission would be Han Lingyun's next action, he needed a good martial art for the qi condensation realm before doing anything else. Otherwise, he would remain at a severe disadvantage against any other qi condensation cultivators. And so, finishing that mission naturally became his priority.
Han Lingyun thought back to the mission's content.
Martial Art Acquisition Mission.
Mission Rank: D.
Description: Assassinate Lai Chen without anyone detecting you. Mission has to be completed alone. No traces linking to the cultivation world should be found.
Target: Lai Chen is a mortal magnate of the Liu County. 100 body guards are protecting him and his mansion at all times. None are cultivators but they all practice mortal martial arts. 20 are proficient archers. Lai Chen is involved in human trafficking.
Han Lingyun also perceived the direction to follow from his badge to get to the target. It was a very mysterious mechanism that functioned like a compass always pointing to Lai Chen.
'An assassination mission…' Han Lingyun felt a bit unnerved by the idea.
What's more, this one wasn't any random mortal too!
He shouldn't have too much to fear from normal arrows and mortal warriors but it would still be a greater challenge than facing an untrained and unorganized bunch of young body strengthening disciples. The main points would be the infiltration, avoiding the attention of a hundred warriors, kill the target and disappear before alerting anyone.
Han Lingyun didn't wait any longer and departed with his flying sword in the direction his badge pointed to.