Ascending The Heavens Chapter 7: Exchange

Proofers/Editors: nick0

 

As Zhang and Cai Cao were about to leave the counter where one paid five thousand contributions points to gain access to “The Graveyard” the young man who was helping them called them back.

 

“Hey you two, I’m not supposed to do this but sometimes people enter “The Graveyard” and come back with small hand drawn maps which are collected by the sect. I’m supposed to take a hundred contribution points for this but I’m going to let you have it for free.” The young man said as he reached his hand out with a rolled up scroll in it.

 

“Many thanks, fellow disciple.” Cai Cao replied as he took the map in the man’s hands.

 

After obtaining the map, Zhang and Cai Cao got in line to exchange points for weapons. Afterward they wanted to trade for pills and cultivation manuals.

 

For cultivators a weapon could mean the difference between life or death so for now it was their priority to obtain good weapons. Cai Cao has his concealed weapons but they were just regular needles that he focused his essence into, if he met someone with a fragment realm weapon then their power would be reduced to half.

 

Behind the weapons counter Zhang could see hundreds of different weapons lined up on the shelves. Unlike the previous counter, at the weapons counter one only had to pay an admission fee to be allowed into the storeroom behind the counter. Once in the store room can everyone select one weapon of their choice. If they decide to take more than one weapon, then they must go back in line and pay for entry once more. This was because the sect did not want people to horde all of the good weapons in one visit. Since the lines for the weapon counter was usually long and not many people wanted to wait, people normally left with only one weapon.

 

Once Zhang and Cai Cao reached the counter, Zhang handed his tally pendant to a young woman manning the counter. “Entry for two please.” He said once she took his pendant and scanned it in front of a jade tablet on the side of the counter.

 

“A thousand points a person. One weapon each, if you want more than one weapon then you have to get back in line. If you have any questions, there will be some weapon experts in the storeroom to assist you.” The young woman said as she handed Zhang’s tally pendant back and allowed them behind the counter.

 

The counter was fairly small the storeroom that it opened up into could only be described as gigantic. Only a small section of the storeroom was visible from the counter so Zhang had no idea that it was so big. Tens of thousands of weapons lined the walls as piles of them were lying about on the ground. Regular weapons, fragment realm weapons, elementary realm weapons and maybe even profound realm weapons were everywhere.

 

Although there were profound realm weapons laying around it did not mean that everyone who entered the store room would choose them. The higher tier a weapon was the harder it was to handle them, the higher the consumption rate would be for using techniques with them. It was said that the enlightened realm weapons possessed a hint of consciousness inside of them, which made it so not just anyone was able to use them. The same went for weapons of a higher realm than the enlightened realm, it was even told in legends that ascended realm weapons could even turn into living beings, but of course weapons of such a realm was only a thing of legend.

 

In the end most of those who enter the storeroom generally select weapons of the same realm or only weapons they find themselves capable of using. Of course there have been idiots who choose to bite more than they could chew and end up killed in battle.

 

After entering the storeroom Zhang and Cai Cao kept wandering around without spotting anything that appealed to them. When in the army Zhang had been trained to mainly use the long sword so he was looking for one but so far he only spotted short swords and a variety of other weapons.

 

They walked around until something caught Zhang’s eye. A pitch black hilt was sticking out of a pile of weapons in the middle of the storeroom. Walking up to the pile and gripping his hand around the hilt, Zhang pulled up a pitch black longsword. He noticed dozens of inscriptions written on the blade of the sword as he held it up.

 

“Brother Cai do you know what these inscriptions mean?” Zhang asked.

 

“Hmmm usually only flying swords have inscriptions on them, from my knowledge flying swords are weapons at the profound realm and are only given to inner sect disciples. We couldn’t get our hands on one unless we were inner sect disciples.” Cai Cao replied.

 

“You got a good set of eyes on you lad.” A voice rang out behind Zhang and Cai Cao.

 

Looking back, they saw an elderly man with a head of white hair, drooping eyebrows and with a cane in hand behind them.

 

“Greetings senior.” Zhang and Cai Cao said in unison.

 

“You're right that indeed is a flying sword, or well it should have been a flying sword but it is a defective one. That is why it was placed in the storeroom despite being a flying sword. Although it’s not as strong as a regular flying sword nor can it fly, the blade is rather sharp and it is slightly better than any fragment realm weapon you can find in here. You’re lucky to have spotted this because it was only dropped off today, except if you do not choose to take it, will the sword be gone by the end of today. Not very often do such things show up here.” The elderly man said with a friendly smile.

 

“Many thanks senior for the information. I think I’ll be taking this sword.” Zhang said with a smile.

 

“If you don’t like it you're free to come back and exchange it for something else.” The elderly man said with a grin and walked off.

 

After the elderly man walked off Zhang and Cai Cao resumed browsing the various weapons once more to select a weapon for Cai Cao.

 

As the elderly man walked off a voice suddenly resounded into his mind. “Elder Liu why did you give him a flying sword? You know those are only meant for chosen inner sect disciples don’t you?” A voice said in the elderly man’s head.

 

“Elder Qin, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just happened to drop a flying sword into the storeroom and he happened upon it. Had someone else found it then they could have taken it for themselves. Also that sword is sealed and won’t work properly for a while.” The elderly man who turned out to be the inner sect elder, Elder Liu thought in reply to the voice before exiting the weapon exchange storeroom.

 

While Elder Liu disappeared, Cai Cao and Zhang had found a very interesting weapon.

“This looks more like a belt then a weapon don’t you think?” Zhang said as he held up something that resembled a belt.

 

“You’ve never seen a belt sword before?” Cai Cao said with a smile as he took the belt from Zhang’s hand. Moments later he withdrew an extremely thin and flexible sword from the belt like sheath.

 

“This is a type of concealed weapon. I think I’ll be taking this.” Cai Cao added as he looked at Zhang who had glittering eyes.

 

With weapons selected the duo departed the weapon exchange counter and headed for the line to exchange for pills. Unlike the line of people waiting to enter the weapon storeroom, the line for the pill exchange was twice as long.

 

There was a wide variety of pills and people could exchange for as many as they liked which prompted for a longer line.  Also the fact that many people who went on missions for the sect to acquire contributions often got injured on the job, so they needed to prepare for pills before going on missions.

 

“How may I help you?” A young lady who worked at one of the pill exchange counters asked Zhang and Cai Cao.

 

“Elder sister, we are new to the sect, would it be possible for you to tell us what pills we can exchange for?” Zhang asked.

 

“Sure, but I think it would be best if you look over the pill guide book instead.” The young lady said as she handed Zhang a thin book.

 

“Just look over the book over there and tell me when you’re ready. I’ll help you as soon as I finish up on whoever I was helping.” She added.

 

Walking to the side of the counter and flipping through the thin book, Zhang saw dozens of descriptions of various pills along with the exchange rate.

 

“Essence supplement pill, one hundred contribution points. Minor replenishment pill, fifty contribution points. Cosmetic pill, on thousand contribution points.” Zhang read off of the book. Of all of the pills the cosmetic pill was the most expensive.

 

“I bet if I gave this to a girl I’d be able to win her heart.” Zhang thought with a grin.

 

“Let me have a look. I’ve learned a bit about pill concocting from my father.” Cai Cao said.

 

After scanning the book Cai Cao told Zhang to exchange for minor healing pills, minor replenishment pills, fasting pills, and essence supplement pills. He said that it was possible to combine the minor healing and replenishment pills together to increase their respective effects and potency. The essence pills could be reworked to essence strengthening pills and as for the fasting pills, they might need a few if they plan on exploring “The Graveyard.”  This was because finding food might be an issue if they happen upon danger.

 

So after waiting for the young lady to finish helping a chubby young man, Zhang exchanged for two hundred minor healing and minor replenishment pills, along with forty fasting pills and lastly fifty essence supplement pills to the amazement of the young lady working at the counter. Usually people only exchanged for a few dozen pills at a time, but this pair of young men had exchanged for hundreds which was fairly odd.

 

With pills and weapons scratched off their list the duo then waited in the line to exchange for cultivation manuals. Much like the weapon storeroom, one can only take out a single cultivation manual at a time. But unlike the weapon storeroom, you had to return the manual or extend the checkout date every few months depending on the popularity of the book.

 

Upon paying an entry fee and rental fee of two hundred contribution points each, Zhang and Cai Cao were allowed entrance into the outer sect library where all of the cultivation manuals of the outer sect were stored. The library was three floors tall and housed thousands of different cultivation techniques and skills.

Once inside Zhang spotted a line of people.

 

“Brother can you tell me what this line is for?” Zhang asked a young man at the end of the line.

 

“We are all waiting to test and see what elements we are have a higher affinity with. Since it’s counterproductive to try and master skills that are related to elements that you have a low affinity for.” The young man replied.

 

“Ah is that so thank you fellow disciple. Brother Cai do you happen to know what element you have high affinity with?” Zhang asked Cai Cao who was beside him after thanking the young man.

 

“I have a high affinity with wind magic and water magic. “Cai Cao replied with in a proud tone.

 

“Hmm then how about you go look for a cultivation book while I wait to see my affinity.” Zhang suggested.

 

Thus the two parted ways as Cai Cao went to hunt down a suitable cultivation skill, while Zhang stood in line to find out what element he has a high affinity with.

 

When it was finally his turn to take the affinity test he arrived in front of the elder in charge of the library, a middle aged man with eyes that seemed to contain a vast amount of knowledge. Perhaps even the meaning of life is somewhat in those eyes.

 

“Place a drop of your blood on the affinity crystal and I’ll be able to figure out what element you have a high affinity with.” The elder said.

 

Partially drawing out the black sword that he had exchanged for at the weapons exchange counter, Zhang made a tiny cut on his finger. As Zhang draw the sword a glint appeared in the elder’s eye but he did not say a word and remained silent. Soon a drop of Zhang’s blood dripped onto the affinity crystal causing it to glow a bright red.

 

“You have a one hundred percent affinity with the element of fire and a decent affinity with water.” The elder said, although he seemed not amazed at all, a few voices soon broke up behind Zhang.

 

“One hundred percent affinity with fire? That means that he's  bound to be a genius in regard to fire techniques! To top that off he even has affinity with water magic?!” A few people broke out in conversation.

 

“Now that I think about it, father often told me tales about how our ancestor was some sort of manipulator of fire. Although I thought those were just made up stories, perhaps there is a hint of truth to them. Also how one of his wives, my great great great great great great great great great great great grandmother was able to bend water or something. Then there was something about how the ancestor left for a new land and a few people decided to stay behind.” Zhang thought with a shrug as he headed off to look for a fire cultivation skill.

 

Scanning through the aisles of books he did not know where to even start. There were simply too many books and no clear indication of difficulty. He knew his channels were too weak to learn powerful skills because the consumption rate of such skills were too high, but he did not know where the weaker skills were placed in the library.

 

“Guess I’ll go look for brother Cai and ask him to help me…”

 

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