NETS - Chapter 3 - Landslide

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Flush with the success of crafting a top-grade charm, Lu Ping was excited to continue. For the following month, he attempted to create another top-grade charm but only succeeded twice. However, he did see a huge increase in the success rate for crafting high and mid-grade charms.

On the last day of the month, early in the morning, Lu Ping carried the bag filled with charms and left the side hall, heading for the market.

As the side hall competition was coming soon, the market also turned extraordinarily vibrant and lively. There were even several strong cultivators flying across the market in the sky above, drawing envious eyes from the crowd. 

Lu Ping paid one spirit stone as a fee to the market and found a place to set up his stall. He wore the mask distributed to him by the market’s managing cultivator and opened up his bag. 

Inside of the bag, there were 36 low-grade charms, 36 mid-grade charms, and on the topmost space were six high-grade charms. The high-grade charms were mostly charms infused with supportive spells. After all, why would Lu Ping be willing to take out and sell high-grade charms enchanted with powerful offensive or defensive spells?

The charms immediately caught the crowd’s attention after he revealed them and soon, a cultivator wearing green robes came up and asked for the charms’ selling price.

“One spirit stone for three low-grade charms or one mid-grade charm, and three spirit stones for one high-grade charm,” Lu Ping changed his voice and answered coldly.

A middle-aged cultivator he met in the market who also engaged in charm-crafting and trading business suddenly went missing one day, and ever since then, Lu Ping was extremely cautious when trading in the market.

The aforementioned cultivator was incredibly good at crafting charms and was an Eighth Layer Blood Refining Realm cultivator. His name was widely known among cultivators and he had guided Lu Ping in charm-crafting before as well. 

However, one day, he somehow succeeded in crafting a top-grade charm and let slip his achievement to the public. After that day, Lu Ping never saw him anymore. His family and friends searched everywhere but couldn’t find him at all, not even his body.

In comparison, Lu Ping was only a Seventh Layer Blood Refining Realm cultivator but now surpassed the missing cultivator in charm-crafting. Hence, it was only natural that he prioritized his safety more than anything else.

The cultivator in green robes smiled bitterly and said, “My fellow friend, aren’t they a bit too expensive?”

Lu Ping maintained the same tone in his voice, “They are stronger than other charms of the same grade.”

The cultivator picked up one of the mid-grade charms, sensing the spiritual energy inside, and said, “Indeed.” 

After that, he seemingly wanted to continue speaking, but after seeing Lu Ping’s unflinching stance, he shook his head and said, “One each for the mid-grade Golden Steel Charm, Golden Sword Charm, and Swift Wind Charm. Three each of those same charms but in low-grade form.”

“Total of six low-grade spirit stones.” Lu Ping was happy to receive his first sale of the day but remained ostensibly cold and unmoving as he spoke.

The cultivator unwillingly handed him six spirit stones and took the twelve charms from Lu Ping. Just as he was about to turn and leave, he suddenly turned back, gritted his teeth and said, “This, I want this high-grade Ice Spike Charm! Aish, now I’ve spent all my spirit stones from the sect this month on your charms!”

He was prepared to spend it all.

Lu Ping was even happier when he saw the nine spirit stones in his hands.

It was as if the green-robed cultivator’s actions had sparked a chain reaction in the market—a few more cultivators approached his stall and bought charms from him. Lu Ping’s happiness grew with every sale, but the entire time, he still upheld a cold and unfriendly manner on the surface.

Some of his customers were side hall disciples that he recognized, including First Senior Martial Brother Yao Yong and Fourth Senior Martial Sister Shi Lingling from Lu Ping’s Group 7. Both of them bought a high-grade charm, four mid-grade charms, and a few more low-grade charms for themselves. 

One must say, Lu Ping was surprised to see them pulling out such a huge amount of spirit stones just to buy some charms. He initially thought that the sect’s treatment of him was already good enough, but now it seemed the sect was even more generous to the Eighth and Ninth Layer disciples. Not to mention, those two were rumored to be from good and wealthy families, unlike Lu Ping who was just a commoner. 

Before noon had arrived, Lu Ping had already earned 66 low-grade spirit stones. It was an amount he’d never owned before in his entire life. Lu Ping used 10 spirit stones to buy materials, such as charm papers and spirit inks used for charm-crafting, and planned to spend the rest in preparation for the side hall competition.

Lu Ping came to a pavilion known as the Multi-Treasure Pavilion, located in the center of the market. It was a place he had never been before, simply because he couldn’t afford anything in it!

The cheapest item sold there was a low-grade mystic instrument that only Late Blood Refining Realm cultivators could wield, but only just barely. Normally, the major targeted customers of the Multi-Treasure Pavilion were the Blood Condensation Realm cultivators.

Lu Ping was perturbed when he entered the Multi-Treasure Pavillion when an old man welcomed him with a warm smile. “Welcome, little friend, to our Multi-Treasure Pavilion, may I ask what you might need?”

Lu Ping calmed himself and bowed to the old man, replying politely, “Greetings to the senior. I’m looking for an offensive mystic instrument. It’s my first time visiting and as I have no clue how things work here, I hope that Senior can guide me.”

It wasn’t because of immaturity that he exposed his inexperience to the old man. The truth was, he really had no idea how to navigate through selecting the best mystic instrument for himself.

Furthermore, after considering the reputation of the Multi-Treasure Pavilion that could even reach the ears of a tiny cultivator like him, he decided to ask for the old man’s help right from the start. 

After all, to act like he knew everything when he actually didn’t know a thing would only irritate the old man, and he would still be the one to suffer in the end.

The old man heard him and smiled. Clearly, he was quite satisfied with Lu Ping’s attitude. He said, “This way, please!”

Lu Ping followed the old man to a corner on the first floor where many low-grade mystic instruments were put up for sale. The old man picked out three of them; a sword, a stamp seal, and a fan. He said, “These three are quite good among the low-grade mystic instruments.” 

Then, he looked at Lu Ping and continued, “Little friend, your foundation is solid. You won’t have a problem running out of arcane energy when using these three mystic instruments, unlike the other Seventh Layer Blood Refining Realm cultivators.”

At that moment, when the old man’s eyes looked upon Lu Ping, he felt a chill running down his spine. It was as if the old man had seen through all of his deepest secrets. 

Can this be the Blood Condensation Realm’s divine sense? 

Lu Ping grew even more careful and he answered respectfully, “Please enlighten me, Senior!”

The old man nodded and said, “En. This sword is named “Flash Lightning”, weakest in power but fastest in speed. It can change form and style quickly and requires the least amount of arcane energy to wield among the three. This stamp seal is named “Landslide”. It is strongest in power, but also costs the greatest amount of arcane energy.”

Then, he looked Lu Ping in the eye again and said, “But with your level of arcane energy, you can still wield it. As for the third mystic instrument, this is called the “Fire Fan”. When swung, it can blast out a wave of spirit fire as an attack. Its level of power falls between the other two. So little friend, among the three, which one do you like more?”

Lu Ping thought, To begin with, I can barely wield any mystic instruments, so I don’t need to care if it can change form and style quickly. All I need is something to crush my opponent in one go. So it won’t be the sword nor the fan, the mountain-shaped stamp seal will suffice.

While he was contemplating, the old man observed him. When he saw Lu Ping coming back from his own thoughts, he immediately knew the younger man had made a decision. He asked, “Which is it?”

Lu Ping replied, “Thank you for your guidance, Senior. I’ve already decided. I want the “Landslide”. May I ask how much it costs?”

The old man slowly stroked his beard and answered with a smile, “Little friend, you have good eyes. This “Landslide” will suffice for you even until mid-stage Blood Condensation Realm. Little friend, since this is your first time doing business with me, I’ll make an exception for you. I’ll give you a ten percent discount and sell it for 45 spirit stones.”

Lu Ping froze for a moment. Although it was his first time buying a mystic instrument, that didn’t mean he was ignorant of their value. An ordinary low-grade mystic instrument would roughly cost 30 spirit stones. It was the first time Lu Ping had heard of a low-grade mystic instrument worth 50 spirit stones. 

However, he looked at the old man’s demeanor and recalled the reputation of the Multi-Treasure Pavilion among other cultivators. Gritting his teeth, he said, “Deal!”

RD's Notes:

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  • Written by SleepingAutumn. Translated by RD. Edited by Milkbiscuit.