Chapter 16 – Little Princess
The young girl in a simple dress completely paid no attention to the surrounding gazes as she stretched out her hand to pick up an Earthshield Talisman and studied it for a moment, then a trace of bewilderment arose within her starry eyes. Obviously, she was unable to recognize the structure of the talisman markings on the top of the talisman.
So strange! The markings on this talisman are smooth and natural, its ink marks are symmetrical and lustrous, the brush technique is even precise and agile, and has arrived at an extremely high standard. How could this possibly be a fraudulent work?”
Dense curiosity arose in the heart of the young girl in a simple dress, and she said in a clear voice. “Boss, do you mind if I try the might of this talisman?”
Zhang Dayong was startled, then sighed. “Miss, you don’t have to try. I’ve managed this small store for 30 years, and have handled countless talismans. How could I be unable to identify the genuineness of an Earthshield Talisman? Even you’ve seen it. The structure of the talisman markings on these Earthshield Talismans are completely wrong, there’s no use in trying it.”
“Exactly! Exactly! Uncle Zhang is surely correct. The talismans this fellow Chen Xi crafted today is absolutely a scam. There’s no point in trying it.”
The surrounding talisman crafting disciples agreed in unison. Their identities were lowly, and they had never come into close contact with such a beautiful young girl, thus they naturally firmly grasped all opportunities to please her.
“How would you know its genuineness without trying?” The young girl in a simple dress lightly smiled, like a lotus bud blooming after the rain, beautiful and refined. As she spoke, she’d already arrived at an empty space and with a swing of her white hand, a pure and thick strand of True Essence poured into the talisman paper.
A shocking scene appeared, the talisman suddenly transformed into a dense earthen yellow gentle light that ceaselessly roiled, then condensed into an enormous shield that was like the shape of a turtle. Bright lights coiled around it as it emitted a thick and solid aura.
The indifference in the gazes of everyone instantly transformed into disbelief, and their appearances were as if they’d seen a ghost.
Zhang Dayong couldn’t help but be extremely astounded, it’s actually really an Earthshield Talisman? Could it be that I was mistaken earlier?
As if the guess in her heart obtained affirmation, the eyes of the young girl in a simple dress abruptly shone, and without hesitation, her left hand was covered fully by thick True Essence before fiercely slapping her hand onto the turtle shaped shield.
A loud clunk sounded out and a burst of violent fluctuating ripples appeared on the surface of the turtle shaped shield, and it quickly recovered to its previous state.
If it was an ordinary Earthshield Talisman, it would be utterly unable to withstand 10% of my strength, this strange Earthshield Talisman was formidable, as expected!
The eyes of the young girl in a simple dress grew brighter when she saw this, then once again urged her True Essence before flipping her delicate hand to carry along an ear piercing howl of the wind as it hit onto the surface of the shield.
The turtle shaped shield violently fluctuated, and the spirit energy suffused within it became exceedingly dim, it was already on the verge of collapse.
Actually able to withstand 20% of my strength? Such a basic talisman is already sufficient to be on par with the might of a second-grade talisman!
The young girl in a simple dress was dumbstruck, then a wisp of excitement flowed out from within her eyes. She casually shattered the turtle shaped shield that couldn’t withstand another blow before arriving before the counter and saying, “Boss, I want all of these Earthshield Talismans!”
Zhang Dayong had long since been shocked to the point he was stunned from the series of unforeseen events before him, and he abruptly awoke from his shock when he heard her, but he hesitated and kept silent.
Through the test of the young girl in a simple dress earlier, he’d already perceived that the Earthshield Talisman’s Chen Xi crafted this time had a might that far surpassed the ordinary, even to the extent it was able to compare with a second-grade talisman. The price… Shouldn’t it be hiked up slightly?
The young girl in a simple dress frowned and said in an unhappy tone. “Boss, don’t lie about the price. I’ll at most give you one spirit stone for an Earthshield Talisman.”
Zhang Dayong didn’t try to conceal it when his thoughts were seen through, and smiled brilliantly. “Miss, I can sell this Earthshield Talisman to you, but I can’t sell them all to you. Even you know that the structure of the talisman markings of the Earthshield Talisman have experienced endless years of perfection, and the structure of the talisman markings had long since arrived at the most perfect state. Wanting to alter it again is simply an impossible matter. However the appearance of these Earthshield Talisman’s before our eyes is no different from a miracle. Under these circumstances, I naturally have to keep some and use them to completely boost the reputation of my store!
“Think about it. A new structure of talisman markings emerging into the world, what sort of a sensational matter it would be to the entire talisman profession? And being able to manage these new type of Earthshield Talisman’s at the first possible moment is the great fortune of my Zhang general store!”
The more he spoke, the more Zhang Dayong got excited, and his eyes emitted boundless hope, as if he’d already seen the glorious future.
The young girl in a simple dress scrunched up her nose, and she had no choice but to compromise. In the end, she purchased 15 Earthshield Talismans for the price of 15 spirit stones.
“Uncle Zhang, what you say couldn’t be… be true right?” A talisman crafting apprentice walked up with a face full of astonishment.
“Yeah, the Earthshield Talisman Chen Xi crafted isn’t as formidable as you said. Isn’t it only a basic talisman, how can it be called a miracle?”
The other talisman crafting apprentices spoke out as well. The talismans that were originally equivalent to fraud had suddenly become a miraculous matter that could stir the entire talisman profession. For a time, they felt unable to wrap their heads around the matter.
Most importantly, these Earthshield Talismans were crafted by the Jinx, Chen Xi. In this way, wouldn’t it mean that this fellow would rise in status as well?
Zhang Dayong swept everyone with his gaze then coldly said, “I know that all of you think Chen Xi is a jinx, and it serves him right to be worse than all of you and be ridiculed by all of you, right?”
“But I want to tell all of you that if you want to continue working here, then don’t let me hear you mention even a bit of an unpleasant remark about Chen Xi. Otherwise, pack your bags and leave!” Zhang Dayong’s voice abruptly went exceedingly cold and stern.
Everyone was silent like a cicada in cold weather.
Yet Zhang Dayong still felt furious and embarrassed, he wasn’t vexed towards these apprentices, but instead resented himself for nearly misunderstanding Chen Xi.
Yes, when Chen Xi comes again tomorrow, I must give him a raise!
Zhang Dayong made a decision, then he recalled the young girl in a simple dress from earlier, and he had the feeling as if he’d seen her somewhere.
After silently pondering for a long while, Zhang Dayong suddenly slapped his forehead, then muttered. “No wonder she seemed so familiar. The Jade-severing Palm she used earlier is the profound skill that General Qin of the General’s Estate used to become famous, she ought to be the little master of the Generals Estate — Qin Hongmian!”
“If you want to become a qualified spirit chef, then you must master the eight great sections — the ingredients, knife skills, the stove, the spirit flames, the utensils, the seasoning, the water, and the cooking method. Amongst them, the ingredients, knife skills, and the spirit flames are of the utmost importance and the others doesn’t require much study.
“This An Ultimate, Illustrated Guide to Food Ingredients records tens of thousands of spirit herbs, fruits and vegetables, grains, demon beasts, wild animals, etc. It can be said to be all-encompassing and lacks nothing. What you need to do is become familiar with the various different grades of ingredients. Then understand its attributes, taste, color, and the substance that’s able to reinforce or counteract it. Only then would you be able to cook a delicacy that’s abundant in spirit energy with varying effects.
“This Collection of Spirit Flames instead records various spirit flames of different attributes from the first-grade to the fifth-grade. According to the different ingredients, the spirit flames required during cooking are different. Only like this would you be able to allow your dishes to attain the most superb effects.”
After Chen Xi returned home, he was called over by Bai Wanqing and she carefully explained the skills a spirit chef had to master. Thus it could be seen how much she cared about Chen Xi’s affairs.
Chen Xi naturally wouldn’t refuse Bai Wanqing’s good intentions, and he listened respectfully with a meticulously attentive expression.
“As for knife skills, you’ve already passed old man Ma’s test, you’ll just have to follow him and practice.” Bai Wanqing smiled happily as she finished speaking, then asked. “Do you have any other questions?”
Chen Xi pondered for a moment then asked. “Yesterday at Clear Stream Restaurant, I heard that old man Ma and the other two are all 3 leaf spirit chefs. Could it be that the profession of spirit chefs is divided into different grades?”
Bai Wanqing replied. “Of course. After all is said and done, a spirit chef provides services to cultivators, and the dishes that are cooked are according to the cultivators’ realm. The dishes that a 1 leaf spirit chef cooks are extremely beneficial to a Postnatal Realm cultivator. A 2 leaf spirit chef is instead able to cook dishes required by Congenital Realm cultivators. It goes up successively until the 8 leaf spirit chef which is able to cook dishes that are already capable of providing boundless benefits to an Earthly Immortal, and is comparable to a heaven-rank spirit pill!”
Heaven-rank spirit pill?
A trace of shock was unable to be suppressed from emerging within Chen Xi’s heart, according to his knowledge, spirit pills were divided into the heaven-rank, earth-rank, profound-rank, and yellow-rank. Every rank is further divided into the low-grade, intermediate-grade, high-grade, and top-grade. Heaven-rank spirit pills were the rarest, and within the entire Darsong Dynasty, it could be called an existence that was like phoenix feathers and qilin horns.
When he heard that an 8 leaf spirit chef was able to cook dishes that were comparable to a heaven-rank spirit pill, how could it not cause Chen Xi to be shocked?
“But, the advancement for a spirit chef is much more difficult compared to an alchemist, Don’t mention 8 leaf spirit chefs, in the entire Darsong Dynasty, there’re only a handful of 7 leaf spirit chefs.”
Bai Wanqing gazed at Chen Xi as she said with a smile. “Don’t be discouraged, so long as you persist, then you’ll have hope. But a spirit chef is an auxiliary profession after all, so only after you’ve earned sufficient spirit stones, don’t waste too much time on it so as to avoid delaying your cultivation.”
Chen Xi nodded, he’d learned talisman crafting and the culinary arts all for the sake of allowing his young brother and himself to continue to live. His final goal was still to cultivate more and become even stronger.
In the next few days, Chen Xi continuously cultivated bitterly.
He crafted talismans and reviewing An Ultimate, Illustrated Guide to Food Ingredients and Collection of Spirit Flames during the day; drew upon the Seventh Goldstar baleful qi to temper his physique at night, then cultivated the Violet Sky Arts until falling asleep before dawn. Only then would he use the little remaining time to enter his sea of consciousness and visualize the Fuxi Divine Statue.
Days were passed quickly, to the extent that it could be described as intensely.
His nerves felt stiff all the time, as he didn’t dare slack for a moment. Since the day his grandfather Chen Tianli was killed, his head was always filled with a dense sense of danger, urging him to not dare waste even a bit of time.
What caused Chen Xi to be happy was that he’d once again crafted another seven or eight types of basic talismans with different attributes. Even though the structure of the talisman markings were completely different to before, its might was comparable to a second-grade talisman. And when he took them to the Zhang general store, they were all sold for three spirit stones each. Its price had hiked an entire nine fold, causing him to earn tremendously.
But his advanced in body refinement and qi refinement were still as extremely slow as before, and the fundamental cause of this was the lack of large amounts of spirit energy.
The Dao of cultivation stressed upon four words — wealth, companions, techniques, and location. Wealth was in the first place, but in this case, the wealth wasn’t gold nor silver, but instead spirit stones, spirit pills, immortal herbs, etc. If one wanted to train, then one needed to eat their fill; and if one wanted to cultivate, then one needed to absorb spirit energy. Spirit pills, spirit stones, and similar treasures were an essential form of assistance.
Companions were in the second place, it could be a Dao companion,1 but mostly it was the relationship between master and disciple. With the guidance of one’s master, one could reduce the amount of detours taken during cultivation, and it was far more efficient than fumbling by one’s self.
The so-called techniques were the Divine Abilities, Techniques, and cultivation methods. First rate cultivation methods were not only able to shorten time cultivation time, but to a great degree they were also able to prevent one from sinking into a bottleneck and suffering from qi deviation.
Location instead pointed toward some so-called Blessed Immortal Grounds, and places where sects were established were situated at places where spirit energy gathered. Cultivation there was naturally much better than those mountains that had scarce spirit energy.
Those that are really born in famous sects and great clans might have started cultivating since they were young. They ate rare and treasured spirit pills, cultivated first-rate methods, occupied blessed grounds where spirit veins gathered, and even had seniors from their sect or clan to earnestly and tirelessly guide them. Their cultivation speed was absolutely not something ordinary cultivators could compare to.
Chen Xi didn’t have spirit pills, nor did he have blessed grounds available for him to cultivate in, nor a senior that was available to guide him. Among the four words of wealth, companions, techniques, and location, he only occupied the word of techniques. Every day, he still had to craft talismans to earn spirit stones to maintain his livelihood, so how could his cultivation possibly advance by leaps and bounds?
“I must make old man Ma take me as his disciple today. After I become a spirit chef apprentice at the Clear Stream Restaurant, I’ll surely be able to earn even more spirit stones. If I calculate carefully and meticulously, I’ll be completely able to buy myself some spirit spills that’re required for cultivating!”
Chen Xi silently recalled the An Ultimate, Illustrated Guide to Food Ingredients and Collection of Spirit Flames in his mind, and he only stood up and walked out of the house when he ensured that he didn’t have a trace of omission.
“Let’s go, future great spirit chef.” Outside the door, Bai Wanqing had a brilliant smile. She had been waiting for quite some time.