A great elder of the Black Demon Sect sat cross-legged with his eyes closed. Jin Xiao Chai sat down in front of him.
The cultivation of the man sitting in front of Jin Xiao Chai was the highest in the Black Demon Sect. His cultivation seemed hard to resist. Even the Head of the Sect wasn’t as much respected as this man.
"You stole my Qian Yuan pill. What are you up to? You can’t use that pill," the great elder spoke without opening his eyes.
"I gave it away. It was just one Qian Yuan pill. That’s not worth much when considering Elder Grandfather’s magic cultivation," Jin Xiao Chai felt a little disdained as she replied.
"Speaking of which, I had some thought about this Shi Mu. I thought that he died in the wilderness. But, he came back." The great elder opened his eyes. He seemed to be in deep thought as he changed the topic of discussion and said.
"You thought that he was dead? Is that why you declared in the Sect that he had set-up good services in the war against the barbarian race without even meeting him? His cultivation has upgraded very quickly. The Sect didn’t value it much. But, how would you reward me if I helped you in this matter?" Jin Xiao Chai curled her lips and said.
"You stole my pill, and you want me to reward you? I can’t believe you. You can’t be so concerned about this disciple without any reason. But, this disciple has attained the number-one position in the annual competition. It was quite unexpected." The great elder opened his eyes wide. He seemed to be in a foul mood as he spoke.
"Humph! He desperately wanted to be the number-one. He wanted to make himself famous so that he would be worthy of… I had thought that this boy was fascinating. But, I had never expected that he would have the potential to impact the Xian Tian realm," Jin Xiao Chai snorted. She then briefly described the agreement between Shi Mu and the Demon Witch of Tian Yin.
"Hehe… So, this is what it is. So, count it down. He won’t last until he makes it to thirty. Miss Xue has a different kind of a talent. And, her ambitions are elsewhere… Dear Chai, you’re far too concerned about it." It seemed as if the great elder had realized something. He looked towards Jin Xiao Chai with a faint smile on his face.
"You said that you wouldn’t interfere in this matter. So, keep your promise. I’m going to lead this team; no matter what. Even if that is counted as my reward! I can’t see myself below that Xue anymore," Jin Xiao Chai said loudly.
"I promise you… But, you’d have to promise me something first. You would have to give me something honorable once you come back; no matter what would be the outcome," the great elder said thoughtfully.
The next day in the cave-dwelling…
Shi Mu sat on the stone table in the living room. He was turning around a flaming demon token in his hand. He seemed to be pondering over something.
A white light flashed from the Vast Earth Ring on his finger after a while. Then, the flaming demon token disappeared from his hand.
Shi Mu got-up, and strode out of his cave residence.
Half an hour later…
Shi Mu stood in front of an old attic. He had the storage ring on his hand. He had added another hundred-and-eight flaming demon tokens to it. He had collected sixty of these flaming demon tokens after he had become a first-grade disciple. They were meant as his one year’s practice resources.
The Blood Strengthening Pills were more in number as far as his ration allocation was concerned; there were hundreds of them.
He turned around, and started to walk towards the Holy Spirit Pavilion.
Consequently, he added another forty-eight flaming demon tokens and twelve primary-ranked spirit stones in his space ring.
Half an hour later… in the Hall of Magic…
An old man in grey robe with triangular-eyes, pointed mouth, and monkey-like cheeks lay on a big rosewood table. He had a book in his hand. He thoughtfully sized-up Shi Mu as he entered through the door of the Hall.
This was Sun An; the person who had registered Shi Mu as a Soul Magician practitioner in his early days in the Sect.
"Boy, you’re skilled in manufacturing magic charms. Moreover, your cultivation isn’t weak. You defeated Duan Qian Li and Mo Ning in one go. Hehe… very good!" Sun An sized-up Shi Mu with strange colors on his face. He then nodded and said.
"Master Sun praises me too much," Shi Mu cupped his hands in greeting and replied.
"I’m saying you’re good because you’re actually good. And, you’re being modest instead. Tell me, what’s the matter today?" Sun An turned his eyes, and spoke-up in a impolite manner.
"Master Sun, this disciple has come here with the desire to exchange some books on magic cultivation arts." Shi Mu was already familiar with Sun An’s temper. So, he thought for a moment, and replied with a faint smile on his face.
‘Oh! Follow me. These books of cultivation arts aren’t cheap. But now, you’re the number one disciple of the first-grade. So, you must be having a lot of flaming demon tokens," the grey-robed old man nodded and said. He then got-up, and started to walk towards the rear part of the hall.
Shi Mu followed after him.
They arrived in an underground stone chamber after a while.
Shi Mu checked each and every shelf. He soon found a grey jade booklet.
He revealed a smiling expression on his face. The name of the booklet was – ‘The Art of Accumulating Spirit Power’.
"Master Sun, this disciple needs the next ten chapters of this Art of Accumulating Spirit Power. How many flaming demon tokens does it cost?" Shi Mu arrived at the door of the chamber with the grey jade booklet. He then asked the grey-robed old man.
"Gege… Boy, the tone of your voice isn’t low. The next ten chapters of the Art of Accumulating Spirit Power cost ninety flaming demon tokens. Have you thought about it properly?" Sun An glanced towards Shi Mu’s hand. He then replied with an expressionless face.
Shi Mu’s complexion changed. The cost of the Art of Accumulating Spirit Power book was beyond his imagination. More than one-third of the flaming demon tokens from his space ring would be spent in the blink of an eye.
Shi Mu nodded with a squashy pain in his heart. He then handed over the grey jade booklet to Sun An. After that, he went to the wooden shelves, and carefully looked through them.
Two hours passed in an instant. Shi Mu then left the Hall of Magic. Only one-fourth of the flaming demon tokens were left in his Vast Earth ring now.
However, his eyes were filled with colors of excitement.
He had also found a book on the middle-level Charm arts called ‘The Secret Art of Charm Magic’ besides the latter ten chapters of ‘The Art of Accumulating Spirit Power’. He could easily begin to comprehend this Art with the help of his current Spirit-Grade cultivation base.
The practice of this incantation would need a lot of materials. He had spent a lot of flaming demon tokens on one book. This amount would’ve been an astronomical figure for a common disciple.
It was not surprising that the Magicians burnt a lot more resources than the Warriors. However, the importance of the Magicians to the sect was self-evident in this fact alone.
Shi Mu moved his hand, and touched the Vast Earth Ring on his finger as these thoughts crossed his mind.
Shi Mu appeared on the second floor of the General Library after a while.
He found something unexpected here since he didn’t meet the fat as a meat-hill Young Master Ju. Instead, he met a forty-year old unfamiliar man who wore a green robe. That man was looking over a few yellow scrolls with keen interest.
The table where the parrot Cai used to be placed earlier was empty now. This made Shi Mu feel unusual.
"Senior, I want to go to the Blood Chamber in order to take some cultivation art. I’m looking forward to some help." Shi Mu took two steps forward. He then cupped his hands in greeting and said.
Shi Mu had returned to his cave residence after an hour. Now, there was a red jade booklet lying in his space ring.
This red jade script was the ‘Book of the Flaming Red Ape’ that he had been forced to give-up the first time he came to the Blood Chamber. He had more than enough flaming demon tokens to spend when he had set out. However, not many of them were left now.
He sat on the bed with a doubtful expression on his face.
He had been going through a few books about pills in the General Library. He had found after careful examination that the pill that Jin Xiao Chai had given him wasn’t fake; it was really the Qian Yuan pill. Moreover, its value wasn’t less than that of the Green Frost Fruit.
He couldn’t clearly understand the matter. What had made Jin Xiao Chai give this precious pill to him?
Shi Mu shook his head. He didn’t wish to think about it for the time being. He then took out the jade slip of the ‘Book of Flaming Red Ape’. After that, he placed it against his forehead.
He opened his eyes after a long while, and removed the jade slip. Then, he stood-up. He picked-up his meteoric hammer and the black blade from the ground, and exited from the cave once again.
He had wanted to store his weapons in the Vast Earth Ring on the day that he had received it. However, he couldn’t understand why he could accommodate almost everything in his Vast Earth ring… but not his weapons. In fact, this ring wouldn’t show any response whenever he’d try to accommodate his black blade and the meteoric iron into it.
Therefore, he had to carry his weapons on his back.
After half an hour… in the blue stone plaza of the thirteenth peak… in Zhao Ping’s blacksmith shop…
"Senior Brother Shi Mu, how did you find the time to come to this small shop? Come, come quickly… Please come in…" Zhao Ping was taking care of his business in his shop. He hastily rushed to greet Shi Mu with a smile on his face as soon as he saw him coming.
"Brother Zhao doesn’t need to call me ‘Senior Brother’. Just call me Shi Mu," Shi Mu smiled and replied.
There were two customers and shop assistants in the shop at that time; they were curiously looking towards Shi Mu.
Shi Mu was now known to everyone within the Black Demon Sect. But, he always remained low-key; he would rarely appear outside. And, this had given rise to the interest of others in his personality.
"Senior Brother Shi Mu is so polite. Now, you’ve become a senior disciple of our Black Demon Sect. So, how can I dare to be impudent? It’s quite noisy outside. You must’ve come to me regarding some matter. So, let’s go inside and talk about it in detail," Zhao Ping gave him a meaningful glance and said.
Shi Mu nodded. Then, both the men arrived into the reception area of the blacksmith shop.
"Brother Zhao, I’ve come here with something in my mind. I wanted to ask you if you can forge a weapon for me," Shi Mu quickly came to the point and said.
He took out his black meteoric iron blade and the meteoric hammer, and put them in front of Zhao Ping.
Zhao Ping looked at the crack on the black blade. The expressions in his eyes moved. His expressions changed even more as he looked at the black stone of the meteoric hammer. He then stood-up.
"This… …this is…" Zhao Ping stuttered, and his complexion turned red in excitement.
"It seems that my guess was right. It had occurred to me that this meteoric hammer is made-up of the same material that you picked-up by chance. I’ve come here for the same reason," Shi Mu said.
"Yes. I also think that this is made-up of the Heavenly meteoric iron. But, the one that I picked-up was only as big as a fist. It was far smaller than the one that Brother Shi Mu has," Zhao Ping calmed down and said.
"Brother Zhao, can you find out whether this thing has any strange feature other than the change in its weight? It seems that there are a few other abnormalities in this material," Shi Mu moved his eyes and asked.
"Other strange features?! What are you talking about, Brother Shi?" Zhao Ping asked with surprise.
"No, it’s nothing." Shi Mu hesitated a little. He then shook his head. He didn’t tell him that the meteoric iron couldn’t be collected into the Vast Earth ring.
"The black blade received some damage while I was fighting during my journey. So, I’ve come to obtain a piece of the meteoric iron. I wanted to ask Brother Zhao to forge a weapon for me once again," Shi Mu spoke as he changed the topic of discussion.
"There’s no problem. Brother Shi, what are your requirements for the weapon?" Zhao Ping noticed that Shi Mu had changed the topic. So, he didn’t question him any further. Instead, he asked the requirements with a smile.
Shi Mu took out a blueprint from his bosom. A picture of a long blade-kind of a weapon had been drawn on it.
Its model was quite similar to that of an ordinary blade. But, this long blade could hive off — the hilt of the blade could be separated from its head.
This blade’s head wasn’t very different from that of the black meteoric iron blades’. However, the hilt of this blade was a three feet long truncheon.