“...Uncle Sun, I’ve got a question I would like to ask you.” Shi Mu hesitated for a moment before he spoke humbly with clasped hands.
“Speak!” Uncle Sun rolled his eyes impatiently.
“I have seen that there are many Adept arts at the General Sutra House. In fact, there are even more there than we have here. I was wondering if there was any difference between them?“ Even though Uncle Sun had a poor temper, Shi Mu still voiced his question.
The grey-robed old man gave Shi Mu a dark look, snorted in contempt, and slowly said, “What a silly question! The Adept arts at the General Sutra House are just ordinary ones that even those good-for-nothing disciples can exchange for with Black Fire tokens. All the big sects have copies of them. But the arts held here actually worthwhile! That’s why they are rare. Only registered Adepts can have access to them. So treasure your opportunity.”
Shi Mu nodded his head earnestly, to show that he had gotten the point.
“Enough of the superfluous words! I’ll release the seal on these arts, choose one of them.” The grey-robed old man urged grumpily, muttering some incantations and then briefly waved one of his arms. Soon the room was illuminated by glaring light, and the jade slips on the shelves also flickered a bit before the gleam finally died down.
This done, the old man retired to a corner of the room, his hands at the back. Looking up at the ceiling, he seemed to be in a trance.
Shi Mu survey the jade slips with his eyes excitedly, his breaths growing quick. Being able to choose an art totally for free was absolutely beyond his expectation. Such a preferential treatment is way better than a warrior’s ration! Generally speaking, each art at the General Sutra House costs at least six Black Fire tokens, and according to Uncle Sun’s words, the Adept arts held by the Hall of Spirit must be far more valuable than that of the General House’s.
Shi Mu took a deep breath to calm down and walked to the nearest shelf to begin hunting for a suitable art.
An hour later, Shi Mu had voraciously browsed through all two hundred of the Adept arts, but his mood was not good: it turned out that most of these arts were just auxiliary skills to help Adepts enhance their power. For example, the skill, that was written in the slip he was holding, bore the grand name of “The Art of True Fire and Magic”, but actually, it was a skill to aid in the production of pills and medicines consisting of the element of fire, thus enhancing the medicine’s effect. Other slips recorded the method of cultivating some rare herbs, or the concrete details of making a paper charm or formula. He even came across some slips speaking of the way to make magic weapons. But disappointingly, he found almost no arts for Scholars. His meticulous search only ended up with around ten arts for Adepts of the five elements. Only two arts told about the training of the wind, thunder and ice Adepts. As for arts designed for spirit or formula Adept, there was only one called “The Art of Accumulating Spirit Power”. Actually, this art was not particularly for these two kinds of Adepts, it was only that it had no special requirement for element sensing. Adepts of all types could choose to practice it.
Shi Mu was unable to get rid of the dispirited look in his eyes. After searching the shelves for some time, he could no longer resist asking the question, “Uncle Sun, among all of these arts, why are there only a few which focus on training magic systematically? Most are just tips and tricks for enhancing one’s power.”
“What is it with you and the dumb questions? Adept arts are much rarer than warrior arts, and the ones we have here can lead you straight to Star Grade! What more do you want? The training arts kept at the General House are either fragmentary or of an exceedingly low level!” The grey-robed old man was now even more exasperated.
“If so, I can only choose this ‘Art of Accumulating Spirit Power’.“ Picking up a grey slip from the shelf in front of him, Shi Mu spoke in a resigned tone.
“Humph. Don’t you ever look down on this art! Though it’s less powerful than other arts, and its training progress is relatively longer, it’s actually one of the three Adept arts, in our sect, that can lead you to the Moon Grade! If you can’t find other suitable arts, you won’t regret taking it.” The old man gave Shi Mu another scornful look as he spoke.
At first, Shi Mu was surprised, his eyes alight with expectancy, but, upon hearing of its long training process, he became hesitant. The old man narrowed his eyes, seeing Shi Mu’s worry and added, “Though you won’t have a fast training speed,there is an upside to this art. It is quite a stable one, rarely have I heard of Adepts who practiced it and lost their minds or were injured. Therefore, it’s a safe art. You just progress steadily and slowly. After all, your condition is rather special. You’ve got an amazing ability for spatial-sensing, but there is no art that is a good fit for you, except this one. Accept it or leave with empty hands.”
Shi Mu was forced to accept his situation. He reconciled himself to accepting this art with a deep sigh. After all, he would not choose arts focused on the elements of water and fire. He did not excel in these two elements. Thinking this, he handed the grey slip of the Art of Accumulating Spirit Power to Uncle Sun and said, “Senior is right. I’ll choose this art.”
The old man took the grey slip from Shi Mu and then took out a white slip from his other sleeve. Putting the two against his forehead, one after the other, he muttered something to himself. Soon, Uncle Sun had finished copying the content to the white slip, passing it to Shi Mu with an expressionless face, “Here are details of the first five levels, enough for you to reach the level of Spirit Adept. Take it, then go to the Holy Spirit Pavilion to get your rations as a Scholar of our sect.”
Shi Mu was somewhat disappointed that he could only get the first five levels of the art. But after thinking about it for a bit, he realized that was ok. After all, he was barely a beginning Scholar right now! It was too ambitious for him to wish for the entire contents of the art, that led to Moon Grade. “It seems that it will cost a lot of Black Fire tokens to exchange for the latter half of this art.” Shi Mu thought to himself, taking the copy from Uncle Sun with great respect, then he tucked it into his shirt with great care.
The next few minutes were spent listening to Uncle Sun’s words of advice, then he was told to leave. Shi Mu bowed obediently to Uncle Sun and left the Spirit Hall with a heavy heart.