“Rank-F3 Demonic Thunder-Fish Oil: 35 CP.” An ointment that could treat electrical burns for Apprentices. It was also used in various Cultivation Methods that involved tempering a person’s flesh with lightning. There were only three-ounces in the tiny spray-bottle.
“Rank-F5 Lava-Shark Fetus Extract: 50 CP.” A dozen small chewable red tablets that were useful to people who used Fire Qi. Also had a side-effect of causing mild to extreme arousal. I noticed a few elderly men and women awkwardly buying them, even though they were Adepts.
“Rank-F1 Aqua-Goat Liver Extract: 100 CP.” Fifty super-tiny blue soft-gels per jar. They were essentially prenatal vitamins which could also improve fertility. Despite the misleading name, it wasn’t strictly designed for those who trained with the Water Element. Mei bought two of them without hesitation. There were lots of better ones, but they were way too pricy.
“Rank-F7 Demonic Jellyfish Juice: 250 CP.” We only bought a single bottle, since it was fucking expensive as hell. However, I wasn’t about to go to war without any lifesaving potions. It was kind of like a bottle of glowing pink wine and there were twenty-six ounces altogether. Basically, as long as an Apprentice is still alive and has the ability to drink the nasty shit, a single shot was enough to regenerate most wounds. Of course, I had no idea exactly how ridiculously powerful it was, but it was the best that I could afford.
Well, technically Mei ended up paying for everything. I mean, compared to her, I was totally broke. A hundred Contribution Points was worth about twenty gold coins, two thousand silver coins or two-hundred thousand copper coins. It sounds kind of impressive, but who would want to carry around that much metal? Elemental Beads were the preferred currency for cultivators, though they had no set value. For example, the Li Sect had a bunch of Fire Qi Crystal mines, so Aqua Beads are worth twice as much as Fire Beads there. However, the Pao Clan had the exact opposite situation. Everyone had their own form of Contribution Tokens as well.
Gold, silver and copper coins were typically used for Unranked junk. If I went into a restaurant and ordered some fancy sushi but it wasn’t made from at least Rank-G Beasts, it would probably only cost a few copper or silver depending on the quality and rarity.
Anyway, aside from the emergency jellyfish juice and the fancy prenatal vitamins, we didn’t waste our CP on anything else within the Alchemy shop. It’s not that there wasn’t tons of awesome shit that we wanted to buy, but we still needed weapons and maybe even armor or other random items.
After leaving the store, we wandered around for a bit and Xiaotong was constantly floating outside of my body. She couldn’t see anything from inside of my Dantian, well, she didn’t even have eyes, so it was weird that it even made a difference.
I noticed that there weren’t very many people in the city, but it wasn’t strange considering the state of affairs in the country. It was the military capital of the whole damn Southern Islands, so everyone who was sticking around was directly related to the naval officers or soldiers that were fighting throughout the country. That’s why there was such a depressing atmosphere.
We eventually found an entire plaza with nothing but weapon and armor shops. There was a huge building called the Blacksmith’s Association. Six massive plumes of smoke were billowing up into the sky and create a black cloud above that whole corner of the castle, but none of that smog fell down within the city.
Since there were so many stores, it was pretty difficult to pick one to go inside. Unfortunately, we didn’t have all day, so I needed to make a decision. As we were walking through the enormous open space, there were dozens of small kiosks spread around. Traveling merchants would come through and sell all kinds of stuff all over the city, but obviously they would pick spots depending on what they were peddling.
For the most part, their wares were cheaper than in the shops, but there was always a catch. If a store sold faulty goods, people could come back later and complain. There were also various inspections and for the most part, things were insured and more customer friendly. On the other hand, merchants often had old and crappy items that were totally useless.
Of course, there was also another reason: curses. Very few idiots would be willing to buy a haunted dagger that likes to give impromptu circumcisions or a magical spear that might stab you in the asshole while you’re not paying attention. Okay, so maybe those examples are a bit extreme… Most of the time it’s a small Qi drainage or an occasional nightmare.
“Oh, Levi~! Look at this cutlass! Isn’t it pretty?” Mei grabbed my sweaty left hand and pulled me over towards particularly interesting kiosk. No, it was actually just a half-naked and extremely frail-looking old guy who was sitting on a large brown carpet. He was closing his eyes and there were a handful of random items laying on the ground in front of him. His skin was dark-brown and he was totally bald, while his only clothing was a grey loincloth. It was a little odd, but the dude didn’t have a single hair on his body. In fact, I couldn’t really tell if it was a man or woman. He or she didn’t have any noticeable tits and while his muscles were lithe, they were also rather toned. Still, they were definitely ancient, just judging by the wrinkles on that person’s face.
When I looked down, I saw an extremely ‘eye-catching’ weapon. The sheath was hard black leather and covered in hundreds of Aqua Beads that were placed in a formation that resembled a myriad of small sharks. Just that on its own would have been worth a fortune. The hilt was a dark-red wood and the guard was made out of thin obsidian metal, which went from the bottom of handle, up to where the blade began.
She knelt down onto the carpet and pulled the cutlass out of its scabbard, revealing a three-foot long and rather thin blade. The edge was silver, while the body was ebony and had a bunch of complicated azure Inscriptions written all over it. I sighed dramatically, patting her shoulder and whispering “Mei, it’s awesome, but there’s no fucking way that we can afford this thing… It isn’t even cursed, so there isn’t much room to haggle. The raw materials for the sheath alone would be worth a few hundred Contribution Tokens.”
Suddenly, that cross-legged dude opened his eyes and glared at me. The left had a pitch-black sclera with a pure-white pupil and the right was the opposite. As for the irises that would normally reveal a person’s Innate Talent, they were constantly fluctuating. It was like gazing into a prism that was refracting light in the form of a rainbow. However, the girl to my right didn’t even seem to notice anything strange.
That elder smirked his chapped lips and murmured “I have no use for your silly tokens… The only currency that truly matters is Karma. These items aren’t particularly amazing. Some are pretty good, but you won’t be using them for very long. Although, if they save your life now and because of that, you’re able to become a Deity later on… Maybe then you’ll actually be able to return the favor?”
Mei frowned, complaining “I’ve already reached my peak… There’s no way that I would ever even be able to make it to be a tenth-level Apprentice! You’re betting that I’ll be able to defy the Heavens and turn into a Goddess somehow?”
The old man turned his gaze towards her pouting face and casually replied “Maybe not in this life, but I have a feeling that your next one will be a bit more impressive…” Then he focused on me again and said “Remember this, because it’s super-important. No matter how terrible things seem, there’s always something worse and even when you believe that you’re in Heaven, you can always climb higher. Oh wait, never mind, that was the wrong one… Umm, ah, yeah, the one about friends and enemies? Or was it lovers and haters? I don’t know, just pick something already and get outta here before I accidentally tell you things that you aren’t supposed to hear! Ha, that was weird, here and hear… Ugh, whatever, have you made up your mind yet?”