Chapter 13 – Inscription, Go!
“Hey you, stop! Stop, do you hear me! Do you even know who she is?!” The Elder Senior Sister yelled in utter disbelief. Although it wasn’t evident from just looking at Qin Xingxuan’s cool expression, but because they were the closest of friends, she knew what the poor girl was thinking. How could she let this little punk get away with harming the heart of her dearest friend? Why must men always be this cruel and thoughtless? This was what scholars called a true miscarriage of justice!
This man truly was a hateful specimen of all mankind. Let alone the most stunning beauty Xingxuan, even if a random girl plucked from the Zither Department were to be presented, she would cause hordes of men to run over like dogs. This boy didn’t know his own limits!
For any man to just simply reject Qin Xingxuan like it was just another day; this must have been a dream!
Lin Ming’s heart mourned. He certainly knew who Qin Xingxuan was, but it wasn’t like he could reveal his plans, so he tried to skirt around the subject, “Elder Senior Sister, I really do have something I must do, I’m not lying to you here.
“Who the hell are you calling Elder Senior Sister you little rascal? Look, I’m not going to quibble with you over such small matters, so I’m going to show some grace and lend you some servants to do whatever it is that you needed to do, however unimportant it may be.” The Elder Senior Sister stood in front of Lin Ming with her hands firmly set on her waist and blocked him from leaving. Although her family background wasn’t anywhere near as grand as Qin Xingxuan’s, she was also from an aristocratic family, and dispatching a few servants to handle matters in Sky Fortune City was simplicity itself.
Lin Ming was at a loss of words, this maiden was too overbearing and haughty, he said, “My business is cultivation, I just don’t have the time in these few upcoming months to spare.”
The Elder Senior Sister wanted to say something, but Qin Xingxuan interrupted her, “Let this fellow student leave, perhaps it is his master calling him.”
In Qin Xingxuan’s mind, with Lin Ming’s accomplishments at his young age, he must have focused most of his life’s attention on diligently practicing. In these cases it was only natural that his mysterious master would arrange harsh lessons for him every day.
Hearing these words of hers, Lin Ming felt relief in his heart. Although he had spoken the truth, and he was just a tad more mentally mature compared to these two beauties, he could not relax because of their overwhelming strength and backgrounds. With just a word alone, they could crush him!
As Lin Ming prepared to leave, Qin Xingxuan smiled and said, “My name is Qin Xingxuan, if fellow student is ever finished with his cultivation and has some time to spare, please come to the Marshal’s Quarters to look for me. Your presence will always be welcome.”
Lin Ming paused in his step, and told her his name, “Lin Ming.”
Then Lin Ming walked away. Staring at his departing back, Qin Xingxuan could only sigh. What sort of characters were used to spell his name? Was it Lin as in forest, and Ming as in bright? With just these two characters, there would be too many duplicates in Sky Fortune City.
How would she find him in this city?
As he returned from the Seven Profound Martial House, Lin Ming had already decided what he needed. The Sky Fortune Kingdom did produce Sky Worm Silk, but it was mainly used for instruments. With his martial arts background, it was difficult for him to find and purchase. However, he could have Lin Xiaodong request the family to purchase some, as such a large family certainly had musicians and it would be easy to obtain as long as one paid the market price.
From the ‘Sky Zither List’, Lin Ming could tell the approximate price of Sky Worm Silk was about 20 taels of gold per foot. Although it didn’t sound too expensive, it was because Sky Worm Silk was very thin and light. If calculated in weight, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it would require over a 10,000 taels of gold to purchase a single pound!
Lin Ming only had 70 gold taels, so he could purchase three feet. At the trade fair he had spent 800 taels of gold to buy a massive pile of materials, but just three feet of Sky Worm Silk would cost 60 taels of gold. These three feet of silk would no doubt be light, and it only proved that it was prohibitively expensive.
Lin Ming tacked a calendar onto his bedpost with pages equal to the number of days he had left. He would rip one off every day. The first month he would spend practicing the inscription technique, and the other two months he would purchase the medicines he needed and then cultivate like a mad man! He believed that with elixirs and pills, he would be able to break through the First Stage of Body Transformation, and perhaps even reach the peak of the Second Stage!
If he could reach the peak of the Second Stage, then even if he couldn’t exceed Zhu Yan, at least he would not suffer a disastrous loss.
After using his true essence to practice a hundred times, Lin Ming finally began the formal steps for inscription that involved materials. This was how most inscription masters started, but Lin Ming did not have the luxury to casually waste the materials he had! He had to treat each and every precious attempt with the utmost care. With this pile of materials that costed 800 taels of gold, he had to come out with at least a single viable inscription!
Inscription not only required good perception, it also needed a good teacher, financial support, and most of all, a powerful soul force.
Because in the inscription process, one had to control the engraving marks by using their soul force to draw the energy structure. Lin Ming’s soul force had already been measured as a child, and it was also a third grade soul force.
The third grade soul force and third grade martial talent could be considered decent. To an aristocratic family with no history of martial arts, it was good, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the top.
Martial artists in the Body Transformation stage did not have many reasons to use their soul force, so this was Lin Ming’s first time utilizing this form of energy. He began to mobilize his soul force in accordance with the memories found in the soul fragment. He circulated this soul force in his body, familiarizing with it, and moving it with his mind.
All living beings had soul force, but being able to consciously move it was something that the average person did not dare to achieve. It required the soul law formulas, and needed daily rigorous practice. Many inscription masters had managed to memorize the varieties of symbols and basic structures, but if their time studying the soul law formulas was inadequate, it would result in them not being to use soul force. If one could not use the soul force, then the material could not be utilized. As a result, they would not even have the qualifications to waste these goods!
As soon as Lin Ming began to revolve the soul law formula, a feeling of deep peace came from the memories of the soul fragment; it filled him with a familiar sensation. This soul law formula that he used, the elder who the memories had belonged to, must have used it a truly terrifying number of times before his death. With this kind of familiar feeling, it was as if Lin Ming had been practicing inscription techniques for his entire life, and he felt his fatigue fade away. Not only that, but the majority of his soul force was retained and he did not need to worry about any negative influence from the memories.
He gently placed out his hand and the invisible soul force began to tug at the Sky Wind Grass roots and suck out the juices. Using his mind, Lin Ming began to practice changing the juice into various shapes under his control; sometimes he made it into thin strings, sometimes he condensed it into a crystal clear bubble.
This level of ease even caused Lin Ming to be surprised. He knew that in the cheap manual, it had stated that for those that could utilize soul law formulas, those with inborn talent of perception would only need one month, while those with lesser talent could practice for half a year and still have no results.
Each inscription master had their own personal soul law formula. The soul law formulas naturally had their different rankings, as some were worse and some were better. Inscription masters thus naturally regarded their own soul law formulas with great love and care! It was something that they might not even pass down to their disciples, because the soul law formula would directly influence the ability to utilize the soul force. It was of the highest importance to an inscription master!
Without a shadow of doubt, the ‘Overbearing Soul Tactic’ within the memories of the elder was at the apex of soul law formulas! Even the Sky Spill Continent’s greatest inscription masters were nothing but little bumpkin children compared to this great elder.
Adding that Lin Ming had a familiarity with the law soul formula that originated from the memories, in practice his third grade soul force talent was on par with a fourth grade talent, or perhaps even a fifth grade! These were the precious techniques that had been left by the memories!
His five fingers easily formed a simple seal, and a surge of soul force entered the drop of Sky Wind Grass juice. Lin Ming’s fingers drew a line in the air that shined with a sparkling light. The soul force interacted with the Sky Wind Grass juice and rapidly coalesced into a pleasant and mystical rune.
The rune was smaller than a fingernail, yet it contained a complex energy. Even within the same rune, because of the subtle differences in shape, technique, strength of the soul force, and other factors, ten thousand inscription masters would have ten thousand different manifestations. And within these there would be those of lesser or greater profundity. Lin Ming could not tell whether the symbol rune he created was garbage or treasure, but he was still satisfied with his result.
He began to create his next symbol rune. He had only used half a drop of the Sky Wind Grass juice, so he still had half a drop remaining. His fingers twisted as he formed another seal, and began to condense his soul force with the half drop into another seal. However as soon as the seal flashed, there was a slight murmur in Lin Ming’s soul force which caused degradation in the output. Lin Ming could only gaze on as that half drop of liquid turned into floating ash.
Lin Ming could only sigh and bite his tongue. It required about a jin of roots in order to create that single drop, and it cost a few taels of gold for those roots. For the general populace, that was the monthly income of an entire family.
It was hard to imagine, but for those that had just begun studying inscription techniques, there was no way for their soul force to be stable, and thus failure was an everyday occurrence, and successes were the true miracles.
In the blink of an eye, a few taels of gold had evaporated into the air. In one day it was easy to spend a few hundred taels of gold on practicing inscription techniques. It truly was burning away money! With the taste of failure still fresh in his mouth, Lin Ming became increasingly cautious. He moved his fingers again to form a seal, and one by one, more inscriptions emerged from his hands. Of course, he failed more often than he succeeded, but as time went on the number of failures began to decrease.
As Ling Ming produced more runes, he began to discover than his own scant soul force was just too weak, and this was related to his First Stage of Body Transformation. Even with the top tier ‘True Primal Chaos Formula’ and ‘Overbearing Soul Tactic’ supporting him, he couldn’t continue for much longer.
Using such little soul force, Lin Ming couldn’t form the runes as easily as he could before. Moreover, more faults began to show in them due to a lack of soul force, and with each fault that occurred, it was also a waste of soul force!
As his soul force became increasingly low, Lin Ming’s inscription process was only at the halfway point. However he began to have difficulties in sustaining the soul force, and without him sensing, the soul force in his body had become too exhausted and a wave of dizziness passed him. The runes in front of him began to vibrate, as they verged to on the border of being shattered!
Lin Ming’s heart jumped, and he quickly stabilized his soul force. In an instant his palms were covered in sweat. He had almost made a mess of things! How many tens of taels of gold would have disappeared!?
But Lin Ming could see that shining gold pot at the end of the sweat-covered rainbow. He slugged right on through!