Chapter 17 – Lan Yunyue
In the span of an entire day, Lin Ming had visited two auction houses, a trade fair, and also five treasure trading pavilions that were set up by respectable families, and yet he hadn’t found a buyer.
As he returned to the Great Clarity Pavilion, Lin Ming sighed. He hadn’t expected that selling a few inscriptions would be so difficult.
However this was just a little setback. The dismissive taunts and jeers had no effect on Lin Ming, whos pain and suffering from cultivating martial arts had exceeded any psychological pain he would experience by several times. Even if it was Zhu Yan taunting him about Lan Yunyue, his poor family background, his lower cultivation, none of these could affect Lin Ming’s heart of martial arts.
He placed away the symbol papers and began to practice the ‘True Primal Chaos Formula.’ Altough he had practiced the inscription techniques every day this month, he still managed to eek out some time to practice the ‘True Primal Chaos Formula.’ Now, with his hard work, the ‘True Primal Chaos Formula’ had already finished the entirety of the first level; his own martial arts cultivation was also at the peak of the first level of body transformation.
With the strength of nine stones and a fist that can shatter Iron Wood, this was proof he was at the peak of body transformations first level, strength training!
Nine stones was equivalent to 900 jins. This was the peak of body transformations first level. But the reality was Lin Ming’s present strength was no less than a thousand jins. This was due to the influence that the ‘Chaotic Virtues Combat Meridians’ had on his training, and not only that but his strength was increasing daily. Yet, Lin Ming was actually still stuck in the first level of body transformation.
After he circulated his soul force with the ‘True Primal Chaos Formula,’ Lin Ming began to focus on his understandings of bones. His own deboning time had already reached an extremely high degree of proficiency and speed; even a second-level vicious beast was not enough to satisfy his practice requests. Unfortunately, even at the Great Clarity Pavilion, level three vicious beasts were very rare. Lin Ming wanted to practice on these rare beasts but was unable to! So he thought of an idea, and began to instead use the flat back of the knife to debone!
Normally, someone who was deboning who would the sharpest knife they could, or even an axe or any other sharp instrument. Deboning would also often take the entirety of a day to finish a second level vicious beast. But Lin Ming actually used the very thick back of a knife to debone. It was absurdly difficult and impossible; the knife felt as if it were cutting into solid rock, and every inch required an extreme degree of effort and strength.
This was forcing Lin Ming to constantly be exhausting his physical ability to the limit while perceiving the skill.
Before, it took more time to eat a bowl of rice than to debone a second level vicious beast completely, but now two hours still wasn’t enough time to finish. Even after he did, he was soaked in sweat.
Thankfully the results were still good and he neatly cut off the slabs of meat as he had before. If Great Clarity Pavilion knew that Lin Ming was finishing deboning these second level vicious beasts with just the back of a knife, they would not only check Lin Ming into the nearest hospital, but would also check themselves in!
After a night of practice, Lin Ming was weary to his bones. He had completely forgotten about the inscription matters and directly fell asleep.
After a night of deep rest, Lin Ming awoke before daybreak and headed to his secret place at the Zhou Mountains to practice his martial arts. With strike after strike, the sun began to rise into the sky. At this time, a young boy approached from the glade. He was a tall, healthy looking boy dressed in white. “Brother Lin, why did you ask me yesterday where to sell inscription symbols? Did you really finish engraving some?”
This boy was precisely Lin Xiaodong. Yesterday around this time, Lin Ming had asked him and he had answered without thinking. But after thinking about it more and more, he realized that there as no way that Lin Ming should have been able to create any inscriptions!
Although Lin Xiaodong did not have a deep understanding of inscription, he still knew it was impossible for Lin Ming to create a complete inscription symbol. It was likely some shoddy or half finished product, and if he brought something like that to the trade fair to sell, then the merchants would likely have had him beaten up for being some swindler.
Lin Ming smiled and nodded, “I finished some.”
Lin Xiaodong’s heart tightened, “You brought them to sell?”
“Mm. But I didn’t sell any.”
It was expected that he hadn’t sold any, these merchants weren’t fools. Lin Xiaodong sized up his friend with a bit of worry. His puppy dog eyes were filled with anxiety as he asked, “Brother Lin, you weren’t beat up were you?”
Lin Ming was stunned silent. This little brother of his truly had a wild imagination. He burst out laughing and clapped his friend on the shoulder, “I really did finish the inscription symbols, and I’m not some second hand swindler, why would I be beat up?”
As he said this he took out the four symbol papers which he had labored over the past month and showed them to Lin Xiaodong. He didn’t want him to worry over him.
However, as soon as Lin Xiaodong saw these four symbol papers, his face immediately stiffened in horror. The appearances of these symbol papers were truly…terrible too look at!
He guessed that Lin Ming’s inscriptions might be second rate, or even defective, but this was just too much! The paper was thick yellow; it just had the appearance of toilet paper that was used too many times. Only a fool would buy it. Lin Xiaodong had seen several symbol papers by inscription masters before and they were always on bright, clean sheets were shimmering colors.
Lin Xiaodong looked as if he had eaten spoiled porridge. He let out a dry smile. Oh brother of mine, sweet brother of mine! He did not have the nerve to embarrass Lin Ming, who was probably suffering. He could only think of the several hundred taels of material that had become over used toilet paper. Lin Xiaodong’s heart was in immediate pain. This really was a waste of money!
Lin Ming noticed Lin Xiaodong’s expression had changed, and he could guess what he was thinking at the moment. He simply put the symbol papers away. There just wasn’t any way he could adequately explain this to Lin Xiaodong in a way that he would understand.
“Brother Lin, I must say with your talent and effort, you will break through the pulse condensation period sooner or later. Why bother with this?” Lin Xiaodong decided to try the carrot approach to persuade his good friend. The stick obviously had not worked.
Lin Ming smiled and stayed silent. Lin Xiaodong wasn’t wrong. Even if he didn’t bother with inscription, it was only a matter of time until he reached the pulse condensation phase. Even the houtian phase or even the fabled xiantian phase wouldn’t be too difficult.
But cultivating the martial path was a daily struggle, and time waited for no man. If he didn’t improve his cultivation as fast as he could while he was young, it would only become increasingly difficult with age.
If he didn’t use special medicines or magical objects and only relied on his own diligent efforts, even if he had a solid foundation it would still take a massive amount of time. Time that Lin Ming could not afford to spend!
Therefore he needed to make money using the inscription technique and take as many shortcuts as he could.
He said, “Xiaodong, you head back first, I still have some matters to attend to.”
“Matters? Brother Lin, you aren’t thinking of selling these symbol papers are you?”
Lin Ming laughed and said with a smile, “Don’t worry about it too much, I already know how things are.” As he said this, Lin Ming had already passed several dozens of meters into the distance.
“F*ck!” Lin Xiaodong saw Lin Ming had disappeared and could only curse at his back. He knew Lin Ming had decided on his course and he couldn’t change it. Brother of mine, oh brother of mine, please be careful!
Although Lin Ming’s truly had the firm will and aspirations, some things were beyond even the control of the heavens…
Although there were many shops in Sky Fortune City, the number that had the qualifications to sell inscription symbols weren’t many. Including the auction houses and trade fairs, altogether there were less than thirty.
Within these, Lin Ming had already visited most of them, and without and exception had been rejected from all of them. It was just that he was only an apprentice. Occasionally an apprentice would luck out and create a complete product, but no one would want to waste their precious weapons on such a dubious product!
Lin Ming was a tad disappointed by this setback, but it didn’t affect him. In his mind he knew that he only needed some more time and he would see the fruits of his labor.
“You want to sell us this inscription on consignment? Are you kidding me little boy? You’re so young and yet you want to do something so dishonest. This simply cannot be sold. Go, go and do not delay me in doing business. You’re blocking the way.”
The storekeeper of Hundred Treasure Hall impatiently waved him away. The manners of private shop owners were always worse than the more professional auction houses. Lin Ming didn’t take this too heart, but as he turned around he saw a familiar face. It was an extremely beautiful face, but one he was also reluctant to see.
Not too far from him were two girls wearing light yellow dresses. One of them was the one who had missed their promised meeting a few months ago, and had accompanied Zhu Yan to go to the Seven Profound Martial House, Lan Yunyue.
Lan Yunyue had also just arrived, and she looked down at the four sloppy symbol papers in Lin Ming’s hand, and thought about the words that the storekeeper and just said. Her dewy complexion changed.
Lan Yunyue had not seen inscription symbol papers before, but even if she had she would not connect those fabled objects to these rough papers in Lin Ming’s hand. She guessed Lin Ming was reselling goods…some goods didn’t cost much, and they would try to buy up such things and sell them at the more common, lower-end markets for the price difference. This kind of work had low profits, and above all, it wasn’t work one could hold their head high to.
Also…Lin Ming’s family was not rich, and he had to support the expenses of cultivating martial arts along with daily expenses for living. He must have been short on money recently, and therefore tried whatever he could…
With that thought there, Lan Yunyue sighed. She did not know if she should say anything in this situation. She felt as if anything she said might possibly injure Lin Ming’s dignity, but she also couldn’t pretend that she had not seem him.
By now the storekeeper had seen Lan Yunyue, and his ugly mug immediately smiled in welcome. From the past to now, it was as if he were a completely different person. “This young lady, what goods were you looking to purchase? Yesterday you bought a sword; was it easy to use? Oh yes, and how about that young master that accompanied you yesterday, did you come together? I don’t see him.”
It was obvious the storekeeper’s mention of young master was referring to Zhu Yan. Seeing that smile on the storekeepers face, Lin Ming also knew that the last time Zhu Yan had come here with Lan Yunyue, the storekeeper had made a fortune.
Lan Yunyue didn’t think that the storekeeper would mention Zhu Yan at this time, which only made the situation more awkward and tense. She wanted to explain that she hadn’t done anything with Zhu Yan, but she held the words on the tip of her tongue. Her face paled and she steeled herself. She was not a little girl anymore, and she had to be clear about these things. Sooner or later she would marry into the Zhu Family, and although she did not like Zhu Yan, but for her goals, she had caved into her destiny and had chosen the path of betrayal…
After a little more tense awkwardness, Lan Yunyue asked in a low voice, “It’s been awhile…have you been well?”
“Alright.” Lin Ming replied calmly. What was in the past was in the past, he did not wish to dwell on these matters.
Alright? If you were truly alright, then how could you be there? A fifteen year old boy suffering from the pain of cultivation, while also having to worry about his own livelihood, and experiencing the derision of others…was this really okay?
Lan Yunyue knew Lin Ming’s stubbornness, but seeing his appearance like this, she could only urge, “You had not thought to turn back…?”
“Turn back? Turn back to where? Ha-ha, are you telling me to give up on martial arts?”
“I am not saying that. I am only saying that cultivating martial arts is dangerous to the body. If you don’t have enough money to buy medicine, then it is easy to suffer permanent disability…” Lan Yunyue sighed, and her gaze fell on the symbol papers in Lin Ming’s hand. “Money you make from reselling some small goods is not enough to support the needs of martial arts cultivation. I do not think that you have suffered from anything yet…I know that you are unwilling to listen but I do not want to think that later in life the only thing you’ll be doing is lying down on a bed.”
Hearing her heartfelt words, Lin Ming smiled and said, “Thank you for the advice, but I won’t give up. I will never give up.”
He lifted his hand and pointed at the beautiful burning flame image on the symbol paper and said, “The path of the martial artist is like this flame. Practicing the martial arts will only cause pain. The dangers are countless and the road is filled with obstacles. Everyone who walks down it will eventually turn to ash, but the true martial artist will be reborn from these ashes. Even if I was only a small and weak moth, I will walk into the flames without hesitation. I will fight my destiny for a one in a million chance that I will experience my own samsara and be reborn into a flaming phoenix. And even now, I am no longer a moth…”
Lin Ming spoke those words with a faint smile. He put away his symbol papers and quietly departed, leaving only the silhouette of his lonely, but proud back.
Lin Ming left the Hundred Treasures Hall like a moth to the light. This was his heart of martial arts. This was his Dao. He will persevere until the day he reaches nirvana. He will not rest until that day that he would soar into the skies.