As for basic magic skills manuals that were peddled in the black market, mysterious remaining copies of original texts or those of high quality aside, as long as they were ordinary copies recorded manually, there would ordinarily not be any reason to suspect that they were fake. It was one of the unwritten rules of the trade.
The Qi Guiding Formula was a method of the lowest level for practicing mystical skills. It was not even considered as mainstream but just an ordinary skill. As such, it could not be classified as either of the four major ranks – Divine, Heavenly, Earth or Human. Naturally, there was no risk of counterfeit copies of it existing in the market.
Even if it were so, its price was also not cheap for ordinary folk.
Ding Hao browsed through it once, and paid 500 taels of silver to buy the manual after discerning that there was nothing wrong with it.
With this Qi Guiding Formula manual, coupled with his otherworldly understanding capability, he could try to trigger the Seed of Mystical Qi now. In this way, he could achieve breakthrough before the day of entrance examinations into the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect arrived and increase his chances of joining the sect.
Besides, Ding Hao needed a technical manual, one that could offer a general introduction of the martial arts system and a guide to the various communication techniques in this world, so that he could gain a better understanding of this place known as the Land of Infinity.
He was soon rewarded after continuing his search everywhere.
After spending time at about five small stalls, Ding Hao spent 500 taels of silver to purchase a manual which served as a technical guide to a skill, known as the Graceful Step. The technique barely fell within the lower limits of those that could be classified as Human Level. He also bought a general knowledge book called the ‘Annals of the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect Over the Times’.
The contents of the second book fit his requirements.
In this way, he was only left with less than 500 taels of silver.
Being a martial artist was indeed turning out to be an extremely costly career choice.
It was said that the really strong martial artists were created with the help of huge amounts of money and wonderful herbs. Without being sculpted and cultivated from a vast and perfect system of a sect or family, one could not advance in the path of a rogue cultivator. This was also the reason why Ding Hao was bent on joining the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect.
Ding Hao was about to leave the black market after achieving his goal.
Just at this moment, a tattered book placed at a stall to his side caught his eye.
“Oh? ‘Mantra for Kickstarting Your Journey with One Saber’?” The book’s name sounded pretty good, but unfortunately it was tattered and torn. Ding Hao felt that the stall owner was truly black-hearted to have placed a price tag of 500 taels of silver on it. Unknowingly, an uncontrollable urge came to his heart, causing his to ask the stall owner, “Will you sell this book for 100 taels of silver?”
“You have great foresight, Sir, but you’re slashing the price of this book by way too much. This ‘Mantra for Kickstarting Your Journey with One Saber’ is truly a secret offensive saber technique manual at lower Human Level. It’s immensely powerful, and once you’ve completely mastered it, any opponent will be sent to heaven with just a flash of your saber. I’ve already reduced it to such a low price by offering it to be sold for 500 taels of silver. I won’t sell it for 100 taels!”
The stall owner was a scrawny and wretched looking old man, and the wrinkles that covered his entire face looked as if they had been carved out with a small knife. He looked like an unscrupulous merchant, and a glint could be spotted in his eyes, even after they were reduced to a slit.
“If it were indeed the complete saber mantra, 500 taels of silver would be acceptable. It’s a pity that your manual is not even one third complete. Don’t sell it then as you wish,” replied Ding Hao as he threw the manuscript to the floor before turning to leave.
“Eh?” the stall owner replied, becoming anxious. “Sir, there’s room for discussion. How about 200 taels of silver? Or why not 150 taels? … Don’t go yet. Fine, fine, fine. Well settle on 100 taels then. Is that still not enough for you? Hehe, the old me thinks that you look decent enough, and we’ve met because of fate. I’ll sell it to you at a lost and great sacrifice to myself.”
Ding Hao smiled faintly and did not reply. He paid the agreed upon amount of silver, kept the secret manual and turned to leave the black market of the slums district.
When he returned to his thatched cottage, the skies hard turned completely dark.
He hastily cooked dinner for himself and ate it hungrily before tidying up his house. Ding Hao then lit an oil lamp and opened the general guide known as the Annals of the Swordsmanship-Seeking Sect, reading its contents in detail.
The characters currently used for writing in the Land of Infinity were different from the previous generation.
Luckily, Ding Hao was not illiterate and had the help of combined memories as a foundation to work on. It allowed him to read the text easily.
“The nine great factions of the humans in Snow Province are the Tranquility Academy, Leiyin Sect, Mindlessness Sect, Tai Xu Sect, Dependent Arising Clan, Swordsmanship-seeking Clan, Falling Star Clan, Clear Heart City and the Sun Slaying City. Together, they’re known as the ‘one academy, two cities, three sects and three clans’. The Swordsmanship-seeking Clan is one of the nine big factions, but in reality its strength is greater than the others. It can be considered as one of the major powers in Snow Province.”
“Besides from the nine great human factions, there are large amounts of demons with unknown power spread across the vast land of the Snow Province…”
“The Snow Province got its name due to shorter summer seasons and longer winter seasons, compounded by the fact that longer winters led to higher amounts of snowfall. It is one of the 16 provinces in the wastelands of the northern region of the Land of Infinty. Its land is vast and resources abundant, while its surface area stretched over more than millions of kilometers. Amongst its many mountains and valleys resides countless numbers of humans and demons. Since ages past, both races have had numerous clashes with each other and massacres have been committed by both parties, in a bid to survive and gather resources…”
“Even though the surface area covered by the Snow Province is so vast, it is also merely the smallest province among the 16 provinces of the Northern Wasteland. The tract of land covered by the other 15 provinces are so great that one would find it hard to cover the entire distance across any one of them throughout one’s entire life…”
“Furthermore, the Northern Wasteland is merely one of the five great regions of the Land of Infinity. There also exists the other four land sectors of the Western Desert, Northern Border, Eastern Wasteland and the Central Plains…”
“Within these vast regions exist countless number of sects, ancient clans, families, demons and exotic races so powerful that they are hard to describe. If there was truly to be a competition, the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect, even with its status as one of the major players in the Snow Province, can only be considered as insignificant, rather like a drop of water in a vast ocean.”
Ding Hao was completely shook just by reading the unrefined introduction of the Land of Infinity from the Annals of the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect.
This Land of Infinity was obviously a world so huge that it was hard to describe.
The surface area of the Earth from a previous generation was not even a hundredth of this one. There existed many kinds of indescribable beings and races in the latter. It was vibrant and mysterious beyond measure, far exceeding Ding Hao’s wildest imaginations.
It was indeed a marvelous world full of possibilities.
Ding Hao felt emotional at this moment.
After reading the book in detail again, he realized that the other parts of it introduced him to certain parts of the history, experts, past achievements as well as current organizational structure of the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect. It was all very complicated and the book explained everything in detail. Ding Hao remembered all of it, thinking that it could come in handy in the future.
After having a general understanding of the sect, he kept the book and flipped open the secret manual to the mysterious skill known as the Qi Inducing Formula.
Ding Hao had chosen to buy the Qi Inducing Formula as it was a general sort of technique and could be considered as extremely fundamental.
It was highly likely that the better skills in the Land of Infinity could reject each other. The fundamental types like the Qi Inducing Formula would not have much effect to any sort of higher level skills that he could practice after joining the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect in future, as they were simply too basic. Furthermore, these basic skills would not attract the attention of others.
After turning the contents page, he noticed that the opening chapter was covered thickly with tiny characters.