Ancient Strengthening Technique Chapter 827-828
AST 827 – The City Of Adventurers, Heavenly Beast City, Black Obsidian
The Central Continent!
Today was the third day since he had arrived to the Central Continent, yet he still hadn't managed to visit the Qianyi Clan, the Nian Clan, the Di Clan or Duanmu Clan. He didn't want to disturb them, so he kept quiet about his arrival.
Qing Shui seemed relaxed as he continued to stroll around the Central Continent during the day and train every night in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. He had so much money that he would never run out even if he bought a lot of items.
When he had come last time, he had only seen the tip of the iceberg of the whole Central Continent. Qing Shui had already been to a number of cities since his arrival. He would take a day to visit each city and travel to the next the day after, moving from the west to the east in a straight path.
If he were on a tight schedule, it wouldn't take too long for Qing Shui to navigate an entire continent in a short amount of time. On this trip however, he had been travelling around the continent leisurely, touring scenic landscapes and sightseeing.
The Central Continent was the heart of the World of the Nine Continents, the most prosperous continent where martial warriors would gather and the flow of traffic would never stop. The flourishing scenery of the Central Continent was inconceivable.
Qing Shui had been enjoying his life these past few days. Ever since he had started training to improve his abilities, he hadn't had much time to enjoy his life – every day seemed to be a struggle to increase cultivation as fast as possible. So when he got the chance to finally enjoy his life, he felt extremely at ease, as if life felt more substantial than before.
In his past life, Qing Shui had been born the son of a farmer. His life in that family was bearable – the hardest work he had done was a bit of farm work, which was part of the working life experience. After that, he had gone to college to further his studies, but in the end, he hadn't been able to truly enjoy his life either.
Even when he had arrived to the World of the Nine Continents, he had been rushing about constantly, which meant that he hadn't truly enjoyed his life for a second. There had been some setbacks during his cultivation, but he was able to overcome them by constantly pushing forward. As a result, resting was more or less non-existent throughout his life.
Saving one life would always be better than building a pagoda!
Good deeds could lead to the accumulation of virtue!
Qing Shui had never believed in those things, but he had no choice but to accept the truth. Everything that happened had a cause and an effect. Sometimes, occurrences would depend on a person's beliefs, which were never a bad thing to have. Evildoers would always get what they deserved in the end, and those with good hearts would always be rewarded for their good deeds.
Human beings were known to be selfish creatures – under normal circumstances, no one would willingly take on the burden of others. In actuality, it was quite difficult to differentiate between good people and bad people in this world.
For example, a group of young gang members might be hitting an old woman and a young child violently. Any passers-by would sympathize with the victims and become furious at the uncivilized youngsters. They might see the old woman and the young child as beggars trying to scavenge for necessities in the cold winter while wearing thin clothes, or they might see two disabled individuals….. In any case, most people would harbor sympathy for the old woman and the child, an example of when the good nature of human beings would show.
But sometimes, selfishness would stream into their minds, influencing them to show the bad side of human nature – some people were inherently greedy by nature.
With bad people in the world, there must exist good people to oppose them. The world was a fascinating place where anything strange could happen yet everything had a reason for its existence.
Qing Shui had done some good deeds before, and he felt quite satisfied about his accomplishments. They were the kind of experiences in life that he could consolidate into his cultivation. He had a theory that the advancement of his skills – such as the Nature Energy or State of Immovable as Mountains of invincible aura – might have a correlation to his experiences in life.
The City of Adventurers!
Heavenly Beast City!
This was the city where adventurers were known to gather – the Heavenly Beast City! Qing Shui had arrived in this city half a month ago. It was here that he found that there were some unusual organizations in the World of the Nine Continents.
These organizations didn't seem to fit into the 'sect' or the 'aristocrat clan' categories. However, some super aristocratic clans and sects seemed to have control over these organizations due to their supreme influence and power in this world.
These organizations consisted of merchant associations, guilds for adventurers, auction houses, and related groups. Even though they seemed ordinary, their influence should not be underestimated. For example, a merchant association could be formed by a number of merchants affiliated with one another. One could argue that they were more or less controlled by an alliance of family clans, but they were definitely not from the aristocratic clans.
An auction house was practically a large retail site where people could auction peculiar valuables or rare commodities to wealthy buyers. Large auction houses could organize more than one auction a day. The auction house would impose a fixed administration fee for each item placed up for auction.
The vast city had a huge population and boundless opportunities where people would support each other. Even though the owner of an item was required to pay a fixed amount of administration fee to the auction house, he would be able to receive a larger sum of money from the auctioned item regardless.
Of course, the other way to sell off valuables would be to directly sell them to the auction house. However, in most cases, the amount of money the owner would receive would be less than that from organizing a proper auction. For items of tremendous value, the auction house would normally advertise the auction event a few days prior to the actual day, one of the advantages of the large population. Doing so would bring a more positive response to the hype of the auction.
Those who could afford to open a highly profitable business such as an auction house would not be a commoner. Rather, they all had a powerful influence behind their back as support. In most circumstances, these businessmen would not consider themselves to be a part of the aristocratic clans. As with all things, there were still a few exceptions.
The Adventurer Guild, on the other hand, was started by a group of adventurers who were passionate about risking their lives for glory and wealth. Their base was the guild itself, so anyone could to submit a mission requesting specific things they required, like for example a fresh set of Tiger Bones.
The requester would typically go to the market first to search for materials that they needed. If the materials were not fresh or not to their liking, they would then go to the Adventurer Guild to post their request with a promised offer of monetary reward after paying a deposit for collateral purposes. If the request could not be completed within a set amount of time, then it would be taken down automatically. The same would apply to the request that had been completed successfully, in order to create space for new requests.
If the mission was a success, the requester would go back to the guild, collect their requested items and pay the reward. After that was done, the requester would be able to take back their deposit money from the guild. However, if the requester failed to collect the deposits in time, then the deposit money would be given to the adventurer who had completed the quest as extra compensation for their effort.
Adventurers should not be looked down upon. Most martial warriors who had reached adulthood would apply as an adventurer at their local Adventurer Guild. Every city would have at least a few adventurers, and they could take on missions as long as they had the adventurer permit or certificate. Moreover, most would not accept the missions that had been taken by other adventurers out of respect to the whole community.
Just like a quest for fresh Tiger Bones – one adventurer alone would be able to finish the quest without problems. If more than one were to take on the quest, it would only serve to complicate things.
However, in some cases, there would be a few missions that could be taken by more than one adventurer. Of course, those who could finish the mission the earliest would be able to receive the reward first. Others who failed to finish the mission early would naturally get nothing. Most importantly, the mission must state all the conditions clearly beforehand, so that adventurers would be given the time to consider before making their decision.
Adventurers were also allowed to submit the requested item to the requester if they already had it available in their inventory and receive the reward directly.
Like most guilds, adventurers would be tested on their skills and categorized by rank. The higher the rank, the more difficult their tasks would be. However, there would be an abundance of benefits for adventurers who had reached the higher ranks – for example, they would be allowed to collect a payroll from the Adventurer Guild. In a sense, those who were powerful and more highly ranked would never run out of money. Naturally, their tasks would become progressively more difficult. They would be the best choice for requesters who had quests that required someone of extraordinary power to handle them, so normal ranking adventurers would never be allowed to take them.
Advancing in rank for an adventurer was surprisingly easy. If a low ranking adventurer was able to finish a high ranking mission, then he would be allowed to change his rank based on the success of said mission.
The application for the Adventurer Ranking Certificate was easy as well. The certificate title would be associated with the adventurer's cultivation base – Houtian Adventurer, Xiantian Adventurer, Martial King Adventurer, Martial Saint Adventurer, and so forth.
Martial Saint Adventurers were rare in most cases. They would be recruited heavily as long as they showed their capability as a Martial Saint. Those who could use their skills to fight and show their ability to refine medicines would be offered a highly rewarded mission. After all, Martial Saints would be in the spotlight no matter where they went.
Of course, there would be a number of powerful warriors and private adventurers gathered in the Adventurer Guild to receive missions. One could say that they were the guild's main supporters as well.
"Those above Grade Ten Xiantian who can kill Rock Bears at Jolly Mountain, please report here. We still need three people." A burly man nearby called out for recruitments.
"Those who seek a mission to find the Eight Star Herb in the White Cloud Mountain, please come here. Rewards will be given accordingly to anyone who can find it. Only those above Xiantian are allowed to take this mission."
To be honest, this was the first time Qing Shui had stepped into an Adventurer Guild, which naturally also meant that he didn't have an Adventurer Ranking Certificate. However, he could get one through a performance appraisal from any Adventurer Guild by measuring his strength. It was the only way to prove himself in order to acquire an official certificate from the guild.
The first time he entered the hall of the Adventurer Guild, he felt astonished. The hall was wide, stretching about 100 meters from side to side. A series of giant stone pillars stood in the middle of the hall, supporting the weight of the building.
Both male and female clerks wearing guild uniforms stood behind a circular platform with desks. The hall was a mess, as there were many people lining up for each desk, while more idled around outside the lines.
Qing Shui took a closer look and noticed that the desks had signs on them – Requisition for Elementary Level Mission, Requisition for Intermediate Level Mission, Requisition for Expert Level Mission, Procurement Section…… There were too many to look at. The crowds in those lines were unbelievable.
Application for the Adventurer Ranking Certificate.
Qing Shui noticed the line for this section was quite short – there were about three to five people standing in line. He chuckled for a while before joining the queue. Behind the desk was a friendly looking middle-aged man sitting on a chair as he continued to process the applications.
"Good day. I would like to apply for the Adventurer Ranking Certificate." Qing Shui made a polite request when it was his turn to speak at the desk.
"Please proceed inside. There will be an attendant to process that for you." The middle-aged man smiled as he pointed towards his left. There was a hallway that he could enter by passing through the stone platform.
Qing Shui gave a polite smile and nodded as a gesture of gratitude. Then he walked inside the hallway towards a spacious area as wide as a large garden. There were a lot of facilities inside this area, with a number of rooms in each corner. Undoubtedly, there were many attendants running about to serve the needs of the applicants.
"Sir, what can I help you with?" Not long after Qing Shui entered the area, a young man walked towards him and asked in a courteous manner.
"I want to apply for the Adventurer Ranking Certificate."
"This way, sir."
Qing Shui followed the young male attendant, perhaps also an adventurer of the guild, through a long hallway before they arrived at a room that seemed to be yet another big hall, albeit a little bit smaller.
There was a crowd inside the hall. Some seemed new like Qing Shui, while others were already adventurers who came with the sole purpose of updating their Adventurer Ranking Certificate.
"Master, this gentleman wishes to apply for the Adventurer Ranking Certificate." The male attendant greeted an old man with respect.
"Alright!" The old man replied as the male attendant bowed before he left.
Qing Shui observed the old man, who was wearing a grey robe. He had a pair of clear eyes and a full head of grizzled white hair that hung down from his temples. He seemed amiable and kind, especially with the gentle smile on his face.
"Young chap, come over here." The old man smiled and gestured Qing Shui to follow him.
Qing Shui nodded and followed the old man towards a giant black rock.
The rock was about four meters tall and eight meters wide, with an asymmetrical oval shape. The surface of the rock seemed to have scars left by various kinds of weapons. There were faint marks of palmprints and footprints as well.
This was the Black Obsidian, known to be very hard and solid. Most importantly, the Black Obsidian had an ability to self-regenerate. It could also be used as a material to forge weapons and armors. However, after taking a closer look at the Black Obsidian, it seemed to be a rock of poor quality. Nonetheless, it would suffice as an alternative to assess the strength of a martial warrior. Most people would use Black Obsidian to test their abilities regardless.
"Young chap, pick a weapon from the stash over there. As long as you can leave a mark on this rock, you will officially become an adventurer." The old man smiled as he pointed to the Black Obsidian and the pile of weapons beside the rock.
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AST 828 – Cloud Adventurer Guild, Heading for Tiger Gorge Mountain
There was a weapon's rack filled with various weapons on the side which included the saber, spear, sword, staff, battle axe, hatchet, scythe, dagger, and hammer. There were even various gloves and even claws.
Qing Shui was aware of how the Black Obsidian could measure one’s level. If a person could leave behind a mark, it would mean that he was at Peak Houtian cultivator and if he could leave a mark that was one inch deep, he would be a Xiantian cultivator. Peak Xiantian cultivators could leave a mark that was three inch deep; elementary Martial Kings could leave a mark that was one foot deep; Peak Martial Kings could leave a mark that was three feet deep; early Martial Saints could break this Black Obsidian which was four meters tall.
Qing Shui looked at the weapons but did not head over. He merely reached out his hand to touch the Black Obsidian then exerted some strength, his entire palm sunk it, creating a hissing sound.
“Sir, is this alright?” Qing Shui smiled and said to the old man.
As he looked at Qing Shui’s state, a hint of surprise flashed in the old man’s eyes. He stared at the deep and clear palm print that was left behind. Although this was the standard for an Elementary Xiantian level, the old man was sure that this young man had not given it his all. Xiantian cultivators would not be able to do this so easily, even if they were Peak Xiantian cultivators. Most importantly, the old man could feel a vague feeling of attraction and mysterious powers from this young man.
Although the weapons here were not the best, they were specially made and were suitable to conduct the tests but this young man didn't use them. This was also why the old man found Qing Shui mysterious. However, whether or not the adventurer displayed their full prowess was their own choice and he could not comment on anything. He merely smiled and nodded, then led Qing Shui to handle the administrative matters.
Xiantian cultivator adventurer certification!
Since the other party chose not to give their all, then it must be his choice to not reveal his abilities. Therefore, the adventurer certification that the old man had given Qing Shui was for the Xiantian level.
“Lad, have you thought of entering our Cloud Adventurer Guild?” After settling the administration for Qing Shui, the old man asked casually.
As he heard the old man’s question, Qing Shui thought of the current situation across the world. Almost every city had an adventurer guild but these guilds did not have any headquarters as they were too big and no one could link them together. If it was within a city, there would still be a way to facilitate for the teamwork and join forces to deal with other adventurer guilds.
The competition between adventurer guilds were very intense and there were usually many adventurer guilds in a city, just like how it was for clans. They would continue to compete while they worked together or even asked the assistance of their friends to join forces to defeat their competitors. Adventurer guilds who were weak would be easily crushed.
“I haven’t thought about it yet. If I were to join an adventurer guild one day, I’ll definitely join Cloud Adventurer Guild.”
Qing Shui was very certain about this, because he didn't had any plan to join an organization like an adventurer guild. Since the administration were completed, Qing Shui prepared to take his leave. The old man sent him off.
Once he stepped out the door, Qing Shui saw a silhouette from the corner of his eyes as it entered a building far away. He felt that the silhouette was very familiar but it had disappeared in a flash, thus, he did not give much thought into it.
It was a lady.
However, thinking about it, how could there be anyone that he could recognize in the Heavenly Beast City? Therefore, he didn’t pay much heed and he head back towards the hall once again with a smile .
The place was very messy, with many people shouting out to look for helpers for the missions they had taken up. However, not far away, there were a few people who weren’t shouting. They only held up a sign on which a few words were written.
"Looking for people to head to the Tiger Gorge Mountain!"
If he was someone new to the place, Qing Shui would definitely not know what kind of place the Tiger Gorge Mountain was. But now, he was aware and was also slightly interested in it. The Tiger Gorge Mountain was quite far from the other cities, with wilderness on one side. However, the wilderness was the safest while the other three directions were all filled with danger.
On the north side of the Heavenly Beast City was a huge and towering Tiger Gorge Mountain with stretches of mountains that reached up into the clouds. Not just within the Heavenly Beast City but also within the entire Tiger Roar Country, the Tiger Gorge Mountain was well-known as a dangerous place, especially the deeper areas within it.
The name of Tiger Roar Country came from the Tiger Gorge Mountain. The Tiger Gorge Mountain in the north of the Heavenly Beast City was very large, which spanned out to almost millions of li. Moreover, there were plenty of ferocious beasts as well as venomous worms and snakes. Hence, people who were weak would definitely not dare to enter.
The greater the danger, the greater the returns. Therefore, there were still many people who viewed money to be more important than their lives and would take the risk to go in there. The Tiger Gorge Mountain was filled with various interesting beasts, heavenly and earthly treasures, and precious medicinal herbs that were many times more abundant than any other places. There were many people who would be willing to die for riches and thus, countless people would enter everyday. There were many who would go missing but there would also be rumors of people who became rich overnight or acquired a heavenly and earthly treasures which made their cultivation level to increase by leaps and bounds.
What Qing Shui needed now were medicinal herbs, especially a Sky Penetrating Grass which was 5,000 years old or older. Therefore, after he had arrived to the Central Continent, he would head over as long as there was a chance for it to be found in certain places.
He noticed a few people that were heading for the Tiger Gorge Mountain. As he thought of how he was unfamiliar with the area, he decided to head there with other people as he still wanted to live and experience life.
As Qing Shui headed over, he started to assess them. The group had five people, three men and two ladies. One of the men was in his middle-age while the other two appeared to be in their thirties, all of them were quite good looking. The two ladies should also be in their thirties. One of them wore a Knight attire, her beautiful long hair tied up with a red string. Her eyes were especially bright, her upright nose and slightly curled lips gave the feeling of inhibition. She was an attractive lady who was both beautiful and appeared to have a strong character, with a curvy figure and a height that matches most guys.
The other lady was different. She wore a light blue pleated dress, her long black hair draping down. She did not have any strong features but was still a beauty with a gentle and quiet disposition. However, Qing Shui felt that she was slightly inferior to the previous lady.
“Can I join?” Qing Shui went over and asked the middle-aged man.
Qing Shui did not know the reason they were heading to the Tiger Gorge Mountain, nor did he have the impulse to ask them. He just had the urge to enter the Tiger Gorge Mountain and did not have any special motives.
They had already noticed him when Qing Shui was walking over. However, after he finished his question, they were all stunned. Ordinary people would first ask what mission they were taking and assess to see if it was suitable before they ask if they could join.
The middle-aged man was stunned for a short moment. He looked at Qing Shui, as if he had some hesitation.
“Uncle Gang, I feel that this lad is quite good. Why don’t we let him join us?” The lady wearing a Knight attire smiled and said.
After the lady finished her words, the other young men looked at Qing Shui curiously before he looked back at the lady. A few others who had asked earlier were all rejected by her. One of them were even a Grade Ten Martial King. However, why did she not even ask for this guy’s cultivation level? Could it be because he was good looking?
“Since lass Lingyun has said it, then let’s go.” The middle-aged man smiled and said.
Qing Shui was stunned. He didn't expect this to be so easy. They didn’t even ask the reason he was heading to the Tiger Gorge Mountain or ask for his cultivation level. The reason he didn't ask any questions was because he could estimate their cultivation level, but to them, he should appear to be a Peak Xiantian cultivator.
“Lad, my name is Qi Gang.” The man took a step forward and said.
He then pointed to the lady wearing a Knight attire and said, “She is Long Lingyun, and she is Qian Mo, a summoner The other two are brothers, the elder brother is Cui Hao and the younger brother is Cui Dang.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Qing Shui.” Qing Shui smiled and greeted them.
Qi Gang was the oldest and strongest, he was an early Martial Saint. Qing Shui had been in the Central Continent for quite a while but the only Martial Saints he had encountered were from this group. There were two of them. The other one was Long Lingyun, who was also an early Martial Saint.
The weakest among them were only at Martial King level. All of them were around Grade Five Martial King.
“Brother Qing Shui, I wonder what level you’re at. Do you mind sharing with us?” The elder brother, Cui Hao, asked.
Qing Shui took out his adventurer certification which stated that he was a Xiantian cultivator adventurer.
“So you’re a Xiantian cultivator. This time around, we’re heading slightly deeper into the Tiger Gorge Mountain to explore and train ourselves, we’ve randomly picked up a few missions which require us to collect medicinal herbs and hunt down demonic beasts. It’s very dangerous for Xiantian cultivators to enter.” The younger brother Cui Dang smiled and said. However, there was a hint of contempt in his smile.
“Haha, thank you for your concern. My battle prowess is still acceptable and so is my survival skills in the wilderness.” Qing Shui didn’t feel anything when faced with the brothers’ challenge. To him, these two were merely two jumping monkeys.
“Alright, Cui Hao, Cui Dang, let’s go on our way.” Long Lingyun interrupted the two brothers who wanted to continue.
After she said that, Long Lingyun took the lead to head out while the others followed her.
When they had reached outside, Long Lingyun called out her own demonic beast. It was a Peak Martial King Silver Horned Eagle which was about 15 to 16 meters big. Qi Gang also called out a flying beast, it was a Two-Headed Flying Wolf which was a Grade Eight Martial King.
Qi Gang and the two brothers went up the Two-Headed Flying Wolf. Just when Qing Shui waited for Qi Gang to bring him up, Long Lingyun spoke up, “There’s already three of them. You can just join elder sister.”
Qing Shui wanted to say that he would just squeeze in with them when he saw the fury in the Cui brothers’ eyes. He thanked Long Lingyun and was pulled up onto the Silver Horned Eagle.
Long Lingyun pulled Qing Shui up with one hand and Qian Mo with the other. As Qing Shui kept his abilities concealed, he could only ask the other's help to bring him up. Only Martial Saints had the ability to fly.
Qing Shui was actually quite curious about this lady who called herself elder sister. To think that she was already an early Martial Saint at such a young age. He had came across many people in the Central Continent but this was the only time he had seen a Martial Saint.
This lady gave him the feeling that she was not an ordinary people. Although she appeared to be very young, many people’s age could not be discerned by the eyes alone.
“Do you guys go on adventures often?” Qing Shui stood on the Silver Horned Eagle and asked with a smile.
Although the sound of the wind was strong, their voices could still be clearly heard.
“We’ve only met these few days. The Cui Brothers are more familiar with the area and it’ll save us some time.” Long Lingyun said and smiled as she looked at Qing Shui.
“Those two brothers seem to like the two of you.” Qing Shui smiled and said before he stared at Long Lingyun.
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