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Chapter 0569: Grandmaster’s Inexpensive Training
Ning Cheng stood outside the Zhongli Baichi Artefact-crafting Store and really could not understand why someone would give an artefact-crafting store such a name.
“Excuse me, if this senior wants to craft some weapon, I can help you place that order on record.” Ning Cheng had just walked into Zhongli Baichi Artefact-crafting Store and had no chance to look around inside the shop when a soft and gentle sounding voice rang out in his ears.
The one speaking was a female cultivator with an attractive appearance, who stood behind a half-a-person high counter. She put her arms crossed below her chest and looked at Ning Cheng with a smile.
Ning Cheng almost froze for a moment, seeing such a professional looking smile, he had almost thought that he had returned to Earth. This female cultivator also seemed to have a Celestial Gatherer Cultivation. Yet, for him, a cultivator without a celestial wheel, she unexpectedly addressed him as ‘senior’.
“Oh, I am looking for Senior Zhongli. I wanted to learn the art of artefact-crafting from Senior Zhongli…..” Ning Cheng did not know if the apprenticeship ritual in this place was that simple as people described it to be.
The pretty-looking female cultivator, on learning that Ning Cheng came here for an apprenticeship, showed an even brighter smile. “Applying for apprenticeship naturally can be taken care of at this place. All you need to do is just tell me your name and then deposit a starry skies’ grade 9 artefact-crafting material, with that you will immediately become master’s disciple.”
Ning Cheng looked at this female cultivator in confusion and asked, “Would I not have to meet Senior Zhongli?”
The female cultivator showed a slight smile, “Of course I will take you to meet him, but only after you officialise the apprenticeship and I explain you the rules. Although our Baichi Artefact-crafting Store does not have many rules, we strictly have to adhere to all of them.”
Ning Cheng sized up the store but found the entrance to the second floor sealed with a restriction. Moreover, the first floor also had a significant area with luxurious-looking decorations everywhere in sight. He also saw a few weapons, at least at the level of high-grade dao artefacts and on display within some sort of crystal-like array formation over different pedestals in the most conspicuous corners.
In addition to that, the area also contained a row of seats for the guests to rest.
“Are you also Senior Zhongli’s disciple? Are there a lot of people who come for an apprenticeship to this place?” As Ning Cheng took everything in, he could not help but ask a few questions from the side. Despite making a small fortune from the drifting starland, Ning Cheng possessed a little more than ten pieces of starry skies’ grade nine artefact-crafting materials; however, he could not spend them like water.
The pretty-looking female cultivator immediately showed a respectful look, “Of course, I am one of Senior Zhongli’s disciples. Also, yes, many people do come here for an apprenticeship, but not many people manage to understand something. Master is just a kind person who wants to pass on his mantle.”
At this time, another cultivator came in and casually glanced at Ning Cheng. However, seeing this unknown cultivator caused Ning Cheng to feel a little depressed. This person definitely was a powerhouse in the Heaven Seated Realm.
The cultivator did not care about Ning Cheng, who in his eyes was only someone with ant-like cultivation. He just glanced at Ning Cheng and then took out more than a dozen different materials before handing them to the pretty-looking cultivator, “I want to refine a high-grade defence-type dao artefact, hopefully in a shield form.”
The pretty-looking female cultivator unhurriedly put away the materials and said, “This senior, you can come to pick it up tomorrow.”
When that cultivator heard those words, he immediately turned around and walked away as if he had no connection to the materials he left behind.
When the cultivator finally left, Ning Cheng asked, “That senior did not talk anything about the price. Is the price of crafting a high-grade dao artefact fixed?”
The pretty-looking female cultivator gave Ning Cheng another smile and spoke, “In our artefact-crafting store, we do not accept celestial coins. Instead, we charge double the materials required. The materials need not be the same, but they should have to be double the value.”
Ning Cheng felt secretly surprised. It was one thing if you wanted to design a conventional weapon, but charging double the materials required for creating a high-grade dao artefact was something that not everyone could afford.
“Is Senior Apprentice Brother still thinking about taking up an apprenticeship? If you have not decided on it, you can come back tomorrow.” This pretty-looking female cultivator looked reluctant to speak further with Ning Cheng.
Ning Cheng hesitated for a relatively long time before finally taking out a fist-sized material and put it in front of this female cultivator. “My name is Wanderer, and I wish to an apprentice here.”
“Extreme Flame Silkworm Gold?” The female cultivator reached out and grabbed the material handed over by Ning Cheng and subconsciously called out with a surprised voice. It felt as if she did not care about Ning Cheng standing right in front of her.
“Good stuff.” The female cultivator looked at the fiery-red material in her hand for a long time and finally spoke those words before recording the material and carefully putting it away.
“I haven’t asked Senior Apprentice Sister’s name yet.” Ning Cheng, on seeing the female cultivator put away the Extreme Flame Silkworm Gold, quickly spoke up. In fact, what he wanted to ask was not the female cultivator’s name, but when would she take him to see Zhongli Baichi.
The female cultivator showed a bright smile and looked at Ning Cheng, “You do not need to address me as Senior Apprentice Sister. In this place, I am the youngest of all the disciples. Just call me Junior Apprentice Sister Yan. You do not need to fret, just take a seat, and wait for a while. Master also does his best to teach every disciple.”
Ning Cheng felt slightly relieved, but also could not help but ponder over why the other disciples of Zhongli Baichi could not learn the art of artefact designing. In his opinion, as long as Senior Zhongli did his best to teach, one would at least learn something. Moreover, the Mysterious Yellow Formless showed its heaven-defying nature when it came to any form of learning. Nevertheless, even before he obtained the Mysterious Yellow Bead, his greatest asset and skill was still his ability to learn.
“Junior Apprentice Sister Yan, I wonder how Master teaches? I’ve never studied artefact-crafting before, and I’d like to inquire about it from Senior Apprentice Sister first.” Ning Cheng asked with a sweet voice from the side.
The pretty-looking female cultivator’s face once again reverted to how it looked when Ning Cheng had just come in, with the same kind of professional-looking smile, and spoke with a soft expression, “Master’s first and only teaching involves letting you watch him craft an artefact.”
Ning Cheng nodded, “That’s the best. I am not familiar with designing artefact, which makes it ideal to look at how Master creates them along with the preparation that goes into the process. Junior Apprentice Sister Yan, when you talked about looking at Master crafting artefacts, does he teach from the basics?”
This Junior Apprentice Sister Yan still spoke with a professional-looking smile, “If you want to learn anything, then you would have to depend on yourself Senior Apprentice Brother.”
Ning Cheng felt slightly startled and immediately asked, “I think you might have misunderstood the question. I just wanted to ask if Master provided some pointed guidance.”
Junior Apprentice Sister Yan looked at Ning Cheng and shook her head, “That’s not it. If Senior Apprentice Brother wants to look for a second time, then you would have to take out another artefact-crafting material.”
Fuck, although Ning Cheng kept staring at this smiling Junior Apprentice Sister Yan, he could not help but feel countless alpacas running in his heart. This was just too shameless, was it not? No wonder that even after many years this old fogey did not manage to raise a single good disciple. Looks like this fellow was a cheat.
One had to produce a starry skies’ grade 9 artefact-crafting material to get the chance to observe one’s master creating an artefact. If that were the case, then how many raw materials would one have to come up with to learn anything relating to artefact designing from this master?
Zhongli Baichi, Ning Cheng finally understood the meaning of this name. It was not just eating without payment, but also shamelessly demanding food without any intention of paying. Letting a disciple, who had never studied artefact-crafting, see him refine a dao artefact, it would have truly been a strange event if someone actually managed to learn something.
Seeing Ning Cheng finally falling silent in his seat, this Junior Apprentice Sister Yan found it somewhat strange. Many cultivators, who came for this apprenticeship, after learning this rule, would immediately create a ruckus. However, if they ended up making a big ruckus, they might just end up thrown out, even losing the opportunity to observe the designing of an artefact.
Yet this disciple, who did not even have a celestial wheel, instead of turning agitated, showed such calmness. Right, what did he call himself? He mentioned the name, Wanderer; most likely, this was a fake name. However, since this person came here for the apprenticeship, who cared if he had a name or not?
Ning Cheng already had realised that it would not make any sense to turn noisy and sat in silence, waiting patiently for the moment he could watch this Zhongli Baichi craft an artefact. Continuing to cough up starry skies’ materials to learn artefact designing in such a manner, he was not that stupid.
One day passed by quickly, while Ning Cheng sat in the shop without showing any movement. At the same time, he also observed that this place really got good business. From time to time, someone would show up, bringing along materials to refine some weapon or another.
“Senior Apprentice Brother Wanderer, please follow me upstairs to observe Master crafting an artefact.” After sitting quietly for a day, Ning Cheng finally heard this Junior Apprentice Sister Yan inviting him for the viewing.
This Junior Apprentice Sister Yan activated the restrictions to seal off the artefact-crafting store and walked up to the second floor with Ning Cheng. The moment Ning Cheng stepped on to the second floor, he immediately felt a chill. It caused him to feel a little strange within his heart; by all accounts, an artefact-refining area should have some form of heat, so why was it so cold in here?
Ning Cheng quickly understood what was going on as he saw a thin-looking old man using bare hands to design a sword-shaped weapon. A cold flame surrounded this sword, which seemed to suck away the surrounding heat and transfer it to the sword. At the same time, the aura oozing from the sword also grew stronger and stronger each passing moment. From the looks of it, this sword had already reached the level of a high-grade dao artefact.
The old man then made an esoteric-looking gesture with one of his hands and one array formation after another materialised and overlapped with each other and interwove with this cold flame before finally integrating into the centre of this sword-like artefact.
A crisp hum rang out, and the next moment, it felt as if the sword in the old man’s hand had suddenly gained life as it rushed out of the ‘cold’ flame, suspending itself on top of the old man’s head. After the sword rushed out, the cold fire also disappeared instantly.
“Good sword.” Junior Apprentice Sister Yan looked at the sword suspended over the head of the old man and called out in surprise.
As Ning Cheng looked at this old man, he could not help but praise this fellow in his heart. Was this really Zhongli Baichi? He certainly fit the image of a shameless cheater. The sparse few hairs over the top of his head, bend to the sides with a slightly hunched back definitely took it home. Although this fellow’s eyes looked drooping, Ning Cheng could clearly make out that this Zhongli Baichi had two sharp eyes, one large, and one small.
At this moment, the old man finally raised his head and glanced at Ning Cheng, “Since you’ve learned it, you can go down now.”
Ning Cheng felt furious towards this old man on hearing those words. He had just come up, and this bastard thinks he already learned it, what kind of logic was this?
Junior Apprentice Sister Yan’s face showed the same smile and spoke to Ning Cheng, “Senior Apprentice Brother, please follow me down. We welcome Senior Apprentice Brother to come to study the next time.”
Ning Cheng this time completely ignored this Junior Apprentice Sister Yan, he then spoke to Zhongli Baichi with cupped fists, “Senior Baichi, although I know that the crafting process was something trivial in your hands when I came up, it looked like you had already finished with most of the process. When I paid my tuition, I was told that I would be able to observe the entire process of you crafting an artefact once; however, right now I can only say that I probably only saw one-tenth of it right now.”
“Senior’s name resounds throughout the Culmination Starry Skies; presumably, you would not go back on your words, right? If senior thinks that me looking at your refining process, oh right, observing one-tenth of your refining process, means that you taught me, then I have nothing to say.”
“Haha…..” Zhongli Baichi laughed after hearing Ning Cheng’s words. “Since you think that you haven’t learned then I will craft another weapon; as for that one-tenth of the sword crafting-process, you can take that as a gift from me.”
“Many thanks, Senior.” Ning Cheng cupped his fists once again, “I don’t dare request senior to show the previous one-tenth of the crafting process again, senior can just stop after reaching nine-tenths of the process.”
“Ahem, did you think this grandmaster knows only to craft swords?” As Zhongli Baichi spoke, a stream of materials suddenly started appearing with a wave of his hand.
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