Icestone City, Nebula Pavilion.
Ling Feng and Liu Yan stood before Elder Han Qingrui with slightly restrained expressions.
Following the Ling Family Patriarch’s orders, Ling Feng had come to Nebula Pavilion to help Qin Lie obtain “spirit tablets” in order to practice inscribing spirit diagrams.. Because he was unfamiliar with Nebula Pavilion, he first sought out Liu Yan and asked him to be his guide.
At Celestial Wolf Mountain, Liu Yan had become very close to the Ling Family and had also expressed his sincerest gratitude towards them, telling them that if they required any assistance at Nebula Pavilion, they should seek him out.
Ling Feng’s arrival caused Liu Yan to be elated. He happily guided Ling Feng to find Han Qingrui and had Ling Feng explain the situation.
“Qin Lie and Ling Lie are are one and the same, and he possesses three thousand contribution points. The ‘spirit tablets’ that Nebula Pavilion uses to inscribe spirit diagrams are worth five contribution points each. How many do you want to buy on Qin Lie’s behalf?” asked Han Qingrui. He thought,smiled slightly, then inquired “That Qin Lie, is he also an artificer? Spirit tablets can only be used to practice inscribing spirit diagrams, they are just basic materials and have no other purpose. He really only wants to get spirit tablets?”
“Elder Han, during our time at Celestial Wolf Mountain, Qin Lie helped fix my Hexagonal Shield,” Liu Yan explained with a smile.
Han Qingrui nodded with shock visible in his eyes and said, “So that’s how it is.”
“How about a hundred spirit tablets?” Ling Feng suggested.
“Mn, of course, that will be five hundred contribution points. Let me record this, and with that, Qin Lie now has two thousand and five hundred contribution points remaining.” Han Qingrui drew a few strokes on the account book and then gave a piece of paper to Ling Feng. “Take this receipt to the Spirit Materials Stockroom to receive them. Liu Yan can lead you there.”
“Thanks, Elder Han,” Ling Feng gave his thanks.
Han Qingrui waved his hand and said casually, “Actually, Qin Lie can come to Nebula Pavilion to cultivate whenever he would like. He does not have to stay with the Ling Family. My son often speaks of him and hopes that he will come soon. Mn, please pass on my son, Han Feng’s greetings.”
“I will,” Ling Feng said seriously.
“I didn’t think that Qin Lie was acquainted with Tu Ze, Kang Ze and the others. This boy really conceals himself thoroughly.” Exiting the room, Liu Yan smiled and shook his head. “Qin Lie, Ling Lie, haha, he clearly could have become a core member of Nebula Pavilion long ago, why is he still staying at your Ling Town? Isn’t entering Nebula Pavilion and becoming a core disciple the goal that all the young martial practitioners of the families dream about?”
“I don’t know what he’s thinking,” replied Ling Feng with a grimace. “For Ling Xin, Ling Xiao, and myself, breaking through to the Natal Opening Realm before twenty years old and entering Nebula Pavilion is our only goal. If I had the chance, I would move to Nebula Pavilion immediately since the environment here is more suitable for cultivation…”
“You will definitely be able to enter in the future.” Liu Yan patted his shoulder.
“Mn!” Ling Feng nodded heavily.
“Strange, Qin Lie is clearly able to enter Nebula Pavilion to cultivate, so why would he remain in Ling Town?” At the dining table, Ling Chengzhi’s brows knitted together and said, “If he wants to wait for Qin Shan to come back, he can wait at Nebula Pavilion. With the Ling Family present, we can notify him immediately if Qin Shan returns. He doesn’t have to stay at the Ling Family.”
“Maybe it is because of Big Sister?” Ling Xuanxuan’s brows moved slightly and she suddenly turned to Ling Yushi beside her. “Right, Big Sister? That guy can clearly leave Ling Town and have a better place to cultivate, but he just happens to want to stay. It’s for Big Sister, right?”
Ling Yushi seemed to be thinking of something. Hearing her sister ask, her face blushed red, and her bright eyes flashed as she said in a panic, “I don’t know, that’s probably not the case. I don’t know too much about what he is thinking…” As she spoke, her heart sweetened, and the two circles of red on her cheeks became even brighter.
“Look at you, still saying it isn’t for you? Who are you fooling?” Ling Xuanxuan pouted and said furiously, “It’s so strange, Qin Lie is the same age as me, but I will have to call him brother-in-law in the future. Really, I’m suddenly his junior, this is horrid!”
“What brother-in-law. You silly little girl, you only know how to speak nonsense, see if I don’t tear your mouth apart!” Ling Yushi was furious, her face red as she quarreled with her younger sister. She scolded but her eyes were full of mirth.
“You’re both already of marriageable age, but you’re still fooling around. Act properly!” Ling Chengye snorted lightly.
The sisters heard his scolding, smiled, and obediently stopped.
Ling Chengye’s brows furrowed slightly. He made a sound and suddenly said, “Shi’er, have you forgotten that the engagement between you and Qin Lie… is just a stop-gap measure? When Qin Lie turns seventeen, Father and Qin Lie will be able to end the engagement unilaterally. Your engagement is not real…”
Ling Yushi’s eyes dimmed. She suddenly dropped her head and said in a cold tone, “I remember.”
Ling Chengye nodded and sighed. He continued, “Even though Qin Lie has helped our Ling Family greatly and I like the child, his origins are unknown. We do not know his background, nor do we know how many secrets he is hiding. Father… is very worried, worried that some of his affairs will create trouble for the Ling Family. Sigh, I am also torn and cannot make a decision. I just want to remind you to not completely commit too deeply.”
When the words came out, the table full of Ling Family members became silent.
A moment later, Ling Yushi slowly stood and said with a lowered head, “I’m full.”
She walked straight out of the dining hall.
“Daddy, you’re worrying for nothing! Really, it’s rare for Big Sister to be happy, and now she’s bothered by your words!” Ling Xuanxuan abruptly put down her plate and glared at Ling Chengye. She said, “If Qin Lie is truly stupid, I would be the first to object to him and Big Sister. I’ll stop it even if it costs me my life so Big Sister does not have to endure that humiliation!”
She paused and then shouted, “But Qin Lie is clearly very smart, his cultivation realm is not weak, and he has helped the Ling Family greatly. Even Ling Feng, Ling Xiao, and Ling Xin admires and respects him to a great extent. I, myself, have not endorsed him this the entire time, but I find him to be pretty good now. I just don’t understand. Daddy, why do you have to be so bothersome?”
“Xuanxuan, your father is the patriarch of the family. He needs to consider any potential problem from the perspective of the entire Ling Family.” Ling Chengzhi frowned and lectured, “You only go with what makes you happy at the time, simply reacting honestly to everything and without thinking. You don’t consider the potential consequences or how your actions will influence the entire family—but your father cannot be like this. The Ling Family… is just a very tiny clan and cannot weather too much storm. Even the slightest bit of turbulence can destroy the Ling Family and cause it to disappear entirely.”
As soon as he finished saying these meaningful words, the Patriarch of the Ling Family lightly sighed, his face full of bitterness and helplessness.
“Dad, I was impudent,” apologetically said Ling Xuanxuan after she had reflected. “I just feel that Qin Lie isn’t a bad person. Because I had a biased opinion towards him before, I feel very guilty. I saw how he helped the Ling Family so many times for Big Sister, so…”
“Daddy understands, Daddy understands. Actually, I feel that Qin Lie isn’t bad either, but, but… sigh, if he was just a normal person, Daddy wouldn’t have to worry and would allow him and Shishi to be together. Let’s not think too much on this, the more I think, the more my head hurts. Let’s wait and see,” Ling Chengye stated his attitude.
One hundred spirit tablets were neatly placed in the broad cave of Herb Mountain. The spirit tablets were only palm-sized, mostly made from unique stone materials, and the surface was smooth and regular, able to reflect just like a mirror.
There was also a batch of spirit tablets made from wood. There were natural wood grains on the surface, so it was rough to the touch.
Low grade spirit tablets could only be inscribed with low grade spirit diagrams. The materials used did not have to be the same; wood, stone, bones, and even special leaves could be made into spirit tablets.
There was only one use for spirit tablets—to practice spirit diagram inscription. It was a one-use object. One spirit tablet could only be used to practice inscribing one spirit diagram. Whether or not inscription was successful, the spirit tablet could not be used again.
The one hundred spirit tablets cost five hundred contribution points and were delivered by Ling Feng from Nebula Pavilion for him to practice spirit diagram inscription.
Separating the spirit tablets based on the material, Qin Lie was slightly excited, and he used both of his hands to caress the spirit tablet to feel the texture and using his heart to feel…
A long while later, he slowly adjusted his heart rate and breathing, focusing and calming down to refine his spirit energy.
His left hand’s index finger made contact with a stone spirit tablet. A needle-like energy lit up on his fingertip as he carefully moved it along the spirit tablet.
The spirit tablet was the paper, the needle energy at his fingertip was the pen, and the spirit energy was the ink…
His attention was unprecedentedly focused, his mind and consciousness permeating inside the spirit tablet; he seemed to see a snowy-white piece of paper.
As his spirit energy entered, a white dot of light appeared on the paper. That was the gathering of spirit energy, the beginning of everything!
As the white dot of light moved, flashing lines were gradually drawn out on the “white paper” inside the spirit tablet… seeing the spirit lines appear, he suddenly felt excitement and, his calm heart was disturbed.
His fingertip shook minutely, and he suddenly lost control of his spirit energy. The spirit line he had worked so hard to draw snapped like a split piece of rope. The white light sprayed out and completely ruined the clean and white “paper.”
One spirit tablet was now ruined.
Qin Lie forlornly took away his finger with a face full of disappointment. He murmured, “Five contribution points gone just like this…”
Any slight change in his state of mind could cause his hand to tremble and his spirit energy to go out of control!
Taking a deep breath, he took out a new spirit tablet, put his finger on it, and tried to inscribe the Spirit Gathering diagram from his Soul Suppressing Orb etched deep within his memories.
A long while later, he had just finished inscribing the third spirit line and caused another spirit tablet to turn to scrap because his spirit energy control for one of the spirit lines had been wrong.
The Spirit Gathering diagram in his mind was formed from thousands of spirit lines crossing one another. He had just begun, and he had failed once again.
“Five contribution points lost again. This artificer practice is really just burning money.”
Qin Lie furrowed his brow. He finally understood why the Ling Family did not have the wealth to nurture artificers, because the growth of an artificer required an astonishing investment of spirit materials, spirit stone, and spirit herbs. Small forces basically could not afford it.
After sighing over it, he once again took another spirit tablet and continued to practice inscribing spirit diagrams.