Qin Lie had run into walls all afternoon and didn’t mind if he hit another before he returned to the tavern, so he walked towards this strange store.
“Little Friend, it is late already. I am closing, come back tomorrow.” Before he stepped in, the person on the rocking chair actually called out first to signal that he did not even need to come in.
Qin Lie was shocked and raised his head to look at the sky. There was still some time until dusk, and many of the shops in the distance were still open. Armament Pavilion, which was further away, was still full of people and at its busiest.
“I’m not here to buy. I’m here to sell something and hope that you could take a look.” Qin Lie entered politely.
Inside the room, a middle-aged uncle lazily reclined on a bamboo rocking chair and rocked himself. Looking at Qin Lie, he said lightly, “There are so many shops on this commerce street, and mine is the most remote, I’ll be damned that you were able to find this place. What? Did you try all the shops here, and since no one was interested in your goods, you wanted to try it here for one last time before leaving?
His words instantly exposed Qin Lie’s thought process.
Qin Lie was embarrassed and nodded honestly. “Yes, alright, you probably won’t be interested anyway. I was presumptuous, sorry for disturbing your rest, I’ll leave now…”
“Give it here.” The middle-aged person was actually quite handsome, just that his clothes were disheveled. He reached out a hand towards Qin Lie from his spot on the rocking chair, with no intentions of getting up; his interest clearly not great either. “You’ve already entered, so I’ll take a look at it, just in order for you to entirely give up.”
The store was extremely messy with spirit materials piled up everywhere and covered in dust, seemingly none were of a high grade.
The middle-aged person’s rocking chair actually took up a great amount of space. On the two cabinets beside him were some stones and wooden materials covered in spots. There were also a few damaged artifacts. Nothing looked valuable in here, so it was no wonder there were no customers in the store.
Just by glancing over the state of the shop, Qin Lie was already very disappointed. He knew he had probably came to the wrong place and birthed the thought of leaving.
But the uncle’s eyes narrowed, and his hand was already outstretched, so it would be rude to just turn and leave. He took out one of the Spirit Gathering inscribed spirit tablets and handed it to this lazy-looking uncle.
“…Spirit tablet, a low grade material used to practice inscribing spirit diagrams. No wonder people ignored you.” The uncle had an odd expression in his eyes. He casually took the spirit tablet, his eyes narrowing slightly as though he inspected it in secret.
Then his eyes lit up, as he looked at that the spirit tablet, and then became silent.
A long while later, just as Qin Lie was getting impatient, did he finally ask, “What is the use of this spirit tablet?”
Qin Lie explained.
“It can only increase the nature spirit energy in the surroundings by a fourth. For the martial practitioners who can cultivate with spirit stones and those large forces, this clearly does not have any great use.” He furrowed his brows while he looked at Qin Lie, his two of his fingers playing with the spirit tablet as he said, “I don’t know if there will be people interested and don’t know if I am able to sell it, so I cannot give you an exact price…”
“Then never mind.” Qin Lie already knew it would be so and sighed in disappointment. He could finally give up.
Reaching out to retrieve his spirit tablet, he gave an apology for disturbing the other man and turned to leave.
“Wait a moment,” the middle-aged uncle shouted. When Qin Lie turned around, he said indifferently, “I do not know who would be interested, but you can try to see if it can be sold. Hm, the thing… is actually not bad and has a bit of use. We just have to see if people will buy it…”
Just as Qin Lie was puzzled, he said, “You can stay in my shop and sell it yourself. Whether it can be sold or not will depend on you, how about it?”
Qin Lie scratched his head and found it strange. He examined the state of the shop again and said with a grimace, “Never mind…”
“What? You are disdainful of my little shop? Are you scorning it for being too remote and scared that no one will come?” asked the uncle as he chuckled. He then continued lazily with narrowed eyes, “Even though the location is not all that great, there will be a dozen or so greenhorns that come everyday, like you. Didn’t you come? At least, you can try. Isn’t that better than having it rot in your hands?”
“Then I will try tomorrow.” Qin Lie thought. He truly did have hope left and agreed.
“I am called Li Mu, you can call me Uncle Li. I see you have bags, so you must have come to Icestone City very recently? Where are you staying?” he asked.
“At a tavern nearby,” Qin Lie obediently answered.
“I still have an empty room here, it’s just a little dirty, so if you do not care, you can stay there.” Li Mu rocked on his chair as he lazily continued on, “There are also some blank spirit tablets inside the room. If you want to practice inscribing spirit diagrams, you can use those spirit tablets first. Mn, after you sell your stuff, repay me with the equivalent price. If you really can’t repay me back, then help me look after the shop to pay it off.”
Qin Lie looked dazedly at him. A long while later, he said, “Are you serious?”
“Rubbish!” Li Mu barked and then pointed at the door behind him. “There is a little yard there and two or so small rooms. You can stay in the room on the east. There’s some blank spirit tablets in there that you can use first. During the day, you can sit here and try to sell your stuff. It’s up to you whether or not you can sell them, how about it?”
“Alright!” Qin Lie was overjoyed and inquired, “I have my possessions with me so I won’t return to the tavern. Can I move in now?”
“Yes,” Li Mu said unconcernedly.
Qin Lie nodded and chuckled. He passed by Li Mu and entered the yard through the little door behind him to go to the room he had pointed out.
Opening the door, the dust suddenly rushed at him and caused Qin Lie to cough loudly.
This room was filled with cobwebs. Wood pieces, stone fragments, unknown metals, and other items that did not look like high grade spirit materials were piled on the small wooden bed in the room. He had no clue how long they had been there for.
There were dozens of dust covered spirit tablets in the corner, and the dust somehow managed to seem even thicker than the spirit tablet itself.
“This small shop makes little profit and cannot hire people. You need to clean up yourself,” came Li Mu’s voice from the shop outside.
“Oh.” Qin Lie acknowledged and then started to clean.
He worked until midnight before he had cleaned up the small room, and as he put away all the low grade spirit materials, he took a blank spirit tablet, His eyes started shining the moment he started to practice inscribing spirit diagrams…
In a flash, nine days passed.
During the day, he and Li Mu stayed inside the shop together and occasionally hawked his spirit tablets to the passerby that came in. At night, he continued to practice inscribing spirit diagrams.
He quickly found that he had been fooled…
In the nine days, only ten people entered Li Mu’s store in total, and they were all low ranking martial practitioners. They came in to look at the store’s decorations and then left with strange looks.
—There wasn’t anyone that was interested in the shop’s merchandise.
Qin Lie didn’t even have the chance to hawk. Usually, the other would have turned around by the time he opened his mouth, only leaving him behind, awkwardly smiling.
If it wasn’t for the small room that had a supply of blank spirit tablets for him to practice, he probably wouldn’t have been able to bear it and would have already left long ago. He knew that this shop’s business would not be good, but he had not expected it to be terrible to that extent.
The little shop’s business was unusually quiet, and it was not strange that Li Mu rested on the rocking chair every day as though he wasn’t running a business.
Li Mu did not question or mention the fact that Qin Lie was continuously using up spirit tablets and did not calculate an account. He also did not ask anything about Qin Lie’s identity or history. This caused Qin Lie’s worries to ease, and he continued to stay.
“Uncle Li, I’ve already used twelve of your tablets. If my things still can’t get sold, how can I repay you?” This day, Qin Lie couldn’t resist and finally asked.
“I haven’t thought about it. Just use them, and I will tell you when I think of something.” Li Mu replied like so.
“Uncle Li, the store is too messy and it seems unclean…” Qin Lie’s tone was nuanced as he continued, “Why don’t I sweep around and clean it up? This way, business might be better, and they wouldn’t leave right after coming in. What do you say?”
“Ignorant people. Who cares if they go, there’s no need to pay attention to them,” said Li Mu as he snorted. He then continued, “Don’t bother. I like this kind of unclean and messy environment. If it is too clean, I can’t bear it. Just complete your own matters, and don’t meddle in other things.”
Qin Lie grimaced.
On the sixteenth day of his stay at Li’s Shop.
This day, Qin Lin was inside the shop as usual, also lazily sitting on a chair as his hands propped up his chin while he reviewed the details of the Amplification diagram’s spirit lines.
Recently, he had managed to successfully inscribe five Spirit Gathering diagrams in a row. The most recent inscription only took six hours.
He remembered when he had succeeded for the first time; it had taken him seven whole days.
Right now, he gradually started to master how to inscribe Spirit Gathering diagrams. Due to his familiarity, his inscribing speed had also clearly increased.
He presumed that he could be considered to have mastered inscribing this Spirit Gathering diagram, so he turned his attention to try the Amplification diagram.
“Li’s Shop? There’s actually a shop here…”
“Miss, do we really need to look at this shop? Going in is just a waste of time. With how remote and uncared for this shop is, it definitely has nothing.”
“We’ve already walked over, so let’s go to look.”
Conversation came from the outside, and moments later, a tall and beautiful female came in along with a middle-aged family servant.
The white-clothed female seemed to be in her twenties and wore a loose snowy-white martial practitioner robe. The color of her clothes complemented her snowy skin. She had bright eyes, a high nose, and looked like she possessed a strong personality. Her beautiful face held an innate indifference as though she was used to being in high regards, and when she looked at others, it seemed that she was looking down on them.
When the middle-aged servant came in, he shorted and said with a creased brow, “An old one and a young one, both sitting in a daze, don’t you do business?”
Li Mu faintly smiled and nodded his head at Qin Lie to signal for him to deal with it. Li Mu himself still laid lazily on the chair, his eyes closed as he rested.
“Feel free to look around.” Qin Lie stood and looked with amazement at the white-clothed female. He secretly praised the female’s beauty, but felt that her expression was a bit too cold.
“Are you an employee?” The white-clothed female nodded distantly and said, “Introduce the rarest thing in your store to me. Don’t talk about anything common, I’m not interested.”
“Okay.” Qin Lie took out the spirit tablet with the Spirit Gathering diagram he had successfully inscribed and put in on the table in front of the white-clothed female. Then he said briskly, “The most interesting thing in our shop is this…”
“You scamp.” Li Mu grinned and muttered in shock as he shook his head.