Chapter 98: The Crafty Skeleton
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Novel Saga
In the Dead Spirit World...
The gray sky was shrouded by low-pressure clouds. Strong winds swept across the sky like a sharp knife.
The sky looked gloomy through the multiple layers of clouds; so much so that its sight could stir-up a feeling of depression within any human.
A single-armed human skeleton slowly advanced in the vicinity of a desolated hill. It was in an extremely tattered state.
The skeleton had lost several bones from its body. Moreover, several cracks could be seen on the surface of its remaining bones. In fact, a deep fissure on its ribs had separated its body into two halves.
The skeleton's bones produced a creaking sound every time it took a step forward. It seemed like it could fall apart any moment.
However, it continued to advance forward. It would stop at regular intervals and raise its head towards the sky to gaze at the twelve blood-moons for a few seconds. The green flame in its eye-sockets would glitter in response.
The skeleton set its foot in a slope of black soil after a while. He sized-up the surrounding area, and continued to walk in a certain direction.
Suddenly, the soil near its feet split open. Then, a white shadow sprang out of it. It was a strange white worm. It was as thick as a human's arm. It opened its mouth like a snake, and bit the skeleton's ankle.
The green flame in the skeleton's eye-sockets flickered. It couldn't move since its ankle was in the grip of that strange white worm.
Suddenly, the skeleton bent and waved its arm across the worm. It then grabbed the rear part of its body with an unimaginable fast speed.
'Hiss' a mild sound was heard.
The skeleton exerted pressure and pulled the worm apart. The worm didn't get any time to loosen its grip. It was torn into two halves. The front half of the worm's body was still dangling from the skeleton's ankle.
This happened extremely fast; as if in a flash of lightning. It couldn't be imagined that a tattered and exhausted human skeleton could do such a thing.
It had appeared as if the skeleton couldn't avoid the attack. But now, it seemed that it had deliberately set-up a trap.
The skeleton opened its mouth, and softly sucked-in.
A group of bean-sized green light-balls flew out of the worms' corpse. The skeleton swallowed them quickly.
The green flame within its eye-sockets flickered slightly. It looked more exuberant now. A layer of faint black fog seemed to have appeared on its body.
A few fissures on its ribs started to heal, and become smaller.
Then, the black fog started to grow more and more somber. Finally, it disappeared.
The green flame within its eye-sockets sparkled a few times. Then, the skeleton continued to proceed at a slow pace. It seemed to be unaffected by what had happened a moment ago.
Shi Mu left Young Master Ju's residence, and returned to his stone house.
He closed the door and sat down. A faint trace of excitement flashed through his eyes.
He had learnt a lot about the wonderful life of a Soul Magician while helping Young Master Ju in carrying out his experiment. Moreover, this experience had rendered him a hope that he could possibly become a Soul magician.
However, the expenses of a Soul magician seemed to be considerably higher than that of any other magician's. He couldn't afford it even though he was earning a decent amount of money.
Shi Mu remained silent for a moment. He then took out the thin booklet from his bosom, and started to read it carefully.
Then, he took a pen and a paper, and started to calculate the cost.
The final number froze his blood even though it was a rough calculation.
He found out that he needed four-hundred-thousand silvers to make arrangements for the Art of Summoning. Moreover, he would need to spend additional money in case he made a mistake during the process.
He smiled bitterly and put away the booklet.
He had recently received a payment after he had delivered a batch of paper charms to the Holy Spirit Association. So, he had accumulated around three-hundred-thousand silvers. However, he was still short of one-hundred-thousand silvers.
Moreover, he needed money to continue his practice of the Art of Breeding Heavenly Elephants. He couldn't stop the practice of this art in order to perform the beckoning ceremony.
Shi Mu sighed. He seemed to have given-up on the thought of performing the summoning ceremony for the time being.
He pondered for a moment. Then, he fished out the bottle of the Golden Lizard's venom.
He decided to prioritize the matter of the meteoric-iron blade since he couldn't summon the skeleton.
He had the Golden lizard's venom now. So, there was the possibility that he could upgrade the black blade to a magic weapon. But, he couldn't accomplish this task on his own. He needed to ask Zhao Ping for his assistance.
Shi Mu believed that Zhao Ping wouldn't refuse him considering his current status as a Charm Magician. But, he needed to choose the charm spell that he would get engraved on the blade.
Shi Mu took out the jade slips of the 'The Sacred Book of Charm Magic'. Then, he started to go through the various kinds of charm spells that were recorded in the book.
Three days later; in Zhao family's blacksmith's shop...
"Haha... Brother Shi is amazing. You obtained such a huge amount of the Golden Lizard's venom in such a short time. That Golden Lizard is Young Master Ju's treasure. We - the Flaming Beast Group - had previously spent a huge amount of money and efforts to get a tiny drop of this venom. But... you've obtained a big bottle of it. It's truly admirable," Zhao Ping burst out into an exclamation as he looked at the porcelain bottle. They were in the reception-room of the blacksmith's shop.
"I was just lucky. I happened to help Young Master Ju a few days ago. So, he gave me this bottle of venom. Now, we can try to upgrade the blade to a magic weapon. I came here to ask Brother Zhao to do me some favors," Shi Mu took a sip of tea from his teacup. He then said with a smile.
"Sure. No problem at all. I've made this black meteoric-iron blade with my own hands. So, I would like to refine it into a magic weapon," Zhao Ping nodded without any hesitation.
Shi Mu had brought a huge number of paper charms; as requested by Zhao Ping.
Another charm magician wouldn't have been able to make such a large number of paper charms even in a month. However, Shi Mu had completed them in only a few days.
Zhao Ping was surprised. This compelled him even more to pull Shi Mu to his side.
"Selecting a good day isn't as good as bumping into one. So, let's begin at once. Brother Shi, please follow me." Zhao Ping stood-up and walked inside.
They arrived in a stone room. This place was the forging room. It was a spacious room, and was around 70 meters in length. Several stoves were set-up inside it in a perfect order. Each stove was blazing with raging flames. Therefore, the temperature of the room was extremely high.
Several sturdy men with bare upper-bodies were busy forging different weapons. 'Bang' 'Bang' continuous sound of striking metal rang everywhere.
They nodded with respect as they saw Zhao Ping and Shi Mu enter the room.
However, Zhao Ping didn't pay attention to them. Instead, he led Shi Mu to the door of the innermost room of the shop. It was an airtight stone room.
"This is my special forging room; it's reserved for me. It's a little better than the ones that you saw outside," Zhao Ping explained. He then pushed-open the door.
Shi Mu followed him. A scorching heat hit his face as he entered the room. Then, Zhao Ping shut the door again.
This room wasn't big. It was made up of an unknown black stone. There was a stove inside the room. But, it was a lot smaller than the ones outside.
The flame emanating out of this stove was pure-white in color. Moreover, its heat was much more intense than the ones outside. Even the air over the stove was faintly rippling.
There was one forging table inside the room besides this stove; no other equipment could be seen.