Chapter 60 - The Bone-Tempering Pill
Shi Mu woke up in his bed, his heart beating fiercely while he sweated so profusely that his clothes were soaked in sweat. Though his face was somewhat pale, due to the sweat, his eyes were filled with an irresistible excitement.
After his eyesight was strengthened, he climbed to a high place every night when there was moonlight to enter the ape's dream again, where he would transform into the white ape to absorb moonlight and further strengthen his eyesight.
However, as he carried on the absorption, the degree, by which his eyesight grew, decreased, even if there was illuminating moonlight during the nights. Gradually, he reached a point where his eyesight no longer increased.
But tonight, the scene in the dream changed and the white ape he transformed into didn't climb onto a tree to absorb the spirit of moonlight; instead it was listening to an elder imparting something to a group of animals, whom he was among. Although Shi Mu did not understand the dream, he vaguely felt that it was not a bad thing.
But soon he smiled wryly to himself as he found he was unable to recall a single word of the elder's teachings. Shi Mu did not feel tired anymore, and he jumped to his feet, walking in circles about his room, scratching his head. The very movement was amazingly similar to that of the white ape when he had scratched his cheeks in the dream.
Shi Mu sensed that what the elder had told him in the dream was of great importance. He did everything he could, trying to remember the words the elder spoke, but nothing came to mind. Giving up, he sighed and returned to his bed.
The next day, Shi Mu woke up and ate a few of the rock-hard buns and then left his house to go look for some pills. After his hard work, he had reached the beginning stage of the Art of the Heavenly Elephant and acquired real qi sensing in his body, which proved that he had finally become a real Houtian Warrior. Therefore, right now, he needed more Bone Tempering Pills to carry on his practice.
His one million silver notes would earn him respect as a rich young master in the secular world, and the note could be used as currency in all the three countries, but in the Black Demon Sect, they might not count for much: the pills could be really exorbitant in price, so he must find out the price of the Bone Tempering Pill.
The entire valley was now covered in the morning mist, peaceful and quiet. Shi Mu stepped out of residence area and found himself in the midst of others outside. Some disciples, apparently newcomers, were moving with excited and cheerful looks on their faces. They must have chosen proper arts for themselves and were looking forward to growing more with them.
As he passed through a crossing, Shi Mu went straight on into the heart of the valley to find the green-stone square that Stone Bai and Xiao Ming had told him about.
It took him nearly an hour to reach the avenue lined with shops, adjacent to the square, where a strong aroma of medicine told him he was at the right place. The scent uplifted his spirits. He quickened his steps and entered into a three-storey building which was beautifully built and filled with people.
In the main hall, there was a golden board three meters long engraved with elegant handwriting: "Sweet Pills Market".
When he entered, Shi Mu could not help but marvel at the size of the house. The hall, wide and bright, was, at least, three meters in height, and large enough to hold more than a hundred people.
There were counters around him, in the hall, all of which were made out of Purple Heart wood, which is quite precious. Behind them were rows of shelves, made up of the same wood. Many shelves were full of herbal medicine; some others held small and exquisite china bottles, which possibly contained various pills.
There were dozens of primary disciples in the hall, most of whom were chatting with men in the same black uniforms behind the counters. Many other black-robed men were by the shelves, picking herbs and bottles from them.
The disciples were wearing uniforms that looked the same as the uniforms the black-robed men behind the counters were wearing, only that the black-robed men's clothes did not have silver embroideries on their sleeves to show their grades. Also, those black-robed men looked older than most primary disciples.
Shi Mu gave it some thought and realized that the black-robed men were probably the laborers mentioned by Wild Zhou. Though they were not official disciples of the Black Demon Sect, they were all martial art practitioners, the weakest were at the sixth level of body tempering, the best were at the eleventh level.
They must have joined the Black Demon Sect willingly as laborers to struggle for the yearly thirty rations to be upgraded to primary disciples. After all, not everyone could acquire qi-sensing before the age of fifteen; and the power of the famous sects must be much greater than national schools like Kai Yuan Martial Arts school. As long as they could upgrade, many more chances would come to them as primary disciples.
"What can I do for you, brother? Perhaps I can help you find some medicine." As Shi Mu came in, a laborer, who looked to be around eighteen years old, came to offer his services, bowing and smiling as he greeted Shi Mu.
"Thanks, I'll help myself." Shi Mu smiled and shook his head.
The laborer smiled and bowed again, stepped back and left him alone.
Shi Mu glanced around and stepped straight to the middle counter, staring at the shelves carefully.
"Tiger Blood Pill","Purple Cloud Herb","Liquid of Five Snakes","Primordial Qi Pill"....
The varied kinds of pills and herbal medicines amazed Shi Mu. For a while, he just stood in front of the shelf and stared.
Though the pills on the first floor were mainly sold to disciples of the lowest level, the cheapest pill cost twenty silver, and the majority of the pills cost hundreds of silver, and these were the prices for a single pill. "For heaven's sake, only a rich man could shop here!" Shi Mu thought to himself.
"Oh, the Blood-Strengthening Pill!" Shi Mu finally found a pill he was familiar with, blurting out its name out loud with his eyes shining.
He looked down and found the number "85" on the red price tag on the shelf.
It far surpassed his belief that the price of the pills distributed to new disciples, for free, could be so high. Each primary disciple could receive three Blood-Strengthening pills every month for free , which would cost almost three hundred. According to Wild Zhou's words, there were more than two thousand primary disciples in the sect, and disciples of higher levels would receive even more resources than primary disciples, despite being fewer in number, so the cost of pills in the sect would be at least one million silver every month!
Shi Mu took a deep breath when he realized this. Now he was even more convinced of the Black Demon Sect's wealth and strength.
"Hello brother, how can I help you? We have got every kind of pill and herb here." A handsome laborer appeared behind the counter, greeting Shi Mu with a radiating smile.
"I am looking for the Bone-Tempering Pill!" This time, Shi Mu didn't refuse the servant's help anymore for he had lost patience to find the pill by himself among a sea of unknown pills.
"One thousand silver." The handsome laborer searched in his mind for the price and answered with a smile.
"So expensive!" Shi Mu changed his look as he heard the price.
"Brother, you must know, it takes a certain kind of precious herb to make the pill, so naturally the price won't be low." The laborer smiled again while he explained to Shi Mu.
"Well...I'd like to buy three pills." Shi Mu thought for a while and took out three thousand silver notes.
He had planned to buy many more pills but he knew it would be safer not to show his wealth openly, after all, he could just come here whenever he needed more.