Another visit to the Jade Pavilion.
The exquisite carpet was soft on the feet. The heavenly texture was a reminder of the establishment's top-notch service.
Manager Yu was dressed in a tight-fitting qipao that accentuated her assets. She approached Fang Lang, smiling.
"Congratulations on defeating all the other sword geniuses and ranking first in the Gathering of Swords. You're an impressive young man!"
Manager Yu moved hypnotically as she smiled attractively.
Fang Lang knew the words were perfunctory and played along. "Luck was on my side."
Then, he turned his attention to the mission at hand—spending the cultivation resources required a bit of strategy.
Medicinal pills were out of the question. He could afford a better space ring but his heart yearned for a flight sword.
The journey to the Sword Guild on Mentor Wen's flight sword inspired Fang Lang.
Of course, the convenience was more important than the coolness.
Manager Yu recognized the impulse in Fang Lang's eyes—it was a look that screamed, 'I want to buy something but I have no idea what.' Taking the lead, she guided Fang Lang around the shop and spoke up, "Although the Jade Pavilion's main business is in space rings, we also carry medicinal pills and cultivation robes. If you…"
Fang Lang listened politely to the manager's introduction. Then, he asked, "Does the Jade Pavilion sell flight swords?"
Surprise registered on Manager Yu's face. She smiled and said, "Young Master Fang, I won't lie and say the flight swords we sell are the best. The Jade Pavilion entered the flight sword market late and our models cannot compare to those from the Sky Cloud Sect, the Galloping Horse Valley and the Four Rings Tower. We lag behind in terms of the rune research.
"Therefore, if you wish to purchase a top-of-the-line, high-speed flight sword, I'd suggest you go to the Sky Cloud Sect or the Galloping Horse Valley. However, the Jade Pavilion is on par in terms of comfort and user experience."
Manager Yu was honest with her recommendation, in line with the Jade Pavilion's customer policy.
The Jade Pavilion flight swords had their advantages and she wasted no time in promoting them.
Fang Lang was taken aback by Manager Yu's explanation but he was not disappointed.
Manager Yu was glad her honesty did not send Fang Lang running to their competitors. She led him into the inner courtyard.
Flight swords lined along the corridor, illuminated by colorful spirit crystal lamps.
Fang Lang could not tear his eyes away from the dazzling display. Manager Yu gave him a brief introduction of each flight sword model.
She was well-versed in pitching each model's function and features.
Once the presentation concluded, Fang Lang asked with a smile, "Miss Yu, for 5,000 gold coins, which flight sword would you recommend?"
5,000 gold coins?
Manager Yu was not too disappointed though the sum would only fetch a basic model.
Fang Lang's tone indicated he was not here to window shop.
From the vast collection, Manager Yu picked a flight sword that was two palms wide and five feet long. The crimson hilt, guard and blade were connected in a seamless fashion that made the whole flight sword look like it was on fire. It was resizable with a maximum capacity of five.
"This is the Jade Pavilion's basic model from the Meteor line-up. It comes with a Direct Charge Rune carved by a third-class spell master. We guarantee a stable ride with this model. The flight sword can achieve its maximum speed of 1,000 miles per hour within ten breaths. It consumes three low-grade spirit crystals every two hours.
"If you're keen, we can enter the Flying Sword Examination Board's illusion spell for a test ride," Manager Yu said with a smile.
The invite made Fang Lang's eyes widen.
"Sure, let's test it out."
Manager Yu smiled and raised her hand. The air shimmered and the chosen flight sword was stored. Then, she led Fang Lang to the illusion area.
The illusion area was huge.
The area was protected by a significant number of guards—many of them were spell masters in spell robes. They kept a trained eye on the illusion runes.
Manager Yu walked beside Fang Lang. "Other than test rides, the illusion area is also used to host the Flying Sword Examination Board's Flight Rally. By purchasing this flight sword, you're eligible to enter the competition with your pass. If you manage to leave your name on the sword slate, the Jade Pavilion will give you a free flight sword customization pass."
Fang Lang's curiosity was piqued.
Manager Yu opened the decorated door and gestured for Fang Lang to enter. It was an empty room with intricate rune carvings all over the floor, ceiling and walls.
"Young Master Fang, do you have your Flying Sword Examination pass? According to the Tang Dynasty's laws, flying without a pass is illegal," Manager Yu said.
She had to verify Fang Lang's pass. Fang Lang retrieved his pass from his space ring and handed it over without a fuss.
Manager Yu checked the runes on the pass and returned it with a smile.
Then, she pulled out the Meteor flight sword from her space ring.
"The flight sword is yours for the moment. Enjoy!" Manager Yu said cheerily and left the room.
As soon as the door shut, the runes in the room glowed.
The view before Fang Lang changed—he was at a circular altar, up in the sky. The scene was incredibly realistic.
A feminine voice sounded. "Welcome to the illusion. Your identification name is, 'Jade Pavilion - Meteor 007'. Would you like to change it? Do you wish to hide your appearance? Do you wish to participate in the Flight Rally?"
The voice surprised Fang Lang. He had never actually operated a flight sword. The System had only granted him the skill and qualification.
He had the soul of an old driver but the body of a newbie.
Fang Lang recalled Manager Yu's words—winning the Flight Rally would grant him a chance to customize his flight sword at the Jade Pavilion.
Fang Lang did not want to pass up the opportunity.
He did not bother to change the name. After some thought, he decided to hide his appearance.
Fang Lang triggered his spiritual sense.
Soon, there was feedback.
"Meteor 007, this is your first time participating in the Flight Rally. Searching for teammates.
"Search complete. The first round of the rally is starting, please be ready."
The melodious voice died down.
Lights shot out from the runes. Beside Fang Lang, a silhouette appeared with the identification name, 'Luojiang's Young Blade God'. The teammate's physical appearance was hidden.
The name sounded eerily familiar.
In the illusion area of Luojiang City's Four Rings Tower was Liu Bubai.
After Fang Lang's rejection, he had abandoned his sword training and went to the Four Rings Tower.
Liu Bubai ranked first as a part of the Luojiang Academy team and was rewarded with bonus points for the individual event. His father was proud of the impressive feat and thus, Liu Bubai received a basic flight sword from the Four Rings Tower as a reward.
The flight sword was not comparable to Wen Ting's Trident model but it still cost a few thousand gold coins.
Liu Bubai entered the Four Rings Tower's illusion area with routine ease.
Although he never personally owned a flight sword, he frequented the Four Rings Tower's illusion area for fun rides. Each ride cost ten gold coins but it was affordable for a rich kid.
He entered the Flight Rally and waited for a teammate.
A silhouette appeared beside Liu Bubai.
His spiritual sense tingled as he checked the teammate's name.
'The Jade Pavilion - Meteor 007'. Flight experience… None.
Liu Bubai's heart sank.
The default identification name revealed the flight sword's origin and model.
Crap, a newbie!
Liu Bubai resigned to losing the round—his hope for getting his name on the sword slate was dashed.
Unhappy with the team assignment, Liu Bubai crossed his fingers, hoping the newbie was competent.
"Newbie, you're responsible for wind-breaking1... Do you know what that means?" Liu Bubai asked.
"No," 007 replied in a dull voice.
"Simply put, power the flight sword rune with all your might. Fly through the resistance and pave a path for me. Understand?" Liu Bubai glared at the silhouette.
"I think I understand…" 007 said with a hint of mirth.
Liu Bubai waved his hand in defeat. 'What do you even understand?'
"Alright… Don't speak. Lay low, I'll carry the team."