Chapter 16 - Shopping
Lin Mu looked up and saw the familiar Jing Weis Emporium written on the signboard. With his legs sore from all the running, Lin Mu wanted to plop down right then and there on the floor; but then decided against it. He pulled out the rolled-up pelts of the Black horned rabbit and Thorn tailed rat before walking into the shop.
Everything was the same as yesterday: dust everywhere and no person at the counter. Wanting to rest, Lin Mu found an old stool in the corner and sat on it; not minding the dust on it. He rested his legs till they did not feel as sore as before and he could walk again normally.
Lin Mu must have rested for more than 30 minutes, yet no one came to check on him. There seemed to be no sign of the woman from before.
Its been so long, yet no one is bothering to check the shop. Are they not afraid of getting anything stolen
I guess no one even comes to the alley itself, not to mention this shop.
Lin Mu wondered how the shop owner even survived considering the situation of the business. Pushing his thoughts aside, he walked up to the counter and rang the small bell kept on it. Unlike before, he did not even have to wait for 10 seconds before the woman walked out of the door behind the counter.
"What are you here for today" The woman questioned with an expressionless face.
"I brought more pelts to sell." Lin Mu said with a little pep in his voice.
The woman unrolled the pelts and checked them. Not finding anything wrong with them, she put them on the side and pulled out a coin pouch from under the counter.
"Ill give you the same price as before: 30 coppers." The woman stated.
"Thats fine, but I also need a few more things," replied Lin Mu. He had originally thought of buying a weapon and some things from other shops, but decided to try his luck here instead; hoping to get a better deal.
"What else do you need"
"I want two pouches, a large sack, and a weapon."
The woman raised an eyebrow in question but did not speak. She walked out from behind the counter and went towards a shelf on the left. The woman gestured for Lin Mu to follow her, which he did.
"Pick whatever sized pouch you want from here."
Lin Mu eyed the haphazardly placed pouches on the shelf. They were mixed together and it was a little difficult to find the size he wanted. Lin Mu searched around and found two suitable pouches and asked for the price.
"How much for these two pouches"
"10 coins for the smaller one and 15 for the bigger one." The woman said with a straight face to which Lin Mu nodded. She then moved again towards a corner where a pile of sacks was kept and gestured for Lin Mu to pick, clearly not wanting to touch the dusty sacks herself. Lin Mu picked a sack that was big enough to cover half of him if he stretched it out.
"That sack will cost 25 copper coins."
"Ill take it." said Lin Mu.
The woman looked at Lin Mu and then spoke with a stern tone.
"What kind of weapon do you want and how much is your budget"
The woman seemed to be questioning whether Lin Mu would be able to afford a weapon after paying for the sack and pouches. Lin Mu understood the womans tone and put his right hand inside his robe and pulled out 15 silver coins, pretending as if they were kept in there all this while.
The boy clearly was not carrying those coins with him. Im sure of my senses. Seems theres more to him then I thought. The woman said inwardly, concealing her shock.
"I would like a suitable sword for hunting." Stated Lin Mu, unaware of the womans thoughts.
She went back to the counter, with Lin Mu following behind.
"You dont have any specific idea of what kind of sword you want" Asked the woman.
"To be honest, Ive never used a sword before. Thats why I asked you to suggest a suitable one." Replied Lin Mu with an embarrassed face.
She was not bothered by the boys embarrassment and spoke,
"What stage of the body tempering realm are you at"
"I reached the fourth stage of body tempering recently," said Lin Mu.
The woman stood and thought for a minute, after which she opened the door at the back of the counter and walked inside. The woman stayed inside for 10 minutes while Lin Mu waited patiently, fiddling with the coins in his hands.
The door opened and out walked the woman along with an old man. The man looked ancient, and it seemed as if he already had one foot in the grave. The man had shoulder-length white hair and a long messy beard. His face was full of wrinkles, yet his eyes seemed to be full of vigor. He was dressed in a spotless white robe and was wearing a black beaded bracelet on his left arm.
The old mans gaze sent a chill down Lin Mus spine and left him unable to breathe. Seconds felt like an eternity to him, and just when he was about to faint; Lin Mu felt a rumble in his mind. He felt as if thousands of monks were chanting in unison, their voices turning into an unyielding force in his mind. When the chants reached the highest volume, a stream of energy spread out from the ring on his right hand and spread throughout his body.
All of this seemed as if it took a long time, but happened in an instant. Then, in the next moment, everything returned to normal. The old mans gaze no longer felt as imposing as before to Lin Mu. He took a deep breath and was about to speak when the old man interrupted him.
"Im the owner of this shop, Jing Wei. You can call me Old man Jing." The man spoke with a hoarse voice.
"Ive been told you want a sword thats suitable for you." The old man continued upon seeing the silence of the boy.
"Yes, I want a sword that I can easily learn to use." Lin Mu spoke with a little difficulty, to which the old man nodded.
"Whats your dominant hand" Jing Wei asked.
"The right one."
"Hmm, and you say you are at the fourth stage of body tempering, yes" said the old man while stroking his beard.
"Yes, I am." Answered Lin Mu, who was now feeling uncomfortable in the presence of the old man.
Jing Wei turned his sight to the woman, which she understood and went back inside. She came back a minute later with seven different swords in her hands. She placed them on the counter and then stood at the side, not speaking a single word the whole time.
"Try lifting the first sword." Said the old man, pointing towards a sword.
Lin Mu walked up to the counter and picked up the sword effortlessly. The sword was very mundane, not having any special features. Such a sword could be found anywhere in the world. Lin Mu felt the grip of the handle, finding it a little uncomfortable. The old man seemed to have noticed this and said,
"Try the next one."
Lin Mu picked up the next sword and felt as if the weight of the sword was not balanced. It seemed to be a little more on one side than the other. This also did not escape the old mans sight either, and he ordered Lin Mu to keep on trying the other swords. Lin Mu tried all the swords but did not feel comfortable with any of them.
As Lin Mu kept on trying the swords one after another, the old mans interest kept on increasing. Finally, he asked Lin Mu to stop and whispered something to the woman. The woman broke her composure and a surprised expression manifested on her usual deadpan face upon hearing what the old man whispered. Lin Mu did not notice this as he was engrossed in the sword in his hand.
The woman walked up to a shelf far to the right and pulled off the sheet that was covering it. That was the only shelf that was covered with a sheet in the entire shop. From it, she took out a sword that was completely wrapped with a cloth. She brought the sword to the old man and handed it to him.
The old man unwrapped the sword and revealed it. It was a dull-silver colored short sword about the length of a forearm. Its handle was simple, made of wood, while its blade was straight and double-edged with two short grooves on its sides. Lin Mus eyes lit up upon seeing the simple yet elegant sword. But as soon as the old man held it by its handle, Lin Mu once again felt an imposing presence emanate out of him.
For a moment there Lin Mu saw a giant standing behind the old man, holding a blade that seemed to have gone through countless years of slaughter; giving off an aura that could only be described as death. Sensing what was happening, the woman panicked a little and placed her hand on the shoulder of the old man. Jing Wei understood what he did and let out a sigh, after which the phenomenon disappeared.
Lin Mu could not believe what he saw and wondered if he hallucinated all that due to still being tired from all the running he did today.