Chapter 22.1 – Scrolls and Magic Arrays
Long Ling sighed softly and said, “Although Jing Jing may have a bad temper, she’s a good person. You shouldn’t have any grudge against her. Nian Bing……”
Nian Bing interrupted Long Ling’s speech, saying, “The President wanted us to compare notes on magic control cultivation methods. May I ask what you two usually do for magic control cultivation?”
Long Ling first stared blankly, then said, “Naturally, we use low rank magic then rely on our spiritual power to control the spell to the desired level. Don’t tell me you use a different method?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said, “Of course it’s not like that. Actually, magic control cultivation doesn’t have a particular trick to it. The main thing in cultivation is spiritual power. Relying only on magic control practice to cultivate spiritual powers would definitely not produce good results because the spiritual power isn’t going to receive enough stimulation. For example, when controlling your strongest magic, it will be very difficult to make it reach the level you desire. In the end, the spell will be used as a full frontal attack. Normally, you should already be able to use the magic you’ve learnt to its fullest extent and thus be able to control it. The reason why you are unable to control it, however, may not because your spiritual power is lacking, but because your spiritual power is not focused enough.
“Focus of the spirit?” Long Ling’s eyes lit up. She possessed a great gift in magic cultivation. Hearing Nian Bing’s simple pointer, she immediately understood many things. Pondering on his words, she asked, “But how is it that you succeed in getting your spirit completely focused? This would require a specific method.”
Of course, Nian Bing could not tell her that he trained his spiritual power control by cutting firewood. Helplessly he said, “The method varies from person to person. To put it simply, when you concentrate your attention on observing the same thing, your spiritual power will aggregate. For this, you’ll want to try out different methods to find the one most suited to your cultivation.”
Long Ling contemplated and then said, “I get it.” From her chest, she took out a small, exquisite magic wand. She did not speak another word as she walked into a corner, sitting down with a look of complete focus as she concentrated on the gem of the wand.
Nian Bing silently praised her. Although this kind of direct observation was somewhat inferior to his woodcutting cultivation method, it was no doubt the most suitable method for Long Ling. However, spiritual power cultivation wasn’t something that can be completed in one morning and one night. He himself had needed eight years to reach his current level.
Shi Jiu looked at Long Ling who was sitting down at the side, staring at the precious stone in deep concentration. He couldn’t help but be at a loss. He hadn’t heard what Nian Bing said earlier. Right then, looking at Long Ling trying out what Nian Bing had said, he could not help but feel somewhat funny. Sitting by Nian Bing, he said in a low voice, “I heard master say that originally he wanted you and Ling’er to cultivate in the library alone, and that it was you who invited me?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly. In a low voice he said, “Big Brother, don’t misunderstand! I reckoned that we would be at the library for a long time. You can just relax and pursue your Ling’er while I peacefully read my books. I’m just giving you guys the opportunity to interact. How’s that? Aren’t I a good brother.”
Shi Jiu extended his thumb to Nian Bing, the expression of excitement in his eyes unmistakeable. “Good brother, if you need something, do not hesitate to talk to Big Brother and I will definitely help you.”
Nian Bing gave a little smile and said, “Right now, there’s nothing I need. Big Brother, I’ll be reading books. Everything else, I won’t bother with.” Having said this, he grabbed a book and walked to another bookshelf to continue studying.
In the sea of books, time passed very quickly. After a few days, Shi Jiu was enduring the loneliness here to accompany Long Ling. But he was naturally lazy and didn’t hold much patience for cultivation; otherwise, he wouldn’t be approaching his thirties yet still continues to be stuck at the realm of an Advanced Mage. The days passed. Besides meal times when Long Ling and Nian Bing barely spoke to the other, the two were silent the entire time. Shi Jiu was wholly not suited to such a situation. On the third day, it became intolerable for him. Besides occasionally reading, he didn’t remain long in this place. Anyways, Nian Bing and Long Ling were like pieces of wood, and Shi Jiu placed great trust in Nian Bing. On the seventh day, he just didn’t come back and let the two cultivate alone in the library.
Nian Bing held a book in one hand and quickly condensed magic power in the other. On a scroll, he continuously drew. This type of magic scroll was made out of special materials. On the surface, there was a layer of crushed precious stone powder. When using magic to draw, one could store magic inside the scroll and when needed, it could complete the spell in an instant, even without a chant. That day, when Nian Bing was confronting Feng Nu’s attack, he threw out ten or so pieces of paper. Those were beginner magic scrolls he drew on the first floor. Rank 2 magic was drawn on ordinary paper, but past rank 4 magic, specialized scrolls would be needed. This white scroll was not comparable in quality, and as such, neither was the price. The cheapest scroll cost one gold coin and the most expensive scroll cost ten purple gold coins. The white scroll itself was not extremely costly, but if the surface needed magic, then the price would immediately multiply several times over. The scroll Nian Bing was using right now was the most ordinary scroll, bought at the price of one gold coin. Though the Mage Association gave its members not just a little preferential policy, the white scrolls had to be acquired with their own money. Nian Bing had always been interested in the use of magic scrolls. But after Feng Nu’s place where he had relied on the scroll to save himself, his interest in scrolls simply bloomed. Having memorized the needed spells and reading the information he needed, he studied the drawing process along with the use of magic scrolls on the second floor. He had bought the white scrolls directly from the Association. He was an Association member, so they were twenty percent off. In only two days, Nian Bing had used more than ninety of a hundred single-use, low-level white scrolls, which was how he depleted half a month’s worth of his salary. However, his luck was not that bad. Due to his magic control, his success rate at drawing magic scrolls was much higher than an ordinary mage. From over ninety scrolls, he had made thirty rank 4 scrolls, and even had six rank 5 scrolls and two rank 6 scrolls. He had reached the limit of his current ability.
“The last stroke.” Ice magic power suddenly condensed as Nian Bing pointed with a finger. At the scroll’s most crucial position, a chi sound resounded. The scroll flashed blue and immediately turned into ice powder. It was a bust as the scroll was discarded as ice powder.
The overuse of spiritual power made Nian Bing tired. He could not help but lean against the bookshelf. “The success rate of a Rank 6 magic scroll is really low. I just wasted another gold coin.”
“That’s already pretty good.” A sweet sounding voice came from behind Nian Bing. Nian Bing turned to look, only to see that Long Ling was already at his side from who knows when. Squatting down, Long Ling looked at the completed scrolls on the ground. She couldn’t help but smile slightly and say, “If every mage had a success rate as high as yours, our Mage Association would become the richest organization on the continent.”
Nian Bing looked blankly. He said, “In the books, it only says that success in drawing magic scrolls depends on the mage’s magic power, magic control, comprehension of magic, and the quality of the scroll. That said, I didn’t know what the baseline success rate is. Ling’er, is my success rate really that high?”
Long Ling smiled slightly and said, “Of course it’s very high. Ordinarily, mages can only draw magic scrolls for a magic spell two levels below their highest level of magic at a success rate of one to five percent, give or take. Using white scrolls cannot add to the magic strength of the scrolls and can only increase the success rate when drawing scrolls. Using the most expensive scrolls, the success rate would be around twenty percent. What’s more, is that that type of scroll is very small and easily carried, thus the price is very high. Therefore, successfully drawn magic scrolls, even if it’s only at rank 4, would fetch an extremely high price. For example, your rank 4 Snowstorm, would be priced at least fifty to one hundred gold coins. In total, you used a hundred scrolls to make over thirty rank 4 ice magic scrolls. This said, you will make a profit on these scrolls at least ten times. You asked if it was so amazing, right? In addition to your extremely high success rate, you used the most ordinary white scrolls to make rank 5 and rank 6 scrolls. Rank 6 magic should be the highest level you can reach and yet you can still successfully make scrolls of the same rank. Even if it was my father, he wouldn’t be able to accomplish that. At every increase in rank, the price of the scroll increases five fold. So your rank 5 scrolls can be sold at about ten purple-gold coins, and your rank 6 scrolls can be sold at a high price of 200 purple-gold coins and up.”
Nian Bing listened to Long Ling and couldn’t help but smile and say, “Having said this, how can I not do well? Hehe, Ling’er, how did you know that I made rank 5 and rank 6 scrolls?”
Long Ling’s pretty face flushed red. She said, “When you started to make scrolls, I started paying attention to you. Making magic scrolls is comparatively dangerous, I just hoped that you wouldn’t destroy the library. I really didn’t think that your magic control was much stronger than I had imagined. Maybe even an ordinary Magic Scholar could not compare to you, else it would be so easy to succeed in drawing magic scrolls.”
Nian Bing smiled slightly, saying, “I have no use for this many scrolls. If you like, you can have a few. It’s a pity my magic power isn’t enough, otherwise I could’ve made higher level scrolls to use. With a scroll, you can easily toss it out when you meet an enemy. Even if it’s a high level martial artist, it wouldn’t be very easy for them to evade/defend.”
Long Ling giggled and then said, “You’re right, but you should know that throwing scrolls is equivalent to throwing money! Speaking of scrolls, I recall that last time, in a moment of carelessness, Uncle Li De was surrounded by your Snowstorm. In order to not lose face, he used a rank 7 magic scroll that was made by my father to provide assistance. He drew it in front of me. If he had brought it outside, it could be sold for three thousand purple-gold coins at the very least. After you left, he didn’t know how his heart could ache any more. For that scroll, he spent over two hundred purple-gold coins.”
Nian Bing looked blankly at Long Ling and said, “Magic scrolls are really that pricey?”
Long Ling looked at Nian Bing with a monstrous expression. “You really haven’t conventionally studied magic before. Magic scrolls are not only expensive, but were previously unavailable on the market. At one point, magic scrolls higher than rank 6 were about ten times more expensive. One rank 7 magic scroll can easily wreck city gates with no chance for defense. A rank 8 scroll, in the time it takes to blink, can decimate an army of a thousand soldiers. And a rank 9 scroll can release a magic power so mighty, it can almost destroy a whole corps of ten thousand people. Can you imagine how much money it takes to build/make a legion ten thousand strong? Rank 8 scrolls are very different magic, the price is at least ten thousand purple gold coins, and a rank 8 AOE attack magic scroll can be priced at fifty thousand purple-gold coins. As for rank 9 scrolls, they have never even had a price. Moreover, it’s been a long time since one has been seen. In the situation when my father is able to chant a very long spell, he can use rank 10 magic. He already tried to make a rank 9 scroll, but has never succeeded. In this area, he has already wasted more than a thousand purple gold coins on white scrolls.
Hearing Long Ling’s words, Nian Bing suddenly understood that the main reason why magic scrolls were so expensive was because magic scrolls, even in the hands of a beginner mage, could unleash a devastating magic power. With just money, a beginning mage with ten or so scrolls could contend against a Magic Scholar. This is the advantage of the scroll. However, according to what Long Ling said, he could sell the scrolls he made for no small amount of money. If there came a time where he needed money, he would just have to make some.
“It’s a pity my magic power is too low right now. The highest I can make is a rank 6 scroll. I would also only use a portion of all these scrolls. Ling’er, could you get the President to help me sell them?”
Long Ling smiled slightly. She said, “Sell? When Father sees this many scrolls, he would not be willing to part with them. He will definitely get you to stay. You should know, as a Mage Association, a large scroll reserve, during a battle with mages or a war, can effectively increase the battle capability of the Association by a huge margin. Even if it is only rank 4 magic scrolls, collecting a lot is very advantageous. Right now, people who can make scrolls like you are very rare. After all, the success rate in making scrolls is too low and in order to raise the success rate, normal people must use higher-grade white scrolls so the expenses are very large. This is good, I will act in place of my father to promise you that whatever you need, the Association will offer free of charge. But if you make the scrolls, you will sell them at half market price to the Association. How many you want to keep is up to you. I reckon that with your present magic control, if you use the best paper, a rank 4 scroll’s success rate should be eighty percent or higher. I suggest you make more high rank scrolls so that you can practice. Making scrolls for a long time has the greatest effect on increasing magic control. People like me who have a success rate of almost zero couldn’t use such a costly method to train our magic control.”