28 Storage ring
Bai Qi rummaged his hand through the pile of items on the table, before picking up the green ring. "Green?"
"Elder Mu and the apprentices under him are in charge of making most of the trinkets around the sect, and they've adopted the color green as their official color."
"What is this? All of these?" Bai Qi asked, holding up the ring.
"That," Elder Xing said, taking it from Bai Qi's hand, "is your storage ring. You need to bind it first."
"How do I bind it?"
Elder Xing handed the ring back to Bai Qi. "Put out your pointing finger"
He formed a toothpick out of the air and pricked Bai Qi's finger slightly, leaving a drop of blood on his fingertip. "Now, imagine some of your will infusing through the blood, and touch the ring."
Bai Qi did so, and the ring briefly glowed, before a crimson red line formed running through the middle of the ring, all the way around. It felt as if he had an invisible string attached from his mind, to the ring, tugging at it, though the line wasn't physical and didn't exist. Bai Qi threw the ring in the air and caught it, the line moving with the motion of the ring. He did it again, with his eyes closed this time, catching the ring without looking, because he could feel the presence of the ring, being drawn into focus by that strand connecting them.
Elder Xing cleared his throat. "If you're done playing with the ring, let's move on to its function."
Bai Qi nodded, slipping the ring onto his finger.
"If you try to imagine that ring in your mind, you'll see something like a window or a doorway leading into a space. Take a coin from the table, and imagine your consciousness taking that coin from your hand, and dropping it into that said space."
Bai Qi did so, and the coin vanished from his fingers, before reappearing in that space.
"Now imagine plucking that same coin out of that space, and placing it in your hand."
Bai Qi did so, and the coin reappeared in front of him, into his hand.
"Now, in order to place something into your ring, you need to have direct contact with it, but you can bring things out of the ring within a certain distance from your body. Yours is about a radius of about two or three feet."
Elder Xing demonstrated by taking the coin from Bai Qi, placing it into his ring, then making it reappear in Bai Qi's extended hand.
"Now for the next items, money." Elder Xing gestured at the gold coin, the stack of silver, and the stack of bronze. "This isn't much, but a dozen silver will get you lodging for a month at a small inn, the bronze there will be enough for any ordinary food, and the gold coin is for emergency reserves. The sect allows for one day off a week, and this is normally the monthly allowance for all our apprentices. Missions department requires you to do a mission each week, and you get paid there as well, even the smaller and easier missions often pay in small amounts of gold. One gold is a hundred silver, one silver is a hundred bronze."
"Are there higher currencies," questioned Bai Qi. "On the way here, I saw a shop selling gag items for a few gold pieces alone."
"Disguised Magic Items," Elder Xing exclaimed, chuckling. "One of our students actually started that place. To answer your question, there are plenty of other currencies we use. There are platinum tablets, worth a thousand gold coins, gold bills worth a hundred gold coins, and platinum bills worth a hundred platinum tablets. Past that, well it gets complicated, anybody with that level of wealth ends up really trading for items because money doesn't really hold value to them anymore."
"What do you mean?"
Elder Xing stroked his beard. "Take us old fogies for example. We have a substantial amount of wealth between us, the mage sect put together has a few dozen platinum notes. Most of the items we buy for the mage sect comes from merchants, that's what we use bills for. However, there come times where we come across priceless items, and times where we need extremely valuable items. At those times, money isn't really helpful, we end up trading items of similar value to get by."
Bai Qi nodded. He took the coins and placed them into his ring.
"Now for the scrolls," Elder Xing said, picking them up. "All three are scrolls that teleport back to the sect, long-distance, and are only to be used in an emergency that is either threatening your life or threatens the sect. They are not items to be used if you are feeling lazy. The sect gets put on a small lockdown when the main tower senses spatial distortion. Understand?"
Bai Qi nodded once again because he could tell that Elder Xing was extremely serious about this matter.
"Bind one of the scrolls. This one will activate automatically if your life force reaches close to a critical level. The other two can be used without binding and can be used by anyone, so be careful not to lose them."
Bai Qi did so, and the scroll glowed white, then crimson red runes appeared on the edges of the scroll, then made their way into the middle, where a magic circle started to form before Bai Qi's eyes. The circle was much more complicated than the ones that Elder Mu had shown him, layered on top of each other in an intricate manner. The runes glowed for a few more moments, almost as if they were hovering slightly over the paper before the scroll started to fade away into golden patches of light. Bai Qi stared at his hands where the scroll used to be, before looking back at Elder Xing, questions in his eyes.
"The scroll is part of you now,'' Elder Xing said indifferently. "Elder Mu made it, the runes took a total of a month to place down on the paper. That is a lifesaving tool, and to us, and to many people, it's worth more than anything money can buy. You need a Tier 6 formation master, a tier 4 Artifact maker, and years of research into spatial manipulation to make it, so the number of scrolls is severely limited. Elder Mu may brag, but he is a backbone of this sect, so we have access to these. Outside our sect, you'd need to find an alchemist or mage organization, find people who specialize in those fields, and have them work together to make a scroll. If you did manage to find people, you'd have to hope that their work is compatible, as wills of the world often clash with each other, so there's a very low chance that their created product will even work as intended, and that's if we ignore the possibility that it might even cause a backlash. Elder Mu has access to the royal archives, and many mages who specialize in special magic, and he has spent his life dedicated to formations and artifact creations, so he is able to do the job alone."
Elder Xing picked up the other two scrolls. "These are much more common because they aren't binding type items. Place these in your ring."
"Now for the pins," Elder Xing said. He turned around and picked up the gold pin shaped into a tower. "This is the official pin for our mage sect, the gold signifies you hold a high position. There are special runes engraved that validate the pin. The next pin, the shield. That's Da Lao's symbol, the royal shield. Da Lao said to give this to you, so we are doing so. The last pin, the lamp, this is your ticket to entering and exiting the city archives. This pin is very special."
"The city archives?" Bai Qi looked curiously at the golden lamp pin. "Would this be the Arcanum archives in the middle of the city?"
"You've heard of it?'
"Da Lao dropped me off near there, and then I got lost and followed the main road back."
"The Arcanum archives are very special because of this city, Huo Cheng city. This city is the biggest academic center in the empire, and the archives are the biggest collection of raw information in this empire as well. You need to be a member of a sect, so having a sect pin," Elder Xing said, holding up the mage tower pin, "as well as having an entrance pin, this lamp pin. This one allows you access to all items in the mage sector of the archives. There are special runes that make it so that as long as they are on your body, you'll be allowed to pass into the archives."
"The arcanum huh?" Bai Qi said, holding the pins in his hand. '"Will I need to go there anytime soon?"
"You can always visit during your days off. Now, let's move on. Weapon choice.
Elder Xing laughed. "You didn't think just because we were mages here, we fought with our fists, did you?"
Elder Xing held out his hand, and his ring, dark green with a white line glowed briefly. Two swords appeared by his side, one hilt white, one dark, undecorated, blades pointing towards the ground. Behind him, weapons started floating, forming a half-circle. A spear, a staff, swords, axes, daggers, scythes, and many weapons Bai qi couldn't recognize.
Exder Xing gripped his two swords and swung them upwards, the blades making a clear shrill as arcs of light followed the sharp edges, lacerating the space around it.
"Choose your poison."
Midterms are over, classes got canceled and moved online because of the virus, and someone in my immediate family seems to have caught it, so things have been a bit hectic.
Stay safe, and be careful.
I'm still in the works of fleshing out the background, and still pretty busy, so I'm writing when I can.
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