A book bound in goldleaf clutched to her chest, a young girl finished exchanging the goods stored within the leather bag that had followed her from Jiang’an.
She dumped the contents onto the crystalline floor, a quaint expression on her countenance.
The jars of cosmetics were carefully set aside atop of a nearby table on the platform, and a bundle of herbs wrapped in fabric took its place.
The young girl stuck her hand within the leather bag, searching around for any additional articles of weight.
The grey sachet of money and the blue silk pouch of yuebing… could remain in the leather bag.
However, An Fei didn’t think much of the satchel of scarlet fabric, and tossed it to rest besides the discarded bottles of cosmetics.
Having accomplished her task, the young girl dusted her hands, hauling the bag over her shoulder with a wistful sigh. An Fei headed towards the elevating disk at the corner of the platform, her mind being preoccupied by an issue that continued to nag at her consciousness.
The herbs… since they originated from the Sanctum… surely they wouldn’t corrode upon entering the mortal realm?
…it would be perfect if their efficacy was suppressed to the minimum… since she only needed them for the taste.
Three sharp raps, and the young girl’s figure hurtled downwards at a breathtaking velocity.
With a slight thud, An Fei shakily stood at the base platform of the Archives of Time, her eyes twitching in annoyance.
“This experience is always undesirable…”
The young girl shook her head to dispel her grievances, and strode out of the grand library of the Sanctum.
Facing the finite length of the second corridor, she took a moment to ponder on what to accomplish next.
“I… can temporarily settle my food problems by eating yuebing,” An Fei murmured to herself, the fingers of her right hand gently rubbing at the base of her chin.
“If I arrive at the location where I previously was, I have a stream nearby to satiate my need for water. As for creatures and animals… I…”
…don’t have a weapon to settle a dispute or hunt…
The young girl’s voice trailed off into a discomforting silence, and she gazed towards the crystalline wall with a faraway glance. Finally, An Fei released a heavy sigh, slapping her cheeks with both hands.
Clenching her arms tight for security, the young girl strode throughout the corridor to stand before a door to her right, her limbs trembling in a slight fear and unease.
After a moment of deliberation, An Fei pursed her lips, before reaching out with a dainty hand to push at the door of sky-blue crystal.
The door slid inward without a single sound of dissent, and the young girl stepped forward to re-enter the mystical armory of the second gateway –
…only to be repelled by the sudden storm of tangible light that rushed towards her figure.
Startled by the sudden tsunami of divine essence pressing against her body, An Fei sank to the ground in a confused heap.
Her mind rang with the unceasing tolls of agony and luxury, mired in a heavy daze that possessed her soul.
The young girl’s mouth hung slightly open, unintelligible sounds escaping her throat in a momentary, drowsy lull.
Soon after, the unusual sensations began to diminish, one margin at an instance as a warm current surged throughout her body.
The fog in her pitiful consciousness receded centimeter per centimeter, until clarity had returned to An Fei’s vision.
To her surprise, the previous sensation as though wading in waist-high water had vanished, her movement unhindered by the sea of colored light that encompassed her entire body.
Rubbing her temples with a rueful smile, An Fei slowly strode into the armory, allowing her eyes to feast on the hundreds of weapons carefully settled onto their racks.
Unbeknownst to her, the reforged eight extraordinary meridians were greedily absorbing the divine essence emanating from the weapons stored in the armory, a myriad of various attributes and fluctuations becoming assimilated and comprehended into the consciousness of the eight dragons within the young girl’s body.
Alas, the young girl only cared about the fact that she was now free to move around in the dense sea of divine essence without suffering harm.
Perhaps, if she knew that her eight extraordinary meridians had been replaced with eight living, celestial dragons, her mind would suffer a catastrophic impact.
“A jian with feather edges and a nice steel trim, a dao with a …copper blade, a broadsword of a black metal…” An Fei recited to herself, her right index finger sweeping across the catalogue of weapons directly before her gaze.
“A dragon-phoenix sword, a sword… of the silver river?”
Each of the swords emitted a unique colored light, and the sensations experienced different depending on the blade.
An Fei could discern a dense tinge of arrogance and might constrained within the metallic blade of the dragon-phoenix sword, the feathered and coiled handle threatening to wreak havoc onto the world and profess its ownership of destiny.
The jian with the feathered edges circling the tang revealed a deep sense of intrigue and peace, whereas the copper dao appeared to emit a violent aura seeking the spilling of blood.
The young girl repeated her action of extending her hands forward towards the weapons, before retracting them with furrowed brows as she made her way across the armory of the Sanctum.
The jian… seemed to lighthearted to spill any blood, and it placid atmosphere was not favored considering An Fei’s past experiences.
As for the dragon-phoenix sword, the copper dao, the broadsword with the serrated edges or the dagger of black steel, none of them seemed to resonate with the young girl’s wishes…
“They’re either too violent, or too arrogant,” the young girl sighed to herself, the pair of scarlet irises continuing to roam throughout the armory.
“The blade with a pitch green hue… that’s bound to be poisonous, and might come in handy; I keep that in mind for later use. As for the axe that’s even taller than me… absolutely not.”
An Fei couldn’t help but release a despotic sigh upon finishing a cursory examination of the armory within the second gateway of the Sanctum.
As she massaged her fingers, the young girl mused that the search for a suitable weapon seemed rather laughable, as of current circumstances.
After all, she didn’t require an arrogant sword that was bound to grant her tremendous heaps of trouble and greedy gazes from others, nor did she require an axe or scythe that was taller than her own body.
And those restrictions… eliminated a large portion of the weapons socketed into their respective niches.
Sweeping her gaze around for the second time, the young girl suddenly found herself fixated onto a pair of short-bladed weapons. Leaning in closer, An Fei realized that the pair of steel blades were in fact the twin butterfly swords that she had discovered earlier.
The twin blades that had… injured her finger and seared a mark onto it…
“It… does look nice,” the young girl assented with a huff.
“Sleek and elegant, and plain enough for me to not get into trouble. I’ll… not take it.”
An Fei decisively retracted her hand from its motion of grasping the twin steel butterfly swords, instead latching onto the leather bindings of a qama’s handle.
The young girl tugged with her hand, only for a faint expression of displeasure to surface.
The dagger… remained in its niche. An Fei couldn’t help but tug once more with greater strength, before backing down with a disconcerted sigh.
“Why… can’t I just take it?” the young girl rolled her eyes.
She breathed deeply, latching her fingers deeply on the leather grooves of the qama’s handle. Pursing her lips, An Fei pulled once more with her right hand, a groan of effort rushing from her throat.
A twinge of warmth surged throughout her meridians to make contact with the steel dagger, and the qama suddenly broke loose from its socket on the crystalline wall, almost as if it required no strength to extricate it.
The young girl backstepped twice before expanding her arms to her sides to dispel her abrupt momentum.
Swallowing in distaste, An Fei raised the qama clenched in her right hand for closer scrutiny.
She had initially chosen the dagger for its unusually faint radiance compared to the weapons besides it.
After she had removed it from its socket, the young girl realized that the qama didn’t emanate light due to a low quality in forging, but because exemplary displays of quality were unnecessary for its purpose.
The blade was approximately thirty to thirty-five centimeters in length, and tapered to a nearly invisible point at its end.
When An Fei tapped the qama onto its side to gaze at its sides, she noticed that other than the weapon’s core that was a few millimeters thick, the rest of the qama was as thin as a sheet of paper.
Furthermore, the entire blade was constructed from a dull violet metal, and the weapon released an occasional aura of coldhearted murder, and a deceitful deadliness.
As she held the dagger, the young girl couldn’t help but reveal a contented grin.
…this reminded of her previous experiences of surviving in the tropic forests of the Amazons when she was forced to hide from the world… She had survived solely on a dagger not different from the qama held in her hands…