Raymond was surprised by the rather subdued decoration of the lobby. Compared to the lavish decorations outside, the decor they had chosen to have in the lobby was a little more tasteful. Raymond felt more at ease thanks to the decor, and he walked up to the front desk to make his inquiry.
"Hello there, how may I help you?"
The young man at the front desk looked rather ordinary, but his polite smile created a sense of comfort in Raymond.
"Hi, I'm looking for cultivation techniques in the mortal realm."
"Mortal realm techniques can be found on the 3rd floor. Do you need someone to guide you?"
"I think I'll be ok, but thanks anyways."
Although Raymond naturally wanted a better technique than something in the mortal realm, he was also realistic. He knew that he could probably not afford anything better than a technique in the mortal realm, and to be honest, he wasn't even sure if he could afford a technique in the mortal realm yet. His budget was around 350 gold coins, the rest he wanted to keep to fund his living and daily needs.
Raymond calmly and quietly walked up the wide dark-brown stairs that led up to the third floor. On the way, he had only passed by a single person, which was an indication of what kind of business this place was. What they lacked in quantity, they made up for in quality. Raymond thought that it was pretty refreshing to be in a store that was pretty much empty, but he didn't think too much about it.
The third floor was pretty spacious, and it had plenty of different sections, two of which were the martial arts section, as well as the cultivation art sections. Raymond decided to start with the cultivation art section since it would be the foundation of all his future operations. If he didn't have any cultivation, then it didn't really matter how profound his martial arts were. No matter how skillful a punch was, if there was no power behind it, it would be useless. Unless you faced off against another mortal of course.
Glancing around at the prices of the cultivation arts, Raymond quickly realised his limitations. The few cultivation arts that were high or even top-grade mortal arts were all priced in the thousands. This was naturally way out of Raymond's budget since he only had around 350 gold coins to spend. Since that was the case, he was restricted to low and mid-grade mortal arts. And that was only if it was one of the cheaper mid-grade mortal arts too.
After looking around for a while, Raymond found a few choices to pick from. These were namely the Blue Wind True Art, the Fierce Flames Cultivation Art as well as the Deep Earth Scripture. These three were all mid-grade mortal arts, and all of them cost around 250 gold coins to purchase. If he wanted to buy a cultivation art with a rarer element, he would have to cough up more money, which was something Raymond didn't have.
Out of the three, Raymond was leaning more towards the Blue Wind True Art. The Deep Earth Scripture was too focused on defence, which didn't really suit Raymond's style. The Fierce Flames Art was instead a bit too ordinary, and a bit too volatile. The Blue Wind True Art focused a bit more on speed, and compared to the other two, it was a bit more sophisticated. This meant that it was probably a bit harder to learn as well, but Raymond still decided to go with it in the end.
After choosing a cultivation art that seemed suitable, Raymond just needed to choose a martial art or two before he was good to go. To Raymond's surprise, he found out that the price of martial arts skills were a bit cheaper than cultivation arts. With that said, he still couldn't afford even a high-grade martial art skill. Since Raymond had set his sights on the Silver Sword Pavilion, he felt that it was probably a good idea to choose a martial arts skill for the sword.
After looking around for a while, Raymond only managed to find a single mid-grade mortal sword art that seemed to fit his needs. A lot of the other sword arts were either incomplete or had other problems. The mid-grade sword art that Raymond had found was called the Azure Wind Sword Art. Maybe it was because it seemed compatible with his cultivation art, but Raymond had a feeling that choosing this sword art was going to be a good choice.
The price for the Azure Wind Sword Art was only 50 gold coins, merely a third of the price for a mid-grade cultivation art of similar quality. With 300 gold coins of his budget gone, Raymond looked around a little more before finally choosing 2 other techniques. The techniques were both low-grade mortal realm techniques, namely the Basic Fist Art and the Basic Footwork Technique. Since they only cost him 10 gold coins each, Raymond felt like it was worth it to buy them.
He would have a very imbalanced strength if all he had was a single sword technique and cultivation art. What if his sword was destroyed, or if he was in a situation where he couldn't use it, was he just supposed to die then? Footwork was also necessary for Raymond to be able to dodge and retreat if necessary.
With his choices made, Raymond walked to the counter that was located right in the middle of the third floor. Manning the desk was an older man; he had an unfathomable aura, and Raymond had a feeling that he was stronger than he looked. The old man seemed a little disinterested in Raymond, maybe because he could see that Raymond had no cultivation. Having no cultivation at all at the age of 16 could only mean that he was either too poor to cultivate, or that he was crippled.
Since Raymond looked well-dressed and polite, the old man assumed that he wasn't poor at least, which most likely meant that he couldn't cultivate. If he could cultivate, then he would at least be at the first revolution of the body-refining realm, no matter how talentless he was. Raymond could see the slight dismissal in the old man's eyes, but he didn't take it to heart. He had lived an entire life being judged and scorned, one more time wouldn't hurt him.
"I want to buy these four books."
Without wasting any time, Raymond just put the four books he had chosen directly on the counter. Since they were all just copies, he just needed to pay up before leaving with them. The old man was a little taken aback by his frankness, but Raymond could see a hint of appreciation in his eyes. Maybe it was because he had to deal with a lot of different people all the time, but the old man had gotten used to the arrogant behaviours of the various young lords and masters who came here to buy techniques. This young man had still been relatively polite, even though the old man had initially dismissed him a little, which was admirable in the old man's eyes.