293 Chapter Ninety Three - I purchase a gift for Jin Li

At this time, Leon was examining a cabinet of accessories.

In this world, jewellery was as important to people as clothing and this fact conceded to no distinction of status, wealth and ability.  The people of his village might wear wooden hairpins and belt charms made of bone, striving for at least one silver bracelet for their wrist or longevity lock for their child, but they still wore them with pride.  Merchant children tended to opt for gold and the upper classes sought gems and jade.  Some of Sun's cousins' peers appeared as if they were walking displays for jewellery stores, afraid others would not recognise their wealth.

Cultivators did not wear jewellery to such extremes, but it did not mean that they were any less accustomed to wearing accessories as part of their daily ensemble.  It was just that they grew to become more choosy.  One could see examples of this about school.  First year commoners would begin the year wearing their old wooden pieces and end it (hopefully) with trinkets of iron or silver, while first year merchants and ordinary nobles would often cover themselves in pieces, only to tone this vastly by the end of the year.  Explosive cauldrons and backlash from spells didn't know the difference between the haves and the have nots, necklace chains or large hairpieces with dangling gems could just become a hindrance in battle and lets not mention the beast poo staining silk, embroidered shoes...

Slowly, the silver, gold and gemstones would be replaced with jade and crystals as these student cultivators came to realise the value of these pieces, although it might take them a whole year to scrape together the points for a reasonable one.  Then realising their value, there would be no shortage of students taking either jewellery crafting or artefact inscription as a second study, but there would be few who were suited to it.  The pieces in the cabinet could only be the pieces of these apprentices and even then, they might only just receive a passing mark from their Teachers.  That's not to say they had no attractive value or use, just that overall the quality was quite low.

Jade naturally held spiritual energy, which could be tempered into specific circuits within the finished piece in order that the wearer would consistently receive benefits.  Crystals could be filled with spiritual energy and like modern batteries, hold a charge for a specific period before needing to be recharged.  Placed upon metal forming or holding an etched circuit/inscription, it would provide similar benefits to the jade, only the strength of which tended to be greater at the beginning and weaken with time.  However both crystals and jade were expensive as the wants for which were high, in this cabinet, only a belt accessory held tiny beads of jade and it was difficult to judge just how great an inscription that could be tempered within such little vessels.  The other jewellery contained shards of crystals, but they would need a mage's touch to be useful and would likely then only be useful for a short period of time before needing more spiritual energy enthused.

This was part of the reason that Teacher Volun had been so enthusiastic about Leon's wooden charms.  Wood could be cheap or expensive, bone was also quite common, though more difficult to shape.  These were all once from living things and their natural spiritual energy would have dissipated after leaving the original source (or upon that source's death).  However, as Leon carved these materials, he not only enthused a tiny portion of his spiritual energy and shaped it unknowingly, he also managed to trap it inside so it wouldn't be expelled in the short term.  As for long term, Teacher Volun was carefully watching the carved fox amulet on his belt to see how it lasted.

Leon looked at the jewellery and wasn't tempted.  His thrifty nature would have him seek jade amulets over crystal encrusted ones, but also, his memories of men's jewellery also effected his ideals.  These things before him with attempts of carved dragons and phoenixes (some with rather unfortunate results) just didn't appeal.  He was more curious about the thing known as inscription.  From the patterns etched upon the circular metal amulet he was examining, they were far more complicated than his runes, he wondered how that affected the things abilities.

Jin Li came over to him, sporting a sour face and also glanced over the accessories.  His was a noble, cultivating family so he looked at these things with disdain in his heart.  "You wish to purchase one of these... things?" He inquired.

Leon shook his head.  "N-n-no need," he replied. A small part of him did wish to wear accessories, that was a part of his upbringing in this world after all, but there was still the part of his previous life's influence in which less was sometimes better. That and many men wore no jewellery at all in that world. However, his whole consciousness agreed that if he found the right piece, he would wear it... or if it was gifted from a certain man... His hand subconsciously rose to touch lightly the jade hairpin within the crown holding his long yin yang hair.

"H-how about you?" He inquired of said man.

"Tch... nothing much," Jin Li denied, his eyes wandering to that belt. Really, this thing was not that great, it would have been lost amongst the things within his wardrobe in the house of his birth.

"Should we g-g-go up higher?" Leon wondered, glancing up at the ceiling as if he could peer through the opaque barrier.

"No," Jin Li quickly refused. He couldn't afford the points. His face soured further.

"P-pity, it's you b-b-birthday soon," Leon murmured with a sigh, "I wanted t-to g-get you a g-gift." That was right. In terms of the higher realms calendar, Jin Li would be turning eighteen as the season turned from winter to spring in this realm. Jin Li's frame stiffened and his ears tinted with red. "We c-c-could look around t-town instead..."

"No need," Jin Li's usually harsh tone seemed to soften to a tad. "Your thought is sufficient."


"Of course, if you insist on a token of physical representation, I will accept it," Jin Li interrupted Leon's words quickly and went to grab that belt once more, before tossing it over in a uncaring manner. "Please." This word was so quietly spoken, Leon almost didn't hear it and couldn't help but smile.

"Okay," Leon agreed, holding the sturdy belt to his chest. He reached to grasp Jin Li's hand affectionately, blushing as their fingers entwined, but satisfied in his heart. Still, he'd lost interest in shopping and made to leave the pavilion with Jin Li. There was no need to personally make a payment, for the points would be deducted as if left via the exit by the same mysterious barrier that deducted points on their entrance. It was not needed to be said that this barrier would stop theft as well, thickening and preventing any who could not afford their items from exiting, hence why Leon had to take the belt not Jin Li who held the pill in his other hand.

Before they left, however, something else caught Leon's eye and he was intrigued enough to purchase that thing as well.

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