Book 4 Chapter 2 - Web-shopping
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Li Yiming opened the shopping app and a very crowded interface appeared on the screen. “Hey Bai Ze? Do you know how to use this?” Li Yiming hesitated when he looked at all of the different kind of merchandise being sold.
A flash of white light and Bai Ze appeared right beside Li Yiming, leaning over to see what was on the screen. She did not seem more confident than Li Yiming.
“You’ve never seen this before?”
“Of course not. How long has it been since online shopping has been invented? Heaven’s Laws keeps up with new technologies, at least.”
“Let’s check it out. Seems promising.” Li Yiming rubbed his hands together and started browsing through the shops. The set-up was just like that of a normal shopping website, except articles such as armor, weapons, pills, forging materials, beast summons, technology and even Dao techniques were being advertised instead of normal merchandise. Anything Li Yiming could think of, he could find it there.
“Wait, the currency used is life marks?” Li Yiming made an important discovery.
“What did you expect? Cash? E-money?” Bai Ze looked at Li Yiming, unimpressed by his late realization.
“Wow, these are so expensive.” Li Yiming was very discouraged. He thought he would be able to easily get his hands on a pile of equipments to extract from and thus grow stronger much more quickly. Without this shortcut, it would be difficult for him to get his hands on more than the few he can hope to encounter in a domain.
‘But even a level-two item costs 100 life marks… And a level-five costs 1000. I’m not going to be able to get a whole lot with the 1500 points I have, and that’s assuming my extraction works a hundred percent of the time. Oh no… what have I done with that sword... It was worth 1150 points!’ Li Yiming was now deeply regretting his rash decision of trying to extract the lightning sword awarded to him earlier.
“It’s probably normal for items to be this expensive. Otherwise, guardians would be nothing more than fools who are armed to the teeth.” It did not take long for Bai Ze to make sense of the high price of the items being sold.
“Well, I guess it’s better than nothing. Is there anything that would be useful for me?” Li Yiming asked in a rather defeated voice. He opened the interface for techniques. ‘Thunderous Strike is a good technique, but it only works once. I need to find something else. Hmmm, 100 for level one, 500 for level two, 1000 for level three, 2000 for level four, 4000 for level five, 8000 for level six and nothing for level seven.’
‘That’s it? I can only afford a single level three spell?’ Li Yiming’s mood sank once again; level one and two spells were relatively useless, but beyond that, the price tag soared.
“Let’s have a look at consumables instead.” Bai Ze pointed at a button on the screen.
Li Yiming opened the consumables marketplace. ‘Pills, raw materials, one-use spell scrolls. Wow, a Ki-recovering pill costs ten life marks? What a rip-off…’
“Take a look at the spell scrolls!” Bai Ze had an idea in mind.
Li Yiming obeyed her. Rows of yellow paper scrolls with some glyphs written on appeared. None of them were very cheap, the cheapest level one spell, Thunder Palm, cost ten life marks and the more expensive Firebats cost three hundred.
“They sell those?” Bai Ze sounded very excited.
“These aren’t that useful, are they? One-time use and expensive.” Li Yiming was rather discouraged.
“They’re still a lot cheaper than any of the other things you can buy.” Bai Ze left the rest of the thinking to Li Yiming.
“You’re saying that…” Li Yiming
“Extraction!” Both of them said loudly.
“Let’s buy a Thunder Palm scroll first.” Bai Ze smiled like a mischievous child.
‘Purchasing a spell scroll. Confirm?’ A voice was heard in Li Yiming’s head after he tapped on the Thunder Palm scroll icon. Then, he noticed that ten points had been deducted, and a piece of golden paper with glyph traced on it suddenly appeared in front of him.
Li Yiming grabbed it and examined the indecipherable characters; he could feel that there was some kind of power sealed within the innocuous-looking piece of paper.
“Come on, let’s try extracting.” Bai Ze seemed even more eager than Li Yiming.
Li Yiming picked up the scroll and closed his eyes. He could feel that the inside was just like any other guardian equipment. After practicing for so long with his stash of equipment in the Shangbei domain, it did not take long before he found the glyph which was buried inside of the item. A moment later, thee scroll turned into a small pile of dust. Li Yiming had a euphoric smile. ‘Yes! Thunder Palm! I did it!’
“Are you serious? This guy and his hacks…” Bai Ze raised her head and looked at the sky, but she seemed even more excited than Li Yiming.
Li Yiming continued to abuse the “loophole” and learned just about every thunder spell below level four. Bai Ze stopped him from trying any other kind of spell, since the cost efficiency was the highest with thunder due to his having the Source of Thunder.
“I still have 475 points left.” Li Yiming was shocked by his own good luck. “Is it normal that all of the extractions were successful? Is that what the Source of Thunder does?” He had planned to use all of his life marks to buy scrolls; unlike normal guardians, life marks were nothing more than currency to him.
“You should keep what you have for now. We have enough.”
“Alright.” Li Yiming rubbed his hands together and made a mental list of the spells he had learned today. ‘It’s a pity I can’t use what I’ve learned right now. Otherwise, I would be throwing thunder all over the place and making the Earth tremble with my might!’
“Wait a second.” Li Yiming suddenly yelled out in surprise.
“What is it?” Bai Ze had stolen a bag of chips from Li Yiming’s storage space and was chomping on a particularly big one.
“My vein. It changed.” Li Yiming felt that something was different within his body.
“What?” Bai Ze started to get worried. She immediately dropped her bag of chips and turned into a ray of white light.
‘Your spell power increased by half? Oh right, when you learn a new spell, the vein changes accordingly. It’s a shame that you can’t improve your vein the normal way. Otherwise, you’d be even closer to level five now. But at least you’ve found a sure way to become stronger now. All we need to do is to collect more equipment and more life marks, so it’s not really any different from the other guardians out there.’
‘But I’m still more than halfway until level five.’ Li Yiming sighed, a little disheartened by his slow progress. ‘It’s going to take a while to get to level five. I still have 1500 progression path points idly sitting there. If only I could use them...’
‘You shouldn’t be too greedy. You already have a huge advantage compared to others.’ Bai Ze reminded him.
‘That’s true.’ Li Yiming nodded. ‘The higher level I am, the more valuable my trick will become. It would have taken me forever to reach even my current level if it weren’t for a few happy coincidences.’
“Speaking of which, I’ve thought about a way to improve your strength. Care to try?” Bai Ze appeared in front of Li Yiming once again with glittering eyes.
“Remember what Mr. Kong told us?”
“You mean… lightning?” Li Yiming’s eyes lit up with anticipation: another opportunity to grow stronger.
“I don’t think he would lie to us, would he?”
“Yeah, but where am I going to find lightning?”
“You’re hopeless. Let’s just ignore the fact that you can create your own lightning. Lightning is electricity, and you think that it’s hard to find that in the twenty-first century?”
“You mean…” Li Yiming looked at the power outlet in the corner of the room.
“Give it a shot.” Bai Ze encouraged Li Yiming.
Li Yiming knelt down in front of the outlet and forcefully ripped the wires out. However, when he looked at the exposed copper, he hesitated. All the safety knowledge he had since he was a child was not that easy to forget.
“Heaven’s Punishment did nothing, and you’re afraid of 220 volts?” Bai Ze was unimpressed. 
Li Yiming gritted his teeth and grabbed both wires with his hands. A sizzling noise was heard and then a thud. The room had gone pitch-black, the short-circuit having caused the jumper to go off.
“Nothing.” Li Yiming focused on the changes in his body and was disappointed.
“The voltage here isn’t enough. Let’s go find somewhere else.” Bai Ze looked at the electric cables which ran outside of the building and had another idea. ‘I would bring shame to the Bai Ze name if I didn’t ‘dissect’ this abnormal guardian specimen and analyze him thoroughly…’
* * *
“Are you sure about this? This isn’t a domain,” Li Yiming asked Bai Ze hesitantly. They had found a high-voltage pole in the suburbs of Shangbei.
“Of course. I’ve checked around. There aren’t any cameras and at most, you would cause a few streets to go out of power for a little while. That’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a team of repair workers. Come on.” Bai Ze was doing his best to convince Li Yiming to attempt extracting from the city’s grid. In fact, if it was not for the fact that overusing one’s ability might result in Heaven’s Punishment, she would have asked Li Yiming to try zapping himself.
Li Yiming took a deep breath, and, after a flash of purple light, appeared at the top of the electric pole. This was a new technique he had learned: Thunderflash. He was now able to teleport short distances by turning into lightning. Li Yiming put his hands on the transformer module, and easily removed the insulating cover. As he made contact with the copper wires with both of his hands, his body started to irradiate a purple light.
“Anything?” Bai Ze yelled out as loudly as she could from below.
Li Yiming frowned. There were no changes to his vein, but he did feel something strange when the electricity flowed into his body for the first time; after all, there was quite a significant difference between high-voltage electricity he found here and the one found in normal power outlets. Something was stirred up inside him, and, as time went by, the tingling sensation became stronger and stronger. Suddenly, Li Yiming realized that he could control the electricity that flowed inside him.
‘Come!’ Li Yiming whispered, and the electricity suddenly gushed into his body. The purple halo around his body grew and small popcorn-like noises were heard.
‘Go!’ Li Yiming tried the opposite. The electricity left, without leaving a single bit behind. Even the segment of copper cable Li Yiming touched had become some kind of insulator through which no current could flow.
‘I can control electricity?’ Li Yiming was perplexed by his new skill. This was not a guardian technique, but rather, something that felt much more natural. Li Yiming retracted his hands and looked at his palm; he still had that feeling.
Li Yiming carefully put his hand back onto the copper wire. A weak stream of electricity flowed into his hand. A flash of purple light later and he appeared in front of Bai Ze.
“It seems like…” Li Yiming explained the situation to Bai Ze.
‘It’s the Source of Thunder within your body. The electricity generated by humans isn’t anything spectacular, but coming into contact with it has awakened your ability to control electricity. It’s similar to how Liu Meng is able to control fire at her will. It seems like there’s a lot about the Source of Thunder that we don’t know yet.” Bai Ze swiftly arrived to her conclusion, as she always did.
Li Yiming took out his phone and dialed the number used to report a power leakage incident. After all, he did not want someone else to be injured due to his vandalism. He then called for a cab using his cellphone. On his way back to the hotel, Li Yiming played around with his ability like a child with a newly bought toy. He frowned and the roadside lamp suddenly extinguished. When he thought about restoring power, it lit back up.
“There’s no burden on your body for using the ability?” Bai Ze was perplexed.
For those of you who have played infamous...
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