Fate Shift Chapter 19
While Gazeen was in the third Sword Trial, D'Gedda was already settling in at the Seven Powers Sect's Central Branch. Only a couple dozen miles from Novgrundia, the capital of the Elwur Empire, the Seven Powers Sect's Central Branch was within view of the sprawling metropolis to the East.
Novgrundia was a city that had been built up over many generations and had been rebuilt several times over the centuries. Let alone the ground level, even the sky was a chaotic mess due to the many floating islands and levitating buildings. D'Gedda had heard it said that the city's air space was monitored by government officials daily just to ensure the various flying objects in the city's sky didn't crash into each other.
The Seven Powers Sect's Central Branch was the very picture of planning in comparison. It was split into a number of organized districts which ringed a single artificial mountain. The mountain's flat peak supported the Central Branch's most important buildings and was where D'Gedda was now living. He'd been given a small house for his personal use.
The Elder of the West had avoided contacting D'Gedda even indirectly since he'd arrived but he had been supplied with plenty of details on the Central Branch before he left the Western Branch. Thanks to what he'd learned, D'Gedda was able to quickly adjust to the Central Branch.
Although there were a number of classes that D'Gedda could attend as an apprentice, officially he wasn't expected to do anything other than cultivate. Since coming to the Central Branch, D'Gedda had learned that it was the sect's policy to only forcefully employ novices or apprentices who showed a lack of talent. As for journeyman rank cultivators and above, they tended to have more duties regardless of talent.
For D'Gedda this just meant that he was free to act as he saw fit. So he focused on cultivation. As he was now in the Armament Bonding Realm, the first thing he needed to do was to choose an Armament. The Seven Powers Sect offered apprentices a wide selection of Armaments for free but those free Armaments naturally weren't impressive. Since he wanted the best Armament possible, D'Gedda naturally wasn't willing to use one of those free Armaments.
That meant he needed to buy, steal, make, or find a satisfactory Armament. Being a member of the Seven Powers Sect, one of the three major powers of the Righteous Alliance, D'Gedda could safely strike stealing from his list of options. He also lacked even the slightest crafting experience, so that was another option gone. Buying a decent Armament was unlikely, as they were far too expensive. So the obvious conclusion was that D'Gedda would need to find one somewhere in some ancient ruin or undiscovered Soul Realm. While that might not be strictly impossible, it'd require great luck on D'Gedda's part. Thankfully, there was another option.
The Seven Powers Sect, like the other two major powers of the Righteous Alliance, used a contribution point system. To be more accurate, Martial Kingdom, Verdant Thorn, and the Seven Powers Sect shared a single contribution points system. This not only strengthened the bond between the three allies but also helped alleviate other issues. One example of this was defending Martial Kingdom's Western border, which was under near constant assault from the endless demon tribes.
For D'Gedda, this just meant that if he could earn enough contribution points, he'd be able to acquire a good Armament. The real dilemma he faced was: how should he earn contribution points? His time was both limited and valuable; he needed to do something lucrative.
D'Gedda tried to list activities he knew could provide enough contribution points for a good Armament in a reasonable period of time. He sat in a chair in his house for several minutes frowning, mind blank. Then he threw his hands up in exasperation. Neither D'Gedda Bohpurra nor Kosh Ti had ever been seriously strapped for cash in his memory. D'Gedda Bohpurra had simply not needed it as a cultivator and Kosh Ti had been able to use his surname to get whatever he wanted till the Ti Clan Leader competition stirred things up. Essentially, D'Gedda had no memory of ever facing an issue like this before.
Since he didn't have any good ideas, D'Gedda decided to explore a few places he'd been told about. The first place he figured would be worth checking out was the Mission Selection Center. The Mission Selection Center or, MSC as it was commonly called, posted missions members of the Righteous Alliance could attempt for contribution points. D'Gedda doubted he'd find any missions with good rewards there that he could complete as a weak apprentice but perhaps he'd get lucky.
As he stood up and walked out of his house, D'Gedda considered the other places he could go in search of inspiration. Contribution points were a form of currency and were accepted in all the markets inside the Seven Powers Sect, so D'Gedda figured he could check those markets out. Even if he didn't get any clues on how to earn his contribution points, he'd at least be able to widen his horizons.
While he walked out of the apprentices' residential district, D'Gedda also contemplated visiting Novgrundia. It was within walking distance and while he wasn't certain what opportunities he could find there he couldn't here, it might be worth a shot.
The MSC was the closest of the three areas D'Gedda planned to go to, which was why he decided to head there first. It was a large, multi-floor building built for function more than appearance. The building had several entrances, each of which was in constant use. Out of all the places in the Central Branch D'Gedda had seen so far, the MSC was easily the busiest.
Of course that made sense when he thought about it. Although it was called the Mission Selection Center, people came here for several reasons aside from just accepting a mission. When someone completed a mission, this was where they came to prove they'd finished and receive their contribution points. The MSC also operated like a bank in that it was possible to store contribution points or request a loan at an MSC. You could even get your contribution points converted into a separate currency, though the rates for that particular service were appalling and you couldn't convert other currencies into contribution points. Actually, D'Gedda realized that last thought wasn't wholly true. While no MSC would offer to convert any currency you had into contribution points, it wasn't like there weren't ways around that. D'Gedda decided to look more into that idea later as he stepped into the building.
Looking around, he saw several attendants behind a long counter helping people off to his left. A sign above the booth said "Mission Rewards." To his right was an open area with several stone pillars. Many Seven Powers Sect members stood around in that area, seemingly doing nothing. D'Gedda was able to surmise from the scene and the signs on the pillars that this was where people selected missions. After scanning the signs on the pillars, D'Gedda realized that each pillar appeared to contain missions of a specific difficulty level.
Past the mission selection area, even farther to the right of the entrance D'Gedda had walked through, was a staircase that led to higher floors. If he'd come here for the MSC's bank-like functions he'd be headed there.
Instead of going up to another floor, D'Gedda used a thread of Qi to look at the available missions in a nearby pillar, starting with the lowest difficulty. The first pillar's missions were clearly meant for novices and involved simple tasks like managing the front desk at a training center. D'Gedda didn't waste too much time on that pillar. Unfortunately, the second pillar wasn't much better.
The third pillar was the first pillar that offered good rewards but every mission D'Gedda saw required at least journeyman level cultivators. D'Gedda couldn't help but feel confused when he saw this. How did the Chosen of the Seven Powers Sect get their Armaments if they didn't go on missions? D'Gedda was clear that only a few would have strength matching a journeyman cultivator, as the Seven Powers Sect's Chosen had to be apprentice rank cultivators. Upon hitting journeyman rank, they'd be sent to important positions within the sect to start gathering experience. After all, most of those Chosen would likely become Seven Powers Sect Elders in the future.
D'Gedda shook his head and sighed. He felt like he must be missing something but he couldn't recall anything from what he'd been told of the Central Branch that stood out. D'Gedda didn't stay down for long; this was just a small issue. Hadn't D'Gedda Bohpurra overcome far more terrifying challenges? He refocused and kept looking through the missions on the pillars. It wouldn't hurt to be thorough after all.
His efforts were rewarded when he discovered a pillar different from the others. The 'missions' in this pillar were all tournaments of various kinds. Many of them were sponsored by the sects of the Righteous Alliance, with several offering great rewards. Placing high enough in some of these tournaments would even allow one a chance to enter a Soul Realm controlled by the sect sponsoring the tournament.
These tournaments seemed to be exactly what D'Gedda was looking for. They were aimed at apprentices more than novices or journeyman cultivators. Some specified one must be an apprentice to participate while others required a specific number of realms.
As D'Gedda read that last rule, he felt an idea bloom. Why was he in such a rush to find a good Armament? He'd been treating it like it was necessary to continue cultivating but it wasn't, was it? Instead of practicing Armament Bonding for his latest Cultivation Realm, why not go straight to Aura Genesis? D'Gedda restrained the urge to laugh at himself and began seriously looking at which tournaments he might want to try entering.
It didn't take him long to realize he'd need to do a fair amount of research to get a better idea of which tournaments to try and which to avoid. For example, one tournament hosted by a small sect offered winners a chance to explore their sect's only Soul Realm. Just this one tournament left D'Gedda with several questions. Foremost among those questions was: why was this tournament open to a member of the Seven Powers Sect like him? Shouldn't a tournament like that be restricted to members of the sect that owned the Soul Realm? There was also the matter of what the specified Soul Realm had to offer. Simply entering a Soul Realm wouldn't be much of a reward if it didn't have anything D'Gedda wanted.
Realizing he had a lot of questions to answer, D'Gedda changed his plans for the weeks ahead. He chose to focus on cultivating through the Aura Genesis Realm while researching the tournaments he could participate in.
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