With the materials already in his hands, Hei had achieved his goal, and so, he wanted to leave. But he couldn’t do that until he paid for the goods.
He decided to wait for a pause in the cat’s and the merchant’s exchange of words.
When the time came, he interjected.
“How much do I owe you?”
The merchant turned to Hei with a pleading expression.
“You won’t accept it? It’s enough for me to know that you’re continuing the dream.”
Hei shook his head.
He wasn’t continuing any dream. He had no interest in these ‘life-style movies’, his purpose for these jades and the information was something else entirely.
The merchant could only sigh with regret as he gave Hei a price.
These had all been his own personal study notes, and they were for a novel concept, so if he were to give a fair price, it would be quite high.
After he gave Hei the price, he was surprised that Hei was able to pay it without batting an eye.
“To be young and wealthy. Sigh.”
After completing the transaction, Hei’s stored the materials in his storage space and turned to leave.
“You really don’t want to know about the cat?”
The merchant felt odd.
Even though he had made his first sale today, it didn’t quite feel the way he thought it would.
And he couldn’t quite wrap his head around the fact that Hei seemed to have no interest in the cat, even after all that was said.
“Even if I want to know, do I need you to tell me?”
“Sigh. Suit yourself.”
The merchant realised that he was unsure of the relationship between Hei and the cat. It was entirely possible that the cat would unreservedly reveal its identity to him should he ask.
But knowing that cat, he could see a little bit of trouble in Hei’s future.
The corners of his mouth raised as he thought about it.
Hei walked out of the store, quite content. This transaction had given him exactly what he was looking for.
The cat really gave him his money’s worth when it came to finding the appropriate person. Especially since his requirements were quite vague.
As he walked away from the store, he could hear the merchant’s voice.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I assure you, these are the best movie jades in town!”
Having personally experienced the merchant’s ‘store’, Hei found him quite strange.
Even if someone was enticed by his words, would they be able to buy a movie jade?
As he thought about several things, Hei returned to the inn.
Hei laid out all of the things he had received from the store and began to study them.
After having read through all of the materials that the merchant had given him, he was satisfied with his purchase. The merchant had gone on a very similar path to what he wanted to do.
‘Half of the work is already complete.’
The merchant had already come up with the process of pairing movie jades together, much like communication jades.
It was just that he was unable to find a good way to transfer the information. As can be imagined, transferring visual information was much more difficult then transferring sound.
There were many considerations to be made. First of all, the vast quantity of information to be delivered was a property that one had to consider.
How would one counter attenuation? What of obstructions in the way? And most of all, how to find the partner jade to minimise the power needed to transfer the signal over distance.
With simple communication jades, it was easy. One could just take the approach of sending a large signal in all directions. Since it was audio, there wasn’t much to reproduce.
But when it came to video, doing the same would be an immense undertaking, and that was not even taking into consideration that movies held more than just audio and visual information.
They also held information on the forces at play and other sensory information such as smells and temperature change.
With all of this, trying to send the signal out in all directions was infeasible. At least without spending an exorbitant amount of resources, such as spirits stones to power the movie jades.
Fortunately for Hei, his purposes did not require recreating the entire movie experience. All he needed was the transfer of audio and visual information over a distance, greatly simplifying the problem.
He already had experience in pinpointing locations due to the nature of the envoys of the heavens. They were able to locate each other no matter where they were, as long as they had met before.
He used this in his own communication system, which he was using to keep Bai and Mei updated on his situation.
And after learning more about the envoy aura from Onyx, he was now able to infuse the aura into objects, which he had done for the bracelets he had given to the missing disciples.
Now, with a single thought, their locations would be made known to him.
If he used a similar concept for the movie jades, he would be able to have them pair with each other to ensure an efficient transfer of information.
With this in mind, Hei began the process of creating his own movie jades. But these movie jades were not jades at all but were, in fact, a product of Unlimited Chain Works.
Unlimited Chain Works was an interesting application of Qi manipulation.
Unlike most techniques, which would fade with time, allowing the cultivator to reabsorb some of their expended Qi, the chains were independent entities once they were formed.
Most people wouldn’t consider doing such a thing, as it effectively meant dividing one’s cultivation and having it leave one’s body.
This wasn’t an issue for Hei, because of his affinity with natural Qi.
The natural Qi would willingly take the form of his chains, meaning his cultivation would stay intact, and he would end up with physical chains, completely made of Qi.
The only issue with this approach was that it would take a long time.
Using branded Qi was very fast, as it was already within the cultivator’s body, but natural Qi was external and moved around freely.
As such, gathering it was slower than using one’s own Qi.
Since the cat was here, instead of his usual chains, Hei used the black flames, creating black stone-like materials.
Seeing what Hei was doing, the cat’s curiosity was piqued.
“Are you really going to make home movies?”
After having spent a little while with Hei, the cat didn’t think he was the type of fellow to enjoy making home movies in his free time.
And wasn’t he trying to deal with the Zhu Clan?
Hei gave a simple response while continuing to tweak his movie jades.
The cat jumped onto the table and walked around Hei’s hands which were fiddling with a strange black stone he had formed out of his flames.
“Then those life-style movies?”
“Then what is it? Are you going to tell me?”
Hei presented the cat with one of his movie jades.
“Take this and place it somewhere outside.”
The cat seemed to be confused, but it took the jade anyway.
It left for a while and then returned.
“Okay, I put it outside. Now, what’s the purpose?”
Hei passed his Qi into the movie jade he was holding.
He then placed it on the table in front of him and before long, a picture appeared above it.
He and the cat could see a balcony, and the room it led to.
“Where did you put it?”
“I found a nice balcony. The flowers smelled pretty good.”
“You could have just placed it outside of the inn.”
“I wanted to put it somewhere little further away.”
“You said to take it outside, right? What would be the point of taking it right there? That would be the same as just leaving in the corner here.”
“So, this is it, huh? The life-style movie?”
“It’s not what that merchant had in mind, but for my purposes, it is adequate.”
This wasn’t the full ‘life-style movie’ that the merchant hoped to create, but it was able to communicate both audio and visual information.
Before long, a person entered the scene. A young lady.
The cat spoke.
“Oh, it captures movement quite smoothly.”
The young lady noticed the black jade sitting on the balcony.
She walked up to it and picked it up.
The cat spoke.
“Hmm. So, the orientation of the jade doesn’t affect the picture?”
The cat was impressed with the smooth transition of the visual information. Usually, movie jades would have to be held very steadily as to avoid affecting the picture.
“There’s a gyroscope formation within the jade.”
“Ah. I see. So, what do you want to do with this then? Are you going to sell them? I think they would make a tidy profit.”
“No. The current version isn’t fit for sale, and that wasn’t my intention in the first place.”
Since these movie jades were using Hei’s aura as an envoy of the heavens, he couldn’t create pairs that weren’t linked to every other jade.
That meant there would be no such thing as privacy when using these kinds of jades for communication.
And besides, the reason Hei created these jades wasn’t to sell them. He wasn’t lacking in means of obtaining wealth. Simply taking a stroll through a forest would leave him dripping with treasures.
There were two main reasons he was creating this system.
The first, was because his goofy self wanted to make video calls with his family. And the second, was because it would be useful in this mission.
The cat was intrigued.
“So, what are you going to use them for?”
This was the third time it had asked this question, but it was also the first time it had asked without giving a proposition, which Hei could answer with a simple yes or no.
“Surveillance? You’re going to use them for the Zhu Clan?”
The cat started to ponder on this. It hadn’t thought of using such a method to observe people, but then it noticed an issue.
“Hmm. For surveillance, isn’t there an issue of people discovering the jades? This human, for instance.”
The cat watched as the young lady took the jade into her room.
They could see her giant finger stroking the screen.
Hei had thought of this already. When he had planned for his surveillance system, it would be able to observe people, without them being able to observe it.
It would be different from cameras and other such things, which required a direct line of sight with their target.
“Just like we are able to see what’s within her room through the walls of the inn, the finished product will be able to observe people from behind walls.”
“Ah. How are you going to do that?”
“That’s not a very descriptive answer.”
“You’re interested in formations?”
Hei was surprised that the cat was asking for elaboration. Did spirit beasts also practice formations?
“I’ve dabbled in them from time to time.”
“All right then. The idea is to use a sphere defence formation, then use several nodes on the formation to house these jades, then combine the information into a single stream which can be transferred over distance and received with a partner jade.”
“But the seeing through walls aspect…”
“When I said walls, I was referring to the ground. This formation would be buried. As for other walls, as in those used for structures, it won’t be able to bypass those in the surveillance aspect, but that isn’t necessary for my purposes.”
“So, you’re trying to put a formation around the entire Zhu Clan residence? Won’t the material costs to be ridiculous? And that’s not even mentioning the problem of them letting you do that in the first place.”
“Their agreement is not required.”
“Oh? Why not?”
“Because I’ll be putting the formation around the city.”
“The entire city?”
The cat’s eyes opened wide.
“Are you insane? There’s a limit to being extravagant, you know?”
“The material cost isn’t an issue.”
“Why am only charging one treasure? Can we bump up the price? Let’s say 10 treasures per person, ay?”
“Fine, I’m willing to bargain. I wouldn’t be upset with 15, maybe 20 treasures per person. If you’re really feeling thrifty, let’s say 30 treasures, why not?”
“Okay, okay. For someone as frugal as yourself, no more than 50 treasures per person. I won’t take a single one more, no matter how much you offer.”
“You’re being nonsensical.”
“So, you do recognise nonsense?”
At this point, Hei noticed something happening on the screen.
The cat turned its attention to the screen as well.
They were staring at a white screen. Every now and then there would be traces of colour, but for the most part, nothing much could be seen.
The cat commented.
“Oh, it seems we’ve lost the signal. Could she have exceeded the range of the movie jades?”
“From my calculations, the range shouldn’t be so small. Hmm…”
Hei placed his hand on his chin and entered thought.
He started to go through the process he used to create these jades. There shouldn’t have been any problem getting a signal from any point within this town.
As Hei was thinking, he heard the cat’s voice.
“No, no, we still have the signal. It’s just…”
Hei looked up to the screen, and what he saw made his brows twitch.
The white picture they had been seeing was condensed water, and after the jade had adapted to the environment, they could see the young lady, sans clothing, ready to enter a bath.
“(ㅇᆺㅇ)” The cat