Book 20, The Crown’s Riddle – Chapter 22, Real and Fake
Linley, Bebe, Reynolds, Yale, and their relatives had joined into a squad of nearly twenty people. Linley’s group thus began their wanderings over the Infernal Realm.
They went to the mysterious depths of Lake Punisi…
They went to Firecrow Mountain, of the Takkak Mountains…
They occasionally made a detour to visit some Purgatory Commanders or Lord Prefects of the Infernal Realm…
However, the Infernal Realm was simply too vast. Despite having journeyed for dozens of years, Linley’s group had only managed to travel from the western part of the Bloodridge Continent to the eastern part.
The eastern part of the Bloodridge Continent. Within the Fogmount Prefecture. Fogmount City.
The streets were teeming with people. Linley’s group strolled forward while looking about.
Bebe’s wife, ‘Nisse’, made a suggestion. “We’ve come to adventure in the Infernal Realms, but to be honest, the places with the most unique items are the Blacksand Castles. Let’s go pay a visit to the local Blacksand Castle. There definitely will be countless queer items within it.” Women loved to shop.
“Blacksand Castle is essentially a black market. It holds more items than the Bloodridge Castle does. Linley, let’s go take a look.” Delia’s eyes lit up as well.
Bebe nodded hurriedly. “Let’s go straight to the Blacksand Castle, Boss, what do you say?”
Laughing, Linley nodded, then led them towards the Blacksand Castle.
The Blacksand Castles scattered throughout the Infernal Realm were all identical. They appeared to be made from flowing black sand. Although the surface of every single Blacksand Castle was covered with flowing black sand, the castles themselves had remained erect for countless years. Linley’s group casually intermingled into the crowds and entered the Blacksand Castle.
The counters of Blacksand Castle were clearly teeming with more people than that of the Bloodridge Castle.
“There’re quite a few little trinkets.” The females all quite happily began to stroll about while purchasing some small trinket.
“The items on this floor are all ordinary merchandise items. Let’s go higher up. The more precious items will be there.” Linley advised.
The first floor of the Blacksand Castle contained items that were worth ten thousand inkstones or less. The items on the second floor were worth a million inkstones or less. As for the third floor, the items there were worth more than a million inkstones. And this was just a general range. Still, Blacksand Castles were most famous for their fourth floors!
The items on the fourth floor were truly rare curios. Some were valuable, others weren’t.
The precious items of the Redbud Castles and Bloodridge Castles were all real items, and thus the prices were clear as well.
But Blacksand Castle was ‘a black market’, after all. First of all, the prices would thus be lower than places like the Bloodridge Castles. And yet, many of the sellers of Blacksand Castle were all private sellers. Blacksand Castle made no guarantee regarding the authenticity of the items within. This was a matter for the buyer to determine.
Linley’s group finally arrived at the fourth floor.
“The countless curios of the fourth floor are divided into costly and cheap items. The most important thing is one’s judgement. In addition, one can bargain.” Nisse laughed while speaking. “If you end up being tricked into buying a useless item for an astronomical price, all you can do is blame yourself. But if you have a good eye and are able to buy a precious item for a low cost, then you’ll have made a fortune.”
Linley’s interest was roused by Nisse’s words.
“Come, let’s take a look at what treasures are here.” Linley laughed as he walked towards the nearest counter.
“Amusing.” Linley looked at many of the items and their listed prices, then secretly laughed. Given Linley’s spiritual energy, he was able to gauge the authenticity of these items with fairly good accuracy.
Bebe followed behind Linley as well.
“Hey, Boss, what sort of rock is this rock of yours?” Bebe pointed at a black rock on the counter that was tinged with a hint of blood and which faintly emanated a fiery aura. Linley gave a glance at it. This stone’s listed price was five million inkstones, an astonishing price.
The person responsible for this counter was a fairly skinny, white-haired elder who was wearing a felt cap. He gave Bebe a sideways glance with his faint blue eyes, then said coldly, “This stone is tinged with a hint of the blood of the fire-type divine beast, the ‘Vermillion Bird’ of the legendary Four Divine Beasts.”
“Vermillion Bird?” Linley was startled, and then he laughed involuntarily.
If this truly was the blood of the divine beast ‘Vermillion Bird’, then even five hundred million inkstones would be a low price for it, to say nothing of five million! In addition, Linley had noticed that although the aura emanating from this stone was strong, there was no way it could compare to that drop of Azure Dragon blood essence he had acquired in the past. The Vermillion Bird and the Azure Dragon were both divine beasts. The aura of their blood should be at the same level.
“Vermillion Bird? Don’t you know that the Vermillion Bird was a Sovereign?” Bebe pursed his lips. “Forget about divine beast Sovereigns; even a drop of blood from ordinary Sovereigns would contain ridiculous levels of power. This rock of yours was probably stained by the blood of an ordinary fire-type divine beast.” Bebe himself was a divine beast, and so naturally he could speak authoritatively on this subject.
The old man gave Bebe a sidelong glance, then said calmly, “The blood long since seeped deep into the stone. Thus, the aura it is emanating is very weak. If you don’t want to believe it, there’s nothing I can do. I’m not begging you to buy it.” The old man was putting on airs.
A weaker person might truly be hoodwinked by him.
“Let’s go.” Linley and Bebe continued onwards to other counters.
“Boss, there really are real and fake items here.” Bebe sighed in amazement while looking at the other items.
“Right.” Suddenly, Linley’s face changed. He saw an item located atop one of the counters, and his gaze focused on it intensely. This was a caltrop-shaped red gem, and it was quite eye-catching to behold.
“A red caltrop diamond? One of the three major talismans, the red caltrop diamond?” Linley was shocked. He felt his head grow dizzy and he looked at it carefully.
Of the three Overgod talismans, Linley had already acquired the ‘pentametal crown’ and the ‘nine soul pearls’; he now only lacked the red caltrop diamond.
“Good sir, are you interested in this red caltrop diamond?” The young, bald, silver-eyed caretaker of this counter laughed while speaking.
“I am interested.” Linley saw the price right away; a billion inkstones!
“A billion inkstones? You really dare to list a price like this?” Bebe, seeing this, let out a cry of surprise. A decent estate within a city was only a billion inkstones or so. Bebe weighed the bald, silver-eyed youth appraisingly, then snickered, “Tell me, what sort of treasure is this, that you value it at a billion inkstones?”
Linley had seen the black parchment, but Bebe had not. Thus, Bebe didn’t know about the red caltrop diamond.
The bald, silver-haired youth let out a low laugh. “The two of you, have you heard of the Overgod missions? One of them was to collect three talismans, which are the pentametal crown, nine soul pearls, and this red caltrop diamond. Although I dare not say that this is definitely the legendary red caltrop diamond, but look; this diamond definitely wasn’t man-made. There is a chance that it is the legendary Overgod talisman.”
“If it truly is a red caltrop diamond, why wouldn’t you offer it to the Sovereigns?” Bebe pursed his lips.
Linley laughed while looking at the youth as well.
“I’m just an ordinary Highgod. By what right would I ask for an audience with a Sovereign? In addition, I’m not certain as to whether or not it is real either.” The bald, silver-eyed youth said. “If I was certain of it, how could the price be merely a billion inkstones?”
It must be understood that drops of Sovereign’s Might started at a hundred trillion inkstones.
An Overgod talisman, by contrast, would definitely be worth an astronomical sum. No amount of inkstones would be worth more than an Overgod talisman.
“Perhaps this red caltrop diamond of yours truly wasn’t forged by human hands.” Linley said.
“Of course.” The silver-eyed youth said.
“Would you dare allow me to try and give your red caltrop diamond a squeeze? If it doesn’t break, I will buy it. If it breaks, I won’t pay.” Linley pursed his lips, glancing at the silver-eyed youth. Given how powerful Linley’s spiritual energy was, he was able to see through to the corner of the red caltrop diamond long ago, and found that within it, there was a hint of fire-type elemental energy.
The Overgod of Life had issued three talismans. Linley was in possession of two of them.
The pentametal crown carried a surge of energy that was able to heal his wounds. The nine soul pearls were able to protect the soul. They were all Life-aligned.
Thus, this red caltrop diamond before him was definitely fake.
Linley held the pentametal crown, and so he knew the size of the ‘caltrop-shaped setting’. Just based on the size of the setting alone, Linley was completely certain that although the caltrop being sold on the counter was quite similar, it was different; it was slightly larger.
There was nothing for it…
Lord Prefect Molde of Skymount Prefecture had never seen the red caltrop diamond himself either. He had only seen its appearance on the Overgod decree, and thus had drawn it out. It made sense that the size wouldn’t be an exact match.
“No way.” The silver-eyed youth let out a snort. “If you want to buy it, then buy it. If you don’t, then forget it.”
“The two of you, stop looking at that ‘red caltrop diamond’. I have the pentametal crown here.” A voice rang out from nearby.
Hearing these words, Linley couldn’t help but laugh involuntarily. He turned his head to look. “You have the pentametal crown?”
“Of course. You decide whether it is the real one or not.” The speaker, a gold-haired youth, spoke with confidence.
Linley glanced at it sideways, then he couldn’t help but feel astonished.
This pentametal crown was actually identical to his own pentametal crown; even the settings were completely identical! In fact, even the coloration of the pentametal crown was identical. As Linley looked at it, he felt as though he were looking at his own crown.
It must be understood that the scroll only had a picture of the talismans, and so there were some differences between the picture and the real thing. There was no way the colorations could be the same as the real item’s colorations.
“This one is fake.” Linley laughed calmly.
“Boor [Bu’er], stop trying to cheat people.” The seller of the ‘red caltrop diamond’, that silver-eyed youth, snickered. “This person is clearly an expert. He clearly is quite insightful.”
The silver-haired youth snorted.
“A few years ago, when your elder brother was here, he boasted to me about how he had once acquired the pentametal crown. I asked him where it had gone, and he said that while he was heading on a trip to sell some items, he was waylaid by bandits and lost his divine clone. He said that the pentametal crown was in his interspatial ring, which was shattered. And thus, the pentametal crown was lost!” The silver-eyed youth snickered. “I’m willing to boast as well. I can say that I acquired a talisman, then lost it.”
“Who told you to believe it?” The golden-haired youth snickered back.
Linley, hearing this, had a sudden thought. He laughed, “I imagine this pentametal crown was made in accordance with the one your elder brother acquired, right?”
The golden-haired youth glanced at Linley in surprise, but didn’t say anything.
“Bebe, let’s go.” Linley could tell from the look in the golden-haired youth’s eyes that the youth’s elder brother had indeed acquired the pentametal crown. “Only someone who had previously acquired the pentametal crown would be able to replicate it with such accuracy. Only, he said that the interspatial ring was shattered. How could the pentametal crown then have emerged from chaotic space?”
Linley’s heart trembled.
“Can it be…that after an interspatial ring is shattered, the items within the ring aren’t actually lost; they just return to chaotic space once more?” Linley mused to himself.
Linley’s guess was correct.
Nothing would suddenly appear out of nowhere for no reason.
And nothing would something disappear into nowhere!
No matter where you were, once a spatial tear was created, anything that entered the tear would fall into chaotic space. If an interspatial ring was shattered, the contents of the shattered ring would also be swept into chaotic space. Only, virtually all items would be destroyed by the energy flows of chaotic space.
Only a small minority of items would survive.
For examples, Overgod talismans, the Overgod decree, Sovereign artifacts, divine sparks…even if they were in a shattered interspatial ring, they would simply fall into and be lost in chaotic space, rather than truly disappear.
If items in interspatial rings were truly disappear, then if an Overgod talisman was in an interspatial ring that was destroyed, didn’t that mean that the Overgod mission would be uncompletable?
“Boss, there really are quite a few fake items here.” Bebe mumbled.
“They are quite numerous. Still…the news about the Overgod missions have spread quite quickly. Even these merchants have begun to take advantage of it to make money.” Linley laughed calmly. Linley had been planning to just casually stroll about, but after this latest experience, Linley had another thought.
“I need to do a thorough investigation in the Infernal Realm. Perhaps someone might have found the real red caltrop diamond, then sold it off as merchandise.”
Linley understood that given how many fake red caltrop diamonds there were, most likely even if a real red caltrop diamond were to appear, few would believe it.
But Linley had two of the items at hand. He would be able to easily judge if the third was real or not.
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