In the venue, everyone finally heaved out a long sigh. Followingly, countless gazes looked at Xu Yangyi on stage.
“This child… is not normal,” Master Qingzhan mumbled to himself for a moment and then said, “Beneath Core Formation oppressive might, he actually didn’t kneel and lose himself… If he is able to cross this chasm today, he will certainly become a person of great capability.”
“In the face of a Core Formation ancestor’s interrogation, h-he actually chose to bring self-detonation talismans? He was ready to blow up the demon core?” At the side, a junior following a senior gasped coldly. He knew that if it was him, perhaps he would’ve already stooped low under a Core Formation cultivator.
“Since that’s how it is, what determination does Fellow Daoist Ancientpine have that is good for this auction?” A voice was faintly heard from a golden pavilion.
Xu Yangyi wordlessly buttoned his suit. The voice from the black pavilion was heard no further. No one whatsoever saw that his palm was slick with cold sweat. The demon slayer gazed deeply at the golden pavilion. He’d heard this voice before.
“Young friend Xu is a subordinate of This Dao Master. Naturally, it ought to be a fair auction.” Daomaster Ancientpine’s voice replied insipidly, “Fellow Daoist Skybearer, the Cultivation Court takes fairness and equality as goal. Surely you won’t look on passively as a Core Formation ancestor shamelessly makes a move against a Qi Condensation cultivator, no?”
Silence. Skybearer seemed to be hesitating. After a short time, a voice was heard and said leisurely, “Naturally.”
“That’s not right…” Below, a Great Circle Foundation Establishment cultivator narrowed his eyes. “Why is Daomaster Ancientpine asserting himself like this? He didn’t hesitate to offend another Dao Master and also made Ancestor Skybearer declare his stance in public?”
“There’s only one answer…” Thousandedge was likewise below. His fist clenched in a death grip. “This little brat… made a deal earlier with Daomaster Ancientpine!”
“He’s part of the Featherwood Guard, so Daomaster Ancientpine is his immediate superior! That night… Daomaster Ancientpine personally arrived and gave this brat ten imperial mandates! This clearly demonstrates his attitude!”
“Ancestor… This little, protection-seeking bastard! In the end, what benefits did this son of a bitch give the Ancestor?!”
Daomaster Ancientpine’s attitude was perhaps still not adequately conclusive, yet Daomaster Skybearer’s attitude was no small matter!
“In that case…” Daomaster Ancientpine’s voice rang out again, “let’s begin… With myself here, of course, I won’t allow someone to disadvantage the Featherwood Guard.”
A few cold snorts were heard from several pavilions. A good few Core Formation masters were inwardly annoyed in their hearts. Wasn’t this taking the Xingtian Legion, the sole contact, and elevating Xu Yangyi to the Featherwood Guard’s height?
Ancientpine, are the number of heads you’ve taken over the course of 300 years few? During the period of the Republic’s Founding, was your hand not swift to be dyed red? Now you’ve declared your position towards a Qi Condensation cultivator? And a declaration so resolute?
“Junior…” In Ancestor Floatingcloud’s golden pavilion, a pair of seemingly closed yet not closed eyes discharged a faint, chilling edge. “With your… knowledge of the cultivation world’s ways, you can compare to a Foundation Establishment cultivator of many years…”
“You cannot consume this destiny because it is too great… so great that it makes my heart restless. Therefore… you dragged in Fellow Daoist Ancientpine as your rear shield. Why are you taking each step so meticulously?” For the second time, the gaze he looked at Xu Yangyi with surprisingly carried a thread of admiration. “Nonetheless, you still must die.” After ages, he sighed faintly, “I am positive the pill master is you… This is the titanic destiny bestowed upon you by the Animus Armament… I will be waiting… ten years, twenty years… Can you even outlive me?”
“Unfortunate. Such a meticulous nature and the addition of the Animus Armament’s colossal destiny. Indeed, you have the promise for the Grand Dao of Core Formation in the future…”
“Yes.” Xu Yangyi bowed deferentially as if nothing had just occurred. He swiped his storage ring, and the eyes of the Ming Clan below all thrashed. A very familiar ring… especially since there was a serpentine design on it...
A jade bottle appeared in Xu Yangyi’s hand. Suddenly, countless spiritual senses, so burning that they were nigh-physical, promptly nailed into the bottle.
“A Spirit Strengthening Pill.” He didn’t make much of an explanation. “Is used to break through minor boundaries. It gives a cultivator an increased 20% probability of breaking the bodily limiter. Ten middle-grade spirit stones for a single one.”
No one spoke. Everyone’s gazes looked towards the twelve pavilions in the sky. If the Core Formation masters didn’t speak, they dared not take the initiative to scramble over each other.
“Fellow Daoists.” No one expected that Skybearer’s voice would echo at this moment. “I will not take the first five pills.”
Not one person held objection. The Dao Masters also needed their own squads, and it was appropriate to give the Foundation Establishment community some benefits. It wasn’t that this couldn’t be allowed at all, however, it caused the other Dao Masters to feel regret. Presently, only the two Daomasters Skybearer and Blackmount had such weight.
This remark was dull, but the atmosphere below thereupon rose up in fervor! Numerous people’s eyes flushed red. There wasn’t a person whose hands weren’t tightly gripping their armrests, unable to restrain their emotions. They knew that following these words, the most savage fight for the first five pills would be on the cusp of starting!
Stones in upheaval collapse the cloud, and raging waves slam the shore. Yet on the contrary, the mood was actually oddly peaceful. All that remained was the sound of heavy breathing, so low it was inaudible.
It was unknown how much time had passed, but a somewhat hoarse voice finally broke the serenity, “The Yan Demon Clan bids 300 middle-grade spirit stones!”
A middle-aged man excitedly stood up and raised his right hand. “The Yan Clan is Nanhe Province’s top demon clan. We’re a noble lineage specialized in spirit vegetation. Also, the Yan Clan promises the Xingtian Legion to cover all machine-puppets!”
“500.” Before his voice even fell, a middle-aged woman in the third row in front of him stood up. She pushed on her chained glasses and said lowly, “500 middle-grade spirit stones! Beijing’s Clouddream Cavern is also ready to put forth 50,000 middle-grade spirit stones for a year! This high price is to engage in a collaboration with the Pill Dao master!”
“50,000 middle-grade spirit stones?” The hawk-nosed Yan Clan cultivator sneered, “According to what I know, the Clouddream Cavern’s spirit vegetation crop wasn’t well-cultivated last year. At the last moment, a recall was made, which led to a large fall in prestige. Didn’t the cultivation securities keep on plunging for over two months? 50,000 pieces truly is a great expenditure.” 
“Hehe, we’re both the same. In the year before last, your Yan Clan’s machine-puppets were stated to be B-rank, but the result was only C++. It didn’t pass the B-rank examination, and Nanhe Province’s foundation was soon fully occupied by the Zhou Clan. Where did you all scrounge up the capital to contend for this once-in-two-centuries medicinal pill?” the woman snorted, revealing not the slightest weakness. “This shouldn’t be a reputation sale of a few ill-managed cultivation companies, yes? You think the medicinal pill can be borrowed to turn over the salted fish, to reverse fortune?” 
“You…” The hawk-nosed cultivator’s complexion reddened. The other party had truly hit the mark. Their business from two years ago was in even greater turmoil than the Clouddream Cavern’s. The Zhou Clan had repeatedly squeezed them out from a string of three cities in Nanhe Province. This time, the Yan Clan really did want to transform with the aid of the medicinal pill, the thought of returning to office after hermitage in the mountains. For merely this hope, they were willing to part with tens of thousands of middle-grade spirit stones! 
Hostilities were just beginning. This mood truly wasn’t very warm! The Pill Dao that had emerged after two centuries moved everyone’s hearts. What did they even care for face, honor, and respect now? Exposing weaknesses? No fear!
If you’re going to expose me, then I’ll expose you! Which clan’s cultivation company doesn’t have a few mismanagement scandals? How many clans can’t pay exorbitant cultivation expenses because of company bankruptcy anymore, going from a great clan to a deteriorated husk? Right now, it depends on whoever has more hidden inheritances! Whoever has ample capital!
“I have something to say. Although it’s unpleasant to listen to, I still hope young friend Xu can pass it on to the Pill Dao master.” This thought firmed in everyone’s hearts. Not waiting for the man and woman to finish, bright laughter echoed from a seat. An old man in the crowd was leaning on a walking stick and stood up. “In the modern era of Cultivation Civilization, the Dao of Pills coming into this world is a grand affair that illuminates both past and present. If the Pill Dao master chooses, he must choose a clan of pure legacy and robust strength. I hope young friend Xu can carry on these words.” Finished speaking, he surprisingly bowed slightly towards Xu Yangyi.
Xu Yangyi somewhat realized that this old man seemed to be approaching his death bed soon. However, the spiritual pressure of Great Circle Foundation Establishment simply failed to deceive anyone! It wasn’t a question for him to live for another few decades! Was this the so-called… wealth able to bring a devil to heel?
“Longsu’s Gan Clan. We are a noble lineage specializing in crafts, and Longsu’s top clan…”
The old man still wasn’t finished speaking, but the Yan Clan cultivator laughed coldly as he interrupted him. “Crafts? Of the three great crafts, which Dao do you specialize in? The Gan Clan has made talismans their lifeblood for hundreds of years. Are you now preparing to extend a hand towards the Dao of Pills?”
The old man’s face was thicker than a city wall, and he chuckled, “At the very least, the Gan Clan has never been poorly operated. We are an inheritance of several centuries, having expanded from a small store to the entire nation. I mean not to boast, but the Gan Clan’s spirit stones are enough to provide for a province in the cultivation world for over ten years. Young friend Xu, so long as you carry these words, the Gan Clan will promptly deliver 300 middle-grade spirit stones! If the pill master nods, the Gan Clan will have other generous gifts to present!”
“When the time comes, whether Fellow Daoist Xu is representative or messenger, you will forever be the most honored guest in the Gan Clan!” The top clans were also distinguished by relative superiority.
The venue was a killing floor in the contest of financial resources. Not many half-step Core Formation cultivators could take the lead. Wealthy cultivation lineages were all around, along with the houses of the three great crafts!
“Hehe… Interesting.” The old man’s voice yet to fall, a fat, young man pushed on his glasses and stood up. “You embellish the drawing of flat bread, yet keep on talking without mentioning a price. Gan Clan, your sincerity is inadequate.”
“A thousand middle-grade spirit stones! 88,888 middle-grade spirit stones to engage in collaboration with the Pill Dao master!” Not waiting for the old man to speak, the youth immediately cupped his hands towards Xu Yangyi. “Young friend Xu, carry these words and another 300 middle-grade spirit stones will be offered.”
Xu Yangyi smiled and cupped his hands but didn’t answer at all. He knew that this was only the prelude. The true buyers still hadn’t emerged. Merely… the stimulation of these top clans towards the Dao of Pills exceeded his imagination!
The ordinarily civil and amiable great clans were just starting to roll out their maneuvers. Not only was it a shouting of prices, but moreover a mutual unmasking of legacies! As long as the impression of “this clan is unreliable” was left in Xu Yangyi’s heart, even if it was a sliver, it was sufficient!
There was only an opportunity for five pills. Five pills later signaled the killing floor of Core Formation masters. Who was still willing to stay their hand?! Here and now, there were dozens of China’s top clans; how much weaker was one than the other? All were nearly equal. If this pill was missed, the matter of whether or not they could have the next pill was truly uncertain!
“3,000 spirit stones.” At this moment, a leisurely voice was heard. Everyone went sluggish.
Who’s that?! Are you having so much fun?! Middle-grade spirit stones are pretty expensive to manufacture! You think our hearts aren’t dripping with blood when we shout out a couple thousand? What’s the meaning of you frickin’ tripling the price?
However, no one cursed because they further understood. The other’s shouting represented his will to have the pill! An old auction method was to come up with a large price to send others into retreat. Nonetheless…
3,000 was far from reaching the crowds’ mental price level!
2. “Turn over the salted fish” This is a common idiom that means “a reversal of fortune” as I had written. Back then ancient fishermen were frustrated by the speed that fish decomposed, so they could not be sold. This “salting of the fish” helped them preserve their stock and profits.
3. “Returning to office after hermitage in the mountains” An idiom from the scrolls of The History of the Jin dynasty, a part from a scholar named Xie An (320-385 CE). Positive connotation to this idiom. Describes an idea of an official losing his position and then regaining it.