No longer able to deal with this unmasking of legacies, the hawk-nosed man of the Yan Clan turned his head. Just as he was about to see who the other was and mention their sordid history, the corner of his mouth pulled down upon his glance.
Master Qingzhan… How in the world was this a sordid history!!!
“Hehehe…” His laughter hollow, the hawk-nosed cultivator chuckled with neither coldness nor warmth. “The Buddhist monasteries and Daoist sects that enter the world are very few. I didn’t expect such a great estate would be here as well. Truly, a sage does not betray his colors.”
“Amitabha.” Master Qingzhan joined his hands together and recited a chant, no longer elaborating.
The hawk-nosed man wished he could kick this old man to death!
Go on, speak. No one else is still talking. If you want to stir the pot, there are people who will say you’re not being magnanimous, but that’s just how a Buddhist monastery is. No on else pays attention that you’re everyone else’s self-restraint, but who friggin’ told this poor, honest Buddhist monastery how to triple the price!
“4,000!” Not waiting for him to conclude his ruminations, the old man of the Gan Clan raised a finger and shouted without the slightest hesitation. “This Throne is set on this first medicinal pill! The Gan Clan guarantees we absolutely won’t participate for the remainder!”
Everyone turned their noses up and scoffed in their hearts. From a cultivator, especially a cultivator who’d lived for so long, such a promise in this situation was no different from utter nonsense.
“5,000!” the fat glasses-wearing cultivator snorted coldly. “This Throne also pledges that our clan will in no way participate for the remaining pills!”
“5,500!” “5,600!” “6,000!” “6,400!”
All of this seemed to lift open a cover. In an instant, called-out prices rose and fell in succession. Numerous note-takers at the side were taking records with sweaty heads.
At Xu Yangyi’s side, an ordinary-looking man stood up. At this moment, excitement stretched wide across his face, and he almost forgot his own status as a middle Foundation Establishment cultivator. He said with a hoarse voice, “Fellow Daoist Xu, a single medicinal pill is a tiger’s price of 6,000… Pardon my wordiness… but even a set of supreme-grade magik artifacts are no more than a thousand spirit stones…”
Xu Yangyi faintly smiled. Yes, this was merely a medicinal pill, but it was a medicinal pill lost for close to two centuries! Moreover… those present only had five opportunities! After five chances, the Core Formation would set to task. That time would be a true battle waged between tigers and dragons! He laughed as he cupped his hands, “Senior, I’m not Foundation Establishment. It’s fine to call me ‘Junior’.”
The middle-aged man was the Golden Dipper Hall’s Head Auction Official Hundredtongues. Regarding the field of appraisal, perhaps it would be difficult to find another of similar prowess in the cultivation world. At this time, he then regained his wits and deeply eyed Xu Yangyi. “Not prideful or impatient. Young friend, in another several decades, you will surely rank as Foundation Establishment…”
Xu Yangyi cupped his hands and nodded, yet in his heart, he was silent and laughed. Several decades? Even ten years was too long. Every single morning and night had to be vied for!
On the floor, the competition had already come to a white-hot climax! Many people hadn’t made a move for the first pill. They wanted to consider the medicinal pill’s price in everyone’s minds, but some clans weren’t able to stay still. Nevertheless, the words of these first-rate clans were also split by relative superiority. There were some clans that had already been burnt by consecutive failed investments. If they didn’t make a move, then when would they?
“6,800!” The eyes of the hawk-nosed man were both fairly red, and he glared staunchly at everyone and clasped his hands. “This medicinal pill… Allow our Yan Clan to have it, and our Yan Clan will bear everyone’s sentiments!”
Huehuehue… To speak of nonsense again or indifferent emotion…
No one took these words seriously, and the woman stepped forward, revealing not the slightest frailty. “7,000!”
“Amitabha…” Master Qingzhan recited a chant and set into action as if he was simply unrelated to Buddhism. “7,700.”
“You…” The woman’s breathing was somewhat flustered.
This damn old man! Why haven’t you dropped dead!
Indeed, their Clouddream Cavern had also been put into a dire dilemma by a spirit-plant crop. Their forecasted price this time was around 8,000, but now the price was 7,700. This absolutely wouldn’t be the limit!
Darn it… Her gaze swept over the present crowd. Besides Master Qingzhan, the gazes of everyone who participated in the bidding for the first medicinal pill were somewhat flushed. Both sides of willful spirit and consideration melded together; each person was begrudging to step back here!
7,700… This was already a high price. A rare silenced emerged in the crowd. At this instant, another untimely voice rang out for the first time.
“7,700 middle-grade spirit stones going once.” A smile made its way across Hundredtongues’s face, a smile that made one quite wish to slap it into mush. Silent, still silent as before, everyone was thinking. Before they had arrived at the auction house, everyone had considered clan statistics. In addition, how much capital could be mobilized? The true buyers would appear in this moment.
“7,700 middle-grade spirit stones going twice.”
“8,000…” The hawk-nosed man gritted his teeth. The juncture of this tiger’s price had passed. Right now, he was terribly cautious. He paused for a long spell of time and then said, “100.”
The woman’s complexion was deathly ashen, and she sat down in disappointment. The Clouddream Cavern was the first to withdraw from play. Her noiseless taking of seat didn’t cause the crowd to relax, to lay down their flags and quiet their drums. On the contrary, the five remaining people’s breathing became even more rushed!
The Dao of Pills, lost for two centuries and reconstructed in the light of day… was before their eyes!
“Eight thousand… three hundred middle-grade spirit stones.” Master Qingzhan’s two eyes were still tightly shut below his snow-white brows, and he said deeply, “Amitabha.”
“8,500.” The fat bespectacled cultivator also restrained his smile. Now was not the time of the early tiger-like price. Every increase in price was particularly cautious.
The auction floor was dead silent. Everyone was watching the final struggle over the medicinal pill. A junior who’d come with his clan nearly stood up, both his eyes locked fixedly on the stage. A lost craft and an astronomical price of spirit stones, all of this caused him to feel… that this trip hadn’t been made in vain! A thrilling auction could practically render one unable to shift their eyes!
The hawk-nosed cultivator’s gaze flickered as he studied everyone. Level in his heart, he gritted his teeth and said, “10,000…”
“This really is a financial bleeding for the Yan Clan…”
“10,000 middle-grade spirit stones for one medicinal pill. Fortunately, this is the first… If it’s like this later on, and a pill sells for over a dozen times more, the title of cultivation world’s top moneybags is going to change masters!”
“It’s not the pavilion master of the Bountiful Treasures Pavilion right now?”
“That’s right! Now that you mention this, why hasn’t the Bountiful Treasures Pavilion made a move yet?”
Everyone tensed in their hearts. This included the several people shouting prices. At the core of their being, they all slightly shrunk back. Yes… this tyrant of infinite evils, the war machine in this magnate. Once the master of the Bountiful Treasures Pavilion set to task, how could everyone else still play around?
This thought accelerated their attitudes of shouting prices. Master Qingzhan raised a brow at once. “12,000!”
This was a hemorrhaging of wealth! One couldn’t be carried by mere luck anymore! An added 2,000 in a single breath. The venue fell into silence again.
Labored panting seemed close to ear side. Among the other two people shouting prices, an elegant and cute young girl pursed her lips. “Master… don’t tell me that worshipers cast middle-grade spirit stones at Wutai Mountain’s Longyin Temple?” 
The thickness of Master Qingzhan’s face was truly laudable. He recited a quick “Amitabha” and laughed, “Indeed.”
Fucking indeed! So words like that can also leave your mouth! The young girl’s face was terribly vexed. She mumbled to herself for a long period and took a long sigh. “Shanghai’s Sootharkener Palace withdraws.” 
“A person of Sootharkener Palace has shown up!”
“She’s actually someone from Sootharkener Palace!”
In an instant, the floor came to a boil. Sootharkener and Vermilion Snow both ranked in the top ten on the Heavenly Demon Ranking! Sootharkener was at the bottom of Shanghai’s river! He hadn’t come into the world for several decades!
“My god…” A junior grabbed at his armrests and began to stand up, dumbstruck, but was yanked back down by his elder. Excitement coloring his face, he said to his elder, “The top ten of the Heavenly Demon Ranking! The top ten of the Heavenly Demon Ranking! Grandfather! Did you see…”
“Shut up!” The expression of the old man at his side was grim. “What can the top ten be regarded as… Take a look above. That is the true heavens.”
The clamor swiftly abated. Another person had withdrawn. On the floor, there were presently still three people left. The hawk-nosed man, Master Qingzhan, and the bespectacled fatty. Alas, Master Qingzhan had raised the price by 2,000 in one go, so the fat bespectacled cultivator muttered to himself for a long time. Sighing with extreme reluctance, he silently sat down. On the floor, only two final people remained!
“Fellow Daoist.” Unexpectedly, Master Qingzhan suddenly spoke. “This poor monk has a rough hearsay about the Yan Clan. Years ago, you suffered losses that cannot be said to be low. If the Yan Clan takes back this medicinal pill but is incapable of analyzing it, perhaps these 10,000-plus spirit stones will be the final rice straw that causes the Yan Clan to collapse.”
The hawk-nosed cultivator’s face finally changed. Yet before he had come to the auction, he was told in his clan that he HAD to bring back a medicinal pill no matter what! To the extent that all kinds of analytical magik artifacts had been prepared. How could he possibly give up at this step?
“This isn’t the Master’s trouble to toil over.” He quelled the feeling of dripping blood in his heart and mumbled for a few seconds. His gaze flashed, and he firmed his resolution. “15,000! This is the Yan Clan’s final price! Master, if you’re able to go above this price, the Yan Clan will cup its hands to you for this medicinal pill!”
In his heart, Xu Yangyi was shaken. Besides him, Hundredtongues’s complexion was flushed red. “Young friend Xu! A C-rank magik treasure prototype is only 15,000 middle-grade spirit stones! T-This medicinal pill can actually compare to a magik treasure prototype!”
Master Qingzhan faintly smiled. Just as he was about to speak, another voice suddenly brought the entire crowd to nearly start clamoring.
“200!” Under the company of three secretaries, a youth in a suit stood up and roared in laughter. “The Baili Clan bids 200 high-grade spirit stones.”
The auction hall was a domain of stillness. After several seconds, an uproar of voices fell ceaselessly on the ear! In the end, who would’ve expected that there was still someone able to appear and put a stop to the winning hand! Moreover, this sudden interception of the final tile was an increase of 5,000! This was a true buyer! 
Finally, the faint smile on Master Qingzhan’s face vanished. Longyin Temple had gathered the entire temple’s power, a pooling of 18,000 middle-grade spirit stones. No longer could another single stone be taken out. He feared the last halt of victory! Unexpectedly, there still truly was someone! Yet as for this Baili Clan…
“That’s Xichuan Province’s Baili Clan of Rongcheng.” The member of the Clouddream Cavern, who had already given up on bidding gritted her teeth. “Rongcheng’s position is important. It’s one of the western passages. The Baili Clan can’t only be considered Rongcheng’s top clan; the four great western provinces of Guifang, Zang, and Xijiang are all under their wing. Their clan has accumulated millions and millions of capital!” 
“Master Qingzhan has also steeled his heart to buy the medicinal pill, eh…” On the other side, a man with a youth’s appearance said admiringly, “I really didn’t expect that the foundation of Wutai Mountain’s Longyin Temple would actually be so deep… Do Buddhist monks have so much money these days?”
“Hehe… who could’ve expected this? Man proposes but the heavens disposes. In the end, there was actually still an interception to victory.”
Pairs of envious eyes all looked towards them. At this moment, the bidding on stage had already reached a burning-white zenith.
“I…” The hawk-nosed man inhaled heavily, his expression terribly disappointed. He grinded his teeth a few times and finally heaved out a deep sigh, “The Yan Clan… concedes.”
However, Qingzhan didn’t become happy whatsoever! 20,000… The final rice straw to crush the camel! Who could’ve anticipated that an obstruction would come in the end!
“Amitabha…” Master Qingzhan recited a chant and said no more. This first pill was already in reach. He was absolutely unwilling to give up now! His eyes opened for the first time, flashing with a smidgen of firmness. Murmuring for several seconds, his hand stretched towards the inside of his kasaya a few times. Finally coming to a resolution—even if his mind was at peace—the corners of his eyes couldn’t help but pull open at this moment.
Could it be… I’m really going to have to take it out? I’d hate to do so… I’d really hate to do so…
One of Longyin Temple’s emblems compared to the Dao of Pills which had reappeared in the world after two centuries. Which was lighter and which was heavier?
At this very instant, he was unable to make a judgement.
1. From what I researched, there is no temple affiliated with Wutai named Longyin. Author might be referring to “Longhua”, but if this is something he made up and is unrecorded, it makes sense since Longyin literally means “Dragon Concealed”.
4. Rongcheng is another name for Chengdu, capital of Sichuan or as this novel puts it Xichuan. I’m unaware if these are ancient names for the real provinces or just the authors attempts to smokescreen a real world connection.