Chapter 2606: Greed Kills

A clear shift happened overnight where the corpses were no longer frightening and scream-inducing.

Actually, people were still screaming, but out of excitement instead of fear. The appearance of these corpses meant a fortune was coming their way.

Because of this, people’s eyes lit up after hearing about potential spotting and they ran there like addicts.

Initially, these corpses still weren’t that precious even when their black stone’s power-boosting potential was known. It had a negligible effect on masters so the demand remained low.

However, the paradigm shifted when systems started paying a high price for them. The black stones became a hot commodity with increasing prices. Some eager masters actually paid a ludicrous amount for them.

“I heard these black stones have a strong connection with the rumored immortal stone.” This piece of information quietly traveled across Mingluo: “The black stones inside the corpses are broken pieces from the immortal stone. Somehow these corpses had these stones inside them, managing to come back alive. Rumor has it that the original stone was left behind by an immortal and it can grant everlasting life…”

The city became crazier after hearing these rumors. Even the spectating ancestors joined the hunt for corpses.

The influx of these old men only exacerbated the demand and price for the black stones. It had reached an unreasonable amount.

Competition always followed right after a clear benefit. Thus, conflicts were inevitable as people hunt for the black stones.

Another rumor came out: “Using a large number of black stones can have a life-prolonging effect…”

All in all, people went crazy and hunted the corpses like crazy in Mingluo City.

***

Meanwhile, Li Qiye didn’t pay attention to anything back in his palace. He closed his eyes and meditated, only to crack a smile after hearing about the black stones’ effect: “Ignorant fools, they’ll come to find how helpless they are soon enough.”

“Do you mean those stones are poisonous?” Youzheng found this plausible after seeing the nefarious nature of the stones.

“We’ll find out soon. However, the positive properties are indeed true.” Li Qiye said.

“So what are the side-effects?” Youzheng wondered due to the high price the stones are fetching right now.

“Do you need baits to fish?” Li Qiye looked at him and answered.

Youzheng took a second before understanding Li Qiye. He blurted out: “You mean, these black stones are…”

Li Qiye closed his eyes again, seemingly asleep.

***

There weren’t enough black stones to go around. Whenever a corpse appeared, masters would head there right away. The weak couldn’t find anything.

For some unknown reasons, perhaps too many have been killed and that the corpses have fled, it became harder to find corpses in Mingluo. Even one or two became a rare sight in just two days.

“Looks like we’ve killed them all.” One person sighed in disappointment after wasting half a day searching.

All they could do was lament the situation. It’s not like more corpses would spawn.

Just when everyone thought that this was the end of this story, a command was issued inside the city.

“Seal the city off, bring all the natives here.” A powerful Eternal commanded.

The native citizens and cultivators from Mingluo were herded together by stronger experts.

“What are you doing?! How lawless!” It didn’t take long before the natives were imprisoned. It was too late to escape. Resistance was futile because they were simply too weak.

“What’s going on?” The neutral outsiders found this strange.

“Hey, you all are being unreasonable here.” One outsider spoke on the side of justice. After all, they were only guests at Mingluo. Suddenly capturing the natives was too extreme.

“Hmph, what are you going to do about it?” The jailers didn’t play nice and barked back at the protester: “Don’t mess with the Trade Federation’s business.”

“You!” The protester became angry but his friend immediately pulled him back.

After the group of experts left, his friend quietly reminded him: “It’s best not to mess with the Trade Federation to avoid being killed. They aren’t as imperious as Hidden Gold Grotto but once they choose to do something, they’ll move with lightning speed and great destruction.”

Though the kind-hearted protester felt indignant, he really couldn’t afford to mess with the Trade Federation. Even the strongest sect in his system couldn’t do so either.

Another message eventually spread across the city - that the Trade Federation will execute people by the city gate.

“Execution? Why are they doing that to the natives who are too weak to provoke them in the first place.” People became confused.

“Using them as bait, of course. The corpses want to suck blood so the federation wants to use the natives’ blood to lead them out.” One expert immediately realized what was going on. His expression soured.

“I see, it’s another type of blood offering.” Many took a deep breath and muttered, unhappy about the development.

The words, blood offering, made people uneasy. This was a taboo considered to be part of the heretical and evil dao.

But now, the trade alliance was resorting to this method. 

“How can they do this?!” One visiting cultivator shouted with indignation.

“Benefits move the heart.” An ancestor shook his head: “This might be an order from the higher-ups in the federation. Ordinary members can’t give this command. Remember, Venerable Deer Merchant is very old now, few in Imperial is as old as him so he doesn’t have long to live. If these black stones can really prolong life, then the federation won’t mind…”

Venerable Deer Merchant was the leader of the Trade Federation.

“They’ll invite the fury of the crowd by doing this taboo act.” One expert said.

“That’s why they’re using the natives of Mingluo.” An ancestor replied: “This entire system doesn’t even have a single Ascender, so how are they going to oppose the federation? Outsiders won’t want to step up for their sake either.”

“That’s true.” Many smiled wryly at the sad circumstance.

No one in this declining system could help the natives here. The system had no allies to speak of either. Who would stand up for them?

The Trade Federation wouldn’t dare to do this against a powerful system, but Stone Harmony was only a fish on the chopping board.

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