“The Water and Fire Altars are in the underworld. As for the Wood Altar and its related liver, those should be with the Ancient Tree of Life.” Ashu suddenly smiled slyly. “I wonder if you’re brave enough to go there.”
“Maybe some other time,” shrugged Lu Yun. “I haven’t dealt with everything on hand just yet.”
Setting the holy lord aside, he inserted the heart into Xing Chen’s body, then waved him into hell for further repairs. He needed to prepare for the Panorama Pavilion’s auction.
The thousand formations of heaven and earth were merely the highlight of the show, he had grander plans for the auction at large. It was an opportunity to spread the notion he had long harbored to the wider world.
Supplemental paths as king.
Several of the Panorama Pavilion’s similarly-sized peers were invited to the auction. Three months of time was plenty for anyone to prepare, whether they be merchant guilds or attending factions.
After disaster visited Witherdew Major, other factions of the world had gathered there to vie for the resources and riches left behind by its various factions. However, a mutual understanding between all parties involved meant that there was no all-out war, despite numerous conflicts.
Everyone was waiting for the auction’s arrival. It would indubitably be the greatest one of its kind over the past eighty thousand years.
The day of the highly-anticipated auction arrived with great fanfare. To everyone’s surprise, it didn’t take place inside the Dusk capital, but a newly built city at the heart of Dusk Province instead.
The ancient tomb had been leveled, and a new shining city stood as a palatial complex that dominated over the rest of the province. The black waters of the Dusk River were diverted around it in a protective moat, astounding all who came.
“This doesn’t look like the blueprint for a mere city at all… a sect could be based here!” one immortal reacted immediately upon entering. “Does Lu Yun intend to found his own sect?”
The post-divine world only had a history of eighty thousand years, and most factions remained organized by race or clan. There were the courts of the twenty-three facets and the monster spirit equivalents of the other four oceans, but they were in the minority. Many more factions were tied together by blood alone, similar to olden times back on Earth.
However, immortals weren’t primitive humans just barely venturing out of their caves. Sects had come about long ago. Though they weren’t the main driving forces in the world, they remained forces to be reckoned with in their own right. Exalted Major’s Exalted Immortal Sect and Enlightened Major’s Immortal Martial School were both the strongest factions subordinate to their respective courts.
For as long as sects had existed, conflict between them and clans had never ceased. The many immortals who understood what Lu Yun’s intentions were with the new city snickered to themselves.
Most permitted his continued existence out of a desire for his formations alone. Once the secrets behind the formations of heaven and earth were bared to the world, he and his province would become public enemies once more.
The world did not need saints—especially living ones.
On the eve of the auction’s commencement, Lu Yun wasn’t in the best of moods. The Yellow Springs Land’s delegation was in attendance, but Zou Longxiu hadn’t come with them. His heart sank at the development.
The monster emperor should know that Zou Longxiu has become my second disciple... So why is he confining my disciple?
Zou Longxiu had messaged Lu Yun upon first arriving at the court, but no news had come after that. Lu Yun was definitely not in a good mood.
Heaven and earth shook as a loud crash rumbled through Dusk Province. Everyone turned their heads to the sky. Four savage draconic shadows of faded gold spiraled in the air, then charged down into the new city.
Four enormous dragon veins!
“Lu Yun!” A deafening roar accompanied their appearance—the golden scarlet ape of the North Sea’s Levitating Island. “As per our agreement during the Sovereign Ranking in Destiny City, I must bring you four dragon veins upon the successful release of my dao partner. Today, I make good on my end of the bargain!”
The ape’s voice swept through the entire province, its words clearly reverberating in every immortal’s ears.
“Agreement during the Sovereign Ranking? Inside Destiny City?” Someone blinked. “Lu Yun was at the Sovereign Ranking?”
“That Xing Chen who stirred up so much trouble for the ranking… that was Lu Yun, wasn’t it?” sneered someone else. “So that’s it! No wonder Scarlet Ape protected Lu Yun back then. They’re in cahoots with each other!”
“Wait, wasn’t there proof from the Dusk Province battle that Lu Yun and Xing Chen are two different people?” yet another asked in puzzlement.
“They’re two separate people, sure. But who knows who the shitstirrer in Destiny City really was?” This seemed to silence the entire audience.
Well, actually… none of that was important right now. Lu Yun was on the verge of auctioning off a thousand formations of heaven and earth. Why provoke him at such a crucial moment?
“Hahaha!" The young lord of Dusk Province laughed heartily from within the city. “The monster ancestor of Levitating Island is faithful indeed. Many thanks for the dragon veins!”
A loud crash rumbled from within the city as a golden hand reached out, dragging in the almost-berserk dragon veins. No matter how they struggled, they couldn’t escape from the giant fingers’ grasp.
“I have a question, Lu Yun.” Scarlet Ape appeared in the city’s airspace. With the fiery cape wrapped around its shoulders and firm grip on its iron staff, it stared down the youth perched atop the highest tower within the city.
“You took the North Sea’s dragon vein, the one on the verge of becoming an ancestral one, and now Nephrite Major’s ancestral vein is yours as well. Today you receive four more dragon veins... what do you intend to do with them?”
Five dragon veins and an ancestral vein! The crowd of immortals collectively trembled at the revelation. The North Sea’s nearly ancestral dragon vein was a treasure that most factions lusted after as well.
Dragon veins were exceptionally rare in the world of immortals; only the strongest races and clans were qualified to possess them. Moreover, their spirited natures meant they would have a mind of their own, rather than docilely remain in the ground. If an immortal received their approval, he would be able to make use of them without suffering backlash from the world.
Scarlet Ape clearly didn’t meet that qualification, but its brute strength and sheer durability were sufficient to overcome the recoil from the dragon veins. Sealing itself to august immortal level made no difference.
That made for five dragon veins and an ancestral one currently in Dusk Province! Greed flooded many people’s minds—such wealth was fit for a heavenly court!
“I have my own plans for them.” Lu Yun’s voice cut cleanly through the air. “If I may humbly ask, I remember a flawless origin dao immortal coming from Levitating Island last time. How’d you manage to raise someone like that?”
Everyone held their breath—a flawless origin dao immortal!
Most origin dao immortals in the world were crippled. Their origin dao fruits were shattered to the point of near disintegration, and they dreamed every day of restoring themselves to a perfect state. It would seem that Levitating Island had such a method!
Those who knew the late golden lion knew that it, too, had been crippled once upon a time. After joining Levitating Island, its fruit had been repaired.
“Are you picking a fight with Levitating Island, Lu Yun? Attempting to plumb our secrets?” Scarlet Ape’s expression dropped ominously and its eyes pulsed with a brutal light.
The old lion had died beneath the blade of the Dark North Sword sect head. Unable to help, Scarlet Ape had only been able to demand an exchange of dragon veins. In essence, the dragon veins had been paid for with the lion’s life.
Lu Yun mentioning the lion again had understandably incited the ape’s wrath.
“Uh huh.” Lu Yun nodded. “My use for these dragon veins has nothing to do with Levitating Island. Why, then, are you making a pass at Dusk Province’s secrets?”
He snorted humorlessly before continuing. “Today is the opening ceremony of the Panorama Pavilion’s great auction. If the monster ancestor of Levitating Island comes as a participant and guest, then you are welcome. But if you’re here to make trouble…”
Hundreds of kilometers away, the inheritance tower in the middle of the Dusk capital quavered. Keen sword aura blasted into the sky, and Scarlet Ape’s face changed color several times before its colossal body shrunk to human size. It sheepishly landed in the city, as it, too, had come for the auction.
Undiminished by the brief interruption, the event continued bustling with activity. The atmosphere rose to a new fevered pitch.
“Thirteen merchant guilds have joined together to host this auction. Aside from the formations of heaven and earth, there’s many more treasures to be found. Moreover, the merchants have also set up a sprawling market, one even greater than the old Myriad Returns Market of the North Sea!”
“What the, that’s a fortress ship! A ship stronger than those produced by the Ling clan is on sale here?!”
“Weaponry, Tai, Yu Talismans… these are all ancient talismans lost to time. How can Lu Yun be peddling them here?!”
Fortress ships and ancient talismans were both Lu Yun’s trademark products! No wonder thirteen of the greatest merchant guilds in the world had abandoned their grudges to come together for this market. Either type of treasure was worthy of being the grand finale to any auction.
“Lunatic… he’s a raving lunatic!” one immortal shrieked in astonishment at a jade slip before him. “This is a void realm method. That lunatic is selling these too?”
He seemed almost mad himself as he foamed at the mouth.
While the void realm had appeared, there remained very few methods for it. The top factions of the world had a monopoly on the few that did exist. Any weaker clan or sect that wanted access to them had to consign themselves to the patronage of their larger peers.
Before the Dao Flower dispersed, the strongest experts in the world had mobilized to find every void realm cultivator who’d created their own method. Any who resisted were killed on the spot, their methods confiscated regardless.
Void realm methods were unbelievably precious, yet Lu Yun was selling them with reckless abandon on the open market! His actions shocked and stunned, but also encroached on the top dogs’ profits.
Gee, this last sentence kinda sounded like what happened with GME and the short sellers in Jan?