Lunacy, sheer lunacy!
Only an absolute madman would do what Lu Yun had done, and the countless cultivators and immortals arriving at the unnamed city were infected by his madness as well!
Although the void realm had been restored, void realm cultivators existed in only various powerful factions. No regular cultivators had made the ascension from being part of the general population!
They always ended up at a bottleneck upon reaching peak spirit realm. At best, they were able to ascend to the perceived void realm, thanks to some lucky accident. Improving further, however, was next to impossible without a void realm cultivation method.
But now, such a method was being openly sold in a market!
The auction held by the Panorama Pavilion wasn’t accessible to the general public. Only factions who’d received an invitation were permitted attendance. This marketplace, on the other hand, imposed no such restrictions. Anyone could enter, and with enough crystals, they would be able to buy a flawless void-realm method!
Although the price was astronomical, all of the cultivators and immortals here would be willing to bankrupt themselves in exchange for a method. It was the very definition of pricelessness!
Immortals didn’t dare sever their cultivation and start anew after the Dao Flower had dissipated, but the cultivation methods here granted them enough courage to take the risk. Even without the formation of heaven and earth, the so-called ‘false’ immortals now had a chance to catch up.
“What is Lu Yun trying to do?!” The heads of the large factions refraining from visiting Dusk Province were stunned by the news.
“Isn’t the world chaotic enough as it is right now? If the smaller factions are allowed to rise in power, everything will be turned upside down!” In a fit of anger, an arcane dao immortal flattened a small hill with a shake of his hand.
“Those ancient talismans and fortress ships are all critical in war!” exclaimed a Ling immortal. “Even the Ling Clan doesn’t dares put them on the market now, but he’s selling those things in public!!”
Amid the chaos in the world, the Ling Clan was poised to make a killing in the markets, due to their monopoly over refining fortress ships. Biding their time and setting opportunities in motion, they were just about to cash in on their patience.
However, Lu Yun was selling his fortress ships at fifty percent of the price of Ling ships. Only fools would choose Ling products now!
“He’s the one starting all this, so don’t blame us for answering in kind!” sneered the Ling heavyweight.
This was the perfect chance to reverse engineer Lu Yun’s fortress ships. Once they grasped his secrets, the clan would take another great leap forward in strength. After all, their foundation stretched back eighty thousand years. Lu Yun’s little province couldn’t even begin to compare!
The man immediately contacted his fellow clan members in Dusk Province and told them to obtain several fortress ships.
Now a patchwork of green and yellow, the Sal Tree of Life and Death quietly floated above Lu Yun’s head. Sensing gratitude intertwining with malice, and goodwill knotted with retribution from the city, his lips curved into a smile.
A great amount of goodwill collected on the tree, manifesting as bright yellow karmic fruit hanging among its branches.
“Aren’t you worried that letting the Lings learn your techniques will end up biting you in the rear end?” Qing Yu stood beside Lu Yun as her true self. All her energy had settled within her, and her cultivation had reached the turning point of ascension. She could sense that her tribulation would strike in half a year.
With the collective efforts of the nine Envoys of Samsara, the little nun, and Ge Long, Qing Yu had completed her deduction method. However, she temporarily prevented the method from joining the immortal dao by calling upon the combat arts of its founders.
Meanwhile, she herself could communicate with the immortal dao as its dao sovereign. The void realm methods currently being sold in the marketplace were basic methods she’d deduced, and as such, they held no particular attributes. Anyone could practice them, and those with great wisdom would be able to develop their own from the great varieties of possibilities contained within.
Of course, they would gain even greater results with less effort if they learned Qing Yu’s combat art deduction method.
Lu Yun chuckled in response. “It doesn’t matter if they learn my techniques. If they can do that, other factions in the world of immortals can as well.”
Qing Yu gave him a questioning look.
“Fortress ships are critical to the Ling Clan’s influence, but not ours.” Lu Yun put his hands behind his back, smiling as his Spectral Eye took in the specks of light drawn to him by the Sal Tree of Life and Death. “Once techniques to build fortress ships are popularized throughout the world, anyone who utilizes them will think of me. The Ling Clan will be no exception!” He would essentially be educating the entire general public, earning him great virtuous merit!
The Sal Tree of Life and Death was evolving, and in urgent need of merit. Once his idea of supplemental paths as king spread throughout the world, Lu Yun would be able to earn monumental goodwill from all beings who benefited. Concentrated and absorbed by the Sal Tree of Life and Death, the merit would fertilize the tree.
Lu Yun was quite curious what the ancestor tree that had once taken root in hell would further develop into.
Qing Yu shrugged and didn’t have a response to his bold claim.
Lu Yun was also entertaining another thought—if her curse remained unresolved when it came time for her tribulation, then he would transplant the Sal Tree of Life and Death into her.
There was no way that the ancestor tree that was more powerful than the ten connate spirit roots wouldn’t be able to resolve her poison.
Dong! Dong! Dong!
Three mighty bell tolls heralded the start of the widely anticipated auction. The auction proper was held in an enormous venue that seemed more like a minor world than any sort of structure. Floating summits dotted the premises—private booths for the guests.
The summits didn’t seem that impressive on the outside, but space was expanded within them and they could easily accommodate hundreds or even thousands of immortals. They surrounded a resplendent floating island, upon which various formations and talismans interlaced to form a brilliant barrier of light.
Only foremost factions of the world were allowed entrance. Although some arcane dao immortals stayed away, due to unwillingness to seal their cultivation to enter Dusk Province, their faction’s greatest successors were sent in their stead—void-ascended immortals! They didn’t have to seal their cultivations upon entering Dusk.
A young woman in an emerald dress walked on air and landed gracefully on the floating island.
“A void-ascended immortal! She’s one as well!” The guests were surprised to see the young immortal. They’d expected Qing Ruyan, the Panorama Pavilion’s representative in Dusk, would host the auction.
“I recognize her! She’s Wanfeng, the disciple of the mysterious expert!” called out an immortal. “She was in Destiny City during the Sovereign Meet and took a stand for a holy girl of the Star Demon Sect!”
“Wanfeng? Isn’t she Lu Yun’s personal maid? Even a maid of his has ascended to immortality from the void realm?!” Heated discussions broke out on the various summits.
Wanfeng seemed completely unfazed by the attention. She’d ascended to immortality, and Wayfarer had brought her back as per his agreement with Lu Yun.
“Well met, our most distinguished guests.” She lowered her head and dipped in a proper greeting curtsy.
Quieting down, everyone waited with bated breath for the auction to reveal its secrets. The formations of heaven and earth wouldn’t be the only things sold here; other treasures were sure to be found as well. Considering the marketplace outside sold even fortress ships and cultivation methods, they couldn’t help but wonder what great treasures awaited.
“Let us forego further pleasantries and begin the auction.” Waving a hand as her lilting voice sounded out, she summoned four returned void bean soldiers carrying a giant iron cage.
The cage landed on the island with a heavy thud. A veil embossed with strange glyphs covered the cage, obstructing scans from immortals’ consciousness.
“Lot number one: a void-ascended stone turtle!”
At Wanfeng’s gesture, the black veil rose and revealed a giant stone turtle crouching quietly in the cage. It was Ding Lei, who Lu Yun had defeated in the celestial master tomb.
Golden fire blazed from one of the floating summits. Scarlet Ape shot to its feet, its eyes shooting fiery daggers at Wanfeng.
Ding Lei had been an admiral of the North Sea court! Although he’d later betrayed the North Sea, that didn’t change the fact that he was a member of the North Sea monster spirits.
Selling Ding Lei was clearly a crisp slap at the face of the North Sea sacred land, especially with Scarlet Ape in attendance.
“Face me, Lu Yun!” snarled Scarlet Ape as it stared at seemingly nothing in the air.
“Hahaha, mad, are you?” snorted a mocking voice. A young man in blue rose to his feet with a derisive expression. “Are you going to disrupt the auction with all of us as witnesses, great monkey forefather of the monster spirits?”
Great waves fanned into existence behind him to form a powerful manifestation.
“Those waves… he’s the one who ascended to immortality in the Unsullied Sea not long ago!”
A few days ago, a terrifying phenomenon of ascension had become one with the Unsullied Sea. Great waves had risen thirty thousand meters tall, rivalling Ling Rumeng’s manifestation of the Chaos Lotus.
The young man was one of the strongest void-ascended immortals in the world, and hardly feared a Scarlet Ape with its cultivation suppressed.
Most importantly, the sacred land of Levitating Island viewed the dragons as its greatest enemies. Thus, it was natural for the crown prince of the Unsullied Sea’s dragons to take a stand against Scarlet Ape when it wanted to cause trouble. Besides, it’d been Yuying’s Soul Restoring Pill that’d resurrected their young princess. The faction was therefore very friendly to Dusk Province.
“Gentlemen, please allow me a moment,” Wanfeng interjected, her voice as pleasant as a babbling creek. “Sir Lu Yun captured this stone turtle in the ghost realm of the East Sea. If the forefather of Levitating Island would like to help this turtle, please explain why it attacked Sir Lu Yun for no reason.”
A stick of emerald bamboo emerged behind her as she spoke, her stare at Scarlet Ape direct and unrelenting.
Scarlet Ape’s chest heaved violently, but in the end, it sat back down.
“Let us continue.” Wanfeng cast it a final sidelong glance. “This stone turtle was once the admiral of the North Sea court and thus knows many of its secrets. After ascending to immortality from the void realm, it acquired a powerful combat art—the Universe Encompassing Palm!
“We start at a billion immortal crystals. Bidding will now commence!”
This chapter really hit me in the feels for some reason. Over the course of the past year, whether due to the pandemic and ensuing global instability, or elections/referendums, we've seen a lot of discourse about people raging against the machine/institutions/Uncle Sam. 'Course, it's hardly a new topic of conversation, but there's certainly been ample free time to pursue it starting from 2020.
Here we have Joe Shmoe from Bumfeck, Nephrite Major who's invented a new idea/technology that will disrupt the market and/or change people's lives. However, he's going to be targeted by vested interests that like the current state of things. Are we going to see propaganda against Lu Yun? Maybe the Lings buy a ship and sabotage it in a very public manner to rock consumer sentiment? I don't suppose a faction will resort to honey trapping?
And no, no Lu Yun. You better not give Qing Yu the tree. That's not a viable plan at all, wtf? Thankfully it seems her curse really will be resolved soon. And the poor bean soldiers, finally back again but as hard labor. Wanfeng, you're back!! Holy hell we're selling that big turtle. So much happened in this chapter lol.