Wanfeng’s mellow tone held a barely-perceptible, chilly edge.
Scarlet Ape bared its teeth at her, eyes blazing with fury. It would’ve gone on a killing spree if the circumstances were different. But being that the auction was jointly hosted by another twelve big merchant guilds aside from Lu Yun and the Panorama Pavilion, no one could do whatever they wished, not even Lu Yun.
Once Wanfeng explained the stone turtle’s background and its combat art, the venue fell silent. Everyone’s heart rate seemed to have slowed by half a beat.
A void-ascended immortal naturally came with a void realm cultivation method. Nevertheless, everyone in attendance hailed from the top factions in the world of immortals. They had no shortage of cultivation methods of their own.
A flawless primordial combat art like Universe-Encompassing Palm, on the other hand, was something many had coveted, but couldn’t acquire. Void-ascended immortals could only tap into their true strength with flawless primordial combat arts, and the stone turtle in front of them possessed one!
Many factions possessed members who’d ascended to true immortality from the void realm, but very few of them had access to flawless combat arts. Most primordial combat arts unearthed from the ancient tombs came out as tattered pieces.
That Ding Lei knew many secrets about the North Sea due to its previous post didn’t matter to potential buyers; its value lay in the palm combat art. Void-ascended immortals could evolve their phenomenon of ascension into a combat art, but it was always the more the merrier when it came to something like this.
“Two billion!” a highly excited voice called out after three breaths. “I bid two billion premium crystals!” 
“Two billion? How embarrassing,” drawled another voice. “Eight billion!”
Voices rose and fell in a heated clamor of bidding. The price of the stone turtle quickly rose to an astronomical twenty billion premium crystals, and there looked to be enough momentum to push it even higher.
Twenty billion crystals was a price too high for most, as very few in the world could pay such a great sum. These participants, however, were bidding on behalf of their factions, and the most powerful ones in society at that.
The North Sea court, a faction with only ten thousand years of history, had accumulated trillions of premium crystals in their time. Older factions that had been around for eighty thousand years or more would’ve accumulated an unimaginable reserve of wealth.
In the end, the stone turtle went to the Zi Clan of Thundergale Major—the home of Zi Chen—for eighty billion crystals.
“Man, only eighty billion premium crystals...” Lu Yun was a little disappointed. “I thought the turtle would at least earn me hundreds of billions.”
“That’s not a small number.” Qing Yu sat comfortably beside him. “This is only the first item being auctioned off. I’m sure some people have already guessed what you’re selling next. But,” she continued in a warning tone, “they aren’t going to be grateful even after you sell the flawless primordial arts to them.”
The next lots on the list were the legacies Lu Yun had brought back from the Sovereign World—or the central world, if his speculations were right. Buried in various tombs, most of them were fragmented and incomplete.
They were from the Primordial Era, but they were flawed.
With Qing Yu’s deduction method perfected, however, she’d easily restored the combat arts to their original state.
“Why do I want their gratitude? Those flawless combat arts will end up in the world sooner or later. It’s better to use them to turn a quick crystal first.” Lu Yun smiled faintly. “Besides, these arts were left behind by the losers of the era. They’re failures, just like their masters. I don’t believe that the combat arts of losers will pose any threat to me after entering the world.”
Qing Yu cracked a smile in full agreement. There had been no weapons of war in the Primordial Era, yet here they were now. There had been no deduction method to derive and build upon combat arts back then, yet she had invented one.
With the deduction method, she could easily work out any combat art, and even identify their weak points. Selling flawless primordial arts wouldn’t do Lu Yun any harm.
Within the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals, Empress Myrtlestar and the Azure Dragon King uneasily listened in on the conversation. According to Lu Yun’s words, they were failures as well. They may be alive, but only barely.
More importantly, Lu Yun was doing all this to prevent the Primordial Era’s survivors, such as the fur seals, from using flawless combat arts to earn favors and garner loyalty. He’d taken a subconscious dislike to whoever remained of that era.
“Come, I’ll teach you the deduction method.” Qing Yu pointed her index finger at the center of Lu Yun’s forehead, but he swiftly dodged away and caught her hand with a grin.
“It’s not yet time for me to learn the method. Once you overcome your tribulation and ascend to immortality, you should incorporate the method into the immortal dao and become the bonafide dao sovereign. There are too many unresolved karmic issues about me that may lead to unexpected consequences. If I learn the method now, I may end up taking away what should be yours.”
Qing Yu’s nose wrinkled and she grumbled, “You’re the one who invented it...”
“I know, I know,” Lu Yun interjected. “But I created a deduction method for combat arts. After your research, it can not only be used to study combat arts, but also cultivation methods, formations, talismans, treasures, and pills. It’s more than a combat art deduction method now. It needs a more encompassing, more awe-inspiring name.”
“What do you think it should be called?” Qing Yu snuggled into Lu Yun’s arms rather than pulling away.
Lu Yun lightly caressed her hair with a smile. “What makes up the components of formations and pills… a method for refining talismans and treasures… their formula! Your method… No, it should be considered a type of dao now. Let’s call it the formula dao!
“Formula can be applied to everything in the world. From now on, your combat art deduction method will be known as formula dao.”
As they chatted, Lu Yun isolated his voice with a combat art to prevent it from traveling beyond the two of them, lest the immortal dao sense it and incorporate formula dao within, leading to Qing Yu’s premature tribulation and ascension.
Her curse hadn’t yet been resolved, so the time wasn’t ripe for her to become an immortal.
Qing Yu nodded in agreement.
The venue boiled over with exhilaration as proceedings continued.
The presentation of flawless primordial arts sent frissons of excitement through the attendees. Those lucky enough to be the winning bid on any of them began cultivating them on the spot.
These primordial arts were more than just combat arts; they contained a great variety of techniques and cultivation methods as well. As the distilled wisdom of the primordial immortals, they contained a complete legacy of dao.
Each primordial art was worth more than hundreds of billions of premium crystals. Many void-ascended immortals bankrupted themselves to acquire one, ignoring the formation of heaven and earth that would be placed on the block at the end of the auction. 
“What?!” Another commotion spread throughout the summits. “That’s Xing Chen’s Sword Atlas. Why is it on sale as well?!”
Its power had been proven to the world back during the Sovereign Meet and in the battle of Dusk Province. It was no exaggeration to call the Sword Atlas one of the best of the flawless primordial arts.
But Lu Yun was auctioning it off now!
This was a combat art without an accompanying cultivation method or other techniques. Otherwise the Sword Atlas would’ve been buried in a tomb, rather than a burial mound.
“Why is this combat art in your possession, Lu Yun?” demanded a Ling immortal.
While the Ling Clan originally hadn’t been invited, an invitation had later been issued after the thirteen merchant guilds decided to organize the auction together, along with other factions that’d been previously passed over, like House Donglin and the Corpse Refiners.
None of the belated invitees would miss the opportunity. They wanted the Sword Atlas more than anything else, and couldn’t retain their composure when it was put up for sale.
“Didn’t you guess it already?” Lu Yun yawned and walked out lazily. “I am Xing Chen. Xing Chen is me.”
He’d originally planned on continuing the act, but Scarlet Ape had spilled the beans immediately upon arriving in Dusk. Qing Yu wasn’t disguising herself as Qing Han anymore, either, so there was nothing stopping Lu Yun from revealing his identity.
In the end, it all came down to power.
Compared to who he’d been in Destiny City, Lu Yun was now powerful enough to not have to bother with concealing his actions. Xing Chen had ascended to the golden immortal realm from the void realm; even arcane dao immortals would only take a punch to kill.
“Nonsense!” A Fangyang immortal shot to his feet. “Our arcane dao immortal examined you with an immortal mirror. You and Xing Chen are two different people...”
“Tsk, believe what you want.” Lu Yun waved his hand dismissively. “Since no one’s gonna bid for the Sword Atlas, Wanfeng, we’re buying it in. Next!” 
“Understood.” Wanfeng beamed widely when she saw Lu Yun.
“Don’t! I’d like to bid—” Immortals hurried to shout prices.
Sword Atlas was a powerful combat art that enabled one to wield tens of thousands of swords at the same time. With enough inner energy, that would kill almost anyone. However, Wanfeng waved the art off the block and motioned for the next item to be brought on stage.
Killing intent permeated the air as many directed resentful glares at the Ling Clan and the Fangyang Nobles. The two clans kept their mouth shut; they knew they’d angered the room.
“I believe many will be interested in this next lot,” Wanfeng announced. “The trump card of every heavenly court in the world of immortals is a weapon of war.”
Everyone in the room gaped at the young woman, their expressions filled with dread and anticipation.
“Weapons of war tend to be extremely complicated to set up. Formations must be established and the weapons have to be connected to an earthen vein. One misstep can send all your efforts down the drain. The weapons of Sir Lu Yun’s invention, however, don’t require these extra steps.”
With a wave of her hand, a giant black veil slid off to reveal ten pitch-black cannons.
The crowd shot to their feet, eyes threatening to pop out of sockets. Had Lu Yun really lost his mind?! Why would he put such things on sale?!
The world of immortals was already on the brink of a great war. Him selling the weapons was adding fuel to the flames!
“These aren’t regular weapons of war, Sir Lu Yun has named them crystal cannons.” Wanfeng scanned the venue with a smile. “I’ll cut to the chase. A set of ten crystal cannons, if imbued with the power of three billion crystals for full capacity, can severely injure or even kill an arcane dao immortal. The starting price is fifty billion crystals.
“Bidding may begin.”
Holy... what an economic shakedown this will be. Lu Yun's effectively created a nuclear standoff between everyone. And, cheers to a real auction arc!
Also, I think some folks have commented before on how much people suck in NECRO. In this chapter, we get a general idea of why -- those alive today are mostly descended from the cowards, the runaways, the losers of the Great War. The truly great ones with integrity and conviction went down in fiery flames defending the world. Hence, the kinds of values that have been passed on... welp, we see them in action!