There were still several months left before the commencement of the convention, but countless cultivators had already arrived at Nine Immortal Mountain from the three regions and seven territories.
They were still unable to enter the mountain, but a dozen or so impromptu markets of different sizes had already been set up nearby.
Countless mid-grade and high-grade cultivators visited these markets, and some rare materials and spirit medicines made regular appearances there, making them very popular to all of the cultivators who had gathered in the area.
Compared to the number of human cultivators in these markets, demonic cultivators were a lot rarer, but almost all of the demons who dared to appear here were high-grade demon beasts who could at least transform most of their bodies into human forms.
As such, there was a relatively even power balance between the human and demon cultivators here, so neither side was able to exert dominance over the other.
Of course, this was only the overall situation. These temporary markets weren't actually part of the Myriad Treasure Convention, after all, so there was no strict or official enforcement of order.
Some guards were sent out of Nine Immortal Mountain to patrol these markets, but they could only maintain order on a surface level. As such, there were naturally instances of unscrupulous dealings taking place in obscure locations.
On this day, there was such a transaction taking place on a bleak and desolate mountain that was quite far away from Nine Immortal Mountain.
A thin middle-aged cultivator and a little girl who appeared to only be 11 to 12 years of age had been surrounded by three men in black, all of whom were giving off powerful killing intent.
The middle-aged man was only at the mid-Foundation Establishment Stage, while the little girl was only at the Qi Condensation Stage. However, the three men in black who had surrounded them were all at the late-Foundation Establishment Stage, and they clearly harbored sinister intentions.
The one who appeared to be the eldest among the three men in black wore a sinister expression as he said, "Bai Huaji, hand over the thousand-year-old Blood Ginseng. If you hand it over without offering any resistance, not only will the three of us allow you and your daughter to leave, we'll even give you some spirit stones. Otherwise, don't blame me for taking it by force!"
The middle-aged man's face was rather pale, but he managed to remain relatively calm. He flipped a hand over to produce a jade box, then placed his other hand over the box with an enraged look on his face as he said, "Shi Kun, I can only lament my ill fortune for placing my trust in someone like you, but if you want the Blood Ginseng, you have to let my daughter leave this place first. Otherwise, I'd rather destroy it than hand it over to you!" [For those of you wondering, even the Chinese characters used here are exactly the same as Shi Kun of the Stone Cocoon Tribe. I can only assume the author's bag of names has been depleted LOL]
The three men in black all stirred slightly upon hearing this.
"No! Neither of you will get to leave before you hand over the Blood Ginseng," one of the other men in black refused without any hesitation.
"Hmph, how can I be sure the three of you won't kill me and my daughter anyway after obtaining the Blood Ginseng? Don't tell me you'll swear a vow or anything like that; your vows hold no weight in my eyes," the middle-aged man said in a cold and resolute manner.
"Then neither you nor your daughter will be leaving here..."
"Alright, we'll let her go!"
The man in black who had rejected the proposal was about to issue another threat when Shi Kun cut him off before agreeing to the middle-aged man's demands.
"Brother Shi, you..."
"Are you unwilling to follow my lead?" Shi Kun turned to his two companions with a cold look in his eyes.
The other two men in black exchanged a wary glance before complying in a resigned manner. "No, we wouldn't dare to do that. In that case, we'll do as Brother Shi says and let the girl go."
The middle-aged was elated to hear this.
"You heard us! We'll let the little girl leave, but if you go back on your word or try anything dodgy, I'm sure you know the consequences that await you!" Shi Kun threatened in a menacing manner.
The middle-aged man's expression eased slightly, and he said, "Rest assured, I'm merely concerned for the safety of my daughter. As long as her safety can be ensured, this Blood Ginseng is nothing in comparison."
"No, Father, I won't leave you!" The little girl was very fair and adorable, looking as if she had walked straight out of an artwork, yet she was currently clinging onto the middle-aged man's robes and shaking her head vigorously.
The middle-aged man's expression changed slightly, and he quickly transmitted his voice to the little girl. "You need to get out of here, silly girl! Go find your grandma so she can come to save me."
The little girl faltered slightly upon hearing this before nodding emphatically in response.
"Alright, hurry up and go. Otherwise, I might change my mind," Shi Kun urged in a menacing voice.
Despite her youth, the little girl knew what she had to do in this situation. After taking a final reluctant glance at the middle-aged man, she waved her little hand through the air, and a white talisman appeared in her grasp. She plastered the talisman onto her own body, and a layer of white light immediately surfaced as she flew away.
The middle-aged man held the jade box in his hand in a white-knuckled grip while appraising his young daughter in an intent unblinking manner.
The three men in black remained still on the spot, and he heaved a faint sigh of relief after the little girl passed by them.
However, right at this moment, a sudden turn of events abruptly unfolded!
After the little girl had flown around 20 to 30 feet away from Shi Kun, a vicious light suddenly flashed through his eyes, and he abruptly swept an arm through the air. His arm then swept backward as a black shadow that extended at an alarming rate.
The little girl let loose a cry of surprise, and she was unable to offer any resistance as she was caught by the Shi Kun.
She was then drawn back in a flash, and a glossy black hand locked itself around her delicate neck.
The middle-aged man was naturally both shocked and enraged by this sudden development, and spiritual light erupted from his hands as he yelled, "What are you doing, Shi Kun! Let her go or I'll destroy this Blood Ginseng right now!"
"Destroy the Blood Ginseng and I'll do the same to your daughter's neck! Shut up and toss the box over right now. I'll count to three, and if I don't have the Blood Ginseng in my hand by then, I'll make sure this day becomes your daughter's death anniversary! One... Two..." Shi Kun completely disregarded the middle-aged man's threats and tightened his fingers around the little girl's neck instead, causing her face to turn slightly purple from horror and asphyxiation. At the same time, he began to count to three in a cold manner, not giving the middle-aged man any time to think.
The other two men in black were elated to see this. Only then did they realize that Shi Kun had no intention of letting the little girl go from the beginning, and merely played a trick so he could take her as hostage.
The calmness that the middle-aged man had retained was completely thrown out the window upon seeing this, and his body trembled with rage while his brain completely ceased to function.
Right as Shi Kun was about to count to three, he hurriedly tossed the jade box forward in a panicked manner.
One of the men in black chuckled as he stepped forward before making a grabbing motion, and the jade box was immediately drawn into his grasp.
"Check to see if the Blood Ginseng is actually in the box!" Shi Kun immediately ordered.
"Yes, Brother Shi!" The man in black removed the lid of the box, and a burst of crimson light erupted from within as a crimson Ginseng that was around a foot in length was revealed.
"It really is the Blood Ginseng, Brother Shi!" the man in black said in an elated manner.
Shi Kun and the other man in black were also ecstatic to hear this.
The middle-aged man's face had paled even further, and he gritted his teeth as he said in a cold voice, "Alright, you've got the Blood Ginseng now; return my daughter to me!"
"Hmph, are you telling me to let you leave so you can ask that Fairy Yue Hua to hunt us down?" Shi Kun harrumphed coldly as a sinister look reappeared on his face.
"You know of my mother-in-law, yet you still dare to do this?" The middle-aged man's heart immediately sank upon hearing this.
"Haha, you think we would target you without digging up some basic background information on you first? We don't want to make a Core Formation cultivator our enemy, but this is what you get for being in possession of this Blood Ginseng. With this Blood Ginseng, the three of us will also be able to reach the Core Formation Stage soon, so we won't need to fear Fairy Yue Hua! Besides, after we kill you and your daughter, who's even going to know that we were the ones behind this? That's enough chit-chat, kill him!" Shi Kun chortled like a madman before black light flashed from his hand as he closed his fingers around the little girl's neck.
The middle-aged man let loose a guttural roar of desperation as he swept a sleeve through the air, summoning a small yellow sword that he was about to hurl at Shi Kun. However, it was quite clear that he wouldn't be able to save his daughter in time.
Shi Kun clenched his fingers together with a sinister look on his face to snap the little girl's neck, but in this dire situation, an astonishing scene suddenly unfolded.
A burst of spatial fluctuations suddenly erupted nearby, following which the smooth and warm neck of the little girl was replaced by something hard and icy cold. At the same time, a burst of excruciating pain speared through his fingertips, and he let loose an agonized howl as he hurriedly looked down.
As a result, he discovered that the little girl he had abducted had been replaced by a black metal puppet. The puppet was extremely rough and crude, and there were thin blue inch-long spikes all over its body.
His hand had been completely shredded by these sharp spikes, and blood was flowing freely from the gashes.
He hurled the metal puppet viciously into the distance, and roared, "Who's there? Show yourself!"
At the same time, he abruptly flipped a hand over to summon a stack of black formation flags. Meanwhile, the middle-aged man was completely flabbergasted.
Only then did the other two men in black realize what had just happened, and one of them summoned a pair of short silver halberds, while the other brought out a spiked black shield. Both of them then immediately released their spiritual sense into the surrounding area.
"I don't know about you, Young Master Hai, but I can't just sit here and watch any longer. Looks like a battle is unavoidable." A cold voice suddenly rang out from behind a nearby tree.
Shi Kun's trio immediately turned toward that direction in unison in an alert manner.
"Hmph, you think I'm just going to sit this one out? These are the type of people I hate the most! Robbery is bad enough already, yet they show no hesitation even when killing a little girl! I'm going to thoroughly enjoy beating the crap out of them! But then again, I'm not sure the two of us can beat these three bastards." Another angry male voice sounded from behind the same tree in response.
"Haha, fear not! We have Brother Han on our side, don't we? Even if we can't beat them in a three-on-three battle, there's definitely no risk involved, either," the owner of the first voice chuckled in response.Previous Chapter Next Chapter