Chapter 226: Demanding Spirit Stones

Old Man Superdestruction was finally convinced that Yang Qi was qualified to enter a discussion with him. And the fact that he had Huang Hou seemed to indicate that he really did have confidential information about the Crown Prince.

Huang Hou was a holy neophyte, the type of person who could call the wind and summon the rain in the outside world. At a single word from him, even a powerful clan could be pillaged or slaughtered. Even the most powerful aristocratic clans in the continent would do everything possible to avoid offending him, lest they be wiped out of existence.

He was so famous that the Shroud-Heaven Alliance had long since put out a bounty for his head. Old Man Superdestruction himself had come up with numerous plans to kill him, none of which had worked. And yet, here he was, acting almost like a lapdog to Yang Qi.

“Talk, Yang Qi,” Old Man Superdestruction said. “If you have hard evidence to point to the alternate dimension the Crown Prince is hiding in, then the Shroud-Heaven Alliance will give you whatever you want. Young Master Shroud-Heaven has already arranged a handsome reward for you.”

“Reward?” Yang Qi chuckled. “Whatever so-called reward he’s arranged, I don’t want it. Look, I’m not just planning to give you information about the Crown Prince, I have a map leading right to him. And I also know what he’s planning to do next. But in exchange, I want something specific. Treasure. And a lot of it!”

“You have a complete map? And you know what he’s planning to do next?” Old Man Superdestruction’s eyes flickered with shock. “Fine. Name your price.”

“A thousand spirit weapons. A hundred thousand royal-grade spirit stones. Ten thousand imperial-grade spirit stones. A thousand sovereign-grade spirit stones. Plus, at least five magical treasures equivalent to the Gate of the Great Void, things that can extract items from alternate dimensions.”

“What?!” Old Man Superdestruction said, his eyes burning with killing intent. “Feeling pretty greedy, are we? The Shroud-Heaven Alliance would go completely broke if we tried to pay you that much. I doubt your Demi-Immortal Institute has that much wealth on hand, and probably not even the Hanging Mountain. 

“Are you really serious about this deal? A thousand spirit weapons? Do you know what a spirit weapon is? Even just one is equivalent to a Lifeseizer. It takes the spirit energy of heaven and earth, and the quintessence of the sun and moon to give a spirit consciousness to a weapon. You think they just grow here and there like bok choy, and that you can just grab them willy-nilly? And do you know anything about spirit stones? Apparently not. A royal-grade spirit stone could buy you a city! And that's not to mention imperial-grade or sovereign-grade. Ordinary cultivation can only be practiced with high-grade and supreme-grade! Who do you think you are? Even Young Master Shroud-Heaven himself wouldn’t be able to casually use royal-grade or imperial-grade spirit stones for cultivation. I doubt even Great Sages would have reserves that rich.”

“Look, calm down,” Yang Qi said coolly. “Maybe my asking price is a bit high, but do you know who the Crown Prince really is? Forget about the fact that he's supposed to be the next chancellor of the Demi-Immortal Institute, he's a god from heaven descended into the mortal world, someone who harbors an enormous secret. If your Young Master Shroud-Heaven managed to kill him, and use some sort of demon magic to refine him into an out-of-body incarnation, a second nascent divinity, then reaching the Great Sage level would be a simple thing for him. Furthermore, he would be more powerful than any other Great Sage of his level. You must be aware of how strong the Crown Prince is, and the terrifying level of power that exists within him.”

Old Man Superdestruction looked back at him wordlessly. He led the Shroud-Heaven Alliance, which had been created for the specific purpose of dealing with the Crown Prince. They knew more about him than anyone, and would pay anything to have him killed.

Unfortunately, the price Yang Qi had just asked for was simply outrageous.

“I know you and the Crown Prince are enemies,” Old Man Superdestruction said. “Killing him would benefit you as well. Why don’t we just join forces? You tell us where he is, and we can go there together to kill him. That way, we both win. What do you think? He has plenty of treasure of his own. If we're partners, we can just split it between the two of us. Considering the ancient artifacts he has access to, his treasure horde would be roughly the same value as the price you just mentioned.”

Yang Qi burst out laughing. “You think I'm an idiot? Working with you would be a case of asking a tiger for its skin. I'd rather have cash up front than possible access to hidden treasure. Although, you did hit the nail on the head. The Crown Prince does have a lot of treasure. Once you kill him, you’ll get all of it, and it will definitely surpass anything you paid me. I'm just asking you to make an early withdrawal, right? Look. Do we have a deal, or not? Or do you need to go get approval from Young Master Shroud-Heaven?”

“He doesn’t need to ‘get approval’. I make the decisions!”

RUMBLE!

In the blink of an eye, a god-spirit appeared from within the depths of boundless space, pulsing with never-ending demon and devil energy, a spear in his hand which he held outstretched toward the heavens. Behind him were millions upon millions of vengeful souls, which were the living things he had killed and transformed into ghost-gods and devil-spirits.

Young Master Shroud-Heaven had arrived.

Yang Qi had seen Young Master Shroud-Heaven before, and had not sensed anything particularly extraordinary from him. However, that was because all of Young Master Shroud-Heaven’s energy had been focused on the Crown Prince. This time, Yang Qi could most definitely sense the boundless pressure that radiated off of him.

Cracking sounds could be heard as the air around Yang Qi crumpled and was torn, and all of the warding magics he had set up with the Grand Emperor's Pagoda were instantly shattered. A tremor passed through Yang Qi, and his blood surged so violently that he nearly coughed up a mouthful of it. But then, the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth activated. Inside of him, the power of the Hell Portal and Hellfire Crucible neutralized all negative effects.

From an outsider’s perspective, it looked like he simply flew up in the air for a short moment before landing back down on the ground.

“Hmm?” A strange look flashed through Young Master Shroud-Heaven’s eyes. Clearly, it was a complete surprise to him that Yang Qi could stand up to his power. Of course, he was only here in clone form, but it was a clone he had crafted with utmost care, using the souls of numerous powerful demons. Logically speaking, the power of the clone should have been enough to leave Yang Qi seriously injured and coughing up blood. And yet, nothing of the sort had happened. He seemed as lively as a dragon or tiger, and didn’t seem to have been hurt in the least bit. It was actually somewhat terrifying.

“Get out here, Hua Tianxiong!” Young Master Shroud-Heaven said. “I know you’re over there spying on us, waiting to come help this punk at a moment’s notice. You’re his little shield, aren’t you? Is this what you call making a deal? Seems more like you’re trying to rip me off!”

A chuckle echoed out as Hua Tianxiong appeared in the cave. Looking over at Young Master Shroud-Heaven, he smiled and said, “You’re a Never-Dying Legendary, Young Master Shroud-Heaven. Ready to reach the Great Sage level the moment you find the right opportunity. Well, isn’t this the opportunity? Why aren’t you willing to split the profits a bit? Besides, this deal is between you and Yang Qi. I'm just here to act as mediator if necessary. If you want my help to kill the Crown Prince, I’d be happy to comply, assuming it’s worth it for me.”

“You think I need your help to kill the Crown Prince?” Young Master Shroud-Heaven said. “If so, you’re wrong. I'm going to kill him with my own hands. Besides, the Hanging Mountain has as many top experts as the sky has clouds, so if I did need help, I definitely wouldn’t come to you.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Hua Tianxiong replied. “From what I've heard, you might have a lot of top experts on the Hanging Mountain, but the infighting between them is fierce. You Demonfolk are all vicious schemers who care only for self-interest. Unless you team up with a blood relative, you’re likely to end up getting stabbed in the back. But that’s not how I do things. I'm sure you’re aware of how old-timers like me conduct ourselves.” With that, he clasped his hands behind his back proudly.

“You’re right, we Demonfolk can’t even trust people on our own side. In fact, there are plenty of things I have to keep from my blood relatives, lest I end up dead. And I have to admit that you orthodox people do tend to be more trustworthy. In fact, I've done my homework about you, Hua Tianxiong. You’ve never betrayed anyone in your entire life. That said, you still need to talk some sense into this Yang Qi. His price is far too high.”

“Not in the least,” Yang Qi interjected. “If you kill the Crown Prince, you’ll have access to all his wealth, an amount that far surpasses anything I’ve asked for. Young Master Shroud-Heaven, aren’t you willing to pay that much to get to the Crown Prince?”

“Are you absolutely certain you know where he is?” Young Master Shroud-Heaven asked.

Yang Qi nodded. “Yes. Absolutely certain. In fact, you can have Huang Hou if you’d like, and get the information from him directly. Although, in that case I would have to up the price. In any case, the Crown Prince gave a map to Huang Hou, plus instructions for a very important task. If that task is completed, the Crown Prince will recover in a year, and come out as a Great Sage. If that happens, he’ll crush everyone, starting with you.”

“A year?” Young Master Shroud-Heaven said, visibly shocked. “Don’t tell me that he…. Oh, I understand. So, he wants to build that thing. He’s really putting everything on the line. Damnation! I can’t let him succeed, otherwise….” A long moment passed. “Fine. I agree to your price. But I want Huang Hou.”

“Then the price is doubled,” Yang Qi replied without the slightest hesitation. “He’s a student of the Demi-Immortal Institute, so giving him to you would be a big betrayal. That’s especially true considering you’ll probably kill him.”

“There’s no way I can double the price. It's going to be difficult for me to get everything you already asked for. Besides, what if your information is bad?”

“How about we compromise,” Hua Tianxiong cut in. “I’ll take Huang Hou. And I’ll also join you in your attempt to kill the Crown Prince. It’ll be the best of both worlds. You tell me whatever questions you want to ask Huang Hou, and I’ll make sure you get the answers.”

Young Master Shroud-Heaven’s eyes narrowed as he considered the offer. In the end, the Crown Prince’s whereabouts were just too important.

“Fine. Agreed. We meet back here in three days to finalize everything.”

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