Chapter 258: Silvermoon

Mithril was a very special type of metal. When forging weapons, adding only a drop or two of it could unleash the true potential and power of the weapon. It could even absorb the quintessence of the sun and moon to improve the quality of whatever weapon it was part of. Such weapons were all destined to become spirit weapons eventually.

In the Rich-Lush Continent, even a small portion of mithril could be exchanged for a hoard of energy convergence pills.

Some places even used mithril as currency instead of energy convergence pills. And yet here in this trade hub of the Western Continent, this city’s walls were actually plated with the stuff.

Even more telling, the mithril obviously contained spell formations that continuously absorbed external power. There were also spirit stones decorating the walls. Everything exuded a sensation of abundant riches, but at the same time, immense security. Clearly, no one would dare to cause trouble in a place like this, lest the spell formations be activated to deadly effect.

The people of the Western Continent were visibly different from those in the Rich-Lush Continent, exotic even. However, it was also possible to spot denizens of the Rich-Lush Continent coming and going from Silvermoon.

Trade abounded between the two continents, with demon cores and spirit stones changing hands without cease.

Therefore, Yang Qi in his Rich-Lush Continent clothing didn't attract much attention as he approached the city. People who saw him just assumed he was another trader that came to do business.

Roads and paths surrounded the countryside of Silvermoon like spider webs, making travel very convenient. There were fountains and channels of water on the sides of the road, even in the city itself, making the entire area seem like a painting.

Although it seemed like a place of business, Yang Qi could also sense traces of rancorous auras, the result of people being harmed or killed in the area.

This city was anything but a haven of security. On the surface it looked lively and happy, but underneath, danger and darkness lurked.

That said, Yang Qi knew that true confidence stems from superb skill, and therefore, he simply walked toward the city. Before he could get very close, he heard a voice speaking to him from a nearby merchant caravan. 

“Hey there, friend. Wait up!”

It was the language of the Rich-Lush Continent! 

Looking over his shoulder, he saw a group of a few dozen individuals walking along on foot. They had carts led by flood stallions, which were laden with boxes. The flags the merchant caravan flew were embroidered with the character ‘sage’, indicating that they hailed from the Sage Ancestor Dynasty.

The person who had called out to Yang Qi was the leader of the caravan, who he quickly identified as being a Nonary Lifeseizer.

“How can I help you?” Yang Qi said, waiting for them to catch up.

“You're from the Rich-Lush Continent, right?” the leader asked. “We're an imperial trading caravan from the Sage Ancestor Dynasty. You know, Silvermoon is a dangerous place. You probably shouldn’t go in alone.”

“What do you mean?” Yang Qi asked, frowning.

“A lot of big things have happened in the city recently. Some factions in the Western Continent have started targeting people from the Rich-Lush Continent, attacking us, robbing us, kidnapping us, even assassinating us. The locals in this region really don’t like us, and that's why I say that going in alone would be very dangerous for you. If you feel like it, you can join us. We can help keep you and your trade goods safe.”

“I appreciate that,” Yang Qi said, a bit moved. This imperial trading caravan seemed to really be concerned about him, and considering the level of his cultivation base, he would have been able to tell if they had ill intentions.

After joining the caravan, he continued to chat with the leader. He soon learned that, every year, the Sage Ancestor Dynasty would trade large amounts of demon cores for spirit stones. In addition to the actual merchants in the caravan, there were also guards and government officials, as well as energy arts experts in disguise.

All-in-all, Yang Qi had a fairly good impression of the Sage Ancestor Dynasty.

As they continued along their way, they came across a few other isolated Rich-Lush Continent cultivators, who also joined the group. Eventually, evening fell, and the torchlight in Silvermoon combined with the shining walls caused bright light to fill the area.

It was under these circumstances that the trade caravan entered the city.

At the city gate, they were stopped by the gate guards. 

“The tax is based on the number of people in your group,” one of the guards said, his voice cold. “One mid-grade spirit stone per person. Two per horse. And three per box.”

“What?” the leader said, visibly surprised. Eyes flashing, he said, “Yesterday the tax was low-grade spirit stones. Now it’s mid-grade? That’s fully ten times higher! And look at the next gate over! They’re charging low-grade spirit stones, not mid-grade!”

“Orders just came down that anyone from the Rich-Lush Continent has to pay this tax to enter Silvermoon. If you don’t, then no business for you.” The guard was speaking the language of the Western Continent, clearly without a single thought or care as to whether the people listening could understand him. And from the look in his eye, it seemed like he would love to thrash them within an inch of their lives. Or even worse. “Well? Are you going to pay up? Or not? If not, then beat it. And never come back to Silvermoon again. Understand?”

Yang Qi couldn't speak or understand the language of the Western Continent. However, because of the psychic fluctuations in the man’s voice, he was able to identify the meaning of his words.

After reaching the Lifeseizing level, it was possible to use psychic fluctuations to understand most spoken languages.

“Ah, whatever. We’ll suck it up for now.” Shaking his head, the leader of the caravan collected the money from the members of the group and handed it to the guard. Turning to Yang Qi, he lowered his voice and explained, “Lady-Princess Silvermoon must have some bone to pick with us people from the Rich-Lush Continent right now. She belongs to a particularly radical faction within the Sky-Heaven Dynasty, a group that's always calling for an invasion of the Rich-Lush Continent.”

The walnut-sized spirit stones glowed with soft light. They had been perfectly cut, and contained no visible flaws. The regulations for how to cut spirit stones had been in place since ancient times, and was the reason they could be easily used as currency. Once someone tapped on the spirit power inside of them, they would transform into something unsuitable to use as money.

Snatching the stones, the guard looked over the group with bloodthirsty eyes and said, “That’s better. Seems you know what's good for you. It's a good thing you didn’t argue, otherwise I would have killed you. Your heads would have made for great warning decorations to put on the city walls.”

With that, Yang Qi and the rest of the caravan entered the city. As they made their way off, the guards chuckled. “What a bunch of fat sheep waiting to be slaughtered. Should we send people to kill them tonight?”

“Nah,” the captain of the guard said. “They’re from the Sage Ancestor Dynasty, so you never know whether or not they have Legendaries hiding in their ranks. Besides, there’s no open war between our Sky-Heaven Dynasty and the Sage Ancestor Dynasty. Let’s just wait until they start doing business. Then we can go fine them into bankruptcy!”

Thanks to the psychic fluctuations, Yang Qi heard his words.

As for the rest of the members of the caravan, they were already discussing matters amongst themselves. 

“Completely disgusting. I can't believe they increased the tax like that. Seems we’re not going to be able to do business here much longer.”

“You're right. Well, things are getting better in the Rich-Lush Continent every day. Just yesterday I heard people saying that the heavenly damage was repaired, which means that no more monsters will be able to get in. Good times are coming for our lands, and the vital energy is stronger than ever. In fact, I bet that's why the Western Continent is clamping down on us.” 

Almost immediately, a tone of excitement took over the conversations.

“I wonder who it was that repaired the damage to the heavens.”

“According to the rumors, it was a student from the Demi-Immortal Institute named Yang Qi.”

“How did he do it? Not even the chancellors of the four institutes were able to repair that damage.”

“I heard that he has a backer that’s stronger than a Great Sage.”

“Alright, enough talk,” the leader of the caravan said. “Considering the developments, let’s wrap up our business here and get out of Silvermoon as quickly as possible. Then we can meet up with the other caravans, and also send a report back to Prince Wei.”

‘This caravan reports to Prince Wei?’ Yang Qi thought, surprised. He remembered Prince Wei and had a fairly good impression of him. After all, back in the big martial arts competition, the man had stood up for him against the Crown Prince. And he had even been humiliated in the process.

As the caravan made its way down the broad streets of Silvermoon, the surrounding locals glared at them menacingly.

As far as the people from the Western Continent were concerned, the Rich-Lush Continent was full of barbarians. And the fact that they traded measly demon cores for valuable spirit stones made them profiteers as well, and essentially, deserving to die.

“These people all seem ruthless to the core,” Yang Qi commented quietly.

“They are,” the leader of the caravan replied. “They have the blood of the Demonfolk in them, probably more of it than human blood. You know, a lot of them are demons in human form, or mutants.”

“Sir,” someone called from further up the street, “we’re at Silvermoon’s Municipal Business Pavilion.”

Up ahead was an enormous structure plated entirely with mithril, and filled with all sorts of terrifying spell formations.

Surrounding it was an enormous grand hall that was used specifically for business.

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