Chapter 280: Vermillion Dragon City

No matter the circumstance, if you wanted a steady, consistent source of power, you could always rely on spirit stones.

Yang Qi had the spatial coordinates to return to the Rich-Lush Continent, but using them would require a huge amount of power, and thus, he needed spirit stones. Thankfully, spirit stones were abundant in the Quake-Dawn Continent.

And he had plenty of demon cores to trade for them. He could only hope that the situation wouldn't be like the Western Continent, where open contempt was shown for people from the Rich-Lush Continent.

Although the Western Continent was known for its spirit stone mines, when compared to the Quake-Dawn Continent, their reserves were paltry at best. At the moment, Yang Qi stood on the mountain peak, looking off into the distance, where a surging convergence of spirit energy seemed to indicate that a large number of people were gathered. Sending his psychic tempest into space-time, he soon caught sight of a sprawling city some tens of thousands of kilometers away. It was a city far larger than Silvermoon, and also more prosperous.

‘Looks like a trade center of sorts. I should go check it out.’

However, he had learned from his previous experiences, and instead of just waltzing into the city, he first sat down cross-legged and worked on changing his appearance. Considering his level, it was easy for him to use true energy to change his clothing and facial features. In fact, he could even change his body in general. Before long, he looked like a completely different person, even down to his temperament and mannerisms.

A person from the Quake-Dawn Continent and a person from the Rich-Lush Continent could change their facial features, general physique, and even their clothing to resemble someone from the other location. However, in terms of their temperament and mannerisms, the old saying still applied: in these lands and waters, people are unique. Because of that, it would be easy for people from one land to notice strangers from another.

However, the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth was so miraculous that it could even transform Yang Qi’s mannerisms and temperament.

After finishing with his work, he headed toward the city and blended into the crowd heading toward the gates. 

Everyone that he saw was an energy arts cultivator. Even the commoners had cultivation bases in the eighth or ninth phase of the Energy Arts level. And Lifeseizers were everywhere. There were even quite a few Legendaries here and there.

In the Rich-Lush Continent and even the Western Continent, Legendaries were relatively rare, and even in big cities, people would crane their necks to catch a glimpse of them. Here in the Quake-Dawn Continent, they were considered like nobility, but at the same time, were not rare.

Even in the ancient era, Legendaries were called energy warriors, and were considered to have a high status. As such, it was no surprise that even the Legendaries in the Quake-Dawn Continent walked around with looks of haughty pride on their faces.

As he passed the moat that surrounded the city, Yang Qi looked down and caught the occasional flash of scales; apparently, there were dragon-snakes in the moat.

As for the city walls, they were carved with countless dragons and vermillion birds, which served as inspiration for the name of the city. The highest structure in the city had a plaque with three characters written on it, in the ancient Yore-Wilds script. Of course, the Rich-Lush Continent, the Western Continent, and the Quake-Dawn Continent had all once been a part of the primeval Yore-Wilds Continent. Because the script used back in the Yore-Wilds Continent was still used in the large continents that had once been part of it, Yang Qi had studied it in the Demi-Immortal Institute.

‘Vermillion Dragon City?’

Eventually, he reached the main gate of the city, where he paid a spirit stone tax before entering. At the moment, his stockpile consisted only of the low-, mid-, and high-grade variety that he had taken from Silvermoon.

After entering the city, he singled out a cultivator in Tertiary Lifeseizing.

“Hey there, Brother, do you happen to know where I can exchange demon cores for spirit stones?” 

From the man’s getup, he seemed to be a freshman student from some sect, and he was carrying himself with utmost caution. In the Rich-Lush Continent, a Tertiary Lifeseizer would be an individual to be reckoned with almost anywhere he went, but in the Quake-Dawn Continent, he was a nobody.

“Y-you’re talking to me, Senior?” the cultivator stammered, immediately intimidated by Yang Qi’s powerful aura. Shivering, he continued, “The best place to do business in Vermillion Dragon City is in the Grand-Wilds Mansion. They buy and sell everything there. You could definitely trade demon cores for some really nice spirit stones. It’s in that direction.” He pointed.

“I see. Many thanks!” Tossing a few high-grade spirit stones over as a tip, Yang Qi turned and headed toward the Grand-Wilds Mansion.

Eventually, he reached the end of one particular street where an enormous structure rose up, emanating an aura like that of the ancient Yore-Wilds. There were actually countless storefronts and halls in the structure, as well as countless towers rising into the sky. And of course, people streamed in and out constantly as they did business.

Everything imaginable was being sold, from magical treasures, to building materials, weapons, medicinal pills, books and scrolls, and even bottle gourds filled with all varieties of true energy.

As for the demon core business, it seemed to be booming more than anything else.

Yang Qi even saw a few Legendaries selling fiend-devil cores to acquire royal- and imperial-grade spirit stones.

As he attempted to enter the location, a Lifeseizer pageboy reached out to block his path. “Sir, this is the demon core market here in the Grand-Wilds Mansion. Are you here to exchange demon cores?”

“That’s right,” Yang Qi said with a nod. “What are the rates?”

“Please come with me. I’ll take you to an official appraiser, who can determine the quality of the cores you want to trade, and set a fair price for you.” This pageboy spoke quite fluently, and kept his face completely expressionless. Clearly, he was extremely experienced in dealing with customers.

Without any further fanfare, he led Yang Qi to a certain sales counter, sitting behind which was an old man with a long white beard, and sharply glittering eyes. He was a Legendary, and in the fifth transformation. Considering that he understood the transformations of both the five phases and yin and yang, it was obvious that he qualified to understand the workings of vital energy.

To the old man, Yang Qi looked like nothing more than a Space-Void Legendary, and thus, he didn’t feel any need to be courteous. 

“Alright boy,” he said, “hand over the demon cores you want assessed.” 

Yang Qi pulled out a blood-red devil core, pulsing with so much battle spirit that the entire area suddenly seemed like a battlefield for suras. The old man shot to his feet.

“An asura devil core?!”

When others in the area heard the appraiser’s exclamation, they looked over with envious shock.

“What? An asura devil core? Who pulled out something like that? What level is it? Don’t tell me it’s Legendary?”

“Yeah right. Asuras are born as Legendaries. Even a baby asura is dozens of times stronger than a human Blood-Form Legendary. Devil cores like that are perfect to add to powerful weapons or deadly spell formations. In fact, you can even use them to create warrior nascent divinities.”

“What level is that devil core? Asura devil cores are virtually priceless!”

Rubbing his hands together, the appraiser said, “Let me see that, boy.”

Yang Qi flicked his hand, sending the devil core flying over in a streak of light. The old man caught it and began to study it, even pulling out a mirror and using reflected light to determine the core’s level.

Then, he pricked his finger and let a drop of blood drop onto the core.

RUMBLE!

Thunderous rumbling sounds echoed out as the blood evaporated and transformed into an asura war god, a being whose most casual attacks could shatter the void and summon masses of starlight.

“Eighth Legendary Transformation? This devil core is from an Astral-Star asura!” Looking very serious, the old man put the devil core down onto the counter. “Where did you get this devil core, boy?”

Yang Qi raised an eyebrow. “What. Does the Grand-Wilds Mansion require certificates of origin or something?”

“It’s not that,” the old man replied. “It just seems to me that you don’t have the cultivation base it would take to kill an Astral-Star asura. That said, you don’t have to reveal the information if you don’t want to. That's a rule here in the Grand-Wilds Mansion. In any case, this devil core is an amazing thing. How much do you want for it?”

“I thought you people specialized in appraising things like this,” Yang Qi said coolly. “What’s it worth?”

“You’re right, we do specialize in appraisals. But this core is too precious. We’re going to need to negotiate a price that you're happy with.” He licked his lips. “This isn’t the place for a discussion like this. Please, come upstairs with me.”

Under the glittering eyes of all present, the old man led Yang Qi up the stairs. There were looks of sadness, envy, and outright jealousy. There were even some experts who considered trying to snatch the core. In the end, though, none of them dared to cause problems in the Grand-Wilds Mansion.

After all, it was a powerful organization, with as many top experts as the sky has clouds. Anyone who caused trouble would end up dead. After all, it was common knowledge that the person who ruled over the entire mansion was a Great Sage.

Yang Qi followed the old appraiser upstairs, into a dimension that was larger than below, and very quiet and peaceful. Eventually, they reached a table, where Yang Qi sat down. The appraiser left, and the pageboy hurried over with a silver platter to put the demon core on.

Yang Qi remained expressionless, but inside he mused that he was actually starting to like this Grand-Wilds Mansion.

Soon, tea was served, as well as a variety of fruit and melons. Eventually, the old appraiser returned with a younger man.

Almost instantly, this newcomer’s aura caused everything in the area to tremble. He was a Half Sage, and from the way the old appraiser bowed and scraped in his presence, it was obvious he was very important. He was clearly in a leadership position in the Grand-Wilds Mansion.

Of course, Yang Qi had just beaten up a Half Sage, and therefore, wasn’t fazed at all. In fact, he didn’t even rise to his feet per protocol. Instead, he nodded slightly.

The fact that Yang Qi didn’t stand caused a flicker of displeasure to pass through the man’s eyes. 

“I run the Vermillion Dragon branch of the Grand-Wilds Mansion,” he said. “You can call me Overseer Redwood.” 

With that, he pulled a chair over and sat down. “Friend, do you mind telling me what organization you represent? Our Grand-Wilds Mansion has relationships with many powerful groups, and if you come from one of them, we can give you a much better deal.”

“I'm just a rogue cultivator,” Yang Qi replied. “I'm happy to do business with you without any special privileges. As long as the price is reasonable, I'm happy to part with quite a few devil cores.”

With that, he waved his hand, and another asura devil core popped out, this one radiating the power of the eighth Legendary transformation.

“What?” the appraiser blurted, visibly stunned.

Even the Half Sage Overseer Redwood had to suppress the urge to rise to his feet.

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