Chapter 621: Haggling
If the origin realm’s nascent soul was analogous to forming a tree from spirit essence, then the sage realm was equivalent to forming an entire forest of similar trees. Thus, stepping into the sage realm was the equivalent of a single tree growing into a whole forest. Jiang Chen cycled his qi through his body, forming a connection between the surroundings and himself. He drew on and strengthened that connection till he’d become one with the heavens and the earth. With Jiang Chen’s qualifications and talent, stepping into the sage realm from the origin realm was but a matter of time. There were no major obstacles in the way.
Jiang Chen had not forgotten about the scene he’d caused when he’d broken through to the origin realm during the alliance ceremony between the Precious Tree Sect and the Regal Pill Palace. He’d spontaneously broken through to the origin realm after comprehending the dao beneath the Precious Tree and caused a stunning heavenly phenomenon to appear. Everyone present at the Precious Tree Sect was shocked and speechless in the face of such an awe-inspiring display.
Fortunately, this time around he was safely in the sacred grounds of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect, so no one would be alarmed even if a terrifying phenomenon did materialize.
Within Mt. Rippling Mirage.
Three figures were lingering over a small hill. None other than the three who had forcefully broken into Mt. Rippling Mirage by cracking its formation, they’d immediately sensed that the mountain range was a completely separate world.
Cao Jin was highest in the air, looking into the distance with an abstruse look in his eyes.
The second rank pill king, Shi Zhen, was probing in all directions and could not help but sigh when he noticed a few areas. Fatty Wu Heng, on the other hand, was systematically checking his surroundings for hidden formations.
After Cao Jin had spent some time gazing into the distance, he drifted down and asked Fatty Wu Heng, “Well? Are there any hidden attack formations?”
Wu Heng shook his head, “There aren’t many attack formations here. Along the way, I noticed some transportation matrixes scattered here and there, but as the main formation is closed, these transportation matrixes can’t be activated. We’ll have to forcefully break out when we want to leave.”
Cao Jin nodded and turned to look at Shi Zhen, “Junior brother Shi Zhen, this Mt. Rippling Mirage contains the Divine Befuddlement Miasma. It’ll be up to you to detect it beforehand.”
“Rest assured, I’ve made my preparations.”
Inviting Shi Zhen on this trip had been to offset any of Mt. Rippling Mirage’s sudden situations. Armed with the Tristar Sect’s knowledge, Cao Jin had made thorough preparations for everything inside this mountain range. Wu Heng was in charge of breaking formations while Shi Zhen was to deal with the problem of the Miasma.
Mt. Rippling Mirage covered an extensive area, but the trio took their time. They were in no hurry to leave. Along the way, Shi Zhen would give lamenting sighs, “The spirit seeds still remain, but the spirit herbs have all been harvested. It seems this Mt. Rippling Mirage really does have some good things.”
Shi Zhen was a second level Pill King and had seen many valuable items before. However, some of species of herbs in Mt. Rippling Mirage still surprised him. “I never expected that there would be such a good place in the Myriad Domain.”
The three of them launched an exhaustive search within Mt. Rippling Mirage. They occasionally came across spirit herbs, but they were all of the true saint rank. Cao Jin was very generous and allowed Shi Zhen and Wu Heng to divide the true saint herbs amongst themselves. He really wasn’t interested in them unless there were a large amount of them, like a thousand stalks of Sage Fledging Grass.
Mt. Rippling Mirage was far too large for the three groups from the six sects to completely sweep the place clean. Thus, the three of them discovered many nooks and crannies that were missed, obtaining quite the harvest of spirit herbs. Eventually, all of them had earth rank spirit herbs in their possession.
About half a month later, they had searched through all of Mt. Rippling Mirage, leaving no corner untouched by their consciousness. However, the person who they wanted most to find, Jiang Chen, seemed to have disappeared without a trace.
On this day, the three of them stood before a large waterfall. Cao Jin had an excited but serious expression on his face, “According to the Tristar Sect’s information, Mt. Rippling Mirage contains a mountain within a mountain. The location where we are now can only be considered the main mountain. There is also an ancient herb garden inside that opens every three thousand years. The entrance to that garden should be near these waterfalls.”
“Around here?” Shi Zhen looked up at the large waterfall, awed by those dreamy curtains of water. However, as a second level pill king, he was still very vigilant. After inspecting the surroundings without finding anything, he turned to Cao Jin. “Senior brother Cao, there isn’t any Miasma in this area.”
Cao Jin nodded and glanced towards Wu Heng, “Junior brother Wu, how confident are you?”
Wu Heng’s face was solemn, “This formation is many times stronger than the outer formation. It’s virtually impossible to break through this formation with my ability.”
“Not even with the formation shattering technique?”
“If I was an emperor realm expert, then I would have a 40% chance of creating a gap large enough for us to enter with the formation shattering technique.”
“This requires emperor realm level strength?” Shi Zhen’s disappointment was evident.
“Mm, this formation is from ancient times. Furthermore, for whatever reason, this formation is currently in a relatively weak state. If this formation was in its peak state, then I’m afraid even an emperor realm expert wouldn’t be able to crack it.”
Wu Heng’s understanding and ability with formations was certainly deep enough to notice that Mt. Rippling Mirage’s overall formation was currently in a partially lifted state due to Jiang Chen’s intrusion. However, even though he’d noticed that, the formation blocking the way to the ancient herb garden was incomparable to the outer formation – its defenses was extremely high.
"So our steps come to a halt here? We can’t enter that ancient herb garden?” Cao Jin couldn’t bring himself to accept that outcome. He knew that Jiang Chen had not left Mt. Rippling Mirage. Since Jiang Chen wasn’t in the main mountain area, then he must be in the ancient herb garden. Thus, they would be able to find Jiang Chen if they entered the ancient herb garden. By finding Jiang Chen, those sky rank herbs, earth rank herbs and the Longevity Pill recipe would all be at his fingertips. Naturally, Cao Jin wasn’t willing to be stymied at this last step.
Wu Heng stared at the waterfall, his eyes focused, and did not immediately answer Cao Jin. A complicated look appeared in his eyes, as if he had made a difficult decision. He suddenly said, “Senior brother Cao, the formation shattering technique can be simultaneously deployed by three people. If three people were to use the technique in unison, the power would increase by at least fivefold.”
“Three people in unison?” Cao Jin’s eyes lit up, “The power can be increased fivefold?”
Shi Zhen’s eyes also glowed.
Wu Heng nodded, “However, this technique is an ancient art that I only discovered after paying a great price while I was out adventuring. In the Ninesuns Sky Sect, I alone possess this art.”
Cao Jin and Shi Zhen immediately understood Wu Heng’s words – he wanted to haggle. After all, it was reasonable to expect that sharing an exclusive technique would come at a price. Cao Jing smiled faintly, “What are your conditions?”
Shi Zhen also looked at Wu Heng. He knew that Wu Heng wanted to renegotiate the distribution of benefits. The fatty scratched his bald head and adopted a completely harmless smile. “Both of you will benefit endlessly if I pass this formation shattering technique onto you. So first of all, I would like both of you to swear to never pass this technique onto others.”
“Naturally.” Cao Jin and Shi Zhen did not argue with that condition, nodding quickly.
“Second naturally involves the distribution of benefits. I paid a great price in order to obtain this formation shattering technique. Therefore, if that Jiang Chen has five sky rank herbs, I’ll take two, Senior Brother Cao Jing takes two and Senior Brother Shi Zhen takes one. As for earth rank herbs, Senior Brother Cao will get five portions, I’ll take three portions, and Senior Brother Shi Zhen receives two portions. Any other valuables will also be divided up according to this ratio.”
Aside from the sky rank herb allocation, Cao Jing did not disagree with this distribution method as he would still receive his original half of the resources. However, the remaining half that was originally divided equally between Wu Heng and Shi Zhen had now shifted to Fatty Wu taking three portions and leaving Shi Zhen only two portions.
“The distribution method was set a long time ago. Fatty Wu, are you trying to take advantage of the situation to hike up the price?” Shi Zhen was naturally unhappy.
“Senior Brother Shi Zhen, you can’t put it like that. The original agreement between the three of us was for each of us to do their part. I’ve already done my part. I didn’t nitpick or haggle when we were breaking through the outer formation, right? Now, this formation can’t be broken. But passing on my formation shattering technique isn’t within our agreement. Since it’s not part of our original agreement, I would take a loss by passing on the technique. It’s not unreasonable for me to want some kind of compensation for eating this loss, right?” Fatty Wu’s argument was bolstered by a tone full of conviction.
Cao Jin would only lose out on one sky rank herb, but he didn’t want to set a precedent. If Fatty Wu could dicker about his technique now, then maybe Shi Zhen would haggle over curing the Miasma once they entered the ancient herb garden. A lot of future trouble would come from this one instance.
“Fatty, don’t try to take a mile after gaining an inch.” Cao Jin said in a frosty tone.
Fatty Wu chuckled wryly, “We can forget about it if both of you don’t agree with my suggestion. Anyways, I’ve already done my part. If you want me to teach you the formation shattering technique for free… well, that’s impossible.”
Shi Zhen complained angrily, “Fatty, we’re all from the same sect. If you keep splitting hairs like this, how are we supposed to cooperate?”
Fatty Wu wasn’t someone who was ever willing to suffer a loss. It was impossible for him to teach them the technique for free. However, he saw that Cao Jing and Shi Zhen weren’t willing to compromise and sneered, “Don’t try to oversimplify the situation. I can agree to not changing the distribution method. Instead, you two can take out a technique in exchange. Senior brother Cao, teach me your “Milky Way Point”. Senior brother Shi Zhen, you can use your unique “Seven Blossoms Fire Control” method in exchange.” Since the distribution method wasn’t open for alteration, Fatty Wu took a step back and wanted to trade art for art.
Cao Jin and Shi Zhen looked at each other, hesitated for a second, but finally nodded. “Then it’s decided. We’ll trade art for art. However, everyone must swear a heavenly oath not to pass on these arts to anyone else.”
The three of them began their transaction and were all happy after achieving their goals.
Although the formation shattering technique was profound, it wasn’t difficult for them to learn it given their respective levels of talent. Cao Jin and Shi Zhen had mastered the essentials after roughly five days.
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