Chapter Six: Aura of a King
Translated by Jouissance of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The XianQi Pavilion was the number one merchant guild in the entire cultivation world, with countless branches. Almost every known cultivation realm would have one. These shops sold everything from elixirs and skill manuals to treasures and spirit beasts, even cultivator slaves and servants.
The XianQi Pavilion of the AnYang Realm was located in the capital, ChuTian City. Every month, they would host a Treasure Convention, where they would auction all the valuables they had managed to acquire.
The auction venue was an immense flying ship that lay suspended above the Pavilion, where ethereal women danced and sparks of light flowed around it, symbolizing its immense rarity and power. Countless passing cultivators were captivated by the sight; someday, they thought to themselves, they would reach a position where they could enter and enjoy the lavish atmosphere.
The flying ship was separated into three levels, the bottom of which was packed with normal seating, all squished together without a slither of space between them. But even seats like this would cost a good hundred low-grade spirit stones.
Meanwhile, the second level held the luxury seating. Each seat was wide, comfortable round back chairs, with tables next to them for glasses of wine and platters of fruit. Every now and then, there would be beautiful Qi Condensation stage serving girls to fill their cups. A seat like this required mid-grade spirit stones. It was enough to buy a decent mid-grade Magic Artifact.
As for the individual rooms on the top level, there were only forty in total and each was equipped with the best of the best. There was a killing array set that could take the life of a Nascent Soul Stage cultivator with one strike, assuring the customer’s absolute safety when bidding for items. The seats inside were low-grade Magic Artifacts, able to transform into what was comfortable for the one seated. In addition, there were female cultivators of the Beast Race there as dancers and a Foundation Establishment Stage deacon that would provide a commentary as the auction went on. A room like this naturally cost an immense amount of spirit stones and would only be available to those whose position or background met their standards or were above Golden Core Stage.
Chu WuQing had come here to attend the auction on a whim, so the rooms, as expected, were already all taken. An elder deacon immediately welcomed him, saying, “Apologies, if Young Master Chu could wait a while, I have already sent someone to talk things over. We’ll get you a private room for sure.”
“No need, the second floor is fine for me.” Chu WuQing said mildly. Anyone who could obtain a private room was either from an extremely high position or put in everything they could to fight for a room. Neither were the kind to give their room away so easily; it would take quite a bit of time. He still had to go all the way out there to get Gu Yu. There was no point in wasting that precious time here.
The elder deacon was surprised; this was uncharacteristic for Chu WuQing, so uncharacteristic, his shock flashed across his face, but he quickly bowed and agreed, “Of course.”
“Start immediately once I’m seated,” Chu WuQing naturally knew what the elder deacon was thinking and ordered after putting on the provided black cloak that could prevent any sort of probing via Divine Sense.
The elder deacon immediately promised to do so respectfully, acting like everything he said was obvious.
The elder deacon’s expression became pained and disappointed once Chu WuQing was out of sight. A clansmen who was following him to learn from him couldn’t help but ask, “Uncle, if Young Master Chu doesn’t use a private room, then will he not spend money on the auction? Why do you seem so disappointed?”
“You don’t understand. I’m sad that Young Master Chu decided to wear a cloak. It means he doesn’t want to reveal his identity. Otherwise, I could sell the seats around him for a high price. There’s plenty of people willing to pay fortunes for a seat like that.” The elder deacon shook his head. “If you want to stabilize your position in the XianQi Pavilion, you must learn to grasp all business opportunities.”
Once Chu WuQing took his seat in the luxury seating on the second floor, a screen of light flashed from on the stage and the host appeared; the auction had officially started.
There was meant to be fifteen minutes or so until the auction was set to begin, but now it was suddenly started early. Immediately, the entire venue went into uproar, all discussing what kind of powerful individual had attended to make the XianQi Pavilion change the starting time for them.
Many people looked to the top floor, trying to see what powerhouse was sitting in these rooms. Even though they probably wouldn’t have a chance to meet such a powerful individual, they wanted to be able to boast about attending the same auction.
In one of these private rooms, a middle-aged man was beginning to get antsy. Though he was also a man of influence, he was nothing in comparison to those who had power in ChuTian City.
This auction was critical to his future plans of stabilizing his power in ChuTian City and developing his own faction. To do so, he had to lean on a member of the Chu Clan. After half a year of careful operations, he finally managed to meet with a Golden Core Stage elder from the Chu Clan.
This elder was the elder in charge of the Punishment and Interrogation Department in the Chu Clan.
Now, the opportunity had finally arrived. With the Chu Clan’s core disciple trials beginning, every core disciple could take a follower with them, and this Chu Clan Elder’s beloved son was a member of the fifth generation of the Chu Clan’s core disciples.
He had already found out that only followers under the Golden Core Stage could be brought with them. And who under Golden Core Stage would be stronger, more obedient than the assassins raised through XianQi Pavilion’s secret techniques?
If he could offer up a killer from the XianQi Pavilion, then he would certainly be able to have this Chu Clan Elder on his side. It would mean that, in the future, he would be able to stabilize his hold and power over here in ChuTian City.
Thus, he had to succeed in this auction!
He didn’t lack money and wasn’t afraid of spending it, after all, he had some hold here in ChuTian City to be able to manage his operations here. However, if some higher up wanted to compete with him for something, then that wasn’t something money could deal with.
Only those with private rooms would obtain a vague list of the items that were being auctioned that night, so only they knew approximately when the valuable items would appear, and what they might be. Apart from that, no one would know what was being auctioned next.
Though Chu WuQing sat on the second floor, he had a similar list in his hand. It was magic herbs and spirit beasts, elixirs and magical artifacts that were up first. With Chu HuanZhi, Chu WuQing had never lacked any of these things, so he naturally didn’t participate even once.
The person on the neighboring seat was a young cultivator at peak Foundation Establishment Stage, donned in the uniform of a ChiDan Sect inner disciple. He had bid five times already, looking extremely excited. Seeing that Chu WuQing hadn’t bided even once, he couldn’t help but smile and ask, “My friend, are you here for the experience?”
Generally, very few people on the second floor would wear cloaks to prevent others from recognizing them. It was either that they wanted to bid for something valuable but didn’t have any faction backing them, so they were afraid that people would come after them, so they had to. Otherwise, it was people who spent a fortune to come and experience an auction of this level and enjoy the expensive fruits and wines that they didn’t have access to usually, as well as the beauties here to tend to their needs. People like this usually wouldn’t bid even once, because even the cheapest items were far beyond what they could afford. They wore cloaks to better enjoy the food and drink, using this to make what they had spent worth it and avoid embarrassing themselves. Though there were very few people like this, they weren’t unheard of.
When Chu WuQing didn’t reply, the young cultivator thought that he had hit the mark and continued, “Don’t worry, my friend, I don’t mean this mockingly, because I did the very same thing ten years ago. I came with my shixiong for the experience, to see what was being sold, taste some divine fruit wines, experience a whole new world. Though that experience of mine cost me half of all I own, but it gave me hope, drove me to advance on the path to divinity and not stay amongst the hustle and bustle of low-level cultivators. Using ten years, I managed to grow from a normal inner disciple to rank on the top ten of the Foundation Establishment rankings and become the succeeding disciple of a Golden Core stage elder. Now, I have hopes for forming my own core, and even attend auctions like this with a chance at these valuable treasure…” The more he spoke, the more momentum he gained, a flush of excitement even appearing.
“Quiet.” Chu WuQing’s voice was cold, spoken with characteristic imperiousness, “They’re starting the cultivator auctions.”
His voice didn’t hold any of the domineering aura that came with a high level cultivator’s words, yet it had the young man startling, unconsciously following his orders, like the one who had spoken was a born ruler.
The stage soon proved him right. Following those words, the teleportation array on the auction stage flashed and a pair of masked, delicately built cultivators, one male and one female, appeared on the stage.
“This pair of twins, an older brother and his younger sister, are spoils won in the merger war of lower realms twelve and thirteen. Both have three spiritual roots. They’re forty-six years old, peak Qi Condensation Stage, and there’s a fair chance that they’ll reach Foundation Establishment before they’re fifty. They have great potential. The siblings are the cream of the crop amongst Qi Condensation cultivators and have gone through assassination training. Working together, the two can even assassinate Foundation Establishment Stage cultivators. Both siblings have water element spiritual roots. As everyone knows, cultivators with water element spiritual roots are very suitable for dual cultivation.”
As soon as the host finished his introductions, a female servant took off the two’s masks. The two had very similar appearances, but they had completely different airs about them, one seemed upright and clean, while the other looked alluring and seductive.
“Bidding starts from fifty mid-grade spirit stones.”
The young cultivator from the ChiDan Sect was shocked. This was the first time he had seen the XianQi Pavilion auction cultivators. Though he had heard of it before, the XianQi Pavilion didn’t do this often. The starting price for this bid was more expensive than a lot of the final prices for the previous items!
How did this cloaked cultivator know that the cultivator auctions were about to start? The ChiDan cultivator turned his head stiffly. Thinking of how he had been boasting before, it felt like a slap to the face and he didn’t dare start rambling again.
The starting price he had been shocked by didn’t faze this cloaked cultivator at all. Who were they?
Soon enough, the twins were sold for a high price of three hundred mid-grade spirit stones.
At this point, very few people in the luxury seating area were bidding. It was mostly those in the private rooms that were competing.
Generally speaking, a normal cultivator had no need for cultivator servants. They were all fighting for opportunities of their own, buying another would be nothing but a burden. Plus, the price of one wasn’t something they could afford.
It was mostly factions or organizations or high high level cultivators that would purchase cultivator slaves.
Soon enough, the auction entered its last stages.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” the host’s voice suddenly rose as he said mysteriously, “This final item is very precious indeed. It is neither a cultivator, nor a living being.”
As the host spoke, an ice coffin radiating spiritual energy appeared on the auction stage.
For a moment, the entire venue went silent, everyone’s gazes fixed on the ice coffin, including Chu WuQing’s.
He had an idea of what might be in that ice coffin…
In the next moment, the host clapped his hands lightly and the coffin lid shifted bit by bit, revealing the person lying inside.
Blood red hair, deathly pale skin, firm yet elegant muscles, even with a black cloth tied around the eyes, the person’s demonically handsome features were still clear for all to see.
Yet, at the crown of his head, there were a pair of curved black horns and below his lips lay the tips of a pair of wickedly sharp fangs.
An otherworld demon!
This otherworld demon had no signs of having a consciousness or soul; it was clearly completely dead.
Yet, just lying there in the coffin, topless, it still radiated an aura that had one’s very soul trembling in fear and a chill running up their spines, as if just looking would have them killed out of disrespect.
Many low levelled cultivators all hurriedly lowered their heads, and those who didn’t have a sturdy enough Spiritual Resolve even started using qi exercises to calm themselves, afraid that they might get their spirit ripped from them by the corpse in the coffin if they let their guards down.
Chu WuQing could feel the excitement rise in his body. If all that remained of this demon was its body, then it meant that it didn’t have a cultivation level, and could thus ignore the restrictions imposed by the lower realm, allowing him to bring it with him into any area of the immortal’s abode.
What a perfect body. If he could turn it into a puppet, it would be powerful, strong enough to clear out all obstacles. More importantly, what was more obedient, more loyal, better at keeping secrets than a dead man?
“I believe some of our honorable customers must have already recognized that this is the corpse of an otherworld demon, a young one, too. It hasn’t even reached adulthood yet it has a cultivation level equal to a human Soul Transformation Stage cultivator. The black horns on its head are a symbol of its royal bloodline. Though this body no longer has life, spiritual energy or consciousness, but even on its own, this corpse is immensely powerful. It is enough to stop an all-out attack from a Golden Core Stage cultivator. If you were to make it self-destruct, it could seriously injure a Nascent Soul Stage cultivator. If you managed to capture the soul of a Nascent Soul Stage or higher cultivator and trap it inside and refine it through a secret technique, you could create a powerful puppet for both defense and offense. In addition, apart from the original soul, this body hasn’t been inhabited by a single other soul. It is the perfect body to take over.” As the host spoke, introducing the item bit by bit, each sentence he said had the crowd’s excitement reaching new heights.
More and more people began growing interested.
Chu WuQing frowned slightly. This host had exaggerated greatly. Though his intentions were to create a puppet using this body, it wasn’t nearly as easy as the host made it sound. If one wanted to create a puppet that could overwhelm a Nascent Soul Stage cultivator, not only did they have to find a master artificer that was versed in the art of puppet making, it also required a significant number of valuable resources, each of which was immensely rare. Even his father would need to spend great effort and cost to gather them.
Yet, even that tiny chance was enough to interest the people in the private rooms. Plus, the higher level the cultivator, the more self-preserving they were. Who wouldn’t want such a perfect body – sans the difference in species – they could seize control of?
“In addition, we’re giving our lucky customer a small gift along with this body. We’ve put great effort and money into having a master artificer and runesmaster work together on a secret technique, allowing it to move as a living being could, able to read and respond to its master’s desires, and even exude a cultivation level close to Golden Core Stage with a mastery of this Pavilion’s top tier assassination techniques.”
With this, the host clapped his hands again and the corpse, lying quietly in the coffin, suddenly sat up. Instantly, the air seemed to thicken.
Even the host had cold sweat beading on his forehead despite his calm appearance.
With two masters working together, the secret technique naturally wouldn’t have any errors. A corpse couldn’t fight back either. This phenomena arose simply from the aura the corpse exuded.
Even though all that was left was an empty body, this body of a king refused to be violated or ordered around by just anyone, and retained it’s terrifying aura; like the statue of some fearsome and ancient god, it would only accept worship from those that came after.
When the corpse climbed out of the coffin and straightened to its full height, even some Foundation Establishment Stage cultivators were feeling the pressure of its presence. Even the private rooms fell into a fearful silence.
Yet, all Chu WuQing could feel was the excitement burning in his blood. He wanted this corpse so, so much. Turning such a powerful being into nothing but his puppet would so well satisfy his desire for dominance.
“The starting price of this item is one thousand mid-grade spirit stones, going up in increments of at least five-hundred,” The host announced.
Immediately, someone in the private rooms declared, “This elder is taking this item, two thousand mid-grade spirit stones.”
The voice sounded elderly but held the flourishing life of the forest within it. Those who heard it felt the words verberate through them, like they were suddenly upon a magical, flourishing mountain and not within an auction house. With those words, the price doubled from its starting price, throwing all those seated in the luxury seating out of the running.
Instantly, someone in the luxury seating recognized the voice. “The SongLin Qin Family’s ChangQing Shangren (1) cultivates the Path of Life and Nature and is already at peak Golden Core Stage. He’s even ranked 458th on the WenXian Rankings, one of the ten powerhouses of our AnYang Realm who managed to reach the top thousand. I hear that some higher realm sects have already offered him a place in their sects.”
SongLin Shangren injected his Spiritual Path into his speech, clearly announcing his identity to everyone else in the private rooms.
But in the face of a priceless treasure like this, who would care about leaving other people face?
Soon enough, another voice that sounded like delicate ringing bells came from another private room. “I’ve recently been studying an elixir recipe that requires the blood of an otherworldly demon. Today, I’m lucky enough to encounter a royal. With this, I can definitely refine a grade seven elixir.”
With those words, everyone knew who was behind that voice. ChiDan Sect’s WenXia Xianzi, a grade six alchemist, one who was obsessed with the path of alchemy and wanted nothing more than to become a master alchemist. Unfortunately, she had been stagnating at grade six for ten years now, with no signs of improvement.
SongLin Shangren might have had the cultivation level, background and prestige, but ChiDan Xianzi was better. In addition, she had many, many admirers. Those who wanted her elixirs naturally were willing to pay to assure her successful bid.
As expected, that clear, beautiful voice then declared, “Three-thousand mid-grade spirit stones.”
In an instant, the price multiplied, leaving all the cultivators in the luxury seating wide-eyed.
The ChiDan disciple was also struck dumb, but seeing his neighbour still sitting there quietly, unfazed, he calmed himself down quickly.
“A perfect body for a foreign soul to take control of that hasn’t been inhabited by another soul before. My Shizun fell in the last Realm War and has remained a wandering spirit, unable to find a suitable body to inhabit until now. Though this body might not be human, its previous cultivation level and identity is worthy of Shizun’s soul. I’m willing to offer four thousand id-grade spirit stones for this body,” a young man’s calm, steady voice came from the private rooms.
In that moment, the entire auction venue went into uproar. Someone who had participated in the last Realm War and managed to retain their soul… that could only be YanYang Zhen Jun of the DongXu Sect, a member of the AnYang Realm’s Four Sects Three Clans.
A once-Soul Transformation Stage cultivator!
Instantly, most of the people there figured out who was the one behind this voice, YanYang Zhen Jun’s succeeding disciple and only nephew, Golden Core Zhenren (2), Zhao Bo.
People in room after room began speaking up to bid, and each and every one of them were from prestigious backgrounds. Many cultivators in the normal and luxury seating areas had only heard of them in legends.
Barely ten minutes in and the price had already increased to twelve thousand.
“D-Daoyou (3)?” The young man from the ChiDan Sect beside him called out to Chu WuQing hesitantly, “If this price keeps escalating like this, it’ll reach unthinkable levels.” Probably not anything you’ll be able to afford. Who would’ve thought so many powerful people would come today?
“No need to worry,” Chu WuQing said calmly.
He might not be worried, but other people were starting to get antsy. In one of the private rooms, the middle-aged cultivator was starting to worry. Originally, he had thought he would be certain to win this item; he wasn’t lacking in spirit stones after all. But this price was increasing too fast, and he could feel the pressure building, making him anxious. After taking a deep breath, he hardened his heart and announced, “Twenty high-grade spirit stones.” If this continued, the price would just get higher and higher. He might as well call out a much higher price to give everyone a shock first.
With his words, the entire venue fell silent, as expected.
Though the market value of high-grade spirit stones was one thousand mid-grade spirit stones each, in reality, they were a marketless commodity. High grade spirit stones were extremely rare and the spiritual energy they held was pure enough to be a great aid for high level cultivators attempting to achieve a breakthrough. Thus, it was something you generally would be unable to find on the market. People would usually choose to hoard it for their own use unless they absolutely had to part with them.
This voice had dared to offer high-grade spirit stones and even doubled the price, it was hard to not be stricken by this.
Instantly, the majority of the other cultivators in the private rooms began to hesitate. After all, to them, buying this corpse was merely buying a possibility, an opportunity. It wasn’t worth it to spend vast amounts of high-grade spirit stones.
After a moment of silence, only Zhao Bo continued, gritting his teeth. “Twenty-one high-grade spirit stones.”
The loss of YanYang Zhenjun was a fatal blow for the Zhao family, Though his uncle’s spirit had been preserved, their sect’s position in society had began to fall already. Many followers were beginning to think of leaving. He couldn’t let this happen. He had to get his uncle a suitable body.
The middle-aged cultivator had never thought that someone would continue to compete with him after he called out such a bid, so he could only continue, “Twenty-five!”
When this price was called out, someone from the private rooms sucked in a breath in shock.
“Twenty-five! Very good, you had better keep your identity well hidden,” Zhao Bo’s vision went red, not even considering his words before he spoke anymore, “Twenty-six high grade spirit stones. Go on, continue to bid, you think you can survive the rage of the Zhao Family?”
He actually threw out a threat in this auction venue.
The middle-aged cultivator’s hand shook and he gritted his teeth. “Twenty-eight. I’m buying this item for an elder of the Chu Clan. Zhao Daoyou, are you really going to try and take something belonging to the Chu Clan?” What was the Zhao Family if he could get on good terms with the Chu Clan?
When he said this, those cultivators who paid attention to the ongoings in ChuTian City knew who this was immediately. No wonder he would go so far for a corpse.
To both of them, this Otherworld Demon’s corpse was an urgent necessity. They were both willing to use everything they had, be it money or status, to bid for it. Soon enough, the price went over forty.
In the end, when the middle-aged cultivator called out forty-one, Zhao Bo had no choice but to give up, his gaze practically spitting fire at the middle-aged cultivator… He didn’t want to accept such a result.
This shocking bid managed to set a record for all the auctions that had happened this year, causing the cultivators on the second and first floors to vibrate with excitement. They would be able to talk about this for a while yet when sharing experiences.
When the host called out, “Forty-two high-grade spirit stones going twice, are there any other customers that want to bid?” as the rules demanded, everyone thought the hammer would fall.
Yet that was when a cold voice came from the luxury seating area, “Sixty high-grade spirit stones.”
The middle-aged cultivator who had just taken a breath of relief was stunned, Zhao Bo who was still fuming was stunned, QingSong Shangren who was still basking in what had happened was stunned…
High-grade spirit stones were immensely rare, who would be willing to use them to bid in this auction? That was why Zhao Bo and that middle-aged cultivator went up bit by bit until the other was forced to give up, yet now this person had directly called out an unimaginable price.
The cultivators on the first and second floor were all struck dumb. The person who had bid such an immense bid was sitting on the second floor! That was even more shocking than the price itself to them!
After a moment, when the host began counting down again, the crowd finally recovered. Immediately, the middle-aged cultivator’s roar of rage came out from the private box. “You second class citizen from the second-class seating, you dare cause trouble? What’s with that bid? If you don’t have any spirit stones, you think you can just go around bullshitting like that? You think any item could be raised to an absurd price with this bullshit? You worthless little rat, if you dare call out a bid like that then prove that you can have the spirit stones, otherwise as soon as you step foot out of the XianQi Pavilion, I’ll make sure you pay for your insolence!”
(1) Shangren, comprised of the characters 上up, above or on top of, and the character 人for person, is a religious Buddhist title of respect that can be interpreted as “elder”
(2) Zhenren https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhenren
(3) Daoyou, meaning friend on the path (of cultivation), is a general term used to address other cultivators