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What's wrong with a snake that just wants to cultivate and transform?

What’s wrong with a snake that just wants to cultivate and transform? By Mar 14, 2024 3 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 58

Chapter 59

However, items like the Youth-Preserving Pill, which were quite rare, typically appeared at the end of the auction. Thus, Xu Nian and Mu Yanyu patiently waited, taking the opportunity to observe other unique treasures on offer.

The auction began with various demon cores brought back by disciples of the various sects from missions or trials. According to the auctioneer, these cores, depending on their attributes, could be used for weapon inlay, pill crafting, magical treasure fusion, and more, making them highly versatile.

These demon cores were collected and sent to the auction only after the sects’ flying ships arrived at the island, hence they were not listed in the catalog. Mu Yanyu, realizing this, looked apologetically at Xu Nian, worried she might feel uncomfortable. She quickly offered, “If you feel uneasy, I can take you out. The Youth-Preserving Pill we’re after will be auctioned much later, so we won’t miss anything important, don’t worry.”

Mu Yanyu, being new to the cultivation world, instinctively thought that demon beasts, like humans, would be distressed seeing the remains of their kind.

In reality, Xu Nian wasn’t bothered at all. In her past life, she was human, and since reincarnating as a snake, she had always followed the survival of the fittest, where the strong prey on the weak. To her, seeing a demon beast’s core was trivial. When she was extremely hungry, even the corpses of demon beasts didn’t differ much from small biscuits in her eyes.

Apart from being hunted by cultivators, it was common for demon beasts to extract cores from one another. However, when Xu Nian was on Xiao Cang Mountain, surrounded mostly by low-level demons, high-level ones with demon cores were rare. Later, in Qingshui County, she encountered a higher-level demon beast related to her, Qingyi. But in the urgency of the moment, she swallowed it whole, without thinking to extract the demon core. So, she had never actually seen a high-level demon core.

Surrounded by many cultivators at the venue, she couldn’t explain in detail to Mu Yanyu and simply raised her hand to press on Mu Yanyu’s arm, mouthing, “I’m fine, just bid for what you want.”

But this led to a misunderstanding by Mu Yanyu, who looked at her with even more gratitude.

The auctioneer then brought out a black wooden box from a securely locked storage bag, opening it to reveal a glowing orb that shimmered like an opal egg with its own beautiful fire-like radiance.

“The auction item here is a wind and water attribute demon core from an eighth-rank Ice Jiao. The starting bid is 10,000 spirit stones,” announced the auctioneer, whose voice, amplified by some sound-enhancing device in the hall, clearly resonated throughout the space.

Bidders began to indicate their offers with gestures or bidding cards, with the auctioneer rapidly calling out the highest bid each time.

“Earth level, seat thirty-six, 15,000 spirit stones.”

“Earth level, seat twenty-eight, 18,000 spirit stones.”

Before entering, Mu Yanyu had briefed Xu Nian on the bidding process. As the first item of the night, the bidding for this demon core was intense, with many participants eagerly raising their hands to bid. The auctioneer, however, only announced the highest bid from amongst them.

After several rounds of bidding, the demon core was finally acquired by a cultivator in a grade-C VIP box for 280,000 spirit stones. A female attendant promptly packaged the core and delivered it to the purchaser.

Mu Yanyu whispered to Xu Nian, “The bidding for this demon core was inflated. Normally, a common eighth-rank demon beast core is priced between 180,000 to 200,000 spirit stones. I suspect the organizers planted someone to artificially drive up the price in the first auction.”

Xu Nian, both curious and admiring, asked, “How do you know so much?”

Mu Yanyu proudly replied, “After all, I am a woman who aspires to become the richest in the cultivation world. Studying the market trends is a must for me.”

Xu Nian couldn’t help but admire, “It’s no wonder, your ambition is lofty.”

As Mu Yanyu predicted, the subsequent demon core auctions confirmed her insights. Cores of similar rank to the Ice Jiao generally fetched around 200,000 spirit stones, except for a ninth-rank Wyvern core that went for 550,000 spirit stones. The prices fluctuated only slightly, around 10,000 to 20,000 spirit stones, from the market norm.

However, Xu Nian began to find the demon cores strangely familiar. She remembered the box of “beautiful gems” Ji Yuebai gave her in Qingshui County, which were round and lustrous like the demon cores auctioned. Searching through her storage bag, she pulled out one of the cores, which resembled the Ice Jiao core but seemed of even higher quality.

Mu Yanyu was startled by the demon core Xu Nian casually held, and her shock was evident. “Is that…?” she began, just as other cultivators nearby also took notice.

Realizing her mistake, Xu Nian quickly stowed the core back in her bag, the dazzling glow disappearing with it. The cultivators around them, confused, rubbed their eyes, wondering how such a valuable item could appear so casually and then vanish. They scrutinized Xu Nian, who wore a mask, but could find no clues and eventually turned their attention away.

Xu Nian now understood that what Ji Yuebai had given her was actually a trove of high-rank demon cores.

That box of demon cores contained at least thirty to forty pieces. She hadn’t counted them before, but based on the market prices Mu Yanyu mentioned, they were conservatively estimated to be worth four to five million spirit stones…

At this realization, Xu Nian grew restless. The demon cores were far too precious, especially since they were a gift from Ji Yuebai when she had lost her memory. She estimated that the amnesiac Ji Yuebai had forgotten the specific value of these “shiny” objects and had simply given them to her because she liked them.

Moreover, high-rank demon beasts of eighth-rank weren’t easy prey. They mostly inhabited secret, seldom-visited realms or treacherous forests, and some had even survived the transformation tribulation, making them powerful adversaries. The auctioneer had mentioned the many uses of these cores, but for Xu Nian, they were merely pretty yet useless ornaments – an extravagance she could hardly justify.

Therefore, Xu Nian thought of returning the box of demon cores to Ji Yuebai after the auction, to allow these items to be used to their full potential.

After the demon core auction, various magical artifacts and weapons were up for auction. The bidding became intense with the listing of the first weapon.

It began with a Qing Luan Sword, shimmering with silver light. The sword was sleek, slender, and beautiful, yet sharp – perfectly suited for female cultivators. The starting bid was 100,000 spirit stones.

At this moment, the bidding among the cultivators had already reached 450,000 spirit stones and was still not stopping.

After an intense bidding war, the sword was finally won by a cultivator in a Grade-B VIP box number 12 for 900,000 spirit stones.

Although this Qing Luan Sword was a rare find, the swords listed in the prize scroll given to Xu Nian by Ji Yuebai were even more exquisite. There was a high-grade Língshe Ruan Sword with wind and thunder attributes that perfectly matched her preferences, and a Chixiao Lianyu Sword, radiant with a holy aura, offering both defensive and offensive enhancements. Xu Nian found herself torn between these choices.

With such remarkable treasures for comparison, the swords on the auction stage no longer captivated Xu Nian. She watched with curiosity as other magical artifacts were auctioned off.

Besides swords, there were knives, whisks, whips, bows and arrows, and spears up for auction. However, these items were relatively less popular than swords, with their prices ranging from 10,000 to 300,000 spirit stones, far below those of the swords.

Next up were various exotic magical artifacts.

One such item was the Lijing Tachuang painting, a scroll that could transform into a depiction of all four seasons. Upon infusing it with spiritual energy, one could enter the painting and experience its beauty firsthand. This latest creation, a leisure project of Master Jixiu from the Baihe Sect, sold for 250,000 spirit stones.

Another item was the Auspicious Dice, which could predict the fortune or misfortune of events, according to the auctioneer. However, its use came with a catch: it depleted a corresponding amount of luck based on the importance of the question asked, essentially triggering a short spell of misfortune post-use.

Xu Nian was amazed. Such an unfortunate object had a starting bid of 10,000 stones, and to her astonishment, it was actually purchased, eventually selling for 50,000 spirit stones to an unwitting buyer in a Grade-C VIP box.

Then, the auctioneer brought out another new magical item. It resembled a Kongming lock, coated in black and etched with mysterious runes. It showed no detectable spiritual energy.

The auctioneer explained, “This is a treasure brought back from the Eastern Sea secret realm by Elder Gong of the Fanyin Pavilion. Believed to be a relic of a great being from a thousand years ago, it has been tested and found to contain no spiritual energy inside. Currently, the lock cannot be opened, and it’s uncertain whether it conceals a trap, a treasure, or is merely a solid, unremarkable lock. This enigmatic item awaits its destined owner, with a starting bid of 10,000 spirit stones.”

As soon as the auctioneer finished her speech, the cultivators in the audience understood the situation. Despite the grand tales of Eastern Sea secret realms and relics of great beings from a thousand years ago, those with a bit of insight knew that treasures brought back from secret realms by the sects had already been thoroughly examined countless times by the Elders and disciples. Anything remotely useful would have been retained and divided among them, not released to the market.

This item, they surmised, was likely just some worthless trinket brought back on a whim – useless to keep, yet too wasteful to discard, so it ended up at the auction house waiting for a gullible buyer.

However, Xu Nian’s eyes lit up upon seeing it. She had actually come across this magical item in the catalog provided by Mu Yanyu. It was referred to as the ‘Seven Passages Exquisite Lock’ there, with its detailed functions listed as unknown. Thus, she had initially glanced over it without much thought.

But as the Seven Passages Exquisite Lock was displayed on the auction stage, Xu Nian suddenly realized that its material and inscriptions were identical to those of the divine black box she possessed. It seemed highly likely that the lock was related to or even originated from the same source as her black box.

Someone in the audience made a bid, and the auctioneer signaled:

“Earth level seat twenty-seven, 50,000 spirit stones.”

Xu Nian couldn’t just watch a potential divine artifact be auctioned off right before her eyes. She hastily raised her hand to bid eighty thousand spirit stones.

But the auctioneer called out another bid:

“Grade-C box 11, 100,000 spirit stones.”

“Earth-level seat number 27, 120,000 spirit stones.”

It made sense. She wasn’t the only one who recognized the value of hidden artifacts. It wouldn’t be that easy to win the bid.

After a moment’s consideration, Xu Nian signaled a bid of 150,000 spirit stones.

The auctioneer’s voice echoed again: “Grade-C box 11, 200,000 spirit stones.”

The Seven Passages Exquisite Lock turned out to be unexpectedly popular, leading many disciples to wonder if they had misjudged it. Could it really be some hidden treasure?

Just then, a disciple from the Fanyin Pavilion seemed eager to bid, but his companion, a senior brother, restrained him. The senior brother whispered an explanation, “Elder Gong has already examined it thoroughly. This lock is just a mere imitation.”

Since the discovery of secret realms and relics left behind by ascended great beings from a thousand years ago, numerous miraculous treasures had emerged, stirring up storms in the cultivation world. Simultaneously, counterfeit magical items crafted by unscrupulous artifact makers had flooded the market. Unlike obvious fakes that could be easily spotted, these counterfeits mimicked the materials of genuine artifacts, creating items that resembled them in form, misleading people into believing they were related to the original divine artifacts, and thereby selling at high prices.

This scam had been rampant decades ago, fooling many cultivators who sought bargains and thought they had found a steal.

The junior brother instantly understood the warning and hastily thanked his senior, “Thank you for the heads-up, Senior Brother.”

Hearing this, the cultivators with sharp ears around them caught on to the matter and murmured among themselves, eventually all reining in their eagerness to bid.

Only Xu Nian, who initially sat with Mu Yanyu in a corner, was somewhat out of the loop. Although their position was concealed, it also meant they were not privy to the latest developments in the auction.

The cultivator from Earth level seat 27, who had initially participated in the bidding, also wisely withdrew, feeling a sense of relief and gratitude that there were still others to outbid him.

Meanwhile, Xu Nian, perceived as one of the naive bidders, painfully raised her hand again.

Finally, the auctioneer called out her bid.

“Earth level seat 77, 450,000 spirit stones for the first time.”

Xu Nian had been bidding for a while against the cultivator from Grade-C box 11, wondering if the other party was a plant by the auction house. The spirit stones she had just warmed up in her hands were about to be spent, and she wasn’t even sure if she could win the bid. This made her feel like her heart was being squeezed.

At that moment, Xu Nian was ready to give up. She thought that if the other party bid again, she would withdraw. What was the use of a potential divine artifact when the certainty of spirit stones in her pocket was far more comforting?

However, perhaps sensing her resignation, the other bidder did not raise their offer. The auctioneer’s hammer struck three times, and Xu Nian won the Seven Passages Exquisite Lock for 445,000 spirit stones.

While Mu Yanyu was curious about Xu Nian’s purchase, she knew this was not the place for in-depth conversations, so she refrained from asking.

In the VIP booths, items were directly delivered and transactions settled on the spot by attendants. For ordinary seats like Xu Nian’s, settlements were done collectively after the auction. Since the auction was strictly regulated by the sects, incidents of failed payments were rare.

After purchasing the Seven Passages Exquisite Lock, Xu Nian dared not pay attention to the items being auctioned on stage anymore. Simply put, her wallet couldn’t handle it. Even when a gorgeously radiant Nishang Feather Robe with a hint of defensive properties came up, needing only 200,000, Xu Nian struggled to control her impulse to bid.

She tried to calm herself down. “What use is a celestial dress worth 200,000 if it’s not worn every day? It’s just not worth it, only a fool would buy it. 200,000 spirit stones are enough for two years of cultivation, and the slight defensive enhancement it offered was almost negligible, certainly not higher than her own scales’ natural defense. Moreover, the auctioneer soon released ten similar robes, differing only slightly in color and style – an obvious scheme to fleece the gullible.”

As if echoing Xu Nian’s thoughts, the auctioneer’s voice was filled with enticing persuasion, “This is the most popular defensive dress among the immortal cultivators of our world. No matter what battle stance you adopt, it will accentuate your grace and beauty.”

However, Xu Nian suddenly lost her interest upon hearing this. If she transformed into her true form in an emergency, wouldn’t such an expensive dress just end up being destroyed on the spot?

Yet, Xu Nian’s decision didn’t dampen the frenzied bidding by other female cultivators in the hall, with several items fetching upwards of 300,000 spirit stones. Even Mu Yanyu couldn’t help but muse, “I wonder if it’s too late to switch to artifact crafting.” After all, defensive magical garments were a niche within the broader field of artifact crafting.

Following this, the long-awaited pill auction gradually began.

Among them, the Foundation Establishment Pill and the Chaoyuan Pill, which aided in advancing to the Golden Core stage, were particularly popular.

Mu Yanyu, being a pill cultivator herself, found these pills essential for her path, so she wasn’t particularly intrigued by them. As for the Youth-Preserving Pill she aimed to acquire, Tian Yuan Sect, being a sect of deep heritage, naturally had the recipe. However, the critical ingredient, the Transformation Fruit, was elusive and virtually priceless.

At this moment, the lighting in the hall changed, as if setting the stage for something significant. The previously ambient lighting shifted abruptly to a focused spotlight on the auction stage.

The auctioneer, with a marked change in demeanor, retrieved a new storage bag and delicately extracted a box made of Xuanbing Jade, known for preserving the potency of medicinal pills to the maximum extent.

The box was opened just a crack to reveal a dark pill for a few seconds before swiftly being closed again. That brief flash of intense spiritual energy was enough to convince everyone of its authenticity.

It was undoubtedly the legendary Youth-Preserving Pill.

Simultaneously, the atmosphere in the auction hall shifted completely. Many cultivators, not just female but male as well, sought the eternal preservation of their youthful appearance, contributing to the scarcity of the Youth-Preserving Pill.

The more valuable the treasure, the less need for extravagant introductions. The auctioneer simply announced with a slight smile, “Youth-Preserving Pill, starting at 100,000 spirit stones.”

The intense bidding started immediately.

“Grade-B seat 16, 300,000 spirit stones.”

“Grade-A seat 3, 500,000 spirit stones.”

Mu Yanyu’s expression grew serious. With such high initial bids, securing the Youth-Preserving Pill for 800,000 spirit stones seemed nearly impossible.

Due to the impact of the great battle between cultivators and demonic beasts a hundred years ago, the hatred between them intensified. High-level demonic cultivators, who were once active in the cultivation world, gradually disappeared, retreating to the even more secluded lands beyond the Eastern Sea and various secret realms. The Eastern Sea secret realm, rich in Transformation Fruits, is now inhabited by high-level demonic cultivators hostile to human cultivators. What used to be an easy trip for Nascent Soul cultivators now poses a risk of annihilation even for groups of them.

Safe passage through these areas required at least the cultivation level of an Immortalization stage. However, most of the Immortalization Elders, now withdrawn from worldly affairs, focused on their seclusion and preparation for ascension, hardly bothering with such trivial pursuits as seeking Transformation Fruits in the Eastern Sea secret realm.

With the source of Transformation Fruits gone, the existing stock of Youth-Preserving Pills in the cultivation world was dwindling—one less with each use. Although ascension in cultivation made such external aids redundant, this was easier said than done. It was akin to everyone knowing that scoring seven hundred points would guarantee admission to top universities like Tsinghua or Peking, but knowing and achieving are two different matters.

The other cultivators present were acutely aware of this reality, almost emptying their coffers in their bids for the pill.

Xu Nian could clearly see the gravity of the situation and grasped Mu Yanyu’s arm reassuringly, “I have 750,000 spirit stones that I can spare for now. Use them as you need. Spirit stones can be earned again, but who knows when we’ll encounter another Youth-Preserving Pill.”

Knowing the common wisdom in the cultivation world that the sooner one consumes the Youth-Preserving Pill, the sooner one’s youth is preserved, Xu Nian felt a sense of urgency for her friend.

Mu Yanyu nodded in gratitude, “Thank you, Xu Nian.”

At this point, the bidding in the hall had skyrocketed far beyond the usual closing prices, reaching a staggering 1.2 million spirit stones.

Xu Nian was secretly shocked. She wanted to help Mu Yanyu bid and just raised a bid of 1.25 million spirit stones.

The auctioneer announced, “Grade-A box 3, 1.5 million spirit stones.”

Hearing this, Xu Nian involuntarily gasped. She discreetly glanced at Mu Yanyu’s expression.

To her surprise, Mu Yanyu, biting her lip, reassured Xu Nian, “It’s okay, I have prepared two million spirit stones.” This was almost the entirety of her available spirit stones.

Though Mu Yanyu had been operating businesses within the Tian Yuan Sect for a long time, most of her profits were quickly reinvested into new ventures, leaving her with not much in hand. Yet, her fortune already surpassed many ordinary Golden Core cultivators within the sect.

Xu Nian pondered that with her additional 750,000 spirit stones, they should be able to secure the pill.

Soon, the auctioneer called Mu Yanyu’s bid, “Earth level seat 78, one million eight hundred thousand spirit stones.”

But before they could breathe a sigh of relief, the auctioneer announced another bid.

“Grade-A box 3, 2 million spirit stones.”

Mu Yanyu clenched her fingers tightly, her usually relaxed brows now furrowed in rare distress. She wondered, was it really worth it to pay so much for a single Youth-Preserving Pill?

The auctioneer tapped the gavel, “Grade-A seat 3, 2 million spirit stones for the second time.”

“Hurry, I’ve told you that you can use my spirit stones,” urged Xu Nian, growing anxious.

As the auctioneer was about to bring down the hammer for the third and final time, Xu Nian swiftly raised her hand.

With a smile, the auctioneer announced, “Earth level seat 77, 2.15 million spirit stones.”

The Youth-Preserving Pill had now reached a price double its usual, causing the previously eager bidders to hesitate and step back from the fray.

This auction, being a lower-level event requiring only a proof of two hundred thousand spirit stones in assets for entry, meant that most cultivators present didn’t have more than a million spirit stones in hand. Upon hearing that someone from the Earth level seats bid over two million spirit stones, the crowd turned their heads in unison towards Xu Nian and Mu Yanyu’s location.

Fortunately, their masks concealed their faces and identities from the curious onlookers.

At this point, only the cultivator from Grade-A seat three remained in the bidding war against them, proving to be a formidable opponent.

The bidding quickly escalated to 2.6 million spirit stones.

Supported by Xu Nian’s encouraging gaze, Mu Yanyu took a deep breath and bid two million 2.7 million spirit stones.

The hall fell into a stunned silence, the attendees never having imagined the Youth-Preserving Pill would reach such an astonishingly high price.

Even Xu Nian held her breath in suspense, anxiously awaiting the outcome. If the other bidder offered a higher price, she would be powerless to compete. She silently hoped they would back down.

Regrettably, the auctioneer once again turned towards the Grade-A VIP booth.

“Grade-A Box 3, 2.8 million spirit stones.”

The hammer fell: “2.8 million spirit stones, for the second time.”

Mu Yanyu’s amber eyes lingered on the Xuanbing Jade box containing the Youth-Preserving Pill, her fingers trembling slightly.

Xu Nian, fraught with worry, considered selling the demon cores Ji Yuebai had given her, desperate to secure the pill at any cost.

Just as she was about to raise her hand again, Mu Yanyu firmly held her back, “It’s not worth it.”

It sounded like she was trying to convince both Xu Nian and herself, her voice strained, “It’s not worth it…”

The final, clear sound of the hammer resonated.

“Grade-A box 3, two million eight hundred thousand spirit stones, sold.”

The cultivators in the hall murmured among themselves, astounded by the high price the Youth-Preserving Pill had fetched. This sale set a precedent, likely making future auctions of the pill even more challenging, with prices not expected to fall below this new benchmark. The prospect of bidding for a Youth-Preserving Pill in the future seemed increasingly daunting for them.

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Previous: Chapter 58

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ran
ran
4 months ago

thank you for the update ♡

dadin
dadin
3 months ago

if xu nian didn’t both anything before the pill .. they have much more to spare

Kat
Kat
1 month ago

Eh, just choose the fruit in yuebai’s competition prize. Swords are everywhere, the fruit is truly rare!!