Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 141
Chapter 141: A Senseless Price
The man imbued spiritual energy into his voice as he spoke, and the sound easily spread to every corner of the large hall.
“The first item up for auction is a high-grade sprig of cassia herb, the primary ingredient for refining the high-grade cassia pill. Opening bid: twenty-five gold.” The man opened a red sandalwood box and displayed a jade-green spiritual herb for all to see.
“Fifty gold!” a buyer called out from the second floor.
Everyone turned to the suite from which the bid had emerged. Doubling the price from the very beginning meant that the buyer was either trying to raise the price intentionally or had to obtain the item at all costs.
When Yun Ruoyan glanced upward, she found that the bidder was none other than the eldest son of the Wang family, whom she was set to battle: Wang Meng.
“Fifty-five gold,” another bidder called out from the second floor.
The cassia herb was a vital ingredient for refining a high-grade pill, so it was quite valuable.
“Seventy gold.” The person who bid was the middle-aged man by Wang Meng’s side. Yun Ruoyan recalled that his name was Wang Gang, and he seemed to be a close attendant of Wang Meng’s.
“Although the cassia herb is valuable, it usually only sells for forty to fifty gold,” Lin Qingchen began. “Seventy is already uncommonly high.”
As expected, seventy gold was the winning bid. Yun Ruoyan saw Wang Meng lower a basket from the second floor, within which was contained seven gleaming ingots of gold. A masked woman inspected the basket before replacing the gold with the sandalwood box, after which Wang Meng raised the basket once more.
“The second item for auction.” The blue-robed man hefted another red sandalwood box on stage, this one much larger than the previous. He opened it to reveal a black metal flecked with gold. “A mid-grade hunk of metal recovered from a meteorite. Opening bid: one hundred and fifty gold.”
“One-sixty,” someone shouted out immediately after the man finished speaking.
The bidders were forgemasters from all over the kingdom. Talent with the forge was relatively common on the Chenyuan continent, so there were naturally more bidders. The price rose and rose, soaring all the way to three hundred and seventy-five taels of gold.
“Going thrice, three-seventy-five! Are there no further offers? Despite being only mid-grade, meteorites are extremely difficult to come by, and such a large hunk will surely be enough for multiple endeavors!”
Just as the man was about to toll the copper bell, signifying the end of the auction for that item, someone from the second floor shouted out, “Four hundred gold!”
As soon as Yun Ruoyan heard this voice, she frowned. No wonder she’d thought that someone had been staring at her! It was Pei Ziao!
And since Pei Ziao was here, then his father Pei Yingxiong was undoubtedly present. Yun Ruoyan raised her brows. They still owed her her tiger-canine arrows, and this was as good a time as any to collect her debt.
“Sold! Congratulations to the guests in the sixteenth suite on the second floor.”
Next was Yun Ruoyan’s superior low-grade pill. When Yun Ruoyan saw the man placing a sandalwood box on a stand to reveal the pill nestled within, she couldn’t help but sit up straighter. This was the first time she was auctioning off one of her pills, and Yun Ruoyan was quite nervous.
“A superior low-grade darkened heavens pill from the Lin family itself!” the man announced.
“A pill from the Lin family!” a buyer gasped.
“It’s been so long since they’ve sold anything!”
“Right? The last time I managed to buy one was three or four years ago!”
“I heard Elder Lin decided to stop making spiritual pills. After all, the Lins must be rich enough to buy an entire city by now, so why bother selling goods at auction?”
“Maybe he took on a few successors?”
“At any rate, pills from the Lin family are a safe investment. Even if you don’t end up using them, they’ll definitely appreciate in price.”
“Opening bid: ten gold,” the auctioneer announced.
“Twenty gold.” Pei Ziao’s voice rang out immediately.
The darkened heavens pill allowed those without any talent for cultivation to rapidly amass spiritual energy and become a third-rank blademaster. After consuming such a pill, one would never be able to break through to sixth-rank, so only large families with scions who lacked talent in cultivation would purchase them. Yun Ruoyan had no idea why Pei Ziao would be at all interested.
Pei Ziao had seen Yun Ruoyan as soon as she entered the auction hall. Because Yun Ruoyan was talking to her brother and cousin, she didn’t notice him. The reason he was placing a bid was to get her attention.
“Forty taels,” Wang Gang shouted from opposite him.
“Are you going to bid?” the man who’d wanted to purchase the pill as a safe investment now turned and asked his neighbor.
“Aren’t you the one who wanted to bid? Why’re you asking me? Even the most superior darkened heavens pill is only worth about thirty taels of gold or so. The reason it’s at forty right now is because of the Lin family’s name. If you don’t bid now, you won’t stand a chance.”
Agreeing with his friend’s remarks, the man was just about to hedge a bid when Pei Ziao shouted, “Fifty gold!”
Despite its unfortunate side effects, the darkened heavens pill was useful to all sorts of large powers, and there were quite a few interested buyers. However, with Pei Ziao and Wang Meng raising the price to such extremes, no one else seemed interested in bidding.
“This is already as high as it’ll go,” Lin Qingchen announced.
“Sixty gold!” Wang Gang shouted.
Lin Qingchen frowned. “Even if it’s just for the Lin family name, this pill isn’t worth that much.”
Yun Ruoyan had also begun to frown. Pei Ziao likely wanted to purchase the pill to get in her good graces, whereas Wang Meng probably intended on deconstructing her technique.
“Master, this pill isn’t worth such a price.” Wang Gang frowned and turned back to Wang Meng, sitting placidly behind him.
“This pill is from the Lin family. Even after we forced that old geezer’s hand at the Lin manor, he refused to sell us any of his pills, so why would he be auctioning them off now?”
“Master, do you mean that he didn’t make this pill? In that case, why are we still spending so much money on it? It isn’t as if we’re lacking such low-grade pills.”
“If this wasn’t made by the old geezer but still carries the Lin family name, then there can only be one possibility.”
“What possibility?” Wang Gang stared at his young master with beady little eyes.
“Wang Meng sighed, exasperated by his lackey’s lack of intellect. “It’s likely his disciple, that young girl.”
“Ah, so you must be trying to understand that little girl’s skills as a pillmaster so as to defeat her in the future!” Wang Gang had a sudden flash of insight.
Wang Meng closed his eyes, not wanting to talk with him any further—partly because he was unwilling to admit that he would be spending any effort on trying to beat an underaged girl. However, Yun Ruoyan had left him with an indelible impression. He couldn’t help but be reminded of her calm, unruffled disposition, or of how she’d suddenly scorched Wang Gang’s face black.
Wang Meng was quite interested in what her pills would be like.
After he’d raised the price to sixty gold, Pei Ziao had been silent.
“Sixty gold’s already an exorbitant price,” Pei Yingxiong told his son. “Don’t be foolish.”
“Sixty-five gold!” Pei Ziao refused to back down.
“Seventy.” Wang Meng stepped up to the balcony of the suite. “Elder Pei, I must obtain this pill. Would you do me this favor?”
When Pei Yingxiong saw Wang Meng, he immediately stood up and laughed. “Ah, Wang Meng! I hadn’t recognized your voice earlier—and to think we’re almost as close as family!”
Both men began to laugh.
“Father, you know of him?”
Pei Yingxiong nodded. “He’s Wang Kuang’s elder brother, a pillmaking genius. He’s not yet in his twenties but already a fifth-rank pillmaster, and he’ll almost certainly be unsurpassed in the future. I spent a great deal of effort to connect with him, so you can’t offend him lightly.”
Pei Yingxiong looked back at his son to find him slightly dumbfounded. “Did you hear me?”
“Yes, Father.” Pei Ziao gulped. Wang Meng’s brother, Wang Kuang, had died at Yun Ruoyan’s hands. Not only had he hidden the truth behind Wang Kuang’s death, he had even killed Wang Kuang’s companions himself! If Wang Meng were to start investigating the matter, he would surely be implicated.
Pei Ziao had always hidden this from Pei Yingxiong. All he told his father was that Yun Ruoyan had found out about the imperial family’s secret, but not any of the deaths that had taken place. Even Yun Ruoyan, her sisters, and her cousins had kept this secret. Pei Ziao looked once again toward Yun Ruoyan, knowing that he would have to discuss how to hide this matter with her.
Pei Yingxiong motioned that he would give up bidding before returning to his suite.
“Seventy gold, once, twice, thrice! Congratulations to the bidder in the twelfth suite.”
The man was just about to toll the bell when a clear female voice rang out from the third floor. “One hundred gold.”
The blue-robed man hesitated for a moment before retracting his hand. “A bid of one hundred gold, from the honored guests in the ninth suite of the third floor!”
Wang Meng continued to frown as he glanced up at that suite on the third floor. There weren’t many guests distinguished enough to warrant such merit, and he was racking his brains as he tried to figure out who the other bidder could be.
“Master, we can’t raise the price any further…” Wang Gang was a little anxious.
“Eight hundred gold!” Wang Meng shouted.
“A thousand gold,” the woman replied immediately.
Yun Ruoyan, Yun Moxiao, and even Lin Qingchen just sat in their seats in shock.
A low-grade pill going for a thousand gold? What idiot would pay such a senseless price?!