When Old Man Fu saw the silver-robed cultivator, he called out to him with a familiar tone, “Hehe, Brother Wang rarely makes an appearance. I believed that you were still cultivating the Turtle Spirit Arts in seclusion. How could I dare to disturb your cultivation?”
“I had no choice but to stop cultivating the Turtle Spirit Arts at the seventh layer. I reckon that I’ll never reach mid-Nascent Soul stage in my lifetime. However, I have heard from Shopkeeper Zhao that a Fellow Daoist with mid-Nascent Soul cultivation had arrived, and that he wishes to purchase the Hidden Fortune Mansion that we’ve kept in our possession for hundreds of years. With Brother Fu honoring our establishment with your presence as well, how could I not come and make an appearance?” The silver-robed cultivator then turned to look at Han Li and saluted him with a smile.
When Han Li heard their conversation, he knew this middle-aged silver-robed man was the Elder Wang that the shopkeeper had mentioned. He swept his spiritual sense past him to find that he was an early-Nascent Soul cultivator, with a pale complexion that appeared to be caused by a particular aspect of a technique.
Han Li smiled and returned Elder Wang’s salute. “Brother Wang is being too polite. I’ve long heard of the grand reputation of your Hidden Fortune Pavilion and decided to pay a visit.”
When Old Man Fu heard this, he spoke with surprise, “Fellow Daoist Han wishes to trade for a Hidden Fortune Mansion? Tch tch, as expected of a cultivator from beyond the sea, you are truly magnanimous. It seems the rumors of many treasures across the sea are true.”
“ Fellow Daoists must be joking. There are few rare materials overseas, but it can’t be compared to the rich land of the Jin Empire.”
Han Li’s words didn’t convince the two Nascent Soul cultivators, but they didn’t bother to further pursue the topic of lands overseas. Else, if a high-grade cultivator like Han Li mistakenly believed them to be prying, it would be no laughing matter.
At that moment, Shopkeeper Zhao appeared behind the silver-robed cultivator. He placed two jade boxes in front of Han Li, one larger and the other smaller, and tactfully moved to the side. Since Elder Wang had made an appearance, there was no further need for him to speak.
Elder Wang gestured at the larger of the two boxes and courteously said, “Since Fellow Daoist Han is so interested in our pavilion’s Hidden Fortune Mansion, I’ve had the item brought here together with Fellow Daoist Fu’s Thunderspirit Crystal. You may take a look at whichever you want.”
Old Man Fu grinned and hastily said, “Brother Wang, you will have plenty of time to discuss the Hidden Fortune Mansion with Fellow Daoist Han. However, I would like to finish our business first.”
Elder Wang wore a yielding smile and said, “That will be fine, Brother Fu did arrive first. I didn’t know that you were in such a hurry. I am also quite interested in what Fellow Daoist Han will use to trade for the Thunderspirit Crystal.”
Han Li smiled as well when he heard this and slapped his storage pouch to summon a palm-sized green wooden box into his hand. It was sealed with a golden and a silver talisman.
When Old Man Fu saw the wood box, his expression wavered.
Han Li then placed the wooden box on the table and silently pushed it toward Old Man Fu. He took the box with excitement and brushed his sleeve towards the table, having the smaller of the two jade boxes move towards Han Li in turn.
Han Li took the box into his hand with a pleased expression and then opened it to reveal a dazzling silver-white light.
Blue light flickered from his eyes, immediately allowing him to clearly see the item producing the light — a fist-sized silver-white stone.
After examining it for a long while, he extended his finger towards it. A thread of azure light faintly shined from his finger and with a shake of his wrist, the thread of light stabbed at the stone.
When the light touched the rock, thunder rang out. Then, several thin arcs of lightning leaped out of the box and blocked the light.
Han Li sighed and raised his head. With a slightly disappointed voice, he said, “Yes, this is indeed Thunderspirit Crystal. It is a pity that its quality is only ordinary, but I’ll have to make due.”
“One of high quality isn’t easily acquired. This piece of Thunderspirit Crystal is only something that I barely managed to acquire with all my strength after discovering it in the stomach of a rare lightning-attribute spirit beast.” At that moment, Old Man Fu finished examining the Scarlet Essence Mushroom and appeared quite pleased with it.
Han Li calmly countered, “However, my Scarlet Essence Mushroom is completely pure, and is undoubtedly a top-grade medicinal plant.” Although he wasn’t about to let go of the Thunderspirit Crystal, he also wasn’t going to agree to an unfavorable trade.
With complete openness, the old man agreed, “That is also right. With sole regards in price, my Thunderspirit Crystal is inferior to your high-quality Scarlet Essence Mushroom. How about I give you thirty thousand spirit stones to make up for it?”
“No need to be so hasty, Fellow Daoist Fu.” Han Li chuckled and placed the Thunderspirit Crystal back on the table. Then, he took out a jade slip and passed it over to Old Man Fu. “How about you first take a look at this list? Perhaps you might have one of them or have information of one of them. If I can somehow acquire these materials, there is no need to give me spirit stones.”
“Fellow Daoist Han has other materials he needs?” Old Man Fu wore an expression of surprise and quickly took a look through the jade slip.
At that moment, Elder Wang was looking at the mushroom in the old man’s hands and his eyes flickered as his mind wandered.
Soon, the old man finished looking through the jade slip and he gave Han Li an odd glance.
He hesitated for a moment and then decisively said, “I’m afraid I must disappoint you. These materials are far too rare and I have none of them on hand. However, I can point you to a place where you might be able to find some of them.”
Han Li blinked and wore a mysterious smile. “Does Fellow Daoist intend to point me in the direction of the coming auction?”
Old Man Fu heartily laughed and said, “While the grand auction will be selling unordinary materials, it will be very unlikely that they will have items as rare as the ones you desire. After all, cultivators possessing items as rare as these would rather trade for them.”
Han Li’s spirits were roused when he heard this and he quickly asked, “From your tone, it seems you mean to say there is a secret gathering of sorts?”
Old Man Fu wore an odd expression and then began to speak to Han Li through voice transmissions.
“Fellow Daoist Han is truly a sensible person, but it isn’t a secret meeting. When the decade auction takes place in the Jin Capital, it is only natural for other gatherings to form around it. There are two main gatherings: the open trade fair held by Righteous Dao Sects in the markets that everyone knows about, and a secret underground trade fair conducted by the Devil Dao. The items there often won’t be purchased with spirit stones but with an exchange of items. But because there are so many rare items sold, the cultivation world had decreed a ban on it, and only those with knowledge of the cultivation world's underground know of it.This would be quite inconvenient for you as a foreign cultivator. But as part of the deal, I can give you a referral to this trade fair. Surely you'll have much to profit from it." With that said, the old man gave Han Li a solemn stare as he waited for his reply.
Han Li frowned in thought and then said, “So it was like that... Then I must ask if these trade fairs will take place at the same time. Although I primarily wish to attend the underground trade fair, I don’t want to miss the open one either.”
“It’s simple,” Old Man Fu replied, “Although both are convened at the same time, the rarest materials in the underground trade meet are deliberately displayed after the grand auction is concluded. Surely, the common materials will be beneath your notice. You won’t have to worry about missing them.”
Without much further thought, Han Li quickly came to a decision and said, “Since that’s the case, I’ll do as you suggest. I am greatly interested in this underground trade fair.”
Old Man Fu rejoiced at the opportunity of saving tens of thousands of spirit stones. “Good, I see that Fellow Daoist Han is also a straightforward person. On the grand auction’s last day, meet me outside the Hidden Fortune Pavilion.”
At that moment, they were no longer speaking through voice transmissions. As for Elder Wang who was standing at the side, his heart stirred but he managed to wear a beaming smile.
With the Thunderstone Crystal and Scarlet Essence Mushroom exchanged, Elder Wang smiled and politely said, “Congratulations on reaching a deal. Fellow Daoist Han, would you like to now look at my pavilion’s Hidden Fortune Mansion? However, it will be far beyond the price of a single thousand-year-old Scarlet Essence Mushroom.”
Han Li smiled and casually said, “So long as it is to my satisfaction, the price will be no matter.”
Elder Wang’s smile grew wider upon hearing his bold tone. “Since Fellow Daoist said this, I am convinced you are a foreign cultivator. It should be no problem to take out the Hidden Fortune Mansion for you. Please follow me to a spatial pocket that my pavilion refined. I’ll show you the Hidden Fortune Mansion in its entirety.”
Han Li’s heart stirred and he couldn’t hide his astonishment. “A spatial pocket?”
“What, Fellow Daoist hadn’t heard of a sanctuary pocket?” Elder Wang patted his hand and then said, “Ah, I’ve forgot. These secret techniques to produce spatial pockets had only been researched in the Great Jin a thousand years ago. Since you’re a foreigner, it is no wonder you wouldn’t know of them.”