Han Li sat in a desolate corner of the hall and indifferently glanced at a middle-aged man wearing black robes standing at the front three hundred meters away. He held a faint yellow crystal and gave the item a simple introduction.
“Turmeric Crystal, found in the vast deserts of the southwest border of the empire. It is something that can only be found a kilometer deep into the sand. It is an extremely hardy material and outstanding in creating earth-attribute magic treasures as it contains large amounts of earth-attribute spiritual Qi. The minimum bid for this item is eight thousand spirit stones. Each increasing bid must be at least a thousand spirit stones.” The man spoke clearly and didn’t make any excessive attempt to present the item.
Of course, the conductor of the auction possessed Nascent Soul cultivation, and under Han Li’s careful observation, he discovered that he was at the peak of mid-Nascent Soul stage, possessing the greatest cultivation in the hall. Considering that he had an audience of several hundred similar grade cultivators, the overwhelming pressure of their combined spiritual sense would be enough to stupify any lower-grade cultivator. With him presiding over the auction, none would dare to raise any trouble.
As for the Turmeric Crystal, although it was a good material for refining earth attribute techniques, only a sparse few were bidding for it. Eventually, it was acquired by a nameless cultivator for twelve thousand spirit stones. The following items, they were treated with only slight interest.
Han Li watched this as he sat back in his chair with indifference.
Since the auction would go on for several days, the items that would be on display for the first day wouldn’t be particularly great. Although these materials are rare enough to catch some interest from Nascent Soul cultivators that truly required them, they were only there to take up time until enough cultivators gathered at the auction. A few good items will be taken out at the end to the audience interested for the next day’s auction, and these items would be where the bidding wars would take place.
With that thought, Han Li didn’t pay much attention and lazily observed many of the other Nascent Soul cultivators in the hall. Although these were a small portion of the peak cultivators in the Great Jin, they represented the empire’s various powers and factions.
But what most attracted his attention were three large Buddhist monks with glossy foreheads sitting in the hall.
One of the monks was rather lean, while another was somewhat plump, and the third had an amiable appearance and long, white facial hair. The three all wore grey Buddhist robes and had lowered heads.
Since this was the first time Han Li had seen high-grade cultivators from a Buddhist sect, he looked at them for quite a while. The one sitting at the center was the eldest amongst them and met his gaze. Although it appeared warm and peaceful, Han Li couldn’t help but feel his heart tremble at the sight.
The old monk appeared quite sharp, not surprising given that Buddhist sects rival Daoist and Confucian Sects in the Great Jin. As Han Li was unwilling to accidentally arouse any hostility, he immediately withdrew his spiritual sense and maintained a cool appearance.
After the old monk took a look at Han Li, he maintained his original calm demeanor and returned his attention elsewhere.
In addition to the Buddhist monks, there were a few other cultivators that he found peculiar. He began to match these cultivators with the information he previously acquired about the various powers in the Great Jin to their faces. There could be a later use in recognizing these characters, Han Li thought.
Time slowly passed by as each of the items auctioned off. As he expected, the rarer items only began to show near the end, causing the group of disinterested cultivators to stir.
The atmosphere in the hall grew fervent as competition for these successive treasures were fierce, with bids reaching astonishing prices. After all, if Nascent Soul-stage cultivators missed this opportunity to acquire what they needed, they might not have another one.
“A chunk of Ebony Gold weighing two kilograms, a rare tool refinement material. Starting bid is thirty thousand spirit stones. Each bid must increase the price by at least two thousand spirit stones.” The auction conductor gave a simple description of this incredibly rare material and revealed it on a jade plate. It was a pitch-black lump of metal that faintly glowed with golden light.
When Han Li heard this, his body grew tense and a glint flickered from his eyes. He needed Ebony Gold and had been looking for quite a while. He didn’t expect to find it so quickly!.
“Forty-five thousand spirit stones!”
As Ebony Gold was rather famous, several high bids were shouted before Han Li could place his own.
He could only frown and calmly put out his own bid. Since he was determined to win, he decided to wait until he could compete against the highest bidder.
When an unknown cultivator bid the highest price for sixty thousand spirit stones, the competition came to a sudden stop.
Han Li then pointed to his jade badge. After light flashed from it, he shouted, “Sixty-five thousand!”
“Sixty-seven thousand spirit stones!” While the other person appeared to truly want this item, he was hesitant to continue.
“Seventy thousand!” Han Li shouted.
This time, the other bidder turned silent. Although Ebony Gold was rare, he decided to give up on the item at such a high price. When Han Li saw this, he smiled.
The auction conductor felt quite satisfied to see the item bidded for such a high price. Just as he thought to ask the crowd trice to make sure that no one would bid higher, a cold voice sounded out, “Seventy-five thousand spirit stones!”
Han Li and the auction conductor blanked when they heard this, and the other cultivators were all left shocked.
Han Li quickly regained his thoughts and shouted, “Eighty thousand!”
“Eighty-two!” The voice calmly raised the bid. He appeared to require the item just as Han Li did.
With this spoken, the participants in the hall couldn’t help but look in the old man’s direction.
However, they saw a cultivator covered in a dim black mist sitting in the back. While his true appearance was hidden, they could see enough to know he was an old man.
Han Li was bewildered by the old man’s competition but he didn’t have the mind to continue to waste time with him. With a sullen heart, he shouted out his price.
“A hundred-twenty thousand spirit stones!”
When this was uttered, all of the other cultivators present were confused. This number of spirit stones could easily purchase a decent ancient treasure, far beyond the ordinary price of Ebony Gold.
An uproar commenced and many cultivators couldn’t help but look at Han Li. However, he had changed his appearance to that of a cultivator with a sallow complexion. It was natural that none could recognize him.
Han Li didn’t pay any notice to their gazes. Rather, he focused his attention on what the opposition would do next.
The old man was clearly astonished when he heard this large price. If he were to spend any more spirit stones, he wasn’t certain he would be able to acquire an even more important material coming up and would prove disastrous. From the high price his opponent raised, he clearly wasn’t about to let go of the item without a fight.
With that in mind, the old man didn’t further contend for the item and was finally won by Han Li. However, this bidding match had attracted much attention to the two.
Afterwards, nothing else had caught Han Li’s eye and he simply rested in his seat after acquiring the Ebony Gold.
When the old man saw the even rarer material “Firepart Sand”, he contended against a large group of cultivators before eventually acquiring it for over two hundred thousand spirit stones.
Though his spending was quite eye catching, that isn’t to say that the old man had spent the most spirit stones in the auction. At the very end, high-grade ancient treasures, cultivation medicines, and other such rarities had all sold at three hundred thousand spirit stones and more. However, spending two hundred thousand spirit stones of mere refinement materials was rather out of the ordinary.
With the first day of the auction concluded, Han Li departed alongside the crowd of cultivators. The group from the Yin Sifting Sect were no longer at the market entrance as if they’ve given up on him.
He smiled at the sight of this and calmly returned to the Daoist monastery.
As for the mysterious man shrouded in black Qi, he slipped away to an unremarkable home in the Jin Capital. The old man wearing a black hat from the Ye Clan was there waiting for him.
He immediately handed over the Firepart Sant to him without a word.
The old man smiled after receiving it and said, “I already know about the Ebony Gold. Thanks for your efforts Fellow Daoist Gao. I didn’t expect that someone else would pay such a high price, or I would’ve handed over more spirit stones. Fortunately, someone should be selling Ebony Gold in the underground auction in a few days. I already asked around for what it was being traded for and I’ve already prepared it for you. When the time comes I’ll have to trouble you to make another trip.”
Daoist Gao dryly laughed and replied, “Brother Yun Yi had given me more than enough spirit stones, but I feared I wouldn’t be able to acquire Firepart Sand. It was something that was unexpected. Of course, I will be heading to the underground auction in a few days.”
“With Fellow Daoist Gao handling matters, I am reassured. I have prepared a medicine pill for the trade. When the matter is concluded, I will give you several more of them as a reward.” Yun Yi nodded with satisfaction and handed over a jade box.
“Yes. Since you keep your promises, I will strive to do my best.” Old Man Gao happily examined the pill in the box and nodded as well. Then, he took a storage pouch of spirit stones from the old man as well as a jade slip detailing the items to be bought at the auction on the next day before departing.