Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
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Jiang Yao completely ignored Mu Bing’er’s words as he looked at the room.
The inside of the small room was well lit and had a few comfortable-looking armchairs. One shouldn’t forget to mention that the view of the main hall was incredible. Luo Xiao’s eyes turned wide once again when he noticed that their room had a balcony at the top of the hall with a perfect view of everything happening below them. This included the cultivators streaming into the auction hall.
In Jiang Yao’s eyes, there was another little detail which Luo Xiao couldn’t see. There was a spell around the room which prevented others from seeing who was inside. It was indeed convenient, he thought as he sat down on one of the comfortable seats.
“Xiaoxiao, come over,” he said to Luo Xiao, who was still looking around the hall.
The youth blinked a few times before withdrawing his gaze from the almost full hall to Jiang Yao.
With a smirk, Jiang Yao beckoned the other over once more. “Sit over here, it will start shortly,” he said.
Luo Xiao glanced once more at the hall, with his wide eyes before he nodded and walked over to the other free armchair. Just as he was about to sit down, Jiang Yao’s hand shot forward, grabbed Luo Xiao’s arm, and pulled him over.
“Not there, Xiaoxiao,” he said with a low, sultry whisper as Luo Xiao found himself sitting on the other’s lap.
“Jiang Yao!” Luo Xiao said, his voice jumping an octave. His face turned bright red the moment he realized that Jiang Yao wanted him to sit on his lap throughout the entire auction. “You can’t do that here!” he said.
In the same moment Luo Xiao said this, Mu Bing’er returned. She carried a tray with a delicate porcelain tea set and some sweet treats atop it. The moment she walked into the small room and saw Jiang Yao holding Luo Xiao rather intimately, her eyes quickly moved to the side, pretending it was none of her concern.
Unfortunately, even she, a trained professional of the Thousand Golden Leaves Auction House, couldn’t hide the faint blush that crept up her cheeks as she closed the door and continued further into the room.
“I’ve brought our finest tea, made from the leaves of the rare Brilliant Sunset Flower. I hope it will be to your liking, Your Highness,” Mu Bing’er said as she bowed slightly and put the tray down on the small table between the two armchairs. She did this while doing her best to avoid looking at the two of them.
“Xiaoxiao, sit here,” Jiang Yao said as though he hadn’t heard Mu Bing’er. His hands closed around Luo Xiao’s waist, completely cutting off any way for Luo Xiao to retreat from his embrace.
The hands around his waist made Luo Xiao’s face become even redder. His heart pounded in his chest as he struggled to wriggle free. However, he was unable to move Jiang Yao’s hands which were as strong as a vice.
“Jiang Yao, we can’t do that here!” He whispered, briefly glancing at Mu Bing’er, who pretended to see nothing.
Jiang Yao’s smile widened as he held Luo Xiao closer, chuckling slightly. “Don’t worry, it’s not like anyone really cares… Plus, nobody can see us from here. Relax, Xiaoxiao. The auction will begin soon,” he said.
Those words only made Luo Xiao blush even more than before, but afterwards, he took a deep breath. He had to calm down! Besides, Jiang Yao’s embrace was actually quite warm… It was not too bad, Luo Xiao thought just before a voice sounded out from the hall, pulling his gaze to the stage.
“Welcome to the Thousand Golden Leaves Auction House’s weekly auction! My name is Mu Xiu, and I’m tonight’s auctioneer. I assume all of you know the rules – if you want it, spend more money than the previous bidder! The one with the highest bid wins and the token you received at the start will be used to verify you’re the bidder!” said a middle-aged man with a bald head. His eyes looked through the crowd, briefly stopping at the area where Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao were seated. Smiling, he looked back at the crowd below.
“Now, we’ll begin with the first item for tonight’s auction! This is a beast bone, originally from a Three-Horned Black Centipede, however, it was submerged in an area of extreme cold, causing it to gain an icy aura! The starting price will be fifteen gold bars!” As soon as he said that, an object was brought to the stage causing a cold aura to permeate the air. However, that wasn’t a problem for the audience. After all, the majority of them were strong enough cultivators that it didn’t bother them.
“Sixteen gold bars!” someone quickly called out, and with that, the bidding started.
“Seventeen gold bars!”
“Nine Earth Grade spirit crystals!”
It seemed chaotic, but the bald man on stage was able to keep up with extreme accuracy, clearly used to this. By the time, the highest bid ended, it was at forty-five Earth Grade spirit crystals, and with that, the first item was sold.
Luo Xiao’s amazement rose as he listened to the bidders, before sighing as he glanced at the beast bone. “Is this what an auction is like?” he asked.
“Back in my hometown, the bidding is much more ferocious. There are people that are willing to pay with blood for some items…” Jiang Yao’s voice trailed off as he mentioned blood, not specifying any more details.
The reason he didn’t go on was because of the slight flinch of Luo Xiao. The prince had almost forgotten that Luo Xiao was completely terrified of blood and death.
“Want me to tell you about the items?” Jiang Yao asked, smoothly diverting Luo Xiao’s attention from his previous words to the second item, which had just been sold while the two of them talked.
Instantly, Luo Xiao’s gaze brightened as he nodded.
“Alright. You heard the name of what was just sold, right? The Jade Snake Flower is a very powerful healing medicine. To people under the Moon Rank, its nine leaves are practically life-saving treasures – one leaf can restore a finger, three can restore a limb, and five can restore a body!” Jiang Yao chuckled as he explained briefly.
Luo Xiao’s eyes sparkled as he nodded, understanding how truly incredible that flower was.
“However,” Jiang Yao said, his voice turning slightly colder which startled both Luo Xiao and Mu Bing’er, “If you eat seven leaves, your body will not recover faster, but will disintegrate instead! If you eat all nine, you will live, but for the rest of your life you will be plagued by Green Jade Snake poison, for which there is no cure!”
Luo Xiao gasped, glancing in fear this time at the flower which was being put away by Mu Xiu. While he didn’t doubt the preciousness of the flower, he suddenly felt dread towards it.
“Don’t worry, Xiaoxiao, once you get to the Moon Rank, the Jade Snake Flower has no effect. Most people know of its uses and drawbacks, so you don’t have to fear it,” Jiang Yao said with a smile as he rubbed Luo Xiao’s back a little and pulled him closer to his body, reassuring him.
The next item was shown and sold just like that, but Jiang Yao didn’t feel the need to explain what it was. It was just a pill, and he felt that Luo Xiao had no interest in pills.
The fourth item to be sold did catch Luo Xiao’s attention as he bit into one of the sweets delivered by Mu Bing’er. “What is that glowing orb?” he asked curiously while looking at the item being presented.
It was a light purple orb with twirling golden dust inside of it. It seemed otherworldly with its gentle golden glow, and Mu Xiu introduced it to the audience as a Moonless Starlight Orb.
“That isn’t something naturally created,” Jiang Yao muttered while looking at the Moonless Starlight Orb. “It’s made using the starlight gathered from one hundred moonless nights, and it’s a defensive item that can annul up to three attacks from a Moon Ranked expert. Do you want it?”
Luo Xiao glanced at the orb as he heard the next bid that was around a hundred Earth Grade spirit crystals before he shook his head and finished his snack.
The mere sum of a hundred Earth Grade spirit crystals scared him. It was too much for him to even think of obtaining the Moonless Starlight Orb, even though he had a feeling that Jiang Yao had plenty of spirit crystals to spare.
Sighing, Luo Xiao picked up another treat and bit into it as the auction continued.
Roughly twenty different items followed, all going for different prices – some of the items sold in gold and some in spirit crystals. The highest price reached had been three hundred and fifty Earth Grade spirit crystals for a set of armor rumored to have been an ancient treasure, and the guy who bet seemed as if he was crying on the inside.
The prices made Luo Xiao realize just how rare Earth Grade spirit crystals were in this region. A second later, he remembered the ease with which Jiang Yao had paid the old man at the caravan for the hairpin and bracelet, which made him wonder if they were less rare where Jiang Yao came from.
“Our next item is a rare Elusive Mist Fruit! Rumored to be one of the rarest fruits in the region. One of its uses is to raise someone’s soul power and help with breakthroughs! The starting price is ten Earth Grade spirit crystals!” Mu Xiu suddenly announced as a smooth oval object was brought to the stage.
Gentle silvery mist drifted off the fruit as Luo Xiao and Jiang Yao looked at it. It had a few swirly lines on its surface, and although it had no luster or glow, one could tell that it wasn’t something common.
Quickly, voices raised in the hall as the bidding commenced, though Jiang Yao frowned a little as he watched the fruit.
As the price steadily rose, Jiang Yao calculated. Originally, he had taken Luo Xiao because he had a use for his Astral Soul, and that reason had not truly changed. He needed Luo Xiao to get stronger.
But he couldn’t allow himself to be impatient with achieving his goals because he didn’t want to hurt Luo Xiao in any way, especially since Luo Xiao was now his little lover. Smiling a little, he suddenly spoke up, overshadowing the woman who had just bid two hundred Earth Grade spirit crystals on the fruit.
“One Sky Grade spirit crystal.”
Instantly, the hall went silent. Mu Bing’er who was right beside Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao couldn’t believe what she had just heard.
One Sky Grade spirit crystal? That was worth one thousand Earth Grade spirit crystals!
Instantly, at least thirty gazes moved to glance up at the room where Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao were situated, trying to see who was inside and gauge their strength.
Someone with such wealth clearly didn’t have a simple background, they thought as vague coldness seeped in their hearts. However, they were obviously unable to see who was in the room.
Mu Xiu, the auctioneer, coughed lightly to break those few breaths of absolute silence. As the auctioneer, he knew who was in that room – the Seventh Demon Prince! That wasn’t someone who could be trifled with, and Mu Xiu already had a cold sweat running down his back.
“Nobody else?” he asked dryly, but it was clear that no one would dare to even say as much as a word. If someone had one Sky Grade spirit crystal, they most likely had more. Fighting for the Elusive Mist Fruit was now futile, and everyone gave up.
“Alright, sold for one Sky Grade spirit crystal,” Mu Xiu announced before continuing with the auction as if nothing happened.