Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
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Jiang Yao glanced momentarily at the Elusive Mist Fruit as it was taken off the stage before his gaze moved to Luo Xiao.
“What?” he asked.
Luo Xiao was almost staring at Jiang Yao with wide eyes, causing Jiang Yao to stare back, and the two of them were locked in a weird staring game.
“Why did everyone turn silent the moment you said your bid?” Luo Xiao said, “Is a Sky Grade spirit crystal really so rare?”
Mu Bing’er, who could hear their conversation, almost gasped in surprise at his ignorance. She never could have imagined that someone wouldn’t know how rare Sky Grade spirit crystals were.
To Heavenward City’s citizens, Earth Grade spirit crystals were akin to treasures. Most people still traded in gold and only rarer items were paid for with spirit crystals.
In fact, a single Earth Grade spirit crystal was worth one thousand gold coins! And, a Sky Grade spirit crystal was worth a thousand Earth Grade spirit crystals.
To Mu Bing’er’s surprise, Jiang Yao smirked in response to Luo Xiao’s question.
“To them, a Sky Grade spirit crystal is more precious than any of those treasures. To me, it’s merely an appetizer,” he said with a smile before rubbing Luo Xiao’s head, “If you want, I’ll give you one once we are back at our room.”
“Give me one…” Luo Xiao muttered. He glanced back at the auction, where Mu Xiu had continued on to the next item. The audience was almost as heated up as before as the bidding continued, though there were occasional gazes up at the balcony where Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao sat.
After a brief moment of thought, Luo Xiao shook his head. “They are too precious… I can’t take it,” he whispered as he listened to the bids rise before the item was sold.
Jiang Yao almost snickered at his response, already knowing he would say such a thing, so he didn’t pursue it anymore and resumed looking at the items sold.
Mu Bing’er couldn’t help but suppress her surprised gaze as she stood to the side. To her, simply the mention of a Sky Grade spirit crystal was enough to intimidate anyone in Heavenward City.
Naturally, while the two men talked, the auction continued without delays. Many more precious items, several of which exceeded the value of the Elusive Mist Fruit, came onto the stage and were sold to various buyers.
As the items came and went, Luo Xiao gradually ate most of the small snacks on the tray. Seeing this, Mu Bing’er left the room once more to get a platter of freshly baked delicacies for the two of them. She hadn’t commented once on their behavior, and it caused Jiang Yao to be a little pleased.
For once, there was a woman that was sensible and didn’t try to separate him and Luo Xiao. The Thousand Gold Leaves Auction House was, after all, a more high-end organization, so it made sense that they had trained individuals who would do their best to not displease the clients.
The auction itself was rather repetitive. Items were introduced, bids were made, and finally they were sold. As cultivators, time wasn’t really a restraining concept, and an auction could be hours or even days long. Thankfully, the auction house provided refreshments and snacks out of consideration of the lengthy process.
It had already been three hours, and Luo Xiao was showing signs of tiredness. However, his interest in the auction never diminished, so he kept watching the stage with curiosity while asking Jiang Yao questions about some of the items sold.
“The tail feather of a Violet Mountain Raven is a rather odd material. They are used when making Earth Rank pills…”
“Xiaoxiao, a Dust Porcupine’s liver can be used to cleanse poison…”
“The Lightning Emperor Cobra’s scales are for…”
Although Jiang Yao usually would have asked for payment for such information, he felt generous today and gave all the information to Luo Xiao without even blinking.
As for Mu Bing’er, the more time passed, the more astounded she felt by the extensive knowledge the other showed – sometimes he knew even more than her own father, who was actually the auctioneer Mu Xiu!
His extensive knowledge truly showed that he was worthy of the title the Seventh Demon Prince and as someone rumored to be the second strongest expert on the continent!
“Alright, everyone, now this is one of the last three items we will offer through today’s auction!” Suddenly, Mu Xiu’s voice echoed through the hall, causing even Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao to quiet down, both looking at Mu Xiu.
“The first item of the three we will present is a mythical phoenix feather! That’s right, a feather from one of the strongest beasts. The Fire Phoenix!” as he said this, an alluring woman walked in, holding a crystal block within which was a feather engulfed in flames.
The moment she walked in an enormous wave of heat surged through the hall. Many gasps and murmurs could be heard following the rising temperature in the hall. Clearly, the feather sparked a variety of reactions as many gazes looked at it, calculating whether they could bid for it.
Even Jiang Yao’s eyes lit up, though it was only for an extremely brief moment and there was nobody who noticed his gaze. He wasn’t planning on buying the feather despite his mild interest in it.
It was simply of no use to him. He was known to be the second strongest on the continent, one couldn’t even imagine what level of power he was at, so a phoenix feather would be completely useless to him.
Unlike him, Luo Xiao had an utterly different reaction to the phoenix feather. He almost gasped out loud while leaning a bit forward to try and see it more clearly with wide eyes.
“Jiang Yao, aren’t phoenixes extinct? When I was young, I read that they were as old as the world and already gone…” he said, unable to take his eyes off the feather.
“Well, nobody knows for sure,” Jiang Yao said with a shrug as he looked away from the feather and patted Luo Xiao on the head, “Do you want it, Xiaoxiao?”
“Huh? No… I was just curious,” Luo Xiao said and relaxed onto Jiang Yao’s chest.
Seconds after their brief exchange, the bidding for the feather began. Although Luo Xiao had already been watching the auction for some hours and thought he was used to the ferocity with which people bid for items, seeing them now he felt shocked.
It wasn’t quite possible to compare the two feelings that filled the auction house. If before you could call everyone’s earlier feelings as interested and just needing something, now it was just straightforward greed and obsession.
The bidding was so ferocious that the price for the red feather rose up to 500 Earth Grade spirit crystals before finally being sold. It was clear that the person who had yelled out that price felt his heart bleeding for the ridiculous amount of riches he had just spent on it.
Luo Xiao couldn’t help but take a few deep breaths to calm himself down after the intense bidding. Despite only being a spectator, he found himself affected by the strong emotions. Thankfully, he couldn’t afford any of the items either way.
“The second to last item for our auction is something that none of our appraisers were able to identify!” Mu Xiu’s voice resounded through the hall once more, and almost instantly the attention had reached an even higher peak.
What was this item that they couldn’t identify? A lot of gazes moved up, trying to get a better view of what was brought onto the stage.
It was a large as one’s palm, it had an ovalish form, and it was golden colored with gentle, pink aura. Its surface wasn’t smooth. It was akin to a diamond, with ridges and surfaces that let the light bounce off of it just like a gemstone would.
“Must be a heavenly material!”
A few voices trailed off from various corners of the hall as they all looked at the gemstone-like object. Even Luo Xiao and Jiang Yao looked at the object, trying to identify what it was, though the gaze in Jiang Yao’s eyes more serious than usual.
“This was brought in by an unnamed benefactor; however, even he didn’t know what it was. As none of our appraisers were able to identify it, we came to the conclusion that it is a precious material unlike any other! With that being said, the starting bid is one Earth Grade spirit crystal!”
“Two spirit crystals!”
Very quickly, people began bidding, though it was nowhere near as ferocious as the competition for the phoenix feather. After all, who would want to blow their entire fortune on an unknown object and risk it being worthless?
However, Jiang Yao seemed even more focused than usual, his eyes stared at the gemstone before a whisper left him, barely heard by Luo Xiao, “It’s alive…”
“What?” Instinctively, Luo Xiao lifted his eyes from the gem and looked at Jiang Yao with confusion, surprised at the unusually focused expression the other had.
“Xiaoxiao, what they think is some unknown material is actually something that more than a few people would go to war for. A dragon egg! And it’s still alive!”
Luo Xiao’s expression was unable to contain his surprise, gasping with wide eyes as he took a look back at the gemstone-like egg. Mu Bing’er’s attention was fixed on the gemstone as well, however, she was actually unable to hear a single word of what the two said. It was like a barrier separated her and them, so she was unable to learn just what Jiang Yao had said.
Quickly, Luo Xiao realized something as he thought over Jiang Yao’s words again. “Still alive? Doesn’t that mean that…” he began.
Jiang Yao nodded without a second delay, his expression now back to its normal calmness. “Yes. It’s dying. Something must have prevented it from hatching, and it’s been losing its life force for a very long time… Even I can barely feel the life left inside of it.”
Looking back at the egg, Luo Xiao felt himself filled with an inexplicable sadness, his eyebrows furrowing slightly. Noticing his sorrow, even Jiang Yao couldn’t help but pull Luo Xiao closer. It was as if the two were in their own little world for a moment.
“Is there any ways to save it?” Luo Xiao muttered, glancing at the crowd as the bids steadily increased.
Jiang Yao looked at the dragon egg silently for a moment, evidently thinking. “Yes, there is a way… Although it’s a small chance. If a powerful soul cultivator nurtures its life with their soul energy, it’s possible to revitalize it and give it a chance to hatch.”
He paused for a bit, looking at Luo Xiao’s painfully obvious expression before a little smile found its way on his lips. Patting the other on the head Jiang Yao said, “You’re too weak, Xiaoxiao…”
“I want it,” Luo Xiao’s next words cut off whatever Jiang Yao had originally wanted to say as he glared at the Seventh Demon Prince.
It was probably one of the few times Jiang Yao was ever caught by surprise, this time not expecting the determination that had clearly seeped in Luo Xiao’s voice.
“Are you sure?” Jiang Yao said. Though, the moment the question left his lips, he already knew the answer which was clearly displayed on Luo Xiao’s face.
On the stage, Mu Xiu smiled as he spoke once more. “With the highest bid being two hundred and five Earth Grade spirit crystals, this…”
“Ten Sky Grade spirit crystals,” Jiang Yao said.
Instantly, all of the people in the hall turned to look at the room where Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao were seated. Many of them wished they could tear apart the auction house’s protective barrier behind which the pair’s identity was hidden.