Library of Heaven is Path
1262 Annal of Bedstead Disquisition
This attendant was extremely young, appearing to be only in his early thirties. His cultivation was only at Half-Saint as well. He did not think much when Zhang Xuan first approached him, but upon seeing the countless items on the ground, his eyes widened in agitation.
Due to the exorbitant prices in the black market, unless in cases of emergency, rarely would there be anyone who was willing to exchange for concentrated high-tier spirit stones there. As a result, he had rarely received any customers. Thus, it was completely inconceivable for him to see Zhang Xuan pulling out so many items at once.
It took a moment before the attendant shook himself out of his daze, and he anxiously turned to Zhang Xuan and asked, "Gongzi, do you want to trade in all of these for concentrated high-tier spirit stones?"
"Un!" Zhang Xuan nodded.
He had taken most of these items from the Qingtian Lineage and the Qingyuan royal family. In the past, they could still have been considered valuable resources to him, but after his cultivation reached Primordial Spirit realm, they were no longer useful to him.
Rather than taking up space, he was better off trading them for something that could be used to raise his cultivation further.
"A-alright! I'll have the appraiser come over right now…" Knowing that an invaluable customer was standing before him, the attendant dared not show the slightest disrespect to Zhang Xuan. He quickly rushed into the store, and before long, he returned with an elder behind him.
After swiftly assessing the items, the elder turned to Zhang Xuan and said, "All in all, your items can be traded for 113 concentrated high-tier spirit stones. Here's the receipt, please take a look…"
However, Zhang Xuan waved his hand and said, "There's no need for that. Bring me the spirit stones."
He had tabulated the total cost earlier as well, and his calculations were roughly in line with the final price the elder had mentioned.
The elder nodded. "Very well. Bring me the spirit stones!"
The attendant quickly rushed back into the store before returning with a storage ring in hand.
Taking the storage ring, Zhang Xuan quickly took a look inside. 113 concentrated high-tier spirit stones, no more no less.
"Zhang gongzi, by trading a hundred concentrated high-tier spirit stone at our store, you have already automatically become an esteemed guest of our market. It happens that we have an auction tonight that is only opened to esteemed guests, so I would like to extend an invitation over to you as well." Smiling, the elder passed over a token that represented Zhang Xuan's identity as an esteemed guest of the market.
To trade in so many concentrated high-tier spirit stones at once, Zhang Xuan could already be considered a huge customer of the black market, qualifying him to become an esteemed guest.
"Auction?" Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment before shaking his head. "For the time being, I'm not really interested in attending any auctions."
What he was lacking the most at the moment was spirit stones. Everything aside from that was not of much use.
"Gongzi, please don't reject my offer so quickly. Perhaps, you might change your mind after hearing my introduction of the auction tonight!" the elder replied with a confident smile.
"In the auction tonight, there will be two Leaving Aperture realm Saint intermediate-tier artifacts and a quasi grade-8 pill that can fully restore the strength of a Leaving Aperture realm cultivator within three seconds, making it a miracle pill for clearing one's Leaving Aperture Ordeal!" the elder said proudly.
The Leaving Aperture Ordeal was a battle against the power of the heavens. Just the slightest weakness in the midst of the ordeal could spell the utter annihilation of one's body and soul.
In view of the risks, many cultivators would spend huge sums of money to purchase quasi grade-8 pills that would allow them to swiftly regain their strength. This would ensure that their strength would not be depleted in the midst of facing the lightning tribulation, thus enhancing their chances of clearing it.
Of course, such pills were extremely expensive as well. The average cultivator would never be able to afford their exorbitant prices.
"It's fine…" Zhang Xuan shook his head.
After cultivating the Saint Ascension Decipher, Zhang Xuan's zhenqi capacity could be said to be nearly boundless compared to ordinary cultivators. As such, the effects of those quasi grade-8 pills on him were truly insignificant. As for Saint-tier artifacts, he already had the Golden Origin Cauldron and his army of puppets. Why should he waste his money on purchasing others?
With a light chuckle, the elder said, "If gongzi is uninterested in those, there's one thing that you might be interested in."
"Oh?" Zhang Xuan asked.
"Annal of Bedstead Disquisition!" the elder said.
"Annal of Bedstead Disquisition?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
"When Sage Luo passed by this area, the head of the Qianchong Empire Master Teacher Pavilion back then, Pavilion Master Yan, specially visited him to pay respects to him.
"Seeing that Sage Luo was resting, he stood perfectly still on the spot for three days straight, resulting in a huge heap of snow covering his entire body. In view of his sincerity, Sage Luo began lecturing Pavilion Master Yan while seated on his bedstead.
"According to historical records, the sight then was truly phenomenal. Countless celestial flowers descended from the sky, and golden lotuses bloomed from the ground. Origin Energy surged into the surroundings, and even the heavens seemed to rattle from his teachings.
"Pavilion Master Yan recorded the teachings that Sage Luo imparted to him back then in a book and passed it down to the later generations, and that book is known as the Annal of Bedstead Disquisition!" the elder explained.
"Sage Luo?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
"Un. The old ancestor of Sage Luo Clan, Luo Tianyun!" the elder replied with a nod. "According to the rumors, there are some secrets concerning the Luo Clan's cultivation technique hidden within the annal, and if one studies it diligently, it will advance one's understanding of space significantly.
"However, the annal went missing at some point in time, and for many years, no one was able to find it. It was only recently that someone coincidentally discovered it, and passing through many hands, it eventually found its way into our market."
Hearing the explanation, Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.
In truth, he had no interest in the Annal of Bedstead Disquisition. However, hearing that it had some ties with the Luo Clan, he could not help but feel a little moved.
If he could uncover the secrets of the Luo Clan's cultivation technique through the Annal of Bedstead Disquisition, this might very well add to his bargaining power against the Luo Clan when he sought Luo Ruoxin in the future.
Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment before asking, "May I know roughly how much the Annal of Bedstead Disquisition is likely to be sold at?"
If he could get a rough estimate of the price of the artifact, he would at least have a rough target as to how much concentrated high-tier spirit stones he would have to earn.
Even though he had just exchanged for more than a hundred concentrated high-tier spirit stones, there was no doubt that this sum would be far from sufficient for him to buy something as valuable as the Annal of Bedstead Disquisition.
"While the Annal of Bedstead Disquisition was not written by Sage Luo himself, it does contain the essence of his teachings. Even if only a tenth of the original conception is harnessed in the text, there's no doubt that it's an unparalleled treasure to Primordial Spirit realm and Leaving Aperture realm cultivators. As such, even I can't say for sure how much it'll be sold for.
"However, the starting bid is five hundred concentrated high-tier spirit stones, so I reckon the auctioning price will be a thousand at the very minimum. Gongzi, if you wish to purchase the Annal of Bedstead Disquisition, you should quickly gather your concentrated high-tier spirit stones," the elder advised.
Due to Zhang Xuan's earlier action of whipping out countless valuables, the elder was already convinced that the young man was a wealthy scion. If that was the case, it would not have been too difficult for him to fork out a few hundred or even a few thousand concentrated high-tier spirit stones.
"Alright!" Zhang Xuan nodded. "Help me reserve a seat. I'll make some preparations first. I'll rush back later when the auction starts."
Seeing that there was some time until night fell, Zhang Xuan decided to head to the Ring of Death first to see if he could rake in a thousand concentrated high-tier spirit stones.
"Alright." The elder nodded as he began making preparations.
"Alright, let's go!" After dealing with the matter at hand, Zhang Xuan beckoned Zhang Jiuxiao over and had the latter take him over to the dueling ring.
The dueling ring was located at the very center of the black market. The personnel of the Ring of Death first checked their cultivation and handed them a token that represented their tier before letting them in.
Seeing that Zhang Xuan's cultivation had already reached Primordial Spirit realm advanced stage, Zhang Jiuxiao was rendered speechless.
The rate at which this fellow's cultivation rose honestly left him feeling deeply crazed within.
The first time that they met, he was only at Spiritual Perception realm. Yet, in just a few days, he had become a Primordial Spirit realm intermediate stage cultivator, just like him. And two hours ago, when he was fighting against the other young geniuses during the banquet, he was certain the other party's cultivation had still been at intermediate stage too, but within this short period of time, Zhang Xuan had actually managed to make a breakthrough.
All along, he had prided himself as a genius, but seeing the rate at which the other party was growing, Zhang Jiuxiao suddenly realized that he was just an ordinary mortal after all.
They were not even on the same level of existence.
Seeing the traumatized look on Zhang Jiuxiao's face, Zhang Xuan explained, "I managed to reinforce my cultivation sufficiently, so I was able to achieve a breakthrough just a moment ago…"
"You managed to reinforce your cultivation sufficiently…" Those words only furthered Zhang Jiuxiao's trauma.
Others take at least months to fully reinforce their cultivation at Primordial Spirit realm, but this fellow took a day or two.
Really, there was no comparing with him.
Forget it. There's bound to be a disparity between the both of us. After all, he's a Celestial Master Teacher, Zhang Jiuxiao consoled himself.
If Zhang Xuan could not achieve the extraordinary, how could he receive the acknowledgement of the heavens?
While Zhang Jiuxiao was still deep in thought, a middle-aged manager of the Ring of Death walked over and asked, "Which of the two of you is going into the ring later?"
"I'll be going on the ring," Zhang Xuan replied.
"I'll first fill you in on the rules and requirements on the ring. In order to join the ring, you must first pay two concentrated high-tier spirit stones as a participation fee. During the match, the weapons, hidden weapons, and similar equipment that you are intending to use must be supplied by us. You must not use your own personal items. This is to ensure fairness on the ring," the middle-aged manager explained.
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded.
The rules were also roughly as he guessed as much. Otherwise, if a participant were to bring an extraordinarily powerful weapon on the ring, they would be able to easily dominate the entire ring. There would be minimal suspense and entertainment for the audience, and the purpose of the Ring of Death would also be rendered meaningless.
"Also, after you win five rounds, we will start opening bets for your matches. As there are stakes involved, unless you are incapacitated or crippled, any attempts to surrender will be considered invalid by the Ring of Death. This is extremely important, so do prepare yourself for it," the middle-aged manager said.
"Incapacitated or crippled?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
Zhang Jiuxiao had not told him about this previously.
"Yes. Every victory and loss will have great implications once we open bets. If a challenger who is capable of achieving victory intentionally admits defeat, it would be a crushing blow to the credibility of our Ring of Death. For this reason, we strike down very hard on challengers who lose on purpose," the middle-aged manager explained.
"I understand." Zhang Xuan nodded.
He had some reservations regarding that rule, but he knew that it was necessary for the functioning of the Ring of Death. It was precisely the excitement from the suspense of the matches that had cultivators betting their wealth frenziedly. If it was found that the results in the Ring of Death were manipulated, the ring would swiftly become boring and meaningless to others.
As a result, the earnings of the Ring of Death would dip as well.
"That's all I have for you. If you still wish to continue, I'll have you registered right now. Otherwise, the both of you can proceed on to the spectator stand," the middle-aged manager said.
"I want to participate in the Ring of Death," Zhang Xuan replied calmly as he took out two concentrated high-tier spirit stones to pay the registration fee. After which, he passed his entire storage ring to Zhang Jiuxiao.
"I'll need you to bet for me later on. Just go all in on my victory each time around."
"Very well!" Zhang Jiuxiao nodded.
The reason Zhang Xuan had gone there was to win spirit stones, and it went without saying the fastest way to win more spirit stones was to gamble their wealth!
Soon, Zhang Jiuxiao was led to the spectator stand whereas Zhang Xuan was taken to the backstage to prepare.
While passing by the spectator stand, Zhang Xuan took a look into the ring and saw that there were two people battling inside. Their furious clash of zhenqi induced a deafening reverberation in the air, and watching the adrenaline-filled sight, the crowd screamed in excitement.
"Tear him apart! Tear him apart!"
Such exclamations could be heard among the crowd.
Looking into one of the rings through the door, Zhang Xuan saw a middle-aged man dressed in metal armor letting loose a raging roar as he raised his opponent into the air.
The middle-aged man had a towering physique, standing at two meters tall. In comparison, the opponent he was holding appeared to be a helpless, small chick instead.
With a fiery bellow, the middle-aged man forcefully tore his opponent in half, and fresh blood poured all over him, dyeing him crimson.
This sight left Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shooting up as he clenched his fists tightly.
He had undergone many battles, but this was the first time he had witnessed such a brutal and meaningless murder, as if a human's life was nothing more than a toy.
When he strolled through the area earlier and browsed through the array of items they had on sale, he had felt that the black market did not seem any different from other mall. However, after seeing this sight, he realized that all he had seen before was just the very surface of the black market. It was not without a reason that the black market was labeled as a lawless zone. In here, a human's life had no intrinsic value at all.
Without superior strength in the Ring of Death, one was bound to be ripped into shreds in the ring.
It was no wonder Zhang Jiuxiao retreated after five rounds. Even for a master teacher, such callousness was hard to swallow.