(Bonus chapters left: 1)
The auction began.
In the minutes before it began, the downstairs area gradually filled to the brim, various merchants, cultivators, and people taking every seat. Dale noticed several people in the neighboring balconies, all of them filling up as well. This auction event seemed to be especially crowded. A large number of people present, Dale noted, were dressed very differently. From simple smocks to sharp looking suits to formal robes and gowns, a plethora of styles opened up from the people around Dale.
“Wow, there’s a lot of different types of people here, huh?” Dale said to the barbaric looking cultivator leaning on the balcony next to him.
Dale was currently leaning against the balcony, looking directly down at the auction house stage. The barbaric looking cultivator Gorgth leaned next to him, towering above Dale by multiple feet.
Over the past few minutes, in the time before the auction started, Dale and Gorgth had chatted casually. Dale had learned quite a bit about Gorgth, as the young expert seemed ever eager to brag about his exploits.
According to Gorgth, he was a member of the Wu Sect, one of the Three Great Sects on the Continental Island of Jex. Gorgth had been sent out alongside several other disciples, led by several elders, into the Great Inner Sea to search for some type of mysterious energy wave. Gorgth was unclear on what exactly they were searching for, stating that he himself hadn’t sensed anything.
Tian Shou, as it turned out, was also a member of the Wu Sect. The various disciples that had been sent out were all very powerful, all at the minimum the initial 3 Star Realm. In order to search more efficiently for the source of the energy wave, disciples from the Wu Sect had been dispatched to check over all Major Islands in the nearby area.
Gorgth had been searching for more than a week with no results. According to himself, he had instead decided to practice his battle technique against the various Profound Beasts in the general area, or against any powerful cultivators. Thus, when Gorgth learned of the Profound Beast that was attacking the citizens of Great Lake City at night, the so called Yellow Thunder Beast that had killed dozens, he had decided to stay behind on this Major Island to hunt for the beast.
Gorgth had stayed for one night and didn’t encounter the beast. The beast had still attacked, ransacking the homes of several miners in the north side of the city and killing them. Unfortunately, Gorgth had been located in the south side of the Great Lake City, and by the time he arrived, the beast had already fled.
The next day, today, was when Tian Shou had arrived on the island, and the brief fight had broken out between the two of them, as well as Lei Fan, Cloud, and Dale’s involvement.
Tian Shou, Gorgth stated, was a powerful cultivator that Gorgth aspired to challenge. The barbaric looking cultivator was obsessed with defeating the strong and taking their place, some mission that seemed to be bred inside him.
The Wu Sect was enormous. The Continental Island of Jex held in excess of one billion people on its massive landmass. The Wu Sect controlled a solid third of this landmass. As such, it could be said that they controlled more than 300 million people.
In terms of pure cultivators and experts, however, the number was naturally much smaller. There were only around 3 and a half million cultivators in the Wu Sect. Dale shook his head when he learned this from Gorgth, astonished at the enormous scale of this Sect. The pure number of cultivators alone, it was frightening. Dale could see why the Wu Sect was labeled one of the Seven Great Powers in the Floating Cloud Universe.
In the Wu Sect, there was a ranking system that ranked the strongest cultivators in terms of strength. This ranking, known as the Earth Ranking, was a system established to increase competition among the younger cultivators. Only those that were 25 years of age or younger could be on the Earth Ranking. There was a second ranking system that had no age limit, known as the Heaven Ranking.
In the Wu Sect, of the 3 and a half million members, around 2/3rds of these cultivators were under the age of 25. The rest were seasoned experts and soldiers.
Thus, a little less than two and a half million people were listed on the Earth Ranking.
This was a mind bogglingly large term for Dale to recognize. That meant millions of people were all competing for the number one spot, all in a single Sect.
There was only one way a cultivator could change his position on the ranking, according to Gorgth. That was to defeat a cultivator that had a higher ranking, and take his spot.
People with high ranks were given access to more cultivation supplies and deferential treatment. This, combined with the prestige the higher ranks held, made the ranking system extremely competitive.
Rankings like this were common in each Sect, Dale learned.
And, out of those millions of competing cultivators, Gorgth was ranked 47th. Tian Shou, the cultivator Gorgth was eager to challenge, was ranked 14th. Both of them were incredibly strong, ranked in the 100 of the Earth Ranking despite not being near the maximum age of 25.
Gorgth had challenged Tian Shou recently and lost. You couldn’t challenge the same person twice until a year had passed between the initial challenge. Thus, Gorgth was quite pleased that Tian Shou had grown antagonistic and begun to seriously battle. He had been disappointed when the City Lord showed up, breaking the fight up.
The City Lord that ruled the Great Lake City was very interesting, apparently. Gorgth compared him to the Sect Elders of the Wu Sect, stating that he was extremely strong, strong enough that Gorgth couldn’t get a clear level of his strength.
Before Dale could learn any more, however, the Auction began.
Silence spread through the air like the plague as an elderly women walked onto the main stage down below. This woman was wearing a simple white robe with the insignia of the Donden Merchant Company on her sleeve. She moved with grave, her lined face looking about calmly. As she entered the stage and made her way to the center, she began to speak.
“Greetings! Welcome, everyone, to the Great Lake City Donden Auction House. Today marks the 107th auction of this year, and an auspicious one at that.”
Quiet applause rang out from the crowd after she spoke.
“In today’s auction, I believe we will find quite a host of items that will interest you all.” She smiled gracefully.
Dale nodded as he looked at the woman. He was quite interested in using this auction to acquire several different things.
The first of his goals was some type of rapier or heavysword. Aarsasho was a solid weapon, but Dale’s technique was limited by using the blade.
What Dale also wanted was a sword manual to compliment his new weapon. The current sword technique he knew was one that focused on manipulating time. While it might be an exquisite technique manual, it was ineffective in terms of fighting because of the strong spatial and temporal laws that held this realm together.
Thus, the second goal Dale had was to find a sword manual.
The third and final goal was to find something Dale could use as a Seed of some type of Law. Dale didn’t mind too much what it was, though he preferred starting with a Seed of Earth. Until he found something he could use, some source of gentle natural energy, a rarity in itself, he wouldn’t be able to practice Law.
He also had an extra goal, but one he wasn’t very focused on. He wanted to find cultivation manuals for other cultivation styles. Dale knew he couldn’t learn a second cultivation style, not without destroying his first cultivation base, his Gold Core. However, he felt like it would be enlightening to learn other styles, and maybe integrate them into his own. After all, his current Art had come to a standstill, and wasn’t letting him cultivate it.
Dale had roughly 175,000 Energy Shards he could spend in total, and a larger amount once his items actually sold. After all, the price he had been given was only the minimum buy.
The auctioneer quickly brought out the first item.
The very first thing sold was named a “Standard Borium Greataxe.” It was made out of one of the more powerful metals found in the Floating Island Universe, Borium. This specific greataxe was well made and crafted from Borium, though it hadn’t been crafted by a master smith and its workmanship could only be called mediocre, its only strong points its large size and the fact that it was infused with a 3 Star Profound Core. Despite that, the weapon garnered an astonishing price of 185,000 Energy Shards by the end, more than Dale could afford, largely in part due to its huge size. The pure amount of metal in it was worth a great deal.
He shook his head as he considered the high price. If weapons of decent quality were this expensive, he shuddered at the thought of what high quality weapons would cost.
Several other items went by that Dale had no interest in. From several large bars of Mithril to twentypack of healing pills to the beast hide of a tiger like Profound Beast. These were all fascinating items, but things Dale didn’t personally need.
The next item, however, was something Dale was slightly interested in.
“Our next item is from an incomplete set of blades created by Master Smith Gerivle Wiess from the Kingdom of Lleyta. Unfortunately, only three of the blades are present, of the nine blade set, but these three are still of exquisite quality.” The elderly female auctioneer motioned to the side. Immediately an aide walked onto the stage, following the same pattern that they had followed previously.
“The first blade of this set is a sharp and powerful longsword! Forged from an alloy of Borim, Thorium, and Mithral, this longsword has been battle tested and born. It holds an incredible edge, never needs to be sharpened, and is extremely difficult to break. You will be hardpressed to find a longsword of better quality than this out here in the Great Inner Sea!”
Dale stared at the longsword. He wasn’t particularly interested in the blade, his focus on either a rapier or a claymore, or perhaps a greatsword. The blade itself, however, was indeed exquisite. It was a long, tapered foggy blue blade that had a pure silver hilt, covered in a gorgeous draconic design. It emanated a faint sense of energy, and was clearly a very high quality weapon. It was a bit unusual, Dale thought, for a weapon this good to appear in a place as far out as Great Lake City.
As soon as the woman finished speaking, whispers broke out among the crowd. For a blade to be formed from three rare metals, Borium, Thorium, and Mithral, it would require an extremely high level of metal understanding. Weapons made out of a single rare metal were more common. Even a double rare metal weapon was rare. For a weapon to be made out of three rare metals, it would be both incredibly tough, and very rare.
However, while the blade was rare and powerful, it could not be considered a truly treasure blade. It was simply a metal blade, and had yet to be infused with a Profound Core.
Infusing a weapon with a Profound Core was considered the finishing touch. This infusion of energy could give weapons special powers and techniques, from such a large variety of possibilities that they could not be described all at once. Dale had learned this from Scholar Shen, when he was being told about this strange new world.
Despite that, it was still a very high quality weapon. If a master smith could be found, one that was skilled in Profound Infusion, the weapon could be upgraded to a true treasure, though one would still need to acquire a high level Profound Core.
Bids for the weapon exploded out of the audience. The weapon was quite a rare sight, despite its incompleteness, and several people in the audience desired it. Eventually, the price leveled out at around 78,000 Energy Shards.
“The next item for sale, also a member of this blade set, is a custom forged rapier! Forged by the same master smith, this weapon is also made out of an alloy of Thorium, Borium, and Mithral! It holds incredible tensile strength, and is very resilient!”
Dale smiled as soon as he saw the weapon. When he had heard that the smith that made the weapon was from the Kingom of Lleyta, he had hoped a rapier might appear. According to the Scholar, rapiers were a commonly seen weapon there.
This was exactly what Dale wanted. While the blade couldn’t be considered a treasure, it was still a very high quality weapon.
As soon as the blade appeared, Dale let out a bid immediately,
“50,000 Energy Shards!”
No one in the audience spoke for a moment, stunned. To let out such a large sum as soon as an item was revealed, it was very uncommon. After all, the previous weapon, a large longsword, had only gone for 78,000 Shards, and this rapier was much smaller. As well, while rapiers may be a common weapon in the Kingdoms of Lleyta, it was not a commonly seen weapon in the Great Inner Sea. Few people would even want the weapon, though some would be interested purely for the metals it contained.
Dale had known all of this, however. In an attempt to cut off the price from rising too high, he immediately went with a price that, while he considered reasonable, was still relatively high. 50,000 energy shards was, after all, equivalent to 500 1 Star Profound Beast Cores.
The auctioneer looked up at Dale with a slight smile. She then looked around the audience, calling out,
“Are there any other bids?”
Off to Dale’s side, Gorgth gave Dale a grin.
“Interested in a puny pig sticker like that? A single swing of my greataxe would split in twain, ahahaha.”
“Only if you can hit me with it, oaf.” Dale responded, smiling back. This only made Gorgth laugh harder.
“If there are no other bids, then the rapier will go to the gentlem-“
“51,000 Shards!” An arrogant, haughty voice interrupted, echoing in the chamber. Dale turned to look at the speaker in annoyance.
Standing in one of the private booths across to the side of Dale was a familiar, sneering face. Wearing the same long white robe from yesterday, though with a different vest and shirt, stood the pure looking cultivator Tian Shou. The man was currently glaring at Dale, smirking.
Dale frowned. He spoke up, declaring a second bid.