Chapter 10 Grim Wind and Rain Darken the Skies, People Are Ghosts
The Fish Market was a noisy place with countless businesses and people which could not be seen in public.
In the span of fifteen minutes, Ding Ning had pushed the small boat past the dark pier. During the time he moved between the countless wooden pillars which supported Fish Market, the thick-browed young person and his master, who had appeared outside of Fish Market, walked into a pawn shop near the river.
They did not have anything to pawn. Led by an old man hunched over a black bamboo staff, these two foreigners passed through the inner doors of the pawn shop, through the narrow halls, and into another set of doors. The damp narrow hallways were quiet, yet when they entered the doors, it was a completely different world.
A dozen or so square tables were arranged inside a relatively small hall. Dozens of people crowded around each square table. Incense burned at the corners of the room but due to the crowd. The air was murky.
The moment he saw the scene inside the room, the thick-browed young person’s pupils unconsciously contracted. This was not due to the enmity in the eyes of the surrounding people and the presences unique to cultivators, but due to something placed at the center stage in the room.
A waxy yellow jade rock the size of a thumb.
In the eyes of ordinary people, this may be a low-quality piece of yellow jade. Yet almost all the cultivators knew this was the South Sun Pill Sect’s Yellow Bud Pill, formerly of the Han Dynasty. The Yellow Bud Pill’s effects were gentle in increasing vital energy. This was one of the best supplementary spirit pills for cultivators in Physical Energy Realm heading towards Vital Energy Realm when they did not have the innate talent.
When South Sun Pill Sect had been at its peak, it only produced several hundred Yellow Bud Pills each year. Now that South Sun Pill Sect was gone, Yellow Bud Pills were even rarer.
Pills like this were forbidden to be traded in the Qin Dynasty but the room was filled with people calling out prices.
This place was naturally an illegal auction site.
The thick-browed young person knew that the Fish Market had many scenes hard to imagine. Many transactions involving items important to cultivators occurred here. But he was shocked just like a rural child entering the city for the first time when he saw a transaction just after arriving on the level of Yellow Bud Pill. He couldn’t help but think, the Fish Market of Changling lives up to its reputation.
The elegant young person dressed like a scholar behind him also stopped walking and looked at the scene. The hunchbacked old person with the black bamboo staff did not hurry them along and remained silent.
The fight over one Yellow Bud Pill was reaching an insane level. A Yellow Bud Pill worth two thousand taels of silver in the past was now being priced at a thousand taels of gold, and many people were still competing.
After a few more calls, only two people were left, a young swordsman dressed in grey robes, and a middle-aged man with his face covered in a black silk veil.
The young swordsman’s face was flushed red. Sweat dripped down his face. The black-veiled middle-aged man sat motionlessly with calmness. Each time he shouted, he only added the minimum possible to the price, two hundred taels of silver, over the price the young swordsman called out.
In a few moments, they passed a thousand and three hundred taels of gold.
The young swordsman’s face turned from red to white. This Yellow Bud Pill was extremely important to him. If he did not obtain this Yellow Bud Pill, with his body’s sickness, he would never have a chance to progress from realm two to realm three.
So he turned and looking pleadingly at the black-veiled middle-aged man.
The middle-aged man saw his gaze yet only snorted in disdain.
The young swordsman finally lost control. He stood up and shouted, “Two thousand taels of gold!”
The entire room was silent.
Everyone’s gaze focused on him.
Even if this young swordsman was a member of a wealthy family, using two thousand taels of gold to buy a Yellow Bud Pill was still too wasteful for any family.
If not for the black-veiled middle-aged cultivator raising the price, this Yellow Bud Pill would probably have been auctioned off at a thousand taels of cold.
Hearing the young swordsman shout out the price of two thousand taels of gold, the black-veiled middle-aged cultivator visibly stilled. He sat calmly and said coldly, “Friend has great spirit. This one just doesn’t know if Friend really pay the two thousand tales of gold?”
The young swordsman felt as though he dropped into ice, his flushed face turning white.
An uproar in the room.
Just by his expression, everyone in the room knew that this person was not a member of a wealthy family. He had only shouted the price of two thousand gold tales because he lost control of his emotions.
After ridicule came coldness.
Any place had their rules, and the rules of Fish Market were even stricter.
The auctioneer, who had been standing in front of the table with the Yellow Bud Pill, was a thin man dressed in yellow robes. He shook his head and looked with sympathy at this young swordsman. He sighed. “You should know the rules here.”
The young swordsman’s clothing was soaked in sweat. His right hand landed on the hilt of the sword at his wrist. Then he took a deep breath. His expression turned determined and he slowly stretched out his left hand.
Everyone’s gaze had gathered onto the long sword at his waist already. Seeing his movement, the ridicule in most people’s eyes started to disappear, and respect rose.
This young swordsman’s sword appeared extremely light, and a rare metallic blue. This clearly was not an ordinary sword. Its value was at least two thousand taels of gold.
According to the rules of the black market, since he shouted the price, he could use this sword as collateral to trade for the Yellow Bud Pill. His movements showed he was clearly unwilling to give up the sword, and he was going to cut off his fingers as punishment.
If one lost his sword, he could search for another one, but one could not grow cut-off fingers. But for cultivators who practiced the sword, the sword was a symbol, a kind of spirit. Cultivators possessing such a spirit would usually go further on the path of cultivation. So this young swordsman’s present choice caused the scorn and disdain to turn into respect.
The young swordsman was moving to cut off two of his fingers according to the rules when a clear shout sounded.
“Give this Yellow Bud Pill to him.” This voice was calm and simple, without any emotion.
The young swordsman turned around in shock.
The one who had spoken was the youth dressed as a scholar.
When he calmly said this, the thick-browed young person behind him raised an eyebrow. He took out a black pearl from the bag he carried on his back and placed it beside the Yellow Bud Pill. This black pearl was the size of a pigeon’s egg and gave off a faint radiance. Anyone who saw it knew that this was more than two thousand taels of gold.
The young swordsman was sure he had never seen these two people before. He thought, if the young person had been a moment slower in speaking, his fingers would have already been on the ground. He first felt joy and great luck, and then shame. He could not speak a word.
The young person dressed like a scholar did not say anything. He looked at the old usher standing next to him and started walking.
The hunchback old person did not speak as he led the way to a door inside the room.
The young swordsman recovered from his daze. His hands started to tremble uncontrollably. Due to his excitement, his pale face flushed red again. “This one is Zhong Jiang … …”
He clearly was about to state his name, yet the youth dressed like a scholar interrupted him after a few words. “I do not need you to repay me, so you do not need to tell me your name.”
The young person did not turn back. The words were calm, and almost ruthless. He followed the old person into a door and disappeared under everyone’s shocked gazes.
The young swordsman stood for many seconds, sweat once again rolling down his forehead. For some reason, he suddenly understood what the young person meant.
For the young person, this was a matter resolved easily. But for him, he would never again encounter someone else like this. He would not have a chance to start again like this. He could never make another mistake like losing control of his emotions. The lesson he learned now was a favor greater than the pill.
This young swordsman, who came from Zhong Jiang, took the Yellow Bud Pill the auctioneer handed him. He bowed deeply towards the door the young person had disappeared into and held his hands as though he was presenting a sword. Seeing his actions, the cultivators in the room became even more solemn.
Inside the door was another deep alley.
The eaves and canopy above the alley did not completely cover the alley. Rain slipped through the cracks. Many people moved like ghosts through the rooms on both sides, noisy as they did unknown business.
Grim rain and wind darken the skies, and people were like ghosts.
In a scene like this, even the young person who had given away a Yellow Bud Pill with a wave of the hand showed a pondering look in his calm and determined eyes.
He immediately realized something and a hint of anger appeared on his face.
A burning presence spread with him at the center. The wind and rain could not go near him, and the grim presence dissipated.
The old man leading the way held a black bamboo staff.
Up nearby on the left, several black bamboo plants were planted near the wall of the alley.
In this moment, the black bamboo twisted like snakes and quickly turned into black energy before disappearing.
The scene suddenly changed, and the ghostly figures disappeared. An open door appeared at the place where the black bamboo stalks had disappeared.
A dark room was behind the door.
“I had not expected the miss of the Shang Family to cultivate the path of yin and ghosts,” the young person said, smiling coldly.
Translator Ramblings: Let’s shift the view away from Ding Ning for a while.