Chapter 69: Bait (Part 5)
In the following days, after returning the Origin Tools to Night Demon, Su Chen once again resumed his two-pronged strategy. During the day, he would go to the True Jade Pavilion to study ancient texts and artifacts with Tang Zhen. At night, he would return home, where he would cultivate his Origin Skills. In his free time, he would tell Iron Cliff to let the metal-eating bug out and feed it some other metals.
Su Chen very quickly discovered that the metal-eating bug would eat most metals, but not every metal would be refined into its corresponding essence.
Su Chen tested a total of eighteen different metals. In the end, however, only three had managed to form essences. Because their value was not the same as starsilver, the rates of conversion was also different.
In other words, this metal-eating bug was like a long-term investment. While the amount of metal it could eat was limited and could not convert too much, it was better than nothing.
During this period, the Su residence was filled with a rarely-found peace. No one came to cause trouble for him.
One could see this from Ming Shu’s body. Ever since Su Chen had displayed his might, no one else dared hit Ming Shu. The Su Clan’s Fourth Young Master’s sentence “I still have not found the Cloud Bat Bloodline, so I may go a third time at any time” had spread throughout the entire Su residence.
Nobody wanted to become the reason for Su Chen to enter the Scarlet Mountain Range a third time.
“This large Su residence, with over a hundred disciples, has been completely shaken by a blind person. Truly useless.”
Sitting in his own position, Su Keji shook his head, sighing.
Elder Tong to his side was not worried about the cold. As always, he fanned himself as he sighed, “It’s no surprise. The Su Clan was single-handedly established by Patriarch, and not for very long. Not to mention our background is slightly lacking.”
“That’s right, lacking,” Su Keji helplessly said. “If we continue down this path, our outlook for the Hidden Dragon Battle during next year’s summer solstice is bleak.”
In terms of strength, Su Changche, who was in the Yang Opening Realm, could be considered the leader of the Four Great Clans. However, in terms of background, the Su Clan was significantly weaker than the others. This made it so that the Su Clan was like a nouveau riche household in many ways, with no way to compare themselves to the other three clans. Although Su Changche spared no effort to manage his clan, there were issues that could not be solved overnight. For instance, the Su Clan was clearly lacking in their ability to provide cultivation resources for their third generation. Originally, Su Chen was considered a genius, but he had still gone blind, and he was still unwilling to let go of the prime resources available. In addition, no one was able to overthrow him, causing many to feel helpless.
Elder Tong said, “The Lin Clan has already set relationships with Longxi’s Gu Clan. Now, their Gu Qingluo often goes to the Lin Clan’s Beast Garden. Although we don’t know what she is doing, there must be deep cooperation given that she has remained there for such a long time. In addition, the Lin Clan’s most outstanding disciples have all disappeared for about a year. As well, the He and Li Clans cannot be underestimated, and they have been constantly changing for the past two years. The He Clan’s movements are hidden, making it hard to tell what they are doing. However, the Li Clan…… From hearsay, Li Qingyun is going to return.”
The chain of bad news considerably worsened Su Keji’s mood. He lamented, “The other three clans are unwilling to be left behind, focusing all their efforts on obtaining a good result at next year’s Hidden Dragon Battle. Only our Su Clan has so much infighting for the first position, allowing a blind person to maintain the top spot. This truly is……”
Elder Tong said with deliberation, “Thus, even if Su Qian’s strength greatly increases after obtaining medicines and is able to beat Su Chen, he may still not be the opponents for the other three clans.”
Su Keji’s face fell. “Are you saying that my Su Clan is doomed to have no achievements during this Hidden Dragon Battle?”
“What I am saying is that if the Su Clan has any possible methods yet is unwilling to use them at this point in time, there might not even be the need to do battle at all.”
Su Keji’s heart trembled. He seemed to have thought of something.
He muttered to himself, “Do I really have to……”
Elder Tong gazed at Su Keji silently.
He knew that Su Keji would do exactly as he had anticipated.
As expected, after a moment of deep thought, Su Keji shot to his feet. “You’re right. The four clans will be eyeing each other closely during this Hidden Dragon Battle. We cannot place all of our attention on Su Chen. I will go ask my father to use ‘that’ opportunity. No matter what…… my Su Clan cannot just give up like this!”
Many days later, Li Shu returned from the Flying Immortal Palace, bringing information from there.
The starsilver essence samples that Li Shu had brought aroused the interests of a few stores. Li Shu had spoken to many different stores before deciding on two of them.
One of them was the Thousand Treasures Pavilion, a well-known establishment in the Flying Immortal Palace. They sold and bought at fair prices and were well-established. Their opening bid was also decent – 280,000 low-grade Origin Stones for fifteen kilograms of starsilver essence.
The standard conversion rate of starsilver essence was forty to one; forty kilograms of starsilver would be used to refine one kilogram of essence. Thus, based on price alone, half a kilogram of starsilver essence was worth eight thousand low-grade Origin Stones, excluding the labor and time it would take. Thankfully, when starsilver was refined it would produce other relatively valuable byproducts, lowering the price. Generally, half a kilogram of starsilver essence was worth ten thousand low-grade Origin Stones.
However, this was the market price. The Thousand Treasures Pavilion was buying, so their price would be lower. It was only because starsilver was in short supply that Li Shu had been able to get a price only missing twenty thousand. If it were anything else, the Thousand Treasure Pavilion would have only bought it for merely half the market price. However, the Thousand Treasure Pavilion also said that if the seller wanted to buy more than fifty thousand Origin Stones worth of goods from them, they could buy the fifteen kilograms of starsilver essence for 300,000 Origin Stones.
No matter what, 280,000 Origin Stones was an extremely fair price, but it wasn’t the highest bid.
The highest bid was by the store known as the Golden Name Workshop. The store wasn’t big, and their business is average. However, their opening bid was decent: 400,000 low-grade Origin Stones.
They said that market value was only market value, but many times starsilver essence simply could not be found. Thus, the true sale value was much higher than this price and depended on the buyer’s need. Since they could sell it for a better price, they dared to name a price of 400,000 Origin Stones.
Upon hearing Li Shu’s explanation, Su Chen closed his eyes for a moment, thinking. Then he said, “Li Shu, do you think this Golden Name Workshop is reliable?”
“Not at all,” Li Shu replied with surprising directness.
“Oh? Tell me why?”
“In the days that I spent at the Flying Immortal Palace, I specifically asked around about the Golden Name Workshop. Although they are a store, and they are located in a luxury quadrant of the city, their business is very bad. It doesn’t seem as if they have any great origins, and I did not hear about any of the great clans in the Flying Immortal Palace having any relationships with them. One could say that it’s impossible to estimate their foundation. To tell the truth, doing business with this kind of a store and with this kind of a price is extremely risky.”
“But you still brought their information back to me.”
“In the end, it is still an extra hundred thousand Origin Stones,” Li Shu replied.
What did a hundred thousand Origin Stones entail?
To commoners, this was like a hundred million.
To low-tier Origin Qi Scholars, this was a hundred thousand.
To mid-tier Origin Qi Scholars, this was a thousand.
To high-tier Origin Qi Scholars, this was ten.
Only to peak Origin Qi Scholars would a hundred thousand Origin Stones be considered toilet paper or dung.
Su Chen was considered low-tier even among low-tier Origin Qi Scholars, and Li Shu wasn’t even an Origin Qi Scholar yet. No matter what, a hundred thousand Origin Stones was not a small sum, one which could not be ignored.
Even if he held doubts, Li Shu still brought the information back with him.
After all, he did not have the authority to make a decision on such an important matter.
Upon hearing Li Shu’s report, Su Chen was placed in a tough position.
He thought for a moment before saying, “I suddenly thought of the scam that Yan Wushuang tried to pull on me before. She wanted to use three fake goods to cheat my True Jade Pavilion out of two thousand tales of pure gold. If it weren’t for the fact that I pretended I was blind, I probably would have been tricked by them. This taught me a principle, which is the more something is a scam, the more attractive the bait is. What do they mean, ‘they have methods to sell for a better price so they can buy at a higher price’ – I think that it’s all nonsense. Their goals are most likely impure.”
Li Shu said, “Young Master is clever. Since this is the case, we should just ignore this store and instead deal with the Thousand Treasures Pavilion. To tell the truth, the price that the Thousand Treasures Pavilion offered is quite fair.”
Su Chen replied, “I only said that it will be a scam. I didn’t say that we won’t do business with them.”
“What?” Li Shu was dazed.
Su Chen laughed sarcastically. “In the two months that I was in the Halcyon Gorge, my business was quite good. However, I obtained the most when I killed Ulrich in the cave, and I obtained the second most when I killed Bai Fan and Wolf Blade. Just a Moon-Swallowing Heavenly Wolf Blade alone is worth nearly ten thousand Origin Stones……”
Lin Shu silently cursed, ‘Now you say that it’s worth ten thousand Origin Stones. Earlier, you had given Wolf Blade a value of five hundred Origin Stones.’
Su Chen continued, “Do you understand what I mean?”
Li Shu replied, “Young Master means…… finding riches in the midst of danger?”
Su Chen leisurely said, “Since there are people who are plotting against us, why not bite back? As someone who cultivates, how can I not have a few lives on my hands, and how can I not earn a few small fortunes? It would be a waste of all my bitter cultivation these past few years. How else would I be able to blend in with other Origin Qi Scholars?”