“Well?” Chen Xiong said sneeringly. “Yes? Or No?”
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times. Before he even had a chance to finish digging the pit for this pink-robed young man to fall into, he had jumped in of his own accord.
“This guy really is insidious. This jade pendant is probably extremely valuable…. And based on how confident he seems, it’s obvious that if I succeed, he’ll just ask me to do another spirit enhancement, and then another and another….” After reaching this point in his train of thought, an imperceptible glint appeared in his eyes. Then his expression turned grimmer. Shivering, and even panting a bit, he forced his eyes to turn bloodshot.
“There’s no job I won’t take!” he shouted, seemingly incapable of revealing how he was actually very unconfident about it all. “But when I perform spirit enhancements, I charge with each successful enhancement! And if you don’t have enough soul medicine, I….”
Everyone looking on would think that he actually didn’t want to accept the job, and was trying to make it sound like the customer couldn’t afford to pay.
“That’s fine,” Chen Xiong said. “We can calculate the bill based on every success!” At this point, he frowned slightly. Something about the situation seemed off. Although he was trying to control everything, it almost seemed like Bai Xiaochun had pushed him into a corner. Eyes flashing, he reviewed his plan, and then chuckled coldly.
“Seems he’s on to me,” he thought. “However, there is no way he could possibly guess how determined I am to succeed, nor the fact that I’m actually prepared for the fact that he can perform spirit enhancements up to the fourteenfold level! Besides, there’s even a high likelihood that he’ll fail somewhere from the eleventh to the fourteenth spirit enhancement!” Although Chen Xiong’s actions all seemed a bit rash, he had actually investigated Bai Hao, and come to the realization that he was equipped almost entirely with fourteenfold spirit enhanced items.
“What a pity that I have items that not even he could compensate me for if he destroyed them. Furthermore, even if he does succeed in raising them to the fourteenfold level, if he gives up after that, my efforts will be equally effective!” Chuckling he agreed to all of Bai Xiaochun’s demands.
When he saw the ashen look on Bai Xiaochun’s face in response to that, he felt a bit more comfortable.
Although Bai Xiaochun appeared to be scowling on the verge of tears, he was actually smiling broadly in his heart. And yet, he kept his teeth gritted, and then flicked his sleeve as he took the jade pendant into the back room.
Before long, he came out, and the jade pendant had no more silver designs on it. Instead, it had a single golden design. Furthermore, it looked different from before. It was a bit smaller, and it emanated spiritual power fluctuations that caused everyone in the area to stare in shock.
“He actually did it!”
“An elevenfold spirit enhancement….”
When Chen Xiong saw it, his expression remained the same as ever, but inwardly, he sighed.
As for Bai Xiaochun, he proudly stuck his chin up and then announced, “Soul Aide, please explain my spirit enhancement pricing method to the young prince here, and calculate how much soul medicine he owes me.”
Bai Hao stepped forward. “When creating something from nothing, the first spirit enhancement costs 1,000 portions of soul medicine. Going from onefold to twofold is 2,000. Twofold to threefold is 4,000. And so on and so forth. Fourfold is 8,000. Sevenfold is 64,000. Ninefold is 256,000. Tenfold is 512,000…. As for the eleventh, the total soul medicine cost would be…. 1,024,000.”
Gasps could be heard among the audience in response to Bai Hao’s words. Although some had already calculated the numbers involved, to hear them spoken out loud was a shocking thing.
Bai Xiaochun stood there looking proudly at Chen Xiong, who simply smiled coolly as he produced a soulhoarding pagoda.
“There are 5,000,000 portions of soul medicine in this soulhoarding pagoda. Keep performing more enhancements. I'm not happy with only eleven.” Another buzz of surprised talk went through the crowd. The kind of bet that they were witnessing was so exciting that many of them were already sending messages to friends using transmission jade slips.
Before long, all of Borough 89 was buzzing, and countless soul cultivators were rushing toward Bai Xiaochun’s shop. There were also numerous streams of divine sense which came to focus on the shop.
Bai Xiaochun’s pupils constricted as his theory was confirmed. Abandoning his act, he chuckled coldly and took the jade pendant into the back room.
Shortly thereafter, he emerged, and the jade pendant had a second golden design on it. When people outside the shop saw it, cries of shock rose up into the air.
“Twelvefold enhancement! Heavens!!”
“I haven’t seen a competition like this in years! Call everybody over to watch! This is definitely going to shake all of Arch-Emperor City!!”
The shouts and cries of the crowd were now causing Chen Xiong to feel a bit of pressure, and it was even possible to see some hesitation in his eyes. However, he continued to glare at Bai Xiaochun as he said, “I'm still not happy. Keep going!”
Bai Xiaochun could tell how determined this pink-robed young man was. Inwardly, he gave a cold harrumph and thought, “You just wait. I'm gonna scare you to death!”
Spinning in place, he headed into the back room and came out moments later to reveal three golden designs on the pendant!!
Before anyone could react, Bai Xiaochun loudly said, “Soul Aide, calculate the bill!”
Bai Hao couldn’t help but shiver. Never before had he ever experienced anything like this, and yet, it was without the slightest hesitation that he replied, “The cost is 4,096,000 portions of soul medicine!”
By this point, it wasn’t just Borough 89 that was being rocked by the event. Word was spreading into the other boroughs, and it was even possible to see people hurrying over from those locations to join the commotion.
Chen Xiong was trembling, and a bit of panic could be seen in his eyes. He almost couldn’t think straight. This was definitely not what he had planned for. He had placed all his hopes on the possibility that the jade pendant would be destroyed.
“This guy's skill in the art of spirit enhancement is shocking!” he thought.
However, he still gritted his teeth, looked up at Bai Xiaochun, and then slowly said, “I'm still not happy. Keep going!”
The audience was completely bowled over. By this point, they could tell that this was no ordinary bet, and that there was some specific reason that Chen Xiong kept saying he wasn’t happy.
“Still not happy, huh?” Bai Xiaochun thought. “Alright mister pinkster. You just wait to see how I scare the living daylights out of you!” He returned to the back room, and after the time it takes an incense stick to burn, he came back out. This time, when the audience saw the jade pendant, they devolved into a massive hubbub.
“A fourteenfold spirit enhancement! How is this even possible?! Heavens….”
Even as everyone clamored, they also spread word to their friends, who began to hurry over in shock. Not bothering to wait for Bai Hao to calculate the bill, Bai Xiaochun proudly announced, “8,192,000 portions of soul medicine!”
He was of the opinion that personally saying it himself was a lot more impressive.
Bai Xiaochun’s words were like a death knell to Chen Xiong. He felt like his mind and heart were being struck by countless bolts of lightning, and his face was as white as a sheet. He staggered backward as if physically struck, gasping, his eyes completely bloodshot. Although he had told himself he was prepared for the possibility of a fourteenfold spirit enhancement, he was still completely shaken. Furthermore, the amount of soul medicine at stake was immense. That was especially true when he contemplated how he had already spent nearly 15,000,000.
He was already starting to regret this little plan of his, and was even thinking of giving up, but as the saying goes, if you ride a tiger, it's hard to get off. There were simply too many people in the audience now, with more showing up by the moment. There were probably tens of thousands of people lining the street outside.
Sticking his chin up proudly, Bai Xiaochun said, “Well, dear customer, are you happy now? At the moment, there isn’t enough soul medicine in this soulhoarding pagoda to pay me the 8,192,000 you owe me. If, after we settle accounts, you’re still not happy, then I’d be happy to continue!”
When Bai Hao heard this, he stood there stunned and feeling a bit hesitant. From what he could tell, his Master had actually calculated the bill wrong, and had only included the most recent spirit enhancement, not the combination of everything up to this point.
Although he wanted to point this out, there were simply too many people in the area. Considering he was supposed to be a simplistic soul slave, there was no way he could speak up now. Sighing, he mentally did a facepalm.
Gasps were also audible among the audience. Quite a few people had odd expressions on their faces as they too came to the conclusion that Bai Xiaochun had calculated the bill wrong. However, this pink-robed young man was obviously a noble chosen, and none of them wanted to offend him. Many people were looking at Bai Xiaochun furtively, wondering what would happen next. As for Chen Xiong, he was obviously a bit surprised at Bai Xiaochun’s proud front. However, he still couldn’t figure out what exactly was going on. Although he refused to believe that his opponent would actually miscalculate the bill… he patted his bag of holding and threw out another soulhoarding pagoda.
“There are 4,000,000 souls in there. I… I'm still not happy. Keep going!!” This was all of the soul medicine that both he and the other chosen had been able to come up with. It was a huge amount, the type that could form the reserve savings of a great clan!
At this point, Bai Xiaochun proudly said, “The cost for going from a fourteen to a fifteenfold spirit enhancement is different. It doesn’t cost double. It costs ten times as much! That means that if I succeed, you will owe me… 81,920,000 portions of soul medicine!” Even Bai Xiaochun seemed a bit jumpy to speak such a number out loud. After a moment of silence, he added, “Are… are you sure you can afford that much?”