The sun had just rose, and the Artifact Trade Convention was already boisterous and lively.
The magnificent three-story building had already been filled with strong cultivators from all around the continent. The coming together of these cultivators was about to start a spectacular battle. There would be no feud with the swords, no clash of the spiritual energies, but the battle would nevertheless be just as wonderful and just as intense.
This was a battle between spiritual stones. Only the wealthy could dominate here and become real winners.
But of course, the biggest winner would always be the host of the auction, or in this case, the Artifact Trade Convention.
The Artifact Trade Convention was the most affluent trade convention in the Zhou Dynasty. Every year, it hosts over 100 auctions of three different grades. The one happening right now was of the moderate grade, geared toward foundational level cultivators.
Though categorized under the moderate grade, there were still many treasures in the auction that strum the heartstrings of completion level cultivators.
Only an hour remains until the beginning of the auction, some cultivators from far away cities just managed to get there.
Ling Xian and Lin Qing Yi just arrived as well. Wearing the same casual clothes as before, they chatted as they walked in.
"It sure is lively. Seems like today’s auction isn’t ordinary," Lin Qing Yi exclaimed. She was originally very excited for this auction. However, after Ling Xian told her they might need to go separate ways, she was low in spirits as all she could feel was sadness from having to leave Ling Xian behind.
Noticing her sadness, Ling Xian sighed to himself but quickly pretended that he didn’t notice her bad mood. Smiling, he said, "It really is not an ordinary auction. Even Water of the Resting Soul is one of the items up for grabs. I am very enthusiastic towards today’s auction."
He then marched forward in giant steps. As the two of them arrived at the entrance to the auction ground, a young servant blocked their way. He smiled respectfully and asked, "Can I see your invitation cards?"
"Invitation cards?" Ling Xian was a little startled. Zhao Zong Hua never said anything about needing an invitation.
"Neither of you were invited?" The young servant withdrew his smile and his face darkened immediately.
He was already in a bad mood for having been scheduled as the greeter, upon seeing Ling Xian’s hesitation, his frustration channeled up. "Why are you here if you have no invitation? Our convention is not an event that anyone can just show up to. Only the powerful with invitations can participate in the auction."
Hearing this, Ling Xian frowned, too lazy to want to deal with this person. He summoned the golden card into the air and asked, "I have no invitation, but will this work?"
"A Card of Spiritual Stones, who doesn’t have one of those?" The young man smiled with disdain and impatiently flapped his hand around, "Let me tell you, I’ve seen a lot of people like you who try to come in just for the hell of it. Leave now, don’t waste my time."
"Why don’t you look at it carefully and see why this particular Card of Spiritual Stones is special," Ling Xian’s stare was cold as he unleashed a little of his foundational energy, instantly causing this young servant to shudder.
"Foundational level?" The youth gasped. He was afraid, but he continued to pretend he was calm. "I am warning you. This is the Artifact Trade Convention. Even if you are a foundational level cultivator, you are not allowed to do just anything you want. You will die a very painful death if you behave unreasonably."
"Stop giving me bullsh*t. Just look at this quickly. If this card cannot be regarded as an invitation then I will turn around and leave," Ling Xian frowned. He believed that this rare distributed VIP card was enough to act as an invitation.
"Hmmph, then I will look and see what kind of special card this is. But you are the one who said you would leave if this card isn’t enough to be an invitation. Don’t back out on your words." The servant’s fear was growing as Ling Xian’s stance has gotten more aggressive. He planned on peeking at the gold card for a second and shooing Ling Xian away.
Just as he was about to take the card however, a gentle voice appeared.
"What card is it? Let me see."
Following those words, came a grey-haired and red-faced elder. He wore a very expensive gown and the grin on his face was very loving. He bowed to Ling Xian and introduced himself, "My last name is Wang and I am in charge of this entire place."
"Ah, Manager Wang." Ling Xian grinned faintly and handed over the gold card. "I have no invitation card. I wonder if this card will grant us entrance instead?"
"Let me see." Elder Wang took over the gold card with purple carving on it with a grin, his face then instantly changed and his grin deepened into a more respectable one. "It is the VIP card distributed by the Artifact Trade Convention’s headquarter. We have offended you, please never mind us."
"No worries. Just tell me, can I use this as an invitation card." Ling Xian waved his hand.
"Most certainly! Those with VIP cards are my convention’s welcomed guest. With this card, you can attend any auction hosted by the Artifact Trading Convention. What’s the use of an invitation card if you have this?" Manager Wang’s smile was bright as he returned the card to the man in black.
Taking over the VIP card, Ling Xian’s gaze shifted to the youth and whispered, "You heard that right. Your manager said I can go in."
"Yes, yes, I have eyes that fail to recognize greatness, please do not be angry with me." the young servant’s heart was brimming with fear, he squished his face into a fake smile that was even uglier than his crying face. Ever since Manager Wang said this card was the rare VIP card, he was petrified. The way he looked at Ling Xian was only of honor and fear.
It was a VIP card!
Every single person who owns this card has an insane background and is a much welcomed guest for the Artifact Convention Center’s auctions. There was absolutely no need for the owners of a VIP card to have an invitation card.
Compared to this card, invitation cards were worth nothing.
Remembering the way he talked to this valuable guest, the servant’s body shook from fear.
Elder Wang frowned. The saying "the older the wiser" was definitely true. As well, as the manager of the place, what hasn’t he seen? Based off that one obvious dissatisfied phrase Ling Xian asked and the teeth-chattering way the servant behaved, he saw through the entire situation without difficulty. His facial expressed turned ugly and scolded, "Did you not go through training? No matter who it is that tries to enter the auction ground, you have to treat them with respect. How dare you look down on anyone with your dog eyes?"
"Manager Wang, I know I did wrong, I know I did wrong, please forgive me." the servant’s face turned pale white as his dread reached an extreme point.
Manager Wang snickered. Naturally, this snicker was nothing when it entered Ling Xian’s ears. However, when the servant heard it, his entire body jittered and he spat out a mouthful of blood.
"I only give you a small punishment this time. Remember, if this happens again, you will not be spared."
The Manager then ignored the servant, who was kneeling and katowing at this point, and apologized, "Your excellency, it is my fault for not educating my employees well. We have offended you. I ask that you possess the kindness in you to forgive what he did."
"No wonder you are the manager of this place. You have a way with words."
Ling Xian faintly grinned. Judging from the fact that the Elder understood the situation in the snap of a finger, as well as how he dealt with the situation so cleanly, there was enough evidence to conclude that this person has the ability to be the manager of this branch. He definitely climbed up to this position with his own hard work rather than through the back door.
"You have flattered me." Manager Wang kindly chuckled. He then extended his arm, gesturing Ling Xian to enter.
Ling Xian nodded, took a huge step forward, and entered the Artifact Trade Convention’s auction ground.
He was not someone with a narrow heart. Since the Elder punished the youth, this chapter has been teared off. There was no point in not letting it go.
Lin Qing Yi followed Ling Xian inside. Under Manager Wang’s guidance, they came to a box on the third floor.
There were three floors on the auction ground. The first floor was for the everyday cultivators with invitations, the second floor was for cultivators with respectable identities, and the boxes on the third floor were reserved for special guests like Ling Xian. There were only nine boxes in total. Other than Ling Xian, there was another box with one guest sitting in there while all the other ones were empty.
It was apparent that not just anyone can sit on the third floor.
There were many unwritten rules in the Taoism community. For example, the stronger cultivators cannot sit at a lower position than the weaker ones. From the way this auction ground was structured, one can see that the higher one sits, the higher their societal position.
When Elder Wang led Ling Xian into the VIP box, rambunctious gossips started to rumble.
"Who is it? Who is in a position high enough for Manager Wang to do the greeting himself? He is even allowed to sit on the third floor!"
"Yeah, only Master Tang is allowed to step onto the third floor but now there are others. I wonder where that woman and that man came from?"
Ling Xian, hearing the gossip from below and exclaimed. He was only able to enjoy other’s admiring gazes because of his tyrannical capabilities. If he was still that little meditational level cultivator, who would even look at him?
Shaking his head, Ling Xian’s resolve of one day being at the peak of the world strengthened!
The box was spacious and luxurious. On the table, various colored spiritual fruits stood, as well as some delicious snacks.
"Your excellency, please sit. This place is the VIP room reserved for our most prestigious guests," Elder Wang said, chuckling.
"There is no need to be so polite." Ling Xian sat down in a random chair and asked, "Elder Wang, I heard there will be Water of the Resting Soul at this auction. I wonder if the rumor is true?"
"Ah, so your excellency is here for Water of the Resting Soul as well. You are correct, and I can guarantee you with the Artifact Trade Convention’s reputation that our item is the real deal." Elder Wang stroked his beard as his aged face transformed into a blooming flower. His good mood was understandable. Water of the Resting Soul was one of the few last items at today’s auction. The more people present, the higher the price will be. These items were all rewards and winnings he acquired after battles, and it could lead to greatness for his career.
Hearing this, Ling Xian no longer worried, "If that’s the case then I cannot wait."
"The auction will start very soon. Your excellency please be patient. I will now go and get ready for the auction. Please excuse me." Elder Wang made a fist with one hand and cupped it with another to gesture for his departure.
"Please do as you will." Ling Xian nodded.
Then, the elderly clapped his hand and instantly, two maids with delicate faces and amazing figures entered the room. One was holding a palm fan that was half a person tall, the other brought with her hot tea.
Of course, these little details were not important. What was important was the way they dressed.
They each wore a thinly veiled white gown that exposed the majority of their skin. Two small cherries and a sparse bush was peeking through and could be clearly seen. Though they couldn’t be considered without clothes, they were pretty close to it.
Ling Xian was taken aback and his face flushed red.