The giant sun hung in the sky; it was warm and bright.
In the wreckage of a garden, the exquisite lady was looking more alluring than usual in her blood-red gown. Her expression was seductive, her figure was enticing, with her perky chest, slender waist, and amorous long legs.
She was starting to realize where her awfully strange anger was coming from.
Half of that anger was because she has always hated those who were cunning, the other half was because she cared very much for the Qi Zhen Pavilion's reputation.
The Qi Zhen Pavilion was established across the Qin Dynasty with one store in every city. Usually, it kept a very low profile and never exposed itself to the messiness outside of its stores. Despite that, nobody has ever tried to provoke the brand, not even the emperors. However, now, someone was standing before its door and making a fuss. Even though there was a reason behind the drama, it was still damaging to the pavilion's reputation. This was the main reason behind her frustration.
The opponent was, after all, a master in the completion stage of training. Under the circumstances and the fact that the pavilion was in the wrong, she had to swallow her pride. Now that the culprit is dead, this whole event has ended. She had no reason to battle with a well-trained cultivator. Instead, she should try to befriend this master.
Thinking about her next steps, the alluring lady smiled brightly as all her defensive demeanor faded. Her seductive face expressed thousands of different emotions, which kept everyone intrigued. "Elder, your three question have left me speechless. For everything that has happened, I must apologize."
She then waved her hand, and a fire red thorny whip appeared in mid-air. Unexpectedly, she wrapped it around her own upper body.
The thorns of the whip broke through her robe and dug into her skin. Her bare skin was exposed, and fresh red blood was starting to drip.
The crowds gasped and grimaced. They were all shocked by her actions.
"This object is called the Whip of Thorns. It is convenient to use it when I plead guilty."
The woman's smile was very enchanting and very delightful. It was as if she could feel no pain.
"You sure are bold. What is your name?" Ling Xian was a bit surprised.
"Elder, you finally remembered to ask me my name. I am the Regional Manager for the Qi Zhen Pavilion in the City of Qing, Gong Suo Xin." The woman's body was plump, graceful, and undeniably charming.
"Looking at your seductive ways, your name doesn't seem like you are one to lock up love and hearts," Ling Xian teased. "I am merely making a joking. Get rid of the whip now."
As he spoke, he waved his hand, and the long red whip instantly fell. He then turned to walk away.
"Elder, please wait." Gong Suo Xin pursued after him. Her steps were light, and her long gown floated around her feet. With each step she took, the dress sketched out a graceful curve.
Her snow-white skin was exposed to the world after her own punishment, which only helped to accent her indescribable seductiveness. Her beauty was shaking the souls and hearts of many.
"Is there anything else? Does Manager Gong plan to force me to stay?" Ling Xian frowned.
Gong Suo Xin smiled. "Elder, you must be joking. I just thought that since you came to the pavilion to sell your spiritual Dans, then why don't we hold an auction? An auction was supposed to happen in three days, but since all the powerful figures in the city have already converged, I thought we might as well do it now. Would you like to join?"
"Ah, this is what you were thinking. You sure have everything calculated in your head." Ling Xian thought about it, and then he agreed, "I don't see why not. I am curious as to what kind of treasures the Qi Zhen Pavilion has."
"I am certain that we won't disappoint you." Gong Suo Xin's eyes brightened. Currently, all the powerhouses in the city are here in one place because of Ling Xian. If they carry forward the auction and hold it now, she was sure they would get fantastic results.
Facing the mountain of people, she smiled and instructed, "The auction today has more treasures than usual. This Elder here is also participating. All those who wish to be a part of the auction, please start entering the building."
As soon as she finished talking, many people nudged and fidgeted. The pavilion holds auctions often. However, the opportunity to participate in an auction with a completion stage master is very rare. Many people started to march toward the auction ground inside the pavilion.
Ye Xiao Tian did not move right away. Instead, he walked toward Ling Xian and laughed brightly, "Elder, it has been a few days since I have seen you. I have been thinking about our last encounter because I thought I would never have the opportunity to listen to your wise words again. I cannot believe we would run into each other today. I have been a very lucky man."
"Mayor Ye, your daughter has healed by now I assume?" Ling Xian faintly smiled.
"Of course. It's all thanks to your abilities that my daughter is no longer in danger. Although she has been asking when she would be able to meet the Elder that saved her life." Ye Xiao Tian's back was arched, and he did not behave arrogantly despite his position as a mayor. After all, he was only at the fundamental level when the Elder before him was at the completion level. The cultivation community cared about respect and seniority, how could he not bow down to a master at the completion stage?
"So Mayor Ye knows this Elder," Gong Suo Xin's gaze was sending electric shocks to everyone. Every little movement she made, she seduced everyone in the room.
"This Elder saved my daughter's life before," Ye Xiao Tian didn't talk about the details. Instead, he extended his arm. "Please, this way."
Ling Xian nodded. The three of them walked towards the auction ground.
The auction stage was very spacious. There were two levels dedicated to it, with the first floor being where regular cultivators sat, and the second ground being private rooms where the influential figures stayed.
Under Gong Suo Xin's guidance, Ling Xian directly went up to the second floor. Before he entered the room, he suddenly had a thought. He asked loud and clear, "Clan Leader Ling and Alchemist Fang, would you care to join me?'
Once the invitation was extended, the crowds broke out into chatter. Everyone was staring at Ling Tian Qing and Master Fang with curiosity, admiration, and jealousy. They all wanted to be them.
They were invited by a master in the completion stage!
In the little City of Qing, his existence was as rare as immortals!
To sit in the same room as him and converse with him was of great glory and honor.
Ling Tian Qing and Master Fang were confused themselves. They did not know of this Elder before them, why were they invited to be in the same room as him?
However, since the Elder has spoken, there was no reason to reject. Both of them happily followed him upstairs.
Ling Xian's thought process of simple. Since he was in disguise as a completion stage master, then why not take advantage of his current identity and help out those around him?
Therefore, he chose Master Fang and Ling Tian Qing.
Master Fang has helped him greatly throughout his life, and Clan Leader Ling, after all, shares his Ling last name. He also had a great impression of this leader and did not at all mind for others to associate this man with a master in the completion stage.
He achieved the result he was looking for. The crowds were loudly discussing the possible connection and relationship between him and these two men.
Clan Leader Fang, who has always held hatred towards the Ling Clan, stared at Ling Tian Qing with jealousy and muttered to himself, "I did not think that he knew someone in the completion stage of training. I guess I have to adjust my plans appropriately for the future."
"It is a pleasure to meet you."
Ling Tian Qing and Master Fang made a fist with one hand and clasped it with another to show him their respect. Leader Ling was very excited while Master Fang was a lot more composed. The two, however, shared the amount of respect they held towards this Elder. They behaved modestly.
One was the leader of the Ling Clan, and one was an eminent alchemist in the city. The two of them were influential figures in the city, yet they were smiling timidly and watching their actions carefully. Ling Xian could not help but shudder.
Everything came down to who has more capability!
Because he was emitting energy as someone who was in the completion stage of training, he was able to gain this much admiration. If he came today as the handicap, who couldn't summon any spiritual energy, who would care about his existence?
"There is no need for this much etiquette, please sit," Ling Xian extended his arm and welcomed them into the private room. "I have heard of Leader Ling and Master Fang for a long time. To have seen you two in person, I can confidently say that the good things people talk about are real."
The two of them were flattered at the compliment and felt very honored. However, both of them had the same question in mind.
How come his voice sounded so much like Ling Xian's?
Shaking their heads, the two of them chased away that impossible thought from their minds and sat down slowly.
"Everyone please quiet down. I will not recite the rules for our auction as I am sure you are well-aware of them. I now officially announce the start of our auction!"
A middle-aged man walked onto the center stage. Behind him, there were ten grinning girls, each with a tray that was covered with red cloth.
There were ten objects for sale at this auction.
"The first item that is up for grabs today is the Revitalization Dan, brewed by one of our grandmasters here in the Qi Zhen Pavilion. The use of this Dan should be clear to all of you. That's right. It's able to add a month of life to someone's lifespan!" The middle-aged man smiled.
As soon as he announced the object, the auction ground broke into chaos.
A seventh-realm spiritual medicine that could add a month of life to any cultivator. Thought it could only be consumed once in someone's lifetime and only adds one month of time, to those who are on the verge of dying, it grants them with enough time to take care of their wills and other businesses. If they are lucky, they may also find out a way to continue living in that one month they gained. It was a priceless treasure!
Spiritual Dans that had abilities to increase someone's lifespan are beyond rare because they are challenging to brew. Even though the Revitalization Dan was only a seventh-realm Dan, the difficulties when it comes to brewing it was at the same level as a sixth-realm Dan, if not harder.
Gong Suo Xin snickered at the gasps of shocks coming from the crowd.
This object was something she acquired from an alchemist grandmaster after a long time of begging. She wanted to create an uproar during the first auction she held as the upper manager of the pavilion. This way, she would be able to both increase sales and construct heightened expectations of herself.
As she predicted, everyone was stunned by the Revitalization Dan. Usually, the objects presented at auctions aren't by any means ordinary. However, when compared to the Revitalization Dan, they were worthless. This was also just the first item of the auction!
Of course, Ling Xian was not as impressed. He stared at the seductive woman before him with great interest and curiosity. "You sure have a powerful background if you were able to get your hands on a Revitalization Dan."
"Elder, you have flattered me. It is just a Revitalization Dan, I assume you see nothing special about it." Gong Suo Xin grinned.
"Yes, that is true. If every item after this is of the same level, then I really can't find it interesting." Ling Xian shook his head.
"Elder please be patient. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed." Gong Suo Xin was very confident.
While the two of them chatted, the middle-aged man grabbed onto the small hammer and shouted, "Starting price is 10,000 spiritual stones with a minimum increase in the bid of 1,000!"
"10,200 from me!" someone chanted.
"10,300!" another person pressed.
The atmosphere of the auction ground was getting rowdier and voices after voices were screaming.
Clan Leader Fang remained composed. However, his heated gaze exposed his determination to win. He shouted, "20,000!"
Once this bid was screamed out, everyone fell into silence immediately.
This was both because of the high price he bid, and because of his identity.
As one of the leaders in the City of Qing, who are always considering their reputation, was it worth it to scream out such a high price for a Dan that would gain him a month to his life?
"Seems like he's determined to win…" Ling Tian Qing squinted.
It wasn't hard to imagine why Leader Fang was very keen on winning this Dan. It was for sure to help save one of the Elders in the Fang Clan. For example, the previous leader of the clan.
The hatred between the Ling and the Fang Clan has been building up for a long time. If an opportunity arises where one clan can do something to traumatize the other clan, then the clan in power would undoubtedly seize the opportunity. Ling Tian Qing was seriously considering giving up more than 20,000 stones for the Revitalization Dan that he had no use for.
Ling Xian saw his hesitation and whispered, "Leader Ling, if you want the object but have some unspeakable difficulties, I can help you out."
 Literal meaning of Gong Suo Xin: lock heart.