The power of the rebound abruptly went still once those three words left Su Ming’s mouth. At the same time, the black stone he’d received in Dark Mountain, which was hanging off his neck, hidden underneath his clothes, let off a flash of dim light. In the blink of an eye, that gigantic cauldron was covered by that light. The cauldron shuddered and gradually shrank until it was only about the size of a palm. It floated up and landed on Su Ming’s palm.
That strange sight made the onlookers around him immediately widen their eyes, disbelief coming to their faces. The Western Sea Clan disciples who had brought the cauldron over sucked in a sharp breath, shocked.
Standing among the crowd observing Su Ming’s actions was also that Second Young Master and those old men from Western Sea Clan who had come because of the auction. Even that auctioneer, Feng Shao Feng, and Zi Shan were also watching to see how Su Ming would take that cauldron away.
After all, that cauldron had been in Western Sea Clan for many years and they had never been able to shrink it. The only reason they had been able to bring it to the land of Freezing Sky was because Western Sea Clan had a storage item that could store things up to the size of a mountain.
Yet right before their eyes, they saw Su Ming pressing his palm on the cauldron, and without him doing anything else, it was immediately enveloped by a dim light before mysteriously shrinking down.
The first thing that popped up in the people’s heads when they saw it was what the blue-haired old man had said during the auction.
"Only those chosen by fate can obtain this item, and only those chosen by fate can open it!"
Zi Shan instinctively opened her mouth where she stood in the crowd. She knew that cauldron, and she knew that no changes had ever occurred to it over the years it had been in Western Sea Clan, just like it should be for an inanimate object. There had been countless Western Sea Clan disciples who had examined it and tried claiming it for their own, but no matter what method they used, it yielded no results.
Even the Clan Master of Western Sea Clan had to give up in the end, and the research on this item only ended when Guru Li Long, their progenitor who was regarded with the highest prestige in Western Sea Clan, said something.
That something was what the blue-haired old man had said during the auction.
The cauldron was sent to the land of Freezing Sky due to Guru Li Long’s will as well. He had a feeling that since no one in Western Sea Clan could obtain it, then it was best that they did not keep it around, or else they would only bring disaster on their heads. That was why they sent it to the land of Freezing Sky to see whether there was anyone who was chosen by fate to own the cauldron.
At that moment, the Clan Elders of Western Sea Clan who came to the auction began breathing rapidly as they stared at the small cauldron glowing dimly on Su Ming’s palm. They were shocked, but at the same time, all of them imprinted Su Ming’s face in their memories.
A curious glint appeared in Second Young Master’s eyes. He looked at Su Ming standing in the distance and a smile appeared on his lips.
‘Very good. At least changing my plans and not buying that cauldron to give it to the Elder wasn’t for nothing…’
A pensive look appeared in the eyes of the old man by the name of Chen from Heaven Gate as he looked at Su Ming. For the first time, he regarded the youth seriously because of Su Ming himself, not because of his Master.
He had Su Ming’s name burned into his memories.
Tian Lan Meng was also watching Su Ming from the distance, and an elegant smile appeared on her face.
At that moment, the person who was under everyone’s scrutiny had a dazed look on his face and he only regained his senses after quite a long time. He looked at the small cauldron in his hand and turned around silently to walk towards his tent.
Zi Che followed behind him and sat down cross-legged outside his tent. Then he started giving a cold glare to the people whose eyes had now turned towards the tent.
After a long while, the owners of those eyes gradually averted their gazes, feeling conflicted, jealous, emotional, and all sorts of other feelings that were reflected on their faces before they returned to their own tents.
It was already dark outside. The moon shone high in the sky, but snow continued falling down, causing the land to be covered in a layer of silver. The entire tribe fell into silence, and the only sound that could be heard came from the fires in the covered lamps, letting out crackling noises in the cold wind.
Su Ming sat cross-legged within his tent and stared at the cauldron on his palm. Excitement appeared in his eyes, and he brushed the small cauldron with his left hand. A feeling as if his blood and flesh were connected to the cauldron rose within his heart the moment he touched it.
"This is indeed the Barren Cauldron needed to quench herbs and create medicinal pills… and the blue-haired old man from Western Sea Clan is right, this cauldron… hasn’t been opened for a very long time. There’s… a medicinal pill in it," Su Ming mumbled, and the light shining in his eyes grew brighter still.
His heart pounded against his chest. He had originally not believed in those words, but when he used the method to control the Barren Cauldron and made this thing shrink, he had a faint inkling that there was a mysterious life force within the cauldron.
That life force did not seem to belong to a living thing but a medicinal pill!
"The cauldron has been around for ages… if it wasn’t opened for thousands of years, then the medicinal pill inside is definitely something that is thousands of years old. If no one has opened it for tens of thousands of years…"
Su Ming’s heart pounded even harder against his chest. He stared at the cauldron on his palm and hesitation gradually appeared in his eyes. Once he observed the small cauldron closely, that hesitation in his eyes was replaced by shock.
A solemn expression appeared on his face and he brought the cauldron right up to his face to take a deep sniff. Once he did so, the shock in his eyes became stronger, bordering on disbelief.
‘The medicinal scent isn’t strong… There are two reasons for this. It’s either that the medicinal pill in the cauldron was cast aside, or that the medicinal pill isn’t completed…
‘But if this unknown medicinal pill is discarded, then while it’s only natural that the medicinal fragrance isn’t strong, but after so many years have gone by, then the medicinal scent shouldn’t even be there, it should have completely disappeared!
‘Unless it’s because no one has opened this cauldron for thousands of years, so the medicinal scent hasn’t disappeared, or else, it would be because the medicinal pill isn’t completed…’
Su Ming’s eyes sparkled. He stared at the small cauldron and only lifted his left hand after a long while to form some weird signs.
This was one of the hand seals lying in his memories, one that commanded the cauldron to open while he was creating medicinal pills. With some strange sounding words, he could make the cauldron’s lid move aside and end the entire process of creating the medicinal pill.
Su Ming knew that he just needed to recite the correcct words as he made those hand seals and the cauldron would open up immediately, but when he looked at the small cauldron in his hand, he hesitated.
‘If the medicinal pill in the cauldron isn’t discarded because it was a failed pill but is actually going through a process of reaching completion, then if I open it now, it’ll truly become a failed pill…’
Su Ming was silent for a little while before he stopped making the hand signs and put the cauldron away into his storage bag.
‘This isn’t the place for me to look into it. I’ll figure it out once I return to the ninth summit.’
Su Ming did not act rashly. Once he put away the small cauldron, he closed his eyes and started meditating.
Night passed by soon. When the second morning arrived, Su Ming walked out of his tent and went with Zi Che to the auction hall. He did not join in the bidding for the auction during this day. As of then, he only had one item he wanted - the black humanoid sealed within the stone.
That item did not appear on the second day of the auction but on the last day, once the auction had gone on for some time and the intense atmosphere in the hall had started dying down due to it having gone on for several days. Only then, the blue-haired, old auctioneer finally brought out the item Su Ming had been waiting for.
It was a mountain rock that was slightly taller than a person. It was transparent, and there was a small black humanoid sitting inside.
It looked almost as if it was alive!
"I have no idea what this is, and I’ve even asked a lot of people about it, but most of them do not know what it is. We did not bring this here. A few days ago, an esteemed guest of ours brought this here and asked us to put it for auction for him.
"That esteemed guest called it a Soul in Stone. He once said that he originally had three of these stones, but once he opened up two of them, one of the small black humanoids in there died and turned into a black crystal, while the other turned into a gust of black wind and escaped. Even now, we don’t know where it is.
"This is the last piece. He did not dare try opening it again and brought it here to put it for auction. He did not ask for a high price for this, but he had one request. The person who bought it must be able to tell him the name of this item, and the buyer had to prove that his words were true. If the owner is satisfied, he would pay for the bidder and give the bidder this item for free. He would also give the bidder the black crystal that the small black humanoid turned into once he cracked open one of the stones. The owner would negotiate with the bidder alone, so you do not need to worry about a third person knowing about this.
"The starting bid for this item is 100,000!"
The blue haired old man spoke languidly. Due to the strange nature of this item, many people’s interests were sparked, but as most of them were unfamiliar with this item and had never even seen it, they could not provide its name and its uses, so they did not place any bids.
"150,000!" a voice called out from among the crowd. It was a thin, middle-aged man. He did not hide his face but simply sat with an aloof gaze. His clothes were very unique as well, a combination of black and white.
That attire was unique to a tribe called Enlightenment Gathering Tribe. That tribe was skilled in making ice sculptures, and they would infuse life into those ice sculptures using a unique method, allowing them to turn the sculptures into something akin to an enchanted Vessel.
The process in creating those sculptures was a secret. Besides there being a sealed record of the method in the Great Tribe of Freezing Sky, the others would find it difficult learning about it.
A bid of 15,000,000 stone coins was practically nothing to those participating in the auction. However, since too few people knew about the items origins and its uses, the competition became largely limited.
Su Ming stood on the balcony, and as he stared at the small black humanoid in the transparent mountain rock, he clearly saw three fingers on each of the small humanoid’s hands!
Once he was certain that the small humanoid was exactly what he needed to create the Welcoming of Deities, Su Ming placed his bid.
The tribesmen from Enlightenment Gathering Tribe frowned.
"1,000,000!" Su Ming declared unhurriedly, though his gaze was trained on the transparent mountain rock.
"Sir, I suggest that you don’t force yourself to place those bids. You don’t even know what this is! If you place your bids without any knowledge of what it is and you can’t name its origins and its uses, then how are you going to deal with the consequences?!"
The thin middle-aged man from Enlightenment Gathering Tribe turned towards Su Ming.
He then stood up and spoke to the people around him."I don’t know who put this item on auction, but I’m certain that you are here, sir! I can tell you that only I know what this is, no one else knows it, much less how to use it!"