There was a market in Ji City, where countless rare products of specialty, procured locally and from over one hundred vassal kingdoms, and even unique products from overseas, were being traded. It was the largest market in Ji City: the 'Market of Four Seas'. It was located on the west of Middle District One, and occupied full fifty streets, comprising of more than tens of thousands of stores that came in all sizes. The area was adjoined to Inner District, a very convenient location for those princes and nobles to come purchase all kinds of rare and special treasures. At the same time, the short travel distance between it and all six Middle Districts had allowed the merchants who lived there to take good care of their business. In addition to that, as it was located deep within Ji City, the safety was well taken care of, as no one dared to create trouble here.
After Lu Chengfeng inherited the Arts of Heaven Patching Formation, the group was served with some Spirit Fruits and fine wine that was produced in the Immortal's Cave of Sword Stems From The Mind. At last, they left and returned to Ji City. It was late in the afternoon when they arrived at the city. Lu Chengfeng brought his men and went straight back to Duke Yan Le's Mansion, while Wu Qi and a few other burly men from Meng Village, including Meng Xiaobai, took a turn and came to the Market of Four Seas. He was planning to purchase some useful items.
As Princess Zhang Le had just formed her Gold Core, it hadn't completely stabilized. During daytime, she could visit everywhere she liked accompanied by her private guards, but at night, she would have to do her homework of meditating, so she could further temper her Gold Core and stabilize her cultivation. Therefore, although she wasn't willing to part with Wu Qi, she had no choice but to curl up her lips and return to Imperial City with her guards.
The Market of Four Seas was the only market that wasn’t bound by the curfew in Ji City. No matter it was day or night, this place was packed with people, and trading of a variety of products of different value happened every single second. As a matter of fact, this was designed on purpose. Many products traded in Market of Four Seas were rare treasures that were worth several cities. Sometimes, when businesses of such value were carried out in the middle of the night, it would bring sufficient privacy and secrecy to both parties of the trade.
Wu Qi carried with him the Token of Seven Swallows that Princess Zhang Le gave him. Hence, he had no worries that he couldn't enter the inner city later. Even if all the city gates were closed at nightfall, as long as Wu Qi showed the Token of Seven Swallows, he could always have the gate opened for him. That was the reason why he brought Meng Xiaobai and a few other men to purchase something in Market of Four Seas at this hour.
The streets in the market were wide and clean, paved with stone slabs and measured about one hundred feet from edge to edge. Incessant stream of coaches and people was flowing through it. The prosperous and bustling atmosphere simply made one's jaw dropped in awe. The fashion of the buildings in here was much bolder and novel than all other districts of Ji City. Tall and lofty buildings that stood seven, eight, or even ten floors high filled every corner. Many of them were built using varieties of expensive woods and fashioned with precious stone materials. Some merchants of greater stature had decorated their buildings with numerous jade and gemstone, glinting splendidly under the light of the bright sun.
Right when Wu Qi stepped into the market with Meng Xiaobai and a few other men, a group of people was seen dashing out from a three floored wooden building on the side of the street. A middle-aged man clad in a green shirt had the quickest pace, as he became the first man who came before Wu Qi. He bowed and said, "Young mister, is this the first time you are paying a visit to the market? Are you in need of purchasing some rare marine or mountain products? My name is Hai Yuntian, and I'm not trying to be boastful here, but there are over fifty-seven thousand merchants and stores here in the Market of Four Seas, and none that I am not familiar with."
Following closely behind him were a few other men clad in the same green shirt. When they saw Hai Yuntian had engaged in a conversation with Wu Qi, they shook their head and smiled, spun and returned to the same wooden building. Wu Qi gave Hai Yuntian a look. He was clad in a green shirt, a black wooden token hanging down on the side of his waist, and had a witty look on his face. Wu Qi nodded his head and said, "Are you the official agent for the Market of Four Seas?"
Hai Yuntian kept nodding his head, brought up the black wooden token from his waist and showed it to Wu Qi. Proudly, he pointed his finger at a symbol of five dark-green eyes engraved on it, smiled and said, "You have a keen eye, young mister. You're right, I'm one of the few Five Eyes agents in the Market of Four Seas. There is one thing young mister ought to know… The official agents are classified into tiers. For every tier we move up, one extra eye of swallow will be engraved on our token. The highest tier is seven eyes of swallow, but that is the tier only given to the store manager and old sinecures of supreme merchants. For those of us, whose profession is guiding the clients in dealing with businesses, five eyes is the highest tier we could be given."
While nodding his head, Wu Qi said with an indifferent voice, "I don't care you are an agent with how many eyes, as long as you can help me in finding the things I need... 'Soul of Broken Worm', 'Dust Repelling Shield ', 'Thread from thousand years old Spider of Purple-Gold Stripe', 'Oil from Merman of Deep Ocean'..." Wu Qi mentioned a couple dozens of rare materials in a row, then again told Hai Yuntian, "Can you find me all these things? If you can't get them all, I would need at least the first four of them."
Hai Yuntian was seen murmuring under his breath, his fingers moving as if he were counting something. After the time it took for a few breaths, a bright gleam flickered from his eyes. Then, he nodded his head and bowed smilingly while saying, "Young mister, you've asked the right person. The Soul of Broken Worm is a strange wood that can kill all kinds of bugs with poison, the Dust Repelling Shield is a peculiar grass that can calm and soothe one's mind and spirit. The Thread from Spider of Purple-Gold Stripe is the best material one could find in crafting variety of soft armors, and the Oil from Merman can be used to produce the lamp of prayer that is placed in a tomb, which will never go off even after ten thousand years..."
After saying all that, Hai Yuntian smiled again and said, "Except for the last few items, which I have never heard of before, young mister can trust me on other things. I can find them all in the market."
A joyful feeling leaped into Wu Qi's mind. As long as half of these items could be found, or at least, the first four of them, he would be able to pass off the sham as the genuine, make himself a new counterfeit Dustless Lamp and steal all the Innate Spirit Objects. Actually, he never expected that he could find over ninety percent of the items in this Market of Four Seas. It was indeed a surprise for him. With that, Wu Qi would have a firm confidence that even after he took away all three Innate Spirit Objects from the Dustless Lamp, no one would discover anything wrong from it. The Dustless Lamp would still be the same Dustless Lamp, with the exact effect.
He nodded his head praisingly and said with a deep voice, "Quickly lead the way then. Find whatever you can, and bring them to me as soon as possible."
Hastily, Hai Yuntian answered him, led from the front and brought Wu Qi through the street. At last, he guided Wu Qi to a tea house, a finely decorated building that didn't look extravagant. Then, he asked Wu Qi to wait in a private room inside the tea house, and only then did he quickly leave them and ran back into the market. The strange items that Wu Qi wished to purchase didn't come with any actual usage, and no ordinary people would use them in their day to day life. In general, only those young misters from wealthy and prestigious clan would like to purchase these peculiar objects, using them as a toy to show off their wealth. As a result, the price of these items was pretty high.
Yet in one go, Wu Qi had told Hai Yuntian that he wanted to purchase a couple dozens of rare items which had a low demand. When all the prices of these items were summed up, it would be an astronomical figure that could make one's jaw drop. This had proven that Wu Qi was a really important client. And since he was an important client, it was obvious that Hai Yuntian could not let Wu Qi visit store after store himself. As a qualified official agent, Hai Yuntian would pay a visit to those stores who had the requested items, informing their manager and asking them to bring the items over to Wu Qi.
Wu Qi had a witty mind. He knew this was the way of earning a living for official agents such as Hai Yuntian. For some rare items, it was not being sold in only one single store. Maybe tens or hundreds of stores had the same item. So, it all depended on which store Hai Yuntian would inform about the business, as that was his own connection. When the business was done, he would be rewarded with a certain amount of commission.
Nevertheless, without the help from these official agents, if Wu Qi had to search through this ocean of tens of thousands of stores for the items he wanted, how many days would that cost him? Contrary to that, now he could just sit comfortably in a tea house, sipping on his tea and waiting patiently, as it wouldn't take long before someone brought the items he wanted to him.
As expected, not long after that, Hai Yuntian had come back with sweat all over his forehead. Coming together with him were three store managers, clad in simple outfits and wearing an honest face. However, whenever their eyes rolled, Wu Qi could see bright gleam glitter within them. They came into the private room smilingly and bowed towards Wu Qi. Three store managers then stretched one of their hands and touched their finger with the other hand. A bright glow flickered and flashed, and a couple dozens of boxes of different sizes made from either jade or wood suddenly appeared on the floor. Wu Qi was surprised as even these store managers owned a storage ring, which was a rare magical item. His lips twitched. Now, this was the supposed bearing of a great merchant in Ji City.
Hai Yuntian bent his body, carefully opened up wooden boxes one after another, revealing the different products stored in them.
A blue gleam was seen flickering in Wu Qi's eyes. He put away the teacup and walked carefully toward the boxes, examining them one by one. He was satisfied, as all of them came in the portions according to his requirement, and the quality was even better than what he had asked for. For example, for the Thread from Spider of Purple-Gold Stripe, judging from its quality, must be produced from those spiders whose age was at least one thousand five hundred years. The Oil of Merman from Deep Ocean was sticky and sending forth a strong aroma; it was not a mere oil of Merman, but the fat that extracted from some Merman who had attained a certain level of cultivation.
"Very good!" Wu Qi praised. He then took a glance over the three store managers, who now had a proud expression on their face. He smiled and said, "Gentlemen, can you please tell me how am I going to pay you for these items? Do you accept gold and silver?"
One of them nodded his head and responded with a smile, saying, "We are fine with gold or silver, young mister. You can also pay us with energy stones, spirit pills, magical items, or anything with similar value. There is nothing that we don't accept." Then he paused thoughtfully, as his eyes scanned through all the items placed on the floor. Finally, he gave out a figure. If they were paid with gold and silver, the total price for these items was five hundred thousand gold coins. If they were paid with energy stones, Wu Qi would have to pay them five hundred pieces of energy stones of upper grade.
Wu Qi thought for a while, then fished out a great pile of gold, silver, and jewelry from his storage ring. These were all the private loot of the Little Meng City's previous City Lord, Yi Yan, and his siblings. But it had now become Wu Qi's private possession. For cultivators, these gold and silver didn't carry a great value, and Wu Qi didn't want to pay the bill with those upper-grade water element energy stones which Princess Zhang Le gave him.
Glinting and sparkling, all of the gold, silver, and assorted jewelry had piled up into a small hill. Three store managers were gifted with keen eyes, and with just one glance, they knew the value of these treasures was worth more than the bill. Without hesitation, they thanked Wu Qi and took away all the gold and silver. Wu Qi moved his hands at the same time, as he too placed all the purchased items into his storage ring. So, the three store managers bid their farewell to Wu Qi, and hastily left the tea house.
Wu Qi rewarded Hai Yuntian with an extra sum of money, asked him to leave behind the method of contact, and only then did he leave the tea house together with Meng Xiaobai and few other men. Attentively, Hai Yuntian still accompanied beside Wu Qi, sending him all the way out from the market. Before they parted, he promised Wu Qi that whenever Wu Qi wished to purchase any rare items in the future, Wu Qi could always come looking for him in Market of Four Seas, as he would definitely get things done in an orderly and proper manner.
With today's business alone, from the total amount of five hundred thousand gold coins, Hai Yuntian was able to get a commission of five thousand gold coins. For any vassal kingdom in Great Yan Dynasty, such an amount was equal to the total value of all the asset for a little noble clan. Without doing much Hai, Yuntian had obtained himself such a handsome commission. Thus, how could he not serve Wu Qi with utmost caution?
While talking casually with Hai Yuntian, Wu Qi was happily surveying the street as they traveled through it. Suddenly, he heard the ringing of an ancient musical instrument that came from a restaurant on the side of the street, and a male voice singing sonorously and sadly, "The wind blows, the river freezes. The hero fords, never to return!'
Wu Qi was astounded upon hearing the singing, quickly turned his head and peering towards the restaurant.
A man with broad shoulder happened to stretch his upper half body out from a window on the third floor, grabbing a large wine jug and throwing it straight towards Wu Qi's head. Then, the burly man pointed his finger at Wu Qi and shouted, "Hey kid, I know you. Come up here and have a drink with me!"
The wine jug brushed passed Wu Qi's nose and smashed into pieces on the ground. With a blank face, Wu Qi stared at the man, whose face was blushed with wine. His eyes rolled, then he walked into the restaurant snappishly.