A tiny piece of iron that cost not more than ten coins could prove Wu Qi was a well-behaved cultivator!
"So, this means I am a good man!" Wu Qi fiddled with the iron medallion hanging on his waist as he walked along the street in the largest marketplace within Qing Xu Immortal Pass. "And this shabby, tiny piece of iron actually cost me seventy-five lower grade energy stones? A good man? Your whole family is full of good people, your mother is the best among all the good people, and that's why she has given birth to you, a bunch of b*stards!" Wu Qi grumbled under his breath.
The marketplace was named Qing Xu Immortal Square. It consisted of nearly ten thousand shops, and a permanent population of about one million Immortal cultivators. Usually, it was visited by an inconsistent number of cultivators, but when a good treasure was put on sale, the number could increase by a few times within days. However, when there was nothing good to be purchased, it was perfectly normal to have no visitors for three to five years.
There was a common saying among the antique shops in the mortal world, that it was normal for them to not have a single transaction for three years, but when they did, the profit could last them for another three years. But among the shops in this Qing Xu Immortal Square, their slogan was slightly different: it was normal to have not a single transaction for ten thousand years, but when there was one, it could last them for the next ten thousand years. Some shops here might not have a single transaction done in three to five hundred years, but when they were stuck with the good luck of finding a good treasure, and managed to sell it at a high price, not only could they gain themselves the cultivating materials for the next ten thousand years, they would have sufficient materials for a small sect behind them.
Instead of rushing to send the message back to Green City, Wu Qi strolled leisurely along the street, his hand fiddling with the iron medallion as he occasionally gazed at the pedestrians around him.
Many of the Immortal cultivators here had extremely peculiar clothing and appearance. Also, besides the people of Long Bo Kingdom, he also found all kinds of strange human species. He saw Feathermen, as well as those people with a third-eye, a single hand and a single leg. In addition, some people had a large hole on their chest, and some had an extra face at the back of their head, both faces assuming completely opposite expressions.
These people were actually subspecies of the human race. Except for the people of Long Bo Kingdom, who could hardly transcend their thunder tribulation, the difficulty of cultivating Dao for these subspecies was similar to that of normal humans. Furthermore, they possessed all sorts of bizarre innate abilities, and the magical spells practiced by them were usually much stronger than legit human cultivators. In Qing Xu Immortal Square, about fifty percent of the population was ordinary human cultivators, while these strange and eccentric subspecies made up the rest.
In addition to the streams of cultivators, the streets were frequently patrolled by fully armored soldiers. These soldiers were all normal humans. Except for their captains, who had beast souls coexisting in their bodies, the rest of the soldiers looked ordinary, and did not emanate any powerful aura. However, wherever these soldiers went by, even the most arrogant Heaven Immortals would cautiously give way to them. Nobody dared to provoke them.
The soldiers from these patrol teams scanned all the cultivators around vigilantly as if they were some criminals. Occasionally, someone would glance at Wu Qi, but when they saw the little iron medallion hanging on his waist, they would move on without harassing him.
Wu Qi nodded silently. Although the scholar was a little bit greedy, the little iron medallion he gave Wu Qi did work as intended. It did worth those lower-grade energy stones Wu Qi had spent.
While he was deep in thought, an exclamation suddenly echoed out from a three-storied wooden building about one thousand feet further down the street, "Aye, is this an Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom?"
Wu Qi's ears twitched violently for a few times. Right when he heard the name of 'Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom', he immediately teleported himself to the front door of the wooden building. When he arrived, he heard a few swooshing sounds ringing out as a few dark shadows flickered next to him. Just like him, a few cultivators clad in Daoist robes had also arrived with teleportation.
Wu Qi gave them a brief glance, while they turned to look at Wu Qi with shock.
It was a known fact that only those with an overall strength of a Heaven Immortal could teleport within Qing Xu Immortal Pass. However, the aura emanated by Wu Qi clearly told them that he was just a peak-stage Nascent Soul cultivator. It was completely different than someone who had concealed his aura. A Heaven Immortal could conceal his aura and pretend to be an ordinary mortal. But, no matter how hard he tried, there was no way he could emanate an aura that carried the unique flavor of a Nascent Soul cultivator!
Also, since when could a Nascent Soul cultivator teleport?
The few Heaven Immortals stared blankly at Wu Qi. For a moment, they had forgotten their purpose of coming here. Meanwhile, Wu Qi gave them a smile and was the first to rush into the building. When he was in, he cried out at the top of his voice, "Where is the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom? What is the price? I'll buy it from you!"
Inside the lobby, a few managers sitting behind the counter raised their heads to look at Wu Qi. There were two middle-aged men standing before the counters, who appeared to be in the Gold Core realm. They shrunk back nervously, putting their hands around a clump of object that shone with a bright green gleam on the counter.
Those Heaven Immortals who arrived at the same time as Wu Qi were struck dumb, and hastily rushed into the lobby as well. One of them, a short and shriveled old Daoist with a green skin complexion like a green vampire, so ugly he could potentially scare someone timid to death, shouted with a stern tone, "Hold on! Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom? If it is a genuine one, I'm willing to exchange it with immortal items!"
The atmosphere in the lobby became extremely bizarre. A couple of cultivators who were buying something in the lobby carefully moved to the side, standing next to the walls as they cast vigilant glances at Wu Qi and the few Heaven Immortals. The two middle-aged cultivators shuddered with fear, quickly cupping up the clump of object from the counter and wrapping their arms around it. Meanwhile, a man who appeared to be the chief manager of the shop walked out from behind the counter. He was clad in a pale blue long robe made of silk, and printed with numerous patterns of gold coins. He was fat like a large ball. He bowed and offered greetings to Wu Qi and the other visitors with great hospitality.
"Senior Immortals, please forgive me for not welcoming your earlier! I'm Zi Baiye, the chief manager of 'Myriad Herbs Hall'. Our shop is the property of Immortal Monarch Zi Luo. I supposed the few of you have heard of his name?" With just a few words, Zi Baiye introduced both himself and his backing. Smilingly, he then pointed at the two middle-aged men and said, "It was them who shouted just now that attracted you here."
Zi Baiye's face was twisting, his heart twitching, and there was a complicated look in his eyes. The way he looked at the two Gold Core cultivators was full of blame. Wu Qi found it funny, and thus he pointed at the two Gold Core cultivators and asked, "So they own the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom? Mm, I think Myriad Herbs Hall has yet to purchase it from them, right? And, it also means they are still the owner of the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom, eh?"
The fat on Zi Baiye's body shivered violently. He felt an ache in his heart as he spoke through his tightly clenched teeth, "Just as you understand, Senior... this two fellow Daoists, they immediately shouted aloud right after showing us the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom, then all of you arrived. You are right, it still belongs to them!"
The faces of a few managers in Myriad Herbs Hall turned extremely ugly, and there was a murderous look in their eyes when they stared at the two Gold Core cultivators. If Wu Qi and the other few uninvited guests were not here, perhaps they had already dismantled both of them.
Wu Qi smiled. He roughly understood what happened just now.
Two Gold Core cultivators brought a bundle here and mentioned they wished to sell the herb. Because of their shabby attires, these managers did not bring them to the room on the upper floor that was used especially to purchase precious herbs. And, when they revealed the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom, some manager exclaimed what he saw, yet the two of them purposely cried out at the top of their voice.
They were two very cunning Gold Core cultivators! Wu Qi gave them a look and silently labeled them in his mind.
That loud shout was indeed a brilliant finishing touch, because it had attracted Wu Qi and the other seven Heaven Immortals. With that, the price for the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom would just go higher.
Shaking his head, Wu Qi turned to smile at one of the Gold Core cultivators, who looked rather honest, and asked, "Fellow Daoists, did you know it is an Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom before coming here? Hehe, I think both of you should know how precious an Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom is."
Both Gold Core cultivators exchanged a glance, then turned to look cautiously at Zi Baiye. One of them nodded and said, "My brother and I do know the name of Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom. But, we are not sure if it is really the one. That's why we come here to let these managers have a look at it. With their sharp eyes and vast knowledge, they immediately recognized and confirmed it is indeed an Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom. We were seized with a wild joy, which is why we cried out so loudly. Please excuse our rudeness, Senior Immortals!"
Wu Qi laughed; it was as what he had expected. The brother could not confirm the identity of the item they had, so they came here to the Myriad Herbs Hall, seeking for the answer. On the other hand, they were not willing to sell it to Myriad Herbs Hall. Therefore, when it was confirmed that the item was indeed what they thought it was, they cried out aloud instantly. Numerous Heaven Immortals were roaming around Qing Xu Immortal Pass, and many of them were able to tell good from bad. The name of Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom alone was more than enough to attract customers who could satisfy their needs.
While Wu Qi was laughing inwardly, Zi Baiye's face was grave as he grinned coldly and told the two cultivators, "Apparently, both of you are seeking a free examination from us? Hehe, this is not how things work under the heaven!"
The old Daoist with a green skin rolled his eyes and bellowed, "Bullsh*t! I don't care how things are supposed to work under the heaven. As long as you, Myriad Herbs Hall, have yet to purchase the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom, these brothers are still its legitimate owner! And, we will purchase it from them at a high price! What does this have anything to do with you? Cut all your bullsh*t, or I'll destroy Myriad Herbs Hall now! So what if it is Immortal Monarch Zi Luo's property? If he is so capable, ask him to come here right now! Otherwise, I can kill all of you like killing a bunch of chickens!"
Zi Baiye was so angry that his body kept shivering as he said exasperatingly, "But, since they had entered Myriad Herbs Hall and showed the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom to..."
Zi Baiye did not have the chance to finish his words, because the old Daoist with a green skin had already pointed his finger out, from which sprayed out a stream of green flame and enveloped Zi Baiye. He howled tragically as the green flame burned him into ashes. The old Daoist did not stop there, as he controlled the green flame and made it wheel around the lobby, killing the rest of the managers, workers, as well as a few customers.
At the same time, an old Daoist clad in a black Daoist robe pointed his finger backward, closing all the doors and windows while attaching a layer of pale blue flame on them. Obviously, he had cast an extremely vicious restrictive spell on all the doors and windows.
Meanwhile, another two old men clad in similar Daoist robes rushed up to the second and third floor amidst a gust of chilly wind, killing everyone up there in just a blink of an eye, and leaving no corpses behind. Taking the opportunity, they also looted all the herbs found in the storage rooms and kept them in seven storage bags.
Seven storage bags fully filled with various herbs were thrown to the ground. The Daoist with a green skin complexion rubbed his hands and said with a smile, "Alright, so shall we follow the same old rules?"
Wu Qi looked at the seven Heaven Immortals standing around him, took a few steps backward carefully and asked, "What same old rules?"
The old Daoist laughed dryly and said, "Who can come out with the highest price will get the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom, and the rest will split all the herbs found in Myriad Herbs Hall!"
The few other Heaven Immortals agreed with a nod. After giving it a brief thought, Wu Qi nodded as well.
Qing Xu Immortal Pass was really a deadly place. In just a few short breaths of time, everyone in Myriad Herbs Hall was killed. Evidently, none of these Heaven Immortals were good guys.
Nevertheless, Wu Qi was determined to obtain the Energy Rotting Ghost Mushroom, which was an extremely evil and poisonous spirit herb.