Chapter 366 - Selection
Mister Chu Zhaoyang’s sudden halt attracted the butler’s attention.
The butler was very curious as to which treasure Mister Chu would pick. Although each and every item in the treasury was rare, they had their own merits and drawbacks. Each family head had different financial circumstances and luck, so the items they had collected were also different.
The butler, who was in charge of managing the treasure, knew every treasure inside out, but if Chu Zhaoyang did not ask him, he would not mention it.
He knew very well that people like Chu Zhaoyang had their own views, and if he were to question them, it was best not to insinuate anything.
Madam must have other reasons for taking such a big gamble, so it was wiser for him to observe more by himself.
When faced with many choices, a person’s final decision often said a lot about his or her personality. Especially when the choices were so expensive, personality traits often became magnified.
What would he choose?
The butler narrowed his eyes, his inquiring and deep gaze falling upon the figure that came to a halt.
It appeared that Chu Zhaoyang had finally found his target, or something must have attracted his attention.
The butler quickly realized that things were not as they seemed, because Chu Zhaoyang started looking everywhere, as if in search of something.
Indeed, Ai Hui was searching.
Earlier, the bandage that Ai Hui had completely forgotten about had reacted. It was a gift from Mistress and its history had always been a mystery. Until now, it had saved his life many times. Previously, it had revealed a tendency to devour blood, but following the emergence of the blood eye pattern, the bandage started to lose interest in blood.
It was as if it had fallen into a deep slumber, with no signs of movements.
It was still resistant to injuries. Ai Hui had tried to destroy it using all sorts of methods, but to no avail. He had no idea how Mistress had been able to break it into two. Because it was such an outstanding protective gear, Ai Hui kept it on him as the last layer of defense. It had been extremely functional.
Naturally, Ai Hui was beyond shocked when the bandage that had been lying dormant for a long time started to show signs of life.
He kept a straight face, but was already in search of the treasure that had triggered the bandage’s response. Ai Hui was very curious about the item that could provoke a reaction from it. Could it be an item that had been blood-refined?
Ai Hui saw the bandage as being extremely inhospitable. It even was particular about the quality of blood that it consumed. It had no interest in ordinary blood.
Looking around, the glittery lights had him feeling dizzy.
The bandage was still.
Had he imagined it?
Ai Hui tried taking two steps forward and the bandage moved a little.
Ai Hui was startled. The first time might have been a mistake, but if it happened a second time, it couldn’t be a coincidence. There must be something that the bandage was interested in within the treasury.
Feeling the butler’s gaze on him, Ai Hui slowed down his pace, pretending to browse through the treasures in front of him.
The butler felt somewhat suspicious. He’d thought that Mister Chu Zhaoyang had already set his eyes on something, when in fact, he’d just been looking around.
He followed behind Mister Chu Zhaoyang patiently. The chance to admire the Ye Residence’s rich collection was hard to come by. There had been guests who really took their time to appreciate every single item in the treasury from start to finish.
Ai Hui continued pretending, stopping every two steps to admire the items. He would ask about items he wasn’t familiar with and the butler would answer accordingly and in great detail.
Even as the bandage’s reaction grew stronger, Ai Hui couldn’t help but drool upon seeing all these treasures. Each was matchless in preciousness and rarity, having been made from the best materials by the greatest Masters. Any randomly selected item would cause a sensation when taken outside.
Seeing the passion in Chu Zhaoyang’s eyes, the butler felt proud and pleased. He’d long guessed that this selection process would take quite some time. If given such a rare opportunity, he too would make use of it to the fullest. It would be an extreme waste if he were to pick the wrong item since there would never be a second chance.
Alright, the bandage’s reaction is weakening. Wrong direction.
Ai Hui pretended to be attracted by another treasure and switched paths. He finally found the right direction after a few consecutive switches.
Now, the bandage wound around Ai Hui’s body was moving slowly, like a snake.
Its reaction was getting stronger.
Ai Hui avoided looking urgent. He kept a calm face and continued appreciating the treasures along the way and asking related questions. The thirst in his eyes, however, was genuine.
Just like that, Ai Hui and the butler passed case after case before stopping at the deepest section of the treasury.
Seeing Chu Zhaoyang’s gaze fall upon the shelves in the furthest corner, the butler spoke up. "This is the first family head’s collection. They’re mostly swords, but are basically useless now."
He thought that Mister Chu Zhaoyang had his eyes on these swords. He was a swordsman after all, so it shouldn’t be surprising, but as he’d mentioned, these rusty treasure swords were only good for being put on display for future generations to admire.
Mister Chu Zhaoyang diverted his gaze away from the swords somewhat regretfully.
It must be said that the first family head was the last, pure swordsman and he was extremely picky when it came to selecting swords. These ancient swords were obsolete now, but one could vaguely see the brilliance they had possessed in the past. Some carried an indescribable sombreness that made it torturous for the butler to clean.
Suddenly, Mister Chu Zhaoyang pointed at a stone statue beside an ancient sword. "What is its origin?"
The statue looked very ordinary and was carved from a whole piece of granite. The sculpting was simple and raw, as if the statue had been chopped out using a big axe. Its face was blurry and looked like a semi-finished product.
Yet, this crude looking statue had an inexpressible, implicit charm that observers couldn’t turn their eyes away from.
Ai Hui felt strange the moment his eyes landed on it. He had a strong willpower and even practiced [Skyheart Flaming Lotus Lamp], so he wasn’t someone who could be enticed easily. Despite this, his gaze and state of mind were still focused on this stone statue.
The butler retracted his gaze immediately. "This stone statue was obtained by the first family head in his early years, by chance. It isn’t clear whether or not someone carved it out. It is an antique from the Cultivation Era. It has no name, but the first family head said that with its heavenly charm, it must be extraordinary and should be kept in the treasury."
The bandage’s reaction toward the statue was exceptionally intense, as if it wanted to pounce on it.
The statue did not seem to be blood-refined, so Ai Hui felt suspicious as to why the bandage was responding so strongly to it.
There must be something strange about the stone statue!
On second thought, if the statue wasn’t at all magical, would Ye Huitang have placed it in the treasury?
Without hesitation, Ai Hui pointed to it and said, "I choose this."
Giving Mister Chu Zhaoyang a look, it seemed that the butler wanted to say something, but decided against it.
Upon seeing that, Ai Hui asked, "Is it not possible?"
"Not that. Madam has already instructed that you can select any item." The butler shook his head. "This stone statue, seemingly a gift from heaven, has been in the treasury for the longest time. The first family head would often be immersed in studying it, and successive family heads too, wanted to unlock the secret within it. Much time and energy had been employed, but there hasn’t been any result so far."
"Thanks for your guidance." Ai Hui cupped his hands and offered his thanks before continuing, "I’ll choose it then. Out of so many treasures, this caught my eyes the most. With Madam’s elemental elixirs, my base level isn’t a matter of concern. There are countless gems in this treasury, but no suitable sword. After some thought, I feel that this treasure is pretty decent. If lucky, I might even be able to unravel the marvels within?"
The butler felt that Chu Zhaoyang’s explanation made some sense, other than the part about unraveling the statue’s marvels. Had there been any unintelligent family head in the whole of the Ye Residence’s history? Successive family heads had failed to unravel its secrets, so how was it going to be an easy task?
Of course, he had to be civil about it. "With your wisdom, I’m sure you’ll be able to unlock its mystery. Please do enlighten your humble servant when that happens. The secret of the stone statue has been torturing generation after generation."
Ai Hui laughed. "Haha, thanks. I will!"
The butler placed his palm on the case and engaged his elemental energy. A light flashed and the seal’s glow disappeared.
Ai Hui could tell that these seals were extremely elaborate. It wasn’t going to be easy for intruders to break them. Ai Hui had also long noticed that the materials used to build this treasury were special and had a restraining and suppressing effect against elemental energy.
Situated in Silver City, which housed many experts and Masters, it could be said that the Ye Residence’s defense was very solid. Even capable intruders would find it impossible to infiltrate without a soul knowing. If they moved too blatantly, they would attract city guards, powerful fighters, and even the Elders training deep within the Silver Mist Sea.
The bandage quieted down immediately when Ai Hui took possession of the stone statue, but Ai Hui could still feel the restlessness and desire beneath its calm state.
The stone statue was about two feet tall and because it was made from ordinary granite, Ai Hui felt its weight to be as light as air. Like jade and unlike granite, it was cool to the touch, but no matter how Ai Hui looked at it, it was most definitely an ordinary piece of granite. He couldn’t help but click his tongue in wonder.
The butler smiled as he watched Mister Chu Zhaoyang tossing and turning it around.
"Do you still want to look around?"
"It’s alright! Since I’ve already made my choice, I shall stop to spare myself the heartache!"
"Hahaha, you’re right!"
Madam Ye asked in interest, "What did he pick?"
The butler answered respectfully, "The nameless stone statue left by first family head."
"Stone statue?" Madam Ye asked in shock. She’d thought of many treasures that Chu Zhaoyang might have picked, but not once did she imagine that he would actually select that obscure stone statue.
The butler repeated Ai Hui’s explanation for his choice to Madam Ye, word for word.
Madam Ye looked much more relaxed now, but instructed nevertheless, "Pay more attention."
The butler retreated knowingly.