Chapter 434 - Bargain
For the past two years, the world had undergone great changes.
These changes had impacted various aspects of the cities, for example, commodities. A huge amount of dire beast materials could be found on the market. Two years ago, these dire beast materials were considered rare commodities. Nowadays, they could be found almost everywhere. The products that could be produced or obtained readily two years ago were in scarcity now. For example, the prices of artifact remnants had increased more than ten times in the last two years. Sometimes, they could not even be bought on account of their exorbitant prices.
Those who’d barged into Wilderness to vie for territories with dire beasts without sufficient preparation had gone through countless cruel struggles. The mysterious Wilderness was filled with unknowns. For example, unknown species and unknown ores. These mysterious unknowns might provide either boundless wealth or nothing at all.
The endless stream of new materials emerging on the market had given rise to a group of appraisers who were specialized in appraising these unknown materials.
Most of them used to be smiths with rich experience and knowledge in various materials in the past. It was initially because they could not get any jobs and were very free that they decided to help people to appraise these unknown new materials. Soon after, someone identified the business opportunity behind this and changed his profession to being an appraiser.
Usually, a material’s selling price was decided by an appraiser’s evaluation of it. As such, an appraiser viewed his reputation and authority with great importance. Once his reputation suffered a blow, it would be very hard for him to regain everyone’s trust.
Clearwater City, which possessed a healthy economy, was filled with appraisers. The most famous and authoritative appraiser in Clearwater City was Appraiser Kang Ding.
Kang Ding was not a smith in the past. He was the disciple of a smith for fifteen years. In these fifteen years, he carried out basic treatments on various materials every day.
Even though he did not become an outstanding smith, he had fifteen years of experience in handling materials. This allowed him to give exceptionally precise evaluations of materials.
Changing his profession to an appraiser allowed him to do what he was best at.
Kang Ding rose to fame around one year ago when he appraised a brand-new type of beast bone. That was a very unique type of beast bone. It had a honeycomb-like structure and its texture was soft. One could crush it into a fine powder with a little bit of strength.
At that time, other than Kang Ding, all the other appraisers gave it an appraisal grade of "Inferior". This result implied that the bone was a type of material that could not be used to forge any equipment. Perhaps it could only be used as fertilizer for soil and was basically worthless.
The emergence of a huge amount of new materials had rendered the conventional grading system for materials obsolete. Everyone was trying to come up with a new grading system.
Kang Ding was not affected by other appraisers’ evaluations of the beast bone. Fifteen years of experience told him there was something extraordinary about that piece of delicate beast bone. Three days later, he gave his evaluation and it caused an uproar in the public. The grade he gave was "B-Excellent".
Upon receiving the news of Kang Ding’s appraisal grade, the other appraisers flew into a rage and denounced Kang Ding. They claimed that Kang Ding had some insider relationship with the owner of the beast bone for giving the grade of "B-Excellent" to such a trashy material
Under everyone’s watchful eyes, Kang Ding took out a bottle of metal elemental floral water and sprinkled it over the piece of beast bone. Following which, something miraculous happened to the piece of beast bone. A faint golden lustre erupted from the deathly white beast bone and dazzled everyone’s eyes.
The nature of the beast bone had undergone a terrifying transformation as well. The previously delicate and weak beast bone had become tough and solid, so much so that a sword couldn’t even leave a scratch on it. Furthermore, it could float in the air without ever landing on the ground like a feather.
The owner was exceptionally excited. He named this unknown piece of beast bone as Kang Ding Feather Bone. Eventually, twelve Kang Ding Feather Bones were being bought by Mayor Qiao Meiqi for an astronomical price.
The owner of the Kang Ding Feather Bones wanted to pay Kang Ding ten times the usual appraisal fee but Kang Ding rejected him tactfully and accepted the normal fee.
This incident helped Kang Ding to attain an extremely good reputation. If it was a greedy appraiser that appraised the beast bones, he might have bought the beast bones from the owner at an extremely low price and then resold them to earn a huge profit.
From that day onwards, Kang Ding became the most authoritative appraiser that charged the highest appraisal fee in Clearwater City.
He even established his own appraisal shop, Kang Appraisal Shop.
The appraisal fee was not a big issue to Ai Hui and the rest. They handed over their items to Kang Appraisal Shop and went to explore the market in Clearwater City.
They were filled with curiosity towards this city.
Even though the city was smaller than Peace City, its population was five times larger than Peace City’s. It was hard to find a corner in the city that was cold and isolated. This had something to do with one of Qiao Meiqi’s policies as well. Clearwater City did not collect city admission tax.
Cities like Skyheart City and Newlight City were good for elementalists to train in, as they had a high concentration level of elemental energy. However, not everyone could stay there. Anyone who entered these two cities had to pay a city admission tax first. Only the elites could establish a foothold in these huge cities.
By exempting the city admission tax, Clearwater City had attracted a huge number of elementalists.
Qiao Meiqi was fully aware that a sufficient human population was the basis of a prosperous economy. Clearwater City was situated in an isolated location, which was a huge disadvantage. However, Qian Meiqi’s painstaking efforts to manage Clearwater City had made it far more prosperous than most of the other cities in Wilderness.
The market in Clearwater City was bustling with noise and excitement and completely filled with people. Since the market was not spacious enough, many people placed their goods on the ground and hawked them. Most of these people had just returned from the Wilderness. They did not have many goods and the quality of their goods was not high. If they sold them to shops, they would not make much profit. As such, they decided to set up their own makeshift stores on the streets.
Many people liked to shop here as a lot of the things sold here had been appraised.
Not everyone could afford the expensive appraisal fees.
There were a lot of times where one would buy a seemingly good item only to discover that it was worthless after having it appraised. Every time this happened, the one who got scammed would feel extremely regretful.
Whether or not a person could pick up a good item in this market had to depend on his luck and foresight. However, not everyone could handle such a situation calmly and peacefully. Elementalists that roamed Wilderness were mostly hot-headed and brash. It was normal for elementalists to resort to violence when things went wrong.
Even so, Clearwater City still enjoyed good public order.
On the surrounding towers, fully-armored combat elementalists would scan the city with their eyes every now and then. If they discovered anyone who was creating a nuisance, they would descend from the sky and arrest that person. If the troublemaker tried to resist, the guards would have the right to kill him on the spot.
After a few incidents of tough love, all the elementalists in the city became well-behaved. After all, they understood that they were here to make business deals.
Ai Hui and his counterparts were extremely eye-catching among the crowd.
The focal point was Shi Xueman. She was tall and slim and her face was beautiful and alluring. The decorative motif on her blue-white armor was magnificent, highlighting her perfect figure. She carried a magnificent spear on her back and her frosty gaze would occasionally sweep across her surroundings.
Clearwater City was located in the depths of Wilderness. The living conditions in Wilderness were extremely terrible and those elementalists that lived here were mainly boorish and intrepid individuals. How often could they see such a gorgeous girl? Every pair of eyes was fixated on Shi Xueman.
Something bizarre happened. Everywhere Shi Xueman went, the clamor would freeze like ice.
Shi Xueman had been used to this kind of situation since she was young. When she was in Induction Ground, she was already a goddess that was widely adored. With a relaxed facial expression, she walked with confidence beside Ai Hui.
Ai Hui teased her, "Tsk tsk, our Iron Lady is truly formidable. She is way more formidable than any of our killer moves. Iron Lady, you will be in charge of bargaining with the vendors later. They might even give us some freebies."
Shi Xueman was already used to Ai Hui’s shameless and avaricious character. However, she felt that Ai Hui’s words made sense. Since they were so poor now, it would be best for them to save as much money as possible. She nodded her head and replied solemnly, "I don’t know how to bargain. So how do you bargain? Teach me, do I use a sword or a spear?"
Ai Hui stopped in his tracks. Use a sword or a spear...
He could envision Iron Lady placing a sword on a vendor’s neck with an ice-cold look on her face while asking coldly, "Half price, are you selling it?"
The scene was beautiful...
Ai Hui gave a soft cough and replied, "Actually I shall leave it to the professionals. Boan, I shall leave it to you."
Zhao Boan quickly nodded his head and replied, "Don’t worry, you can leave it to your subordinate."
He was afraid of replying too slow. When he heard Miss Shi Xueman’s words just now, his facial expression froze. After spending so much time with her, he knew that Miss Shi would really do this kind of thing. If she really did this kind of thing, they would be in deep trouble.
Eventually, the market regained its bustle. Even though there would be people looking at Ai Hui and his party every now and then, they did it in a very subtle way. In times where public order could break down easily, a girl who dared to roam around in Wilderness must be very powerful. Furthermore, everything on Shi Xueman’s body looked extraordinary. Those who were sharp could tell that she came from a remarkable background.
She had a servant, a guard, a butler and a sand puppet.
The guard looked somewhat arrogant. How dare he walk alongside with his mistress...
If Ai Hui knew that people thought he was Iron Lady’s guard, he would be seething with anger.
However, at this point of time, his attention was on the goods placed in the stores on both sides of him. There were many things that he had never seen before. Similarly, Lou Lan was filled with curiosity too. Lou Lan had seen almost every material sold in Central Pine City. However, most of the things sold here were not recorded in the books he’d read. He found them to be very fascinating.
Ai Hui and Lou Lan stopped and squatted down at almost every store to look at their goods. A human and a sand puppet were conversing in high spirits.
"Lou Lan, do you know what is this?"
"Ai Hui, Lou Lan has not seen it before. Boss, may I know what this is?"
"Lou Lan, this looks rather delicious."
"Ai Hui, this cannot be eaten. This is the poison sack of a smoke beast."
"Lou Lan, this mud is very sticky."
"Ai Hui, this is an earth elemental material, unceasing mud. It is a very practical earth elemental material. It has excellent ductility. It can be pulled into a very fine string to be used as a drawstring for a bow."
Upon hearing Lou Lan’s words, the vendor could not help but exclaim in admiration, "Brother, your sand puppet is very formidable."
"Is that why Boss wants to give us a discount?" Ai Hui took advantage and answered cheekily.
The vendor chuckled, "Alright, since you’re quite an interesting fellow, I shall give you a twenty-percent discount. I will give you a twenty-percent discount for whatever you choose."
Ai Hui was energized.
"But your goods are still more expensive than the other stores, even after the twenty-percent discount," Lou Lan suddenly chirped in.
"Don’t say such nonsense," the smile on the vendor’s face froze.
Lou Lan lifted up his fingers and replied with a serious look on his face, "The sixth store from our left sells an owl plume for forty elemental energy beans. Boss, if you give us a twenty-percent discount for an owl plume here, it will be forty-five elemental energy beans. The ninth store from our right sells an owl plume for thirty-eight elemental energy beans. The body of that plume is thick and strong. The feathers are fine and durable without any flaws. It is of a high grade. The fifteenth store from our right…"
The vendor was dumbfounded. After a while, he suddenly grabbed the unceasing mud on the ground and passed it to Lou Lan, "I will give it to you for free!"
Lou Lan happily took over the unceasing mud. The two eyes on his mask curled into two curved, smiling slits as he stood up and thanked the vendor politely, "Thank you, Boss!"
As the vendor watched Ai Hui and his party walk away, he muttered to himself, "That sand puppet has come alive…"