Editor: Activas Luna
Chapter 12: Black Market
A month had passed and Fang-Xing could feel that the amount of Qi he had accumulated from his lone Spirit Stone had started to dissipate. It was at the same time that Yu had sent him good news about the Black Market: the time and date of the next market had been set by a dozen of interested Outer Sect disciples. Excited for the upcoming market, Fang-Xing ordered Yu to bring an extra lavish meal.
All of the money still came out of Yu’s pocket, of course.
One the day of the market, Fang-Xing prepared a few things to take along with him before using his [Mask of Wanlo]. Activating the mask with Qi, as soon as he placed it on his face, his body and facial features changed so rapidly that even the human eye could see it. His bones cracked as he grew a few inches taller into the size of a grown adult, though due to his small frame—even with his more mature appearance—he was still paper thin.
His appearance—now a 20-something man—was so ordinary that he could easily be forgotten after being seen. Clearing his throat revealed a deeper voice, husky like that of a grown man. Fang-Xing put on the robes he had borrowed from Yu before swaggering towards where the Black Market was to be held.
No one paid any attention to such an ordinary disciple.
The Black Market was located in a valley a few miles away from the Outer Sect, and when Fang-Xing—or, rather, an ordinary young man—arrived, the moon had already appeared in the sky. At the valley’s entrance, two masked men looked towards Fang-Xing: “What brings Shixiong here today?”
Slightly surprised at the men’s caution, he sniggered: “What brings me here? Why would I be here if I don’t have something? You know what I’m talking about; it better not disappoint me today!”
“Of course, but please Shixiong, we can’t let the Sect know about this. After all, it is…” exchanging looks, one of the men replied almost in a whisper.
“Hah! You really think the Sect doesn’t know about this? If they really didn’t allow it, do you really think it would be possible? They’re just pretending to not know,” laughed the ordinary-looking young man. “Why so serious?”
In fact, Fang-Xing had made sure that Yu had told him everything he knew about these Black Markets. While the Sect had its rules, they weren’t going to stop low-level disciples from just exchanging goods as long as they didn’t turn it into a spectacle. Even then, the Sect would only need to send an Elder to address the issue before the Black Market would be closed for a few years.
The market today was really only for the new disciples that had joined four or so months ago with most of their cultivation levels between tiers one and two, and it really served no interest to anyone that had been in the Sect longer than that. No one really knew anybody else in a market like this and identities couldn’t be checked in advance, either; Fang-Xing didn’t even have to break a sweat to smuggle himself in as the ordinary-looking man, masked just like everyone else.
At first, it was said that only a dozen or so disciples that were interested would be at the market, but it seemed that over twenty had already arrived. Everyone that had come sooner had already chosen a quiet and concealing corner, observing everyone else around them with caution.
One man wearing a black mask could wait no longer and decided to break the silence: “All dear shixiongs and shidis here, I don’t want to waste any more of your time. If anyone wants to exchange anything, please speak now so we can get this done and over with.”
“That’s right. Let me start first, then.” A scrawny man placed five or six shiny red stones on the large limestone in front of him. “We’re all new in the Sect, so these Spirit Stones are what we all need the most right now. The Sect asks for 100 gold taels for each Spirit Stone, but today I’ll trade for 80 gold taels each.”
It was a full 20 gold taels cheaper than exchanging with the Sect, and a few could be seen moved by this offer. One chubby man—also masked—soon stepped up and spoke, “I… I need t’ examine them stones first.”
“Go ahead! Why would I sell fake ones, anyway!” The scrawny man laughed at the idea and waved the man to check as much as he pleased.
Hearing the voice of the scrawny man, Fang-Xing felt a sense of familiarity, as though he’d heard it somewhere once before. Activating his [Book of Revelation], Fang-Xing let out a smirk; it was none other than the moustached man from the [Pavilion of Magical Tools]. But of course, who other than he would have so many Spirit Stones to exchange?
Since he already had his [Book of Revelation] activated, Fang-Xing decided to check on the rest of the people here: most people had only achieved tier one, there was a few in tier two, and only this moustached man was at tier three.
“Them Spirit Stones! I’ll take two of ‘em!” The chubby man excitedly threw a small bag of gold leaves. “Check ‘em an’ make sure it’s correct ay!”
“No need; I believe you.” The moustached man grabbed the bag and smiled, knowing the amount was exact just by weighing the bag with his hands. “Only four left…”
“I’ll take three!”
“Leave two for me!”
Soon enough, all six Spirit Stones were completely sold out.
Seeing how smooth the transaction was, a few others had also taken out their Spirit Stones for sale. Most of these people had probably been in the Sect for a few years and saved up a few Spirit Stones to see if they could exchange for something more useful from the new disciples.
“It’s my turn now! I’ve got something here that I’d also like to exchange for some Spirit Stones, but let me be honest: not everyone is able to handle it.” It was another masked young man, and with a wave of his hand a red sword appeared in his grasp. There was a hint of gold within its red shine, but what caught most of the people’s attention wasn’t the sword, but how he had taken the sword out: it had just appeared. If one looked carefully, this man was wearing an antique-styled ring that the sword had appeared from.
“Isn’t that… A storage ring? A new Outer Sect Disciple with a storage ring…”
“That sword isn’t an ordinary sword, either! By the looks of it, it must be mid-tiered too…”
The small crowd whispered amongst themselves, all of them surprised by how wealthy this man was. As though already used to such a reaction, the man scanned across everyone before speaking: “Before coming here, I used up all of my savings on this mid-tiered magical weapon [Nine Snakes’ Sword]. Who would have known that I bought it way too early; with my current level of cultivation, I can’t use it to its full potential just yet. I need a lot of Spirit Stones to improve my cultivation, but my clan is quite far away; the extra silvers and golds that they’ve prepared for me won’t arrive here for another two months’ time… It will be too long for me to wait, so I’m here now to sell this sword.”
Everyone stood in shock; as speculated, it was a mid-tier magical weapon, but no one replied as it would not be cheap.
Seeing the quiet crowd, the man then continued: “I bought this sword with twenty thousand gold taels, and if I were to do the exchange today, it would be a minimum of a hundred Spirit Stones. Though is there anyone who may just happen to have this much today?” Pausing slightly, he nodded expectantly. “Of course, if no one has this much on them it’s not a problem either; I will be bringing this along with me at the next Black Market for anyone who may be interested. If you know any shixiongs who are not here today who may also be interested, please do let them know, too.”
It seemed that the man had been expecting this. He knew that it wouldn’t be sold in one go but was only here to see if there was any potential buyers. The sword, though, was definitely quite something; those in the third tier would undoubtedly be interested in this, perhaps even those in the fourth tier.
“Very interesting. But don’t worry; I wasn’t expecting something so fascinating to appear at the Black Market so i didn’t prepare enough for something like this, but I like this sword very much. As soon as I get back, I will have the stones prepared for you; would you like to hold onto it for me?” It was none other than the moustached man, his eyes sparkling with gluttony.
Having worked at the [Pavilion of Magical Tools], he sure knew about his magical tools and weapons.