Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Lu Ye could not find it in himself to turn down such a valuable treasure, so he accepted the wooden box from Li Baxian, passed it to Hua Ci and clasped his hands together. “Thank you everyone for your love and generosity. The two of us will engrave this kindness in our hearts.”
Li Baxian smiled. “Since you have a Mystic Fruit, you won’t be getting the proceeds of the auction. Do you understand this?”
“Of course. It’s only right.”
The Mystic Fruit alone was worth the trip. To desire the proceeds that were supposed to be split among those who could not obtain a Mystic Fruit as well would be insensitive to the extreme.
Li Baxian looked at everyone and asked, “I will be conducting this auction. Is everyone okay with this?”
The answer was a resounding yes, and not just because they had decided this beforehand. Some of the Legates and prolegates present were older and more prestigious than Li Baxian, but none of them could compare to him in strength, much less the younger ones. He was ranked tenth on the Roll of Supremacy, and he had fought Yan Xing, the first runner up to a standstill. The only cultivator present who could give him a run for his money was Feng Yuechan, and everyone knew she was deeply in love with him. There was no way she was going to undermine his authority.
Without further ado, Li Baxian started the auction immediately. “In that case, let us begin the auction for the first Mystic Fruit! Bidders, you may make your bid now!”
A smiling Feng Yuechan called out faster than anyone else. “The Devoted Ones bid ten thousand High-Grade Spirit Stones.”
The bid was immediately challenged. “Sky Origin Clan bids thirteen thousand High-Grade Spirit Stones!”
“Green Void Palace offers ten thousand High-Grade Spirit Stones and five kilograms of Aquamarine Heaven Divine Steel!”
The place became as boisterous as a market for a time. Practically everyone who bid for the Mystic Fruits were big sects originating from the Core Circle. Both their wealth and foundation were much greater than the sects residing in the Inner Circle and the Outer Circle.
The foundation of a sect especially wasn’t something that could be built up by just one or two generations of people. It took the continuous effort of countless generations for the most successful sects to surpass their competitors and become First, Second or Third-Tier sects. No one was born powerful after all. Everyone had to start somewhere and toil ceaselessly to get to where they were.
Most of the bids consisted of High-Grade Spirit Stones, and sometimes they would throw in some unique natural treasures to increase the value of their bid. There were many names that Lu Ye hadn’t heard before, much less known their function.
Then again, he hadn’t seen a High-Grade Spirit Stone before either. All the Spirit Stones he had obtained until now were classified as Low-Grade. From what he heard, there were Low-Grade Spirit Stones, Mid-Grade Spirit Stones, High-Grade Spirit Stones and finally Top-Grade Spirit Stones.
The competition for the Mystic Fruits was fierce yet peaceful. The first Mystic Fruit was won by a big sect hailing from Wu Zhou. After Li Baxian had announced the result, the Legate of the sect saluted in all directions and gave everyone his thanks. Then, he flew up to the Mystic Fruit Tree and searched for the best one just like Li Baxian before putting it inside a container. He was out of the auction after that.
The auction lasted two hours in total. Near the end, the Legates had ramped up the bids to levels he could scarcely imagine. When all was said and done, there were eight happy winners and countless more not-too-unhappy losers. After all, the effects of a Mystic Fruit were random. No one knew if the Mystic Fruit someone got was worth the price until they determined its exact effects.
In fact, the only clear winner here was the Crimson Blood Sect. They were the only ones who obtained a Mystic Fruit without having to pay a single Spirit Stone.
The Legates were only representing their sects, so of course they couldn’t pay the bid price immediately. It would have to wait until they returned to the Spirit Creek Battlefield and Jiu Zhou and reported back to their sects. Their sects would then gather the resources that were promised and distribute them to all relevant parties.
Grand Sky Coalition would be overseeing this matter because they had people that specifically dealt with this type of matter. After all, the proceeds of the auction had to be distributed not just to the sects of the surviving Legates, but also those who had perished in combat as well. Of course, what was a massive sum of resources would be a pittance after it was split evenly between all the sects, but it was still better than nothing.
“You should give the Mystic Fruit to Shui Yuan when you head back, junior brother. She will process the flesh for you,” Li Baxian advised Lu Ye.
The sword cultivator then patted him on the shoulder and said, “You’re growing quickly, but make sure it did not come at the expense of your skills, okay? You need time to grow into your power.”
Some time later, rumbles came from every direction, and the entire continent was shaking like an earthquake. The massive continent was splitting up into Chess Islands once more, meaning that the Battle Royale of the Legates had finally come to an end.
Lu Ye’s surroundings were distorting and blurring all around him. It was as if they were overlapping with another space.
“Take care, Brother Li, Sister Feng!” Lu Ye bid the two cultivators goodbye formally.
Beside him, Hua Ci also bowed respectfully to her seniors.
“Take care!” Li Baxian nodded back.
People were bidding each other goodbye everywhere. Lu Ye turned around and saw Lan Yudie, Gao Tai, Lu Yushan and his junior sister. He bid them goodbye as well.
The spatial distortion worsened, and before Lu Ye and Hau Ci knew it they were standing in the Outpost’s Sanctum of Providence once more. The Grand Sky Coalition cultivators surrounding him just a moment ago were nowhere to be seen.
Hua Ci’s Wolf Golem was still with her though, and thank the Heavens for that. It would be a shame to lose all the Storage Bags it was carrying.
Lu Ye and Hua Ci exchanged a smile with each other. The battle royal had lasted a month, and what a month it had been. It would go down as one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.
“You’re finally back!”
A voice came from outside the sanctum. Lu Ye turned toward the source of the voice and saw it was Chen Yu.
He told Hua Ci, “Head back to the sect first and inform the sect master and Sister Shui about our safe return. I’ll be right behind you.”
“Mm,” Hua Ci responded simply before teleporting back to the sect using the Divine Opportunity Column.
Lu Ye then stepped out of the Sanctum of Providence and sat down on a chair. While relaxing, he asked, “Why were you standing outside? I thought you were a crook for a second, you know?”
That was what he said, but the Outpost was the safest place on the entire Spirit Creek Battlefield. It wasn’t until now that Lu Ye finally relaxed completely.
Chen Yu hurriedly answered, “We independent cultivators are already infinitely grateful that the Crimson Blood Sect would allow us to use their Outpost. How could I test that generosity by invading a key location such as the Sanctum of Providence?”
Speaking of which, the independent cultivators they had gathered so far were of good character—or rather, they were all wise enough not to give in to stupidity under Chen Yu’s management. The Outpost might have been semi-abandoned for decades, but no independent cultivator had ever dared to take it over.
“So, why do you want to speak with me?” Lu Ye asked while cracking his neck. They had interacted with each other a couple times now, so they were past the point where they were strangers. Lu Ye had even asked Chen Yu to buy Spirit Pills for him some time ago.
Chen Yu responded with a question of his own, “I heard that the Crimson Blood Sect is recruiting new disciples again. Is that true?”
Lu Ye shot him a glance. “You’re pretty quick on the uptake.”
Shui Yuan had in fact mentioned this before. In the past, the Crimson Blood Sect could not recruit disciples and was basically pending their name to be struck off the list. After Lu Ye and the Rogue Wanderers’ Club’s had joined the sect though, his senior sister saw no reason to hold back any longer.
As a Legate, Lu Ye possessed the right to recruit disciples from the Spirit Creek Battlefield, initiates to be exact. The initiates must go through a period of examination first before they were allowed to become official disciples.
Also, Shui Yuan had told him to absorb as many independent cultivators as he could because many of them were looking to become an associate of Crimson Blood Sect. Their participation would help the sect’s development and ensure he wasn’t alone if new crises were to befall the sect.
Previously, Lu Ye had no time to consider this because he was preparing for the Battle Royal of the Legates. He did not think that the news would spread before he even began to handle it.
On second thought, it was probably Kong Niu or Ruan Lingyu who leaked the news; Ruan Lingyu most likely because the girl loved to visit the bazaar.
“So it’s true?” Chen Yu exclaimed in pleasant surprise.
“You seem pretty happy about this. Are you planning to join the Crimson Blood Sect yourself?” Lu Ye asked.
“Oh, yes. I do hope I’m qualified for this opportunity.”
“You’re a Seventh-Order cultivator though. It shouldn’t be hard for you to join a good sect, so why wait for the Crimson Blood Sect?”
Chen Yu let out a bitter chuckle. “Big sects prefer to recruit non-cultivators with potential than semi-accomplished cultivators like me because it’s the best way to cultivate loyalty and a sense of belonging in their disciples. Also, I wouldn’t be valued as highly if I were to join any other sect. Seventh-Order cultivators are a Spirit Stone a dozen in any sect, you know.”
That was the truth. Even a Ninth-Tier sect in the Outer Circle owned a lot of Seventh or Eighth-Order cultivators. They just weren’t seen often because they were all training in the Inner Circle.
While Chen Yu was qualified to be the Legate of a Ninth-Tier sect, who in the world would dare to entrust such an important position to a new recruit?
This reminded Lu Ye of Dong Shu Ye. The man used to be the Legate of the Nine Star Clan until he joined another faction and became the personal bodyguard of a hedonistic young master instead. It was the epitome of a fall from grace.
“I have been here since I was a Second-Order cultivator, and I’ve developed an attachment to this place. It’s not just me either, there are a lot of independent cultivators living in the area who share the same story. We independent cultivators usually have no one to rely on but ourselves, but here in the Outpost we are able to meet up and form a community of some sort. Even if the Crimson Blood Sect had never intended for this to happen, it did not change the fact that you had given us a shelter.”
It was because the Crimson Blood Sect’s Outpost was guarded by Gray. The enemy would have to be crazy or extremely confident to provoke the beast.
“If it’s not too presumptuous, may I suggest that the Crimson Blood Sect considers us independent cultivators during the recruitment? What we lack in talent, we make up for with our loyalty and sense of belonging. It’s just that we have never dared to call ourselves disciples of the Crimson Blood Sect,” Chen Yu said sincerely.
“Is this your personal opinion?”
The independent cultivator shook his head. “It’s not just me. There are many others who think the same. I’m just the one they chose to carry the word.”
While propping up his chin with one hand and tapping his knee with the other, Lu Ye said in a relaxed voice, “You are aware that the Crimson Blood Sect is not your average Ninth-Tier sect, right? You’ll face far more dangers than normal. You should’ve heard what happened to me at the Goldentip.”
Chen Yu replied, “What is cultivation if not a journey full of dangers? It’s not like remaining independent is going to improve our safety either; would a Thousand Demon Ridge cultivator let us go just because we’re independent? Of course not. As for your magnificent battle at the Goldentip, of course we’ve heard about it, and we all admire you for what you’ve done. While we are incapable of replicating the feat, we swear to defend the Crimson Blood Sect’s honor to the last if you would accept us!”