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AIP - Chapter 257: Clam Mirage Stone

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

As one could expect from a secret market, there were quite a lot of good things here. For example, there were many stalls selling the violet gold that Wei Tianchong needed, and the price was pretty cheap. A fist-sized piece of violet gold could be sold for two to three thousand coins in the Sageheart Kingdom, and even that price wasn't enough to guarantee a piece. But here, the starting price was only eighteen hundred coins, and if one haggled, one could even get it for twelve hundred to as low as eight hundred coins.

This was mainly because although valuable materials like violet gold weren't forbidden from being exported, the major sects controlled how much was exported, and since the supply was limited, the price was high, and this naturally made it so that the prices would only ever increase. And this secret market was really just a private market combined with a black market of the cultivation world. Without all those intermediaries, the price would naturally be much lower.

In the end, violet gold was just an ore that was extracted from the ground and processed. There was little cost to extracting it, so eight hundred spirit coins was already a massive profit.

The Evil Dragons had made it a rule that they would take 20% commission on any item sold here. It wasn't a low percentage, but even so, it was an extremely profitable transaction.

Wei Tianchong did some counting and found that he had brought ten thousand coins with him. If he used it all to buy materials and then went back to resell them, he could sell them for at least double the price, which was 100% profit.

He grew excited. After all, he had grown up in a clan of merchants. Sensing a path to fortune, he looked at Tang Jie and said, "This is a profitable deal. Tang Jie, we can make back our capital and make a profit. If we had one hundred thousand or one million spirit coins, wouldn't we be rich?"

Tang Jie coldly looked at him. "Do you have one million spirit coins?"

Wei Tianchong was instantly rendered speechless. Let alone him, not even the Wei Estate had that much.

Moreover, there might not be a big enough market for this much money.

"This secret market only happens once a year, and it's a very risky enterprise. Buying and selling goods also requires manpower and time, but we need to cultivate, so where will we get the energy to haggle? And if you really do put your focus into it, you'll have made the money, but what about your cultivation? I don't think I've heard of any Titan who made his name through business. Do you really think that once you've found a way to make money, you can sit back and watch it happen?" Tang Jie said.

Wei Tianchong awkwardly scratched his head. "You know that I'm trying to think of ways to make money."

Even though he was a young master of a big clan, he was still worried about money.

After becoming a True Inheritor, Wei Tianchong had received less money from the Wei Estate, not more.

There was nothing to be done. Cultivating Immortality just took too many resources, and not even a major clan could support this enormous expenditure over the long term. Thus, they would normally provide their children a large amount of resources in the early stage so they could get a good foundation, but they would reduce their investment in the later stage.

Normally, once students reached the Spirit Sea Tier, they would have a large number of trial missions they could participate in, so they would have to rely on themselves to make money. At this time, a clan's investment and one's own revenue would each make up 50%.

When a student reached Mortal Shedding, the clan's share would shrink again.

At the peak of Mortal Shedding or Celestial Heart, the cultivator would start paying back the clan.

This was precisely why, of the ten thousand coins Wei Tianchong had brought, only five thousand had been provided by the Wei Estate. The remaining five thousand was what he had saved up over the last two years.

As they had had a smooth journey and because he was a cultivator with a Mustard Seed Bag, their security and transportation expenses were extremely low, allowing for this potential profit. Moreover, strictly speaking, this wasn't profit yet, only savings on cost. Turning it into a profit would require returning to Sageheart and spending some time selling the goods.

As for those caravans, that 100% profit would have additional deductions through payment for manpower and the risk of damage and loss, so achieving 20% to 30% profit through one trip was already a good result.

Some unfortunate ones were robbed several times, resulting in bankruptcy or worse.

But despite this, Tang Jie still said, "We can't do it, but the Wei Estate can. Once we get back, you can explain the situation to the lady and have the Wei Estate come over to make deals. There should be no problem with that."

"That's a good idea." Shi Meng offered his support.

Opening a path of revenue for the Wei Estate was also indirectly giving oneself more cultivation resources.

While talking, the three of them hadn't forgotten their business. Wei Tianchong bought a chunk of violet gold and went off to look for other materials.

Tang Jie was also looking around for the materials he needed.

As he was walking, Tang Jie saw an item on display in a nearby stall.

This was a black piece of wood, about one foot long, round, and covered in red veins.

Tang Jie walked over and said, "Can I have a closer look at it?"

The middle-aged stall owner gruffly replied, "This is a thousand-year Bloodvein Tree Core. It costs ten thousand, so if you put up a deposit of ten spirit jades, you can look at it as much as you want."

"I'll use this as a deposit." Tang Jie placed two blocks of Softscent Jade on the counter. The middle-aged man saw the jades, and his eyes immediately started to glow.

Tang Jie took the wood core and began to carefully look it over.

Bloodvein Trees were an excellent material in the cultivation world, useful for making puppets, laying formations, or forging tools.

Thousand-year goods weren't easy to find, and so Tang Jie didn't take this "thousand-year" adjective to heart. Even a hundred-year would be good enough. But as he examined the Bloodvein Tree Core, he realized that the middle-aged man hadn't been boasting.

Bloodvein Wood was an extremely heavy kind of wood, and the weight only increased with time. This small piece of Bloodvein Wood had to weigh at least fifty kilograms, so it probably was a thousand years old, though he had no idea where this man could have gotten it.

If this was really the case, then ten thousand coins wasn't expensive at all. But this was precisely why Tang Jie was suspicious.

This novel is _hosted_ by h0sted n0v3l.

As he carefully inspected it, he finally found the problem.

This Bloodvein Tree Core seemed to be a complete piece, but he managed to discover faint cracks.

This meant that someone had probably hollowed it out before. It was just that Bloodvein Wood had self-healing properties, and the cut had gradually healed over, leaving a little crack.

This also meant that this Bloodvein Wood was faked, and someone had probably stuffed metal inside to increase the weight. This forgery was very well done, using actual Bloodvein Wood and only trying to fake the age. The costs couldn't be low, and even that metal that was used to increase weight was probably of spiritual grade. If Tang Jie hadn't been proficient in the Dao of Insight, he might not have noticed.

"A pity…" Tang Jie sighed, whispering, "To fake a thousand-year Bloodvein Tree Core, you went and ruined a real one."

"What nonsense are you saying?" The middle-aged man paled and angrily glared at Tang Jie.

Tang Jie shook his head, put the wood down, and went to take back his jades. The middle-aged man pushed down Tang Jie's hand and said, "Kid, it's one thing to not buy, but why the slander? If you don't give me an explanation, don't even think about taking back your deposit!"

"What? You like my little preciouses here?" Tang Jie chuckled. He leaned over and whispered, "While there aren't many people around, let's each go our separate ways. If we really cause a stir, you won't find it that easy to find a mark."

The middle-aged man laughed. "You trying to scare me? What do you think this place is? Just tell me! If you don't give me a good explanation, I really can't let you go."

Tang Jie sighed.

It was actually quite simple for him to prove that the wood was fake. He could just take it and smash it, but this would be like shattering this guy's rice bowl. After all, a lot had gone into making this fake.

Killing off someone's revenue source was like killing their parents. He didn't want to cause too much trouble, so he once more grabbed the Bloodvein Wood. He had originally thought about pretending to look before admitting that he had made a mistake when he suddenly had an idea. Focusing his eyes on the Bloodvein Wood, he vaguely felt like he could see through it.

Surprised and delighted, he calmed down and stared at the wood, feeling like he was entering another world.

The veins of the Bloodvein Wood expanded before his eyes, gradually filling his field of vision. He was in the strange world within the piece of wood, every fiber and pore magnified as if under a microscope, and he continued to venture deeper and deeper within.

Finally, he managed to pierce through the wood and saw a black metallic luster, like a dark and sealed space…

"Hey! Kid, say something!" the middle-aged man roared.

Tang Jie could no longer focus, and he was pulled out of that mysterious black world and into the mortal realm.

Letting out a long sigh, he smiled and said, "So it was Blackstar Iron. No wonder it was so heavy."

The middle-aged man shuddered.

How did he know that I filled the Bloodvein Wood with Blackstar Iron?

Tang Jie could tell from the reaction that he was right.

This made him very excited. He had never realized that his Dao of Insight could be used in this way. If that was true, he could find materials easily and wouldn't have to be worried about being tricked or missing out on something good.

Suppressing his delight, Tang Jie coldly looked at the middle-aged man. "Let go!"

The middle-aged man did not dare to stop Tang Jie and could only watch as he took the Softscent Jades back.

Tang Jie smiled. "Three hundred coins to keep me quiet, or else you had best not even think about trying to sell this off."

As he spoke, he secretly released some spiritual energy, making the crack on the Bloodvein Wood more obvious. Since this guy had forged this wood and had tried to trick him, he didn't mind returning the favor.

Tang Jie continued to stroll around, testing out his new Insight ability.

He quickly discovered that the Eye of Insight couldn't be used on all materials. The higher the quality of the material, the more difficult it became for the Eye of Insight to see through. Besides these high-level materials, materials with extremely strong spirituality were also difficult to see through.

For example, it didn't work on Softscent Jade.

But regardless, at least seventy percent of the goods in this secret market could no longer hide their secrets from him. With one glance, he was able to tell whether many things were real or fake, good or bad. Alas, he didn't find any secret treasures.

As Tang Jie was walking around, Wei Tianchong came over and waved his hand. "Tang Jie, come here and take a look."

Wei Tianchong was holding a small piece of jade.

Tang Jie took it and looked it over. "Oh? Is this a shard of Soul Jade? Where did you find it?"

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Soul Jade was an extremely rare material. One could attach a Divine Soul or nurture a Divine Will with it, and it was a treasure for high-level cultivators. Alas, Wei Tianchong only had a shard, and most of its effects had faded. Otherwise, there was no way it would have appeared in the secret market.

"In that stall over there. Eight hundred coins. Not bad, right?" Wei Tianchong smugly said.

"Not bad. It's the real deal," Tang Jie praised.

This item, if placed in the puppet, would give a huge boost to the effects of Wei Tianchong's Blackwater Soul Possession.

"Is there any more?" Tang Jie asked.

"There seems to be another piece."

Tang Jie quickly went over, and sure enough, there was another piece. After inspecting it to make sure it was real, he had Wei Tianchong buy it.

Wei Tianchong grumbled, "It's not like you know the Blackwater Soul Possession, so what do you want it for?"

"I have my uses for it." Tang Jie smiled.

He had been looking for something he could attach a Soul Will to, but he had yet to find one. Surprisingly, Wei Tianchong had found one before him.

As was his habit, he scanned the other goods, and just when he was about to leave, he suddenly stopped and turned around, looking at a Clam Mirage Stone displayed in the stall.

The Clam Mirage Stone came from a giant ocean beast known as the Clam Beast, and it had the ability to transmit images. Ji Wujiu had used this item to control the Nine Palace Illusion Formation of Wind Devil Island.

This piece was much smaller than the one on Wind Devil Island, probably a fifth of the size, it was unprocessed rock that had never been polished, and its grade was also average.

What had truly drawn Tang Jie's interest was that when he used the Eye of Insight, he found that there was seemingly something inside the Clam Mirage Stone.

Tang Jie decided to grab the stone and take a closer look. Alas, when he focused his vision, he found it impossible to see inside. As his vision peered into the depths, it felt like something was devouring it, leaving him flabbergasted.

hypersheep325's Notes:

Oh? Mysterious treasure? What could be inside?

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Written by Yuanfen 0 缘分0. Translated by hypersheep325. Edited by Michyrr.