Gao Guanyu remained impassive through it all. No expression of surprise or worry could be seen on his face which completely showed how able and adept he was at dealing with things like these.
If this man was born on Earth, there was no doubt that Gao Guanyu would have made a great poker player.
"If that is what you need, Master Clark. I know exactly where to take you. Please let me be your guide." Gao Guanyu replied without any questions asked on his part.
This had only increased the admiration that Clark felt towards this good learned man of culture.
"Thank you, Master Gao." Clark uttered his thanks and the two then marched quietly away from the center of ruckus in the Pill Pavilion.
The halls started wide before it quickly narrowed to lead the pair towards the most inner sanctum of the establishment.
They passed several doors and upon the fifth of such gates, Clark expected nothing less but to see more extravagant products on display.
Alas, his prediction came surprisingly flawed the moment this fifth door opened.
'WTF!' Clark may have left the words unspoken but the stupefied expression on his face revealed exactly how he felt.
"Is this place big enough for the trade you had in mind, Master Clark?" Gao Guanyu almost smiled at his would be customer's reaction.
Still, the same rigid discipline he marked unto the bones and souls of his pill apprentices held the smile from coming into form.
The slight curve of this old man's lips vanished before it could even be witnessed by anyone else but himself alone.
"Nancy... what person could create something like this?" Clark once again asked his ever present lady aide.
"It would have to be at least level 40 and above, host. Aspirants can begin to touch the edges of the Dao of Space and with enough proficiency on this specific field, one could even fashion a world of their own design." Nancy easily erased Clark's doubts.
'Aspirant Realm again!' Clark thought as he realized how powerful it was in comparison to the current him. The Master of the Demonic Sword Sect and now the maker of this huge space.
Both were experts that had already spent thousands of years cultivating.
'No matter, with how fast my current level up is going, i would also reach that kind of strength soon!’ Clark smiled and took his eyes from the ceiling that went as far as the natural sky on earth.
What differed in here was that the clouds were replaced with rocky misshapen shapes as if they were inside a cave dwelling and not in some part of the Pill Pavilion any longer.
Other than that, an unnatural light shone from above to show the hidden treasures that laid dormant within this mystical vault.
Clark could see huge monuments and curious pagoda artifacts that reached at least 3 thousand feet in height.
Every single one of these ginormous products was brimming with so much power that breathing normally became even a chore for Mortal Shedding Realms like Clark and Gao Guanyu.
Perhaps an uncultivated mortal would have long suffocated before the presence of these peerless relics.
"Yes, this place should be more than enough for my purpose Master Gao." Clark took a full 60 breaths before uttering any reply.
Gao Guanyu on the other hand was content on watching the sense of awe that passed by his customer's countenance.
He was not at all worried that this middle aged man was a thief or had some devious scheme in mind since the formation technique within this place could even trap a 10th Stage Aspirant Cultivator.
"I'm all ears about the business you bring for me tonight, Master Clark." Gao Guanyu smiled, taking away a few years from his wrinkled mien.
Although he was confident that with his guest's prior reaction, Master Clark could not have possibly bring him the kind of trade that he had expected.
Otherwise a secret realm like this would have never surprised Master Clark that easily. However, Gao Guanyu was still a professional through and through.
His disappointments never leaked one bit and of course, the same courtesy he had for his guest remained constant all through out.
"Then please follow me in order to find out, Master Gao." Clark responded and led the way forward into a large circular clearing.
There were lots of miscellaneous items on the side that ranged from flying swords to broken discarded pieces of what had been compete before.
Twisted shards and rusty trinkets was a common scene on this realm as these two were akin to the sands on the vast azure beaches of treasures.
'Can you scan for hidden special loot in here, Nancy?' Clark asked as he'd hoped that there must have been at least one rare find in this collection of both junks and fortune.
'Affirmative, host.' Nancy affirmed which halted Clark's steps completely.
He remembered that Nancy would not help him locate the magical plants and herbs in these lands unless he bought an upgrade from the system beforehand.
'So what changed?' Clark was curious to find out. Alas, his partner in here found his actions pretty peculiar also.
"What's the matter, Master Clark?"
"Ahhh... Nothing. I just realized that the face on that statue seem so familiar." Clark threw the most common of excuses and pointed on a random giant monument around them.
"Hmmm... Indeed, he is. Adur, The Fallen God of War. A pity." Gao Guanyu shook his head as he also took some time to gaze at the hulking lifelike statue just to their left.
It depicted of a man that held a pair of big axes on his hands.
He was a handsome devil and his stone face exuded an excitement for battle, a wide fearless grin, that may have likely joined him along the many legends that he had written in his long adventurous life.
The battle hunger was still strong and palpable even in the cold unfeeling monument that represented him in death.
"Why is that?" Clark asked.
"I don't know, Master Clark. But... I just thought that the gods above us would have it easier than us mere mortals. Instead..."
Gao Guanyu halted and looked once more at the heroic figure of the Fallen God of War.
"...it appears that they are also fighting tooth and nail up there. Just like we all do in here."
The old Pill Grand Master smiled sadly and this time, it was him who resumed their walk into the glade amidst this forest of sundry antiques. The short walk grew solemn after that.
“Is what he said true, Nancy? Can gods really die?” Clark asked in confusion.
“Affirmative, host. Anything that has life can also perish. And the conflict amongst gods could even be bloodier and more merciless than that of mortals.” Nancy answered in a serious voice.
“What are they fighting about? Don’t tell me they’re all vying for the power of faith? Is that it?”
“Affirmative, host. The power of faith. The supreme energy in all of creation.”
‘Well damn! Was the first xianxia author an immortal or a god himself? How could the details in here be so precisely accurate as it was written in the many web novels i read?!’
Clark was astounded but gained no refuge in his queries. Fifteen breaths elapsed and the two has finally arrived at an open space suitable enough for Clark's needs.
Nancy also took this moment to report her findings.
'Found 69 unidentified items, host.'
'Show me.' Clark commanded.
"BOINK!" Images one after another passed through Clark's perusal. Glass fragments, crumpled paper, torn map, and the like.
It was safe to say that at first glance, none of these items would pass anything else but trash.
'Maybe this things has not yet been appraised or was identified incorrectly by the masters of the Liquid Poison Sect.' Clark was excited to get this inside information from Nancy.
"Can i look around and perhaps buy a couple of unnecessary rabbles in here, Master Gao?" Clark asked nonchalantly, hiding his intentions quite deeply.
"I'm sorry, Master Clark. But all the items in here hasn't been fully appraised yet so..." Gao Guanyu offered an apologetic smile.
"I see. I understand." Clark had a pretty smile on his face but deep inside was a whole nother matter entirely.
'FUCK! What the hell was that, Nancy? Why lead me on and dangle a carrot in front like I'm some kind of stupid rabbit or something?' Clark fumed.
'The system is only giving free knowledge, host. It has revealed, at no cost to you whatsoever, that there are 69 hidden items in here that may or may not be relics from powerful entities.
If you so dislike the system on giving freebies like this one, do you want me to turn off the hint feature on the settings?'
Nancy’s usual happy voice was a tad softer, totally expressing her unspoken disappointment unto her good host.
'Nah, don't. I was out of line, Nancy. I apologize.' Clark felt guilty. It was his fault for asking and Nancy has only obliged when she could. How could Clark even start to blame a dedicated system like her?
'The system is okay, host. Please do your best to get stronger and better even faster! This system shall always be by your side.'
Nancy's cheerful voice wished tons of encouragement unto its sometimes dunce host. The silent conversation between master and aide took no more than 10 breaths.
After Clark's fake smile faded before the eyes of Gao Guanyu, he then cleared his throat and took a more earnest tone this time around.
"A lovely songbird spoke in my ears tonight and she said that you have a pressing need for i what offer, Master Gao. I wonder if my information is true."
Clark started and a knowing grin easily hanged on his face.
"Please enlighten this old man, Master Clark." Gao Guanyu replied honestly because he really had no idea what his guest was talking about.
The commodities and transactions that passed by his hands was as many as the hair of the ox.
Anyone else would think that being the Head of the Pill Pavilion would be akin to sailing on clouds and its cottony allures but the truth was pretty much harsher than that.
After all, almost everyone of import always had something to discuss with the old grand master. Clark here was the best example for this.
"Of course, Master Gao." Clark motioned a hand and a humanoid form wrapped by a thick black long fur materialized on the side.
"What kind of monstrosity is this?!" Gao Guanyu exclaimed after he'd seen the immovable body on the rocky floors. Never in his life had he seen such a creation.
"This monster is called Hairy Corruption. It has high tolerance for physical attacks but with a good strategy in place, all hard roads can still be molded anew.
What do you think of my rare find, Master Gao?"Clark began to open up his bargaining prowess.
“I’ll take it for 20 spirit stones. No, make it 25!” Gao Guanyu has thrown his bid from right out the bat. This dead body was far stronger than him and Master Clark combined when it was alive.
This was the remains of a Peak Mortal Shedding Realm! A raw material that was just recently sought out by an important character in the Liquid Poison Sect.
“Let’s wait for the specific prices later, Master Gao. I still have more to show you.” Clark said and completely filled the immediate space with the entirety of his loot.
19 Mutated Frogs
73 Aldabran Werewolves
100 Fake Zombies
160 Common Vampires
200 Haunting Ghouls
305 Growling Terrors
412 Timber Yetis
601 Bronze Spriggans
279 Hairy Corruptions
“This...” Gao Guanyu was left speechless by the mountain of dead bodies around him. Not because of their numbers of course because in truth he had seen a far grotesque picture than this in the past.
A hundred thousand shattered bodies of foes and comrades alike!
What held him up was the fact that every single bodies around him has not at all left the stench of death in them.
He approached the nearest cadaver and kneeled on one knee to better ascertain his discoveries.
“Still smells fresh and no signs of rot or decay whatsoever! What an effective way of storing this many corpses of monster.” Gao Guanyu took an item from his magical storage ring.
It was a plain wooden stele that has no determining factor other than its blank slate.
The old pill grand master muttered a few unintelligible words that sounded like Latin or other such archaic language to Clark’s untrained ears.
At least Clark could not decipher what the strings of gibberish means. Gao Guanyu then pointed the wooden stele on the collection of lifeless products around him.
A moment later, the numbers 2,149 was painted on the recent blank stele.
‘A dead body counter. A very ingenious artifact.’ Clark recognized what the wooden stele’s usage was at this point.
Gao Guanyu muttered some more alien words and the number was broken down to represent the varying monsters and their tally.
“How about it, Master Gao? Thirty thousand spirit stones should sound not a bad deal for tonight’s auspicious event, yes?” Clark said his asking price.
He had gotten information from Nancy on the way here and knew that what he brought now could at the most give him 20,000 spirit stones of profit.
Alas, the system's estimate was based from the most optimal condition and entirely beset with only the fairness of equal trade. But that rubbish was not at all part in Clark's plan from the beginning.
"That price is simply preposterous, Master Clark!" Gao Guanyu complained fiercely at the trading foe that had him cornered almost all sides.
He could raise his voice and stomp his feet all he want but it was always the seller's prerogative to push the exchange or just as easily walk away to find a willing buyer.
And that was exactly how Clark fashioned his actions at this moment.
“Then i bid you goodnight, Master Gao. I’m sorry for wasting much of your time.” Clark sighed deeply and was about to gather his precious loot back.
“WAIT!” Gao Guanyu raised a firm hand.
“28,000!” The old pill grand master spat the words out. A mere two thousand spirit stones did not matter to him but he was also not used to losing out this much. It was not a very good feeling at all.
‘If this was not an urgent quest from the higher ups then i would not have conceded this badly.
But how could this man know that i need these raw materials when the order has just been brought to me this afternoon. I haven’t even posted the quest up in the Mission Hall.’
Gao Guanyu looked askance at Clark for a moment before erasing these dangerous questions completely out of his thoughts in the next few breaths.
He would not have lived this long if he had been a nosy person in the first place.
“Then it’s a deal, Master Gao.” Clark tried to be as humble in his victory as he could be and thus, sported no grin of any kind whatsoever.
This market was a good one and he was not about to burn any bridges before he could fully utilize its usage to its utmost potential.
* * *
“If you have the same goods Master Clark, please don’t hesitate to come again.” Gao Guanyu smiled, feeling relieved after finalizing such an important deal.
The two men was now back again at the populous halls teeming with both beautiful waitresses and myriad customers alike.
“Your honest Pill Pavilion is certainly at the top of my list, Master Gao. That you can be sure of. Until then, fare thee well.” Clark bid with these sweet words and did not immediately leave the premises.
He took his time to check a few commodities he might be interested in.
‘A flying sword is a must!’ Clark mused and went directly to see the different cool flying swords on display.
But even at this leisurely plot, he has not at all forgotten that he had the xianxia mc stigma on his forehead. His senses was relentless as ever in sweeping any untoward instances in his proximity.
‘Pheew. Seems like i will get away scot-free in my first shopping spree in this world. Nice!’
“That’s the man! He is the one who stole my innocence from me!” Clark turned around and saw one of the two most beautiful women he’d ever seen in his life. This first one was of course Tang Xinyue.
‘FUCK ME! I spoke too soon!’