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Chapter 363: Striving Against Competition

    Chapter 363: Striving Against Competition

    Translator: Novel Saga  Editor: Novel Saga

    Shi Mu lost all interest in visiting shops after having been stirred up by this incident.

    He was swaying in the train of thoughts on his way back home.

    Liu An had suddenly appeared in the Rising Sun City just before the beginning of the auction. This thought had filled his heart with a sense of vigilance.

    Shi Mu couldn't help but recall the Ascension to Immortality Auction in the Heavenly Yu City. Liu An had caused a widespread massacre in the Heavenly Yu City at that time. Shi Mu felt that the present situation bore a little resemblance to 'the-then-situation' of the Heavenly Yu City. It also seemed for a moment that Liu An was again planning to the use the Star Stone in the upcoming auction.

    Shi Mu had personally experienced everything during that blood purge. But, he had considered that incident as a matter that didn't concern him at that time. However, he had eventually found himself implicated in that matter when an arrest order had been issued for him by the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult.

    One of the organizers of the upcoming Auction was Zhong Xiu. And, she was one of the people that he cared about the most. So, he couldn't allow any mishap to befall her. He wouldn't flinch even if he was compelled to confront a person whose strength exceeded his own by far.

    Shi Mu couldn't refrain from clenching his fist tightly as such thoughts swirled in his mind.

    A small and delicate silhouette swooped down from the air, and landed on Shi Mu's shoulder at this time; it was Cai!

    "Where had you just run away to?" Shi Mu asked.

    "You are saying this? I was fortunate enough to have responded quickly and flown away. I don't know why I can't shake off this sense of uneasiness that emerges all over my body every time I see Liu An. Anyway, how does he also know Miss Leng?" Cai asked.

    "Miss Leng is the daughter of the Dark Moon Cult's Head. And, both Liu An and Miss Leng belong to the same Western Dark Moon Cult. So, it's not strange if they know each other. However, why have the Vice-President and the daughter of the Cult's Head come all the way here to look for Linghu Kuan...?" Shi Mu muttered to himself in a thoughtful manner.

    "Shi Tou, I had seen you and Liu An having a joyous discussion in a restaurant. I don't know why, but I had felt at that time as if you two were truly old friends who had met today after many years." Cai said.

    "I'm afraid that Leng Yue Tong has also gotten the same impression as you. Cai, you go and keep watch on Liu An. Monitor his each and every move. And, inform me right away if you notice any unusual behavior." Shi Mu said.

    "Liu An is a treacherous man... like a ghost. On top of that, he possesses extraordinary strength. What would I do if he spotted me? It's not like I'm very afraid of him. But, everything involves a certain degree of risk. What if he finds out that I'm keeping track of him...? I don't want to be turned into a zombie parrot!" Cai shook up from head to toe as he heard Shi Mu's words. Then, he started to shout in order to show his reluctance.

    "I know your skill. You fly high, and keep a reasonable distance from him. Then, he won't be able to spot you," Shi Mu said.

    Cai still wanted to say something. But, a water-attribute spirit stone darted out, and blocked his mouth.

    His mouth then made two-or-three chewing movements before he swallowed it down completely into his belly. Then, he gave a satisfied belch. Afterwards, he threw a glance at Shi Mu with a resentful expression in his eyes. But, he didn't speak anything. Instead, he spread his wings, and flew away.

    That evening... Shi Mu sat in meditation with his legs crossed in the house.

    Suddenly, a golden luminous dot flashed before his eyes; it was Cai. He had activated the shared vision.

    Then, a picture emerged in Shi Mu's mind.

    A silhouette of a man appeared in that picture. He wore a pale-white robe, and was riding a black horse. He moved out of the western gate of the Rising Sun City whilst riding his horse. Then, he took a turn straight into a craggy mountain road that wasn't far from his place. After that, he moved far from the direction of the city while leaving no trace behind.

    He was riding at a relatively fast pace due to the hazy light of the night. Moreover, it seemed that Cai was fairly far from him. So, it was difficult for Shi Mu to see that person's appearance clearly.

    However, the clothing of that man as well as his long blood-red hair allowed Shi Mu to conclude that this person was Liu An.

    Shi Mu was stupefied when he found this.

    It was strange that Liu An hadn't brought about any tumultuous situation this time. On the contrary, he had left the city in this way. This behavior of his had made Shi Mu unable to understand the situation.

    Moreover, Shi Mu also had no idea if the opposite party was leaving the city for the time being or there were some other plans up his sleeve. Anyway, Liu An was no longer in the city. This realization filled his heart with a sense of great relief.

    "Oh, that's right... I didn't see Leng Yue Tong with him on this journey." Suddenly something crossed Shi Mu's mind.

    But then, a creaking sound was heard as the small courtyard's door was shoved open. Then, Zhong Xiu walked in from outside. Her face was smeared with a trace of exhaustion at this moment.

    "Miss Xiu, welcome back." Shi Mu went out to welcome her.

    Zhong Xiu had left home today a bit early since she had to meet some merchants in the city first. And, her goal was to try to pull some connections for the following auctions. In addition, she also wanted to seek some opportunities for cooperation.

    "Is everything going smoothly?" Shi Mu asked.

    "Elder Zhao has been working in this city for many years. Therefore, some large forces as well as shops in the city are rooting for her from the sidelines. I haven't received any explicit rejection yet. But, I can clearly see that the opposite party is unlikely to look for us even if they have things to entrust to us. I have also pulled some small and medium-sized forces in the past few days for their support. However, I could win over them only by offering them many concessions in terms of commission on the entrusted goods," Zhong Xiu and Shi Mu walked into a living room side-by-side, and sat down. Then, she began to explain.

    Shi Mu nodded since he had already anticipated these situations.

    The beautiful woman already occupied a favorable position. On top of that, she had the secret backing of Vice President Wang who was a high-ranked official in the Chamber of Commerce. So, it was normal that she had an edge over Zhong Xiu since the beginning.

    "Oh, that's right... the Star Stone of City Lord Linghu mustn't have been listed for the auction, right?" Shi Mu asked.

    "Hmm, he didn't take out the Star Stone. So, it seems that the Star Stone that you have entrusted to us is our biggest reliance so far. But, I think Elder Zhao ought to have something up her sleeve to present as the final product of the auction." Zhong Xiu said.

    "It doesn't matter. Miss Xiu, you don't need to be anxious about these things. I still have some means." Shi Mu said.

    "Big Brother Shi, you... what other methods do you have?" Zhong Xiu gawked. She was unlikely to doubt Shi Mu's words. But, his words still seemed somewhat hard to believe.

    Shi Mu had come up with a Star Stone in such a critical situation. This had already made her quite satisfied. She still remembered that the final product at the Ascension to Immortality Auction in the Heavenly Yu city had also been a Star Stone.

    "Miss Xiu, you'll have to buy some charm papers for me. They should be made of hide. The higher the rank, the better it would be." Shi Mu said.

    "That's not an issue. But, what are you going to do with them? Can you possibly be..." Zhong Xiu asked.

    "That's right, I'll draw magic charms. You may not be aware of the fact that I have developed a good understanding of drawing magic charms." Shi Mu laughed.

    Zhong Xiu was astounded to hear this reply. But, Shi Mu didn't wait for her to speak anything again. He immediately took out a small jade box, and handed it to her. Then, he said, "Also, I have a gift for you today."

    Zhong Xiu received the gift with a blank expression on her face... as if she hadn't responded to the words that Shi Mu had just said.

    She opened the lid of the small box, and saw a green thumb-sized fruit placed in it.

    "What is this thing?" Zhong Xiu asked.

    "This thing is called Appearance Freezing Fruit. It has the ability to maintain your appearance the same as it is now for eternity after taking it." Shi Mu said.

    "Really?" Zhong Xiu was exhilarated to hear this.

    The Art of Thousand Jade Sound-Waves that she used to practice was a relatively special cultivation art. It was considered to be a rare cultivation technique that was the combination of both martial and magic art. She had utilized the resources of this continent after having joined the Chamber of Commerce. Consequently, her magic art had made an illustrious progress, and had ascended all the way to the Moon-rank. Afterwards, her lifespan had been extended. Moreover, the speed of her ageing had slowed down a lot. She would still get older, but with a slower speed. It could be said that no woman could resist a thing that could stop their ageing process for eternity.

    "It's naturally real," Shi Mu said.

    Zhong Xiu's eyes lit up. A "Whoosh" sound was heard the next moment as she extended her hand and grabbed the Appearance Freezing Fruit. She didn't care whether this fruit would fit in her mouth or not. She opened her mouth, and swallowed it down regardless of the consequences.

    "Hey, you don't need to be so anxious..." Shi Mu almost jumped out of his skin in shock.

    "I'll never get old now..." It seemed that Zhong Xiu had nearly choked on that fruit. She then gave a belch, and attempted to speak with a smile.

    Shi Mu couldn't endure this... He burst out laughing.

    "By the way, look at this thing... I got hold of it today. It can also be used at the auction. It may raise some bargaining chips for us," Shi Mu took out the Ghost Crying Pistil.

    "Ghost Crying Pistil!" Zhong Xiu said with a hint of astonishment. Then, she moved her head in a nod.

    As for the Spirit Stabilizing Tower... Shi Mu took a moment of consideration, and finally decided not to take it out.

    ...

    Time passed, and over a month passed in a flash. The Rising Sun City's auction was held once in every ten years. It was already around the corner.

    The stream of people in the city appeared to be several times denser than the usual in the recent days. The representatives of many Barbarian forces had swarmed in the city from the neighboring areas in large numbers. This had further boosted the business of various shops across the city, and had paved their way to prosperity.

    The announcement of the auction had been made by the City Lord's office at the beginning of this month. Afterwards, the majority of people had learned that the auction would be hosted by the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce again this time. They were also aware that this auction would be similarly divided into two venues. However, there were some attentive people in the crowd who had also noticed that the degree of cooperation between the Welcoming the Immortals Pavilion in the east and the Jade Spring Pavilion in the west was different from the usual. In fact, an air of hidden confrontation seemed to exist between the two sides.

    Both the Welcoming the Immortals Pavilion and the Jade Spring Pavilion had conducted several small-scale auctions separately for multiple days since the beginning of the month. They had also set up some permanent stalls alongside the auctions. Their main intention was to gain popularity with these means. However, both of them were competing against each other to prove their supremacy whether it was the arrangement time, the goods, or the publicity....

    It is said that competition leads to improvement. So, this would naturally lead to more expectations for the final official auction.

    The western region of the Rising Sun City... in the Jade Spirit Pavilion...

    The beautiful woman stood by the side of the window in a certain room of the pavilion... She looked at the swarming crowd below, and her face got smeared with a complacent look.

    "Elder Zhao's strategies are truly incredible. You have made remarkable achievements with the several recent auctions. I know that these achievements won't be counted in the final overall score. However, these achievements have facilitated us to win several large-scale entrustments," a young woman said with a gleam of admiration on her face. She was clad in a green robe, and had a golden hairpin in her hair.

    The beautiful woman's face revealed a smug look in response. She had rushed to snatch away all top-notch items from Zhong Xiu back then. She had then tossed out some of those goods at the small-scale auctions that were being held these days. The quality of her goods was higher than those of the opposite party. On top of that, she had some local forces to root for her. Therefore, she had eventually succeeded in drawing a large number of visitors just as she had expected.

    "How is the situation there at the Welcoming the Immortals Pavilion?" the beautiful woman asked.

    "Over 50% of the potential customers in the city have gathered in our Pavilion at the moment. So, the number of people in the Welcoming the Immortals Pavilion of Zhong Xiu is probably less than 20% apart since some people haven't made any moves yet," the green-dressed woman said.

    "Wonderful! Let's continue to suppress their business. We'll double all the items they would put forward at the auction. Moreover, we'll cut down the prices of those items by 10%," a cold look flashed through the beautiful woman's eyes as she said.

    "Yes," the green-dressed young woman complied.

    Her position in the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce was too far from that of the beautiful woman's despite the fact that she was the former manager of the Jade Spring Pavilion. So, she wanted to take this opportunity to climb up together with the beautiful woman.

    A sound of footsteps was heard at this moment. Then, a green-dressed man walked in.

    "Elder Zhao... Elder Gu Shan of the Mystical Eagle Tribe, Chief of the Blue Feather Tribe, President Zhong of the Black Spirit Association have arrived along with the others," a green-dressed man said.

    "Well, you make them wait for some time. I'll be there right away," the beautiful woman said a few words to the green-dressed young woman. She adjusted her clothes and make-up, and then walked out.
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