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49 A Silvery Voice

    The group of eleven cultivators entered a medium sized restaurant that was near the dock 229, then, they occupied a large table and started to eat.

    For the next two hours, the group of cultivators ate while chatting happily, and making plans for gathering informations.

    The only two people who kept quiet, were Daniel, and the petite girl that sat next to him.

    -----

    "..exactly three days from now."

    "That's what i've heard as well.."

    -----

    "I've heard that it's a powerful martial art and spell."

    "Ridiculous, it's definitely vast richness! Why would so many people come here for a single art?"

    -----

    Various topics of conversation were visited through the duration of their meal. Including the "when the tournament would start", "what the reward for the winner would be", and past experiences from veteran competitors.

    The more the group discussed, the cleared something became to them.. They knew almost nothing about the tournament.

    As the end of their meal approached, the morale of the group had been hugely affected.

    Noticing that, Daniel, which was sitting to Heimart's left, came close to his ear and whispered something to him, while sneakily handing something over to him from under the table.

    After hearing Daniel's words, a big smile appeared on Heimart's face.

    He rose up to his feet, and with a loud voice, he said "Cheer up people! We are cultivators.. We better ourselves not only for show, but because we aspire to something better. That's why we are here.. We came here to compete!" he paused slightly and gave a hard look at everyone present.

    "We have made a difficult travel to reach this place, and The Red Painter will testify our resolve to the underworld, and to this island.. by paying for our next few rounds!" As he reached the end of the phrase, he slammed a small bag on the table. It was the captain's small spatial bag, which Daniel had given him in secret.

    The man with the strange mustache was the first to talk. "And we thank him for that!" He said while raising his cup.

    The rest followed suit.

    When the eleven of them left the restaurant, the spiritual cultivators amongst group were those in the worst shape. Their organs functionality hadn't been enhanced by martial cultivation, therefore, they were not as capable to hold alcohol as martial cultivator were.

    The few of them required others to hold them by their arms just to avoid dropping asleep on the ground.

    A type of alcohol which could intoxicate martial cultivators existed, but the only one who had had some, was Ligart, which similarly to spiritual cultivators, was currently staggering as result of a rigged game of cards with his cousin, and a bad bet.

    The group took all evening to find an inn with enough free rooms for the whole lot of them.

    As the rest settled down, Daniel, Heimart and the petite girl, approached the counter of the hotel, and asked to the receptionist a few informations about the tournament.

    Apparently, the tournament would start at sunrise, three days later. At that point, a formation within the island would be activated.

    This formation's activation had two effects.

    The first one, was to create a powerful wave of ki which would expand from various points of the island, and force every cultivator within, right back to the shore.

    The second effect, was the appearance of a powerful spiritual sense which would suddenly expand through the entire island and linger in the air.

    This lingering spiritual sense, would test the cultivator's age, and after confirming it to be under twenty-five years old, would allow them through. If over twenty-five, the former ki wave would appear once again, and force them back.

    Once allowed through, the cultivators would need to overcome various challenges. First of which, was to find the residence of the two old masters. A castle that would appear only during the duration of the tournament, and every time, in a different spot within the island.

    Unfortunately, having only witnessed to one other of these tournaments during her childhood years, the receptionist wasn't able to tell them any more than that.

    Happy with the amount of information they had gathered, Heimart went back to their rooms, while Daniel and the girl left the inn.

    Daniel didn't mind the girl's company, as she didn't bother him in any way. Plus, he was also curious about her, and the reason why she would allow no one to see her appearance.

    Daniel spent the rest of the evening going through various shops and marketplaces. He was currently looking to expand his affinity to other essences. Unfortunately, he found nothing at all.

    He was about to give up, when he noticed a constant stream of well dressed people move toward a single direction.

    He followed them for a bit, and ended up at the entrance of a massive building.

    This building was enormous and elegant. About three times the size of the hotel bought by the old master-at-arms.

    There wasn't any door or guard at the entrance, and a short set of stairs invited people through an arched entrance. At the top of which, was a clear writing carved in stone that said 'Heaven's Door'

    The walls were covered by climbing evergreen plants, whose flowers of various colors gave the building a mystical and beautiful look. The sheer smell on the outside of the building, reminded Daniel of the many flower markets he had been to.

    Without giving it too much thought, the two followed the well dressed people, and entered the building.

    Inside, were spacious and well lit corridors on whose sides, small shops appeared one next to the other. These shops, were extremely elegant, and sold only items of high quality.

    Herbalists, weapon smiths, armors smiths, alchemists, jewelers, clothing, book stores.. No matter what a person was looking for, Daniel was sure that they would be able to find it here.

    What left Daniel enchanted though, was the apparently missing roof, which instead of providing a cover from the elements, displayed a beautiful starry sky, and stars so bright that they shined through the entire building, illuminating it like daylight.

    Even inside the building, the majority of the people kept moving towards the same direction. Something was about to happen, and Daniel wanted to know what.

    A minute later, Daniel and the girl found themselves in front of the entrance of a large building within the building.

    The double door was wide opened, and inside, Daniel could see hundreds of chairs and a large platform to the opposite end of the room. The numerous people who entered, found a free chair, and sat quietly.

    "An auction house.." Daniel couldn't help but mutter. He then entered the hall, and found a place to sit. The petite girl followed suit and found a place to sit right next to Daniel.

    Daniel didn't have to wait long for the auction to start, as the moment the final seat had been taken, a stout yet well dressed man with an amiable face walked on the stage, and said in a loud voice "Good evening dear Sirs and Madams, I am your host for the evening, and will be auctioning today's items." He then took a bow, and continued "Welcome, to Heaven's Gate Auction House!"

    Daniel had only been to another auction before, and therefore, he still wasn't used to all the theatrics. He didn't even know if his wealth would be enough to purchase any of the auctioned items.

    Without adding anything else, the auctioneer waved his hand to the side of the stage, and welcomed a young woman dressed in revealing clothes.

    She walked over the stage with a bright smile, while holding an elegant cushion in her hands. Above the cushion, was a transparent bottle with various pills in it.

    The auctioneer looked back at the crowd, and said "The first item of the day, is a batch of rank 7 healing pills!"

    Daniel was shocked. He was more than aware of what the rank of a pill meant.

    The rank of the pill depended by the effectiveness of the pill.

    For example, a rank 7 healing pill, was an essence pill created by a spiritual cultivator that had reached a comprehension of healing essence high enough to concoct a pill that would allow a person to survive a near death injury.

    Its creation was similar to that of an essence sphere, but instead of using an essence treasure to bind the healing essence, plants, herbs and an alchemical method would be used.

    This, was also the highest level of healing pills that his spiritual cultivation teacher, the Silver Alchemist, was able to make.

    There was a downside to making this high level of healing pills.. The real use of this level of healing pill was recommended in near death situations. Therefore, when finding himself in such dire situations, a cultivator might not even be in the condition to use the pill to begin with.

    It was one of those very useful items, which barely had any chance to be used.. Like the most bright light, in a world where darkness ruled only a minute of the day.

    What these pills were most useful for, was to pass down the comprehension of healing essence, and that was exactly what Daniel needed at the moment.

    "The auction starts at 100 gold coins, every increase has to be of 50 silver coins or higher." Said the stout auctioneer.

    "101 gold coins"

    "..103! Here!"

    "104 and 50 silver.."

    "110!" Said Daniel

    "123.."

    "I offer 130.."

    -----

    The price kept increasing higher and higher.. to a point where Daniel wasn't able to afford them anymore.

    His total wealth, not considering his other items, only reached about 300 gold coins, and he wasn't willing to spend most of his money for a few healing pills.

    Suddenly, a silvery voice resounded in the air, and said "Two hundred gold coins."

    The voice was pleasant to hear, and made a few people turn their heads around to search for its source. Higher than anybody else's, was Daniel's surprise, as he turned to the direction the light and clear voice had come from.. The seat next to his.

    The previous bid was 185 gold coins, and it was already close to the full value of this batch of pills.

    The petite girl's offer was more than anybody else was willing to spend on this item, therefore, after a few seconds, came the announce that she had won the auctioned item.

    The rest of the bid went smoothly, one item after the other were bought at exorbitant prices.

    When the hall started to empty, Daniel, the girl and the rest of the people who had purchased an item, went to the reception. One by one, they were welcomed into a small room, where the purchase would then be finalized.

    Daniel quietly waited for the girl to come out of the room. Five minutes later, the door opened and she came out with steady steps.

    She walked right up to Daniel, and handed the bottle of pills to him.

    Daniel had suspected that the girl had decided to purchase these pills for him, but he wasn't sure until now. What he didn't know, was the reason, so he couldn't help but ask "Why?.." With narrowed eyes and a slightly bent head.

    Outside of his expectation, instead of her usual quietness, the girl responded "A peak rank 4 spiritual cultivator.. At your age.. You'll definitely comprehend a bit of healing essence before the tournament starts.. Wouldn't mind having a healer nearby.." She said in her pleasant voice.

    The surprise that Daniel felt by hearing her pronounce so many words all at once after a week of silence, was completely overshadowed by how much sense what she had just said made. For once, he had been left dumbfounded.

    A thought interrupted his stupor. He didn't want to owe money to anybody, so he looked at the masked girl, and took a medium bag out of his ring. In it, were exactly a hundred gold coins.

    He then handed the bag over to the girl, and said "You've earned the right to be cured.. But we split the cost. Deal?" He asked.

    Under her mask, the girl looked curiously at Daniel. She then slowly nodded her head and took the bag of money, making it disappear under her cloak.

    Back in silence, the two started walking toward the inn.
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