Chapter 0899: Flame Hive
Not long after Ning Cheng stepped out of the Star Stepping Tower, the Grand Essence Great Meet’s entry card, which he had hung around his waist, shook a little. Ning Cheng grabbed the entry card and saw a row of words abruptly appear on it. “Great Meet’s Time and Place: Grand Essence Epoch 38,602, Year 619, October 23rd. Heaven Essence Sacred City Public Square. Upon receipt of the message, head to the Grand Essence Sect Alliance to register yourself immediately.”
Ning Cheng understood that the ‘Grand Essence Epoch and Year’ was the date format used here. According to this date, the Great Meet would take place exactly three days later.
The Grand Essence Sect Alliance wasn’t too far from the Star Stepping Tower. As such, Ning Cheng only had to walk for a few minutes before reaching the Sect Alliance’s headquarters.
The Sect Alliance was an organisation jointly established by the large and small sects within the Grand Essence Domain. Generally, this organisation looked over and organised domain-wide events like the Grand Essence Great Meet, the Grand Essence Mystic Realm Competition and other things alike. If anyone wanted to set an event on such a scale, they would have to go through the Sect Alliance.
When Ning Cheng arrived at the Grand Essence Sect Alliance’s headquarters, many people had already gathered inside and outside. Ning Cheng immediately noticed a few familiar faces, including the cultivator with the Flame Hive. Ning Cheng had specifically memorised that person’s name, Aiden, a western-sounding name.
Aiden, who also managed to get a spot on the Grand Essence Great Meet’s list this time, came for the same purpose as himself. Since Ning Cheng wanted to trade the flame hive with him, he quickly went to the Great Meet’s registration counter and handed over his entry card.
The registration completed quickly. Ning Cheng then received the registration qualification card in less than a minute and then promptly walked towards Aiden.
Aiden’s cultivation had reached the full circle of the Eternal Realm. He had a tall stature and, in fact, towered over 2 meters in height.
At this moment, he was talking with another cultivator when Ning Cheng appeared abruptly, forcing the two to stop talking. Both of them looked at Ning Cheng at the same time and understood that Ning Cheng had explicitly come here for one of them.
Ning Cheng cupped his fists before showing a smile. “Nice to meet you, Dao Friend Aiden. My name is Ji He. I’m an Alchemy Master and wanted to talk to this dao friend about something. I wonder if Dao Friend Aiden can spare some time for me?”
Aiden realised that Ning Cheng came explicitly for him. Therefore, he nodded and returned a kind smile, “I know you, Pill Emperor Ji He, right? You gained a great deal in the mystic realm, and I’ve admired you for it. It’s just that I have no clue why Dao Friend Ji came to look for me? The truth is, I have a few other matters to attend to, so I can’t stay for long.”
Any cultivator that came out of the mystic realm and took out enough divine grasses to make it to the top ten would have considerable strength. If such a cultivator didn’t obtain that kind of harvest by robbing others, they most likely had overwhelming luck. That is, they found a source with many divine grasses. Even if Ji He remained trapped in the mystic realm for tens of thousands of years, it wouldn’t have been an easy thing to achieve.
But even though Aiden spoke with a smile and a polite tone, he didn’t truly put Ning Cheng in his eyes. Whether or not he had the time to chat, and even without reporting his name, he would have known why this person came to him.
But Ning Cheng didn’t care about any of it and put it out in the open. “I want to exchange the flame hive with this dao friend. If dao friend feels willing enough, please state the price you need for it.”
Aiden showed a slight smile, “Many thanks for taking a fancy to my flame hive. Truthfully, the only reason I took out the flame hive was to exchange it for something else. This friend here also came to exchange the flame hive. As for the price, of course, it will go to the one with the highest one. The one who bids the highest will get it.”
The cultivator, who initially spoke to Aiden, frowned when he heard that Ning Cheng had also come for the flame hive. If Ning Cheng had come a little later, he might have already completed the transaction.
Ning Cheng noted internally that it was no wonder that this fellow took out the flame hive when indexing the harvest from the mystic realm. This fellow had quite a scheming mind. Let alone talk about price. He even asked others to out-quote each other to get the most benefit.
Ning Cheng took out a jade box with a restriction covering it and handed it to Aiden, “I’ll exchange this thing with you, what do you think?”
After understanding that others also wanted Aiden’s flame hive, Ning Cheng decided to cut things short and leave immediately. Since he could track down Aiden to this place, it would also mean that other cultivators would also come looking for him. After all, the flame hive was an item that many wanted, even if one couldn’t use it.
Aiden reached out and grabbed Ning Cheng’s jade box but didn’t open it. Instead, he let his spiritual consciousness randomly scan it. When he saw a space crystal inside, his eyes immediately lit up. A space crystal truly was a treasure and almost impossible to buy using spirit crystals.
“Although it’s good, it’s quite lower than the hive’s price,” Aiden spoke up; however, he didn’t return the jade box to Ning Cheng.
Ning Cheng secretly ridiculed Aiden’s greed. The price of the flame hive would never exceed that of a space crystal. A space crystal was a treasure that one couldn’t find even if one searched for many years. The flame hive might be a rare treasure, but it had severely limited uses. Moreover, looking at how Aiden held onto the jade box and didn’t hand it to him, Ning Cheng understood that this fellow wanted this space crystal.
Ning Cheng simply reached out and grabbed the jade box from Aiden, put it away and said, “That’s all I can offer for it. If dao friend is unwilling, then let’s forget about it.”
After speaking, Ning Cheng turned around and started to walk away. Even without the flame hive, he could still look for other ways to help the Exploding Golden Wasps. The only thing was, he might have to waste a lot of time and energy. But Ning Cheng also had ample bargaining experience and knew that Aiden would try to stop him.
“Wait-wait…..” Sure enough, as soon as Ning Cheng turned around, Aiden called from behind.
What Aiden lacked the most were space crystals, so how could he let Ning Cheng go away. He immediately shouted and had already rushed past others and stopped in front of Ning Cheng.
The other cultivator who spoke to Aiden earlier understood that the situation had gone south for him. When he had talked to Aiden about the exchange, he naturally understood Aiden’s scheming nature and greed. Moreover, Aiden hadn’t shown any interest in the item he had put up for the deal. Yet, when Ning Cheng showed up, Aiden almost immediately chased after him. It meant that Aiden truly wanted the things inside that jade box.
He understood that once he lost the advantage in such transactions, it would become almost impossible to swing the situation in his favour. Therefore, instead of chasing after Aiden, he sent out a message.
Noticing Aiden chase after him, Ning Cheng understood that he could close the deal quickly. He also saw the other cultivator send a message, seemingly wanting to complete the transaction as soon as possible.
After realising this, Ning Cheng decided to not hold out and stopped, “Dao friend Aiden, do you want to trade?”
Aiden nodded, “I’ll trade with you. Your jade box plus fifty thousand spirit crystals.”
“Deal.” Ning Cheng didn’t put up a counter-offer. He handed the jade box and a storage bag containing fifty thousand spirit crystals to Aiden without hesitation.
Aiden also quickly handed over a storage bag containing the flame hive to Ning Cheng. The flame hive had a large volume and had to be put into a storage bag for the trade.
The two verified the traded items and felt satisfied.
“Hold on.” Before Ning Cheng put away the storage bag containing the flame hive, two daoist shadows rushed over. They landed in front of him and Aiden.
“It’s you again?” When the visitor saw Ning Cheng, his face sank, and he snorted coldly.
Ning Cheng saw that the cultivator who just arrived was none other than Ji Pingzhong. The same Ji Pingzhong who wanted to forcibly take over his suit in the Star Stepping Tower. This fellow seemed to love wearing brown robes and was still wearing a brown robe, albeit of a different design. Just behind this fellow was the cultivator who spoke to Aiden before Ning Cheng arrived. From the looks of it, this cultivator had called Ji Pingzhong with that message.
“Take out the flame hive. I will give you twice the number of spirit crystals.” Ji Pingzhong gave a cold stare and spoke with a condescending tone. He didn’t put Ning Cheng in his eyes as Ning Cheng had agreed to compromise when facing a mere Deacon Huang in the Star Stepping Tower. He was Ji Pingzhong, one of the 12 Grand Essence Sacred Sons. How could others not compromise in front of him?
Ning Cheng had compromised in the Star Stepping Tower only because Deacon Huang had publicly stated that he would repay double the spirit crystals. Moreover, he also knew that even if he didn’t compromise, he couldn’t do much in that situation. However, Ji Pingzhong thought that Ning Cheng had compromised because of his identity. If that was the case, then this Ji Pingzhong truly thought too highly of himself.
Putting away the flame hive calmly, Ning Cheng spoke with a calm voice, “Oh, by the way, if I don’t want to, will you bring this matter back to the Desolate Spirit Palace too?”
When Ji Pingzhong heard what Ning Cheng said, how could he not know that Ning Cheng had ridiculed him. Didn’t he use the threat of his Desolate Spirit Palace against the Star Stepping Tower’s master? He had indeed reported the incident, but his Desolate Spirit Palace didn’t send any expert to help him get revenge. Moreover, instead of helping him, the elders of Desolate Spirit Palace had chided him and also taken away some of his privileges. They even sent him with the elders to apologise to the Star Stepping Tower’s master.
Therefore, Ning Cheng saying those words now felt like a naked slap to his face.
In fact, Ning Cheng had truly intentionally ‘slapped’ Ji Pingzhong’s face. Ning Cheng lived in the Star Stepping Tower for nearly a month; yet, the Star Stepping Tower remained calm and without any noise. From this, he understood that the Desolate Spirit Palace didn’t dare to deal with the Star Stepping Tower. It’s just that Ning Cheng had no idea that the Desolate Spirit Palace had come to the Star Stepping Tower to express their apology. If he knew about it, he might have ridiculed Ji Pingzhong even more.
Ji Pingzhong would have already brought out his weapon to kill Ning Cheng if he could fight here. But he couldn’t do anything here and could only spew out some unkind words, “So you don’t want to hand over the flame hive?”
Ning Cheng’s tone remained very calm, “Why should I give you my things? Is everyone in your Desolate Spirit Palace as shameless as you? Do you all go forcibly demanding other people to hand over their things?”
Although calm, Ning Cheng’s voice was by no means low. As such, all the cultivators around them heard it and started to gather around. Whether a mortal or a cultivator, everyone had the same mentality of wanting to watch exciting and controversial things unfold before them.
Ji Pingzhong seemed to have understood that Ning Cheng wouldn’t compromise, so he turned his attention to Aiden. He didn’t speak, but his gaze had already started to pressure Aiden.
Aiden showed a faint smile and also ignored Ji Pingzhong. He simply turned around and left.
Ji Pingzhong didn’t stop Aiden but stared at Ning Cheng and said, “I know you will also participate in the Grand Essence Great Meet. I hope you can live a long life in the Grand Essence Great Meet.”
Ning Cheng didn’t even bother to care about Ji Pingzhong and, just like Aiden, walked straight out of the Sect Alliance’s headquarters. This fellow had grown accustomed to people catering to his every whim and thought that rogue cultivators would never dare to talk back to him.
Ignored by Aiden and Ning Cheng, Ji Pingzhong felt so angry that he visibly trembled. He understood that staying here would only make him a bigger laughing stock.
Out of the Grand Essence Sect Alliance’s headquarters, Ning Cheng didn’t feel too happy about obtaining the flame hive. He also didn’t think much about offending Ji Pingzhong. What he cared about more was the Star Stepping Tower’s black-robed woman.
The Desolate Spirit Palace was one of the top ten sects within the Grand Essence Domain, which meant that it must have at least one Dao Fusion expert. Yet, the black-robed woman did not feel intimidated by such a sect. Moreover, such a sect didn’t even retaliate against her. With the Mysterious Yellow Bead on him, should he continue to live in the Star Stepping Tower?