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Chapter 0874: Setting up an Artefact-crafting Stall
“Ruxue, I’m leaving.” Yan Ji stood up. Except for her still pale face, her tone had already calmed down.
Nalan Ruxue also stood up. She had stayed with Yan Ji for quite some time and had already gained a good understanding of Yan Ji. Yan Ji was a fiercely independent and head-strong woman. In a way, Yan Ji was much more robust and much more independent than her. Even if she, Nalan Ruxue, had lived by herself in the starry sky for many years, she still was inferior to Yan Ji in these aspects.
She also knew that Yan Ji has decided to kill Lifeless Poisonhand and Heartless Monk. However, she didn’t persuade Yan Ji, knowing that she couldn’t change her mind anyway. Once Yan Ji decided on something, it absolutely would never depend on an impulse. Even if she wanted to kill these two people, she wouldn’t try to do it right away.
“I have to go too. Be careful. I have gained an inheritance, so I will return here once I reach Dao Sculpting in the future.” Nalan Ruxue only asked Yan Ji to be careful. Since Ning Cheng had already fallen, she also had no purpose staying at the edge of the Grand Essence Ruins’ public square. She had to take care of her vows first. If Yan Ji hadn’t killed those two people by the time she reached Dao Sculpting, she would take action.
After a one year retreat, Ning Cheng finally heard about what happened a year ago. Many experts guessed that Heartless Monk would come after him. It’s just that no one expected that Heartless Monk would take action in such an area. It seemed that it was always a good idea to plan for all contingencies.
After leaving his cave, Ning Cheng came to the Quest Hall wearing a mask he made during the retreat. He had continuously crafted artefacts for the past one year but could only refine low-ranked spirit artefacts. However, since he made the mask personally, even a Dao Sculpting cultivator couldn’t see through it. Even cultivators above Dao Sculpting, if they didn’t try to use their spiritual consciousness to scan him consciously, wouldn’t be able to see through it.
He just wanted to blend in as an inconspicuous person and believed that no experts would investigate him specifically. What’s more, an expert over Dao Sculpting Realm in the Grand Essence Ruins’ public square was a rare thing, even at the worst of times.
However, Ning Cheng quickly realised the error in his thoughts. A year ago, there indeed weren’t many Dao Sculpting or above experts in this place. At most, there were just a few, less than the fingers on one hand. But this time, as soon as he entered the Quest Hall, he felt seven to eight powerful auras. Even if he didn’t use his spiritual consciousness to sweep out, he understood that these experts’ cultivation exceeded those of Dao Sculpting cultivators.
Ning Cheng took a deep breath and converged his aura before blending in with the many ordinary cultivators in the hall to look at the quest screen.
It didn’t take much time for Ning Cheng to locate the task for capturing Heartless Monk and Lifeless Poisonhand. However, Ning Cheng didn’t care much about this task. These two fellows dared to sneak attack a cave belonging to the Grand Essence Ruins’ Public Square. It was only natural for the Grand Essence Ruins’ public square to issue a task to capture them.
But Ning Cheng quickly dispelled the idea when he saw the point-reward for these two people. Each one equalled two million points; moreover, alive. Even the person who provided information about these two people’s possible whereabouts could get half a million points, which suddenly jolted Ning Cheng’s heart.
He was just an inconsequential rogue cultivator here. Even if killed in a sneak attack, the Grand Essence Public Square’s Cave Management Office wouldn’t put such a high price to capture these two people. The only possibility was that this wasn’t a task issued by the Grand Essence Public Square’s Cave Management Office. Either that or the reason for this wanted task had nothing to do with him.
Ning Cheng, however, didn’t think that this task had anything to do with him. The Heartless Monk and Lifeless Poisonhand had attacked him, and now he saw a wanted task for both of them, which felt a little too coincidental.
Whether or not he died, only Lifeless Poisonhand and Heartless Monk knew about it. Of course, that didn’t include him. Ning Cheng immediately connected that this wanted task wasn’t just for these two people but also aimed at him. At the very least, someone wanted to confirm his death. Only that, Ning Cheng felt, was a reasonable explanation for capturing Lifeless Poisonhand and Heartless Monk alive.
But who would spend such a large price to find him? The most likely ones were Lifeless Poisonhand and Heartless Monk. But they were on the wanted task themselves.
Apart from them, the only other force that came to mind was Beyond Heaven Path. These were the only forces he had offended after coming to the Grand essence Ruins. But Ning Cheng also knew very well that Beyond Heaven Path would never dare to search for him using wanted tasks. Let alone through tasks for capturing Heartless Monk and Lifeless Poisonhand. What’s more, Beyond Heaven Path shouldn’t have the means to issue such a high-reward job.
Ning Cheng walked to a corner of the Quest Hall and ordered a cup of ordinary spiritual tea.
He picked up the spiritual tea and took a sip unconsciously. However, just when he was about to put down his cup of spiritual tea, he saw a man with a striped face walking into the Quest Hall.
Ning Cheng quickly determined that this person wasn’t Ninth Prince. However, this person’s face had nine points of resemblance to the Ninth Prince, Man Jiuren. Although the wrinkle patterns on this person’s face looked similar along with the facial structure, he felt sure that this person wasn’t Man Jiuren.
Thinking of Man Jiuren, the leaf covering Ning Cheng’s thoughts suddenly disappeared, and Ning Cheng’s heart suddenly turned clear as a mirror.
Ninth Prince must have returned to the Grand Essence Sea. If that is the case, then only his father had this kind of courage and the audacity to use so many points as a lure to search for Ning Cheng.
Ninth Prince’s father made such a bold move, but it most likely wasn’t just to avenge Ninth Prince. Rather, it most likely had a connection to his Five-coloured Star Splitter Arrow. In any case, Man Jiuren had experienced its power personally. Presumably, Man Jiuren had shared this information with his father, and his father decided to look for the Five-coloured Star Splitter Arrow.
Ning Cheng had no idea about the cultivation of Ninth Prince’s father. However, Ning Cheng could guess that he most likely was a powerhouse around these parts.
Now, such a powerhouse wanted to find him, who was just an Eternal cultivator. Just the thought of it turned Ning Cheng’s heart cold. He felt sure that once even a shred of news got leaked, he might not even have the opportunity to escape into the Grand Essence Ruins.
Ning Cheng forced himself to calm down and started to take some slow deep breaths and pondered over what he should do now. Although the man with stripes and lines on his face wasn’t Man Jiuren, this person most likely had a blood relation to Man Jiuren. Perhaps, this person might turn out to be Man Jiuren’s brother.
After drinking the cup of spiritual tea, Ning Cheng stood up. Since Ninth Prince’s father wanted to look for him, he must not come here wearing a mask.
Although an appearance changing mask would certainly not be evident at first glance, it would immediately put him on the list of the most suspected group of people.
An hour later, Ning Cheng entered the depths of the Grand Essence Ruins. He removed his mask and started to change his appearance in a straightforward way.
Under Ning Cheng’s deliberate actions, his original chiselled face turned into an ordinary one. The first impression one would get on looking at this face would be a face filled with vicissitudes. Something only formed by undertaking long-term tasks in the Grand Essence Ruins. He even put a scar on his bare neck that seemed to have come from a poisonous demonic beast. Even his hair no longer looked grey; instead, it had turned into a bright whitish hue of grey.
After finishing these touch-ups, Ning Cheng felt slightly relieved. These modifications would gradually wear off as he cultivated. If he wanted, he could remove it in an instant with the First Glimmers of Dawn Ice Essence. But at least for now, no one would recognise him as Ning Cheng.
For a powerful starry sky cultivator, the easiest thing to change was one’s appearance. But what was the most difficult to change? It was none other than the individual’s aura. Moreover, this aura came from the cultivation method the individual used for cultivation.
If Ning Cheng didn’t have the Mysterious Yellow Formless, he would have never attempted such useless work as physically changing his appearance. It might be challenging, or even an impossible matter, for others to change their aura. But it wasn’t too tricky with the Mysterious Yellow Formless. With the Mysterious Yellow Formless Intangible, one could alter their body’s aura entirely. As long as it wasn’t someone who knew the person inside out, generally, no one would be able to recognise him from his aura.
Unless there was a top-notch powerhouse who met Ning Cheng in the past, only then could they find some clues about him even after changing his aura. But the most powerful people Ning Cheng knew in his life till now, and who had spent some considerable time with him, were none other than Pan Qian and Cang Wei.
A few days later, Ning Cheng, after changing his appearance and aura, returned to the Quest Hall of the Grand Essence Ruins. He wanted to test if anyone could recognise him. If anyone recognised him, he would immediately flee into the Grand Essence Ruins.
Six months later, an Artefact-crafting Stall in Grand Essence Public Square started growing famous. This artefact-crafting stall had the name ‘Wanderer Artefact Craftings’. The owner of this artefact-crafting stall was also called Wanderer.
This Wanderer’s looks and cultivation were far from being comparable to the weapons and artefact he crafted. Don’t look at Wanderer with his ordinary appearance; the low-ranked spirit artefact he crafted were all first-rate ones. These artefacts were more beautiful and even more potent than the low-ranked spirit artefact in the Quest Hall’s merchant house.
But that’s not the main thing. What mainly attracted people to Wanderer’s artefact-crafting stall was that one only needed to provide the materials, along with some points or spirit crystals. In this way, the artefact price was just half of that in Quest Hall’s merchant house.
No cultivator who took up tasks in the Grand Essence Ruins didn’t know about the Wanderer Artefact-crafting Stall. If they wanted low-rank spirit artefacts, most cultivators would not go to the merchant hall but instead, come here.
Unfortunately, this artefact-crafting stall could only refine low-rank spirit artefacts. The owner couldn’t refine even one middle-rank spirit artefacts.
Moreover, this artefact-crafting stall wasn’t too far from the Grand Essence Ruins’ Quest Hall. Every month, the owner of this stall had to pay a lot of points to Quest Hall. Many people tried to persuade Wanderer to switch to another place and set up a different booth. Some even promised to bring their business to this new area. Some even offered to purchase a new proper shop for Wanderer.
But this Wanderer didn’t seem to consider any of the offers. Not only did he speak very little, but Wanderer also didn’t seem to mind doing a non-profitable business. He continued to pay the points to the Quest Hall as before and still put his booth next to the Quest Hall.
This Wanderer Artefact Crafting Stall naturally was set up by Ning Cheng. He had deliberately set up the Wanderer Artefact Crafting Stall next to the Quest Hall. Earning points was just incidental. What he truly wanted to do was to wait for Yan Ji. As long as Yan Ji returned to hand over a task, he would see her immediately. But since Ninth Prince’s father still had his eyes out for him, Ning Cheng didn’t dare to publish the task of finding Yan Ji publicly. As such, he had no other choice but to use such a time-consuming method.
Half a year later, Ning Cheng could now refine middle-rank spirit artefacts. He could even barely refine ordinary high-rank spirit artefacts. However, Ning Cheng continued to refine only low-rank spirit artefacts for the public. He knew very well that even if he wanted to use the Quest Hall for cover, he couldn’t truly grab all the business of its merchant house.
Therefore, he not only refined just low-ranked spirit artefacts; he even limited the quantity. Plus, he also paid points to the Quest Hall every month. Therefore, it didn’t matter if he stayed here for a long time; no one would come to bother him.
The only thing that disappointed Ning Cheng was that he found no trace of Yan Ji even after half a year. He also had no idea if Yan Ji joined a sect in the Grand Essence Domain or was still doing tasks deep in the Grand Essence Ruins, which prevented her from returning.
However, Ning Cheng could rest assured that despite countless spiritual consciousnesses sweeping over him in the past six months, it aroused no suspicions in anyone.
On this day, Ning Cheng was helping a rogue cultivator refine a low-rank spirit artefact. Suddenly, he felt a spiritual consciousness that shook his heart coming from somewhere in front of him. It felt as if this spiritual consciousness would see through his disguise at any moment.
Ning Cheng suddenly raised his head and saw a middle-aged man wearing an imperial crown walking towards the Quest Hall. Although this man didn’t release any suppressive aura, Ning Cheng had the feeling of wanting to look up at him in worship. This person was the most powerful cultivator he saw since coming to the Grand Essence Ruins. This person even felt far stronger than the red-haired man he saw initially and had no idea of the extent of that person’s cultivation.
Ning Cheng then saw Man Jiuren, with a fully restored body, following behind this person. He instantly understood that this man wearing an imperial crown most likely was Man Jiuren’s father.