Book 1 (Spoiler alert, there’s only 1 book)
Chapter 32: The Underground Bazaar
The bazaar was located in the north plaza of Qingyang Town. Coincidentally, this was where numerous influential factions came into contact with each other. And because of the various conflicts between the groups, not one of them was able to take control of this area. Thus, the bazaar was established.
In the bazaar, there were various establishments set up by different factions in Qingyang Town. Due to this profitable arrangement, most of the factions tolerated the existence of the bazaar and eventually a strange, delicate balance was struck.
Even outside of town, the Qingyang Town bazaar was very well known. Therefore, besides the local crowd, it also attracted some bandits from the neighbouring villages. However, this helped to increase the diversity of the crowd and hence even the local tyrants, the Lie and Xie Family, did not dare to seize this area for themselves in fear of destroying their cash cow.
When Lin Dong and Qing Tan arrived at the bazaar’s entrance, they could not help but gasp as they saw the flood of people and the ruckus inside the bazaar. This bazaar was definitely the largest market around Qingyang Town and its crowds were indeed intimidating.
Lin Dong looked at the bazaar with an inquisitive gaze. These days, he rarely ventured into these kind of places. Nonetheless, as a young man, he was still curious about them.
After he spoke, he grabbed Qing Tan’s tiny hand and burrowed into the bazaar.
In the bazaar, the variety of items displayed was dazzling. Even though the streets were relatively wide, due to the overwhelming amount of people present, they still felt somewhat congested.
Qing Tan and Lin Dong were dripping with sweat after merely walking through a small alley. However, Qing Tan was extremely excited and her tiny face flushed in excitement. Together with her adorable laughter, she looked extremely cute and inadvertently drew much attention from the crowd. As they turned to look, many of them were left breathless as they saw her picture perfect looks and snowy white skin.
At last, the two of them stopped at a lavish building located at the tip of a street. This part of the bazaar was considered as a rather posh district. The Lei Family, Xie Family and the Raging Blade Dojo all had shops here.
“Qing Tan, wait for me here. I will be right back…” Lin Dong reminded Qing Tan as he scanned the surroundings. Then, he slipped into the crowd and disappeared from view.
As he traversed through the crowd, Lin Dong casually bought a bamboo hat from a little shop, giving him a peace of mind before he returned to one of the main streets. Finally, he stopped before a giant black door.
There were all sorts of people in the bazaar. Naturally, some of the items sold here could attract unwanted attention due to a variety of reasons. Therefore, an underground bazaar was born.
The place that Lin Dong had arrived at was one of those underground bazaars. In this place, one can easily sell their goods at a fairly reasonable rate, no questions asked.
Outside of the giant black door, there was a constant stream of visitors. However, just like Lin Dong, all these visitors wore a black bamboo hat to conceal their identities.
As he lightly spit out a sigh, Lin Dong suppressed the anxiety in his heart and calmly walked through the door. As he stepped through the door, he could sense an ominous aura that caused a chill to be felt on one’s skin.
Behind that door laid a long alleyway. Following the path, Lin Dong discovered several tightly shut doors along the way. He knew that this was where the transactions took place and he quickly looked for a half-opened door before walking in.
As he entered the room, he saw that it was rather dimly lit and a large table stood in the middle. The center of the table was blocked by a black metal grille and just inches below it was a small opening.
“Please take a seat. If you have any items to exchange, please put them in the slot.” A seemingly aged voice sounded out from behind the black metal grille.
By now, the fear in Lin Dong’s heart had subsided. As he sat down, he took out a transparent bottle from his sleeve. Contained within the bottle were ten drops of Stone Talisman Ling Liquid. However, these drops were not pure as they had been diluted by Lin Dong.
“A medicinal liquid refined from an elixir. It is very good for Tempered Body practitioners and it can be used for treatment purposes as well.” Lin Dong deliberately croaked in a strange voice. Even though it sounded terrible, it helped to mask his real voice.
A wrinkled palm reached out and took the glass bottle. Soon after, Lin Dong heard a dripping sound as the man inside was trying to examine the properties of the Ling Liquid.
This examination took nearly ten minutes before the voice once again sounded out from behind that window: “This medicinal liquid has approximately the same amount of Ling Qi as a Grade 2 elixir. It is also gentle in nature and thus very suitable for Tempered Body practitioners. Since it also has medicinal properties, I am willing to pay you a higher price. What do you want in exchange?”
Lin Dong’s finger trembled as he marvelled at the shop keeper’s ability. After slightly hesitating, he answered: “Seven stalks of Grade 3 elixirs”.
“Thats too much. Your medicinal liquid is too luxurious for Tempered Body practitioners to use. On the other hand, though it has some medicinal properties, it is also too wasteful to use it for treatment. Therefore, it is not easy to sell.” After a moment of silence, the man behind the window replied. He was evidently bothered that Lin Dong had asked for such an exorbitant sum.
“How about three stalks of Grade 3 elixirs.”
“Six stalks.” Lin Dong firmly replied.
“Five stalks. That’s the best I can do…” It was as if the man behind the window shook his head as he resolutely replied. This was evidently the highest he could offer.
Lin Dong shrugged his shoulders as under the bamboo hat, a smile emerged on his face. Ten drops of Ling Liquid that had been diluted once could actually be exchanged for five stalks of Grade 3 Elixirs. This was a pretty good harvest for him. It did not matter if the shopkeeper had intentionally short changed him, after all he personally did not care much for the diluted Ling Liquid.
The shopkeeper was extremely efficient. Within five minutes, an intricate box was pushed out from below the window. As Lin Dong opened the box, he saw five thumb sized dark yellow fruits quietly resting within. He could faintly smell a fragrant aroma drifting up from them.
“Grade 3 elixir, Yellow Mud Fruit.”
Lin Dong obviously recognized these dark yellow fruits. After a carefully inspecting the goods, he nodded his head in contentment as he kept the wooden box. Then, he swiftly left the room.
After Lin Dong exited the room, the metal barrier was slowly raised. Behind, stood an elderly man dressed in grey robes. As he held onto the bottle, he smelt the aroma from within before gently nodding his head.
“Old Shopkeeper, is this thing really worth 5 Yellow Mud Fruits?” Standing behind the old man, a middle-aged man with a blood thirsty stench growled.
“This medicinal liquid is extremely beneficial for any Tempered Body Practitioner. I believe that either the Lei or Xie Family, or Raging Blade Dojo will be glad to purchase it for an exorbitant sum.” The old man replied with a faint smile.
“Oh? Should I run a background check on that fellow then?” The middle-aged man was momentarily shocked, however just as his words left his mouth, the expression on the old man darkened. Upon witnessing this scene, the middle-aged man immediately shut his mouth.
“Don’t you know our rules? If you wreck our reputation, how would we continue on in Qingyang Town?”
The middle-aged man hastily nodded after hearing the old man reprimand him.
The old man snorted as he stood up and left with the bottle.
After Lin Dong came out of the underground bazaar, he strolled about randomly in the huge bazaar for a while before speedily throwing away the bamboo hat and heading towards a certain street.
At the place where they had initially parted, Lin Dong easily found Qing Tan who was still obediently waiting for him there. Just as he prepared to bring her to once again roam about, the latter suddenly pulled at his arm.
Lin Dong shifted his gaze only to see a familiar figure walking out from the entrance of the building. Unexpectedly, it was Lin Shan.
As Lin Dong saw Lin Shan, the latter also discovered the two of them. Initially, a pleasantly suprised look burst forth before his expression abruptly changed as if he had suddenly recalled something as he stood rooted on the spot.
Lin Dong shot a glance at the bruises on Lin Shan’s face. The latter looked like he had been cruelly beaten…
Glued on the spot, Lin Shan looked at Lin Dong. It was as if the former desired to walk over and yet was afraid to because of their history. In the end, Lin Shan was at a loss of what to do.
Lin Dong sighed as he pulled Qing Tan over and asked: “What happened?”
Lin Shan somewhat fearfully glanced at Lin Dong. After some hesitation, the former finally said: “We ran into those bastards from the Xie Family, after that, Lin Xia-jie was bullied and then we fought with them…but…there were too many of them. I escaped…to find…help.”
Lin Shan’s face flushed red as he involuntarily dipped his head downwards.
“Lin Xia-jie is there too?”
Stunned, Lin Dong quickly recovered as his eyebrows tightly knitted together. He muttered to himself for a bit before commanding Lin Shan as he gestured with his hand: “Bring me there.”
After all, he had a fairly good relationship with Lin Xia. As for Lin Hong and Lin Shan, all of their past clashes were confined to within the family. He was not so narrow minded as to look on without lifting a finger when such a thing happened.
At Lin Dong’s words, Lin Shan immediately lifted his head and looked at Lin Dong with astonishment. He clearly never imagined that Lin Dong would disregard their past enmity and extend a helping hand. With somewhat red eyes, Lin Shan forcefully nodded.