The raise offered by the man with the silver smiley-ghost mask blew the stacks of the four young men in room No.15.
“Find it out! Who on earth is this scuzzball? I’ll make him regret being born in this world.” With a clatter, Liang Yifei smashed several teacups onto the floor, his fury surging uncontrollably.
Han Feiran’s eyes were flashing dangerously.
Bai Yuan, however, fell silent at this moment.
Among the four of them, his status was the lowest. Although the Crane Army was one of the imperial armies stationed in Qin City, its chief commander was not a first-grade official. Therefore, Bai Yuan’s rank was inferior to Tang Chong’s, the founding general who had been persecuted to death, and his wealth and social status were not a patch on Liang Yifei, the son of the imperial tutor, or the nephew of the Minister of Rituals. As for Jin Xuan, he was from the Gold Ray Faction and was quite formidable in strength. Given that the Gold Ray Faction was a large sect that had existed in the Western Qi Empire for centuries, its power and influence were rather profound, so Bai Yuan was no equal to Jin Xuan, either.
As the bidding got to this point, Bai Yuan found he did not have a say in this anymore.
“720,000!” Liang Yifei snarled to increase the price.
Yet, just as this price was announced, the masked man on the main stage said without thinking, “800,000.” He directly raised the price by 80,000 gold ingots.
Liang Yifei was petrified.
Bai Yuan, Jin Xuan, and Han Feiran were also overwhelmed by a flush of astoundment and outrage.
The opponent’s aura was too intimidating. From the way he kept raising the price, it seemed that he was not spending his money but someone else’s, or he was not merely squandering but pouring his fortune out.
It was an overpowering crush, a condescending provocation.
For the four of them, 800,000 gold ingots were not completely unaffordable. But the problem was even if they continued placing a higher bid, judging by the demeanor of the man wearing the silver smiley-ghost mask, he would still play along and they would repeatedly be outbid and trampled on. Once the bid surpassed a million gold ingots, even they would feel their hearts ache in upping the bid.
“What shall we do now?” The group of four looked at one another bitterly.
They could do whatever they wanted in the capital, Qin City, but because they were in Chang’an now, it was already too late to resort to their power and status in the hopes of solving this issue.
Just as they were torn by their options, on the main stage outside, the auctioneer shouted the bid three times before dropping his hammer, which drew an end to this heart-quaking auction.
At last, the man wearing the silver smiley-ghost mask became the buyer of the older daughter of the founding general at the staggering price of 800,000 gold ingots.
For the onlookers on Liufang Street, the whole process was a breath-taking drama that dazzled their eyes and stirred their nerves. A woman, no matter how prestigious she was, was auctioned for 800,000 gold ingots. That thing in itself was a miracle. That figure almost equaled the profit that a large chamber of commerce in Chang’an made in years.
But the focus of all the people on the scene was still the man wearing the silver smiley-ghost mask.
This mysterious Natural Expert first showed his compassion for womanhood by hacking the superb Great Masters that the Musical House employed to protect Tang Tang. Next, he suddenly revealed that he was the guest in room No.18 in the top distinguished area, and had bid on Tang Tang with a record-breaking high price of 800,000 gold ingots. Come to think of it, it was also the man in room No.18 who bought a dozen innocent women in dire straits… Was this man with the silver smiley-ghost mask truly a peerlessly chivalrous practitioner?
Many people were particularly curious about his identity.
But Li Mu clearly did not want to spend more time on the main stage.
He stuck out a hand and did a series of quick pointing gestures, which neatly broke the steel strips constraining Tang Tang. Then, he held her in his arms and made his way down the stage.
Tang Tang wriggled in protest as she felt the touch of the strange man.
Li Mu muttered softly, “Be cool. I won’t do you any harm.”
Tang Tang instantly stopped struggling.
Gazing up at the silver mask, which was sporting an expression between a smile and a weep and mingled with a tinge of scoffing, Tang Tang suddenly felt a sense of security due to no reason. Being carried in this man’s arms, it seemed to her that all the sounds in the environment faded, and the only thing that soothed her was the faint warmth generated from his arms.
Carrying Tang Tang in his arms, Li Mu distinctly felt the body warmth of the girl and smelled her delicate fragrance.
But his heart did not thump faster or anything.
He only sympathized with this poor girl, indignant about how unfairly life had treated her.
Li Mu carried her to the door of room No.10 and asked a maid to report their arrival before sending Tang Tang into the room.
“Uncle Wang… Mi’er, sweetie… and Sister Zhen? It’s you?” When Tang Tang entered the room with anxiety, she immediately recognized Wang Chen, Tang Mi, and the princess, Qin Zhen, who was tall, slim, and dressed in men’s clothing. Looking at the familiar faces, a load was taken off her mind.
“Sister, give me a hug…” Tang Mi, who was only four and a half, understood nothing that had occurred tonight. But when she saw her sister come in, she joyfully flung her arms open and ran toward her sister with a chicken leg in her hand. The little girl held up the chicken leg and said, “This is for you, sister. Mi’er has had enough. Mi’er is not hungry anymore.”
“Mi’er…” Tang Tang embraced her ignorant younger sister. After surviving the tragedy, sorrow swelled up inside her. Tears irresistibly streamed down her cheeks. Those were tears of excitement and joy because her most cherished little sister was rescued after all.
Seeing that Tang Tang had truly been delivered, Wang Chen and Qin Zhen breathed a sigh of relief.
“Sister Zhen, is that man with the silver mask a friend of yours?” Carrying her sister in her arms, Tang Tang said gratefully, “I can’t thank you enough for saving us. If you didn’t…” Well, if she and her family fell into the hands of his father’s foes, she dared not imagine what horrible things would happen to them.
Qin Zhen gave a wry smile and said, “Sister Tang, that man… I don’t know who he is, either.” She recounted what happened before and then concluded, “Tonight, if it was not for the help provided by that hero with the silver smiley-ghost mask, I’m afraid I couldn’t get you out so smoothly.”
Tang Tang was shocked to hear this.
It suddenly occurred to her that she had forgotten to ask the name and identity of that man with the silver smiley-ghost mask. If later she wanted to repay him for his kindness, she would have no idea where to find him.
In room No.18…
Li Mu took off the mask and picked up the receipt of the loan from the jade case. After staring at it for a few seconds, his lips curled into a smile.
“Haha, that ‘Her Highness’ that Wang Chen supports does know how to behave like a decent person. Turns out I didn’t stick up for her to no avail.” The loan on the receipt was 1,700,000 gold ingots. Li Mu, of course, understood what the princess meant. Although compared with the huge fund that Li Mu had spent on Tang Tang being a hundred thousand gold ingots short on this receipt of the loan, Li Mu was quite gratified for the sincerity of the loanee.
He felt that he had to hold that “Her Highness” in higher esteem again.
At present, the founding general was deemed a traitor. Numerous friends and relatives of his were desperate to make a clear break with the general. Nonetheless, Her Highness took the risk to rescue his family despite the common condemnation, which proved that she was a faithful and loyal friend of the general. And the receipt of the loan bearing an extra 700,000 gold ingots evidenced that she clearly distinguished kindness from hatred. It was rare to see a royal member who valued friendship and discriminated between kindness and hatred.
Li Mu reckoned that it was worth all the trouble to help her out in secret tonight.
“Young Master Mu, will we keep staying here?” asked Xin’er, the maid, curiously.
Li Mu nodded affirmatively and said, “The real drama is just getting started!”
Zheng Cunjian, who was standing by the side, was a bit puzzled by Li Mu’s plan.
“Now that he is willing to help Wang Chen and his men, why reject his request for help at the very beginning?”
Outside on the main stage, another round of auction kicked off.
However, the woman being thrust onto the stage was not Mrs. Tang but an enslaved female Wolf Warrior from the grassland.
According to the auctioneer, the auctions of Mrs. Tang and the head of the Wolf Warriors would be the two most fantastic rounds, so they would be staged at the end after all the other female slaves had been auctioned off.
The plot changed.
The guest in room No.7 once again started bidding feverishly.
Nearly every time a female slave was shoved onto the stage, that guest would place a bid and raise the price frenetically to beat out all the other competitors. He was practically scrambling at all costs for those grassland women with blond hair and blue eyes.
Indeed, the pockets of that guest in room No.7 were staggeringly deep.
A while ago, the crowd was already left open-mouthed when the man with the silver smiley-ghost mask bid on the older daughter of the founding general with the record-breaking 800,000 gold ingots. Now, they were awestruck to see the top distinguished guest in room No.7 spend almost a million gold ingots like water to buy about 40 grassland female slaves in succession.
“Have all of those rich dudes at this auction lost their mind?”
“Sh*t, this is totally a game of the well-off. We’re not qualified as players at all.”
“This is the real style of those top bigwigs. We’re… well, way below that level.”
The onlookers on Liufang Street and the tycoons in the medium distinguished area all exclaimed that the auction tonight really went wild. And they all sensed that an odd trend was gradually unveiled, as if the undercurrents of trouble were approaching stealthily.
“Everybody, now we’ll auction one of the last treasures we’ve reserved for you. First, let me introduce the Virgin Goddess from the alien tribe on the grassland…” The auctioneer’s voice did not sound like his own due to his excitement, for it was the last stage of the auction, also the most frenzied one—the best auction items would be put on exhibition.
Escorted by four experts in the Master Realm, with her wrists and ankles fastened to the steel rack, Qing Yan, the Goddess of Martial Arts on the grassland, was hauled onto the stage along with the steel rack.
This gorgeous Goddess of Martial Arts looked stern. She only had on some pieces of clothes that could hardly cover her private parts. Most of her impeccable fair skin was exposed. And the silver binding shackles that constrained her wrists and ankles were specially made to seal her power. Hence, at this moment, she was as weak as an ordinary woman who had been starved for a couple of days.
Still, she held her chin up and glared at the throng below the stage with vexation and contempt, not showing any trace of panic or shame for having a major part of her body exposed in public. On the contrary, she set herself as an imposing Goddess who was overlooking a swarm of stinky bugs living in sludge.
This was the Goddess of Martial Arts full of pride.
The introduction screamed by the auctioneer was intentionally ignored by most of the audience.
That was because this Goddess of Martial Arts was just too stunning.
Her beauty was thorny. A glance at her scorched the viewers. People were dazzled by her sharp aura, stimulated by her unnerving beauty. She was like an artistically built dagger, a bud with thickly dotted thorns, a flower with lethal poison… Everyone was blown away by the beauty of the Goddess of Martial Arts. Given her dignified demeanor despite being imprisoned, perhaps no one else but that fabulous dancer, Hua Xiangrong, could be on the same level as she was.
The whole audience was struck numb by this kind of beauty.
Even Shangguan Yuting was stirred after seeing the face of this alien tribe woman from the grassland.
Such a gorgeous woman should not have come down to this place. She was supposed to be enshrined in a sacred temple, to be admired and worshiped by the masses.