The duo had only left for a while, but when they returned to the auction place, they had transformed into completely different persons. One was a big, tall, honest-looking fatty, and the other, an average-looking girl that seemingly came from rural area. Muddling along the bustling street, they looked very ordinary. No one could have thought that they were the center of attention just moments before.
With the city’s defense troops clearing the way, nobilities that came from every city in Kasi Empire, and even from other nations, entered the auction center one after another.
“This thing is only worth three gold coins at most!” Sophie said resolutely to a vendor while holding up a crystal button in her hand.
The person manning the stand was a petite middle-aged man. Putting on a honest face, he replied in a professional manner, “Miss, this is a Blue Dream Crystal from the southern part of Brut Merchant Alliance. There is absolutely nowhere where you could buy this for less than five gold coins!”
“Ha. Ha. Open your eyes and see. Its colours aren’t particularly clear, the workmanship of the button is so crude, and you actually dare claim that this is a Blue Dream Crystal from the southern area of Brut Merchant Alliance! You are truly daring in making such an unfounded claim! There, look, these crystal fragments on my chain are genuine Blue Dream Crystal. See just how different they are in terms of luster!” Sophie took out a crystal necklace from her pocket and swayed it in front of the vendor’s face, forcing him to see what a genuine Blue Dream Crystal looked like.
Those wearing space rings did not usually appear in such places. Therefore, before re-entering the region, Sophie not only kept away her only space ring, but she also had Han Shuo put away his as well. With that, there would not be an item on them which would distinguish them from any ordinary person.
When the vendor realized that he couldn’t deceive Sophie, his face sank and he said, “How about this, four gold coins. Take it or leave it!”
“Three gold coins! Only three gold coins! This button has coarse workmanship, and is only worth as much! Look here, the inlay site between the button and the crystal, there’s a fine scratch over here. Also, here…“ Sophie was suddenly an expert and jabbered on and on, laying out each and every fault on this crystal button.
Han Shuo blankly stared at Sophie, dumbstruck. Listening to her absolutely unrestrained criticism of the crystal button for the price difference of one gold coin, he simply could not understand what the point was.
Finally, after a series of bombardments by Sophie, the vendor raised the white flag. He put on a forced smile as he passed the crystal button to Sophie, and said, “I will take three gold coins. But why would you insist on having it when everything is wrong with it as you mentioned?”
“Oh, its shape is nevertheless a little beautiful,” Sophie said a kind word for the very first time. After pleasingly attached the crystal button to the corner of her clothes, she turned to Han Shuo with a smile and asked, “What do you think? Looks nice, doesn’t it?”
“Not bad!” Han Shuo answered. After a short pause, he added, “Given your appearance now, it fits you well!”
This kind of forged jewel made of poor material and crude workmanship, other than the rather unique design, there really wasn’t anything appealing about it. However, Sophie appeared rather mediocre as well at the time. Putting on such an ordinary and coarse ornament, they actually complemented each other well.
Sophie obviously made out the meaning behind those words of Han Shuo’s. She glared at Han Shuo before turning to the vendor and said, “Shopkeeper, you may get the payment from him. Hmph, nobody asked for your cutting remarks on me!”
Three gold coins was peanuts to Han Shuo. It’s just that he found Sophie’s attitude to be somewhat funny and ridiculous. Without hesitation, he took out three gold coins and handed them to the vendor. He caught up to Sophie and asked, “It’s just a few gold coins. Given your wealth, there is no need for you to waste time haggling, is there?”
Sophie was a sky rider, and her father was a renowned sacred knight in Kasi Empire. Whichever way one looked at it, Sophie was in no way lacking in the wealth department. For such a character to engage in a debate with a hawker over a few gold coins, Han Shuo found that to be truly absurd.
“What do you know? It is only at such moments that I truly feel like a normal person!” Sophie shot a glance before she answered without thinking.
Han Shuo stared blankly and thought for a moment. When he gave another look at Sophie and saw that the worries showing in her eyes were quickly vanishing, he immediately understood the meaning behind Sophie’s words.
As the daughter of sacred knight Sulo, Sophie ought to have been treasured and cherished to the most since her birth. Everyone had probably treated Sophie like a little princess all her life. Money, jewelry, treasures, whatever Sophie wanted, she could possess it with little to no effort. It was precisely because Sophie had never experienced life as an average civilian that she wasted no interest for the auction sale where the affluent and gentry gathered, but instead fancied loitering around these booths belonging to small merchants and traders.
In his previous world, Han Shuo lived an ordinary life in an ordinary household. And when his soul first arrived at the Profound Continent, he went through even pettier, lower beginnings. He had long been used to such lifestyles, and therefore wouldn’t be so passionate about such things. If it was not for the presence of certain unique items, Han Shuo wouldn’t have derived much pleasure in this kind of place.
“Oh, right. What did you come here for?” Sophie suddenly recalled this question after walking some distance. Shortly after, somewhat surprised, she said, “You itch for fun in places like this too, don't you? Ha, I should have made it out earlier. From your clothing and space ring, you must come from a affluent family as well. It seems we have more in common than I thought!”
After listening to Sophie’s opinionated explanation, Han Shuo smilingly shook his head and said, “Unlike you, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I've tasted all kinds of hardship since I was young. The reason I came to such a place is that in such places, one who knows what’s what can obtain some real treasures!“
“What? That can’t be true. How could there be any good stuff in such a place?” Sophie obviously wasn’t too convinced. She came to such places purely for fun and games. Deep down in her heart, she most definitely did not feel that there would be anything truly valuable in such places.
“You don’t believe me?” Han Shuo looked at Sophie in all smiles, as though planning to prove it to her.
“I don’t!” Sophie could not resist doubling down on her words upon seeing Han Shuo’s assertiveness.
“Come with me!” Han Shuo gestured at Sophie to follow him, turned around, and headed for another area. It looked as if he was determined to prove Sophie wrong.
Sophie was rather skeptical and hurriedly followed behind Han Shuo. She thought to herself, Let’s see what tricks you will play this time!
After squeezing seventy or eighty meters through the unending stream of crowd, Han Shuo stopped in front of an unremarkable booth. He conveniently picked up a gray, average-looking rock, and smilingly asked the seller, “Sir, how many gold coins is this rock?”
“Oh, five gold coins. If you really want it, I can make it cheaper for you!” the seller replied without thinking the matter through.
“Five gold coins it is!” Han Shuo clearly did not share that unusual hobby of Sophie’s. He unreluctantly withdrew five gold coins from the space ring in his pocket and handed it to the seller.
As this point Sophie began to have some doubts in her heart, she did not ceaselessly haggle on the prices. Seeing Han Shuo leaving this vendor’s booth, she hastily followed after him. As this was a rather deserted region, Han Shuo only walked a short distance before he reached a most secluded spot where he waited for Sophie to catch up.
Looking at the grey rock held in Han Shuo’s hand, Sophie astoundedly asked, “This is the so-called good stuff you mentioned? You can go to any mine and there will be this kind of grey rock all over. Doesn’t seem very valuable to me!”
Smilingly shaking his head, Han Shuo said, “Don’t make up your mind so quickly. Give me your weapon!”
Sophie was clueless, and yet she still did as Han Shuo instructed, taking out a longsword from her space ring and handed it to Han Shuo. With one glance at this delicate longsword, one could tell that it must be a priceless artifact.
Han Shuo groped on the scabbard and touched the glossy smooth surface of gems embedded on it. He smiled at Sophie, “Indeed a wealthy one! No wonder you get a kick out of impersonating the poor!”
“Cut the talk. I want to see just how will you prove that this stone is a good stuff!” Sophie chuckingly said and crossed her arms in front of her chest, waiting for Han Shuo’s demonstration.
Han Shuo smiled and did not say any more. Right before Sophie, he drew out the longsword from its sheath, and gently flicked the sharp end of the sword. Ding! A crisp and clear tone resonated from the longsword.
Under Sophie’s attentive gaze, the grey rock in Han Shuo’s palm was pulverized into grey dust when Han Shuo exerted force with his five fingers. With his hand moving back and forth, he gently sprinkled the fine powder. Layers of grey rock powder were evenly deposited on the edges of Sophie’s longsword. Puff! A ball of bewitching flame kindled at Han Shuo’s palm.
Sophie gasped. She stared at the flame in Han Shuo’s palm in appal, and said, “You even dual cultivated in fire magic? Something’s amiss, there’s no presence of fire element. What is going on?”
Han Shuo shook his head at Sophie smilingly. He did not explain why he could ignite a flame in his palm without using the fire element, but instead called attention, “Watch carefully!”
Sophie did not further question but focused, fixing her eyes on every movement Han Shuo made. Under the attentive gaze of Sophie’s glistening eyes, Han Shuo directed the flame in his palm towards the blade edge of the longsword which was facing the ground. In the roasting of the flame from Han Shuo’s palm, Sophie’s longsword slowly turned scorching hot.
“Be careful! This was a gift from my dad when I became a sky rider. Don’t leave a scratch!” Sophie cautioned Han Shuo as her heart began to ache watching Han Shuo cook her sword with fire.
Han Shuo signalled Sophie with his eyes, telling her to be at ease. Then, Han Shuo squinted, and his demonic yuan started operating in secret. Through his hand holding the sword hilt, demonic yuan flowed into the longsword. Under the double action of the blaze and demonic yuan, the grey powder deposited on the sword edge astonishingly melted into the blade.
“Wow!” Sophie was yet again shocked by the sight before her eyes. She exclaimed in disbelief, “You are a alchemist too! I really did not make that out!”
Han Shuo did not reply. He continued to focus on dissolving the Densinium into the sword, observing the layer of fine dust slowly vanishing into the sword edge.
Han Shuo had already spotted this Densinium rock the day before. This was an unusual ore that could increase weapon density and allow greater circulation of energy. In the canonical text of weapons refinery for demonic arts practitioners, Densinium was known to be a very useful rock. However, in this world, Han Shuo discovered that hardly anyone knew of its utility.
There was an awful lot of Densinium in the place of extreme metal at Mount Silk. Han Shuo had long mixed an appropriate amount of Densinium into the Demonslayer Edge. Therefore, when he saw the Densinium rock there the previous day, although intrigued, he did not purchase it. But to prove to Sophie that such a place was truly a treasure trove, he specifically came back and bought a piece of it.
By the time all of the Densinium powder was dissolved into the blade, the sword edge had reached an extremely high temperature. It was at this moment that the flame in Han Shuo’s palm that was roasting the sword edge turned from red to purple. Other than creaking noises, light puffs of smoke were released from the longsword. It was a natural phenomenon when matter in high temperature was suddenly cooled off.
“Be careful! Don’t tell me you are taking advantage of my longsword for some metallurgy experiment?” Sophie was still very worried about her longsword. As she reminded Han Shuo to be careful, she questioned if Han Shuo actually had malicious intentions.
“Take it. Inject fighting aura into it and see what difference it has compared to usual.” Han Shuo did not answer Sophie’s question but tossed the longsword with its scabbard to Sophie.
Sophie hastily reached out to catch the sword. When she caught it in her hand, she let out a cry in surprise at once, “It grew a few kilograms heavier!”
Looking at the rock around the size of a clenched fist, which was crushed into dust in Han Shuo’s hand before dissolving into her longsword, she couldn’t figure out how some finely pulverized rock could actually increase the weight of her longsword by kilograms. It was a miracle.
“Try with fighting aura,” Han Shuo reminded.
Still in amazement, Sophie immediately infused fighting aura into the longsword in her hand. When Sophie poured fighting aura, the longsword suddenly glowed with silvery light of fighting aura at a speed beyond her comprehension.
“Im... impossible!” Sophie cried out. Looking at Han Shuo with shock and bewilderment, she said, “The longsword has greatly increased responsiveness towards fighting aura!”
“That’s right. This is the function of the rock! I think you should know, during crucial moments in battles, what it would mean to be able to release the power upon injecting fighting aura into the longsword,” Han Shuo said grimly.
“I understand. This means one could seize the decisive opportunity, and perhaps even gain the upper hand in an evenly matched battle!” Sophie realized. Shortly after her sparkling eyes turned to Han Shuo, and she said, “This is incredible! How did you do that? That is truly unbelievable!”