The Transcendent Immortal - Chapter 555 - Arrogance
“I know what to do. Why are you so anxious?!”
The brusque remark made many heads turn this way and the atmosphere turned suddenly palpably still. Whispering from over his shoulder, Yang Qing cautioned him. “Urm… Brother Xiao…”
Xiao Chen said nothing. He waved a hand as if dispelling an imaginary smog of unease and leaned back into his chair. The servant came back just moments later and spoke softly into Lord Black Sand’s ear, saying, “It’s confirmed, my Lord. It can be done.”
The commander of the Black Sands did not take his feet off the table. Still leaning heavily into his chair, he waved the servant away and narrowed his eyes at Xiao Chen, nonchalantly saying, “All right then. Tell me, where are these people now?”
“With the Black Horns.”
Despite his muffled tone, Xiao Chen’s voice rang like a tower bell on the words “Black Horns” in the silence of the hall that the same awkward silence pervaded the entire length and breadth of the chamber once more, and more eyes turned around again. Hardly anyone presented failed to catch the rumors about how a thousand Black Horn soldiers were killed in one single night, including how two of their Halls were utterly decimated.
The look on Lord Black Sand’s face hardened at those words. He removed his feet from the table and shifted himself uneasily in his chair. Looking deeply into Xiao Chen’s eyes, he asked, “Which part of the Black Horn?”
“One of the Twelve Halls, Wuyan Chamber.”
Lord Black Sand’s expression changed, as taut as a bowstring. Coolly, Xiao Chen asked again, “What is it? Is there any problem?”
“Hahahaha!” the commander of the Black Sands threw his head back in a boisterous fit of laughter. “Be it the highest strata of the High Heavens, or the deepest abyss of the Underworld, rest assured that the Black Sands will finish the job!”
The servant standing as still as a statue at Xiao Chen’s flank broke into movement. The task of recovering targets from the gaols of the Black Horn was no easy feat and would certainly cost a king’s ransom, and that made Xiao Chen an important client.
He scurried off and returned with some drinks. Xiao Chen and Chu Qi sat at the table, whilst Yang Qing and the rest of the companions stood behind them. Hence believing them as the leaders of this party, the servant came with only two cups. One of them, he placed it before Xiao Chen, while the other, he placed it in front of Chu Qi. But he stole a glance at the girl, and her beauty mystified him for one fleeting second so that he accidentally spilled some tea on her shoulders.
Horrified, the servant wanted to use a napkin to wipe away the water. But he could not do so, not without offending the modesty of Chu Qi as a woman. He stared at the fair-white skin of her shoulder, aghast and not knowing what to do, stammering, “E-E-Errr… M-M-My apologies, my lady…”
Lord Black Sand pounded a fist on the table. He hurled his cigar into the face of the servant, and reached a hand at the shivering man, magically summoning him into his grasp. He grabbed the poor man and slammed him onto the tabletop, then he drew a dagger from his waist and lanced its blade right through his hand, impaling it into the hard timber of the table with a sickening crunch of flesh and blood.
Under the man’s hand, a puddle of blood grew across the surface of the table as his screaming agony pierced the otherwise silence in the hall. Hundreds of eyes looked this way, but no one dared to utter a word.
“THIS IS MY GUEST! YOU SEEK DEATH, YOU FOOL?!” bellowed Lord Black Sand, his terrible rage in full display.
Two burly men, both fully-clad in black, but with their fully-tattooed chest peeking out, appeared. Lord Black Sand withdrew his dagger from the table and tossed the servant like a bag of filth to them, growling, “Toss him out. But take his hands.”
“AH!? Please, my Lord! My Lord! Have mercy—!” the servant begged and begged, but to no avail; the two burly men dragged him away to punish him.
Lord Black Sand returned his dagger to its sheathe on his waist and gestured for everyone to calm down. With a smile, he said, “My apologies for the disturbance. My fool of a servant needed some disciplining. I hope that hasn’t offended decorum.”
Xiao Chen hardly said anything. If anything, the whole brouhaha sounded more like an attempt to intimidate him. But he brushed it away casually, and went back into their subject, “How much will it cost? For two men?”
“Three million Spirit Stones,” said Lord Black Sand.
Xiao Chen frowned, “Three million?!”
“Three million APIECE,” shrugged Lord Black Sand, “That would mean six million stones altogether.”
Xiao Chen’s eyes burned with cold fury. Yang Qing placed a hand on his shoulder, “Peace, Brother Xiao…”
“Six million stones,” repeated Lord Black Sand again, “If you pay the sum now, we’ll get your men tonight.” He snapped a finger and another servant came up, producing another cigar.
He took a lazy sip and exhaled a smoke ring, then he asked, “So?”
“How about a question instead: do you know how high a heap six million Stones can be?” Xiao Chen asked coldly.
The air tensed between them. Lord Black Sand removed his leg and leaned forward. Looking across the table with equal iciness, he hissed, “Then do you know from what place I’ll get your men out? Surely you don’t expect me to just pick them off the streets, do you?”
His voice rose like a thunderclap suddenly, “My men will be risking their lives to free your men! Do you think it’s easy getting into the stronghold of the Black Horns like going to the market?! How dare you haggle my price, you sniveling oaf!”
He shoved the table once with intense irritation, and collapsed back into his chair, vaulting his legs back onto the table with a loud thud. Silence lingered in the hall, but in the faraway background, one could almost make out the hushed whispers and murmurs from other guests present, all of whom were discussing and pointing at Xiao Chen with interest.
Xiao Chen squeezed his hands, suppressing his rage. He would have really relished the idea of running through the man before him with his sword, but he knew he could not. Then came a woman, gorgeous and ravishing, clothed in a white shirt and a red short skirt.
The woman sauntered to Lord Black Sand’s side and whispered into his ears. The latter nodded, only to shoot a sudden quick look at Xiao Chen, before he plucked his cigar from his mouth and said to him, “Take the time to consider my offer.” With that, he got up.
The servant beside him came at once, with his hands reaching out. Lord Black Hand stuffed his cigar into the man’s hand and walked away, leaving through a portal leading to an antechamber. The young woman flashed a smile to Xiao Chen and nodded before trailing after him.
Yan Qing waited until he saw the last glimpse of Lord Black Sand, and he heaved a long sigh, saying, “Don’t mind him, Brother Xiao. His temper is well-known here, and Lord Black Sand is hardly the most humble figure…”
The wrinkles on Xiao Chen’s forehead only deepened with thought. He was not so much as angered by Lord Black Sand’s demeanor than worried about how they could amass six million Spirit Stones. He had, at most, three times less than that number. Could he sell everything he had, including his tools and relics? But he would hardly have enough time anyway.
Lord Black Sand and the beautiful woman reappeared. The latter looked rather pleased. She stood aside demurely, her hands folded before her waist, her legs long and ivory-fair. Lord Black Sand plopped back into his chair, wearing a grin, and he asked, “So, what say you?”
In his hands, he fiddled with two milky-white pills, twirling them between his fingers. The shade of the pills, denoting its quality and maturity, looked common, although Lord Black Sand’s mood seemed to have improved because of them. One could have thought that he would even agree to a discount.
Xiao Chen did not reply. His focus instead was upon the two pills, and with his Divine Sense, he instantly recognized them for what they are: two Pills of Massing Vigor.
Instead of increasing one’s magical powers or cultivation levels directly, Pills of Massing Vigor could help enhance the speed of one’s training. In all supplements of similar uses like it, Pills of Massing Vigor could only be seen as middling in potency. In fact, the use of the Pills would come with great risk and side-effects. More so, for the two pills now fingered by Lord Black Sand: a pair of Tier-5 handiwork of ordinary quality most likely produced by a Tier-6 Elixir Saint.
Xiao Chen withdrew his gaze and smiled thinly, “Pills of Massing Vigor, Tier-5 at most. Is that it? Is this what the great and illustrious Lord Black Sand consumes every day? Two pieces of scraps of shoddy workmanship?”
The atmosphere in the hall turned cold and apprehensive again. Most shuddered at Xiao Chen’s insolence towards the famous Lord Black Sand, while some, who knew better, had heard about how Long Black Sand had had a Tier-6 Elixir Saint on his retainer to painstakingly concoct the pills. It had taken great effort and resources to finally see his efforts coming to fruition, only to be dismissed as mere “scraps” by Xiao Chen.
The young woman shuddered, her face appalled with dismay as her smile froze. Yang Qing and the others too turned dismay, fearing that Xiao Chen’s pride might have been hurt during Lord Black Sand’s previous outburst, and now he was reciprocating the treatment.
In mere seconds, hordes of men – Lord Black Sand’s subordinates and his band of assassins – surrounded the table. Everything in the hall turned still and silently awkward bordering on hostility. Even the smile on Lord Black Sand’s face had evaporated. He lifted a hand, and gestured everyone to retreat. Leaning forward testily, he breathed, “This is scrap, you say?”
Xiao Chen leaned forward too as if meeting an enemy in battle, and their eyes met. Word by word, he hissed, “So I’ve said it: scrap.”
“IMPUDENT FOOL!” roared one of his guards. But a hand shot up to stop him: Lord Black Sand, who never once took his eyes away from Xiao Chen and he spoke with a steely voice, “Look closely, if you will.” He flicked one of the pills at Xiao Chen.
Xiao Chen’s hand came up and he caught the pill between two fingers. With not so much as a look at the pill, he maintained his gaze on Lord Black Sand, saying placidly, “Yep. Scraps, indeed. One would get sick eating this.”
He tossed the pill back on the table. It hit the hard, timber surface with a raspy thud and bounced dangerously high, hitting Lord Black Sand’s face with another smack.
“My Lord…” gasped the woman in a short skirt, trembling with trepidation, tugging out a handkerchief to wipe his face. The commander of the Black Sands let loose an eerie fit of laughter, cackling insidiously that one could have sworn that winter came to the hall. There was no missing the incredibly thick aura of bloodlust emanating from him, that even his own men could not help shivering with fear.
Anxious and disquiet, everyone could hardly think nor react, when another figure glided out of the portal of an antechamber: an elderly man dressed in a green robe. Seething, he wore an ugly look on his face and on his garb one could hardly miss the embroidered six-leaf clover insignia that denoted his rank as a Tier-Six Elixir Saint.
“This young man…” His growling voice rumbled as he drew near. He regarded Xiao Chen with an unfriendly look, saying, “This Pill is my handiwork, and I do not appreciate the sting of haughty words. On what grounds do you judge me? Prove yourself or you will never walk out of here alive.”
Everyone behind Xiao Chen felt a cold running down their spines. Yang Qing grimaced quietly. He had been trying his best to warn Xiao Chen, hoping to avoid getting on the wrong side of anyone here at the Black Sands, yet still, the very situation which he dreaded unfolded before him. They would be lucky to walk away from here unscathed, never mind saving Ji Xiu and Chang Ning.
Yang Qing stepped forward, offering a salute, “My Lord Black Sand, and Senior Elixir Saint, I’m afraid this friend of mine is…” Xiao Chen’s hand shot up, cutting him off. He stuck a hand into the folds of his robe and took out a little jade bottle from his Divine Vessel and he tossed it at the elderly man in green.
It contained the last of his stores of Evolution of Tao Pills he produced to be auctioned off during his last visit to Tianyuan City for the Sword Assembly tournament and he had been keeping it inside this little jade vase in his Divine Vessel.
As recorded in the Elixir King Scripture, the Evolution of Tao Pill – just like the Pill of Massing Vigor – helps its user to increase the efficiency of one’s training instead of increasing one’s magic and level of cultivation directly. At that time of the auction, the Pills were sold off by Qingluan and Ziyun’er as Reborning Pills and One-day Decade Pills at his behest.