“You recognize all of them? And you can name them all?”
Shock rippled through the crowd. The thousand and eighty immortal herbs had gone extinct in the world of immortals long ago. In fact, the herbs on display had been dead for tens of thousands of years, their medicinal effects only preserved through special methods.
“Impossible!” blurted Master Gu Zun. “Quit lying, young man. Don’t destroy your future for a mere treasure!”
Lu Yun didn’t even spare him a glance. His eyes remained fixed on Qing Xun.
“Well...” The pavilion’s representative hesitated as she looked at the jade slip Lu Yun handed her. It was too far-fetched that he would be able to recognize all thousand and eighty herbs and name them. Not even their top pill master could do that! She didn’t lack for worldly experience, but the appropriate next steps in this situation were slow in coming to her.
“Stop this nonsense at once, Lu Yun,” reprimanded Gu Zun, adopting a patronizing tone like he was lecturing a junior. “These herbs are premium ingredients from the ancient times. Even immortals from that era might not recognize them all. Environs of the present world can’t even sustain their growth, so it’s impossible for you to recognize all of them.”
Lu Yun half-rolled his eyes after all the highfalutin. “Ignorance isn’t a crime, but mistaking it for superiority is.”
“How dare you?!” Expression dark, Gu Zun unleashed his power as a golden immortal and swooped down on Lu Yun. As a pill master who could refine supreme grade pills, even dao immortals treated him with respect. How dare a little junior dared run his mouth and talk back!
“This is the Panorama Pavilion, Master Gu Zun.” Face clouded, Qing Xun stepped between Lu Yun and Gu Zun, countering the pill master’s attack. She wasn’t afraid that Gu Zun would hurt Lu Yun, but was worried that the Dusk governor would go berserk and deploy the Great Formation of Heavenly Fiends. Then the auction would become a hellscape of violence and bloodshed.
“I will let this go for Miss Qing Xun’s sake.” Scowling, Gu Zun sniffed disdainfully, recalling how volatile Lu Yun was. Even without the Great Formation of Heavenly Fiends, the governor’s zombies alone were something he couldn’t deal with.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re doing what for, you can’t mask your ignorance.” Lu Yun shook his head and ignored Gu Zun’s furious expression. “These herbs are impossible to grow now because the immortal dao has been severed.”
“Oh?” That drew everyone’s attention.
“What do you mean?” Yue Longsha’s eyes lit up, a certain hypothesis seemed to be within touching distance.
“Unlike other natural materials and treasures, immortal herbs contained not only the qi of the land, but also the heavenly dao. These herbs were born of the ancient times and nursed by the ancient immortal dao,” Lu Yun explained in a faint tone. “With the immortal dao now severed, no more herbs can be grown.
“No wonder the ancient tombs house many materials and treasures, as well as connate grade spirit roots, but never any living herbs.”
This explained what everyone was wondering about.
“What does any of this have to do with you recognizing the herbs?” Wayfarer frowned.
“So you really did escape that place.” Lu Yun turned to Wayfarer, intimidating the latter into silence. “How I recognize the herbs is none of your business,” he snorted, “do you honestly expect me to tell you all of my secrets?”
Awkwardness overtook the onlookers’ faces. Everyone had their own hidden aces, so it was rather out of line to push for an answer.
Lu Yun didn’t actually recognize the herbs himself. He’d done his best to analyze their properties and effects, but identified only eight hundred and eight of them. However, there was another entity inside of him that could provide the answers.
The Sal Tree of Life and Death!
The tree that grew within hell as the netherworld’s pillar was the ancestor of all trees. With its properties, information about these herbs flooded into his mind as soon as his gaze settled on them. The tree wholly exceeded connate-grade spirit roots.
“Don’t even think about refining pills with these herbs,” Lu Yun continued before anyone could react. “With the immortal dao being incomplete, so too are the principles of dao within these herbs. Pills refined with them are nothing but poison. Even a celestial emperor will die after consuming one.
“As for Dao Fruit Pills… Well, even if this Master Gu Zun can refine one, taking it will certainly make you one with nature, never to return to the world of the living.”
Face flushed, Gu Zun forced his fury back under control.
Principles of the immortal dao were the most precious core of immortal herbs. Destruction of the ancient path of cultivation corrupted the principles within the herbs on display as well. Refining them into pills would only result in the most potent poison in the world.
Qing Xun’s expression shifted ever so slightly. The Panorama Pavilion had brought out all of these herbs with great fanfare because they wished to refine an ancient pill. Their own pill masters weren’t good enough to identify all of the properties and effects, so they’d put together the auction to draw on the collective wisdom of pill masters from around the world.
Together, the group would identify the herbs, process them, and refine the pills. Of course, the merchant guild knew it wasn’t possible to restore the pill recipe in one go. Thus, they planned to hold these auctions every time a new celestial emperor took their throne, with Nephrite Major as the starting point. Continuously gathering the knowledge and experience of pill masters from all over the world would one day restore the pill recipe.
As for why they chose to operate in such a fashion, well, they didn’t want the rest of the world to know what they were planning. The herbs they’d shown today were merely part of the ingredients. Running into someone like the Dusk governor at their starting point was entirely unexpected.
“I’ve digressed.” Lu Yun turned to Qing Xun. “Milady, I’ve identified all of the herbs and told you their properties and effects. According to your rules, the Skydragon Tendon should be mine, should it not?”
Qing Xun nodded and handed Lu Yun the tendon. “Since Your Excellency has identified all of the herbs, this is naturally yours.”
Wayfarer’s eyes turned almost red at the development, but he didn’t dare make a move after the earlier warning.
“Let us begin the auction of the second treasure,” said Qing Xun. “Please process these thousand and eighty herbs. The one who extracts the most essence from them may take home the Divine Lightwings.”
Nervousness flicked through Yue Longsha’s eyes.