Yuechang followed Xuanyuan around, since she was responsible for calculating the total sum. As the one in charge of operating Cheng Men, she knew all about the forgeries. Each forged stone would have a small subtle sign that the women knew about. This sign was not easily noticeable by outsiders.
Most of the time, when the gamblers asked the women to pick stones for them, they used to select the stones with a lesser value of pure energy source. When the gamblers cut it, even though they lost money on the gamble, their confidence was strengthened, especially since it was not easy to pick out stones with pure energy sources. The second time they are asked to pick a stone, the women select stones that don’t contain anything. While the gambler may get disappointed, they don’t resign themselves; rather they keep gambling. This process is a continuous cycle.
When it appears that the gambler was about to lose all hope, the women select a stone which even they don’t know what it contains. In this case, it was all really up to the person’s luck. Sometimes, they win back everything they lost. Sometimes they lose everything they have.
What Cheng Men most prided itself on was not its low success rate; rather it was their ability to manipulate the gamblers as they wished. The women who worked there were adept at manipulating the gamblers to keep gambling.
Xuanyuan continued to choose stones from the mountain of stones in front of him. He deftly skipped those which had been modified by Cheng Men, instead choosing from the stones that even they were uncertain about. He picked out ten different source stones, each the size of a human’s head, but all of different shapes.
“Master Ji, the value of those stones are 3.5 million king cins.” Yuechang informed him. Xuanyuan didn’t know that she had artificially inflated the price, but even if he did, he wouldn’t have cared.
Nodding, he picked up the Devouring Sword and started carving the first stone, As he cut it down, a brilliant five-colour light burst out, and a pure energy source weighing 30 pounds was unearthed. Just this was worth 75 million king coins, far exceeding his investment. He continued to cut the stones one after the other, each stone revealing a similarly heavy pure energy source. It was only at the seventh stone that Xuanyuan finally unearthed nothing.
Yuechang could do nothing but stand by and watch Xuanyuan amass a fortune. By the time Xuanyuan finished cutting the last of the stones, he had already accumulated 400 pounds of pure energy source, worth a total of one billion king coins.
Those who were watching couldn’t help but exclaim.
“Did you just see that? He picked out ten source stones, out of which nine contained pure energy sources!”
“That’s amazing! I’ve never seen such a high success rate before.”
“Looks like Cheng Men is up against a master this time.”
“Let’s try and gain some experience from this. If we can analyse how the Ji family’s youngster chooses stones, we could also benefit.”
“Don’t be foolish. The quality of a stone cannot be judged through the surface. His stone skill is something you won’t be able to replicate by merely watching him.” Ex-minister Yu looked at Xuanyuan appreciatively. Such prowess at a young age was worthy of respect.
Hearing his words, several of the people gave up on trying to learn Xuanyuan’s technique. Xuanyuan smiled at the old minister, and moved on to the next source stone hill. Within the Source Stone district, there were 360 such hills, subtly forming a Heavenly Disposition. This disposition could be activated to block enemies and kill them if need be.
However, none of this affected Xuanyuan. He continued to select stones, picking out twelve stones from the pile.
“Master Ji, these stones are valued at 5 million king koins.”
Xuanyuna nodded his understanding and once again began cutting the stones. His speed was much faster now, as if he intended to minimise the time spent cutting stones as much as possible. This time, there were two duds within the twelve stones. However, he also managed to extract a piece of Tianshuang energy source. The total value of the nine pure energy sources and the Tianshuang energy source was 3000 pounds of pure energy source.
Xuanyuan’s speed was blinding. As he continued to sweep through the source stone hills, he continued to amass a fortune. Each time he spent only a maximum of five million ming coins, but he gained a profit of one billion king cins. Soon enough, he had gained 70 billion king coins.
Yuechang’s heart ached as she saw Xuanyuan’s fortune steadily rising. All the spectators praised Xuanyuan as a genius. However, Xuanyuan didn’t realise what was going on. His only goal was to experience that weird feeling that he felt before. Winning money was an incidental side benefit of his search.
As he continued, he eventually won a total of six hundred thousand pounds of pure energy source from 180 outer stone hills. The value of his winnings was 1.5 trillion king coins, and he had spent a mere one billion king coins on buying those source stones.
Jealousy and excitement ran through the crowd as they saw Xuanyuan cutting stones one after the other. Xuanyuan did not fail to separate the fake source stones from the real ones. Seeing this, the corners of Yuechang’s lips twitched. This was a direct slap in the face of Cheng Men.
“His skills at stone refinement far surpass those of ordinary folk. Even the Sage King can’t compare to him. And he even managed to distinguish the fake source stones from those which contain unprofitable amounts of pure energy source. His skill is approaching perfection!” Yuechang was shocked, but she couldn’t let it show on her face.
The spectators were mad with envy as they exclaimed.
“It’s far too powerful. His skills are incomparable to ordinary people. The only ones who stand a chance against him are those from ‘that’ family. The ones who specialise in stone refinement.”
“I think his stone refinement technique has already surpassed that of the Sage King. It was pure luck that the Sage King managed to beat him the last time.”
“It’s hard to say that for sure. However his success rate is abnormal. A 90% success rate of picking out pure energy source is unheard of. On top of that, all the pure energy sources are valued far more than the cost of the stones they’re cut out from, he hasn’t made a loss on a single stone. Cheng Men really lost a lot this time round, it’s their misfortune to encounter such a genius.”
“If the Sage King decided to cut out such cheap stones, even he would have a high success rate. But due to his high status, such stones are disdained by him. People like him prefer to gamble large amounts and win big. The bigger the stone, the more exotic the winning’s are likely to be. They’re not as basic as these cheap source stones.”
As the first day came to a close, everyone was in an uproar over Xuanyuan’s success rate.
Many people had already heard that a young man was gambling against the Sage King. Now, the news of Xuanyuan’s abnormally high success rate spread like wildfire. A mysterious stranger had heard this and decided to go to the source stone district to view his skill first hand.
By the next morning, Xuanyuan was already inside the inner circle of the source stone hill. The stones here were 10 times more expensive than the ones on the outer circle, but they were also far larger. The smallest one was the size of a water tank.
Xuanyuan picked out ten source stones from the first hill.
“Master Ji, these stones cost 80 million king coins.” Yuechang was anguished, but she had to pretend as if she didn’t care. She knew that she had no other option, so as to preserve the face of Cheng Men. Xuanyuan, on the other hand, did not care about the value of the coins.
Today, several people had gathered to watch Xuanyuan’s skill first hand. Those who could enter the inner circle were either in the xian realm, or extremely high ranked people. Xuanyuan had already made his mark in the history of the Northern Dynasty.
The gamblers who came here for fame all went to see Xuanyuan. The lot of young gentlemen laughed as soon as they saw him.
“Is that the miracle boy?”
“Hmph, how is it possible to have a 90% success rate? Atop that, he has also cut out heterogeneous energy sources.”
“That’s right, it must just be an over exaggeration. I’d like to see his skill with my own eyes.”
“After all, seeing is believing. Let’s watch, he’s about to start cutting.”
This was exactly what Xuanyuan wanted to achieve. The more eyes on him, the better. Xuanyuan was brewing a massive plot to devastate Cheng Men.
As a woman, Yuechang was extremely sensitive to thoughts. She didn’t know if this was something Xuanyuan plotted. But she could sense a crisis was imminent, but she couldn’t tell where or what it was.
Cheng Men had been operating for several years now, and each day they saw a flow of tens of millions pounds of pure energy sources. But Xuanyuan alone had accounted for six hundred thousand pounds yesterday.
Xuanyuan began cutting the first stone. His Devouring Sword fell towards an oval source stone the size of a water tank. A moment later, the brilliant five-coloured light of a pure energy source burst out. Soon, a 100 pound pure energy source lay on the ground.
“This is just the beginning.”
Hushed whispers and sharp intakes of breath ran throughout the crowd.
Holding his sword, Xuanyuan cut open the second source stone, but there was nothing inside. Undeterred, his heart unshaken, he moved on to the third stone.
“Looks like his success rate is not as high as yesterday, haha.”
“Haha, that seems to be the truth of the matter. Rumours are not to be believed.”
“It’s just as I said, this is all just an exaggeration. It’ll be good enough if the boy can achieve a success rate of 20%.”
“I thought that I had something amazing to look forward to. Let’s go, there’s nothing to see here.”
“Let’s wait for a while longer. Looks like he’s going to cut a third stone, let’s see the rest of them.”
Xuanyuan shook his sword, forming a net of swords. A mysterious aura rippled outwards. The ex-minister Yu was the first one to exclaim.
“He wants to break a group of stones at once!”
“What! A group of stones all at once? Is he not afraid to damage the stones?”
“I don’t think he’s worried. After all, his sword skill is exquisite.”
Xuanyuan was immersed in his own world, and drew the net tight around the source stones. The stones began to be chipped away at, all at once.
Moments later, a resplendent light burst out. Within this, a bright red light was visible, accompanied by a hot energy.
“This… this is the Fire Energy Source. Weighing 300 pounds, this is worth three thousand pounds of pure energy source.”
“The other seven pure energy source weigh 200 ponds. Are the rumours actually true?”
“What do you think?”
“I think this is just a marketing scheme by Cheng Men, so that they can attract more guests.”
“Hmm, that could be true, but I’m still excited looking at this.”
“I want to try my luck now.”
Seeing Xuanyuan’s luck, several others sought out the women of Cheng Men, and either asked them to choose stones for them or chose stones themselves. However, none of them won much.
Others stopped to watch Xuanyuan. If they could understand just 1% of his technique, they could make a fortune with it.
Xuanyuan went through all 180 stone hills in the inner circle on the second day. He had gathered a total of 6.3 million pounds of pure energy source, despite spending only 10 billion king coins.
Everyone’s face was a sight to behold. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Xuanyuan seemed to cut out pure energy sources as if they were common stones. He even cut out pieces of heterogeneous energy sources from almost every hill. Their shock had slowly faded into envy and wonder. Several people tried to replicate his luck but they all failed.
The storm began to grow more and more. The royals who supported Chen Yin began investigating Xuanyuan. They wanted to kill the one who had destroyed Cheng Men like this, but they couldn’t, lest the reputation of the Northern Dynasty was damaged.
Fortunately, the hole created by Xuanyuan was also filled by his actions. A massive surge in gamblers trying to replicate Xuanyuan’s luck filled the pockets of Cheng Men.
By the third day, Xuanyuan was the only one winning. All the others now understood that it was not a scheme on part of Cheng Men. Cheng Men had encountered an extremely skilled gambler, not afraid of any backlash. He continuously stripped Cheng Men of all their pure energy source. Everyone admired Xuanyuan’s courage.
Hidden in the darkness, Elder Teng worshipped Xuanyuan.
“His strength is impressive, and his stone refinement technique is insurmountable by any but those of ‘that’ family. I’m afraid he has no opponent. It’s no wonder that Taibai Trading in the Eastern Dynasty tried their hardest to attract him.”
No one could deny the fact in front of them. Several of them even bowed down to Xuanyuan, worshipping him as their teacher and idol.
“He has to be a never-before seen genius. No one has ever had such an extremely high success rate.”
“How terrifying, a success rate above 80%…”
“This man is of the Ji family? The Central Dynasty definitely has some outrageous youngsters this generation.”
As the source stones became larger, the feedback Xuanyuan received from them became slightly more misleading, resulting in a 10% drop in his success rate.
As the spectators discussed Xuanyuan’s true identity, a terrifying aura spread through the room. The Sage King had arrived, followed by four people. Their eyes were gleaming, obviously attracted by Xuanyan’s skill.
Xuanyuan had managed to unconsciously set off a storm within the Northern Dynasty.
Originally, the Sage King had wanted to go back to his mansion to rest up, but he heard of Xuanyan’s prowess. Alongside him, the other four masters of gambling from the Immortal had also heard the news.
“Not only has the Sage King come, but the other four giants of the Northern Dynasty are also here. Looks like today will see a good show.”
“How terrifying. It’s been a long time since the Northern Dynasty has seen such an impressive lineup gathered in one place. Look there, isn’t that Sang Gong?”
“That’s right, even the sons of the grand master and the minister of the Ministry of Punishments have come.”
Just then, a second wave of strong auras rushed into Cheng Men. Two people, an extremely masculine man with a dominating marital aura, and an unbelievably beautiful woman, entered. The man’s body seemed to burn like the sun, and the woman’s armor gleamed with an endless light. Even the man standing next to her couldn’t approach too close, for fear of being injured.
“The second prince, Cheng Yang is here. The woman beside him is said to be from the Yin family of the Eastern Dynasty, and she has the Heavenly Dragon Body. She is known to be the first of the great beauties of the Eastern Dynasty.”
“Hmph, beauty is judged by people. I prefer the temperament of the Saintess of the Linglong Sect. I have personally experienced it.”
As they discussed the matter, a woman dressed in a black suit descended from the skies. Her expression was both hard and soft, finely maintained at a balance. Her strength was unfathomable, and she appeared to be an extremely mysterious being.
“Oh lords above, the Lady of the Nine Heavens has also come. The Ji kid’s skills are so impressive that even the Lady has made an appearance.”
The position of the Lady of the Nine Heavens was an extremely delicate position. She was in the middle of both the civil services and the military generals. She acted as the liaison between both sides. After all, the two sides were in constant disagreement, and they needed one person to deal with the communication. The Lady fulfilled this role. Her power was extremely awe-inspiring, just as all her predecessors.
Soon after, a violent disturbance ran through the space, as a man stepped out of the rift. His long hair flew loose, as were his clothes. His carefree attitude was present for all to see, and his face bore a casual smile.
“The seventh prince Cheng Xu is here as well. I heard he possesses the Xuankong body type.”
“I didn’t expect to see him here. After all, he roams the world, and he can’t be tied down to any one place.”
A cold aura spread through the air, freezing the blood of those who weren’t strong enough. Sensing the bitter cold, they immediately heightened their defenses. The source of the permeating chill was a masked woman dressed in a blue dress. Her eyes were cold aloof, and her arrival created a layer of frost on the pond nearby. As she walked, fog formed at her feet.
“Even the Saintess of the Bingleng Sect has come! How fortunate, not a lot of people can claim that they have seen her.”
Finally, a heavy aura spread across the room. Everyone looked up at the sky as a square-faced man, wearing a brown, tortoise-shell patterned armour descended. The armour gave off a sense of impenetrability and the man’s gestures seemed to indicate that he could crush anything.
“It’s the son of the head of the Wugui Sect. How wonderful, such a large number of talented people are present in the Northern Dynasty.”
“It’s a pity that the great prince Cheng Yin is confined to the surveillance department, which means he can’t be here.”
“Look. Xuanyuan is about to cut another source stone, this time a far larger one!”