The only stones which Cheng Men hadn’t tampered with were those right around the pool. These source stones were very special and expensive, and their auras were rich and dense.
They could only tamper with the cheaper stones. When it came to these stones, that cost several hundred billion king coins, people would carefully examine the stones.
While they may be able to distract some people with the women, it didn’t work on the serious gamblers who used to gamble in the tens and hundreds of billions.
Cheng Men wanted to maximize their business, and they intended to stay in business for a long time. If they greedily tried to increase their profit margins and tampered with the most valuable stones, they were seeking death.
However, it doesn’t mean that these stones are guaranteed to be profitable. The stones Cheng Men set out near the pool were checked by countless gamblers, and the common consensus was that these stones have a low chance to contain energy sources. As such, they wouldn’t bring in money during auctions. Thus, the best place to place them was in the most expensive region of the source stone district, and let the gamblers gamble on these stones. Most of the time, they would end up making a profit.
This same tactic was used by all the other gambling houses, but what set Cheng Men apart was the extremely high rate of duds when compared to the other gambling houses. After all, the objective of a gambling house was to make profit. If they could sell a stone for a higher price in an auction, they would do so. For stones with a lower chance of containing an energy source, the best bet was to let gamblers gamble on them.
The Sage King was well aware of this tactic, which was why he frequented The Immortal the most. The Immortal usually had a much higher chance of finding energy sources in their stones, and they weren’t inclined to mess with the stones too much. However, since his duel with Xuanyuan was in Cheng Men, he had no choice but to see the completion here.
A beam of light shot out of the Sage King’s eyes. It seemed to be able to see through everything, and if one looked closely, they could see that the beam of light was actually five different streams of light intertwined.
The art of stone refinement had several forms of pupil techniques, which were born from cultivating the art of stone refinement to a high level. While all pupil techniques could see through illusions and barriers, each of them had their own specialties. Xuanyuan looked at the Sage King’s technique. Thinking back to what he had read in the Book of Acquisitions, Xuanyuan figured out that the Sage King possessed the Five-Wheels Golden Pupil. It was born from understanding 5 different kinds of stone refinement techniques. When one understood one technique to a high level, the eye developed one pupil. The highest form of this eye was the Nine-Wheels Golden Pupil, which required a mastery of nine different stone refinement techniques.
However, due to the large number of techniques that one had to practice, and the differing levels of proficiency in each of them, one found it hard to differentiate real source stones, and it all relied on the proficiency of the wielder. As a result, it was one of the inferior pupil techniques.
On the other hand, since Xuanyuan only practiced the techniques recorded within the Book of Acquisitions, he would eventually develop the Heavenly Eyes of Acquisition. Even though his current level of proficiency meant that he had only developed a virtual eye, it was not at all inferior to the Five-Wheels Golden Pupil.
The Sage King strolled around and inspected the source stones around the pool. Each of these stones were different in shape and size, and the aura exuded by them was of a high quality. Anyone who was proficient in gambling could clearly sense this.
The size and shape of a source stone played an important role in determining whether the stone would contain a pure energy source or not. A stone with a unique appearance formed naturally would have a higher chance of containing pure energy source, or better rewards, similar to how Xuanyuan had managed to cut out the Hundred Spirits Energy Source from the Heavenly Nine Dragons Source Stone.
In essence, the rule of thumb was that one should always judge the book by its cover.
The Sage King calmly began assessing the source stones, finally stopping in front of source stone. His ring also was reacting to this particular source stone, releasing a colourful light as it approached the stone.
Seeing the Sage King stop in front of this stone, Yuechang immediately said, “This stone is called the Emperor Meteorite.”
A vision of a strong emperor being stabbed by an even-stronger sword passed through everyone. The stone gave off a sense of an endless fall, all the way from the highest heavens.
“That settles it. I’ll be choosing this Emperor Meteorite.”
The Emperor Meteorite had the appearance and size of a regular man, and a cut ran through the area where the abdomen would have been located. A strong aura was being exuded by the stone. This stone was considered to be an ominous stone by several gamblers. Apparently, Cheng Yin had placed this stone here himself, and it meant something to him personally.
“The stone is valued at 90 billion King coins.”
The Sage King waved his hands, and 9 ten-billion crystal cards fell into Yuechang’s hands. He then lightly touched the stone, and his lighthands released a soft golden light. The light slowly seeped into the stone and seemed to pacify something within it. While some energy sources may not have reached the realm of spiritual source, they still contained their own spirits. If one did not pacify the spirit contained within the source stones, they would damage the stone and reduce the quality of the energy sources contained.
While not every source stone would contain heavenly energy source, the Sage King still steadily and cautiously approached it, not wanting to take chances. After pacifying the spirit, he took out a short, delicate knife, different from all the ones before.
The dagger was extremely sharp and filled with a strong aura. Several patterns were intertwined on it, and the dagger itself had been carved and polished using the Hundred Spirits Energy Source.
The Hundred Spirits Energy Source had an affinity for sensing other objects, thus it made sense to use it to make a dagger to check stones.
“Look, the Sage King is finally going to carve the stone.”
“I wonder what it will contain. Being worth 90 billion king coins, the stone is worth 30,000 pounds of pure energy source. If that’s all that’s contained within this stone, the Sage King will have a great loss.”
“I wouldn’t be worried. After all, he has a success rate of fifty percent, and is always gambling at The Immortal. He even managed to cut out a piece of spiritual ice, something like this is not a challenge for him.”
“That’s true. While Xuanyuan is certainly talented, I’ve never seen him cut out spiritual ice before.”
While the people were conversing, the Sage King had already sensed how to best cut the stone using the dagger. Twirling the dagger in his hand, the Sage King began cutting the source stone down, reducing the waste sections to dust.
Everyone held their breath; while they were no stranger to gambling techniques, it was the first time they had seen such an intense competition. The tension was palpable.
The stone continued to reduce in size, and the floor was covered with fine dust, but the Sage King still looked confident as he continued to carve it down. He was confident that he could withstand the momentum that Xuanyuan had generated using his years of experience.
Not everyone could remain calm under such circumstances.
“Xuanyuan is extremely shrewd. He knew how to make the momentum flow onto his side, and he did so many things to try to push the Sage King to the brink. However, the Sage King doesn’t look affected. Extraordinary.”
“That’s right, it appears that this duel will be monumental.”
The first of the five earth masters said, his voice filled with emotion, “A real stone duel is extremely dangerous. Both gamblers choose the stones together, not one after the other. Xuanyuan was wise to let the Sage King choose first. If they had chosen together, Xuanyuan may have died at the hands of the Sage King before he could choose a stone.”
“That’s right. While he may be skilled at stone refinement, his accomplishments in dispositions are unknown. I’m certain that he can’t kill a person using minimal energy.”
“Stone gambling doesn’t only involve gambling of the stones, but also one’s life…”
The Sage King was neither too fast nor too slow. He had already removed the head and the legs at a steady pace, leaving behind only the body.
There was still no trace of the fluctuation of energy, which made people suspect that the stone was in fact empty.
The Sage King wasn’t too bothered. After all, he had already won one game before, losing the second round was not too much of an issue. Xuanyuan would definitely be having a heavier psychological burden, since this was his last chance.
Xuanyuan stood tall and silent, his arms crossed and his eyes closed, unmoving like a mountain.
The dagger slowly cut into the body of the Emperor Meteorite, when suddenly a flash of light burst out, and split to the heavens, falling down like bright stars. The body slowly cracked open, releasing a massive aura.
With a resounding crack, the stone had completely crumbled into dust, leaving behind only the energy source.
“Oh my god, it’s the Heavenly Energy Source.”
“I never expected that the Heavenly Energy Source would be contained within the stone. Look, there are distinct markings on its surface!”