Chapter 265: A Wooden Ruler Bringing About A Storm
The appraisers of the Inheritance Ancient Pavilion busily tried to identify this body along with the three foot long wooden ruler! In fact, this body did not need to be appraised; the integral focus was all on this wooden ruler!
However, after a long discussion between the appraisers, they couldn’t come up with any specific result; they couldn’t even identify the wood that this ruler was made out of.
One had to know that the appraisers of the pavilion could be considered the absolute authority regarding this field. The Inheritance Ancient Pavilion was one of the oldest auction houses, and its appraisers were part of a group that had seen the most treasures in this world. However, they couldn’t even determine the material of this wooden ruler.
Li Qiye’s gaze was locked on the corpse the moment the coffin was opened. After a long while, he then gazed at the wooden ruler instead. After a meticulous observation, a brilliance flashed in the deepest parts of Li Qiye’s eyes, causing him to remember the rumors of that one era! With a slight shudder, Li Qiye thought about an even older legend that had something to do with a mythical race.
“It is strange, it is a bit strange ah.” At this time, Sikong Toutian, who had been standing silently next to Li Qiye, couldn’t help but murmur.
Li Qiye glanced at him and idly said: “What’s so strange about it?”
“Hmm… This…” Sikong Toutian wryly smiled before finally answering: “I have seen many different types of wood, and I’m quite knowledgeable about wooden materials used to craft coffins or divine wood used to create treasures. However, this wooden ruler… It is an oddity; I have never seen this type of wood before.”
“There is a myriad of vegetation in this world; it is normal that you haven’t seen all of them.” Chi Xiaodie shook her head and said.
Sikong Toutian pondered for bit before replying: “What you say is completely true. Who can say that they know all the different species of wood in this world?” At this point, he turned around and asked Li Qiye: “Dao Brother, do you have any insight?”
Li Qiye gave him a look and said: “It’s hard to say. All in all, this is not an ordinary piece of wood.” A different thought had appeared in his mind.
“What are you all still debating about? Hurry up if you want to continue the auction. Everyone has to leave, you know?” Seeing the appraisers from the pavilion debating for a long time without any result, a dissatisfied buyer demanded.
Many other buyers also protested: “That’s right, just decide on a price with some decisiveness. Hurry up and don’t waste everyone’s time.”
In the end, the Inheritance Ancient Pavilion arrived at a unanimous decision. The wooden ruler will be auctioned, but not the corpse because it didn’t have any divinity. Normally, once the auction ended, the corpses would be returned to the owner of the tomb or the descendants of the corpse!
“This is a divine ruler; everyone can first take a look at it.” The auctioneer raised the wooden ruler with both hands and declared to the crowd.
At this time, everyone came closer to take a careful look at this wooden ruler. Some people were sniffing and others went as far as to lick it, but there was no discernible taste nor smell.
As they were observing the ruler, they found that there were engravings of little ghosts on it; there were ninety-nine of them. Each and every little ghost carving had a different expression that was shown with great clarity. Those who were more cowardly would be scared and nervous after seeing these seemingly alive little ghosts on top of the ruler.
“Brother Zhu Yan, what are these ghosts? Which branch are they from?” After looking carefully at this wooden ruler, an Ancient Saint asked a great character who came from the ghost race.
This person who came from the Ghost Immortal Race observed the ruler with a serious expression, then he shook his head to say: “I also cannot tell. Even though the Ghost Immortal Race is considered to have one hundred different branches, I really haven’t seen these little ghosts before, and I’ve never heard of them either. It could just be that the crafter of the ruler made up some images.” 1
The ghost race referred to itself as the Ghost Immortal Race, and it was one of the great races in the contemporary time along with the human race, the demon race, the Heavenly Devils… However, the Mortal Emperor World was the domain of the human race, so it was relatively rare to see the demon race, the ghost race, and the Heavenly Devils…
Although they considered themselves as Ghost Immortals, a few branches within the ghost race had the exact same appearance as the human race; it was extremely difficult to tell them apart. The most direct and effective method to differentiate between them was to look at their blood. The ghost race’s blood was a violet color — extremely red with some purple. This was a unique trait that belonged only to the ghost race. 2
“Just what is this ruler?” All the buyers present looked at it attentively; some even held it in their hands. This wooden ruler was much heavier than expected — like a heavy iron with a cold sensation.
Everyone was thinking about the origin of this wooden ruler, but they couldn’t figure it out. In reality, even the appraisers of the pavilion were unable to do so, thus it was even more difficult for outsiders to correctly identify it.
Li Qiye carefully pondered about this wooden ruler. He already had the answer in his heart the moment he studied the ninety-nine little ghosts on its surface.
“This ruler is extraordinary.” The Ice Feather Palace’s Bing Yuxia carefully contemplated about this wooden ruler before finally murmuring. Of course, only she herself heard these words.
“Gentlemen, everyone has seen this ruler now. As the last buried item within this tomb, our Inheritance Ancient Pavilion will use the grave auction rules to sell this off. This ruler was created by using divine wood. Since it has a great and extraordinary origin with the ghost race, the starting price will be 3,000 Virtuous Paragon Refined Jades!” The auctioneer declared.
These words were met by an immediate uproar as the scene became rambunctious. A buyer couldn’t help but counter: “You’re kidding! The origin of this wooden ruler isn’t even clear and the wooden material is not known, yet it is starting at 3,000 Virtuous Paragon Refined Jades? This is too much of a cheat!”
“Yeah! I think that even if it was 3,000 Heavenly King Refined Jades, it would still be too expensive. 3,000 Heavenly Sovereign Refined Jades might be worthy of consideration.” Another buyer echoed the sentiment.
The auctioneer shook his head in response: “This wood is as hard as steel; these engravings of the ninety-nine ghosts… They are a supreme creation from the ghost race. Our Inheritance Ancient Pavilion does not dare to make any baseless statement regarding this ruler, but we can absolutely guarantee that this ruler is made from divine wood. As for the type of divine wood, there is a need for further deliberation. Of course, if there is someone willing to let us know, we would be happy to accept the assistance.”
“Fellow Daoist is correct.” At this time, Li Qiye smiled and said: “This ruler starting with 3,000 Virtuous Paragon Refined Jades is indeed a bit too much. In my opinion, this ruler was crafted from a Harmonious Ghost Tree. This ruler is odorless and has spiral shell patterns on the actual wood. Combined with the faint white amidst the black, these are the characteristics of the Harmonious Ghost Tree. It is indeed rare within the Mortal Emperor World, but there is not too many marvelous uses for it.” 3
“Harmonious Ghost Tree…” All the buyers were surprised after hearing this name because many of them had never heard of such a tree.
“Harmonious Ghost Tree!” An appraiser from the pavilion who specialized in wood became serious after listening and slowly said: “This is a rare species of trees in the Mortal Emperor World; they only grow in the Burial Grounds, away from the sight of mortals. Even though this wood is indeed rare and precious, it is completely accurate to say that there is not much use for it.”
“If you don’t trust my words, then you can carefully look at it to see if the wood outlines of this ruler contain spiral shell patterns with a faint white within the black shade or not. This is a special characteristic of the Harmonious Ghost Tree.” Li Qiye smilingly spoke.
All the buyers took turns looking at it, and then someone said: “It really does have that spiral pattern with the white and black color scheme.”
“I heard about a legend relating to the ghost race — something to do with their origin. Legend has it that the Progenitor of the ghost race was the soul of an ancient corpse, and it finally came back to life. It married a mortal and gave birth to future generations. There is another legend that states that there are ninety-nine descendants; each of the descendants built their own tribe, which is why the ghost race is also named the hundred race.” At this time, Li Qiye said with a smile. 4
Li Qiye’s statement was immediately refuted by a master from the ghost race. He coldly shouted: “Nonsense! The Progenitor of our ghost race was a ghost who became an immortal and eventually gave birth to our ghost race. In our veins flows the blood of the Ghost Immortal!”
There were three different theories regarding the origin of the ghost race’s Progenitor. The first was that he was a ghost who became an immortal; another was that he was a soul of an ancient corpse; the last was that he was the result from a relationship between a ghost and a mortal!
In fact, their ghost race only accepted the first theory and were especially averse to the soul from a dead corpse theory — the entire ghost race vehemently denied this theory. And as for the last one, some believed it while some didn’t.
Li Qiye smiled and replied: “Even though all of your ghost race currently denies this theory, it is undeniable that, during the ancient era, there were ghost members who believed such a theory.”
“Hmph! Those are just heretics! They are not qualified to be a part of the ghost race!” The master from the ghost race coldly proclaimed.
Li Qiye continued on with a grin: “Whether it is heresy or not, it is all in the past now. However, it is a fact that there were ghost race members who believed in this theory. Therefore, during immemorial eras, ghost race members carved the images of the ninety-nine ghosts in order to honor the origin of the ghost race. I trust that this wooden ruler came from the heretics of the ghost race, and it is a memento of the ghost race’s origin. The Harmonious Ghost Tree is indeed precious, but if it is only a memento, then I’m afraid it doesn’t have much value.”
“If that is the case, then 3,000 Virtuous Paragon Refined Jades is too much ah. Let it be 3,000 Ancient Saint Refined Jades, then!” After Li Qiye’s explanation, another buyer immediately exclaimed.
“Yes, 3,000 Virtuous Paragon Refined Jades to buy a memento is totally not worth it. I don’t even want it for 3,000 Ancient Saint Refined Jades; how about 3,000 Royal Noble Refined Jades?” Many buyers here began to cause a commotion.
Another buyer also lamented his bad luck as he shook his head in dejection: “I actually thought a Legendary Alchemist would be buried with great drugs and ancient medicines; I didn’t expect this guy to be a heretic of the ghost race. If the other ancient medicines buried along with him weren’t worthwhile, then this grave auction would have been meaningless.”
At this moment when many buyers were clamoring, Bing Yuxia, who was relaxing under her pavilion, stared at Li Qiye with a strange expression. She seemed determined to see through him.
“Help me act out a play; go ahead and bid.” At this time, Li Qiye elbowed Chi Xiaodie next to him and whispered.
Chi Xiaodie angrily glared at him and replied: “Why should I act with you! I am not interested!”
1. Note, the word for one hundred here can also mean numerous. And I believe a lot/many fits more here rather than one hundred, but further below in this chapter is the reason why I chose one hundred instead of a quantitative descriptor. 2. It seems like the ghost race here is similar to the devils in hell (teaser image), but we already had Heavenly Devil (mo), so they have to be ghost (gui). This is a more physical form of ghosts, unlike the western spiritual ones. It was a bit hard to translate gui, mo, and yao into English, especially without physical descriptions during the first times I used the terms. I usually do gui = ghost, mo = evil/devil, and yao = demon; but both Heavenly Devils and Immortal Ghosts have a physical appearance just like humans in Emperor’s Domination, so the western equivalents can be inaccurate. I didn’t want to use fiend as a replacement for ghost since that has a greater connotation of evil which might be reserved for something else in the future. Edit 2: Further below in this chapter is another description of the ghost race, so it actually makes ghost quite fitting. I’ll leave this really long note here, though, because it is another insight to my translating. Victory! 3. Harmonious can also mean leaf, here. 4. I don’t know if the corpse comes back to life, or the soul took/got a new body. This wasn’t clear here in this part.