An employee from the auction house delivered the item up to Bai Yunfei before respectfully leaving the room. As soon as the employee left, Bai Yunfei grabbed hold of the stone to take a look at its stats...
Equipment Grade: Mid Heaven
Elemental Affinity: None
Special Effect 1: Allow the successful upgrade of an equipment +13 and under once.
Special Effect 2: Increase the tier of an equipment when crafting by two (Mid-heaven tier being the highest).
Cannot be upgraded.
The strings of information running through his head brought out a smile onto Bai Yunfei's face!
This was a +13 Guaranteed Upgrade Stone!
He now had a stone that could help him upgrade items to +13 and beyond!
He had to wonder just how powerful an item was when it had an upgrade level of +13 and higher. To date, Bai Yunfei only had two pieces of equipment that were +13; the Fire-tipped Spear and the Cataclysmic Seal. Both weapons were already unbelievably powerful and were his ultimate trump cards. If he got yet another piece of equipment to +13, then his fighting strength would increase exponentially!
As excited as he was, Bai Yunfei put the stone away before starting to think of all the potential uses he had for it...
"The best choice would be to upgrade the Soul Sentinel Scarf..." Of all his equipment, the Soul Sentinel Scarf was naturally the first choice he'd consider upgrading in terms of utility.
"But the Soul Sentinel Scarf is already my lifebound armament. If I take soul compatibility into account, then the Critical Glove would be better..."
Though a recent addition, the Critical Glove was already one of his mainstay pieces of equipment with a soul compatibility of 88%. Upgrading it to +13 should theoretically bring it to 100% and turn it into his fourth lifebound armament! In addition to that, the Critical Glove would gain a power-up that'd bring it up to par with the Cataclysmic Seal and Fire-tipped Spear.
"There's also the Core Stone. If I can use an upgrade stone to get it to +11 and +12, the Core Stone will gain an additional effect. It'll reach 100% soul compatibility then and become a lifebound armament too..."
Bai Yunfei had done a series of studies on what Guaranteed Upgrade Stones did on his equipment. The size of a stone was a pretty good indicator on their grade of quality, and the Nephrite Throne was essentially a +14 Guaranteed Upgrade Stone. The destruction of the throne resulted in a cascade of many different types of Guaranteed Upgrade Stones of unequal distribution. This particular upgrade stone was a +13 Guaranteed Upgrade Stone, and if broken up, the result would probably end up as a +11 and +12 Guaranteed Upgrade Stones. But this was a hypothesis Bai Yunfei had that wouldn't be so readily tested.
He had so many decisions and so many benefits tied to each of them with equal allure. This made things quite difficult for Bai Yunfei, who didn't know which choice he should make.
Bai Yunfei continued to watch the auction house proceed from here on out, though his mind was stuck on these such questions...
While the auction house was still dealing with the flurry of excitement brought forth by the fragment of the Nephrite Throne, things were also heating up on the other side of Swallow City in Qin Manor.
"Oh? That Bai Yunfei went to the auction? And he's bidding with soul armaments? Over a dozen heaven-tier soul armaments?!"
Seated in a room with a cup of tea in hand was Qin Hu. In the room with him was a messenger who had just relayed to him the information coming from the auction house.
Several of the Soul Kings of their family, namely Qin Pingzhi and another, were currently overseeing operations at the auction house. The others such as the current head Qin Long and the previous head Qin Tian were secretly off to the northern mines to bolster the defenses.
Their ancestor was in the middle of an attempt to become a Soul Emperor. It was imperative that he succeeds so every available Soul King the Qin had to offer was there to ensure all went well.
So that left only Qin Hu alone in Qin Manor.
"How many soul armaments does that Bai Yunfei have..." Qin Hu took a sip of his tea after the messenger left.
"How does the Crafting School have an aberration like him appear in the next generation? The world was already in a mess when it was heard Zi Jin's third disciple Jiang Fan became a Soul King. And now we have Bai Yunfei, the Mid-stage Soul King...His talent in cultivation is one thing, but him being a Crafting School student and well-stocked with all sorts of soul armaments...The Crafting School was in an abysmal state twenty years ago. How truly hard it is to see them recover this quickly..."
It was hard for Qin Hu to think about the difference between the new generation of the Crafting School and the new generation of the Qin. Sighing, he lowered his hand to place the cup of tea onto the table.
His hand froze just about an inch above the table. Following the freezing of his hand was his entire body-Qin Hu couldn't move at all!
In response to his sudden loss of mobility, Qin Hu's eyes flickered about the room in bewilderment!
His eyes swiveled in their eye sockets as if to try and look behind him. Had he moved his head, he surely would've been able to see what was there. But his head stayed in place. He was evidently afraid of something with how his forehead pooled with sweat.
For a proud and mighty Soul King to be so afraid of something...what could it possibly be?!
"Very good, you understand what's going on. That spares me the trouble...make any sudden movements and I'll be sure to kill you before your body can go through with your actions..."
An ominous voice spoke to Qin Hu from behind. Someone cloaked in darkness was standing behind him!
The sweatdrops on Qin Hu's head dripped down his nose and onto his collar. Movement wasn't possible even if he wanted to. Some sort of aura was shackling him in place. Not even his soul was free from whatever it was that had been yoked onto him. His soulforce wasn't even obeying his commands.
The only functions he was capable of was moving his eyes and lips.
"Sire...who are you?" He managed to ask.
"You've not the right to ask such a question. You will serve to only answer mine..."
The voice that replied was frostily-cold and froze the air. From the corners of his eyes, Qin Hu could see that the air behind him was rippling a bit to...reveal the figure of a person!
The person's figure flickered a bit before it distinguished itself from the dark background it had been hiding in. The black smoke that had been there before dissipated to reveal an elderly person!!
This elderly person was Jing Mingfeng's great grandfather, Jing Wuying!!
Jing Wuying stood there behind Qin Hu. Neither of his hands were doing anything but there was a wisp of black energy that was wrapped around Qin Hu's throat. At the end of the black wisp, the smoke solidified to form a sharp dagger to press down against it. Unable to stop himself from shivering a bit, Qin Hu winced when the dagger cut into his skin to draw blood! If the dagger were to press even deeper into him, he'd be on his way to the underworld in no time flat!
"What might sire wish to ask of me...?"
Completely fearful of the entity that had control of his freedom, Qin Hu could only concede to the elder's request. Never had he felt such powerlessness before he became a Soul King. He was a Mid-stage Soul King right now, but this elder behind him was strong enough to make even that level of strength laughably insignificant.
Jing Wuying had that presence of power to him that demanded subservience. "I will only ask a single question. Seven years ago when the Jing was massacred, did your Qin take part in it!?"