Chapter 5 - Each Party’s Schemes
When Xu Qi was holding the hilt of the Heavens Vanquisher, he found he couldn’t unsheathe it, no matter how hard he tried.
“Hah… it seems that I don’t even have the capability to unsheathe a sword,” Xu Qi shook his head helplessly.
He placed the swords back in the ring without a second thought and retrieved the “Void Dao.” Currently, he possessed a grand total of zero cultivation techniques due to the lack of prior cultivation. All he had was his enhanced body, and even he wasn’t certain of the level he was at.
He flipped to the first page, which stated, “This cultivation method was first created by the supreme master of the great Dao from time immemorial. It contains 7 stages, each of them incredibly difficult to master. However, it boasts of boundless capabilities once mastered. For every stage broken through, the cultivator will be granted endless powers and will acquire the corresponding ultimate technique. One who reaches the highest stage will possess the power to dictate fate itself, having the prowess to decide the life and death of all beings. The practitioner is required to possess an extremely outstanding temperament, body, and talent to succeed.”
“This is not going to be easy. Nevertheless, I should give it a try,” Xu Qi smiled. He flipped to the next page, then sat in the meditation stance and started cultivating according to the instructions.
“All under the heaven and earth exists for the living. The laws of nature will come together when you look for the truth beneath it all. The body moves according to the will… Hm? I’ll practice this Soul Displacement technique first!” Xu Qi muttered with his eyes closed.
Sitting in his room, Xu Qi allowed the energy to circulate and incorporating the cultivation technique into his body. He was unaware that a faint rainbow light emitted from his body all this while. He would be mistaken for a celestial being if others saw him.
After some time, Xu Qi slowly opened his eyes. One would realize that his pupils have become more abstruse than before. As he felt for changes within his body, Xu Qi stood up, thinking, Let’s have a look at the prowess of this cultivation method. Following which, Xu Qi recalled the techniques of the cultivation method and started moving his body.
Bam! “Ouch!” Right as Xu Qi moved, he smashed himself into the opposite wall like a bolt of lightning. All he intended to do was speed up, to have a feel for the movement technique’s speed, but he failed to control himself and went too fast. Xu Qi stood back up while holding his waist, muttering to himself, “The Soul Displacement movement technique from this cultivation method is really strange. I slammed into the wall right as I willed myself to move. It looks like I’ll have to practice more to stabilize my control, but I should get going and deal with the family matters for now. I’ve been here for the greater part of the day; Uncle Mang will come looking for me if I delay any longer.”
As he made his decision, another problem popped up; the external bruises caused by Xu Pingfan had fully recovered as a side effect from consuming the Green Mystique Fruits. As such, Xu Qi shook his head as he left for the main hall.
Xu Pingfan had been waiting for Xu Qi in the main hall all along, but the latter did not appear for the better part of the day. He furrowed his brows in worry, “Could I have used too much strength on him? He is only a child, after all. This can’t do; I’d better go check on him.” Right as he made up his mind, he raised his head and saw Xu Qi coming over, holding his waist. The former shifted his gaze and was stunned to see the latter’s face looking as normal as could be.
Huh?! Didn’t I injure him? How has he recovered already? I can’t even tell if he was injured in the first place. What’s going on? Xu Pingfan’s thoughts went into disarray.
“Young Master,” Xu Pingfan called out reflexively.
Xu Qi stepped forward; although there was no one else in the main hall, he did not wish to speak aloud. He gestured towards Xu Pingfan, indicating for him to come closer. The latter knelt before Xu Qi, who whispered briefly into his ear. Xu Pingfan reciprocated with a nod, acknowledging his message. Then, Xu Pingfan straightened himself as Xu Qi was done instructing, and questioned, “Young Master, are you sure this will work?”
Xu Qi returned with a nod of his own and proceeded to kneel in front of the coffins, keeping to himself. Xu Pingfan just stood behind Xu Qi silently, his eyes full of worry.
A day later, it was the day of the patriarch and lady’s burial process. In the luxurious Wan Qing restaurant of Rivulet City, three middle-aged men were enjoying wine in the private cabin on the top floor. Helian Liang, the patriarch of the Helian Clan, one of Rivulet City’s top clans, sat in the first seat. Next to him was the man who held Rivulet City’s military might, the captain of city defense, Li Hai. The third and last was the patriarch of a household comparable to Xu Clan, Liang Clan’s Liang Renqing.
“Brother Liang, Xu Yingzhou and his wife are now dead. They don’t have many people with authority, either. Only their 6-year-old child and housekeeper, Xu Pingfan, are left; we should take action,” Liang Clan’s patriarch, Liang Renqing, was the first to speak.
“Brother Qing, Brother Yingzhou has known us for the greater part of his life. Although we weren’t the closest of friends, we could be regarded as brothers. It doesn’t seem appropriate for us to scheme for his family fortune the moment he’s dead,” Helian Liang gave an ill-intentioned smirk.
“Brothers? Quit lying! You’re the only one who said anything about scheming for Xu clan’s businesses. Inappropriate, you say? You’re more impatient than I am,” Liang Renqing cursed in his heart.
The city defense captain for Rivulet City, Li Hai, sat to the side, enjoying wine. He glanced over at Helian Liang, then shook his head and continued drinking.
“Brother Liang, only the son of Brother Yingzhou is left in Xu clan. He’s young and has never stepped out of his mansion. Not to mention, he was born mute! He can’t possibly manage their family businesses. As his seniors, we should give them a hand; treat it like a favor to Brother Yingzhou as he rests in heaven,” Liang Renqing cupped his fists to the sky as he spoke.
Li Hai placed his cup down and casually said, “Both of you, speak openly about what’s on your mind. I don’t like guessing games; it’s making me lose my mood for wine.”
“Haha, Captain Li is steadfast, indeed. We shall cut to the point. The Xu clan’s businesses are up for grabs, and we don’t want to miss such a great opportunity. We hope Captain Li will turn a blind eye to Xu Clan’s matters over the next few days,” Helian Liang dropped his act and spoke directly.
“Xu Yingzhou had no small amount of friends from the capital while he was alive. With you setting your sights on Xu clan’s businesses, I’m afraid they will interfere even if I were to turn a blind eye. It’s not that easy.” Li Hai stroked his chin, giving an awkward look.
Helian Liang chuckled when he heard Li Hai. He took out two black cards from his sleeves, and offered them to the latter, “Captain Li, here are a million mid-grade gemstones. Please accept them. I’ve heard the ration for the city’s forces are not optimal; this’ll improve the army’s inventory.”
Li Hai’s eyes flashed with greed upon seeing the two black cards; then he looked towards Liang Renqing sitting by the side. The latter understood immediately. He offered two black cards as well, saying, “Captain Li, I should do my part as a citizen of Rivulet City, too. Please accept this.”
Li Hai reached out for the four black cards, accepting the gifts. He took a sip from the cup of wine and smacked his lips, saying, “I will be leaving to eradicate bandits outside the city for the next few days and will not have time to handle matters within the city. If anything needs my attention, they will have to wait till I’m back.”
“It is our Rivulet City’s fortune to have Captain Li acting for the wellness of the citizens,” Liang Renqing continued sucking up to him.
Sitting in the host’s seat, Helian Liang laughed, saying, “Brother Qing, we both know the child in Xu clan is no threat. However, Xu Pingfan isn’t easy to deal with. What are your plans?”
“Brother Liang, Xu Pingfan is rumored to be a fifth stage Essence swordsman, the same as you. As I’m a fourth stage Essence swordsman myself, there is no chance of me winning against him. I’ll have to depend on Brother Liang to act.“ Liang Renqing bowed with his hands clasped.
“You’re too humble, Brother Qing. Everyone knows that you have a fourth stage Essence Spiritualist staying at your residence. Xu Pingfan will not prove to be a threat if he decides to act,” Helian Liang replied unflinchingly.
Li Hai’s gaze turned grave as he heard the conversation. Everyone within Rivulet City knew their city defense captain was a sixth stage Essence Swordsman. He had entered the stage many years ago and was only a tiny bit away from Qi realm. However, even he was shaken by the news of a Spiritualist at the fourth stage of Essence realm. The reason was he had once gone up against a newly advanced fourth stage Essence Spiritualist with his strength as a sixth stage Essence Swordsman; it resulted in him barely surviving. The summoned monsters of spiritualists were always stronger than the Spiritualist themselves; hence they were able to challenge cultivators above their cultivation stage.
Liang Renqing had no intention of denying this. He replied, “If Brother Liang requires, I will request for my honored guest to aid you. But the condition is for my Liang clan to acquire the businesses of Xu clan in the southern part of Rivulet City. Is that agreeable?”
The southern half of their businesses?! How greedy of him! Helian Liang was somewhat dissatisfied upon hearing Liang Renqing’s condition, but the thought of him acquiring the businesses in the northern city kept him from arguing. The former simply agreed, “Okay, let’s do that.”
“Patriarchs, there’s no need to fight against the Xu Clan. From what I know, the businesses will end up belonging to the both of you, even if you don’t take up arms against them,” Li Hai, who had been drinking by the side all along, suddenly spoke up.
Helian Liang and Liang Renqing both shifted their gaze towards Li Hai; they had obviously not received any news regarding such matters. Thus, they hoped to get answers from Li Hai.
Li Hai smiled at the confused duo, “There are ex-subordinates of mine within Xu Clan. From what I’ve gathered, it seemed like their housekeeper, Xu Pingfan, wants to seize the Xu’s businesses for himself. Though, it’s not an easy task. Therefore, there is the possibility he might let go of the management rights to Xu Clan’s businesses in exchange for a fortune and retain the ownership rights. I’m sure the both of you will not be stingy when it comes to that.”
Helian Liang and Liang Renqing looked at each other, revealing joyous expressions. Xu Clan letting go of their management rights was as good as liquidating their assets! It’d be much better if it were possible to acquire these rights just by spending some money. After all, Xu Clan’s businesses were shockingly profitable! Acquiring the management rights was the equivalent of owning the Xu’s businesses.
“Many thanks to Captain Li for the advice!” Helian Liang and Liang Renqing said in unison.
“Haha, I’m only here to drink today; I’ve said nothing,” Li Hai answered ambiguously.
Helian Liang and Liang Renqing, both being patriarchs for their family, naturally would not unnecessarily speak. They replied tacitly, “Let’s drink, let’s drink! Wan Qing restaurant’s wine today is pretty great!”
The patriarchs were already scheming inwardly as to what they should do if Xu Pingfan really sought to sell the management rights.