Editors: Nyxnox, Costard(J3000)
Chapter 152 Competing for the Sabremen
On the surface, Gu Shenwei had invited Meng Mingshi to drink and the issues between the two had been laid to rest, but the truth was that Meng Mingshi hated Gu Shenwei even more than before.
Gu Shenwei went over to show his respect. Meng Fifth Gongzi acted surprised to have found Gu Shenwei hiring sabremen here and said in a false tone, "Oh, what a coincidence. Isn't this Servant Huan? Are you running errands for Tenth Gongzi? Ai, that little girl really doesn't know how to take care of her people; it is so late at night …"
Gu Shenwei could guarantee that Meng Mingshi's appearance and attempt to hire the sabremen at midnight wasn't a coincidence. "These people have decided to follow me," he replied.
"Have you discussed payment or signed a contract yet?"
Gu Shenwei shook his head.
Meng Mingshi nodded thoughtfully. He came prepared this time, so he controlled his mood and manner well. He put his arms around Servant Huan's shoulders and walked Servant Huan to a quiet place, saying, "Do me a favour and let me take these people away. There are still many good sabremen out there, could you look for others? Let's not squabble and make a bunch of poor guys happy. Let me know if you need money, I can't guarantee you much, but I can afford tens of thousand taels of silver. Hmm, how about 20,000 taels?"
Twenty thousand taels of silver were exactly the amount of money Gu Shenwei had withdrawn from Golden Roc Castle. "I thought Fifth Gongzi was going to select the Sabre God? Why are you interested in these people?"
Meng Mingshi patted Servant Huan's shoulder and said, "It's different. The Sabre God will become the unique treasure of the Qiu Society, but we still need these regular people to do the work. Hey, do you want to join the Qiu Society? I can refer you to someone. Tenth Gongzi and Yu Gongzi are both welcome too if they are interested. It couldn't be better if someone from the castle joined us."
Gu Shenwei grew wary of Meng Fifth Gongzi's purpose. The Meng family had a close relationship with Golden Roc Castle, and even if the Qiu Society wanted Tenth Gongzi to join them, it wasn't an average killer's place to ask about it. "Thank you for your kindness, Meng Fifth Gongzi, but I can't give up these sabremen. How about letting them choose for themselves?"
Meng Mingshi changed his face so fast that Gu Shenwei suddenly felt that he was talking to a different person now.
The Fifth Gongzi abruptly moved his arm away from Servant Huan's shoulder as if he had accidentally touched something disgusting. "Are you going against me?" He asked loudly with a slightly shrill voice.
"I would not dare to." Gu Shenwei maintained the minimum etiquette he needed, but he also took a single step backwards and extended his hand to the sabre hilt. But he soon dropped his hand on second thought.
"Hah!" Meng Mingshi behaved as if he was insulted. He spread his arms and walked around so that everyone could notice him, and then said loudly to the group of people he had brought, "This man is a servant of Golden Roc Castle. He has offended me before, but I decided to let it go. As you've heard, I even tried to flatter him and called him 'brother', and asked him to do me a small favour. But he was pretentious as if he had the same status as me. Today, I must regain my face, am I wrong?"
"No, no, Fifth Gongzi is so generous! You've borne enough insult." The crowd echoed. Many people looked angrier than Meng Fifth Gongzi.
This wasn't like the arrogant and foolish Meng Mingshi that Gu Shenwei remembered, and he even felt like perhaps someone was instructing him from behind. Gu Shenwei retreated several more steps and waited until the commotion of the crowd ceased a bit before he again repeated, "If this was my own business, I wouldn't dare argue with Meng Fifth Gongzi no matter what, but I'm selecting sabremen for Tenth Gongzi., so please forgive me, Meng Fifth Gongzi."
"You want to pressure me with that little girl? Dog slave, these men are mine. Let's see who can take them away."
Meng Mingshi stood there angrily with his hands at his waist. A man dressed like a servant came forward. After bowing to his lord, he cleared his throat and said, "Each person can have a monthly payment of five hundred taels of silver as long as one signs the contract with a minimum length of three years. One can immediately withdraw one thousand taels of silver for the first two months if one signs right now."
The average monthly payment for a regular sabreman was about one hundred taels of silver, and even for a slightly famous sabreman the payment only went up to two or three hundred taels of silver. The price offered by the Qiu Society was enough for a first-class sabreman.
The sight of the glittering silver in the boxes made the crowd behind click their tongues and praise as if everyone wanted to take out a sabre and sign it right away.
The twenty or so sabremen, however, kept silent as if no one had heard or seen these temptations.
Meng Fifth Gongzi was a bit surprised, and he looked at the servant with dissatisfaction. The servant anxiously walked to the sabremen, "Boss Tuo, these are all your men. Are you satisfied with the payment or not? Please say something."
Tuo Nengya leaned over and placed all his weight on his left leg, slowly saying, "There's another employer. I want to hear his offer."
"Ai, Boss Tuo, don't be so brash. This is Meng Fifth Gongzi, not those local rich men in Southern Jade City. It's not your place to bargain."
Meng Mingshi interrupted, "No hurry, Let's listen to Boss Tuo. Servant Huan, how much are you willing to offer?"
Gu Shenwei did a quick calculation in his mind. Twenty-three sabremen, five hundred taels of silver for each person every month, that would be over ten thousand taels of silver in a month and over four hundred thousand taels of silver in three years. It wouldn't be enough even if he used all of Tie Hanfeng's legacy, not to mention the twenty thousand taels of silver provided by Golden Roc Castle. Besides, he had already spent lots of money.
But, there was always a way to make money in Southern Jade City. As long as the sabremen team was built, he would have enough of a cash flow under the banner of Tenth Gongzi of Golden Roc Castle.
"Same terms," Gu Shenwei said. He saw some people approach from outside the forest and gather around as if they had also come to watch the fun. But it was the second half of the night, and only those with ulterior motives would hang out in the Rouge Forest at this time.
Meng Fifth Gongzi had come prepared. Gu Shenwei knew that he had been careless and had fallen into the trap. So he pretended to stretch his legs and took two steps forward to approach Meng Mingshi, ready to take him hostage at any time.
"I'll double it, one thousand taels." Meng Mingshi didn't notice the teenage servant's movement. He shouted excitedly, looking around with his head held high as if he were competing with the heaven.
Meng Fifth Gongzi had brought many footmen with him. As they heard the price, they were all surprised because the reward for the upcoming Sabre God was only ten thousand taels of silver. A group of ordinary sabremen who weren't young anymore could now surprisingly earn one thousand taels of silver a month, which would be more than the salary of the Sabre God in a year.
The whole forest was silent for a while before someone shouted "Good!" and the crowd cheered as if Meng Fifth Gongzi had just won the title of Sabre God.
The servant stretched out his hands and seemed to have nothing to say. Indeed, with such a price, any kind of persuasion tactics would be cheap next to it.
Tuo Nengya still behaved like normal and didn't even blink his eyes. He then turned to look at the teenage killer from Golden Roc Castle.
"Five hundred taels, I can't pay any more than that." Gu Shenwei decided to give up. Face wasn't important for him, and he would have given all of it to the Meng family as long as he could get some practical benefit.
Meng Mingshi felt a bit disappointed that he had won so easily. If he knew that it would go like this earlier, he would have only increased the price by a little. "Go back to tell your lord, she might be good at competing at sabresmanship. However, in terms of competing with money, humph, the Meng family has never lost before …"
Meng Fifth Gongzi had prepared a great victory speech to humiliate Servant Huan, but he'd only said a few words before an inconsiderate servant approached and interrupted him, "Fifth Gongzi, Fifth Gongzi …"
"What?" Meng Mingshi turned back and shouted angrily. The Servant shook his knees like a dog which had incurred trouble and nearly fell to the ground, only saying, "He shook his head."
With eyes filled with unexplained doubts, the servant shakingly pointed out with a resentful finger.
Tuo Nengya met Meng Fifth Gongzi's eyes while shaking his head slowly, saying, "Sorry, Fifth Gongzi. We choose the killer Yang Huan."
Like most rich kids, Meng Fifth Gongzi had been accustomed to flattery all his life and wasn't used to rejection. He had prepared for how to deal with Servant Huan, but when he was faced with this unexpected setback, he didn't know what to do at all. Then the true face of the Fifth Gongzi was exposed as he angrily shouted, "A group of fucking old fellows, how dare you mess with me? If you want to take this dog slave as your lord, you can go die with him!"
Meng Mingshi turned to leave. Meanwhile, a row of people walked out of the crowd with their sabres out the sheaths and the footmen retreated. It was their turn to make a contribution for Meng Fifth Gongzi.
Tuo Nengya held his sabres, and the twenty or so sabremen behind him immediately stood in four rows, ready for attack.
Gu Shenwei leaned slightly forward with his internal Qi surging all over his body. He was ready to capture Meng Fifth Gongzi alive because no matter why Tuo Nengya had chosen him, they were in the same boat now.
"Wait." Seeing that a bloody crash was on the verge of breaking out, someone in the crowd called out. Then a young gongzi with white clothes walked out, holding a paper fan in hand even on such a cold day. He didn't seem to be a servant of the Meng family, but a true gongzi.
"We're here to do business, not to kill in hatred. I have an idea that will satisfy both parties."
Meng Mingshi behaved politely toward the white-robed gongzi, clasping his hands and saying, "It couldn't be better if Duke Gao has a solution. Actually, I didn't mean to do anything. It's just that this group of sabremen are obviously in league with the servant and conspiring to humiliate me."
The white-robed Duke Gao smiled faintly. He spread his fan and habitually shook it several times before folding it again. "I heard that a good sabreman not only chooses the price but also the lord. The reason why Boss Tuo refused the offer of a thousand taels of silver is probably because Boss Tuo thought that there was no expert in the Qiu Society and that there would be too much danger in the future. So I'm thinking, how about the Qiu Society sends out someone to have a competition with the killer Yang Huan and the winner will be qualified to be Boss Tuo's lord?"
Meng Mingshi cursed himself inwardly. The plan had been arranged long before, so how could he forget about it a the last moment? He changed his expression back to his original magnanimous one again, "Yeah, that's right. What's the point of having a gang fight? Isn't there a Bloody Sabre Convention? Since the bonfire is still lit, let the kung fu competition continue!"
No one asked for the teenage killer and Boss Tuo's opinion.
Duke Gao sidled out of the way and from behind him walked out a young man in a purple cloak.
The young man was very tall, like a crane standing among chickens, but his body was perfectly proportioned and didn't seem heavy or clumsy at all. He used the force of his hips and waist to walk, his gait steady and his upper body almost motionless.
"Ye Silang!" Someone shouted out the name of the young man.
"Sword Offering Ye Silang!" Someone added two more words before the name.
Ye Silang untied the cloak and threw it to an attendant.
The young man stood there bare-chested, his muscles were as smooth as polished iron and his body was scarless. He was dressed in leather trousers and wore a long sword by his waist, which matched his figure well. In comparison, Gu Shenwei's sword was like a long dagger.
Gu Shenwei had seen the swordsmen from the Big Snow Mountain, where they used their broadswords like sabres. But this Ye Silang was a real swordsman, the first swordsman Gu Shenwei had ever met.
He recalled what his Master Tie Hanfeng had said, "A person who uses a sword is either an idiot or an immortal."
Ye Silang looked like an immortal, a perfect immortal.