Chapter 283 - Mountain Sea Sect's Choice
"As for dealers, we don't need to go by the traditional selling pattern. The target users of the Demon Beast Detector are middle-level and low-level Cultivators. They shouldn't be too old and probably are most enthusiastic about new things. I have a friend who's working in the Moon Splitting Sword Guild as the marketing director. He mentioned that the Moon Splitting Sword Guild was preparing to establish a unique marketing and shipping network. Maybe we'll be able to cooperate in the future.
"In short, since the Zephyr Guild has dominating advantages in the field of magical equipment refining and selling, we have to jump out of their home field and guide the war into a bigger battlefield."
Li Yao nodded his head quickly. But there was something bothering him.
"I've heard of the Moon Splitting Sword Guild before. It is a top 500 sect specialized in the art of flying sword. I don't see the relationship between flying swords and logistics…"
With a mysterious smile, Shang Tianling said, "This is a business secret. You'll know it when you know it."
At the same time, in the headquarters of the Mountain Sea Sect.
A fist punched into the office desk that was made of iron mood, leaving a deep hole inside of it.
The tea cup, files, and the crystal processor on the desk were all jumping to the air because of the punch.
"The Zephyr Guild is outrageous!"
Shangguan Jia's face was flushed with anger. The veins on his neck were bulging. His eyes were full of blood streaks, making him look like a crazy devil.
Shangguan Jia was just over thirty years old. He was the leader of the Mountain Sea Sect and an admin-type Cultivator at the early level of the Building Foundation Stage.
He hadn't been feeling very comfortable as the leader.
Two years ago, Shangguan Yu, his father and the previous leader of the Mountain Sea Sect, failed to break into the Core Formation Stage and suffered serious internal injuries during his attempt, which stopped him from being able to lead the sect anymore.
However, there was no other admin-type Cultivator in the Mountain Sea Sect.
'Professional managers' were getting popular in many of the southern sects, who were hired with a high salary for the daily operation of a sect. But as a conservative sect, the Mountain Sea Sect still preferred to determine its leader from its members.
The Shangguan family was the largest shareholder of the Mountain Sea Sect. Therefore, as the son of the previous leader and also the highest admin-type Cultivator in his sect, supported by the elders including Jiang Wenbo and Guan Xiong, Shangguan Jia became the youngest leader in the history of the Mountain Sea Sect.
When he'd just become the leader, Shangguan Jia had been ambitious, too, hoping to build the Mountain Sea Sect into a first-rate sect of the federation.
However, he was soon taught a lesson by reality. The management courses he took in college were too theoretical to be put into use.
To run a large sect such as the Mountain Sea Sect, there were countless issues that needed to be handled.
Apart from everything else, the medical fees for the almost one hundred retired Cultivators of the sect were enough to give him a headache every day.
The hundred Cultivators were all creditable seniors who had fought blood battles and made great contributions to the Mountain Sea Sect in the past hundreds of years. Many of them suffered serious injuries for the Mountain Sea Sect and were only able to live on with the help of the expensive medications. His own father Shangguan Yu was one of them, too. There was no way that he could leave them alone.
However, the vitality of the Cultivators was impressive, and they could live an extremely long life. Some of the seniors were more than 200 years old, who, although couldn't go to a battlefield anymore because of disability, seemed promising enough to live another hundred years with the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures and the medication that they took every day.
Naturally, they would count on the Mountain Sea Sect for the rest of their lives. It was not like that the Mountain Sea Sect could simply kick them out of its door. In that case, no one would be willing to fight for the Mountain Sea Sect anymore.
As the saying went: it never rains; it pours. Before he was able to implement any measures as the new leader, the bad news came that Guan Xiong, the top expert of the Mountain Sea Sect, suffered heavy injuries and strength loss while he was on a patrol task commissioned by the military.
The news slapped Shangguan Jia into pure dumbness.
The Mountain Sea Sect was a half-combat sect with two lines of business. The more important one was to undertake quasi-military missions from the federal government, or to hunt down demon beasts and probe for mother lodes in the depths of the Grand Desolate Plateau, which had been usually led by Guan Xiong and the combat-type Cultivators in the sect.
Guan Xiong being heavily wounded was equivalent to one of the Mountain Sea Sect's legs being crippled, the thicker one.
The silver lining was that the Mountain Sea Sect received a few fat orders and a large sum of cheap loans from the federal government for Guan Xiong's gallantry.
Shangguan Jia made up his mind and introduced a precise magical equipment assembly line with the loans, planning to transform the Mountain Sea Sect.
However, transformation was not as easy as he had imagined. Precise magical equipment refined by the Mountain Sea Sect was silly and dumb. It met tremendous failure in the market.
Right when he did not know what to do, he met the Demon Beast Detector project which was full of potentials.
This time, the Mountain Sea Sect really put all of the eggs it had left into the basket of the Demon Beast Detector project.
The market research was quite satisfactory. After the upgrade of the assembly line under Li Yao's supervision, the product quality had significantly improved too.
When Shangguan Jia thought the Mountain Sea Sect was finally going to have its day, a huge monster named the Zephyr Guild came from nowhere, which not only wanted to beat the Mountain Sea Sect in the market, but also intended to swallow the Mountain Sea Sect as a whole.
The paper in Shangguan Jia's hands felt like a fire that was burning through his palm into his heart.
Shangguan Jia almost lost control and teared the paper into pieces. Calming himself down for half a minute, he tried to hold back his anger and read on,
"Another twelve dealers of three cities have terminated cooperation with us?
"No substitute crystal camera supplier has been found yet? The Falling Stars Mansion is willing to cooperate with us, on the condition of a 30% increase of price?
"They're only trying to take advantage of our trouble!
"The Zephyr Guild has proposed an acquisition plan again, with harsher requirements?"
Shangguan Jia closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He felt that he had smelled the scent of sulfur. The fire in his chest was burning more and more fiercely.
As an admin-type Cultivator, he understood the principle of business too well. Anything could be traded at a suitable price.
However, deep in his bones, Shangguan Jia was a man born and raised on the Grand Desolate Plateau. He was as stubborn as the poplar in the desert.
Apart from the fact that the Mountain Sea Sect was an ancient sect that had lasted for hundreds of years and had its own history and pride, apart from the sordid tricks that the Zephyr Guild employed in competition including infiltrating the Mountain Sea Sect by espionage, the acquisition plan that the Zephyr Guild proposed alone was enough to let Shangguan Jia say no.
According to the acquisition plan, the Zephyr Guild was only going to buy out the assets of the Mountain Sea Sect. As for the members of the Mountain Sea Sect, they would have to be tested by the Zephyr Guild to determine whether or not they were eligible to stay in the 'Mountain Sea Branch of the Zephyr Guild'.
It was not difficult to guess that the disabled and the retired members who had made huge contributions to the Mountain Sea Sect wouldn't be eligible. They would probably be swept out like rubbish with a severance package.
Although Shangguan Jia had been complaining about the disabled and the retired Cultivators and thought they put a huge burden on him as the new leader of the sect, he couldn't bear to just drive them away.
Other than everything else, he would fight against the 'shark' Qiu Guanyu until the end just for the disabled and the retired members of his sect.
Shangguan Jia bit his lip and read on,
"Three allies who have been cooperating with us for decades all rejected our request of more loans? It's understandable. With everything escalating to this point, nobody is confident enough to lend their money to us.
"Another three shareholders have expressed their intention to transfer their shares to the Zephyr Guild? What—"
Like a fish struggling in a basket, Shangguan Jia's chest puffed out, and then collapsed in helplessness. He fell to his chair, unable to move anymore.
Right then, somebody knocked at his door. It was his secretary's voice,
"Elder Guan and Elder Jiang are here."
The Mountain Sea Sect had been uneasy recently. Many shareholders agreed to be acquired by the Zephyr Guild. After all, the Mountain Sea Sect was on its way to bankruptcy if things remained unchanged.
But Guan Xiong and Jiang Wenbo were the two toughest anti-acquisition advocates. They were also Shangguan Jia's most trusted seniors.
"Please, let them in."
Shangguan Jia cleared up his clothes and emotions and greeted the two elders. He was surprised at the delight on their faces.
Guan Xiong launched a Sound Killer, which was a barrier that could prevent anyone outside of the barrier from hearing what was being said inside.
Jiang Wenbo launched a rune, too. A yellow light scanned through everything inside the barrier, making sure that there was not eavesdropper magical equipment inside the room.
Seeing their seriousness, Shangguan Jia was even more surprised. He asked, "My elders, is there anything wrong?"
Jiang Wenbo looked at Guan Xiong and said in a smile, "Leader, have you ever heard of Fiend Blade Peng Hai?"
Shangguan Jia nodded.
"Of course I have. He is the youngest expert to arrive at the peak of the Building Foundation Stage. He hunted down two strong demon beasts consecutively last year, which was big news back then. It is said that he is going to be the youngest Core Formation Cultivator of the federation.
"He used to be a marketing manager of the Crimson Nimbus Guild. With his work, the Crimson Nimbus Guild has been growing rapidly in recent years. The rank of its comprehensive capability improved by more than seventy in the list of the top 500 sects of the federation in just two years.
"But I heard that he has withdrawn from the Crimson Nimbus Guild in order to break into the Core Formation Stage. He is now an unaffiliated Cultivator.
"Why do you mention Fiend Blade Peng Hai out of nowhere?"
Guan Xiong grinned.
"Leader, you're correct. But Fiend Blade Peng Hai has another identity. He is Li Yao's senior brother."
Shangguan Jia's eyes shined, then they were gloomy again. He said, "I remember now. Peng Hai and Li Yao both come from the Grand Desolate War Institution. Of course he is Li Yao's senior brother. However, thousands of students graduate from the Grand Desolate War Institution every year. He might not know Li Yao at all, since he is much older than Li Yao. I doubt we can pull that string."
Jiang Wenbo shook his head.
"Leader, you're wrong. Li Yao and Peng Hai are not just both students of the Grand Desolate War Institution. They're both from Floating Spear City and they have the same Enlightenment Master. Theirs is the closest junior-senior brother relationship.
Shangguan Jia stood up unconsciously. His heart was beating fast.
All Cultivators respected their Enlightenment Master very much. They might have many teachers in their life, but there would only be one Enlightenment Master.
Such a junior-senior brother relationship was indeed extraordinary.
Jiang Wenbo continued, "Li Yao has reached out to Fiend Blade Peng Hai and talked him into buying shares and investing the Demon Beast Detector project. Besides money, Peng Hai has influential connections and a marketing network in the south of the federation. What do you think, leader?"
Shangguan Jia rubbed his face hard, trying to calm himself down,
"Did Fiend Blade Peng Hai say that he wanted to take over the Mountain Sea Sect?"
Jiang Wenbo shook his head and said, "No. Fiend Blade Peng Hai is not interested in controlling the Mountain Sea Sect, nor will he interfere with the daily operations. He has put it very straightforwardly. Firstly, at his Junior Brother Li Yao's request, he decided to give the Mountain Sea Sect a hand; secondly, he was very interested in the Demon Beast Detector project itself and hoped to make the pie bigger with our joint cooperation."
Shangguan Jia smiled bitterly. He knew he had thought too much.
The Mountain Sea Sect had been a second-rate sect since the beginning. Now that it was mired in trouble, Fiend Blade Peng Hai definitely wouldn't want to take it over even if he wanted to control a sect.
Shangguan Jia slapped his table, "We're open to any negotiations as long as we can still fight the Zephyr Guild!"