Fortunately, he hadn’t forgotten the refining techniques he’d learned from Old Lord Taishang. Ye Zichen had sent Wei Jie to gather some pill recipes, and established himself as a bonafide pill refiner.
When they heard Ye Zichen confirm his status, the six human immortals were overcome with delight.
Earlier, they’d worried about Upheaval’s future development, but with a class-five pill refiner supporting them, not even the Profound Great District’s Axe Gang would dare do anything to them.
Following a pill refiner was countless warrior’s greatest desire. So long as Ye Zichen spread the word of his abilities, the six of them were certain that nevermind other human immortals, even sky immortals would happily join their gang. Right now, they had to seize this opportunity. They were among the first to join the gang, so even if stronger experts joined later, Ye Zichen would treat them well on account of their seniority.
Wei Jie and Yuan Huo smiled and nodded. They could see the look in those human immortal experts’ eyes too.
“I’ve got something important to discuss with the Gang Leader,” said Yuan Huo. “You guys can head on back.”
“Understood.” The human immortals didn’t hesitate at all. They immediately got up and left the room. Seeing them behave so obediently filled both Wei Jie and Yuan Huo with immense satisfaction.
“Don’t be too pleased with yourselves too soon.” Ye Zichen couldn’t help but rain on their parade. “Human immortals might be strong in the Mortal Great District, but in the future, we’ll have to face the Axe Gang’s main headquarters in the Profound Great District, or even the Sky Great District’s Green Gang. That Yue Zhilan seems as if she’s about to break through. It’s quite likely that in the not too distant future, she’ll become our gang’s first sky immortal, so you need to prioritize her training. But you also have to learn how to read people. We don’t need any crafty sycophants.”
His words instantly calmed Yuan Huo and Wei Jie back down. Just now, they really had forgotten themselves. In truth, you couldn’t really blame them; any entering immortality expert put in charge of such a massive organization would feel the same way.
Besides, they’d been suppressed for so long, it was hard to avoid a bit of self-satisfied pride.
Ye Zichen understood this full well, which is why he didn’t criticize them. He simply pointed out their mistake.
Wei Jie set aside his pride and said solemnly, “Your Excellency, I’ll engrave your words onto my heart.”
Ye Zichen nodded slightly at them, then set his hands on the table and said, “do you have something you need to report to me?”
As soon as he spoke, he discovered that both Wei Jie and Yuan Huo were smiling somewhat bashfully. Ye Zichen frowned at them, then saw Wei Jie scratch his head and laugh bitterly, “Your Excellency, we….. We don’t have much money left.”
They were low on funds! This was the primary reason they sought out Ye Zichen.
When he heard this, Ye Zichen was stunned. He stared straight at them, as if trying to see right through them. “Say that one more time. I seem to have misheard you.”
Ye Zichen had put all of his savings into establishing Upheaval, including everything he’d taken from Huang Aogu and the captains. He knew that establishing a faction took a lot of money, which is why he’d only kept ten thousand spirit coins or so to cover his own expenses.
Remember, he’d given Wei Jie and the others a full three hundred million spirit coins.
That amount was enough to establish a medium-sized family clan in Raging Flame City and support them for a thousand years.
Upheaval had only just been established, yet they’d already come looking for him due to lack of funds?
“You two aren’t trying to embezzle gang funds for your own use, are you? They say ‘water that’s too clear has no fish, people that are too strict have no friends,’ and I agree, but that was a full three hundred million! I never would have guessed that people as ‘upright’ and ‘honest’ as you could be so corrupt!”
Sensing Ye Zichen’s suspicion, Wei Jie and Yuan Huo looked at each other and smiled bitterly. Wei Jie pulled a jade slip from his pocket and handed it to Ye Zichen. “You’re Excellency, you’re being unfair to me and ol’ Yuan. Even if you wanted to leave us opportunities to embezzle funds, we’d need the chance to do so first, right? This is an account of our recent expenses. Please take a look.”
Ye Zichen wasn't actually suspicious of them. As the old saying went, “if you hire a man, don’t distrust him. If you distrust a man, don’t hire him.” But they’d used up a whole three hundred million! He truly couldn’t wrap his head around it.
He accepted the jade slip, scanned it with his spiritual awareness, then froze, astonished.
This wasn’t “spending money.” This was burning money!
“Your Excellency, you saw it too, right? You can’t have a household without accounting for basic expenses. We’ve only just established our gang, but you say you want to increase our members’ strength. Over the past few days I bought vast quantities of Body Refining Pills, Spirit Guiding Pills, and other low-grade medicines. I also had to spend a lot of money to recruit those six human immortals. The money just isn’t enough!”
Wei Jie was practically sobbing. He never would have guessed that forming a proper, law-abiding faction would cost so much money either. If Ye Zichen hadn’t banned them from any further banditry, he really would have returned to his former ways and led his subordinates into battle!
This was frickin’.....
As he looked through the contents of the slips, Ye Zichen ran into surprise after surprise. He’d started a faction down in the lower realms, but at the time, he’d at Zuo Mo’s Treasure Tower supporting him. At that to Xue Qi and the others’ support, and he’d never had to worry about finances. He had no idea how much running an organization cost.
Looking back at it now, he’d really had it too easy.
He suddenly found himself admiring all those hardworking gang and sect leaders. This was really the sort of thing that looked glamorous, but was filled with unexpected hardships. Leaders seemed endlessly glorious, but who knew how much they carried on their shoulders in order to support their factions’ regular operations?
Ye Zichen set the jade slip onto the table and shook his head.
“We can’t go on like this. Even if I’m a pill refiner, refining pills day and night won’t be enough to make ends meet. We’ll have to change our structure. We can’t provide an endless supply of cultivation resources. How about this? We’ll come up with an achievement system. Members can acquire contribution points by finding treasures in unexplored territory or through spirit coins, and use them to buy the medicines we produce. As for price, we’ll discount them compared to when we sell them to outsiders. I’ll let you decide the details.”
“Alright. We’ll go back to the gang and discuss it with the elders. Once we’ve figured something out, we’ll bring it here and show it to you.”
Wei Jie and Yuan Huo got up and bade farewell. As he watched them leave, Ye Zichen hefted his gourd of liquor and glanced at Bai Xiaosheng.
“Money really flows away like water!”
Ye Zichen had lost his appetite. He was completely preoccupied with how to come up with sufficient funds to support his new organization. After taking a few more bites of food, he got up and left their private dining room.
As soon as he stepped outside, he saw the innkeeper and inn’s other clerks and waiters standing in a circle outside. There was also a group of people Ye Zichen had never seen before. The innkeeper was bowing repeatedly and apologizing for his mistakes. Meanwhile, two big, strong men had restrained the clerk who’d always respectfully greeted Ye Zichen as “sir.” The clerk’s head drooped, and blood leaked from the corners of his mouth.