His words were quite clear. ‘It is unnecessary for the Chamber of Commerce to send someone over from a great distance all for the sake of some unworthy item, which is why I’ll use my personal connections to find a senior to appraise these wines. I am doing you a favor.’
"Understood." Miao Yi cupped his fists together and said, "Then I shall trouble Brother Luo for this."
Luo Ping was about to speak, but hesitated for a while. He wanted to ask Miao Yi what he was planning to do with all his purchases. He took a moment to think about it—with this bulk purchase of Crystalline Obsidians, Miao Yi was definitely planning to refine transcendent artifacts. What other possible alternative could he have besides that? Moreover, the rules of the Chamber of Commerce specified to only conduct purchases and sales, and not to impose on or disclose a client’s privacy to anyone else. He swallowed back the words in his mouth down into his stomach.
"I will go outside and ask Senior Liu to find someone." Luo Ping stepped down from the stone chair.
Miao Yi took back his items and went out of the silent quarters together with him.
It was already dark outside. Qian'Er and Xue'Er were following his command by guarding the entrance path to the silent quarters. Miao Yi was a bit speechless to see that Wen Fang still hadn't left yet. Could it be this woman was thinking of staying the night at his residence? It didn't feel right to chase her out. After all, she was stationed at South Edict Manor. There would come a time when he would require her help for his matters someday.
"Senior Liu!" Luo Ping clasped his fists together as he walked up to the old man he had brought with him earlier. The old man nodded silently. It was apparent that Luo Ping was giving him orders to fetch someone over.
The old man strode out and left the residence. When he reached the courtyard, he morphed into a ray of light and took off to the sky in one shot.
Miao Yi turned around and ordered Qian’Er to prepare a feast. A warm reception for Luo Ping was unavoidable.
After the feast had been prepared, Miao Yi felt that he shouldn’t leave Wen Fang behind since she was still his guest after all. He decided to invite her to join the feast. Surprisingly, Wen Fang seemed to be avoiding Luo Ping. She felt embarrassed to be at the feast and be served by both Qian’Er and Xue’Er, so she declined the offer.
Miao Yi had been born in a marketplace, and he had dealt with businesses before. It would be impossible for him not to notice that Wen Fang was actually trying to avoid Luo Ping from discovering her true identity as someone in the same line of work. If she were to be exposed, Luo Ping would definitely assume that Wen Fang was attempting to poach his client. She might possibly offend him with her presence.
It was still fine if she couldn’t attend the feast. Nevertheless, Wen Fang could tell that the transaction must have been a large amount if Luo Ping was made to stay back for this dealing.
With that, Wen Fang was silently regretting everything. She didn’t expect a mere Mountain Chieftain could be a big client as well. It seemed to her that she must not look down on these Mountain Chieftains anymore. She pondered whether she should pay her respects to all Mountain Chieftains in South Edict Manor as soon as she went back...
Luo Ping had stayed at Mount Calming Sea for a whole day now. His treatment was much better than Wen Fang’s as Miao Yi personally accompanied him to visit the scenery around Mount Calming Sea.
It wasn’t until the night of the second day that two streaks of red light were seen striking through the darkness and landing at Mount Calming Sea.
The old man who had left the other day brought another old man with him, this one with white hair and a beard. The old man had a red drunkard’s nose, and was addressed as ‘Uncle Hua’ by Luo Ping.
Conducting business required the meticulous maintenance of confidentiality. Both of them were businessmen from the Chamber of Commerce and they would not divulge anything while being surrounded with outsiders. Luo Ping then invited Uncle Hua to join him and Miao Yi in the silent quarters together.
And now another Red Lotus cultivator had appeared. The people of Mount Calming Sea were inwardly frightened of their presence, and even Wen Fang was anxious as well as she wasn’t sure what Miao Yi was doing with such a big transaction.
The three of them entered the silent quarters and shut the thick stone door behind them. It was then that Uncle Hua began to speak, "Little Luo, what did you want that you had to drag me to this far off place?"
"I would like to ask Uncle Hua to help appraise the price of a slightly special item." Luo Ping cupped his fists together in response and smiled.
"Special item?" Uncle Hua was curious and asked, "You were trained by the Chamber of Commerce too. What kind of item would you need me to appraise for you? Take it out and let me have a look."
Luo Ping turned toward Miao Yi and nodded his head, gesturing at him to take the item out.
Miao Yi immediately took out a pot of wine.
At the sight of the wine, Uncle Hua’s eyes lit up. As he received the wine and took off the seal, a whiff of a cool fragrance, like the crisp scent of snow, emerged and permeated the room. Uncle Hua’s eyes gleamed. He then invoked his arts with a flex of his finger, allowing a stream of clear wine to enter his mouth like a little snake from the pot.
After a long time being scrutinized by both Miao Yi and Luo Ping, Uncle Hua finally gulped down the wine, scrunching his eyes while savoring the taste. He slowly shook his head and exclaimed, "This is truly a good wine!"
As soon as he was done, he quickly took out something from his storage ring and sealed the opening of the wine pot. He held it in his hand as if he was unable to part with the wine, all while making clicking noises with his tongue.
Miao Yi shot a glance at Luo Ping, prompting Luo Ping to apologetically smile back and let out a dry cough. "Uncle Hua, what will be the appropriate price for the wine if our Chamber of Commerce wishes to purchase it?"
"One hundred thousand Gold Crystals!" Uncle Hua replied.
"What?" Luo Ping and Miao Yi cried out together. One pot of wine was worth one hundred thousand Gold Crystals—this wasn’t a joke, right?
Luo Ping remained stern and said, "Uncle Hua, your junior is talking about business. You must not make an arbitrary decision because of your hobby!"
"You youngster! Seems like the Chamber of Commerce should start adding wine tasting as part of your training. But on the other hand, sipping a little wine won’t be enough to train you properly.. And it’s a waste to use this kind of fine wine to train you all. Moreover, you need talent for this too. We can’t train just anyone for this kind of thing."
Uncle Hua rolled his eyes at him and patted the pot of wine in his hand, "This isn’t ordinary wine, it’s a spiritual one."
With his eyes shut as if immersed in thought, he continued, "An eight-hundred-year-old Nirvana Whisker, a thousand-year-old Snow Ganoderma, and a thousand-year-old Fragrant Lotus, and among these brewing ingredients are spiritual herbs of sufficient age. Moreover, this wine has been fermented inside a cave for at least two hundred years. Not everyone can brew such wine like this. A wine brewed with just one type of spiritual herb will be too dry, and a wine brewed with too many different types of spiritual herbs will give it a complex taste. However, the winemaker brewing this wine managed to smoothly blend the taste and medicinal properties of several types of spiritual herbs together, and somehow managed to make it a distinct beverage. He must truly be an expert in brewing this bejeweled nectar! No wonder this person was willing to use spiritual herbs to brew wine. Not only are the medicinal properties inside the herbs unwasted, the properties infused into the wine can boost one’s cultivation after drinking it. It’s not an overestimation for this fine wine to cost one hundred thousand Gold Crystals. I suggest the Chamber of Commerce not to sell this back to the market once purchased, but to auction the wine off. Those who are knowledgeable in wine will naturally offer this amount. Of course, those who can drink this type of wine are all rich people. Such a small amount of money won’t matter to them."
Miao Yi and Luo Ping exchanged looks. There was a glint of unexpected surprise in Miao Yi’s eyes, while Luo Ping felt stunned by his words.
Uncle Hua, who had come back to his senses from his initial euphoria, turned to look at Miao Yi and asked, "How many pots of this wine do you have? This wine appraisal sounds troublesome. Why don’t you sell it all to me and be done with it? In any case, I was privately called in by Little Luo without going through the Chamber of Commerce. We can discuss the price between us in secret."
In an instant, Luo Ping became unhappy. He said in a low voice, "Uncle Hua, what kind of joke is this? The Chamber of Commerce does not allow their employees to make private deals."
In other words, ‘If you purchase them all in private, how will I gain my commission?’
"Hehe, it’s a joke, it’s a joke. When I go back, I’ll look for the Chamber of Commerce to purchase them with the internal price." Uncle Hua chuckled. He then gazed at Miao Yi and asked again, "How many do you have?"
Miao Yi replied, "More than ten thousand pots."
"How… how many?" Uncle Hua was caught by surprise. His eyes widened as he almost lost his grip on the pot of wine in his hand.
Fearing that he would drop it, Luo Ping quickly extended his arm to hold up the wine. That pot of wine was worth one hundred thousand Gold Crystals. It would be a disaster if he were to accidentally drop it. They must be careful at all costs.
"More than ten thousand pots," Miao Yi repeated in affirmation.
Uncle Hua instantly broke into a sweat, and firmly grabbed onto the wine pot. He realized that he was truly joking when he said he would purchase them all. It was truly terrible to think that he could purchase more than ten thousand pots of wine by himself. Once he managed to go back to the Chamber of Commerce, he would purchase a few for his own personal consumption. He decided not to buy them all.
Meanwhile, Luo Ping continued to ask for advice, "Uncle Hua, can I really ask the Chamber of Commerce to send someone here to appraise these officially?"
"Don’t worry," Uncle Hua continued with a nod, "We will ask someone in the Chamber of Commerce to send Old Dong here as well." Once he was done talking, he returned the pot of wine in his hand to Miao Yi with a little reluctance.
Miao Yi was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. However, before an appraisal could be determined, he couldn’t let himself feel elated this soon, for he feared that the disappointment that might follow would be much greater than he’d expected.
The three of them came out of the silent quarters again. Luo Ping went to find the old man waiting outside once more and gave him an order. After that, the old man went out of the Grand Hall and flew out one more time.
As they went back inside, Miao Yi treated both Uncle Hua and Luo Ping to another feast. However, he didn’t serve the spiritual wine this time. As a substitute, he allowed Xue’Er to fetch a fine wine contributed by the locals.
Having tasted the exquisite wine from Miao Yi, and drinking the local wine soon after, Uncle Hua felt that the local wine tasted like rubbish compared to the former. He quickly shook his head with displeasure—the local wine was quite stale.
Luo Ping shot Miao Yi a strange look. He remembered that a moment ago, Miao Yi had indeed served him spiritual wine. But now, he had switched it with ordinary wine.
However, it was understandable. That pot of wine was worth one hundred thousand Gold Crystals. A few random sips of the wine would drain away one billion White Crystals in an instant. If it were him, he would not serve the exquisite wine again either. On top of that, he could see that Miao Yi was lacking in funds at the moment.
Miao Yi was quite embarrassed by Luo Ping’s scrutiny. He felt uneasy by his own pettiness too. In the end, he took out the pot of wine that Uncle Hua had tasted before and served it to his guests.
Uncle Hua was slightly overwhelmed by this honor and declined several times to be served the exquisite wine. He said, "The price of this wine is too great. Even though I want to drink it, I fear that the Chamber of Commerce will take it as a bribe once word of me drinking it leaks out. They will question this business deal. For the sake of upholding the integrity of this transaction, I will accept the kindness behind your offer."
These words had Luo Ping restless with anxiety. Prior to this, Miao Yi had served him the wine, and he must have consumed at least two pots. In other words, did he consume two billion White Crystals worth of his client’s wine? Wasn’t this a bribe? Breaking out in a sweat, he hoped that he hadn’t put something worth that much money into his stomach.
However, with Miao Yi’s constant insistence, Uncle Hua rubbed his palms together and said, "Then I will have a small cup. A small cup is fine."
He took a wine cup and poured the wine into it from the pot before quickly sealing up the pot again. Afterwards, he took a small sip and savored the wine. With his eyes scrunched up, he said with a click of his tongue, "Old Liu didn’t have the good fortune to taste this!" He then showed an expression as if his trip to Mount Calming Sea had been worthwhile.
The Old Liu he had mentioned was the same footman Luo Ping had brought with him.
Miao Yi then asked Luo Ping to enjoy the wine again, but his offers kept being brushed aside. He had already consumed a lot of wine and he truly was afraid to drink any more. He would never be able to return this expensive favor if he kept on drinking the wine...
After a day had passed—it was night time again—the time was already past midnight. Two more streaks of light whistled through the air and landed on Mount Calming Sea. This occurrence had the people of Mount Calming Sea feeling anxious and suspicious. Why were these Red Lotus cultivators coming and going these past few days? What kind of people did the Mountain Chieftain associate himself with?
Wen Fang, who had been staying at Mount Calming Sea, was even more anxious as she watched the movements between Miao Yi and the Red Lotus cultivators. This was definitely a huge transaction if he was able to make the Red Lotus cultivators travel back and forth for him!
Wen Fang was deeply immersed in regrets. Miao Yi was a big client within her scope of operation, yet she hadn’t seized the opportunity when presented. Instead, she had allowed someone else from a distant land to gain the advantage.
While hiding inside his mountain cave, Yao Ruoxian was also startled by what was happening at Mount Calming Sea. He had been hiding inside the cave these past few days without the courage to go out, fearing that he would be discovered by someone else.
Another old man had arrived at the silent quarters this time. Naturally, it was Old Dong, who had been sent for by the Celestial Nation Chamber of Commerce to Mount Calming Sea.
The four of them had been holed up in the silent quarters for half a month without ever coming out. There were more than ten thousand pots of wine that required individual appraisal, because not every wine was brewed with the same ingredients. Besides, they needed to appraise the authenticity of these wines too as they could never sell a liquor that might be filled with water. Furthermore, they had to put out a price for each pot of wine. The amount of time needed for tens of thousands of pots was undeniable.