The box looked very average. Nothing could be assumed from its appearance. However, Captain Niu was experienced and knowledgeable. He noticed that Jiang Chen's bearing and manners didn't quite match his ordinary appearance. Normally, the only explanation for this was that this was a purposeful disguise. Captain Niu didn't dare slight Jiang Chen. He accepted the box and quickly delivered it inside.
Ultimately, Steward Niu was just a shopkeeper in the Prancing Pony. He wasn't actually an all too important figure of Goldtower City. That was why the people of Niu Manor didn't dare act too ostentatiously. When Manager Qiu saw the calm smile on Jiang Chen's face, he couldn't help but ask, "Did you store a treasure in that box, my friend? Are you planning to use it to bribe Steward Niu? Listen, Steward Niu is a person who's loyal to his friends and generous to the needy. He seldom accepts gifts from his friends."
Jiang Chen shook his head with a wry smile on his face. "I doubt he'll dare to accept the box even if I did mean to gift it to him."
Manager Qiu looked stunned. That was a bold claim. The steward wouldn't dare accept this gift? Was there a gift in this world that one wouldn't dare accept? While Manager Qiu still wore a puzzled look on his face, a series of rapid footsteps suddenly rang from inside Niu Manor. Steward Niu's voice could be heard while he was still far, far away. His voice sounded a little trembling and even fearful. "Where? Where is he? Where is my important guest? Captain Niu, how foolish can you be, how dare you slight my important guest? Foolish, how foolish!"
Manager Qiu was surprised at hearing Steward Niu's voice long before he showed up and was even more stunned by his words. What did he mean by that? His important guest? Steward Niu seldom criticized his subordinates, much less his most competent subordinate, Captain Niu.
In fact, he couldn't remember Captain Niu ever receiving a single word of criticism. Just how important was this guest to make Steward Niu lose so much of his composure?
Manager Qiu's curiosity was greatly piqued. As of late, the Prancing Pony's situation was quite precarious, and it filled Manager Qiu's heart with worry. Although his share in the Prancing Pony was small, this place held a lifetime of livelihood and hope to him. That was why he didn't wish to see Grand Steward Dong Sheng take the inn all for himself. Therefore, emotionally speaking, Manager Qiu was on Niu Wuhua side. Still, just who was this young man to make Steward Niu rush out so urgently in welcome and nerves?
While Manager Qiu was still caught up with surprise, Niu Wuhua's fat, round body finally 'rolled' to a stop. When he saw Jiang Chen and Manager Qiu, Niu Wuhua immediately went over to the former. "Important guest, what an important guest! I never would have imagined that I would have the honor of meeting the disciple of a great emperor faction in my lifetime. If I may ask, are you the legendary young master Ji San who nearly conquered the ninth Veluriyam Obelisk?"
Jiang Chen nearly broke out in laughter when he heard this question. Young master Ji San? This Niu Wuhua had actually mistaken him for Ji San! But then he remembered that he had changed his appearance. Niu Wuhua has probably never seen Ji San in his life. Therefore, he could only go off of first impressions.
Jiang Chen was just about to deny it when he realized that pretending to be young master Ji San… wasn't exactly a bad idea. He smiled faintly and didn't deny the name. Knowing Ji San, he wouldn't feel unhappy even if he learned that Jiang Chen had pretended to be him. On the contrary, he would find the situation very interesting.
Young master Ji San was incredibly well known as of late. In Veluriyam Capital and all of the territories it ruled, he was the hottest topic, second only to young lord Zhen. It would in fact, be difficult for this genius who had nearly conquered the ninth Veluriyam Obelisk not to become famous. After all, young master Ji San's achievement had surpassed all other young lord level geniuses' achievements except young lord Zhen's.
That was why Manager Qiu had trembled all over when he heard the name "young master Ji San". His bewildered look had immediately turned into one of great adoration. Captain Niu was obviously stunned by Niu Wuhua's words too. What? Young master Ji San? The chosen successor of the eighth great emperor, Emperor Coiling Dragon? The top-rate genius who had nearly conquered the ninth Veluriyam Obelisk? Had he truly closed the door on such a person just now?
Captain Niu felt a chill grip his heart. He was filled with fear and worry. Had "young master Ji San" been someone else, he would have only been doing his job in keeping this person outside of the door. But this was a young lord genius from Veluriyam Capital! This was an important figure who would almost never make an appearance in Goldtower City, someone as unapproachable as a god.
Niu Wuhua thought that he had guessed correctly since Jiang Chen didn't object to the appellation. He immediately knelt. "Please forgive me for not coming out sooner to welcome you, young lord."
Captain Niu was dumbstruck by this scene himself. He subconsciously knelt and saluted. "I'm sorry to have disrespected you, young lord. I am blind to not have realized your arrival."
Manager Qiu's knees also turned weak. "Young lord… my eyes are just as blind. How blind I am!"
Jiang Chen smiled. "There is no need for such courtesy, everyone. I haven't come here to meet Steward Niu as a young lord today. If it suits you, shall we speak inside your manor?"
Niu Wuhua stood up and spoke respectfully, "Of course, of course, please come in, young lord. Niu Manor has seldom welcomed such an esteemed guest, so please allow me to show my respects, young lord."
Manager Qiu was indescribably stunned too. He finally understood why the young man was as confident as he was, and why he hadn't even batted an eyelid at Xiao Wang's taunts. He had beaten up the thugs and claimed that it was of no consequence. He didn't even feel a bit of guilt or fear after beating them up. So this was the reason. He was a young lord. Would a young lord of a great emperor faction be afraid of a mere shopkeeper? Even if they were a power that was three to five times bigger than the Prancing Pony, what difference would it make? They could still be crushed as easily as an ant.
A young lord… Manager Qiu was extremely moved by this turn of events. He was afraid, but he also felt vaguely excited. His fear came from the natural fear of those with great power and influence. His excitement came from the baseless assumption that the arrival of a great emperor disciple might change the fate of the Prancing Pony. If his eyes weren't deceiving him, could young master Ji San be the reinforcement Niu Wuhua had invited to save the Prancing Pony? Was he here to support Niu Wuhua and take that Grand Steward Dong Sheng down a peg?
If this really was the case, then it was nearly impossible for Dong Sheng to devour Niu Wuhua's shares for himself. He might even lose all the shares he currently possessed. Dong Sheng no doubt had a few backers of his own, but if Niu Wuhua's backer was a great emperor faction, then all the backers that Dong Sheng had found in Bluesky Kingdom and Goldtower City would amount to nothing. Even the monarch of Bluesky Kingdom had to take orders from the ruler of Veluriyam Capital, Emperor Peafowl himself.
Moreover, the Prancing Pony was hardly the best tavern that existed in Goldtower City, much less in the vast territory of Veluriyam Capital. Therefore, Dong Sheng's backer couldn't possibly be the monarch of Bluesky Kingdom. Niu Wuhua and Manager Qiu carefully and apprehensively attended to Jiang Chen.
He inquired about their troubles after seeing the look of deep worry on their faces. And so the duo told Jiang Chen about the grand steward's ambition to buy out their shares in the Prancing Pony at a cheap price and take everything for himself.
Dong Sheng had not only utilized both legal and illegal channels in order to fulfill his ambitions, but he had also recruited his wife's younger brother. That Xiao Wang was definitely a qualified shit-stirrer. He had managed to create all kinds of trouble and mire the Prancing Pony in a foul atmosphere in just a few months' time. Worse, this tactic was incredibly effective. Niu Wuhua had grown so angry that he'd almost vomited blood. He had no choice but to rest for a few days to sort out his feelings.
Niu Wuhua thought that he might die from an excess of anger if he were to visit the Prancing Pony every day. Although he had employed some countermeasures of his own, he couldn't defeat Dong Sheng. Therefore, he had been pushed around a lot recently. The inn's business had also suffered a devastating decline.
Manager Qiu was one of the few people who shared Niu Wuhua's feelings. Although his business share was small, he sympathized greatly with Niu Wuhua's plight. The Prancing Pony was theirs, and yet they were being forced to sell it to others at a low price. After they had refused, the other party even used all kinds of shameless tactics to force their hand.
Dong Sheng had nearly succeeded. It was during this moment that Niu Wuhua had coincidentally learned that Emperor Coiling Dragon was investigating something. That was why Niu Wuhua had tentatively sent the news to Emperor Coiling Dragon's faction.
Young master Ji San had sent this request through his clan's channels and Niu Wuhua just so happened to see it one day. It reminded him of an old incident from a few years ago that matched many of the details described in the request. That was how Niu Wuhua had sent out the gesture of goodwill in hopes of finding a powerful backer. If he could secure a relationship with the Coiling Dragon faction, the Prancing Pony's business would be secure for at least ten thousand years. He might even be able to force the Grand Steward Dong Sheng to spit out his own business share.
Jiang Chen finally learned the ins and outs of everything after listening to Niu Wuhua's explanation and Manager Qiu's occasional input. He wasn't really willing to interfere because this was the Prancing Pony's internal matters, but if Niu Wuhua abandoned himself to despair because of this, it was likely that he wouldn't do his best with what Jiang Chen asked of him. Jiang Chen immediately flashed a faint smile. "There are rules to doing business. If you don't want to sell your shares to the grand steward, there's no way he can force you to do so. Veluriyam Capital's laws exist for a reason. All those who break the law shall be punished."
Although it wasn't a promise, it was close to one already. Niu Wuhua was overjoyed when he heard this. Manager Qiu's eyes were also alit. It was obvious that they had found a trace of hope.
"If you'll uphold justice, then Dong Sheng wouldn't dare act wantonly even if he is powerful beyond measure, young lord." Niu Wuhua's face lit up with delight.
Manager Qiu also said sincerely, "Please uphold justice, young lord."
Jiang Chen smiled. "I have need of you, so if you truly don't wish to sell your shares to the Dong Family, then no one can take them from you. I can guarantee you this at the very least."
Forget that he was actually the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain, even if he was just the young lord of the Coiling Dragon Clan, it was still enough power to settle this business. Even if Dong Sheng had all the power in the world, there was no way he could challenge the disciple of a great emperor faction.