Chapter 739: The Goal of Establishing Himself in Veluriyam Capital
"Heh heh, Brother Tong, what an unfortunate timing. We'd just decided to implement some new plans for that store. I fear Brother Tong has made a trip for nothing." Rather than beating around the bush, Tong Tianxiao made his position clear by refusing directly.
"House Lord Wei, you're not deceiving me on purpose, are you? That shop's business has always been, well to say the least, lackluster. If you rent it to me, I can guarantee at least the double your current profit. Are you sure you can find that much success with anything else? In Farmer God Market, it's a dead end if you don't deal in pills." The leader of House Tong nattered on as though he were releasing firecrackers. His words came out in rapid fire, persuasive, yet still sounding very arrogant.
In contrast, Wei Tianxiao was slow and leisurely, "This is my house's business; there's no need for Brother Tong to be unduly worried."
The leader of House Tong chuckled. "Tell me the secret, what are you planning? You're not thinking about selling pills, are you? Your House Wei, hehe, better forget about pills…"
Those words completely crossed the boundary of rudeness. Even Wei Jie's face became frosty. However, Wei Tianxiao was still as tranquil as a drifting cloud. "Won't Brother Tong know the answer as soon as we open for business?"
The lord of House Tong rolled his eyes, then flashed a confident smile. "No matter what you're planning, you're still going to end up leasing it to me! Hahaha, farewell." Who knew where his confidence came from? He threw a casual salute at Wei Tianxiao, then shook his sleeves and left unceremoniously. Such rude actions didn't seem at all like a conversation between the leaders of two equally ranked aristocratic houses. This House Lord Tong had almost seemed like he was addressing an inferior. Even one as shrewd as Wei Tianxiao frowned slightly. He was also obviously dissatisfied with House Lord Tong's discourtesy.
Wei Jie was a fiery young man. He was furious seeing such rudeness, and shouted loudly, "House Lord Tong, I have no idea where your confidence comes from, but our house will never rent that storefront to you, even if we have to let it rot there!"
The lord of House Tong had already stepped outside the door when his figure suddenly froze. He turned his head back abruptly, a cold glint flashing in his eyes. "Isn't a mere junior like you afraid of the consequences of running your mouth?"
Wei Jie didn't back down, "Coming to our house and showing off, shouldn't you Tongs be mindful of running your mouth? Why should I be afraid in my own house?!"
House Lord Wei actually smiled in his fury. He was about to speak when Wei Tianxiao's face suddenly darkened. "Lord Tong, forgive me for not escorting you any further. Farewell!"
Wei Tianxiao was obviously angry as well. He'd courteously called his guest "Brother Tong" till now, but now his title had changed. Moreover, the two weren't even in the same camp. Now that this Lord Tong had forsaken any semblance of courtesy, Wei Tianxiao would naturally not keep tolerating his mannerless behavior. House Lord Tong smiled with unbridled arrogance. He nodded and looked at House Wei's father and son with a gaze charged with meaning. He smiled in contempt, and left without a word.
"Wise nephew Jiang, don't worry, we of House Wei are men of our words. We'd never rent the store to someone else now that we've reached an agreement, to say nothing about a house from a different camp like House Tong." Wei Tianxiao looked in Jiang Chen's direction. His words were meant to allay the latter's fears.
Jiang Chen smiled, he didn't doubt House Wei's sincerity. He said with a nod, "Uncle Wei, I'll take a stroll around Farmer God Market first."
Wei Tianxiao thought a moment, then nodded. "That works too." He looked at Wei Jie, "Jie'er, you should accompany wise nephew Jiang."
After taking their leave of Wei Tianxia, Jiang Chen and Wei Jie left the Wei manor and headed towards Farmer God Market. Farmer God Market was one of the three famous street markets in the capital, and was even more famous than Fish and Dragon District. It could almost be said to be the most famous market in the Capital, and was by far the most bustling, thriving one. This wasn't just the heart of pill provisioning for the Capital. Its influence even spread to seven or eight cities in the surrounding area. Rare were the places that flourished as much as this one in all those cities. On top of that, in the wake of the pill business, every business and profession prospered here. Pills, talismans, spirit beasts, formations, spirit stones, weapons and armor…
Every business related to cultivation was included in Farmer God Market. All sorts of stores were laid out in endless rows. It was a sight that bedazzled the eye. House Wei was clearly no stranger to the market. Although they didn't play a preeminent role there, and were somewhat marginalized when it came to the pill business, House Wei still had other properties and businesses after all. Otherwise, how would they be able to afford the upkeep for a ninth rank aristocratic house? That being said, Jiang Chen was clearly focusing on the pill market.
Wei Jie explained things carefully to him along the way, giving him many details about all the heavyweights of pill dao inside the Market. In Veluriyam Capital, since the seven great emperors stayed away from mundane vying, the core of the Farmer God Market was controlled by the twenty eight great clans, as well the mighty aristocratic houses under these great clans.
In this Market, there were more than a dozen first-tier pill sellers, all of them controlled by the great clans. There were even more second-tier ones, numbering in the several dozens, perhaps even more than a hundred. Almost all of them were dominated by the aristocratic houses. The third-tier ones were too many to count, numbering in the hundreds, large and small. The number of these stores seemed very high. But compared to the enormous number of cultivators in the capital, as well as the cultivators from the surrounding cities who came to visit, the supply from these pill stores was still far from enough to meet the demand. After all, there were simply too many cultivators in the various cities in the area. In all seriousness, they were even more numerous than the stars in the sky. Of that, Jiang Chen had no doubt whatsoever.
He could remember how prosperous the pill market was even back in the tiny Eastern Kingdom, and how many pill sellers it could host. Veluriyam Capital's area of influence was more than ten thousand times bigger, while the realms and levels of the cultivators here were many times more sophisticated. There was definitely an astronomical demand for pills.
"Brother Jiang, if we were to include all the small operations, the Farmer God Market has at least ten thousand shops. Any single shop is supported in some form from a faction. Our House previously had a pill store that could barely make the cut as a second tier. Afterwards, because of our pill king's sudden death, House Wei's pill business instantly suffered a devastating decline. Now, several years later, we're in an awkward position. The profits are too small, so our House has gradually stopped our participation in the pill market."
It wasn't because of a lack of desire to participate. Rather, it was simply impossible to do pill business on a large scale without a pill king in charge. There might be a little profit, but it would be like a drop in the ocean for House Wei. House Wei had always devoted their efforts to inviting another guest pill king, but for various reasons, their wish never came true. This put House Wei in an extremely awkward situation when it came to the pill business. They clearly had a top-notch store in Farmer God Market, but they could only use it to conduct other business.
Jiang Chen merely listened and looked around without saying much. He nodded after Wei Jie's presentation. "Let's go, we'll have a look at every store."
When playing the pill market, a lone dragon like him would never prevail over the local snakes if he were to try the conventional way. Know thine self, know thine enemy and you will be victorious in a thousand battles. Jiang Chen decided to first observe the business models the others were using, then strive to find a model different from theirs in order to survive.
Gain a footing, earn money, expand, build strength. These were Jiang Chen's successive goals. After experiencing the Regal Pill Palace's disaster, Jiang Chen realized very clearly everything would be nothing but a fleeting dream without powerful backing. Enough power and strength to evoke respect, these were the only resources one could build a footing on. A clear example of this was the Eternal Celestial Capital and then the Ninesuns Sky Sect. They clearly knew he might very well have escaped to the Veluriyam Capital already, yet they still didn't dare barge in. What did that mean? This was precisely the best proof of power. When the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Great Scarlet Mid Region massacred their way into the Myriad Domains, they didn't show the slightest scruple; they did whatever they wanted to do. However, they didn't have the guts to run rampant in Veluriyam Capital. Even a noble house therein wasn't something they dared strongarm.
These things had left a deep impression on Jiang Chen. He secretly vowed to put down roots in the Capital and develop a faction of his own. Only then could he could he cultivate in ease. Only then could he stop going on the run time and time again, uprooting and moving repeatedly. From the Eastern Kingdom to the Skylaurel Kingdom, to the Precious Tree Sect, then again to the Regal Pill Palace… He'd been forced to move almost every time because he had been passive. The primary reason was that his power was lacking, that he was too insignificant in front of the then absolute powers. In direct contrast, Veluriyam Capital was an apex level colossus even in the Upper Eight Regions. This was undoubtedly the most optimal choice for Jiang Chen, whether to rescue his father Jiang Feng, rescue Mu Gaoqi and Elder Yun Nie, or rebuild the Regal Pill Palace in the future. All of these required the backing of a formidable power.
Without the support from a mighty faction, every plan was but a fleeting dream. A life of always running away like a stray dog might help sharpen himself, but ultimately, it was too depressing when all was said and done. And so, engaging in the pill business was the first step of his goal in establishing himself in the Capital!
Wei Jie was indeed offering his full support. He took Jiang Chen to store after store. The two of them visited every first-tier and second-tier store that day. Even some more distinctive third-tier stores weren't spared his presence. Jiang Chen certainly gained a lot that day.
"Brother Jiang, there are still four stores I haven't taken you to. These four stores are the biggest top-tier players, they control the pill market's lifeline in the Capital. They won't look any different from first rate stores on the surface, but some top-level pills will only appear in these four stores."
Jiang Chen hadn't gone to those stores, but it was hard to count just how times he'd heard people mention them in the market throughout the day. Big players monopolizing the market wasn't something Jiang Chen was unfamiliar with. "There's no need to go to these four stores. Our present goal is still far from that level. Let's first set our sights on the second or third tier, then strive for the first tier when we get the opportunity."
Jiang Chen didn't want to promise Wei Jie miracles. As a matter of fact, with Jiang Chen's talent in the dao of pill-making, he could force these four big players to close up shop with only half his talent, to say nothing about first tier stores. However, he would obviously not do so immediately. With his current strength and manpower, the backlash of such a grand move wasn't something he could withstand. The nail that sticks out is certain to get hammered down. If he recklessly attracted attention to himself, then they could casually crush him with the wag of a finger. When all was said and done, mighty players in the pill market would never be lacking in support from mighty martial powers. Jiang Chen was cooperating with House Wei at present, but even if House Wei threw its whole weight behind him, it was merely a noble house in the end. It was not a great clan, to say nothing of the great emperors.
Click through to the official announcement post for pictures of volare staff, WW staff, and yours truly! I did a heart pounding live reading of those battle scenes! The new novel will launch this weekend!
Chapter 740: Inner Turmoil at House Wei
Slow and steady wins the race; no great city was built in a day. No matter how much expertise I have, I can’t apply it without sufficient strength to back me up. That fact had been proven numerous times in the past. He’d thought the Longevity Pill to be something insignificant, but the consequences it had given rise to were astonishing. Though it wasn't the main reason for the joint invasion of the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Great Scarlet Mid Region, its existence had caused the invaders to focus on Regal Pill Palace.
However, the lives of Elder Yun Nie and his peers had been spared due to it as well. Regal Pill Palace still had a remnant of life left, unlike the other sects which had been completely exterminated. The world was transient. Good and evil accompanied each other in unpredictable ways. Learning from his past mistakes, Jiang Chen decided to be more cautious. “Young master Wei, let’s go take a look at your family’s storefront,” Jiang Chen suggested with interest.
Wei Jie had no objections. Through the trouble with the Ninelaugh Golden Buddha Powder, he'd come to realize the extent of his difficulties, both internal and external. He urgently desired to find a breakthrough point, and Jiang Chen’s appearance seemed a stroke of providence. If he could really start a pill business with Jiang Chen, both he and his father would gain a more dominant voice in the affairs of the house.
The reason for the various voices of dissent within the house was because all of its businesses were bottlenecked, or even regressing. It was enough for some members to hatch plots against Wei Jie. As a ninth ranked aristocratic house, House Wei’s members were extraordinarily sharp at predicting crises. It was normal for their hearts to waver if the house showed signs of going downhill. If House Wei were to be demoted to an eighth ranked, or even seventh ranked house, its position in the Veluriyam Capital would be greatly affected, and it would even risk being sidelined. Thanks to these considerations, Wei Jie had no shortage of motivation.
Jiang Chen needed House Wei to cover for him, and House Wei needed Jiang Chen to be a game-changer. This mutual necessity was one of the main reasons that Jiang Chen's and Wei Jie’s relationship had developed so quickly.
“Brother Jiang, the store is up ahead,” Wei Jie pointed forward.
Jiang Chen scanned his surroundings and was a little surprised to see that they were in one of the most prosperous parts of the Farmer God District. House Wei has stores located in such a prime location? How unexpected. To think that even with such an advantage, their pill business hadn’t flourished… what a waste. As they walked nearer, Wei Jie’s face colored imperceptibly. He pulled lightly on Jiang Chen’s arm, and the two of them ducked behind the guardian lion statue of a nearby store.
A group of people walked out from House Wei’s store. One of them was Wei Jie’s fifth uncle, Wei Tiantong, as well as his son Wei Xiu. They were accompanied by several elders from House Wei. Though Jiang Chen didn't know the elders’ identities, their unique dress gave away their origin. Most importantly, the House Wei members were gathered around one person in particular. It was a young man some twenty years of age, clad in luxurious robes. There was a hint of regality in his expression, and the House Wei members appeared to give him their full respect. Wei Jie frowned a little at the scene.
The group walking out had clearly not noticed Wei Jie and Jiang Chen. Several of them were talking and laughing. Foremost among them was Wei Jie’s cousin, Wei Xiu, whose tone oozed flattery. “Young master Wang, your word is as good as done. We will definitely rent this store to House Tong,” Wei Xiu groveled.
The young man hummed in agreement, but ignored Wei Xiu. “I hear that the one who still has final say at House Wei is still Wei Tianxiao,” he turned to Wei Tiantong.
“As the master of the house, of course he has the final say on many things. We don’t bother arguing with him on smaller things, but a store in the Farmer God District is an important matter. Neither I nor the house elders will allow him to mess about.” Offering a placatory smile, Wei Tiantong tossed a few looks at the house elders, who nodded successively in agreement.
“If that’s so, then I thank your hard work in this matter. I will inform father of all these details once I return, including your attitudes of cooperation. If all goes according to plan, father will be sure to personally host a banquet of gratitude,” the Wang surnamed youth smiled serenely.
“The lord of the Majestic Clan has much to attend to. It would be an honor for us to receive such an invitation,” Wei Tiantong declared hurriedly.
The Wang surnamed youth nodded slightly at the words, but said nothing further as the group departed.
Wei Jie’s face was very pale behind the statue. He had inadvertently stumbled on a great secret. Its contents shocked and terrified him. “Brother Jiang, there may be a change in the proceedings,” his tone was grave.
“That youth… is from the Majestic Clan?” During Jiang Chen’s time at House Wei, the lord of House Tong had come to visit. The Majestic Clan had been mentioned in conversation then.
House Tong was one of several houses under the Majestic Clan’s command. Moreover, the Wang surnamed youth was the son of the clan lord. Putting the details together, Jiang Chen understood the chain of events. So it wasn’t House Tong alone that was after the store. The Majestic Clan was involved as well!
No wonder Wei Jie was so pale. This new development was wholly unexpected. Wei Tianxiao easily had the authority to refuse House Tong’s request, since both ninth ranked aristocratic houses were evenly matched. There was no fear of offending anyone. But as one of the strongest clans in the Veluriyam Capital, the Majestic Clan possessed strength which House Wei could not hope to resist.
From what they had just seen, some House Wei members obviously intended to change their allegiances, flocking to the Majestic Clan banner. More incredibly, both house lord Wei Tianxiao and heir Wei Jie had been unaware of it. And now, there were plans to reduce father and son to figureheads. Decisions were being made before approval was granted. Judging from their tone, House Wei members would stop at nothing to appease the Majestic Clan. They were even willing to band together in opposition against the nominal master of the house. For Wei Jie, the situation had worsened beyond belief.
Used to various conflicts, Jiang Chen knew that House Wei’s circumstances were about to come to a head. “Young master Wei, is your father completely oblivious about all of this?” Jiang Chen couldn’t resist the question. Being in the dark, the Wei father and son were at a clear disadvantage. If things were allowed to continue, it was likely Jiang Chen himself would be dragged in as well. At that point, cooperation would be out of the question.
“Let us return first, brother Jiang,” Wei Jie replied in a low voice. He too felt danger creep up on all sides.
Jiang Chen was no stranger to the grand stage, so he wasn't in the habit of retreating at the slightest sign of a problem. Aside from the connection to House Wei, he currently had no other options for higher society. There were many other houses, true, but it would be hard for one of them to accept him. Starting from scratch? That was even more absurd. Though the Veluriyam Capital appeared a free city, the hierarchy between social castes was quite defined. As an outsider with no background here, he would be devoured instantly regardless of how unassuming he was. The only way to grow was to build relations with a native faction.
Wei Jie’s expression was heavy all throughout the return trip. “Brother Jiang, I am very sorry. These developments are quite unexpected. As you’ve seen, the circumstances of our house are very complicated at the moment. Though my father has some grasp of the situation, a small change may have great effects. Sometimes, it is hard to deal with things even when you know what is happening. For example, I was poisoned a while back. Father’s investigation led to my fifth uncle, but he couldn't do anything without evidence. Furthermore, house matters are actually decided on by six people currently. My father is the master of the house, but doesn't hold absolute power.” Wei Jie had nothing further to hide given how things had progressed. He explained House Wei’s plight in detail. “Brother Jiang, if this blows up, both my father and I may lose our position in the house. So, I understand if you want to back out now.” Wei Jie added honestly after thinking for a moment.
‘Backing out now’ was not Jiang Chen’s style. He would have no compunctions about it if they had faked warmth with him, but Wei Jie had treated him with honesty and sincerity in their friendship. “Though I couldn’t take a look inside, your store’s location is quite amazing. I have my mind set on it.” Jiang Chen’s words were not a direct response, but they expressed his sentiment.
Wei Jie was overjoyed. “You are truly a chivalrous man, brother Jiang. It is no surprise that you came to the rescue of your fellow sect members, despite the distance, despite the difficulty,” he praised.
“Let us spare the niceties, young master Wei. First describe to me the decision making process within your house. Which six people are part of it? How are they related to each other…” Internal change was needed first to achieve a reversal. If the problems within House Wei couldn’t be suppressed, taking over their store would be wishful thinking.
Wei Jie went over the details with Jiang Chen. At House Wei, there were six people with executive power, including house lord Wei Tianxiao and second-in-command Wei Tiantong. Being second-in-command meant that if something were to happen to Wei Tianxiao, Wei Tiantong would rightfully take over his role as house lord. In addition, there were four house elders.
Only one of the elders was indubitably loyal to Wei Tianxiao—his own uncle, Wei Jie’s grand-uncle. Out of the other three, one was Wei Tiantong's confidante, and the other two generally held a neutral position. From today’s events, however, both of the neutral elders had seemed persuaded by Wei Tiantong. They would not have appeared at House Wei’s store otherwise, nor would they have cavorted with the young master of the Majestic Clan!
Click through to the official announcement post for pictures of volare staff, WW staff, and yours truly! I did a heart pounding live reading of those battle scenes! The new novel will launch this weekend!