The Human Emperor - Chapter 115: True Progress!
Wang Chong thought the matter with Six-fingered Zhang would take at least a few more days before there would be any progress. However, Wang Chong underestimated the other party’s audacity on the gambling table, as well as his confidence in his identity as an alchemist.
That very night, Six-fingered Zhang was attacked.
His talent in pill forging was extraordinary, but the higher one’s mastery in pill forging, the more boring one’s life was. Six-fingered Zhang seemed to be venting all his boredom on the gambling table, making him much more daring than ever, losing himself.
That very night, Six-fingered Zhang was attacked by the Goguryeons. They used extreme means, brute force, sleeping powder, sleeping pellets, and even slaked lime…
If not for Shen Hai and Meng Long appearing with Arloja and Ablonodan in time, Six-fingered Zhang would have suffered several slashes and a hand of his would have been gone.
The Goguryeons were known for their savagery and brutality in the capital.
But in a sense, Six-fingered Zhang reaped what he sow.
Despite having only two to three thousand gold taels on him, he dared to borrow fifty thousand more gold taels from the loan sharks in Great Golden Sky Gambling Den!
——Wasn’t he being too brazen!
The twenty thousand gold taels he borrowed was supposed to be returned by the third ke of the shen hour. However, Six-fingered Zhang had drunk too much in the gambling den, causing him to forget about this matter. As such, the Goguryeons started to panic.
(1545|shen hour -> 1500-1700|ke refers to 15 minutes)
“Have you paid his gambling debt yet?”
Behind the study table, Wang Chong asked.
“Reporting to young master, following your orders, we paid his debt and left immediately afterward. We minimized contact with him as much as possible.”
Shen Hai and Meng Long answered.
After helping the other party on such a huge matter, even giving out fifty thousand gold taels for free, they were told not to say or demand anything at all. This was something they couldn’t understand.
Even so, this was an order from their young master, so they weren’t in a position to say anything about it.
“Very well. From tomorrow onward, send him two thousand gold taels every day. Other than that, don’t say anything.”
Wang Chong said.
“Alright, young master!”
Shen Hai and Meng Long replied.
If it was anyone else, they would have definitely given up after throwing away fifty thousand gold taels for nothing. However, Wang Chong seemed unbothered by the matter.
The secret alchemist organization held great profits, but the doorway to trade was exceptionally high. Their clients were mainly established figures who had conducted trade with them for dozens of years or even longer.
These clients had undergone the test of time and they could be trusted. However, toward new clients, they were exceptionally careful and wary.
Even in the span of dozens of years, they might not even accept a single new client.
It was precisely because of this wariness and strict selection that the secret alchemist organization was able to remain hidden from the eyes of the royal palace and the kings.
Wang Chong’s greatest priority at this moment was to squeeze into their group and secure himself a steady source of valuable pills. Giving away fifty thousand gold taels and whatever wasn’t important for him.
Six-fingered Zhang was still guarded against him, so it was too early to bring up the matter of joining the secret alchemist organization yet. What Wang Chong needed to do now was to send him a steady supply of gold.
Through this method, he could raise the other party’s impression of him.
One day, when Six-fingered Zhang was no longer guarded toward him, Wang Chong believed that he would come knocking on his own accord.
After settling this matter, Wang Chong continued to practice the Dragon Bone Art.
Days passed and Wang Chong’s martial arts progressed. Even though his root bone didn’t seem to be nearing a breakthrough yet, he could feel it getting more and more compact.
Before long, three days had already flown by.
Wang Chong’s Dragon Bone Art still didn’t meet with much progress, but there seemed to be an unexpected development on Shen Hai and Meng Long’s side.
“Young master, Six-fingered Zhang requests for an audience! This time, he came to us straight and explicitly requested to meet with you!”
Just as Wang Chong was cultivating in the courtyard, Shen Hai and Meng Long suddenly walked over.
Wang Chong’s eyes lit up. This matter came as a huge surprise to him. Six-fingered Zhang seemed to be more anxious than he thought.
“Invite him in!”
Wang Chong met Six-fingered Zhang in the study. Compared to how he was a few days ago, Six-fingered Zhang didn’t seem as distant, arrogant, and unapproachable.
However, Wang Chong sensed bewilderment and unease from him.
“Zhang Zhongshu pays respect to gongzi.”
Six-fingered Zhang bowed stiffly.
Alchemists were respected regardless of where they went, resulting in most of the alchemists acting arrogantly.
However, Zhang Zhongshu couldn’t have expected that the person who ‘harassed’ him at Falling Jade Pavilion would have such a huge background.
Alchemists possessed high standing in society, but they weren’t comparable to the Wang Clan.
“Hehe, master, we meet again.”
Wang Chong smiled. His glance fell on Six-fingered Zhang’s left hand and he saw a deep blade wound extending from his sleeves. Glaring, it seemed to be a wound inflicted on him by the Goguryeons not too long ago.
“Gongzi, you shouldn’t tease me with master or what. If I knew that you were Duke Jiu’s grandson, I wouldn’t have dared to act so rudely back then.”
Six-fingered Zhang said uneasily.
“Hehe, master is being too polite. May I know what matter it is that you wish to ask of me?”
Smiling, Wang Chong looked at Six-fingered Zhang as he waited for him to speak.
“Gongzi is being too polite. I am here to thank gongzi for saving my life and repaying my fifty thousand debt. You have my utmost gratitude.”
“However, if gongzi wishes to obtain a few pills from me, I apologize but I truly can’t do so. Even though repaying you on the spot is beyond me at the moment, if gongzi demands for it, I will find a way to give it all back.”
Lowering his head, Six-fingered Zhang said tensely.
“Hehehe, who said that I want to obtain a few pills from you?”
Wang Chong smiled.
“Is that not the case?”
Six-fingered Zhang abruptly lifted his head in astonishment.
He always thought that the reason why Wang Chong helped him was because he wanted him to forge pills for him. This was also the reason why he felt uneasy. He was an alchemist of the royal palace, and if it were to be known that he forged pills for others outside, he would face harsh punishment.
Thus, he didn’t feel comfortable accepting Wang Chong’s help.
However, it wasn’t easy for him to meet with someone as generous as Wang Chong, who gave fifty thousand gold taels out without saying a single word.
He couldn’t bear to part with this ‘sponsor’, and as such, he came to Wang Clan to meet him!
But it seemed like the truth was far from what he expected.
“Master, ‘thousand generations of pills heritage, ten thousand autumns of blazing cauldron’. I would like to take a look. Can master help me on this matter?”
Wang Chong smiled.
The calm Six-fingered Zhang’s face abruptly changed.
“How-how… did you know?”
Six-fingered Zhang stared at Wang Chong in shock. He felt as though the latter had peered into the deepest secret he had locked locked deep within his heart.
‘Thousand generations of pills heritage, ten thousand autumns of blazing cauldron’, this was a couplet in the royal palace where the organization was founded, as well as the code word used among alchemists to identify one another.
The secret alchemist organization was Six-fingered Zhang’s greatest secret.
Never had he expected Wang Chong to know of it.
All along, he had been interacting with Wang Chong with the identity of an ordinary alchemist, and he thought that was what Wang Chong thought of him as well. He couldn’t have imagined that the other party was already aware his other identity.
This made Six-fingered Zhang terrified!
“Master, there is no need to be so frightened. If I wish to divulge this matter, I would have long done so. Why would I wait until now?”
Wang Chong smiled. He lifted the teapot on the study table, poured a cup of fragrant tea, and passed it over to the other party.
No matter how Wang Chong phrased the matter, it was impossible to avoid the backlash from mentioning the secret alchemist organization. Honestly speaking, he thought that Six-fingered Zhang would immediately rush out upon hearing his words, so the situation was already better than he expected
“Since gongzi knows of ‘thousand generations of pills heritage, ten thousand autumns of blazing cauldron’, you should know how dangerous the matter is. Aren’t you afraid of bringing trouble to your clan?”
Taking a deep breath, Six-fingered Zhang lifted his head.
When he first entered, he had an extremely stiff and uneasy expression. However, when Wang Chong mentioned ‘thousand generations of pills heritage, ten thousand autumns of blazing cauldron’, he seemed to have turned into an entirely different person. The unease, stiffness, and fear vanished, and it seemed as though the current him was the real him.
Six-fingered Zhang words left Wang Chong silent.
It had always been a taboo to lay one’s hands on the pills forged by the royal court and the kings’ residences. Forging a connection with these smuggling alchemists definitely wasn’t a good thing.
It might potentially bring the wrath of the royal family and the various kings onto the clan, putting the Wang Clan in dire straits. The risk was too great for just a few pills.
Under normal circumstances, even if he knew of the existence of this secret alchemist organization, he would never have dared to do so. However, Wang Chong knew that a catastrophe was impending.
Everything would be destroyed in this catastrophe. The royal palace, the kings’ residences, his clan… Everything, including those that he cherished, would be reduced to dust.
Before this catastrophe, what Wang Chong had to do was to strengthen his influence so that he could protect his loved ones. At the very least, Wang Chong thought that this weighed much heavier than the risk of his involvement with the secret alchemist organization being exposed.
“I have my own thoughts on this matter so there’s no need for master to worry about it. Master, I ask of you to bring me in.”
Lifting his head, Wang Chong smiled.
It was Six-fingered Zhang’s turn to fall silent.
He wanted to scare Wang Chong off, but the other party was much more determined to join the organization than he expected.
If it was any other occasion, Six-fingered Zhang would never agree to it. In fact, he wouldn’t even consider the matter. However, Wang Chong had helped him before, and on top of that, he knew of their existence as well.
Six-fingered Zhang couldn’t feign ignorance.
However, the rules in the secret alchemist organization were extremely strict, and they didn’t accept outsiders easily. Even if Six-fingered Zhang wanted to bring him in, this wasn’t a matter that he had an absolute say on.