The Human Emperor - Chapter 49: Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian’s Unease
“But they’re already driving away the surrounding passers-by, can you tolerate that as well?”
Wei Hao widened his eyes furiously as he found this matter intolerable. It was one thing for them to criticize them, but what was with them driving away the passers-by. The reason why Wang Chong hung the sword at the top of the Bluebottle Pavilion was to attract the gazes of others.
If others were to be driven away, how could there be any customers for his sword?
Wouldn’t Wang Chong’s plan be foiled then?
“You’ve said it for yourself. They’re only passers-by, they’re here just to watch the commotion. Do you think that they’ll buy the sword?”
Wang Chong returned the question to him.
Wei Hao was at a loss for words.
“Rest assured, this isn’t a big matter. I have my own plan.”
Wang Chong patted Wei Hao’s shoulders and chuckled. He wasn’t bothered by the actions of the swordsmithing clans. It was impossible for the swordsmithing clans to be unmoved given the price he was selling the Wootz steel weapons for.
Wang Chong had expected their reaction.
Stretching his body, Wang Chong switched to a more comfortable position. Then, he leaned backward to take a look. This way, he could see further into the distance with greater clarity.
Something suddenly caught Wang Chong’s attention.
Wei Hao asked.
“I saw two acquaintances.”
Wang Chong chuckled as he stared into the distance. Amidst the crowd on the street, Wang Chong saw Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian from the capital’s Zhang Clan. Since the matter at the Bluebottle Pavilion had alarmed the Cheng Clang, Huang Clan, and Lu Clang, it was impossible for the Zhang Clan to remain oblivious to it.
Just that, Wang Chong didn’t expect that it would be Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian to check on the situation.
“Acquaintances? Then, do you want to go down to meet them?”
Wei Hao casually asked.
“There’s no need to. I’ll meet them when the time calls for it.”
It wasn’t the time to meet Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian yet. Before they could notice his presence, Wang Chong pulled Wei Hao and hurriedly left.
“What’s going on? Why is he here?”
Oblivious to Wang Chong, right when he stood up to leave, Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian happened to notice him.
Standing amidst the crowd, a shocked look crept onto their face.
Even though Wang Chong had left hurriedly, the duo had simply too deep of an impression of that young son of the Wang Clan. The words that he had spoken before the two that day were deeply etched into their minds.
Even though it was just a momentary glance, the duo still recognized Wang Chong among the numerous customers immediately.
They had only received news that someone was selling swords at the Bluebottle Pavilion; they didn’t expect to see Wang Chong.
This was something inconceivable to the duo!
“Could he be the owner of this sword?”
Zhang Jian subconsciously muttered.
Zhang Cong replied without even thinking about it. The moment the words flew out of his mouths, he realized that his actions were inappropriate and hurriedly added in:
“I mean, this might just be a coincidence. After all, he could just be here to drink tea.”
Zhang Jian replied. Unexpectedly, he didn’t say anything more.
They immediately turned to walk toward the Cheng, Huang, and Lu Clan.
“Zhang Cong, Zhang Jian, you’re here.”
Seeing the duo, those who recognized them amidst the three clans hurriedly walked forward to welcome them:
“It is just an attention seeker from nowhere. Tell your clan head not to worry about the matter. Let’s all return!”
“So that’s the case!”
After asking about the proceedings of the matter, they heaved a sigh of relief. They felt the burden on their heart lift. “We’ll be returning to report the matter to our clan head.”
Even though they said so, for some reason, they two of them seemed dazed. Both of them immediately recalled the sight of Wang Chong’s back in the Bluebottle Pavilion.
Wang Chong’s appearance had left them uneasy.
“I hope that it isn’t as I thought! …”
As they thought so, the two of them turned around and left. No one noticed a leader of the Imperial Army standing before the pavilion, stroking the stubs of his beard. Glancing at the sword hanging at the entrance of the pavilion, an interested expression appeared on his face.
After the ruckus by the three great swordsmithing clans, there was no longer anyone who was crowding around the front entrance of the Bluebottle Pavilion. In the view of the various prestigious clans, the matter was settled.
However, what that many people didn’t think of was that a day right after the commotion by the Bluebottle Pavilion had calmed, a greater one was produced the next day, attracting the attention of even more people.
1200 gold taels!
This was the newest price of the sword hanging on the Bluebottle Pavilion!
It was an entire fold of the price from the first day! Furthermore, the owner of the sword even left a message through the Bluebottle Pavilion:
The weapon on the pavilion would only be sold for two hours a day. After that, all sales will stop. Furthermore, as before, no one was allowed to view or touch the sword!
“1200 gold taels? Is he mad?”
Upon hearing that price, the eyes of an elder of the Cheng Clan widened, it felt as though his eyes were about to pop out at any moment:
“Who does that bastard think he is? How much could a weapon cost? Yet, he dares to sell it for 1200 gold taels! Even our Cheng Clan, with the centuries of history behind us, dare not sell it for such high a price! He’s thinking too highly of himself! Did he think that those in the capital are all idiots? What is the Bluebottle Pavilion thinking of, going along with the nonsense of that person!”
He was also present for the march to the Bluebottle Pavilion yesterday. Even if the owner of the sword wanted to attract attention, there should be a limit to it! Of the matter, what that left him stumped was the attitude of the Bluebottle Pavilion. The Bluebottle Pavilion was still quite a popular location in the capital. How will they conduct their business after this mess?
“How is it? Have you gotten any news on the matter that I had you look into?”
The elder of the Cheng Clan, Cheng Youqing, put down the letter in his hands and abruptly glanced at the Cheng clan member, who had delivered the letter into his hands.
“Reporting to the elder, I have checked on it. Based on the intelligence gathered, the one selling the sword is a friend of the owner of the Bluebottle Pavilion. Due to their close ties, he allowed him to hang his sword there for sale. What do we do now? They are ruining our business. Should we head there to take a look, and perhaps give him a warning?”
The Cheng Clan member replied.
The Cheng Clan Elder Cheng Youqing glared at him and reprimanded:
“Just because a bunch of kids is creating a commotion, do we go along with them? What is this becoming of? A sword for 1200 gold taels, do you think he would be able to sell it out? Allow him to do as he pleases. After a period of time, he will eventually notice the futility of his actions and stop.”
The clan member was frightened by the elder’s reaction. He hurriedly lowered his head and said no more.
Under the condition that no one knew about the condition of the sword, spending 1200 gold taels on a sword was far beyond what market conditions allowed!
Any rational man would definitely not buy it!
As long as no one bought it, it would just become a farce and end at that.
That was the attitude of the Cheng, Huang, and Lu Clan on the matter.
To them, the matter at the Bluebottle Pavilion was only a small uproar and didn’t require their attention. Thus, they had no need to lower their status to interfere in the matter.
However, in the capital, the atmosphere was completely different in another clan.
“How is it? Have you found anything yet?”
In the residence of the Zhang Clan, Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian had a grim expression on their faces. The atmosphere in the residence was completely different from the other clans.
“We’ve managed to find out that the Bluebottle Pavilion is one of the businesses belonging to the Duke of Wei Clan. As for the matter regarding the sword hung at the pavilion, it seems to be a request on the Duke of Wei Clan gongzi‘s part.”
Upon being questioned, the Zhang Clan member lowered his head, clasped his hands, and replied respectfully.
“Duke of Wei Clan gongzi? Do you know who it is?”
Zhang Jian’s expression tightened as he hurriedly asked.
“It seems to be Wei Hao gongzi.”
The Zhang Clan member replied.
Hearing that name, Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian exchanged glances and their astonishment was clear to see.
“You can leave first.”
Zhang Jian waved him away. After the Zhang Clan member took his departure, the duo stared at one another for a very long time. A stiff atmosphere settled in, and no one said anything.
“This isn’t good! Isn’t Wei Hao the fellow who is extremely close to Wang Chong?”
In the end, Zhang Cong broke the silence first. Deep creases could be seen on his forehead, and his worry was clear to see. Due to the problem regarding the Hyderabad ores, they had been paying close attention to Wang Chong, and naturally, the people whom he came into contact with as well.
Wei Hao was one of the people who Wang Chong often hung out with.
The duo didn’t believe that the Wang Clan bought the Hyderabad ores because they wanted to venture into the forging industry.
The Wang Clan didn’t have such experience. Thus, the duo never thought that Wang Chong was serious and underestimated him.
However, if it was Wang Chong who placed the sword up the Bluebottle Pavilion, the entire meaning of the incident would change.
Regardless of whether Wang Chong succeeded or how ridiculous were the matters he had committed before, if he truly forged a sword, that this matter was sufficient to leave the two of them uneasy. In fact, it wouldn’t be too much for them to panic.
No one liked abrupt situations. Without a doubt, something that left them unsettled had occurred with the matter of the Hyderabad ores.
“This really isn’t good. He can’t be really forging swords?”
Zhang Jian was also uneasy.
“No matter what, we have to proceed carefully. Even though I don’t believe that a little child can be formidable, the Hyderabad ore is of extreme importance to us. We have to quickly report this matter to our clan head!”
The duo stood up and rushed to the inner residence.
1200 gold taels!
In the Central Plains, this was a humongous sum which an average person could live off without working for several lifetimes. Yet, at this very moment, it was the price of a mere sword.
Just when everyone was astonished by this inconceivable ‘sky-high price’, the actions of the owner of the sword at the Bluebottle Pavilion had destroyed their perception of the world:
2400 gold taels!
This was the newest price written on the banner on the Bluebottle Pavilion.
That owner of the Bluebottle Pavilion seemed to be adamant on the matter. It seems as though, to him, there was no such thing as a line price or reserve price. When the newest price was reported, the commotion broke out in the weapon market of the entire capital.
Regardless of who the person in the Bluebottle Pavilion was, even if it was a prank, his actions had attracted the attention of everyone else!
In the thousand of weapon shops in the capital, not a single house dared to hang such a price! Yet, that unknown owner of the sword hanging by the Bluebottle Pavilion did the unthinkable.
Not just so.
First day: 600 gold taels!
Second day: 1200 gold taels!
Third day: 2400 gold taels!
Many people could tell the pattern in the rise of his price; it was increasing by a single fold every single day!
How bold must that person be to do such a thing?
“That lunatic. That fellow is truly a lunatic!”
“Of course he is. What kind of sword could be worthy of 2400 gold taels? This is something that only a lunatic could do.”
“More importantly, he doesn’t allow anyone to view or touch it. Who in the world sells a sword like that?”
“Otherwise, how could he be known as a lunatic?”
Outside the Bluebottle Pavilion, the crowd pointed to the sword and chuckled. In any case, watching the commotion cost nothing at all. Furthermore, the Bluebottle Pavilion was even distributing delicious snacks to the onlookers.
The onlookers were increasing rapidly. There were much more people today as compared to the first two days. In fact, there were signs that it was still increasing.