The Human Emperor - Chapter 52: Gamble on the Sword Duel
“Of course you can.”
Mosaide wasn’t bothered by Wang Chong’s request at all.
Shua! He drew the saber by his waist with his right hand. The instant the saber was drawn, a cold light gleamed forth, circling an entire round around the room. Even the temperature lowered along with the appearance of the light.
The room suddenly turned silent. Wei Hao’s face abruptly darkened.
The saber was even more incredible than the one he saw back then when he was with his father, Duke of Wei!
The Charax Spasinu merchant, Mosaide, wasn’t lying. The saber in his hands was indeed top-notch. Just the cold aura that it emanated wasn’t something an average sword could compare to.
There probably weren’t many swords in the Central Plains that could match up to it.
Mosaide passed the saber over.
Wang Chong did not stand on ceremonies. He took Mosaide’s saber and examined it. After his reincarnation, this was the first time he was looking at a top-notch Charax Spasinu saber.
While the Central Plains favored the sword, the Abbasid Caliphate and Charax Spasinu favor sabers. Furthermore, their sabers’ structure were completely different from that in the Central Plains. Firstly, their sabers weren’t long, only around a chi long. Also, their sabers were be bent in the shape of a crescent moon.
Wang Chong didn’t know whether this has something to do with the culture of worshipping the moon there.
The edge of Mosaide’s saber was exceptionally sharp. It could be seen that it was painstakingly crafted and forged. As the saying goes, ‘the onset of autumn could be seen with the fall of a single leaf’. From this saber, one could tell that the weapon forging techniques in the Western Regions were extremely high. In certain aspects, they even surpassed the Central Plains.
Shua, with a flick of Wang Chong’s wrist, the cold gleam flashed through the air. Then, the corner of the table made of the resilient and tough sandalwood was silently cut through.
Kengqiang, the corner of the table fell to the floor.
“A good saber!”
Wang Chong complimented. On the other hand, standing beside him, Wei Hao’s face further darkened.
Holding the saber with both of his hands, he tried swinging it around before returning the saber back.
“Mister Mosaide, how about this, let’s change the rule slightly. Since it is a face-off between a sword and a saber, we should have a rule for the duel. If you emerge victorious, I will pay you how much my sword costs. And if you lose… I don’t need you to pay me the full price of the sword, just 1200 gold taels will do!”
“Wei Hao, I can’t possibly face everyone who comes challenging me one by one. So, let’s just operate by this rule!”
“Wang Chong! ——”
Wei Hao was shocked. With a single glance, it was clear that Mosaide’s saber wasn’t ordinary. He was just about to warn Wang Chong not to accept the challenge at all costs when Wang Chong suddenly proposed such harsh conditions.
Mosaide was overjoyed. Regardless of what Wang Chong proposed, as long as he agreed to face off with him, 1200 gold taels didn’t mean much. Most of the merchants in Charax Spasinu were skilled and possessed massive wealth. As long as he could achieve his aim here, Mosaide didn’t really care about this ‘little tip’.
Also, Wang Chong’s conditions were clearly sided toward him. He didn’t have to pay the other party’s for his sword if he lost, and if he won… It’s been long since Mosaide had met with someone who could triumph against his saber.
In fact, Mosaide hoped that Wang Chong would win. This way, he could buy an even better sword!
“However, there’s one more thing. I am unable to duel with you right now. It can only be held seven days from now!”
Wang Chong said.
“That’s not a big issue, don’t worry about it!”
Mosaide chuckled, not paying much heed to it. As long as Wang Chong was willing to accept his request, he didn’t mind waiting seven days for it:
“Right, there’s one thing that I am interested about. When I entered, I saw a huge pile of metal at your doorstep. May I know what it is used for? Back in Charax Spasinu, we don’t have such a custom.”
“Hehe, you will know about it in seven days’ time.”
Wang Chong chuckled before turning around to leave.
“Right, if you don’t mind, I hope to hang my Charax Spasinu Saber on the pavilion alongside yours. Is that okay?”
Before Wang Chong could get far, Mosaide’s words rang from his back. Slyness could be heard from his tone. The reason why he came to the Central Plains wasn’t just to compete with the swords of others!
Wang Chong burst into laughter. It was exactly as he expected! These weapon merchants from the Abbasid Caliphate and Charax Spasinu would make use of all chances to showcase their weapons and advertise themselves.
However, Mosaide didn’t know that he had fallen right for Wang Chong’s plan.
Wang Chong was waiting for him to propose such an idea.
“Of course you can!”
Leaving that word behind, Wang Chong left the room.
“Wang Chong, you’re insane! Do you know that a huge problem will result from this?”
Wei Hao hurriedly ran out from the room, caught up with Wang Chong, and reprimanded him anxiously.
“If you base it on the price of your sword, do you know how much it will cost? 2400 taels! No, it’s 4800 taels! If you win, you earn less than half of the money, and if you lose, you’ll make such a huge loss. What are you thinking of?”
“You don’t even know whether you can rake up that 90000 gold taels for the Hyderabad ores, and the deadline for the 1700 gold tales that you borrowed in the Eight Gods Pavilion was approaching soon. Yet, you are still making such a challenge now ——You’re bringing a huge calamity to your clan, do you know that?”
Wei Hao angrily scolded with a flushed face.
When Wang Chong tested out Mosaide’s saber, it was clear that it was sharper than the saber which his father had bought from the Western Region trader. Wang Chong had clearly seen the strength of the other party’s weapon with his own eyes, but he still chose to accept the challenge. Wei Hao simply couldn’t understand the rationale behind his actions.
The reason why he promised to help Wang Chong by offering a spot in the Bluebottle Pavilion to advertise and sell his Wootz steel sword was because he wanted to give him a helping hand to earn money.
After all, they were brothers who had grown up together. He couldn’t simply leave him in the lurch.
But Wei Hao didn’t expect something that should have been that simple would end up like this. If things go wrong, not only will Wang Chong fail to earn money, he will even get the entire Wang Clan in trouble through his debt.
And Wei Hao would be an accomplice!
For the first time, Wei Hao felt regret!
“… Besides, what did you mean by operating by this rule? If more people like him were to come, do you know how much money we would have to pay!”
Just by recalling the rule Wang Chong came up with made Wei Hao panic.
“Don’t worry, he can’t win!”
Wang Chong said calmly.
“Do you know… What? What did you say?”
Wei Hao was taken aback.
“I said that he can’t win!”
Wang Chong chuckled and repeated his words.
Wei Hao stared at Wang Chong blankly. For a moment, he couldn’t say a single word. All of his anger which he had accumulated previously suddenly vanished without a trace.
“He can’t win?”
Wei Hao was in a state of disbelief. He had seen how sharp the saber was in the room previously.
Wang Chong said calmly. His face reflected his absolute confidence. This was the confidence he had in himself, as well as the confidence he had in the Wootz steel sword!
Wei Hao was taken aback. He had come after Wang Chong with a thousand words to nag at him, but before Wang Chong’s arrogant words, he was suddenly speechless.
He didn’t know where Wang Chong’s self-confidence came from, for him to boast about his victory.
He had seen the sharpness of Mosaide’s saber for himself. That was a top-notch saber in the truest sense. Its sharpness made one feel suffocated and fearful.
Even a glance at it could gift the timid with nightmares!
The reason why he kept advising Wang Chong to reject the challenge was because of this as well. Wang Chong’s sword seemed impressive as well, but Wei Hao did not have absolute confidence in it.
“Are you sure that you can win?”
Wei Hao hesitated for a moment before asking.
Wang Chong flashed him a confident smile.
He was by no means a fool. He intentionally borrowed the Charax Spasinu saber over to test it, and he secretly used his finger to knock on the edge of the saber.
The other party’s saber was indeed sharp, but the material used to make it was average. Furthermore, of the three main steps to swordsmithing, the other party had only mastered one to two of them.
From this, Wang Chong could deduce that the skills of the master swordsmiths in the Abbasid Caliphate and Charax Spasinu were still significantly lower than his.
At the very least, they wouldn’t be able to match up to him in the next few years.
It was impossible for a sword forged with that kind of craftsmanship to match up to his Wootz steel sword.
“Alright, I’ll trust you then!”
Wei Hao relented. For some reason, even though he always thought that Wang Chong’s actions were too reckless, whenever he saw that confident look on his face, he would be at a loss for words and be easily persuaded by him.
“However, there’s no need for you to reject money, right? A gamble should have equivalent stakes on both sides. In any case, that Charax Spasinu merchant is rich, so why should you be so courteous with him? Isn’t it better to just earn a few thousand gold taels from him straight?”
Recalling the conditions Wang Chong laid out, he complained.
“Don’t worry, I know what I am doing. This is called using a small bait to catch a big whale…”
Wang Chong patted Wei Hao’s shoulders. It wasn’t that he was being foolish. Rather, he had a greater plan behind that. Mosaide’s few thousand gold taels wasn’t sufficient for him under his current situation.
As long as he could build up the market for Wootz steel, the money Wang Chong could earn from it wasn’t something a mere gamble like this could match up to.
“I’ll be leaving now! I’ll be relying on you for the matters here. Wei Hao, remember, if something like this happens again, just settle it like today.”
Wang Chong greeted the two Sindhi monks who were drinking outside before leaving.
Wang Chong didn’t want too many people to know about the matter of the Bluebottle Pavilion. As for the weapon merchant from Charax Spasinu, given how he was inarticulate, it was impossible for him to know of Wang Chong’s identity.
The instant Wang Chong left the Bluebottle Pavilion, the price of the sword was hiked up by another fold, reaching 4800 gold taels. Mosaide’s saber was also hung on the roof of the Bluebottle Pavilion.
This was the first time that some other sword had been hung on the Bluebottle Pavilion in the last three days.
Furthermore, based on the shape of the weapon, it clearly wasn’t a sword from the Central Plains. It was an authentic top-notch Charax Spasinu saber!
The changes immediately caught the crowd’s attraction.
When the content of the sword duel gamble was revealed, a commotion beyond that Wang Chong had imagined was induced.
‘The Number One Sword in the World’, ‘The First Face-off Between Central Plains and Charax Spasinu and Abbasid Caliphate’, ‘The Gamble Over the Number One Sword of the Great Tang’… All kinds of news of that sort flew about the capital.
There were many Charax Spasinu and Abbasid Caliphate merchants in the Central Plains. However, most of them kept their boundaries and thus, this was the first time the weapons of the east and the west was facing off in Great Tang.
The entire matter had gained massive attention!
“Hmph! An unknown fellow can represent the swords of Great Tang?”
When the news reached the various prestigious smithing clan, the Cheng Clan was the first to make a move. Even though they appeared polite on the surface, they were actually trying all means beneath to surpass one another, vying for the title for the ‘World’s Number One Swordsmith Clan’.
Just that, they didn’t expect that a ‘nobody’ would beat them to it.
The smithing clans had shared the same stance on the matter regarding the Bluebottle Pavilion; this kind of small matter wasn’t worth bothering. However, the meaning of the event had changed completely.
Regardless of whether that fellow in the Bluebottle Pavilion had done it intentionally or not, with the spreading of this news, he had already become a representative for the Central Plains for the title of the ‘Number One Swordsmith’. This was something that the other clans were unable to tolerate.