The Human Emperor - Chapter 57: In the Bluebottle Pavilion!
The bright sun hung high in the sky, illuminating the world. For miles and miles, not a single cloud was in sight. Wang Chong woke up early to prepare himself, changing into a clean green cotton robe which would make him look older than he really was.
After he changing, Wang Chong prepared to leave. He calmly got into the carriage and traveled straight toward the Bluebottle Pavilion.
A crowd had already gathered outside the Bluebottle Pavilion. This was the day when the sword duel gamble would be held, and countless people were attracted to the event.
Outside the Bluebottle Pavilion, Wang Chong saw Wei Hao waiting for him.
Wei Hao had two guards of the Wei Residence beside him and his face was pale. He kept walking to and fro a spot and sweat was flowing from his forehead, looking extremely nervous and unsettled.
“Great! Wang Chong, you’re finally here!”
The moment Wang Chong stepped out from the carriage, Wei Hao felt that a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders, having found his pillar of support. He hurriedly walked up to welcome him along with his two guards.
A few shades of red returned to his face.
“Youngster, you’ve worked hard.”
The moment Wang Chong stepped out from the carriage, he called Wei Hao’s nickname. Hearing the endearing address, Wei Hao felt warmth gush to his heart and his nerves relaxed slightly.
But soon, Wei Hao’s eyebrows knitted together once more in anxiety.
“Wang Chong, are you done considering the matter already? There are more than thirty swords here. This isn’t a joke! It’s still not too late to take back our words now!”
As Wei Hao spoke, his voice trembled nervously.
Wei Hao didn’t expect the situation would spiral to this state while helping Wang Chong sell the Wootz steel sword. The thirty swords that had come from various powers which were hanging on the pavilion at this moment made Wei Hao insomniac in the past few days.
Wei Hao had hidden this matter from his clan, and it was fortunate that his father was busy dealing with an important matter, so he didn’t have the time to bother him.
If his father were to discover the truth, he would definitely be beaten to death!
Sometimes, Wei Hao truly envied Wang Chong’s calmness. For this matter, Wei Hao had only played a supporting role in Wang Chong’s plan, but he already felt unnerved.
Wang Chong shouldered a 90000 gold taels debt from the Sindhi and a 1700 gold taels debt from the Eight Gods Pavilion, and if something goes wrong in his plan, he might have to pay an even larger sum!
In the capital, which clan would dare to take such risk?
If it was another person, they would definitely be completely terrified; their face would go pale in worry and they would be unable to sleep at night. Yet, Wang Chong looked completely fine, and he even had the mood to console him.
Wei Hao had once considered if he could do the same, and it was a definite no.
“Rest easy, Youngster. You’ve known me for a long time; do I look like the type of person who would blindly look for trouble?”
Wang Chong chuckled as he patted Wei Hao’s shoulder.
Wei Hao went silent. He had grown up with Wang Chong, and naturally, he knew that Wang Chong wasn’t such a person. If Wang Chong was such a person, Wei Hao would have never allowed Wang Chong to cause such a huge uproar from the very start, and even assist him in doing it!
Wei Hao was still hesitant on the matter.
“There’s no buts! I have my own plan for this matter, and later on, you just have to do as I say.”
Wang Chong said calmly. His voice revealed his confidence in the matter.
Wei Hao was silent for a moment before he nodded his head seriously.
Looking upward at the Bluebottle Pavilion, Wang Chong saw many heads on the upper floors. Those who were involved in the sword duel gamble had already arrived at the scene early.
Even though the Bluebottle Pavilion was normally in a bustling state, it was currently completely silent. No one was speaking, and even if one were to speak, no one would reply. The strong scent of rivalry was in the air.
“Heh, The Number One Sword in the World!”
Smiling, Wang Chong shook his head. Retracting his glance, he walked into the Bluebottle Pavilion alongside Wei Hao.
“Wang Chong, are you going to increase the price today as well?”
Following the wooden stairs up the pavilion, Wei Hao asked nervously.
“There’s no need to!”
Wang Chong shook his head. It wasn’t that he was afraid of paying more if he lost in the sword duel gamble, but that there was no longer any need for it. Even though the price of Wootz steel would exceed hundred thousand gold taels in the future, under the current market condition, 19200 gold taels was already the limit.
There was always an acceptable region to things.
If one were to go too far, it would only have the opposite effect.
Walking along the wooden stairs designed in ancient architecture, Wang Chong and Wei Hao soon reached the third floor. There were many people in the lounge of the third floor; people from the Four Great Swordsmithing Clans, the weapon shops of the capital, the weapon merchants of the Western Regions, as well as the Imperial Army… Densely packed on the third floor of this pavilion, they had all gathered here.
From the looks of it, they arrived very early.
“Wei gongzi, it is already nearing noon and it should be around time. Where is the owner of the sword? You should call him out now, right?”
The moment Wei Hao reached the third floor, he immediately attracted everyone’s attention. On the other hand, Wang Chong was disregarded by everyone else.
“Everyone, isn’t the owner of the sword here already?”
Wei Hao smiled and he walked to the side, allowing Wang Chong to make an appearance. The threat was before them, and it didn’t matter whether they step forward to face it or cower backward. Since it has already come down to it, Wei Hao had decided to simply go through with it rather than worrying about it.
The sword duel gamble had already become a reality and it was too late for any regrets. Since that’s the case, he might as well face it head-on.
The moment Wei Hao said those words, eyes from all directions immediately gathered onto Wang Chong’s body. On that instant, on the bustling Bluebottle Pavilion, there was a moment which felt as though time had halted.
The eyes that had gathered on Wang Chong showed shock, astonishment, disbelief, as well as… doubt!
“This is the owner of that sword?”
The Cheng Clan Elder stepped forward and stared at Wang Chong with a look of disbelief.
Many people had seen Wang Chong standing beside Wei Hao when they were below, but no one had thought toward that direction. In the view of everyone else, the one who had managed to cause such a huge storm in the capital was at least a thirty to forty-year-old middle-aged man.
No one could have thought that the other party would be a seventeen to eighteen-year-old young man!
He was simply too young!
“I’m the owner of the sword!”
Wang Chong said calmly. Even when standing before a group of ‘powerful figures’ of the weapon trade, he had no fear.
“What kind of joke is this!”
“After all that had happened, the owner of the sword is just a brat?”
Everyone was shocked.
“Hmph, brat. Regardless of where you came from, I hope that you can take out 19200 gold taels later on!”
A cold voice echoed, then a figure stepped forward. Manager Luo from the White Tiger Weapon Shop stepped forward and glared ferociously at Wang Chong.
Along with him, the people from the other workshops and weapon shops glared at Wang Chong as well.
Wang Chong’s actions in the Bluebottle Pavilion had a large impact on the prestige of the other weapon shops in the capital. What Wang Chong did was almost equivalent to looking down on the other swords in the capital, and they felt humiliated by his actions.
Thus, this time, the various weapon shops and workshops had taken out their best swords to participate in this duel gamble. All of them shared the same purpose; they wanted to teach this ‘troublemaker’ who had violated the rules of the trade a lesson.
Only by doing this will they send a stern warning to those who hope to do the same in the future, and protect the prestige and standing of the other weapon shops of the capital.
“Rest easy, I’m here. With so many people here, can I run? Rather, I should be the one asking if you all have prepared the 1200 gold taels already?”
Wang Chong asked impassively.
Various managers from the weapon shops and workshops flew into a rage. If the one who spoke such words were from prestigious swordsmithing clans in the capital, they might still be able to tolerate such disrespect. However, it was outright humiliation to them to be hearing such words from an unfamiliar youngster like Wang Chong.
“It’s just 1200 gold taels, we don’t care about a measly sum like this. As long as you have the capability to, feel free to take it from us!”
Their faces were flushed and they turned their head around in anger, not wanting to speak anymore.
Making use of the moment when everyone’s attention was away from Wang Chong, Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian hurriedly pulled Wang Chong to the side and whispered:
“It’s still not too late to regret now. Our Zhang Clan has a few sword which can help you. You can secretly swap it…”
Similarly, the Zhang Clan was involved in the duel gamble as well. It wasn’t that they were trying to rub salt on Wang Chong’s wounds, but the prestige of the ‘Number One Sword in the World’ was at stake. The Zhang Clan had no choice but to participate in it as well.
But at this moment, the matter was of secondary concern. They were more worried about Wang Chong.
“… You might not know the impacts of the matters yet. Look outside, almost all from the weapon trade in the capital had been summoned here. It wouldn’t be a joke if you were to lose!”
“The sword duel gamble hasn’t started yet. This is your final chance!”
The two hurriedly persuaded them. Even they couldn’t help but feel worried for the Wang Clan.
They had been to the Wang Clan twice, and they could tell that the entire Wang Clan, and that was including Madam Wang, wasn’t aware of this matter.
It seemed like Wang Chong had secretly done all of this behind the Wang Clan’s back!
Regardless of what his motive was, if Wang Chong were to fail, the entire Wang Clan would have to take responsibility for his actions. By then, a huge storm would be stirred up.
Even though the duo wanted the Hyderabad ore contract, they didn’t wish to see the Wang Clan to be implicated by this matter.
Wang Chong stared intently at the duo, and an unspeakable sensation overwhelmed his heart. If the situation allowed for it, he might have given the Hyderabad ore contract to them.
But Wang Chong knew that there was no use passing on the contract to them. That was because the two Sindhi monks wouldn’t sell it to them.
It was impossible for them to reach an agreement on the price of the ores.
Furthermore, Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian didn’t know that Wang Chong had never thought that his sword would lose against anyone’s.
“Thank you! But if I really need help, I will look for you two!”
Wang Chong declined their offer politely.
The two heaved a long sigh. They knew that it would be impossible to persuade Wang Chong:
“Since that’s the case, then we’ll be praying for you.”
Turning around to leave, disappointment reflected in the eyes of the duo.
Wang Chong stared at the back of the duo quietly. Most of the time, the truth is held only in the hands of a few. The duo thought that he was bringing a calamity to his clan, but in a moment, when they witness the prowess of the Wootz steel sword for themselves, they wouldn’t be thinking the same.
Wang Chong lifted his head to take a look at the sky. The sun was slowly creeping above their head.
“It’s about time!”
Wang Chong thought. With a fling of his robe, he walked over to the pillar of the Bluebottle Pavilion.
When Wang Chong was standing at the center of the pillar of the third floor of the Bluebottle Pavilion, what that appeared before everyone’s eyes made them explode into frenzy.