The Human Emperor - Chapter 63: Clan Head of Cheng Clan
The hindrance on the middle of their way was just an insignificant hiccup. After Wang Chong handed over a thousand gold taels to the other party, Wei Hao didn’t say anything either.
Setting forth from the Bluebottle Pavilion, Wang Chong brought Wei Hao, Shen Hai, and Meng Long to a tavern to have a hearty feast and drink, celebrating their triumph.
After which, instead of returning back to the Wang Family Residence, the carriage took a detour around the capital before arriving at the lodging of the two Sindhi monks, the White Agate Jewelry Shop.
“Masters, here is a total of 37000 gold taels! I will put it here with you first. As for the rest of the payment, based on our previous agreement, I will send it in the form of rations to Sindhu. What do you think of it?”
Wang Chong looked at Ablonodan and Arloja and passed the 37000 gold taels in the room of the duo. The dazzling pile of gold at the corner of the room was extremely striking.
“Of course! Of course!”
The two Sindhi monks were delighted. It was the final day, and they had secretly sneaked to spectate at the sword duel gamble at the Bluebottle Pavilion. However, since they were in the midst of the crowd, they weren’t spotted by Wang Chong.
For an ordinary piece of Hyderabad ore, after being forged into a sword, to be sold for a few thousand, even reaching thirty to forty thousand gold taels. Furthermore, at the very end, Wang Chong was even unwilling to sell the sword. This matter was inconceivable to the duo.
It had truly expanded their worldly horizons!
Wang Chong’s capability had impressed the duo. Just a moment ago, they had written a letter to the High Priest of Sindhu, strongly recommending them to work together with Wang Chong!
Even if Wang Chong was unable to fork out the 90000 gold taels now, they were still willing to collaborate with him.
Working with such a talent would allow them to raise the price of Hyderabad ores to the maximum. He was exactly the ideal collaborator Sindhu was looking for, a figure whom even the Abbasid Caliphate and Charax Spasinu couldn’t compare to.
Seeing the duo agree to his request, Wang Chong chuckled. Everything went exactly as his plan. As long as the two Sindhi monks approved the matter, he would have sufficient time to go slowly from now on.
Besides, changing the several tens of thousand gold taels into rations and shipping it to Sindhu to solve the famine was an issue as well. This was a huge project that would take a significant amount of time and manpower.
After solving the matter regarding the Hyderabad ores, Wang Chong had to settle this one next.
“Masters, I don’t think I will use the 300 jun of Hyderabad ores for now, so I’ll leave it with you two. Also, I don’t have sufficient manpower and I believe that the Hyderabad ores will be coveted by many in the future. May I know if we were to reach an agreement, can the two masters remain behind to assist me?”
Wang Chong asked sincerely.
Wang Chong’s words seemed to have struck a chord in the Sindhi monks. Arloja’s body jolted and his eyebrows flew up. His dark, lean body suddenly exuded an astonishing might, causing Shen Hai and Meng Long to retreat uncontrollably in shock.
“I would like to see who would dare to covet our Hyderabad ores. Gongzi, rest easy, leave the Hyderabad ores with us. We will keep them safe!”
The both of them spoke authoritatively. The Hyderabad ores affect the livelihood of tens of million of people in Sindhu, and everyone was depending on the profit from the Hyderabad ores for rations to solve their famine.
Thus, the ones who were dispatched for this mission were the elites among the monks.
How could the duo dare to carry 90000 gold taels worth of ores here and promote it if they didn’t possess superior skills?
The circumstances Wang Chong spoke of was something similar to a taboo to them. The pair would never allow such a situation to occur.
“The cultivation of the two monks are astounding!”
Feeling the aura released by the duo, Wang Chong was shocked.
Even though Wang Chong already knew that the foreign monks from Sindhu all possessed superior cultivation, he didn’t expect the pair to be this strong.
It seemed like even Shen Hai and Meng Long were far from a match against them.
But this was for the best. Not only did he manage to monopolize the Hyderabad ores, he even gained the assistance of two top-notch experts. This was excellent news for him.
“Masters, I will thank you two then. I will be leaving this with you!”
Wang Chong bowed respectfully. Then, he pulled Wei Hao, who was staring at the gold with a look of pity, out of the White Agate Jewelry Shop.
The sword duel gamble at Bluebottle Pavilion had ended, but the storm raised by the affair was far from over for many people.
Just when Wang Chong was returning back to the Wang Family Residence, in the capital’s Cheng Clan’s courtyard, a bunch of people surrounded half of a metal mountain which was as tall as a human and stared at it intently.
The half of the ‘metal mountain’ was no other than the one which Wang Chong stacked up outside the Bluebottle Pavilion. After being cut into two, Wang Chong felt that it was too heavy and inconvenient to carry along with him, thus he dumped it on the spot as though trash.
But to the crowd who witnessed the shocking strength of the Wootz steel today, that lump of metal was a priceless treasure. Thus, after Wang Chong left, the capital’s Cheng Clan immediately claimed a half of it, whereas the other half was taken by someone else.
“Are you all done analyzing it?”
A large crowd had gathered around the half of the metal mountain. Not only were the elders, young and old swordsmiths of the Cheng Clan were here, even the clan head had been alarmed by the matter as well.
So many swordsmithing clans were involved in the matter, and even the powerful weapon merchants of the Western Regions had participated in the event as well, but the unimpressive young man still won.
The sharpness of the sword was too astounding. Even with the centuries of swordsmithing history behind the Cheng Clan, they dared not claim to be capable of shattering so many top-notch swords with a single slash.
However, what that they were unable to accept was that metal mountain!
They could accept the other party being able to cut through so many top-notch swords. With the Cheng Clan’s abilities, as long as they devote their souls into it, they might be capable of achieving the same feat as well.
But shattering a human height tall metal mountain was a different matter. This meant that the other party had reached the pinnacle, a pinnacle which no one else would be able to surpass.
In this era, no clan was capable of such feat, and this included the Cheng, Zhang, Lu, and Huang Clan.
This represented a swordsmithing technology that far surpassed that of this era.
The technology which the various prestigious swordsmithing clans possessed created a giant gap which no other ordinary swordsmiths could catch up to without decades or even centuries of effort!
The Cheng Clan couldn’t accept such a result. As such, their first reaction was ‘disbelief’ and ‘impossible’. They believed that Wang Chong had definitely tampered with the metal mountain.
Thus, after the duel gamble, the Cheng Clan Elder Cheng Youqing quickly snatched half of the metal mountain and shipped it back to the Cheng Clan Residence.
“Clan head, we’ve examined it for awhile, and the cut on the metal mountain is smooth like a mirror. Given how smooth the surface is, it is clearly from a single cut and it’s impossible for this cut to be artificially made any other way.”
A white-bearded thin Cheng Clan Elder said with red eyes. He had examined every nook and cranny intently, but he couldn’t discover any flaws.
As a swordsmith with dozens of years of experience, he had developed an eye for metal. He could almost be certain that no one had done anything to the metal mountain beforehand.
“Not only so, I have looked into the mountain clearly and there is no difference between the cut at the top and the bottom. There aren’t any signs of the blade slowing or dulling as well. In other words, if this metal mountain was tall enough, it could have gone further!”
Another Cheng Clan Elder responded. His back was slightly hunched and his coarse face was filled with wrinkles. As the oldest elder in the Cheng Clan, he held the most say in this matter.
Everyone gasped a breath of cold air. Due to the heavy responsibilities they had in the family, very few of them went for the sword duel gamble earlier, so they didn’t witness the sword for themselves.
But the metal mountain itself was enough to leave them shocked. To both the young and old swordsmiths, they had immersed themselves in forging swords for their entire life. It was difficult for them to imagine what kind of sword could reach this level of caliber.
When they recalled the rumors that there was no damage to the sword whatsoever even after all that it had done, the whole incident felt even more incredulous!
For master swordsmiths who immersed themselves in smithing for their entire lives, this was almost a supernatural incident to them. It was something completely beyond their understanding.
The entire courtyard fell silent.
After the two elders spoke their analysis on the matter, the Cheng Clan’s elites fell into silence. Cheng Youqing and Clan Head Cheng Hong’s complexion turned even more awful.
The Cheng Clan’s ambition had always been to surpass the other families and become the most incredible swordsmithing clan in the Central Plains. All along, the Cheng Clan had thought that their greatest threat and competitors were from the Zhang, Huang, or Lu Clan.
But no one could have ever thought that the one who would emerge victorious eventually would be some young lad of unknown background.
“Bring the ancestor’s sword over!”
Clan Head Cheng Hong suddenly spoke.
Upon hearing his words, everyone’s faces immediately lost their color. Even Elder Cheng Youqing panicked and hurriedly persuaded him otherwise:
“Clan head, you mustn’t! You can’t ruin the ancestor’s heirloom sword just because of this matter!”
In the Cheng Clan, there was only a single treasured sword passed down to generations of clan head. That was the sword which the founder of the Cheng Clan had created, and it had served as the symbol of authority in the clan. Even though it was said to be a personal possession of the clan heads, generations after generations of clan heads had left it on the ancestor’s shrine, praying to it day after day, not daring to retrieve it at all, needless to say, wield it.
This was the very core of the clan. Even if it was to cut a single block of wood, the Cheng Clan wouldn’t dare to take it out to use it. Otherwise, if even a mark were to be left on it, even if it was just the size of a needle, it would be a massive sin.
“I said, bring me the ancestor’s sword!”
Clan Head Cheng Hong lifted his hands and said once more. His tone was different from before, and it was clear he was ordering them in his capacity as the clan head.
In the clan, no one dared to disobey the orders of the clan head!
Soon, a Cheng Clan member brought a three chi long, ancient sword which carried the strong scent of incense.
(1 chi -> 33.3cm)
Upon seeing the ancient sword, the Cheng Clan members immediately lowered their head in reverence
The moment he drew the sword, a cold air surged into the air as though a rising dragon. In an instant, the temperature of the entire courtyard fell rapidly. The eerie and cold gleam of the sword diffused as though a wave, causing everyone to retreat backward.
The Cheng Clan’s family heirloom, the Ice Abyss. It was forged by the founder of the Cheng Clan and it was incomparably sharp. It was the first top-notch sword forged by the Cheng Clan.
Gripping the handle of the ‘Ice Abyss’, Cheng Hong gritted his teeth and slashed downward…