The Nine Cauldrons

Book 2 Chapter 22: Greed  

“Take the sabers out!” Teng Yongfan commanded. The clansmen took the cloth bags that they were carrying on their backs off and took out the bundles of Frost Jade Sabers wrapped in beast furs.

As the bundles of Frost Jade Sabers fell to the ground, a low ringing sound was produced. The cavalry leader sat on his chair and arrogantly looked towards the Frost Jade Sabers on the ground. “Old Zhang, inspect every Frost Jade Saber carefully. Don’t let these mountain people get away with giving us shoddy goods!”

“Yes, milord.” A middle-aged man with a large build strode forward with large steps and called out to the others, “Come over and check every saber!”

After untying the strings, loud noises made by colliding metal could be heard! All the Frost Jade Sabers were scattered on the ground.

The guards picked up the Frost Jade Sabers and carefully inspected them one by one. The Frost Jade Sabers’ bodies gave off pale green light, and one could feel the chill emanating from the blades just by holding the hilts. The blades were also extremely sharp, and one could definitely tell that they were excellent swords.

“Milord.” Old Zhang threw a Frost Jade Saber towards the cavalry leader.

The leader caught the Frost Jade Saber and carefully appraised it for a moment. He gave a slight nod. “It looks alright, but how good is it when used?”

“Your excellency, rest assured.” Teng Yongfan smiled confidently. “Before we brought the Frost Jade Sabers over, we tested every single one of them. None of the Frost Jade Sabers sold by the Teng Jia Village are faulty.”

“Hmph, we’ll see after we test them.” The cavalry leader glanced at Old Zhang, who instantly understood.

“Take out the logs!” Old Zhang shouted.

Numerous bundles of firewood were carried over and thrown directly onto the ground, and the wood scattered everywhere.

“Every one of you, take a Frost Jade Saber and test it by hacking the firewood,” said Old Zhang.

The guards each took a Frost Jade Saber and casually swung at the firewood. The firewood split easily and the Frost Jade Sabers didn’t chip. Teng Yongfan secretly gave a cold smile. The secret skills used to make the Frost Jade Sabers had been passed down and refined by many generations of Teng Jia villagers over a thousand years. How could the sabers be bad quality?

“Hm?” The cavalry leader suddenly stood up and took the Frost Jade Saber from a nearby guard. His right hand gently stroked the blade, and then his face immediately fell.

The men from Teng Jia Village felt their hearts skip a beat.

“What’s this? Why is the blade bent?” The cavalry leader roared furiously and threw the Frost Jade Saber down with a clang. It fell right in front of Teng Qingshan and his entourage.

“How is this possible?” Teng Yongfan picked up the saber.

The surrounding clansmen looked and noticed that the Frost Jade Saber was indeed bent.

Teng Yongfan’s facial expression changed drastically.

According to the written agreement, troubles would arise the moment there was a problem with the quality of the goods.

“Impossible! This is absolutely impossible!” Teng Yongfan shook his head, his face showing urgency. “I inspected every single blade myself. How could this be?”

“Impossible.” The leader smiled coldly.

“Milord!” Teng Qingshan suddenly called out. His voice was very loud and it could be heard within a few hundred Zhang. The cavalry leader’s expression changed and he snapped, “Brat, keep your voice down. If you disturb the master, who is resting, all of you should be prepared to go to jail.”

Teng Qingshan was only 10 years old and thus looked like a youth.

“Milord, can you perhaps use inner strength? The inner strength written in the legends?” Teng Qingshan looked at the leader with an envious and excited expression.

The leader was startled.

“I just saw your hand touching the Frost Jade Saber and the sharp blade…” Teng Qingshan had not finished when the leader’s expression changed. The leader became flustered and he angrily snapped, “Shut up, brat!”

Teng Qingshan showed an innocent expression on the outside, but on the inside, he was smiling coldly. Nobody had seen it, but with Teng Qingshan’s sensitive six senses, he clearly noticed that the original regular Frost Jade Saber had curled up after the leader touched the blade. Actually, Teng Qingshan could also perform the same feat.

When using the power of inner strength on the side of the blade, it would be strange if the blade didn’t curl up.

Teng Qingshan could see that the leader was obviously trying to scam the villagers in broad daylight and he was trying to gain from it himself.

“What’s going on?” A voice rang out, and a group of people came out of the mansion. Leading the group was a middle-aged man in a black fur coat. His face was clean, and it was obvious that this middle-aged man was well respected. At his side, there was a cheeky, cute girl with two braids who was wearing a white snow leopard fur, and behind them were two servants and two bodyguards.

“Master.” The people in the yard immediately bowed.

“Oh? The Frost Jade Sabers are here? Since they have been delivered already, pay them and let them go. Why are you fussing around?!” The middle-aged man narrowed his eyes.

“Yes, master,” the leader said.

“Hey, Qin San. What were you arguing about?” The playful girl asked this doubtfully while blinking her large eyes. She looked at the Teng Jia villagers, who were dressed in beast skins, curiously.

The cavalry leader bowed and said, “My lady, I will explain. We ordered some weapons from them, and they have all been delivered. However, when we were testing them out just now… some of the Frost Jade Sabres were of very mediocre quality. The blades bent when we were simply chopping some firewood.” After listening, the cute girl looked at Teng Qingshan’s group and furrowed her eyebrows. “Hmph. One Frost Jade Sabre costs one hundred and fifty-two taels of silver, and it bent by just chopping some firewood. How can we accept these weapons?!”

Teng Qingshan, Teng Yongfan, and the others were shocked.

One hundred and fifty-two taels of silver per blade?

The leader of the horsemen had only agreed to pay one hundred silvers per blade, and by his looks, he did not currently seem like he was going to pay.

“Qin San, and what about the other Frost Jade Sabers? How are they?” The middle-aged man asked apathetically.

“The other Frost Jade Sabers seems alright,” the cavalry leader replied, “but we haven’t checked them closely yet.”

“Qin Da, you take a look,” the middle-aged man said.

One of the two bodyguards standing behind him went over to the Frost Jade Sabers that were scattered on the floor. He glared at the cavalry leader and picked up a Frost Jade Saber. After swinging it a few times, he turned around and said, “My Lord, these Frost Jade Sabers are pretty well made. For normal guards, these are definitely enough.”

“Good. Qin San, pay them the silvers and let them leave quickly. There is no point in causing a ruckus here,” the middle-aged man said indifferently. He looked at the girl beside him. “Yuer, let’s go. We still have to visit your Uncle Liu, and we shouldn’t be late.”

“Yes, Father.”

The cute girl casted a curious glance at Teng Qingshan’s group and left with the middle-aged man.

The bodyguard called “Qin Da” went over to the cavalry leader and said quietly, “Don’t be so greedy this time. These people worked very hard to earn these taels of silver. If you end up making a huge fuss and angering the master, don’t blame me for not helping you.” Qin Da then turned around and left with the master.

“He won’t even give me any face.” The cavalry leader watched the group of people leave and angrily said, “Some elder brother he is. That ass is always looking down on me. Just you wait till I achieve the sixth rank, and then see if I’ll still need to listen to you.”

The cavalry leader looked coldly at Teng Qingshan’s group.

“You mountain dwellers, one of the Frost Jade Sabers is bent, but luckily for you, I’m not in the mood to argue with you. Old Zhang, give them a note for ten thousand taels of silver and get them out of here,” the cavalry leader ordered.

Teng Qingshan frowned as he heard this.

Ten thousand taels of silver?

The total price of this business deal was ten thousand and two hundred twenty taels of silver. From what the leader of the horsemen said, it did not seem like he was going to pay the remaining two hundred twenty taels of silver, which was not a small sum. For this business deal, the profit margin was very small, including the labor costs of Teng Jia Village. So, the two hundred twenty taels of silver was a big deal for them.

“Milord…” Teng Yongfan was cut off.

“Hmph.” The leader of the horsemen glared coldly. “One of the Frost Jade Sabers was bent today, and I’m not going to try to get even with you. If you continue this nonsense, I’ll cripple all of you. Get out of here.”

Old Zhang took out a note for ten thousand silvers and handed it to Teng Yongfan.

Teng Yongfan took the note and carefully looked at it. Then he muttered, “Let’s go!” Although every man in the Teng Jia Village was hot-blooded, they were not going to fight a losing battle. Two hundred taels of silver was not worth risking everybody’s lives. Everybody swallowed their anger and left the Yangzhou Merchant Guild.

After leaving the Yangzhou Merchant Guild, they could not hold it in any longer and started swearing.

“The guy called Qin San, what was his deal? I won’t even mention that he was going to pay one hundred taels of silver when the blades were originally one hundred and fifty-two taels of silver per blade, but he was prepared not to pay anything!” Teng Qinghu cursed. “If not for Qingshan speaking loudly enough to attract the lord, that Qin San probably wouldn’t have paid us anything.”
Teng Yongfan smiled at Teng Qingshan. “Qingshan, how did you get the idea to attract the lord’s attention?”

“I was starting to get anxious, so I shouted.” Teng Qingshan smiled. “I saw with my own eyes that the cavalry leader touched and bent the blade.” Although Teng Qingshan said he was anxious, he actually intentionally raised his voice in order to attract the attention of the salt merchants.

Even if he couldn’t attract the master of the mansion, it would’ve been a success if any of the salt merchants had come over.

Teng Yongfan, Teng Qinghu, and the others had lived their entire lives in the village, so they wouldn’t understand the thinking of the salt merchants.

But Teng Qingshan was a super hitman in his previous life and thus, he understood the psychology of the super rich and the upper echelons of society. To these people, money was not a big deal, but face was very important.

If rumors got out that some big salt merchants had gotten into a fight with some mountain dwellers over some taels of silver, they would become a laughingstock. So, no matter what happened in the Yangzhou Merchant Guild, those merchants would not fight with them over a few taels of silver.

“Anyways, in the end, we got out of this safely.” Teng Yongfan smiled. “Qingshan, since it’s your first time here in Yi City, I want to take you somewhere before we return to the village. I have something that I need to buy there.”

“Where?” asked Teng Qingshan, a little curious.

“Wan Xiang Tower,” Teng Yongfan said.

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