The Nine Cauldrons

Book 3 Chapter 1 Jiangning County

The sky was similar to a dark blue porcelain plate. On the horizon, the occasional cloud could be seen floating about and they exuded a gentle and fair feeling.

There was a slight breeze in the air… and it contained the smell of blood!

“Haha, Qingshan. These bandits brought the silver taels right to us!” Qinghu let out a laugh as he searched the corpses of every bandits lying on the ground. The surrounding road contained a total of 18 corpses. Each corpse contained a dying expression of either shock or insanity. However, they were now all covered in bloodstains as they lay on the ground.

These 18 bandits were part of a gang that wanted to kill Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu.

After Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu, together, killed so many bandits and their leader, the other bandits scattered and ran away in fright.

“We aren’t riding any horses, and are only carrying bags with no sight of any weapons in our hands. If those bandits didn’t rob us, who would they rob?” Teng Qingshan laughed as he searched for gold and silver taels in each corpse’s’ pockets.

“Qingshan, speak no further. Searching for a bandit’s silver truly is a pleasant activity.” Teng Qinghu laughed. “You really are smart. When we first started our journey, I figured we would use our fastest speed to travel. Thus, we would reach Jiangning County in one day. If we had travelled like that, I’m pretty sure that we would not have been able to obtain any silver.

The distance from Yi City to Jiangning County was not considered far.

Jiangning County was to the east of Yi City. Thus, when the two of them set out, they didn’t have to cross the Great Yan Mountain. Instead, they only had to follow the main road for approximately 300 kilometers. This distance was something that Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu could travel in a day.

“The Gui Yuan Sect only accepts disciples one day in the summer and one day in the winter. Respectively, they are the 12th of the sixth month and the sixth day of the 12th month!” Teng Qingshan stood up and counted the silver taels in his hands while saying, “We started travelling on the 3rd day of the 12th month, so why do we have to rush? Otherwise, if we were to reach Jiangning County now, we would waste money on accommodation!”

“Qingshan, what you said is correct.” Teng Qingshan counted the fragmented silver taels in his hand and was extremely complacent. “Qingshan, I have approximately 20 taels of silver here. How about you? The leader of the bandits had a lot of silver, right?”

“Mhm, the bandit leader had the most silver. In his bosom, there were three silver ingots, and the other taels of silver are all small, fragmented pieces. Summed up together, I have 60 something taels of silver here.” Teng Qingshan laughed as he grabbed the taels of silver and put it in the bag on his back. If robbers attempted to steal their items and kill them during their travels, they would turn the situation around, kill the robbers and earn some money.

Teng Qinghu was slightly overwhelmed by joy and said: “Haha, Qingshan, during our 300 kilometer travels, we abandoned ourselves to a life of pleasure. It has nearly been three days and we haven’t spent a single tael of silver. In fact, we have made a profit of over 300 taels of silver”

On the third day of the 12th month, the two of them had left the Teng Jia Village.

Today was the fifth day of the 12th month. Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu had wandered about on their path for three days and they had indulged themselves in eating and drinking.

“This sort of travel is really pleasant! Taking large bites of meat, drinking large gulps of wine and earning large amounts of silver. I really do feel like continuing on for a few more days.” Qinghu laughed as he spoke. Although he spoke like this, he understood that with his current strength, if he were to come across some formidable bandits during his travels, he would be dead meat.

Teng Qingshan looked at him: “Tomorrow, the Gui Yuan Sect will begin to recruit people. If we miss tomorrow, we will have to wait another half a year. Cousin, I don’t mind waiting half a year, so if you want to continue fooling around, I will accompany you. How about it?”

“I was joking.” Teng Qinghu laughed. “Compared to having fun, entering the Black Armored Army gives me much more face!”

“Let’s go, we should strive to reach Jiangning County early since we haven’t been there before. This way, we can properly stroll around and take a look.” Teng Qingshan smiled. Immediately, the two brothers lifted their respective packs and walked in the eastern direction.

As night fell and the sun sank in the west, the western horizon contained the glow of a sunset. It was truly beautiful.

Two travel worn youths each carried a pack as they walked. Occasionally, a person riding a horse would rush past them.

“Qingshan, we have arrived at Jiangning County!” Qinghu exclaimed in an excited voice.

In the distance, Teng Qingshan made out an ancient city. Jiangning County City’s walls were extended along the southern and northern frontiers; their ends were indiscernible.

“In this world, in the Nine Prefectures, there aren’t many cities that are larger than Jiangning County City.” Teng Qingshan understood the basics of the Nine Prefectures. The land under the heavens was partitioned into Nine Prefectures, and the largest city of each prefecture was the county city. Of course, in the whole world, there were two cities that were larger than counties!

One of them was the Royal City of Yu, which was appointed by Emperor Yu who managed to unify the land under the heavens in the past!

The other was the Royal City of Qin, which was appointed by the northwestern Rong Prefecture’s Celestial Emperor Qinling when he united the land under the heavens!

Yu City and Qin City were once the Imperial Cities of the Nine Prefectures. Thus, the amount of space they occupied was not abnormal. Apart from these two Imperial Cities, the sizes of other county cities were exceptionally similar. Like Jiangning County City, they were each approximately 30 miles wide and housed about a million residents. Of course, each county city had slight differences.

Jiangning County City was the center of Jiangning County, and because it was close to the Eastern Sea and had the Grand Yu Chang Canal running through it, the businesses inside the county was exceptionally developed. Thus, Jiangning County was extremely rich.

“As a city that’s able to house a million people and was built during ancient times solely through manpower, it really is a hard feat to accomplish.” Teng Qingshan still remembered that during ancient Chinese history from his past life, the largest city also only held approximately a million people. In Chinese ancient history, there were extremely few cities that were similar to such incredibly super big city like Jiangning County City

Moreover, in Teng Qingshan’s current life, county cities capable of housing a million people were numerous in the Nine Prefectures.

“According to legend, Yu City had a popuation of five million people, while Royal Qin City had a population of eight million people! Furthermore, these two Royal Cities don’t contain skyscrapers, so their population density is quite small. Compared to my previous life’s Shanghai and Beijing, they are even bigger. It really is unfathomable.” Teng Qingshan’s heart harboured a bit of expectation to one day see the two historic Royal Cities.

While Teng Qinghshan was in the midst of pondering, he and Qinghu walked through the city entrance.

“There are a lot of people leaving. Why are so many people exiting the city?” Qinghu exclaimed as he watched the bustling crowd. There were numerous people carrying a bag on a pole, others were pushing carted goods and peddlers were seen everywhere.

“These sort of small business hawkers come to the county during the day time to conduct business. During the night, they return home. Returning home takes a bit of time.” Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu paid their entrance fee before finally stepping foot into the legendary Jiangning County City.

When the two of them entered Jiangning County, they were instantly shocked.

“Such wide streets.” Teng Qingshan noticed that the scene in front of him was composed of an extremely wide street built on orderly limestone. He was somewhat stunned. “This street is capable of holding over ten steeds that are out of control as they proceed. At the very least, it is 30 meters wide.” Even the few pedestrian streets in his previous life weren’t as wide as this.

“Qingshan, I have said that Jiangning County City’s most prominent street is this one.” Teng Qinghu’s eyes lit up. “Currently, the peddler booths on either side are still numerous. Let’s go, we should have a good stroll around!”

As a country folk entering a county city, Qinghu seemed to be seeing flowers.

Teng Qingshan, on the other hand, was only occasionally shocked. After all, comparing it to the international metropolises in his previous life, this county city was quite lacking. However, this county was quite developed considering it was built solely off of manpower. This sort of majestic, yet unadorned atmosphere caused Teng Qingshan to be quite fond of this place.

Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu were holding barbeque meat in their hands as they contentedly strolled about.

“County cities are just so different. Entertainment and places with good food significantly outnumber our Yi City’s.” Qinghu was extremely carefree. He proceeded to lift his head and look at the distant 3 floored restaurant. The entire building of the restaurant was composed of wood and the external wall had refined engravings. In one glance, one could tell that it was a first-rate luxurious restaurant.

The main entrance to the restaurant had a golden sign that contained three flamboyant words: Canvass Lunar Restaurant.

“Qingshan. Why don’t we enter and have something to eat?” Teng Qinghu’s eyes lit up.

Teng Qingshan also knew that the cost of eating in such a restaurant was exceptionally high. One only needed half a tael of silver to eat in a small tavern. On the other hand, this restaurant demanded a much more exorbitant fee. However, they had travelled for three days, and they had earned a few hundred taels of silver from the bandits: “Okay, let’s go take a look at what the restaurants of Jiangning County City are like.”

As soon as they entered the first floor of the restaurant, they were immediately greeted by a waiter.

“My two esteemed customers, our Canvass Lunar Restaurant’s second and third floor are already full. And there are only two tables left on the first floor. Which of the two would the two gentleman like?” The waiter cordially said.

Teng Qingshan swept a glance before nonchalantly saying: “The table by the window.”

“Your business truly is good.” Qinghu let out a sigh of admiration as he and Teng Qinghu took a seat. The waiter immediately offered a menu.

“It really isn’t just normally expensive!” Qinghu whispered as he laughed. “However, this feels great!”

The waiter was still beside them as he cordially said: “Our Canvass Lunar Restaurant’s well-known dish is the 12 Coiled Indigo Fruits along with 28 dishes to fit the wine. Those 12 Coiled Indigo Fruits along with the 28 dishes are our Canvass Lunar Restaurant’s specialities. Everything is in the menu. Customers, please have a look at it yourselves.

“I can see that you two customers are outspoken men, so you must love meat and wine. Our Canvass Lunar Restaurant also has three slices of stir-fried pork loin cutlets.”

“We will take a look first.” Teng Qinghu proceeded to say. The waiter was exceptionally eloquent when he mentioned the dishes.

Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu were ready to spend the money they had obtained from the bandits. In one breath, they ordered eight dishes and among these dishes, six of them were meat dishes. They also ordered two bottles of fine wine. In total, they spend close to twenty taels of silver. If it was a normal mountain commoner, he or she would only earn this much in a year.

“The taste is really good.” When Teng Qingshan took a bite and tasted the delicious flavor, he couldn’t help but nod.

Teng Qinghu took a bite before proceeding to nod: “Yes, yes. This meat really isn’t bad. It’s delicious and the wine is pure enough and contains enough spirit.” Although the price of dishes at the Canvass Lunar Restaurant was exceptionally high, the taste was also out of the ordinary.

“Qingshan, look.The people that entered this restaurant are either wealthy or noble. Look at what they are wearing. Tsk, tsk.” Teng Qinghu laughed.

“Mhm.” Teng Qingshan also laughed and nodded his head.

Just as the two of them continued to eat, a voice resounded from outside the restaurant.

“What?! You have a full restaurant?” A dissatisfied voice rang out. “I invited my brother here today specially to your Canvass Lunar Restaurant. If the third floor private rooms are full, are there also no more regular seats on the first or second floor?”

“Esteemed customers, we have a full restaurant.” The waiter didn’t lose his patience.

A white robed noble’s son stood at the restaurant’s entrance. After sweeping his eyes around the interior, his eyes stopped on Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu.

After all, based on one’s temperament and clothing, another could make clear of his or her strength and status. “Of these two youngsters, one of them has their back to me and I cannot see him clearly, but the other is loud and obnoxious. He is full of smiles and it’s clear that he has never experienced something like this before.”

Teng Qingshan and Teng Qinghu weren’t paying any attention to the conversation at the entrance as the two of them were indulged in eating and drinking. They were also looking through the window at the nighttime scenery while occasionally conversing.

“Two esteemed customers.” The waiter suddenly ran up to Teng Qingshan’s side.

“Yes?” Teng Qingshan lifted his head.

“The gentleman over there wishes for the two of you to give your table to him. He will handle the cost of your dishes.” The waiter said. “I do not know if you two esteemed guests will agree to this?”

Teng Qinghu was in the midst of eating meat as he lifted his head and stared at the waiter. He proceeded to sneer and looked at the noble’s son at the entrance: “He will cover the cost? He should come over himself and say it. If he brings 1000 taels of silver, the two of us will immediately leave. If he is stingy and unwilling to, then tell him to scram!”

Teng Qingshan grabbed his wine cup and took a sip. He laughed as he watched the situation unfold.

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