Chapter 401: Framing!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
There was no way that that the goateed elder could not understand what Yao Guangyi was thinking, so he had ultimately decided to work together with Yao Guangyi. If something really did happen that would result in a rebuke from King Qi, they would take the blame together.
A strange look flashed through Yao Guangyi's eyes, but he very quickly calmed down.
"Sir is correct."
Yao Guangyi nodded his head. Although he wanted to probe into the elder's thoughts, the elder was right. They truly should be taking on this burden on King Qi's behalf.
Moreover, this matter of one thousand jun of Hyderabad ore was extremely important. If the convoy were allowed to smoothly reach the capital, the Wang Clan's power would be redoubled, and the only recipient of the calamity would be the Yao Clan.
And no one was more concerned about this than Yao Guangyi.
"We have to send experts to intercept these goods as quickly as possible. Our greatest advantage right now is that the Wang Clan still doesn't know that we've already found out their secret. As long as we move fast enough, we can still be on time. But the convoy also has no small number of experts. All of them are great monks from Sindhu. To snatch the Hyderabad ore from them will not be easy."
As he spoke, Yao Guangyi looked at the old man, his meaning obvious.
A thousand jun of Hyderabad ore was no minor matter. The Sindhu side also clearly treated this matter with great importance.
From their intelligence reports, more than twenty powerful great monks from Sindhu were guarding the Hyderabad ore, and many masters were among them.
To snatch food from the mouths of the tigers that were the Sindhi monks was no easy task. It would not be possible without sufficient top-notch experts.
This was no problem to Yao Guangyi. In terms of experts, no matter how many the Yao Residence had, it couldn't have more than King Qi. King Qi had been recruiting soldiers all this time and had a habit of recruiting experts. His residence had long ago become a great gathering of experts and talents.
And King Qi himself was a supreme expert!
The Yao Residence's experts were just a drop in the bucket to the King Qi Residence and not even worth a mention.
For this matter, it was clearly better for the people of King Qi's side to step forward.
"Hahaha, if General Yao is worried about this matter, let me handle it. I can get this matter settled!"
With no need for another word from Yao Guangyi, the goateed elder heartily laughed and took charge of the matter. He stroked his beard with a proud expression on his face.
"But Sir, the strength of those Sindhi monks cannot be underestimated. There are many of them, and their strength is at least at True Martial Tier 7, 8, or 9. There's even a Profound Martial Tier 1 expert with them. If we send normal experts, I'm afraid that we'll just be sending them to their deaths," Yao Guangyi kindly warned. He was elated to see the elder take charge of this matter, but this matter was also tied up with the Yao Clan.
Yao Guangyi felt like he had to warn the elder about a few things.
"Hahaha, rest easy, General Yao, it's just some monks at Tier 7, 8, and 9 of the True Martial realm. Even a Profound Martial realm expert isn't too big of a deal. This old man is highly valued by King Qi, so I'm able to mobilize a few experts."
The goateed elder fiddled with his beard, a conceited look on his face.
Yao Guangyi nodded slightly, not daring to look down on the old man. Those people who could gain the trust of King Qi naturally had to possess extraordinary qualities.
"Since Sir has said so, this lowly Yao can rest easy. If possible, I hope that Sir will refrain from mobilizing the experts of the residence. The ambush earlier attracted the notice and displeasure of the Wang Clan and King Song. If we leak out any more information, not even His Majesty will be able to give any explanation," Yao Guangyi cautioned.
The ambush Wang Chong had encountered on the official road and narrowly escaped with his life had taken place not too long ago. If King Qi and the Yao Clan did something that left behind even more clues, even the Sage Emperor would begin to show his displeasure.
As a longtime court official, Yao Guangyi well understood that the Sage Emperor cared little for trifling matters, and could spare none of his attention for them.
But some things could be done only once, and if one acted too excessively, even His Majesty could no longer ignore them.
His Majesty only chose to ignore some things, but he was not actually deaf and mute, completely unaware of what was going on. Anyone who believed that His Majesty was really bewildered was the true fool.
"General Yao, relax, I won't attract the notice of the Wang Clan or King Song!" The elder proudly said, waving away his concerns without even thinking. He was a steward in the King Qi Residence, so if he couldn't even do something like that, he would be wasting King Qi's trust.
Yao Guangyi blinked as he felt surprise for the first time.
"If you will forgive this lowly Yao for speaking too much, might I know where Sir will be inviting experts from?"
The escort for this Hyderabad ore shipment needed at least experts of the Profound Martial realm to deal with. Experts at this level were so important that not even the Yao Clan could easily mobilize one.
"Haha, General Yao, I won't hide it from you. I've met a few people along the road. Does General still remember that Iron Cloak Li near Longxi?" the elder asked, stroking his beard.
"The Iron Cloak Bandits?"
Yao Guangyi's eyes flashed. Yao Guangyi had a very deep impression of those Iron Cloak Bandits who had almost killed Wang Chong's group.
Alas, they had failed in the final push, or else he wouldn't have to go through all these troubles now.
"Does Sir know an individual like him?"
Yao Guangyi immediately caught on.
"Haha, as expected, General Yao, you have a fast reaction. It's no wonder King Qi looks highly upon you. Correct, I truly do know someone like that, though this person is much more formidable than the leader of the Iron Cloak Bandits. On the road to the Western Regions, this person fully deserves to be called the king of bandits. His cultivation reached the Profound Martial realm a long time ago and he has countless experts at his command. If this person steps forward, neither King Song nor the Wang Clan will be able to associate us with them, no matter how formidable they are."
The goateed elder continued to fiddle with his beard, a shrewd look in his eyes.
Yao Guangyi was astonished by these words. He finally realized that he had underestimated this seemingly frail elder.
If he really did know this sort of person, they were undoubtedly the best candidate. The plan would be flawless.
"If Sir has such a candidate in mind, then nothing could be better. As long as we can seize this ore, the Wang Clan will be dealt a mighty blow!"
Yao Guangyi nodded his head as he spoke, his mind much more at ease.
"Hehehe, this is no small fortune. Once the storm has passed, we can have the ore transported to the capital. If His Highness King Qi gets the help of this Hyderabad ore, it would be like giving a tiger wings. He will definitely value us even more."
The goateed elder nodded as he spoke. This was his true goal.
Yao Guangyi was dumbstruck, and then he gave a bitter smile.
"Sir's idea is rather good, but I fear that it is not too realistic!"
"Oh, is General Yao not moved? This is a hundred million taels gold here!"
The elder furrowed his brow.
"Ah, Sir, you've misunderstood my meaning."
Yao Guangyi somewhat helplessly explained, "It's not that I don't want to use this ore, but even if we did get our hands on the ore, it would be useless. In this entire world, I'm afraid it's only that boy who can run that Wootz Steel business. And this business is exclusively his."
Although they had already expended much effort, it was clear that this man before him did not have a deep understanding of the opponent facing the Yao Clan and King Qi.
"General Yao, what do you mean? Are you saying that this Hyderabad ore can only be theirs, not ours? When the time comes, we can just lie and say that we bought it from Sindhu."
The elder was somewhat discontent.
"It's useless. The Hyderabad ore is that boy's exclusive business."
With a bitter smile, Yao Guangyi revealed the agreement they had found in the Court of Judicial Review between the Wang Clan and Sindhu that allowed the Wang Clan to monopolize all the Hyderabad ore business in the Great Tang.
The goateed elder was so flabbergasted that he couldn't speak for a few moments.
Yao Guangyi explained, "Although that boy is young, he doesn't leave a single gap when doing business. Sir has not been involved in this business for long, so it's normal for you to not understand him. In the future, Sir will understand. If we look over the entire Wang Clan, Wang Yan, Wang Gengzhi1, is not even worth mentioning, and Wang Gen is too inflexible. The only person that can truly threaten us is that boy. If this wasn't so, how could we have failed in our last venture?"
The elder was once more frozen. His time in King Qi's service was still rather short, so there were many matters that he did not understand as thoroughly as Yao Guangyi.
He had originally believed that his opponents were the Wang Clan and King Song, but it now seemed that reality was differing from his expectations.
"But, we don't necessarily have to leak this matter. Can we not simply forge Wootz Steel swords in secret?" the goateed old man asked.
"That won't do. The Wootz Steel swords truly are forged from Hyderabad ore, but just having the Hyderabad ores doesn't mean that we can forge a Wootz Steel sword. I won't hide it from you. I already tried out your proposal, but all I got was this."
Yao Guangyi opened a drawer and took out a pitch-black metal sword.
"This is… a Wootz Steel sword?"
The goateed elder was dumbfounded, looking with disbelief at this black sword that looked no different from any normal sword or saber made from iron.
If Yao Guangyi had not told him, he wouldn't dare believe that this sword had been forged from Hyderabad ore. This was far too different from those gorgeous swords sold by the Wang Clan, which were shiny, incomparably sharp, and covered in magical inscriptions.
"I also didn't want to believe that this was forged from Hyderabad ore. Only when I personally observed the process could I confirm that this truly was a weapon forged from Hyderabad ore."
As he talked, Yao Guangyi drew a second black sword out of the drawer. Without question, this sword had also been forged from Hyderabad ore.
Although both swords were short, around a foot long, they had the exact same appearance: common and unattractive.
"But doesn't the capital's Zhang Clan also produce Wootz Steel swords? As long as we capture a few of them and have them help us make swords, won't it be okay?" the goateed elder somewhat unwillingly proposed.
Yao Guangyi once more sighed.
"This is where the problem is. All the smiths of the Zhang Clan only forge the incomplete versions of the swords. The crucial and final step is under the total control of that boy.
"One could say that no one in the Great Tang other than him knows how to forge the Wootz Steel swords. Even if we steal that one thousand jun of Hyderabad ore, we probably won't be able to forge the Wootz Steel swords we want."
The goateed elder sat there, dumbstruck.
When Yao Guangyi had earlier said that the boy's schemes were rigorous and without flaw, he had disbelieved it and objected to the description.
But now, he suddenly began to experience just how rigorous this boy's schemes truly were.
Yao Guangyi was right. Other than that boy of the Wang Clan, no one else could get their hands on that business!
1. As a reminder, 'Gengzhi' is Wang Yan's nickname.↩