“My demands are simple. If we can to an agreement, the Zhang Clan will have to help me produce the items drawn on the blueprint continuously for the next thirty years. The items must be forged strictly based on the blueprint, and every single one must be forged to the best to your abilities. All of the steel parts must be inscribed with ten layers of resilience enchantment.”
Wang Chong didn’t know the thoughts running through the mind of the head of the Zhang Clan at this instant, or perhaps he knew but didn’t pay it any heed.
He lightly tapped on the table with the forefinger of his right hand, and the rhythmic sounds seemed to feel reassuring.
“Ten layers of resilience enchantment? The cost will be at a frightening level!”
The head of the Zhang Clan frowned.
He nearly thought that the Wang Clan was going to revolt. However, upon hearing the ten layers of resilience enchantment, he immediately realized that he was overthinking it.
“There’s no need for you to worry about that! I’ll pay for the cost of the inscription!”
Wang Chong replied calmly.
Of all things he might lack, one thing he didn’t need to worry about was money. The fee for inscription was expensive, but given Wang Chong’s current financial ability, it wasn’t a problem at all.
“There’s no problem then. We’ve no qualms in bearing the cost of the inscription in advance. Moving on, what about the Wootz steel?”
The head of the Zhang Clan asked. He stared concernedly at Wang Chong.
Of the entire deal, this was what he was the most concerned about.
Wang Chong could own a share in the Zhang Clan, and he didn’t mind even if there wasn’t a thirty year cap imposed. What the Zhang Clan was the most concerned about was the mysterious and highly sought after Wootz steel, which Wang Chong still had a monopoly over.
Only those in the circle would understand what kind of fearsome standing the youngster before him possessed.
Three hundred thousand gold taels for a single sword was sufficient the send the entire industry into a frenzy. At this moment, nearly all weapon traders viewed this youngster as their god.
Most of them would kill for an opportunity to work for this youngster.
However, this youngster rarely appeared in public, and it wasn’t easy to strike up a connection with the Wang Clan either.
Otherwise, this youngster were to just take a walk around the weapon market, the prestige he possessed would immediately shine through.
And this influence, coupled with the name of the Wootz steel, were what the Zhang Clan was interested in. If they could work together, their prestige would surely reach higher heights. Just like what Wang Chong said, becoming the number one swordsmithing clan wouldn’t be just a dream.
This was also the main reason why he chose to appear here today.
“Simple. I can sell you all the Hyderabad ore for 20000 gold taels per jun. How much you all manage to earn is your problem, it has nothing to do with me. However, I have two conditions on the sales of the Wootz steel sword. Firstly, you all cannot use my name.”
“Secondly, I’ll determine how much Wootz steel sword you all can sell per month. For now, the sales of the weapon cannot exceed four per month. If there’s any changes in the future, I’ll inform you all. Also, during this period of time, the Wootz steel sword can only be sold to the Imperial Army!”
Wang Chong said.
“Four? That’s too little. Can you increase it by a little?”
With a slight frown, the head of the Zhang Clan asked.
“Heh, no can do!”
Wang Chong smiled. Even though he looked as though he was open to negotiation, his words spoke a completely different story.
“Rarity determines the value of an object. If the Wootz steel were to become commonplace in the market, do you all think that it’ll be able to fetch its current price? But of course, I wouldn’t be too surprised if some unfilial son of the Zhang Clan were to sneak out a few Wootz steel weapon out into the market from time to time. Don’t you agree?”
“Haha, gongzi is indeed wise. Don’t worry, our Zhang Clan will definitely fulfill the end of our promise!”
The head of the Zhang Clan couldn’t help but feel impressed by the wisdom of the young man before him.
Just like what Wang Chong said, rarity determines the value of an object. If too much Wootz steel sword were to appear in the market all of the sudden, the price would surely plummet. However, if one or two weapons were to appear in the black market from time to time, not only would it not affect the prices of the Wootz steel sword, it might even fuel the market’s desire for it.
In fact, it was highly possible that the prices in the black market would exceed even that of the Imperial Army.
This was indeed the best way for them to achieve maximum profits from the Wootz steel trade in the long run. On this aspect, this youngster had indeed considered the matter thoroughly.
Very few clan heads possessed the same insight as him.
“There’s also one last matter. I believe that gongzi should know that we don’t have any ores to use at the moment!”
Slyness gleamed in the eyes of the head of the Zhang Clan as he brought up this matter.
The Zhang Clan’s mines were about to depleted, and this was the greatest problem regarding their partnership, as well as the greatest weakness of the Zhang Clan. The Zhang Clan was afraid that this would influence Wang Chong’s decision, so he left this matter to the very end.
Wang Chong laughed heartily as he stood up from the back of the table. He seemed to have expected the head of the Zhang Clan to bring up this matter.
“This matter is even easier to settle. I’ve already prepared a new large-scale ore deposit for you all!”
Saying so, Wang Chong shook his sleeves, and the deed he prepared beforehand dropped into his grasp. Then, he placed it on the table and slid it over to the other party.
Upon seeing the deed, shock finally cracked through the pokerface of the head of the Zhang Clan for the first time. He couldn’t have expected that the greatest problem of the Zhang Clan, the matter which concerns their survival, would have already been solved by Wang Chong!
With a dazed look, the head of the Zhang Clan stepped over the doorsill of the Wang Family Residence, holding a deed tightly in his hands. Even until now, he still felt a little floaty, and he found it hard to believe what that had just happened.
It had been many years since he had become the clan head, and his emotions no longer swayed easily to external factors. However, this time, grasping the deed in his hands, he couldn’t help but feel as though he was in a dream.
“Young master, the profits of the Wootz steel is extremely great. Why do you want to give it away to the Zhang Clan? Isn’t it better to keep it to ourselves?”
Standing behind Wang Chong, Shen Hai asked doubtfully.
In the Wang Clan, Shen Hai and Meng Long were the very few people who could refute Wang Chong’s decision.
The profits involved in the Wootz steel trade was simply too great. Shen Hai couldn’t help but feel that they had lost in this trade.
“This is the best way to maximize our profits!”
Wang Chong answered calmly.
The Wootz steel weapon that he designed could bring in massive profits. Taking the Death’s Abyss for example, just that single saber had fetched for an astronomical sum of three hundred thousand gold taels.
This was something that most would dare not imagine.
But in the end, the monthly production rate was still way too slow. However, if Wang Chong didn’t work on it personally, it wouldn’t be able to fetch that price.
Thus, selling the Hyderabad ore to the Zhang Clan would then become the most ideal option.
This way, he could create various different tiers for the Wootz steel without dragging down his own reputation. Not only would it not affect the sales of his own weapon, he could also bring in additional profit.
Only with sufficient money would he be able to proceed on with his next plan!
The Zhang Clan was much more efficient than Wang Chong thought. That single deed had rattled the entire Zhang Clan. On that very night, it had already signed a secret agreement with Wang Chong.
For a sum of five hundred thousand gold taels, the Zhang Clan purchased the rights to develop the mine. At the same time, they paid Wang Chong a million gold taels to purchase the partial rights to sell products of the Hyderabad ore.
The total sum of the agreement cost one and a half million gold taels! Due to the lack of liquid assets in the Zhang Clan, Wang Chong granted them a three months excuse from payment. Then, within the next three years, they would pay in installments in gold or any other forms agreed on by both parties to clear the debt!
This matter hasn’t been announced yet, and other than Wang Chong and a few other core elders in the Zhang Clan, no one else knew about the details of the agreement.
Time passed swiftly, and unknowingly, several days had passed.
A bright moon hung on the night skies, and silence loomed in the sleeping city.
In the east of the capital, around a hundred zhang away from Zhou Ji Charcoal Wine Brewery, trees protruded eerie shadows on the ground. It felt as though phantoms were traversing across the area.
Bringing one’s gaze slightly upward, a dark silhouette was flitting staggeringly on the rooftops beneath the dark night.
“Wretched disciple! I treated you as though my own son, how dare you collude with outsiders to betray me…”
Staggering on the rooftop, the dense black smoke puffed from the dark silhouette. As though a ferocious beast, it exuded an aura of savagery. The dark clouds parted, and beneath the slight illumination of the moonlight, one could vaguely see an unkempt black-haired elderly gritting his teeth.
Blood seeped through the gaps of his left hand, which was grabbing his chest tightly. However, what was even gruesome was that a long sword had stabbed a chi in from his back.
“Wretched disciple, I’ll never forgive you! I swear that I’ll return this debt to you! …”
Beneath the moonlight, the eyes of the elderly shone the bright color of scarlet, and staring into it, one could almost see a mountain of corpses and a sea of blood.
Hua hua hua!
From a tree beside the building, birds alarmed by the overwhelming aura of savagery squawked loudly and flew into the distance. In a courtyard nearby, a few dogs were also agitated by the sudden malicious presence, and they started barking restlessly.
“What’s going on? What are those dogs barking in the middle of the night for?”
In the house, the displeased mutterings of a couple who had just woken up to the ruckus vaguely sounded.
The black-haired elder’s legs suddenly caved in, and kacha, a few tiles broke and he fell from the rooftop. He struck the fencing around the residence before tumbling into the dark, dirty alley and passed out.
Fresh blood flowed ceaselessly from his body, and with each moment, the breathing of the elder grew fainter. His black hair also turned white all the way down to the roots at visible speed.
In the blink of an eye, that elder’s hair was already completely white. Just like that, he laid on the floor, motionless.
A few moments after the elder lost consciousness, a few auras reminiscent of the vast mountain and ocean appeared in the distance. These figures moved at shocking speed, and it was impossible for one to see even their silhouettes. All one could see in the empty air were a few blurred shadows.
Sou sou sou!
In the blink of an eye, the few phantom-like figures appeared on the roof where the elder tumbled down from. Sensing great danger, the few dogs started barking furiously.
Harrumphing coldly, a dark figure turned around and glanced at those dogs. Despite being a dozen zhang away, the few dogs dropped to the ground and fell silent. Crimson blood flowed out of their seven apertures.
“That old man couldn’t have gotten too far!”
“If he recovers, the one to die will be us!”
“Look carefully! We’ve to find him no matter what!”
Standing on the rooftop, the three figures looked about with cold eyes that would reap the lives of those their gazes fell on. Even the air seemed to distort slightly from their gazes.
Soon, the eyes of the trio caught the figure of an elderly lying on the streets. However, upon seeing the other party’s snowy hair, their eyes soon turned away.
“It’s just an old beggar. Let’s go!”
Sou sou sou!
No one could see how these men moved, but in an instant, they disappeared in three different directions.