White-Robed Chief

Chapter 4

Chapter 4: The Challenge

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Chu Li and Li Yue stepped into the house of exotic plants, the Floral House.

A street away from the Floral House was the crowded and lively heart of Chong Ming Town which was buzzing with traffic. However, the Floral House itself was quiet and empty, as if two worlds were put beside each other.

The facade of the Floral House looked old and weathered. It was flanked by a few antique and ornament stores that looked like they were on the verge of closing down, but not much else besides.

Chu Li was not put off by this. He knew that their funds followed the seasons; their income stream only thawed in certain times, and in that time they would collect as much money as they could.

He waded through the curtains of the Floral House, where a wide hall opened up before him, and his nose was greeted with with a soothing smell. On an antique display rack were multiple different pots, containing various unique plants.

An old man at the center with a hair in a complete shade of white sat beside an antique-looking table, leisurely sipping a cup of tea in his hand.

As he saw the two customers enter the shop, he wrapped his arms around his chest and greeted them with a smile.

“Hello, do have a nice look around, both of you.”

Chu Li and Li Yue’s sights were immediately drawn to the Moonlight Orchid. Its leaves were a curved bright green, glossy and hydrated. They look as if they were arts pieces made of jasper, a beauty so ethereal that it seemed extraordinary.

The old man approached them with a smirk on his face,”I see you like Moonlight Orchids?”

“Of course, who doesn’t?” Li Yue replied.

“How much time does this one have left, shopkeeper?”

“It was just imported here not long ago!” The old main raised two fingers. “At least two months!”

“Ten days,” Chu Li smiled.

Li Yue slapped his waist, casually revealing his waist tag. “Mr. Shopkeeper, peel your eyes back, wider!”

“Hehe… So you’re people from the Public Houses?” His expression changed ever so slightly. “I apologize. Then, if that is the case. I guess I better be truthful. Yes, it will indeed live for ten days.” He wrapped his hand and smiled. “This is the only orchid imported from the island this year. Another such flower would take another year to come by! This old man still has a family to feed, don’t expect me to let it go for cheap!”

“Stop trying to play the victim, it won’t work on us!”

There were no honest businessmen in this world. To be able to afford to open a store here, it was impossible for them to be poor and was obvious that they were laced with money.

“Give me a price!” Chu Li leisurely touched the Moonlight Orchid.

The spiritual energy of the orchid rushed into his body, completing a cycle of the Minute Pulse cultivation.

He pushed out all the energy in a single breath, subduing his happiness. This energy was the purest of all! One year! Only one more year was needed to build his foundation with this!

Before a word could leave the old man’s lips, the sound of footsteps came from the door. A young man stepped into the house, dragging the curtains open and bending over politely.

“Sister, after you!”

“I would much rather you go in first, brother!”

A stunning young man made large strides into the shop. His face was as clear as jade, his brows and eyes sword-like. With a longsword strapped to his waist, he appeared to be filled with energy, and looked around with an air of pride. It was none other than Zhuo Feiyang.

Behind him were two beautiful ladies. One was a graceful young lady, and the other one had skin as fair as snow, it was Zhao Ying,

Chu Li and Zhuo Feiyang’s eyes connected, and sour expressions overcame their faces.

Chu Li looked at Zhao Ying and activated the Omniscient Mirror, then silently sighed in relief. Luckily, Zhao Ying had not taken a liking to Zhuo Feiyang. She even brought another woman as a partner.

“Why are you here?” Zhuo Feiyang questioned Chu Li.

“That’s interesting. There’s no reason why I can’t be, is there?” Chu Li replied with a cold laugh.

“A servant without ranking who can’t even afford grass, and now he’s here window shopping just to satisfy his cravings? Pathetic.”

“Oh, my! Young Master Zhuo Feiyang sure likes to stick his nose everywhere!” Chu Li remarked sarcastically.

Li Yue could feel the atmosphere beginning to sour. They were in the presence of a genius like Zhuo Feiyang. If they actually threw down, nothing good would come out of it!

He quickly wrapped his hands and tried to slip in a sentence, “Haha… Brother Zhuo! Lady Zhao! I’m Li Yue of the East Garden!”

Zhuo Feiyang glared at him with a silent, icy gaze.

Clad in a lake-green gown, Zhao Ying smiled at Li Yue. “Brother Lee.”

Zhuo Feiyang, still looking at Chu Li from above. “Ninth ranker, still going to stay? Good servants don’t obstruct their masters, y’know?”

“Zhuo Feiyang, it’s really unbelievable that you take people seriously when they call you a genius.”

“Of course I’m a genius!” Zhuo Feiyang brimmed with pride. “It doesn’t matter how smart you are anyway. You’re still a weakling with no foundation, aren’t you?”

“Ha! Even if you are a genius at martial arts, you’re still an idiot without a brain!”

Zhuo Feiyang clenched his teeth, regarding Chu Li the same way he would look at garbage. “Martial arts is everything in this world, Chu Li! I’m a rank eight Protector, and I’ll reach rank seven by this year. What about you? Still a servant without proper ranking? You’ll have to spend another twenty years to even reach rank eight, assuming you don’t go and slip up! With your terrible personality, there’s no way that won’t happen!”

“Even if your martial arts are amazing, with your level of intelligence the only thing you’re good for is being some random guard. There’s nothing else you can do!”

“That’s still leaps and bounds better than what you can do!” Zhuo Feiyang replied.

“Zhuo Feiyang! Chu Li!” Zhao Ying stomped her feet, frowning.

Zhuo Feiyang’s expression softened in an instance, before asking Zhao Ying gently, “What do you think about this Moonlight Orchid?”

“It’s very pretty but far too expensive!” Zhao Ying shook her head, refusing to budge. Zhuo Feiyang tore his gaze from the orchid while smiling and said, “Zhao Ying, let’s go elsewhere. It’s off-putting to stay in the same room with a piece of trash.”

“Chu Li…” Zhao Ying sighed apologetically. She knew that bringing the two together would inevitably cause trouble.

Chu Li signaled his nonchalance to the matter, but he felt disheartened watching them leave together.

“Phew…” Li Yue took a long sigh, looking at Chu Li helplessly. “Brother, you…”

Zhuo Feiyang was a true genius. He would definitely become a big name in the future, it was in their best interests to not anger him, or there might be consequences.

Chu Li disregarded Li Yue. “Please name your price, Mr Shopkeeper.”

The old man smiled. “We have a deal for two hundred taels!”

“Such a dishonest businessman.” Li Yue shook his head, taking out the banknotes from his waist pockets.

“Hold it!” A voice came as the curtain was dragged open, revealing a young man who walked into the shop; he was the Scribe behind Zhuo Feiyang, thin, tall, and relatively good looking.

It was Bai Zhijie, a rank nine Scribe who smiled to everyone he saw.

This time however, he was not equipped with a smile and confronted the old man.

“I’ll offer three hundred taels!”

“Young Bai Zhijie!?” Li Yue called out, his eyes widening.

Bai Zhijie had always given Li Yue a nice smile and called him brother anytime they met, but what could have caused the sudden change in his character? It was as if he had changed into a completely different person!

“Well, Mr. Shopkeeper?” Bai Zhijie’s deliberately looked away away from Li Yue, only staring down the old man.

“Well…” The old man hesitated.

He looked over at Chu Li, and then Bai Zhijie. He would fare well to not offend the people from the Public Houses, but with prospects of a huge profit right in front of him, it was hard for his heart to pass up the offer.

He turned his head over to Chu Li, and smiled in apology.

Chu Li spoke, “Five hundred taels!”

“Six hundred taels!”

“Seven hundred!”

“Eight hundred!”

“One thousand!”

“One thousand and one!” Bai Zhijie stared at Chu Li coldly. “You’d better think twice before deciding if you want to compete with Master Zhuo Feiyang!”

Chu Li looked at Bai Zhijie and smiled. “Ten thousand!”

“It seems that you want to go all in, brother Chu.” Chu Li smiled.

Bai Zhijie hesitated, but eventually stomped his feet at the end as he replied, “Eleven thousand!”

Chu Li wrapped his hands. “How admirable, you win!”

Chu Li then turned and left. Li Yue stared daggers at Bai Zhijie while turning around and following suit.

Chu Li strayed away in the crowd along the main street, as the anger still burned in his chest. He did not even feel the slightest bit of victory despite having made Zhuo Feiyang spend this much for no reason.

There was only one other alternative to get the Moonlight Orchid, and that was to wait until next year. One whole year! There was a chance that Gu Litong might have successfully bred his own batch in that period, and Zhuo Feiyang would have risen to a rank seven Protector. Going up a rank was impossible at this point! His training would be going nowhere as well!

Li Yue looked at his gloomy face and tried hopelessly to persuade him, “Brother, just let it go. Zhuo Feiyang is incredibly wealthy, there’s just no way we can beat him.”

Chu Li’s expression soured. He was not in the right mind to play around anymore, so he immediately returned to the Public House.

The next morning, while Chu Li was training in the dasiphora parterre, Li Yue ran towards him. “Brother! Something bad is happening! Really bad!”

Chu Li looked puzzled.

Li Yue ran over as he called out to Chu Li. “Zhuo Feiyang is being outrageous!”

“Out with it!” Chu Li rushed Li Yue.

“Z-Zhuo Feiyang, he wants to change his Scribe!”

Chu Li’s face became gloomy. “To me?”

Li Yue nodded as he smashed his fist onto the floor. “This is just bullying! This is intolerable!”

Chu Li’s face darkened in a shade of complete infuriation.

He was bullying someone merely a rank below him! Sure, there were differences in pay between the Protector and Protectors, but their stature were one and the same. A rank eight Protector could hire a rank nine Scribe, while a rank eight Scribe could hire a rank nine Protector as well.

Zhuo Feiyang had asked for Chu Li from the Herb Garden. Chu Li knew that the Herb Garden would not dare offend Zhuo Feiyang; it was a good move.

Being a Protector’s Scribe was an easy job, with the Protector being out for ten months a year on missions outside the Public House. The Scribe could stay and do whatever he or she pleased. A Protector earned many rewards from his missions, and they even received extra income. Simply sharing a little of that to the Scribe was enough to guarantee a luxurious life for the Scribe.

There was no reason to decline.

That was certainly commendable of Zhuo Feiyang; the chap had definitely improved. This move definitely was not lacking in ferocity or slyness.

“What do we do now?” Li Yue asked anxiously.

If Chu Li were no longer here, he would not be able to sleep well anymore! The plants of the East Garden were delicate and fragile, easily infected, and that caused trouble very frequently.

“I guess it has come down to this!” Chu Li proclaimed.

“What is it!?” Li Yue asked hastily.

“I’ll draft a dueling declaration, and you, shall send it for me.” Chu Li explained.

“You’re going to challenge Zhuo Feiyang?” Li Yue asked, “Isn’t that a little too risky?”

Chu Li’s swordsmanship was the stronger of the two, but Li Yue wouldn’t be his opponent this time around. There was no guarantee of victory.

“I’ll give it a shot.” Chu Li smiled.

“Ha… You and your guts.” Li Yue sighed helplessly while shaking his head. Chu Li seemed to not be bothered to give a beaver’s bottom about it. In fact, it seemed like he had it in him to attempt anything under the sun.

Chu Li returned to the garden and put two invitations to paper. One was to challenge Zhuo Feiyang, and the other, an invitation to Zhao Ying to come as a spectator.

“Why’d you invite Zhao Ying?” Li Yue asked, confused.

“We can’t guarantee Zhuo Feiyang’s integrity in the match if we don’t.”

“Would he go that far?”

“The man isn’t as upright as you think he is. He can stoop to many lows!”

“Alright then…” Li Yue agreed, hesitantly.

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