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“Who is this old man, and why is he so interested in these steel hearts?”
While following Zhao Tianfang, Long Chen was continuously mulling over this question.
“These steel hearts belong to the Lingwu Family. Since he knows this, he must also know that I am a member of the Lingwu Family. However, with the strength of the Daybreak Merchants Union, it isn’t necessary for him to be so cordial towards me.”
As if sensing Long Chen’s misgivings, Zhao Tianfang felt that he had been too forward this time. Becoming all smiles, he said, “Child, I really want to buy these steel hearts of yours, but you need not worry. I really would not tell anyone of our current transaction. Moreover, these steel hearts are of no use to you.”
The steel golems’ strength was not very high and if anyone had a surplus of steel hearts they could easily bring it to the outside. Therefore Long Chen wasn’t afraid that he would leak out some Lingwu Family secrets. Even though this old man regarded these steel hearts with importance, Long Chen could tell that this old man’s focus was on him.
They quickly arrived at a private room.
“This is our VIP room, please be seated!”
This area was pretty close to the outside so Long Chen wasn’t afraid that this old man would be up to some funny business. Going straight to the point, he asked, “Old Zhao, why did you bring this junior to this place?”
Zhao Tianfang laughed: “There is no reason behind that. All of the steel hearts that you have, give them to me. I will give you a satisfactory price. Even though steel hearts contain the spiritual qi found between heaven and earth, warriors cannot absorb it. So it’s of no use to you!”
Ling Xi had already told him this, but Long Chen only mentioned these in order to try his luck. He never imagined he would meet Zhao Tianfang. He was in no hurry to take out his steel hearts and asked: “How much are you paying for each steel heart?”
“I will immediately tell you my highest offer— 3 deity jades!”
Zhao Tianfang boiled a pot of tea, and poured a cup for Long Chen, while having a drink for himself too. He then said, “To be honest, these steel hearts that I’m purchasing have nothing to do with the Daybreak Merchants Union, so I cannot offer you a higher price than this.”
The total number of steel hearts that Long Chen had originally begotten was 105, and he had handed over 75, leaving him with a the remaining 30. According to Zhao Tianfang’s price for each, it would fetch him a total of 90 deity jades.
That means, after buying a single spirit recovery fruit, he’d be penniless yet again.
Long Chen wanted to haggle but the other party was very resolute. Plus this was already beyond his expectations so he said: “Deal.”
“How many more steel hearts do you have left?”
Apparently this matter was of uttermost importance to Zhao Tianfang.
Long Chen had some misgivings but he said: “A total of 30 pieces.”
Zhao Tianfang’s expression tensed; after watching Long Chen closely, he said, “75 plus 30 equals 105. A person at the eighth level of the Dragon Pulse Realm being able to get 105 steel hearts is considered as a top-rate talent even among the Lingwu Family’s Outer Faction members. The one originally at that position also had 102 steel hearts, but he was only 10 years old at that time.”
Hearing the number 75, Long Chen knew that this Zhao Tianfang knew everything about him just like Long Chen knew the lines on his palm.
“This old fellow asked about my steel hearts because he had an ulterior motive for doing that. He is simply not concerned about the steel hearts but instead about me…”
Seeing the expression on Long Chen’s face, Zhao Tianfang knew that Long Chen was aware of his true purpose. He also did not pretend to be coy but, with straightforward appreciation, he said, “Let us be honest with each other. Regarding Lingwu Family’s affairs, I had my own spy network gather information. We also know about your promotion to be a new member of the Outer Faction and we also know which Faction. However, I am shocked that you were able to get 105 steel hearts.”
“Old Zhao means to poach people?”
Long Chen looked at him with an expression that was like a smile and yet not a smile.
Zhao Tianfang, with a honest smile, said, “It seems you are really a sharp fellow. Let me tell you clearly, if you become a member of the Daybreak Merchants Union, I can guarantee that you will more attention and more training than what you get in Lingwu Family. After all, in Lingwu Family, there are too many talented people, and thus you will only disappear among them.”
Zhao Tianfang’s words, spoken in his capacity as an expert, were meant to intimidate Long Chen, but it had no effect.
“This Daybreak Merchants Union is certainly not bad. Maybe they could also help me in getting rid of the Crimson Blood Sacred Sect. However, if I leave Lingwu Family like this….”
Thinking up to this point, Long Chen said, with an indifferent smile, “Old Zhao, what kind of a joke is this? I have just recently become a member of the Lingwu Family. Now if I change to your Daybreak Merchants Union, would you want a man who isn’t firm in his decisions? Are you not worried that someday I will switch to being a member of yet another influence?”
Zhao Tianfang was shocked upon hearing Long Chen’s speech, but later he said confidently, “I believe no one will give you conditions more favorable than what my Daybreak Merchants Union gives.”
Long Chen waved his hand, and determinedly said, “Old Zhao, for your appreciation of me today, I cannot thank you enough. But I would not want to be like the grass on a wall, growing towards where there is sunlight. Therefore, for now, how about you let me return and think over this for a while? If the Daybreak Merchants Union and I really are bound by fate, then I will myself come here to meet Old Zhao.”
Long Chen spoke firmly and Zhao Tianfang knew about the saying hasty men don’t get to eat hot tofu. Hence, he could only force a smile as he said, “Since you said so, Long Chen, you can always come to me here, and we will cross that bridge when the time comes. If you feel that the Lingwu Family does not suit you, come here — the Daybreak Merchants Union’s gates will forever be open to you.”
[TL Note: hasty men don’t get to eat hot tofu – Haste will ruin everything]
Seeing that Zhao Tianfang’s eyes expressed only sincerity, Long Chen inwardly struggled for a while but he could not renounce his decision, thus, he could only decline the offer.
“Then this Long Chen will thank Old Zhao!”
Zhao Tianfang nodded his head, saying, “No harm done. Oh by the way, what for did you come to Daybreak Merchants Union and try to exchange your steel hearts?”
“I want a Spirit Recovery Fruit.”
Zhao Tian openly smiled and said, “I asked Ao Xue to get it for you”
Long Chen shook his head, saying, “Old Zhao, currently I am not a member of the Daybreak Merchants Union and because of the so-called don’t be rewarded if you do not deserve it, I would like to buy this Spirit Recovery Fruit myself. I will pay you 30 steel hearts and 10 pieces of deity jade for this.”
With a serious look in his eyes, Zhao Tianfang said, “I am giving it to you because of our friendship and it has nothing to do with Daybreak Merchants Union. Is this also not agreeable with you?”
Long Chen wasn’t swayed by what Zhao Tianfang, and he said in an indifferent manner, “Old Zhao, frankly, I am really grateful that you want to gift this to me. However, the fact is that you are a representative of Daybreak Merchants Union. If you present me with items, can you please wait for my decision to join Daybreak Merchants Union?”
Zhao Tianfang looked at Long Chen for a while, then muttered, “This kid’s innate talent is not bad and he also has many secrets in his body. Moreover, he is level-headed and daring and has a heart of perseverance. He is a rare talent and with such a person, if I am eager and impatient, it would only lead to him disliking me.”
Therefore, he simply took what Long Chen offered him, and with a nod, he said, “Since you insist, I will do as you said.”
“I wonder, does Old Zhao have any other spirit healing medicines?”
“Medicines of this type are ineffective if they are of a low level. And high level medicines can enhance the intelligence and perception of a human, but it would vary from person to person, and in short, it is very rare. I have here only one Spirit recovery Fruit, which is all. But if it’s a requirement of yours, I have some new goods and I will send it to you via someone.”
Long Chen nodded his head, saying, “Thank you for all your trouble, Old Zhao! This junior still has other matters to attend to, so I will be taking my leave first.”
“Hmm. . .I will get Ao Xue to give you that Spirit Recovery Fruit.”
The two men went outside. The female, known as Ao Xue, was waiting for them on the outside. She gave a look filled with loathing towards Long Chen.
Although she was unwilling to do so, under Zhao Tianfang’s command, she handed over the Spirit Recovery Fruit to Long Chen and under further instructions; she was to lead Long Chen out of Daybreak Merchants Union.
“Is our Daybreak Merchants Union’s profit slipping away from our hands?”
Ao Xue was talking to herself, but her words had been heard by Long Chen.
“Who said I slapped your butt? You really have no shame, I would dislike my hands getting dirty by touching you.”
Long Chen left without another word. Then, under Ao Xue’s furious glare, he quickly fled the Daybreak Merchants Union.
“Xiao Xi, you saw that stinky woman’s angry expression. Her face looks like as if it is caked with cow dung.”
Ling Xi snorted, and then scolded him with a smile, “You are really bad. She just said a few words to you but you still made her so angry.”
“Of course. She deserves that!”
Having got the Spirit Recovery Fruit, both of them were pretty excited. Long Chen had experienced a lot of stuff, but his age wasn’t much and he had a youngster’s temperament. Since he had got this Spirit Recovery Fruit, his face was beaming with joy.
The two of them quickly returned to the Lingwu City. Around noon time, they had come to the Green Willow Residence in the Green region of Lingwu City.
He had just returned when he found that Gan Lin was waiting for him in the Martial Techniques Training Hall.
“Did you or did you not get 105 steel hearts?”
During their meeting, Gan Lin asked eagerly.
Long Chen immediately calmed down.
Gan Lin, upon seeing Long Chen looking like this, immediately said “You youngsters really know how to avoid losing face. I would not have known anything if we hadn’t found those 30 steel puppets — during the final inspection — missing their steel hearts, in the tunnel you passed through. But those are the achievements of the past, I’m here to tell you about another matter.”
Gan Lin quickly skipped over the matter regarding the steel hearts; he did not care about them. Long Chen only then let loose the breath he had been holding.
“Fortunately, he did not ask me about anything, otherwise I would have been finished. It seems these steel hearts are not worth any money. Zhao Tianfang paid 3 pieces of deity jade for them and this is because he completely wants to rope me in.”
Then Long Chen set aside the matter of the steel hearts and asked, “I wonder, what is it that Senior Gan wants to tell me?”
Gan Lin grabbed a chair, sat down and said, “Enforcer Liu told me to tell you that the Crimson Blood Sacred Sect has not made any movements towards Poplar Town. This is to make you feel relieved and go and complete your first mission. However, Long Chen….”
Hearing this, Long Chen felt as if a load had been removed from his shoulders. But the three-syllabled word ‘However’ uttered by Gan Lin, and made his heart race.
“There are still 4 more days for your first mission to be allotted to you. Although your mission has not yet been finalised, it seems Enforcer Liu intentionally allowed Huang Feiyang and Wen Ya to take you along with them for your first mission, as your examiners. At that time….”
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