Chapter 0040: Ambushing Pine Nut Villa

Bright incandescent lamps illuminated the massive reception room.

The portly President Lu with a face full of smiles was sitting right in the front. A tall and well-built middle-aged man with an imposing aura was sitting opposite him. 

This was the Song family's Head, Song Shan.

They were clearly in the midst of a discussion when Lu Qing'er led Li Luo and Cai Wei into the room, directly interrupting their conversation. Song Shan was slightly taken aback by these new proceedings. 

However, once he saw Li Luo and Cai Wei, the smile on his face receded slightly and his expression turned a little apathetic. 

President Lu was similarly astonished, but before he could speak, Lu Qing'er gently said, "Second Uncle, the people from House Luolan are here."

When he noticed the look in his niece's eyes, his lips twitched slightly as though he wanted to say something. Despite the sudden developments, he reacted quickly and started nodding his head. "Since you're here, why don't you quickly take a seat?" 

Song Shan immediately placed the teacup in his hand on the table with neither too much nor too little force and frowned at President Lu. "President Lu, could you kindly explain what is going on?" 

President Lu chuckled and replied, "The Song family's head need not overthink things. Our Golden Dragon Bank believes that harmony breeds wealth after all. At the same time, we also have another condition: that is the goods sold by the Golden Dragon Bank must be of certain quality."

"First-grade spirit liquids and purifying lights can be considered lower in grade, but we also require them to be of the highest quality. Otherwise, our reputation would be tarnished. Hence, we will have to do a final selection."

Li Luo and Cai Wei immediately took their seats and nodded in agreement. "President Lu is truly wise." 

Song Shan's expression turned cold, as if he'd been submerged in freezing water. He indifferently glanced at the duo before removing all pretenses of politeness, whilst playing with the teacup in his hands. "President Lu, let's not waste any more time. The Suncreek Villa's Azure Jade Spirit Liquid cannot compare with my Pine Nut Villa's Wondrous Sunshine Light. We have absolutely trashed them in the market in terms of sales and performance. The difference in tempering strength is vast, and I'm sure President Lu has already done his own investigations on this. Frankly speaking, there is no one within the Tianshu Province with the ability to produce a first-grade purifying light that can surpass ours. It's impossible. If President Lu feels that the Suncreek Villa truly is the better choice, you can say so directly and the Pine Nut Villa will pull out of this competition." Song Shan truly was a bold individual. He had spoken convincingly and without holding back, directly stating the truth. 

President Lu chortled to defuse the tension. "Please don't be angry. I am aware of the Pine Nut Villa's high-quality Wondrous Sunshine Light. However, we also have to let others demonstrate their capabilities in the spirit of fairness. If your product is the best at the end of the selections, I will have to sincerely apologize to you." 

Song Shan's expression immediately eased up upon hearing those words, then he continued to banter with President Lu for a bit more. Occasionally, he would glance briefly at Li Luo and Cai Wei, a cold smirk on his face. 

He knew all about the Suncreek Villa's internal situation. For a long time, the position of president had been left unoccupied. Yan Lingqing and Zhuang Yi were constantly scuffling, neither willing to give in, and chaos roiled the villa. In the end, Li Luo had been sent to the Golden Dragon Bank to compete against their Pine Nut Villa. That brat clearly couldn't fathom how high the heavens were. Did he really think that his position as a Young Lord was worth anything?

Song Yunfeng was sitting next to Song Shan, expressionlessly watching the show.

Lu Qing'er, on the other hand, was standing beside President Lu. She was a slender beauty, looking pure and sweet, a completely different sort of beauty compared to the mature Cai Wei. 

Unfortunately, her gaze held a trace of doubt and worry. She understood that if Li Luo was unable to bring out first-grade spirit liquids that were at least comparable, there would be no chance of her Second Uncle choosing the Suncreek Villa.

On top of that, Song Shan and Song Yunfeng would only look down on them even more.

Once President Lu placated Song Shan, he immediately looked towards Li Luo and Cai Wei. "The two of you should also understand the Golden Dragon Bank's requirements. First-grade spirit liquids and purifying lights might be considered low grade, but we require a minimum tempering strength of 55%. Anything less than that will not be considered."

Cai Wei gave a confident smile. "President Lu, the Pine Nut Villa's Wondrous Sunshine Light have a tempering strength that barely reaches 56%, is that right?"

"Barely?" Song Shan's eyelids twitched upon hearing her derogatory comment. "General Manager Cai is truly arrogant. If I recall, the Suncreek Villa's high-quality products barely reach 52%."

"Well, as the head of the Song family, you ought to know that this is all in the past." Cai Wei smirked.

Li Luo immediately placed the box he had brought atop the table, revealing the 40 bottles of Azure Jade Spirit Liquid for all to see.

"President Lu, let me introduce you to our newest product from the Suncreek Villa. This is our enhanced Azure Jade Spirit Liquid. It's tempering strength is 60%," Cai Wei announced in a gentle and soft tone.

"60%?" Both President Lu and Song Shan's expressions fluctuated greatly, the former looking very surprised, the latter coldly smiling. 

President Lu waved his hand and an attendant arrived with a tempering measurement needle. After inserting it into the liquid of one of the bottles, the group closely scrutinized the result as it stabilized at the 60% mark.

"It really does possess 60% tempering strength," President Lu said in shock.

Song Shan indifferently replied, "The Suncreek Villa truly has many tricks up their sleeve. The only question here is which third or fourth-grade resonance artificer produced this Azure Jade Spirit Liquid? Could it have been one of those two fourth-grade resonance artificers of the Suncreek Villa?" 

President Lu was lost in thought for a brief moment. A first-grade spirit liquid was extremely low-grade. If a few third or even a fourth-grade resonance artificers opted to lend a hand to refine this, then attaining a 60% tempering strength spirit liquid would not be hard. However, wasting a skilled resonance artificer's time to produce such a spirit liquid would essentially be a huge loss for the Suncreek Villa.

Using their time to create third-grade spirit liquids and purifying lights would be significantly more efficient in terms of value, vastly surpassing the profits first-grade spirit liquids could bring.

Song Shan's subtle meaning was that the Suncreek Villa was willing to go to any means to achieve their goals, even if they had to get their third-grade resonance artificers to refine a batch of these spirit liquids and purifying lights.

President Lu turned to look at Li Luo. "Young Lord, you must understand that what the Golden Dragon Bank requires is not just a single batch. These orders will continue over an extended period of time. If the Suncreek Villa is unable to reliably produce spirit liquids of a similar tempering strength, that would not be pleasant for any of us." 

Song Shan indifferently drank two sips of tea. He obviously did not believe that the Suncreek Villa had the ability to consistently produce Azure Jade Spirit Liquid with 60% tempering strength. Could they really afford to constantly sacrifice the time of third-grade resonance artificers to refine these low-grade goods? If they truly did so, it would just be a matter of time before the Suncreek Villa collapsed due to their foolishness.

Li Luo faced President Lu's questioning gaze directly, remaining as calm as before. "President Lu, please rest assured. House Luolan is a big family with big businesses and corresponding interests. We would not act foolishly over such a small matter. We wouldn't be so foolish as to use our third or fourth-grade resonance artificers to refine such low grade spirit liquids and purifying lights. This is something House Luolan would never do. If President Lu chooses to purchase our Azure Jade Spirit Liquid, I can guarantee that the Suncreek Villa will be able to produce this reliably in the long run. Additionally, the tempering strength will be no lower than 60%. In fact, all of the Azure Jade Spirit Liquid produced by the Suncreek Villa will be of the enhanced version. We will produce the best first-grade spirit liquids and purifying lights in the entire Tianshu Province!" 

Looking at how calmly Li Luo had responded, President Lu felt his heart quaking. Could it be that the Suncreek Villa could reliably improve the quality of their Azure Jade Spirit Liquid without relying on the assistance of third-grade resonance artificers? Li Luo had given his guarantee on it!

He wasn't the only one who was shaken by this fact. Song Yunfeng and Song Shan were equally shocked by this revelation. Li Luo was simply too confident, and it looked like he was speaking the truth.

Even Song Shan started to question himself. Did the Suncreek Villa's Azure Jade Spirit Liquid have some sort of breakthrough in quality?

How could this be possible!?

Just half a month ago, the Suncreek Villa's Azure Jade Spirit Liquid could barely reach 52% tempering strength. How could it have improved so greatly in half a month's time!? 

If that was not the case, then how could Li Luo declare so confidently that they would be able to produce this enhanced Azure Jade Spirit Liquid for the long run?

The entire room was plunged into a brief period of silence. Lu Qing'er, on the other hand, was looking at the box of spirit liquids with renewed interest. She was surprised too, and she had a strong feeling that this had to do with Li Luo. 

President Lu's plump hand grasped a bottle of Azure Jade Spirit Liquid and he paused in deep thought. A few moments later, his face burst out into a smile and he looked at Song Shan. Apologetically, he addressed him. "Song family's Head, I believe we are temporarily unable to cooperate with you."

Song Shan did not burst out in anger upon hearing those words. Instead, he placed his teacup down and gave a resigned smile. "President Lu, I believe we will have further opportunities to collaborate in the future. Since you've made your decision, we will take our leave. Haha. If the Suncreek Villa's goods ever have issues, please come and find our Pine Nut Villa instead." 

Song Shan truly had the grace and magnanimity expected of a family head. He was not put down by Li Luo's ambush and instead even gave Li Luo a smile. "The Young Lord is young and capable. I heard that you even managed to fight my son to a draw during the preliminary examinations. It looks like House Luolan will be in good hands. I'm sure that it will have a limitless future." 

Li Luo courteously replied as well. "It was merely a fluke."

Song Shan simply smiled, no longer speaking, directly leading a glum Song Yunfeng away.

Once the two Songs took their leave, President Lu made his way to Li Luo with a hearty smile. "I've heard from Qing'er that you've resolved your issue with the blank palace. That is truly a cause for celebration! But before that, why don't we sign an agreement regarding the Azure Jade Spirit Liquid?"

Cai Wei immediately took this as her cue to walk forward and directly settled the conditions with President Lu.

Whilst the two were busily discussing the terms, Li Luo stretched lazily. Lu Qing'er walked over at this moment. "Congratulations."

"It's all thanks to you. Otherwise, things might have gotten dicey." Li Luo thanked her sincerely. Without Lu Qing'er's help, the Song family might have signed the contract with the Golden Dragon Bank before they got a chance to hawk their wares. The situation would’ve been extremely tricky in that scenario. 

Lu Qing'er waved her hand and reminded him, "However, you need to put in more effort. Don't forget about the College Final Examinations that are coming up. The biggest regret will be if you miss out on the opportunity to enter the Astral Sage College." Li Luo nodded in agreement.

All of a sudden, Lu Qing'er spoke out. "Are you free during this holiday? I have no one to spar and exchange pointers with. If you're free, come and spar with me. It's mutually beneficial." 

"Do you take me for a sandbag? No, no, no..." Li Luo hastily said. He was speechless! How could this even work out? Upon hearing his reply, she gave him a faint smile and glared at him for a good few seconds before swiftly turning to leave.


Outside the Golden Dragon Bank, in the Song family's carriage.

Now that there was no one else around, Song Shan's expression turned incomparably gloomy. The Suncreek Villa had indeed been heavily suppressed by their Pine Nut Villa in recent times. Who would have expected them to counterattack with such a vicious blow, directly slapping them across their faces?

Although the cooperation with the Golden Dragon Bank would not be significantly profitable, the crux was that it would raise the reputation of their Wondrous Sunshine Light. It would further cement their position in the Tianshu Province's first-grade spirit liquids and purifying lights market.

However, it had all been ruined by Li Luo.

"Dad, can the Suncreek Villa reliably produce Azure Jade Spirit Liquid with 60% tempering strength?" Song Yunfeng couldn't help but ask.

Song Shan gave an insipid reply. "We will have to wait and see."

"This is truly a vicious blow. We've paid a huge price to tap into Elder Sister's connections and invited an expert resonance artificer to improve upon our Wondrous Sunshine Light's formula. In the end..." Song Yunfeng lamented.

"This is just first-grade purifying lights." 

Song Shan shook his head. "Even if the Suncreek Villa wins this battle, they will not be able to win the war against the Pine Nut Villa.

"Your elder sister has already sent news that she's about to return to the City of Southwind. At that point, she will directly take over the Pine Nut Villa and we will naturally be victorious." 

Song Yunfeng revealed a look of excitement. His elder sister, Song Qiuyu, was a student of the Astral Sage College's Resonance Tempering Hall with outstanding achievements. With her support, the Pine Nut Villa would truly have a pillar to rely on.

"The most important thing now is the College Final Examinations. I hope that you will be able to regain the face that you've lost," Song Shan stated coldly.

"I will bring you with me on a trip to the Governor's Mansion for the next two days. Shi Huang, the son of the governor, is Eastpool Academy's number one student and also the same age as you. Perhaps the two of you can get along and become fast friends."

"Governor's Mansion?" Song Yunfeng was a little startled at this. Shi Huang was Southwind Academy's greatest fear in the upcoming College Final Examinations. With his background as the son of the governor, he was the most influential individual in the Tianshu Province amongst the younger generation. He was head and shoulders above everyone in terms of background, with the exception of Li Luo.

Of course, that would only be the case if House Luolan was in its golden era. 

No one would speak of Li Luo and Shi Huang in the same breath, whether in terms of influence or background. They were seemingly miles apart.

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