Book 6 Chapter 9 - Before the Storm

Lin Xi was a bit stunned.

Because of the huge difference in transportation quality between this world and the one he was from, hurrying from one place to another was not easy, that was why Jiang Xiaoyi’s sudden arrival made him feel the joy of a friend coming from far away.

Together with the Black Sturgeon and Ironhead Dogfish being hard to obtain, he purposely didn’t say anything, wishing for Jiang Xiaoyi himself to recognize these species that were extremely helpful towards cultivation. However, what he never expected was that compared to when he left earlier, the riverfront terrace in front of the small building not only changed from two stone vats to four, having two more stone vats, there was even another person there.

It was a chubby individual dressed in green silk short-sleeved clothes, the symbol of Thriving Prosperity on his left chest.

This fatty was at least a hundred and seventy to eighty jin in weight, clearly scared of heat. Even though it was already dusk, the riverside already extremely shady, he still continuously wiped at his sweat with a small white handkerchief.

When he saw Lin Xi approach, this amiable faced fatty immediately revealed a look of joy. He stood up from the stone stool, cupped his hands in greeting and then bowed to Lin Xi in respect before saying, “Sir Lin, this humble one is Thriving Prosperity’s third shopkeeper, Ma Hongjun.”

“Shopkeeper Ma, nicknamed the Iron Calculator?”

Lin Xi stared blankly, returning the greeting. This Thriving Prosperity third shopkeeper was quite well-known on Breath River’s shores, extremely great at accounting. It was rumored that as long as any business from Thriving Prosperity passed under his hands, there wouldn’t be a single mistake, every copper counted clearly.

Moreover, it was said that the most formidable part of this Shopkeeper Ma was that as long as he sat in front of a shop for a few days, even without looking at the account book, just by looking at the volume of goods and guests going in and out, he could calculate the profit and loss of this store, moreover to eighty or ninety percent accuracy.

“Iron Calculator is merely something people say around jokingly.” Ma Hongjun wiped at his sweat again, a bit embarrassed as he said, “The reason this humble one came to bother Sir Lin is on our great owner’s special orders.”

Lin Xi was stunned again. “What business does your great owner have with me?”

“This one is?” Ma Hongjun gave Jiang Xiaoyi behind Lin Xi a look, asking with a bit of hesitation.

“One of my best friends, not an outsider.” Lin Xi felt like the expression of this Thriving Prosperity third shopkeeper was a bit strange. After giving him a look, he said, “If there is anything, there is no harm in saying what you think.”

Ma Hongjun wiped at his sweat, saying, “Actually, it’s not a big matter either. Our great owner only wanted me to seek out sir and explain some things so that sir doesn’t have any misunderstandings regarding our Thriving Prosperity. The reason why Imperial Censor Jiang showed up that day is because our great owner specially sent someone out to contact him.”

Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi couldn’t help but exchange a look.

The appearance of Jiang Rui here was indeed a bit sudden. After everything was over, everyone, including Lin Xi, naturally felt that this was a bit strange, but he never thought that it was actually because of Thriving Prosperity’s work behind the scenes.

“The reason our great owner had me specially come to tell you this isn’t to show off our accomplishments before Sir Lin.” Ma Hongjun looked at the somewhat confused Lin Xi, seriously explaining, “Our great owner merely wishes for Sir Lin to understand our Thriving Prosperity’s attitude… our Thriving Prosperity’s Manager Song, in the beginning, was indeed upset because of sir detaining his ships, not behaving politely or modestly before sir, but sir’s actions have left our Thriving Prosperity in great admiration. Our Thriving Prosperity also wishes that under Sir Lin’s guidance, this Breath River can become more clear and bright.”

Lin Xi became a bit quiet, bowing slightly in thanks towards Ma Hongjun, also seriously saying, “In reality, from the start, my attitude towards your Thriving Prosperity had a bit of dissatisfaction, because I know you all have quite the ability… yet your attitudes are a bit overbearing. Moreover, despite having the ability, you all still prefer to remain uninvolved. For me, this is the same as knowing the truth yet not reporting it, allowing criminals to continue running around free, so it was quite vexing. However, later on when I discovered that this was related to the military, I could already understand your attitude. After all, your Thriving Prosperity is great, but if the military wants to purposely find faults with you, it is just too easy.”

After a slight pause, Lin Xi looked at Ma Hongjun and said, “As such, I wish for Shopkeeper Ma to bring a message from me to your great owner as well. In this matter, there were naturally parts where I didn’t do too well either, yet your great owner could overlook former enmity, do his best to help me, so there is naturally no way I will have any unfavorable thoughts towards Thriving Prosperity. Moreover, I am someone who hates trouble. Normally, unless someone comes knocking on my door, I won't look for trouble.”

“Sir Lin’s way of conducting himself is something I believe the people of the towns around East Port Town have all seen extremely clearly.”

Ma Hongjun smiled. He pointed towards the four stone vats on the side and said, “Our great owner is aware that Sir Lin isn’t an ordinary soldier either and that you should have some special recipes, so he had me bring some things ordinary people can’t use. He knows that sir wouldn’t be willing to receive them for free, so we will sell those things at market value. If sir is interested, you can purchase everything for twelve silvers. If you don’t have any interest, then I might as well just set them free here.”

“Oh, right.” As if he just remembered something, Ma Hongjun patted his forehead, and then said in an extremely apologetic manner, “Those two stone vats were brought over by the men from the fish market, the three Ironhead Dogfish inside also brought over by them. The stuff our great owner wanted delivered to sir are in the other stone vat.”

“Ironhead Dogfish?”

When he heard these two words, Jiang Xiaoyi was immediately shocked.

“I had five to begin with, who would have thought that Xu Sheng’s group would catch three more.” When he saw Jiang Xiaoyi’s reaction, Lin Xi knew that this good friend of his was also already quite familiar with Ironhead Dogfish. After saying this with a smile, he began to walk towards the large stone vat Ma Hongjun pointed at out of curiosity.

When he heard Ma Hongjun’s words, he knew that the things Thriving Prosperity’s great owner brought him were definitely aquatic produce that were extremely beneficial for cultivators.

Jiang Xiaoyi was also extremely curious. He didn’t first see what exactly the frolicking Ironhead Dogfish in the stone vats looked like, also following at Lin Xi’s side, giving the contents of this tank a look first.

Another Old River Lump?

Lin Xi was immediately stunned. A millstone shaped thing calmly lied at the bottom of this massive tank, its surface covered in aquatic grasses. Jiang Xiaoyi also thought that it was an Old River Lump at first glance, but upon closer inspection, Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi both immediately saw that this Old River Lump was different from ordinary Old River Lumps.

This Old River Lump’s shell skirt was extremely long, several times greater than that of an ordinary Old River Lump.

“This is a Cloud Dream Skirt Old River Lump?!”

Suddenly, this name appeared in Lin Xi’s mind. He couldn’t help but blurt this out in alarm.

Ma Hongjun wiped at his sweat, saying with a chuckle, “Sir Lin’s sight is excellent as expected, able to immediately recognize it.”

Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi both immediately couldn’t help but suck in a deep breath of air.

Old River Lumps referred to old freshwater soft-shelled turtles who lived in the river for an extremely long amount of time.

There were quite a few types of freshwater soft-shelled turtles, one type was called the Cloud Dream Turtle.

This type of turtle’s skirt was the longest, being the creature that provided the most nourishment as well.

However, in some local texts, it was recorded that this type of turtle had already gone extinct several decades ago, extremely difficult to find.

The reason for its extinction was also recorded clearly. It was because during its mating season, this type of turtle would always follow certain fixed paths, leaving behind its eggs on some islands. Moreover, during the dozen or so days of incubation period, it would always remain on guard on the island.

This obviously made them extremely easy to catch for normal fishermen. Over time, they were hunted until there weren’t any left.

This type of turtle species, if they grew to the point of becoming Old River Lumps, for cultivators, the effects would exceed normal Old River Lumps by several fold, the effects even greater than the Black Sturgeon’s ‘Black Gold Seeds’. Moreover, this type of turtle, compared to ordinary old turtles, grew even slower. This Old River Lump was even larger than the one Lin Xi bought before, so it should be at least two hundred years old.

“Shopkeeper Ma,” Lin Xi was inwardly shocked, unable to help but turn around to look at Ma Hongjun, asking, “Didn’t all the Cloud Dream Skirt Old River Lumps in this river go extinct? Where did you guys get your hands on this one?”

Ma Hongjun explained, “This old turtle was something unintentionally caught by a hunter in a pond within Dragon Snake Mountain Range, purchased by someone from our Thriving Prosperity when it was sold in a town stall. Normally, in this river, this type of thing has indeed already gone extinct, not a single one can be found.”

“Then I really must thank your great owner.”

Lin Xi knew that this Cloud Dream Skirt Old River Lump would definitely be extremely beneficial towards his own cultivation, which was why he bowed respectfully to Ma Hongjun again, expressing his sincere gratitude.

“Since Sir Lin’s friend is here, I won’t disturb Sir Lin anymore.” Ma Hongjun didn’t speak any extra superfluous words. After a bow, he then bid Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi goodbye.

Lin Xi handed over twelve silvers to Ma Hongjun, one paying, one receiving, both of them feeling like this was awkward and a joke, so they couldn’t help but laugh.

“Turns out these are Ironhead Dogfish! They really are fierce like the records say.”

“This fish is black and long, its figure so large, seems like they are the recorded Black Sturgeon. Lin Xi, who would have thought that you were able to store up so many of these rare things! However, out of all of our Green Luan Academy’s students, I fear that only someone like you could crack that case so quickly.”

Jiang Xiaoyi looked at the large fish in the stone vats, unable to help but release another sigh of admiration.

Lin Xi’s eyes stopped over the bag on his back again. “What did you bring?”

“Here, take a look.” Jiang Xiaoyi also didn’t hold him in suspense. With a chuckle, he removed his bag from his back, opening it up.

White fluff ball-like things emerged one after another, appearing in Lin Xi’s line of sight.

“Snow Swallow Nest!”

Lin Xi immediately cried out in shock, recognizing what these were. He couldn’t help but suddenly raise his head, looking at Jiang Xiaoyi and asking, “How did you get your hands on so many of them?”

“These weren’t gifts from the people out of love and respect, it was just a coincidence.”

Jiang Xiaoyi smiled as he explained in detail.

As it turned out, this Snow Swallow Nest was an extremely rare type of swallow nest, also something extremely beneficial to one’s cultivation. This type of swallow nest was extremely special, when the swallow’s nest was built, a type of unknown white herb was used. Moreover, this type of swallow species is extremely clean, even when its own feathers dropped into the nest, it would pick them up and throw them out. That’s why this swallow nest was spotlessly white like snow, after just soaking it in warm water a few times, it could be used as food. Compared to normal swallow nests, it was much easier to prepare.

The position Jiang Xiaoyi chose was part of Favor Ancient Town’s Trade Sector, serving as a Construction Supervisor. This type of official position was precisely managing the daily extraction of ore from some mines, the refinement of ore, as well as the manufacturing of weapons. Favor Ancient Town had a Favor Mountain within its borders, within it was tin ore. It was precisely when he was patrolling this tin ore mine that he unexpectedly stumbled upon traces of what seemed like Snow Swallows on some cliffs. Only when he climbed up with some rope, did he discover that not only were there nests built by current Snow Swallows, there were also swallow nests left behind by previous old swallows.

This way, he was able to pack such a large bag of it, at least thirty something jin of it.

Snow Swallow Nest’s recipe included some red ginseng and dark brown sugar, all of it stewed together in a large pot.

Lin Xi cut up two Ironhead Dogfish, preparing some sauce, fruits, and vegetable side dishes. The fish fillet prepared together with the Snow Swallow Nest that was cooked until it was viscous and a bit red was salty and sweet. Together with the river scene outside their window, the two of them truly enjoyed this meal.

Sometimes, joy, because of sharing between friends and good vibes, would bring even more joy.

“Right, Lin Xi, today, when you saw me, you said when you talk about Cao Cao, Cao Cao would arrive, what was that about?” When the two of them drank all of the large pot of Snow Swallow Nest stew, Jiang Xiaoyi rubbed his belly that became a bit round, a bit annoyed that he couldn’t finish the remaining fish fillets, suddenly recalling this point, unable to help but turn around to look at Lin Xi, asking this.

“There is a Thousand Chief named Wei Xianwu, precisely the one who led an army into East Port Town to suppress me. Even though Imperial Censor Jiang stopped him, I still just feel like he won’t leave the matter at that.” Lin Xi looked at Jiang Xiaoyi and replied, “Previously, he wanted to hide his killing intent in front of me, but he couldn't do so, later on, he even more so decided he might as well give up. It should be that among the assassins sent after me, there was one member who was extremely important to him, having extremely deep friendly relations. Moreover, he will definitely be demoted because of this case, so I believe that he likely cannot endure it for much longer, wishing to deal with me. I alone might not necessarily be his opponent, so I thought of you and Bian Linghan, wishing for you two to come over and then find a way to deal with him.”

Jiang Xiaoyi understood Lin Xi’s thoughts. “Lin Xi, you want to pull the snake from its hole… test to see if he will truly make a move?”

Lin Xi nodded.

Right at this time, a faint rumbling sounded from the distant river surface. The river’s winds seemed to become a bit more damp, carrying a bit more humidity.

“There really is quite a bit of rainfall this year.”

Lin Xi knew that it was going to rain soon. When he thought about the benefits of cultivating under the rain, and then felt the surging heat within his body, he smiled.

Right at this time, a middle-aged farmer dressed in a pair of straw sandals was currently walking towards the riverfront small building he lived in. When he heard the thunder, this farmer whose face was covered by traces of wind and sun revealed a bit of worry.

Right at this moment, a fatty who had an amiable smile on his face propped up an umbrella, walking into East Port Town.

After wiping his hands on his sleeves out of habit, this amiably smiling fatty muttered in satisfaction, “It’s fine if it rains a bit harder… For this type of rainstorm, the harder it rains, the better the weather the next day.”

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