Book 14 Chapter 27 - Shame and Arrogance

Di Choufei smiled. He looked at Xu Zhenyan and slowly said, “Bullying small figures indeed doesn’t bring much joy, but since there isn’t much joy in doing this, why would Sir Xu also come to this type of place?”

After coming out from Dragon Snake Mountain Range’s ore mines, Di Choufei was already no longer constantly trying to show off like before. He was just like a sword that was already hidden within its scabbard, only the smooth sword hilt exposed outside. However, a sword hidden within a scabbard, its true appearance others couldn’t see, was more mysterious and powerful than a sword exposed outside.

Xu Zhenyan was just like a gloomy dark cloud. He gave Di Choufei a look and said, “I didn’t come to look for Tang Ke, this Green Luan Academy student, but rather came for you.”

“Oh?” Di Choufei looked at Xu Zhenyan amusingly. “I wonder what Sir Xu has sought me out for?”

“Wen Xuanshu helped me rise up, and then brought you out of Dragon Snake Mountain Range precisely to have us dog-eat-dog, mutually suppress each other.” Xu Zhenyan said with an overcast expression. “However, we share similar enemies, so there is no need for us to act as he wished.”

Di Choufei laughed.

When he thought back to the things that happened before, the courage he had back then when he stormed True Dragon Mountain, his laughter instead became filled with arrogance and disdain, laughing to the point where the black waterfall-like long hair even scattered about behind him.

“You are wrong, wrong from the very start. I have never treated myself as Wen Xuanshu’s dog, and no one has decided that just because we shared common enemies, we can definitely become friends. Moreover, even if it is a transaction, I wouldn’t choose to work with someone like you who would sell out even your own father.” Di Choufei laughed as he walked past Xu Zhenyan’s side, getting into his own carriage.

Xu Zhenyan didn’t get upset, only the coldness within his brows growing a bith thicker. He didn’t turn his head to look at Di Choufei who prepared to leave on his own carriage either, only coldly saying, “I heard a piece of news. Grand Secretary Zhou has already prepared for his daughter, who is also one of my fellow students, Gao Yanan, to be married off to Lin Xi, so Lin Xi should most likely get married soon. I heard another piece of conclusive news, Leng Zhennan’s daughter, also my fellow student, Leng Qiuyu, has begun to exchange feelings with another fellow student Li Kaiyun. Li Kayun is also one of Lin Xi’s best friends in the academy, one of the people he cares about the most.”

Di Choufei calmly entered his carriage and closed the curtains, not uttering a single word in reply.

His carriage left.

Xu Zhenyan slowly turned around, walking towards his own carriage.

A young Judicial Sector official helped Xu Zhenyan open his carriage curtains, trying to curry favor. He stared fiercely as Di Choufei’s carriage arrogantly left into the distance, coldly saying, “Di Choufei really is too crazy and proud.”

“He has this type of qualification.” Xu Zhenyan sat inside of his own dark carriage, coldly saying, “Right now, there already aren’t many people with more authority than him in the military. Moreover, according to a reliable source of information, it might not even take him until next summer to break into the Sacred Expert level. After all, he is the most outstanding student from Immortal Academy in the last decade. When I had just joined Green Luan Academy, he had already served as a great commander in Dragon Snake Border Army. Looking down on me is quite the ordinary matter.”

The young Judicial Sector official personally drove the carriage, saying hatefully, “However, sir, your authority in the royal court isn’t beneath his…”Xu Zhenyan waved his hand, cutting off this young Judicial Sector official’s words, coldly saying, “None of these things matter, what is important is that the more arrogant and confident he becomes, the less he sees me as his opponent, the more he cannot help but deal with Lin Xi… Moreover, he should also understand clearly that this is what his majesty wishes to do, that doing this will allow him to obtain more of his majesty’s appreciation, allow him to obtain more authority from his majesty’s hands. What I need to do is precisely watch him and Lin Xi dog-eat-dog.”

The young Judicial Sector official stared blankly for a moment, saying with heartfelt admiration, “Sir is wise and brilliant.”

Xu Zhenyan closed his eyes, covering himself with a blanket, saying expressionlessly, “Help me keep an eye on Liu Family. I just cannot understand why when Wen Xuanshu began to put his plans into action with the Autumn Sacrifice, everyone thinking that it would be Wen Xuanshu’s absolute authority, the local great officials’ attitudes unclear, why it was instead Liu Family’s Provincial Supervisor who was in such anxiety, ordering his troops to provide aid, in such a rush to express his loyalty to the emperor? What was it that made them believe the emperor would definitely win?”

The young Judicial Sector official was stunned again.

When he thought about that local army that was currently heading north, only then did he recall that there were indeed many points of doubt here. When he snapped out of his daze, nodding his head, he couldn’t help but produce a thought in his head as well. Why then did you believe the emperor would definitely win, standing at the emperor’s side in such a resolute manner? Only, this doubt was one he naturally didn’t dare voice.

...

After a few more weeks passed, Yunqin Emperor’s decrees were unprecedentedly unhindered. He released many orders.

The local army that rushed over from Mountain Yin Province to face Central Continent Guards’ rebel army, before they even arrived, this greatest rebellion battle since Yunqin was established already ended. However, a decree had this local army head north, hurry to the empire’s northern extreme’s Four Seasons Plains.

Di Choufei was granted the title of Peace Bringing Great General, in charge of Central Continent Guards… Xu Zhenyan who was previously the number two figure of Inspector Division was appointed as Judicial Sector’s Sector Head.

Priest Hall was relocated, no longer within Central Continent City. Moreover, some priests in the military also received orders to return. The intention the emperor vaguely released was precisely that in the future, Yunqin Priests could only be like the daoists of ordinary Yunqin temples, publicly declare some of their thoughts, but could no longer participate in internal affairs, even more so completely separate from the army.

Some of Lin Xi’s enemies began to possess even greater power, starting to do some things.

According to their information, during this time, Lin Xi didn’t seem to be doing anything at all, only quietly treating his injuries. However, regardless of whether it was Di Choufei or Xu Zhenyan, neither of them believed that Lin Xi wasn’t doing anything.

In reality, Lin Xi was indeed borrowing this recovery time to carefully think some matters clearly, think through all the things that he could do. During this period, he already methodically did some things that, for his opponents, were great to a sufficiently terrifying degree.

When Xu Zhenyan’s carriage slowly left Central Continent City, Chen Feirong was currently replying to Lin Xi’s letter within a Qiantang Province Auspicious Virtue shop.

She never doubted or went against any of Lin Xi’s decisions. This was especially the case on some of Auspicious Virtue’s business strategic decisions. She carried out Lin Xi’s decisions one hundred percent the way she was ordered to. Only, this time, she needed one final confirmation, feeling like she had to report some of Auspicious Virtue’s concrete affairs to Lin Xi.

She wrote the reply letter, and then only handed it to the soap manufacturing workshop not far behind her. Afterwards, she only waited.

Qiantang Province already wasn’t that far from South Tomb Province. In just two days of time, she received Lin Xi’s confirmation.

She thus didn’t hesitate anymore. With her identity as Auspicious Virtue’s Great Shopkeeper, she informed South Tomb, South Face and South Order, these three southernmost provinces of the empire, together with Qiantang and Xiangshui, these two provinces' Auspicious Virtue shops, starting to carry out this decision that left her more shocked than ever before.

A little girl who was sucking on her fingers was standing not far from an Auspicious Virtue grains shop.

She wasn’t a beggar, her clothes clean, her hair tied up in pigtails, quite cute. She lived in a house along this street that even had flowers and grass growing at the entrance.

Only, she was extremely hungry right now.

She really wanted to cry.

Half of it was because she was hungry to the point where she wanted to cry, while the other half was instead because of shame.

She felt like standing like this in front of this shop entrance and looking at the rice inside was extremely shameful.

She felt like she already did everything she could to not buy steamed buns, but why was it that when she saw this type of uncooked rice, she couldn’t even move aside her feet, really wishing to run over and grab a handful, throw it into her mouth.

When this cleanly dressed little girl’s grandfather, an elder who was also dressed in a clean cloth jacket, saw this little girl’s appearance, he also really wanted to cry.

They heard that the front lines already experienced great battles, that there was no chance of those Great Mang barbarians attacking again for quite some time, so they returned to their own homeland.

Only, the farmland had already been abandoned for too long, this autumn was destined to not have much of a harvest. Many businessmen in this place had also already left, many professions couldn’t be continued. This was especially the case with someone like his family who did some handicrafts for a living. Normally, they could still be considered a rather well-off small household but after experiencing a long and difficult evacuation, by the time they returned, they were already penniless. Adults could still struggle on with difficulty, thinking about the things they need to do when hungry, slowly struggling on. However, children who couldn’t eat a single good meal after several days, how were they supposed to hold on?

While looking at his granddaughter who was sucking on her fingers, her complexion a bit yellow, this elder who wanted to cry set his resolution, deciding he was going to sell his family’s sole valuable item, a piece of old jade passed down through the family, even if the familial value of this piece of old jade was far greater than its practical value, even if it could only let him and this granddaughter he loved dearly fill their stomachs for a few meals.

The streets’ bluestone paths were extremely clean, without many beggars, but many people were even more hungry than beggars. Their houses were completely empty, many people heading to the fields to dig out grass roots and catch some voles and other things even during daytime.

Just like when Yunqin’s harvest was extremely poor, experiencing successive years of natural disasters, if the disaster relief aid didn’t come down from above, then all of these common people in the streets could only use various methods to struggle on.

A fast horse carried windblown dust that couldn’t be scrubbed off to this Auspicious Virtue grain shop.

When the old shopkeeper walked out from the grain shop and received the document from this rider, he just happened to see this girl and elder, looking at the granddaughter’s shamed appearance, this old shopkeeper also really wanted to cry.

He also wanted to help these people, just that his salary was still limited after all. There was no way he could help all of the common people in this street. As for the rice in this shop, it belonged to Auspicious Virtue, it wasn’t his. He couldn’t go against his post.

He thought to himself that in a bit, he was going to buy a steamed bun and secretly pass it onto that little girl. He then seriously opened the letter sent from Auspicious Virtue’s Great Shopkeeper he greatly respected.

At the very least, it was precisely because of the plans and decisions of this Great Shopkeeper he greatly respected that there was still rice to sell in this type of street… While thinking these kind of grave thoughts, the instant he read the words in this letter, this old shopkeeper’s hands began to shake uncontrollably, his breathing almost completely stopping, his forehead turning a bit cold. However, his chest released indescribable heat.

“This store!”

He quickly scanned over the contents of the letter, making sure that he didn’t read wrong as he whimpered, suddenly loudly shouting these two words.

These two words, in this type of vacant street seemed especially powerful and grand.

The little girl who felt so much shame she wanted to cry and the elder consoling her both stood still. They turned around in a stupor, looking at that old shopkeeper who straightened his chest, his breathing rushed to the point where it was as if he suffered a stroke, confused as to what happened.

The old shopkeeper seemed to have received an even greater boost of confidence, his chest sticking out even straighter.

Within this extremely cold late autumn, as if he was performing in an opera, he loudly sung out, declaring, “This store… from today forth, the rice can be bought on credit!”

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