Chapter 108: Secret Plans

Old Mi was feeling quite blue-balled at the situation. Ah, that’s not right since I don’t have my balls anymore. Well, just something like that.

He only taught Sunflower Phantasm to Zu An because it wasn’t easy for him to find a suitable cauldron, so he didn’t want the latter to come to any mishap before he finally possessed the latter.

However, he didn’t expect Zu An to actually grasp the Sunflower Phantasm so quickly. There were nine levels to the Sunflower Phantasm, and the first level allowed one to maneuver freely even amidst the encirclement of cultivators of the same rank. Even if the opponent was a rank or two higher than him, there would be nothing to fear at all. If one could master it to the ninth level, even Masters would find it hard to nick one’s sleeves.

Most people would take several months just to grasp the first level, so Old Mi thought that several nights of effort learning the Sunflower Phantasm would just barely give Zu An the ability to protect himself during the Clans Tournament.

However, Zu An was unexpectedly talented in the movement skill, mastering the first level in a huff. In fact, he might have already reached the second level even. If he were to use it on the dueling ring tomorrow, it could spell trouble for Old Mi. While it was unlikely for anyone to be able to identify this movement skill in Brightmoon City, it was still better to be safe than sorry. 

The more Old Mi thought about it, the more nervous he felt. So, he decided to come over to warn Zu An in advance.

Seeing that Zu An was shocked by what he had said, he carried on, “I’ll teach you another trick to alter the ki pathway a little. That way, it won’t be easy for others to see through the origin of your movement skill.”

Zu An was delighted to hear that. “Elder, you’re incredible! I didn’t know you have the ability to change such a formidable movement skill so easily!”

In his heart, however, he was alarmed to know that his movement skill was a taboo in the world of cultivation. He was reminded of how Old Mi had warned him that he mustn’t reveal the name of his movement skill, and now he was worried about him executing it too, even going to the extent of coming over to make some modifications. Just what could Old Mi be hiding here?

I must be more careful, or else I might just get done in by him one day.

While Zu An was practicing the newly revised version of Sunflower Phantasm, Cheng Shouping strolled by the major casinos in the city before finally choosing one that had a slightly higher payout for Zu An’s loss.

“If he knows that I changed his bet, would he beat me to death?” Cheng Shouping suddenly hesitated a little.

However, he soon persuaded himself otherwise. 

I’m only doing this out of concern for the young master so that he doesn’t lose his money along with his pride. There are some things that our masters cannot say to us as it undermines their pride, and it’s at times like this that we servants have to deduce their true intention.

To this day, he still couldn’t understand why the Madam got angry at him when she said that she would bring in some concubines for the Master and he caringly brought a bunch of ladies in for her to choose from.

Anyway, having convinced himself that this was the right thing to date, he betted all 10,000 silver taels on Zu An’s loss.

Shortly after he left, a man and a woman walked out of the casino. The man had a tall and dashing appearance whereas the woman looked dignified and elegant. They looked like a good pair.

“Young master, young miss.”

The attendant who was in charge of receiving bets bowed to the couple. If Zu An was here, he would have immediately recognized the two of them to be familiar faces.

The man was no other than Sang Qian, and the woman was Zheng Dan.

“Are you sure that man is Zu An’s study companion?” Sang Qian looked at Cheng Shouping’s departing silhouette as he asked with a deep voice.

After the mishap at Silverhook Casino, he secretly supported the Zheng clan to establish a new casino in the city. The Zheng clan was already dabbling in the gambling business, and the timely support from the Sang clan further reinforced its foundation, allowing them to swiftly rise to power.

“Yes, he definitely is,” the attendant replied. “His name is Cheng Shouping, and he’s Zu An only servant.”

“He betted on Zu An’s loss earlier?” Sang Qian couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Yes, he betted 10,000 silver taels on it,” reported the attendant.

Zheng Dan frowned. “How could a servant like him possibly have 10,000 silver taels? He must have done it under Zu An’s instructions. Still, I didn’t expect Zu An to actually bet on his own loss.”

Sang Qian laughed heartily. “After how he kept provoking Yuan Wendong time and time again, we thought that he might actually have some trump card up his sleeves, so we made sure to keep an eye out for his movements. Yet, who could have thought that he has already resigned himself to his loss? Hah, I guess we were expecting too much out of someone who came from the streets. Even after becoming the young master of the Chu clan, he still can’t kick off his habit of taking small little advantages.”

Zheng Dan frowned a little upon hearing those words as she thought about the gentlemanly young man who refused to take advantage of her despite her attempts at seduction, as well as the imposing fellow who overwhelmed everyone who stood in his way.

All of the evidence she had seen thus far showed that Zu An was not an ordinary person.

“Send someone to inform Shi Kun that his worry is unfounded. That fellow is not a threat at all,” said Sang Qian with a smile. “Also, make sure to tamper with the bet the study companion made earlier on.”

The attendant nodded in response, “Don’t worry, I’ve already tampered with it. The bet paper was written using special ink. Tomorrow, the surface ink will recede, and the underlying layer will surface. It’ll show as him betting for Zu An’s victory instead.”

“Well done!” complimented Sang Qian. “You want to recoup your loss on the dueling ring through your bet? Dream on, I won’t allow you!”

All of a sudden, he remembered something and frowned, “Wait a moment, why did that fellow only bet 10,000 silver taels? Doesn’t he have much more money than that?”

Zheng Dan put on a tender smile and said, “Big brother Sang, have you forgotten? Most of what he earned from Silverhook Casino is just an empty cheque. He can’t possibly take it out to gamble.”

“That’s true.” Sang Qian nodded. “Even so, he should have 40,000 to 50,000 on him at the moment. Yet, he could only bring himself to take out 10,000 silver taels for this bet. I guess he simply can’t rid himself of the miserly nature he picked up from the street.”

Zheng Dan found herself disagreeing with Sang Qian’s words. Somehow, she couldn’t associate that man she had been trying to seduce with the word ‘miserly’. She hesitated for a moment before saying, “Is it possible that he’s spreading his bet over several casinos?”

Sang Qian nodded in realization. “Yes, that is possible. Send someone to look into it right away. He might be betting a smaller amount on our side to make us put our guard down while betting more elsewhere.”

“I don’t think he has the connections to know that this casino is under us,” said Zheng Dan.

“While the possibility is low, it’s better for us to be safe than sorry,” said Sang Qian. “Now that we’re talking about him, what’s your progress with him so far?”

Zheng Dan’s face reddened. She shook her head and said, “I’ve had two encounters with him thus far, but I can’t figure out where he’s hiding the debt note at.”

She had searched him from head to toe, but she wasn’t able to find the debt note anywhere. Where could he be hiding it? Could it be in the Chu clan?

“You need to hurry up with that. As long as we can get our hands on the debt note, we’ll be able to put the Silverhook Casino and the Plum Blossom Sect under our control anytime we want,” said Sang Qian.

“I know that.” Zheng Dan wondered if she should find a chance to drop by the Chu clan, but she knew that such a move could incur the suspicion of the Chu clan.

“Did that fellow take advantage of you?” Sang Qian suddenly asked suspiciously while eyeing him nervously.

Zheng Dan immediately thought of the rough sensation of Zu An’s hands on her thigh, and her heart skipped a beat. However, she maintained a poker face and replied calmly, “Rest assured, how could I possibly allow that fellow to take advantage of me?”

“That’s good.” Sang Qian heaved a sigh of relief.

… 

Meanwhile, in the Yuan clan, a group of people was sitting in a secret meeting room with grave looks on their faces. Someone knocked on the door, and Yuan Wendong headed out for a while. When he finally returned, there was a smile on his face.

“Sang Qian just sent news that Zu An has no trump cards at all. He secretly betted on his own loss.”

The crowd burst into laughter. They turned to look at the beautiful woman sporting a ponytail and said, “As I told you, Miss Snow, you’re getting too worried over nothing!”

Needless to say, the young woman was Snow. It wasn’t convenient for Shi Kun to make a move himself, so he sent her over to come into contact with the Yuan clan to warn them.

“He betted on his own loss?” Snow was confused.

Others might not know better, but she knew deep well that Zu An had been hiding his true abilities thus far.

“Young master Yuan, you should still be careful tomorrow. Even though Zu An is only a third rank cultivator, his fighting prowess far surpasses that. You mustn’t let your guard down.”

Snow was reminded of how she failed her assassination attempt on Zu An despite going all out. While part of the reason was due to the sudden stomachache she had, Zu An’s surprisingly great strength played a huge part in that too.

However, Yuan Wendong shrugged off her concerns, saying, “No matter how powerful he is, isn’t he just a third rank cultivator? No matter what he tries to pull, there’s no way he can turn the tables against a fifth rank cultivator like me!” 

The others agreed with Yuan Wendong’s words. In their view, there was a limit to how powerful a third rank cultivator could be.

One of the elders in the secret meeting room chirped in, “If Zu An has no trump cards prepared, aren’t we making a mountain out of a molehill to send our young master after him? It seems like an awful waste.”

“That bastard Zu An has humiliated me many times now. I have to settle the grudge with him, or else others might just take me for a pushover. Besides, even though that fellow appears to be a wastrel, his capability definitely far surpasses what he shows on the surface. He might have some ideas in mind. Even Miss Snow has come all the way here to warn us that he isn’t as simple as we think him out to be, so I believe that there’s a need to be warier. 

“In any case, I’ll make sure I trample him into the ground tomorrow. I’ll show him that a good-for-nothing will always be a good-for-nothing. He might have thought that he’s smart for concealing his true ability, but I’ll show him that his little tricks are nothing more than jokes before true prodigies like me!”

“But if you were to go up against him, the rest of us might not be enough to deal with the experts of the Chu clan,” someone said worriedly.

“Rest assured, we have someone to deal with Chu Chuyan. May I invite Mister Wu in!” Yuan Wendong stood up as he gestured toward the wall by the side.

The wall slowly opened, and a middle-aged man slowly walked in. Even the composed Snow couldn’t help but pale in astonishment. This pressure… This fellow is a sixth rank cultivator?

Yuan Wendong bowed at the middle-aged man before introducing him to the crowd, “May I introduce to you Elder Wu Di from the Wu clan. He’s a sixth rank cultivator. No matter how powerful Chu Chuyan is, she’s still no more than a fifth rank cultivator. As all of us know, there’s a huge gap between the fifth rank and the sixth rank. With his help, we’ll surely be able to win the battle tomorrow!”

A fifth rank cultivator would be able to tap into the elemental energies of the world whereas a sixth rank cultivator could morph them into a defensive layer around him. This enhancement in ability was more than enough for any sixth rank cultivator to defeat any fifth rank cultivator.

The Yuan clan was overjoyed to see that a sixth rank cultivator was going to join their line-up. With this, they were certain of their victory.

However, Snow couldn’t help but pose a doubt, “This is the Clans Tournament. Both sides are sending their juniors down. Considering this elder’s age, putting aside the Chu clan, even the city lord wouldn’t agree to it.”

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