Chapter 183: Under-the-Counter Deals

 Chapter 183: Under-the-Counter Deals [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]  

“What’s this!?” the thug cried out in alarm under the murky illumination. There were very few broad-leaved trees in the Evernight Continent and even less within the city. Where could they witness such a scene of colorful falling leaves? The thug was absolutely startled and subconsciously reached out to grab one of them only to find his hand pass right through as if it was an illusion.

The confused thug actually saw his fingers dropping off before he could realize what was happening! The pain had yet to reach him at that moment. He was pondering whether this was origin power if not an illusion. Suddenly, he looked up as if he had remembered something and saw countless leaves falling still. Following which, boundless pain engulfed his senses and pushed him into complete darkness.

Falling leaves rustled down like rain. A garish blood-colored flower would bloom whenever a leaf landed on someone. These thugs only had enough time to let out a short cry of misery before falling onto floor one after the other.

Fresh blood began to flow within this silent street.

Song Zining continued onwards. The sound of water would ring out whenever his heels struck the ground. It almost seemed as if he was walking on waves, but it was, instead, blood beneath his feet.

Song Zining finally arrived before the mansion’s scarlet doors, swung the door knocker, and proceeded to wait in silence.

A moment later, the main doors opened a bit from which the impatient countenance of an old servant emerged. “Didn’t I tell you lot to settle things on your own!?”

Song Zining was smiling just as before. “I believe no one has ever told me that before. Besides, I’m here to visit Chen Guangyu tonight.”

The servant shouted, “Do you think my master is someone you can meet anytime you want!?” He peeked outwards as if he was searching for something but his expression changed after finding no signs of activity. He swiftly turned around with the intention of crying out.

Song Zining only chuckled. It was at this time that a single leaf suddenly appeared mid-air and swept past the servant’s throat. The old man grasped his neck and stared fixedly at Song Zining but was already unable to utter a single word.

With that, Song Zining walked through the main hall and arrived at the study after passing through two patterned doors. No sooner had the two servants looked up at the intruder than they fell clutching their throats. Over a dozen corpses lay haphazardly along the path—some were servants and others were guards—all of them had their throats slit by a seemingly sharp object. 

Song Zining calmly pushed the door open and entered.

An elderly man within the study said without looking up, “Didn’t I order you lot not to disturb me!?”

“But I really must disturb you for a while.” Song Zining maintained his mild behavior throughout the exchange.

The old man was astonished after hearing an unfamiliar voice. “You! Who are you!?”

Song Zining walked to the old man’s desk and sat down nonchalantly. “One who comes with a deal.”

“How did you get in? Guards!”

The elderly man called out loudly but received no reply. The whole mansion was deathly silent as if there wasn’t a soul. The man’s expression immediately changed.

Only then did Song Zining smile and say, “All who can come to your aid are dead while the remainder can do little even if they arrive. Hence, I suggest you don’t need to let them know, unless, of course, you think it's a good idea for those women and children to come out.” 

The elderly man’s expression was dismal. The veins on his forearms quickly became visible as he gripped the armrest tightly. He swiftly calmed himself and sat straight before replying in a gloomy voice, “Let’s talk about your deal.”

“I think you’ll recognize this?” With that, Song Zining produced an item which he placed on the table.

The elderly man’s eyes suddenly went wide as a trace of extreme terror flashed within! His fingers briefly touched the item in his hand but abruptly withdrew as if he was burnt. Even his voice was trembling as he said, “You… where did you get this?”  

What Song Zining had placed on the table was a standard measure industrial-use black crystal, as large as one’s palm and one centimeter thick. This was one of the crystals Qi Yue had traded with the vampires back then.

All black crystals looked the same to the untrained eye—the cuts of the industrial use black crystals would be larger, while origin energy black crystals would be smaller and of increased purity. However, every crystal was different to those who truly knew the ropes. There were minute differences in each of them, from the internal patterns to the energy fluctuations in their depths. A master appraiser would be able to determine the ore vein from which a particular black crystal was produced or even narrow it down to a certain mining site.

“This black crystal should’ve leaked out from the Chen clan mines, am I right?”

Beads of sweat hung on Chen Guangyu’s forehead. “Yes… yes, how did this happen? Everyone knows our mines only produce a small amount of black crystals.”

“Don’t you feel this black crystal is somewhat special?” Song Zining’s voice was very gentle—so gentle that it felt like a devil’s whisper. 

The elderly man’s posture straightened even more and his vigor seemed to have increased. However, his actions seemed to betray his guilty conscience under the current circumstances. 

“I don’t know what’s so special about this crystal,” Chen Guangyu replied slowly.

Song Zining chuckled. “Oh, I actually have a story to tell you. This black crystal was reclaimed from vampire hands—it so happens that the vampires were trading with some humans.” 

Chen Guangyu calmed down. Leaning back on the chair, he laughed coldly. “What does that have to do with me? We, the Chens, are only responsible for extraction and processing. The ores are then sold. How can we control what the buyer does with them afterward?” 

Song Zining nodded. “It is indeed so!”

Chen Guangyu was momentarily startled—he hadn’t expected Song Zining to be so reasonable. But the latter continued, “I only need to ask the buyer about the details to confirm whether or not your Chen clan is involved in this matter.” 

Chen Guangyu’s expression changed slightly but then he began to laugh coldly. “Young man, these people are all big-shots. They’re not as easy to bully as I am. Feel free to try if you think you can do it!”

Song Zining played down the man’s words. “You’re also an in-law of the Huaiyang Wu clan and not necessarily someone to be pushed around. The commander of a third-rate defensive division can’t be considered much of a heavyweight either. You’d best turn around and take a look.” 

Chen Guangyu’s heart began to beat wildly after having his background and connections thoroughly revealed by Song Zining. He turned around as he was told, and only then did he discover the two people who had been standing behind him all along! 

The two middle-aged men were expressionless, and the contours of their faces were as hard as nails. More importantly, they were releasing their origin power aura without reservation. Chen Guangyu perceived vortices of dazzling origin power radiance slowly revolving behind them.

Two champions!

Chen Guangyu forgot to breathe for a moment as he turned his head back with great difficulty to face this youth whose disposition was as mild as jade. The latter’s unchanging smile, at this moment, felt incomparably artificial, sinister and bloodthirsty. 

Regardless of his own ability, someone who could order two champions around indeed had no need to fear an expeditionary army division commander. Additionally, this youth clearly knew of his close relationship with the Huaiyang Wu family and yet he had killed everyone within the courtyard. Such domineering methods indicated his deep background.

Song Zining spoke indifferently, “Do you understand now? I have absolutely no need for any proof nor do I need anyone to confirm the truth of matters. If I say that you’re involved in trading with the vampires, then that is the truth. As for how you go about proving your innocence, that’s your business.”

Chen Guangyu seemed to have aged a decade and responded decrepitly, “I understand. How do I address the young master? Please don’t hesitate to state your commands. I’ll fulfill them to the utmost of my abilities.”

“I’m surnamed Song.”

Chen Guangyu was overwhelmed. “Song, as in… the Song clan?”

Song Zining tossed a pouch of coins onto the table along with two papers. “Here’s an airship receipt which can be used to travel to the Qin or any other continent under imperial rule. As long as you hurry toward Xichang City, you and your family can safely depart aboard an interstellar vessel no matter what happens here. The money within the pouch is for travel expenses. Naturally, you can also take whatever you can from this mansion.” He moved the thicker document toward Chen Guangyu and said, “You need only to sign this document before you go.”

Chen Guangyu’s countenance turned pale after glancing through the contents. His voice trembled as he said, “You want all of the Chen clan mines?”

“There are only three in total and one of them is outrageously small.”

Chen Guangyu inhaled deeply. “Young man, don’t you feel this is going overboard?”

Song Zining smiled faintly. “I feel I’m extremely lenient. Look, I even arranged your trip, paid for your travel expenses, and allowed you to take away part of your fortune. It’s also fine if you don’t want to sign. By the time the higher ups come to investigate this forbidden deal, you’ll have to pay with the lives of your whole family in addition to these mines!” He paused momentarily and continued, “Perhaps, more than just your family will be dragged into this.”

Chen Guangyu drew a cold breath as he glanced at Song Zining. He suddenly laughed bitterly and replied, “Good, good, very good! I admit defeat this time!” With that, he grabbed the contract, signed his name, and proceeded to put down his personal seal before tossing it back to Song Zining.

Song Zining inspected the signature and origin power seal before folding the contract and putting it back into his pocket. This process caused Chen Guangyu’s brows to twitch uncontrollably—the other party had apparently come prepared. They were even familiar with his signature and personal seal.  

Song Zining was still speaking amiably, “You have one day to pack up. I’ll send someone to take over the mines at this time tomorrow. I expect everything to be ready.”

Song Zining got up after saying this but glanced back suddenly as he approached the door. “If I were you, I’d avoid entertaining thoughts like admitting a loss this time and making a comeback later on. You’d do well to hide as far away from here as possible, lest I suddenly change my mind.”

Chen Guangyu fell limply onto the chair after Song Zining left. Cold sweat had drenched both layers of his clothing. At present, he had lost all notions of revenge.

Regardless of whether the young man was from the Song clan, his ability to mobilize champions and his direct and efficient methods fully displayed his might. He was vicious and merciless but didn’t neglect to leave a lifeline for the other party, preventing them from burning the boats. Besides, the threat in his words was very clear—he would unravel Chen Guangyu thoroughly if the latter dared to act rashly. 

Chen Guangyu shuddered at the thought of this. That young man was right in that his top priority should be to cover his tracks. He suddenly turned around as if he had remembered something but found that the two champions had left just as silently as they had appeared.

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

This is the fourth chapter of the week. Enjoy ^_^

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