Qin Ye drew a deep breath and tracked the three streams of Yin energy with a burning gaze. They traversed several thousand meters in no time and arrived right in front of the hotel.
As the Yin energy quickly dissipated, Qin Ye could tell that these were three people whose entire bodies were wrapped in black, tight-fitting garments. They also wore a headband on their foreheads. The top half of their bodies were corporeal and tangible, yet the bottom half of their bodies were still illusory and enshrouded in Yin energy. They drifted about the spot where Ming Shiyin had fallen just some moments ago, yet not a single living person standing around could sense their presence.
“This is…” Qin Ye’s heart skipped a beat as he stared intently at the banner on their backs. Seconds later, he gnashed his teeth and muttered to himself, “Hojo Clan… and the secret ninjas of Renpu… Nippon sure has mobilized the great forces of the Warring States era…”
“What are these?” Ming Shiyin asked, evidently unaware of the ongoings in Nippon.
Qin Ye pointed to the banner on their backs and explained, “The Hojo Clan is one of the regents of the Renpu shogunate during the Warring States era. Their emblem comprises three triangles stacked together in the shape of a greater triangle. And their outfit tells us that they’re ninjas. During the Warring States era, the Hojo Clan was well known for maintaining a formidable force known as the secret ninjas of Renpu. And the ones here today are exactly them! If they’re looking to intercept Oda Nobunaga in the Eastsea region, tapping on the skills of the secret ninjas of Renpu is definitely the best option.”
“Are you certain?” Ming Shiyin glanced suspiciously at Qin Ye. The surprising byproduct of their earlier altercation was a somewhat tense yet peculiar harmony. One was wary of the fact that the other possessed an unparalleled ability to erupt with an outpouring of verbal assault, while the other proceeded cautiously for fear of being defenestrated again.
“How do you know so much?”
Qin Ye coughed dryly, “If you’ve played through the Nobunaga’s Wild Hope series several times, you’d know just as much as well…”
“That’s… nothing important. What’s important is…” Qin Ye murmured, “You’re someone who has experienced the Warring States era. What do you think the appearance of the Hojo Clan’s secret ninjas of the Renpu represents?”
Ming Shiyin deliberated for a few moments, and then it gasped in shock.
Things are going to get extremely dangerous!
That’s right. It had lived through that period of time when Nippon was still under Cathayan rule. Thus, when the Warring States era broke out, news of it quickly spread throughout Cathay. This was why he appreciated the implications of these matters.
Although the scale of the war was nothing compared to the strife within Cathay just a millennium ago, the development of society during the interim meant that the wars were fought with far greater bloodshed and devastation than the Three Kingdoms era. In fact, there were even a few factions among the Warring States era who were comparable with the best of the Cathayan forces across history.
“Takeda’s Red Army Corps… Joichiro Sanada’s First Regiment…” Ming Shiyin drew a deep breath, “Are you saying that… the Nipponese underworld is mobilizing the strongest forces across history?”
“They’ve already mobilized it.” Qin Ye squinted at the three Nipponese emissaries who were quickly disappearing from sight, before finally turning around and walking back into his room, “There are no firearms in the underworld, and all conflicts among underworlds go back to the basics of regular armed combat. These reputable forces who have faded into the annals of history with the effluxion of time have finally been given another opportunity to shine on modern battlefields. At the same time, this serves as a warning to the other contending factions to back off.”
They had mobilized their reserve forces.
He had sorely underestimated the importance of Oda Nobunaga’s soul to the Nipponese underworld. But I suppose it stands to reason. After all, what would Hell do if we saw the re-emergence of Cao Cao, Li Shimin and the other great historical figures in Cathayan soil?
I’m afraid all the great armies throughout history would pour out of Hell for the very same purpose, wouldn’t they?
After all, troops were easy to gather, but a general was a rare commodity!
The emergence of the secret ninjas of Renpu is a signal… He turned his gaze to the harbor apprehensively, and then stared intently at the distance where the Strait of Tsushima was located - I wonder what other powerful forces Izanami has laying in wait for us?
“‘Great Deity of the East Shining Light’ Tokugawa Ieyasu? ‘Botenmaru’ Date Masamune? ‘Tiger of Kai’ Shingen Takeda?” 
None of these were opponents he could contend against right now.
“I’m not sure whether the Onmyojis are already in Eastsea right now. The only entities I’m certain are at Eastsea right now are Guardian Auctions and the Imperial Furniture Group. Negotiations with Oda Nobunaga must be completed before we even get to the Strait of Tsushima. Otherwise… how can I possibly convince the Onmyojis? Why would they even want to stand on my side?”
After all, he wouldn’t be in any position to negotiate with the Onmyojis if he didn’t possess the requisite ability to take down Oda Nobunaga! And if he couldn’t convince the Onmyojis to stand on his side… then there’s no need to even talk about the upcoming confrontation with the tide of Yomi’s forces - the forces of the underworld of Nippon - laying in wait for them.
In other words, one single misstep could cost him the opportunity to seize Oda Nobunaga’s soul! In fact, any failure on his part might even cause him to be placed in the position where he would have to offer up the fragment of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl in his possession in exchange for a safe passage back home.
That would be far too much of an embarrassment!
“This is Oda Nobunaga we’re talking about… When all is said and done, he’s still one of the greatest politicians and military leaders in history. Would I truly be able to convince him to join me?” Qin Ye sighed in frustration after a long time. Ming Shiyin knew that things had taken a turn for the worse, and they had to move with great urgency right now. Thus, it asked softly, “Where do you plan to begin?”
Qin Ye tapped on his armrest, and then responded with a deep voice, “Imperial Furniture Group.”
“Oh? Why them? Are you scared, son? Are you afraid of meeting Oda Nobunaga face to face? Is that why you’re delaying the inevitable as much as possible? What’s there to be afraid of? Justice Bao didn’t even bother to let them take a seat when they paid tribute to us back then.”
How can you compare me with the esteemed Lord Justice Bao?!
Qin Ye glared threateningly at Ming Shiyin - Would I need to go through all this trouble if I had the power of the Yama-Kings of the Ten Palaces? I could simply give Izanami a huge slap on the face and tell her ‘Come, come. Allow me to remind you of the fear of Hell…’
But… I simply don’t have the power to do that!
“Firstly, I’ll need funds from Imperial Furniture Group for the auction, and I’ll need to give them sufficient time to conduct their board meetings and to raise the necessary funds.” He deliberated, “Secondly, it’s only when I’ve taken care of those matters that I’d truly have the peace of mind to properly think about how I can negotiate with the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven. I wouldn’t have any worries lingering at the back of my mind. Finally, in the worst case scenario, I’ll at least have resolved the issue of inaugurating the Southsea Huanghuali golden trade route of Hell and thereby securing Hell’s finances. That way, I’d at least have left myself a way out of the situation - even if I end up being unable to seize Oda Nobunaga’s soul, Hell will still be able to begin developing quickly.”
Ming Shiyin looked at Qin Ye in surprise. After a long time, it responded, “I’d never thought that… you could change so much with the snap of a finger… I finally get why Arthis is willing to remain by your side right now…”
Qin Ye ignored Ming Shiyin. Just as much as the appearance of the Nipponese emissaries had come suddenly, the onset of such an exigency meant that he no longer had the luxury of time to plan his moves. After all, the moment which Guardian Auctions arrives was naturally also the time when the secret ninjas of Renpu would make their move. He immediately picked up his phone and dialed a number. His call quickly got through, and another man responded enthusiastically, “Mr Qin, have you already arrived at Eastsea?”
“Yes.” Qin Ye dispensed with the platitudes. After all, his discussions with Imperial Furniture Group was merely the appetizer to give him a taster of the talks to come. The negotiations with the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven is undoubtedly the linchpin of whether this trip to Eastsea would be a success or not!
“I’ll see you this evening at 7.30 p.m. I’ll come look for you.” He added, “Send me your address by way of text.”
Qin Ye spoke succinctly. Everyone was eagerly anticipating their meeting tonight, and they naturally didn’t beat about the bush. Without much further ado, they hung up, and the point of contact from the Imperial Furniture Group quickly sent their address to Qin Ye.
Qin Ye was pleased.
Where large transactions as these are concerned, it was important to pick a location where their safety could be ensured. In that regard, they had picked out a shopping district which Imperial Furniture Group had constructed themselves.
Time passed quickly, and it was soon 6.00 p.m. After having dinner, Qin Ye strapped Ming Shiyin onto his chest, took a taxi to the western part of the city, and soon arrived at their designated meeting place.
The shopping district was distinctly recognizable, and every building was decorated with a beautiful orchid on them. After reporting their name, they were immediately escorted to a luxurious room.
“We finally meet, Mr Qin.” It was an old man in his seventies who answered the door. Qin Ye could recognize his voice as the very same one which he had heard over the phone. Qin Ye smiled and offered a handshake, “Good evening, Chairman Gao.”
“There’s no need for pleasantries.” Gao Youliang chuckled softly and led Qin Ye into the room, “Come, Mr Qin, let me make some introductions. These are major shareholders of the Imperial Furniture Group, Wan Quan and Ma Zengyi. The three main shareholders of the Imperial Furniture Group are all present today, so you can take it that any decision we come to today will naturally be approved by the board. I’ll take it that Mr Qin wouldn’t mind, would you?”
“Of course not.” Qin Ye smiled and nodded at the two as he walked in. He took a deep breath and sat down. Then, he scanned the surroundings of the entire room.
It was a room with luxurious European-style decors. Grand crystal chandeliers hung from the roof, compelling paintings decorated the walls, while the floors were covered with thick red carpet that exudes class. The shiny sofa which Qin Ye sank into was very soft. Coffee and tea, and an assortment of refreshments had already been placed onto the shining, golden table in front of him.
As he scanned his surroundings, so did Gao Youliang and the other shareholders size him up.
I wouldn’t think much of him if we crossed paths out there on the street, but… sitting directly across him, I can feel a palpable force of pressure bearing down on me.
Gao Youliang silently slipped his hand into one of the pockets in his suit. There was a white jade fish hidden in that pocket of his, and it was currently warm to the touch. He held it gently, and then turned to the other two and nodded his head. Their eyes gleamed, and they immediately understood everything.
It’s someone from ‘over there’.
Then there’s no need for further verification of his identity. The conditions ‘over there’ are far more exacting than the conditions for any businesses out here. It’s safe to transact with him.
“Mr Qin.” Gao Youliang took a sip from his coffee cup and looked Qin Ye straight in the eyes, “There’s an endless demand for Southsea Huanghuali on the market. However, having a sudden surge of supply of Southsea Huanghuali in the market will only serve to dilute its price. If we were to take your entire stock of Southsea Huanghuali, not only would we have to divest a part of our business, we would even have to tap into all of our liquid reserves. On the other hand, we would only be able to sell the stock of Southsea Huanghuali bit by bit so that we don’t dilute the market at once. In other words, the Imperial Furniture Group wouldn’t be in a good place until we recover the cost for the supply of goods.”
“But you have no choice but to buy this stock either way.” Qin Ye responded immediately, “You wouldn’t immediately see results if a competitor gets their hands on my stock. But give it a decade - possibly even less - and I’m quite certain that your competitor would already have left you in the dust… Alright, I’m no businessman, and I don’t want to waste too much time on negotiations. I’ve brought the samples. All you need to do is to tell me whether you accept or not. The price will be fixed at 95% of its market value. If you’re not satisfied with the offer, I can take this to the other appointments I’ve lined up.”
“Could I take a look?” Wan Quan asked, to which Qin Ye immediately nodded. Then, Qin Ye pulled out a briefcase filled with several samples of Southsea Huanghuali and handed it over.
It didn’t take long for Gao Youliang to recognize the sheer quality of the stock of Southsea Huanghuali, especially when it came to how exquisite and mystifying its ‘ghost faces’ were. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the stock of Southsea Huanghuali was of the finest quality!
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