Chapter 58: Negotiations
As nightfall arrived, the lanterns began to light up.
Large, red lanterns were hung up outside the Starplucking Wine Pavilion. They were lit brightly, as if in anticipation that the best time of day was about to arrive.
As the customers entered one by one, the Starplucking Wine Pavilion became very busy very quickly.
As per usual, Su Chen would find a quiet corner to sit in at this time as long as he was not practicing in the forest. He would drink his tea and quietly watch the alcohol-influenced scenes that would play out in his wine shop. People thought that Su Chen was someone who was aloof and mysterious, not like an ordinary mortal, and that he was monitoring the situation with indifference. In reality, Su Chen was just constantly using his Soul Eye to temper his eyes.
After three months of cultivation, Su Chen had slowly become more proficient with the Soul Eye. At the same time, he discovered that although his eyes could not amplify the effect of the Soul Eye, practicing Soul Eye helped increase the speed of evolution of his eyes.
Su Chen was unintentionally able to verify one of his guesses – the Soul Eye could stimulate and increase the speed that his eyes evolved at.
The first time that he saw light was when he regained his sight while fighting Lin Xie. His discovery of the Origin Energy motes occurred after fighting the Jade-Eyed Ape – almost every time his eyes had changed, it had come after a strong stimulus.
Su Chen could only guess that there was a link between his soul, which was located in his brain, and his eyes which were like the windows of his brain. Stimulation of his soul had also resulted in Su Chen’s eyes continuing to develop even faster.
Using his Soul Eye had indirectly confirmed this point. Su Chen’s constant usage of this soul-type Origin Skill caused his eyes to improve quite rapidly. Although no new abilities had emerged, as had been the case when the stimuli had been great, there was a steady improvement that allowed Su Chen to more clearly perceive the motion of Origin Energy in a person’s body.
It was the same as when Su Chen had first seen Gu Qingluo. He could see a very special Qi flow in the person’s body, and it was clearer and more stable than that time. Because this flow only appeared on Origin Qi Scholars, Su Chen didn’t need to think to know that that must be Origin Energy.
However, Su Chen did not know what benefits this ability would bring him. In addition, his eyes had no way of penetrating clothing, so his vision would not be complete.
Despite this, Su Chen did not fret. As long as there was progress, there would be new abilities that would manifest themselves sooner or later.
Su Chen had already used the Soul Eye to stare at a little mouse hiding in the corner eleven times. The poor guy that had been struck over and over with this magic staggered around, dazed. When the twelfth Soul Eye activation landed on it, the mouse could no longer take the heavy burden and let out a loud yell, falling to the ground and dying.
The repeated soul attacks had resulted in severe damage to its brain, causing a non-attack type skill to also result in fatal injury.
‘Indeed, things do not always behave according to how the world categorizes them, and many things are not absolute,’ Su Chen said to himself as he gazed at the mouse’s corpse.
After using his Soul Eye twelve times in a row, Su Chen felt some fatigue. He closed his eyes, intending to rest for a bit.
It was at this moment that Black Hand’s coarse voice sounded out from behind Su Chen.
Black Hand was a person who seemed somewhat shriveled, and he was dark-skinned and very thin. Although he did not seem strong, no one would look down on him because of it.
He was a very vicious, bloodthirsty individual. In his short time in the Halcyon Gorge, he had already slain six people, including two Origin Qi Scholars.
Black Hand was known to have a low tolerance threshold and would kill easily. This was also where his name came from.
Su Chen did not turn around. He waved his hand, indicating that Black Hand could sit next to him.
Black Hand gazed at the back of Su Chen’s head for a while, probably estimating his odds at killing Su Chen if he were to suddenly make a move, or what kinds of consequences would result from killing him.
He thought for a moment, then seemed to give up. He sat next to Su Chen and said, “Demon Face, you are being unjust.”
“How so?” Su Chen turned his head over to look at him. Cold light shined out from the black eyes beneath the mask.
Black Hand said, “Iron Cliff was a dog that I let go. I originally intended to punish him for a few days before taking him back. However, I didn’t expect that you would take him in after a moment’s inattention from me. Don’t you think you should give me an explanation for this matter?”
“Take him back after a few days?” Su Chen laughed. “Take what back? A corpse?”
“Even if it’s just a corpse, it’s still mine!” Black Hand gritted his teeth as he said.
Su Chen tilted his body slightly, leaning towards Black Hand. “You want Iron Cliff? Fine, as long as you can clear his account from eating here, you can take him with you.”
“One thousand two hundred low-grade Origin Stones.”
“You motherfucker, what are you saying?” Black Hand raised his voice before noticing that many people were staring at him from the side. He quietly sat back down in his chair, glaring at Su Chen all the while.
“He ate here yesterday,” Su Chen replied. “Do you still remember Wolf Blade? I said before that if you owe me something, every night the debt is multiplied by a hundred times.”
Black Hand’s eyes narrowed. “Are you threatening me?”
Su Chen shook his head. “I never threaten people; I’m just telling you the truth. Once we clear his account, you can take him away immediately. Or, you can let him work here for me until his debt is completely paid.”
“Is there not a third option?”
Su Chen tilted his head and thought for a moment before saying, “There is. As long as you close the store that you are opening, I will return him to you.”
Black Hand was startled for a moment, then raised his head and began to laugh loudly. “So you were waiting for me here. I was wondering why you weren’t showing your face anymore. You even detained my person. You must have just been waiting to say that, no?”
Su Chen didn’t directly answer him. He only said, “There’s not enough people in the Halcyon Gorge. There’s enough business for one store, but not enough for two. If it were to escalate into more conflict, then there’s no reason to stay here any longer.”
“I don’t care about that. If you can open shop, I can open shop. If you have the ability, try and stop me,” Black Hand coldly laughed. “Don’t think that I’m scared of you just because you killed Wolf Blade and Bai Fan.”
Su Chen sighed. “I do not intend to stay in the Halcyon Gorge forever. I just want to strike it rich. Of course, one could say that everyone here in the Halcyon Gorge has the exact same train of thought. However, some have succeeded, while others failed. Black Hand, if you want to compete with me for business, I cannot stop you, and I am not as stupid as Wolf Blade. However, I can lower the prices of all my products to the lowest possible price as soon as you open your store.”
Black Hand’s expression changed. “You wouldn’t do that, there’s no benefit to you!”
“Why not?” Su Chen countered. “I’ll be straight with you. In the past month, my store made roughly ten thousand Origin Stones. However, you also know that some products only need to be bought once. Thus, my business after this had decreased by about thirty percent. That is also to say that even without competition, I can only earn sixty to seventy percent of the initial ten thousand Origin Stones. If another competitor appeared, and I lost half of my business, my profits would only be around three thousand Origin Stones. Of course, this is assuming that there are no price cuts. However, do you really think that price cuts won’t happen?”
Black Hand was speechless.
Of course it would happen. Black Hand had even decided a long time ago to lower his prices by ten percent compared to Su Chen upon opening his store to attract customers.
However, Su Chen evidently would not sit still either.
He had never expected that Su Chen’s response would be so vicious. He had yet to even open his store, and Su Chen was already planning on lowering his prices to the lowest possible amount.
Su Chen said, “That means that in the next month, I would be lucky to even earn two thousand Origin Stones. Do you think that I care about such a paltry amount? If you encountered this situation, what would you do?”
Black Hand thought for a moment, then replied, “Even if I couldn’t earn that much, I would do it just to teach my opponent a lesson.”
Those who cultivated on the martial path were not businessmen by nature.
They were all made of flesh and blood, and they all had tempers.
If the matter was something large, perhaps they would simply endure it.
However, if it was something small, they would most likely act according to emotion.
Since there was someone who was affecting one’s money making ability, then nobody needed to make money. Su Chen was willing to do this, and so was Black Hand.
Su Chen laughed. “That’s right, I was thinking the same thing.”
Black Hand harrumphed, “Don’t think that you can convince me to give up with just a few sentences. If anything, we will both force each other to give up, and nobody will be able to play.”
“You can also delay things, and everyone can make money,” Su Chen replied. “What do you think about this? You open your store a month from now, and I will give you my store. I will completely let go of it.”
“Absolutely not!” Black Hand refused. “You also know that starsilver has been harder and harder to come by. The amount that is remaining is not great. I estimate that people can only continue to excavate for another fifty days or so.”
“Then twenty five days.”
“Aren’t I losing too much then? With less and less starsilver, people will also have less and less money, and the things that they can buy will also decrease. Nobody knows what will happen in the future. What if someone else tries to compete with me afterwards?”
“Hm, that’s true.” Su Chen thought for a moment. “Then we’ll compromise. Twenty two days?”
“Fifteen days at most. My goods have already arrived. I originally intended to open shop tomorrow. I can only give you at most fifteen days. Some things cannot be delayed.”
“I can buy your goods from you. Twenty days, this is my bottom line. You already have ten more days than I do at this point.”
“Eighteen days! This is my bottom line.”
“Then Iron Cliff is mine.”