Chapter 3 – Business Transaction
Cripple carefully snuck out and crept along the hidden corridor behind the wine shelves, winding around large jars of alcohol, climbing over two huge crates filled with smuggled tobacco plants and white sugar, and ended up in front of a stone wall at the end of the corridor.
In the middle of the pitch-dark corridor, there was only dim light coming from a crack on the stone wall. Cripple leaned on the stone wall. Taking advantage of the dim light, his eyes peeped outside through the crack – on the other side of the stone wall was a small but well furnished room. Several candles made the cramped room brightly lit. Thick chairs covered in animal skins encircled the room. Lin Qi was sitting on one of the chairs, he was wearing a weird smile, which make others want to punch, while taking big mouthfuls of wine.
Cripple’s pupil shrank down into the size of the tip of a needle. He recognized this rare bronze wine bottle in Lin Qi’s hand; it was one of Crippled Shop’s last few bottles of rum from a century ago. Good liquor a century old, its worth could not be measured by money, even worse it was also regarded as the Crippled Shop’s existing legend.
“This damned little devil, how did he manage to find this treasure?” Cripple was so angry that his body trembled all over. However when his gaze swept over Lin Qi, he caught sight of a sharp sword-like object on Enzo who was not far from Lin Qi. Cripple’s mouth couldn’t stop quivering as he shook his head.
Cripple stretched his hand to press the stone wall which soundlessly slid open. He walked out while smiling brilliantly.
“Why, what good stuff does my adorable little friend bring for me?” Cripple rubbed both his hands vigorously. He deliberately ignored Lin Qi who sat there drinking wine. His greedy eyes were fixed only on the rolled cloth under Enzo’s armpit. He knew Lin Qi’s personality well, without sufficient profit, forget him taking even a single step into Crippled Shop. His age was young, but he was even more shrewd than any old person on the road!
‘A child with boundless prospects, his father truly has a wonderful son.’ Cripple sighed in his heart.
Seeing that Cripple walked in, Lin Qi shook the wine bottle powerfully, pouring the last bit of wine into his mouth. Happily exhaling a breath reeked with alcohol, Lin Qi randomly threw the wine bottle to the ground, producing a loud sound that made Cripple’s heart ache. Burping contentedly, Lin Qi laughed and clapped his hands while saying: “Dear Uncle Cripple, every time I see you, I feel like seeing gold crowing and silver chirping, you can give me a satisfying price, right?”
Cripple rigidly stared at the rolling bronze wine bottle on the ground while slowly taking out one gold coin and one silver coin from his belt.
On the front of the gold coins used nowadays in the Seventh Empire was the portrait of Sheng Lewis the Thirteenth, on the back was a grand and valiant rooster. Anyone with common sense would come to a tacit agreement that gold coins were known as ‘crowing’. As for the empire’s newly made silver coins, on the back was a soaring skylark, so it also had another name ‘chirping’.
Throwing the gold coin and the silver coin onto the only square table in the room unwillingly, Cripple raised his head and laughed: “Uncle Cripple here has a lot of lovely little rooster and little skylark, I only need our dear little friend to take out the thing I’m interested in, the price won’t be a problem.”
Lin Qi burped. Enzo silently took a step forward, putting the rolled cloth under his armpit heavily on the square table. Cripple swiftly unrolled the black cloth, inside were six sharp sword smeared with anti-corrosion oil. The size of the sword handles were just right to be held in one’s hand, the sword bodies were one and a third meter long. On their long, thin bodies were water patterns, evidently from the finest steel. Their sharp points were radiating greenish-blue color,sharp penetrating chill rushed towards one’s face making people dare not meet them head on. “Oh, oh, these are really good treasures!” Cripple’s eyes shone. His hands quickly arrived on the square table, his fingers lightly stroking the six sharp swords, just like a wastrel affectionately caressing an exceptional beauty. His fingertips quivered slightly, carefully touching every line of the cloud-water pattern on the sword bodies. Fine steel, firm and tough, this was indeed a top-grade sword.
Conveniently grabbing one sharp sword, Cripple’s hand trembled. The candles in the room simultaneously dimmed. The air made a whistling sound just like a viper biting, few dazzling gleams invisible to the naked eye tore the air open, piercing through the standing armor in the corner of the room.
This suit of armor was manufactured from thick leather, its vital points were covered in steel plates the size of a hand. Under the power of the sword in Cripple’s hand, the leather was ripped open just like a piece of paper, the steel plates as thick as a finger on the stomach and armpit made a sharp sound while being pierced through.
The candles flashed again. Cripple withdrew the sword and carefully looked it over, there were only a few friction marks thinner than a hair on the sword body; it was basically undamaged. He couldn’t help clicking his tongue in admiration; this suit of armor in the corner of the room became merely decoration, but he paid a lot of money to get this standardized armor from the imperial army’s supply warehouse, only middle-ranked generals could wear this battle armor.
In front of this sharp sword, this battle armor which only middle-ranked generals could wear couldn’t withstand even a single blow; this proved what degree the penetrative force of this sharp sword had reached.
Looking at the result of Cripple testing the sword, Lin Qi laughed heartily. He also excitedly rubbed both of his hands, countless gold coins and silver coins were dancing through the air in front of his eyes. He laughed towards Enzo: “I told you so, the stuff this time will definitely make Uncle Cripple satisfied, right Uncle Cripple? But it was not easy for us to take this from the Military Academy’s warehouse!”
Cripple snorted coldly. He carefully put the sharp sword on the square table, narrowing his eyes while silently looking at the six sharp swords.
Lin Qi raised his eyebrows, withdrawing both of his hands into his sleeves at the same time. Enzo silently put his hand on his waist where there was a hidden pouch; inside there was a long sword exactly the same as the sharp swords on the table. Enzo judged the distance between himself and Cripple; with only one sword blow, he was ninety percent certain he could pierce through Cripple’s throat.
The candles inside the room shivered slightly, any movement caused the wind to agitate the candles.
The fine hair on the back of Cripple’s neck suddenly stood. Like a frog which was stared at by a venomous viper, he got goosebumps all over his body.
After muttering to himself for a while, Cripple coldly laughed and shook his head: “Could Military Academy’s warehouse have this kind of excellent weapons? Absurd, it could pierce through thick uniformed steel plate the size of a palm in one strike. Although this kind of sharp sword is a good treasure, there were also a lot of people waiting to buy them at a high price. However, I want to hear the truth, where did you get them from?”
Enzo’s hand held the sword hilt steadily. His sharp, stern vision was firmly locked on Cripple’s throat.
Lin Qi unconcernedly crossed one leg over the other. He giggled and said: “Their origin, is it significant? They won’t remain in your hands anyway!”
Cripple frowned. He considered for a while, then suddenly broke into laughter while shaking his head.
Feigning generosity, Cripple pulled out a fat purse from his bosom. He grabbed a handful of gold coins from inside and tossed it onto the square table.
Lin Qi’s eyes suddenly turned golden colored. He happily pounced on them.