Lo Gang woke up in a good mood.
The sun was shining, his business was thriving, and he was due to receive a delivery he had been eagerly anticipating soon.
If he could complain about anything, it was that he didn’t know when exactly this delivery would be coming. They were the things he enjoyed collecting the most and were both entertaining, and useful.
How many things could fit such criteria?
Not many, he was sure.
As he walked out of his beautiful residence, which he had paid an arm and a leg for, he noticed the smell of the flowers his workers had planted for him this past week, and the gentle breeze passing by.
It really was a good morning.
He walked down the streets of the city, which he was very familiar with at this point, as he had lived there for quite a few years.
He noticed how it was a much nicer environment than his previous, which was dark and dingy, and realise how much he appreciated having the opportunity to come out here.
Even though that was the case, there were still many benefits of being where he was before, which included having access to more cultivation resources and being able to connect with his peers.
While he was out here, he was quite alone, but that also wasn’t much of a problem, as he had a good relationship with several of the business owners in the surrounding cities.
As he walked, he passed a few of his clients, who greeted him as they went by.
He even passed by one of his business partners, who ran a local spirit plant farm.
“Old Gang, you seem to be in a good mood today.”
“Hahaha, Old Fu. How could I not be in a good mood, isn’t today just excellent?”
“I suppose it is a nice day, but a lot of days are nice. I rarely see you looking this happy.”
“Oh? Is it that apparent? Well, I’m about to receive a package I’ve been eagerly anticipating. On top of that, businesses going well, and I’m about to break through to the minute realm. Tell me, wouldn’t you also be happy with all this?”
“Breaking through to the minute realm? Well, congratulations in advance. I hope when you become a powerful expert you forget your old friends.”
Hearing this, Lo Gang grabbed Old Fu’s shoulders.
“Hahaha. How could I forget Old Fu? You help me out quite a few times when my business was small, I’ll be sure to return the favour.”
“No need, no need. Just knowing a minute realm cultivator will increase my reputation.”
Lo Gang had a frown on his face as he responded.
“Nonsense! Don’t think I’ll let you stay at your bottleneck forever.”
He smiled at the end of his words.
Old Fu also smiled.
“Hahaha. Then this old man will shamelessly accept.”
“Good, good. You asked me how I’ve been doing, but you also seem to be in a fairly good mood. Are you looking at a good harvest?”
“Bountiful would be an understatement.”
“It looks like the heavens are smiling at both of us.”
“You may be right about that.”
“Then, I won’t take any more of your time. Let’s drink when I become a minute realm cultivator.”
“And, as a minute realm cultivator, I’m sure you’ll be able to foot the bill.”
“Hahaha. Always trying to save a penny, you old fart.”
“What? You don’t think I’ll be pulling out a few of my famous wine gourds?”
Lo Gang opened his eyes wide. And waved his arms as he responded.
“I’ll pay, I’ll pay. If you bring the gourds, then I’ll serve you the wine myself.”
“Hahaha. Until then.”
After having met with a good friend he had made in his few years in the city, Lo Gang proceeded to the site of his store.
As a member of the Merchant Association, he had several benefits, but of course, there were also costs.
The primary cost was a portion of his profits every month, but even then, he was still making a very good living.
Aside from that, and some other expenses he had, he was able to live quite comfortably.
The benefits he received were quite influential in the growth of his business.
Without any reputation, and with only a little bit of assistance from some of the people he met in the city, he was able to quickly rise to one of the biggest businesses in the city.
This was because the Merchant Association had a very good communication system. If one needed certain merchandise, it was very easy to find another merchant who had it and was willing to sell.
This greatly simplified the process of acquiring goods and saved a lot of time that would be wasted on failed negotiations.
As he got there, he was welcomed by his employees and a young man who had come with him, as an apprentice of sorts, who helped him run his business.
This was the system that was used in order to provide juniors with experience and to free the hands of the elders so that they could do other things, and have the juniors reduce their burden.
The boy came up to him and cupped his fist.
“Mm. How are things?”
“Business has been going as usual. At the current rate, we should be seeing a small increase at the end of the month.”
“What about the status of deliveries?”
“All of the back stack has been cleared, and we’ve taken new orders, enough to fill up the month.”
“Good, good. What about incoming shipments? Any updates?”
Hearing this, the boy flinched.
“I-I’m afraid not. I haven’t received any news about any shipments being delivered recently.”
Lo Gang waved his hand.
“There’s no need to worry about these things. They’ll come when they come.”
He wasn’t exactly in a hurry to receive his shipment, but it was more of an excitement, a restlessness, a want to have it immediately.
There were a few moments better than getting a new shipment, especially because he paid a pretty penny, but it was all worth it.
“All right, get back to work. If there are any updates, let me know immediately.”
“Then I shall be taking my leave.”
The boy cupped his fist again and left to continue his work.
This was a daily routine. Lo Gang would come in and check the status of the business, then he would head up to his office and stay there for the whole day, leaving all of the work up to him.
He wouldn’t be upset about this if he was receiving the proper credit, but he had heard stories of his peers also going through this experience, but coming out with a pitiful reward, in comparison to the elders, who lazed around doing nothing.
In truth, everything that this business was, was built by his hands. The only thing Lo Gang did was to show his face as the owner of the business.
Just because his cultivation was a little higher, he got all the respect, and everybody assumed it was he who did all of the hard work.
And then if one were to talk about their living situations, Lo Gang was living in a mansion, while he was living in the store.
He had to take care of business day and night and didn’t get what he felt was proper thanks.
But what could he do? He was just a little apprentice with no power.
He knew that his complaints would bear no fruit, but he did like to vent in his mind and throw a few curses at the old fart who was exploiting him.
After sending the boy away, Lo Gang went up to his office, as he usually did, and looked out at the view.
He was able to see a lot of the city and saw the people moving around, living their day-to-day lives. He couldn’t help but pity the poor fools who had to work hard for what they had.
Fortunately for him, as an elder, he had a lot of influence on the younger generation, and could essentially have the boy run the business but claim all of the benefits without lifting a finger.
And of course, it wasn’t that he lacked the ability, but he lacked the willingness. Why should he do any work when the work could be done for him?
It wasn’t as if he was going to receive any extra benefits by using his own hands.
Looking at the scenery, he entered his sea of consciousness and was keenly aware of the barrier he would be facing if he wanted to break through to the minute realm.
It was so close, he could almost feel the power surging through his body.
As soon as he broke through the minute realm, his position would immediately rise, and he would no longer have to run a business like this.
While he did quite like the scenery, and he did make a few real friends, if his position were to rise, then all of this would be nothing in comparison to what could have.
It was a few hours later when he heard a knock at the door.
The boy opened the door entered the office.
He cupped his fist before speaking.
“I’ve just received news that a delivery has been made at your residence.”
Hearing this, Lo Gang’s eyes sparkled.
“Oh? It’s finally here?”
“That should be correct.”
“Mm. Then I’ll be returning. Handle the rest.”
The boy had things to report, but Lo Gang had already left before he could say anything.
He clenched his fists and cursed Lo Gang in his mind.
Having heard the good news, Lo Gang immediately rushed over to his residence.
This was the cherry on top of an already good day.
After he entered, he quickly found one of his workers, who he had promoted to handle the matters within the residence.
“Have they arrived?”
She proceeded to go through the formalities she had adopted but was interrupted by Lo Gang, who found them annoying at this time.
“There’s no need for the formalities. Have they arrived?”
“Quickly, take me to them!”
This was Lo Gang’s favourite part of the process. He liked to inspect the goods himself, before using them, just to make sure they were of good quality.
Having been in business with the supplier for so long, he had developed a trust for them, and they had never given him any subpar products, but he wanted to make sure with his own eyes.
After hearing his words, the woman wasted no time in leading Lo Gang to the ‘products’. She worked hard to hide her disgust as she performed her task to the best of her ability.
After having been one of Lo Gang’s ‘workers’ for a while now, she had adapted to the situation and knew what she needed to do to survive.
After a short while, they had reached the room where she had moved the products, as she would usually do, and when they opened the door, they saw five young women, who are cowering in fear.
Lo Gang stepped forward and scanned them with his eyes, not missing a single detail.
He walked up to one of them, placed his hand on her chin and raised her head a little, looking into her eyes that were trembling, tears forming.
“Hahaha. The quality is high as usual.”
After inspecting the goods, Lo Gang turned to the woman who had led him here.
“I’m in a really good mood today. Why don’t you choose one of these and have them sent to my room? If you choose the one I’m thinking of, I’ll reward you.”
The woman smiled and responded.
“Oh. I can’t wait.”
She hugged his arm and let him fondle her before he left.
After he was far enough away, her complexion darkened, and she looked at the five young women.
“If you want to survive here, then the faster you accept the situation, the better.”
One of the young women responded.
“No way! Do you people even know who I am? My brother is-”
“Nobody cares who your brother is. Is your brother stronger than a second-grade sect?”
Hearing this, the young woman’s face paled.
“Second-grade? How is this…”
“As I said, if you want to survive in this place, you should quickly accept the situation. The less you resist, the less painful it will be.”
She then looked at that young woman in the eyes.
“You’ll be the first.”
She tried to resist, but her movements had been hindered by a drug she was forced to consume.
She was easily taken by the arm and forced to move.
Lo Gang had entered his room and prepared for what was about to occur.
If he wasn’t mistaken, then one or two more cultivation sessions, and he would break through to the minute realm.
How fortunate it was that he had just gotten a shipment of new cultivation resources. For his cultivation technique, new ones were far more effective than those which had been used before.
Also, the more fear they held, the more effective the technique, and this new batch seem to be quite afraid.
He changed his clothes into something looser, and spread out his spiritual perception, noticing that tonight’s feast was on its way.
“She actually managed to choose the one I was thinking about. I’ll have to treat her real well next time.”
This particular product, the woman who was bringing the other young lady was an interesting one.
As he practised his cultivation technique using the same woman, it would become less and less effective, and this woman was no exception.
The difference was, she overcame her fear, making her an even worse cultivation resource.
Normally, he would trade her into the sect in order to obtain contribution points, but this particular one managed to improve her skills tremendously.
He decided to keep her as a source of pleasure for when he didn’t want to cultivate and just wanted to have a good time.
After seeing that she was quite capable and able to handle the other women, he gave her a higher position in the residence and allowed her to walk around freely, while the others were all kept chained in his underground cellars.
As they got closer, his anticipation built, and his desire to break through to the minute realm became stronger.
But to his surprise, the door opened long before they arrived.
He turned to the door and saw a figure dressed all in black, with a metal mask on his face.
Following that figure, was another figure, but this one wasn’t obscured at all. It was a young man.
“Who are you people?”
Lo Gang immediately entered a defensive stance. These people were able to infiltrate his residence and were able to enter his room without appearing in his spiritual perception.
As such, he was quite alert.
There was no response. Instead, the one wearing the metal mask pointed their finger at him.
He was confused, but before he could ask anything, a red flame lit up on that person’s finger and shot at him.
“What’s the meaning of this?!”
He immediately tried to dodge the flame, but to his horror, it was far too fast. Before he knew it, he had been engulfed in flames.
He hurriedly tried to activate his Qi in order to extinguish the flames, but he failed miserably, and the flames did not retreat in the slightest.
Fortunately for him, the flames didn’t cause him any pain and didn’t seem to be doing anything harmful.
As he was about to ask what was going on, he felt an incredible bloodlust coming from the young man.
“Not long ago, a clan of assassins was eradicated by the Zhu Clan. I didn’t think there would be fools who would join hands with them in this.”
The boy started walking slowly toward him, and he backed up, trembling in fear.
He could tell that this boy was very strong, without breaking through to the minute realm, he had no chance of defeating him.
The only thing he could do was to deny the boy’s claims.
“I-I have no idea what a talking about. I run a respectable business and have never involved myself in such things. Ask anybody in the city.”
The boy didn’t stop in his walking but turned to the other figure that wore the metal mask.
That figure shook its head, and the boy turned back to Lo Gang.
“There’s no use trying to deny it. Today, you die.”
“Wait, wait. Be reasonable. I only played a small role in that attack. It was the Zhu Clan who did most of it. If it’s money you want, I’ll give you everything I have!”
Lo Gang then proceeded to throw out a lot of items from his spatial ring.
Having been in business for a few years now, he had amassed quite a bit of wealth.
Lo Gang noticed the boy’s eyes shift to the things on the floor, and felt as if the situation had improved, but the person with the mask spoke.
After these calmly spoken words, the boy unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Lo Gang.
“Do you have any words of repentance?”
“Wait a minute! Just wait a-”
Before he could complete his words, the boy somehow moved right in front of him, and he felt a sharp pain at his neck.
He found, to his confusion, that the person with the mask seemed to be drifting away.
No, it wasn’t just the person with the mask, the boy also seemed to be drifting away.
After a moment, he saw a strange sight. There seemed to be a human-shaped fountain, clad in red flames, spraying a red liquid all over the place.
He wondered when he had acquired such strange a piece of furniture, but before he could complete his thought, his vision faded to black.