Translator: Silavin & PewPewLaserGun
Editor and Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain &Dhael Ligerkeys
“Shopkeeper, could you come here for a second?” Yang Kai waved at him.
Yang Kai had been watching the whole episode just now with cold eyes, not understanding exactly what was happening, but was eager to find out; after all, High Heaven Sect was somehow related to this incident.
“What is Honoured Guest’s order? Do you want any additional food or wine?” The shopkeeper came over to Yang Kai and asked with a forced smile.
“There’s no need for more food or wine,” Yang Kai smiled lightly before glancing suspiciously towards the stairs, “Who were those two just now? Why did they come into this restaurant, eat and drink, then not pay and also force you to give them Saint Crystals?”
“This…” A stunned look appeared on the shopkeeper’s face before he quickly glanced around to confirm that the other guests were drinking and having fun, not paying attention to him, lowered his voice, and said, “Is Honoured Guest a newcomer to Blue Wave City?”
“Indeed,” Yang Kai gently nodded.
“Then you’d best leave quickly. Blue Wave City is not a place to settle down long-term,” The shopkeeper said solemnly.
“Isn’t a place to stay long-term?” Yang Kai frowned, “Has there been some kind of dangerous incident here?”
He had seen people coming and going in the city, making it seem quite lively and prosperous as well as calm and controlled, completely unlike some kind of tragic event had taken place.
“Haha…” The shopkeeper gave a wry smile, “Honoured guest, please heed this humble old man’s advice. If you want to leave here, you’d best do so quickly. If you remain too long, you won’t be able to leave even if you want to.”
“What do you mean? Please explain more clearly.” Yang Kai stared at him with narrowed eyes, “I heard that this place is attached to Heaven Battling City, and is the property of High Heaven Sect, how could anyone dare stir up trouble in this city?”
“I can’t say it, I can’t say it. Although this humble old man has lived many years, he doesn’t want to die so soon, so please don’t force the issue,” The shopkeeper kept shaking his head, his expression quite ugly, turning around and walking away immediately after.
“I’m from High Heaven Sect!” Yang Kai quickly whispered.
“What?” The shopkeeper’s face changed dramatically as he turned around to stare at Yang Kai in amazement.
“Don’t be nervous,” Yang Kai smiled, “I am a disciple of High Heaven Sect, and am here on orders from the Sect Master to make an unannounced inspection. Old sir, if there is anything you wish to say, you may do so freely. I truly want to know what fool dares not put my High Heaven Sect in their eyes.”
“You’re from High Heaven Sect? Are you really from High Heaven Sect?” The shopkeeper looked excited and a little sceptical, approaching closer and asking in a low voice.
“Yes! Old Sir may rest assured, whatever words you say here today will only enter my ears and never leave my lips,” Yang Kai said in a soft, comforting tone, trying to appear as amicable as possible.
The shopkeeper’s expression changed, as if he was hesitating, but after some internal debate, he grit his teeth and sat down opposite Yang Kai.
Yang Kai stretched out his hand and poured him a glass of wine. The shopkeeper took a sip to embolden himself before saying, “Honoured Guest, the reason this old man advised you to leave quickly was not because someone here has ill intentions towards High Heaven Sect, nor because some kind of disaster is approaching Blue Wave City, it’s simply because this city is really not a good place to remain in.”
“Oh? If Old Sir can please tell me in detail what happened, this Junior would be very grateful,” Yang Kai smiled slightly.
“Ha, it’s a long story!” The shopkeeper sighed deeply, “Honoured Guest, you just saw the behaviour of those two people, yes?”
“Yes, who are they?”
“The City Lord’s Mansion’s men.”
“City Lord’s Mansion?” Yang Kai was thoroughly shocked.
“Haha, Honoured Guest is surprised, no? The City Lord’s Mansion is supposed to protect us citizens, so why would they send people here to extort Saint Crystals?” The shopkeeper’s tone remained low, “Because that was the tax collected by the City Lord’s Mansion!”
Yang Kai frowned.
“As long as one opens a shop in Blue Wave City, they must pay at least seventy percent of their earnings to the City Lord’s Mansion in tax. The remaining thirty percent is barely enough for all kinds of expenses, but those people don’t seem to care and always find various reasons to take everything they can. This little shop is too weak to resist, and if we try, the consequences are dire. Just a few days ago, one of my workers was killed because he refused to comply with their demands,” The shopkeeper complained, seemingly becoming bolder and angrier as he sipped more and more of the wine.
“And this was all directed by the City Lord?” Yang Kai asked in a cold voice.
“Yes! How else would those people have the courage to act like this? Just now, those two were here to collect taxes.”
“Since the taxes here are so high, why doesn’t Old Sir leave Blue Wave City and make a living elsewhere?”
The shopkeeper gave a wry smile, “Who can leave? No one can leave! Once the people of the City Lord’s Mansion find that there are escapees, they will kill them without mercy. The heads which line the city walls are a bloody reminder of those who tried to flee. Not only are our small business targeted, but even the small families and cultivators living in the city live under the same restrictions. The various benefits they obtain from their adventures are largely stolen away in the form of tax, and anyone who resists is dealt with ruthlessly. Several small families have already been wiped out.”
Saying so, the shopkeeper looked at Yang Kai cautiously and asked softly, “Little Brother, may this old man dare to ask, is all this not on orders from High Heaven Sect?”
“How could High Heaven Sect give such vile orders?” Yang Kai wore an ugly expression as he coldly snorted, “My High Heaven Sect would never engage in such despicable behaviour. En, what about Heaven Battling City? Has Heaven Battling City not intervened at all?”
“This old man isn’t completely clear, but if Heaven Battling City was managing this situation, things shouldn’t have been like this. However, I do not know whether this situation has something to do with Heaven Battling City or is simply due to Blue Wave City’s City Lord’s Mansion. I have heard that since Heaven Battling City changed ownership, the taxes there have been extremely low, attracting many people to travel there and making it overcrowded. Many people were attracted by the name of High Heaven Sect, but none could find any way to join, and since Heaven Battling City is completely full, they could only choose to settle in places related to High Heaven Sect such as Blue Wave City. Outsiders can’t see the darkness which lingers beneath the surface in Blue Wave City, but this old man is perfectly clear about it, which is why he advised Honoured Guest to depart early. If you remain here and have your name registered with the City Lord’s Mansion, you will not be able to leave again.”
“Interesting!” Yang Kai smiled meaningfully.
“Little Brother, since you are here on orders from High Heaven Sect’s Sect Master to perform a surprise inspection, please send word back quickly. I hope you can quickly remove the festering filth from Blue Wave Cit,y so this old man can spend the rest of his life here in peace!” The shopkeeper looked at Yang Kai with expectation.
“Old sir, you can be assured, I won’t just sit back and watch this matter,” Yang Kai grinned, “In any case, there seem to be many people here using my High Heaven Sect’s name to bully others. If I allowed this to continue, it would ruin my High Heaven Sect’s reputation.”
“Little brother must not act impulsively,” The shopkeeper was startled when he saw the fierce light flashing across Yang Kai’s eyes.
“Relax, I have a sense of discretion,” Yang Kai said coldly.
If it wasn’t for a series of coincidences this time, Yang Kai might never have known that someone was committing such heinous acts under High Heaven Sect’s name.
Yang Kai suddenly recalled that, on the way back from Blue Wave Forest, the young girl named Liu Fei’er always hesitated when talking about the situation in Blue Wave City. Now he understood why.
The rise of High Heaven Sect was too fast, and the number of disciples in the Sect was too low, making its foundation unstable. Now was the time to win over the public’s trust, so the situation in Blue Wave City, which was discrediting High Heaven Sect, made it impossible for Yang Kai to simply stand idly by.
At that moment, a loud noise came from the street below, and immediately, a powerful energy fluctuation burst out, followed by exclamations and screams.
Yang Kai looked down towards the source of the sound and a familiar young girl in a green dress immediately caught his eye, causing him to raise his brow slightly.
“Old sir, here’s the money for the wine and food,” Yang Kai casually dropped a few High-Rank Saint Crystals onto the table before grabbing the wine bottle and leaping out the window.
In the middle of the street, in front of a small storefront, three young people stood with angry expressions, glaring at a pair of men with bloodshot eyes, their Saint Qi condensed, but none of them dared to act.
Behind these three, Liu Fei’er was supporting an old man. The old man seemed to have suffered a serious injury, his face pale, and blood flowing from the corners of his mouth.
Countless people were watching.
“Second Uncle, are you okay?” Liu Fei’er asked nervously, a worried look covering her pretty face.
“I’m fine,” The old man shook his head slowly, uttering these two words with some difficulty.
“How could you just hit someone like that?” Liu Fei’er turned her head and shouted at the two cultivators who had caused this scene.
“Hit someone?” One of the burly men heard this and grinned meaningfully, “So what if I hit someone? Who made this Old Dog unable to appreciate kindness? I didn’t want his life and acted mercifully little girl, yet now you dare not show this King any gratitude and even accuse me of committing a crime? Do you think I won’t dare kill him now!”
“You…” Liu Fei’er pretty face went white; after all, her strength wasn’t high and she was still quite young, so facing the other party’s overbearing intimidation, she didn’t dare argue back, lest these men become enraged and really kill them.
“Hmph, the City Lord has issued an order: Any time Saint Crystals are used in a trade, a portion of the proceeds must be paid to the City Lord’s Mansion. Old Dog, don’t tell me you’re both deaf and blind and dared to trade with others in secret? If not for Father here spotting your crime, he would never have dreamed someone would be so daring!”
“Ignoring the City Lord’s orders, it seems you’re impatient to die, Old Man,” The other man laughed maliciously.
The old man’s face was blue, but he didn’t dare to refute in the slightest. Although many people were watching, none of them dared to speak up in the old man’s defence, all of them simply directing sympathetic looks towards the old man and the young girl.
Blue Wave City’s taxes were so high and extortion was so common that barely anyone could earn enough to feed and clothe themselves properly. Worse, there was no way to escape from this place, so to maintain a living, after obtaining some kind of harvest, everyone would try to find a familiar and reliable source to trade within secret to avoid the harsh taxes.
This phenomenon had become commonplace in Blue Wave City.
This time, however, the old man and his party had bad luck and accidentally ran into the people of the City Lord’s Mansion, causing them to suffer greatly.
Taking a deep breath, the old man cupped his fists solemnly and said, “Two Sirs, it is not that I was trying to disobey the City Lord’s orders. I was going to pay the Saint Crystals after the transaction, but I had just not gotten around to it yet.”
“You, sure know how to speak the right words to us, Old Dog, heh heh, but what you think seems to be different from what you said,” The burly man obviously didn’t believe him.