After the meal, Chengfeng started delegating tasks and the team separated.
They agreed unanimously that they could not stick together. They were here to cause trouble in Tong’an, sticking together would raise a lot of suspicions.
Chengfeng arrived at the most prosperous street in Tong’an, Wancai Street, at noon.
This was also the widest street in the city, able to fit six-horse carriages travelling side-by-side. Restaurants and wine parlours lined the street, which was filled with the scent of delicious wine and food. The best food and wine of the North were all here.
The most famous wineries and restaurants of the nation must have a branch here or no one would take them seriously.
Upon stepping into the street, one would be greeted with a large street sign with a row of words written by Emperor Ren: The Best Street In The World.
Emperor Ren once visited Tong’an while surveying the north, and chose to eat at Restaurant Zhou out of hunger. The moment he tasted their food, he suddenly visited this street for twenty-one days in a row, eating from eleven restaurants. He never ate the same dish twice and felt his palate refreshed every day. It was a delightful experience for His Majesty and left behind a work of calligraphy before he left: The Best Street In The World.
Since then, Wancai Street became known to the nation. More and more restaurants and famous chefs moved north and opened a restaurant there to cement their reputation.
The initial eleven restaurants dwindled to only eight due to brutal competition, six of them owned by the current six great clans.
After centuries of expansion, the six great clans had their hands dipped in all types of common trade like textiles, salt, silk and metal. They were even involved in trade of forbidden treasures and materials.
Although their restaurants were now just an insignificant portion of their income, they still kept their shops on the street to boost their reputation.
Anyone could see that the six restaurants were in intense competition with each other, their restaurants all bearing unique themes. They usually consisted of four floors. Some buildings had Beiyi Tribe ladies standing on the balconies with their golden hair and blue eyes, and despite the snowing weather, they wore simple outfits that often had a thigh slit or deep cleavages.
These voluptuous women danced and sang energetically, clapping to the rhythm as they sang shrilly. Luxuriously dressed men played foreign tunes passionately next to them, attracting a lot of attention.
Even Li Chengfeng, who was used to spending time around boudoirs, could not help but look a few times. His attention was sucked towards the cleavages and flurry of skirts and dresses.
Some people who were interested walked towards this restaurant without hesitation while others who thought this was too ‘simple’ walked to another. The other restaurant also had performers but they were performing a popular opera “The Autumn Wind Battles The Summer Rain”, with several famous actors standing on stage. They had been paid handsomely to be here. The moment they opened their mouths, spectators who recognised them clapped like thunder.
Every restaurant had its unique way to attract customers. One had a table of wine placed in front of the entrance, along with ten bowls. A banner stated ‘You Won’t Be Leaving After Three Bowls’, meaning one won’t be able to leave after three bowls.
Many self-proclaimed heavyweights rushed inside to take up the challenge.
Chengfeng and Zhao Xiaobao were amazed by everything the street had to offer. Xiaobao looked at him, “Young Master, which… one is it?”
He slapped Zhao Xiaobao’s head. “Are you blind? Don’t you see how pretty the ladies are? This is it!” Then, he turned to the restaurant in front of the dancing ladies.
Zhao Xiaobao believed him, but when he arrived at the entrance, an enthusiastic lady stepped forward and spoke in accurate Daqi language, tugging at Zhao Xiaobao, “I haven’t seen you around before, is this your first time in Tong’an? Come, come inside! Did you see any girls you liked? I’ll call her over to drink with you. Sigh, you Daqi people are shy, look at you, you’re so delicately handsome! Our northern girls like men like you! Don’t be shy!”
Zhao Xiaobao turned to seek help from Chengfeng only to realise his own Young Master had abandoned him for the next restaurant. Panicking, he broke free from the voluptuous chest and ran for his life to the other restaurant.
The lady cocked an eyebrow and huffed. “What’s so good about the bunch of stick-like girls there? They’re not as curvy as us! He doesn’t know what’s good!”
Zhao Xiaobao escaped to the restaurant and slipped to Chengfeng’s side with a red face, “Young Master! How could you!”
Chengfeng laughed, “It’s called feigning right to strike left!”
He entered the large restaurant. Without even looking at the waiter, he yelled, “Out, everyone out! Everyone, please leave immediately, don’t blame me if you get hurt! Blades and fists don’t have feelings!”
Chengfeng dragged a chair overdramatically, then sat at the entrance of the restaurant, though leaving them space to escape.
The bustling restaurant fell dead silent. After a few moments, it erupted in chaos with customers screaming for their lives, rushing out like floodwaters next to Chengfeng, separating into two streams onto the street.
Very soon, the restaurant emptied. Even the other restaurants on the street paused their screenings after receiving news, all of them peeking out and pointing at the restaurant.
The waiter was furious, though he did not dare step forward. “You psychopath, where did you come from? Do you know who owns this restaurant?”
Chengfeng crossed his legs and said slowly, “I do, the Zhou family of Tong’an! The leader of the six great clans!”
The waiter was about to speak when the manager appeared and gave a fighter’s salute. In a low voice, he asked, “Sir, could you please tell us who you are?”
Chengfeng maintained a lewd, scheming expression as he dug his ear. “You don’t have to be too courteous with me, I’m just here to collect some debt. The Zhou clan owes us, the Spiritual Mountain Sect, a hundred and thirty thousand taels of silver! I’ll see myself off once I receive the payment. But if you don’t pay up… the consequences will be bad!”
The manager’s expression changed and immediately stepped aside. A bearded man in cultivator robes descended the stairs. He looked like a valiant hero, with handsome features and a masculine aura.
The man nodded at Chengfeng lightly, regarding him from head to toe. “You’re from the Spiritual Mountain Sect?”
Chengfeng gave him the Hidden Sword greeting. “I’m Li Chengfeng from the Hidden Sword Court of Spiritual Mountain Sect!”
The bearded man placed two horizontal palms before his chest, left palm facing upwards while the right palm gently covered the left. He greeted Chengfeng with the Profound Life Sect greeting and said, “I’m Ju Wusheng of Profound Life Sect!”
Ju Wusheng shrugged his sleeve. “The Zhou clan has joined the Profound Life Sect. You can go back now, you won’t be receiving your payment.”
Chengfeng laughed heartily, “Do you think you can refuse payment just like that? What a proclamation indeed!”
Ju Wusheng stared at him coldly. At this moment, Profound Life Sect disciples had started to surround the restaurant, vaguely hidden.
Chengfeng did not even look at them. “Are we comparing numbers now? Not many sects can say they have more members than the Spiritual Mountain Sect though. However, this is my first time in the World’s Best Street and if we fight, we might damage the signboard right in front there. That was personally written by the emperor, I don’t think it will be good for His Majesty if that happened. We should fight intellectually, not physically! If you win, I’ll leave. If I win, I’ll be taking the signboard away. Your manager will have to get a new one. What do you think?”
Ju Wusheng regarded Chengfeng carefully, his mind racing to calculate the odds. He realised that no matter what happened, the Profound Life Sect and Zhou clan wouldn’t lose. The biggest loss would just be their reputation. He nodded, “Alright, how do you want to fight intellectually?”
Chengfeng smiled and said with confidence, “We’ll… draw!”
Like a magician’s assistant, Zhao Xiaobao unfurled a spotless scroll, tossing one of its ends to Ju Wusheng. Now, Ju Wusheng and Li Chengfeng were holding one end each.
Chengfeng smiled. “This will be the challenge: let’s see whose drawing can come alive!”
Ju Wusheng’s expression changed instantly as he eyed Chengfeng with fear: was this person’s cultivation so advanced that he could conjure life out of nothing?