The crowd erupted in conversation as the injured man started shouting. Even the short guy said, “Please think about it, we’re at the foot of Spiritual Mountain, everything is expensive, including food and lodging! Once the great ceremony begins, no one is allowed to leave this place. The exits only open in ten days. If his injuries get worse, who’s going to pay up?”
Then the short guy started to cry. Wiping his tears, he said, “My brother and I rely on each other to survive, our family is very poor. We also wanted a shot at a better future at Spiritual Mountain, I can’t believe this happened! You’re dressed in fine clothes, how dare you bully us just because you’re rich! Let me tell you this, although we’re poor, we’re stubborn! I swear we won’t spend the one thousand silvers on anything else!”
The crowd fell silent. Someone could not help but cheer.
“Plus, we will have to get a kind Spiritual Mountain cultivator from up the mountain to treat him, do you think it’ll be cheap?”
The crowd whispered to each other, nodding. “Yeah, he makes sense.”
“Yeah, getting the seniors to treat him will be very expensive, right?”
“Ptui, you’ll only get to call them that when you’ve entered the sect!”
When he saw the crowd standing on his side, the short guy sighed and turned to Chengfeng arrogantly. He extended his palm. “One thousand silver pieces, pay up!”
Striking the iron while it was still hot, the ‘injured’ man started to scream again, “I can’t take it anymore, my chest hurts so bad!”
Su Yuehan’s eyes widened and looked at Chengfeng worriedly. She whispered, “Young Master, what do we do? Do we have… enough money?”
Chengfeng smiled and patted her shoulder, implying for her to not worry. He stepped forward, fishing out a folded fan from his clothing. With a crack, he opened it and started to fan himself on this cold winter day.
He bent down and looked at the ‘injured’ man, concerned. “My brother, where does it hurt?”
The man cried, “My chest!”
“Left or right?”
There was some hesitation in his eyes but he replied, “Left!”
“Oh, left? Can I see it? How bad does it hurt?”
The man’s face changed slightly as the short guy raged, “What are you trying to do?”
Li Chengfeng bowed and smiled. “I have practised medicine before, you should let me take a look at the wound first.”
The short guy raged, “Who are you to say that? What if you make it worse? My brother needs to enter that ceremony, if you make him miss it, who will compensate us then?”
Someone yelled from the crowd, “Yeah! Even killing you won’t be enough to compensate for missing the great ceremony!”
To these mere mortals who dreamt of a life of success, this decennial ceremony was too important. Everyone nodded.
The short guy shouted, “Are you trying to avoid payment?”
Chengfeng smiled. “Who said I’m not paying?”
The short guy lit up and quickly cried, “One thousand, no less.”
Chengfeng took out a cheque and waved it in front of the man. “One thousand? No problem!”
The short guy quickly grabbed it but Chengfeng retracted his arm. “But you must first answer my questions.”
The short guy eyed him cautiously. “What questions? Don’t you dare pull any tricks! There are so many people here!”
“Don’t worry, I’m a reasonable man!”
“Speak up then!”
“Are you very sure that he knocked into me just now?”
“You were the one who knocked him!”
“Alright, fine. Basically, we slammed into each other, right?”
“Alright! So, he got hurt after knocking into me, right brother?”
“But you can’t say he’s hurt just because of that.”
“He’s coughing up blood!”
“He’s coughing up blood, so that means he’s heavily injured?” Chengfeng snapped his fan closed and slapped it into his palm. “Alright!”
The short guy extended his palm. “So pay up!”
Chengfeng pushed his hand away with his fan. “Eh, calm down! I’ll probably pay you four thousand more if you’ll just listen!”
The short guy was stunned. Are all the new sect recruits like that? Stupid? Did he think one thousand was too little?
Chengfeng smiled. “You said you both are poor but stubborn! And you need this one thousand silver pieces badly, right?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Are you done? Can you pay now? I can’t delay my brother’s treatment!”
Li Chengfeng opened the fan with a crack. “Be patient, I’ll give you four more thousand later!”
Everyone stared at Chengfeng stupidly, even Su Yuehan stared hopelessly. Oh no! Was he being stupid again?
The short guy focused and extended his palm. “Then you pay me five thousand now!”
He slapped the short guy’s hand. “Here you go!” Then, Chengfeng shouted and collapsed to the ground, rolling side to side as he cried in agony, “It hurts! Yuehan, my chest hurts so bad! I can’t make it!”
Su Yuehan almost laughed but she forced it down and flew to him, crying, “Young Master! Young Master, what happened?” Then, she turned to look at the short guy fearfully, even turning on her tears on the spot, “You hurt my Young Master! Don’t you dare run!”
The short guy was so shocked he almost stumbled backwards.
The crowd erupted. Some started laughing, some scolded him while others furrowed their brows.
The short guy raged, “What are you trying to do?”
Chengfeng struggled to say, “You said both of us knocked into each other! And if we knocked into each other, then that means it was two-ways. He knocked me, I knocked him, that means both of us are hurt too. But my injuries are more severe than his.”
“HEY! Such nonsense! How dare you say your injuries are more severe than his!”
As he spoke, the man on the ground suddenly cried in agony and privately kicked the other guy.
The short guy immediately realised it and said, “No, I mean how could you suddenly say you’re injured like that!”
“Didn’t you say that coughing up blood means I’m injured?”
“Are you coughing up blood?”
Just as he finished, Chengfeng coughed and sprayed a mouthful of blood. He used his fan to block his cough, causing it to be spattered with blood. Drops of blood started to drip off the fan onto the ground.
Chengfeng looked at him, panting heavily as if he was dying, “I’ve coughed up more blood, don’t you think my injuries are worse than his?”
The short guy was absolutely shocked by a man who could cough up blood on command and knew that they had gotten unlucky. They wanted to earn a quick buck by taking advantage of the people attending the ceremony. As the saying went, there is always a mountain taller than each mountain. They had encountered the King of Troublemakers himself, using age-old tricks like this on him was just looking for trouble.
He yelled sternly, “Are you trying to swindle us/”
Chengfeng panted. “You’re poor but you’re stubborn, so you want one thousand silvers. I’m a young master used to a life of luxury, I’m weak-willed and frail. I just need five thousand silvers.”
“Hey! Do you have a death wish!” The short guy raged, “How dare you!”
“But you don’t have to pay all of it! We’ll take out the one thousand silvers I owe you so you only need to pay four thousand!”
As he spoke, he slapped his fan on the ‘injured’ man’s funny bone so hard he instinctively leapt up with a shout.
Everyone now realised that these swindlers had met the devil king himself. Their anger for justice now turned into laughter as they cried, “That’s fair!”
“This gentleman is right!”
The short guy knew that the tables had turned and feigned anger, “How dare you shift the blame to us? You…”
Li Chengfeng got up. Ignoring the dust on his clothes, he tapped the guy’s shoulder with his fan and cut him off. “Eh, but I’ve always been a kind person. I focus only on accumulating merits! I don’t need you to pay me four thousand silvers! What do you think? I just paid you four more thousand, aren’t you happy? Do you feel better?”
The short guy’s face darkened as the crowd laughed. “Just go away!”
“How shameless! How dare they behave so recklessly before Spiritual Mountain Sect!”
The swindler gritted his teeth, about to rush forward when the shorter one grabbed him and gave him a look. “Senior Brother, calm down!” He looked in a direction. The swindler turned to notice that two female cultivators were watching them. One was very tall, she wore long robes with three purple stripes on her sleeve.
The swindler’s expression changed as if he had met the devil. Without a word, he pulled the shorter guy and ran off.
Now that the show was over, the crowd dispersed. Chengfeng patted the dust off his clothes and laughed as he watched them. “They’re pulling fur off a tiger’s head!”
Su Yuehan’s eyes widened and looked impressed. “That was impressive. Looks like only the evil can torture the evil!”
“Of course!” Li Chengfeng looked pleased with himself. After a moment, he realised something.
“Hmm?” He turned to her, feigning anger, “So you mean I’m an evil person?”
She quickly waved. “No, no, you’re a good person, just now…” She burst into giggles, “You were kind enough to give them four thousand silvers, aren’t you a VERY good person?”
He laughed heartily and looked at his fan. “Sigh, it’s too bad I ruined such a good fan for it!”
About twenty metres away, a pretty cultivator watched Li Chengfeng with disgust. “The quality of the recruits just gets worse! Now any Tom, Dick and Harry can just come to the ceremony! Spiritual Mountain is a respectable sect, why must we recruit people like that, Grand Senior Sister?”
The other girl was also very beautiful. She was clad in long cultivator robes and a headpiece. She stared at him coldly and huffed. “Ah Xiu, who’s the judge this time?”
Ah Xiu replied, “It’s Cangjin Court’s Thrid Master, Kong Yunzhen.”
Grand Senior Sister thought for a moment. “He’s a bully, Master Kong is a straightforward, old-fashioned man who will probably like a person like this. Who’s the assistant?”
“Cangqing Court’s Sun Boyi.”
“Tell him to eliminate this person. We don’t want scum like that in the Spiritual Mountain Sect!”
Ah Xiu replied as if it was the most natural thing in the world, “Alright!”
They then turned and left.