Zhou Qin arrived at Li Yundong's room in the New Hongsheng District at noon the next day. A while later, Zi Yuan and Ruan Hongling arrived as well.
After entering the room, Zi Yuan saluted Li Yundong respectfully with one hand. "Amitayus, I'm Zi Yuan from the Linggong Sect. It is nice to meet you, Zhenren Li, the Leader of the Fox Zen School."
Wanting to join in on the fun, Ruan Hongling imitated Zi Yuan and repeated, "Amitayus, I'm Ruan Hongling, from the Linggong Sect. Nice to meet you, Zhenren Li, the Leader of the Fox Zen School."
Li Yundong laughed loudly and sized Zi Yuan up carefully. Seeing that she didn't look injured, he felt a jolt of relief. He was very sorry that he had hurt her during their last round of practice. He waved his hand and said with a smile, "Don't make fun of me you two."
Ruan Hongling chuckled, but Zi Yuan continued with a serious face, "This is not a joke. Li Yundong, you are now the leader of the Fox Zen School. You bear the weight of the sect's responsibilities and your words and actions represent the Fox Zen School. You have the power to directly affect the entirety of the Cultivation World. Now that you have passed the divine punishment, have you thought about what you should do in the future?"
Li Yundong said seriously, "That's what I've been considering over the past two days. I'll talk to you about it later. By the way, do you know where Yan Fang is? She took Su Chan's master, Ao Wushuang, away, and now no one can find her."
Zi Yuan shook her head and answered, "I don't know. By the time I returned to the Linggong Sect, she was no longer there. She must have found a place to hide. It won't be easy to find her."
Li Yundong pondered for a while before he said with a smile, "Well, I'll go and cook something first. We can talk about this after lunch."
After that, Li Yundong rolled up his sleeves and headed toward the kitchen.
Zi Yuan returned his smile and followed him, saying, "Let me help you."
Zhou Qin also offered her assistance, saying, "I can help you wash the vegetables."
Ruan Hongling didn't want to be left out and said, "I can also help!"
Zi Yuan looked back at her and said with a smile at the door of the kitchen, "What can you do? Can you even cook? Go and wait in the living room."
Hearing this, Ruan Hongling was forced to go back to the living room and sit on the sofa, where she fiddled with the TV remote dejectedly. Su Chan was excited by the idea of getting together, so she ran happily into the kitchen. However, Li Yundong stopped her as soon as he saw her and said, "Go back. Keep a distance from the kitchen!"
Su Chan pouted and said in a loud voice, "You're so annoying. It's not like I'll make trouble for you!"
Li Yundong walked to the entrance, smiled, and pushed her to the living room. He settled her on the sofa and said, "Just sit here and do nothing! That's how you can help me!"
After that, he went back to the kitchen and slammed the door behind him.
Su Chan was very unhappy, rubbing a cushion on the sofa and murmuring. Ruan Hongling, who had also been driven out of the kitchen and was now sat on the other side of the sofa, couldn't help looking at her. Both of them snorted at the same time, turned their heads in opposite directions, and edged a little further away from one another.
Li Yundong was a good chef and Zi Yuan was also skilled at cooking. Although Zhou Qin could not cook, she had fast hands. The three of them quickly put together a table of food.
After taking their seats at the dining table, Li Yundong was going to discuss something, but Zi Yuan kept her head down and ate without saying a word. So did Ruan Hongling, who was next to her.
Li Yundong knew that this was their rule: keep silent while eating and sleeping.
Seeing that Zi Yuan and Ruan Hongling were unwilling to speak, Li Yundong decided to wait. They ate silently at the dining table. After finishing their silent lunch, they cleaned up the table. Once everyone was either sitting on the sofa or sitting cross-legged on the carpet in the living room, Li Yundong muted the television and said, "So, Zi Yuan, I've thought about what you said earlier. I had never expected to become the Leader of the Fox Zen School, but here we are. I'll be a competent Sect Leader both for Su Chan and myself. The Fox Zen School didn't have a good reputation in the past, but I hope that I can change it."
Zi Yuan bowed and said in admiration, "Amitayus, that's a good thing for the cultivation world."
Li Yundong smiled and said, "Zi Yuan, don't be so polite like Zhou Qin. I can't stand it."
Zi Yuan smiled but said nothing.
Li Yundong kept silent for a while before he looked at Zhou Qin and Zi Yuan in turn and said, "Zhou Qin, you are both my friend and my nominal disciple. Zi Yuan, you are my teacher and friend, so I won't hide this from you. The Fox Zen School is just a shell. Rather than having funds, we are burdened with debt. Even the Taoist temple where the Fox Zen School is located is only being rented and the contract will expire in a month. If we want to keep it, we will have to rent it for another five years, and that will take more than five million yuan!"
Upon hearing this, Su Chan couldn't help clutching Li Yundong's arm and exclaiming, "That's too much! How can we get so much money?"
Zhou Qin thought about it calmly and said, "I can raise five hundred thousand yuan."
Li Yundong waved his hand. "No, your family had suffered a lot because of me, how can I take your money now? I invited you here to tell you about this, because on the one hand, you are my friend, my nominal disciple, and one of my closest family members..."
Hearing this, Zhou Qin couldn't help being shocked. Mixed feelings welled within her, both bitter and sweet. She was lost in thought for a moment until she heard Li Yundong continue, "On the other hand, you're knowledgeable, so I need you to give me some advice because I have a plan!"
In the living room, Su Chan, Zi Yuan, Ruan Hongling, and Zhou Qin all asked in unison, "What is it?"
Li Yundong pondered for a while before he said thoughtfully, "I want to do some business involving traditional Chinese medicine. I have been thinking about this for the past few days. Over the past few decades, from the May 4th Movement to the Cultural Revolution, our traditional culture has been destroyed. Although western medicine is now the mainstream, when I was in the hospital, I came to believe that our traditional Chinese medicine still has a market."
Hearing this, Su Chan asked in a low voice, "Do you want to open a clinic? Like Sun Simiao?"
Li Yundong couldn't help laughing. He said, "I can't be Sun Simiao. If I have to treat patients all day long, how will I be able to cultivate?"
Zi Yuan nodded and said, "That's true. Although almost every cultivator has some medicinal knowledge, none is a professional doctor. Just look at Ge Hong from the Danding Sect, Zhong Liquan from the Jindan Sect, and Lyu Dongbin, who put on a show of using medicine to help others, none of them are professional doctors."
At this time, Zhou Qin began to speak, "Master..."
Hearing this, Li Yundong immediately interrupted her. "Why did you call me master again?"
Zhou Qin smiled and said, "Li Yundong, do you want to open a hospital for the promotion of traditional Chinese medicine?"
Li Yundong answered with a sigh, "I do. But where can I get the money and power? How much does it cost to open a private hospital? I think it would be preferable to sell medicinal materials, but I don't know how to start, so I need to discuss the matter with you two."
After Li Yundong had finished his words, Ruan Hongling suddenly said, "Gezao Sect and many other schools are running production bases and companies of medicinal material. I'm afraid that if you attempt this, you will become an enemy of the External Alchemy Sects!"
Li Yundong was stunned. "Really? My business has nothing to do with them. Why would they want to go against me?"
Zi Yuan explained, "Because the External Alchemy Sects operates their own school which relies on making pills. They often sell the pills at sky-high prices on the black market of the Cultivation World. They have formed an industrial chain by doing this, and the most primitive industrial chain is the production and control of all kinds of Chinese medicinal herbs."
Although Su Chan had learnt a lot about the Cultivation World from her teacher, she still knew very little about the External Alchemy Sects. Meanwhile, Li Yundong had only cultivated for half a year, so he had absolutely no idea what Zi Yuan was talking about, let alone Zhou Qin.
Zhou Qin listened intently, then suddenly asked, "What's the External Alchemy Sect? Is it a sect that specializes in producing pills?"
Zi Yuan smiled and explained, "From the way of cultivation, the cultivation world is divided into Internal Alchemy Sects and External Alchemy Sects. The Zhengyi Taoist school is one of the most famous Internal Alchemy Sects, along with the Jinshan Sect, Danding Sect, and so on. Gezao Sect is the biggest External Alchemy Sect, but the Maoshan Sect and Qingwei Sect are also very important. Internal Alchemy Sects cultivate with their Neidans, while External Alchemy Sects use pills and amazing medicines."
Zhou Qin felt like she suddenly understood, but her expression was still a little strange. Obviously, she was a bit confused because she was still new to all of this.
She looked at Li Yundong and asked, "So are you using Neidan or pills?"
Li Yundong was stunned. He considered himself to have started cultivating formally after eating the Renyuan Jindan, so he should belong to the External Alchemy Sect. However, his Neidan was extremely strong. It seemed that he could also be considered to belong to the Internal Elixir Sect.
Li Yundong thought for a while, growing increasingly confused. Zi Yuan smiled and said, "Li Yundong can be considered an expert who started with Waidan and cultivates both Internal and External Strength."
Hearing this, Ruan Hongling suddenly snorted and said, "If you hadn't received the Renyuan Jindan or the Enneacyclic Haworthia Pill from my Sister Zi Yuan, how would you have been able to improve so quickly?"
Her words suddenly inspired Li Yundong. Looking at Zhou Qin with his eyes flashing, he thought to himself, "If only I had one more Renyuan Jindan, then I could give it to Zhou Qin to repay her kindness in helping me."
Zi Yuan glanced at Ruan Hongling indifferently, then said to Li Yundong, "I believe that you can well imagine how important a Waidan is when one is cultivating. It is the dream of all cultivators."
"The External Alchemy is so important that it can provide a huge economic benefit and possess precious pill refinement technology. Therefore, in order to control the business front's profits, they have to control the upstream of the industrial chain, which consists of various precious Chinese herbs. Only by controlling this can they have sufficient raw materials to refine all kinds of medicinal pills. If this business were to be controlled by others, then the schools of the External Alchemy Sects would not be far from destruction."
Li Yundong suddenly understood. "I see. The External Alchemy Sects regard this as their own forbidden treasure and won't allow anyone to touch it, right?"
Zi Yuan nodded and said, "That's correct. The Internal Alchemy group and the External Alchemy group have secretly engaged in several big fights because of this. A few months ago, the news about Renyuan Jindan sparked a bloodbath in the cultivation world, and even the Fox Zen School was involved." As he said this, Zi Yuan shot a meaningful look at Li Yundong.
Su Chan and Ruan Hongling both looked at Li Yundong with complicated expressions in their eyes.
Li Yundong smiled and said, "Why are you looking at me? Zi Yuan has made it very clear that it wouldn't be a good choice to sell medicinal materials. It'll stir up conflict with the External Alchemy Sects."
Zi Yuan said, "There is nothing that cannot be done in this world. It merely depends on whether you are strong enough to pull it off. If the Fox Zen School is the strongest sect in the world, then you can fight with the External Alchemy Sects for this deal. However, now that the Fox Zen School has undergone a great change, it will need time to rest and rebuild. If you suddenly interfere with this business, I'm afraid that it will not end well for you."
Li Yundong sighed and said, "If I can do nothing about the medicinal materials, what should I do?"
Zhou Qin suddenly chimed in, "Actually, I think you should think about the problem from another perspective."
Li Yundong turned his head to look at her. "Tell me, I'm listening."
Zhou Qin stroked the hair around her ear and said confidently, "The biggest problem right now is money, isn't it?"
Li Yundong nodded and said, "Yes, I can feel a migraine coming on whenever I think of the five million yuan I have to pay in a month's time!"
Zhou Qin couldn't help frowning as she continued, "Except for getting lucky gambling or winning the lottery, there is no way for you to make five million in one month. But I have a good idea to make money."
Hearing this, Li Yundong urged her with interest, "What do you mean?"
Zhou Qin said, "Do you remember the restaurant where we ate French food last time?"
Li Yundong suddenly laughed. Just as he was about to speak, he suddenly felt his arm move, and he knew that someone was poking him with their finger. Li Yundong turned his face only to see Su Chan smiling at him. Obviously, she was also recalling what she had experienced in that restaurant.
Li Yundong and Su Chan looked at each other and smiled. Then, he turned around and stated, "Of course I remember."
Zhou Qin's eyes darkened momentarily but quickly returned to normal. She said, "There have been several shops up for rent recently. I wonder if you can start by opening a small shop first. After all, you can put in less of an investment in the early stages. There are a lot of people on this street. As long as you choose the right product, I believe you will make a lot of money."
Li Yundong thought for a moment before saying with a sigh, "There are no easy shortcuts out of this mess. You are talking about the golden rule of running a business. Rome was not built in a day. How can I possibly make five million yuan in a month?"
At this time, Zi Yuan suddenly interjected, "I think I can guess your concerns. You are worried that you won't be able to pay the rent of the Fox Zen School's Taoist temple next month. Furthermore, you're also worried that you won't be able to feed a dozen or so people to the Fox Zen School in the future, right?"
Li Yundong smiled bitterly and said, "You're so straightforward, it's actually embarrassing."
Zi Yuan smiled. "It's fine. I'll lend you six million. You can pay the rent and start your business with the rest. Will that be enough?"
Li Yundong was shocked. "You'll lend me all of that? Do you even have that much money?"
"Sister Zi Yuan, that's all of the savings Linggong Sect has!" Ruan Hongling exclaimed.
As if she hadn't heard anything, Zi Yuan said gently, "I don't need the money for now and it has been devalued severely anyway, so it's better to take it out and give it to someone who needs it."
Li Yundong thought about it and did not reject the offer. He patted his thigh and said, "Well, I'll pay you back with 10% interest in the future!"
Zi Yuan smiled, turned to Ruan Hongling, and said, "Go to my room and see how much money there is in my account, then bring the checkbook here, Hongling."
Ruan Hongling tugged at Zi Yuan's arm in astonishment. "Sister Zi Yuan, what are we going to eat in the future if you do this?"
Zi Yuan smiled and said meaningfully, "Are you afraid that the world-renowned Zhenren Li will repudiate his debt?"
Hearing this, a wave of mixed feelings swept through Li Yundong‘s heart. He thought to himself, "Did I, Li Yundong, save the universe in a previous life or something? Not only do I have Su Chan as my soulmate, I also have Zhou Qin and Zi Yuan as my beautiful companions, helping me with all they have. I'm afraid that I will never be able to repay them in this life."
Ruan Hongling stood up unhappily and glared at Li Yundong. "Hey. Give me your bank account number!"
Li Yundong didn't seem to mind this rude tone of address. He took out the credit card he was carrying with him and handed it to her.
Ruan Hongling took the card from him, turned around, and jumped into her apartment from the balcony.
Seeing her leave, Su Chan pulled Li Yundong close and whispered, "Yundong, how will you ever be able to pay back so much money?"
Li Yundong pinched the little girl's nose and said, "Don't worry. I'll handle it."
Su Chan shook her head and said, "How can I not worry? In the past, when you owed the bank tens of thousands of yuan, we almost ended up homeless, and now we owe them millions of yuan!"
Li Yundong spread his hands and said to Zi Yuan with a smile, "Zhenren Zi Yuan, if I fail to repay the debt, then... Do you need someone to sweep the floor in the Linggong Sect? Shall I pay the bill by cleaning the ground every day?"
Zi Yuan chuckled. "I wouldn't be able to afford hiring a Sect Leader just for doing rough work. Besides, wouldn't it be a waste of talent for you, Zhenren Li?"
Li Yundong waved his hand and said with a smile, "Don't say that. If you really felt like it was a waste, you could just improve my salary!"
Su Chan shouted from the side, "What am I supposed to do if you're off sweeping the ground?"
Li Yundong laughed and said, "What can you do with your rough hands and feet? Don't make trouble!"
Su Chan stomped her foot and said, "You're so annoying. Don't look down on me!"
Li Yundong put his palms together and said with a smile, "How dare I look down on you, Great Fox Immortal? Amitabha!"
They spent a few moments chatting and laughing merrily in the room, but before long, Ruan Hongling rushed in from the balcony angrily and shouted, "Bad news, bad news! Sister Zi Yuan!"
Zi Yuan's expression darkened as she shouted, "Hongling, you're a cultivator. How can you lose your composure like this? Where's your self-control? Has the sky collapsed?"
"Sister Zi Yuan, our bank head has been frozen by the Zhengyi Sect!" Ruan Hongling muttered darkly, her face pale.
Zi Yuan had always been calm and composed. However, upon hearing such news, her expression immediately changed and she cried involuntarily, "What!?"