The green-robed old man stretched out his hand, and took Pang Yu's jade slip. He then infused a wisp of his spirit sense into it, and explored it. Then, he put down the jade slip, and nodded.
It was like carrying out a small task on the way. But, he was still being offered compensation for both tasks separately. So, he obviously had no objection to this request. In addition, the things that Pang Yu had requested them to deliver weren't large in quantity. But, the reward for undertaking this task was relatively high.
"Then, we'll leave everything in your care, Elder Wu. Those things will need a few days of time for proper preparation. I think they can embark on this journey in ten days or so. Afterwards, everything will be in your sincere care," You Can clasped his hand as a sign of respect, and said in a reverent manner.
Then, You Can and Pang Yu bid him farewell and departed. After that, only two men remained in that living room the green-robed old man and the Manager.
"You go through this list of items, and get them prepared within a few days," The green-robed old man passed the two jade slips to the Manager.
Manager Shi received the jade slips, and made a brief exploration. His brows slightly creased in response, and he said, "Elder Wu, the number of things that Pang Yu has requested us to deliver is reasonable. But, the worth of the resources City Lord You Can has entrusted us with is considerably high," Manager Shi said.
"Feel free to speak everything frankly if there's something on your mind," the green-robed old man said.
"As far as I know there's nothing to be anxious about most of the areas that'll come on the way from Peaceful Sun City to the Rising Sun City. However, we'll have to pass through the Crying Crane Mountain ranges on the way. Those ranges are situated in the Eastern region. And, that place falls in the territory of the Crane's Wing Tribe which is a Vicious Barbarian's tribe. It is said that the neighboring area has been occupied by many ferocious demon beasts which are adept at flying. And, they often plunder the caravans that pass through their territory. It's practically impossible to guard against them. Besides, our strength in the Peaceful Sun City is already limited. So, I'm afraid that..." Manager Shi's voice was permeated with sincere concern when he spoke.
"You don't have to worry about this matter. As far as I know the Chamber of Commerce has recently transferred a high-ranked Official Guest to serve in the nearby city. He is a Full Moon-ranked magician. I'll later report this matter to the headquarters. In addition, I'll invite the Elder Guest Official to come, and take charge of this mission. Also, you are instructed to go and make an announcement in the city for the recruitment of forty Xian Tian-ranked totem warriors or Star-ranked magicians. These people will be offered generous rewards as long as this escorting mission turns out successful. Each person will be rewarded with one-thousand spirit stones," the green-robed old man instructed Manager Shi.
"Yes!" Manager Shi complied without hesitation.
"Then, this matter is handed over to you. Make a good preparation to ensure absolute safety," The green-robed old man nodded. He then stood up, and walked towards the depth of the living room.
Manager Shi stood in the same place for a moment in order to consider something. Then, he arrived by the side of a desk in the room. He then turned his hand, and fished out a roll of paper. Then, he took a pen, and started to write on the paper at a very quick pace.
He stopped writing after a moment. Then, he clapped his hand, and shouted something toward the door. Then, a blue-robed man pushed open the door, and walked in.
"Post this notice outside the office of the City Lord. Also, set up a booth to accept the registrations," Manager Shi said as he passed the paper to him.
"Yes!" the blue-robed man complied, and took the paper. Then, he turned around to leave.
"Hold on," but then, Manager Shi called-out to stop the blue-robed man.
"Does Manager have any other instructions to give?"
"Continue to accept registrations even if the number of applicants exceeds forty. But, don't forget to make an announcement that a small competition will be conducted after three days."
The blue-robed man complied. He then turned around, and walked away.
Manager Shi returned, and sat down on his chair. He then closed his eyes, and seemingly sank into contemplation.
But then, the sound of footsteps spread from outside. Then, a man walked in; he was one of the shop-assistants of the Heavenly Wu Gems Pavilion.
"Qi has come to report to Manager Shi. There is a man outside who calls himself Mu Shi. He wishes to meet you," the shop-assistant reported.
"Mu Shi" An idea dawned upon Manager Shi's mind as Shi Mu's silhouette emerged in his mind.
"Invite him to the side hall, and serve him a cup of tea. Tell him that I'll be there in a little while," Manager Shi stood up, and walked out of the room.
In Heavenly Wu Gems Pavilion's the side hall Shi Mu picked up the teacup, and pursed his lips to take a sip.
A few plates of delicious snacks were laid out on the tea table apart from the tea. And, Cai was gobbling them up merrily at the moment.
Shi Mu couldn't help shaking his head when he looked at Cai's stupid and inattentive appearance.
Then, a sound of footsteps was heard, and the door to the hall was pushed open. Then, Manager Shi walked in.
"Hehe, I'm honored by Dear Friend Mu's gracious presence in our Pavilion. I'm glad to see you again." Manager Shi was still far from Shi Mu when he clasped his hands, and said respectfully.
"Manager Shi is very polite. It's nice to meet you after so long," Shi Mu also greeted the opposite party in return. However, a feeling of suspicious had emerged in his mind at the same time. He had noticed that Manger Shi seemed to be overly warm and cordial to him this time. In fact, his approach was entirely different from the previous time.
"Dear Friend Mu doesn't need to be suspicious about anything. My Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce always shows differential treatment to people with exceptional qualities. And, Friend Mu is a rare prodigy in magic charms who can even make a high-ranked magic charm. Even Elder Wu of our Pavilion never ceases to praise you for your abilities. Pardon me for I couldn't show due respect to you during our previous meeting," Manager Shi said.
Shi Mu's facial expression changed. But, he regained his equanimity quickly. However, he couldn't shake off the apprehensive feeling that had just emerged in his heart on seeing the extraordinary intelligence gathering capability of the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce. It appeared that they hadn't left any stone unturned to gather this information.
"Manager Shi is over-praising me. I'm no better than an ordinary person. I just happen to know how to draw magic charms," an idea crossed Shi Mu's mind, and he said.
Manager Shi showed a faint smile, and didn't try to dig into the details. He simply sat down on the chair next to Shi Mu and said, "I wonder what brought Friend Mu here this time. What's the matter? Can it be related to that girl, Zhong Xiu? I'm afraid that I'll have to disappoint Your Excellency once again if that's the case."
"That's not the case. This Mu has shown up here to inquire about another important matter. This matter is related to the demon beasts outside the city. I wonder if the honorable Chamber of Commerce knows anything in this regard. Is it true that Ao Kui has left?" Shi Mu's brows creased, and he asked with a calm look as before.
"So, this is the case. Well, according to the floating rumor in the city Ao Kui has indeed left Peaceful Sun City, and is unlikely to return in the short term. However, he has assigned an Earth-ranked powerhouse of his tribe to take command of the demon beasts outside the city in his place. The demon beasts are relatively relaxed outside the city these days. But, I'm afraid there will be some risks if you want to go out of the city," Manager Shi's words were accompanied by a chuckle.
Shi Mu felt greatly relived when he heard that Ao Kui had truly left.
The fact was that Shi Mu was only waiting for Ao Kui's departure. He wouldn't be too worried even if there was another Earth-ranked demon beast outside the city... as long as this new one wasn't an advanced stage Earth-ranked warrior.
"Thank you so much for your precious help, Manager Shi. May I ask how many spirit stones are needed for this information?" Shi Mu asked.
"This news isn't worth the money. It's only a matter of time until it spreads across the city. So, you don't have to pay for it," Manager Shi replied with a soft chuckle.
"Well then, I would like to thank Manager Shi again. There are still some things that I need to take care of. So, I'll take my leave now," Shi Mu cupped his hands across his chest in courtesy and said. He then stood up as he wanted to leave from here.
Cai also stopped eating, and hurried over to Shi Mu's shoulder.
"Dear Friend Mu, please wait a moment," Manager Shi's eyes flickered as he said.
"Does Manager Shi still have some business with me?" Shi Mu's feet stopped, and he turned his head to look at him.
"Hehe, it's not an important matter. Friend Mu must be planning to leave the Peaceful Sun City now, right?" Manager Shi said.
"That's what I'm planning to do now," Shi Mu nodded.
"It's not safe outside the city at this time. I know that Dear Friend Mu is very formidable. But, it will still be difficult for you to escape if you bump into a demon beast," Manager Shi said.
"Manager Shi can speak his mind if he wants to say something," Shi Mu probed.
"The Chamber of Commerce is going to dispatch a batch of materials to the western part of the continent nearly ten days later. And, this mission requires a group of guards to escort the goods. Brother Mu can go to take a look outside the City Lord's office in case he's interested in it," Manager Shi said.
"May I know where your Chamber of Commerce wants to send these goods?" Shi Mu asked.
"Rising Sun City," Manager Shi replied.
Shi Mu's eyes flashed as if he had some impressions of this name. This city was a big barbarian city, and it was located in the depths of the Western Continent.
"It'll take at most two months from here to Rising Sun City. And, the reward for each accompanying escort is one-thousand spirit stones. Hehe, I think that the number of spirit stones might not have a significant impact on Friend Mu. However, it will naturally be a lot safer to embark on a journey along with the caravan," Manager Shi stated.
"Well, I'll keep that in mind," Shi Mu nodded, and hurried out of the store with Cai.
"Shi Tou, are you planning on joining this group of escorts?" Cai asked once they had departed from the Heavenly Wu Gems Pavilion.
"Let's go and see the situation before we discuss anything," Shi Mu said while walking in the direction of the City Lord's office.
A moment later outside the City Lord's office
"Wow, there are a lot of people here," Cai screamed from afar.
Shi Mu followed Cai's line of sight, and saw that there was indeed a notice hung high in the middle of the bulletin board. And, it was surrounded by a large number of people at the moment.
Shi Mu walked in the direction of the crowd. Meanwhile, he focused his gaze, and read the contents of the notice at one glance. The notice contained the matter that Heavenly Wu Gems Pavilion wanted to recruit either Xian Tian-ranked powerhouses or Star-ranked magicians.
"There is a reward of one-thousand spirit stones for only two months!" someone in the crowd exclaimed with excitement.
"Tsk Tsk, this reward is very... Heavenly Wu Gems Pavilion is indeed rich and overbearing," many ordinary practitioners whispered in succession.
"I've heard that Ling Chu the top military official of the City Lord will also participate in this mission. In addition, the Heavenly Wu Gems Pavilion is sending a Moon-ranked expert to supervise this mission. But, they only have to deliver a batch of goods. So, why are they taking great pains, and offering big fees for a simple task?"
"You are over thinking this matter. You're talking about only two people. Don't you think that it will be very difficult to carry out this escorting mission by depending on only two people? Besides, the demon beasts outside the city haven't disappeared altogether. Can one person safely depart from the Peaceful Sun City on their own under these circumstances?"
"Brother Zhao is a sensible person. But, we can still strive to get one-thousand spirit stones. So, let's get our names registered right away."
The notice also included eligibility criteria in terms of the level of cultivation. Therefore, only the people who met the requirements had gathered in front of the registration stage. And so, they were drawing a lot of envious eyes towards them.
Shi Mu stayed in the crowd for a while since he wanted to weigh the situation before taking any decision.
He now agreed with Manager Shi's words after he pondered over this matter. It was indeed better to go along with the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce if he was already planning to leave the city and advance towards the west. It would certainly ensure his safety to a great extent as compared to setting out alone.
The Rising Sun City was a big city of the barbarian race. Moreover, this journey would lead him to the western part of the continent. In fact, he would have to pass through this city even if he chose to set out alone.
A string of such thoughts flashed across Shi Mu's mind for a moment. After that, he stepped forward, and walked up to the registration stage. There was already a large crowd of people around the stage. A blue-robed man shouted aloud at this moment, "There is first-come-first-serve rule here. Hey, Hey, I'm talking to you. Don't push and cause trouble here. Come one by one for registration. Everyone will get the chance."
"Isn't the requirement of only thirty people? So many people are already here. How would we get a chance if we don't push our way to the stage?" someone in the crowd asked for clarity.
"Ke Ke, the escorting mission only requires thirty people. But, we've received a large number of applicants. So, in light of this we will hold a small competition among the applicants for the sake of fairness. And, the winner will be able to participate..."
The crowd started to make a ruckus again as soon as they heard his reply.
"The competition is scheduled to be held after three days. And, the venue will be disclosed here tomorrow. So, everybody should go back, and prepare for the competition."
Three days later
The selection competition of the Heavenly Wu Gems Pavilion was about to begin soon. And, the venue was the martial arts practicing field which was located in the western part of the city.
It was only a small competition, but all the participants were either Xian Tian martial warriors or Star-ranked magicians. So, this had obviously attracted the attention of many ordinary barbarians of the city. In fact, these spectators had begun to well up in order to watch the competition.