Chapter 339: A Plan

    Chapter 339: A Plan

    Translator: Novel Saga  Editor: Novel Saga

    Zhong Xiu had wanted to meet Shi Mu as soon as possible at that time. Therefore, she had readily accepted Xu Lu's proposal without analyzing it thoroughly.

    After that, someone had led Zhong Xiu to the residence of the Chamber of Commerce, and settled her there.

    Zhong Xiu had waited patiently for a while there. Afterwards, she had boarded a Gigantic Vast Sea Boat under the arrangement of the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce. She had then embarked on the journey to the Western Continent.

    Zhong Xiu had come across a mysterious person during the course of her voyage. He was supposedly the President of the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce. He had then made an agreement with her there.

    The contents of that agreement were exactly the same as Xu Lu had previously mentioned.

    Henceforth, Zhong Xiu had officially become a member of the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce in that somewhat muddled situation.

    However, she hadn't been able to see the appearance of that so-called President of the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce since his entire body had been shrouded in a layer of hazy golden light at that time.

    "Miss Xiu, it means that you have to serve the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce for fifty years no matter what. Only then can you leave them!" Shi Mu listened to Zhong Xiu's narration, and couldn't refrain from knitting his eyebrows.

    "That's right. It's completely my fault. I had been so anxious at that time that I didn't even analyze the situation properly," Zhong Xiu said in a low voice.

    "Miss Xiu, you don't need to self-reproach. You wouldn't have had to suffer so many hardships if you hadn't gone all out to look for me. It's entirely my fault in the end," Shi Mu said.

    "Big Brother Shi, how can you blame yourself for this? I'm quite satisfied and delighted since I've found you in the end. In fact, it can be said that it was divine intervention that I had decided to join the Chamber of Commerce. Otherwise, god knows when we would've met," Zhong Xiu said.

    "Now that you've mentioned it... the influence behind the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce always gives me a kind of inconceivable and unfathomable feeling. To be honest... I don't feel much relieved." Shi Mu considered something for a moment. Then, he said so.

    "Big Brother Shi, Chamber of Commerce..." Zhong Xiu said.

    "I want to redeem your freedom," Shi Mu interrupted Zhong Xiu's words, and said.

    "Redeem my freedom?"

    Zhong Xiu was surprised to hear these words. But then, she said in a somewhat helpless manner, "I truly appreciate Big Brother Shi's good intention. In fact, even I wish to break away from the Chamber of Commerce. I wish to leave this aggressive and quarrelsome land with Big Brother Shi. But..."

    "But, what...?" Shi Mu questioned.

    "But, the contract doesn't seem to mention anything about the possibility of leaving the Chamber of Commerce ahead of time. Moreover, it seems that only the President has the power to annul the contract." Zhong Xiu said while shaking her head.

    "We'll look for the President in that case. Where can I find him?" Shi Mu asked.

    "I don't know. Some seniors of the Chamber of Commerce say that... the President is the kind of a person who would wander around the world without casting a shadow or leaving a trace. In fact, the members of the association can pass him a message only through the tokens. And, these tokens are bestowed upon them by the Chamber of Commerce itself. On top of that, it's not necessary that the President will always respond to their messages. Furthermore, it's entirely a mystery whether he'll show up or not. However, I clearly remember the words he had spoken when I had agreed to and signed the contract. He had said that he would appear as scheduled... on the day my contract expires after fifty years." Zhong Xiu explained with a sigh.

    "Isn't there any other way?" Shi Mu's brows creased as he said.

    "Oh, that's right... I just remembered! I had once heard an Elder who had inadvertently mentioned something about it. He had said that the President shows up either for those people who make great contributions to the Chamber of Commerce or when there's an important personnel appointment... For example... when someone is promoted to the official Elder of the Chamber of Commerce," Zhong Xiu pondered for a while. Then, she remembered something, and said.

    "I've made a great contribution..." Shi Mu muttered to himself in a thoughtful manner.

    "Big Brother Shi, don't think much about this matter. There will always be a way. We can wait for 50 years if nothing works out. Xiu won't have any regrets in her life as long as she can be with you," Zhong Xiu said to console him.

    Shi Mu let out a sigh when he heard these words. He then pulled Zhong Xiu into his bosom.

    Their bodies revealed a tremor at this very moment. And, it seemed as if both of them had suddenly been engulfed by an air of calmness which had stemmed from the sense of absolute success.

    Zhong Xiu couldn't help but recall the memories of their youth. A string of memories flashed across her mind in an instant... starting from their first meeting to the time they had parted ways for their respective practices, and thereafter. She then thought about their present dependence... All these feelings soon filled her heart with a hint of sweetness.

    "Miss Xiu, we can go together now. You don't have to worry about the entrusted task," Shi Mu sighed with surging emotions as he said.

    "Maybe this is the will of God... Big Brother Shi, I'll follow you wherever you go; no matter what happens," Zhong Xiu said in a soft voice.

    Shi Mu touched Zhong Xiu's long, soft, and beautiful hair with deep affection. But then, he suddenly thought of something, and asked, "By the way... Miss Xiu, I had already recorded everything about the conspiracy on the jade slip... I had clearly mentioned that the Wing Crane Tribe and the Dark Moon Cult have joined hands to plunder our goods. And, I had asked a trusted person to deliver it to you in advance. So, why didn't you make any preparations to prevent the conspiracy?"

    "What did you say? You already knew of this matter?" Zhong Xiu looked profoundly shocked as she asked.

    Shi Mu nodded, and recounted everything to her one by one. He explained everything... from the day he had started to follow the tracks of Pang Yu and her companions to his subsequent investigations.

    Zhong Xiu's shapely eyebrows slightly creased after she had listened to the entire story. She then slowly asked after a while, "Big Brother Shi, whom did you give that important jade slip?"

    "That person was one of your trusted attendants. I think she was that girl, Xiao Wei." Shi Mu replied after a momentary thought.

    "So, it's her..."

    Zhong Xiu got lost in thought for a while. Then, she said, "It seems that I've been deceived."

    Shi Mu was shocked to hear these words. So, he asked Zhong Xiu to tell him the entire story in detail.

    "There had been only one attendant with me in the beginning. Xiao Wei was assigned to me by the association nearly half-a-month before my first journey... I initially thought that it was a bit strange. But, Xiao Wei had a very good disputation. And, she was also a very sensible person. So, I hadn't thought about it seriously, and let her stay by my side... I hadn't expected that she would inform anyone about this matter. However, the situation at the moment is that she has implicated the entire Chamber of Commerce!" Zhong Xiu said slowly.

    "I had examined this woman before. She is merely a Hou Tian warrior. So, it seems that someone else has stirred up this trouble from behind the scenes. Miss Xiu, do you know who had assigned her to you?" Shi Mu questioned.

    "I have no idea about this. However, I think that it should be the people of the association." Zhong Xiu shook her head as she replied.

    "Miss Xiu, you just rest assured! I assure you that I'll dispel your future sufferings if you allow me to find this person." Shi Mu said in a lowered voice.

    "Big Brother Shi, you can't resolve the current predicament even if you manage to eliminate this person. The batch of goods that the Chamber of Commerce had been entrusted to escort this time is of considerably high value. Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce had also deployed eight Floating Cloud Carriages for this mission; and, they too were very expensive. But, we have lost all of them. This will inflict heavy losses on the Chamber of Commerce. They will be subjected to incur a large number of spirit stones to compensate the losses. On top of that, the Chamber of Commerce's reputation will plummet down to the ground. Even I will have to bear the blame since I was responsible for this mission as the Guest Elder. Therefore, I'm left with no choice but to return to the Rising Sun City, and truthfully report the Chamber of Commerce about this robbery." Zhong Xiu's refined eyebrows wrinkled as she said.

    "We know that the Wing Crane Tribe and the Eastern Dark Moon Cult had collaborated to execute this plan. However, they have taken every possible measure to prevent this information from trickling out. So, we have no evidence to prove their collusion... And, I don't think that the Elders of your Chamber of Elders will place their trust in the one-sided statement of me and Cai without solid proof," Shi Mu said.

    "Big Brother Shi, you're right. The Wing Crane Tribe and the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce never interfere in each others' matters. As for the Dark Moon Cult... it still has plenty of business dealings with the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, there is a very close relationship between the Dark Moon Cult and the Chamber of Commerce. So, the Chamber of Commerce certainly won't believe you if you accuse both of them like this. It seems that all I can do in this situation is to frankly explain everything to the Chamber of Commerce first," Zhong Xiu said with a nod.

    "Miss Xiu, I don't want you to leave the Heavenly Wu Chamber of Commerce on a sad note since I know that this incident will surely give people a point of gossiping and argument. So, leave this matter to me!" there was a hint of determination in Shi Mu's voice when he said.

    "Big Brother Shi, you want to..." Shi Mu's words left Zhong Xiu dumbfounded for a moment.

    "Right, I want to help you recapture the goods!" Shi Mu said.

    "What? Recapture the goods?" Zhong Xiu was greatly surprised.

    "Yes, Miss Xiu, let's go back to the Cloud Wing City to have a look at the prevailing situation. Let's see how many things we can recover. As for the remaining matters... I'll think of a better way to deal with it." Shi Mu said.

    "Absolutely not! Big Brother Shi, the opposite party is clearly far more powerful than us in terms of both number of people and overall strength. How can you recover the goods? It would be like bringing calamity on yourself if you go there! I won't let you risk your life!" she said, and tightly wrapped her arms around Shi Mu. She was apparently afraid that Shi Mu would walk away like this.

    "Miss Xiu, you may be able to separate yourself from the Chamber of Commerce sooner if we can retrieve some losses. Moreover, you don't have to be anxious about anything. I have the means to protect myself," Shi Mu gently caressed Zhong Xiu, and said to comfort her.

    "No, I won't let you go. It's very dangerous! Both of us have experienced so many hurdles to get together. So, I don't think that..." Zhong Xiu's eye sockets looked slightly red as she said.

    "Don't worry. I have some means... Believe me!" Shi Mu saw this, and embraced her tightly in his bosom. Then, he said a few words to comfort her.

    Zhong Xiu had eventually realized that she couldn't persuade Shi Mu to change his mind. So, she considered this matter over and over again, and eventually decided that both of them would go together so that they could take care of each other.

    Shi Mu also didn't fight against this decision since he had noticed the unwavering resolve in Zhong Xiu's words. However, he now needed to think about the plan to recapture the treasure even more thoroughly. It was because he didn't want to see Zhong Xiu in an injured state once again.

    Zhong Xiu showed him a list of goods after they reached an agreement. Shi Mu found that there was a Star Stone on the list.

    He had come to know about the wondrous usage of the Star Stone at the auction in Heavenly Yu City. It had been the final product of the Ascension to Immortality Auction. So, he knew that the value of this stone ought to be considerably high.

    And, this point was also confirmed by Zhong Xiu's words.

    In fact, that thumb-sized Star Stone was the most important thing in that batch of goods. It could be rated as a priceless treasure. The other goods were much lesser in value when compared to that Star Stone.

    However, the worth of the other goods was still above 500,000 spirit stones altogether.

    "Oh, by the way... Miss Xiu, why did the Chamber of Commerce decide to use the Floating Cloud Carriages to transport these goods? Wouldn't it have been more convenient to put them in a storage ring?" Shi Mu asked in confusion.

    "Big Brother Shi, you perhaps don't know that the Star Stone can't be put into a storage ring. Therefore, the Elders of the Chamber of Commerce decided to transport a lot of goods with it... They wanted to mix the trivial goods with the genuine one. However, I hadn't thought that it would be plundered in this way," Zhong Xiu revealed a helpless look as she said.

    Shi Mu was flabbergasted to hear these words since his own Star Stone happened to be in a certain corner of his Vast Earth Ring.

    Zhong Xiu saw that Shi Mu wanted to speak something, but was hesitating. So, she explained further, "It's not that a Star Stone can never be placed in a storage ring. But, there is a rule in the Chamber of Commerce - a big batch of goods must be transported by Floating Cloud Carriage. And, I have no idea why such a strange regulation has been made."

    "Shi Tou, the situation doesn't appear good! Both of you are getting cozy in-there, and a large number of people are lingering outside the mountain. It seems that they are looking for someone," Cai's voice resounded in Shi Mu's mind at this moment.

    Shi Mu's brows plunged into a frown. He then activated the vision sharing technique, and his facial expression immediately changed.

    "What's wrong?" Zhong Xiu asked since she had noticed the abrupt change in Shi Mu's facial expression.

    "Many people of the Wings Crane Tribe have reached outside. They are searching for something all over the place." Shi Mu said.

    "Don't tell me they are looking for us?" Zhong Xiu's facial expression also changed.

    "I can't tell at the moment. Come... Let's go out to examine the situation." Shi Mu pulled Zhong Xiu's hand, and walked out of the cave.

    Zhong Xiu revealed a bit of hesitation for a moment. But then, she followed Shi Mu in an obedient manner, and walked outside the cave.
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