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Chapter 18: Spirit Fruit

    Chapter 18: Spirit Fruit

    Translator: CKtalon  Editor: CKtalon

    A hundred thousand taels of silver was an obscene amount of money. Even the Liu family, which was one of the top three family clans in Grand Dominance County, had a wealth that totaled two to three hundred thousand taels of silver! After all, no matter how extensive the Liu family's business was, most of the money they earned had to be handed to the county governor! Furthermore, the county governor had a lot of expenditures; hence, offering a hundred thousand taels of silver was not an easy task either. However, he had still offered it regardless of how much he felt the pinch.

    "To offer a hundred thousand taels of silver, this expedition must be extremely dangerous." Qin Liehu immediately worried for his son's safety.

    However, Qin Yun remained very calm. "How generous of you to offer a hundred thousand taels of silver." He said with a smile, "Might I ask what spirit fruit it is that I'm supposed to retrieve?"

    The county governor hesitated for a moment before looking at Qin Liehu, "Constable Qin, please do not spread this."

    "Of course, of course." Qin Liehu said immediately.

    "A thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit," said the county governor in hushed tones.

    Qin Yun's expression changed slightly when he heard that.

    Ice Jade Fruit trees resembled ice sculptures. They would bear fruit every century but there would only be one fruit! Usually, the fruit would be blue in color but would only turn red when it ripened. Furthermore, it only maintained its ripened state for two hours. After two hours, the original fruit tree would wither, causing the fruit to fall to the ground. Upon touching the soil, the fruit would melt, leaving behind a seed.

    The seed would germinate once again and after a hundred years, the tree would bear fruit once again. If the fruit was not eaten, it would fall to the ground, melting and allow the seed to germinate once again. It would then be another century...

    As one generation followed another, and only after a thousand years would the fruit that was born be qualified to be called a thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit. It would suffuse a purple luster when it ripened and would be a rare treasure of extremely miraculous nature.

    It was best used for the refinement of pills. Of course, it could be consumed directly. Eating one thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit could rejuvenate one's body! If one were in their thirties or forties, with no hope of knocking open the gate of immortality, eating a thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit would rejuvenate the body such that there would be a chance of knocking open the gate of immortality again! If it were a person highly advanced in age, they would undergo a rejuvenation after eating one, allowing them to extend their lives for another two decades.

    Longevity!

    Many people pursued it. The closer they were to death, the more they craved to carry on living. A spirit fruit that could extend one's life by twenty years was sufficient to make many go crazy for it.

    Material goods had a price but longevity was priceless!

    "It's no wonder the county governor is willing to spend a hundred thousand taels of silver." Qin Yun thought to himself before he said, "Green Tooth Mountain is the tallest mountain in Grand Dominance County, where many demons lurk. It would be extremely difficult to retrieve the spirit fruit."

    "There will be two other companions with you. Both of them are extraordinary as well." The county governor said, "One of them is a Grand Dominance County local. He has a demon that listens to orders. In terms of strength, that demon is stronger than the old demon Chu Yong. As for the other one, she is my niece. In terms of strength, she's probably not inferior to you, Young Master Qin."

    "Oh?" Qin Yun was surprised.

    The county governor was a high official. As such, the imperial government would deliver a dossier regarding Qin Yun to him.

    Despite seeing his dossier, the county governor actually dared to claim that she was not inferior to him?

    "Niece? Has she stepped into the Connate realm?" asked Qin Yun.

    "No." The county governor said with a smile. "The trio that will embark on this expedition is not at the Connate realm. It's because once Connate experts were to expose their aura, the demons would realize that Connate experts were coming to snatch the treasure. They would definitely fear that the spirit fruit cannot be defended! With the temperament of demons, once they realize that the spirit fruit cannot be defended, they might be willing to destroy it than leave it to the intruders."

    "As for all of you in the Postnatal realm, the demons would end up underestimating you. I need you to use that folly of the demons to snatch the spirit fruit in one fell swoop," said the county governor.

    Qin Yun was curious.

    The county governor had so much confidence in a woman that had yet to enter the Connate realm, so much as to claim that she was comparable in strength to him? From the looks of it, she was definitely from a top sect! It was even possible that she was a disciple of a sacred Daoist or Buddhist land.

    "There are too many demons in Green Tooth Mountain. There will be many exigencies for us to infiltrate deep into the demons' lair. A hundred thousand taels of silver?" Qin Yun shook his head gently.

    He really did not think much of it!

    "What conditions do you have? Please speak your mind," said the county governor.

    "Since you are a high official of our Grand Dominance County, I will not demand too much. I do not need the banknotes. All I need is Frostmuster Spirit Liquid." Qin Yun added, "Ten pounds of Frostmuster Spirit Liquid."

    Qin Yun was in urgent need of Frostmuster Spirit Liquid.

    The reason being that the cultivation of his Intrinsic Flying Sword was still using rather common materials. He was using large quantities of materials to make up for it, which resulted in a slow nurturing process. If he had ten pounds of Frostmuster Spirit Liquid, it was possible that he would complete his Intrinsic Flying Sword within a month! He had few options. Frostmuster Spirit Liquid was seldom used by typical cultivators and it was very rare. Only top sects of powerful factions had a chance of coming into contact with it.

    Qin Yun was an itinerant cultivator after all. He had no chance of gathering the Frostmuster Spirit Liquid he required.

    The county governor said with a slight frown, "Frostmuster Spirit Liquid is rather difficult to obtain. It can only be found deep at the bottom of the north sea. Ten pounds of Frostmuster Spirit Liquid isn't expensive and is worth less than a hundred thousand taels of silver. However, gathering it would be problematic. It should take a month and at most two months."

    Qin Yun revealed a delighted look. "That's sufficient. It will be more than a month before we set off to retrieve the spirit fruit. You can give me a portion of the Frostmuster Spirit Liquid before we set off for Green Tooth Mountain."

    "I'll give you as much as I managed to gather when the time comes," said the county governor. "Then, have we come to an agreement?"

    "Yes, I agree to the expedition." Qin Yun nodded.

    He was in a rather good mood.

    Just like how the Astral Patterned Steel shortened the mastering of his Intrinsic Flying Sword, allowing his foundation to turn more robust, the Frostmuster Spirit Liquid was best suited for his Intrinsic Flying Sword. Similarly, his foundation would be better and the time to finish cultivating his Intrinsic Flying Sword would be shortened by a month.

    "This county governor is indeed from South Hill's Wen family." Qin Yun thought to himself. "It's a large family clan that had been conferred the title of Duke after all. His niece probably comes from a top cultivation sect or from one of the sacred lands of Daoism or Buddhism! For him to be able to obtain Frostmuster Spirit Liquid, it also shows how extraordinary his social connections are."

    "Haha..." The county governor immediately laughed loudly when he heard Qin Yun's agreement. "Young Master Qin is indeed forthright."

    Qin Liehu felt somewhat helpless. He had signaled Qin Yun with his eyes but his son had still agreed to the request.

    "Brother Qin Yun, my father was truly worried you would disagree with his proposition." Wen Chong, who was sitting by the side, said with a laugh. "By the way, I heard that Brother Qin Yun has deep ties with Swallow Phoenix Brothel's Lady Chen Shuang?"

    "Chen Shuang and I are childhood friends. We grew up together." Qin Yun answered simply.

    The county governor asked, "Are you referring to Lady Chen Shuang as described in 'Ode to Chen Shuang' by the great scholar, Yu Bai?"

    "Yes, Father. It's that Lady Chen Shuang." Wen Chong said with a smile, "It's my first meeting with Brother Qin Yun today and I happen to have a gift for you."

    "Oh?" Qin Yun was surprised.

    "The selection of Courtesan Belle of our Grand Dominance County will be held seven days later. Shall I give the title of Courtesan Belle to Brother Qin Yun's sister?" Wen Chong said with a loud laugh.

    Qin Yun was slightly startled.

    When the county governor heard that, he immediately nodded in approval. "Yes, Wen Chong. It's merely a Courtesan Belle. Proceed with it."

    Merely a Courtesan Belle?

    From the way the county governor spoke of it, it was nothing at all.

    "I'll be on my way. It will be fast. An hour would do." Wen Chong said as he strode out the door.

    As a cultivator, Qin Yun knew from his travels that a Courtesan Belle of a county... was truly just a form of entertainment to the people truly in power.

    Although the county governor had taken the initiative to help him, it was because he needed him to retrieve the spirit fruit from Green Tooth Mountain. That was something that risked his life! The county governor was naturally afraid that he would not put in his best.

    "Thank you, County Governor." Qin Yun said with a smile.

    "It's nothing." The county governor revealed a smile. He wanted Qin Yun to remember this favor of his.

    ...

    Dreamlike Pavilion.

    Inside a bedroom, an enticing body was lying in a man's embrace.

    "I really never expected that the Courtesan Belle selection this year would suddenly have a Chen Shuang to tip the scales." Dreamlike Pavilion Lady lamented. "Seven days later at the cruise ship, if I do not enter the top three, how will I be able to face everyone else. I might as well jump into Flower Solarium river."

    "Don't worry, Dreamlike. I'm not confident of you winning Courtesan Belle but I already guaranteed you previously that you will definitely enter the top three." The man said with a smile as he caressed Dreamlike Pavilion Lady's skin that was as smooth as jade.

    Dreamlike Pavilion Lady looked up, "Minister Wang, don't get my hopes up."

    The man said with a smile, "How can I bear hurting you?"

    For some reason, although Dreamlike Pavilion Lady was rather old, her looks and skin resembled that of a young girl's. Such a level of seduction prevented him from shaking his infatuation for her.

    "Master, Master. The county governor is summoning you!" A hurried shout sounded from outside.

    "The county governor?" The man jolted in shock.

    "The county governor wants to meet you? Minister Wang, make haste then." Dreamlike Pavilion Lady urged him.

    "I'll be leaving."

    With that, Wang Song hurriedly dressed up and left the room.

    Dreamlike Pavilion Lady got up and sat in front of her dressing table wrapped in a blanket. As she looked at her reflection in a bronze mirror, she chuckled. "Little lass, you want to fight me? You are still too young!"

    ...

    Within an hour, two men and a woman came to Qin Manor under orders from the county governor.

    "Greetings, County Governor."

    The three bowed politely. Following that, they stood obediently by the side with hearts filled with questions.

    As for Wen Chong, he said with a smile. "Brother Qin Yun, how do you think a Courtesan Belle selection is done? Although it's a contest of looks, talent, and charm... the final Courtesan Belle is selected by a panel made of a hundred members. These hundred people are famous in Grand Dominance County. Some hail from wealthy large clans and there are obviously famous cultured and refined scholars. Also, there will be distinguished guests that frequently patronage brothels. They make up the Courtesan Belle panel and many of them have distinguished statuses. It appears very fair on the surface."

    "But in fact, these cultured and refined scholars and other famous people can be influenced behind the scenes. Some of the wealthy merchants and distinguished personnel can be influenced as well."

    "These three."

    Wen Chong introduced, "Madam Jade runs five brothels in Grand Dominance County. Swallow Phoenix Brothel is also under her charge. Many refined and cultured scholars owe their living to Madam Jade."

    The woman gave Qin Yun a faint smile.

    "Vice Minister Wang is deputy president of Grand Dominance County's Merchant Association. President Hong usually abstains from doing any administration, so most of the matters of the Merchant Association is administered by Vice Minister Wang. Many of the wealthy businessmen and distinguished people from the Courtesan Belle panel listens to Vice Minister Wang," said Wen Chong.

    Vice Minister Wang immediately gave an obsequious smile at Qin Yun.

    What a joke.

    Didn't you see the county governor and Commander Fang here? Moreover, the county governor's son, Wen Chong was delivering the introductions himself? He was only a merchant. His official post was also bought so how could he dare slight Qin Yun?

    "As for this man, he is Young Master Hong." Wen Chong said with a smile. "The Hong family is the top family clan in Grand Dominance County. It is extremely influential. Many people from the Courtesan Belle panel would not dare disobey the Hong family's instructions."

    "Greetings, Young Master Qin Yun. I had long heard of Young Master Qin Yun's fury over a beauty, making that Liu Qi slam his face to the ground." Young Master Hong said with a chuckle.

    "These three added together can influence more than half the members of the Courtesan Belle panel." Wen Chong said with a smile. "If the three of them simultaneously decide on anyone to be the Courtesan Belle, then that person will definitely be Courtesan Belle. For this year's Courtesan Belle... my father thinks highly of Lady Chen Shuang. Does anyone have an opinion?"

    Madam Jade hurriedly said, "Lady Chen Shuang is from my Swallow Phoenix Brothel. I had long thought highly of her. Now that her reputation has increased greatly, I too think that she should win this year's title of Courtesan Belle."

    Young Master Hong nodded as well. "Lady Chen Shuang's sword dance and lute performance are both impeccable. Who else but her can be Courtesan Belle?"

    "Yes, yes, yes." Vice Minister Wang, who stood beside them, hurriedly added. "Even the great scholar Yu Bai has written 'Ode to Chen Shuang' for her. She naturally deserves the title of Courtesan Belle. If she doesn't become Courtesan Belle, I, Wang Song, will be the first to disagree."

    "Haha..."

    Wen Chong laughed. "Brother Qin Yun, look. The matter is settled! Lady Chen Shuang shall be this year's Courtesan Belle."

    Qin Yun had watched this play out in front of his very eyes.

    No matter how much the renowned courtesans fought each other seven days later, the title of Courtesan Belle was already determined today!
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