A black-clothed man operated a boat, carrying Lin Xi’s family, Second Grandpa Zhang, and Jiang Xiaoyi along the river.
The appointment of Swallow Descent Town Supervisor had already been formally passed down. Even though Lin Xi greatly enjoyed the scenery of the lakeside’s lotus flowers, he knew that the villagers who had their homes and fields destroyed were extremely uneasy, currently awaiting his return.
That was why he couldn’t retire for the night.
The river water was peaceful and moderate, the blue sky and white clouds reflected on the surface.
Second Grandpa Zhang’s coughing sounds could be heard again. The dark skinned man who controlled the boat revealed an expression of worry, the boat he operated becoming a bit unstable, startling the fish swimming about.
“Brother Zhang, this sickness seems to be quite serious. We must invite a great doctor to treat you, help you recover.”
When Lin Fu heard Second Grandpa Zhang’s coughing sounds and the ventilating sounds from his chest, he also felt nervous, unable to help but say this in advice.
“It’s fine… after coughing for so long, I’ve already gotten used to it.” Second Grandpa Zhang spoke a line that made the corners of Lin Xi’s lips couldn’t help but curl up. After coughing out a few more times, he looked at Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi, saying, “There’s some good that comes out of a setback, after recuperating for a year, I should be able to recover.”
Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi were stunned. When they looked at Second Grandpa Zhang’s waxen yellow, but still smiling face, the two completely understood why Second Grandpa Zhang’s mood was so easygoing, understanding the true meaning behind his current words, thus they began to smile sincerely out of happiness.
News of Xu Ningshen’s escape already spread, Ma Hongjun had also already been taken away by Zhou Nianshan. However, Ma Hongjun’s Great Mang Thousand Devil Nest soul force cultivation method and some other unique methods were already learned by the three of them.
The cultivation methods regarding meditation and body tempering were naturally useless for Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi.
It was because the various stages of cultivation methods from Green Luan Academy were far more complete than these.
For the two of them, the only thing that still had some use was only the Demonic Body Technique.
Many of Yunqin’s academies and cultivation schools, including Green Luan Academy, had a Qi Gathering Technique. The so-called Qi Gathering Technique was precisely to allow large amounts of soul force to erupt, an all-out method to display the greatest amount of power. Because the bodies of cultivators, for soul force, were basically a vessel, when soul force exceeding what the body normally could contain erupts, it would naturally bring quite the damage to the body.
Thousand Devil Nest’s Demonic Body Technique was also a method that could transfer large amounts of soul force, but the soul force was instead concentrated and permeated in a single area of the flesh.
These types of methods could make a certain area of the cultivator’s body especially sturdy, make the flesh like a piece of hard armor.
This type of method wouldn’t be Thousand Devil Nest’s highest secret, Lin Xi and Jiang Xiaoyi had both tried it out. Gathering soul force would take at least four or five breaths of time, and when this technique was displayed, even though one part became exceptionally sturdy, the other parts of the body became relatively weaker. This was equivalent to transferring over the soul force that permeated the body, using it like a shield.
That was why that day when Ma Hongjun faced Qin Xiaoyu, he didn’t have time to use this technique at all, his eyes immediately blinded. That was why this technique could only be used when going all out against the opponent, used only when one already made secret plans themselves, secretly gathering soul force in one area to fortify it when enduring the other party’s attack head-on.
However, Second Grandpa Zhang was only an ordinary civilian cultivator. These meditation, soul force and body tempering techniques from Thousand Devil Nest brought him many new enlightenments.
His lung injuries were already at a state where medicines couldn’t do much to help. Only by furthering his cultivation, strengthening his life force and increasing the power of soul force vibrations could he slowly recover.
Since Second Grandpa Zhang already said this, then it meant that with his cultivation, after a year’s time, he should be able to truly break through into the Soul Master level cultivation.
His injuries were because of Ma Hongjun, but now, his cultivation’s benefits were also from Ma Hongjun, this really was revenge and recompensation.
The boat slowly moved between the mountains.
East Port Town’s Mulberry Elm Circle.
Chen Haozhi was dressed in mourning clothes, currently busy feeding some small pigs.
The ragweed mixed with bran made these small pigs’ growth quite good.
Suddenly, several people rushed into his courtyard like robbers, seizing the pig feed bowl in his hands.
“Young Sir Lin came… he wants to see you! What are you still feeding pigs for?”
These words that these young and old fellow villagers spoke immediately left this slow-speeched peasant a bit stunned. However, immediately afterwards, he directly flung aside the wooden bucket in his hands, quickly rushing out.
Lin Xi was surrounded by several people from Mulberry Elm Circle.
“Young Sir Lin!”
“Young Sir Lin…”
Excited and enthusiastic shouts could be heard as they surrounded him tightly.
He chatted with the people around him with a smile, seeing Chen Haozhi squeezing his way in at this time.
Lin Xi took the initiative to greet this slow-speeched peasant.
“Young Sir Lin!”
This slow-speeched peasant didn’t know what to say, deciding he might as well directly kneel down and kowtow, but he was gently supported by Lin Xi.
After patting this peasant’s broad shoulders, Lin Xi directly asked, “Your grandfather was an old craftsman who built the dam, he previously said that he passed everything onto you. If I asked you to help me build a new river dam, would you be able to do it?”
The surrounding people could all tell that Lin Xi was talking about the huge matter of reconstructing Swallow Descent Town’s river dam, so the chatter immediately quieted down.
Chen Haozhi wasn’t too great at speaking. Right now, when so many eyes were gathered on him, he felt more and more nervous. However, there was no need for him to say much. When he saw Lin Xi’s hopeful eyes, he nodded seriously again, saying a single word. “Yes.”
“Clearing open a path and building canals, these concepts should be a bit simpler when building a dam, you should understand them too, right?” Lin Xi smiled warmly, patting his shoulder again.
Chen Haozhi nodded his head forcefully. “I understand those things.”
“We managed to save Mulberry Elm Circle, but Swallow Descent’s dam we couldn’t save. I believe that your grandfather in heaven also wishes to see that dam rebuilt.” Lin Xi instead bowed respectfully towards Chen Haozhi, saying, “I wish to invite you to first act as a Swallow Descent Town’s Trade Sector member help me deal with this dam construction matter, I wonder if you are willing?”
Chen Haozhi was immediately filled with indescribable emotions. He immediately wanted to say that he was willing, but his nature was too slow, his mood also too excited and complicated. He opened his mouth, but found it hard to speak out.
“Chen Family’s brat, hurry and agree already!”
When he couldn’t say anything, the surrounding Mulberry Elm Circle people already began to panic, all of them shouting out.
“There is no need to panic. If you agree, just nodding is enough.” Lin Xi understood Chen Haozhi’s nature, saying this with a smile.
Chen Haozhi opened his mouth, but still couldn’t say anything. Thus, he nodded his head seriously with the most force of his entire life, tears starting to roll down his face.
Within an ordinary enclosed small courtyard’s study.
A middle-aged scholar dressed in bamboo embroidered clothes was currently examining a few account books.
These ledgers all had blue dyed cowhide covers, what was written on them in fancy black handwriting was ‘Hundred Rivers’, these two words.
The middle-aged scholar’s hair was sparse, already balding, but his appearance was still rather handsome, eyes bright, his presence a bit imposing.
The door of the study released a light noise.
When he heard this knocking sound, the middle-aged scholar raised his head slightly. He lowered the account book in his hands, and then picked up a teacup. After taking a sip, he said, “Come in.”
A stout, fifty something year old, red faced elder pushed open the door and entered. After bowing slightly towards this middle-aged scholar, he said, “Master, Swallow Descent’s Substitute Town Supervisor Lin Xi has sent a letter.”
The middle-aged scholar’s brows furrowed slightly, saying, “He is asking for silver for the reconstruction of the river dam… Thriving Prosperity and Fortune Memory owe him a great favor, but my Hundred Rivers doesn’t owe him anything, and our financial resources aren’t on Thriving Prosperity and Fortune Memory’s level. Moreover, how much silver will this river dam need, and then the land behind it needs to be properly prepared for farming again, to hire all these people, how many silvers would it take? If we give out a lot of silver this time, next time, it’ll be like a bottomless pit again. Moreover, our ships don’t stop at Swallow Descent or East Port Town, so there aren’t any benefits at all. Shopkeeper Ning, I believe you should understand this reasoning as well, just use a few hundred silvers to settle the matter, why did you need to seek me out?”
“This Young Sir Lin is rather interesting. He does indeed want silver, but the way in which he asked for silver is different from others.”
The third ranked business on Breath River, Hundred Rivers’ great shopkeeper Ning Baiming revealed a smile, handing over the document in his hands while speaking.
The middle-aged scholar gave the document that was handed over a look, but was immediately stunned. He couldn’t help but quietly read out loud, “Project prospectus?”
What was handed into his hands was actually a booklet, on the cover written: Project prospectus, the signature Lin Xi.
Right when Hundred Rivers’ master Qu Benqiao received Lin Xi’s letter, Auspicious Virtue’s master Xing Derong was currently looking over three pieces of soap paste.
This soap paste was made from honey locust, used to wash the body or clothes. All of Yunqin called these things soap paste, only Lin Xi was used to calling it soap. 
Auspicious Virtue wasn’t that well-known in Deereast City, not that large of a merchant company. However, during these two years, while Deereast City’s great merchant companies weren’t paying attention, Auspicious Virtue accumulated a great amount of wealth with astonishing speed.
If we were talking about how much silver they could bring out right now, Auspicious Virtue might not be able to rank top twenty in all of Deereast City’s merchant companies, but two years ago, Auspicious Virtue couldn’t even rank in the first hundred, even paying the price of five hundred silvers would make it unable to continue.
This type of development speed was astonishing. If a great merchant company noticed Auspicious Virtue’s shocking growth, they would also definitely be shocked.
Xing Derong was already close to fifty years of age. Even though he inherited his ancestors’ wisdom, previously traveling extensively with some caravans, his scope of sight much greater than ordinary merchant masters, the wealth of a small merchant company was limited. Generally speaking, without the assistance of a noble, there was no way they could produce such a huge splash.
Auspicious Virtue’s main business was always in the peddling of honey, the quality of the honey in Valiant Cloud Town where his business was based was extremely high. During these two years, what allowed Auspicious Virtue to expand so quickly were the other two branch businesses, lamp oil cover and this soap paste.
Yunqin’s ordinary families all lit oil lamps at night, the price of kerosene was inexpensive, just that the smell of smoke was rather offensive for the eyes and nose.
The lamp cover Auspicious Virtue manufactured was made with several layers of fine bamboo filter paper, in the middle were two layers of fine bamboo charcoal. This way, when the smoke moved through it, almost all of the smell would be filtered out.
Soap always existed, but Auspicious Virtue’s had perfume added. With just a small modification, it became well-received.
Now, most families in Yunqin’s eastern provinces already used Auspicious Virtue’s lamp cover and soap paste. Only, because these things were rather small, others didn’t really notice them.
However, as Auspicious Virtue’s master, Xing Derong understood extremely clearly that these things that made Auspicious Virtue earn a killing all came out of a Lin Family’s shop.
Right now, the three pieces of soap paste in front of him were respectively light green, pretty pink, and faint golden.
Just by adding some mugwort, honeysuckle and other medicinal liquid, these soap pastes looked much prettier. After just some slight effects and some minute modifications, it triggered a commotion over the purchase of these soaps once again.
Moreover, it was that Lin Family’s shop again!
This Lin Family shop’s master might not be a master in how to invest silver into more silver, but he was definitely extremely great at detecting business opportunities and what people liked.
Right now, even though his Auspicious Virtue had some achievements, as long as this person’s ideas were used by a great merchant company, it would easily knock Auspicious Virtue back into its true form.
Xing Derong looked at these three pieces of soap paste, waiting a bit nervously.
Suddenly, he heard footsteps outside. Without waiting for that person to knock, he already impatiently said, “Come in!”
The one who came in was his son, Auspicious Virtue’s young master Xing Tianyang.
“Father.” This Auspicious Virtue young master had an extremely good upbringing, immediately bowing respectfully first upon entering. Only, his appearance was extremely strange.
Xing Derong naturally immediately recognized this, immediately asking, “What is it?”
“That is Young Sir Lin’s family’s products.”
“Young Sir Lin?”
Xing Tianyang nodded in a bit of a respected manner, explaining with a bit of disbelief. “Precisely the Young Sir Lin who cracked the Silver Hook Lane Case and then established astonishing merit over Swallow Descent Town’s river dam. The Lin Family shop is run precisely by his father.”
“What?!” Xing Derong was immediately shocked. “This Young Sir Lin… is someone from Deerwood Town?”
“This was what Lin Family Shop’s master Lin Fu personally said, he is currently in Swallow Descent Town.” Xing Tianyang looked at Xing Derong, releasing a breath of air and saying, “Moreover, after he heard our intentions, he refused to become a great shopkeeper under us, not because of any other reason, but rather because all of those ideas came from Young Sir Lin. He said that if he became our shopkeeper, he would be letting down our Auspicious Virtue.”
Xing Derong opened his mouth, momentarily so shocked he couldn’t say anything.
“These days, Young Sir Lin is currently making arrangements for thousands of villagers and organizing the repairing of the dam. He delivered various great merchant companies a project prospectus.” Xing Tianyang shook his head with indescribable emotions, saying, “Most likely because our Auspicious Virtue was too unremarkable, we didn’t receive one.”
“He didn’t directly ask the great merchant companies to assist with silver, instead drafting up a complete project.” Xing Tianyang took a deep breath, carefully explaining. “After rebuilding the dam, he doesn’t plan on cultivating the land like before, but is rather preparing to dig deeply behind the original dam, make an enormous water reservoir. Then, through irrigation, not only would this turn many dry fields into water rich areas, during the winter when the water surface freezes, when great ships find it hard to move through, gears can be turned to release water, rising the water levels of some areas that are difficult to move through.”
“In the project prospectus, he has stated that the City Supervisor Manor has already stated that half the silvers needed for the plan will be provided, the victims of the disaster will be pardoned three years of tax. The project includes a detailed plan to raise fish in the water reservoir, as well as the plan to turn dry fields into paddy fields. By involving the victims in the construction of the water reservoir and opening of canals, their livelihoods shouldn’t be an issue. The prospectus even specifies the water storage capacity. According to the calculations of the craftsman master and Trade Sector members he invited, during the shallow water times of winter, even the great merchant companies’ large ships could travel through more than twenty times. For those great merchant companies who rely on waterborne transport, they might be able to collect the silver invested in this water reservoir construction in just two to three years.”
After a bit of hesitation, Xing Tianyang said with a sigh, “Moreover, in Young Sir Lin’s project prospectus, he has suggested installments support, that as long as the great merchant companies stated the total sum, and then paid a set amount of silver each month, enough to support the continued construction of the river dam, it was enough. There are clear cut benefits, and the amount of silver asked from the merchant companies to support the construction of the dam isn’t much, which is why it was rumored that within just a day, the great merchant companies on Breath River who rely on waterborne transport all already agreed. This speed of gathering silver really is rarely seen in a hundred years.”
Xing Derong remained stupefied for a long time. Suddenly, he shouted towards Xing Tianyang. “Prepare a horse!”
Xing Tianyang was stunned. “Father… could it be that you wish to invite Young Sir Lin to become a great shopkeeper?”
1. The way Lin Xi calls it is how the modern world calls it.