Chapter 723: Bring In A Shill...?
Bai Hao hesitated for a moment. The name seemed a bit bombastic, after all. However, he could see how determined Bai Xiaochun was about it, and that there was really no choice other than to agree. Soon, the shop’s sign was replaced.
The Number One Spirit Enhancement Shop Under Heaven!
The new sign instantly caused a big commotion in the other shops in the area. Furthermore, quizzical expressions could be seen on the faces of all the passersby.
After changing the sign, Bai Xiaochun temporarily stopped his work on sixteen-colored flame and instead sat eagerly behind the counter, eyes glued to the front door as he waited for some customers.
Bai Hao stood to the side, equally excited. Although he felt that the new name was a bit flamboyant, he was just as eager to get new customers as Bai Xiaochun was.
But after two hours passed, not a single one of the hundreds of passersby stepped into the door. In fact, a lot of people were even pointing at the sign and laughing.
“Number one under heaven? Too pretentious!”
“I know this spirit enhancement shop. Their reputation went down the drain a long time ago. They ruined magical items belonging to quite a few customers. They’ll definitely be going out of business soon. What do they think, that changing the name will fool people or something?”
“Is that supposed to be some kind of a joke? We cultivators want reliability!”
Bai Xiaochun could hear many of the comments, and soon, his eagerness began to turn to rage. However, he took a deep breath and told himself that he just needed to have a little patience. A day passed. Then another. Eventually, seven days later, he couldn’t take it any longer.
During that week, not a single person had set foot into the store. At first, the change in sign had caused a bit of a stir on the street, but eventually, even the mocking comments ceased….
Nobody seemed interested in the shop at all, which got Bai Xiaochun depressed, but at the same time, defiant.
“I refuse to believe this! I'm a genius who causes a big scene wherever I go. How could a crappy little store like this be such a problem!?” With that, he called over Bai Hao, who stood there with a bitter smile on his face as he accepted some new instructions.
“Alright, my apprentice, I’ve thought it through. You see, our new sign isn’t enough to do the trick. Let’s put some auspicious couplets on either side of the door to show our proud and unyielding character!
“I’ve already thought of what to put on the couplets. It's best to be simple and direct. On one side put One Spirit Enhancement, 1,000 Portions Of Spirit Medicine. On the other side put Must Enter Shop With Minimum Of 10,000 Portions Of Spirit Medicine!” With that, he swished his sleeve grandly.
Shaken by what he had just heard, Bai Hao asked, “Um… what about the couplet on top?”
“Want Enhancements? Come in. Don’t Want Them? Leave!”
Bai Hao was now right in that spot between laughter and tears, but as long as his Master was happy, he was happy too. Before long, the couplets were written and hung up around the door. Yet again, a bit of a commotion resulted. All of the surrounding shops, and the passersby as well, were stunned at how crazy this shop was acting.
“1,000 for a single enhancement? Is that the set price, or the minimum? Other shops only charge a few hundred at most. A minimum price of 1,000 is the kind of price that only a celestial necromancer would charge.”
“Crazy talk! What kind of a scam do they think they’re running?”
“It’s kind of funny actually….”
Even as Bai Xiaochun waited excitedly, Bai Hao's eyes glittered, and he suddenly leaned over and whispered something into his ear. Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times, then slapped his thigh and agreed.
Was Bai Xiaochun’s original method effective? Or had word just spread? No one could tell. In any case, the day after the couplets were hung on the door, The Number One Spirit Enhancement Shop Under Heaven got its first customer.
He was a burly savage giant, who despite having shrunk his overall size, was still fully three meters tall. Even just stepping into the shop, he caused the ground to tremble around him.
Bai Hao was just about to hurry over and attend to him when the man waved his hand, causing a huge battle-axe to slam down onto the ground. Although it was relatively ordinary in construction, it had six silver designs on its surface, making it very eye-catching.
“That’s a really crazy sign you have out there,” the burly man said in a booming voice that immediately attracted some attention from outside. People even began to gather to see what was happening. “My battle-axe here already has a sixfold spirit enhancement. Now I want a seventh, and I’m not willing to pay 1,000. I’ll pay 3,000! But if you ruin my battle-axe, then I’ll tear your shop down!”
Bai Xiaochun clasped his hands behind his back and proudly walked out from behind the counter to examine the axe. “If you have the proper materials, I’ll do it for 3,000. Without materials, it will be 10,000!”
The burly man’s eyes went wide, and then a ruthless smile broke out on his ferocious face.
“Fine. 10,000 it is. I’ll wait here for the finished product.”
Bai Xiaochun nodded, then made a grasping motion, which caused the axe to fly over into his hand. Then, he walked into the back room. By this point, quite a crowd had built up outside, and when they heard 10,000 portions of spirit medicine mentioned, it caused a big stir.
“10,000 for a spirit enhancement…? You never see prices like that from small shops like this! Is that burly guy a shill or something? Doubtful. It seems too obvious.”
“Whether he’s a shill or not doesn’t matter. Let’s just see if the spirit enhancement works!”
“I never could have guessed that this shop would accept a job for a sevenfold spirit enhancement. If the enhancement fails, the shop’s reputation will definitely be in ruins.”
“Does this shop even have a reputation to begin with? If they can’t do spirit enhancements, then they’ll definitely be out of business soon….”
People stood there discussing the matter for the time it takes an incense stick to burn, until powerful fluctuations began to roll out from the shop’s back room. Then, eyes went wide as Bai Xiaochun walked out, holding the battle-axe in his hand. Clearly, it had seven silver designs on its surface!
“It actually worked!”
“Heavens! That’s a sevenfold spirit enhancement! And he did it in the time it takes an incense stick to burn!!”
Even as the crowd reeled in disbelief, Bai Xiaochun tossed the axe over to the burly savage. Then he clasped his hands behind his back and stood there with an arrogant, enigmatic expression on his face.
As for the burly savage, he trembled with excitement as he clasped his battle-axe in hand and looked it up and down. He seemed completely stunned and incredulous.
However, Bai Xiaochun didn’t seem very pleased, and even cleared his throat.
When the burly man heard that, he reacted immediately. Casing a reverent glance at Bai Xiaochun, he suddenly shouted, “A god! Simply incredible! This is the most shocking spirit enhancement I've ever seen in my entire life! From six to sevenfold. And it happened in an instant! As of this moment, Grandmaster Bai, I am fully convinced. The Number One Spirit Enhancement Shop Under Heaven definitely lives up to its name! It really is The Number One Spirit Enhancement Shop Under Heaven!!
“Look, everybody! My battle-axe’s sevenfold spirit enhancement is already finished! This place is second-to-none! I'm definitely coming back here in the future!”
Everyone could hear him very clearly. Within moments, strange, amused expressions appeared on the faces of the people in the crowd. This burly man’s acting skills were terrible, and seemed like an obvious advertisement. He even happened to know the spirit enhancer was surnamed Bai, even though they had supposedly never met before….
Bai Hao stood off to the side, smiling wryly. This burly man was most certainly a shill. Bai Hao had come up with this idea, and after getting his Master’s approval, had gone to find an appropriate person to hire. However, the person who had come up with the script was Bai Xiaochun, although Bai Hao had edited it slightly to make it slightly less exaggerated.
Bai Hao had originally suggested that the burly man act a bit more reserved, and not make things so obvious. But now… things were extremely obvious.
Bai Xiaochun wasn't pleased, and was even frowning. However, the reason for his displeasure was that the burly man wasn’t taking things far enough. His original plan had been for the man to first sing the praises of the spirit enhancer, then the shop itself, and then the spirit enhanced item. The entire process was supposed to last for the time it takes an incense stick to burn.
Despite his displeasure, he couldn't say anything about it under the circumstances. He could only stand there and look up into the sky with a profound and reverent look on his face.
The burly man cleared his throat loudly and then paid the soul medicine he owed, then left looking very happy. The people in the crowd exchanged awkward glances, and yet, after a moment passed, someone gritted his teeth and walked into the shop.
The burly man had been a shill, and an obvious one at that. However, the sevenfold spirit enhancement had worked, which was enough for most soul cultivators.
The shop had six customers that day, and only one failure among those six. However, the fact that there had been five successes cause quite a stir.
A success rate like that was astonishing, and therefore, on the second day, there were twenty customers. And things only went on from there. For the following half a month, The Number One Spirit Enhancement Shop Under Heaven caused an enormous commotion in the area.
Word began to spread. Soon, almost everyone in Borough 89 had heard of it. More and more customers came to the shop, and although not every single spirit enhancement succeeded, the success rate of over sixty percent was a wonderful thing to the local soul cultivators. The following month, Bai Xiaochun became so busy that he and Bai Hao decided to make some new rules. For one thing, there was a limit of ten orders per day.
Another thing had to do with vengeful souls. Bai Xiaochun required a lot of vengeful souls to work on his flame conjuring, and although he had a good stockpile, it was still limited. If he wasn't careful, he would run out eventually.
Therefore, the shop opened up another line of business: selling soul medicine. And of course, the currency used to buy them was vengeful souls. To Wildlanders, soul medicine was an essential part of cultivation, and was one of the most common types of business to get into.
As for Bai Xiaochun, he could produce mid-grade and even high-grade soul medicine. That immediately made his shop extremely competitive in the marketplace. After all, among all of the soul medicine shops in Borough 89, only a few offered high-grade soul medicine. But Bai Xiaochun’s shop offered as much as people could purchase, as long as they had enough souls to pay for it.
As a result, Bai Xiaochun’s shop was soon becoming famous in all of the boroughs.