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AIP - Chapter 28: Alliance

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

"Impossible!" Shi Mo jumped up and stared at Yanzhi.

Yanzhi sneered, "The young master of the Ji Clan has already taken up residence in the Wei Estate and will soon be visiting the Meditation Garden. You'll know if it's real then. What, you think I would deceive you?"

Shi Mo's entire body trembled.

Though he didn't know that the lady had already decided to not give him any chances, he did know that he was inferior to Shi Meng in the lady's eyes.

Shi Mo and Shi Meng were both close attendants to the young master, but Shi Meng's post was one of servitude, not study, so his lot was much easier than that of the reading partner. Moreover, he had a cautious personality and didn't have any impulsive ideas, and he had the support of the outer house steward. Thus, his impression in the eyes of the lady was much better.

In the past, there had been two spots. One was for Shi Meng and the other was naturally for him. He knew that the lady didn't like him, but he wasn't too afraid. He had deluded himself into believing that the young master would help him.

But now, only one spot was left, and his hopes had plunged. How could he possibly accept this?

"How could this be? How could this be?" Shi Mo frantically paced around while shaking his head. "Only one spot is left… I can't beat Shi Meng! I can't!"

Yanzhi inwardly laughed at Shi Mo's appearance. Tang Jie had been right that he was truly a good-for-nothing, but she said, "What? You're giving up? It seems like I was optimistic about you for nothing!"

"Then what do you think I should do?"

"You! What an idiot! You need me to give you advice? Don't forget that Ji Ziqian hasn't officially been made a servant student yet. He's only temporarily living here. You still have a chance. You just have to drive out Ji Ziqian, right?"

"Me? How am I going to drive him out? He's the young master of the Ji Clan, the young master's older cousin!" Shi Mo shouted.

Yanzhi snorted. "If you can't drive him away, why not the young master?"

Shi Mo was startled. "The young master?"

Yanzhi savagely said, "Yes, the young master! Don't forget what he came here to do! To be a servant student! A servant student is a servant! He's come here to be a servant, to serve the young master. Here, he is no longer the Ji Clan's young master, but a servant of the Wei Clan. Do you get it?"

Shi Mo understood what Yanzhi was hinting at, and his eyes flashed. "Yes, he's trying to fight with me over the servant student post, right? Hmph, then I'll teach him what it means to be a servant! If he can't even attend to the young master, how can he be a servant student?"

Shi Mo bowed to Yanzhi. "Elder Sister Yanzhi, thank you for your guidance!"

Yanzhi lazily said, "That's all?"

Shi Mo understood, and hastily took out all the money he had on him and gave it to Yanzhi. "A small token of my appreciation."

Yanzhi took it. "I won't stand on ceremony, then, but remember: you can't do this alone. You have to get Shi Meng and the young master to help you."

"How could they help me?" Shi Mo helplessly said. "This matter has nothing to do with them…"

"Who says? You're still the young master's close attendant. That's a significant relationship!" Yanzhi rolled her eyes. "Listen to me…"

She went up to Shi Mo's ear and began to whisper. As she spoke, Shi Mo's eyes began to glow. He bowed to Yanzhi and said, "Elder Sister, thank you for your instruction!"

"Then I wish you luck. In the future, if you succeed in becoming an Immortal, remember to help your elder sister."

"Shi Mo would never dare to forget Elder Sister's immense kindness!"

Yanzhi coldly laughed. "Let's not talk about immense kindness for now. Let me tell you that going against the Ji Clan's young master is risky business. You had best think clearly about what you want to do. And don't blame me for not warning you. Once I go out the door, I won't remember anything we talked about here. If you try to drag me in…" 

"Elder Sister, please be at ease. That won't happen!" Shi Mo hurriedly said, his face turning savage. "What's the problem with going against the Ji Clan? I entered the Wei Estate so that I could enter the academy and become an Immortal. If someone tries to cut off my path, why shouldn't I fight them? At worst, I bring them down with me. No one else should think about entering the Immortal Gate!"

The righteousness and unyielding bravery of youth!

"So long as you've resolved yourself," Yanzhi said with a cold smile as she left.

To dare oppose the Ji Clan's young master, whether or not Shi Mo succeeded, he was doomed. But he didn't have any hope in the first place, so Yanzhi didn't mind giving him an extra kick.

Even if this matter were really exposed, it was fine, because Tang Jie had already helped her find a way out. No matter what conditions the Ji Clan agreed to give the Wei Clan, they could not possibly compare to what a servant would pay. If not for their familial relationship, the Wei Clan would have been more willing to use a servant.

Thus, her way of doing things was resolving a problem for the Wei Clan.

If the master found it inconvenient to do something, the servants should voluntarily shoulder some of the burden! This was a manifestation of loyalty!

With this back-up explanation, Yanzhi wasn't worried.

And besides, in this matter, she was only one of the participants… On the same night, Wei Tianchong learned about Ji Ziqian's arrival.

The news left him flabbergasted. "Why didn't I know about this?"

Shi Mo answered, "When the Ji Clan's people came, they went straight to see the lady, and they discussed everything with the lady. We only learned about it from the conversations between the servants. The matter has already reached the Meditation Garden, and everyone knows by now."

"So you're saying I'm the last to find out? And why didn't they come to see me?" Wei Tianchong was even more amazed. He didn't feel much about the arrival of a new servant student. After all, anyone could serve in the role. But for the Ji Clan people to ignore him and go see the lady left him a little uncomfortable.

During the day, he needed to attend class, so it was understandable that they hadn't come to see him then, but it was now night, and they still had not come to see him. What did they take him for?

You're going to be my servant student!

Nobody liked to be disrespected!

Shi Mo could tell what the young master was feeling, and mentally laughed. "The Ji Clan has come this time for the servant student spot, not to actually serve the young master. For them to have no respect for the young master is a problem."

Wei Tianchong immediately scowled.

On the side, Shi Meng couldn't help but frown at Shi Mo's words, but he remained silent.

From his perspective, fighting for two spots was better than one. Tang Jie had said that he didn't dare to be certain that he could get the only spot, and neither did Shi Meng.

Thus, if possible, he did not want to see the Ji Clan join in, but he wasn't as lacking in confidence as Shi Mo, so his anxiety wasn't as high. He would not as willingly join in.

But though he didn't want to join, someone insisted on pulling him in.

Seeing that Wei Tianchong was hesitating, Shi Mo said, "In truth, one servant student spot isn't too much. At worst, you just have to hand over this spot. But this will put Shi Meng in a hard spot. The two of us are your servants, and once in school, it would have been just one master and two servants, which would have been barely enough for the young master. But with Young Master Ji here, it's now one servant and two masters. When the time comes, Shi Meng might have to learn the cloning spell."

Wei Tianchong was very unhappy to hear this, snorting, "Bullshit! He's coming here to become my servant student! Why should he use my servant?"

Though he and Ji Ziqian were cousins, they had only met each other once two years ago, and his memories were rather fuzzy. When it came to affection, he preferred his family's servants.

Shi Meng had heard these words and realized the problem. He could not accept the life of one servant serving two masters.

This was particularly because the servants were fighting to get into the academy to cultivate, not to serve.

If two people served one, there would be at least some time to cultivate.

One person serving two would mean that he would be a real servant. He wouldn't have any time to cultivate, so what did it matter if he went to the academy?

Anyone would become shortsighted, irritable, and even impulsive when they were about to lose something. Shi Meng had not thought of this problem before, but now, Shi Mo had pointed it out.

Shi Meng hastily said, "Young Master, to have this lowly one serve two young masters, no matter how tiring, this lowly one will not complain. But Shi Meng fears that when the time comes, his service will not be satisfactory. If the matters of Young Master Ji were to hinder Young Master's matters…" 

Wei Tianchong shouted, "You're my servant! You don't need to listen to anyone else's orders! No matter what, I won't agree to this!"

"But, Young Master, in the end, it is the master and the lady who decide this. Direct refusal might not be very proper. We have to find a more tactful way," Shi Mo said.

Wei Tianchong was still angry. "What tactful method?"

Shi Mo said with a cold smile, "Since the Ji Clan's young master is coming to be a servant student, then treat him like a servant! If he can really do this lowly one's duties, then I will give up my spot. What do you think? Besides, it's only right and proper that the young master can order him around. Does he dare to refuse? Since he's here, he should put aside any thought of being a young master. This is the Wei Estate, not the Ji Clan!"

Wei Tianchong was dumbfounded for a moment, then he raised his head and laughed. "That's good. We'll do exactly as you propose!"

But after some thought, he hesitated and muttered, "But if Mom finds out, she might beat me again…"

Shi Mo and Shi Meng sighed together. They knew that this boy was outwardly fierce and inwardly weak. Using him to deal with Ji Ziqian would take more than just a few words.

At the same time.

The Wei Clan's second steward and third steward were drinking together.

"So this matter is settled?" Third Steward Zhu Qing asked.

"Mm. He's staying at Clear Yang Pavilion. They say that he will stay a few days first to see how he gets along with the young master, but this is just a tactic to buy time in my view," Second Steward Yan Chen said as he sipped his wine.

"Clear Yang Pavilion? Why have him live there? That's quite a distance from the Meditation Garden! What is Qin Yuan doing?" Zhu Qing didn't understand.

Yan Chen chuckled. "Distance is good. If he lives far away, it will be difficult for him to get around, and he will want to rest earlier. They didn't even manage to visit the young master today… Chief Steward Qin executed a beautiful move."

The third steward's eyes flashed. "So you're saying Qin Yuan did it on purpose…"

"Who can say if it was on purpose? Perhaps it was as he said and he just wanted to give the madame and Young Master Ji a quiet and secluded place," Yan Chen said, after which he drained his cup.

"Hmph, nice words, but who can't tell what he's up to?" Zhu Qing disdainfully said.

"We're all in the same boat. Young Master Ji's arrival threatens Tang Jie, but doesn't he also threaten Shi Mo and Shi Meng? You know, if these kids just fought each other, we could accept it if our candidates lost. But now this Young Master Ji has come out of nowhere. Who could possibly accept that?"

"True!" Zhu Qing gulped his wine. "That kid Tang Jie knows how to act, treating both of us with respect. Last time, when the master awarded him one hundred taels of silver, he gave most of it to the Wu couple, but he also didn't forget to give the two of us a little. Though Shi Mo has tried to make trouble for him several times, he's never tried to take revenge, and it was only because of him that Shi Mo kept his place as reading partner. You can call him shrewd or patient, but at least he has a very open mind. If he really succeeds, he presumably won't make things difficult for us, and we can accept it. But what does that Ji Ziqian count as? He appears humble, but my eyes are still good, and I could see that we didn't exist in his eyes! If he succeeds in becoming an Immortal, we won't even have the right to drink his footwashing water!"

Yan Chen didn't continue, instead lightly saying, "Sister Lu paid me a visit today."

Sister Lu was Wei Tianchong's wet nurse and also the person who had supported Shi Mo. She was somewhat younger than them, but her husband was a manager of one of the Wei Clan's businesses and one of the earliest followers of the venerable master. Even Wei Danbai treated the man with some measure of respect. Thus, she had such considerable status in the estate that even the stewards called her 'Sister Lu'.

"Oh? What did she say?"

"She was naturally extremely unhappy. It seems that Steward Qin paid her visit, as did Shi Mo…"

Yan Chen stopped there, but Zhu Qing already understood. "So nobody likes them, right?"

They knew that the master and the lady didn't like them.

The Ji Clan were trying to bid for the lowest price possible, not realizing that this wasn't the right place for it, making the lady very unhappy.

Of course, if Ji Lanxin were given time, she might realize and make amends. The problem was that some people wouldn't give them the time.

"A pity. The venerable master and venerable lady rather like this grand-nephew of theirs," Yan Chen said.

"Then make it so that they don't like him," Zhu Qing coldly replied.

The two of them exchanged glances and started to laugh.

Benefit was a chain, and every person was just a link in the chain.

The Ji Clan's people had broken the rules and tried to force themselves in, thus dealing a major shock to all the people of the Wei Estate, or at least to the chain of benefit that linked all the servants of the estate.

Of course, in normal circumstances, if they were all fighting their own battles, none of them would have had the courage to oppose the Ji Clan.

But if someone was guiding them, if someone was willing to lead the charge, the bandwagon effect would cause even the most timid of them to make their voice heard.

This was not merely a struggle for benefit, but a class struggle. There was no changing this!

By plucking at their heartstrings of desire, Tang Jie had successfully tied everyone together, creating an unseen alliance against the Ji Clan.

Ji Ziqian's prospects in the Wei Clan were foreordained to be dim…

Hypersheep325's Notes:

Poor, poor Ji Ziqian. This is what happens when you mess with the servant class!

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Written by Yuanfen 0 缘分0. Translated by Hypersheep325. Edited by Michyrr.