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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!


Is this even real? My eyes trembled as I opened the account ledger and a chaotic swarm of numbers spewed out. I deciphered what I could and ignored the rest.

“Anyway, to sum it up… We only have just enough money to scrape by right now…” Bok Manchun started, watching my expression carefully.

BAM!

I slammed my hand onto the table in disbelief. “How the hell is this possible? I inherited a fortune, not a mountain of debt! Where did all that money go?”

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Originally, Old Man Heo’s inheritance didn’t belong to me, but Cheong Cheon transferred the will and its rights to me, making it my personal fortune. Yet, here Bok Manchun was claiming that my precious wealth had vanished into thin air.

Could this middleman have embezzled the money… I squinted at Bok Manchun.

Bok Manchun, his senses sharpened by years of freelancing, twitched in protest, “I swear I didn’t do what you think I did! Weren’t you the one who told me to invest in various businesses, Young Master!”

“I did say that, but this still doesn’t add up.”

“Young Master, think about it,” Bok Manchun pleaded, exasperation creeping into his voice. “You gave up on the loan shark business, Old Man Heo’s primary source of income. Not only that, you ditched the brothels, and all the other shady businesses too. Where’s the money supposed to come from now?”

“……”

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“We’re only left with legit businesses like inns, restaurants, bars, and smithies. I’m planning to register us as a trading company and an escort agency to cut our taxes, but these were never our main moneymakers. We’ll have to expand them all. Can we agree on that?”

“Well, yeah.” I nodded, folding my arms. It made sense.

Bok Manchun brandished some papers, waving them before me. “Now look at this. You recently bought a store in a prime location called the Hidden Dragon Restaurant, splurged on a mansion in front of the Azure Dragon Academy, and poured a fortune into its renovation. Plus, that old geezer you recommended may be a master craftsman, but he only fancies the priciest equipment!”

Recalling Wiji Yeol’s insistence on top-notch equipment for top-notch craftsmen, I sighed inwardly, “…He did mention something along those lines.”

“See? Spare cash in this scenario? You might’ve started with a fortune, but at the same time, you also need to invest heaps to ensure our long-term financial security.”

“Still…”

“Fear not, though. I’m not the kind of man who would let the businesses go into debt without letting you know beforehand,” Bok Manchun shamelessly reassured me.

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I sighed and stared at him, asking, “But emptying the coffers, isn’t that a tad excessive?”

“I swear to my wife and kids, I have not made a single bad investment,” Bok Manchun declared solemnly. “Your inheritance is a hefty responsibility, but I’m confident I’ve made the right financial decisions. Once your businesses are firmly established, we can hire people to manage them for us, and the steady profits will guarantee that we’ll be able to live comfortably for the rest of our lives. Of course, I won’t work in that direction if you’re not willing, Young Master.”

“……” I locked eyes with Bok Manchun. The man possessed the temperament and foresight of a true merchant. He invested generously in the present, not for small short-term profits, but for grand long-term gains.

He’s an honest man, and after our trip to the Freelancer’s Bazaar, I know that I can trust him with my money. I do feel a bit guilty about hiding my identity and fooling him, but… I can’t confess when he’s burning with ambition like that.

After a brief silence, I collected my thoughts and asked, “How long till the business turns a profit?”

Bok Manchun beamed. “We’ll break even in a year, and then it’s smooth sailing all the way!”

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One year. A pain in the neck right now, but a small price to pay for substantial future gains. I nodded and said, “Alright, go for it. I entrust everything to you, Administrator Bok.”

“Thank you. You won’t regret it!”

“As for the trading company and the escort agency…”

“Yes?”

“Let’s name them while we’re at it.”

“What names do you have in mind?”

“How about the White Dragon Conglomerate and the White Dragon Escort Agency?” I said, grinning. Establishing the White Dragon Academy was out of the question now, but I’d grown fond of the name.

“The White Dragon Conglomerate… I like it. Sounds like it’ll become the biggest and richest in the Central Plains one day,” Bok Manchun chuckled.

sep

“Anyway, due to certain personal circumstances… I’m dead broke right now.”

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“…Huh?” Ak Yeonho’s ears perked up, eager to hear my story.

“Wait… Does that mean…” Myeong Il-Oh, who believed I was treating them to food and drinks, tensed up.

Too late, fellas.

“So…” I smirked, gripping their shoulders to prevent them from running away. “You boys got any cash on you?”

Ak Yeonho choked on his drink. “Cough! Cough! Are you a thug?”

“I wondered why you suddenly offered to treat us…was it a scheme to make us feel indebted so we’d lend you money?” Myeong Il-Oh’s jaw dropped in horror, causing the food in his mouth to fall out.

“Please~ I’ll pay you back as soon as I get paid next month.”

“No, where would I get that kind of money?”

“M-Money has been tight lately…”

The two Young Masters tried to wriggle out of my grasp and escape, but I clamped down and eyed their plump wallets. After all the time we’d spent together, I knew how loaded these two clowns really were. “What’s the deal, you two? One’s a scion of the Shandong Ak Clan, one of the Five Great Clans; and the other’s the heir to the Myeong Clan which owns an escort agency. You can’t fool me.”

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A while later, their pockets felt lighter than feathers.

“Sob, your heart’s as black as coal. You’re a monster…”

“I’m going to starve… Why do new instructors get paid so little…?”

I patted my now-bulging wallet and grinned at them. “Relax, dinner’s on me tonight. Wanna order more food and drinks?”

“How’s it on you when it was our money in the first place!”

“I should’ve listened to my old man about making bad friends…”

After griping about their predicament, the two despondent rich kids eventually ordered more food and drinks to lift their spirits.

Huh? Are their heads screwed on right? They spend money to cheer themselves up because they’re upset about being broke? Baffled, I asked cautiously, “…Guys, you do know that we have to work tomorrow, right?”

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However, either they pretended not to hear me or they were too far gone to care.

“Ahh, who cares, who cares~”

“Work? What work? Let’s enjoy life!”

“Hahahaha! Let’s party till we drop!”

“Hyung-nim, let’s invite Miss Jaegal too!”

These two greedy bastards never learn from their mistakes. They’ll be hungover all day tomorrow, cursing tonight’s binge while their senior instructor works them to the bone, but in the evening they’ll throw yet another party to drown their sorrows. It’s a never-ending vicious cycle.

I stared blankly at the hopeless drunks. “Sigh… Why am I hanging out with these morons…”

A while later, Jaegal Soyeong joined us. As usual, she sipped her wine quietly at first, then suddenly started chugging it by the bottle. With a red face, she launched into a tirade against her senior instructor, Namgoong Su.

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“THAT CRAZY WORKAHOLIC BASTARDDDDDD!”

…Guess they all have work troubles and need to vent.

Anyway, I managed to get Jaegal Soyeong to chip in financially.

“So, because of this and that…”

“You don’t… have money…? I don’t have much either… but here!” Jaegal Soyeong welled up with sympathy and handed over her entire war chest.

Being a person of conscience, I didn’t rob a drunkard of her entire fortune… Just half of it.

“Dear Miss, please take this back and safeguard it properly,” I said solemnly, returning Jaegal Soyeong’s wallet.

“…Money? Wow, are you giving me pocket money? Hehe! Thank you…” The flushed girl graciously accepted the bag with both hands, bowing her head.

My conscience pricked me as I cleared my throat, “…Ahem. You won’t remember this, but I’ll definitely repay you first.”

“Hehe! Thank you!”

“What about my money?”

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“Let’s not sweat the small stuff.”

“Hahahaha! Bottoms up!”

The sloshed trio got even worse, and for some reason, my wallet grew fatter as a result. Still, sadly, I couldn’t join in on the revelry.

This isn’t enough. It’s a significant sum, but nowhere near enough to buy elixirs or the stuff Wiji Yeol needs. Like Bok Manchun said, long-term investment is the way to go, but for now, I’m penniless, and payday’s a ways off.

All I’ve got is a big house, myself, and two freeloading students.

“Sigh…”

“Why the long face?”

“Money is so easy to spend but so hard to earn.”

Suddenly, Myeong Il-Oh, his face puffed up with alcohol, scratched his chin. “Hyung-nim, if you’re that strapped for cash, how about doing some private tutoring? I know it’s time-consuming, but…”

“Private tutoring?”

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Myeong Il-Oh blinked incredulously. “You know, one-on-one martial arts instruction for a fee. You’re an Azure Dragon Academy instructor, so there must be loads of folks eager to learn from you.”

“Huh? Oh yeah, the Azure Dragon Academy entrance exam is just a month away. Now’s the perfect time to offer exam prep classes,” Ak Yeonho, half-slumped on the table, chimed in.

“Bingo! That’s it!” Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

I pressed Myeong Il-Oh, “Have you tutored before? How do you go about it?”

Before Myeong Il-Oh could open his mouth though, Jaegal Soyeong answered, her speech slightly slurred from alcohol, “I usually do it a couple times a week, about an hour each. Sometimes I get paid per lesson, sometimes monthly. I wouldn’t recommend it, but…”

“Why not?”

Jaegal Soyeong pouted. “Private tutoring is mostly for rich kids, so they can be…”

“Spoiled?”

“Yeah. I did it a few times at the Heavenly Martial Academy…”

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I contemplated Jaegal Soyeong’s words. If it was just dealing with spoiled kids, then tutoring didn’t seem too hard. The real question is, can it pay the bills?

I asked bluntly, “What’s the tutoring rate?”

“It varies… In this field, every tutor’s different, so averages don’t mean much…”

“I’m not concerned with averages. I want to know the top dogs’ rates. What does Namgoong Su charge?”

Jaegal Soyeong’s eyes widened. Namgoong Su wasn’t just her senior instructor, he was also the sole Star Instructor at the Azure Dragon Academy. Naturally, his tutoring fees would be sky-high.

“Namgoong-oppa… should be able to get at least three hundred silvers a month per student?”

“…Three hundred silvers?” I gaped. A hundred silver coins could sustain an average family for a year. Three hundred silvers were three times that.

He rakes in that much cash just tutoring martial arts twice a week for a month?

I clicked my tongue, remembering Namgoong Su’s aloof demeanor. “Hmph, so he was a money-grubber after all.”

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In any case, it was promising. I grinned absentmindedly, lost in my fantasies. “With that kind of money, I can do whatever I please, heheh~”

“Uhm, Hyung-nim. You must’ve missed it, but Miss Jaegal said that new instructors don’t make much…”

“What do you mean? If it’s me, I should be earning more than Namgoong Su.” I looked at the three of them in confusion.

“What?”

“How does that make any sense…?”

“Who’d pay that much for a rookie instructor!”

They looked at me in disbelief.

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I smirked at them. “Don’t worry, my lessons are well worth every cent.”

The next day, my two students and I scoured the city, posting flyers everywhere.

baekad


Translator’s Note: This is the 200th chapter on northbladetl.com! Yay! (I know I’m slow)

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