Chapter 2349 - New Candlelight Trading Firm

When the NPC administrator saw the 4-star Shop Promotion Order, she gave Shi Feng an odd look.

"Sir, do you really wish to promote your Shop to 4-star status?" she asked for confirmation.

"Is there a problem?" Shi Feng asked strangely.

As far as Shi Feng could remember, the City Hall managed Shop promotions within its city. Although he had never upgraded a Shop to 4-star status before, the process should not be any different than the previous upgrades.

"Sir, a 4-star Shop isn't like normal Shops. If you promote your Shop to 4-star status, as per our prior agreement, the kingdom's laws will no longer be able to protect your Shop. Rather, you will take full control and responsibility for the land and any danger you encounter," the NPC administrator slowly explained.

"I will have complete ownership of the land?" Realization dawned on Shi Feng.

He had never thought that 4-star Shops would have such a secret. It was no wonder why 4-star Shops he had visited in the past had seemed somewhat odd.

When Shi Feng had visited 4-star Shops in his past, he had noticed that many peak experts had been stationed in the Shops long-term. They had become a normal sight. He had assumed the ruling powers had simply meant to deter other experts that ignored NPC soldiers. However, it seemed there had been a much greater reason.

With the country's protection, players could do whatever they wanted in these Shops, and NPC soldiers wouldn't even bat an eye. If they stole from the shop, they wouldn't have to worry about the NPC soldiers capturing and jailing them for a month, and the various large Guilds' Shops usually sold incredibly precious treasures. If players could steal these items without repercussions, they'd certainly try.

If a power weren't strong enough to protect their products and 4-star Shop, the Shop they had gone to such great lengths to nurture would be crippled.

"Sir, do you still wish to promote your Shop?" the NPC administrator asked again.

Yes," Shi Feng decided.

There was a lot of risk to upgrading a Shop to 4-star status, but the risks were insignificant compared to the benefits. Now, all he had to do was to figure out how to improve the Shop's security.

The cost of rebuilding and expanding your territory will be calculated independently. Here are the reconstruction and expansion options. You may choose whichever you wish. If you are not satisfied with the results, you may reconstruct and expand again," the NPC administrator said, smiling as she handed Shi Feng a list.

How vicious! Shi Feng was flabbergasted when he saw the stated prices.

Reconstruction meant adding new floors to the Shop. In this regard, he had three choices: 12 floors, 15 floors, and 21 floors. They would cost 20,000 Gold, 40,000 Gold, and 100,000 Gold, respectively.

The expansion cost was even more ruthless. Gaining 40% more land would cost 50,000 Gold, while each additional 10% would cost 30,000 Gold to a maximum of a 100% expansion.

This was even more expensive than constructing a city!

First-rate Guilds would be considered quite wealthy if they had 50,000 Gold in liquid funds, yet that was only a fraction of the cost for reconstructing and expanding the Shop...

Although Zero Wing had recently earned a lot of money, with around 170,000 Gold in liquid funds, it couldn't afford to splurge on a 4-star Shop. The Guild still needed to pay the recruitment costs for 5,000 NPC Knights, after all.

Shi Feng's hesitation didn't last long, however. After a moment, he chose the 21-story option and expanded the Shop's land by 40%.

Unlike 3-star Shops, which had a fixed number of Special Workshops and Meditation Rooms, a 4-star Shop with more floors could contain more Special Workshops and Meditations Rooms.

For example, the 15-story version would only have 30 Special Workshops, while the 21-story building would have 50 Special Workshops.

As for the Basic Meditation Room, a 21-story Shop would have as many as 12 in total, which would be more than enough to satisfy Candlelight's Lifestyle players. In fact, it would be enough to allow Shi Feng to reserve one for himself.

Unfortunately, the number of total floors wouldn't affect the number of Research Workshops the Shop possessed. Even in the 21-story Shop, the Shop would only have a single Research Workshop.

As for the additional land, that would only allow the Shop to accommodate more players. Hence, Shi Feng prioritized the number of floors for his Shop over the Shop's size.

"Alright. Your bill comes to 155,000 Gold," the NPC administrator said, flashing Shi Feng a bright smile. "Once you've completed the payment, our men will head over and start the reconstruction. The process should take half an hour. During this time, nobody will be allowed into the Shop."

That won't be a problem," Shi Feng replied. His heart ached a little as he handed over the payment.

He had just spent a ridiculous amount of money, but with a 4-star Shop's abilities, he could likely earn it all back within the first week. Even during his previous life, Research Workshops had been one of the best tools to nurture Lifestyle Players. Since he still had some time before mainstream players reached Level 100, the Research Workshop would be priceless.

Meanwhile, after Shi Feng completed the payment, the NPC administrator handed him the Deed to the Candlelight Trading Firm. Once the Shop's reconstruction was complete, White River City's Candlelight Trading Firm would become Shi Feng's personal possession. He would then be responsible for the Shop's security.

With this task complete, Shi Feng left the City Hall and returned to the Candlelight Trading Firm. He intended to spend some time planning the Shop's security measures.

However, halfway through his journey, Melancholic Smile called.

"Guild Leader, two people are here to meet you. They've identified themselves as Dark Pursuit's representatives and say that they'd like to negotiate a partnership," Melancholic Smile excitedly reported.

Any player that had spent time in the virtual gaming world knew about the Guild known as Dark Pursuit. The Super Guild was famous for its focus on support classes. Although Dark Pursuit did not operate on the main continent, no power dared to underestimate it.

If Candlelight could secure an alliance with the Super Guild, it could gain some serious advantages.

"Partnership?" The news confused Shi Feng. He had never expected Dark Pursuit to seek cooperation with Zero Wing.

"I understand. Have them head to the Candlelight Trading Firm. I'll be there in a moment."

Following which, Shi Feng picked up his pace and hurried toward the Candlelight Trading Firm.

Meanwhile, chaos filled the street outside of the Candlelight Trading Firm. As soon as Shi Feng had paid for the promotion, every player that had been in the Shop had been teleported to the street outside. The abrupt interruption had left the shoppers and Candlelight members stunned.

"What's going on? Why was I forced out of the Shop?"

"Crap! I wasn't done shopping! What is Candlelight trying to do?! Does it want our business or not?!"

The customers that had been teleported out of the Shop flew into a rage.

"He requested us to meet him here, yet closed the Shop? Is Zero Wing's Guild Leader toying with us?" Cold Memory, who had just arrived, snarled.

Her investigation into Zero Wing's Candlelight Trading Firm had been quite thorough. The Lifestyle players that worked for the trading firm had excellent standards. Candlelight even had three Basic Meditation Rooms, which were incredibly helpful to Lifestyle players. However, it was still significantly weaker than Dark Pursuit.

Dark Pursuit had Basic Meditation Rooms, but it also had Intermediate Meditation Rooms. Naturally, the Intermediate

Meditation Rooms were more effective than the Basic version and could greatly improve a Lifestyle player's production success rates. Since the Guild's Elders supported Yan Xiaoqian, Silent Wonder's opponent in the upcoming competition, they allowed her to use the Intermediate Meditation Room for up to three hours per day. Because of this, her development speed was astonishing.

"I am familiar with Guild Leader Black Flame's general disposition. He wouldn't play such an underhanded trick. I suspect he's ordered impromptu renovations for the Shop. Let's just wait for a bit," Silent Wonder said.

"Renovations? Is it necessary to cause such a scene just for a simple renovation?" Cold Memory muttered disdainfully.

The various powers did renovate their Shops from time to time to attract more customers, but no matter how many renovations they did, they'd, at most, change the interior design.

Not long after Cold Memory's comment, the magic barrier enveloping the Candlelight Trading Firm dissipated.

As it did, it revealed a 100-meter tall building. The nearby player-owned Shops, which were only four or five stories tall, and the NPC Shops, which were about a dozen stories tall, looked like children next to the upgraded Candlelight Trading Firm...



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