Chapter 124: We haven’t even slept together!
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Phoebe drank another cup of translucent and clear red wine that sparkled with a wondrous light. She flicked a glance at Han Shuo as she said lowly.
“No… nothing much.” Han Shuo panicked and he stammered a bit.
“Then why are you drooling?” Phoebe pointed at the corner of Han Shuo’s mouth as she lightly laughed playfully.
He touched his chin and discovered that there really was some trace of water on his chin. Han Shuo said awkwardly, “Eh, that isn’t drool. It’s wine, it’s really wine.”
“Oh.” Phoebe smiled delightedly, “So it’s wine. How is it possible that you’d miss some even when drinking wine? How interesting.”
He kept feeling that the atmosphere was a bit odd. Han Shuo felt very comfortable at heart as he listened to Phoebe’s soft and gentle words. His mind kept making connections as his eyes once again involuntarily drifted to the crack in the artificial mountain.
“It’s only been a short time since we started eating, and you’ve already glanced to the left at the crack in the artificial mountain nine times. Just what is there that deserves your attention?” Phoebe’s beautiful eyes darted around and landed on Han Shuo’s body as she said lightly.
Panicking inwardly, Han Shuo blurted out, “How do you know that I kept glancing at that area, and that I’ve done so nine times?”
These words made Phoebe’s face even redder. She tsk’ed lightly and said lowly, “You’ve been looking around shiftily. Sitting in front of you, of course I saw everything. I know what bad thoughts you were harboring when you looked there.”
“Then what bad thoughts would you say I’ve been thinking?” After what he’d just gone through, Han Shuo suddenly felt that he was a bit too passive. A demonic practitioner was unafraid of all conventions and was most at ease when he did what was on his mind, no matter what others would think or say. When he suddenly understood this, Han Shuo no longer wildly casted around surreptitious glances, but rather stared directly at Phoebe and asked her with a smile.
Phoebe started as the red blush on her cheeks slowly spread down her slender, white neck. She stuttered and stammered, but didn’t say anything with her reddened face. Her affectedly bashful face was even more ill at ease than Han Shuo had been earlier.
Seeing Phoebe like this, Han Shuo gave a happy laugh, feeling that the depressing passivity from earlier was completely swept away. He said merrily, “Who would’ve thought that Miss Phoebe would care so much about me? You’ve even noted how many times I glanced over. I’m truly overwhelmed by your favor.”
“Oh shut up Bryan, I’ve discovered that you’re full of bad thoughts. Looks like I’ll receive the short end of the stick whenever I do business with you in the future.” Phoebe flew into a rage and glared fiercely at Han Shuo, complaining as she did so.
When Phoebe said this, Han Shuo suddenly remembered the matter having to do with the McGrady Guild. The humor on his face was immediately replaced with seriousness as he asked Phoebe, “Talking of business suddenly reminds me of something. You mentioned the McGrady Guild last time and said that they were your competition, right?”
Phoebe was a bit surprised that Han Shuo had suddenly mentioned this, and she looked at him, taken aback. Phoebe nodded and responded, “That’s right, the McGrady Guild belongs to the Brut Merchant alliance and have been doing a lot of business in our Lancelot Empire lately. The items they transport do not travel through the towns of the Empire and thus they don’t need to pay customs taxes to the Empire. When their goods arrive, they can keep their prices low and thus impact our Guild’s business a bit as well.”
Smiling faintly, Han Shuo said, “Not going through the proper channels can indeed result in large profits, there are particularly huge, even frightening profits to be made in the industries forbidden by the Empire. The McGrady Guild is quite daring to act and risk a lot.”
“Why are you suddenly mentioning the McGrady Guild?” Phoebe looked at Han Shuo with confusion as she asked him.
“I have a friend in the Dark Forest with a rather particular profession. He robbed the McGrady Guild entourage lately and came by many luxury items. He wants me to get rid of them. I wonder if I can do that through you?”
“Being a robber is a robber, what particular profession? There are all sorts of robbers within the Dark Forest, there’s nothing strange about that. Heh heh, the McGrady Guild wouldn’t dare pass through the Empire’s cities because they want to avoid the high customs taxes. However, this naturally increases their risk of danger, but their McGrady Guild has private guards, and therefore, very few robbers are blind enough to make a move against them. Your friend is quite something to be able to rob them.”
“Of course. So, do you dare accept goods from the McGrady Guild?”
“Our Guild will accept everything as long as it’s not siege weapons. I’ve heard that the Empire is investigating this area rather closely recently. Forget it if it’s siege weapons.”
Han Shuo remembered the matter that Emily had mentioned when Phoebe spoke, and he seemed to catch a vague hint of something. However, Han Shuo had long since promised Emily the batch of war resources. He’d only planned on selling to Phoebe the goods used by nobles, and so he had no particular concerns.
“Be at peace, I wouldn’t make life difficult for you. I’ve eaten well today and will come by in a few days to come find you again. Help me take care of my matters as soon as possible if you can.” Han Shuo comforted Phoebe and stood up, preparing to take his leave.
Seeing that Han Shuo was about to leave, Phoebe hesitated and then said with a bit of difficulty, “I actually have a favor to ask as well.”
Looking at Phoebe in baffled surprise, Han Shuo asked, “What is it?”
“I need to attend a banquet in five days time. If I appear alone, some annoying people may bother me. I’d like for you to come with me and act as my boyfriend like last time.” Phoebe looked a bit shyly at Han Shuo and said lightly.
A rueful smile on his face, Han Shuo shook his head, “Forget it, I don’t want to be your shield again. If I trigger someone else’s jealousy and they come at me from the darkness, I’ll be in some danger. Why don’t you find someone else?”
“No!” Phoebe shouted, and then explained with a wry expression, “I’ve previously introduced you to the founding elders in the Guild. If I suddenly change to someone else within a month, they’ll say I have loose morals! This absolutely won’t do.”
Han Shuo was still hesitant and appeared a bit ill at ease. Phoebe stared at Han Shuo, and then pouted. “If someone doesn’t agree, then I won’t be serious about my business either. It will be very normal if the thing that I promised him is delayed by ten days or half a month.”
This was what Han Shuo didn’t want to see. He had no choice but to nod after Phoebe’s words and say, “Then alright, as long as you don’t think I’m embarrassing you then.”
“There we go, how could you allow someone else to take me to the banquet? What if they take advantage of me, wouldn’t you be worried?” A faint smile reapppeared on Phoebe’s face when she saw Han Shuo agree.
“Then aren’t you afraid that I’ll take advantage of you?” Han Shuo rolled his eyes at Phoebe and said bad temperedly.
When he said these words, Phoebe’s beautiful face flushed again, and she turned her head away, too shy to look at Han Shuo. She said lowly, “No, you’ve already taken all the advantage you can.”
Han Shuo’s heart lurched as he looked at the redness of Phoebe’s neck and ears, and in a curious coincidence, blurted out, “Not all. We haven’t even slept together!”
Han Shuo immediately reacted and swiftly walked towards the outside before Phoebe had a chance to speak. He hastily said, “I’ll be going now that I’m full. I’ll come by five days later.”
“You rubbish talking villain!” Phoebe hadn’t thought that Han Shuo would say such things and immediately flew into a rage. She cursed at Han Shuo’s fleeing back and only broke out into a low laugh when his body sped up and vanished. “Damnit, how dare he say that to me. Huh, he’s getting bolder and bolder.”
It was just past noon after leaving the Boozt Merchant Guild. Since the last time he’d reported into the Dark Mantle, it was almost a month. Thus, after seeing the time, Han Shuo hired a carriage and set off for the Dark Mantle’s stronghold.
When he was a street away, Han Shuo disembarked and released the three original demons to survey the surroundings, walking to the manor on foot.
“Boss, you’re finally here! I’ve been counting the days and knew that you would come and report soon. Therefore, I purposefully swapped shifts with others and have been waiting here to bring you into the organization’s interior.” The bandit Chester squirmed out from inside when Han Shuo arrived and said lowly with excitement.
“Eh, why are you calling me boss?” Han Shuo looked oddly at Chester and asked him with confusion.
“I’ll follow you in the future, and I hope that you’ll give me tips and pointers. Of course I need to express my respect towards you.” Chester said matter-of-factly towards Han Shuo.
“This title doesn’t sound very nice, let’s just go by our given names. Heh heh, but don’t you worry. If there are any good missions, I’ll ask to bring you along as well.” Han Shuo said.
After receiving Han Shuo’s promise, Chester appeared overjoyed and brought Han Shuo inside with passion and excitement. He chattered away non stop, asking where Han Shuo had been during this time, and if he’d gone out on any missions.
Han Shuo carelessly responded to Chester’s questions and walked slowly into the internals of the Dark Mantle organization. There was no surprise for him this time, and he walked with an air of familiarity directly towards Candide’s room.
“Ooh, you really are here. I thought Emily was lying to me.” Candide sat in a shadowy corner and was examining something in a magical flask. He didn’t raise his head when Han Shuo came in.
Han Shuo hadn’t anticipated that Emily would mention him, and was a bit surprised. He didn’t know what Emily had said to Candide, and thus stood there silently.
After a while, Candide put away the flask in his hands, finally speaking with his never-changing sinister face, “Emily said she happened to bump into you in the Dark Forest and rather admired your style and competency. I was quite surprised. I hadn’t thought that Emily, with her high standards, would speak so highly of you. It looks like there truly are some unique things about you.”
No shit, Emily’s my woman, of course she’d say good things about me. Han Shuo thought with pride, but maintained his usual expression on his face. He opened his mouth to say, “It’s been one month since my last mission. I’ve come to report in as per the rules and see if there are any other missions.”
The Dark Mantle usually didn’t interfere in personal matters, thus Han Shuo didn’t go into detail about how he and Emily had met. Since Emily had already spoken of it, she surely would’ve concealed all that had to be concealed. As long as Han Shuo didn’t give anything away, nothing would happen at all.
Nodding, Candide said, “Emily gave you a round of compliments and said that she wanted you to complete the mission in her hands with her. You’ll share the rewards and honor together then. What do you think? You’re one of mine. Emily won’t be able to make use of you without your agreement, but if you agree, then it’s another matter entirely.”
With Han Shuo and Emily’s relationship now, there was naturally no reason not to agree. Not to mention Emily needed to get the resources out of the forest trolls through Han Shuo for her mission. He had already become unwittingly embroiled in all this. If this became a mission that he could benefit from, then it’d be even better.
“No problem, I’m willing to complete the mission with her.” Han Shuo didn’t hesitate and nodded in agreement. He paused and said, “The bandit who brought me in, Chester, is quite smart. Can he join as well?”
“The mission is Emily’s, it’s up to her if she needs another person. You can ask her directly.” Candide said faintly, paused and then said, “Emily is Amyes’ sister by blood. Her status within the Dark Mantle isn’t low. It will be good for you to interact more with her. However, Emily’s identity within reality is a bit mysterious. Keep an eye out, don’t give others any gossip to talk about.”
Amyes was one of the three heavyweights of the Dark Mantle and was in charge of surveillance and investigation of all nobles and officials. He was a character within the Dark Mantle who was hugely active in the political scene, and one who held great power in his hands. To think that Emily was his sister by blood.
In addition, Candide seemed to be alluding to something else about Emily’s other identity. This made Han Shuo a bit surprised, unsure of the meaning within his words.
“Looks like you didn’t know all this, let this be a reminder to be careful. Mm. This will be all. She’s already pulled your information to peruse and will be able to find you easily. Come find me after you complete the mission with her.” Candide said as he looked at Han Shuo.