Chapter 473: Is this a villain doing dirty to a villain? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
As soon as Gu Beiyue brought up the name, Han Yunxi recalled the man. Back on Fishery Island, her first impression of him was ‘absolutely shameless!’ He had clearly collaborated with Jun Yixie to grab some profits out of Tianning’s famine situation, but easily abandoned his partner to ride Long Feiye’s ship back to shore. Then he’d even donated a bunch of grain for the disaster regions in Tianning.
In any case, here was a man who had no morals at all when it came to making a profit. Still, aren’t all merchants like this, much less a big businessman like Ouyang Ningnuo? Despite a bad first impression of the man, it didn’t affect Han Yunxi’s willingness to cooperate with him. She knew he had quite the status in Medicine City.
The three big families of Medicine City as well as the more minor clans were all proficient in raising medicinal plants, but that didn’t mean they were experts in buying and selling them off. Most of their business went through traders that helped them spread their wares to the major markets and minor shops across Cloud Realm Continent. Cloud Realm Continent’s Trade Consortium had the strongest trading power and worked with all three big clans in Medicine City. Most of the medicines on the market went through them.
Han Yunxi hadn’t started business with any trade consortiums for the rare ingredients she had wanted yet. Most of these items were under control of the elders in Medicine City. Still, if Ouyang Ningnuo was willing to act as a middleman, she might be able to get some for herself.
“I need to find a way to speak with him, but without exposing the news,” Han Yunxi grew thoughtful.
“Fortunately, a detailed list of things to buy for the imperial pharmacy will be finalized in a few days. Ouyang Ningnuo will pay a personal visit here to oversee the sales, so this official is willing to secure relations between you both,” Gu Beiyue replied.
Han Yunxi was thrilled. Thus, the issue was resolved neatly. After going home, she told Long Feiye about her day’s events. He nodded but offered no views of his own. Next, Han Yunxi wrote a letter to Gu Qi Sha explaining the situation since the business was under his name. Pill Fiend had a right to know, too. Instantly, Gu Qi Sha replied to say that he had no objections, either. Still, both he and Long Feiye insisted on coming along to Han Yunxi’s first business meeting with Ouyang Ningnuo. Gu Beiyue had successfully arranged the date, so he came along as well.
When Ouyang Ningnuo saw the four of them show up, he was a little dumbfounded. He assumed that he’d only be meeting Gu Beiyue and Han Yunxi, but never expected that weird eccentric Gu Qi Sha, or the ever-busy Duke of Qin, would tag along as well. Still, he recovered quickly enough for a slight bow with his hands clasped before him. Although Jun Yixie had set a large bounty on Ouyang Ningnuo’s head for his assassins, it hadn’t affected him much at all. He was dressed similarly to his trip to Fishery Island—completely white robes that gave him an elegant and smart carriage.
“Your Highness Duke of Qin, esteemed wangfei, it’s been a while since our meeting at Fishery Island. This humble one has missed you both.”
“Your Excellency Pill Fiend, it must have been two years since we’ve last met as well.”
Before all these guests, Head Imperial Physician Gu Beiyue had turned into a person of little importance instead. Ouyang Ningnuo greeted him last, but with the same friendly, polite tone. “Imperial Physician Gu, I trust you have been well since we parted?”
Here was a man who could probably be modest and self-effacing even if the other person was his sworn enemy. Gu Beiyue hastened to bow with his hands clasped in front of him. “Many thanks to Ouyang Ningnuo for your concerns, this one has been the same as before.”
Neither Long Feiye nor Han Yunxi liked such touch and go greetings. Gu Qi Sha simply ignored Ouyang Ningnuo completely and had already settled comfortably in a chair to drink some tea. Ouyang Ningnuo glanced at him but didn’t fuss, and quickly had everyone else sit down as well. Gu Beiyue gave a general summary of the medicinal trade proposal before Han Yunxi said, “Chairman Ouyang, since you’re sitting here today, you must have some interest in the matter. As well as….the means to see it through, I expect?”
Ouyang Ningnuo had been nothing but amiable and polite, but now he creased his brows and put on a difficult expression. The people present were all intelligent types, and knew he wouldn’t be completely sincere. If the proposal really was impossible, Ouyang Ningnuo would’ve rejected this meeting from the start.
Before Han Yunxi could speak, Long Feiye asked rather impatiently, “What, you don’t think you can handle it?”
“Not that, exactly. It’s just that something like this…won’t be that easy to accomplish,” Ouyang Ningnuo sighed.
Long Feiye was cold. “That’s your problem. If you can do it, we have room to talk. If you can’t, then this is a waste of time.”
Han Yunxi’s mouth twitched. She didn’t know what to say to that. Your Highness Duke of Qin, ah, Your Highness Duke of Qin. We might be here to negotiate, but we have no counters against him. To put it simply, we’re here asking for help from this man.
Is it alright to be so aggressive?
Ouyang Ningnuo’s original plan was to beat around the bush, but he could only simplify things with Long Feiye here. “Your Highness Duke of Qin, I won’t hide this from you, but this one’s been keeping an eye on the precious ingredients market for the past few years. It’s a pity that I’ve never been able to get a grasp on it. I came today with intentions to see how Your Highness and esteemed wangfei are planning to pave your way. We can discuss amongst ourselves.”
“And if your lordship has no way?” Long Feiye asked. If Ouyang Ningnuo couldn’t get a handle of the market, how were they supposed to do it? His own friendship with Wang Gong wasn’t public, so they had no real foothold in Medicine City, either. Ouyang Ningnuo should very well know they had nothing, so he must have come here with other motives in mind.
Ouyang Ningnuo hesitated, then tried, “So, in other words…there’s really no hope for this venture.”
Han Yunxi was pondering over how much merit she should give Ouyang Ningnuo’s words when Gu Qi Sha suddenly slammed his teacup on the table. Everyone looked over, only to see the Pill Fiend still sitting lazily in his seat. “If it’s impossible, then let’s hurry up and leave. The tea here tastes disgusting!”
Ouyang Ningnuo was about to explain when Long Feiye rose to his feet, his hand brushing stray hairs from Han Yunxi’s head. “Let’s leave.”
Gu Beiyue’s eyes flashed with amusement, but he didn’t say a word. Ouyang Ningnuo’s ever-smiling face had finally stiffened. He already had his own ideas when Gu Beiyue first brought up this meeting and had met Han Yunxi with all his plans in place. He was planning to make her lose all hope before tossing out an olive branch so she could beg him for help. Because Han Yunxi had no counter to his position, her asking him for help was more seven parts collaboration and three parts pleading. If he could make it so that she was pleading for his assistance all the way, then she would have no choice but to agree to his terms instead of haggling.
But Man proposed while God disposed. How would he know that the woman would bring along Long Feiye and Gu Qi Sha as well? Nor did he expect her to say only one sentence during their entire meeting before the whole thing collapsed. Han Yunxi was no idiot, so she’d surely gotten hint of his motives long ago. She grabbed the hand brushing her hair and stood up to join Long Feiye.
That’s right, she’d grabbed his hand on her own initiative, and he had let her.
The movement was so natural that it made them seem like they did this all the time. Gu Qi Sha and Gu Beiyue both noticed the movement, one of them glaring while the other smiled faintly and looked away. When Gu Qi Sha got up as well, Gu Beiyue naturally followed suit. Finally, Ouyang Ningnuo could hold back no longer.
“Duke of Qin, this one does have one way, but I don’t know if you all would dare to accept it.”
“Tell it to us,” Long Feiye replied steadily.
Ouyang Ningnuo’s voice dropped as he answered. “Tianning’s black markets!”
Han Yunxi grew puzzled. “I want the low-end products from the precious ingredients spectrum. How could the black markets even sell those?” Most of the things for sale there were secretly stolen by people from Medicine City. The quantities were limited and most of them were high-end goods.
“There’s none in the black markets, but the people there know the best ways to contact potential suppliers,” Ouyang Ningnuo’s smile finally turned slightly sly.
Han Yunxi still didn’t understand, but Long Feiye laughed coldly. “Ouyang Ningnuo, you mean to say that we should simply forget you and find a way through the black markets instead?”
Long Feiye was obviously inducing strife, but Ouyang Ningnuo gave a good-tempered chuckle. “The ways of the black market aren’t very easy to find. Who would want to act as your middleman for no reason and ruin their own avenues of profit?”
“So then…” Before Long Feiye could finish his sentence, Gu Qi Sha lost his temper.
“So then, what’s a mother*****r like you trying to tell us after wasting so many words with us?”
Long Feiye stopped talking after Pill Fiend’s outburst. Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue grew solemn as well. Ouyang Ningnuo suddenly felt awkward as he gave a light cough. “Sit, sit. Everyone should sit down, this business merits a slow discussion.”
Yet nobody moved to sit.
Ouyang Ningnuo had experienced his share of negotiations, but this was the first time he’d completely lost control over the situation and failed to control the atmosphere. What to do when no one would take a seat? He could only state things plainly.
“The Sky Domain Black Market has two big bosses. They’ve long divided up all the properties in the market equally between themselves. One of them is called Zhangsun Zelin,1 a shrewd devil of a man who controls all of the medicinal ingredient sales in the black market. He often does collaborations with the three great families of Medicine City to hype up costs to cheat his buyers. If you can get him on your side and grab a handle on the three great clans, then you don’t have to worry about having no counter against them.”
Han Yunxi laughed as she replied. “So, your so-called ‘way’ is a villain doing dirty to a villain!”
The three great families of Medicine City were all large clans with flourishing populations and businesses. But anyone who could manage to sneak high-end goods from those clans into the black markets for sale had to be important members of the family, perhaps young masters with close relations to the clan heads. It was still a profitable business in the end, so most likely the clan heads simply gave tacit consent to the smuggling. But if news of that leaked out, it would severely damage the reputations of the three great families. Thus, if their group could hold the intel of such trades in their own hands, they would have ample means to pressure Medicine City into supplying them with the low-end medicine they needed to sustain Pill Fiend Pharmacy. In other words, Ouyang Ningnuo didn’t want to negotiate any deals with Medicine City, but simply pressure them outright!
“Esteemed wangfei, please don’t make it sound so horrible. Aren’t we doing this for the sake of suffering patients everywhere? As long as our motives are noble, what does it matter if our methods are a bit contemptible?” Ouyang Ningnuo replied with a smile.
“So, you’re volunteering to help us?” Long Feiye arched a brow as he questioned Ouyang Ningnuo.
“As long as Your Highness Duke of Qin can get Zhangsun Zelin under your command, this one won’t pass up the chance to participate in trades between Pill Fiend Pharmacy and Medicine City!” Ouyang Ningnuo declared.
“Who’s the other boss of Sky Domain Black Market?” Long Feiye asked.
“That, I don’t know. This one has only shown interest in Zhangsun Zelin’s business ventures,” Ouyang Ningnuo grinned. Now he had finally revealed his true goals.
If Long Feiye and Gu Qi Sha hadn’t forced his hand, Heaven knows what kind of terms he would’ve given me! Han Yunxi mused to herself. Much less how many losses I might’ve incurred in doing so!
- Zhangsun Zelin (长孙泽林) – Zhangsun is a two character surname that also means “eldest grandson,” Ze is “pool, luster, damp,” Lin is “forest.” ↩