Chapter 478: The Duke of Qin’s generous piece of work Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Coal-liked powder streamed out from the cracks in the jug to pour out on the floor. They had found their gunpowder—hidden in the wine jugs in the basement of the restaurant!
Han Yunxi was delighted and immediately dug out some poisons to reward Lil Thing. “You did a beautiful job! You’re better than either of them!”
Lil Thing seemed to almost understand her words as it took the poisons and jumped around in joy. Long Feiye only pretended not to hear as he said coldly, “Zhangsun Zelin’s smart enough to hide the stench of gunpowder beneath the smell of wine! By hiding them in porcelain jars, he’s fireproofed them as well!”
“Your Highness, this is at the same time the safest and most dangerous place to store them. There’s nothing but alcohol overhead. If anything caught on fire, the consequences would be unimaginable!” Han Yunxi said with feeling. If the gunpowder ignited, it would shatter the wine jugs aboveground. The alcohol content would exponentially worsen the effects of the ensuing explosion and fires. Long Feiye nodded with interest at the idea before walking over to pick up a wine jug. He seemed to be testing its weight.
“Your Highness, what should we do now?” Han Yunxi asked seriously. They had found their evidence, but now came the hard part! How were they supposed to link everything back to Zhangsun Zelin? Were they supposed to threaten him directly with knowledge of the gunpowder, thus forcing him to hand over the evidence of his secret dealings with Medicine City? Under normal circumstances, a threat like that might work, but this was the black market. Zhangsun Zelin is in charge of half the businesses here. How could he be so easily threatened?
If they failed, they’d only startle the snake in the grass. Heaven only knows how much help Zhangsun Zelin had in the black markets. If they really pressured the man, they might never take another step out of the black markets themselves. As a result, the matter merited further discussion and a step-by-step plan.
“Your Highness, should we hand over the matter directly to Tianhui? Then extend an olive branch to Zhangsun Zelin?” Han Yunxi suggested. The imperial court had allowed the black markets to exist without persecuting them, not because they feared the powers here, but because they didn’t want to end up implicating their own people in the investigations. Thus, it had always turned a blind eye to everything that happened here. As long as the black market wasn’t doing anything too outrageous, Emperor Tianhui wouldn’t find trouble for them.
However, hiding gunpowder was an altogether different beast. This was a direct threat to the capital city and its imperial powers. Once Emperor Tianhui found out, he’d probably destroy the entire Sky Domain Black Market. Thus, as long as Long Feiye reported this news to Emperor Tianhui, the sovereign would exterminate Zhangsun Zelin without mercy. When their target was backed into a corner, Long Feiye could offer to guarantee his survival as long as the man gave him details of his deals with Medicine City instead.
Han Yunxi thought this over before adding, “Your Highness, we could have Zhangsun Zelin expose the Chu Clan first, then save him! This way, we’ll shoot two targets with one arrow!”
Rather than threatening Zhangsun Zelin with gunpowder, it was much better to threaten his life instead! Han Yunxi really was getting more and more crafty. But Long Feiye only replied, “That’s all unnecessary.”
Han Yunxi gave a start. “Your Highness has a better idea?”
Aside from raising a row until the imperial palace intervened, Han Yunxi really couldn’t think of any better methods. Long Feiye didn’t reply, he only continued to walk deeper into the basement. He checked multiple wine jugs to make sure all of them contained gunpowder inside. After making a circuit around the entire space, Long Feiye had a good sense of what to do next. He took Han Yunxi by the hand and said, “Let’s go.”
Han Yunxi knew that Long Feiye had a plan, but she couldn’t guess what he’d do. By the time they returned to Wu Shu’s grain shop, Long Feiye simply gave the man a few muttered instructions before Wu Shu’s expression shifted as he ran out the door.
“Your Highness, this…?” Han Yunxi couldn’t help asking.
Long Feiye smiled without saying a word, before taking her to the highest roof in the black market. Puzzled Han Yunxi was about to speak while he suddenly hugged her from behind. She loved it when he drew her into his world like this to protect her back.
“Your Highness, what’s gotten into you?” Han Yunxi’s tone softened.
Long Feiye still didn’t speak, but cradled her in his arms as he rested his chin against her shoulder. Seeing this, Han Yunxi stopped asking question and indulged in his warmth instead. At this moment, they was no distance between them at all. The 100 steps separating them seemed to have disappeared entirely, making it seem like they’d never separate.
At a nearby point around the same height, Gu Qi Sha was lying on a tree limb with his arms behind his head. He was having a wonderful dream from when he was very, very young, during the days before he was punished or abandoned. Back then, he was nothing more than an ordinary boy being carried in his arms by the head of the medical academy, his biological father. As the man held his son in his arms, he gently coaxed him to sleep.
“Qi’er, be good…Qi’er, be good…”
But after a while, an explosion suddenly shattered the silence. Very soon, Han Yunxi saw various people fleeing in panic from the direction of the restaurant. Gradually, more and more people filled the streets until they were surrounding the area around the restaurant. Amidst the panicked cries, Han Yunxi hear someone shouting, “Zhangsun Zelin was secretly storing gunpowder! It’s all going to blow!”
“The eastern district’s going to blow up as well! Hurry and escape!”
“Get out of there, quick! Or else you’ll lose your lives!”
Han Yunxi seemed to realize something and tried to turn around, but a warm voice drifted past her ear.
“It should be a beautiful sight. Be good and watch.”
As Long Feiye finished speaking, a boom sounded in the air. The next thing Han Yunxi knew, a series of sparks rose up in the darkness like a red lotus blooming in the night!
The gunpowder had burst through the wine cellar!
Very soon, the explosions grew nonstop, sending endless fireworks into the air. Everyone was too busy fleeing from the terrific explosions to pay them any mind, but Han Yunxi enjoyed the show with her hands over her ears as a certain man held her close! Long Feiye was right. Leaving aside the terror of the explosions themselves, those fireworks really were quite beautiful from this high up.
Han Yunxi was dazzled by the sight!
Meanwhile, the explosions had jolted Gu Qi Sha from his nap. He nearly fell off his tree before he grabbed a lucky branch. By now, the memory of his dream had long left his head, along with the man who had lovingly called him ‘Qi’er.’ He mumbled, “Damn, did Long Feiye do that? He sure plays big.”
That’s right, Long Feiye had orchestrated this series of explosions. By estimating the quantity of gunpowder in the basement, then the amount of wine stored overhead, he calculated their explosive properties and told Wu Shu to spread the news that the gunpowder was going to blow, then evacuate all people from the site. There weren’t many people in the black markets to begin with, so it was easy to spread the news. After everyone had escaped, Wu Shu set off the gunpowder. Everything happened so suddenly that Zhangsun Zelin was probably still trying to figure out what had happened!
As the explosions grew more and more frequent, the fireworks grew more and more intense. Soon enough, all that was left was a raging inferno! The area around the restaurant had all been ruined by the explosions into a sea of fire. Before long, the flames had spread across the entire street. Now it wasn’t just the eastern district, but the western district that was in danger as well. Leaving aside the flames, the thick smoke was enough to kill countless victims by suffocation!
Soon enough, the Sky Domain Association made an appearance and opened up sealed pathways to allow more people to flee the grounds, then ordered its guards in to maintain order. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi witnessed everything from their vantage point on the roof. An astonished Han Yunxi couldn’t help but laugh. “Your Highness, you…you actually…”
“Was it pretty?” Long Feiye asked.
Han Yunxi still nodded in the end. “Indeed, it was.”
Could this count as the first fireworks show they’d seen together? Such a grand and hair-raising sight! Every time he surprises me, it’s always such a generous piece of work. And so unforgettable!
Of course, Han Yunxi grew sober after her shock died down. “Your Highness, you ruined the evidence! What are we supposed to use to negotiate with Zhangsun Zelin?”
“That man has a large sum of silver in your lordship’s private banks. What else do you think we should use against him?” Long Feiye asked back.
Han Yunxi was alarmed. “Your Highness, you…you’ve long been acquainted with Zhangsun Zelin?” That’s when she recalled how Long Feiye hadn’t had much reaction once Ouyang Ningnuo brought up Zhangsun Zelin’s name. All he did was ask who was in charge of one half of the black market.
“Your lordship has known him for a long time, but I didn’t realize he headed half the black market until recently,” Long Feiye replied.
Han Yunxi’s idea had been wonderful, but it wasn’t as perfect as blowing up the black market. Firstly, such a large explosion would definitely send tremors to the surrounding land and even minor earthquakes. The imperial palace would quickly get wind of such news, and Emperor Tianhui would definitely be antsy enough to send over investigators immediately. Once he found the signs of gunpowder, things would turn serious. Emperor Tianhui was so paranoid that he’d be more suspicious if Long Feiye went to give him a report instead. He might even suspect Long Feiye of trying to target the Chu Clan on purpose. However, if Emperor Tianhui was attracted by news of the black market explosion instead, he’d have different thoughts. Emperor Tianhui wasn’t an idiot. The quantity of the gunpowder in the black market would eventually lead him to suspect the Chu Clan.
Moreover, the explosion here had ruined Zhangsun Zelin’s most profitable business in the black markets. As long as Long Feiye silently exposed the news that he was one of the black market’s heads, the imperial court would focus its attention on him. Even if they didn’t have any proof, they would put him on a list of suspicious persons. Then his assets in Tianning would be frozen—including the ones in Long Feiye’s own hands. For a successful merchant, there was no fate worse than this. What else did they value more than their money? Long Feiye didn’t threaten Zhangsun Zelin with knowledge of the gunpowder or his own life, but his money.
Finally, the black market explosion would ruin the gunpowder stock, leaving both the Chu Clan and Emperor Tianhui empty-handed. It also weakened the power of the black market itself, creating less opponents for Long Feiye’s hold over the capital city. After listening to Long Feiye explain all this, Han Yunxi didn’t know what to say anymore. She couldn’t help but admire and adore him!
The flames were spreading towards them now, but there were still explosions going off in the background. It looked like it’d be impossible to salvage anything from the wreckage. Long Feiye took Han Yunxi and left. When Gu Qi Sha saw their retreating forms, he couldn’t help but sigh and lament.
“Ouyang Ningnuo…in the end, what’s the use of your written contract?”