Chapter 520: Mu Linger’s marriage affairs Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Astonished, Head Elder Xie quickly opened the door. “President Ouyang, it is the middle of the night…is this an emergency?”
Although Medicine City controlled much of the market in Cloud Realm Continent, the true business of buying and selling medicine was controlled by the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. Head Elder Xie was naturally quite familiar with its president, Ouyang Ningnuo.
“It’s nothing particularly important. I just happened to pass by and knew you were staying here tonight, so I came by for some tea.” Ouyang Ningnuo pretended to be casual as he settled down to brew some leaves.
Head Elder Xie was silent. Ouyang Ningnuo was a man of a myriad affairs. Time was money to him, so how could this visit merely be a coincidence? There had to be something afoot—something extremely important.
Ouyang Ningnuo glanced expressionlessly at the extra teacup in the corner before drinking a few cupfuls himself. Finally, Head Elder Xie lost his nerve and asked, “Has President Ouyang come tonight because of Pill Fiend Pharmacy?”
Ouyang Ningnuo didn’t speak, but only smiled and shook his head.
“President Ouyang, this old man doesn’t treat you as an outsider, but why are you being so formal with me? Just what is going on?” Head Elder Xie grew displeased.
Ouyang Ningnuo only smiled helplessly and still refused to speak.
“Could it be that you have some sort of business with Pill Fiend Pharmacy?” Head Elder Xie asked seriously. From what he had understood, Ouyang Ningnuo had long wanted to do business with Pill Fiend but was continuously rejected by the man. With Ouyang Ningnuo’s methods, it was possible the man was on good terms with Pill Fiend Pharmacy by now and had come to say good words on their behalf.
Ouyang Ningnuo promptly nodded his head and said, “Exactly so!”
Head Elder Xie smiled coldly and came straight to the point. “Ouyang, we can talk about anything except…that!”
Although the Xie Clan had been ingratiating itself with the Mu Clan over the past few years, it wasn’t what they wanted. The Mu Clan was simply too much of a bully. The Wang Clan was on the decline, but it had ample resources and foundation to hold its own against the Mu, who then had no choice but to target the Xie instead. The Xie Clan had nominally joined forces with the Mu Clan to face off against the Wangs, but they’d been an endless victim throughout the years. The Mu Clan stole their land and plundered their warehouses, while many members had already set their sights on his position as Head Elder of the Council of Elders. Countless people had tried to find trouble for him as well.
That was why Head Elder Xie wasn’t willing to be soft when Mu Linger had finally fell into his hands. Even if he had to offend the Duke of Qin today, he was going to bring Mu Linger away. The soul of a medicine family was its pharmacist, and the Mu Clan had been relying on Mu Linger for their sudden rise to prominence over the past few years. He’d like to see how long they’d last with her gone!
Ouyang Ningnuo only smiled even more helplessly before slowly approaching Head Elder Xie and whispering in his ear. Head Elder Xie’s expression gradually grew amazed at his words.
“You…you said you like Mu Linger?!” Head Elder Xie couldn’t believe it. “Ouyang…you… Isn’t that joke too much even for the likes of you?”
Yet Ouyang Ningnuo was very earnest. “Head Elder Xie, this one isn’t joking at all.” He paused for awhile before another helpless curve rose to his lips. He didn’t look a bit like the businessman who’d caused storms across all of Cloud Realm Continent, but simply a shy and bashful young man. “I won’t hide this from you, but I’ve been in love with Miss Linger for a long time. I came in the middle of the night just so Head Elder Xie could make sure not to cause her too much difficulty—for my sake.”
Head Elder Xie was truly shocked, so much so, that he couldn’t speak.
Ouyang Ningnuo continued, “Head Elder Xie, Linger is still a young girl, after all. She doesn’t know the ins and outs of her clan’s grievances, she’s innocent in all this.” So speaking, he brought out a contract. “Head Elder Xie, this is an agreement that the Xie Clan head had me sign recently. It guarantees the profits and dividends receives by the Xie Clan in its future dealings with Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. The original agreement has a 50-50 split, but if Head Elder Xie can help me, I am willing to reduce my half by 20 percent to make it a 70-30 split.”
“You…” Head Elder Xie was even more astonished. After all, twenty percent was no small sum, especially for a three-year contract! As expected, Ouyang Ningnuo’s liberal with money! But Head Elder Xie was very clear that Ouyang Ningnuo must have high demands for proposing such good terms. He remained silent while the man came surprisingly straight to the point.
“Head Elder Xie, don’t worry. My only request is that the head elder not use torture.” He pushed the contract over to Head Elder Xie’s side and added sincerely, “This one’s feelings for Miss Linger…are genuine.”
Head Elder Xie almost felt like he was marrying his own granddaughter off. He was finally moved, and said, “That’s all?”
Ouyang Ningnuo teased, “Then, is Head Elder Xie willing to marry Miss Linger to me?” It sounded like a joke, but it let Head Elder Xie understand the extent of Ouyang Ningnuo’s feelings! He couldn’t help but imagine all the advantages if he married Mu Linger to Ouyang Ningnuo for real. Head Elder Xie naturally was shrewd enough to calculate the benefits.
After all, even if he couldn’t decide Mu Linger’s marriage affairs, she was still in the Council of Elder’s hands. The council as a whole could definitely chose her fate in lieu of the Mu Clan. Head Elder Xie cut straight to the chase. “Hehe, Ouyang, just what are you playing at? Why are you beating around the bush with this old man?”
Ouyang Ningnuo knew that Head Elder Xie had been moved as soon as he had asked that question! He too, didn’t dawdle and said, “As long as Head Elder Xie has ways to ensure the Mu Clan marries Mu Linger to me, I promise to unconditionally promote the Xie Clan’s medicinal ingredients for the next five years. At the very least, it’ll allow the Xie Clan to take over 50 percent of the market.”
Head Elder Xie was now both moved and pleasantly surprised by the offer. Medicine City’s three great clans gave most of their wares to Cloud Realm Trade Consortium for selling. However, all three clans had the same type of ingredients for sale and it was up to the Consortium to choose how much they bought and from whom. Naturally, those differences depended on the benefits for each party.
If one did a comparison with the most expensive ingredient—Chinese scorpions—the Wang, Xie, and Mu Clans were all capable of providing the same quantity at the same time to Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. However, because the Mu Clan sold theirs at a lower price, they could provide Cloud Realm Trade Consortium with better profits, thus making them the best seller. In under three years, everyone across Cloud Realm Continent knew about the Mu Clan’s scorpions, but nothing about the Xie or Wang Clan’s own creatures. If Ouyang Ningnuo could unconditionally promote the Xie Clan for the next five years, then they would have a chance to surpass the Mu Clan even without a genius pharmacist like Mu Linger in their hands. Then they’d become Medicine City’s number one clan.
“This matter deserves further thought. If you have time, make an appointment to come to Medicine City…for a good talk,” Head Elder Xie finally relented.
“Very well, I will most certainly come to visit!” Ouyang Ningnuo was very happy. He took away the contract on the table before Head Elder Xie could grab it, leaving the latter in rather awkward straits.
“This…” Head Elder Xie was very displeased.
Ouyang Ningnuo didn’t look embarrassed at all, but smiled and said, “Although Head Elder Xie has expressed support on the matter, the matter still requires further thought and discussion.”
Like that, Ouyang Ningnuo left merrily with the contract in tow, leaving Head Elder Xie with a black face. He sorely regretted the fact that he’d been so hasty to give into Ouyang Ningnxuo’s demands.
“Head Elder, that fellow’s too stingy! So much for being sincere, I’d say he’s treating the marriage as a business deal too!” his retainer spoke up in exasperation.
“Hmph, we’ll see how he negotiates with me when we meet again!” Head Elder Xie said resentfully.
“Head Elder, then the Duke of Kang…” the retainer trailed off.
Before Ouyang Ningnuo had arrived, Northern Li’s Duke of Kang had also dropped by to discuss Mu Linger’s marriage affairs. He expressed the fact that Northern Li’s crown prince was interested in making the girl one of his imperial concubines, and that he wanted the head elder to offer his support. Moreover, the Duke of Kang had given very alluring terms. He said that as long as the marriage went through, Northern Li’s imperial clan would allow the Xie Clan to cultivate the snowfields in North Jiang. The snowfields there were the only kind that existed upon the high plateaus of Cloud Realm Continent. It was the best location to foster winter plants, and all three medicine clans had be eyeing the land for quite some time.
Head Elder Xie creased his brows and kept silent. Ouyang Ningnuo and Jun Yixie had both made him generous offers, but he could only accept one. Whatever the case, he’d need to convince the Mu Clan to approve Mu Linger’s marriage first and make sure the girl couldn’t make prescriptions for the Mu Clan after she was wedded off.
“This is difficult…” Head Elder Xie muttered to himself. He was certain he’d lose sleep tonight.
“Head Elder, that Ouyang Ningnuo’s cooperated with the Mu Clan in the past. I say the Duke of Kang’s more dependable than him!”
“Jun Yixie is indeed dependable, but have you forgotten? He’s also the head of the Hundred Poisons Sect. Medical City’s got their eye on him!” Head Elder Xie chided. Even if he was the head of Medicine City, his rank meant nothing if he ever offended Medical City.
“Head Elder, the Duke of Kang might be head of the Hundred Poisons Sect, but not Northern Li’s crown prince!” the retainer said quickly.
Head Elder Xie nodded in agreement. Actually, he privately favored the Duke of Kang more, but he had no idea the man was already in cahoots with Mu Yingdong. Moreover, Northern Li’s imperial clan had long given the Mu Clan access to their snowfields. It was about time for their first crops of plants to mature there as well. Currently, Jun Yixie was in none other than Mu Yingdong’s rooms, where the two of them were raising their glasses in a toast.
“This old man guarantees that Xie Deyi will agree to your terms after such a generous offer,” Mu Yingdong was rather ecstatic. He had lured Xie Deyi to Pill Fiend Pharmacy intentionally just so the man could capture Mu Linger and put his plans into action. Otherwise, he’d never be so willing to lose a pharmacy genius. Now he was waiting for Head Elder Xie to come pressure the Mu Clan into letting Mu Linger marry. Then he’d be able to agree with perfect reason to hand her off to Northern Li’s crown prince.
Jun Yixie had planned everything out, so he was less interested in this topic when compared to that of the Medicine Forest’s poison pond. “Are there still no clues, even now?”
Mu Yingdong furrowed his brows. “You said that Han Yunxi had poison pond water in her hands…this… This old man really doesn’t understand it! Did…did she make a trip to the pond beforehand?”
Jun Yixie creased his brows as well. “You have to get to the bottom of this for this lord!”
Even his master had been helpless before the poison on his shoulder. After thinking of various possibilities, he believed that the toxin came from a plant raised in poison pond water. Han Yunxi had mentioned it in their previous face-off as well. Master had told him to take command over Northern Li’s horse farms first and forbade him from interfering in matters behind Medicine and Medical City, much less anything to do with Long Feiye and Han Yunxi. He had only come to South Ning Prefecture this time under the excuse of finding out more about the poison pond, which his master had approved of.
Mu Yingdong’s revenge against Pill Fiend Pharmacy and Head Elder Xie’s final decision on a marriage partner would all have to wait until everyone met again at Medicine City. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi had actually been awake all night at the Duke of Qin’s estate, trying to figure out ways to save Mu Linger.
Early next morning, she went to Pill Fiend Pharmacy. She didn’t ask Long Feiye or Gu Qishao how their fight had went, leaving the two men extremely uneasy. Both of them appeared in front of her without a second thought…