Chapter 523: The beginning of unrest at Medicine City Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Xie Hongming actually said, “Esteemed wangfei, this one has heard some rumors as well, that the Mu Clan has ties with Northern Li’s imperial clan.”
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi exchanged meaningful glances at that, while a cold smile rose on Wang Zhongyang’s lips. Xie Hongming saw that no one reacted to his news, so he was quick to add, “This one found out about the news a few years ago. The Mu Clan has been lowering prices for medicinal ingredients all across Cloud Realm Continent just because they’ve been able to foster high-yield crops at the snowfield plateaus. They don’t just grow low-end plants there, but multiple high-end ingredients as well, which they sell for cheap. Esteemed wangfei, the Wang and Xie Clans have both guarded the lands passed onto us by our ancestors, so we don’t have much wares in stock. If the price goes any lower, we really won’t be able to make a living!”
Only then did Wang Zhongyang speak up. “Esteemed wangfei, if the prices go any lower, neither the Wang nor Xie Clans will be able to support themselves. In the end, there won’t be any ingredients for sale at all, making the losses greater than the gains.”
Han Yunxi nodded in thought. “The Mu Clan’s allied themselves with Northern Li? Heheh, how unexpected.”
Wang Zhongyang didn’t speak, but Xie Hongming quickly supplemented, “Isn’t that so? This one found it a surprise when I first heard of it as well.”
Actually, Xie Hongming had never heard of such a rumor at all, so Wang Zhongyang’s admission had really given him a fright. But in front of the Qin Wangfei, he could only go all out. Even if he was making things up, he had to make it sound realistic. Otherwise, Qin Wangfei might try to push the prices lower and give him a tragic time back at the Xie Clan. Father had nearly disowned him over the black market drug trade business, so if this deal didn’t go through, he had no need to go back home anymore.
Han Yunxi glanced at the list of prices one more time, hesitating before finally nodding her head. “Very well, this wangfei won’t cause you two any more difficulties. This will be the price we set. This wangfei will place an order every month. Deliver your wares by the first of each month and you’ll be paid accordingly by the end. What do you think?”
Compared to the contract stipulations for the Mu Clan, these were very generous terms. Wang Zhongyang and Xie Hongming both agreed to them. Han Yunxi then drafted another agreement and had all parties sign on the spot. Then she handed over evidence of the black market dealings back to their owners. Both men were thrilled and left after giving her ample thanks.
When the duo returned to their inn, Wang Zhongyang was about to speak when Xie Hongming beat him to it. “Second Old Master, this one has a favor to ask of you!”
“We don’t need to be so formal with each other. Speak, what is it?” Wang Zhongyang asked magnanimously.
Xie Hongming dropped his voice. “Second Old Master, what happened today…I need to go back and give my father a factual account.”
“Everything went smoothly today. Heheh, we’ll both have good news to give our clans,” Wang Zhongyang grinned.
Xie Hongming hesitated, then dropped his voice even further. “Second Old Master, where did you hear about the Mu Clan allying themselves with Northern Li?”
Wang Zhongyang was greatly alarmed, and hastened to refute, “I never said the Mu Clan was allying themselves with Northern Li! I only heard that the Mu Clan was planting plants in the snowfields of the high plateaus. And that was just a rumor at most. Weren’t you the one who said they were in cahoots?”
“I… I…aiya, if I didn’t say that, would esteemed wangfei agree to our terms so easily?” Xie Hongming said helplessly.
“You! Aiya, I thought you actually heard some rumors! Isn’t that just lying? What if esteemed wangfei and His Highness Duke of Qin find out? We’ll be…” Wang Zhongyang suddenly panicked. “We’re in big trouble now!”
“Sigh….” Hong Xingming grew nervous as well. “Second Old Master, let’s just pretend that everything’s true. No matter who asks us about it, we’ll just make sure to match our stories. The Mu Clan did collaborate with Northern Li!”
“This…” Wang Zhongyang hesitated.
Xie Hongming consoled, “This involves our future prospects. Second Old Master, why be soft-hearted towards the Mu Clan? With Mu Linger in my grandfather’s hands, the Mu Clan’s good times won’t last long!”
Wang Zhongyang’s gaze turned vicious before he muttered, “Alright.”
The two of them agreed on their stories. That very day, Wang Zhongyang made an excuse to go searching for ingredients in the nearby wilds instead of returning to Medicine City with Xie Hongming. Once the man left town, Wang Zhongyang secretly made his way back to Pill Fiend Pharmacy. When he arrived, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were currently drinking tea with the head of the Wang Clan.
Second Old Master Wang was Wang Gong’s younger brother. Within the Wang Clan, he carried hefty responsibilities as well, but he’d lost face in front of Wang Gong because of his recent dealings with the black market.
“Have you settled everything?” Wang Gong asked unhappily.
“I have,” Second Old Master Wang said resentfully. “By using Xie Hongming’s mouth, the head of the Xie Clan and Head Elder Xie will definitely believe the rumors.”
“If this can topple the Mu and Xie Clans, you would have offset your errors with meritorious deeds,” Wang Gong sighed.
Second Old Master Wang dared not say any more, but bowed and withdrew from the hall.
“Your Highness, Mu Linger will reach Medicine City in three more days. According to the Council of Elders’ rules, she’ll be imprisoned in a prison cell within the depths of Medicine Forest. Usual conventions dictate that she’ll be examined and then judged by votes before they decide on her punishment. Unfortunately, it’ll be the Medicine City’s once-every-decade Grand Medicine Testing Convention in a few more days, so Head Elder Xie will have his hands full with that. This old man reckons that Mu Linger’s matters will be delayed until after the convention concludes,” Wang Gong said seriously.
“There’s no harm in that. The longer the time that passes, the more reasons the Mu and Xie Clans will have to fight,” Long Feiye remarked coldly.
Han Yunxi wanted to save Mu Linger, but he simply wanted to use the chance to support the Wang Clan until they were capable of controlling Medicine City themselves. With Medicine City in their hands, much of Cloud Realm Continent’s trades would fall under their control as well.
“Where will the Grand Medicine Testing Convention be held?” Han Yunxi asked the pair.
“Right in the Medicine Forest. Esteemed wangfei need not worry, the convention will be inviting many outstanding personages from the medical community. It’s mandatory to invite all important medicine merchants as well. The Council of Elders is responsible for sending out all invitations, so it’s highly likely that Pill Fiend Pharmacy will get one within the next couple of days,” Wang Gong smiled.
“Medicine Forest…” Han Yunxi’s phoenix eyes turned calculating.
“What is it?” Long Feiye asked her.
“Nothing, it’s just that it’s been awhile since I’ve been there,” Han Yunxi grinned craftily.
As predicted, Pill Fiend Pharmacy received an invitation from Medicine City’s Council of Elders two days later. But the invitations were only extended to Han Yunxi and His Excellency Pill Fiend, while there was none for Long Feiye! Although Long Feiye wasn’t part of the medical community, his identity and rank meant that he shouldn’t have been left out. It was clear that Head Elder Xie was holding a grudge by excluding him. All this despite the fact that it was Pill Fiend Pharmacy who had offended the man, not the innocent Duke of Qin!
After looking through the two included invitations, Han Yunxi only looked regretful. “Your Highness, they didn’t invite you… What now?”
Long Feiye expressionlessly cleaned his sword as he intoned, “Your lordship will simply escort you there.”
Is he really planning to play bodyguard again? Han Yunxi nearly laughed out loud, but instead feigned anxiety and bowed. “Chenqie dares not to accept the honor.”
Long Feiye’s gaze rose before he rubbed her head as one would pat a puppy. “It’s fine, your lordship is willing.” Then he went back to cleaning his sword, so fixated on the job that Han Yunxi was left momentarily speechless.
Long Feiye, just then… Would that count as sweet nothings? Han Yunxi felt like her heart had just eaten a dollop of honey.
The next day, Qin Wangfei set out on her journey with Long Feiye escorting her! The normally tense atmosphere of Medicine City only intensified after Mu Linger was locked in its Medicine Forest jail, the three clans and their frictions, and the various powers moving in the Council of Elders.
As soon as Mu Linger was placed in prison, the portion of the Mu Clan that made up the Council of Elders insisted on having guards of their own to keep watch over her. Yet, Head Elder Xie was equally adamant and rejected all guards from the Mu Clan as a precaution.
Mu Yingdong lost his temper and shattered his favorite teapot in the study. “Xie Deyi, you have gone too far!”
Jun Yixie arrogantly propped up both his legs as he settled in his chair to enjoy his tea in silence. Mu Yingdong stepped over the broken pieces of pottery as he raged, “Xie Deyi still hasn’t agreed to your offer yet?”
“Why are you so impatient? The Northern Li’s snowfields are a huge temptation. Even you couldn’t resist them, much less him,” Jun Yixie said disdainfully. At this, Mu Yingdong’s heart seized up as he was left speechless. Jun Yixie is still feeling fine, so why am I panicking so much over it?
He had to admit that when he first cooperated with Jun Yixie to allow him to raise poisons in the Medicine Forest’s poison pond, it was the snowfield plateaus that originally won him over.
“Wait until the Grand Medicine Testing Convention is over. He’ll definitely make an appointment to see this lord,” Jun Yixie was very certain of that, so his mood was quite good. He laughed and said, “Mu Yingdong, how about we make a bet?”
Mu Yingdong didn’t dare. Heaven only knows what kind of chips he has on the table? He smiled and said, “Your Highness Duke of Kang is so certain that this old man is at ease as well. This old man only fears that Linger will be suffering for the next ten days. That girl…aye, in the end, she’s still an innocent party in everything.”
Mu Yingdong was sincerely hoping that Mu Linger wouldn’t hate him too much after she was married off to Northern Li. If father and daughter could bury the hatchet, then they could work together to advance the Mu Clan. After all, the Mu Clan’s cooperation with Northern Li’s imperial clan was like asking a tiger for its skin. If Mu Linger would favor the Mu Clan after she became an imperial consort, then he wouldn’t have to tolerate Jun Yixie as much.
Jun Yixie had held no pity in his heart from the start, especially when it involved women. He coldly replied, “It’s not like she’ll die, what’s the point of worrying so much?”
Mu Yingdong was about to coax him when Jun Yixie changed the topic. “I heard the Council of Elders invited has Pill Fiend Pharmacy to the convention this time?”
“Only Han Yunxi and Gu Qi Sha. Xie Deyi certainly has the guts, he left out the Duke of Qin,” Mu Yingdong replied.
Hearing that, Jun Yixie’s eyes turned shrewd. “If that’s the case, then Long Feiye won’t be able to enter the Medicine Forest, even if he does show up…”
“Heheh, with the Duke of Qin’s personality, he would probably show up even without an invitation on hand,” Mu Yingdong grinned. He was all too happy to see Xie Deyi offend Long Feiye. While the two of them planned out their schemes, the Xie Clan was also suffering through their own troubles.
“You said that Mu Yingdong has long had liaisons with Northern Li’s imperial clan?” Xie Deyi had heard the news as soon as he came home.
The head of the Xie Clan furrowed his brows. “Father, no matter whether it’s true or false, we can’t afford to be careless right now.”
“Of all the times to bring it up, why now? Where did you hear that from?” Xie Deyi asked solemnly. The snowfield plateaus were much too important for the Xie Clan, so he wasn’t willing to give them up easily.
“That child Hongming said so,” the Xie Clan head explained, elaborating on how Xie Hongming and Wang Zhongyang had mentioned it while discussing their prices with Han Yunxi. Xie Deyi was quite startled to heard this and personally tracked down Xie Hongming himself.
“Is that true? Why haven’t I ever heard you mention it before?”
Xie Hongming had no idea that Xie Deyi was deliberating on a secret marriage deal with Jun Yixie regarding Mu Linger. He and Wang Zhongyang had already agreed to collaborate their stories and were determined to smear the Mu Clan. Thus, he said with conviction, “Grandfather, I had only heard about it recently. It was a Mu Clan member who mentioned it at the Medical Materials Association. I only thought it was a joke, but that Second Old Master Wang brought it up at Pill Fiend Pharmacy again. If he has heard it as well, then…well, there can’t be waves without the wind!”
Xie Deyi’s expression grew complicated at his words. After a long hesitation, he asked, “How did Han Yunxi and Long Feiye treat the news?”
Xie Hongming hastily replied, “They were very shocked. Qin Wangfei didn’t even believe us at first! Second Old Master Wang and I spent a long time convincing her before she accepted the news as well as our proposed prices.”