Chapter 479: Who moved into the Duke of Qin's estate? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“What was the use of a written contract?!”
Ouyang Ningnuo tore apart the paper in his hands. He had just fled from the black market after suffering the worst loss in his life. He’d failed utterly! The agreement from before said he wouldn’t interfere in any business between Pill Fiend Pharmacy and Medicine City; conversely, Long Feiye wasn’t to touch any of Zhangsun Zelin’s other businesses. When Long Feiye had easily agreed to the terms, Ouyang Ningnuo had only been puzzled, but he couldn’t find any loopholes in their terms. Still, he never expected Long Feiye to blow up the entire black market instead.
After all, he was the other head of Sky Domain Black Market!
When he first found out that Zhangsun Zelin was collaborating with the Chu Clan in secret to store gunpowder, he’d been looking for ways to topple the man so he could claim all of Sky Domain Black Market for himself. He thought he’d found his chance when Gu Beiyue came and mentioned Pill Fiend Pharmacy. Zhangsun Zelin was more or less finished once Long Feiye knew of his smuggling operation. Ouyang Ningnuo was waiting for Long Feiye to make his move and force Zhangsun Zelin to a dead end. Then he could reap all the benefits and become the ultimate boss of Sky Domain Black Market.
His beautiful dream was all burned away by Long Feiye’s flames. He not only lost the chance to claim Zhangsun Zelin’s share of business, but his own businesses as well! Moreover, Long Feiye’s actions hadn’t violated the terms of the contract at all. He did agree not to touch Zhangsun Zelin’s businesses, but he never promised not to destroy them utterly. If Ouyang Ningnuo took 10,000 steps back to consider the argument again, even if “burning them all down” counted as “touching Zhangsun Zelin’s businesses,” would Long Feiye ever admit that he was the one who instigated the fires?
“Abominable!” Ouyang Ningnuo had always been an even-tempered man, but now he scattered the pieces of contract on the ground before stomping on them furiously. It was impossible for him to calm down. Although his current businesses were still profitable, he made money much faster with the black market. It might takes ages to earn back his losses. Moreover, many of Tianning’s own court officials were entangled with its black markets, so now he’d lost his points of contact with them as well. If he wanted to make connections with those people, he would now have to find other ways.
“Long Feiye, you better not fall into my hands one day!” Ouyang Ningnuo viciously tossed out those words before leaving for good. Meanwhile, the other head of the Sky Domain Black Market had just rushed over in time to see people pouring out of its emergency exits, leaving nothing but thick smoke surging behind them. He gave a start and prepared to dash in when his retainer held him back.
“Old master, everything’s been blown up and burnt! You can’t go in anymore!”
Zhangsun Zelin violently shoved him aside and roared, “What kind of nonsense are you talking about? Scram!”
He headed straight for the gates, but at soon as he reached the entrance, the thick smoke left him in a severe coughing fit before he caught his breath again. None of his retainers dared to approached him. Zhangsun Zelin was left staring dazedly at the entrance with no choice but to accept reality. The shock seemed too much more for him, because he stood there blankly for ages. At first, Chu Tianyin had painted him a beautiful picture of his plans when he approached Zhangsun Zelin for a business deal. He had promised Zhangsun Zelin to use the power of the imperial court to snatch Ouyang Ningnuo’s share of the black market and place it in his hands. But now…
Zhangsun Zelin recovered enough to yell, “Just how did the restaurant blow up?!”
Was it an accident, or sabotage? If it was an accident, he might be able to escape any blame, but it was sabotage, then he was probably trapped.
“Old master, what happened was that news of the hidden gunpowder suddenly spread throughout the city. Half of the black market heard the intel and fled before the restaurant exploded. I’m sure someone was scheming against us on purpose!” a retainer replied.
Zhangsun Zelin’s expression became ghastly. At the same time, the sound of urgent hoofbeats heralded the arrival of government authorities. The first explosions in the black market had created enough tremors to affect the surrounding villages. Barely two hours had passed before the closest government official sent its men to investigate. By estimation, it wouldn’t be long before the magistrates and imperial guards from the capital came rushing to the scene as well. Zhangsun Zelin felt hopeless, but quickly calmed down enough to get back on his carriage.
“Back to the capital, quick!” he cried.
Someone had caused these events on purpose, so the palace would probably investigate him next. He had to hurry back and prepare an escape route! Or at least transfer as many assets as he could manage. Hoarding gunpowder to threaten the capital was something that the imperial court could investigate him for without any proof! They would cut off all avenues of exit and trap him in the capital city first before taking their time to find proof.
With the two leaders of the Sky Domain Black Market gone, the Sky Domain Association they’d built up for themselves dissolved on its own as well. Everyone left, leaving nothing but burning shambles behind. When Mu Qingwu personally led a large team of imperial soldiers hurrying to the scene, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had just left the city. Since the royal troops were here, Emperor Tianhui must have heard about the situation already. Yet they’d hardly reached the city gates before Long Tianmo left with a group of men in tow.
Han Yunxi laughed out loud. “Your Highness, this crown prince seems even more anxious than the emperor.”
“Mhm,” Long Feiye assented in a mild tone.
In the past, Chu Qingge had been constantly trying to invite Han Yunxi into the palace for motives unknown, but schemes and intrigues were the likely reasons. Meanwhile, the empress dowager had been keeping an eye on Han Yunxi so she could sow discord between her and Chu Qingge before reaping the benefits herself. Now things were good. Once the issue of gunpowder cropped up, Chu Qingge and the empress dowager would be too busy facing off against each other to deal with her!
Thinking up to here, Han Yunxi couldn’t resist stealing another peek at Long Feiye. The mastermind of the explosion crimes was currently reading with his head down as if the future chaos had nothing to do with him. He had never involved himself with palace politics, but his recent movements could cause sweeping waves at court. This was His Highness Duke of Qin’s skill and the reason why so many people held him in awe. The two of them reached the Duke of Qin’s front gates, only to see Gu Qi Sha waiting at the door.
When he saw them get off the carriage, he rose to ask, “Long Feiye, you didn’t tell this old fellow a word when you found the gunpowder?”
Would Long Feiye answer him? Certainly not! Who else would he waste words on besides the woman he was holding by the hand? He simply ignored Gu Qi Sha altogether and went inside the gates. Gu Qi Sha immediately followed them in until he was blocked by the guards.
“Han Yunxi, we’re still collaboration partners in the end. Is this how you treat your guests?” Gu Qi Sha asked loudly.
“Do you have any business?” Han Yunxi asked.
“The old fellow’s planning to stay in the capital and personally follow up with matters of Pill Fiend Pharmacy,” Gu Qi Sha replied.
“So then?” Han Yunxi asked patiently.
Gu Qi Sha chuckled. “After thinking it over, this old fellow thinks it’s more convenient to live at the Duke of Qin’s estate.”
Han Yunxi was about to speak when Long Feiye actually agreed. He said frostily, “Chu Xifeng, prepare a guest room!”
Both Gu Qi Sha and Han Yunxi were caught off guard, but the former accepted the open offer generously! Just like that, Gu Qi Sha found an independent courtyard in the Duke of Qin’s estate and settled in. If the injured Gu Beiyue’s last stay in this estate didn’t count, then Gu Qi Sha could be considered the first overnight guest within these walls.
After returning to the Hibiscus Courtyard, Han Yunxi finally opened her mouth. “Your Highness, you’re really letting him stay?”
“Better than you running out to see him all the time,” Long Feiye said mildly.
If Gu Qi Sha really did stay somewhere in the capital and bothered Han Yunxi with Pill Fiend Pharmacy business every few days, she really would be running out of the estate all the time.
“Your Highness has taken pains,” Han Yunxi said without further thought.
As predicted, Gu Qi Sha sent warehouse design questions to Han Yunxi that very afternoon. Han Yunxi arranged to meet him in the flower gardens for discussion, with Long Feiye accompanying her. In truth, Gu Qi Sha was quite earnest with the design plans, He found a few minute problems with the original proposal since he understood medicines best. Han Yunxi yielded to his suggestions at every turn. A few days later, all sorts of news regarding the gunpowder case spread throughout the capital. Some of them had been let loose by Long Feiye’s means. Emperor Tianhui was furious and ordered strict investigations into the origins of the gunpowder. Moreover, Zhangsun Zelin and Ouyang Ningnuo, along with a few other major merchants of the black markets, were all set as suspects in the case. All of their assets and businesses in Tianning were locked down for further investigation.
Although both Zhangsun Zelin and Ouyang Ningnuo were the bosses of Sky Domain Black Market, the former could hardly be mentioned in the same breath as the latter, who was also the head of the Cloud Realm Continent Trade Consortium. Ouyang Ningnuo’s businesses may have been sealed shut in Tianning, but he still had trade in Northern Li, Western Zhou, and Medicine and Medical City. He wouldn’t go bankrupt from this matter, nor would Emperor Tianhui treat him too harshly. But Zhangsun Zelin was in a terrible mess. Most of his assets were concentrated in Tianning, so Emperor Tianhui would swallow him up for sure.
Hardly five days had passed in the gunpowder case when he decided to give up on everything in Tianning. He went by himself to the largest bank in Tianning, Plentiful Treasure Private Bank, and told the manager, “Please tell His Highness Duke of Qin that Zhangsun Zelin requests an audience.”
There weren’t many people who knew the true identity of the owner of Plentiful Treasure Private Bank, so the manager hurried to forward the news. A single black market could take away much of the revenue and taxes due to the national treasury, suppress much of the normal business in Tianning, and cheat countless people in urgent need of goods or services. Would Long Feiye look kindly upon Zhangsun Zelin?
Currently, he and Han Yunxi were steeping tea in the back courtyard when he said coldly, “Have him wait.”
Thus, Zhangsun Zelin waited with burning impatience inside the palace for an entire day. If he wasn’t in a tight spot, he would’ve long turned tail and left. All of the silver drafts in his hands were high value goods. Ten of them alone made up his stores of real gold and silver accumulated from his business between the black and normal markets. It was also his only way of escaping the country now. But because the silver draft values were so high, he wouldn’t be able to get any banks to accept them out of the country without the personal seal of the Plentiful Treasure Private Bank’s owner. No matter what, he had to wait until His Highness Duke of Qin to show up!
Zhangsun Zelin waited until after dinner before the manager brought him to a tea room…
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