Bai Yuqiao was certain that Ning Cheng and Gu Qishao were at odds after hearing those words. Without a choice, the man had come to seek her alone. Over the course of their trip, she had long made comparisons between the two men. Although they were both frightening, Gu Qishao was far more horrific. He never acted according to the norms and was like a demon when he turned ruthless. He could destroy everything without a thought, even if it cost him his life.
Ning Cheng was different. No matter how sinister or vicious his methods might be, he still had his limits. After all, he controlled the Di Clan’s Ning Family and West Qin’s army. He had his fears and worries to know restraint. Between the two of them, Bai Yuqiao liked working with Ning Cheng more.
“What kind of deal?” she grew serious.
“Help me deal with Bai Yanqing. Whether or not it succeeds, I’ll let you go regardless…”
Bai Yuqiao was unmoved by his words, but Ning Cheng’s final offer gave her a start. He said, “I can pay you 160 million’s worth of silver drafts as a commission fee upfront. Once the deed is done, I’ll give you 200 million more. How’s that sound?”
“For real?!” Bai Yuqiao cried.
Ning Cheng didn’t answer, but he did take about a gold card worth 160 million from his sleeves and tossed it over. Bai Yuqiao caught it in her hands and verified that it was real.
Ning Cheng smiled coldly. He had been born in a merchant family, so he trusted that money gave him power to even talk with ghosts. Now he added, “Bai Yuqiao, you should know that Gu Qishao was never planning to let you go from the start. No matter how things turned out, you would have ended up dead.”
Bai Yuqiao truly liked money, so she quickly smiled. “Master Ning is truly loud with his wealth. You’re much more honest and kind than Gu Qishao. But why 160 million?”
She couldn’t figure out the meaning of the numbers, but Ning Cheng only intoned, “This lord simply likes this number, that’s all.”
360 million was the total sum that Gu Qishao had lost at the gambling table tonight. He was planning to pay him back, but unfortunately, Gu Qishao wasn’t interested. Thus, he’d use it to bribe Bai Yuqiao instead.
“Hehe, six is a lucky number!” Bai Yuqiao’s smile was like flowers. “Why didn’t I run into Master Ning earlier? Then I wouldn’t have ended up as Bai Yanqing’s servant.”
“It’s not too late now,” Ning Cheng said coldly. “Do you agree or not? You don’t have time to deliberate.”
“Hehe, of course I’ll agree for the sake of the money!” Bai Yuqiao said easily, before adding, “Master Ning, don’t worry. I won’t use poison against you while we’re working together.”
Her phrase clearly highlighted Ning Cheng’s weak spot. It was also the exact promise that Ning Cheng wanted. If he didn’t fear her poisons, why would he extend the offer of alliance and money to her in the first place? 300 million or more was already a big sum in the casinos, much less beyond it. It was enough money to raise a large army for three years while replenishing their weapons and armor.
“This lord trusts you too,” Ning Cheng said, somewhat against his will. He was a naturally suspicious man, so he’d never believe a shrewd girl like Bai Yuqiao so easily. But when the alternate was working with Gu Qishao, he’d rather take a gamble!
Heaven knows how long Gu Qishao would fool around in the gambling house, or if he’d demand the lion’s share by the end. More importantly, he couldn’t trick the man for long. If Gu Qishao ever realized that Han Yunxi’s letter had been faked, or got in touch with the girl separately in the next few days, then cleaning up the mess would be a pain. Ning Cheng wasn’t being impulsive, but anxious to stake everything on a single throw. Whether he picked the right choice or won in the end would all depend on the next few days.
“Just then, you said the guards at Blacktower were all your trusted subordinates?” Ning Cheng asked.
Bai Yuqiao replied cheerfully, “Master Ning, since you’re going to cooperate with me, show some good faith.”
Ning Cheng’s eyes flashed with unhappiness, but he still had someone unlock the door and release Bai Yuqiao. She smiled slyly like a little fox as she stared at Ning Cheng and approached him step by step. Ning Cheng gradually narrowed his eyes and stared back. Behind them, Uncle Cheng shook with fear, afraid that Bai Yuqiao would go back on her word and poison his master before running away.
Soon enough, Bai Yuqiao was standing right in front of Ning Cheng. A single step separated them. Ning Cheng was very tall while she was rather petite, so she didn’t even reach his chest. She tilted her head back to look at him while Ning Cheng looked scornfully back. Abruptly, she broke into laughter.
“Master Ning, you’ve really got guts! Don’t worry, I stick to my words. I definitely won’t poison you! I only have one extra request. If you agree, then I’ll take you to Blacktower right now. I have ways to deal with my master.”
It had to be said that Bai Yuqiao really did have a very sweet smile. Her large eyes were quite pretty, but Ning Cheng remained unmoved by her charms. “Speak!” he said coldly.
“It’s not a big deal, but if you have a chance to deal with Gu Qishao...stab him a few extra times for me!” Bai Yuqiao’s eyes turned cold in the midst of her smile, morphing her into a demon.
Uncle Cheng felt chilled by the sight. His master was really taking a big risk cooperating with this girl. However, Ning Cheng was quite happy to hear her words and laughed as well. “Alright!”
It wouldn’t be too late to deal with Gu Qishao once he finished affairs at Blacktower.
“What kind of ways do you have to deal with your master?” Ning Cheng asked.
“Come on, I’ll tell you when we get there,” Bai Yuqiao grew serious once more. “We have to get there soon because we can’t afford to delay. When master and I went to Tianning’s capital city, he said he wanted to bring Su Xiaoyu to Blacktower.”
Ning Cheng wasn’t impulsive, but insisted coldly, “Tell me before we go.”
Bai Yuqiao beckoned him closer with her finger, so he bent down. She immediately scooted close, but he instantly backed away, disliking such proximity with a female. Seeing this, Bai Yuqiao laughed. “Aiya, I couldn’t tell that Master Ning was such a prude. It’s a shame, it really is…”
Ning Cheng’s face fell. “Are you telling me or not?!”
“Master Ning, I actually think you’d make a great match with the West Qin princess. Once the two of you revive West Qin, you might as well marry into the royal clan and be her fuma! If she doesn’t proclaim herself emperor, then your Ning Clan can rule West Qin as its sovereign!” Bai Yuqiao grinned.
Ning Cheng gripped her neck without hesitation. “If you dare say such things again, I promise I’ll cut off your tongue and feed it to the dogs!”
Bai Yuqiao slapped Ning Cheng’s hands repeatedly as she struggled, but she didn’t poison him. She wasn’t sure whether Ning Cheng was truly angry, or probing her. They were so close that she long had a chance to poison him before he could find Han Yunxi for help. But she didn’t want to do that. Over 100 million in that gold card was too big of a sum to resist. The Northern Li emperor had started keeping her senior brother in check since last year, so the soldiers’ pay and provisions were extremely tight. If she could give this money to senior brother, then he would definitely be thrilled. Moreover, she had other plans in mind for the money, too.
She understood her master better than anyone else. She was certain that unless Han Yunxi was around, it’d be impossible for Ning Cheng and Gu Qishao to kill him, even if they worked together. She had agreed to accompany them to Blacktower in the first place to give them hope, but she had her own motives at work. She didn’t lie when she said the guards there were all her subordinates. As long as she reached the place, she’d have more chances to escape.
Before, she had been hesitating because Gu Qishao was there. She would have needed to lay a trap to escape smoothly from Blacktower. Now that Ning Cheng and Gu Qishao were at odds and he’d come to find her, this was nothing short of a heaven-sent chance! How could she really refrain from poisoning Ning Cheng? Of course, since she’d accepted 160 million already, she would help Ning Cheng a little bit first before running away. Ning Cheng had led troops in the vicinity of the Three-Way Battlefield for ages. Add that to the wealth of Myriad Merchant Hall and he should be quite powerful in this region. Thus, although it was unlikely that Ning Cheng would kill her master, Bai Yuqiao still wanted to borrow his strength to hurt master a bit. That would not only get her revenge, but help avenge senior brother as well while giving them a fighting chance to get out of his clutches. After going to Blacktower with Ning Cheng tonight and bribing the guards, they could set a stage for master to return. Then she’d seize the chance to take Su Xiaoyu and flee. Su Xiaoyu was an important piece of the puzzle to tracking down the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. Of course she’d do her best to bring her to her senior brother.
Bai Yuqiao’s harsh features subconsciously eased into a warm smile at the thought. No matter what, she had to make sure everything went smoothly. Once senior brother knows the truth and what I’ve done for him, he’ll stop treating me so coldly.
Ning Cheng quite approved of Bai Yuqiao’s plans after hearing the details. Of course, he wasn’t stupid enough to trust on pure tactics to kill Bai Yanqing. He had agents of his own on the sly and had made ample preparations without Bai Yuqiao’s own knowledge. He dearly hoped that Han Yunxi could be here to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with him right now to kill that traitor Bai Yanqing! Unfortunately, she was still with the East Qin army. Despite his depression and resentment, Ning Cheng’s icy eyes would always turn gentle at the thought of her name. His fingers moved as if to grasp something, but caught nothing but air. It’s good that Han Yunxi isn’t here. Otherwise, if Bai Yanqing plays the same old tricks and threatens Gu Beiyue, it’ll be all for naught again.
Ning Cheng finally released Bai Yuqiao, and the girl staggered back a few steps to gasp for breath. She had nearly been choked to death.
“You make preparations. After an hour, wait for me by the door,” Ning Cheng said frostily before turning to leave.
Bai Yuqiao exhaled in relief. Just then, she almost couldn’t take it.
As soon as Ning Cheng left the rooms, Uncle Cheng hastened to catch up. “Master, please reconsider. You can’t afford to be rash here!”
“What kind of man is Bai Yanqing? None of our men know poisons, this is too risky. If Gu Qishao…”
Before Uncle Cheng could finish, Ning Cheng cut him off coldly, “Add 1,000 more archers. And also, bring the Pear Blossom Teardrop Rain needles.” He refused to believe that Bai Yanqing’s poison could be faster than those needles. This time, he would kill the man without fail.
By the time Ning Cheng was ready to go, the head elder had arrived as well.
Ahem this is yesterday's release...yes....hehe~
I got a massive crick in my neck and was basically a walking board for a day, am recovering now thanks to exercise and hubby's care! Whew.