Ning Jing avoided Han Yunxi’s question and asked one of her own. Han Yunxi did the same, but she didn’t follow up with another query.
“What now, feeling guilty?” Ning Jing provoked.
Han Yunxi only smiled and said nothing. Both of them were intelligent women, but this was their first time chatting one on one. Both suspected the other of probing for answers and were on guard, carefully studying her opponent while making sure to reveal nothing in turn. Sometimes, all it took was a single glance for two smart people to read each other’s true thoughts. Han Yunxi ignored Ning Jing’s goading, leaving a complex look to flutter across the latter’s eyes. She didn’t say much, but wheeled Han Yunxi into Myriad Merchant Hall’s official building for business matters and shut the door behind her. Han Yunxi took note of the seemingly casual movement and smiled.
“What now, you need to shut the door to discuss Tang Li’s matters with me?”
Ning Jing was good at holding her temper, but Han Yunxi’s simple statements were enough to incite her rage. She almost lost it, but held herself back and went to fling the door open again. In any case, everyone in charge of Myriad Merchant Hall was at the gambling and auction houses now. No one would come here, and she’d long dismissed the other servants. She wasn’t afraid even if the doors were wide open!
Ning Jing made sure they were flung wide open before standing in front of Han Yunxi. She leaned against a table behind her with her arms crossed, peering down loftily from above. “Han Yunxi, what kind of things do you want to discuss regarding the Tang Clan? Go ahead and speak!”
It was rare for anything in the Di Clan to take this attitude with her. Han Yunxi was truly...more at ease. Compared to Ning An’s respectful tone, she much preferred Ning Jing’s frankness. Despite that, she hadn’t shown the girl any mercy since they’d met.
She ruthlessly rejected the girl and declared, “You’re not the one in charge of the Di Clan, so I...have nothing to discuss with you,”
“You were fooling with me!” Ning Jing lost control.
Han Yunxi shrugged her shoulders helplessly Just then, her exact words at the gates were, “If you’re the one in charge, I think I should talk with you regarding the Tang Clan.”
Ning Jing glared at her while trying to figure out why she should be so contentious. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi’s intention was to anger Ning Jing in the first place. She wanted her to spill the beans about the Tang Clan first so she could see just where her “selfish motives” lay! If it was to escape the Di Clan like she claimed, then wasn’t this the perfect chance? Why wasn’t she running away now?
Han Yunxi allowed Ning Jing to continue glaring while she sat playing with her pretty manicured nails. It was such a provoking, taunting sight that Ning Jing only grew more furious. Han Yunxi assumed she’d blow her top, but the girl managed to calm herself down and remained mute. That only made Han Yunxi more curious to know the truth.
She said, “Ning Jing, I’ll have to trouble you to call over the elders in charge of Myriad Merchant Hall. I’ll discuss the Tang Clan’s matters with them.”
“You’re not worthy!” Ning Jing sneered.
Han Yunxi was very calm. “You don’t have the right to decide that. Whether I’m worthy or not, only their judgment counts.”
Ning Jing stood unmoving.
“What now, feeling guilty? Or are you afraid?” Han Yunxi prodded.
Ning Jing sucked in a breath. “Who’s afraid of whom, huh? You just wait!”
Just like that, Ning Jing left Han Yunxi with a carefree silhouette as she went off to call the elders. Soon enough, all five of the men in charge of Myriad Merchant Hall appeared. Although they were still dealing with the mess at the gambling halls and auction houses, no waves could compare to the arrival of the West Qin princess! Like Ning Jing, they were completely clueless about her status as a “hostage” and desperately wanted to know what she’d been doing with the East Qin crown prince. Despite the doubts in their hearts, the five elders were all very respectful upon seeing Han Yunxi and made reverent bows.
Ning Jing gained the initiative by striking the first blow. “The princess has paid a personal visit to Myriad Merchant Hall. If there’s anything you don’t understand, you should hurry up and ask for instructions. It’s not easy for us to see the princess in person.”
Everyone could tell that Ning Jing’s tone was unfriendly.
The head elder knitted his brows at Ning Jing to hint that she shouldn’t be so rude, but Ning Jing only pretended not to see. Han Yunxi only smiled amiably and said, “What are you all standing for? Have a seat.”
The group gave their thanks and took their seats as the nervous air dissipated somewhat. But they’d hardly sat down when Han Yunxi’s next statement made them all tense again.
She said, “I heard Ning Jing say that someone was maligning this princess behind my back. They claimed I was still thinking of the East Qin crown prince behind everyone’s backs and shaming the Di Clan’s loyalty, thus making me an unworthy candidate to be princess?”
All of the men stood up at her words. Ning Jing hadn’t recovered before they simultaneously shot her demanding looks. Han Yunxi’s move was truly impressive and mighty. But Ning Jing wasn’t so weak.
She immediately stepped forward and said, “Princess, there are no outsiders here. Why take so many twists and turns in your words? I was the one who said those things! Princess ought to be at the barracks, but why were you together with the East Qin crown prince? Why are you helping him against Bai Yanqing? The archers at Blacktower said that he was carrying you the entire time!”
Ning Jing’s questions echoed the queries of everyone else, but she’d put it so bluntly that everyone grew anxious. After all, this was a sensitive issue and Ning Jing hadn’t given Han Yunxi any face. This wasn’t just any master, but the famous Han Yunxi.
Somehow or another, the room grew exceptionally still. Han Yunxi looked at Ning Jing, who met her gaze squarely without a trace of fear. She even added on, “So it shouldn’t count as slander when I say the princess is thinking of the East Qin crown prince, right?”
Han Yiunxi only looked at the crowd. “What does the head elder think?”
The head elder was a far-seeing, astute man. Although he was the leader of the Council of Elders, he rarely expressed his opinions. If Ning Jing hadn’t brought up the subject, he would have questioned Han Yunxi on behalf of the entire council. But since Ning Jing had made things so clear, why did he have to stand out as the token bad guy? In any case, no matter what stance he took, the princess would have to give them all a satisfactory explanation for the masses today.
He lowered his head and didn’t say a word. But Han Yunxi then asked, “Second Elder, what do you think?”
Was she going to call on them one by one? Would no one escape? The group was secretly startled. It’s as the rumors say, Han Yunxi is hard to deal with!
Indeed she was. All of the people present were important figures in Myriad Merchant Hall, so she had to know all of their stances before making decisions. Finally, the head elder had to stand out.
“Princess,” he said, “This subordinate speaks for Myriad Merchant Hall to welcome you here. Please excuse the hall for not coming out to meet you. This subordinate has qualms for that slight, and I--”
“Does Head Elder agree with Ning Jing’s views?” Han Yunxi interrupted directly. “Do you feel that this princess has illicit relations with the East Qin crown prince?”
The head elder was forced to drop his act, but he still decided to reply on behalf of the council. “To reply princess, the Council of Elders may not agree with Miss Jing’s views, but we don’t understand why the princess would be with the East Qin crown prince, either.”
Ning Jing didn’t look at him when he spoke, but stared at the other four elders instead. Her sharp eyes caught Fifth Elder’s angry glance towards the head elder. At this moment, Han Yunxi knew that going in circles with the Council of Elders had been worth it!
“So that’s how the Council of Elders feel…” she thought a bit, then added, “Does Head Elder personally feel this way?”
Although he was part of a group, the stance of the group differed from that of its individual members. Most importantly, it was the duty that weighed on their shoulders.
“This subordinate...this subordinate…” the head elder stammered, unable to reply. Ning Jing smiled coldly.
At this moment, Fifth Elder suddenly stepped out. “Your Royal Highness, this subordinate doesn’t think that way!”
“Then what do you think? Share your thoughts,” Han Yunxi said hastily.
“The young Miss and Uncle Cheng disrespected the princess and should be dealt with according to clan laws!” Although Fifth Elder was getting on in his years, his large, round eyes were clear and clean--as straightforward and obstinate as his personality.
Han Yunxi thought Fifth Elder was only dissatisfied because of his personal issues with the head elder. Her original plan was to use the conflicts of the council against each other to control Myriad Merchant Hall, but never expected Fifth Elder to be such a persistent, loyal sort!
Fifth Elder said, “Your Royal Highness would definitely follow your own principles to do things. What right do we as subordinates have to question you? Isn’t that all backwards? This subordinate believes that if Your Royal Highness was really as questionable as Miss Jing says, you wouldn’t be sitting here today!”
The head elder was embarrassed after Fifth Elder’s words. He didn’t know what else to say. Meanwhile, the rest of the council all wore complicated expressions. Ning Jing simply laughed out loud.
“Han Yunxi, take a look! Just see, there are plenty of people in the Di Clan who are fools just like my big brother! You trampled on his loyalty and these people’s trust!”
“I did not!” Han Yunxi denied vehemently. “Hasn’t everyone considered why East and West Qin stopped fighting after only a month when East Qin was clearly winning?”
Of course everyone had been curious, but what would merchants know of the battlefield? Ning Cheng hadn’t publicized the true reasons, so no one dared to ask.
“What, haven’t any of you asked Ning Cheng?” Han Yunxi asked next. Seeing their expressions, she couldn’t help but smile inwardly. Long Feiye was right. Her position in the Di Clan was simply that as a symbol of faith. The true power still laid in Ning Cheng’s hands. If it had been Ning Cheng colluding with Long Feiye today, who amongst those seated would dare to demand an explanation from him?
“Long Feiye and I came to an agreement to suspend all hostilities between East and West Qin until we get rid of Bai Yanqing. We’ll resume fighting after that!” Han Yunxi intoned.
“On what grounds did Long Feiye come to an agreement with West Qin? Hehe, the East Qin crown prince would never make such a disadvantageous deal!” Ning Jing mocked.
“Because he can’t deal with Bai Yanqing’s poisons, but I can!” Han Yunxi replied seriously.
Ning Jing was quick to counterattack. “Han Yunxi, do you take us all for fools? What a laughable lie! All of the archers saw you and Long Feiye hugging each other!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This counts as the missed chapter from yesterday! uwu