As soon as Han Yunxi heard “miscarriage” and saw the bloodstains on the ground, she shouted, “Stop crying! Take me inside, quick!”
Mu Linger was frightened. “I...I, I have to go--”
“Hurry!” Han Yunxi snapped.
Mu Linger had no time to explain as she rushed Han Yunxi indoors. Ning Jing never expected to see her and yelled at Mu Linger, “Where’s the medicine? And the doctor?”
Mu Linger forced her tears back before the shouts of both women. “Big sis, I’ve already taken her pulse. Ning Jing’s child can be saved, but she desperately needs medicine to calm the baby right now. I said I’d find a doctor because it’s safer.”
“What kind of medicine do you need?” Han Yunxi asked.
Mu Linger hastily stammered out a prescription and Han Yunxi simply took the ingredients out of her medical pouch. Or rather, she retrieved it from her detox system. All of Mu Linger’s ingredients were common items, so she had them in spares in storage. But they were mainly used for antidotes, not fetal medicine. Mu Linger and Ning Jing were both curious about how she’d managed to get everything, but now wasn’t the time for questions. Mu Linger checked to make sure the ingredients were right before going to brew medicine herself.
Han Yunxi made sure Ning Jing was all right before hurrying out to clean all traces of the blood. By the time she got back, Ning Jing was staring blankly at the ceiling. Han Yunxi sighed and couldn’t help but wonder how she would have explained herself to Tang Li if anything happened to Ning Jing today. She sat there for a long while in silence before Ning Jing looked her way.
Han Yunxi glanced at her but said nothing.
“Han Yunxi, you must think I’m hilarious, right?” Ning Jing smiled bitterly.
Han Yunxi’s voice was cold. “You’re simply abominable! How could you hide something this big fom Tang Li?!”
Agony flashed though Ning Jing’s eyes. She didn’t want to explain beyond turning aside and keeping quiet. Han Yunxi fell silent as well. Soon, she thought. It’s better for Tang Li to tell her these things himself.
Once Mu Linger returned with a decoction, Han Yunxi left to find a doctor. By the time she came back with one, Ning Jing had already drank her medicine and fallen asleep. The physician examined the patient, then Mu Linger’s prescription, and added a few moe medicines. He said that although the child had been saved, Ning Jing would have to stay bedridden for a month. Once he left, Mu Linger finally broke down into low sobs.
“Big sis, I didn’t mean it! I really didn’t mean it!”
Han Yunxi finally realized that Mu Linger was calling her “sister” now. When she looked at her tearstained face, she couldn’t help but feel helpless. “What’s the use if you apologize to me?”
“Big sis…sobsob…” Mu Linger’s cries intensified.
Han Yunxi immediately muffled her mouth. “Be quieter, won’t you? Ning Jing needs to rest!”
Mu Linger immediately shut up. Her teary eyes opened wide, making her look pitiful. She hadn’t even realized she was calling Han Yunxi her “big sis” now.
“Why did you run over here?” Han Yunxi asked.
Mu Linger finally remembered something. “Big sis, I, I...I got into another bit of trouble.”
Han Yunxi grew alarmed. “What is it?”
“Manager Jin wants to kill me,” Mu Linger said timidly.
Now Han Yunxi was outright shocked. “Just what happened?”
Mu Linger told her the story from beginning to end. Last night, she’d gone to spend big at East Origin Hall’s auction house and squandered a total of 300 million or more to buy every single object for sale. She ran into Manager Jin at Myriad Merchant Hall’s front doors today. The man wanted to murder her, but she reacted fast enough to escape inside where he didn’t dare to follow. As it turned out, Manager Jin didn’t have a single cent to his name after turning over the East Valley Private Bank to Fifth Elder last night. News had just spread this morning, so the bank didn’t have time to cancel his limitless gold card. Simply speaking, thanks to Mu Linger’s wild spending, now he owed at least 200 million in debt. That would have been a night’s worth of gambling work for Manager Jin in the past, but now it was an astronomical sum!
Even if he wanted to pay with his life, his life still belonged to Myriad Merchant Hall, ah!
Han Yunxi was a little angry, but after hearing Mu Linger’s explanation, she almost laughed out loud! Who knew Mu Linger knew how to screw people over too? No wonder Manager Jin wanted to kill her.
“Manager Jin has a buttload of debt now?” Han Yunxi muttered as she seemed to recall something.
“Big sis, I never thought things would get so serious.” Mu Linger had only wanted to get payback, but never expected to make Manager Jin so miserable. Although the bank in charge of his limitless gold card was different from his own East Valley Private Bank, they had scary methods to force payment from their clients. Manager Jin would have hard days from now on.
“Big sis, how about I sell off those things I got from the auction house at low prices and have him return as much money as he can?” Mu Linger was still kindhearted.
“No need. Have him panic a few days before we deal with it,” Han Yunxi said. She already had a plan in place. Manager Jin was originally from the Wintercrow Clan, so he should know their language. Perhaps he was the key to reversing Myriad Merchant Hall’s fortunes.
“Linger, stay here and take care of Ning Jing. Keep this a secret no matter what, understand? Otherwise, Ning Jing won’t forgive you for the rest of her life,” Han Yunxi said.
Mu Linger nodded vigorously before Han Yunxi left her. She tried to figure out how to get Tang Li out of the jail cells to visit Ning Jing while heading for the great hall. There, the elders had just about lost their patience with waiting. Uncle Cheng was present too after failing to find Manager Jin’s indenture agreement before Han Yunxi’s move. It had to be said that he rather admired the woman’s skills, but it was a shame her heart was with Long Feiye. Otherwise, she would be leading the charge in reviving West Qin’s great cause.
Uncle Cheng gained nothing with Manager Jin, but he still laid low. He knew that it was impossible for Han Yunxi to quell the storms of the auction and gambling houses now. Once she arrived, the various elders all rose to greet her. Then the head elder said, “Someone come, see if Miss Jing is coming? Just say that the princess is waiting for her.”
“No need, I told her to go to the gambling house,” Han Yunxi said.
The head elder wanted to ask more questions, but Han Yunxi beat him to it. “Head Elder, come tell us about the situation at the auction hall.”
“Yes,” the head elder rose and began to explain in detail. The storm at the auction hall came from a pile of fake goods. The objects were indeed counterfeits, but it wasn’t the auction hall that sold them, but traitors who planted the goods to ruin them. Business at the auction houses feared fake goods the most, so the guests seized on that detail to demand huge compensation charges.
“Then pay them back. Give them as much as they want,” Han Yunxi said.
“We’ve already agreed to pay them back 10 times the value, but that guest wants both the price and the actual goods,” the head elder was in a fix. “Princess, we still haven’t found hide or hair of the person yet, nor any sign of the genuine goods.”
“What are the origins of this guest?” Han Yunxi asked.
“A rich merchant from Western Zhou that deals in tea leaves,” the head elder replied, “He’s collected a bunch of fellows to block the door of the auction house everyday. If they won’t leave, then the auction hall can never open for business again.”
Han Yunxi nodded, then added, “And what about the situation at the gambling house?”
“Uncle Cheng has been dealing with that,” the head elder said.
Uncle Cheng quickly stepped out and explained the situation. It was worse than the auction hall, because ever since their swindling ways had been exposed, the gamblers had taken over the premises and refused to leave. Many of them demanded that the casino pay them back for losses incurred over the past three years with interest. That was small potatoes, however, compared to the few who not only wanted compensation, but brought along their pageboys to smash the grounds and vowed to destroy it for every day Myriad Merchant Hall opened its gambling houses for business.
“Pageboys?” Han Yunxi huffed. “Even a crowd of them can manage to smash up a gambling house? Are the guards nothing but rice buckets you raised for nothing?”
Uncle Cheng was quick to explain. “Your Royal Highness, at a time like this, we’ll just be more in the wrong if we use force against them. Thus, this subordinate only coaxed them to stop instead of using force. This subordinate has already punished those dealers, but Golden Wing Hall exposed all our sleights of hand. Even East Origin Hall’s gambling houses are at stake at this point. Besides the gamblers causing a ruckus, all the other ones are gone.”
A cold smile flitted past Uncle Cheng’s eyes as he said desperately. “Your Royal Highness, both the gambling house and our auction hall are Myriad Merchant Hall’s main source of revenue. What do we do now? The military camp sent word the day before yesterday that they need Myriad Merchant Hall to transfer silver in preparation for the troop’s winter supplies. The spies in Northern Li are asking for silver too. Right now, Northern Li’s trade consortium has chosen a new president and they need vast amounts of money to mediate between our two parties.”
Everyone fell silent at Uncle Cheng’s words as they looked to Han Yunxi for ideas. The elders of Myriad Merchant Hall had weathered their share of storms and weren’t easy foes, but this calamity had forced them into a rare moment of hesitation. They didn’t dare to take any risks. After all, if things went wrong, then Myriad Merchant Hall would lose its main sources of revenue. The army would then be unable to supply its troops. In any other situation, they could make up the differences here or there, but this was different. They needed ample reserve funds to face a war that could break out at any moment.
Han Yunxi fell silent for a long time before declaring a shocking idea. She said, “Send orders to close the gambling house!”
“You can’t!” Uncle Cheng was the first to stand up, followed by all of the elders except Fifth Elder. Although none of the old men spoke, they were in agreement with Uncle Cheng.
“Then do you have any better ideas?” Han Yunxi asked.
“Your Royal Highness, this subordinate dares to say that this isn’t a solution at all! Once the gambling house closes its doors, we’ll lose a huge source of wealth! Right now, we’re lacking silver in all areas, so just say--”
Han Yunxi cut Uncle Cheng off. “Uncle Cheng, I’m very sorry to say that the path of wealth at the gambling house has long dried up!”
Her words were the truth. Even if the casino persisted, it wouldn’t make any profits.
“There isn’t even anyone gambling at East Origin Hall, to say nothing of ours,” Han Yunxi added. “Do you think keeping it open won’t incur costs, too? Have any of you calculated just how much it costs to run those casinos for a few days? The price of servants, official salaries, and other extraneous costs--don’t we need to pay those too? Even lighting the lamps need money!”
The room was silent. No one could retort, but none of them were satisfied with this answer. Only Fifth Elder, who supported her wholeheartedly, couldn’t bear the thought of the casinos shutting their doors.
“Rather than wasting funds, why not use these natural resources well before someone else seizes upon a business opportunity?” Han Yunxi asked.
Nobody understood what she meant, but Han Yunxi next said, “After shutting down the casinos in Three-Way Black Market, we’ll just open few more under individual ownership in nearby counties. People addicted to gambling will never abandon a casino!”\Previous Chapter Next Chapter
#9 of the 12 owed PGC chapters