The enmity between East and West Qin was nothing but a misunderstanding and a farce. If Han Yunxi knew, she would be thrilled, right? How happy would she feel? Like a little girl, jumping and shouting about? Ning Cheng had never seen her act like that before. In fact, he’d rarely seen her smile. Thinking up to here, he almost thought he could see her confident yet dazzling grin.
And how would Long Feiye react?
Although Ning Cheng didn’t want to accept or believe the truth, he had to admit that this time Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had won their gamble! How could he do anything but submit to her? She was the master, while he was the vassal; she was the monarch, and he a subject; she hadn’t forgotten her duties or colluded with the enemy, so what right did he have to refuse her?
She had chosen Long Feiye, so what reason did he have to interfere?
Ning Cheng sat hanging his head, his hands resting over his knees. In the darkness, the candlelight illuminated the fine contours of his handsome face as his lips drew up into a bitter smile. He seemed resigned to his fate and utterly helpless. He was the one most adamant that things couldn’t have been a mere misunderstanding between East and West Qin, yet why was he the first to uncover the truth?
While lost in his thoughts, Bai Yuqiao entered.
“You’ve finished discussing things with my senior brother?” she asked.
Ning Cheng looked up while smiling inwardly. Bai Yuqiao will be a perfect pawn!
Years of hatred couldn’t be washed away by a single revelation of the truth. The civil war in the Great Qin Empire had killed and injured countless people and sacrificed even more. Those lost lives needed to be paid back. Who would pay the debt? Naturally, the Black and Wind Clans!
Even if he didn’t eliminate Bai Yanqing, he refused to believe that he couldn’t handle Jun Yixie!
While Ning Cheng’s letter to Uncle Cheng was on its way, the man himself was in a bad spot. Han Yunxi’s group had already finished touring South Jue and West Jade Gardens, paid the price, and gained the deeds before returning to Three-Way Black Market. Uncle Cheng only sat for a spell at Myriad Merchant Hall before making an excuse to leave.
He had made prior arrangements with Jia Dai to take the money from Meet Fortune Private Bank in Three-Way Black Market as soon as the deal was done. But he’d already been waiting for an hour, yet Jia Dai hadn’t shown up. Nor had the man made any mention of raising the price to him beforehand. All of this served to make Uncle Cheng sense something was off!
After sitting awhile, he rushed straight for Myriad Merchant Hall’s Prosperous Heaven Private Bank. Half of the payment from Han Yunxi and the head elder came from this bank. All subordinates of Myriad Merchant Hall had the right to withdraw money here. If he could freeze the account before Jia Dai withdrew the money, then the silver drafts in the man’s hands would become defunct. Then the man would get no cash at all. And yet, by the time Uncle Cheng arrived, he was told that the silver drafts had already been cashed in at a different bank.
“Detestable!” Uncle Cheng slammed a fist on the counter, scaring the manager.
“Absolutely abominable!” Uncle Cheng was furious, but he soon found no time to fret. Panic replaced his rage. Without the money, how was he supposed to pay back Manager Jin’s debt? Tonight was the deadline he’d given the man!
Gradually, Uncle Cheng fell silent as his expression grew complicated. Seeing this, the manager carefully drew closer and murmured, “Uncle Cheng, it was the Council of Elders that wrote this silver draft, right? What kind of business was the head elder doing to need so much money?”
How could mere subordinates know anything about the West Qin princess involving herself in Myriad Merchant Hall’s affairs, much less what the head elder spent their money on? In the bank, only the manager knew that Myriad Merchant Hall had taken out 700 million in one shot today at noon. But Uncle Cheng was too lost in his thoughts to hear the man. He only had two paths before him: kill Manager Jin before he blabbed to Han Yunxi and the head elder, or...run away!
After leaving Prosperous Heaven Private Bank, Uncle Cheng didn’t return to Myriad Merchant Hall, but called upon a group of experts to accompany him to Three-Way Black Market’s busiest area, the Willowflower Alley.
Night had already fallen, but Han Yunxi was still very busy. After coming back from West Jade Gardens, she and a few elders had began discussing the matters of opening up gambling houses. South Jue Gardens and West Jade Gardens both had courtyards that could be put to use immediately without any renovations. As long as they brought over the gambling things, they were set.
“Let’s start tonight. It has to be top secret! At most, we’ll need to open for business in 10 days,” Han Yunxi said. Ever since leaving Ning Jing’s rooms, her nerves had been pulled taut.
“May princess give the two casinos a name,” the head elder said respectfully. They had determined that South Jue Gardens, which was closer to the Three-Way Black Markets, would be an ordinary gambling house and open for business first. West Jade Gardens would be reserved for distinguished patrons, so they’d let it sit first while spreading its name.
After a pause, Han Yunxi decided, “We can just use the original names. Have someone spread word a few days from now. Just say that the owner of the gardens decided to open gambling houses!”
The head elder clapped his hands at the ingenious idea. Such misleading lies would only make the gardens more mysterious. Such gains outweighed the price of fraud. After Han Yunxi discussed a few more details with the elders, the meeting was dismissed. She had her servant girl wheel her away while chatting with the various men and discussing official business.
“Your Royal Highness, you’ve worked hard these past two days!”
“Your Royal Highness, hurry and go back to rest. We can take care of everything else, you don’t need to worry.”
Han Yunxi was about to ask after the auction hall’s progress when a little pageboy suddenly dashed over. “Your Royal Highness, Head Elder, the auction hall’s started doing business again!”
“Really?!” the head elder was thrilled.
“All three auction halls are open for business, and it’s all large sales. The eastern hall offered two items that, but the customer for the second simply paid for the item in full price without borrowing anything from Kangan Private Bank,” the pageboy added delightedly.
The head elder was so happy he didn’t know what to say. His bloodshot eyes, once rimmed with exhaustion, now grew moist with tears. He was shouldering the majority of the pressure for the past few days. Cloud Realm Trade Consortium and the army, as well as the Di Clan’s various scattered forces across the continent, had all written letters asking him about the situation here. He couldn’t bear it all alone. Today they had spent 700 million to purchase two properties. Although he appeared calm, his heart was still trembling from the cost. He feared that the Di Clan’s hundred years of business would die in his hands.
Thank goodness that they’d salvaged the danger at the auction halls. Once that was set, Myriad Merchant Hall wouldn’t need to fear taking risks again. They could afford to gamble! The other elders all exchanged looks, their expressions filled with joy. Finally, they all turned towards Han Yunxi, at a loss for how to express their gratitude.
Han Yunxi silently exhaled. She was happy too! She smiled and said, “Everyone should rest early today. Have a good night’s sleep!”
She knew the five elders had to be suffering incredible pressure. Tonight, they might finally sleep without worries. Her words led to more smiles.
“That’s right, did anyone find the troublemakers at the gambling house?” Han Yunxi asked.
“We’re still looking. We’ll report as soon as we find news,” the head elder hastened to say.
Han Yunxi nodded and had everyone disperse. She was planning to visit Ning Jing next, but suddenly remembered someone else and changed her mind. It had only been two days and a night since she’d seen him, but why did it feel like ages? It was as if she hadn’t seen Long Feiye for the entire season.
Was he already waiting for her in her room?
When she recalled the minutes of their last night together, Han Yunxi felt the tips of her ears grow hot. Although she’d vowed multiple times to torment Long Feiye once, the reality proved that she didn’t preside over the conclusion at all. In the end, it was Long Feiye that ate her thoroughly. She quickly returned to her room and dismissed all of the servant girls inside and around the chambers. Sitting in her wheelchair, she scanned the premises but saw that it was empty. There was no sign of his familiar form.
Where is he?
She hadn’t noticed him the last few times, either, but he’d appeared silently nonetheless.
Where could he be hiding?
Her lips quirked in a grin, Han Yunxi steeled her heart to hunt him down. But right before she began, a servant girl appeared. “Your Royal Highness, the head elder begs for an audience. He says he needs to disturb you for something.”
Coming to her room this late at night really was a disturbance. Han Yunxi intentionally remained silent, waiting for Long Feiye to show himself and tell her to refuse. Yet after a long while had passed, the room remained quite and still.
Did Long Feiye not come?
If he was here, he should have revealed himself long ago to glare at her so she could refuse the head elder. As things stood, Han Yunxi felt like someone had poured cold water over her fun. Disappointed, she replied, “Have the head elder wait in the side room, I’ll come over right now.”
Before leaving, she cast a final glance around her bedroom with disappointment.
Han Yunxi had hardly entered the side room when the head elder strode over and fell on his knees, offering up a comman token respectfully with both hands. It was made of golden-threaded nanmu wood and attached to a key as well as a strip of golden-threaded silk. A single “Di” character was carved into the wood. Han Yunxi had been expecting this command token for awhile now. She didn’t feign surprise or refuse the offer, but simply remained silent.
“Your Royal Highness, Master Ning is missing. May you preside over the conclusion for the Di Clan!” the head elder entreated sincerely.
“Preside over the conclusion for the Di Clan?” Han Yunxi echoed with interested. She was about to probe when the head elder amended his words.
“Myriad Merchant Hall will listen to all that the princess orders.”
Han Yunxi took the command token with a faint smile. “Head Elder, aren’t you afraid that I’m still having an affair with Long Feiye and trying to dissipate the Di Clan’s wealth?”
The head elder broke into a brilliant smile. “If that’s what the princess really wants, then who can stop you?”
Han Yunxi suddenly thought of Ning Cheng. He was still young, yet lacked the head elder’s open-mindedness and ability to see the bigger picture.
If she really wanted to betray her duties to West Qin, who could stop her? Why did she have to work so hard bustling about to save Myriad Merchant Hall? Why did she have to fight for the sake of some so-called “righteousness” and waste all that energy? Han Yunxi returned the Council of Elders’ command token to the head elder.
“If the Council of Elders trusts me, then they just have to agree to one request! Ning Cheng isn’t here, so you and the Council of Elders should still work together to deal with Myriad Merchant Hall’s matters. I only offered a few suggestions, that’s all.”
The head elder was rather taken aback. This command token was like a free gift of silver, a symbol of power and might. No one in the Di Clan would dare to look down on anyone in possession of the item. Who would dare to suspect her if she held it in her hands?
But she’d actually refused it?
“May Your Royal Highness please share any requests you may have,” the head elder replied.
“Then I ask that elder uses the name of Myriad Merchant Hall’s Council of Elders to tell Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s Council of Elders that the Ning Clan’s various generals and deputy generals of West Qin are to ally with East Qin’s forces to capture Bai Yanqing together, then save Gu Beiyue…”
Before Han Yunxi could finish, the head elder’s expression had already blanched. He exclaimed, “Princess wants to work with East Qin?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter