Chapter 112: Exchange
Fire Phoenix said this as a means of testing Tang Zheng and Lin Hu's relationship. She already knew that Lin Hu must have important matters to discuss with her and it was undoubtedly related to his future developments. If this topic were something that he avoided in Tang Zheng's presence, then it would provide her with several clues.
But never would she have expected Tang Zheng to take the initiative by standing up, cupping his hands, and saying: "You guys continue discussing, I will first take my leave."
Fire Phoenix looked at him weirdly: "Young Master Tang won't stay for a while?"
"The night is late, and I must go home." Tang Zheng tactfully declined.
"Young Master Tang, I'll send you off." Lin Hu stood up and walked Tang Zheng out to the entrance of the restaurant and asked in puzzlement: "Young Master Tang, it seems like you don't want her to know your relationship with me?"
Tang Zheng shook his head: "I am a student, and it would not fit for me to interact with her too much. Moreover, I have already clearly said that all matters pertaining to the underworld would be taken care of by you. Only when you need it will I step in."
“I understand. I think that Fire Phoenix has sincerity so this cooperation may proceed smoothly.” Lin Hu speculated.
“Then work hard.” Tang Zheng splayed his hands and walked home.
Lin Hu stared off at Tang Zheng’s disappearing back as he was lost in thought. After a while he turned around and headed back to the private room: “Fire Phoenix, bluntly speaking, I have just taken over Boss Fan’s territory and surely have attracted Hoodlum’s attention. You also know that I am not his opponent so I wanted to seek your help.”
“Oh? You want to join hands with me to go against Hoodlum?” Fire Phoenix’s almond eyes widened as she gave a smile that was not a smile.
“Behind Hoodlum is Master Huang. Aren’t you afraid?” Fire Phoenix asked.
"Afraid? Of course, I'm afraid. But what is the point of fear? Could it be that you think Huang Si would watch wide-eyed as I continue growing? Sooner or later he will make a move to deal with me, so I might as well take the initiative in attacking." Lin Hu's gaze revealed a hint of ferocity as he decisively said.
"You actually dare call Master Huang by his nickname? Your guts sure aren't small. It seems you have changed so much that I almost do not recognize you." Fire Phoenix said with a bit of banter in her tone.
Previously Lin Hu was content with occupying his small corner and did not have any fighting spirit, but today he actually dared go against Huang Si. This gave him a whole new level of respect in Fire Phoenix's eyes.
"It's human nature. You can't expect someone to never change. Otherwise, we'd be swallowed by the tides of time."
"Wow, you have even become a philosopher, speaking such profound words."
Lin Hu did not acknowledge her jab as he continued: "I know that there are dangers involved but risks and opportunities walk hand in hand. If we take down Hoodlum, then we will split his territory 50/50."
“Hehe, you make it sound so easy but what about Master Huang? Where are you going to find an expert to deal with him?”
This was the real question as everyone wanted to be the big boss but if they can not successfully deal with Huang Si, then all is for naught. It is true that Huang Si has retired to the back of the stage, but if someone dared to harm his interests, then they will be calling a thunderstorm upon themselves.
"This problem is something you do not have to worry about as there will naturally be someone who will appear." Lin Hu said with utmost confidence. He knew that since Tang Zheng dared challenge the Huang Clan and even have Huang Ziyang suffer a loss, yet not make a scene about it goes to show that Tang Zheng must have a strong supporter that can not be looked down upon.
Fire Phoenix restrained her smile as she solemnly looked at Lin Hu almost as if she did not recognize him anymore.
“Who will appear?”
“This is a secret.”
"Since it's a secret then we have nothing more to talk about but don't you worry, I will not tell your plans to Master Huang. Moreover, your matters are not remotely related to me so I will be okay as long as you don't try to take a bite out of me." Fire Phoenix walked straight for the door.
Lin Hu’s expression changed slightly as he said: “Fire Phoenix, could it be that you don’t want to take revenge for your husband?”
Fire Phoenix suddenly stopped in her track as she turned around and glared at him, her eyes emitting killing intent: “Lin Hu, what do you mean?”
“I do not believe that you never once doubted the reasons for your husband's death as he died early at a time when he could pose a threat to Huang Si. Could it be that his death really is that simple?” Lin Hu said without a care for her anger.
Fire Phoenix's gaze fluctuated, but she did not say a single word.
Lin Hu felt his heart stir as he knew he guessed correctly. She most definitely had her suspicions of Huang Si but never made them known.
He decided to add to the fire and said: "After your husband's death Huang Si went through a period of rapid expansion to become what he is today. This shows that he had the greatest benefits so any knowledgeable person could put two and two together. If you truly want revenge then you should join up with me to topple Hoodlum and to chop off this hand of Huang Si. Then we can worry about taking care of Huang Si and get your revenge."
"You want to convince me just like that? It's not that easy. When you are finally willing to reveal your trump card, then you can come find me." Fire Phoenix pushed open the door and walked out. Lin Hu's expression changed as he did not think he was unable to convince her but it seems like she was more cautious than he thought.
His trump card was Tang Zheng, yet Tang Zheng did not want to reveal his identity leaving him helpless and at an impasse.
In the following two days, Tang Zheng stayed at home to cultivate just to avoid the monthly exams. This caused his qi to significantly increase but what he really wanted to do was hurry up and refine the Spirit Pill. As of now, he could not do anything because there was no news from Ye Xuanji.
Even so, he was not worried as Ye Xuanji would definitely come through and just as he expected, Ye Tianlei personally drove to bring him over to the Ye Clan.
Ye Tianlei once again looked at Tang Zheng with a different expression that revealed a hint of regret for not seeing the greatness that is Tang Zheng, but he also had a hint of rejoicing that Tang Zheng gave them a way out of the situation. By doing so, this saved the situation from taking a turn for the worse.
Of course, Ye Tianlei was very clear that this situation was tied with his daughter as this exchange would ultimately result in a gain of benefits for Ye Dingdang.
“Tang Zheng, thank you!” Suddenly, Ye Tianlei solemnly said.
Tang Zheng glanced at him and said: “This is an exchange that is fair. There is no need for gratitude.”
Ye Tianlei shook his head: "I don't mean this, but how you are giving Ye Dingdang a way to get out of her bind."
The bind being her arranged marriage.
Ye Tianlei was very clear that when Ye Xuanji heard of Tang Zheng's conditions for exchange, he went into a huge fury as even though he did not care for the three-hundred-year-old ginseng, he did not like how his family members participated in setting him up.
This was because he thought he had absolute control over the entire family, but that was not the case for the branch in Chang Heng City as there were subtle changes.
This anger was so overwhelming, but he had nowhere to vent it on so he could only swallow it down.
"This is as easy as turning my hands. Moreover, he must have been quite furious, and that is exactly what I want as I do not want him to be happy." Tang Zheng said finding joy in another person's misfortune.
Ye Tianlei shook his head with a bitter smile, this kid sure had a temper compared to back when he was young as he did not dare treat the old gramps like this.
“Actually, even though the old gramps methods may not be appropriate at times he is still only looking out for the Ye Clan.” Ye Tianlei tried to explain as he was unwilling to see the chasm between the two grow even wider.
Tang Zheng waved his hand, signaling that he wasn't willing to continue the conversation.
"To me, the family's happiness trumps the gains of the family, and I know that he did not do all he should as a grandfather and that is what matters."
Ye Tianlei did not continue to explain, and the entire trip was filled with silence. In the hall, Ye Xuanji and the Medicine King were conversing in low tones and placed before them was a large box. When Tang Zheng finally arrived, Ye Xuanji raised his head and glanced at Tang Zheng before turning his gaze away as if he were unwilling to see the other.
And of course, he wouldn't want to see him because even though this time at Chang Heng City he had achieved his goal, he was nearly angered to death in the process. This, in turn, gave him an unforgettable memory.
Ye Dingdang walked down from the second floor with all smiles as she blinked at Tang Zheng: “You came.”
Today was a day off at school because after each monthly exam the students would be given a day's rest.
Tang Zheng nodded but did not say anything. Ye Xuanji gave the box a push and said: "Three-hundred-year-old ginseng."
Tang Zheng walked over and opened the box to see a miniature human looking ginseng laying there, with the five distinct human features.
"Is this three-hundred-years-old?" Tang Zheng asked Tian Chanzi as he had no way of determining its age, but Tian Chanzi can.
"Yes, this has started to form and actually has a little bit of spirit. If it were allowed to cultivate for a few hundred more years, it would transform and take the shape of a human."
“Could it be that ginseng can really gain spirit awareness?” Tang Zheng said in astonishment.
Tian Chanzi said with disdain: "Of course, there are countless things under the heavens, many of which are able to gain spiritual awareness. The ginseng is something that can possess spiritual force, making it easy to acquire spiritual awareness. The one thing is that ginseng does not have any self-preservation skills so even after it develops spiritual awareness it can only end up being used by cultivators."
“That sounds pretty sad.” Tang Zheng sighed.
"What's there to be sad about. There are treasures under the heavens, and that is just its life."
Tang Zheng closed the box and fished out a small pill bottle from his pockets before placing it on the table.
Ye Xuanji’s gaze was attracted by the bottle as he snatched it firmly in his hands before letting out a breath of relief. He then lifted his gaze to look at Tang Zheng and emotionlessly asked: “Why don’t you verify the ginseng? What if it isn’t really three hundred years old?’
"I already checked, and it is indeed precisely three hundred and ten years." Tang Zheng lightly said.
Ye Xuanji's expression revealed suspicion as he knew that this ginseng was indeed three hundred years old but he was not aware of the specific age.
This item was not something that could be found as easily as gold and silver, and he had spent enormous manpower and influence over the past few days to find it.
The Medicine King's eyebrows couldn't help but jump as he asked: "Tang Zheng, how do you know that the ginseng is three hundred and ten years old?"
“I can tell.” Tang Zheng calmly said possessing a steady countenance that surpassed his age.
The Medicine King's lips made a smacking sound as he said: "A long time ago my master also passed onto me a method of determining the age of ginseng, but it is not as accurate as yours. I can only tell that the ginseng is around three hundred to three hundred and fifty years old while you can tell its exact age."
Tang Zheng flicked his lips and thought that it was Tian Chanzi who told me so that is why I can say it with certainty.
“This type of method must have been something your master passed onto you, right?” The Medicine King enviously asked.
“Yes.” Tang Zheng continued to push responsibility onto this made up master of his.
“Can you perhaps tell me how you did it? Relax, I will give you an equal exchange.”
“Tian Chanzi, how did you determine its age?” Tang Zheng asked out of curiosity.
“It is merely feeling out the spiritual awareness of the ginseng. It is something you will be able to do once your cultivation reaches a certain level. This old brat is unable.” Tian Chanzi said.
“Senior Medicine King, you are not suited for this method.” Tang Zheng truthfully said.
Medicine King regretfully shook his head and did not say anything else.
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