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Chapter 521: Ouyang Ningnuo’s thoughts

    Chapter 521: Ouyang Ningnuo's thoughts

    Han Yunxi carefully surveyed Long Feiye, then studied Gu Qishao from head to toe. The former was dressed in black robes and looked handsome and mysterious, while the latter was clothed in a giant black cloak as he stood straight and proud. Both of them looked alright, so she was secretly delighted. The duel probably ended as expected, with Long Feiye beating Gu Qishao but then letting him off for my sake.

    Long Feiye still had personality to do such a thing. Moreover, Gu Qishao's martial arts skills couldn't compare to his opponent or even Jun Yixie. Even if he used poison, his speed would be limited by Long Feiye's superior stats and eye. With this in mind, Han Yunxi still provoked her husband and asked, "Long Feiye, did you win?"

    Long Feiye pretended not to hear her and sat down expressionlessly by her side to steep tea. Han Yunxi scooted closer to him and asked again, "Who won?"

    Long Feiye still wouldn't say, so Han Yunxi placed her hand over his teacup and said, "I'm asking you, you know?"

    Gu Qishao was surprised by the sight. When did that lass get so bold? She used to act like a little concubine in front of Long Feiye.

    Instead of getting angry at being kept from his tea, Long Feiye simply took Han Yunxi's half-finished tea and drank that instead. He still refused to answer her question. Technically speaking, the duel between him and Gu Qishao last night yielded neither a winner nor a loser. How was he to explain anything to Han Yunxi when he and his opponent hadn't agreed on a story yet?

    While Long Feiye was still hesitating, Gu Qishao generously spoke up. "He won!"

    Han Yunxi wasn't surprised, but Long Feiye arched a questioning brow towards Gu Qishao.

    "He remembered that I saved your life, so he mercifully spared mine." Gu Qishao's heart didn't feel any pain in owing up to his 'loss,' but his chest wounds certainly ached! He dearly wanted to say that the battle had been a tie, and that it would've stayed a tie even if Long Feiye hadn't spared him. How could being tied up by his whip count as a 'loss?' It wasn't even life-threatening! He wouldn't have stayed bound for long.

    Still, there were some secrets a man had to keep for a lifetime.

    Gu Qishao carelessly took a seat and stuck up his legs. Despite 'losing,' his rampant attitude hadn't changed at all. Long Feiye stayed silent, but he did pour him a cup of tea and push it over. Gu Qishao generously accepted the offering. "Thanks!"

    "You're welcome," Long Feiye intoned.

    Han Yunxi felt the rock weighing on her heart disappeared at the sight. Whatever the case, at least...at least she hadn't lost Gu Qishao as a friend! Only by working together could they face their enemies! She quickly said, "Let's talk about how to save Mu Linger, how about it?"

    Each additional day Mu Linger was in Medicine City was an extra day of torment. Moreover, Mu Yingdong was a shrewd man as well. He had to have his reasons for letting Head Elder Xie take his daughter away.

    "Would Xie Deyi and Mu Yingdong have no choice but to yield once we've taken over Medical City? It'll be simple to deal with Mu Linger then," Gu Qishao said craftily. He was both goading Long Feiye into action while taunting him at the same time. He couldn't counter Medical City on his own without a poisons woman at his disposal.

    Long Feiye only replied, "Will you go?"

    "You've already beaten this young master, it's naturally you who should go," Gu Qishao was very modest.

    "What does your Pill Fiend Pharmacy's affairs have to do with this lordship?" Long Feiye countered.

    "Long Feiye, you just said it yourself! Don't you dare meddle in these affairs!" Gu Qishao cried gleefully. He was quite content to join hands with Poison lass on these matters.

    But Long Feiye simply said perfunctorily, "Your lordship is willing to go." He wasn't following Gu Qishao's whims with his statement but simply showing that he did as he liked. Han Yunxi's face was already turning black from listening to them talk. When did the taciturn Duke of Qin get talkative enough to argue with Gu Qishao's chatty mouth?

    Still...it looks like Long Feiye's pretty good at shutting up Gu Qishao.

    Gu Qishao narrowed his eyes and prepared to retort when Gu Beiyue suddenly showed up. Compared to listening to Long Feiye and Gu Qishao argue, Han Yunxi  much preferred to chat with Gu Beiyue. He could be considered a veteran member of the medical community as well, so perhaps he had better ideas.

    Unexpectedly, Gu Beiyue came with a surprise report. "Your Highness, esteemed wangfei, Cloud Realm Trade Consortium's Ouyang Ningnuo requests an audience."

    Last time it was Ouyang Ningnuo who'd informed Chu Tianyin of the gunpowder incident at the black market; otherwise, it would've been impossible for the man to move so quickly and set archers after Han Yunxi. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were naturally going to blame Ouyang Ningnuo for everything. A cold smile rose on Long Feiye's lips, while Han Yunxi just snorted and said, "If he has the guts to come, then let him in!"

    Very soon, Ouyang Ningnuo openly walked into the hall, dressed in scholarly, refined robes. A casual observer might even mistake him for the young master of some literati clan.

    "Your Highness Duke of Qin, esteemed wangfei," he greeted them politely, making sure to leave no one out. "Your Excellency Pill Fiend, Imperial Physician Gu."

    Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were both cold-faced and refused to reply. Gu Qishao simply sat with his legs still sticking up in the air, playing around with his bony fingers.

    "President Ouyang," Gu Beiyue bowed back. "You can simply call this one 'doctor;' I am no imperial physician anymore."

    Compared to Gu Beiyue's gentleness and warmth, Ouyang Ningnuo's refined manners looked much more hypocritical.

    "I see...heheh, then this one shall call you Doctor Gu in the future," Ouyang Ningnuo chuckled. Gu Beiyue smiled and nodded, but stopped speaking after that. Like this, the hall was left with Long Feiye and Han Yunxi sitting in the lord and lady's seats, Gu Qishao and Gu Beiyue in the seats flanking both sides, and Ouyang Ningnuo standing before them all. Ouyang Ningnuo had experienced all sorts of situations, so he remained unruffled in face of the slight.

    "Esteemed wangfei, Your Excellency Pill Fiend, this one comes to discuss an order of business. I don't know whether you two would be interested?" he asked sincerely,

    Han Yunxi gave him a frosty look and stayed silent. As for Gu Qishao, he was too interested in his fingers to even glance his way. After a period of silence, the air grew even more awkward despite the fact that everyone was calm and unmoved as ever.

    "This order of business involves Medicine City," Ouyang Ningnuo tested next.

    As before, the four seated figures remained mute. Ouyang Ningnuo's eyes flashed with a complicated look before he continued with a smile, "This one has an 80 percent certainty of saving Mu Linger. The remaining 20 percent...will depend on esteemed wangfei and Your Excellency Pill Fiend's assistance."

    Even at this point, nobody paid him any attention.

    "Heheh, it looks like esteemed wangfei and Your Excellency Pill Fiend has already given up on Mu Linger. In that case, this one has cared in vain." So speaking, Ouyang Ningnuo prepared to leave, but still nobody stopped him. Although Ouyang Ningnuo knew the group would never give up Mu Linger, he was still affected by their constant silence. In the end, he turned back and said, "Esteemed wangfei, Your Excellency Pill Fiend, if neither of you move now, Mu Linger will be married off to Northern Lin's imperial clan!"

    "What?" Han Yunxi rose to her feet. "Ouyang Ningnuo, what are you talking about?" She hadn't wanted to acknowledge this man, but he had brought them such frightening news. Since when had Northern Li's imperial clan gotten involved in this mess? In the midst of her amazement, Han Yunxi suddenly recalled Jun Yixie. He's been in cahoots with Mu Yingdong since ages ago!

    The only reason that Jun Yixie could visit the Medicine Forest freely and cultivate his plants in its poison pond was because Mu Yingdong let him! Seeing Han Yunxi figuratively stamp her foot, Ouyang Ningnuo knew he hadn't come in vain.

    "Esteemed wangfei, could you offer me a cup of tea?" Ouyang Ningnuo was waiting to be invited to a seat. He was naturally here for a long chat.

    But Han Yunxi only retorted, "Whatever it is that you're planning, spit it out quick!"

    "Esteemed wangfei, this one sincerely wishes to collaborate with Pill Fiend Pharmacy. This matter requires one to sit down before we chat," Ouyang Ningnuo feigned helplessness. He'd negotiated many terms before, but he'd never lacked for a chair.

    Now it was Gu Qi Sha's turn to look at him. "There's no need for more discussion. My Pill Fiend Valley's plants are only for Pill Fiend Pharmacy!"

    Immediately, Han Yunxi realized what was going on. So Ouyang Ningnuo is actually after Pill Fiend Valley's medicinal plants!

    "You want too much!" Han Yunxi snorted coldly.

    Medicine City had already monopolized the medicinal materials trade, while Cloud Realm Trade Consortium controlled the market trends for their goods. Pill Fiend Pharmacy had finally carved out its own niche in the business, so how could it eke out another deal with the Consortium now? When Pill Fiend Pharmacy expanded in the future and opened up branch stores in other locations, it would have more and more dealings with Medicine City. They'd even be a challenge to Cloud Realm Trade Consortium then. What Pill Fiend Pharmacy feared wasn't Medicine City, but Ouyang Ningnuo!

    Ouyang Ningnuo feigned ignorance as he murmured in a regretful tone, "Aye, more's the pity for Miss Linger."

    "Mu Linger is in Head Elder Xie's hands. Can Mu Yingdong marry her off just because he wants to?" Han Yunxi probed.

    "If Mu Yingdong wasn't certain that he could, why would he have let Head Elder Xie take the girl back to Medicine City?" Ouyang Ningnuo countered.

    "Where did you get the information from? How certain are you of rescuing Mu Linger?" Han Yunxi was only testing him because she'd never agree to work with Ouyang Ningnuo for real.

    But Ouyang Ningnuo simply stopped talking. "Since esteemed wangfei has no intentions to cooperate with me, then this one shall take his leave now."

    "Besides the medicinal ingredients from Pill Fiend Valley, everything else is still negotiable," Han Yunxi yielded.

    "Esteemed wangfei, if you've thought things through, you can contact me anytime within the next month." By now Ouyang Ningnuo had already reached the door. He turned back to toss them one final word. "Of course, once the month passes, it'll be impossible for this one to do anything even if esteemed wangfei changes your mind."

    Then he strode out the door with a crafty smile on his face. His final goal was still to get his hands on Pill Fiend Valley's plants rather than seek a true alliance. Today's visit was only to gain their trust a bit. He had brawled his way through the markets for years now, and loved to watch in safety from the top of the mountain while the tigers fought below. Then he could be the one to reap all the rewards in their wake. He believed that Long Feiye's skills and Han Yunxi's intelligence were both sufficient enough to deal with Jun Yixie!

    So he was expectant for the results in one month's time.

    After Ouyang Ningnuo left, the four people in the guest hall fell into silence as they exchanged glances. Things had...gotten complicated...
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