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Chapter 546: Travesty, stripped of noble titles
Please Note: The name of Jun Yixie's master has now been changed to Bai Yanqing (白彦青) to reflect final author changes in the novel. He previously went by Bai Qingyan. ^-^
Because the fact involved her own birth secret as well as the Poison Sect, Han Yunxi had no choice but to keep the admission to herself. Mu Linger felt her heart grow warm at the words, but her face was as stiff as ever. She disdainfully replied, “This girl has plenty of big sisters already. I don’t need you to be one, too!”
Even so, she was mocking herself internally. Yes, she did have many older sisters, but had any of them really treated her like one in turn?
Han Yunxi long expected Mu Linger to refuse the offer, so she simply smiled and let it pass. But Su Xiaoyu didn't stand for it and raged, "You can't tell good from bad! Who do you think you are?"
Mu Linger only cast Su Xiaoyu a scornful glance at snorted. "Damned servant, you're speaking out of turn!"
Su Xiaoyu grew even angrier, but before she could retort, Mu Linger cut her off. "Don't think I don't know you're secretly making medicines at the counter every night. Pill Fiend Pharmacy has its regulations, too. It's fine if you want to learn, but you have to pay for all the materials you use yourself! Please get rid of the ones you touch instead of putting them back in the original cupboards! We're selling fine goods here, not secondhand items!"
Besides Lil Thing, no one else knew that Su Xiaoyu had been secretly practicing her prescription-making skills at night. Now that she'd been exposed, she felt nothing short of humiliated. Instantly, Su Xiaoyu's face reddened as she sputtered back, "You….you!"
But there was no way to retort. Mu Linger's words were the truth, and she had full right to say them. After coming back from Medicine City, His Highness Duke of Qin had announced that she was now the Head Pharmacist of Pill Fiend Pharmacy in charge of looking after all the medicinal ingredients.
"What about me? If you still want to stick around Pill Fiend Pharmacy, I suggest you follow the rules. Your punishment is no entry into the pharmacy for three days. Think over what you've done! If I catch you sneaking into the counter at night again, you're banned from Pill Fiend Pharmacy forever!" Mu Linger was simply avenging personal wrongs in the name of public interest. Su Xiaoyu felt so wronged that she wanted to cry, while Han Yunxi drank her soup and looked on with secret pleasure. Everything has its nemesis, isn't that right? It's about time Mu Linger lectures Su Xiaoyu for her arrogant and domineering ways.
Baili Mingxiang hesitated before finally venturing to say, "Miss Linger, little Yu'er is simply eager to learn. She doesn't have time during the day so she can only study at night. She didn't want to waste any ingredients on purpose while making prescriptions at the counter. Perhaps you can forgive her once on account of esteemed wangfei?" Baili Mingxiang was intelligent enough to phrase her words in a way that Mu Linger couldn't refuse, and that Han Yunxi couldn't do anything but accept.
"Alright, alright, forget about the three day penalty. Just hand over your wages for this month to Pill Fiend Pharmacy's accounts," Han Yunxi intoned. Mu Linger didn't press the issue. If Su Xiaoyu didn't make a fuss, she was too lazy to pay her any attention, either.
Neither Han Yunxi nor Mu Linger brought up the issue about calling each other sisters again, thus avoiding another awkward argument. Mu Linger had only dropped by to see how Han Yunxi was doing, because Long Feiye's guard had made it impossible for anyone to see her during her coma. Now that Han Yunxi was fine, she was going to leave.
But Han Yunxi called her back. "Hold it, it's about time I went to Pill Fiend Pharmacy, so I'll come with you."
Mu Linger didn't say a word, but waited until Han Yunxi was ready before she left. Once everyone was gone, Su Xiaoyu finally glanced at Baili Mingxiang and gave a cold harumph "I don't need your fake goodwill!"
Baili Mingxiang knitted her brows at her, but didn't bother to explain herself. She was at least ten years older than Su Xiaoyu, so there wasn't any point in arguing with a child. Maybe she'll be less unreasonable after she grows a bit older. She was about to leave when Su Xiaoyu tossed out, "So you're sticking to esteemed wangfei's side as soon as His Highness Duke of Qin comes back, are ya?"
Baili Mingxiang's heart gave a jolt. She turned back and saw Su Xiaoyu still glaring at her. Her fists clenched in reply.
"What, you want to deny it?" Su Xiaoyu pressed.
Baili Mingxiang felt like beating someone up for the first time in her life. But she still held back and turned to leave. Despite her fury and humiliation, she still felt the pangs of a guilty conscience. That was probably why she couldn't deny the claims outright. If feelings were so easy to control, would they still be feelings?
Will I ever get a chance to redeem myself in this lifetime?
Han Yunxi accompanied Mu Linger in the carriage back to Pill Fiend Pharmacy. Neither of them said anything the whole way there. But before they got off their ride, Mu Linger couldn't help but ask, "Where…did he go?"
Qi gege hadn't shown up when she got out of jail. Even after she went to Pill Fiend Pharmacy, he was nowhere to be seen. Mu Linger didn't dare to ask Long Feiye, but Han Yunxi was in a coma as well, so she'd waited bitterly for half a month. Han Yunxi pretended she hadn't heard and rose to get off the carriage. Mu Linger panicked, but she still didn't dare to ask a second time.
Fortunately, Han Yunxi still answered her question before she got off. "He went to take care of some business, he should be back within a few days." Gu Qishao had already said that he was very familiar with the Poison Sect's forbidden grounds. Moreover, she'd given him so many reminders that it should be easy for him to get Earth of Ten-Thousand Poisons.
Mu Linger's heart instantly blossomed as she shone with radiance. She quickly got to work and put all of the storehouses in Pill Fiend Pharmacy into good order. She even took the initiative to tutor a few of the pharmacists on duty. Han Yunxi spent the next few days with Gu Beiyue and Mu Linger to discuss setting up branch stores of Pill Fiend Pharmacy. In the end, it was decided that they would expand the pharmacy to Cloud Realm Continent's various famous cities in each of its respective prefectures and counties. They had only started with one shop because they were limited by raw materials, but now they had a solid relationship with Medicine City and ingredients to spare.
Han Yunxi suggested that Pill Fiend Pharmacy should make a division between selling rare and common goods. One type of shop should only sell the uncommon medicines, while the other could sell regular ingredients from Medicine City. Their goal was to dominate Cloud Realm Continent's medicine markets within three years.
Mu Linger had no idea of the one-year deadline that Long Feiye had imposed on the Wang Clan to sever Medicine City's connections with the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. She couldn't help but say seriously, "Han Yunxi, three years is impossible!"
Gu Beiyue smiled. "This one still has ways to make it work as long as our supplies from Medicine City doesn't stop."
"Mu Linger, how about we make a bet?" Han Yunxi grinned.
Mu Linger was no fool. After being tricked once, she wouldn't fall for it a second time. She was full of precautions against Han Yunxi now, especially when the woman mentioned bets. "Since Doctor Gu is confident, I won't pour ice water over your plans," she drawled instead.
It had to be said that money really sped things up. With the help of Long Feiye's massive wealth, it was smooth sailing for Han Yunxi to buy land, stores, interior decorators and employees. Within one month, 20 branch stores of Pill Fiend Pharmacy popped up around the continent. Ten of them only sold rare and uncommon goods, while the other half stocked regular ingredients. Han Yunxi required card memberships for the exclusive shops while promoting sales at the common ones. It could be said that she was following the model of modern-day franchise chains, allowing the famous Pill Fiend Pharmacy to grow even more popular. The Cloud Realm Trade Consortium was forced to frequently sent representatives to Medicine City to discuss trade deals. They kept offering discounts in hopes that the city would sign exclusive agreements with them, too.
These so called 'exclusive agreements' meant that Medicine City would only do certain trades with the Consortium. Naturally, Medicine City didn't agree to sign any of them. The Council of Elders and all its associated members put ahead the excuse that they hadn't elected their new members yet! Again and again, Cloud Realm Trade Consortium suffered setback after setback. It was unknown how severely they punished Ouyang Ningnuo, but for now he seemed to have evaporated into thin air. No one could find any news of him.
Meanwhile, Jun Yixie spent an entire month investigating the Hundred Poisons Sect before he found Ouyang Ningnuo's spy. But Jun Yixie still couldn't figure out how much Ouyang Ningnuo found out about the sect, because the spy ended up committing suicide by biting off his own tongue. His master Bai Yanqing looked into the matter and gave Jun Yixie a whole slew of punishments. After Jun Yixie went back to Northern Li, the emperor even refused to see him.
Now that he was banned from both Medical and Medicine City, even the emperor of Northern Li would be hard pressed to defend him against his court of ministers and officials, much less the protests from the imperial clan. Northern Li was very powerful, but it still wouldn't dare to offend both Medical and Medicine City. Jun Yixie knew that the emperor wouldn't really turn against him on account of the long friendship between his master and the emperor. But on the surface, he still had to make a show of things. He ended up kneeling in front of the imperial study for five days and five nights before the emperor deigned to see him.
It was unclear what the two discussed in the study, but the Northern Li emperor soon issued a decree revoking Jun Yixie his status as Duke of Kang and demoting him to a commoner. There would be nothing linking Jun Yixie to the Northern Li emperor from this day on. Medical and Medicine City were going to pressure Northern Li's emperor themselves, but relented upon hearing the final verdict.
As soon as Jun Yixie returned to his courtyard, he headed straight for Bai Yanqing's quarters. "Master, this disciple can't stand for this!"
Bai Yanqing was currently engrossed in concocting poisons, so he simply ignored him. His foster daughter Bai Yuqiao glanced over with a snicker. "You knew you were supposed to stay and take care of the horses, not aggravate Han Yunxi. But you just wouldn't listen. Serves you right for getting grief!"
Bai Yuqiao was still young, but she was a budding beauty. Unfortunately, Jun Yixie had never shown tenderness towards woman and kicked her. Unable to evade the blow, Bai Yuqiao was sent flying by his foot.
"Impudence!" Bai Yanqing roared.
Jun Yixie trembled and froze. His arrogant and domineering ways would always turn docile and obedient in front of his master. He knew that the only reason Northern Li's emperor had cut off his noble ties was because of master's idea.
Bai Yanqing didn't say anymore, but finished up his poison before glancing over with a cold tone. "How are things going with the horse farms?"
"I haven't gotten them all yet," Jun Yixie admitted.
"How many times does master have to repeat himself before you take in my words?" Bai Yanqing asked seriously.
"Master, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi have already gotten their hands on Medicine City. We can't just sit around and wait. As I see it, we should spread word that the poison beast is in Han Yunxi's hands," Jun Yixie grumbled.
"And then?" Bai Yanqing asked.
"Then tell everyone that that Shadow Clan man's protecting Han Yunxi. Even if she isn't the West Qin imperial heir, we can use her to lure out the other Seven Noble Families!"
Jun Yixie had long entertained this idea. Back then, it'd been his own grandfather who witnessed the death of West Qin's last imperial hair. He didn't think any of their descendents still existed, but was more inclined to believe that the Shadow Clan man was only protecting Han Yunxi for the poison beast's sake. Whether or not she's the heir, she's worth using at any rate!
Bai Yanqing only sighed and asked, "Do you still listen to your master anymore?"
"Master is like a father to me. A father's words are law!" Jun Yixie said earnestly.
"Then fine. In the future, you're not allowed to get involved with Han Yunxi and Long Feiye's affairs without your master's orders. If you defy me, then…master will break off all relations with you!" Bai Yanqing said seriously.
Jun Yixie couldn't believe his ears. "But why?" he asked.
TLer’s Note: As usual, make sure to check out the for goodies like graphics, videos, and a link to a very important poll.