Chapter 373: I like that perfect cunning
Any merchants involved with the black market possessed three parts more cunning and craftiness than the average trader. Master Lin had sensed that Han Yunxi was an unusual character as soon as he walked in and he noted her icy disposition. Moreover, Third Young Master Chen's injuries showed that they weren't people to be provoked. The whip-user had utilized his skills with such finesse in such a tiny room that its owner had to be someone extraordinary; furthermore, since these two had the gall to offend an authoritative power in the grain district, they had to have substantial backing themselves.
Master Lin already felt three parts fear towards Han Yunxi and her guard. His statement earlier was simply meant to sound her out. Han Yunxi's brain might short-circuit when it came to Long Feiye, but she was quite astute in other matters. She was sure that Master Lin was just testing them.
"It's not enough," she said coldly, her imposing manner exuding its own sense of pressure. There was no relation at all between them beating up Third Young Master Chen and getting a formal apology from him. How could one offset the other?
"Then what do you want to do?" Master Lin's tone grew unkind as well.
"Nothing in particular. If Master Lin is interested in doing business with this lady, then that swine needs to give me a formal apology. If Master Lin has no interest in any business, then forget it. This lady will never consider the Lin Clan for any trade matters in the future!" Han Yunxi said frostily.
Things had come to this point. If it were any other time, Master Lin would first let the other party dry for two to three days before resuming talks. But this time was different. He had to change all the grain in the storehouses into ready cash by tomorrow night at the latest! There was no time to delay!
After some hesitation, Master Lin cleverly changed the topic instead. "Miss, just how much grain are you planning to buy?"
Han Yunxi seized the chance with another clever reply, "Quite a bit...no less than 50,000 dan. If Master Lin has the goods, you should consider it carefully. This lady can give you three days' time."
Han Yunxi appeared to be taking a step back, but she was actually pressuring the other party even more! How could Master Lin have any more time to reconsider? Long Feiye's lips had drawn up into a smile as he stood silently behind Han Yunxi. She is young, but more crafty than that old fox! He liked it!
Master Lin couldn't help but be moved when he heard she wanted 50,000 dan minimum! He hastened to ask, "What does Miss need so much grain for?"
"Since when has business in the black markets needed so much explanation?" Han Yunxi smiled coldly. Now she sounded even more like one of the people in the know.
"This one was simply curious. Miss, have you heard of the scramble sale taking place over these two days?" Master Lin kept questioning her.
"I just came from there," Han Yunxi replied.
Master Lin only rejoiced that she hadn't rejected him, before he probed further, "I heard the prices there are very low."
Han Yunxi looked lofty, but she had actually been waiting for Master Lin to ask that very question! She gave a chilly laugh and said, "Those prices aren't considered cheap at all."
Everyone present gave a start at the words. Even Third Young Master Chen, who'd been glaring at them all the while, widened his eyes. 10,000 taels for 10,000 dan isn't cheap? This woman, she dared to say that out loud!?
Long Feiye's eyes danced with laughter. As expected, his woman was exactly to his tastes. He too, felt that it'd be too much of an advantage for the imperial uncle if they bought the grain from the imperial uncle's estate at 10,000 taels per 10,000 dan.
"Then...what constitutes a low price to Miss?" Master Lin asked.
Han Yunxi chuckled. "That will depend on how much grain you have to sell."
This...could it be that this woman is planning to buy a lot of grain? Master Lin had been trying to sound her out the entire time, but only felt his own appetite growing with each question. "Just how much do you want?" he asked anxiously.
Han Yunx didn't answer this time, but gave a cold snort towards Third Young Master Chen. "It looks like Master Lin isn't interested in doing business after all." As soon as she finished, she turned to leave, Long Feiye silently following behind her.
The various middlemen who'd been watching the scene unfold from the back door all grew anxious at the sight. One of them rushed forward to call Han Yunxi back, but he was stopped by Master Lin. Master Lin wore a stern expression as he watched Han Yunxi's retreating back. It seemed like he had no intentions of making her stay at all.
The person he stopped grew impatient and raged, "Boss, I'll pay for our face if Third Chen won't apologize. That calf's sorely lacking a proper lesson!"
Master Lin still remained silent. It wasn't Third Young Master Chen's apology that was holding him back, but his doubt regarding Han Yunxi's intentions. Was that woman really here to buy grain? Or was she simply sent to investigate them instead? Careful sailing was required at all times, especially when they were going against the wind now. He had to be prudent.
Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were neither fast nor slow, but walked steadily towards the door. Neither of them looked back, their figures tall and lofty, easy and unrestrained. It made for a mesmerizing sight. The closer they came to the exit, the more anxious Master Lin and the middlemen felt. Judging by Han Yunxi's previous attitude, it'd be impossible to recover this business chance once they stepped out the door.
"Old Lin, why not just yield?"
"Old Lin, I think that woman's really here to buy grain! You can tell she's a businesswoman with a glance!"
"Boss, we can't afford to wait any longer. Why don't we leave them here first and talk about the price while reporting it to our superiors? Maybe our superior can send someone here to check?"
As the men behind him coaxed, Master Lin felt more and more uncertain. Their words were the last straw to move him into action. Still, he didn't ask them to stay outright. Instead he adopted a high-and-mighty manner to say, "Miss, everything is negotiable besides the formal apology."
But Han Yunxi didn't even turn around. Aloof and indifferent, she kept walking towards the door. By now she was almost out of the shop.
Finally, Master Lin lost his composure. "Miss, please hold!"
Han Yunxi's lips curved up into a triumphant smile as she stilled her steps. Still, she didn't look back. Unlike Master Lin, she was in no rush. This was how negotiation worked. Sometimes you had to bite down on the line of defense and refuse to let go. As soon as someone made a concession, the rest of the deal would be more or less settled. Since Master Lin had given in, his momentum was far weaker now. He panicked when Han Yunxi didn't turn around and immediately scolded Third Young Master Chen, "Damned brat, hurry up and go apologize!"
Third Young Master Chen sensed that things weren't right. He'd been trying to sneak away when the shout scared him stiff.
"Get going!" Master Lin shouted twice, causing Third Young Master Chen to shiver before he stumbled his way forward. He wasn't reconciled to this at all, but the Master Lin who doted on him the most was also the one person he feared the most. He had never apologized to anyone ever since he was born, so he didn't even know what to do.
The only thing he said was, "Miss, I've been unfair to you!"
Han Yunxi was only using Third Young Master Chen as an excuse to reduce Master Lin's suspicions. She didn't want any extra complications before buying the grain, so she was preparing to let matters rest when Long Feiye suddenly spoke up.
"That counts as an apology?"
Urk... As soon as Han Yunxi heard his tone of voice, she knew this wasn't over. Fine, since His Highness Duke of Qin the bodyguard had already spoken up, Han Yunxi had to be even more lofty in her attitude. She didn't say a word. At this, Master Lin only assumed she was angry and shot meaningful looks towards Third Young Master Chen, who stopped cradling his face with his hands to cup them before his chest.
Sincere and heartfelt, he said, "Miss, it was I who made a mistake. I was wrong. I'll make it up to you, so won't you just forgive me?"
Since His Highness Duke of Qin had already spoken on the matter, Han Yunxi knew she wasn't the one to judge. She kept her back to Third Young Master Chen and remained silent. She expected Long Feiye to speak up in her place, but even he was mute. Third Young Master Chen was left hanging by them both. Han Yunxi secretly chuckled into her sleeve. This guy, he's difficult to serve even when he's acting as a servant!
Third Young Master Chen kept his hands cupped before his chest, but sought a pleading glance towards Master Lin to save him. He couldn't be bothered with his feelings now when all he felt was regret towards aggravating that woman. Master Lin had no idea what Han Yunxi was thinking of either, but only glared at Third Young Master Chen. No matter what Han Yunxi wanted to do, it was all Third Young Master Chen's fault, so he had to admit to his wrongs.
The resentful Third Young Master Chen could only keep apologizing. "Miss, I admit my wrongs! I'll never dare to do it again! Please say something!"
"Miss, please speak. What do you want from me before you forgive me?"
Han Yunxi grew amused at these words before gracefully turning around. "Someone, come!" She didn't know what Long Feiye wanted to do before he accepted the apology, but she'd let him do as he liked.
Third Young Master Chen grew frightened before Long Feiye made any move. He timidly backed away, but Long Feiye didn't give him the chance to escape. He turned to kick him with one exquisite sweeping motion, his foot making contact with Third Young Master Chen's facial injury before it sent him flying out the back door. Han Yunxi only felt delighted that someone had helped her take revenge against her bully!
Long Feiye elegantly withdrew his leg before he retreated behind Han Yunxi, his hands behind his back. He looked very much the picture of a well-trained bodyguard, yet he exuded his own air of noble mystery. Third Young Master Chen hit the ground with a whump but didn't dare make a peep. Even if the lustful brat hadn't lost his life, he was certainly crippled by now. Master Lin was mentally spitting up blood. He wanted to run over and check on his nephew, but he didn't dare before the face of a fearsome figure like Han Yunxi.
Suppose the woman grew unhappy and declined their business outright?
Master Lin only endured his distress and pretended to be a man who placed righteousness above his family. "A good lesson! I've long wanted to teach this ignorant brat a thing or two."
Han Yunxi only smiled coldly and didn't state her views. Master Lin quickly changed the topic. "Miss, shall we discuss things inside?"
That's exactly what we came to do! "Mm," Han Yunxi answered loftily.
Master Lin quickly led mistress and servant into the inner rooms while shooting glances at his men to report to their superiors. Once the tea was brewed and snacks were set out, Master Lin was ready to settle down for a long chat.
As soon as Han Yunxi sat down, he asked, "Miss, just how much grain do you need?"
"This lady will buy as much as you have!" Han Yunxi replied easily.
But Master Lin's face turned black at her declaration. Third Young Master Chen had already been beaten up so much, yet the woman still wouldn't give him a straight answer? Her words weren't an answer at all, alright? She is simply trying to find out how much grain I have!Though impatient, Master Lin schooled his features to hide his anxiety in order probe deeper, "Miss, I have quite a bit of grain here, but I'm just afraid that you..."
Han Yunxi calmly finished her cup of tea before she declared aggressively, "This lady has plenty of silver! I'm just afraid you don't have enough stock!"
Now Master Lin laughed. "Miss, our grain store has always only accepted ready cash. Have you heard of our customs?"