Chapter 177: Very convenient, very fishy
As soon as she saw the old steward come out, Han Yunxi welcomed him with a smile. "Old steward, I'd like to trouble you to pass on a message. Just say that Qin Wangfei made a special trip to tell His Excellency Pill Fiend the answer from last time."
"Wall-Hitting Ghost?" the old steward guessed immediately.
Han Yunxi nodded her head mysteriously, yet the steward only felt helpless. "Your Highness, esteemed wangfei, His Excellency Pill Fiend left a few months ago and has yet to return. You came...at the wrong time."
"Then where did he go?" Han Yunxi asked hurriedly.
The old steward shook his head. "This old servant has never been clear about His Excellency Pill Fiend's movements, much less when he'll return."
In other words, they couldn't find him? Emperor Tianhui had only given them three days. This time, they didn't even have a clue as to where to find Violet Wormwood.
"Old steward, is there Violet Wormwood here?" Han Yunxi still held a trace of hope.
The steward was astonished. "You want Violet Wormwood?"
"Do you have it?" Han Yunxi was moved.
But the steward shook his head. "This old servant can't be sure about such a rare medicinal plant. Esteemed wangfei, His Excellency Pill Fiend personally takes care of all the rare plants in the valley. This old servant's only in charge of some common plants."
Hearing this, Long Feiye's expression turned unpleasant. What now?
"Your Highness, esteemed wangfei, you two should probably go back," the steward said, preparing to shut the gates.
Long Feiye immediately barred his way. "Are you sure you don't know where Gu Qi Sha went?"
"Your Highness Duke of Qin, this old servant wouldn't dare lie to you even if I had the guts of a bear and panther. If you don't believe me, you can come in and look for yourself," the steward hastened to explain. But it was right at this time that a familiar voice appeared from the side.
"Poison lass, what a coincidence!"
Han Yunxi turned to see none other than the wicked-looking, elegant and easy Gu Qishao, dressed in his usual red robes.
"Why are you here?" Han Yunxi said in surprise.
"Came to do some business with His Excellency Pill Fiend, heheh. I never thought we had the fate to meet each other here," Gu Qishao's smile was devastating enough to cause the fall of cities as he walked over.
First "poison lass," then "fate." It made them sound like they were on intimately familiar terms. She gave him a displeased look before speaking coldly, "His Excellency Pill Fiend isn't here. You came for nothing."
But Gu Qishao didn't seem to mind. "I came to sell some medicine. It's fine if only the steward's present."
At these words, the old steward grew interested. Of course Pill Fiend Valley accepted medicinal items as well. This red-robed young master had an unusual air about him, so he probably had something good.
"I don't know what kind of item this young gentleman has brought us?" the old steward hastened to ask.
"Six-Leaf Clover, Drowsy Blossom, and a..." Gu Qishao smiled enigmatically as he lowered his voice. "...Violet Wormwood."
His words left the group astonished. This guy actually had Violet Wormwood on his hands? That coincidental?!
Han Yunxi was about to speak when the old steward grew anxious. "Young gentleman, His Excellency Pill Fiend isn't present, but this old servant has full authority to make decisions. Please come inside, we can discuss terms indoors!"
So speaking, he grabbed Gu Qishao's hand and pulled him in at the same time Han Yunxi reached for his other hand. Long Feiye rapidly knocked her hand aside before grabbing Gu Qishao's wrist himself and dragging him back out, shaking off the old steward in the process. Han Yunxi's hand stung from being hit. She looked unhappily at Long Feiye, but he was too gloomy to look back.
"Hey, hey, hey! Your Highness Duke of Qin, that hurts!" Gu Qishao protested loudly.
Long Feiye's face was like ice. "You have Violet Wormwood?"
"Let me go first. If there's something to say, say it nicely," Gu Qishao narrowed his eyes as he did he best to struggle. Unfortunately, his strength couldn't compare to Long Feiye. In the end, he had no choice but to nod. "Yes!"
"Price?" Long Feiye really was terse with his words.
"Wouldn't sell it for a thousand gold," Gu Qishao said seriously.
Long Feiye gave him a chilly smile. "Weren't you going to sell it to Pill Fiend?"
"Only under certain conditions."
Hearing this, the old steward was quick to butt in. "Your Highness Duke of Qin, please don't interfere with Pill Fiend Valley's business transactions. Let go of that young gentleman."
"In that case, we'll discuss this outside the valley." Long Feiye tossed these words to the old steward before hauling Gu Qishao away. The steward was helpless before Long Feiye's aggressive actions, but he still chased after them to coax Gu Qishao.
"This young gentleman brought rare items to Pill Fiend Valley, perhaps he has matters to discuss with His Excellency Pill Fiend. Young gentleman, you must be prudent!"
"Young gentleman, His Excellency Pill Fiend can help you with things no one else can!"
"Even though His Excellency Pill Fiend isn't here, young gentleman can speak with this old servant. This old servant will help you find His Excellency Pill Fiend as soon as possible!"
Long Feiye ignored him, walking at a brisk pace as he towed Gu Qishao along. The old steward advised Gu Qishao all the way out of the valley. He was going to persuade him further when Long Feiye finally spoke.
"This isn't your Pill Fiend Valley territory anymore. If you interfere with your lordship's business transactions, be prepared to face the consequences."
The old steward almost wanted to cry. How could someone be so domineering?!
"Young gentleman, please say something!"
Gu Qishao pursed his lips before breaking into a brilliant smile. "As long as my conditions can be met, I'll sell to anyone. Heheh, old steward, why don't you go back first?"
"You!" the steward fell into a depression. This red-robed young gentleman was even more abominable than His Highness Duke of Qin. Gu Qishao adopted a dazzling countenance, his dimpled smile like a flower in bloom.
"Young gentleman, it's best if you don't come to Pill Fiend Valley in the future!" the steward flicked his sleeves in a huff as he left, privately adding Gu Qishao's name to the Pill Fiend Valley blacklist. Long Feiye finally let go of Gu Qishao's hand, his eyes filled with bewilderment. They had come to find the Violet Wormwood, but instead of Gu Qi Sha, this Gu Qishao just happened to show up and sell what they needed?
Were there such coincidences in the world? There was something fishy about all this, but the steward's earnesty and anger eliminated much of Long Feiye's suspicions. Regardless of whether this was simply serendipity, getting the Violet Wormwood was the most important thing.
"Gu Qishao, where's the item?" Han Yunxi asked in a rush.
"Poison lass, I haven't even laid out my conditions yet. What are you so anxious for?" Gu Qishao grinned. His long and narrow eyes were filled with intense interest as he gazed at Han Yunxi.
"Poison your head, who let you make up these nicknames? I'm not that close to you!" Han Yunxi said angrily. Her hand really ached from being smacked back then.
"For better or worse, I still saved your life. Don't be like this!" Gu Qishao said happily. The longer they talked, the more it seemed like a fight would break out. Finally, Long Feiye lost his patience and pulled Han Yunxi behind him.
"What are your conditions?"
"I want a sapling of the Herbal Tea Tree. Only the Mu family in Medicine City has them. Originally, I was planning to ask His Excellency Pill Fiend to accompany me, but if Your Highness Duke of Qin can do it, we can make a deal," Gu Qishao had finally turned serious.
It was a large independent city, one of the Four Great Cities of Cloud Realm Continent. Besides Medicine City, there was also Medical City, the City of Daughters, and Carefree City. The medical academy that Gu Beiyue and Han Yunxi often spoke about was located in Medical City. On the other hand, Medicine City, like its name, was a gathering place for all sorts of medicinal ingredients. Within the city were old and well-known families who owned and controlled vast amounts of such ingredients. These established families were all over 100 years old and had a much more solid foundation than Pill Fiend Valley.
Long Feiye didn't think twice before agreeing on the spot. "There's urgent need for the Violet Wormwood, so hand that over first."
Gu Qishao hesitated for a moment, but didn't cause any more difficulties. "Sure. I presume that Your Highness Duke of Qin won't go back on your word."
When Gu Qishao brought out the Violet Wormwood, Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue both scooted over to have a look. Although Gu Qishao didn't seem to be lying, they couldn't quite trust him until they saw the plant itself. Gu Qishao brought out a transparent glazed bottle containing a Violet Wormwood within. It was about the size of a child's palm and had four purple leaves. The roots had been cleanly washed before being soaked in water. It was very fresh. Seeing this, Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue exchanged relieved glances.
"Is that it?" Long Feiye was a layman when it came to medicine.
Han Yunxi instantly nodded. Although she wasn't as familiar as Gu Beiyue when it came to medicinal plants, she wouldn't make a mistake this time. Gu Beiyue nodded as well. "Your Highness, without a doubt, this is the Violet Wormwood."
Long Feiye accepted the Violet Wormwood before tossing it to Han Yunxi. "Bring this back and sort out the epidemic yourself."
"You're going to Medicine City right now?" Han Yunxi said, puzzled. Even Gu Qishao didn't seem to be in a rush, but Long Feiye was more anxious than he was.
Long Feiye didn't offer any explanation. Actually, if not for a lack of time, he would've gone to Medicine City to find the Violet Wormwood after getting rebuffed by Pill Fiend Valley. It was the place he was originally planning to visit right after New Year's. If not from the delay from rejecting the imperial decree, he would've been in Medicine City already.
"Naturally, it's best if Your Highness Duke of Qin can fulfill the promise immediately," Gu Qishao was very satisfied.
When Han Yunxi saw Long Feiye mount the horse, she stopped him without thinking. "Wait."
"It's not difficult to get those two other ingredients, right?" Long Feiye asked. They'd brought Gu Beiyue along to handpick two high quality ingredients, Dragon Sunflower and Sky Vanilla plant. Many of these plants grew in Pill Fiend Valley, enough for them to choose the best of the bunch. His Excellency Pill Fiend had personally raised the rare plants of Pill Fiend Valley, so all those who wanted them had to pass through him first. But common plants like Dragon Sunflower and Sky Vanilla fell under the old steward's jurisdiction, so they could just buy them directly. Although they'd offended the old steward just then, Han Yunxi was more than capable of fixing him after fixing Pill Fiend himself.
"It's not...hard," Han Yunxi said simply.
"Then what's the matter?" Long Feiye asked again.
Han Yunxi hesitated before smiling innocently. "Your Highness, take me to Medicine City for a look. I promise I won't cause trouble. Maybe I'll even be able to help!"
A formidable place like Medicine City was somewhere she dearly wanted to visit. Her detoxification system had records of many plants, but not physical stores of them. The last few times she treated poisons, she was always lacking an ingredient or two. Maybe this time she could stock up her inventory in Medicine City! Gu Qishao was riding on his own horse nearby, his eyes curved into a smile as he stayed without a word. On one side, Gu Beiyue's expression turned complicated, but he remained silent as well.
Of course, the decision didn't lie in their hands, but with Long Feiye.
Han Yunxi was quick to add on when Long Feiye remained silent. "I've already told Imperial Physician Gu the prescription. There's no need to worry if he's in charge of quelling the epidemic. The other two ingredients aren't rare ones, so the old steward will definitely sell them if we can afford the price."
She was basically pushing everything onto Gu Beiyue!
But Han Yunxi's words were right. With the prescription and the Violet Wormwood, the epidemic wasn't a major issue anymore. Still, Long Feiye stared at her without speaking. Han Yunxi grew anxious. Couldn't this guy at least have some reaction?
"Your Highness, maybe chenqie could even bring some ingredients back that'll be useful in the future," Han Yunxi continued to entreat. Long Feiye hid the amusement in his eyes but still refused to speak.
"Your Highness, why don't you lay out some terms?" Han Yunxi was getting desperate.
But as soon as she spoke those words, Gu Qishao chuckled. "Poison lass, if he doesn't want to take you, I'll take you instead. Come here."