Chapter 377: Reward, I want your everything
"Miss Helian, then 60,000 taels. 60,000 taels is already our limit," Manager Qian said helplessly.
Han Yunxi got straight to the point. "50,000 taels. If you won't sell, then forget about it!"
50,000 taels... Of all the offers to give us! Master Lin and Manager Qian both felt powerless against the onslaught. Just where did this woman get the insight to gauge their lowest limit with a single offer?! Even if they didn't want to, they'd have to sell it at 50,000 taels! Manager Qian only hoped that the imperial uncle wouldn't lose his temper on him once he found out about the price...
And thus, the price was settled at 50,000 taels per 100,000 dan of grain. Manager Qian had to include all the grain the storehouses to break even with the imperial uncle's debts.
"So you had more than 2,000,000 dan of grain after all?" Han Yunxi's tone was full of ridicule. Unfortunately, neither Master Lin nor Manager Qian picked up on her hidden meaning. Both of them were stifled beyond belief, preoccupied with the matter of the silver. In the end, Miss Helian would have to pay them a total of 1,530,000 taels. It was uncertain whether she had that much ready cash on hand. If they were late by even a day, then everything would be over.
After all, even though they'd asked for cash payment, a delay of one or two days with the funds couldn't be counted as a delay at all in normal business practices. While Master Lin and Manager Qian were fretting over another potential struggle with the payment, Han Yunxi smiled and said, "Master Lin, the rules were to exchange the money directly for the goods, right?"
Both Master Lin and Manager Qian expelled a sigh of relief at the words. "Exactly so, exactly so!" Master Lin supplied hastily.
"Fine then. I'll get people to transport the grain. After it's all moved out, I'll pay you the money immediately," said Han Yunxi.
Master Lin had a fright. The grain depot wasn't located in the black market itself, which only stored a small fraction of the entire supply. The main storage was aboveground. If she had to wait for them to get the grain, Heaven knows how long it'd take to move the entire thing. Meanwhile, the imperial uncle needed the silver by tonight so they could pay the Ministry of Revenue by tomorrow morning at the latest.
After some hesitation, Master Lin cast his face aside and said helplessly, "Miss Helian might not know, but this one is in desperate need of silver to make a turnover. I don't know whether we could first..."
Han Yunxi was doing it on purpose, of course. She feigned hesitance. "But without seeing the grain, it really is..."
"Miss Helian, this one can take you to the grain depot right now!" Master Lin said hastily.
Both Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were waiting for his exact words. "Alright!" Han Yunxi agreed easily.
Master Lin and Manager Qian personally brought them there, taking them out of Sky Domain Black Market and into a carriage. Inside, Master Lin took out two blindfolds and said, "Miss Helian, these are rules of the business. I hope that you can understand."
Nobody asked about where businesses started and ended up in the black market. If Master Lin was going to take them to the grain depot, he had full right to blindfold them during the trip. Han Yunxi was quite generous. She was about to let Master Lin blindfold her when Long Feiye grabbed the black cloth from his hands and did it himself. Master Lin didn't dare to protest in the face of those icy eyes. Once Long Feiye finished blindfolding himself, he went to sit back in his corner in silence.
Han Yunxi and Long Feiye didn't end up seeing anything on the way there because of the blindfolds, but Long Feiye's guards were tailing them the entire time. After circling around a few times, they finally reached their destination. When Han Yunxi and Long Feiye descended from the carriage and took off their blindfolds, they discovered that they were in a forest on the outskirts of the city. Han Yunxi assumed that the imperial uncle's grain depot would be some distance away from the capital, but he actually had the gall to hide it closeby.
That was a form of taunting Emperor Tianhui as well, right? In truth, the imperial uncle's estate used to have multiple smaller storehouses scattered in the various counties and prefectures. But in order to keep things under wraps, all of the grain was amassed together in one location. That way, they would only need one set of men and horses to guard the stores while minimizing knowledge of its location. The grain depot here resembled an estate, so casual bystanders might simply assume it was the side property of some wealthy family.
"The two of you, please come in!" Master Lin was very polite despite his urgent need for money. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye walked in and discovered that the huge rooms of the house were filled with piles of grain. All of them looked exactly alike with no discerning features as to where they'd come from. The couple took a stroll around the entire estate to make a rough inventory before determining it was close to the quantity they'd agreed to buy.
"Miss Helian, you've seen the goods. If you could..." Master Lin trailed off.
Han Yunxi understood. In a cold tone, she said, "I'll give you half the payment upfront. The other half comes when all the grain's been moved away."
When she finished, the wealthy moneybags behind her took out his money. Han Yunxi didn't see Long Feiye do it first hand, or else she might have been smitten all over again. Long Feiye elegantly withdrew a silver draft from his sleeve worth over 700,000 taels and handed it to Master Lin.
Master Lin glanced at Manager Qian. They could neither accept nor deny the money. Manager Qian was hesitant as well. The woman's demand had been perfectly reasonable, to pay only after she got all of her grain. But their time was tight!
"Master Lin?" Han Yunxi pressed, not giving them more time to think
Master Lin couldn't help but complain in his heart. Why didn't this woman come to buy grain earlier? Even if it was one day earlier, it would've helped!
Heheh, Han Yunxi had calculated the time perfectly. How could she have come in advance?
Finally, Manager Qian came up with an idea. "Miss Helian, how about this? I'll get men to move the grain right away while you wait here. Let's settle the silver for good within today, alright?"
Han Yunxi pretended to consider the idea for a second before she smiled. "That'll do as well!"
"I don't know where Miss Helian is planning to send the grain?" Manager Qian asked next.
"The Chen ancestral temple in the southern outskirts. You can go there directly, they'll be people waiting to meet you there." Han Yunxi and company had prepared for this ahead of time. This location was one of the necessary checkpoints on the way to the disaster areas. Naturally, all of the grain would end up there. After settling all the details, Manager Qian and Master Lin felt the weight on their hearts lessen some. Manager Qian finally had enough time to check the silver draft that Long Feiye had given them too.
The silver draft itself wouldn't be false, but Manager Qian was more keen on discovering its origins. Unexpectedly, this one really had come from a private bank in Northern Li. Now he felt even more assured of the deal. He brought Han Yunxi and her guard to a guest hall to rest while calling for professional movers and a caravan to move the grain. For the sake of saving time, Manager Qian had the entire moving company called to work on the grain stores. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had the perfect vantage point from their guest hall to watch all the work happening outside.
Han Yunxi secretly rejoiced. These movers and shipping caravan would be the best living witnesses against the imperial uncle. What a worthwhile deal! It took until midnight to deliver all the grain to Han Yunxi's location. Long Feiye handed out a second silver draft, again marked with the identifier of a Northern Li bank. Moreover, it could be exchanged directly for silver. Once Manager Qian made sure it was free from errors, he sent a trusted subordinate to take the silver drafts to the capital city. Thanks to all of their rush work, they made it in time. Manager Qian didn't leave the grain depot together with Han Yunxi and Long Feiye, but bid them farewell at the door. He couldn't afford to expose himself any further.
Master Lin brought Han Yunxi and Long Feiye back to the black market with smiles. "Miss Helian, I hope we can work together again in the future."
"Definitely!" Han Yunxi grinned. She was in an excellent mood. Meanwhile, Master Lin was secretly thinking of ways to get their lost silver back from this woman next time. How could he know that there would never be a 'next time?!'
And thus, the business deal came to a merry end.
As soon as they returned to the Wu Clan's grain shop, Han Yunxi finally burst into laughter. She stuck out a hand towards Long Feiye and exclaimed, "Your Highness, it's time to reward me!" They'd agreed that she'd get a prize if she pulled this off.
Long Feiye knew Han Yunxi could do it, but never expected her to do it so brilliantly. Nobody else could cut a deal like this woman could! If the imperial uncle's estate were ever to collapse one day, then it would definitely be her fault! Chu Xifeng, Wu Shu and the rest were all present. After learning of what had happened, they were ready to prostrate themselves before Han Yunxi in admiration. Of course, they were more curious to know what His Highness Duke of Qin would reward esteemed wangfei now. Long Feiye simply gazed fixedly at her without saying a word.
"Your Highness, you can't go back on your words!" Han Yunxi said cheerfully, her happiness written all over her face.
Finally, Long Feiye spoke. "Your lordship will give you whatever you want."
Han Yunxi gave a start before she asked timidly, "Your Highness...what did you say?" She'd heard clearly enough, but she...hadn't processed his answer yet.
"Your lordship will give you whatever you want," Long Feiye repeated calmly, but his firmness was unmistakable.
A word once spoken cannot be taken back! Han Yunxi's face slowly bloomed into a smile. What else could move her heart more than a prize like this? He'd give her anything she wanted? Long Feiye, that's a promise, you know!
"Your Highness, aren't you afraid that chenqie will want..." Han Yunxi trailed off.
"What?" Long Feiye asked mildly.
"Aren't you afraid that chenqie will want your everything?" Han Yunxi was extremely serious.
But Long Feiye simply lifted her face by the chin, his tone fervent. "You really want everything?"
Han Yunxi's self-confidence flew out the window at his words. She might have been all-powerful at the Lin Clan's grain shop, but she was forever a little woman before Long Feiye. For a long, long time, Han Yunxi didn't dare to reply.
In the end, Long Feiye said, "You can tell me after you've thought it over."
His everything. What did that include? His power and influence, riches and wealth, position and status, his past, present, future and...his secrets! Had Han Yunxi truly thought about it seriously?
She only felt the atmosphere had suddenly turned heavy. With a smile, she replied, "Alright, chenqie will think it over carefully!"
Long Feiye released her then. "Once the Ministry of Revenue sends the money over tomorrow, we'll head for the disaster areas." Originally, the ministry was in charge of the disaster funds, but after Emperor Tianhui put Long Feiye in charge of operation, the silver went back to him. In other words, the silver they gave to Manager Qian today would return back to their hands again. If the imperial uncle knew that, he'd probably be angry enough to bleed from his seven orifices!
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi stayed overnight at the black market that day, but another piece of news reached them before the Ministry of Revenue's silver...