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Chapter 516: Gu Qi Sha, wait for me
Despite the fact that he was facing both Long Feiye and Gu Qi Sha, Head Elder Xie didn't show them a trace of civility.
"Your Highness Duke of Qin, my Council of Elders has long placed Mu Linger on our wanted list. All of you should know this already. The fact that she came to issue a challenge today is her personal business and has nothing to do with Medicine City. This old man only offered to pay you back on Medicine City's behalf because I wanted to give you face. If Pill Fiend Pharmacy insists on keeping the girl here, don't blame me if my Medicine City stops giving Your Highness any face at all."
That reply was for Long Feiye, but Head Elder Xie didn't even bother to spare Gu Qi Sha a glance. That made the Pill Fiend extremely peeved as he flashed to flicker in front of Head Elder Li and loom in his face. "Do you believe me when I say I'll burn your entire Medicine City to the ground?!"
Head Elder Xie was still the leader of the Council of Elders in the end. His expression never changed, but his voice grew cold and stern. "If Pill Fiend Pharmacy wants to make enemies out of Medicine City over something like this, my Medicine City will accompany you until the end!"
"This old man will kill you right now!" Gu Qi Sha exposed one of his bony hands. Long Feiye furrowed his brows and glanced at Han Yunxi as if asking her opinion on these developments. Han Yunxi knew that her clearest path of action now was to stop Gu Qi Sha immediately, but she hesitated. She wanted to murder that old man even more than he did right now!
While Gu Qi Sha prepared to strike, Head Elder Xie stood unmoving, determined in his faith that Gu Qi Sha wouldn't really hurt him. But Gu Qi Sha meant what he said. A powerful force filled his body from head to toe as he aimed for a killing blow when suddenly—
"Don't! I'll go with him!" Mu Linger cried as she slipped out from behind Han Yunxi.
Gu Qi Sha ended up swiping at air. Only then did Head Elder Xie realize the man had been serious. His heart swelled with fear, but he didn't let any of it show on his face. That combined with Mu Linger's willingness to compromise made Head Elder Xie more forceful than before. "Someone, take her away!"
"No need, I can walk by myself!" Mu Linger might have been a crybaby, but she held herself back this time. Gu Qi Sha's towering form was enough to give her courage.
Qi gege, it looks like we'll have to meet again another time.
Her heart was already choked with sobs. How much she wanted to hide behind his back a little longer! But she grit her teeth and stepped out from behind his back.
Qi gege, goodbye. Linger will think you you everyday.
Han Yunxi, goodbye. Actually…actually, I've always wanted to call you 'big sis' once.
"Stinkin' la.s.s, you lost to this old man and you still want to leave? Get back here!" Gu Qi Sha roared.
Mu Linger glanced at Han Yunxi, hoping that she'd stop Gu Qi Sha instead. It was Han Yunxi who had told her that Gu Qi Sha was Qi gege, so she knew that as long as Han Yunxi spoke up, all of Qi gege's temper would disappear. As an intellectual type, Han Yunxi should know the situation better than anyone else.
As expected, Gu Qi Sha turned towards Han Yunxi as well, but she stood stilent in face of the crowd. It was true, Mu Linger was the first at fault in this situation. Pill Fiend Pharmacy had no way to stake their claim. Head Elder Xie had come prepared, so if Gu Qi Sha hurt him in public, then it would be Pill Fiend Pharmacy paying the costs to the entire medical community. Long Feiye had plenty of power and influence, but there would be too many people all too happy to seize on their misfortune and sink them down further. If anyone was to blame, it was herself for wanting to help Mu Linger with the truth of Gu Qishao while forgetting about Medicine City's Council of Elders.
While Han Yunxi remained silent, the ever cool and calm Long Feiye actually spoke up. "Someone, come!"
Twenty black-robed guards appeared at his command to surround the perimeter of the crowd. Long Feiye didn't waste any words, but simply looked coldly at Head Elder Xie. His stance was clear: he wasn't going to budge an inch!
Han Yunxi secretly rejoiced. If Long Feiye could take a stand like this, then she could afford to risk everything. Meanwhile, various guards from Medicine City exposed themselves in the crowd to surround the people as well. The two sides stood at a face-off as the atmosphere grew tense.
Finally, a familiar voice rose from the crowd. "All of you, stop!"
A kindly old man with white hair and beard emerged from the ma.s.ses, dressed in a set of gray robes. Gu Qi Sha burst into a ghastly laugh at the sight of him, while Head Elder Xie only felt astonished. He quickly approached the man and politely paid his respects. "Third Elder Shen, so you've come as well."
Only then did the crowd recognize the newcomer as the third elder from Medical City's Council of Elders, Shen Jueming. Pill Fiend Pharmacy really was well-known for such an esteemed elder to come to the premises. Both Medical and Medicine City were were one family, but Medical City's power far surpa.s.sed that of Medicine City. As the third elder of Medical City's Council of Elders, Shen Jueming's position demanded respect from the likes of Xie Deyi.
The very fact that Xie Deyi had used the formal version of "you" (您 nin versus 你 ni) in his address was proof enough of their different statuses.
Shen Jueming nodded at Xie Deyi before speaking to Gu Qi Sha. "Gu Qi Sha, this old man thought that you changed your evil ways after opening up Pill Fiend Pharmacy. But I never expected you to be as wanton and ignorant as ever! If you dare to touch a hair on Head Elder Xie's head today, Medical City will never forgive you!"
"Hahahah…." Gu Qi Sha laughed wildly, filled with disdain. One of his terrifying claws reached towards Third Elder Shen's face as he snarled, "I'll have the honor of keeping them company until the end!"
"What, does Medical and Medicine City plan to join forces against our single tiny pharmacy?" Han Yunxi said coldly. She looked angry, but her eyes were flas.h.i.+ng with merriment.
"Qin w.a.n.gfei, don't misunderstand. This old man is only here to lecture a traitorous disciple of Medical City. Pill Fiend Pharmacy sells medicine and do good works, for that this old man is full of admiration." Third Elder Shen smoothed out his beard before continuing, "There's no need for Pill Fiend Pharmacy to ruin its reputation over the sake of a mere la.s.s. If the two of you have no objections, I propose you listen to this old man's suggestion. A compromise from both sides will make everything a minor matter."
Instantly, Head Elder Xie exclaimed, "May Third Elder Shen uphold justice!"
He had nothing to fear as Medicine City's representative here. Moreover, now Medical City had its own representative to support them. Xie Deyi remembered how Han Yunxi had once rampantly challenged Third Elder Shen to a bet over the illness of Tianning's crown prince. She had offended him long ago, so there was no way that Third Elder Shen would give her any favors.
"Since Third Elder Shen says so, this w.a.n.gfei will give Medical City some face and listen to your proposal." Han Yunxi expressed her desire to yield while shooting a look at Gu Qi Sha. Though Gu Qi Sha was unsatisfied, he still drew back.
Third Elder Shen thought it over before he proclaimed, "Mu Linger was the one who provoked the other party first, while her defeat in the challenge came later. I'll make it clear beforehand, it's only natural that—"
"Third Elder Shen, Mu Linger was already—" Head Elder Xie interrupted anxiously.
Third Elder Shen shot him an unhappy glare. "This old man hasn't finished speaking yet. Head Elder Xie, if you're feeling unsatisfied, I can wash my hands of the matter entirely!"
"I don't dare, I don't dare."
Han Yunxi noted Head Elder Xie's resentful air and knew that he was a p.r.i.c.kly person to deal with.
Third Elder Shen resumed his speech. "I'll make it clear beforehand, Mu Linger ought to honor her promise. However, she's not at liberty to do so. Forget about pledging loyalty to Pill Fiend Pharmacy. As this old man sees it, penalize her by letting her visit Pill Fiend Pharmacy every three months to write up an original prescription as apology. Meanwhile, esteemed w.a.n.gfei should keep her hands out of Medicine City's private affairs as well."
His suggestion was both fair and reasonable, earning the praise of the crowd. But Head Elder Xie wasn't happy at all. "Creating a new prescription every three months? What's the difference between that and pledging loyalty to Pill Fiend Pharmacy in the first place?"
With Mu Linger's skills, three months was plenty of time to create a new prescription or modify an existing one. An ordinary pharmacist might take two or three years and still not come up with anything.
Third Elder Shen's face grew gloomy before he snapped, "It's your Medicine City's fault for instructing her wrongly in the first place. Now that the challenge's made such a stir, the whole world knows about it. Head Elder Xie, if you insist on having your way, this old man can't do anything about it, either." So speaking, he made a bow towards Han Yunxi with clasped hands and prepared to leave.
But Head Elder Xie was quick to stop him. "Third Elder Shen, please hold! Everything will be as you've said!" He had a.s.sumed that Third Elder Shen would seize the chance to ruin Han Yunxi, but the man had been fair and just. If Han Yunxi's side had made a move first, they would've been in the wrong, but Third Elder Shen had harmonized both sides so that he had no choice but to yield. Otherwise, he'd seem unreasonable and lose prestige. But that wasn't the important point. If Medicine City lost Medical City's support over something like this, the losses would outweigh any gains.
"Qin w.a.n.gfei what do you think?" Third Elder Shen asked as he looked at Han Yunxi with meaningful eyes.
Han Yunxi had her own grasp on the intricate relations.h.i.+ps involved in this deal. Third Elder Shen had already expended effort to make a compromise, so she had to agree even if she was unwilling. Letting Mu Linger visit once every three months would at least let them know how she was doing in Medicine City. Moreover, it'd ensure that Medicine City's Council of Elders couldn't take her life.
After some hesitation, Han Yunxi nodded. "Fine. For the sake of Third Elder Shen today, I won't fuss over the details."
Head Elder Xie simply snorted in contempt, then ordered, "Someone come, take the girl into custody!"
Mu Linger turned towards Gu Qi Sha and raised her voice. "Gu Qi Sha, just wait for me!"
After seeing someone from Medical City, Gu Qi Sha's heart was filled with too much hate to bother with anything else. He didn't even look at Mu Linger, but tossed back, "Why should I wait for you?"
"When I come back, there will definitely be a day when I defeat you for good!" Mu Linger said seriously.
It wasn't clear whether Gu Qi Sha heard Mu Linger's declaration, but he snorted in disdain and ignored her. Mu Linger smiled helplessly and prepared to leave when Han Yunxi shouted, "Pill Fiend Pharmacy welcomes you to challenge us anytime!"
"Definitely!" Mu Linger replied with a domineering air. She didn't let the guards touch her, but strode off on her own with large strides. Everyone was filled with admiration at her resolve, while Gu Qi Sha just narrowed his eyes to stare at Third Elder Shen. By the time Mu Linger vanished into the crowd, he was still staring fixedly at the old man.
Now that everything was over, Han Yunxi and Long Feiye simply turned and went inside, ignoring Head Elder Xie completely. Sooner or later, they'd find Head Elder Xie for payback, but Han Yunxi's only wish now was for Mu Linger to use her brains and not seek more trouble for herself. Head Elder Xie wanted to ask Third Elder Shen out for drinks, but the man refused his invitation and entered Pill Fiend Pharmacy instead. Head Elder Xie had no choice but to drop the matter and leave.
Once the crowd dispersed, Mu Yingdong and a tall, powerful-looking masked man began to walk and converse together. Ouyang Ningnuo followed them from a distance before muttering to himself, "Jun Yixie?"
Whoever that masked man is, Mu Yingdong must have his reasons for leaving the Mu Clan's genius in Head Elder Xie's hands. There has to be a scheme afoot.
Meanwhile, Third Elder Shen was currently drinking tea and discussing matters with Han Yunxi and Long Feiye. Everyone in the outside world a.s.sumed that the elder and Qin w.a.n.gfei had a grudge against each other, but none of them knew that the case of the planted Gu left Third Elder Shen indebted to Han Yunxi. In the end, he still favored her in his proposition.
"Third Elder, it's fortunate that we had you today," Han Yunxi said gratefully.
"Esteemed w.a.n.gfei is being overly formal. This old man came today just because I have something to tell you," Third Elder Shen replied in a low voice.