"Do you know which five paths the bands will be taking?" Murong Yun Shu answered his question with a question.
"Yes," Manager Qian then proceeded to giving her all the details.
Murong Yun Shu nodded when he was done. She looked down and was deep in thought for a while, then looked up and said, "Every since father passed away, we have not been keeping up our friendship with our underworld friends. That's not a good sign."
Manager Qian was a little shocked when he first heard that, then a look of understanding followed by a conniving smile, "You mean....."
"We should take this opportunity to keep in touch and further our relationship with our underworld friends," said Murong Yun Shu mildly.
"Yes! Great idea!" Manager Qian exclaimed, "That's a spectacular idea to get someone to do our dirty deeds for us, we can get our money back from Mingjian Manor effortlessly!"
Murong Yun Shu pursed her lips, then in her usual mild manner, "It takes a lot of energy to write letters...."
Manager Qian's white brows quivered, along with the corners of his mouth, but at the end only thought to himself, "Like father like daughter. None of the members of the Murong family were hard workers, but luckily they were all supremely intelligent and knew how to get around. They barely need to lift a finger to have matters settled for them. Perhaps, all smart people are just lazy."
The two of them when from a dialog to stopping in the middle of the conversation to reading each other's mind. Qie Ning was totally loss in the conversation, "What are you two talking about?" Even talking to her manager was so cryptic, were there any normal members among the Murong House?
Murong Yun Shu treated him as though he was not here, she told Lu'er to prepare the brush, ink, ink slap, and paper for her.
Manager Qian nicely explained, "What miss means is, we informed our friends on the path the date and time Zhen Yuan Escort Agency will be passing through their turfs. By friends we meant bandits, outlaws, robbers, etc., and use them to get the money back."
Nie Qing was shocked, "Using the bandits to rob for you?"
"Not helping us, just helping themselves, they keep the money."
".... what good will that do for the Murong House?" He couldn't think of how this will benefit Murong House, but from his limited experience, Murong Yun Shu never did anything if she didn't stand to get something back in return.
Manager Qian shook his head faintly and said earnestly, "Ay, a young man without a sense of business, definitely not as smart as our miss."
Nie Qing snorted with a displeased look, so you wanted to brown nose her, you needn't insult me also!
Manager Qian seemed to be quite used to his snorting already, unaffected, he shot him a look and continued, "There are honors among our bandit friends. Once they successfully robbed Zhen, Yuan Escort Agency, they will remember the favor. Next time we escort our carts through their territory, they won't rob us. If we are lucky, we might even get some free booze. Back in the days...."
Nie Qing couldn't care to listen to his old day stories so he interrupted abruptly, "You guys have that kind of relationships with the bandits?"
"Why is that surprising? In our business, we have some sort of relationship with people from all walks of life." said Manager Qian proudly.
Nie Qing couldn't believe what he was hearing.
While the two were chittering, Murong Yun Shu had completed the five letters of intent and gave them to Manager Qian, "Send someone immediately."
"Yes," replied Manager Qian and left.
Murong Yun Shu rubbed her wrist and looked at the lingering Qie Ning, "You got other matters?"
Nie Qing looked straight at her wordlessly for a few seconds, then randomly blurted out, "Officials and bandits are never on the same side."
Murong Yun Shu paused for a second, "You want out?"
The corners of Nie Qing's mouth quivered, he barely stopped himself from blurting out "It's him or it's me," else there would be no turning back. "Murong House now represents the Court. Being in cohort with the bandits will hurt the national prestige."
"Which would you choose? The national prestige or national treasury?"
"Of course national prestige far outweigh the treasury!"
"But I'm a merchant." Profit always comes first.
"You are also an official of the Court." The Banking Regulatory Commission ranked the same as the Prime Minister, it was no small feat.
"Exactly why I want need to put the national treasury first." She paused, "Besides, according to my father's experience, befriending bandits can save us a lot of 'accidental expenditures' in the future."
Nie Qing was struck by anguish, my dad's experience... my dad.... that explained so much. Like father like daughter!
Within the next six months, words have spread that Zhen Yuan Escort Agency were robbed five times. That stirred up a lot of sensation as well as rumors, and the rumors continued to get more and more ridiculous...
Words had it that Zhen Yuan Escort Agency offended some big players. They were marked and all their trips would be robbed.
Words had it that the big player was the leader of the mojiao sect.
Consequently, Zhen Yuan Escort Agency went downhill overnight, nobody dared to go into business with them.
And Mingjian Manor knew they were at fault first, so they dare not make a fuss. They had to eat the loss of the five thousand silvers.
"Oh poor and unfortunate Mingjian Manor and Zhen Yuan Escort Agency! HA HA HA HA HA!" laughed Lu'er.
As usual, Murong Yun Shu just ignored her silliness. She continued to read the old medical journal in her hand -- looking for any mention of the Soul Snatcher.
"Miss, why don't you have any reaction to this?" A dissatisfied Lu'er made a fuss, she fully intended to change her miss's distant demeanor.
Murong Yun Shu knew that Lu'er would not stop unless she say something. She looked up, gave it some thought, then said, "Why was it that they all thought the big player that they offended was the leader of majiao sect?"
"Because Lin Shui'er, the daughter of Zhen Yuan Escort Agency, stole majiao sect's leader's fiancee's ex-fiancee." said Lu'er in one breath.
Murong Yun Shu gave her a cool look, "Was that meant to be a tongue twister?"
".... not at all."
"Splitting up a couple but setting up two couples, what Lin Shui'er did was a good deed." After that, Murong Yun Shu turned her attention back to the medical journal. This was the 19th medical journal that she was going through, still no mention of the Soul Snatch. Was she fated to die a premature death?
Lu'er rolled her eyes and, with extreme disappointment in Murong Yun Shu, said, "Miss, she stole your fiancee from you."
Murong Yun Shu frowned and corrected her, "No, she picked up old shoes that I tossed away." It was her dad's biggest mistake in his life to have negotiated the wedding arrangement with Fang Hongfei, and the largest smudge in her life.
She never thought for a minute that she wanted to revenge Lin Shui'er1. What happened to Zhen Yuan Escort Agency had nothing to do with that at all. They colluded with Mingjian Manor knowing full well that those fifty million were dirty money. They brought their bad fate onto themselves and she didn't feel bad that they were now going out of business.
Translator's random remark: Her being married to that loser was punishment enough. LOL