Chapter 366 "Direct Confrontation, Who's More Vicious?"
It's been several days since Ling Yue enacted her new initiatives across the city, and the receptions were mixed.
While the Medicine Hall definitely became a huge hit with the populous, giving them access to proper care and affordable medicine, things aren't always perfect and that can be seen with the coal and firewood supply.
Sure, anyone can go outside and bring some more wood back to the city for burning, but proper firewood and coal needs extra processing before it can be used. Otherwise, it will create a plume of unwelcomed smoke and none would want that.
Night, the winds are blowing and the sky was dark without a spec of moonlight. This hour should've been quiet without much activity, but not this night, dark figures are sneaking about away from the confines of the city. Their destination, a remote looking building in the Northwestern Plains where a Taoist looking priest and his followers were waiting for their arrival.
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Based on the getup of these scrawny looking individuals, they should also be alchemists like Ling Yue, but with one clear difference, they aren't from Da Xia.
“Elder, this is already the seventh day. Our brothers are about to starve at this rate if we don't get some business soon." The sneaky figures immediately kneeled before the sallow looking head priest upon their arrival.
As per Ye Ling Yue's earlier investigation, these people are the evil alchemists originating from the Central Plains.
Because of the constant war occurring in that region of the continent, most nations and its people are now impoverished and starving, these alchemists are no different.
Coming from different backgrounds and various small sects, they had gathered together to come to Da Xia after getting word of how rich and safe this kingdom was. Their organizational name now was called the Jinwu Sect, a composition of skilled individuals running away from war.
“General Su, how do you explain this! At the beginning you promised us free passage in the sale of our goods." The leading Taoist looking monk known as Jin Wu San interrogates his foe that was standing in the corner of the room.
“This matter is also a headache for me, I only heard of it in the last few days. If anyone is to blame, it's that new Chief Alchemist." A cloud of gloom was hovering over General Su's head.
Turns out the man had been in collusion with these evil alchemists from the start, hence the reason why he would so flatly refuse the request for help. The agreement was fifty-fifty in profit between both parties, making the general a part of the problem.
“Jin Wu San, how can you even call yourself an elder of the Jinwu Sect? Without the mean to tap into your regular source, couldn't you just look for alternatives?" Su Mu (general) was unwilling to give up on his road to fortune due to an ignorant girl's interference.
"Chief, not good! The carts transporting the coals have been robbed outside the city. Four of the alchemists escorting the supply is also injured as a result." Ling Yue was hit with this bad news the very next morning.
She knows it won't be long before she and General Su confronts each other for the final battle now, meaning time was of the essence. So, in order to lure out the bad variables hiding in the shadow, she had used this method to force them out into the open.
“I see, those people couldn't endure it as I predicted," her response sounded unsurprised.
Regarding this shipment of coals, very few people knew about its course route, this includes those within the Alchemist Hall too. The only unknown variable were the couple of soldiers sent by General Su to act as escort, and those people had fled as soon as the incident was over.
She be damned if this wasn't an insider's job!
It seems its time…. Her forehead wrinkling into a knot at the decision.
While one side was preparing for war, the other side was busy celebrating their achievement.
After the coal shipment was stolen, the members of the Jinwu Sect naturally had to rejoicing in their loot back inside their hideout. Unfortunately for these thieves, their laughter didn't last very long after they discovered the truth about their painstaking work. None of the coals could be used.
“Elder, these charcoals are all useless because they are wet on the inside. When ignited, it will exude a horrible smell and make our brothers unwell and sick from vomiting." One of the evil alchemist frowned as he explained.
Going green at the news, the leader known as Jin Wu San didn't wait a second longer before having his men bring the coals over for examination. One look, that's all he needed to start jumping in exploding anger.
“What a vicious tactic, these coals are clearly laced with poison. The other side must have long known about our plan and countered with a plan of their own. General Su, is this the sort of idea you came up with after feeding us the information? You really screwed us this time!"
Because of the toxic fume created by the burning coals, over half of the evil alchemists working under him was now sick and out of commission. Just tending after his men will be a real headache.
“What a good Lan Ling Yue, even I have been fooled by you!" In his rage, the general instantly crushed the block of coal in his hand.
“General Su, don’t blame me for not warning you. If you don’t come up with a plan soon to crush that new Chief Alchemist then I will see to it that you fall with us. Don't forget, if the Court gets wind of your works here, it won't end well for either of us." Cornered and desperate, Jin Wu San was no pushover when he needs to be.
“What do you mean by that? That woman cut off my income and maimed my men, you think I don't hate her? But remember, she's someone officially appointed by the Court and is also a recognized official. If anything happens to her then the Court is bound to investigate. However, if an assassin suddenly kills her inside the Alchemist Hall, then that's different." General Su slowly leads the man into his plan.
“General, you mean?”
“Chief Yue made a lot of enemies after her arrival in Dan City so it's not surprising an enemy or two would come knocking at her doorstep, don't you agree?" Narrowing his eyes, General Su's face was starting get eerily dark, "In a few days it will be the Alchemist Hall's vacation day. During that period most of the occupants will be away and back at their homes."
Their eyes met, understanding each other's meaning.
Lan Ling Yue, this is your own fault!