"Suspicious?" Shang Xin Ci's gaze flickered under her thick eyelashes.
Zhang Zhu nodded and said solemnly: "In fact, I had my doubts about them ever since we entered Fei Hou mountain. Miss, you gave them a hundred and fifty primeval stones, but they weren't moved at all by such a huge sum. This really makes one ponder."
He paused for a moment and continued: "I have been secretly investigating them these days, and found even more suspicious points. First of all, they have little to no communication with the servants around them, as if they were wishing to be invisible. Second, they refused the recruitment offers of many clans, even though the terms were excellent."
"Miss, do you still remember his appearance when he came to ask help from us that night? Hei Tu, that guy has such powerful strength, how could he be wounded by others into such state? And finally, from my observation, his companion is wearing male clothing, but is actually a woman!"
The camp was filled with silence.
After a long while, Shang Xin Ci smiled: "Powerful strength doesn't mean he can definitely win against others, right? Two fists can't rival four palms, Hei Tu getting wounded was normal. Actually, I know about all these suspicious point you spoke of."
Zhang Zhu wasn't surprised at all, he understood Shang Xin Ci and knew of her intelligence.
Shang Xin Ci blinked, her face containing a gentle and charming smile: "Uncle Zhang Zhu, you have felt stifled for so many days, right? Seeing that I didn't take actions to deal with this, you came to remind me today."
Zhang Zhu smiled: "I can't conceal anything from you. But why are you still keeping them by your side?"
"Because I felt no ill intent from them." Shang Xin Ci's eyes shone with a wise light, "We became suspicious of them at the Fei Hou mountain, and if they hadn't stood up at that time, we wouldn't have been able to feel any suspicion. But, why did they still take a risk, wasn't it to help me?"
"If they had harbored treacherous schemes, they would definitely stay hidden and watch the show from the side, right? Or maybe receive that one hundred and fifty primeval stones. But they didn't. When Hei Tu said he was repaying my kindness, his expression was sincere and I could tell that he was speaking the truth. He really wanted to repay this favor." Shang Xin Ci said.
Zhang Zhu was tongue-tied for a long while: "But they aren't simple, they definitely have secrets."
A smile blossomed in Shang Xin Ci's face like a flower: "Everyone has secrets, I also have them, does having secrets make one a bad person? This world is bright, as someone who knows how to repay kindness, there has to be a limit to how bad he can be right?"
"That might be so but I can't help but wonder what their motives are. Maybe they are plotting something… wait, I know, they must be accomplices of some bandits. They joined the caravan and are planning to rob it by cooperating with demonic path figures!"
"That doesn't make sense." Shang Xin Ci shook her head, "If they were accomplices, they should have even more reason to stay hidden, why would they expose themselves in Fei Hou mountain. So many people tried to recruit them, they could just join other groups and it wouldn't be any less easier to hide themselves. Why did they decide to stick with us? I feel they have definitely been through some suffering. We helped them and they are repaying us. Now, they want to hide their identities, I think we should help them…"
Zhang Zhu sighed while shaking his head: "Miss, why are you always thinking about others? One must know to guard against others…"
"Uncle Zhang Zhu." Shang Xin Ci said, "If we are really robbed, please don't go fight to protect the goods. If the goods are gone, then they are gone, it is not a big problem. My mother's final wish was for me to bring a token to someone in Shang clan city. However, she also said if that person didn't accept us, we should continue living through these goods."
"My mother passed away swiftly, she didn't manage to convey who is the person I am supposed to look for. But I think wealth are just worldly possessions. Mother has already left me, you and Xiao Die are my only remaining relatives. I don't want to see you guys meeting any mishaps."
"Miss, never say that…" Zhang Zhu's eyes were red with emotions.
"Come, take a look, honest and real Shenjia Silk!"
"All kinds of fine liquors, I welcome everyone to taste them."
"Golden Qi Gu, selling for just fifty primeval stones!"
The temporary market was a hubbub of conversations and hawkers selling out their wares as people moved to and fro.
Whenever a caravan by, it would be like a festive moment for the clans.
In the temporary market, not only the caravan was selling their wares, some Jin clansmen were also selling their goods.
The goods they were selling were mainly golden statues or tools; there were pots, cups, ladles and basins. Their profound sculpting skills were shown in the lifelike statues of animals and people. And with red, green, yellow and blue gems or pearls as complements, the statues looked even more exquisite.
Huang Jin mountain was a place blessed by heavens with gold found everywhere in it.
The people living here, even the poor slaves were wearing some accessories like golden rings and golden necklaces.
Hairpins, earrings and bracelets worn by many girls were shining with golden luster, looking very beautiful. They were chatting with each other in groups in beautiful voices which was fresh and innocent.
As for the Gu Masters of the Jin clan, their uniforms were similar to Qing Mao mountain's; Short sleeves, long pants, belts, leg wrappings and green bamboo shoes.
It was just that some were using golden rope as leg wrappings. Belts, cloth cuffs or pants, were all rimmed in gold. This was Huang Jin mountain's characteristic.
The clans of the Southern Border had basically the same attires. The demonic Gu Masters, however, wore all sorts of bizarre dresses.
Fang Yuan and Bai Ning Bing were moving through the crowd. They had already bought some cow and goat milk from three to four Jin clansmen.
Fang Yuan had tried his best to feed all the bone spear Gu. But even so, two-third of the bone spear Gu were already dead from starvation.
"Aren't you afraid your such big reckless purchasing will expose our identities?" Bai Ning Bing expressed his doubt.
"As long as one uses disguise, they will definitely be exposed one day. I don't have a thing to worry about, but you, you have too big of a flaw." Fang Yuan glanced at Bai Ning Bing and said.
Bai Ning Bing snorted coldly, she knew what her flaw was: her gender.
Even the old lady at the hamlet could see it. Women and men have physiological differences, this could be disguised, but that required a special Gu worm which Bai Ning Bing didn't have.
Thus, even if she was wearing loose clothes, covering her face with a straw hat, smearing her body with ash and binding her chest, her gender would no doubt be revealed as time passed by.
Fang Yuan continued: "So, rather than cover the truth, it would be better to reveal some things on our own initiative and let the others set their minds at rest, thinking they have seen through us and have the situation in their control."
Exposing oneself was not always a bad thing. One could only receive trust when they revealed their identities.
Fang Yuan couldn't reveal his cards by himself, doing so would be too unnatural and not be in harmony with their previous behaviour.
Only when the other side discovered and probed, could Fang Yuan take the opportunity to conveniently reveal some stuff.
Bai Ning Bing understood: "So you are intentionally waiting for them to discover before responding?"
"You have finally become smart."
However, three days passed by and the response and probing Fang Yuan expected had still not arrived.
Bai Ning Bing finally got the opportunity to take a dig at Fang Yuan: "So you also have times when you are wrong."
Fang Yuan snorted while pondering inwardly: "I could see from Zhang Zhu's expression and manners that he was already suspicious of us. He didn't go into it deeply and restrained himself, most likely because there could be danger at any time on the road. But now that the caravan has arrived at Jin clan, the situation is very safe and he should have already begun his probing. Unless…"
Shang Xin Ci's figure appeared in Fang Yuan's mind.
"Truly smart and also bold. She's mostly likely the one that stopped Zhang Zhu. It's a little problematic, seems like being too smart can also be a problem." Fang Yuan heaved a sigh.
Shang Xin Ci's gentleness and kindness had made a deep impact on him, making him slightly underestimate this girl's intelligence.
Shang Xin Ci wanted to reach an understanding between smart people with Fang Yuan, she was clearly trying to play dumb. However, Fang Yuan had a different motive and this layer of understanding had instead turned into an obstacle.
"Since it is so, I will just take the initiative." Fang Yuan sighed and went to find Shang Xin Ci.
"You want to form a partnership with me?" Inside a tent, Shang Xin Ci and Zhang Zhu were wearing surprised expressions when Fang Yuan revealed his intentions.
They hadn't gone to look for these two, but these two instead came knocking on their door!
This was slightly beyond the young girl's expectations.
Zhang Zhu's mind shook: "You finally showed your true colors? Partnership… hmph!"
"Lady Zhang, I am a bit ashamed to say it, but we need primeval stones and I regard myself to be somewhat knowledgeable about merchants. I want to borrow a batch of goods, and we will divide the profits we earn in half, how about it?" Fang Yuan slightly bowed his body, appearing neither servile nor overbearing.
"You don't have any primeval stones and are as poor as a mouse, yet you want to borrow the chicken that lays egg? You are overconfident!" Zhang Zhu's gaze carried a cold light, "Why do you think you will definitely earn profits? And on what basis do you think our Zhang clan will lend the goods to you?"
"There will naturally be profits and losses in business. I also can't guarantee the profits. As to your second question, I think Lady Zhang is a good person and should lend the goods to me, right? You wanted to ask of my reason, I can only answer you that it is this feeling. If this feeling is wrong, then please consider this matter never happened." Fang Yuan answered with a smile.
He was one ear less and his whole body was covered with burns, making him appear terrifying when he smiled.
However, Shang Xin Ci looked at him and saw in him, a kind of confidence, decisiveness and a radiance of careful planning. This radiance emitted a different type of charisma, penetrating through the ugly appearance.
"Interesting, it seems he also sensed our suspicions, so he wanted to reach a tacit understanding with me?" Shang Xin Ci's gaze continued to flash.
After a short while, she laughed.
This kind of 'frank' communication style made her feel an indescribable safety and also a feeling of freshness.
"If you hadn't been there, there wouldn't even be a quarter of goods remaining, they would have already been snatched by those monkeys in Fei Hou mountain. Since you have this notion, I will hand over these goods to you." She said.
If the servant girl Xiao Die were here, she might have started making a big fuss.
Fang Yuan showed an expression of being in a daze for a while, before he bowed to show his thanks.
"Miss, this…" When Fang Yuan left the tent, Zhang Zhu couldn't endure it any more.
Shang Xin Ci blinked mischievously like a child: "Isn't this interesting? Did you hear what he said just now, he hadn't even started on the business, but was already talking of sharing the profits in half. His tone was as if the profits were certain…"
"Hmph, he is but a boor, how much talent could he have?" Zhang Zhu disdainfully scoffed, "If we talk about business talent, who could compare to miss? I still remember how you have managed the properties all these years and expanded them. If it were not for the envy of those petty people in Zhang Clan…"
"Alright, what is the use of talking about the past? Since Uncle Zhang Zhu believes in my talent, then you should trust me. Even if Hei Tu squanders these goods, I could still rebuild the business from scratch, isn't that right?" Shang Xin Ci said.
"Of course!" Zhang Zhu said without hesitation.