Dawn was breaking in the east, revealing the first rays of light.
The cold air of the night had condensed into dewdrops on the grass and leaves. The temporary market in the Jin clan was currently being dismantled; the tents were packed up, the carpets on the streets stalls were rolled up and the goods were packed in bags.
After having stayed in the Jin village for many days, the caravan was preparing to set off.
As for the merchants, no matter how many goods they sold or bought, they would be making profits eventually. Thus, though they were exhausted, they were wearing cheerful smiles on their faces.
Xiao Die's expression, however, was horrible.
"Missy, I just checked, that Hei Tu has exchanged almost all the goods. And in the goods he exchanged for, I saw three carts filled with Jinzan grass!"
"Jinzan grass?" Shang Xin Ci's long brows slightly furrowed.
Xiao Die was extremely angry, as she pulled Shang Xin Ci by her hand: "Even a layman like me knows how worthless Jinzan grass is, but he has exchanged for so many of them. Missy, this Hei Tu is simply making a trouble!"
"Xiao Die, calm down first." Shang Xin Ci patted Xiao Die's hand, "He should have exchanged for this Jinzan grass yesterday night, I don't know why he did that but he must have a reason for exchanging other goods. Just think, it is already pretty good that he could accomplish this as a mortal."
"Missy, why are you standing up for him? I am only thinking for you. These goods were originally ours, why would you let others squander it for nothing? Most importantly, he can't compensate us at all! Lord Zhang Zhu, please persuade Missy…" Xiao Die pouted.
Zhang Zhu who was looking on from the side, sighed: "Miss, Xiao Die is right. We lent the goods to him to test him, but now that we can already see the results, why are we still letting him squander them? We believe in your ability Miss, but if we can decrease our losses, why are we not doing so? It will also decrease our struggles when we reach Shang Clan City."
"This…" Shang Xin Ci mumbled. She was young, her eyes started showing signs of hesitation.
Previously, she had felt the goods exchanged by Fang Yuan was alright. However, this Jinzan grass… it was a great loss to exchange for so much Jinzan grass.
Jinzan grass was easy to preserve, but it simply couldn't be sold as the demand for it was almost non-existent. Such a large stockpile would rot sooner or later, and finally, they would have no choice but to cut down the price and dump sell the stock - it was destined to make a loss.
"Excuse me, are you Lady Zhang Xin Ci?" Just then, a middle-aged gu master who was sweating profusely, anxiously ran towards Shang Xin Ci.
The iron plate on his belt was carved with number 'two' showing the rank of this gu master.
Shang Xin Ci gave a slight smile: "Yes I am, may I enquire who you are?"
The middle-aged man cupped his fists: "I am the personal guard of lord clan leader, here on his command to ask for a favor."
"Oh? Please speak."
"Lady Zhang should have bought a large batch of Jinzan grass yesterday night. The whole story is like this, our clan leader is very passionate for Jinzan grass and so he personally raised some for pleasure. But the young master secretly dug them out and sold them behind the clan leader's back. Now, clan leader has placed the young master in confinement, and also wishes to buy back the Jinzan grass. I sincerely request you to sell them back to us."
This gu master was polite, but that politeness carried his firm attitude.
"Miss…" Zhang Zhu's expression turned solemn as he reminded Shang Xin Ci.
This personal guard represented the clan leader of the Jin clan, this matter could be both big or small, and it could turn serious if it was handled improperly.
Shang Xin Ci glanced at Zhang Zhu and nodded her head to indicate she understood: "Actually, I am also someone who loves flowers and I can understand honorable clan leader's passion. We will hand over the Jinzan grass to your honorable clan with not even a stem missing."
"It makes one happy to see such a reasonable Lady." The personal guard gu master's expression relaxed and revealed a slight smile.
Shang Xin Ci continued: "A subordinate of mine was in charge of this transaction. I will call him over."
Fang Yuan had already been paying attention to the activity here.
"Hei Tu, you are in trouble. Missy has called you." Xiao Die had come to summon him.
Fang Yuan soon appeared in front of the personal guard, and cupped his fists: "I am the one who was responsible for the transaction of Jinzan grass. I heard the honorable clan leader wants to buy them back?"
The personal guard was surprised to see the newcomer was actually a mortal, his face immediately revealed a slight disdain and arrogance.
He snorted: "That's right. Mortal, you can relax. Lord clan leader is benevolent and is willing to use three thousand primeval stones to buy back the three carts of Jinzan grass on you."
"So much?" Xiao Die was speechless and her gaze revealed her joy.
Zhang Zhu frowned before gradually relaxing. Three thousand primeval stones should be the maximum market price for the Jinzan grass, and this showed Jin clan leader's sincerity.
However, Fang Yuan shook his head: "Jinzan grass is very precious, only three thousand primeval stones to buy them back, this doesn't seem to be sincere, right?"
The personal guard immediately frowned: "What? The price I am giving is much higher than the maximum market price of the Jinzan grass. Mortal, what price did you buy it for?"
Fang Yuan rubbed his nose: "Let's not discuss about the purchase price, we are all businessmen, naturally we will buy low and sell high. Three thousand primeval stones are too less, I am not selling!"
"You!" The personal guard clenched his teeth, before eventually showing five fingers, "Alright, then I will rise it by two thousand, five thousand primeval stones!"
Xiao Die's eyes widened in shock, her face started to flush with excitement as she looked at the five stretched fingers of the personal guard.
"Five thousand primeval stones? This is what you said, you can't go back on it!" She was almost jumping in excitement, she hadn't thought the situation would develop like this; Fang Yuan had profited huge!
However, Fang Yuan still shook his head.
The personal guard's expression turned cold as he threatened: "Mortal, don't you think you are being greedy? These Jinzan grass were originally our clan's goods. You privately exchanged for them which is already not permitted. You don't even have any evidence of transaction, I can even say you secretly stole them!!"
Zhang Zhu was taken aback by the personal guard's anger, he looked at Fang Yuan: "Just sell it."
Fang Yuan laughed: "You sold them, I bought, this was mutual consent. What more, it was your young master who sold them to me. I can't do anything if you are determined to say I stole them. Jin clan is so rich and powerful that it can bully the weak and rob our goods. Hmph, the goods are just there, why don't you go take them. It is just that as far as I know, it is not just me who bought the Jinzan grass. Many others have a share of it, is Jin clan going to snatch all of theirs too?"
Fang Yuan had already expected this situation, thus he only bought a large majority yesterday night. The remaining Jinjan grass were sold to others by that gu master.
"You!" The personal guard was furious, but he could only clench his teeth at Fang Yuan's blatant extortion.
He pointed at Fang Yuan: "Your clan bought the most, you little brat, you want to make it hard for me?"
"Of course not, I am only trying to make a transaction." Fang Yuan cupped his hands.
"Hmph, forget it! I will put two thousand more, seven thousand primeval stones! Mortal, bring all the Jinzan grass you bought." The personal guard shouted.
"Hei Tu, just sell it. We need to pay attention to amiability while doing business." Shang Xin Ci couldn't endure this pressure.
"Since Miss has spoken…" Fang Yuan nodded his head before immediately changing the subject, "Then I will take back a step. Eight thousand primeval stones and all the Jinzan grass I have is yours."
The moment these words came out, Shang Xin Ci and the rest all became dazed.
The personal guard came back to his senses, unable to contain his anger: "What? You bastard!!"
Fang Yuan, however, had a smile on his face: "Business is business, please don't get angry lord gu master. Actually, I was thinking of selling them for ten thousand primeval stones, if lord gu master can't decide it, how about letting me discuss with your honorable clan's clan leader?"
"No need!" The personal guard swung his arm as he looked at Fang Yuan with extreme disgust, "You, a mortal, what qualifications do you have to meet lord clan leader? Bring the goods quickly, taking advantage of others when they are down, I will remember you. Hmph!"
His words, no doubt, meant he acceded to Fang Yuan's raised price.
The two finished the transaction in moments.
Fang Yuan hadn't even used five hundred primeval stones to buy them, but in just one night, the Jinzan grass changed hands for eight thousand primeval stones!
"Miss, there are two trunks filled to the brim with primeval stones!" Xiao Die was beaming with joy. She had witnessed the whole transaction process in fear, but now that she looked at these primeval stones, she felt that it was all worth it. Even her gaze towards Fang Yuan changed.
"Did you already know? That can't be it, this should just be the case of a blind cat coming across a dead mouse!" She looked at Fang Yuan from top to bottom and remarked.
"Offending the Jin clan for just eight thousand primeval stones is not worth it." Zhang Zhu had been frowning from the start, he looked at Fang Yuan with some discontent and warned, "Never take such a risk again."
Fang Yuan only smiled and turned towards Shang Xin Ci: "According to our previous contract, Miss will get half of this eight thousand primeval stones, and I request Miss to safeguard my half of the share too."
"Has it been settled?" Jin clan leader stood on a hill, watching the leaving caravan.
An elder was standing to his side and reported: "Yes, clan leader. We have bought back all the Jinzan grass. It is just that Zhang Clan is truly hateful for taking advantage of the situation to extort us."
Jin Clan's clan leader's brows furrowed: "Oh? Speak."
The elder elaborated on the details.
Jin clan's clan leader smiled: "It is just eight thousand primeval stones, no need to care. That Zhang clan's Lady, however, is intelligent, she pushed out a mortal servant to sound out the situation and earned herself this money."
"Lord clan leader, what if this Zhang clan already knows our clan's secret and thus took advantage to extort us?"
"Hahaha, don't be overly suspicious. If they knew the importance of the Jinzan grass to my clan, why would they only extort mere eight thousand primeval stones? They would buy them all or even not agree to sell them. But just in case, send some gu masters to watch them till they completely leave Huang Jin mountain's region. Make sure to watch if there are anyone who tries to secretly go to Huang clan. If there are, kill them on the spot!"
The clan leader's killing intent overflowed all around him as he said this.
The elder's mind trembled: "As you command, lord clan leader!"
Fang Yuan glanced back at the Huang Jin mountain, his lips curled up in a smiled.
Not far away in a carriage, Shang Xin Ci lifted open the curtains and gazed at Fang Yuan's back. Her beautiful eyes flashed with light, having fallen into deep thought.