Chapter 23: A Mysterious Madam
Zu An was intrigued, especially considering how embarrassed Ji Xiaoxi seemed. “Feel free to speak your mind. Consider us buddies who have gone through tough times and bathed... Ahem ahem, ignore what I just said. What I mean is that I already consider you a friend, so say what you will.”
Ji Xiaoxi quickly pulled back her fist, and her earlier embarrassment returned. “You see, my father has been concocting a certain medicine recently, and one of the ingredients required is Assrip Wolf goubaos. Since there arent likely to be Assrip Wolves in the Wolf Valley for a while, it might be difficult to secure this ingredient. Would you be willing to sell some to me”
Zu An wondered how Ji Xiaoxi would react once she realized that he was collecting these goubaos for her father. However, his mouth moved far faster than his brain. “How much do you intend to offer for them”
Ji Xiaoxi replied, “Ordinary goubaos arent that expensive, but the market price for an Assrip Wolf goubao is ten silver taels each.”
Zu An was astonished. These things are actually that expensive He thought it through, and found it made perfect sense. The Assrip Wolves were savage, and only one in ten of them produced a goubao. Those who wanted to hunt Assrip Wolves had to put their lives on the line. Even the slightest mistake could result in their asses getting ripped.
Zu Ans mind whirred quickly, and he replied, “Isnt it wrong to calculate it like that It seems to me that Assrip Wolf goubaos are impossible to procure in Brightmoon City.” If Divine Physician Ji could really buy them off the market, there would be no need for him to put up this task in the first place.
Zu An paused for a moment before continuing. “Furthermore, as you pointed out, there wont be any Assrip Wolves in the Wolf Valley in the short run. The price of Assrip Wolf goubaos will definitely skyrocket very soon.”
Ji Xiaoxi blinked her eyes in consideration before nodding in agreement. “Youre right, what you said makes sense. My apologies, I failed to take these factors into account.”
Zu An was dumbfounded. He was just trying to sound her out, yet she was so quick to apologize She really was too innocent for the vile world out there. He had a hard time believing that she was related to that conniving Divine Physician Ji.
“How about this Ill buy these goubaos for thirteen... Ah, no. I mean, fifteen silver taels each. How does that sound to you” Ji Xiaoxi looked at Zu An expectantly. “I only have that much money on me.”
The amount of care Ji Xiaoxi took in making her offer made Zu An feel sorry for Divine Physician Ji. What use was it for him to accrue money so desperately With a daughter like this, all of his wealth would merely benefit his son-in-law.
“Sure. How many are you intending on buying” Zu An asked.
“Thank you!” Ji Xiaoxis eyes lit up in delight. “I wish to buy ten of them. Is that too many”
“No, of course not. Here, Ill give them all to you,” Zu An said with a chuckle, as he handed her all twelve goubaos. His main reason for hunting these things was to avoid paying the consultation fee anyway. He had no further need for them.
Considering that he had just earned 150 silver taels, even if he paid 100 silver taels for the consultation, he would still have 50 silver taels remaining. I wonder if Divine Physician Ji will spit blood once he learns what happened.
Ji Xiaoxi waved her hands and said anxiously, “That wont do! I dont have enough money to pay for them all!”
“Dont worry, I wont charge you for the extra two. You can treat it as a gift,” Zu An placed his hand on her shoulder as he spoke heartily. “Were friends after all!”
“Really” Ji Xiaoxi was overjoyed. “You really are a nice person!”
“You shouldnt hand out the 'nice guy' card so freely,” Zu An said, his face all scrunched up. He let out a sudden, pained yelp. “Ah Why does my hand... hurt so much”
Ji Xiaoxi stuck her tongue out and said, “Oh, I nearly forgot. My father appliedAnti-Jackass Cream on my clothes. Ill get the antidote for you right away!”
An image of Divine Physician Ji cackling gleefully flashed across Zu Ans mind. He finally understood why that fellow was willing to let his daughter venture into the mountain all alone to gather herbs. He had already prepared her thoroughly.
Ji Xiaoxi grabbed a bottle from her bag and rubbed a little of its contents on Zu Ans hand. She pulled his hand over to her mouth and blew lightly over it. “Does it still hurt”
He looked at her face, which was the size of his palm, and chuckled. “It did hurt a lot earlier, but after you blew on it, it no longer hurts anymore.”
Ji Xiaoxis face reddened. “Youre teasing me.”
Zu An couldnt help but remark, “Xiaoxi, if you treat everyone so well, bad guys will take advantage of you.”
Ji Xiaoxi replied without any hesitation, “I wont allow any guy to touch my body though. You arent like those normal men.”
Zu An had no words.
Am I being treated like a sister right now Its a pity that the Keyboard doesnt collect Rage points from me. It would be exploding off the charts right now!
Ji Xiaoxi recognized how her words sounded and quickly apologized. “Ah no, thats not what I mean! I...”
Seeing how Ji Xiaoxi was too flustered to explain herself, Zu An patted her head and said, “Dont worry about it. Were friends, so I wont mind it.”
Since he had already been treated as a sister, he might as well take full advantage. In his previous life, there were plenty of trashy men who pretended that they were gay in order to get close to girls, before worming their way into their beds.
Pui! Who is a trashy man Definitely not me!
As his thoughts wandered, he noticed Ji Xiaoxi looking at him in sympathy. “Ah... I should have told you that the medicine is on my hair too...”
Zu An stared at his hand, as swollen as a bun, and almost burst into tears. Didnt you just wash yourself in the river earlier on
A young man and a young woman walked side by side along a mountainous route leading towards Brightmoon City. As they walked, the young woman moved closer to her companion, but the young man leaped to the side as if she were some kind of poisonous mushroom.
“Dont touch me!” Zu An stared at Ji Xiaoxi warily.
Ji Xiaoxi looked at him apologetically. Her lips pouted indignantly as she said, “Im sorry. I didnt do it on purpose.”
Zu An knew that he had had it coming, and it was immature to blame her for his suffering. “Fine, you didnt do anything wrong. It was my fault for approaching you too carelessly. Speaking of which, how did you produce that wall of water in the river earlier”
Ever since coming to this world, he had been curious about everything concerning cultivation, and he wanted to know all he could about it.
Ji Xiaoxi widened her eyes. “You were peeping on me back then”
Zu Ans heart skipped a beat. He had completely forgotten about that! “Ah, I didnt hear anything from you, so I took a quick peek out of worry. Rest assured, I didnt see anything at all. You blocked everything off with that wall of water.”
Ji Xiaoxi was not convinced, but decided to trust him in the end. “Cultivators of the third rank are able to release their ki a short distance away. They are able to form armor, a ki barrier, or anything you can think of within a radius of three chi around them. I used that principle to create the water wall.”
“I see!” Reaching the second rank made ones skin more resilient, and reaching the third rank allowed one to release their ki externally. He looked forward to seeing what special skills he could learn when he advanced his cultivation further.
Ji Xiaoxi suddenly stopped in her tracks. She pricked up her ears, as if picking up on something. “Big brother Zu, do you hear that”
“What” Zu An asked. He didnt hear anything at all.
“I hear people fighting.” Ji Xiaoxis eyebrows arched upward. Clearly, she wasnt too fond of violence.
“Lets leave the area quickly,” Zu An said. If he were a powerhouse, he would have headed straight towards the fight to show off his strength, but he was currently a weakling, even weaker than Ji Xiaoxi. This world was simply too dangerous for him right now, and keeping a low profile would suit him the most.
As the saying went, the one who laughs last laughs the best!
“I think we should take a look. There might be someone who needs to be treated,” Ji Xiaoxi grabbed Zu An and stopped him. Her gentle eyes held a firm resolve.
Seeing her sincerity, Zu An found himself caving in to her request. “Okay then. However, if it gets too dangerous, dont blame me for running ahead of you. Also, I trust that you dont have poison on your hands, right”
“Rest assured, theres no poison here!” Having secured Zu Ans approval, Ji Xiaoxis eyes became slits that arched upwards to form two smiling crescents.
The two of them hurried in the direction of the ruckus. In another valley, they found a carriage completely surrounded by black-clothed men. Guards circled the carriage, trying their best to fend off the assault, but they were severely outnumbered. The black-clothed attackers also seemed more powerful, their strikes sharp and vicious. Many guards had already fallen, lying in pools of blood.
It was only a matter of time before the remaining guards would be defeated.
Zu An noticed that the guards were all wearing white shirts with golden stitchings on their sleeves. It made them look distinguished.
“How bloody extravagant. Even their guards have such expensive clothes. How rich must they be” Zu An glanced at his scruffy outfit resentfully. They look more like the son-in-law of a duke estate, and I could pass off as their guard!
“But whats the use of dressing well Its just all for show!” Zu Ans envy was only appeased by the sight of the finely-dressed guards being forced back under the onslaught of their attackers.
“Those men are from the Blackwind Stockade!” Ji Xiaoxi exclaimed in a hushed tone. Even though she was kind and innocent, she was no fool. She didnt rush out blindly just because she saw that there were casualties. Instead, she pulled Zu An behind a bush to observe the situation.
The outcome of the battle was already sealed. They would only be giving their lives away by rushing out now. Nevertheless, Ji Xiaoxi still felt conflicted as she watched the brutal killings happening right before her eyes.
“Blackwind Stockade Thats a name for cannon fodder! This Stockade must be some minor organization that barely sees the light of the day,” Zu An scoffed.
“Far from that,” Ji Xiaoxi replied solemnly. “The Blackwind Stockade is a bandit gang founded by Great Bandit Chen Xuan. They are known to be strong and incredibly vicious. They make a living by plundering passing merchants, and have already taken countless lives.”
Zu An struggled to understand. “Why havent the authorities dispatched an army to eliminate them There are so many experts in the city, after all. Are they all okay with these bandits messing around like that”
From what he knew, most of the stronger cultivators had been taken in by the government. It was unlikely a simple band of bandits could withstand the fighting prowess of a citys military force.
Ji Xiaoxi explained, “Duke Chu and City Lord Xie have sent many soldiers out to eliminate them over the years, but these bandits are not that easy to deal with. They are elusive and hard to track down. If the city sends too few soldiers, the bandits eliminate them without hesitation. Too many soldiers, and the bandits merely venture deeper into the mountain and bide their time. As soon as the soldiers retreat, they come out once more. These bandits are a huge menace to Brightmoon City.”
Zu An was embarrassed by the ineptitude of the Chu clan. Despite looking like a huge deal, they couldnt even handle a mere bandit gang.
Something she said tickled the back of his mind. “You mentioned that the Blackwind Stockade has always been able to move in advance to avoid the army It sounds like they have an insider working for them.”
Ji Xiaoxi nodded in agreement. “Big brother Zu, you are really clever. Thats what my father said too.”
The image of that greedy middle-aged man flashed across Zu Ans mind once more. It was inconceivable that a scruffy pervert like him could be sober enough to analyze such matters.
“Madam, we have them tied down. You must leave right away!” Down in the valley, a white-clothed guard shouted into the carriage behind him as he shoved an enemy away.
1. About one meter.