ROHYX Chapter 504 : Smuggling (2)

This chapter hasn't been edited yet.

After Wu Kuo left the Yun Residence, Yuxi fell into deep thought. Zijin beside her didn't dare to call out to her for fear of interrupting her thoughts.

After a while, Yuxi snapped out of her thoughts and asked, "Where is Zaozao? Is she in the front yard or the backyard?" Zaozao could eat complimentary food now, so if she got hungry while Yuxi was busy, Mama Lan would feed her some rice porridge or other solid food. That way, Yuxi wouldn't be interrupted while she was working.

Zijin exclaimed in surprise. Yuxi had just been talking about business, and now she was suddenly asking about Zaozao. The change of subject was a bit abrupt. Zijin replied, "She's with Uncle Huo. Madam, what's wrong?"

Yuxi didn't respond to Zijin; instead, she went to fetch Zaozao from Huo Changqing and brought her to the backyard. She spent most of the day playing with Zaozao until the little one grew tired and fell asleep. Only then did Yuxi enter her study. She remained there until Yun Qing returned home when she finally came out of the study.

Yun Qing looked at Yuxi's expression and asked, "What's wrong?" He noticed that her complexion didn't look great.

Yuxi replied, "Originally, I wanted to cooperate with Wu Kuo and let the Wu family take the lead in selling things to the other side of the pass. But now it seems that the Wu family is no good." She shared her suspicions about Wu Kuo: "You have repeatedly submitted memorials asking for money, and they have all been rejected. If it weren't for the large sum of money we got from looting the Xu family, we would definitely have accepted Wu Kuo's suggestion." Without money, the soldiers wouldn't be able to survive the winter. They couldn't let those soldiers starve and freeze to death. Desperate, they would have used any means necessary to get money. And if they had done so, it would have been like jumping into the pit Grand Chancellor Yu had dug for them. A person like Grand Chancellor Yu, as long as he had something to hold against you, even if he couldn't kill you, he could make you a target for everyone. It was also possible that the Yu family had also played a role in Yun Qing's terrible reputation in his previous life.

When Yuxi realised these things, she broke out in a cold sweat. Wu Kuo's appearance seemed too coincidental, and she had only thought that he had sensed a business opportunity, overlooking the danger he might bring. It was her fault for thinking too much of herself, and she must be more careful from now on.

Yun Qing remained silent momentarily before saying, "These people have many hidden agendas. We need to be more careful in the future. Otherwise, we might unwittingly fall into their traps."

Yuxi nodded. "Fortunately, Wu Kuo let slip some information, or else we would have fallen into the trap." But then she shook her head and continued, "No, something doesn't add up. Wuan Kuo is not an inexperienced youngster. He has been through a lot, and how he spoke to me today was off." To claim that he could make millions of silver taels in a year and that Yun Qing would never have to worry about money again was too audacious. Anyone with a slightly sharp mind would find it suspicious.

Yun Qing understood the implication behind Yuxi's words. "Are you suggesting that Wu Kuo's words today were intentional? But why would he do that?" Wu Kuo owed his current position to the Yu family, so he had no reason to betray them!

Perhaps it was because of internal strife, or Wu Kuo was dissatisfied with the Yu family's control over the Wu family, or perhaps there were other reasons. It was a pity they didn't have enough information on the Wu family to make a proper judgement. Yuxi shook her head. "We know too little about the Wu family." The Wu family was in Jiangnan, and their knowledge of them was limited.

Yun Qing said, "Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, we cannot sever our cooperation with Wu Kuo." The grain Wu Kuo provided this year was priced 20% lower than last year, yet the quality was even better. Even other military supplies were of impeccable quality. Such a partner was truly commendable.

Yuxi said, "Until we know his true intentions, we can't rely on him too much. We still need to find other channels, just in case."

Yun Qing nodded. "I know. With Grand Chancellor Yu watching us, it's better not to trade anything outside the pass!" Doing nothing was the safest way.

Yuxi shook her head. "We can't let our worries paralyse us into doing nothing." They were unfamiliar with the situation beyond the pass, but selling some goods as a trial run might be a way to explore. However, finding the right person for the job was a real headache. She didn't have such talented people at her disposal.

After hearing that Yuxi didn't have a suitable candidate, Yun Qing pondered for a moment and suggested, "I have a candidate in mind who I think could meet your requirements." The person Yun Qing suggested was the second steward of the Xu household. He had been involved in the Xu family's smuggling activities and was familiar with the procedures.

Yuxi was somewhat tempted, but she was still a little worried. She asked, "Can we rely on him?" If that person was unreliable, then they would be screwed.

Yun Qing replied, "He's reliable. His life was saved by Marshal Qin, and he is very loyal to him. Because of his proficiency in household affairs, General Qin arranged for him to be placed in the Xu household."

Yuxi's hesitation grew when she heard this. She realised that loyalty to Marshal Qin didn't necessarily mean loyalty to herself and Yun Qing. Mr Xia was a living example of that.

Yuxi believed that if Mr Xia had faced Marshal Qin, he would not have betrayed him even if Cao De had threatened to capture his wife and children. Yuxi asked, "What exactly is your plan to only imprison Mr Xia Sheng without punishment?" She had deliberately not asked about this in the past few days, waiting for Yun Qing to bring it up himself. Surprisingly, even after several days, Yun Qing had remained silent.

Yun Qing was also conflicted, saying, "Mr Xia has done much for Yu City over the years. Although his works cannot be considered great achievements, the hard work itself deserves some recognition1." He couldn't bring himself to kill Mr Xia.

Yuxi, who knew Yun Qing well, pointed out, "You're reluctant to kill Mr Xia because you think he played a big role in confiscating such a large sum of money from the Xu family, right?" Despite the rumours that Yun Qing was ruthless and killed without hesitation, he was very soft-hearted towards those close to him.

Yun Qing remained silent, which was tantamount to acquiescence.

Yuxi responded, "Mr Xia has indeed made significant contributions, but these two things are completely irrelevant. If he has betrayed us, he must face death. We were prepared for this situation this time, but what if we weren't? Do you think you can still stand here and talk to me calmly? Besides, have you thought about what would happen to me and Zaozao if something happened to you? He Rui, if Mr Xia is spared, those around you will think that betraying you will not have fatal consequences and will follow his example. In the end, it will be our family that pays the price."

Yun Qing hesitated momentarily before telling Yuxi the truth: "Mr Xia is actually a spy planted on Marshal Qin by the Imperial Court." With someone watching over Marshal Qin, the Imperial Court was well aware of Marshal Qin's every move.

Yuxi's face turned pale with fear as she asked, "Who told you this?" It was beyond shocking to discover that someone who had been at one's side for over twenty years was a spy for the Imperial Court. Could there be anything more terrifying than this revelation?

Yun Qing replied, "Mr Xia told me personally." Actually, Mr Xia had been tired of this kind of life for a long time, but he dared not leave, let alone die, and could only live in agony. 

Yuxi chuckled. "He even mentioned that he wanted to leave Yu City back then. It turned out that he was playing hard to get. I thought he genuinely cared about the people and soldiers of Yu City!" It was at this moment that Yuxi truly realised how naive she had been and how she had oversimplified everything.

Yun Qing shook his head and said, "Mr Xia said that he was moved to see how hard Marshal Qin worked for Yu City, so he helped Marshal Qin cover up many things. He also kept the affairs of the Xu family secret from the Imperial Court."

Yuxi chuckled as she argued, "He's hiding it for Marshal Qin, not for you. He Rui, such a person is too dangerous." Yuxi felt that all the people around them were not safe either. Who knew which one was a spy planted by the Imperial Court?

Thinking about this, Yuxi asked, "Perhaps Mr Xia knows about these people hiding in the shadows. Have you asked him?" When she saw Yun Qing shake his head, she said, "These people must be caught; otherwise, all of us won't be safe. It's still okay if it only happens to you and me, but I'm afraid that in the future, our children will be in danger of losing their lives at any time." Who knew if these people would kidnap their children to threaten them in the future?

These words caused a change in Yun Qiang's expression, who responded, "I will make Mr Xia speak up."

Two days later, Mama Qu approached Yuxi and said, "Madam, I would like to ask your permission to adopt Shaoyao and her younger brother."

Yuxi raised an eyebrow and asked, "Mama Qu, why do you want to adopt Shaoyao?" After learning that Mr Xia was a spy for the Imperial Court and considering the incident with Madam Xi, Yuxi had become suspicious of everyone around her, except for Zijin.

Mama Qu replied, "Shaoyao is a child who values loyalty and righteousness. She is willing to give up all her fame and wealth for the sake of her younger brother. Such a rare character is hard to come by. I believe that if I raise her, she will never abandon me." Mama Qu had long wanted to adopt a child, but it was a challenging task. Who knew if the child, once raised, would turn out to be a white-eyed wolf2. If so, all her efforts would be in vain.

Yuxi glanced at Mama Qu, who looked extremely respectful, and said, "Mama, have you forgotten? I have already told you I will care for you in your old age! Don't you trust me, Mama Qu?" This condition was agreed upon when Mama Qu served her that day.

Mama Qu quickly shook her head. "No, how could I not trust you, Madam. It's just that I'm afraid of being lonely in my old age, so I wanted to have a child by my side. This child is a good one, and in the future, I will also be able to play with my grandchildren while eating sweets4."

Since the conversation had reached this point, Yuxi naturally had no objections. "As long as Shaoyao agrees, I have no objections."

Mama Qu couldn't contain her joy as she said, "Thank you very much, Madam."

Yuxi had intended to ask Mama Qu a few more questions, but just then, Zijin came in and said, "Madam, Tan Ming is here seeking an audience."

After Yuxi asked Mama Qu to withdraw, she turned to Zijin and said, "Please let Tan Ming in." Tan Ming was Tan Tuo's trusted confidant, so his personal visit this time must be for an important matter.

The last time Tan Ming saw Yuxi, she was dressed as a man. When he saw her this time, he froze for a moment but quickly lowered his head.

Yuxi asked, "Did something happen to Tan Daren3?" If nothing had happened, Tan Tuo would not have sent Tan Ming over.

Tan Ming held out the letter with both hands: "Daren3 said Madam will understand after reading this letter." Although he hadn't read the letter, he knew roughly what it said.

Zijin took the letter, opened it, and, after checking that it was correct, handed it to Yuxi.

After reading the letter, a glimmer of joy flashed across Yuxi's eyes. Tan Tuo had requested to borrow some of their skilled guards to bring his wife and children from his hometown. Although he had phrased it as 'borrowing their people', the meaning was clear. Yuxi put the letter back in the envelope and told Tan Ming, "You can go back for now. I will send them over as soon as I have selected the people."

Tan Ming nodded and then exited.

Zijin looked at Yuxi's smiling face and asked, "Madam, is there any good news?" It was hard to see her Madam expressing her emotions so openly.

Yuxi whispered, "Tan Tuo has surrendered to us." With Tan Tuo joining them, they now had control over Xinping City. It would be more convenient for them to act in the future.

When Zijin heard this, she asked with some doubt, "Why should this be good news? Why would Prefect Tan suddenly surrender to us? Could this be a trick?" She couldn't shake the feeling of unease. After all, Tan Tuo was a fourth-rank official!

Yuxi smiled and said, "There's no need to worry about that." Tan Tuo's intention to bring his wife and children here was a gesture of goodwill in itself. So, there was really nothing to be suspicious about.

Footnotes Full List
  1. Chinese idiom: Although someone has not made great achievements, his hard work should not be easily dismissed. This phrase is commonly used to mean that one's achievement should be assessed in a whole picture, or it is used to remind others to reckon with one's own attainment. - Cchatty
  2. (fig) ungrateful wretch; an ingrate
  3. a title of respect toward superiors
  4. Chinese idiom: to enjoy a happy and leisurely old age


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