Chapter 119: Terms of Negotiation
“Ying Wuyou. I’ve heard Baishi mention you before and know that you are a man with principles and strength of character. This is excellent. The Hall of Healing precisely lacks people like you.”
Jiang Chen nodded and spoke a few words of encouragement.
When he heard these words, Ying Wuyou felt the pressure on him ease slightly. It looked like young duke’s impression of him wasn’t that bad.
“There are no outsiders here so I’ll speak frankly. Baishi has already left the Hall and will be following me in the future. It’s impossible for him to return to the Hall. However, the future of the Hall still needs someone at the helm. I’ve discussed this with Baishi and we feel that your character and abilities are on par with the Fourth Hallmaster Wang Li. Therefore, we’d like to use you as a term of negotiation in our discussions with the Hall. You can discuss further with Baishi on what the details should be.”
“Me?” Ying Wuyou started and blurted out, “I came to seek shelter with brother Baishi and not to borrow your strength…”
“We know all of this.” Jiang Chen chuckled. “This is also the very reason as to why we’ve decided on you. If you’d come to borrow our influence, we wouldn’t have even considered you. If you can appropriately control the Hall, you will be rendering a great service to mankind and this will also be the best way to follow Qiao Baishi.”
Qiao Baishi also encouraged, “Wuyou, you and I are most intimate of friends. I am quite at ease with your competence and character. I also know that you’ve offended quite a lot of people with your departure this time. The journey back will be difficult. But be at ease, we hold the initiative! The senior executives of the Hall are due for a purging. Those who should be made an example of will be dealt with, and those who should leave will be forced out. If an agreement cannot be met, we’ll forgo cooperation with the Hall. I can at the very least guarantee you food at every meal if you follow me.”
“If they’re willing to cooperate, we will certainly borrow strength from all sides to help you effortlessly control the Hall. You and I were both cultivated by the Hall, and have certainly not expended less time and effort on the Hall than them. Wuyou, are you willing to shoulder this burden for me?”
Ying Wuyou didn’t express his stance. To be honest, he was tempted.
Following Qiao Baishi was a decision of his heart, but he truly did have a very deep connection to the Hall of Healing. If the lineup of the senior executives of the Hall could be adjusted and the useless trash washed out, then he could easily return to the Hall as the successor to the Lord Hallmaster. He could then control of the matters of the Hall. This was indeed a very strong temptation.
“Brother Baishi, I…”
“Don’t hem and haw. You have the ability, just tell me if you have the charisma.” Qiao Baishi was a decisive person.
A surge of strong emotion agitated Ying Wuyou’s heart and he nodded his head abruptly. “Alright, since the young duke and brother Baishi both think so highly of me, I, Ying Wuyou, will give it a try even if I end up on the executioner’s block. The Hall has given birth to me and nurtured me. I can’t bear to watch it be destroyed in the hands of these lowlifes.”
Ying Wuyou was also filled with a bellyful of resentment whenever he thought of Wang Li, Elder Blue, and the others.
In one of the large inns in River Wave City, the Hall of Healing had been quite generous and reserved a large yard.
Almost all the senior executives had arrived in the Jiang Han territory.
They had already stayed for a full five days within this inn. Over the past five days, they had obtained intelligence from all sorts of venues that said the young duke was truly in closed door cultivation.
However, they couldn’t obtain any intelligence with regards to Qiao Baishi. It was as if Qiao Baishi was purposefully evading them.
On this morning, several senior executives were sitting dejectedly within a house drinking tea. A cloud of gloom hung over them and they were unable to find any energy within themselves.
Suddenly, a string of rushed footsteps sounded from the outside as one of the middle management members from the Hall hurriedly walked in.
“Lord Hallmaster, there’s news, there’s news! I’ve heard that the young duke has emerged from closed door training.”
“What?” Song Tianxing was overjoyed as he surged to his feet. “Then, did we send over our calling card?”
“Yes, your subordinate did so personally. However, the young duke’s household only accepted the calling card and didn’t express anything else. It seems that we’re to continue waiting.”
Song Tianxing went, “I see” and sat down, contemplating something with a grave expression.
He had visited all the appropriate people during this period of time and treated all those that he should treat. He’d even mobilized the Duke of Jinshan and the Duke of Hubing.
Who else could carry a heavier weight than these two?
Song Tianxing knew that he didn’t have enough sway to mobilize Princess Gouyu to speak on his behalf. Besides, Princess Gouyu was renowned for being not moved by entreaties.
There was basically no hope of getting her to speak on their behalf.
“Continue waiting. Report immediately to me if there’s any news.” Song Tianxing waved his hand.
Elder Blue couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Please, who does he think he is, putting on airs like this? Not to mention the fact that he isn’t a young duke now. Even if he was a young duke, he shouldn’t put on airs like this.”
Song Tianxing’s ferocious eyes glared, “Shut up! I’ve allowed you to come this time in order to give you a chance to adjust your attitude and apologize to both the young duke and Qiao Baishi. If you continue to speak irresponsibly, do you believe that I will force you out of the Hall right now?”
“I… “ A flash of a humiliated expression appeared on Elder Blue’s heavily made up face, but she still didn’t dare talk back to Song Tianxing.
It was actually Yue Qun who chuckled and eased the situation, “Lord Hallmaster, be calm, hold your horses. At this moment, we need to be united internally as well .”
“Elder Blue, you adjust your mentality as well. Remember, even if you’re very unwilling to, you still must docilely listen to the Lord Hallmaster. Apologize and offer presents where you must. Submit when you must. You’re an elder. So what if you have to humble yourself for the future of the Hall?”
Elder Blue was still a bit emotional and finally said a few words after taking a while to recollect herself, “I understand.”
It could be seen that she still did as she pleased in front of Yue Qun. To be honest, she had obtained her position of elder through Second Hallmaster Yue Qun’s efforts.
She had once made her way to Yue Qun’s yard everyday for three months straight. She served him day and night, employing all sorts of techniques in bed and subservient coquetry before finally obtaining her position after Yue Qun had had his fill of fun.
Therefore, it was rather normal if Elder Blue was a bit more unbridled in front of Yue Qun.
Just as an awkward moment prevailed, more footsteps came in from outside the door. An unfamiliar voice said, “The friends from the Hall of Healing are here right? I’m here on behalf of Mister Qiao Baishi to convey that we will be holding a banquet in the Rainflower Pavilion at the Jiang family’s secondary residence. The banquet will be in honor of various old friends. We hope you will give face and attend.”
“Qiao Baishi?” Song Tianxing took rapid action as he darted to the door and opened it.
However, there was only an invitation left on the doorstep as the messenger had already left.
Even so, it was as if Song Tianxing had discovered a precious treasure. He completely set aside the dignity of a Lord Hallmaster and picked up the invitation himself.
“It’s Qiao Baishi’s handwriting. Heh heh. It seems like Qiao Baishi still remembers old friendships. No one can be absent tomorrow, all of you must attend.”
Xong Tianxing passed the invitation onto Second Hallmaster Yue Qun. When Yue Qu had taken a look, he then passed it onto Fourth Hallmaster Wang Li as they all looked it over.
Song Tianxing and the others woke up early the next morning, cleaned themselves up properly, and prepared to set out. Before they left, Song Tianxing reminded them again and again, “All of you, remember, humble yourselves later. If anything goes wrong because of your attitudes this time, you’ll be the sinners of the Hall.”
Elder Blue had an aggrieved look on her face as she flung an angry glance at Yue Qun. The old fellow coughed dryly twice, rolled his eyes, and looked outside the door as if there was some fascinating landscape outside. He completely ignored her.
If it came down to the wire, there was no way that Yue Qun would provide back up for Elder Blue now. It didn’t matter what injustices one suffered, this matter had to do with the future of the Hall.
The Rainflower Pavilion was a secondary residence of the Jiang family. The surroundings were elegant, secluded, and peaceful.
When the Hall of Healing entourage arrived, Qiao Baishi had already been waiting there for a while.
After exchanging a few pleasantries, the atmosphere was a bit awkward as everyone took their seats.
Song Tianxing looked around his surroundings and couldn’t help but ask, “Baishi, where is the young duke?”
“The young duke has to take care of more pressing matters today. I’m the one holding this banquet today to treat my old friends. The saying goes that business deals can fall apart, but relationships shouldn’t. Although I’m no longer in the Hall, I did once swear an oath to the Hall.”
Ying Wuyou smiled off on the side, “Here, let me pour wine for you, Lord Hallmaster.”
After three rounds of wine had been drunk, Qiao Baishi and Ying Wuyou were quite enthusiastic as they kept urging the others to drink more wine. What they never mentioned, however, was the affairs of the Hall.
Song Tianxing was anxious and it was finally Yue Qun who spoke up, “Baishi, ah, we were all quite saddened when you left last time. We’ve come to pay our respects to the young duke this time and also to apologize to you, and to express our regrets.”
“Apologize?” Qiao Baishi chuckled. “It’s all in the past, not to mention I’m quite fine here. You don’t need to feel apologetic.”
This answer was as if Yue Qun’s strike had landed on cotton candy, making him at a loss of how to respond.
“Ahem… Baishi, ah, we’ve come to pay our respects to the young duke this time because we wished to discuss the partnership between us…”
“Partnership?” Qiao Baishi set his cup down lightly. “If I recall correctly, the young duke chose to cooperate with me originally. I’ve already left, what partnership are you talking about?”
Yue Qun had once again hit a wall and could only continuously drink wine in his loss for words. He threw a look at Song Tianxing. That look meant, I can’t handle this, you’ll have to do this boss.
Song Tianxing sighed, “Baishi, the Hall was at fault for how we treated you in the past. We’ve come with the utmost sincerity this time. What does the young duke think about the partnership? If there’s any room for discussion, then anything can be discussed. If there’s no room for discussion, then also let us know so we can die a straightforward death.”
Song Tianxing’s words were much more sophisticated. He’d seized on the point that Qiao Baishi still had feelings for the Hall, and the mention of the so-called straightforward death was undoubtedly to tug on Qiao Baishi’s heartstrings.
However, Qiao Baishi and Ying Wuyou had already been mentally prepared before the negotiations and naturally wouldn’t give up their bottom line with these words.
Qiao Baishi raised his cup, expressionless, “Lord Hallmaster, I salute you. Since you’ve brought up this matter, I won’t put on an act any longer. I can make the decisions on this matter without the young duke having to make an appearance. However, I can speak on behalf of the young duke but I can’t speak on behalf of your Hall of Healing.”
“What… what do you mean?” Song Tianxing was a bit taken aback.
Qiao Baishi smiled faintly and remained calm and composed as he filled up Song Tianxing’s cup again.
“My words are easy to understand. The young duke can consider working with the Hall of Healing, but it depends on who from the Hall of Healing he’s working with.”
The more clever of those present immediately seemed to understand something when Qiao Baishi delivered his words.