Chapter 23: A Mysterious Madame

Chapter 23: A Mysterious Madame

Zu An was stunned. Looking at how embarrassed Ji Xiaoxi was, he couldn’t help but wonder what she wanted to say. “Feel free to speak your mind. We can be considered as buddies who have gone through tough times and bathed… Cough cough, ignore what I just said. What I mean is that I already consider you as a friend, so feel free to speak your mind.”

Ji Xiaoxi retracted her already outstretched fist and quickly reverted back to her embarrassed look. “You see, my father has been concocting a medicine recently, and one of the ingredients required is Assrip Wolf goubaos. As you know, there’s likely to be no Assrip Wolves in the Wolf Valley anymore in the short-run, making it hard to secure this ingredient. So, can you sell some of it 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 aren’t that expensive, but the market price for Assrip Wolf goubao is 10 silver taels each.”

Zu An was astonished. These things are actually that expensive? However, when he thought into it, it did make perfect sense. One must know that the Assrip Wolves were known for their savage nature, and only around one in ten Assrip Wolves had a goubao. Those who wanted to hunt Assrip Wolves had to put their lives on the line for it. Even the slightest mistake could result in their ass getting ripped.

Zu An’s mind whirred quickly, and he replied, “Isn’t it wrong to calculate it like that? Given the current situation, it’s safe to say that it’s impossible to procure Assrip Wolf goubaos in Brightmoon City anymore.” 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 on, “Besides, you also mentioned yourself that there won’t be any Assrip Wolves in the Wolf Valley in the short-run. Most likely, the price of Assrip Wolf goubaos will soar very soon.”

Ji Xiaoxi blinked her eyes contemplatively before nodding in agreement. “You’re 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 suddenly started apologizing? She was really a little too innocent for the vile world out there. Thinking about how Divine Physician Ji was like, he couldn’t help but wonder if they were really blood-related.

“How about this? I’ll buy these goubaos for 13… Ah, no. I mean, 15 silver taels each. How does that sound to you?” Ji Xiaoxi looked at Zu An expectantly. “I only have that much money on me.”

Looking at how carefully Ji Xiaoxi was making an offer, Zu An couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Divine Physician Ji. What use was it for him to so desperately accrue money? With a daughter like this, all of his wealth would eventually go to benefit his son-in-law.

“Sure. How many are you intending on buying?” Zu An asked.

“Thank you!” Ji Xiaoxi’s eyes lit up in delight. “I wish to buy 10 of them. Is that too many?”

“No, of course not. Here, I’ll give them all to you,” Zu An said with a chuckle as he passed all 12 goubaos over. His main reason for hunting these things was to offset the consultation fee anyway. There was no need for him to keep them with him.

Considering that he had just earned 150 silver taels, even if he paid 100 silver taels for the consultation, he would still have an additional 50 silver taels remaining. I wonder if Divine Physician Ji will spit blood out once he learns about this.

Ji Xiaoxi anxious waved her hands and said, “That won’t do! I don’t have that much money to pay for it all!”

“Don’t worry, I don’t plan on charging you for the two extras. You can treat it as a gift,” Zu An placed his hand on her shoulder as he spoke heartily. “We’re friends after all!”

“Really?” Ji Xiaoxi was overjoyed. “You really are a nice person!”

“You shouldn’t hand out the 'nice guy' card so freely,” Zu An said with a stifled look on his face. All of a sudden, he yelped in pain. “Ah? Why does my hand… hurt so much?”

Ji Xiaoxi stuck her tongue out and said, “Aiya, I nearly forgot. My father has applied ‘Anti-Jackass Cream’ on my clothes. I’ll get the antidote for you right now!”

The sight of Divine Physician Ji laughing gleefully flashed across Zu An’s mind as he finally understood why that fellow was willing to let his daughter venture into the mountain to gather herbs all on her own. It turned out that he had already prepared her thoroughly.

Ji Xiaoxi hurriedly took out a bottle from her bag and rubbed it on Zu An’s hand. She pulled his hand over to her mouth and blew lightly on it. “Does it still hurt?” 

Looking at her palm-sized face, Zu An couldn’t help but chuckle, “It did hurt a lot earlier, but after you blew on it, it no longer hurts anymore.”

Ji Xiaoxi’s face reddened. “You’re teasing me.”

Zu An couldn’t help but remark, “Xiaoxi, if you treat everyone that well, bad guys will take advantage of you.”

Ji Xiaoxi replied without any hesitation, “I won’t allow any guys to touch my body though. You aren’t like those normal men.”

Zu An: “…”

Am I being treated like a sister right now? It’s a pity that the keyboard doesn’t collect my Rage, or else it would be exploding off the charts right now!

Ji Xiaoxi swiftly noticed the problem in what she had just said, and she quickly apologized, “Ah no, that’s not what I mean! I…”

Seeing how Ji Xiaoxi was too flustered to explain herself, Zu An patted her head and said, “Don’t worry about it. We’re friends, so I won’t mind it.”

Since he had already been treated as a sister, he might as well make use of it to its fullest 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 eventually rolling on the bed with them.

Pui! Who is a trashy man? Anyway, it’s not me!

While Zu An’s thoughts were wandering, he noticed Ji Xiaoxi looking at him with a look of sympathy. “Ah… I should have told you that the medicine is on my hair too…”

Zu An stared at his hand, which was already as swollen as a bun right now, and he felt like bursting into tears. Didn’t you just wash yourself in the river earlier on?

… 

A young man and a young woman walked alongside one another on a mountainous point to return to the city. Along the way, the young woman suddenly approached the young man, but the young man immediately leaped to the side as if she was some kind of poisonous mushroom.

“Don’t touch me!” Zu An stared at Ji Xiaoxi warily.

Ji Xiaoxi looked at him apologetically. Her lips pouted indignantly as she said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Zu An knew that he had it coming earlier, so it was too immature of him to blame her for it. “Alright, you didn’t do anything wrong. It was my fault for approaching you too carelessly. But speaking of which, how did you produce the wall of water earlier in the river?”

Ever since coming to this world, he had been curious about everything concerning cultivation, and he wanted to know everything he could about it. 

Ji Xiaoxi widened her eyes, “You were peeping on me back then?”

Zu An’s heart skipped a beat. He had completely forgotten about that! “Ah, I didn’t hear anything from you, so I took a quick look out of worry. Don’t worry, I didn’t see anything at all. You did block off everything with the wall of water.”

Ji Xiaoxi was a little doubtful, but she still 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, ki barrier, or anything you can think of within a radius of three chi around them. My water wall works using the same principles.”(Around 1 meter)

“I see!” Zu An finally made sense of the situation. It looked like the second rank made one’s skin more resilient whereas the third rank allowed one to release one’s ki externally. He looked forward to seeing what special skills he would learn when he advanced his cultivation further.

Ji Xiaoxi suddenly halted his footsteps. She pricked up her ears, as if picking up on something. “Big brother Zu, do you hear that?”

“What?” Zu An asked. He didn’t hear anything at all.

“I hear people fighting,” Ji Xiaoxi’s eyebrows arched upward. Clearly, she wasn’t too fond of violence.

“Let’s quickly leave the area,” Zu An said. If he was a powerhouse, he wouldn’t mind heading over to show off his strength, but he was currently a weakling who was even weaker than Ji Xiaoxi. This world was simply too dangerous for him at the moment, so it would be best for him to keep a low profile.

As the saying went, the one who laughs last laughs the best!

“I think we should still take a look. There might be someone who needs to be treated,” Ji Xiaoxi grabbed Zu An and stopped him. Her gentle eyes had turned firm in resolution.

Seeing her pure eyes, Zu An found himself caving in to her request. “Alright then. However, if it gets too dangerous, don’t blame me for running ahead of you. Also, I trust that you don’t have poison on your hands, right?”

“Rest assured, there’s no poison here!” Having received Zu An’s approval, Ji Xiaoxi’s eyes curled up to form smiling crescents.

The two of them quickly headed in the direction where the ruckus was coming from. In another valley, they found a carriage completely surrounded by black-clothed men. The guards standing around the carriage were trying their best to fend against the assault of the black-clothed men, but they were severely outnumbered. On top of that, each of the black-clothed men were also considerably powerful, and their strikes were both sharp and vicious. Many guards had already fallen amidst a puddle of blood.

It was only a matter of time before the remaining guards fell too.

Zu An noticed that the guards were all wearing white shirts with golden stitchings on their sleeves. It made them look suave.

“How bloody extravagant. How rich must they be for even their guards to be wearing such expensive clothes?” Zu An subconsciously looked at his scrubby clothes and felt a little tilted inside. They look more like the son-in-law of a duke estate whereas I am their guard!

“But what’s the use of dressing well? It’s just all for show!” Zu An’s envy was only appeased after seeing how the guards were being forced back by the black-clothed men.

“Those men are from the Blackwind Stockade!” Ji Xiaoxi exclaimed with a hushed voice. Even though she was kind and innocent, she was not a fool. She didn’t 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, and they would only be giving their lives away by rushing out now. Nevertheless, Ji Xiaoxi still felt conflicted seeing those people getting brutally killed right before her eyes.

“Blackwing Stockade? That is such a cannon fodder name. I reckon that the stockade must be some minor organization that barely sees the light of the day,” Zu An remarked.

“Far from that,” Ji Xiaoxi replied solemnly. “The Blackwind Stockade is a bandit band founded by Great Bandit Chen Xuan. Those bandits are known to be incredibly vicious, and they are quite strong too. They have been making a living by plundering the merchants passing by the area, and countless people have already lost their lives to them.”

Zu An asked, “Why doesn’t the city dispatch an army out to eliminate them then? There are so many experts in the city, after all. Is everyone really fine with them messing around like that?”

Based on the information he had gathered, most of the stronger cultivators had been taken in by the government. As such, a bandit band was unlikely to be able to withstand the fighting prowess of a city’s military force.

Ji Xiaoxi explained, “Duke Chu and City Lord Xie have dispatched a lot of soldiers out to eliminate them over the years, but those bandits are not that easy to deal with. They are elusive and hard to track down. If the city dispatches too few soldiers, those bandits would destroy them without any hesitation. If the city dispatches too many soldiers, those bandits would venture deeper into the mountain and camp it out. However, as soon as the soldiers retreat, they will make an appearance once more. These bandits are a huge menace to Brightmoon City.”

Zu An couldn’t help but feel that the Chu clan was inept. Despite looking like a huge deal, they couldn’t even handle a mere bandit band.

All of a sudden, Zu An noticed something and asked, “You mentioned that the Blackwind Stockade has always been able to move in advance to avoid the army dispatched against them? That sounds like they have an insider working for them.”

Ji Xiaoxi nodded in agreement.” Big brother Zu, you are really clever. That’s what my father said too.”

That greedy and perverted scruffy middle-aged man flashed across Zu An’s mind once more. It was really hard to imagine that he could be sober enough to analyze matters.

“Madame, we have held them down. You must leave right away!” A white-clothed guard pushed the enemy back as he glanced at the carriage behind him and shouted.

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