Yun Ruoyan hurriedly extinguished the furnace and followed Lin Bo to the guest hall, where she saw Pei Ziao sipping tea.
"Pei Ziao," she called out.
The moment Pei Ziao raised his head to look at Yun Ruoyan, his gaze became unfocused and his features went slack, clear evidence that the soul-stealing pill was functioning as expected.
"I need to have a private conversation with Young Master Pei. Lin Bo, please return to your duties."
Lin Bo had also noticed Pei Ziao's sudden shift in expression. Having traipsed across the continent with Lin Zainan in his youth, he was more observant than most. "This Young Master Pei looks like he's suddenly lost his soul. Miss Yun, please be careful."
"I will, Lin Bo."
Lin Bo retreated as Yun Ruoyan walked up to him. Robotically, Pei Ziao stood up, his gaze tracking Yun Ruoyan, as if he were a dog waiting for orders from his mistress. Right, nothing more than a dog. Yun Ruoyan was once again amazed by the power of the soul-stealing pill.
"Have you procured everything?"
"Good. Show me." Yun Ruoyan pointed at a table. She had noticed that Pei Ziao was wearing a storage ring, and the items she was looking for were likely inside.
Pei Ziao slowly turned around, waved his hand above the wooden table, and revealed three cedar cases. One was large, and two small. Yun Ruoyan walked over and opened up that large box to find dozens of tiger-canine arrows, each sharp and pointed, and gleaming gold.
There were forty of them in all, surprising Yun Ruoyan greatly. She'd originally expected that the canine would only be enough for just about twenty arrows, but here was double that quantity! The drawback was that these arrowheads were much smaller than those of standard arrows.
"Are the size of those arrowheads going to be a problem?"
"No," Pei Ziao replied. "Father told me that these canines are a particularly hard and dense material, so making regular-sized arrowheads out of them would have affected the arrows' balance and speed. Instead, making the arrowheads smaller would both produce a greater quantity of arrows and make them easier to use in combat."
Due to the effect of the soul-stealing pill, Pei Ziao was particularly loquacious. "Of course, this also means that these arrowheads are unable to cause large wounds. To use such arrowheads to the best of their ability, the archer must have extreme precision."
Yun Ruoyan nodded, supremely confident in Zhuo Yifeng's archery. She closed the case of arrows and opened up the other two boxes, each containing a high-grade spiritual pill. One was superior, and the other regular.
Pei Ziao introduced the superior pill as one that could swiftly rejuvenate spiritual energy that was consumed during a battle, and the regular pill as one for treating external injuries. Rather than swallowing it, the user would crush it over their wounds.
"You've done very well," Yun Ruoyan praised, sweeping all three boxes into her own storage ring.
"Thank you, Mistress." Pei Ziao's wooden expression became happy as he received rare praise from his mistress. Under the effect of the soul-stealing pill, Pei Ziao was wholeheartedly treating Yun Ruoyan as his mistress, and his only goal was to accomplish the tasks she had set out for him.
Yun Ruoyan was almost unwilling to give Pei Ziao the antidote, but she was certain that the wily Pei Yingxiong would detect something amiss sooner or later if she didn't. It wouldn't do to be too greedy!
"Leave the Lin estate and head east until you reach the brothel you normally go to. There, find the ugliest woman you see and entice her to sleep with you. After you awaken, consume this pill."
Yun Ruoyan handed Pei Ziao the antidote to the soul-stealing pill.
"Of course, Mistress." Pei Ziao bowed respectfully.
"Alright, you can go." Yun Ruoyan waved her hand in dismissal and watched Pei Ziao depart. She looked at his back with a particularly malicious smile.
After Pei Ziao left the Lin manor, he headed straight for the Yichun brothel. It was already near evening, and the women of the brothel were on the streets soliciting guests.
"Young Master Pei, oh, isn't this Young Master Pei?" One of the women saw Young Master Pei and began swooning around him. Because of his generosity and propensity to bring his other noble friends over, Pei Ziao was considered a VIP guest.
"Young Master Pei, it's been so long since you've frequented Yichun! We've missed you to death." The women crowded Pei Ziao as they ushered him in.
As long as Pei Ziao wasn't in close proximity to Yun Ruoyan, he would behave like a regular person. With a smile, he replied, "My money more than my personality, surely."
"Young Master Pei, it's been so long! You haven't found a new locale to frequent, have you?" Madam Lin herself strode up to welcome him.
"Of course not," Pei Ziao denied. "Your girls are the best in the entire capital, Madam Lin. I couldn't find a better place even if I tried!"
Pei Ziao's words caused Madam Lin to beam, turning her old, wrinkled face into a chrysanthemum. She walked up to Pei Ziao and nudged him. "I've left you a few fresh goods to sample, Young Master Pei."
Pei Ziao was very particular in his preferences: he would only have sex with beautiful virgins, the so-called "fresh goods". For these women, he was willing to spend a generous sum of money.
"Please introduce me to them, Madam Lin." Pei Ziao's gaze roamed the brothel.
Madam Lin immediately headed to the back of the brothel. "They'll be right with you, Young Master Pei."
As he sat in the brothel's reception chamber, a young miss walked up with her head lowered to serve some wine. Perhaps because she was anxious, she tripped and almost fell.
"Miss, be careful!" Pei Ziao leaped forward and held her steady with a smile. His dashing countenance, enhanced by his spotless white robe and graceful smile, immediately dazzled a whole gaggle of women.
The women, however, were quite surprised that Young Master Pei would actually smile at the ugly servant girl. His standards had always been remarkably high, and he had always frowned upon seeing her in the past.
Young Master Pei really was acting quite strangely today!
The ugly servant immediately stood up straight when she saw Pei Ziao smiling at her, grinning foolishly as she did so.
Her face was like a flat slate, her eyes as beady as a chicken's, her eyebrows bare, her lips permanently pursed, her skin rough and dark, textured and colored like grains of sand exposed to extreme heat. Her smile showed off her tombstone-like teeth. When she breathed out, the women all covered their nose and mouth as one, as if able to smell her foul breath even from afar.
She was such a distasteful woman that she had been given to the brothel for free as menial labor. Her face was so ugly that no sane establishment would permit her to show her face in public, but Madam Lin was an astute businesswoman.
She was so far beyond ugly that her appearance was a rarity of sorts, and there were always those unusual guests who derived enjoyment from looking at all sorts of bizarre, eccentric scenes that shocked one's eyes.
More importantly, her extreme ugliness would make all the other women look like beauties in comparison. Even the next-ugliest woman would look like a peerless beauty compared to this servant girl.
As Pei Ziao looked at her, Yun Ruoyan's voice kept ringing through his head. "Find the ugliest woman in the brothel, entice her, and sleep with her! It's her, her, her..."
Pei Ziao's gaze was dull one moment and alert the next. He had no choice but to obey his mistress' commands, so he asked, "May I ask for your name and age, Miss?"
His gentle voice and dreamy eyes once again shocked the women peering at him from a distance.
"I, I..." Such a thing had never happened to the servant girl before, and she was overwhelmed by his appearance and question. She took a deep breath, mimicked the manner of speech employed by the ladies who worked here, and spoke in a low, muffled voice, "My name is Huahua, Young Master."
After her self-introduction, Huahua stuck out her impressive bosom, the only part of her body she could be proud of. Amidst the slender, willowy women of the Yichun brothel, Huahua's bosom was indeed the largest of them all.
"Huahua," Pei Ziao called out, his tone admiring. "What a beautiful name!"
The jaws of the watching women dropped. Young Master Pei was actually praising that ugly servant girl!
"Really, Young Master?" Huahua was almost in delirium from the attention of the handsome man in front of her.
"When have I ever lied to a woman?" Pei Ziao stood up, cupped Huahua's stupendously ugly face, and professed, "Miss, I'm enamored with you. Would you spend a night with me?"
"What? What?!" Huahua opened her beady eyes wide and said incredulously. Had she become pretty, all of a sudden?
"Miss, are you unwilling?" Pei Ziao frowned.
"N-No, of course I'm willing!" Huahua shook her head. "But I'm only a servant girl, and I'm not allowed to sleep with the guests."
"Don't you worry, Huahua. I'll deal with it."
By this time, Madam Lin had returned with seven "fresh goods" in single file, each newly arrived and kept specifically for noble guests like Pei Ziao.
"Apologies for the wait, Young Master Pei." Madam Lin bowed. "These women are all the cream of the crop, as fresh as can be."
"There's no need." Pei Ziao's gaze swept coolly over the gathered beauties. "I've already found the woman I desire."
"Ah? Who?" Madam Lin was shocked. Was there anyone else in the brothel who could catch this particularly fussy young master's eyes?
"Her." Pei Ziao pointed toward a girl, and Madam Lin looked in her direction.
"It's me, Madam!" Huahua beamed at Madam Lin, her features distending into a smile.Previous Chapter Next Chapter