Elder Ying had already taken a seat and had closed his eyes. He didn’t intend to speak any further. When he heard Wang Li’s interrogative words, his anger boiled again.
Elder Ying rolled his eyes, “What ‘raising an alarm to scare people’? I don’t think I’ve exaggerated anywhere.”
Wang Li spoke loudly, “It’s true that the Long family held the right to move troops, and that their influence threatened their masters. But our Hall is only conducting business. We seek only profit, not power. How can we be lumped in with the Long family business?”
“Hahaha…” Elder Ying laughed loudly. “Those of the Eastern clan need to be the ones to believe your words. It’s not difficult for you to persuade me and the ardently fervorous of the Hall — however, It would be quite hard for you to persuade the royal family.”
Elder Ying’s words made a great deal of sense. After the events of the Long family, the royal family would surely be as if a bird startled by the merest twang of a bow string. They absolutely wouldn’t allow a second Long family to appear.
“Our Hall has always had a good reputation, how could the royal family be unaware of that?” Wang Li said coldly.
“Our reputation has indeed been good. And that’s because our Hall has never expanded to all the duchies, and hasn’t extended our grasp too far. This was in turn due to the fact that our Hall knew our place, and when to retreat and advance. We didn’t expand blindly. If we expand blindly in the future, only the heavens will know what will become of our reputation. Besides, isn’t it the pure whim of the person in charge that decides whether or not we’re truly just doing business? If the person with control over the Hall of Healing had the slightest bit of ambition, and made a few moves in the dark… it might even be easier for them to form a power like the Long family than it was for the originals.”
“Bullshit. You’re making evil arbitrary assumptions. This is throwing dirt onto your own face, Elder Ying! Are you an elder of the Hall anymore?” Wang Li was infuriated.
Elder Blue also screamed shrilly, “Some people love to gain notoriety by making shocking statements — like master, like slave. You’re all cut from the same cloth.”
Elder Blue’s crosshairs had once again been locked onto Qiao Baishi.
Elder Ying was enraged as he slammed his hand down onto the table. “You with the Blue surname, I’ve tolerated you for more than a day or two now. Old woman, you’ve finally laid things out clearly. What master, what slave?! You go around being bitterly sarcastic everyday, as if afraid that no one would know that your tongue is shaped like a viper’s.”
“Ying Wuyou, don’t you put up a tough front with me! You’re Qiao Baishi’s slave alright. You’ve said so much only because you’re jealous of the Fourth Hallmaster — jealous that he’s the man of the hour — jealous that he replaced your master’s position!” Elder Blue simply decided to lay it all out.
Ying Wuyou nodded his head savagely. “Alright, good. Very good. Since we’ve reached this point, let’s see what your downfall is. If our future is dependent on sheer mediocrity like you, then the foundation of the Hall, built up over hundreds of years, will surely be destroyed within twenty years! Me, jealous? What is there to be jealous of from someone who can’t even see the greater picture? You’re right, I’m Qiao Baishi’s friend, and his diehard supporter. This isn’t because of personal relationships, but because I think highly of his character and admire his skills. Unlike you, who defends those who belong to your faction alone, and attack others who don’t. You’re a tuft of grass that’s easily swayed by the wind. If the Lord Hallmaster had listened to you last time, and bowed down to the Long family, then you wouldn’t even have the chance to be standing here today or to be flapping your lips.”
Ying Wuyou turned to Song Tianxing and said resolutely, “Since these words have already been spoken, I shall speak clearly Lord Hallmaster. I also have an answer to your second question. Throughout this vast Hall, no one can fill in the missing gap made by Qiao Baishi. No one will be able to clean up the aftermath, unless Qiao Baishi returns! It’s ludicrous that these people sit here and speak with confidence and composure, but are unaware that the Hall is facing a monumental crisis.”
“Crisis? Ying Wuyou, stop being an alarmist and crying wolf! Will our Hall really fall to pieces without Qiao Baishi?” The Second Hallmaster Yue Qun was also displeased as he hectored.
Elder Blue jeered, “So the saying that one fan is enough to negate the criticism of ten is true. Ying Wuyou, you’re truly one of Qiao Baishi’s brainless fanboys. You really place a high importance on Qiao Baishi. Is it such that the Lord Hallmaster isn’t as important as Qiao Baishi in your heart?”
One had to say that this woman had the gift of gab, and was quite skilled at driving a wedge between people.
However, as the Lord Hallmaster, how would Song Tianxing buy this act? He spoke with a darkened face, “Cut out the nonsense. Let’s discuss the second question since Elder Ying has mentioned it.”
Ying Wuyou smiled faintly, “Lord Hallmaster, I don’t have much to discuss. I’ve already said that no one can replace Qiao Baishi. I feel that a weight has been taken off my shoulders now that I’ve said my piece. To be frank, I had planned on resigning after today. The future of the Hall has nothing to do with me anyways, but the Hall has cultivated me since I was young, and I have great affection for the Hall. I said those words not because of a personal grudge, but because I am truly thinking on behalf of the future of the Hall. Lord Hallmaster, you will be the one to decide how the Hall will proceed. However, I want to say that Wang Li isn’t a qualified successor, and that a woman as narrow minded as Elder Blue, who depends on selling her coquettish charms and nepotism, is even more unsuitable to remain in the position of an elder. The more of these people there are, the narrower the future of the Hall’s path will become.”
Resignation? Another senior executive was leaving?
Apart from Wang Li’s faction, there were still quite a few neutral factions within the Hall. They were greatly surprised when they heard that Ying Wuyou was also resigning, and also vaguely felt that this was inappropriate.
Why was it that people were leaving one after another during a time that the Hall was growing more prosperous everyday?
Could it be that there really was something wrong with the Hall?
“Resignation? Haha, why don’t you say it’s that you’re no longer able to carry on within your position?” Elder Blue laughed coldly. “Without your master Qiao Baishi supporting you, you don’t have any further place within the Hall, right? By raising a false alarm, you want to sow some confusion in the Hall before you depart, don’t you?”
Ying Wuyou laughed coldly and his gaze was completely fearless, as he swept it in an open and honest way across everyone assembled. “Everyone, I, Ying Wuyou, have a clear conscience. It’s a bit boring flapping my lips at this woman. I’ll only say one final thing, and that that’s with Qiao Baishi’s departure, the three medicinal pills will also halt production. All the orders that we’ve received will be cancelled, and our Hall’s reputation will also be heavily impacted. Under these circumstances, these people only think of how to expand our influence, without contemplating how to clean up such a mess. Are they the brainless ones, or am I just a worrywart?”
Ying Wuyou was about to leave, and had no reservations about anything. He’d put all his cards out on the table, and caused absolute silence to prevail.
Song Tianxing’s most worrying concern had finally been raised by Ying Wuyou.
“What? You mean the Heavenly Karma Pill, Vast Ocean Pill, and One Buddha Powder? Does the Lord Hallmaster not know their recipes?”
“Qiao Baishi played this hand? This really is too…”
“No way? All those orders belong to the various influential powers of the kingdom. None of them are good targets to offend.”
“Lord Hallmaster, is this true? This… isn’t this too ridiculous?”
Song Tianxing sighed lightly, “This is why I raised the second question. Qiao Baishi did indeed have exclusive knowledge of the three pill recipes. I didn’t have a hand in this either.”
Everyone in the Hall was stunned. They had always viewed Qiao Baishi as someone the Lord Hallmaster had groomed and mentored.
Since Qiao Baishi was in charge of refining these three pill recipes, then as someone behind the scenes, the Lord Hallmaster should have naturally known them as well.
This was a familiar, accustomed train of thought.
However, Ying Wuyou’s words had cruely punctured their matter-of-factness and pierced their daydreams.
Even the Lord Hallmaster hadn’t grasped the three spirit medicines.
This was without a doubt, a thunderclap from a blue sky.
Those aforementioned expansions in territory and scale, had been built on the foundation of these three pill medicines. Without these three pill medicines, what difference was there between the Hall now and what it’d been like previously? On what basis, and with what income, did they have for expansion?
They were dumbfounded. Even Wang Li was a bit dumbfounded.
Yue Qun was also flabbergasted as he murmured to himself, “Lord Hallmaster, wasn’t this contract signed with the young duke of Jiang Han? As long as we continue our partnership with the young duke Jiang…”
Song Tianxing laughed wryly, “Continue our partnership with young duke Jiang? That’s easy to answer. Haven’t you seen that the Jiang family’s actions right now are quite strange? These actions are an obvious precursor to fading out of the Eastern Kingdom.”
“Indeed. I heard that the Eastern clan wanted to erect four new great dukes, and nominated the Jiang family as the first duke, but were respectfully declined by the Jiang family.”
“This Jiang family could destroy the Duke of Soaring Dragon — why would they pay any attention to the title of the first duke? Can it be that the Jiang family is harboring intentions of rebellion?”
Song Tianxing was in an emotional turmoil as he spread out his hands, “Stop chasing the wind and clutching at shadows. The Jiang family’s movements are to avoid following in the Long family’s footsteps, and to avoid alarming the sovereign with their influence. Besides, the Jiang family valued our Hall because of Qiao Baishi.”
Elder Blue felt a bit put out when she thought of Jiang Chen. He’d given her no face at all the first time he’d come to the Hall of the Healing.
Later on, Elder Blue had pinched her nose and suffered through things for the sake of cooperation.
When she heard Song Tianxing’s words, she hurriedly said, “We signed a contract. If the Jiang family rips up the contract, then we can sue them for damages!”
Ying Wuyou snorted with cold laughter and felt that this Elder Blue was seriously idiotic. The Hall of Healing had begged Jiang Chen to sign the contract. Would there truly be anything within the contract that would give the Hall an opening to sue with?
When begging someone to sign a contract, would they dig a trap for themselves? Of course they’d be able to leave whenever they wanted to. Sue? Damages? This woman was more than typically stupid.
Yue Qun’s old face was also struck dumb as he squeezed out a smile. “It looks like the crux of the matter lies with the young duke of Jiang Han. We’ll have to curry some favor with the Jiang family.”
Song Tianxing laughed dejectedly. Curry favor with the Jiang family? They’d have to give you the opportunity first. If the Jiang family had truly cared about this partnership, wouldn’t they’ve sent a representative over sometime during the one month that had passed?
The Jiang family hadn’t even sent a servant. This indicated that the Jiang family was no longer interested in this partnership at all.
“Lord Hallmaster, why don’t we send someone to the Jiang Han territory?” Wang Li asked probingly.
“Send someone? Are you willing to go?” Song Tianxing asked.
Wang Li puffed his chest out. “Human effort can achieve anything. Although this mission is a bit difficult, I am willing to try for the future of the Hall.”
Determination was good, and Song Tianxing didn’t have the heart to deny him. He was just about to agree, when Ying Wuyou smiled faintly off on the side. “If the Fourth Hallmaster meets Qiao Baishi on this trip, how will you react?”
“Qiao Baishi?” Everyone was greatly startled. Qiao Baishi’s movements had been uncertain after he’d left. Could it be that he’d flocked to the Jiang Han banner?
Even Song Tianxing was a bit surprised.
“Wuyou, you mean that Qiao Baishi is in Jiang Han territory?” Song Tianxing asked gravely.
“Indeed. He once told me, before he resigned, that if he were to leave the Hall, he would only seek out Jiang Chen, and wouldn’t go anywhere else.” Ying Wuyou sighed lightly.
“This…” Everyone was astounded and speechless.
If Qiao Baishi was in the Jiang Han territory, then this meant that he had strong relations with Jiang Chen. If the Hall sent anyone at this moment, then they would be inviting humiliation on themselves!