Chapter 7: Jiang Zheng’s Stage, Pride and Elation
Jiang Zheng seriously wanted to break down when faced with such a master.
This month’s allowance had already run out, and the ingredients on this list were impossible to obtain without ten thousand silver. To use this single list and demand ten million silver in exchange -- was this not a sign of sheer insanity?
“Go ahead, cry! A man crying is not a crime!” Jiang Chen chuckled, “But what if I were to tell you that this list came from the gods? Would you still think that I was crazy?”
“I’m treating the princess’ sickness? Do you also think I’m crazy?”
“Even if I were crazy, would I drag my father, my entire family into this? I may be a good for nothing, but I'm not that completely brainless, am I?”
Jiang Zheng was dumbfounded by the questions that flew like a hail of arrows. It was true, although this master had committed his fair share of ridiculous acts, he wouldn’t go so far as to bring down the entire Jiang family, would he now?
Was it possible that the bit about a message from the gods was actually true?
“Jiang Zheng, I can truthfully tell you that we will not sell the list in your hand for all the silver in the world. You tell the person in charge of the Hall of Healing that they aren’t the only pharmacy in the Eastern Kingdom. If they don’t want it, then the Temple of the Farmer God or the Pill King Garden would break their heads to obtain it. They’ll drown in their own regret when the Hall of Healing is surpassed by others. As soon as pill goes into production, all the medicines out on the market will be taken off the shelves and dumped into the trash. They’ll be worthless!”
Jiang Chen gestured as he said this firmly with utmost confidence.
He wasn’t simply sprouting hogwash. Jiang Chen had already filtered through all the pill recipes in his mind an endless number of times, eliminated all the holy and divine level pill recipes and finally settled on one that wasn’t too out of the ordinary, but definitely quite rare.
And the most important thing was, given Eastern Kingdom’s level of medicine, the ingredients that this recipe needed weren’t outside their tolerance range.
Seeing as Jiang Zheng still wore a skeptical expression, Jiang Chen really wanted to storm over and stomp the man a few times. Like it was that easy for the wonderful me to select such a recipe!
One had to know that in his past life, Jiang Chen couldn’t train because of his yin constitution. Therefore, in the millions of years as caretaker of the Tianlang Library, his greatest hobby was to pursue the dao of alchemy.
One could say that those millions of years had seen him ascend to the pinnacle of the dao of alchemy, on the same standing as those undying alchemy legends who were renowned throughout the lands.
For the past Jiang Chen, finding a pill recipe was as easy as eating and drinking.
For a small place like the Eastern Kingdom, a pill recipe that was too sophisticated might as well have been written in archaic hieroglyphics; no one would be able to understand it.
He didn’t even want to waste brainpower on recipes that were too basic or pointless.
He had expended a considerable amount of thought and effort into picking this particular one out of a list of common pill recipes. But Jiang Chen firmly believed that if dropped into a place like the Eastern Kingdom, the recipe would still shock people to the core.
At the end of the day, Jiang Zheng still set on his way.
It wasn’t like he had been convinced by Jiang Chen, he earnestly told himself along the way. As much of a layabout the young master was, he wouldn’t make a joke out of the princess’ illness or gamble with the lives of the entire family.
So, he resolutely tried to convince himself that maybe the gods did look upon the young master with favor, and maybe he did obtain a priceless pill recipe as a result.
Although he was still quite skeptical, especially after recalling the crazy antics that Jiang Chen would normally engage in, Jiang Zheng really had no choice.
Even though he knew this was ridiculous beyond belief, he still had to gird up his loins and give it a try.
Otherwise, although he could manage, by the skin of his teeth, to scrape enough money together and buy all the listed ingredients, he would go home to a different kind of disaster when he faced his wife.
“Ai, they say that to be a young duke’s steward is something to crow and strut around about, but why do I feel that my days have been so aggrieved?” He tragically wiped away at the corners of his eyes and walked listlessly to the Hall of Healing.
“If it really comes down to it, I’ll just let them mock and jeer at me for a while. It wouldn’t be the first time anyways.” Jiang Zheng felt a bit better after this thought struck him.
The Hall of Healing was a famed, influential power in the imperial city. Its very buildings were picturesque boardwalk.
When Jiang Zheng made it to the front steps of the Hall of Healing, he felt that both his legs were going numb. A sense of fear started growing in his heart as he thought about the haughty attitude and disdaining tones of the associates at the Hall of Healing.
“Uh… that... um… I need some medicine ingredients!”
Jiang Zheng gathered up his courage multiple times before finally making it through the front door and to the counter.
The associates at the Hall of Healing were all professionally trained before starting work. The first skill that was trained was the ability to remember faces. Which faces needed to be fawned on, which needed to be flattered, which faces were enough with a normal attitude, and which the associates could be a dick to.
Jiang Zheng’s face was an unfamiliar one, and thus was naturally someone who the associates could be a dick to.
“Ahem. Sir, buying medicine ingredients is fine. But let’s talk about the rules first. The Hall does not do business on credit, ingredients and money need to both be fully paid out.”
Jiang Zheng hurriedly said, “Cash, I have cash.”
The associate glanced at the list and flicked some beads on an abacus. “Eight types of spirit level ingredients in total, 9,800 silver according to the ingredients weight. Same as usual, pay first, then you get the ingredients.”
Jiang Zheng flushed and coughed fakely twice. He lightly knocked on the counter and say, “Eh, erm, uh, I want to speak to the person in charge.”
“What?” The associate’s face darkened. “No money? How dare you ask for ingredients with no money?”
“You want to speak to the person in charge? Do you know how busy the head of the Hall is? Each of his minutes is worth tens of thousands of silver, how would he have time for you? Can you bear the responsibility and costs of wasting their time?”
“Go out the door and take a right. Read the Hall’s rules. Is is that easy to speak to the head? Are you a prince or minister, or an esteemed duke?
“If you want your ingredients then pay up, if not then get out of my way and don’t disturb us from doing business.”
The associate flapped his hands with an impatient expression on his face, his spittle almost spraying Jiang Zheng’s face. The level of apparent distaste was the same as if the associate was shooing away an annoying fly.
It wasn’t as if Jiang Zheng hadn’t received his fair share of contempt and derision at the Hall of Healing before. It wasn’t as if he was someone who couldn’t take that kind of treatment. The truth was, he had endured far too much during this time!
Did they really have to be such snobs? Really have to be such dicks?
Jiang Zheng could bear it no longer, this associate’s particular attitude was the straw that broke the camel’s back, he erupted --
A metallic token of sorts was slapped hard onto the counter.
Jiang Zheng gave the associate a resounding slap across the face, “Open your worthless eyes and take a good look at what this is!”
“The person in charge is worth ten thousand silver is a minute? Would I have deigned to let you know that I’m worth several million silver a minute?”
“How dare you delay my business, I can make your Hall of Healing close up shop! Do your parents know how you’re such a wonderful, such an all powerful employee? Does your head know?”
The associate was seeing stars from the force of that slap. He held his face, disbelief writ plain in his eyes.
This was the Hall of Healing! One of the most prominent places in the entire imperial capital!
In an ordinary day of work, even noble and powerful families had to be restrained, polite and accommodating when they came here.
But today, he had been hit!
And by someone who was dressed very plainly, someone who was obviously not the servant of a noble and powerful family!
Was the sky caving in?
He immediately screamed like a pig being slaughtered, “Someone’s come to cause trouble in the Hall, he’s beating people up!”
A crowd of fully armored warriors bristling with weaponry rushed out immediately as soon as the scream like a pig being slaughtered sounded out. Someone who seemed to hold a position of authority also walked out from the back.
He was about to thunder into a rage at the sight of the plainly dressed, ordinary looking instigator when the shiny engraved dragon medallion on the counter caught his eye. His expression immediately changed drastically.
“Administrator He, that’s the dog of a slave who dared to hit me. This wasn’t a beating just for me, but also one aimed towards the hallowed name of the Hall of Healing!” The associate who had been beaten immediately tattled like a child seeing their parents when he saw a familiar face.
As soon as he’d finished --
A cleaner, crueler slap landed nicely on his cheek. That slap flung him a few meters away from the counter.
But this time, it was administrator He who had slapped the associate.
“You worthless thing, did your eyes grow on your butt? How dare you retort against an esteemed guest? It was a well deserved slap, you’d deserve it if you were beaten to death!”
Having rebuked the associate, administrator He’s menacing expression morphed into a face wreathed with smiles, as if spring had returned to the earth.
“Sir, my underlings were blind and have offended your noble self.”
He turned his head to yell gruffly at the warriors, “What the hell are you all doing? Sitting around watching the paint peel? Scram!”
These warriors were plainly under the command of administrator He as they about faced and marched away after receiving their orders.
Jiang Zheng hadn’t expected this turn of events. He’d actually briefly lost his rationality just now and had erupted under the strain and goading.
To be honest, the young master had given him this gold medallion. He didn’t even know what it was, just that the young master had said it may come in handy.
He had nothing to lose and everything to gain when he tried it.
Who knew, it really did come in handy! It was curiously useful!
...no shit it would come in handy! The king’s engraved dragon medallion was the highest level token that could be awarded. How could it not be useful? One could behave with impunity in the Eastern Kingdom with this in hand!
“May I learn your noble name? Please, come this way. My underlings were idiots, please allow your humble servant to express his apologies.”
Jiang Zheng hadn’t lived under a rock his whole life. He knew that it was due to the gold medallion that the person in front of him was falling over himself to please Jiang Zheng. Damn, it felt good!
Good feelings aside, Jiang Zheng didn’t lose his composure. He had fully grasped the situation by now. “It was originally just a small thing, but your associate… sigh. I will speak no more. Since the Hall of Healing does not welcome me, then I shall try my luck at the Temple of the Farmer God or the Pill King Garden. Perhaps the people there will treat me like a human being?”
Administrator He shuddered inwardly upon hearing those words. It was obvious that this esteemed guest was still seething. He surreptitiously checked out Jiang Zheng, but couldn’t find any clues.
He was dressed plainly and didn’t look like a preeminent noble.
Unless, this esteemed guest had changed his attire on purpose? What a strategy, he is quite a character indeed. Administrator He was at a loss as he couldn’t get a read on the situation.
Administrator He’s thoughts drifted to the medallion upon seeing Jiang Zheng really preparing to leave. How would he dare let Jiang Zheng leave? The mysterious all powerful medallion holder was sure to make trouble for the Hall of Healing!
Although the Hall didn’t fear trouble knocking on its doors, it wished to avoid offending this level of character if possible!
“Please sir, hold your steps. My hall’s third hallmaster and several elders happen to be in residence. You are a noble and esteemed guest, I shall immediately notify the hallmaster and elders. Even if you have later appointments, please allow my hall to serve you a cup of tea in apology.”
Unlike ordinary associates, Deacon He was a man experienced in the ways of life. He was flexible and adaptable, and had a knack of handling things properly.
Jiang Zheng’s motion of leaving was actually a fake move. To be honest, he felt beyond damn good. This was the first time he had felt this way since he had become the young duke’s steward.
Pride and elation!
During previous times, even mere associates in the Hall of Healing were high and mighty dicks, not to mention leader type folks. None of them had a civil word for him.
But today, this administrator He had to call himself “little He” before him, Jiang Zheng!
Regardless of whether or not he could become the best steward in the future, at least he felt really damn good and really strong today!
Suddenly, Jiang Zheng felt an unexpected bit of confidence in his household’s young duke.