The laborers who were unloading the medicinal materials did not expect that this rough work would draw His Royal Highness Xiao Wang to come see it in person, and were terrified for a while.
Liu-furen was also at the scene.
She was wearing a coarse smock with her hair covered by a cloth that obscured her eyes and nose, and was busily counting the number of medicine packs with a thick stack of registration books at hand.
“Mom.” Liu Xian’an stepped forward.
“Why are you doing these things, where is Uncle Li?”
“He’s here, but I didn’t let him come over.
I wanted to see for myself.” Seeing that Liang Shu was also walking this way, she removed her mask and straightened her clothes before going over to salute.
There were quite a few tiny bloody cuts on her hands, which looked like they had been scratched by the dried branches of medicinal herbs.
Liang Shu said: “Liu-furen has worked hard.”
Liu Xian’an was bewildered: “What sort of medicinal herb has so many sharp thorns?”
Liu-furen lowered her voice: “It’s a long story, and your dad might need to come over.
There’s a lot of dust here, so don’t join in the fun, go and accompany His Royal Highness Xiao Wang for a walk elsewhere.”
Liu Xian’an glanced at Liang Shu, and the other party understood: “Liu-furen, what is wrong with this batch of medicine?”
Since the prince himself opened his mouth, Liu-furen could only sigh and repeat: “It’s really not a big problem.”
As she spoke, one of the nearby workers couldn’t lift it steadily, and a large sack of medicinal materials rolled to the ground.
A crack opened in the sack, and many dried black fruits sprinkled out from inside.
Liu Xian’an stepped over to pick up a handful.
They were black wild dates commonly used for detoxification and clearing heat, but it was very dirty and not picked clean.
Almost twenty percent of it was light yellow sand mixed in, thirty percent jujube thorns and dead branches, and another ten percent had normal wear and tear.
The remaining usable ones may not even amount to half.
No wonder everyone here was full of puncture wounds.
Liu Xian’an asked: “Is this the batch of goods my cousin purchased?”
Liu-furen didn’t want to mention this, but seeing that the prince was also waiting for her answer, she had no choice but to briefly tell the whole story.
Liu Xian’an had a cousin around the same age as him named Fang Jinyuan, who was fostered by Liu-furen in Biahe Mountain Village since childhood and followed the disciples of the Liu family to practice martial arts and medical skills – he didn’t have many great achievements in his studies, and was not qualified to be a doctor, so Liu-furen placed him in charge of purchasing some medical materials.
It was fine before, but the last couple batches of wild black dates always had the same problem.
“There have only been two such batches, but it is likely that the following ones will be the same, or not much better.
Your cousin is still staying in Qingjiang City.
I’ll ask him later when he comes back with the last batch of goods.”
There were seven or eight small carts coming in continuously from outside, all of which needed to be inspected.
Liu-furen continued to work, and Liang Shu also picked up a handful of shriveled black dates from the ground, rubbing them in his hand: “What did you cousin do?”
“I’m not familiar with him,” Liu Xian’an said.
“However, no matter how much wild black dates cost, they are considered a common medicine, not more expensive than rare medicinal materials.
Cousin should not have tampered with these, otherwise his reputation would be ruined and he wouldn’t profit much.
The losses outweigh the gains.”
Liang Shu tossed the things back: “I don’t know medicinal materials.”
Liu Xian’an continued to explain to him.
Black wild dates could not be artificially cultivated, and mostly grew in the humid mountains in the south of Dayan.
They could grow wildly after the rain, with great yields, so they were not rare.
The only expensive thing was manpower, as it took a lot of work to pick them.
“Qingjiang City is very close to Baihe City, and is considered a large producer of black wild dates.
At this time of year, the government will organize villagers to go into the mountains to pick them, then sell them far and wide to medicine dealers after they are dried.” Liu Xian’an said, “I don’t usually care about such things, but if the medicinal materials purchased by others are the same, it is probably the local government getting up to mischief.”
Liang Shu was amused: “You are protecting your family.
Your cousin is fine, but you insist that it is a matter of the officials appointed by the Imperial court.”
A few more sacks of wild black dates were cut open, each worse than the previous one.
Among them were undried and moldy ones, which rendered the entire sack unusable, and were to be discarded and incinerated.
Liu-furen was so impatient and angry that her teeth ached, but more infuriating things were to come.
A servant came running from a distance and said, out of breath: “Young Master Fang came back, but he is the only one.
He says that the rest of them were detained by the Qingjiang City government.”
Liu-furen was shocked: “Ah?”
Everyone went to the front hall together where Fang Jinyuan was drinking tea from a pot.
He looked rather embarrassed, and his lips were dry, as if he hadn’t even washed his face.
Liu-furen complained in distress: “You have always had a steady temper, how could you have a conflict with the government?”
Once Fang Jinyuan, an honest man, got angry, it was a big deal.
The veins on his neck bulged as he said: “That man surnamed Zhang is too deceitful.
At the beginning, he reasoned that the common people secretly tampered with the materials, but A-Chang didn’t believe it and ran to take a peek in the middle of the night.
What common people, it was the government themselves.”
There was more than one pharmacy in Qingjiang City to collect wild black dates.
Nobody wanted to suffer this loss, nor did they want to be the one taking the lead, so they privately tricked Fang Jingyuan into speaking out, thinking that the Baihe Mountain family had a great fortune and the favor of the emperor, so the local officials must give them some face.
Fang Jinyuan really went, but never imagined that it would make the other party very angry.
They denied in every possible way and instead reprimanded the medicine dealer for not knowing the difference between good and bad and not understanding the suffering of the common people.
Later, the people of Baihe Mountain Village were simply detained on the charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”
Fang Jinyuan continued: “Auntie, I really didn’t say anything excessive, and A-Chang was also very cordial.
We didn’t expect them not to mix things in, but at least it could be mixed with things that could be picked out in the future, right? The dead branches and leaves were left, and the coal ash from the bottoms of pots should also be mixed in.
I don’t know where it was all scraped out from.”
Liang Shu asked: “Since the supply of this medicinal material is limited and there is a rush to buy it, why does the government tamper with it rather than raising the price?”
“If the price doubles or triples all at once and it is discovered by their superiors or even the court, they would inevitably be punished for the crime of hoarding goods.
It would be better to do what they are doing now, so that even if something happens in the future, it can be blamed on the short-sighted common people while they wash themselves clean.” Fang Jinyuan turned around, and seeing that Liang Shu looked unfamiliar, he asked his cousin, “Is this brother your friend?”
Liu Xian’an nodded.
Yes, he is my friend.
Liu-furen reprimanded: “Hurry up and salute His Royal Highness Xiao Wang.”
His Royal Highness Xiao Wang? Fang Jinyuan was frightened on the spot, and hurriedly put down his sleeves, but Liang Shu stopped him: “Young Master Fang, you don’t need to be so polite.
Continue speaking of Qingjiang City.
If I remember correctly, the magistrate there should be called Zhang Guanghe?”
“That’s him,” Fang Jinyuan said.
“He just took office a few years ago, and keeps saying that he wants to be honest and forthright.
Every day, he even sets up a stand to pretend to listen to public opinion, but behind their backs, he wantonly ruined the reputation of Qingjiang City’s medicinal materials.
After two years, with a transfer order, he will be able to pat his ass and get promoted without having to worry about this mess.”
Liu-furen asked again: “Zhang-daren detained our people and goods, and only let you return.
Did he say how this can be resolved?”
“He did.” Mentioning this, Fang Jinyuan became even angrier.
“He said that he would let Uncle personally come and retrieve them.
He just wants to find fault and beat us, so that other medical vendors can see.
If even Baihe Mountain Village cannot do anything to him, naturally no one else will cause trouble in the future.”
Logically speaking, even the Emperor would have to give Baihe Mountain Village some face.
A local official would never be so arrogant.
But the problem was that the Emperor’s favor was too hidden.
There were no rewards here or there, and even the plaque from the late emperor was awarded more than ten years ago.
It was not easy to be conferred a marriage with the princess, but Liang Yu resolutely rejected it, and the uproar was known all over the country.
Later, even though Liang Shu talked about Baihe City, nobody knew what he intended to do.
In addition, he only stayed in the city for half a day before leaving, so all kinds of rumors would inevitably be speculated by the outside world that Baihe Mountain Village’s favor was not what it used to be.
Thus, Cheng Suyue, who was wandering around the village, received a new job and accompanied Fang Jinyuan to Qingjiang City to find those people.
Zhang Guanghe probably never dreamed in his life that one day he would see the dragon token with his own eyes, and was so frightened that he sat down on the ground, trembling and weeping.
In fact, this embezzlement business had only just started, and he hadn’t made much money.
It was not a crime worthy of death, but that was His Royal Highness Xiao Wang, ah, could he really keep his head? He had simply bumped into death by accident.
So he got up and went to bang his head on a pillar, but was kicked back by Cheng Suyue, after which he cried more and more hysterically.
It was also Fang Jinyuan’s first time seeing such a scene, and he was in awe of his cousin.
The first thing he did after returning to Baihe Mountain Village was to personally deliver to him two packets of good tea and a pack of snacks.
Liu Xian’an brewed a pot: “Your Highness, have a try?”
By now, Liang Shu had nearly forgotten that absurd dream – by force.
He took the teacup: “I heard Liu-furen say yesterday that the assistant brought by your cousin this time is called Liu Henchang.
He is very shrewd, has good medical skills, and has some martial arts.”
Liu Xian’an shook his head: “I don’t know him, there are many people in this village that I have never seen before.”
Liang Shu said: “I have already sent someone out to look for him.”
Liu Xian’an was puzzled: “Why are you looking for him?”
Liang Shu set down the teacup: “Guess.”
Liu Xian’an lay down lazily on the table.
Won’t guess, I’m tired.
Anyway, it was definitely not related to this case, as the matter of Qingjiang Manor was not qualified to be tried by the prince himself, and it was also not to see a doctor.
Although A-Chang’s medical skills may be good, it was not enough to surpass his own father and come to diagnose the prince.
Liang Shu said: “If he is truly clever, I want to use him to lure out the two people who kidnapped you.”
“Huh?” Liu Xian’an sat up straight.
Liang Shu nodded.
Liu Xian’an considered it for a while.
The two kidnappers had gone northward to find a miracle doctor to cure a disease.
Using A-Chang as bait was indeed the correct prescription.
He speculated: “So the prince wants to take advantage of the current problem with the purchase of medicinal materials and assign half of the blame to A-Chang, expelling him from Baihe Mountain Village so that Feng Xiaojin and Yun You can show up on their own initiative?”
“Yes,” Liang Shu said.
“You checked Feng Xiaojin’s pulse that day.
He can live another three years at most.”
“Approximately.” Liu Xian’an recalled, “His body is wasting away and inundated with toxins.
He really needs to see a doctor as soon as possible.
But those two people are extremely cruel.
A-Chang has lived well in Baihe Mountain Village, so he may not agree to the prince’s proposal.
In any case, if it were me, I would definitely not agree.”
“Not everyone is like you and can lie down instead of sitting.
You’re extraordinarily lazy.” Liang Shu started looking for trouble again.
“You’re not allowed to eat!”
Liu Xian’an did not listen, quickly taking a snack from the plate.
Liang Shu tapped his elbow lightly, and Second Young Master Liu’s arm was instantly paralyzed.
The snack was taken away, and Liang Shu took advantage of the situation to raise his arm.
Liu Xian’an stretched out his hand to reach it, tilting his upper body, and had to grab the opponent’s shoulder with one hand to maintain his balance.
Liu Hengchang saw this intimate scene as soon as he entered the door, and quickly lowered his eyes, standing aside and waiting respectfully.
His Royal Highness Xiao Wang was not quite the same as in the rumors, ah.
Not only was he not bloody and brutal, but he also smiled quite happily and handsomely.
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