“No matter your identity, as long as you provide quality medicine for us, Baicao Pharmacy will work with you.” Zhao Minglin stopped beating around the bush once he noticed the girl’s frank attitude, expressing his motive.
Gu Ye’s smile remained on her face but she seemed to be wearing a facade. She nodded slowly. “Like I said, let’s talk about collaboration two years from now. I need to buy some items for the New Years. I’ll be heading out now, goodbye.”
“Lady Gu, please hold up…” The short fatty gave the beautiful woman behind him a look. He smiled at Gu Ye and said, “My daughter and my concubine did not mean to offend you. Please forgive them and show mercy. You…”
When he faced the beautiful woman and the red-clad lady, his expression changed again. In an unfriendly tone, “Hurry up and apologize to Lady Gu!”
Although the red-clad lady didn’t know why her father was so polite towards a villager girl, she wasn’t stupid. If even the eldest master of the legal branch had treated the lady politely, then she wasn’t a figure she could offend.
Though she was unwilling, she dawdled over and said, “Sorry, I shouldn’t have called you poor and a country bumpkin. I shouldn’t have judged people by their looks. Please forgive me!”
“This all originated from this bracelet. This lowly concubine apologizes to you. You’ve paid for the bracelet first so it should belong to you.” The beautiful woman acted delicate and weak, different from her arrogant and harsh attitude before.
Gu Ye was too lazy to deal with two-faced people like her. She looked towards the arrogant lady and smiled. “People can have their eyes above their heads and look down on people...but you need to have the capital to do so. People like you, once you leave your family and parents, you’re nothing. You’re worse than the beggars outside. At least, the beggars know to give up their dignity in order to survive. They know their status. But what about you? Are you asking me to forgive you? Why do I feel like you’re conferring a favor by apologizing to me? Young Miss Zhao, I can’t afford your apology!”
The moment she said this, Gu Ye heard a slap. The young lady stumbled a few steps back as she endured the slap. The beautiful woman had to support her.
The short fatty said angrily, “Who do you think you are? You dare to put on airs in front of Lady Gu? And you. Look what Fifth Miss has become because of you! Just wait for your punishment when we’re home…”
“Enough! You can teach your wife and child a lesson however you want when you’re home. Are you trying to make me feel bad or just acting in front of me?” Gu Ye’s smile faded and her expression turned icy as she stared sternly at the short fatty, not bothering to hide her displeasure.
Zhao Minglin didn’t think the young lady would get angry suddenly. He hurriedly tried to mediate, “Fifth Uncle, if you guys need to talk, do so when you’re home...Lady Gu, Fifth Uncle, he is just blunt with his words. He’s just angry that Sister Yun is causing trouble using his name. He didn’t mean it purposely. You’re right. Relying on just the family or the elders and living each day muddleheaded is an omen for the downfall of the family. Only by being self-reliant and having self-esteem will you be able to obtain others’ respect.”
“I’m glad Master Zhao understands.” Gu Ye looked at the short fatty and said, “It’s just a children's fight between your daughter and I. She had humiliated and insulted us but she also suffered losses. It’s settled. You forced her to apologize to me and also slapped her twice in front of me. She must hate me to death now! Are you sincerely trying to make her apologize or cause more trouble for me?”
“It’s my fault, sorry!” The short fatty apologized sincerely. “Don’t worry, I promise she won’t appear to cause you trouble anymore.”
The red-clad lady revealed a frightened expression. She wasn’t favored from the start. After this, will her father send her away to a desolate village and let her survive on her own?
The girl exclaimed in a crying tone, “Father, I’ve realized my mistake! Lady Gu, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have looked down on you. Please forgive me and show mercy. In the future...no, starting today, I won’t look down on anyone anymore. Father, I will fix...fix myself. Please don’t send me away to a village. I won’t cause trouble for you anymore!”
“What’s the point of begging me? Go and…” The short fatty paused and swallowed his words because he saw Lady Gu’s expression turning worse by the moment. He seemed to have realized something and shut his mouth.
“Lady Gu, please! Please forgive me! I really realized my mistake. If I ever insult anyone and look down on people, let the heavens strike me with lightning…” The red-clad young lady finally realized the severity of the situation. She pounced at Gu Ye and begged bitterly. Her tears flowed down her beautiful face.
“I already said it was just a children’s fight. It was between the two of us and not anyone else. Ok, enough said. Goodbye!” Gu Ye pulled Gu Li’er out of the jewelry store without looking back.
The short fatty kept his head down, dejected. In a crying tone, “Master, Lady Gu seems to be still angry at us...will she take her anger out on the Baicao Pharmacy and won’t collaborate with us anymore?”
Zhao Minglin glanced at the worthless Fifth Uncle and said, “Didn’t Lady Gu say that it was just a fight between her and Sister Yun? She won’t involve others. Enough. Let’s head back to the tavern and return to Yan City tomorrow.”
“Master, didn’t the family head want us to stay in Yan City and take care of Lady Gu? We finally saw her today. Shouldn’t we find more opportunities to interact with her? Let her know that the Baicao Pharmacy is much stronger than Jimin Pharmacy by a load. Let her know the correct decision would be to collaborate with us.” The short fatty wanted to make up for his mistake so he urgently suggested.
“Fifth Uncle, you still don’t understand. When you’ve reached the level of a grand apothecary, you’re able to decide the prosperity of a pharmacy. Don’t you know how Yangsheng Pharmacy made its return? It’s because Baili Apothecary had good karma with the owner. After he became famous, he provided a year’s worth of pills for the pharmacy exclusively. That was how Yangsheng Pharmacy had become an opponent to our pharmacy. It’s because Baili Apothecary saved it.”
“But…” The short fatty was confused “But he’s the Baili Apothecary! How many of him are in this world?”
“Then how many people are able to reach the standards of a grand apothecary when they’re only ten years old? If she’s really that person’s disciple, I’m sure that she’ll accomplish more than the Baili Apothecary when she grows up!”
Zhao Minglin was clearly dejected as he didn’t receive a clear response from Gu Ye. He had dealt with all sorts of opponents but this was the first time he felt helpless. He only hoped that two years from now, he could get an opportunity to work with her.
But there were all sorts of uncertainties within the two years. With the young lady’s talent and the sage apothecary’s careful guidance, she’d definitely make many accomplishments two years from now. By then, he would have many opponents. But he believed that Baicao Pharmacy wouldn’t lag behind.
“If that’s the case, the...should we look into Lady Gu’s background? Didn’t you say that we’ll only win our battles if we know our enemies?” The short fatty said.
Zhao Minglin furrowed his brows and said resolutely, “No! From the short interaction, I’ve noticed that the young lady is frank with her words. We mustn't play around with her.”
The short fatty nodded. That young lady wasn’t easy to talk to. Even more, she had an attitude. If she was really the sage apothecary’s disciple, he’d be kicked out of his family if he offended her.
“But from her words, she implied that she lived in this Cangmang Mountain. Deep inside in fact.” There was an astute glint in Zhao Minglin’s eyes.
The man sighed. “What’s the point of just knowing what mountain she lived in? Cangmang Mountain is huge. There are at least hundreds of villages. We still don’t know her location. What do we tell the family head?”
Zhao Minglin thought about it and smiled softly. “There is a nameless village at the foot of Cangmang Mountain. It’s the only town there. The villagers would come over to buy items from time to time. I heard she provided, at most, only three month’s worth of medicine for Landlord Ding. That means she needs to come every now and then. As long as we keep an eye on the town, we’ll find her.”
The short fatty revealed an understanding expression and gave Master Zhao a thumbs up. “Smart! Master, as expected of you to think ahead and considerately. Why don’t I go keep an eye on the town?”
“No, I’ve decided to make an exception and open a Baicao Pharmacy in this nameless town. Didn't the Tenth Brother plan on becoming a monk and going out to experience the world? I’ll have him manage the pharmacy here.” Zhao Minglin didn’t miss the surprised glint in the young lady’s eyes when his Tenth Brother entered.
Though the Tenth Brother was from the third branch, he was the most handsome of the brothers. He was around the same age as the young lady as well. Most importantly, he had a gentle personality and treated people sincerely. He was the type that girls like. No matter how capable the female apothecary was, she needed to marry someone in the end, no?
He just needed to meet someone face-to-face to see through their thoughts and grasp their preferences. He could make the best decisions. No wonder he was known within the business world at a young age! Needless to say, it made sense why Gu Ye avoided him. No one wanted to be transparent in front of someone else. It would make them feel unsafe.
Zhao Mingling stared in the direction Gu Ye disappeared and stroked his chin. His deep and ink-black eyes seemed to be bottomless.
He turned to look at the other man. “Fifth Uncle, let’s go and visit Landlord Ding.”
“Landlord Ding? He’s just a wealthy person within this small town. Master, why do you need to personally visit him? Plus, it’s not like Baicao Pharmacy has any relations with him.” The man was confused.