Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Half a month passed in just a flash. During this period, Yan Liqiang never went to the palace again. The Crown Prince visit Deer Villa once instead as a proper gesture. He personally came to learn the art of archery from Yan Liqiang. Due to this incident, Yan Liqiang’s status in Deer Villa suddenly became special.
Putting aside the rest, even Little Li came to pay his respects to Yan Liqiang practically every day. The people working in Deer Villa, including Supervisor Wen, the officers, normal soldiers, craftsmiths, and servants boarded Yan Liqiang’s Noah’s Ark after receiving the travel passes from him. The entire Deer Villa basically became Yan Liqiang’s stronghold.
During these two weeks, Yan Liqiang had given out over 200,000 travel passes to the few people. The other people who received the travel passes from these few people were mostly their colleagues or friends who worked for the bureaucracy and served in the garrison, Imperial Cavalry Unit, or the Law Enforcement Office. They were also the most anxious group in the capital regions as they were the ones who usually received the most updated news.
They could see that the Emperor and his ministers were leaving the capital city soon, yet they had to stay back and defend. Not even their families were allowed to leave. Although none dared to speak up, they were all cursing in their hearts as they frantically tried to find a solution. Every travel pass was like a straw of life to them right now.
At a time like this, no one would refuse to spend a little money to buy a chance for their families to leave the capital region. If they were going to recruit a few more trusted people, they could even gain some commission from selling the travel passes to others. The more people they recruit and introduce, the more travel passes would flow through them and the more money they would earn. So before the rumored Heavenly Tribulation struck, they might probably become rich from selling these travel passes, have enough to prepare for their families’ departure from the capital regions, and settle down in the future. Who would possibly refuse such a good thing?
Yan Liqiang implemented various multi-level marketing methods over the past two weeks to form sales groups that would supervise and guarantee each other as well as make a profit. Those who served the bureaucracy had priority to join. In just these two weeks, he was able to cast a huge net over the mid to lower-ranked bureaucrats and soldiers stationed in five big cities within the capital region.
The Crown Prince’s visit as well as his close relationship with Eunuch Liu and Sun Bingchen led the others to believe without a doubt that the travel passes from him were indeed authentic as they were directly obtained from those people. They even thought that the Emperor might be trying to help part of those in the capital regions, especially the people who served the bureaucracy, to secretly leave without causing panic among the people.
With this kind of tacit mutual understanding, this marketing network in selling ‘travel passes’ began to operate efficiently before the Emperor’s departure from the capital city. The fake travel passes which looked even more real than those authentic travel passes that Fang Beidou made were continuously transported into Deer Villa. Using Deer Villa as a hub, Yan Liqiang started wholesaling them through the ‘multi-level marketing network’ that he’d formed.
As the fake travel passes were spread out, money started pouring toward Yan Liqiang. In just two weeks, the money Yan Liqiang accumulated had exceeded several million. This business was even more profitable than the wool monopoly. Yan Liqiang wasn’t ever involved in any counterfeiting businesses in his previous life, so he could finally understand why so many people did it now. Selling fake travel passes was no different than printing money.
Yan Liqiang earned the most from the fake travel passes. Although the people he recruited didn’t earn as much as he did, they still made a fortune. The amount of money that the few officers and Supervisor Wen earned during these two weeks was beyond the amount they could possibly earn in their whole life, and this was the same for the people who were under them. With money, the entire ‘multi-level marketing network’ flourished further.
While Yan Liqiang tore up the blockades that the imperial court imposed, he didn’t forget another more important matter...
On the first day of the third lunar month, Yan Liqiang woke up before three o’clock in the morning.
He didn’t stay in Deer Villa last night, but instead stayed over at an inn in the Imperial Capital. He had waited patiently for this day for the past two weeks!
After getting up, Yan Liqiang tidied up the room and then gently pushed open a window. Like an agile cat, he flipped out of the window.
It was dark outside and the sky was filled with stars. Looking into the distance, he could see the outline of roofs and houses in the darkness.
Dog barks were heard in a distant alley, followed by the sound of a night watcher hitting a gong.
Yan Liqiang jumped out of the window, then propelled himself up to the roof from the window sill. His body was as light as a wisp of smoke. In just a flash, he had run out twenty meters and into an alley. He sprinted fifty or sixty meters along the alley, climbed up a courtyard’s wall, sprinted another tens of meters along the roofs, and flipped over two empty courtyards that were no longer occupied before he finally hopped onto the window sill on the second floor of a building. He shook open the window and slid in.
The loft was no longer inhabited. A layer of dust had accumulated on the ground and even most of the furnishings were gone. A wealthy clan used to live here, but they had moved out of the Imperial Capital a few months ago. So the courtyard was completely empty now.
Beside the building was a courtyard wall that faced the street. One could see the main street from the window in the room on the second floor. The main street was the Phoenix Parade. Three hundred meters down the street was the Golden Water Bridge at the palace. The ministers would definitely pass through here every time they attend the assembly at the imperial court.
There would be an assembly today, so all the ministers would attend.
Just pushing open the window that faced the street a finger wide gap would allow Yan Liqiang to observe the situation at the distant street. He stood behind the window and watched the deserted street as he caressed the Demon Detection Stone in front of his chest. He silently waited for an opportunity.
The ministers would come out together when they were dismissed from the assembly, but not when they were going to attend the assembly. Today was the first, or the day when the Demon Detection Stone could be used again.
This was a very stupid but effective method. To determine who the demon was, Yan Liqiang only had to wait here. When the Demon Detection Stone issued a warning, he’d just have to confirm which minister’s carriage was passing by.
Yan Liqiang didn’t wait long in the room. Half an hour later, the sound of wheels turning and horse hooves came from the deserted street outside. The first black four-wheeled carriage soon appeared.
The black four-wheeled carriage was manufactured by the manufacturing bureau. There were two brass lamps hanging on both sides of the coachman’s seat to illuminate the road. There were also a few other guards riding on the horses. The assembly would start around six o’clock in the morning, so the ministers were making their way toward the palace before the sky even turned bright.
The carriage left, but the Demon Detection Stone didn’t respond so Yan Liqiang continued waiting quietly in the room.
Two minutes after the first carriage left, another four-wheeled carriage escorted by two guards passed by. The Demon Detection Stone gave no reaction.
The ministers’ four-wheeled carriages continuously appeared. They were escorted by around ten guards at most, two or three at least. They passed by on the main street after one another. Yan Liqiang waited in silence. After about thirty carriages, the Demon Detection Stone suddenly heated up. It started to vibrate and send signals to Yan Liqiang’s sea of consciousness.
Yan Liqiang tensed up as he squinted his eyes to focus outside the window. All he saw was a four-wheeled carriage driving toward him under the protection of two guards. The carriage looked very low-key and was painted green. Not only that, but it was also an imitation of the ones produced by the manufacturing bureau. It didn’t have a shock-absorbing coil spring, so it wasn’t costly. The carriage wasn’t pulled by a rhinodrake steed but two ordinary black horses instead.
Generally speaking, anyone riding on a carriage like this wasn’t some important minister from the six ministries or figures in the imperial court. They were usually just general officials with very humble statuses qualified to attend the assembly.
Yan Liqiang watched the slowly approaching carriage as the thought flashed through his mind. He scanned the street and spotted a dog wandering in the alley looking for food. He pulled out a small piece of wood from the wooden window sill, then flicked his finger when the carriage passed by the alley. The small piece of wood silently flew out of his hand, did a turn in midair, and fell into an alley not too far away.
The dog barked and suddenly rushed out of the alley.
Neiiiighhhhhh...! The horses that were pulling the carriage got startled and neighed. The carriage suddenly stopped and the two guards immediately drew their weapons. They only breathed a sigh of relief and sheathed their swords after confirming that it was a stray dog that came rushing out of the alley.
“What’s going on outside?” An old voice came from the carriage.
“Nothing, Imperial Physician. It’s just a stray dog that suddenly ran out of the alley and startled the horses!”
“Alright, let us be on our way!”
“Understood...” The green four-wheeled carriage drove past the building on the street.
Inside the building, Yan Liqiang’s heart was in a tight knot as he was baffled...
Imperial Physician... There was only one person with this title in the imperial court. He was the highest-ranking officer in the Imperial Academy of Medicine. His full title was the Chief Imperial Physician.
Apart from Grand Chancellor Lin Qingtian, the Chief Imperial Physician was also a demon with the same origin as Lin Qingtian. 𝚒𝘯ｎ𝒓𝐞𝓪𝗱. ᴄ𝘰𝐦
Lin Qingtian was the Grand Chancellor... Why didn’t he promote this person? The Chief Imperial Physician wasn’t a prestigious official title. He was only in charge of the Imperial Academy of Medicine. He had no soldiers or powers; there were only a few physicians under him. Managing a large hospital meant that he usually only treated a group of officials. If something happened, just a small battalion of soldiers was enough to seal the Imperial Academy of Medicine...
For some reason, Yan Liqiang suddenly remembered the Vitality Soup that the imperial court had been feeding the citizens for the past month. The Imperial Academy of Medicine claimed that they were the only ones who could brew the Vitality Soup. So all the Vitality Soup that the citizens in the capital regions drank were painstakingly delivered by the Imperial Academy of Medicine. Back then, Yan Liqiang felt that it was quite troublesome but he didn’t think too much of it. But now, the thought of that Vitality Soup sent a shiver down Yan Liqiang’s spine.
His entire body felt icy cold.
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