GDK 723: Taking over Godswamp
At dawn, Andre and Erebus joined forces and broke through seven layers of barriers in one spurt of energy, allowing them to locate the pathway to the underground warehouse. Those divine guards brought by the two then rushed underground like starving wolves and returned to the surface with fifteen pharmacists who specialized in producing poisons. And, of course, the filthy and illegal materials were found and seized.
Having been caught red-handed, there was no room left for Steiss to dispute about his innocence. He drooped his head low in silence after realizing that his fate was sealed.
“So it is you and your pharmacy who did it! You have damaged the friendship between Mister Bryan and I. You deserve to die a thousand times for your heinous crime!” Rugersey shouted at Steiss. He was fuming with rage.
It was thanks to the set up made by the Godswamp Pharmacy that Han Shuo had a poor impression of the House of Kisa. At this point in time, Han Shuo had proved that he was better than any other pharmacist. With that, no one would dare question the efficacy of the medicines he produced. Everyone was fighting to get their hands on Han Shuo’s medicine but Rugersey’s family clans had been denied access. For this, Rugersey could not be more furious towards Steiss and would have finished Steiss right then if Andre and Erebus were not there.
Those members of large family clans who came to follow the event felt that their trip had been worthwhile. They all wore unsightly, dark faces when they saw icy glass containers with human organs in them being taken out from the underground. Godswamp Pharmacy had been conducting such atrocious act right under the noses of the five major family clans. Seeing the frozen organs being unearthed was tantamount to slapping them on their faces.
“What excuse are you going to give now, Steiss?” Andre coldly groaned while staring at Steiss gloomily.
“As things stand, I have nothing to say!” Steiss knew that his doom was certain. He took out a dagger glistening with icy light in his trembling hand, ready to slit his own throat and end it there and then.
Ting! Andre flicked his index finger. A ghostly ray streaked across the air and sent the dagger far away from Steiss’ hand.
“Don’t think about dying before we have completed our investigation!” Andre groaned. He then instructed, “Restrain him and throw him in prison!”
Erebus waved his hand and his divine guards from his Third Corps got into action. All the poison-producing pharmacists and employees of the Godswamp Pharmacy were restrained and captured.
“Bryan, I owe you yet another favor!” Andre said to Han Shuo smilingly after all those associated with the Godswamp Pharmacy were restrained. He was visibly relaxed.
“I only did what I was supposed to!” Han Shuo was elated. Not only was the Godswamp Pharmacy done for, but he also managed to raise his reputation yet again. It was clear which pharmacy the large family clans would frequent from that day onwards.
“Folks, this will be it for now. Please disperse,” Andre informed the civilians before saying to Han Shuo in a low voice, “Don’t leave yet, there’s something I need to discuss with you,”
Han Shuo nodded, puzzled. He did not know what Andre would want to talk about.
After hearing Andre’s instruction, those members of large family clans said their goodbyes to him. These people became even more revering of Han Shuo’s skills in medicine refinement. Before they left, they would approach Han Shuo with smiles from ear to ear and attempt to become closer to Han Shuo. They only left contented after Han Shuo promised to produce more medicine for them.
“That… erm... Bryan, it was indeed my fault for not investigating the matter properly. I’m very sorry. Please don’t hold grudges for my past transgression…" Rugersey went to Han Shuo in an embarrassed manner and apologized with a flustered smile while kneading his own hands.
“I’m not one to hold grudges but, given how unpleasant the experience was, I’m still not in a good mood. I’m sorry but for now, I have no interest in doing business with your family!” Han Shuo shrugged and replied in an arrogant and impolite manner.
Rugersey understood that such things would take time. It was just yesterday that he had offended Han Shuo and it was only natural that Han Shuo would still be offended. Knowing that he must not rush things, he tried to persuade him gently before leaving with his men.
Donna and Diwen were the last few among the crowd to leave. She looked at Han Shuo for a while as though wanting to talk to him but hesitated. After mulling about something for a few minutes, she did not talk to him but merely let out a gentle sigh before leaving with Diwei.
Han Shuo understood that Donna suspected that he was the person who murdered Cage and Eve. He too sighed in his heart but did not say a thing. But strangely, that Diwei who used to be dismissive and cold towards him, nodded cordially when their gazes met. It was as though Diwei was trying to be friendly. This was rather astonishing to Han Shuo.
“Erebus, take these people back to the Third Corps and lock them in prison. I will be there after having a few words with Bryan,” Andre said to Erebus.
Erebus nodded, walked to Han Shuo, patted his shoulder, and said in a gentle voice, “Young man, well done!” Erebus then left with his divine guards and those he detained.
Although Erebus could be considered as a member of the House of Sainte, he did not originate from the Sainte Family and wasn’t related to Wallace or Andre in blood. He was an expert Wallace managed to recruit with his own strength and methods. And though Erebus could be considered as one of the top experts within the City of Shadows, at the end of the day, he was just a high-level divine guard under the House of Sainte. Wallace may have been the only person he had to report to but nonetheless, he would still have to take orders from Andre.
Soon enough, Erebus and his grandiose party were gone. A portion of the House of Sainte divine guards who came with Andre also left. Only around thirty divine guards dispersed around the area to protect Andre.
“Lord Andre, what’s the matter?” asked Han Shuo.
“You saved Carmelita’s life twice and just then, helped us to locate the evidence that would incriminate Godswamp Pharmacy. I couldn’t find the opportunity to thank you all these while, but at long last, I will have the chance!” Andre smiled and said in a cordial manner.
Han Shuo stared blankly for a moment before he shook his head and said, “Lord Andre, that is not true. I could establish the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy in this city so quickly only with the help of your Lordship and Miss Carmelita. You don’t have to thank me!”
“No, I must!” Andre insisted with a grin. He thought for a moment, then continued, “After this incident, the Godswamp Pharmacy is utterly doomed. In accordance with the rules, all those buildings and assets owned by the Godswamp will be confiscated. Although the Godswamp Pharmacy’s business in the City of Shadows is completely ruined, their buildings and equipment would still be very valuable. In those buildings were hundreds, if not thousands of tools and equipment for medicine refinement, not to mention the libraries of books. These things would be a tremendous resource for any pharmacy!”
Han Shuo’s eyes brightened. He could not contain his excitement and cried out, “Lord Andre, you mean… you mean…”
Andre nodded and said, “The House of Sainte doesn’t know how to refine medicine and we have no use for those resources after seizing them. They will only be auctioned off sooner or later. However, rather than benefiting others, we might as well benefit you. Besides, your Celestial Pearl Pharmacy has become reputable in the city. I believe that if you take over the resources the Godswamp Pharmacy previously owned, it would only be a matter of time before the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy becomes the largest pharmacy in the City of Shadows. What say you?”
Han Shuo finally got to understand the benefit of being close to influential and powerful people. Although the Godswamp Pharmacy had gone to the dogs, they possessed enormous resources in the City of Shadows. Other than in the city itself, they even had branches in the satellite forts and towns. If Han Shuo was to switch the signboards with his own, his Celestial Pearl would become the biggest pharmacy in the City of Shadows overnight.
Taking over all the properties of Godswamp Pharmacy would be like giving an adrenaline shot to his Celestial Pearl Pharmacy!
Han Shuo would have to take tens if not hundreds of years to slowly advance his Celestial Pearl Pharmacy to the scale of operation the Godswamp Pharmacy had in the City of Shadows. But with this favor done by Andre, Han Shuo could cut down the effort and time needed by several hundred folds. How could Han Shuo not be excited?
“This… this… too precious…" Han Shuo stammered while kneading his hands.
“You have proved yourself to be better than every other pharmacist! Those fellas will surely spread what happened last night all over the city. It will be a great promotion for your pharmacy. You are most suited to take over the Godswamp Pharmacy’s resources!”
“If Lord Andre says so, I shall not decline the offer. Thank you!” Han Shuo said as he bowed to Andre.
“I will have a word with my elder brother and notify you when it’s settled. So, prepare a number of crystal coins. We still have to take some crystal coins in exchange lest that some of those inside my family complains.” Andre thought for a moment and continued, “It doesn’t need to be too much, several ten thousand will do. Alright, we will talk about this in detail soon!”
That compound owned by the Godswamp Pharmacy was worth at least a million black crystal coins. To add on the medical ingredients, tools, and their branches all over the City of Shadows, the total valuation would be at least five million black crystal coins! But from Andre’s words, it appeared that Han Shuo wouldn’t need to shell out much crystal coins at all. Money really did seem to fall from the sky!
“Understood!” Han Shuo nodded, beaming ear to ear.
“Alright, don’t forget, you have offended probably all the pharmacists in the City of Shadows and those pharmacists from the Godswamp would hate you to their bones. I don't believe those pharmacists who were originally employed by Godswamp, even after they are found innocent and released, would work for you. The assets possessed by the Godswamp are enormous – you definitely cannot run the entire business alone and it is necessary for you to hire talents. You will have to solve this problem somehow!” Andre reminded.
After hearing the reminder, the smile on Han Shuo’s face immediately died down. He even started to feel a headache.
What happened on that night would surely spread to the entire City of Shadows. Most of those employed by the Godswamp Pharmacy did not participate in producing poisons and would not be imprisoned by the House of Sainte. However, to most of them, Han Shuo was the Godswamp’s enemy. It was unlikely that they would work for Han Shuo.
The assets of the Godswamp Pharmacy were enormous and Han Shuo would need to hire a large number of pharmacists and all kinds of talents to operate them. If Han Shuo couldn’t solve this issue, even if he received all the resources for free, they wouldn’t be making him crystal coins.
What a big headache! Han Shuo started racking his brain for a solution.
Andre patted on Han Shuo’s shoulder and said smilingly, “This you will have to figure out by yourself, I cannot help you with that. Haha, nobody asked you to offend all the pharmacists for a moment of glory!”
“Nobody told me that you would hand me Godswamp’s assets to be managed. Had I known this earlier, I wouldn’t have said a thing about them,” Han Shuo forced a smile and sighed.
“Alright, I better get going. About hiring pharmacists, I really couldn’t help you with that. After all, we cannot force them to work. In the worst case, you could just take it slowly and train your own pharmacists instead of recruiting. I’m sure many would want to learn from you!” Andre laughed and left with his divine guards.
That’d work if I were an actual pharmacist! Han Shuo replied in his mind. He started to fret over the issue of hiring.
“Now you are going to get really rich!” Andrina had been silent all the while but as soon as all the strangers had left them, she chuckled and congratulated Han Shuo.
“Yes, I’m going to be rich. But there is plenty of work to do and problems to solve before I’d be truly rich. The great amount of resources would just be sitting idle if there was no one to operate them,” Han Shuo said with a big smile on his face. Even though he had a big challenge up ahead, he was nonetheless very excited about taking over the enormous assets.
“Now that you are going to earn a big fortune, does that mean that in the future, I won’t have to worry about not having enough crystal coins to eat?” Andrina giggled and asked excitedly.
The smile immediately disappeared from Han Shuo’s face. “You will still have to exercise control. Otherwise, no amount of crystal coins would be enough! But I’m sure that in the future, you will have more crystal coins to eat than you do now!”
“Hehe, I believe in you. It seems that following you was indeed the right choice!” Andrina said cheerfully.
The sky had completely lit up. Han Shuo and Andrina chatted as they traveled back to the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy. For some reason, upon returning to his pharmacy, Han Shuo suddenly felt how small it was by comparison. When he called to mind that he would soon be in possession of enormous resources, he felt both excited and vexed.
For the next five days, the main topic of discussion of the populace of the City of Shadows was what happened on that night. As expected, Han Shuo’s reputation surpassed all the pharmacists' and he was known to be the best pharmacist in the City of Shadows.
The Godswamp Pharmacy was shut down to be investigated. All the pharmacists employed by Godswamp were checked and interrogated. Some were freed while some were not. Those pharmacists who came to the City of Shadows to attend the pharmaceutical conference returned to their places of origin.
At this point in time, Han Shuo started to get himself busy with recruiting pharmacists. With Anito’s assistance, he placed recruitment scrolls in eye-catching places around the city.
But as Han Shuo had impulsively insulted basically all the pharmacists in the City of Shadows on that night, even though it had been many days after Han Shuo posted the recruitment scrolls, not a single person showed up. Naturally, those pharmacists who were previously employed by the Godswamp Pharmacy hated Han Shuo. They would tell everyone that Han Shuo was condescending and vain, which further impeded Han Shuo’s recruitment effort.
Interestingly, however, there were many non-pharmacists who were interested in learning the art of medicine refinement from Han Shuo and wanted to be his apprentice. However, Han Shuo knew nothing about non-demonic medicine refinement and could not teach those people a thing. He therefore rejected every one of them.
A few more days had passed and still, not a single proficient pharmacist had come. Han Shuo was truly getting a headache.
“Don’t worry about it and just wait a little longer. Someone will come in the end,” Andrina consoled the fretful Han Shuo. She had taken a lot of interest in the matter because it could mean having more crystal coins to devour. She even helped Anito with putting up the recruitment scrolls all around the city.
“This was all my fault for having a loose tongue. Otherwise, there was no way I could have offended so many pharmacists all at once.” Han Shuo sighed as he expressed his regrets. He felt as though he had stumbled upon a mountain of treasure but did not have space rings to bring them home. Han Shuo was incredibly sullen as he knew that Andre would complete his investigation into the Godswamp Pharmacy soon and the enormous resources would lie in his hand, dormant.
Akley too took interest in the matter. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be of any help other than suggesting nonsense like kidnapping pharmacists and forcing them to work. He stopped spitting rubbish after being chided by Han Shuo.
“I've gotta figure something out!” Han Shuo sighed yet again.
Han Shuo only knew how to refine pelleted medicine. They were high-value items that not many could afford. Producing the lower value, normal medicines were the key to making more money and for that, he could not do without practicing pharmacists.
“Ahem ahem…" a voice suddenly sounded from the entrance and that Gu Li with her strange temperament slowly walked into his shop.
Han Shuo was delighted to hear a voice but his face immediately sank after seeing that it was Gu Li. Coldly, he asked, “What are you here for?”
Han Shuo hadn’t been in a good mood during the recent days. He had no wish of bickering with Gu Li and was ready to send her away.
Gu Li pointed at the recruitment scroll hung on the front of the door, and asked puzzlingly, “Aren’t you recruiting pharmacists?”
“Yes, I am. But what has that got to do with you?” replied Han Shuo, unmannerly.
“Am I up for the task?” Gu Li asked in a probing manner.
Han Shuo stared blankly for a moment before he asked, “You mean, you want to join my Celestial Pearl Pharmacy?”
“Yes. I have heard about what happened that night. You are indeed a great pharmacist. I want to apologize for having been rude to you and thank you for saving my life. I really want to learn the art of refining medicine from you. Please take me in!” Gu Li bowed and said solemnly.
“Erm, don’t you have a business in Mirage City? I heard that you have a lot of apprentices over there. You sure you want to stay in the City of Shadows?” Han Shuo’s heart jolted as he asked.
“As long as I can learn more about refining medicine, I will do it, whatever it may cost! As for my apprentices, if you don’t mind, can they join the Celestial Pearl as well?” asked Gu Li.
“Sure, definitely, of course!” Han Shuo replied hastily. He was worried about where to employ pharmacists and was overjoyed to hear that. Although he didn’t know how or what to teach Gu Li, at this point in time, he couldn’t be bothered to think about it carefully and immediately agreed.
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Next Chapter on 25th July 12am GMT+8