"Enter the city. We'll be returning to the residence!"
Ji Shuiyan did not wish to continue wasting her time on Advisor Yang. She planned on passing straight through the welcoming party and returning to the Divine Secrets Trading Company's residence.
Ji Shuiyan had already started planning her restructure of the Divine Secrets Trading Company. She planned to dismiss any members who showed disloyalty. Then, she would withdraw a portion of Divine Secrets Trading Company's accumulated wealth to hire new experts.
In the past, Ji Shuiyan would not dare to take such dramatic actions. If she did so without a true expert like Yi Yun to keep things stabilized, then the reckless invitation of Dao Palace realm warriors as guest elders would only bring disaster. It was even likely that the entire Divine Secrets Trading Company would be swallowed clean.
Although Yi Yun had agreed to help her, she didn't want to rely on him so much that it would be burdensome. If Yi Yun's cultivation was delayed, he might end up being displeased. Once she had newly-hired experts, she could stabilize things herself.
Just as Ji Shuiyan's convoy passed Advisor Yang, she heard him say in an eccentric tone, "It seems Miss Shuiyan doesn't plan on showing me respect as my status is lacking. That's alright. Since Miss Shuiyan had an arduous journey, it is only right that she return to the residence for rest. I'll be returning to report to Young Master Yan, that he may travel to the Divine Secrets Trading Company residence and set up a banquet there. Miss Shuiyan wouldn't decline that, right?"
When Yang Yanguang said that, Ji Shuiyan's expression changed. Set up a banquet at her own residence!?
It had always been that the master of the house would set up a banquet to invite guests. How could a guest go to someone's residence to set up a banquet? Unless…
Ji Shuiyan was extremely tense as she envisioned an extremely terrible possibility.
"Quickly return to the residence!"
At Ji Shuiyan's order, the convoy sped up. Although Jade Luster City was bustling with people, there were dedicated channels for the trading convoys. Ji Shuiyan and company were able to quickly reach the Divine Secrets residence. Along the way, Advisor Yang's welcoming party had followed closely behind them.
Therefore, when Ji Shuiyan arrived at the residence, Advisor Yang's group wasn't far behind.
She ignored Advisor Yang and hurriedly approached the Divine Secrets Trading Company residence. What awaited her made her expression turn completely cold.
A welcoming party stood ready at the Divine Secrets Trading Company residence as well. However, the confidants she had entrusted to guard it were not among them. Most troublingly, the residence's head steward and her personal maidservant were not present.
Reasonably, they should have been waiting by the door when they received news of her return.
But instead, the ones welcoming her back were two Dao Palace realm guest elders of the Divine Secrets Trading Company.
The person standing in the position of honor sported a goatee. He held a golden smoke pipe in his hand and his name was Gongyang Nian.
Behind him was a middle-aged scholar named Xiao Kelin who looked like a man of literature.
They did not show a tinge of respect when they saw Ji Shuiyan approach. They didn't even open the door for the mistress in advance. Instead, they cupped their fists toward Advisor Yang, who now caught up with Ji Shuiyan. One of them said, "Advisor Yang, you have come. Please come on in."
"Haha, Mr. Gongyang, it must be tough on you. I had no other choices either. Your mistress didn't plan on showing me any respect and insisted that the banquet be held at the Divine Secrets residence. I could only follow her here."
Advisor Yang stroked his tiny mustache and said in a somewhat displeased tone.
"Hahaha! Advisor Yang, what are those words of yours. But it's alright, both of our residences aren't very far apart. We will be one sooner or later. It doesn't matter where we host the banquet."
When Gongyang Nian said that, he languidly waved his hand at a subordinate and said, "Guards, why aren't you helping the mistress disembark the sand boat?"
A few strongmen responded and marched toward the sand boat.
Instantly, Ji Shuiyan's armed escorts were dumbfounded. Even the most dimwitted ones were starting to realize what had happened.
Gongyang Nian and Xiao Kelin, the only remaining two Dao Palace realm guest elders of the Divine Secrets Trading Company, had already switched allegiance to the Heaven Amplification Trading Company!
During the days when Ji Shuiyan was away from the company, the duo had usurped the residence. As it stood, they were probably in full control of the Divine Secrets Trading Company headquarters. Both of them were Dao Palace realm warriors and had worked in the Divine Secrets Trading Company for years. They definitely had a network of associates. With them joining forces, together with the Heaven Amplification Trading Company's support, who could resist them?
As for the allusion to the two companies becoming one, people not in the know would even think that Gongyang Nian was the true owner of the Divine Secrets Trading Company. As for Ji Shuiyan, she looked like she was the granddaughter of Gongyang Nian who could be married away at any time.
"Gongyang Nian!" Even though Ji Shuiyan had repeatedly told herself to silently endure hardship, this was simply too much for her to bear!
He was taking bullying to an extreme!
"My grandfather did nothing but treat you well. A thousand years ago, when you returned from a mystic realm with severe injuries, my grandfather thought nothing of giving you valuable herbal pills. He saved your life and ensured your cultivation level remained intact!"
"And honestly," she continued, "the way I have treated you has been impeccable. I have always treated you as a senior. Just a month ago, you needed a Ginseng Fruit Pill to attempt a breakthrough to the third-storey Dao Palace. I gave you all that you needed! But now, as you stand here at the third-storey Dao Palace, this is how you repay me?"
Ginseng Fruit Pills were pills used by Dao Palace realm warriors. Even an organization such as the Divine Secrets Trading Company had difficulty producing them. However, Ji Shuiyan had no choice but to give several to Gongyang Nian. After her grandfather and the group of elders perished, Ji Shuiyan had no choice but to let him have them, despite knowing that he was up to no good. If not, he might have immediately revolted.
This was the tragedy of those who lacked strength. Despite knowing that he was fishing in troubled waters and had forced her hand, Ji Shuiyan had no other choice.
Gongyang Nian ignored Ji Shuiyan's anger. He ignited his smoke pipe and sucked at it before leisurely spewing out a cloud of smoke. "Miss Shuiyan, are you reprimanding me? Back then your grandfather only spared me a small amount of pills, and I had been loyal to the Divine Secrets Trading Company for many years since. I have long returned whatever I owed. Furthermore, my entry into the mystic realm resulted in more than a simple injury. I had a Dao fruit shattered. I asked your grandfather for a Fate Coherence Pill but he refused. It made me lose that Dao fruit forever, affecting my future. How much of a favor do you think your grandfather has given me?"
"As for the Ginseng Fruit Pill you gave me, what of it? You expect me to toil for you and fight the Heaven Amplification Trading Company for a pill?"
Gongyang Nian grunted unhappily. Even though she was still angry, Ji Shuiyan became depressed after hearing his words.
Helping a man once gains gratitude, but not helping that man again gains hatred. Gongyang Nian showed no gratitude to her grandfather for saving of his life. Instead, he was disgruntled over not having a Fate Coherence Pill! The Fate Coherence Pill was a heaven-defying divine medicine that could change one's life. It was nearly a legend and completely priceless. Its value was such that the Divine Secrets Trading Company would need to sell at least 70-80% of its assets to be able to afford it. Even if her grandfather wanted a pill of that level, he would not be willing to spend the amount!
She sighed sadly as she looked at the middle-aged scholar behind Gongyang Nian. "Elder Xiao, do you think the same too?"
The middle-aged scholar held a fan in hand as he shook it gently. He said with a smile, "Miss Shuiyan, why are you still asking such a naive question at this moment in time? A wise man understands the times. Your grandfather and a number of grand elders are no longer around. Why should we stay on in the Divine Secrets Trading Company? Furthermore, a marriage would benefit you as well. Without it, how do you plan to ensure the future of your estate?"