Chapter 979: Poisoning
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: StarveCleric

He was only the manager of the Inkcloud Quarter. A trade which involved a humongous sum of several hundred high-tier spirit stones, there was no way he was qualified to make a judgement on this matter.

"Go ahead!" Zhang Xuan waved his hand.

If it was that easy to uncover news on the Poison Hall, there was no way the old principal would have been unable to find it back then.

Knowing that it would be a difficult fight, Zhang Xuan decided to throw out huge amounts of money out right from the start so as to force the other party to negotiate with him.

Even if the other party really didn't have any concrete news on the Poison Hall, the Inkcloud Quarter, given its long establishment in Jingyuan City, should still have some clues regarding the matter.

Had it been someone else, there would be no way they could tell whether the clues were true or not, thus making it potentially a futile attempt. However, it was different for Zhang Xuan. He could easily ascertain the authenticity of those clues and dig out the whereabouts of the Poison Hall with certainty, even if it was located beneath the ground.

"Yes!" Zhu Xiao quickly rushed out of the room, headed for a vast room that stood at the heart of the Inkcloud Quarter.

"Boss!" Stepping into the vast room, Zhu Xiao immediately clasped his fist and greeted the middle-aged man before him.

The boss of Inkcloud Quarter, Hu Yunsheng. A Saint 1-dan pinnacle expert!

"What's wrong?" Hu Yunsheng was in the midst of flipping through some documents when Zhu Xiao abruptly entered. Lifting his gaze, he asked calmly.

"Boss, I just met with a guest earlier, and the other party requested to purchase... information regarding the Poison Hall!" Zhu Xiao reported.

"Information regarding the Poison Hall?" Hu Yunsheng frowned. "Just do the usual, tell him that we have no such news and drive him away!"

"I told him that that we don't have any news on the Poison Hall, but the other party immediately took out more than five hundred high-tier spirit stones and insisted on purchasing it! As such, I came over here to report the matter to you!" Zhu Xiao swiftly went through the details of the matter.

"Five hundred high-tier spirit stones?" Hu Yunsheng narrowed his eyes in astonishment.

The fact that even the esteemed school heads of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, be it School Head Mo or School Head Zhao, could only afford to take out a few dozen high-tier spirit stones at any point in time went to show just how huge a fortune it actually was.

Five hundred high-tier spirit stones... Even the annual profits of the entire Inkcloud Quarter didn't amount to that!

"That's right!" Zhu Xiao nodded.

"What kind of person is he?" Hu Yunsheng asked with a deep frown.

Pondering for a moment, Zhu Xiao replied, "He seems to be in his forties. He is slightly stronger than me, possessing a cultivation of Nascent Saint pinnacle. As for his background, I am not too sure about that either…"

"A Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator was actually able to take out five hundred spirit stones at once?" Hu Yunsheng could hardly believe what he was hearing.

Even he didn't have five hundred high-tier spirit stones in his possession at the moment, so how could a Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator possess such wealth?

Could it be that the other party had originated from some powerful organization or affluent clan?

"Bring me over to take a look!" Hu Yunsheng stood up and said.

"Yes... But boss, we really don't have much news regarding the Poison Hall at hand. If he were to insist on it, what should we do?" Zhu Xiao asked.

Even within Jingyuan City, the Poison Hall was an existence shrouded in secrecy. As extensive as the intelligence network of Inkcloud Quarter was, they were still unable to uncover anything much about the Poison Hall, let more its whereabouts.

"I will decide depending on the circumstances later on. If he has a powerful backing, I can consider handing over the information we have gathered on the Poison Hall thus far. However, if he is just an ordinary nouveau riche 1 ... there is no way our Inkcloud Quarter is going to let a fat lamb who has wandered into our midst escape!" A cold glint flashed across Hu Yunsheng's eyes.

Inkcloud Quarter wasn't just an ordinary business, it was the dominating power of Jingyuan City's underworld as well. If the other party had a powerful backing behind him, he might still have to think twice before acting. Otherwise, for an ordinary Nascent Saint cultivator to hold so much wealth in his possession... he would really be letting himself down if he were to allow this juicy piece of meat to flee from his mouth!

"This... But if he has so many high-tier spirit stones on him, even if he was a noveau riche, he would have surely recruited experts to protect him…" Zhu Xiao was still worried.

Only with power would one be able to protect one's own wealth, this was common sense to all cultivators.

For the other party to publicly flaunt his wealth without the slightest hint of fear, even if he didn't have any powerful clan or organization backing him, it was almost certain that he must have prepared a hand in case such a situation arose. In other words, if they were to lay their hands on the other party, it could possibly bring trouble upon Inkcloud Quarter.

"Hehe, wasn't he looking into news concerning the Poison Hall? Surely it shouldn't be too surprising for him to be killed by the Poison Hall, right? As long as we were to conceal it well, we will be able to get away with it easily!" Hu Yunsheng sneered coldly.

"This…" Zhu Xiao hesitated for a moment before nodding.

That was indeed true.

The Poison Hall was intent on concealing its whereabouts, so anyone who was seeking them could very well pose a threat to them... As long as they were to carry it out well, there would be no one who would suspect Inkcloud Quarter to be the culprit.

"Alright, prepare the gourd of fine wine in our storage for our guest. Later on, pay careful attention and act on my command!" Hu Yunsheng waved his hand and said.

"Yes!" Zhu Xiao nodded before quickly rushing off.

He returned a moment later, and the both of them made their way for the chamber which Zhang Xuan was currently seated at.

"I heard that you are intending to purchase information regarding the Poison Hall?" Upon arriving in the room, Hu Yunsheng took a seat and began assessing the middle-aged man before his eyes carefully.

The other party commanded a powerful aura, he was indeed a Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator. However, his appearance was unfamiliar, probably not a local to Jingyuan City.

There were only that many Nascent Saint cultivators in Jingyuan City and the surrounding cities. Inkcloud Quarter had a detailed profile on every single Nascent Saint expert in the vicinity, and there was none that matched the characteristics of the middle-aged man before him.

"That's right." Zhang Xuan replied impassively.

Hu Yunsheng lowered his head contemplatively for a moment before raising his gaze to say, "The Poison Hall is not only shrouded in secrecy, they are also known for being vindictive. If they were to find out that we have leaked their news, we might very well suffer their vengeance... May I know how I can address you, and what your motive for seeking the Poison Hall is? Pardon me for being a little wary over here, but we will have to take that into consideration before coming to a decision."

"I am Sun Qiang." Zhang Xuan replied.

As the principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, his real name was extremely well-known throughout Hongyuan Empire, so it would be unsafe for him to use it even when disguised. On the other hand, his butler, Sun Qiang, wasn't too well-known in comparison. Even if the other party was aware of Sun Qiang's existence, the other party would just think that it was a coincidence.

"Sun Qiang? Are you... from Qingyuan City's Sun Clan?" Hu Yunsheng pondered for a moment before asking.

"That's not it." Zhang Xuan shook his head.

"Then... the descendant of the leader of Lofty Tiger Sect?" Hu Yunsheng continued.

Zhang Xuan shook his head once more.


Hu Yunsheng consecutively asked about more than a dozen famous individuals and clans in Hongyuan Empire going by the surname of Sun, but Zhang Xuan shook his head at all of them.

"Ask no more, I am just a normal, wandering cultivator. I have no particular background that is worthy of note. The reason why I am looking into the Poison Hall is due to some private matters that I have to settle. Don't worry, I won't implicate anyone in this matter, and I won't tell anyone that I have obtained my information from your Inkcloud Quarter!" Seeing that the other party was determined to dig up his background, Zhang Xuan waved his hand impatiently and said.

"A normal, wandering cultivator?" Hu Yunsheng chuckled softly. "I see. Since Brother Sun has already said so, I won't waste your time any further. I have a few pieces of information regarding the Poison Hall, but they aren't too detailed... Zhu Xiao, bring them over for Brother Sun!"

"Yes!" Zhu Xiao nodded and got to his feet.

Before he could walk out of the room, Hu Yunsheng suddenly issued another instruction. "Before you gather the documents, bring some fine wine and delicacies here first!"

After which, Hu Yunsheng turned to Zhang Xuan and said, "Brother Sun, it will take some time to compile the information, so I will have to ask you to be patient. Meanwhile, allow me to interest you in some food and drink!"

Not too long later, Zhu Xiao returned with a few plates of side dishes and a gourd of wine before leaving once more.

"Brother Sun, please!" Chuckling softly, Hu Yunsheng poured a cup of wine and handed it over to Zhang Xuan.

Zhang Xuan took the cup of wine and asked with an earnest smile, "May I know how I should address you?"

"Ah, how could I have forgotten to introduce myself... My surname is Hu!" Hu Yunsheng said.

"Hu? I happen to have a friend who goes by the surname of Hu as well, and she is as wily as a fox, making her a really difficult person to deal with. How good it will be if she could be as honest as Brother Hu…" Zhang Xuan spoke meaningfully.

"Hahaha, the foundation of business lies in trust. How can I possibly run a business without being honest?" Without the slightest bit of embarrassment, Hu Yunsheng said.

"Well said! If only there are more honest merchants like you out there in the world, the world will be a better place! Cheers!"

Zhang Xuan lifted his cup and gulped the wine down.

"Cheers!" Hu Yunsheng chuckled softly as he brought the wine cup to his lips before placing it down once more.

Seeing that Hu Yunsheng had only taken a sip, Zhang Xuan eyebrows shot up, " Brother Hu, aren't you looking down on me 2 ?"

"Of course not! I just have a lot of things to attend to, and alcohol doesn't go well with me. So…" Hu Yunsheng's lips twitched for an instant before he hurriedly explained.

"What do you mean by alcohol doesn't go well with you? As a businessman, you should be more decisive when you drink! Come, let me help you!" Grabbing Hu Yunsheng's shoulder with his right hand and the wine cup with his left, Zhang Xuan chuckled as he lifted the cup up to the other party's mouth.

Seeing that Zhang Xuan was actually going to force feed him, Hu Yunsheng's face darkened in displeasure. "There is no need to trouble Brother Sun for this. I can do it myself…"

"It is no trouble at all. We are brothers, there is no need to stand on ceremony…" Zhang Xuan said as his lips curled up into a bright smile.

"I.." Seeing that the other party was intent on forcing that cup of wine into his mouth, Hu Yunsheng immediately drove his zhenqi to struggle himself free from the other party's grip and knock the wine cup away. To his horror, he realized that he was unable to move at all, as if someone had bound him tightly.

The other party's zhenqi felt like unbreakable shackles on his body, rendering him completely immobile.

"This…" Hu Yunsheng's eyes narrowed in alarm as cold sweat trickled down his back.

He had let his guard down, thinking that the other party was just a Nascent Saint cultivator. But upon feeling the astounding strength the other party was exerting, he immediately realized... How could a fellow possessing such strength possibly be a Nascent Saint? Even with his Saint 1-dan pinnacle cultivation, he would only be utterly crushed in a fight!

The other party had been feigning weakness all along to lure him in!

Just where in the world did this fellow come from?

To make things worse, the other party seemed to have noticed that something was wrong with his wine and was force feeding it to him...

"Come, drink! There is no need to get courteous with me here!" In the midst of his shock, the wine cup was already right before his mouth. Without any time to react, the wine was already poured down his throat.

"Cough cough cough!" Choked by the wine, Hu Yunsheng coughed so violently that tears began streaming down his face.

It took a while before he could recover from it, but in the next moment, he saw the other party grabbing the entire wine gourd, and before he could say a word, the other party stuffed it into his mouth.

Gudong, gudong, gudong!

Wine flowed relentlessly down his throat, nearly taking his final breath away with it.

That was wine laced with lethal poison! Even if he had the antidote, his body would still suffer tremendous damage from drinking so much at once! Who could have known that in his attempt to hunt down a prey, he would be done in by his prey instead?


In just a few moments, with his mouth pried open by the other party's fingers, the entire gourd of wine gushed into his body.

After forcing the wine down his throat, the other party finally released his grip and looked at him with a radiant smile, "How was the wine? Good?"

"You…" Hu Yunsheng pointed a finger at Zhang Xuan with a face reddened with rage when a bout of sharp pain suddenly struck him. He hurriedly took out a pill and popped it into his mouth. After which, he glared at the middle-aged man with killing intent flaring from his eyes, "Who in the world are you?"

"I am Sun Qiang. Didn't I tell you that earlier?" Zhang Xuan chuckled softly. At which, he suddenly patted his face, and as if having just recalled something, he said, "Oh, I nearly forgot. I just added some extra ingredients to your wine, so it might be a little more potent than usual. You said that you don't do well with alcohol, so I hope that it isn't too strong for you…"

Right after saying those words, Hu Yunsheng's face paled and his entire body stiffened. 'Eurgh!', a mouthful of blood spurted from his mouth.

"You poisoned me?" Hu Yunsheng's eyes narrowed in horror.

"You are a poison master?"



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