Chapter 62: Herbal Auction
Henyee Translations Henyee Translations
As soon as the party reached Jiu Ding City, they smelled the pungent scent of Chinese medicine.
“Master Chen, What kind of medicine are you planning on purchasing? Ginseng, Astragalus, Lingzhi mushroom, Saussurea, Dong Quai or Solomon’s-seal? They have everything.”
“It doesn’t matter what kind of herbs they are, as long as they are old, preferably ancient.” Chen Fan said lightly.
He was not going to use the herbs themselves, but to extract the Spirit Qi that was absorbed in the herbs.
Wu Shanhe was taken aback by Chen Fan’s words. The key to using Chinese medicine was a good combination of different herbs. A thousand-year-old Ginseng was useless without the aid of some of the most common ingredients. That, however, was the conventional way of using herbs. Considering Chen Fan’s otherworldly power, Wu Shanhe decided to keep his doubts unspoken.
“I think we will have the best luck finding old herbs at those older shops.” Wu Shanhe pondered for a second and then said, “Master Chen, follow me.”
He led the way since he was familiar with the city. Soon, they arrived at a shop with a grand storefront.
The store’s name was the Hall of a Hundred Medicines.
“Although merchants from all over China flocked to the Jiu Ding City, the business was dominated by a few families. The Hall of a Hundred Medicines was owned by one of those hegemony families. It had over three hundred years of history, one of the oldest in China.”
The three walked into the store, and they were greeted by the salesperson.
A sales representative was necessary for the Hall of a Hundred Medicines since their customers were not herb wholesalers, but people coming to seek precious herbal ingredients.
“I want to see your chief apothecary.”
Master Wu announced proudly. He sounded like a different person when he was speaking to Chen Fan.
“May I know who am I speaking to?”
The sales person was caught off guard by Master Wu’s request.
At places like the Hall of a Hundred Medicines, the one who called the shots were not the managers, it was the Chief Apothecary. Most of these apothecaries were renowned Chinese medicine doctors and were invaluable to the store.
“My name is Wu Shanhe.”Master Wu brushed his long beard and said proudly.
“Ok, please wait for a second.”
Despite his confusion, the salesperson went to the back of the store to find the chief apothecary.
Chen Fan and Master Wu sat down at the waiting area, and an employee of the store served them two cups of high-grade tea. They didn’t have to wait long before they heard quick footsteps coming from the back of the store. An old man in his sixties with a snowy beard walked into the waiting area.
“Ah-ha! Master Wu! Why didn’t you give us a heads up before you came so that we could serve you better.” The old man walked over to Master Wu and said respectfully.
Seeing the surprise in the eyes of A’Xiu and the salesperson, Master Wu hung a smug smile on his face.
He might be a nobody in the Jiang Bei region; however, he was considered a grand master here in the Zhong Zhou Province and was a frequent guest of honor at the houses of the rich and powerful.
Chen Fan gave Master Wu a glance, which quickly brought things into perspective for Master Wu. The smug smile on his face disappeared, and he hurried to ask about the medicine.
“My… young friend wants to buy some old herbs. I wonder if you have any?”
“Um…” The chief Apothecary paused a second and then said hesitantly, “I am sorry, but a young lady has just bought up all the precious herbs from the entire city. I don’t even have a fifty-year-old ginseng, not to mention ones that are over a hundred-year-old.”
“Really? She’s got some deep pockets.” Master Wu was shocked.
Ginseng that was over a hundred years old was sold by the gram. It could fetch as much as a few tens of thousands of yuan per gram, as such, one single ginseng would cost over a few million. If the buyer had purchased all the ancient ginseng in the city, she must have spent an unimaginable amount of money.
“Rumor has it that she was from a prominent family in Hong Kong. But that’s just the rumor.” The old man shook his head.
Master Wu paused a second and gave Chen Fan a helpless look.
Chen Fan furrowed his brows and then said, “There is nowhere else I can find old herbs in the city?”
“Well, yes, and no…” The old man hesitated and then shot Master Wu a glance. “Have you heard of the auction?”
“The auction for precious herbs? I thought that was just fake news.” Master Wu asked.
“It’s real. It is held every few months, and the bidder buys the herbs directly from local herbalists. If you are lucky, you might be able to find something really rare there. You would never see those herbs on the market since they were auctioned off to the rich people before they reached the store counter. The auction is invite based, and cash only.”
Most auctions like this were held in secrecy, and therefore no a lot of people had heard of it.
“When does it start.” Chen Fan didn’t care if it was a private auction or not. His goal was to get precious herbs, and he would do anything to get it.
“The next one is in three days, seven o’clock at the Clear Lake Manor.” Chief apothecary announced under his breath.
“Very well.” Chen Fan stood up, and so did Master Wu, and they both left the store after waving the old man a farewell.
After they were out of the Hall of a Hundred Medicines, they found a hotel and settled in.
Three days later…
Chen Fan and his entourage took a taxi and arrived at the Clear Lake Manor. The manor was heavily guarded, and a group of security stood guard at the entrance.
“I am sorry, this is private property. Please turn back if you don’t have an invitation.” A security guard walked over the Chen Fan and said annoyedly.
“We don’t have an invitation.” Master Wu said lightly. “Please let your boss know that Wu Shanhe from the Dong Du City came to visit him.”
The security noticed the unusual calmness in Master Wu and started to think that he was an influential person.
Suddenly, a black Mercedes pulled over to the entrance, and a plump middle age man waddled over to Master Wu.
“Master Wu! What brings you here? I thought you went to Jiang Bei.”
“Haha, it’s you, Boss Hu!” Master Wu said. The memory of what happened in Jiang Bei made Master Wu blush a little.
He had planned to make a fortune in the Jiang Bei region; however, he was brought down by a young boy. It was an embarrassing matter; as such, he quickly changed the topic.
“Are you here to join the auction? Very well then, we need a ticket to get in.”
“Oh-why, follow me. But please help me judge the quality of the herbs when we are in there.” Boss Hu reply.
Since the items for sale in the auction were from private owners, it was not uncommon to encounter scammers during the sales event. The host of the auction assumed no responsibility for the quality of the product; it was all “Caveat emptor” inside the auction house. Although Master Wu was not a skilled Traditional Chinese doctor, no one in the Zhong Zhou Province would dare sell any fake herbs to him.
The security let them pass without any protest.
As they filed through the gate, they found the manner was huge inside. A hostess had guided them through many lobbies until they arrived at a quiet courtyard.
The small courtyard was already packed with well-dressed men and women. From their accents, it was easy to tell that these buyers were from all over China.
“Nice to see you here, Master Wu.”
“Hi, Master Wu.”
“How are you doing Master Wu?”
As soon as Chen Fan and Master Wu walked into the courtyard, many greeted the latter like an old friend.
Some started to introduce Master Wu to those who were not familiar with him. He was the jewel of the Dong Du City and was able to summon the ghost and command the spirits.
Chen Fan was amused by the popularity of Master Wu. He found it hard to imagine that someone who kneeled in front of him, begging for his life was revered so much here.
Suddenly, he heard a cold snort.
“Master Wu? More like Swindle Wu.”
Wu Shanhe’s face hardened, and then he looked toward the speaker.
It was a woman of tall stature and a face harder than rock with chiseled features, making her look like a mix of Asian and White. She glared at the old man contemptuously.
“That is Miss Zheng From Hong Kong.” Boss Hu explained under his breath. “She has bought all the rare herbs in the city. Rumor has it that her father was dying and needed as many rare herbs as possible to extend his life.”
“The Zheng Family of Hong Kong?” Master Wu gasped.