Housekeeper of the Hundred Blossom Palace - Chapter 151
It was a little while after Li Yong discovered Yui Mei wandering around the crown prince palace and heard the shocking news.
“We have to inform Aunty Yang from now on.”
.Yui Mei said, so Ming Xian warned her to “be more vigilant of your surroundings” before telling Li Yong to take her home.
He probably thought that since they weren’t sure whether somebody saw her, it was better to be safe than sorry by being cautious given the danger of the thing that Yui Mei discovered.
And so, while Li Yong sent Yui Mei home, Ming Xian finished the work that he had pushed back for their conversation with great haste.
When Li Yong returned, the room was in a mess with several things scattered around.
After cleaning just enough of it so that the room wouldn’t be too unsightly, Xiuling brewed tea and they took a break while continuing their earlier conversation.
By the way, the box that contained the ashes of the poppy juice was placed in another box to prevent the stench from leaking out.
Ming Xian sipped some tea to moisten his throat before speaking.
“How’s Yui Mei?”
“Yes, no suspicious person seemed to have followed her, and she went home safely.”
Ming Xian knitted his brows when he heard Li Yong’s report.
“That’s good, but this lack of action seems uncanny.”
Li Yong also agreed with Ming Xian’s concern.
That’s because the problem was in the identity of the person who brought such a dangerous thing into the imperial palace.
Ming Xian then voiced out a query.
“Based on Yui Mei’s explanation, the probability of poppy juice being manufactured in the capital’s neighboring villages should be quite low?”
Li Yong then replied with his opinion on this matter.
“Apparently, there is a need for a spacious land to cultivate those flowers, besides, if somebody did plant a wide field of poppies, gossip should abound because they’re planting something that cannot be eaten.”
Ming Xian didn’t negate what Li Yong said, apparently because he was thinking the same thing.
“Yes, I never heard any rumors of such a flower farm before.”
Xiuling also shook her head while mumbling those words.
Flowers were also considered a luxury item in this world, and they could only be bought, planted and used to adorn the gardens by affluent families.
Only the nobility and the wealthy merchants possessed properties with flowerbeds in the first place, after all.
In ordinary homes, people would rather plant vegetables if they had the space to spare for flowers.
“Even if there is somebody cunning enough to trick the farmers into planting these flowers, those commoners will probably be suspicious if the flowers are really worth the money and it will be unsure whether they’re going to grow them when their stench is enough to make them sick.”
Li Yong would also do rounds within the castle walls as part of his work as an imperial guard, so he was quite knowledgeable about the trends in the marketplace.
Growing flowers could also be a successful venture, fetching a lot of money if the deals with the aristocrats and affluent people were done well.
However, farmers didn’t have access to customers who would buy those flowers.
Even so, if the peasants requested a merchant to become the middleman, he would just brush them off and buy their flowers for dirt cheap by reasoning that “these things aren’t edible”. That merchant would then sell them to customers for a high price, and he would be the one to reap a huge profit.
Consequently, ordinary farmers considered growing flowers to be an “unprofitable, thankless job”.
He also heard that the flowers available in the market now were grown in addition to the vegetables by the farmers hired by the merchants.
Under such circumstances, it would be highly unlikely that farmers would want to cultivate the flowers while remaining ignorant about the manufacturing process of poppy juice, especially since it’s one of the ingredients.
“If the labor is cheap and the work stinks, folks naturally won’t be that eager to grow those flowers for the sake of making poppy juice.”
Xiuling seemed to agree with Li Yong’s opinion.
“Even if we are to cautiously consider the possibility of its production within the empire, maybe it’s really better to assume that it is came from the other countries.”
Ming Xian arrived at that conclusion regarding poppy juice.
According to Yui Mei, Physician Chen believed that this poppy juice was being imported from another country.
Even if people secretly smuggled for evil purposes, the people who could buy imported medicine would be limited to a handful.
‘If it’s imported, then the nearest place will be the port of Kai, huh…’
Li Yong recalled the city of Kai that he visited during the summer.
He could only imagine how a poppy juice addict would possibly look like, but he remembered seeing a few people who looked like they were strange drunkards.
However, there didn’t seem to be many of those in Kai.
Yui Mei said that getting drunk to the point of harming the body shouldn’t be possible with the kind of liquor that the commoners could get their hands on.
In that case, then the amount of alcohol that the seafarers consumed shouldn’t be a problem. Moreover, they didn’t see any crazy people among them, so they could hope that this poppy juice wasn’t being circulated among the residents of the city of Kai.
Li Yong also felt some kind of attachment to Kai, having stayed there for an extended period of time, so he also hoped for that place to be safe.
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