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    Chapter 95: Tranquil County

    In the past, Peng Wang would not have taken prisoners along to purchase supplies in a major provincial capital.

    The wealthy were more prevalent in the provincial capitals, and prices were significantly higher compared to small counties. For officials like them, it made more sense to shop where things were cheaper.

    But circumstances had changed. They had been surviving on wild vegetable soup for the past four or five days. If this continued, they might not have the strength to continue their journey.

    Under Peng Wang's guidance, the group entered Tranquil County.

    Perhaps because he rarely visited, Peng Wang was not as familiar with this place as he was with other counties. Asking around, they eventually found what was said to be the cheapest inn in Tranquil County.

    One had to admit that provincial capitals were much more prosperous than small towns. Even the cheapest inn seemed superior to those high-end ones they had previously stayed at.

    The inn's gate stood wide open on the main street, and a waiter stood at the entrance, ready to attract customers.

    Spotting visitors, the innkeeper first sized them up. Upon seeing Peng Wang and his companions in their official attire, he warmly welcomed them inside.

    Initially, he intended to assign them to a few shared rooms like he usually did for prisoners. However, the inn didn't have such accommodations.

    The most affordable option was a room for five guests, which cost 500 copper coins per night.

    Peng Wang couldn't afford to be picky at this moment. If it was expensive, so be it; they could still afford it.

    The Mo family had money, and they would surely make their own arrangements. As for the others, those willing to spend on a guest room could do so, while those without funds would have to camp outside the inn. As long as the prisoners didn't escape, everything else was secondary.

    Indeed, the Fangs and Xie families were reluctant to part with so much money for just a room that could accommodate only five people. But after considering their days of roughing it outdoors and the discomfort it caused, they finally decided to rent one room, squeezing together as a family. It was better than sleeping outdoors.

    He Zhiran, on the other hand, seemed unfazed by the situation and promptly booked two rooms for five and one room for two.

    The Hos, however, found themselves in a difficult position, settling for a rest in the inn's backyard corridor.

    After everyone settled in, Peng Wang took the initiative to send someone to ask He Zhiran if she needed assistance with purchasing supplies.

    He Zhiran, of course, did not decline the offer and expressed her gratitude before preparing to leave.

    Seeing this, the Fangs and Xie families also pleaded with Peng Wang, hoping for some time to purchase supplies.

    It had to be said that these two families had indeed benefited from the Mo family's influence. Not only did they now have some silver in their hands, but the officials had also refrained from exploiting them.

    For the Fangs and Xies, this was already the greatest blessing from heaven.

    Though Peng Wang didn't object to the two families going out to shop, he couldn't afford to trust them as much as he trusted He Zhiran, allowing her to go out alone.

    Therefore, to ensure safety, he dispatched two officers to accompany them.

    As He Zhiran stepped out the door, Mo Jiuye bid Peng Wang farewell and hurried after her.

    "I'll accompany you."

    Observing Mo Jiuye's resolute attitude, He Zhiran did not protest.

    In unspoken agreement, the pair quickened their pace, attempting to maintain a distance from the Fangs and Xies behind them, making their actions more convenient.

    With Mo Jiuye by her side, it was no longer as convenient for her to retrieve items from the space.

    Fortunately, Nan Qi County was abundant in resources; with silver, anything they needed could be purchased.

    While shopping, the two of them also discovered that almost everyone in the county was discussing one particular topic.

    It was about the flood in Dongfeng County.

    The most-discussed aspect wasn't the severity of the disaster, but rather County Magistrate Meng Huaining's daring act of cremating the victims' corpses.

    Rumor had it that this incident had already alarmed the imperial court, and the Emperor had dispatched Prince Qi as the imperial envoy to handle the situation.

    Once Prince Qi arrived, Meng Huaining would likely face severe punishment.

    Unsurprisingly, the common folk found it hard to accept the cremation of their loved ones. Meng Huaining must have foreseen such consequences before taking action.

    What nobody expected was that the Emperor had appointed Nan Qi as the imperial envoy to deal with the matter.

    Given He Zhiran's knowledge of history, Nan Qi was currently eager for capable talents.

    Should he express support for Meng Huaining's actions, she would undoubtedly be grateful to Nan Qi for recognizing her worth and join his faction.

    Presumably, this would be the catalyst for Meng Huaining's acquaintance with Fei Nanyu.

    Of course, these were merely speculations of He Zhiran's, and she wasn't overly concerned with the specifics.

    While both Fei Nanyu and Meng Huaining were key figures in the future court, they held no relevance to the current Mo family.

    He Zhiran only wished that once Meng Huaining pledged allegiance to Nan Qi, she would keep her promise not to divulge the information about the medicine formula.

    Mo Jiuye, on the other hand, casually listened to these matters, as they no longer concerned him in the slightest regarding the affairs of the court...

    Throughout the journey, Mo Jiuye remained mostly silent, yet he willingly carried or lifted anything He Zhiran purchased, ensuring she wouldn't have to exert herself.

    Observing Mo Jiuye weighed down by their purchases, He Zhiran offered to assist him.

    However, he stubbornly refused her help, insisting on carrying the load alone.

    He Zhiran, feeling helpless, could only watch as Mo Jiuye was burdened with their supplies. Eventually, when he was visibly overloaded, the two of them returned to the inn together.

    Lady Mo led the ladies to assist in the preparations, while Third Sister-in-law and Fourth Sister-in-law took He Zhiran aside.

    Both of them pulled out a purse from their bosoms and handed it to her.

    "Ninth Sister-in-law, you've been footing the bill all the way from the capital. Now that Mother-in-law has entrusted you with the finances, we'll also entrust our money to your discretion."

    He Zhiran was momentarily taken aback but promptly returned the purses.

    "Sisters-in-law, please keep your money. I'll ask for more when I run out."

    He Zhiran's reasoning was that the journey ahead might not be peaceful. If she were to lose contact with her family or encounter any mishaps, they would still have some funds to ensure their livelihood wouldn't be too dire.

    The two sisters-in-law were unaware of He Zhiran's true intentions and insisted on giving her their money.

    Rejected once again, they reluctantly put away the thought and returned to help with the supplies.

    After days of roughing it, everyone was content with finally having a proper meal. The exception was the He family, who, without money, had to settle for the black flour buns provided by the officials.

    After a night of rest at the inn, everyone felt rejuvenated the next day, as if they had been fully restored.

    At Peng Wang's command, they resumed their journey.

    They traveled for three consecutive days until a towering mountain blocked their path.

    Zhou Laoba stepped forward, pointing at the massive peak ahead, "Boss, it's already afternoon. Why don't we take a rest here tonight and cross the mountain tomorrow?"

    "Precisely, we'll rest at the foot of the mountain tonight and ascend tomorrow."

    Turning to the group behind him, Zhou Laoba shouted, "Everyone, head down to the base of the mountain and find places to rest. We'll continue our journey tomorrow."

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