Ao Jing wasn’t too far off with that assumption. Shangguan Yu was indeed bored out of his mind. He had already re-sorted his inventory and read over the descriptions of all of his skills but there was still no sign of his husband returning anytime soon.
He really wanted to write him another message but he was afraid that that wouldn’t be a good idea. After all, who knew what he was doing right now? If he had gotten into a fight with Liangqiu Min’s brother, then that might be deadly. He definitely didn’t want to be the reason for Ao Jing losing any levels. Thus, he could only continue to crouch in the dungeon and try to find something else to do.
Well, actually, he could also just take off the headset but he was terribly afraid of missing the moment when Ao Jing would come back here to get him out. For one, that moment might give his husband trouble explaining to the characters in-game why this person they had imprisoned was suddenly not reacting anymore and, second, he also felt that it wouldn’t be good to just leave since they wanted to meet up for their date tomorrow. Missing Ao Jing the evening before that would be a little awkward.
He sighed to himself and hung his head. Seriously, this was his own fault. If he had paid more attention before or listened to Ao Jing when he originally noticed that Liangqiu Min didn’t quite fit the description Merchant Wang had given him, then this might not have happened. Instead, they would be able to go and investigate together. That probably would’ve been a lot of fun …
He pursed his lips and then sat down, once again opening his inventory to see if there was another way of sorting it. Ah, he could also try and see if another one of his friends was online to chat with them. Anyway, there wasn’t just his husband around.
In the meantime, Ao Jing was still standing in the courtyard with Liangqiu Huang. After looking around for a while, he felt that just waiting like this wouldn’t be helpful at all. If Shangguan Yu knew that he was just wasting time here and still didn’t chat with him, he would probably be angry. Thinking of that, he turned around to Liangqiu Huang. “Say, I don’t want to be indiscreet but could you tell me a bit about the background of the Mo family?”
Liangqiu Huang’s brows slightly wrinkled. He didn’t really want to talk about it but seeing that this person was trying to help him and that knowing more about the Mo family might help him find another clue as to who might’ve wanted to kill his brother, he finally still nodded. “The Mo family owns a lot of different businesses. They also excel in the manufacturing of fabric, jewelry, and cosmetics so as far as I know, by making and then selling things they earn the most money.”
Ao Jing nodded slowly. This wasn’t too unexpected. The quest might not look important on the surface but this game had a history of randomly assigning tasks that would then trigger bigger task chains that were available for all players. And with how many players left lots of money in the marketplace, these products the Mo family produced might just be something the people from the game company wanted to sell to the players later on.
Ao Jing’s lips twitched when he thought of that. He had still gone to buy the recipe for the chocolate the other day to make sure they would have a low-effort source of income in the game. But if things in this quest played out as he thought they might, then one of the final rewards might actually be the recipe for another type of item for the marketplace. If that was true … they might turn into tycoons.
He cleared his throat and turned back to Liangqiu Huang to get rid of the thought. He really couldn’t get ahead of himself here. Still, if it was indeed true, then that would also be great. Especially since the rarest recipes could even be used to earn some pocket money outside of the game.
Thinking of that, his drive to solve this puzzle became even stronger. Since he knew that Merchant Wang was behind all this, he had a shrewd idea of where the problem lay. That made deciding on which direction to investigate in pretty easy. “Is there a direct competitor for any of those products?”
Liangqiu Huang looked at him but his expression was blank. Truth be told, he didn’t know. His own family had political power but lacked money. That was the reason that his parents had finally decided to have his younger brother marry the daughter of the Mo family. If the situation was any different, then it was very unlikely that this kind of engagement would’ve come about.
Thanks to his family’s background, he knew a lot about the political landscape but hardly anything about the world of the merchants. And he hadn’t bothered to look too closely at the more detailed picture of that world since this was only about money and assets and if everything continued to be run smoothly by the people of the Mo family, then his brother wouldn’t have to worry anyway. So why should he? At the very least, that was what he had always thought. Now, he regretted it.
Ao Jing didn’t know exactly what was going through Liangqiu Huang’s mind but it was at least obvious enough that he could not answer the question. Well, so much for that. But he probably shouldn’t be surprised. If Liangqiu Huang had known about this, then he might’ve been more suspicious of Merchant Wang in the first place. Since he hadn’t, this should be the reason.
Even though the game did have a habit of making some of the characters a little more clueless than they would likely be in real life to make some scenarios possible, there was a limit to doing something like this. At the very least, they would give some kind of excuse even if it was a flimsy one.
“Well, if you don’t know who it is vying with them in that regard, do you at least know who would be a general competitor? Like other merchants in this town or the surrounding ones? Somebody who trades the same goods? I think that those people would be the most likely suspects.”
Liangqiu Huang’s expression was awkward. “That … I have only gotten to know Merchant Wang today. As for others …” He shook his head, the same awkward expression on his face. Admitting this really wasn’t easy to do.
Ao Jing sighed but didn’t harp on it. “Well, that would have been too easy. Did you bring any people with you personally?”
Liangqiu Huang raised his brows at that. “What do you mean?”
“Well, since we don’t know who is behind this, we shouldn’t trust people who we are unsure about. Who knows what kind of background they might have? Since the painting is our only clue at the moment, we should go from there. I think it would be good to investigate the competitors of the Mo family. We can ask them but who knows if they would give out the information we need in case they had something to do with this after all. We can’t completely rule that thought out, can we?”
Liangqiu Huang kept quiet for a moment but then nodded. “No, I think you’re right. We should think of all options in this case. I owe it to my brother to investigate this thoroughly. I will send a message to my family and have some of my own people look into this matter.”
Ao Jing nodded but then his expression turned queer. “You … should choose very wisely who you let this matter investigate.”
Liangqiu Huang gave him a strange look before his own expression also turned grave. Furrowing his brows, he finally took out a small jade amulet and then imbued some spiritual energy, sending a message.