Chapter 18: Li Gosheng
“I know divine magic, letting me call down thunder!”
The mists from the mountain have just started to rise and it’s not quite dawn just yet. Cheng Dalei pointed his finger straight as a sword toward a place outside the valley.
Everyone’s heart shook a that. Their eyes followed where Cheng Dalei pointed, but what appeared before them was merely grass waving in the wind as the mountains remained silent. Nothing had happened.
Suspicious eyes turned toward Cheng Dalei, wondering what that brat was trying to pull.
“I can call down thunder…” Cheng Dalei waved his finger in midair while thinking, ‘Hurry up already. Did Lin Shaoyu not hear or something?’
Cheng Dalei’s throat was starting to go sore as his heart thumped with worry. He had already planned on how to deal with this matter. He had Lin Shaoyu hid himself in the valley and light up the last chest of gunpowder at his word. Cheng Dalei really didn’t know how else they were going to get out of this predicament.
“That brat’s just pretending. I’m going to kill him!” The bandits shouted.
For the bandits, some were riding horses while others stood on the ground with weapons in hand. All of them started showing a mocking grin.
With that call, a huge sound suddenly roared out from the direction of the valley. It as like a thunderclap as it blasted out black smoke in contrast to the white mists.
Instantly, everyone’s grins froze on their faces as they looked at Cheng Dalei with a hint of fear. Cheng Dalei sat up on his horse and let out a long breath with the aura of a mysterious and unknowable sage.
“Hn. So who wants a taste of my Divine Art of Five Thunders!”
Everyone all gasped as they unconsciously took a step back. They felt like there was some kind of invisible aura around Cheng Dalei, making it that no one dared to approach him.
Most people of this age are superstitious. They’d attribute practically everything they don’t know about to gods or ghosts. It really did match that old saying: Where civilization is yet to reach, ignorance itself will seal civilization. In a place where one can claim to make holy water just by lighting up a yellow piece of paper and tossing it in a well and use that to gather tens of thousands of faithful, Cheng Dalei’s own performance can already be considered outstanding.
Right now, all that the bandits were thinking is that this person managed to defeat an army of a thousand with his Divine Art of Five Thunders. No wonder. If this heavenly thunder struck me, there’s no way that I could take it.
Cheng Dalei contemptuously scanned the area before lightly spurring his horse to move forward. The bandits surrounding them automatically parted to open up a path. Cheng Dalei as still continuously pointing about while going [thunder, thunder, thunder], and everyone who got pointed to went pale with terror. There were even individuals who just fell from their horses.
Xu Linger, Xu Shenji, and Qin Man herded the horses to follow behind Cheng Dalei. Over 80 high grade warhorses were enough to make the various bandit chief start drooling, but not a single one of them dared to actually act on their desires.
Cheng Dalei stood tall and proud with his axe resting on his shoulders and an unwavering gaze, giving him a mystical and easy appearance. However, anyone who manages to get close would have known that his back was already soaked with sweat. What if there was someone smart among those bandits after all? If his little trick got revealed, then all that awaits them is death.
“Wait a moment.” Gao Feihu suddenly called out.
Cheng Dalei shuddered. He slowly turned his head and looked at Gao Feihu with a high and mighty look. However, his heart was actually thumping loudly like its about to leap out of his chest.
“Can you Toad Bandits even raise this many horses?” Gao Feihu asked.
“If we can’t, I’ll make them into jerky. What’s it to you?”
Cheng Dalei might have left some strong words before leaving, but the reality of things is that he really can’t afford to raise them all.
This time, the Toad Bandits really did make out like bandits. When totaling up their spoils, they discovered that they got 50 spears, 10 sets of armor, 9 bows, thousands of arrows, 30 sabers, and 81 warhorses.
Even Su Ying was awed at their haul. She still felt it unbelievable every time she remembered the fact that Cheng Dalei managed to beat an army of a thousand with just the five of them.
However, three days later, the problem was exposed. The issue is with those horses. Every horse requires ten pounds of hay every day, and since they’re warhorses, they need to feed them carefully as well. Besides the hay, they also need all kinds of nutritious feed like soybeans and whatnot. With 81 horses, that totals t over 800 pounds of hay every day, but just how much feed does the Toad camp actually have?
Cheng Dalei has been having it unbelievably hard these past three days. The horses would cry out over and over like the hounds of hell, making it that Cheng Dalei couldn’t properly eat or sleep.
Xu Shenji came over with a sickle, “Stop being lazy already boss. We need to hurry up and harvest all the wheat. If it rains, then all our harvest for this year will basically be washed away.”
That’s right Besides the horses, the harvest is also a troublesome issue. With 10 total acres of wheat, it all needs to be harvested by hand. They need to cut down all the wheat, tie the stalked up, drag them back to base, and then grind the wheat up into flour.
And this is summer too. The sun burned down like a poisonous blaze down upon the stooped harvesters… This kind of thing might be interesting to do once, but when it’s made into an actual job, Cheng Dalei had finally understood what it means by backbreaking labor.
Qin Man, Xu Linger, and Xu Shenji didn’t feel all that tired though. They were even sunken into a strangely happy atmosphere. The ones who had the hardest time were Cheng Dalei and Lin Shaoyu.
“To think that I, a wondering hero, am actually doing something like this…”
Lin Shaoyu would end up saying something like that with every swing of the sickle. Cheng Dalei had considered trying to trick him with some nice sounding words, but considering his own situation, he gave up on that.
“I suddenly have a stomachache, I don’t have any strength at all…” Cheng Dalei said as he held his belly.
“Enough, you tried using that excuse yesterday.”
“Then, I have a headache…”
“That’s the excuse for the day before that.” Xu Shenji said, “Boss, stop being lazy already. When the wheat’s been dried up by the sun, it’ll shatter with a touch. We can’t waste the harvest this year.”
“That… Ah… I suddenly remembered. I haven’t done any banditry for a few days now. I can’t go leaving off the real work here.” Cheng Dalei grabbed his axe and ran off down the mountain like he had taken flight.
“Where are you going, boss…” Lin Shaoyu poked his head out of the room, “Going robbing huh? Bring me with you, bring me with you.”
Seeing the two of them instantly disappearing like that, Xu Shenji grumpily grabbed his sickle and headed off toward the fields on the back slope.
Li Gosheng is a farmer of the Li farms near Blackbull Mountain. His family owns a few small acres of unproductive fields. During the off season for farming, he’d go up the mountain to chop some firewood to sell to the city. His main worries generally these days are his three sons, Li One, Li Two, and Li Three. The oldest of his three sons is 20, and the youngest is 16. All of them are practically of marriageable age, but due to their family being too poor, there wasn’t a single matchmaker who’d help.
“Dad, aren’t there bandits around these parts?” Li One spoke.
“If you’re scared of bandits, then you won’t be able to get married. After we get some firewood today, I’ll go buy a donkey for you. That way, you’d at least have something worth showing off for a prospective bride. Haven’t you been wishing for a horse all this time? Now you can be happy.”
“That… A horse and a donkey are different things.”
“What’s so different about them…”
Suddenly, two men jumped out from the bushes. One was dressed in white with an iron spear, looking very handsome, while the other had a huge axe and a strange grin on his face.
“Oh lords, have mercy. Have mercy my lords…” Li Gosheng’s father and sons party of four fell to their knees in fear.
“Stand up, what are you kneeling for.”
The guy with the axe shouted out and Li Gosheng timidly raised his head to see the mysterious grin on his face.
“I heard you just now that you wanted to buy a horse?”