Chapter 19: Sixth Member of the Camp
When Li Gosheng let the Toad Camp, his first son behind him was leading a horse along. His second son was also leading a horse. He felt faint as he walked, like everything that just happened was a dream.
“Dad, we’re not dreaming are we? Did the bandits really just let us take two horses?” Li One said.
“What bandits! Those are clearly gods. They’re gods who had pity on us!” Li Gosheng yelled out.
Li One and Li Two both nodded. A day’s worth of harvesting wheat and four vegetable flatbread got them two horses in exchange. There’s no other explanation for that besides divine intervention.
“Does that god… Need to harvest wheat too?” Li Three spoke. The young still have the ability to question the world after all.
“Why wouldn’t gods need to harvest wheat too? What does a brat like you understand? Not only do the gods need to harvest wheat, they even eat scallion flatbread too!”
The three brothers took a collective breath. So those are gods after all.
When Li Goshen had returned home, he left the two horses out in the yard. Instantly, everyone in the village came over to take a took.
“Hmm. Those are good, three-year-old horses. You’ve got to let me borrow them when my family’s plowing our fields.”
“Look at this horse. It’s impossible to buy one without at least 20 taels of silver. Old Li’s a canny one, holding wealth without showing it. You’ve hid it well.”
“Old Li, your eldest hasn’t gotten married yet right? I’ve been intending on setting up a match for your guys, but look at me, now, having forgotten to tell you.”
“Heh.” Li Gosheng held a big bowl of water as he spoke satisfied, “This is the result of the mountain gods having pity on us. I’ve never done anything to be ashamed of my whole life, and this is my just rewards.”
Li Gosheng couldn’t hold back the urge to brag. He ended up telling the whole story of this day. This as something that he could brag about in the village for a good half year after all. However, he would insist that the gods granted it to him for his kindness. People actually believed him at that. Li Gosheng’s family is poor, but he was well known for his generosity around these parts. He had three sons, but they’ve never tried to bully anyone, and they never cheated anyone with the firewood they sold either.
Speaking of that, the Li Village also had a landowner named Li Zhuang. He owned hundreds of acres of farmland and is unbelievably rich. However, despite his riches, he was not virtuous at all. He’s stingy and greedy. There were even cases where he ended up forcing people to sell their homes or children to keep living.
When he heard those words, he ended up tempted. Li Gosheng has three sons, but he had them too. The gods were willing to let him take four horses, but he only took two. Isn’t that stupid! If it’s Li Zhuang who encountered something like that, then he’d as least take a good 40 or 50 horses…
Heh, really now. Its just as a saying goes, a wolf will travel for meat, while a mere dog will travel for shit.
As he thought that, Li Zhuang called up his three sons…
Thanks to having Li Gosheng’s party of four to help, the Toad Bandits managed to finish harvesting the wheat. Now, bales of wheat are lined up in a row over at the assembly yard, giving off a fresh fragrance. Afterwards, they still need to be beaten and crushed before they can get the real wheat out of it all, but since there are plenty of horses in the camp…
Speaking of the horses, Cheng Dalei couldn’t help but get a headache. If this situation continues on, then all those horses they got can only be left to starve to death.
Li Shaoyu on the other hand only came back when it’s late, and he had someone with him.
“Boss, this guy wants to join, alright?”
“Who is it?” Cheng Dalei raised his head to look. When he saw the other person though, he was momentarily stupefied, “You of all people?”
The newcomer was none other than Huang Sanyuan.
Speaking of, Huang Sanyuan’s life for the past few days have been unusually harsh. That day, he barely managed to escape back to Blackstone with his life, but then he learned that Han Huju had already died and Xue Banzhou was doing a purge of Han Huju’s old trusted subordinates. Huang Sanyuan didn’t know if he counted as a trusted subordinate, but by his estimations, Xue Banzhou probably won’t let him off either, so he sneakily took some money and got ready to escape to Fallenleaf City instead. Yet, it just so happens that he ended up bumping into Lin Shaoyu as he headed down the mountain to rob some travelers. The two of them shed tears at this reunion of old acquaintances, and Lin Shaoyu ended up saying something along the lines of: Since you don’t have anywhere to go, why not just join us Toad Bandits.
After learning the whole thing, Cheng Dalei asked, “You mean that Xue Banzhou killed Han Huju and then took over as the city’s lord?”
“It’s definitely him, but he’s declaring to the city that it was people sent by you who killed Han Huju. He even announced that he’s going to kill you to take revenge for Han Huju.”
“Fucking hell. The Toad Bandits only have five people. How exactly was I supposed to send someone to assassinate Han Hujuu?”
“But no one knows that you only have five people.” Huang Sanyuan took a look about, “Not even I really imagined that this really is all you have. However, Xue Banzhou was announcing to the city that the Toad Bandits number a thousand bases, and each and every member of it are hardened killers. The Great Toad King who leads them is even more vicious, that he needs to eat human flesh for every meal. He’s even posting wanted posters all around town with a bounty on your head.”
Cheng Dalei’s eyes flashed, “How much is the bounty?”
“The Great Toad King’s head is worth 50 taels of silver. The Handsome Scholar Xu Shenji’s head is worth 35 taels. There’s also a big dark skinned guy…” Huang Sanyuan gave Qin Man a glance, “Your head is worth 30 taels!”
“That piece of shit!” Cheng Dalei didn’t get mad at Xue Banzhou framing him, but he’s angry now, “That Xue Banzhou dares to look down on me, to put a mere 50 silver bounty on me!”
This is actually Cheng Dalei’s lack of understanding over the currencies of this world. When the Wu Dynasty took power, they issued the Dragon Tiger coin, or basically copper coins. A thousand coppers are worth one tael of silver, and the buying power of that is equivalent to about a hundred bucks from Cheng Dalei’s previous life. In this age, a normal farming family’s living expenses for a whole year is only around 3-4 silvers.
“Strategist, how much is Gao Feihu’s bounty?”
“I think it’s 180 silvers.” Xu Shenji didn’t know why Cheng Dalei was asking that.
“I’ll definitely surpass him.” Cheng Dalei said with determination.
Looking at Cheng Dalei with his determined and confident look, Xu Shenji and the rest of them were all speechless. Did he think that this was something to be proud of!
“Boss, Butler Huang is sincerely wanting to join us, so how about you let him in our base.” Lin Shaoyu said.
Cheng Dalei gazed upon Huang Sanyuan and checked his status.
Name: Huang Sanyuan (Slightly famed skilled butler)
Hidden status: None.
Huang Sanyuan was actually appraising the situation around him as well. Looking at the way that everyone’s treating Cheng Dalei, he doesn’t seem to actually be as scary as those rumor speak of him. He… Shouldn’t actually eat human flesh, right?
“Do you think our Toad Camp is good?”
“That… It is good.”
“What’s good about it!”
“Cough…” Huang Sanyuan was pissed off to the point of spewing out blood. I’m just being polite here, but you and your interrogating attitude is really hurtful you know.
“That attitude of yours makes it obvious that you look down on our camp. Don’t judge just because we’re few. Every person here is the equal of a hundred. It’s not so simple to join us Toad Bandits. Anyways, let’s do it this way. You already have Sir Lin as a reference, so why don’t you write a 5000 character application. I’ll consider whether or not to let you in after I’ve read it over.
Xu Shenji nodded, “Boss Lei quite strict.”
“Five thousand characters.” Huang Sanyuan yelled out, “Boss, why don’t you just kill me then.”
Cheng Dalei obviously has a misunderstanding regarding the characters of this age. In this age when everyone tries to be as sparse with their writing as possible, he had no idea just how huge 5000 characters really is… The entirety of the Tao Te Ching counts up to just 5000 characters.
“You’re making things rather hard on me then. In that case, why don’t you think it over yourself on how to demonstrate your sincerity and what you can contribute to the camp?” Cheng Dalei spoke evenly.
Huang Sanyuan thought it over for a bit before suddenly speaking, “Boss, I have a treasure map on me. Could that perhaps demonstrate my sincerity?”