Chapter 32: A Small Group Can’t Take Risks
Seeing how seriously Little White Wolf is acting, Cheng Dalei also got interested, “What kind of big business?”
“A month from now is the 60th birthday celebration of the You Province’s prince, Yang Longting. At that time, a major gift convoy will be passing through the bottom of the Blackbull Mountains. If Boss Cheng is interested, then our two groups can work together to take that convoy.” Little White Wolf said.
Cheng Dalei considered the matter deeply. The Empire is consisted of 13 provinces and 108 cities. The Blackbull Mountains are situated within the northernmost province of the Empire, You Province. Yang Longting is one of the few princes of the Empire who aren’t of the imperial clan. He’s also the ruler of the You Province.
“Then… The gifts are from Xue Banzhou then?”
Little White Wolf nodded, “Xue Banzhou had taken over Blackstone City, so right now he’s currently trying to consolidate his power. If he can get the support of the Prince of You Province, then his position as the city’s lord would be far more stable. Thus, the gift convoy would definitely be amazing. Plus, the only way from Blackstone City to You Provincial City will have to pass through the Blackbull Mountains. Right now, all the bandit groups of the Blackbull Mountains are thinking about taking a shot at the gift convoy. Thus, I decided to specifically approach Boss Cheng. Are you interested?”
“Since Xue Banzhou is placing so much importance on this matter, he’s definitely not going to want anything to go wrong, so he will definitely send a powerful force to escort it. Are just our two groups really enough to take them? Why is Boss White looking for me alone and not someone else then?” Given that this matter can end up affecting his own life, Cheng Dalei had put aside his lust for the moment in favor of his lifespan.
“Apricot Flower Peak has 50 individuals, and all of us will cooperate with Boss Cheng. The reason why I came for Boss Cheng is because of Boss Cheng’s Art of Five Thunders!”
Cheng Dalei was speechless. He didn’t expect people to really believe that. He had also seen Xue Banzhou before, as well as the soldiers that Xue Banzhou had trained. Those aren’t some common rabble there. While he’s naturally interested in riches, Toad Camp doesn’t have the ability to really join in on this vicious game.
“The Art of Five Thunders is a godly art. Killing too much will cause bad karma, and end up brining about divine judgment.”
“Then… Boss Cheng’s meaning is that you won’t be joining in on this?” Little White Wolf confirmed.
“I haven’t decided yet. Give me a few days to think on it.”
“A real man should be decisive. Acting all hesitant like that. I’ve misjudged you.” Little White Wolf said.
Cheng Dalei just chucked in response. He was completely unaffected by Little White Wolf’s provocation.
“Boss White, don’t be in such a hurry now. I have other business I’d like to discuss with you, alright?” Cheng Dalei said.
“What is it?”
Cheng Dalei led Little White Wolf to the hothouse where he’s raising the chili. Then he told Little White Wolf, “My group is currently planting chili. If Boss White is interested, you can plant some on Apricot Flower Peak as well. These chili produce far more than most other crops, and when they mature, I can trade them for food on a pound for pound basis. Wheet, beans, or millet are all fine. Boss White, what do you think about this deal?”
Little White Wolf looked at the fresh and green chili sprouts and frowned. In the end, she waved a hand and spoke, “Boss Cheng, you can keep your planting for yourself. If you don’t want to join us in this business, then there will be others who are.”
With that, Little White Wolf left. Cheng Dalei sighed as he watched her retreating figure. He wanted to get hotblooded and rampage without considering the consequences as well, but the Toad Bandits are just too small. They won’t be able to handle the risk.
Whatever, he should just peacefully plant his chili. It’s not like it’s bad to develop agriculture first. That said, as he remembered Little White Wolf’s big chest, Cheng Dalei really did stop for a moment… There’s a saying about a large chest means less brains, but it looks like that saying really is true here.
He hung about the hothouse and checked over his chili. The first great gold mine for the camp’s development is all dependent on them now.
By the time Cheng Dalei had finished his work and exited the hothouse, he saw Xu Shenji talking with a young man. Xu Shenji looked really impatient, and while that young man was red with exertion, he still stayed carefully polite.
“What’s going on here?” Cheng Dalei yelled out.
“Boss Cheng!” The young man hurriedly replied, “I’m from the Zhu Family Bandits.”
Xu Shenji came on over and spoke to Cheng Dalei quietly, “Zhu Xiaoming of the Zhu Bandits. They want to farm, but they lack the land, so they wanted to borrow some of ours.”
Cheng Dalei did have some knowledge of the Zhu Bandits, who only have 30 or so people. Of course, as a bandit clan with only six individuals, Cheng Dalei didn’t really have any right to laugh at them. That said, the Zhu Bandits are especially poor. They have children and elderly, so they lack the labor force to do much farming. This year, they ended up so terribly off that they even ended up eating the seeds. That’s why Zhu Xiaoming decided to shamelessly come ask to borrow some.
“Boss, just lend us a little bit. When the harvest comes, we’ll give you double back.”
Cheng Dalei considered it, “You want to try planting chili?”
“Chili?” This was the first time that Zhu Xiaoming had heard of such a word.
Cheng Dalei repeated what he said to Little White Wolf to Zhu Xiaoming. Zhu Xiaoming was somewhat suspicious though, “Is this really true?”
Little White Wolf could reject Cheng Dalei without worries, but Zhu Xiaoming didn’t have that power. In the end, although he still didn’t really believe Cheng Dalei, he did still take some chili sprouts with him.
Cheng Dalei managed to make his first sale, so he was in quite a good mood. It’s not like just the Toad Bandits will be able to plant much chili, so he decided to copy the businesses from his previous life and instead hire sharecroppers.
A few days later, Lin Shaoyu and Huang Sanyuan returned from Fallenleaf City. After escorting Su Ying back, they then bought a pair of piglets, a few dozen chickens, and some badly needed cloth, salt, quills, and paper back to the camp.
Based on the information they brought back, apparently even Fallenleaf knows about the matter with the birthday gift convoy. Even bandits beyond the Blackbull Mountains are also sharpening their swords. If no one from the Blackbull Mountains acted on this, then they definitely will.
In addition, during these few days, Cheng Dalei had already noticed the atmosphere up on the Blackbull Mountains. No one planned on letting the convoy leave the Blackbull Mountains. Besides Little White Wolf, there were several other minor bandit groups who came asking Cheng Dalei about working together.
Cheng Dalei politely rejected them. He wasn’t planning on getting involved not because he’s scared, but because he really didn’t have the power. Putting aside everything else, the members of the Toad bandits are having their hands full just taking care of the new chickens and pigs that they got.
Thus, this time, Cheng Dalei does not plan on interfering ere. He’ll just keep on planting his chili and raising his piglets and chicken. Most importantly, he’s also grinding his robbery quest.
Cheng Dalei, Qin Man, and Lin Shaoyu took turns at the shift and camped down at the foot of the mountain every day. After over a dozen days, the quest had only advanced to 5/10. All their robberies are just some normal minor peddlers, and all they got was some insignificant stuff. Sometimes, they even ended up taking a button off of their victim’s shirt just to get it to count as a robbery. That’s not all, they even had to safely escort their victims out of the Blackbull Mountains. Cheng Dalei really just wasn’t capable of really going overboard against innocent people.
In the Water Margin, when Lin Chong tried to join the bandit clan, he had to first pass an initiation. If something like that happened to Cheng Dalei, then there’s no way that he’d be able to pass said initiation. (T/N: Historically, the initiation is to commit a murder so that the person in question is wanted by the law. This is to prevent people from trying to infiltrate and then turn the bandits over to the government)
Time passed without notice, and it was already the end of summer. That said, the weather out was still quite hot. On this particular afternoon, Cheng Dalei was doing his rounds down the mountain, and he saw two people from far off in the distance heading over on the mountain trail.