Chapter 35: Kill a Chicken to Warn the Monkey
This morning, Cheng Dalei did as he always did. After getting up from bed, he first went to check on the fields. The chili were growing well. Then, he checked on the pigs and horses they’re raising, as well as the checking pecking at the bugs on the ground.
Everything was calm and peaceful, just like every day before.
However, for some reason, Cheng Dalei kept feeling a strange sense of anxiousness. His eyes twitched like something was about to happen.
“Boss, it’s terrible, it’s terrible…”
Right at that time, Xu Shenji hurriedly ran over, huffing and puffing as he gasped for breath.
“What happened?” Cheng Dalei asked.
“Boss, the Zhu Clan of bandits were annihilated!” Xu Shenji was stark pale, all his blood having been drained from his face.
“Which group of bandits did it?”
“Look for yourself. You’ll know as soon as you see it. Every person of the 30 or so people of the Zhu Bandits were all slaughtered.”
“Go, show me!”
Xu Shenji hurriedly moved and led the way. They also bumped into Qin Man and Lin Shaoyu on the way. Li Xingzai also came out of his house just then and saw nearly the entirety of the Toad Bandits mobilizing. Of course, the Toad Bandits only had six individuals. He didn’t know what was going on, but he followed along behind everyone as well.
When they arrived at the Zhu clan’s camp, they finally knew. The smell of powder that Cheng Dalei detected before was merely an illusion, but the scent of blood that now struck them was real.
Corpses littered the ground everywhere on this particular hill. They were collapsed in pools of blood, with crimson drops hanging off the grass all around. They ranged from 80 year old women to mere kids. Chen Dalei saw the corpse of a child lying among the grass who seemed to be less than five.
Every single one of those corpses were beheaded, leaving only their bodies on the ground.
He reached up to his mouth as he dry heaved.
“What, never seen dead people?”
A voice suddenly rang out. Gao Feihu had a dark look on his face as he gave Cheng Dalei a glare.
It wasn’t just the Toad Bandits who came to the Zhu Clan’s camp today. The Flying Tiger Bandits, Apricot Flower Peak, Bald Slope, Doghead Peak, and various other notable bandit groups also came with their leaders.
Cheng Dalei ignored Gao Feihu’s taunting and simply continued covering his mouth.
“Hey, which group did this? Everyone’s living on the Blackbull Mountains here. There was no need to do something to this extreme, right?” Little White Wolf suddenly spoke up.
“Have you still not realized? It’s not one of us who did this! It’s an outsider!” Gao Feibao shouted.
“Who?” Cheng Dalei asked.
Yu Qiuran of the Flying Tiger Bandits spoke, “Blackstone City, Lu Heng.”
Cheng Dalei had never seen him before, so he asked, “And you are?”
“Boss Cheng. This one is the strategist of the Flying Tiger Bandits, Yu Qiuran. This is the first time meeting Boss Cheng.”
Cheng Dalei spoke, “So how does Strategist Yu know that it was Lu Heng who did this?”
“We arrived a bit earlier and discovered a letter written in blood in the Zhu Clan Camp. Lu Heng’s name was on it, and it also said…”
“What did it say? Speak already.” Bald Slope’s Xiong Da asked.
“It also said that he’ll be passing through the Blackbull Mountains three days from now, and he’s demanding that everyone on the mountain come present themselves then!”
Yu Qiuran brought out the bloody letter and displayed it for everyone to see. Huang Sanyuan took a look and confirmed that it was Lu Heng’s handwriting, proving that the letter was authentic.
There are literate individuals among the bandits. After reading it over, their expressions were dark and sunken. Currently, all the bosses of the 50-some of the bandit groups on the Blackbull Mountains were here. They made a dark crowd, but no one spoke. Everyone simply darkly looked at the dead all over the ground with a sorrowful and nostalgic expression.
All this time, the Blackbull Mountain were busy preparing and organizing their people. Every single cam was planing out how to devour Xue Banzhou’s gift caravan. They did also consider how Lu Heng will deal with the bandits of the Blackbull Mountains, but they thought that he would just have to deal with things as they comes.
Nobody could have imagined that Lu Heng had no intention of simply dealing with things as they come. He only used a single move… To kill a chicken to warn the monkey. (T/N: Chinese proverb, fairly self explanatory)
He did a surprise assault by night and utterly slaughtered the Zhu Clan Bandits. Over the entire Blackbull Mountains, with over 50 bandit groups, but not a single one of them had noticed the slightest disturbance. They simply came, slaughtered, and left. Lu Heng was trying to use this move to tell everyone one thing: He flattened the Zhu Bandits, so he could do the same to any other bandit group on the Blackbull Mountains.
When they realized this, everyone shuddered. They felt like a sword of damocles was hanging over their heads, which can fall at any moment.
Originally, all those bandits were excitedly chattering about how to rob Lu Heng as they sharpened their swords. They were even thinking about how to prevent others from getting there first. Now though, everyone had quieted down. No one dared to consider such actions anymore.
At this time, someone stumbled into the Zhu Clan Camp with a wild rabbit still in his hands.
Cheng Dalei really did recognize this person. He’s Zhu Xiaoming of the Zhu Bandits. A few days ago, he even borrowed some chili and food from the Toad Camp, and the two of them met then.
Zu Xiaoming was out hunting last night, so he managed to avoid this disaster. However, when he saw the tragedy that had befallen the camp, he collapsed on the spot, dropping to the ground and sobbing uncontrollably.
The sound of his crying echoed in everyone’s ears, and everyone was greatly discomforted. There were over 30 individuals with the Zhu Bandits, with elderly and children among them. They don’t normally go down the mountain to do any robberies either, mostly because they’re just too few in numbers, so they’re as likely to be robbed as doing the robbing. Yet, today, all 30 or so members of the Zhu Bandits were utterly slaughtered, including the children, elderly, and women…
Zhu Xiaoming suddenly stood up and slowly headed over to Cheng Dalei.
“Boss Cheng. I won’t be able to return what I borrowed. Please don’t mind it.”
“It’s nothing. As long as you’re still alive.” At this point, Cheng Dalei could only say that.
“My pa’s dead. My ma’s dead. My woman and kid are all dead too. What’s the point of me living.”
With that, Zhu Xiaoming suddenly let out a roar and viciously slammed his head into a large rock. Cheng Dalei was a moment too slow, so Zhu Xiaoming’s head was already smashed open before anything can be done, and his corpse fell down before Cheng Dalei.
Cheng Dalei was utterly stunned, watching what had just happened before him in disbelief.
“Hey, everyone help out here. Let’s get these people buried.” Gao Feibao shouted.
The bosses of the various bandit groups all used their sabers to help dig some holes to bury all the bodies of the Zhu Clan Bandits.
Cheng Dalei waved his hand before his face in an attempt to disperse the scent of blood in his nose before speaking listlessly, “Let’s go. We’re going back.”
“Hey, how can you be so inhumane. You’re not going to help out at all?” Gao Feibao spoke.
Cheng Dalei didn’t turn back. He just waved a hand and led his group back to the Toad Camp. When they got back, Cheng Dalei fell down sick in his room, sweating profusely.
“Boss, you alright?” Xu Linger boiled a bowl of ginger soup for Cheng Dalei and brought it to his room. (T/N: Ginger soup is a traditional Chinese folk remedy for colds, much like chicken soup is in the west)
Cheng Dalei shook his head, took hold of the soup, and drank it all down. His hand suddenly shook though, and the bowl fell onto the ground with a crash, shattering to pieces.
Cheng Dalei waved his hand, not allowing Xu Linger to approach. He just stared dully at the shattered pieces of the bowl on the ground.
Xu Linger immediately stood to the side, not knowing what else to do. All she could do is speak, “Boss, you alright? Get some rest soon if you need it.”
Cheng Dalei allowed Xu Linger to pick up the pieces of the ceramic bowl on the ground before getting up on the bed. After a moment, he looked outside the window and spoke the first words since returning back to Toad Camp.
“The live of bandits… Are really worth less than that of even dogs.”