Chapter 38: Escorting Past the Mountain
“Ah… Men and men should not initiate intimate contact. Please be more aware sir.” Cheng Dalei pried Li Xingzai’s fingers off of him.
Li Xingzai’s gaze was still hot though, “How could the tiny Blackbull Mountains possibly contain sir’s great talents. You should have a wider world to show off your abilities, so that you may leave your name in the annals of history.”
“Hey, my name’s only three characters, it can’t take up that much space.” Cheng Dalei just grinned before suddenly asking, “You said that you have the connections… What kind of connections are you talking about?”
Li Xingzai turned speechless. After a moment of silence, he spoke up again, “A connection that will allow sir to show your talents.”
“Never mind then. It’s not like I have any great ambitions. I don’t really want to act as a minion of someone else either.” Cheng Dalei stood up, “I’m going to check on the progress of the chili grinding while it’s not too late yet.”
Cheng Dalei moved to leave the house as he said that. Halfway there though, he suddenly looked back, “You’re sword’s not bad. How about leaving it for me?”
Li Xingzai’s gaze suddenly turned sharp like he was hiding a blade. Then, the sharpness vanished and he switched back to his gentle expression. He carefully observed Cheng Dalei as if trying to see something, but Cheng Dalei just continued to grin the same way as always like he just made a casual, random comment before leaving.”
The outside was filled with the sound of several people pushing the millstone in their efforts to grind the chili into powder. Li Xingzai had stayed in Toad Camp for over ten days now, so he’s eaten a few dishes made with chili as well. The spicy taste is one that he’s never experience despite the luxuries that he’s been accustomed to since he was a child. Cheng Dalei had said that the red fruits are called chili, but he’s never seen them before.
His gaze landed upon the table, where a sword laid. The black sheath is made from top class rhino hide. A tassel was bound on the handle for better grip and to absorb sweat. Beyond that, it’s just a basic sword. Some people like to add all sorts of gems or ornamentation made from gold or silver to the sword… But Li Xingzai doesn’t care for that.
Over around the guard was carved a tiny [Lu] character. It’s not something that one could notice without looking very carefully.
“So you want my sword, huh?” Li Xingzai spoke quietly, “You ask for a lot.”
Three days passed in the blink of an eye.
The weather’s clear this day. The blazing hot sun shined high in the sky. The air was still to the point where there isn’t the slightest bit of wind. The leaves on the trees were utterly motionless.
The clopping of horse hooves rang out. A procession of men and horses appeared on the road far off in the distance. The full procession had around 100 people. Ten cavalry rode in the front and back, and armed foot soldiers marched in the middle. The squad was arrayed protectively over the carriage in the middle, but one one can tell just what’s on the carriage from the outside.
One person rode in the very front. He rode on a black horse while dressed in black. Also on the horse is an iron longstaff.
A scout quickly rode back from the direction of the Blackbull Mountains and stopped before Lu Heng.
“Reporting. The Blackbull mountains are up ahead. Scouts have already gone through and reported that there are no ambushes waiting. The various bandit groups of Blackbull Mountain are all waiting up ahead to receive you.”
Sometimes a scout or two could solve a lot of problems. If Han Xuanzhi was still around, then he should take this as a lesson. He didn’t even have the most basic awareness of the common paths after all.
Lu Heng raised his head. His skin was tanned from years under the sun, and although he was already sweating from the blazing hot weather, he didn’t show a hint of discomfort.
The scout replied and immediately wheeled his horse around and headed back in the direction he just came from. A the same time, a scout was riding toward them from the other side of the Blackbull Mountains.
The two scouts went to and fro, continuously reporting on the situation. Thus, any new information will end up being brought to Lu Heng’s ears in the shorted time possible. If any ambush was attempted, then Lu Heng’s 100 elite soldiers will clear them out in the shortest time possible.
There were no ambushes at all below the Blackbull Mountains on this day however.
The brothers Gao Feihu and Gao Feibao of the Flying Tiger Bandits. Little White wolf of Apricot Flower Peak. The brothers Xiong One and Xiong Two of Bald Slopoe… Nearly all the bandits in the Blackbull Mountains were all assembled under their respective mountains. The crowd of bandits can been seen from kilometers away, but the reason why they were assembled here wasn’t to commit a robbery, but for… A reception.
It’s unknown if the plan of slaughtering a chicken to warn the monkeys came from Lu heng or Xue Banzhou, but it was very effective either way.
Slaughter the Zhu Clan Bandits via blitzkrieg and behead every single one of the 30 or so members of that camp. This is obviously quite cruel, but sometimes, cruelty is a way of showing one’s power. This made the bandits of the Blackbull Mountains aware of Xue Banzhou’s might, that the loose crowd of bandits of the Blackbull Mountains were no match for him. Thus, anyone who dares to think about robbing the give caravan will have to first prepare themselves for being utterly wiped out in retaliation.
Thus, the various camps’ thoughts of robbing the gift caravan also completely vanished, and they were even forced to come down and receive Lu Heng while he’s passing through.
This is naturally something very humiliating. The bandits don’t lack for cruelty and viciousness themselves, but none of that have any meaning in the face of absolute power.
They’re all alive after all. Being cruel and vicious is a way to keep on living, but so is bowing in submission. When viciousness can’t let one keep on living, no one will mind bowing their head instead.
At this point, Lu Heng’s caravan had entered the Blackbull Mountains.
“They’re here, they’re here!” Gao Feibao whispered.
The various groups of the Blackbull Mountains basically all got the news at the same time. Everyone took a deep breath and straightened their backs, but their heads also lowered slightly.
“Boss, I’ve made the inquires. Practically all of the 52 bandit groups are all waiting below the mountain.” Yu Qiu said.
“That’s good then.” Gao Feihu nodded. Everyone being humiliated will make themselves not look as bad. Then he stopped for a moment, “What do you mean by practically?”
“The Toad Camp’s gates are tightly shut. None of them have come down.” Yu Qiu said.
Gao Feihu suddenly raised his head, stunned, “Just what is he thinking!”
Everybody is mad that the Zhu Clan Bandits were eradicated. No one is happy with it. However, so what if they’re unhappy. Everyone’s unhappy, and everyone’s holding back their anger at it while baring with the humiliation of waiting down at the foot of the mountains.
Everyone was able to hold it in, so why couldn’t you do it. Yet they’re getting angry because of that and shut your gates. What if this end up making Lu Heng mad? He annihilated the Zhu Clan Bandits, so he can do the same to you Toad Bandits as well.
Sigh, young people. They really are just too immature.
Gao Feihu considered sending a minion to the Toad Camp to get Cheng Dalei to be good, open up his gates, and come down the mountain to receive Lu Heng.
However, just at that moment, Lu Heng’s procession had already arrived before Gao Feihu. He was up on his horse, and his figure high above loomed while casting a shadow over Gao Feihu.
Gao Feihu looked up at Lu Heng up on his horse. Looking up like that made him feel a sense of humiliation, like he’s a kneeling slave.
“What did you bring your blades for?” Lu Heng asked. The heavy iron staff was raised before settling on Gao Feihu’s shoulder.
Such humiliation. A manly man like him is being grasped in someone else’s hand like a woman.
Various men of the Flying Tiger Bandits showed twitches on their faces while holding in the rage in their chest. If Gao Feihu say the word, then everyone would willingly swarm forth, even if it’s as pointless as trying to smash a rock with an egg.
Gao Feihu grit his teeth, slowly lowered his head, and placed his saber down onto the ground.
“Put down your weapons. Escort General Lu pass the mountains!”
Lu Heng withdrew his staff and grinned.
“Good. You may follow along behind us then.”