Chapter 1197: The Most Valuable Present

“When were my seventh brother’s words ever reliable?” Song Hui’s impression of Song Zining wasn’t that great.

Qianye, however, didn’t quite agree. He was about to retort with a frown when Song Hui said, “Young Master Xiaoye, why do you dislike me so much?”

He was now commanding an army and hardly anyone was his match. Yet his vision still went dark when he heard this name, almost stumbling forward in the process.

“Song Hui!” Qianye uttered her name through clenched teeth.

“I’m here!” The girl stood ramrod straight, looking extremely obedient, but that protruding tongue of hers went to show that she wasn’t afraid at all.

Qianye rubbed his temples. “What exactly do you want?”

“To be your maid!”

“I don’t need one.”

“You must need a warship and troops, right? Especially officers and staff officers.”

“Of course.”

“So, you need a maid too, someone like me for instance.”

Qianye’s expression darkened. “Get to the point.”

Song Hui was apparently unafraid. “I didn’t come empty-handed, though.”

Qianye glanced at her. She was dressed in ladies' clothing, without even a bag. The only place she could hide anything was in her chest… quite a few things, in fact.

Seeing this, Song Hui puffed up her chest and said, “Do you want to do a search?”

Qianye snorted. “Be serious.”

“This wasn’t how you treated me back then.” Song Hui pursed her lips, almost as though she was about to cry. Seeing that Qianye was ready to throw her out the door, she put away her flippant manner and said, “I really did bring warships this time. I didn’t bring too many men, but they’re all officers.”

Qianye looked at her with a serious expression before continuing the conversation. Song Hui wasn’t wrong.

“Is this Zining’s idea?”

“It has nothing to do with him.” Song Hui became active again after seeing that Qianye’s demeanor was more relaxed. “If you must thank someone, then thank me!”

Qianye laughed. “It looks like I really need to keep this maid?”

“Of course.”

Song Hui wasn’t just good at making tea, but as someone from the Song clan, she was able to learn all kinds of skills. Her cultivation wasn’t bad, either, almost breaking through to the champion realm. She was also well-learned and had dabbled in almost every field; there was definitely no problem for her to work as a staff officer.

As expected of a major clan, a couple of branches from the Song Clan could afford a destroyer by forking out some private possessions. This wasn’t some old model, either—it was a primary warship that had only been in service for ten years. The person who had planned this squad was quite thoughtful. They knew that Qianye wasn’t lacking troops, but rather, the newly-formed Dark Flame required middle-ranking officers to serve as the backbone of the army. These major and colonel rank officers immediately reinforced Dark Flame’s waist and back.

It really was difficult for Qianye to refuse such gifts.

Thinking back on past matters, Qianye asked, “How’s the Song clan doing?”

Song Hui snorted. “Bad, of course. Even though you and seventh brother caused such a ruckus back then, those people simply don’t remember things. What’s their use? As long as you don’t slaughter them, they’ll keep pushing for splitting the clan. The clan lord isn’t capable at all and did nothing well since the ancestor’s passing. He wasn’t even willing to push seventh brother as the clan lord. The old ancestor must’ve been blind to have picked him back in the year.”

Qianye sighed. “No one would be happy if they had to vacate their position for someone else.” 

Song Hui replied, “Happy or not, he should look at the times. It’s all fine and dandy that he’s clinging to his seat now, but he’ll be notorious for allowing the clan to get demoted under his leadership.”

Qianye was stunned. “Demoted?”

“The final decision hasn’t been made, but news of it is already spreading. It’s nothing surprising, something that will happen sooner or later. The old ancestor was keeping things propped up during the earlier years. Now, with her gone and those old fogeys stopping seventh brother from taking the seat, what other fate can the clan expect? I heard Prince Greensun has already submitted a harsh memorial to the Emperor to demote the Song clan.”

Qianye sighed. “Regret is always bitter.”

If Song Zining had taken up the clan lord position, Zhang Boqian would have surely given the clan some years to reorganize the clan. Someone with the seventh young master's talents wouldn’t perform poorly as long as he had the power—hope would not be lost for the clan. But those elders, including Song Zhongnian, were deluded enough to think they could borrow his favor without giving him authority. Such a wild fantasy, but how could that ever happen?

Song Hui sneered. “There was someone in the assembly who thought they were old friends with Prince Greensun. He actually ran over to the monarch’s residence to reminisce about old times and ask the prince to retract the memorial in his magnanimity.”

“This person… seriously…” Qianye was speechless. He simply had no idea what was in those old fogeys’ heads. Prince Greensun suggesting a demotion was a major political event; how could it be a trifling matter? Asking him to retract the memorial was no different from asking him to slap himself in the face.

“What happened then?” Qianye asked.

“What else? He never even saw the monarch before he was captured by the guards, who broke his legs and threw him outside the gates. Prince Greensun announced that the offense warranted an execution; that person only kept his life because the Song was still one of the four major clans.”

Qianye sighed. Zhang Boqian had made no big movements after the duchess’ passing, but who would have thought he would be so merciless? Was the Song clan’s demotion already set in stone? After a quick thought, why would a heavenly monarch think twice about suppressing a clan that didn’t even have a single divine champion?

“What does the Song clan plan to do?”

“Everyone’s on their own now, what else can we do?” Song Hui laughed coldly. “Great, those who want to split off have an even better reason. They’re still rejoicing at the moment and eyeing the clan’s common properties.”

“How are they splitting the common properties?” Qianye asked. The Song clan was famed for its wealth, and the value of its common properties was an enormous number. If they were demoted from a major clan to a high-ranking aristocratic family, their land and private army would shrink. They would have to split some of their properties off since they could no longer guard them.With Song Zhongnian’s character, however, he probably wouldn’t let go of a single property. The leading branch didn’t have enough power to protect its interests, either, so it would probably end up in another fight.

Song Hui glanced at Qianye, saying, “What, are you interested in the properties?”

Qianye pointed outside the window. “There’s an entire continent waiting for me, do you think I’m interested?”

“You should be since you have the opportunity to intervene. Are you willing to let so many businesses fall into the hands of despicable people?”

Seeing Song Hui so serious, Qianye replied, “Isn’t this something Zining should be thinking about?”

“Seventh brother has too many things to think about, it’s only natural that he would miss some things. Besides, he doesn’t know how chaotic the clan is right now, he wouldn’t care even if he knew.”

Qianye felt emotional. With the building on the verge of collapse, all kinds of bad characters would be jumping out.

Song Hui suddenly thought of something. “If you like Song Ziyan or that lass, Yunqing, you have to move fast. The elders of their branches are madly promoting their marriage.”

Qianye understood. “Seeking marital connections?”

“Yes, what else can their branches even do? As long as the candidate can help them, they wouldn’t care about his status. You can definitely take both of them as concubines if you go.”

“That works too?” Qianye was startled. Ignoring Song Yunqing for now, Song Ziyan was a noble daughter of direct descent. Giving her away to be someone’s concubine was, quite frankly, a slap to the Song clan’s face. After some thought, however, he realized that those old bastards didn’t even want the clan anymore; why would they bother with face?”

Qianye sighed secretly. “If you have something to say, just say it straight.”

Song Hui straightened her body and said in a serious tone, “I’m letting you know that I have a warship, a squad of officers, and all kinds of family businesses. Those two branches can only offer you women, nothing else.”

Qianye was drinking water at first, but he almost spat it all back out. “When did I say I’m taking you?”

Song Hui laughed charmingly. She moved closer to Qianye, saying, “Am I not skilled enough? I can learn! I think I’m smart enough to learn everything very quickly.”

Qianye replied, “If you keep doing this, I’ll throw you out immediately. With you around, the image I’ve tried so hard to build will be completely destroyed.”

Song Hui retracted her frivolity. “Then let’s talk business, then about taking me as a concubine. The proper business is…”

Qianye cut her short. “Only business…”

Song Hui snorted, but this time, she didn’t cause a disturbance. “Our two branches want to support you with all we have, with me carrying the most weightage.”

Qianye nodded in agreement. The warship was simply gilding the lily, not entirely necessary. Someone as talented as Song Hui, however, was extremely rare. Qianye couldn’t think of how to use her just yet, but that wasn’t a problem—Dark Flame would need a lot of talented members once it started expanding.

Song Hui continued after seeing Qianye’s recognition. “Sooner or later, the clan lord will lose control of the situation and realize that he can’t swallow so many businesses. I expect him to hold on for a year at least, however. This one year is our opportunity. I will help you wholeheartedly, but I must also make sure we reap our share of profits. You should accumulate enough wealth during this period. Once the clan lord starts selling the clan businesses, we’ll work with seventh brother to take the most valuable parts. What do you say?”

Qianye said, “You want to reform the Song clan? Quite the ambition.”

Song Hui said, “It’s not me, it’s seventh brother. He’s the best candidate to be the new clan lord.”

Qianye was moved by the notion and started thinking about it seriously.

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

TL: Legion   ED: Moxie


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