Chapter 204: Elder Generation [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
Standing in the doorway was a soldierly man in his prime. Noticeably taller than Wei Potian and clad in an undecorated traditional Chinese robe, this man projected a natural aura of dignity and power. This was obviously a person who had occupied an eminent position for a long time.
Wei Potian immediately jumped up and greeted respectfully, “Father, how come you’re here?”
The person was indeed Wei Dongming, the current master of the Far East Wei Clan, the Marquis of Bowang and Wei Potian’s father. He was definitely one of the few people in this world Wei Potian was greatly afraid of.
Wei Dongming walked around the office and glanced at the surroundings. In the end, he swept through the pile of documents on the desk and nodded. “Things seem to be in proper order! It’s just that I’ve told you more than once since you were young that you need to calm down when you encounter major events. You have to keep your calm no matter what kind of situation you’re in…”
Wei Potian hurriedly interrupted, knowing his father wouldn’t stop once he starts lecturing, “Dad, what kind of major event brought you all the way to Evernight Continent?”
Wei Dongming glared at Wei Potian. “What other major business apart from yours would have me coming personally?”
Wei Potian scratched his head with a forced laugh before approaching his father. “Dad, you see how I’m handling the work here. Not too shabby, right? In the end, I still obtained two cities for our clan, although they’re a little bit poor…”
“Only a little bit poor!?” Wei Dongming glared at his son incisively.
Wei Potian replied embarrassedly, “We did pay a small price, but there are also some gains!”
Wei Dongming snorted. Qiyang, don’t tell me you don’t understand what it means to be a regional lord of the Far East Wei Clan. Not to mention the loss of your personal guards and Elder Chen, how much can the Wei clan even profit from a third-rate defensive region in an abandoned land?
Wei Potian scratched his head hard, at a loss about what to say.
The Wei clan’s highest feudal rank was only a Marquis, but that was lord of a whole region. Speaking disrespectfully, the Marquis was almost like an emperor within the Far East Province. As for Blackflow City, not only was it located at the frontlines of Evernight Continent, but it was also in the expeditionary army’s domain. Everyone will think the Wei clan had overextended its scope of influence. Furthermore, the investment required to maintain this territory would be significant because battles could break out anytime in Evernight Continent.
In truth, even someone as slow as Wei Potian had come to realize this logic after several days of managing governmental affairs.
Wei Dongming’s tone suddenly changed just as Wei Potian began preparing himself to receive a harsh scolding with his head lowered. “But, for better or worse, you did indeed obtain a territory with two cities. We did pay a certain price for this, but when had pioneering the expansion of a new region ever been easy? Especially when you’re bearding the lion in his den. As a whole, your results seem to be direct and efficient with no loose ends lying around. This isn’t easy to achieve.”
Wei Potian was pleasantly surprised. His father, the Marquis of Bowang, was the prime example of a strict father and very sparing with his praises. This was a rare reward for him.
Wei Dongming walked toward the window with his hands behind his back and gazed at the panoramic view of Blackflow City. “You managed this business quite aptly and were still able to concentrate on governmental affairs afterwards. Although you’re not as calm as I’d like, at least you didn’t lose your diligence. Oh Qiyang, you’ve finally grown up.”
Wei Potian was laughing dumbly at this point, not knowing how to reply. Marquis Wei was a solemn man who governed his subordinates strictly. He was especially demanding toward this son for whom he had high hopes. He had rarely, if ever, given such a lengthy evaluation and encouragement.
Wei Dongming casually flipped through a certain document on the table and exclaimed in surprise, “The crimes listed on this paper, while few in number, are all crucial and closely interrelated points. This document alone had firmly certified all of Wu Zhengnan’s crimes and caused those expeditionary army higher-ups to fall silent. This Qi Sicheng is indeed a capable person!”
Wei Potian looked over and said, “This chap was in charge of logistics under Wu Zhengnan. He’s naturally able to capture all the vital points since almost all transactions pass through him.” He added with a sneer, “This man surnamed Qi is only thinking about extricating himself by piling all the blame on Wu Zhengnan.”
Wei Dongming didn’t comment. “Where is this person now?”
“He’s already… under protection.”
“What kind of protection?”
Wei Potian laughed out loud. “Where it’s truly safe, in the deepest layers of the dark dungeon.”
Wei Dongming nodded and replied, “You’ve indeed grown up.”
Wei Potian felt anything but reassured after hearing this evaluation. His intuition had always been accurate.
As expected, Wei Dongming continued, “I’m half-relieved now that you are capable of taking charge alone. However, you’re lacking a final step here. You’ll need someone who can oversee this region if you truly want to claim this theater. Even in the Wei clan, there aren’t many people both qualified and available to take up this post. Your uncle Bainian happens to be one of them. I’ve brought him along this time, but it’s up to you whether you can persuade him or not.”
Wei Dongming said after some pause, “You’re no longer young. It’s just that your character needs some tampering. It’ll be better if you’re calmer. I’ve consulted the ancestor. You’ll come back with me to settle your marriage affairs after things here are settled!”
“What… what… marriage!?” Wei Potian was completely gobsmacked.
Wei Dongming laughed, “There’s no shortage of outstanding young ladies among friendly nobility who are quite suitable for you. The old ancestor has seen a few of them and was fairly fond of them. You can choose one of them when you return.”
Wei Potian was dumbfounded and couldn’t utter a single clear word. “I… this… isn’t it too early?”
Wei Dongming patted Wei Potian’s shoulder and laughed loudly, “It isn’t! Others at your age already have more than one children! Your twentieth birthday will arrive in two months’ time. Men are supposed to take up true responsibility after their coming of age ceremony. The old ancestor intends to make it a grand spectacle. At that time, many noble ladies will attend. You mustn't squander this opportunity.
“Your daddy here is quite open-minded in this regard, see? You still have the opportunity to choose your bride. Back then, I had to marry whoever the clan deemed fit.”
Wei Potian didn’t quite register how he had seen his father to his lodgings. He only remembered to ask when Wei Dongming and his entourage had been settled in. “Where is Uncle Bainian?” It seemed whether or not he could get Wei Bainian to stay at Blackflow City was his final test. There was a blade waiting whether he extended or withdrew his neck. It would be better to finish things quickly.
Wei Dongming’s smile became more amiable after seeing his son was still able to recall proper business at this time. “You have a friend here in the city, right? Bainian went over to see him and, in passing, invited him to have dinner with us. I wish to meet your friend too.”
Wei Potian suddenly quivered after hearing these words. His expression rapidly changed as his muddle-headedness completely vanished.
Although Wei Bainian wasn’t famous and usually kept a low profile within the family, Wei Potian knew the former was one of his father’s most trusted brothers. It already surprised him greatly that such a person had been chosen as a candidate to oversee the seventh division’s defensive region. Why would he go and see Qianye immediately after arriving in Blackflow City? There really was no reason for an elder to visit a junior, even if Qianye was his good friend.
Wei Dongming acted as if he didn’t notice Wei Potian’s expression and said, “Oh yes, I also brought Shiqing along. The old ancestor seems to have sent you a trunk load of items. You should go and take a look right now.” Shiqing was Wei Potian’s maid who had followed him since childhood.
Wei Potian suppressed the distress in his heart and responded respectfully before excusing himself. He paused slightly at the courtyard gates but decided to follow his father’s advice and return to his room to visit Shiqing. At the same time, he could inquire about the situation back home. Qianye should have already met Wei Bainian by now. Those from the older generation possessed keen eyesight—things might actually worsen if he was too crude.
While Wei Potian was feeling restless and apprehensive, Qianye still hadn’t encountered Wei Bainian. He was out to see the future headquarters of their mercenary group.
Song Hu was indeed a talented person. He had already found a large empty area in the city’s west side within an afternoon’s time. This place was an abandoned factory—its majestic framework was still intact and could accommodate people after some cleaning and partitioning. The space occupied by the factory was fairly large and could still house the mercenary group even if it grew to thousands of members.
Right now, there were only homeless refugees living here. Song Hu had already gone to the government hall to handle the necessary procedures. He had paid a token price of 50 gold coins to obtain the rights to use this factory zone for 50 years.
Qianye had just reached the street when he gazed forward after sensing something. A small group of guards with no insignias on their uniforms had gathered at the courtyard gates. However, all of them were silent, calm, and imposing. The positions they had taken formed a practiced group attack formation.
Song Hu’s grip on his suitcase tightened. Although he was still walking, his footsteps had obviously slowed down as his direction of advancement deviated ever so slightly.
Qianye didn’t show any changes—he maintained his natural calm and continued walking at his usual pace. With that, they passed by those guards and only came to a stop after entering the wide-open gates. A person stood within the courtyard with his back facing them and only turned around when he heard sounds of movement.
This was a tall and lean man whose age was difficult to discern from his facial features. He appeared quite young at first glance, but after some observation, one would discover traces of time upon his countenance. He was clad in archaic apparel and exuded a noble and scholarly temperament. One could immediately tell that he was born to a well-known family.
“I’m Wei Bainian. You must be Young Master Qiyang’s friend, Young Master Qian right?
Qianye’s expression changed slightly after hearing this name. He had already guessed that this was an elder from Wei Potian’s clan when he received Song Zining’s letter, but he didn’t expect to meet Wei Bainian in person.
At this point, Song Hu approached Qianye and whispered a few words.
Qianye nodded and performed a rather formal salutation toward Wei Bainian. “So it’s Potian’s sixth uncle.”
Song Hu’s introduction was short but sufficient to express the person before them was extraordinary. Wei Bainian wasn’t even 50 years of age but had already served over 30 years in the Imperial Army. He had joined the army as a soldier despite being a direct descendant of the Wei clan’s main branch and was eventually promoted to the rank of general by accumulating merits. The empire had faced constant threat throughout the years but god knows how much blood was on the hands of those who had survived more than ten years in service.
Wei Bainian had long since taken in the odd expression on Qianye’s face and was, at the moment, paying attention to Song Hu. “I didn’t expect anyone here to know a nameless person like myself.”
Qianye still wasn’t clear about the purpose of this visit even after Wei Bainian left. Unskilled as he was in the ways of the world, Qianye still understood it was impossible for Wei Potian’s elder to visit his residence just to invite him to dinner.
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