Chapter 207: Parting (Part 1) [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
The days that followed were rather tranquil.
Now that the headquarters of the mercenary band had been selected, the seedlings from the Far East Heavy Industry’s mining zone were split up into batches and began to move toward Blackflow City. From the renovation work to the batch migration of the seedlings and the necessary logistics and supplies, everything was managed by Song Hu alone. He was so busy it seemed as if he was about to start flying. Qianye simply sent Lil’ Seven and Nine over to assist him.
The statecraft which the twins had learnt at the trade group was finally able to shine. Additionally, the girls were patient, careful, and hardworking. Within a couple of days, they were already able to take charge of a sector and become a helping force to Song Hu.
Qianye only needed to listen to the reports once every night while leaving all other matters to them. He himself spent most of his time cultivating in an isolated room. He had already decided that he would go out into the wilderness to hunt once the mercenary band had been settled in. This wasn’t only for the reward with which to keep the mercenary band running but also to personally observe the surrounding topography. The best safeguard out in the wilderness was one’s own strength.
At this time, Wei Potian was still toiling away amidst the mountains of documents when Marquis Wei, whose recent whereabouts were unknown, walked in silently. When Wei Dongming saw Wei Potian’s writings weren’t the slightest bit disarrayed despite the grimace on his face, the former nodded inwardly in satisfaction.
Wei Potian got up hurriedly and asked, “Dad, how come you’re back so soon?”
Wei Dongming was apparently in a good mood as he scolded with a laugh, “Your old man has a multitude of important businesses to attend to. How will I have the time to waste in this tiny place? But after visiting the surrounding places, I found that the general situation still seems rather peaceful. This indicates that your management has been quite effective.
Wei Potian’s expression was the picture of bitterness. “These trivial matters are more annoying than a war!”
Wei Dongming restored his usual expression and began to lecture, “You’re to become the master of a clan in the future. How can you keep thinking about fighting and killing all day!? We can only take our time to transfer this defensive area back to the expeditionary army since your uncle Bainian isn’t willing to accept the division commander’s position. Naturally, we can’t return it to them for free. We’ll have to make them bleed for it.”
At this point, Wei Dongming’s expression eased up and said, “I’ve already instructed people to arrange the trip. Leave with me in a few days. The old ancestor misses you and you should also meet those ladies in advance. Choose someone you like and let your daddy hold a grandson soon.
Unexpectedly, Wei Potian replied, “Sixth uncle has agreed to stay.”
Wei Dongming was shocked. “What!? Bainian plans to stay!?”
Wei Potian shrugged. “Yes, I have no idea what changed his mind either. Two days ago, he wouldn’t agree no matter what I said, but yesterday, he suddenly came to tell me that he has decided to stay. He has already gone to visit the remote sentry posts today.”
Wei Dongming seemed as if he couldn’t believe things. “This is impossible! He obviously said…”
Wei Dongming immediately stopped talking at this point, but Wei Potian had already come to realize what had transpired. He glared at his father with eyes full of ill will.
Wei Dongming no longer showed excessive surprise by the time he met Wei Bainian. This cousin of his was always casual and simple. Naturally, Wei Dongming wasn’t opposed since the latter was interested in Evernight Continent and also gained an item that he loved. It was just that the Wei clan’s composition in the area would have to be readjusted.
The two brothers had many years of experience regarding such matters. Wei Bainian briefly stated the necessary resources, manpower, and present arrangements. Wei Dongming listened to all of them and authorized the plan verbally. This matter could be considered settled after recording them upon his return to the clan.
Only afterwards did Wei Dongming mention the fruits of his recent activity. “I already know the person working in the background. It’s the seventh son of the Song clan, Song Zining.”
Since Wei Potian didn’t mention it himself, Marquis Wei naturally wouldn’t openly ask his son’s aides. A servant shouldn’t have two masters, regardless of the reason. The expeditionary army and Xiao Lingshi’s side definitely wouldn’t divulge this information.
However, it was impossible to erase all traces after doing something. As long as one traced along the gigantic channel of profit behind Wu Zhengnan, he would be able to find certain clues within the changes.
Wei Bainian was startled. Song Zining’s name wasn’t prominent and he had barely ever heard of it. Suddenly, he recalled some of the traces at the scene of Wu Zhengnan’s death and immediately realized something. “That’s it. That means the origin power flames at the scene likely came from the Song clan’s technique, ‘Fueled Fire Spear’.” With that, he involuntarily frowned. “Song clan? Hmm…”
The Far East Wei Clan had always maintained a neutral position when dealing with the four great clans and weren’t particularly close with any of them. After Wei Potian joined the Broken Winged Angels, he was placed under Bai Longjia of the Bai clan. This kind of relationship arising from organizational structure, however, couldn’t represent their standpoint. Wei Potian choosing to work together with the Song clan’s seventh son in handling this half-official, half-private business related to Wu Zhengnan, on the other hand, meant something else entirely.
Wei Dongming continued, “Shiqing told me just now that Qiyang has returned the heir’s token and had asked her to revoke all external authorizations.” External authorization of the core Wei clan member tokens had to be registered at the main clan to be effective. Their utilization wasn’t an exception either. The two brothers both knew that the heir’s token Wei Potian had given to Qianye hadn’t actually been exchanged for resources.”
Wei Bainian was somewhat stunned. At first, he was suspicious whether someone was secretly trying to influence the heir through Qianye, but this news came as quite the surprise. Why would he let go of such a good opportunity if he had other intentions?
Wei Dongming said indifferently, “We’ll let this matter end here. Since Qiyang considers this his personal affair, then we have no need to probe too deeply. He’s no longer a child and he should know what he’s doing.”
Wei Bainian nodded. He had no objection toward his elder brother’s decision. What the Wei clan required was a leader and not a puppet who does another’s bidding. Even parents couldn’t keep their children under complete control. The road ahead, after all, had to be walked alone.
The way Wei Bainian led his troops was swift and decisive, a stark contrast from his refined appearance. He had made a tour of the whole defensive region within three days and, in passing, even settled certain disputes with the two adjacent divisions. In truth, he was the one who had incited his subordinates to provoke the other party over small matters and cause these so-called “disputes”. Afterwards, he used this as an excuse to rapidly suppress the other two divisions and bring the two nearby strategic points under his control.
Qianye’s mercenary band also received their first commission from Wei Bainian.
The mercenary band would take over the defense of two small towns surrounding Blackflow City. The remuneration for the defense of each town was 300 gold coins. This would barely cover the basic expenses of the corps, but it was far from enough if they wanted to expand. The only true way out was to wait for the defense budget to rise after the war, or exchange military service gained from fighting against the dark races for rewards.
Night time, it was once again time for Song Hu to deliver a report to Qianye.
Song Hu had organized the mercenary band into five squads of 100 men. He had selected four experienced soldiers from the seedlings and distributed them as leaders among two groups. Lil’ Seven and Lil’ Nine would each lead a group while the final one would be led by Song Hu himself.
Next up was the renovation, training, and other trivial matters of which Qianye was only told the gist. The only thing that required his attention was the issue of expenditure. Resources were the only thing the leader needed to consider—other trifling matters could be left to appropriate personnel.
Afterwards, Song Hu mentioned the defensive duties of the war zone they had been assigned to. Qianye only signed an agreement with Wei Bainian, but Song Hu was the one who had managed the actual transfer arrangements with the 7th Division Headquarters. Normally, one would require a day or two to formulate a concrete defense strategy since the defense map was received only this afternoon.
Qianye saw the map of the warzone Song Hu had spread out and was slightly shaken. Of the two towns designated to him, one was Lighthouse Town in which he had stayed for half a year, while the other was an adjacent town less than ten kilometers away.
Song Hu’s expression was somewhat grave. “Young Master, how is your relationship with the Wei clan?”
Qianye looked up. “Is this important?”
Song Hu pointed to the map and explained everything at once.
These two towns were in bad shape. Lighthouse Town hadn’t quite recovered from that ransacking during which Young Master Zhao’s forces were completely uprooted by the expeditionary army. There were little over a thousand residents left in the whole town.
Black Clay Town was in a slightly better condition, but its location was protruding toward the dark race region even more than Lighthouse Town. It was the area closest to the border in the whole of the Trinity River County and only a few scattered human settlements remained further out. Black Clay Town bordered the Black Clay Swamp—the environment there was barren and adverse. The residents there were mostly scavengers and people who risked their lives to gather medicine in Black Clay Swamp.
“Please look at this place.” Song Hu pointed to a certain point at the center of Black Clay Swamp and drew a line all the way to a dark race city 300 kilometers away.
“This is Spiderweb City, mostly inhibited by arachne, werewolves, and possibly a small number of demonkin. In the large-scale battles of the past, they would occasionally traverse the Black Clay Swamp and attack Blackflow City. The swamp’s natural environment couldn’t hinder the arachne and the werewolves could ride on the arachne to pass through the swamp.
Qianye couldn’t help but raise his head to glance at Song Hu. “You’ve led troops into battle before in this region?” It had only been a couple of hours since Song Hu had obtained the map of this defensive region but he had already grasped the environment so clearly.
Song Hu replied, “Of course I haven’t. However, since you’ve decided to work out of Blackflow City, I naturally have to collect some information.” This also meant that Song Hu had been paying attention to the surrounding trends of Blackflow City since he arrived at Qianye’s side.
No, Song Hu’s focus of attention wasn’t just limited to the 7th division’s war zone. There was a distance of over 300 kilometers between here and Spiderweb City. This area had surpassed the defensive scope of a single division, even by Evernight standards.
Seeing this, Qianye said, “It seems you won’t have any problem working as a division chief of staff.”
Song Hu played down the praise. “I served as a division level chief of staff in the imperial army’s 10th corps ten years ago. I wasted my days there until I was wounded. The injury caused me to drop two ranks whereupon I retired from the army since I could no longer retain my original position. Since then, I’ve been scraping by at the Song clan.”
Qianye was somewhat moved. The 10th corps belonged to the main force of the imperial army. The quality of officers there were completely different from those in the expeditionary army. He hadn’t expected Song Zining to send someone of such caliber.
Song Hu later added, “The dark races from Spiderweb City won’t go through the trouble of crossing the swamp if there’s no war. Our mission, in that case, remains fairly simple. However, a war is inevitable this time, and as such, it’s almost certain that a great dark race army will emerge from the swamp! Young Master, who would believe it’s a coincidence that General Wei had assigned us to such towns?”
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Mini-mass-release to celebrate the end of volume 3!
TL: Legion, ED: Moxie