Chapter 181: Settling In [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
Aristocratic family branches were some of the most formidable powers in the Evernight Continent, second only to the expeditionary army. Most of them were quite haughty and overbearing, even going as far as to look down on the mayor and the local troops.
Qianye was in no mood to bother with such people. He produced the jade ring and said indifferently, “This is the insignia of an inspection executive. Please have the person in charge come out.” Although the crossed swords weren’t visible because the ring hadn’t been injected with origin power, the engraved eagle head of the Wei Clan could be seen clearly.
A guard replied coldly, “We have never received such a notice. Who knows where you got that item from? Don’t you dare act ostentatiously in Wei clan territory…”
Before he could finish speaking, another guard swiftly moved to cover his mouth. The latter then bowed to Qianye and said, “Please wait for a moment. I’ll go and get the manager this instant. We’re not qualified to identify which superior this token belongs to.”
Qianye nodded calmly. An aristocratic family like the Far East Wei Clan could be considered to have strict principles and managed their clan members and servants quite stringently. In truth, one could roughly estimate the clan’s circumstances by looking at the performance of their basic staff. They weren’t too far from decline if they couldn’t even control their servants.
The guard darted into the building and hurriedly returned in the company of a man in his prime years. The man’s eyebrows twitched when he saw the simple jade ring in Qianye’s hands. Inspection executives were the highest ranking among the Wei clan’s external executive officers and were several ranks superior to a mere manager of a tiny Broken River City branch. Their arrival often meant that they had major business to take care of—how come they hadn’t heard anything at all?
The man introduced himself as Wei Cheng, a deputy manager of the Far East Heavy Industries’ Broken River City branch. He was currently the person in charge since the manager had gone to the upper continent last month to verify accounts.
Wei Cheng respectfully invited Qianye into the hall before receiving the ring for inspection. “Sire, you look rather unfamiliar to me. I wonder what official business you have in coming down this time?”
Qianye had been observing Wei Cheng for some time. This person appeared to be respectful, but in truth, he was quite shrewd. His words were rather probing, and he was likely a difficult person to deal with.
Qianye smiled after hearing Wei Cheng’s inquiry. “Wei Qiyang granted me the inspection executive token in order to facilitate everyday matters. I should be able to requisition resources to a certain extent should the need arise.” He removed the silver necklace and placed it on the table.
Wei Cheng was greatly astonished. Wei Qiyang was the taboo name of Marquis Bowang’s heir. Although he, too, was surnamed Wei, the distance between them was simply too great. Normally, it was likely that the heir would never set foot into such a small city.
Wei Cheng withdrew all his thoughts at this point and returned the ring to Qianye. He then took the necklace in both hands and injected a strand of origin power into the eagle head pendant. Immediately afterwards, the array lit up and a single layer feathered crest appeared on the eagle head, the symbol of the marquis’ heir.
“Indeed, this is a token of the heir! May I ask what instructions do you have, sire?
“I have a batch of people who need to be settled down. Do you have any camps outside the city?”
Wei Cheng replied hurriedly, “You have an entourage outside the city? Allow me to dispatch someone to welcome them into the city. Although Broken River City is small, I’m sure we can sort out a few courtyards and settle them down appropriately.”
Qianye shook his head and replied, “No need to enter the city. It’s best if we can arrange for them outside since I brought quite a number of people. I’ll also require clothes, beddings, and food for them.”
“How many people are there in sire’s entourage?”
“700, more or less.”
Wei Cheng was shocked out of his wits, but this time, he seemed to have no intention of probing into the heart of this matter. He pondered for a moment before bringing out a map and pointing to a certain location. “What do you think of this? There’s a mine owned by the Wei family about 20 kilometers east of the city. We might be able to fit everyone into the adjacent village albeit with some minor discomfort in living conditions. Most of the buildings there are empty because the mine isn’t operational during this season.”
“It’s good enough. Let’s just go with this.” Qianye observed the map in detail and habitually memorized the local topography and roads.
Wei Cheng immediately got to work—he summoned the staff in charge of various resources one after another and assigned them their relevant tasks in front of Qianye, appropriately arranging for the basic needs of all 700 people. He even took security into consideration and instructed the weapons warehouse to issue a batch of firearms and ammunition. Although they were only gunpowder weapons, it was sufficient to deal with normal situations.
Being able to mobilize such a large amount of resources was an indication of the Wei clan’s wealth, but Wei Cheng himself was quite capable to be able to arrange everything appropriately in a short amount of time.
Qianye was relieved at last after helping these people settle in. He also had Wei Cheng notify Wei Potian of his situation by mail.
Along the way to Broken River City, Qianye had made the decision to prevent these people from entering the city. The value of these seedlings was extraordinary—the Blackflow City’s defensive perimeter alone wouldn’t be able to gather such an amount of quality merchandise. He suspected that the other expeditionary divisions might have a hand in this.
Broken River City fell under the 10th division’s jurisdiction. The Far East Heavy Industries, on the other hand, was like a trading company. Despite possessing a good number of elite private soldiers, they couldn’t be compared with the expeditionary army in terms of pure strength. As such, he might be walking right into a trap if he brought these seedlings into the city without due caution. Even if the 10th division wasn’t involved in this matter, there was no telling how these adjacent divisions would collude with one another. They would only be truly safe after meeting up with Wei Potian.
Qianye didn’t stay for long in Broken River City. He left at dawn the next day and disappeared into the wilderness.
The prisoners they had captured were all handed over to Wei Cheng who promised to deal with them cleanly. The latter followed conventional methods—most of them were sent to remote mines to work, while a small group of undisciplined ones was transferred to slave traders. Seeing Qianye show little interest regarding this matter, Wei Cheng refrained from going into the details.
At this time, Qianye was working on another matter. He spent three days alone in the wilderness, retracing the path along with which they had escaped to Broken River City. Anyone following their trail, be it the dark races or other people, would likely run into Qianye’s ambush. He returned to Broken River City only after confirming that no one was on their tracks.
The Far East Heavy Industries occupied a total of six mines, four of which produced black stones, while the other two produced metallic ore. The group Qianye had saved was settled down in a village beside one of the black stone mines. After being told of their identity and origins, Wei Cheng dispatched an additional 100 soldiers to “protect” them. In truth, he just wanted to keep a closer watch on these seedlings lest some of them try to escape while Qianye wasn’t around.
Except being unable to leave the mine, their daily lives were arranged in perfect order. The men, women, and children all had their residences while the soldiers formed a separate group.
The miners’ residences were all in the mining area. This village was used to provide residence for the foremen and their families during the mining season. It wasn’t very large and the available living space was only slightly better than the slave camp. Wei Cheng dispatched several batches of laborers to fell trees and build more houses the next day, and before long, the small village had expanded by almost twofold.
Everything within the village was already on the right track by the time Qianye returned.
At this time, he unexpectedly came across a familiar face on the village streets—Song Zining.
The Song Clan’s Seventh Young Master was together with the children, his expression as gentle as spring water. They were all gathered around him in a circle with raised heads, listening attentively to what he was saying.
Qianye hurried over and called out, “Zining!”
Song Zining’s warm smile became even brighter when he looked up and saw Qianye walking over. He bent down, said something to the children and had them all disperse before welcoming Qianye with a hug. “I thought I was quick enough in handling matters, but I would have never expected you to act even faster.”
After hearing Song Zining’s words, Qianye understood that the former had gotten a general idea regarding Wu Zhengnan’s black crystal suppliers.
Qianye couldn’t help but laugh while explaining the current circumstances. He didn’t plan to take action at first but changed his mind after finding out that the products being traded were people.
Song Zining didn’t seem to mind. “It doesn’t matter. There are too many variables involved in such matters. We should act as fast as we can. I just hope Wei Potian doesn’t dawdle.”
Qianye glanced at the surroundings. “Let’s go into my room first.”
The house Wei Cheng had arranged for Qianye was naturally the best in town. However, the village itself was simple and crude—even the best building here wasn’t anything impressive.
Song Zining walked around the house and clicked his tongue. “A stately Far East Wei Clan arranged such a place for their heir’s friend? This treatment is no different from the mine foreman.”
However, Song Zining hadn’t come alone. The moment he gave the order, several dozen maids, servants, and guards entered in single file. They cleaned the simple house and arranged everything systematically in the blink of an eye. Song Zining had also brought along two chefs who had already gone into the temporary kitchen to prepare their meal.
After seeing Song Zining’s show of extravagance, Qianye began to understand why the former was willing to set up camp on the outskirts instead of entering the city. It seemed the facilities in his camp might be even better than those in the city.
Qianye helplessly shook his head. “It’s not a big deal. I chose this place instead of heading into the city to avoid unnecessary trouble.
Song Zining nodded. “Not entering the city was the correct choice. The people from the 10th division can still play dumb if you’re outside the city, but that wouldn’t be the case if you swaggered in with so many people. By that time, they couldn’t play dumb even if they wanted to.”
At this point, Song Zining glanced at Qianye and said, “Such a large number of good seedlings... The value of this transaction should be in the tens of thousands. The seventh division alone wouldn’t be able to muster up such a capital. Perhaps the nearby divisions are also involved. You really hurt Wu Zhengnan this time.”
Qianye replied apologetically, “Zining, it seems the implications are getting deeper and deeper. I’m sorry to drag you into this.”
It was merely an idea back when Qianye decided to deal with Wu Zhengnan. In truth, he wasn’t certain how he would go about realizing it. Only when he began to take gradual steps toward it with the help of his friends did he realize that it was a maelstrom involving many factors. It seemed as if every string he pulled out was connected to a whole network. Of course, Qianye didn’t have the slightest fear for himself. What worried him most was his friends.
Song Zining laughed out loud and replied nonchalantly, “No matter how troublesome he is, he’s just an expeditionary army division commander of civilian origins. Killing him is much easier than killing Gu Liyu.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This is the second chapter of the week. Enjoy ^_^
Previous Teaser. Image source: https://www.deviantart.com/art/Refugee-Settlement-541359321