Chapter 400: Exploitation [V5C107 – A Distance Within Reach]
Qianye’s expression sank somewhat. He reached out to grab the landowning family soldier’s shoulder and said coldly, “I said stop it. Did you not hear?”
That person’s reaction wasn’t vague at all. He lowered his elbow to launch a sideways blow toward Qianye’s chest. Meanwhile, the other hand wasn’t idle either—a slap whistled toward Qianye’s face as he spewed profanities from his mouth. “Who do you think you are? Is this your place to speak? Don’t you know who our master is?”
Qianye swung a fist out with a frown. His attack arrived first despite moving later and smashed the man flying backward. The man crashed a path through the crowd and fell down only after striking the city wall, leaving a trail of flying blood and teeth.
The landowning squad was shocked for a moment. Afterward, they exploded and began shouting, “Commoner! How dare you injure a noble?”
“Hey, expeditionary army soldiers over there! Are you all blind? Didn’t you see this brat hit a noble? Seize him!”
“We might as well just slaughter him. We’ll have to pay a fine at most.” Another burly man from the group roared. He drew a handgun, took aim, and actually pulled the trigger on Qianye.
Qianye’s brows locked into a frown. He had never expected this unit would reach such a degree of unruliness. One had to know that he was wearing an expeditionary army officer’s uniform. Even the imperial elite corps would have to use up their casualty quota in order to kill him in public. Qianye removed the heavy sword from his back and tapped the man lightly with a sheathed East Peak.
The burly man’s expression turned sluggish and his knees gave way. He fell kneeling onto the ground and spat out a mouthful of blood before collapsing, his fate unknown.
Everyone was astonished, and even those watching the liveliness turned silent for a moment. Soon, everyone backed up in panic and cleared out an open space at the scene.
Moments later, someone from the landowning unit came to and started shouting, “Murder! A commoner has murdered a noble! Capture this brat and the empire will reward handsomely!”
Qianye exhaled lightly. He could no longer endure the scoundrelly behavior of these landowning soldiers. East Peak waved out horizontally and whipped onto the man’s face.
The soldier spun several times in the air and spat out several teeth before falling unconscious.
This time, these people finally understood that they had kicked a steel plate. All of them froze on the spot and no longer dared continue their lowly speech. Some among these fellows had their hands on their origin guns. They were considering their options time and again but dared not draw their weapons.
Qianye glanced toward the surroundings and then waved at the expeditionary army officer nearby. “Come here.”
The officer wore a major’s insignia on his shoulder and should be the commander of the gate sentry. His subordinates called him out from within the guard tower for fear of the situation going out of control. He realized things weren’t looking too good when he saw the colonel insignia on Qianye’s shoulder—but then he glanced at Qianye’s face. He felt a rush in his mind and immediately hurried over in a jog.
The major said with a smile, “So it’s Colonel Qianye. What instructions do you have for us, sir? Don’t hesitate to say it. I’ll work on it right away!”
Dark Flame was quite famous among the expeditionary army soldiers of the Trinity River County, having nursed gratitudes and grudges with the expeditionary army divisions therein from the moment of its founding to the establishment of its independent division. All middle to high ranking officers had at least heard of Qianye’s description even if they hadn’t seen him in person.
This gatekeeping officer was in his forties and had already been a major for several years. He naturally knew that the person in true control of Dark Flame was this Qianye standing before him. This was a major character capable of standing on the same level as their division commander. As such, the smile on his face was exceptionally enthusiastic.
Qianye said indifferently, “These people can be considered a disturbance to public security, right? Seize them and deal with them.”
The major’s expression turned ugly. “Sire Qianye, it's not a problem to capture them, but it’s not much use since we’ll have to release them later on. Our division commander has ordered us to let those from the upper continent be unless they commit a major crime.”
Qianye pondered for a moment. “That means things like this have been happening frequently?”
The major revealed an accompanying smile and said, “It’s not especially common. These lords coming down from above are indeed difficult to serve, but not a lot of them actually move against our expeditionary army officers, so our general doesn’t really want to deal with them. Moreover, the true major clans won’t stay here for long. They’re usually off to war as soon as they arrive.”
Qianye understood the major’s hidden implications. This one before them wasn’t the only arrogant and despotic minor family. However, the expeditionary army division commander did not want to get tangled up with them since these people could only bully mercenaries and adventurers who had no background.
But this also allowed them to become more and more arrogant. So much so that they casually moved to kill Qianye despite his expeditionary army officer’s uniform.
Presently, these landowning household soldiers had regained their breath. Only now did they notice that Qianye was wearing a high-ranking expeditionary army officer’s uniform. They glanced at each other and felt that they were quite unlucky. But they weren’t nervous at all—so much so that they were watching Qianye with gazes of ridicule as they awaited their capture. In any case, they would be going in from the front and walking out from the back.
Qianye said with a frown, “Seize them and send them to Blackflow City.” With that, he tossed a bag into the major’s hands. “Go drink with the brothers afterward.”
The major breathed a sigh of relief. Once these people were in Blackflow City, whatever happened would be Qianye’s problem and have nothing to do with them. He grabbed the bag and realized from its contour that there should be both gold and silver coins within. His smile immediately turned even more flattering.
“What are you all staring at? Go and capture them!” the major shouted with a wave of his hand, and this time, he was full of courage.
The expeditionary army soldiers in charge of guarding the gates had apparently endured these aristocratic soldiers for quite some time. They responded explosively and swarmed over at once. The mercenaries and adventurers who were watching from the side actually charged over at this point and beat those soldiers up until they were black, blue, and had collapsed onto the ground. It seemed everyone had been holding back their anger all this time.
The major instructed, “Tie them up well and dispatch two cars to transport them to Sire Qianye’s Blackflow City!”
He arranged everything with great swiftness for fear that it would involve him.
The major recalled something after handling the men from the combat squad. He approached Qianye and said in a whisper, “Sire Qianye, this lowly one must remind you that these people kept saying that their master is the nephew of a certain duke. You must be careful!”
Qianye broke into a laughter almost immediately. The soldiers from this squad were simply unrivaled in their bluffing. If their master was indeed the nephew of a duke, it was impossible for him to fall to the ranks of a landowning household. Apparently, they were only using it to scare the ignorant natives of Evernight Continent with extravagant boasting.
This commotion had delayed him quite a bit. Qianye walked back to his jeep and suddenly found that a lanky man had stealthily climbed into the vehicle, apparently aiming to fish in troubled waters.
Qianye arrived behind him in a flash, lifted him out of the car, and flung him to the ground. The lanky man didn’t even get the chance to cry out before he was knocked unconscious.
The expeditionary army soldiers immediately recovered their ruthless qualities in dealing with such a thief. They charged over and beat him up before dragging him away like a dead dog.
One could see with a single glance that Qianye’s jeep was a high-grade vehicle, not to mention it was flying the expeditionary army flag. How could any ordinary person dare to touch it? That lanky man was simply too bold.
Qianye shook his head in secret. The chaos in the county capital had far surpassed his expectations.
After finally entering the city, Qianye followed the major’s directions to the place where military contributions were being tallied.
The tallying area was set up within a three-storied building beside the central plaza in order to make it convenient for people of all trades to turn in their proof items and register contributions. The bloody battle had just begun, but the number of people registering had far exceeded expectations. The plaza was full of human heads, and the venue could even be considered rather crowded.
Feeling that it was inconceivable, he turned to ask the major accompanying him on the car, “So many people have made contributions? It hasn’t been long since the bloody battle began, has it?”
The major replied with a laugh, “In truth, many people find it hard to believe that the rewards are so generous, so they go out to fight a couple of random battles and hurry here to exchange points after obtaining some stock. This will also serve to confirm that the rewards are true.”
Qianye nodded since this was indeed natural human behavior and continued driving forward. But his car was stopped at a certain intersection.
A dozen or so soldiers had blocked the entire road, and judging from their uniforms, they should be a certain aristocratic family’s private army.
A strong, burly man banged Qianye’s door and shouted, “Get down!”
Qianye frowned. “What’s the matter?”
“Are you here to register for military contributions? Take the items out and let us see!”
Qianye replied coldly, “Who are you people? Why must I show you anything?”
The burly man was immediately enraged and shouted with his gun drawn, “Take it out if I tell you to. Why are you speaking so much nonsense? Are you looking to die?”
At this time, a middle-aged man walked over and held down the burly man’s gun. “Don’t be rash. We’re here to do business, not to fight.”
The middle-aged man’s gaze was sharp. He swept his gaze over Qianye and said, “Brother, if you want to pass through this street to register for military contributions, you must give us half the goods according to the rules. This is a passage fee as well as the price for your protection.”
Qianye immediately understood. It turned out that these people had taken a fancy to the incomparably generous bounty and were actually exploiting the people coming to register their contributions. This place was only a couple of steps away from the registration area. How dare they set up such a grandiose blockade?
Qianye found it rather inconceivable and shot a glance at the major beside him. As though knowing what Qianye wanted to ask, the officer revealed a wry smile and said in a soft voice, “Sire, it’s the same whichever road you take…”
The major hadn’t even finished speaking when the middle-aged man sneered. “Take another road? Stop dreaming! Since you’ve already come, then you must pass through here! You must leave half of your things even if you turn back now.”
Qianye was expressionless. He pointed toward the expeditionary army flag and said indifferently, “We’re from the expeditionary army.”
The middle-aged man laughed. “It’s because of that flag and your uniform that we demand only half. Others must pay two-thirds.”
Qianye asked with a smile, “What gives you the right?”
The burly man beside him pointed to the insignia on his chest and said, “The Wang family, appointed Count Xiaoshang by imperial decree. This gives me the right!”
A regional count was neither big nor small and could be considered a middle-ranked aristocratic family, a major character to those on the Evernight continent. However, they had run over to Trinity River County to exploit military contributions. What unsightly table manners!
Qianye realized something after seeing how the major was hesitant to speak and was instead shooting him meaningful glances—it seemed there was a story behind this so-called Count Xiaoshan's private army. He alighted and walked over to the middle-aged man with a smile. “Brother, aren’t your demands a bit too much?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
It's chapter 400! Look how far we've come :D And it's all thanks to you, readers and sponsors! Thank you all so much for reading and sponsoring MEN/MoE. Reading through the comments section every day gives me renewed motivation for the next chapter. It's a fun job ^_^ I hope you guys keep on reading because some good stuff is coming up.
Also, let's hold some kind of event when we hit the chapter 500 milestone! Feel free to message me on discord (Legion#0148) or twitter if you have any ideas or suggestions for that.
And one more thing! I appeared for an interview on Immortal Index Podcast's latest episode --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-fdaQ3v70I Be sure to check it out if you're interested! Although I'm not good at speaking and kept stammering for the most part. In my nervousness, I missed out some stuff I really wanted to say to you guys in that interview and that's just a very sincere Thank You--you guys are the best.
And NO!!! that's not how I sound outside hahahah :D I'm not that squeaky teenager.
TL: Legion ED: Moxie