Chapter 402: Cashing-In Contributions [V5C109 – A Distance Within Reach]
One of the soldiers was immediately furious. “Young Master! They’re clearly looking down on our Li family! Shall we…”
The well-dressed youth clad in Chinese clothing stopped the man from producing more fierce language. He then sneered, “You lot, follow me. Let’s see who this person is and just what level of contribution he has accomplished. How dare they make me wait here!”
At this moment, in the large office on the third floor, seven or eight female officers were unpacking and sorting the various types of proofs of contribution. Three more of them were in charge of appraisal and registration—the difficult ones were evaluated by the lieutenant colonel himself.
Piles of vampiric fangs, werewolf ears, arachne heads, and servspider poison glands appeared on the floor. Most of these items appeared sinister and were covered in dried blood.
But to these female officers, everything they touched was a pile of gold coins—their expressions and movements were exceptionally gentle. Even their lovers might not receive better treatment. They would also steal glances at Qianye from time to time, their expressions flush with an explicable charm and allure.
Qianye sat to one side, slowly sipping his tea. He completely ignored the female officers’ small movements and proceeded to ponder his own matters.
The lieutenant colonel arrived beside Qianye and said with a flattering 90-degree bow, “Sire, we’ve already finished the initial inventory. Those at the viscount grade have all been placed there. Please take a look if we missed anything?”
At this moment, the lieutenant colonel had moved his desk to the center of the room, and all of the viscount level proofs of contribution had been placed upon it. The pile filled up the entire table, and the five black arachne eggs were exceptionally eye-catching. As for the items below the level of viscount, they had to make do with lying on the floor.
Qianye scanned through them and saw that the number viscount grade items were more or less correct. “Correct.”
“Then I’ll begin the settling.”
“Just a moment. There’s one more.” Qianye called back the lieutenant colonel, produced an arachnid crystal the size of a human head, and passed it over to him.
The lieutenant colonel’s heart was immediately shaken after seeing the size, color, and luster of this arachnid crystal. “This, could this be…”
It was at this time that the door was pushed open and the youth in Chinese apparel entered. “I’m Li Pei of the Transcendent Continent. I’m lacking in talents, but I do hope to see which outstanding character requires the entire registration office to serve him?”
His speech came to a stop midway as though someone had clutched his throat with great ferocity. Li Pei’s eyes fell upon the desk at the center of the room and could no longer move away from it at all. The vampiric fangs with their jade-like luster, the erect werewolf ears, and the colorful arachnid crystals therein almost blinded his eyes.
This was especially true of the five black spider eggs—they made Li Pei’s breathing become incomparably difficult and even his heart had almost stopped beating. These were all viscount-grade arachne eggs and of exuberant vitality no less. Just what kind of arachne castle would one have to overturn in order to obtain five such eggs in one go? In any case, it couldn’t possibly be a third-rank viscount’s stronghold.
Li Pei was forced to go all out just to kill that third-rank werewolf viscount and had paid with the lives of ten-odd subordinates before finally achieving victory. He had never imagined what kind of scene it would be to raid a viscount’s lair.
Li Pei moved his gaze away with great difficulty only to see the giant arachnid crystal in Qianye’s hand—his eyes were immediately stuck once again. He could be considered rather knowledgeable as he said with a trembling voice, “A first-rank viscount arachnid crystal!”
Below the level of count, the arachnid crystals were all sparkling and translucent—they had to be categorized in terms of size. Ordinary third-rank viscount arachnid crystals were slightly smaller than the size of a fist, but this one was almost as large as a human head. It undoubtedly belonged to a first-rank viscount, and a superior one at that.
Qianye shot Li Pei a glance and said indifferently, “Just a lucky convenience.”
Li Pei’s heart thumped several times with great ferocity and could no longer speak. Quite frankly, a first-rank arachne viscount could easily decimate two or three squads like Li Pei’s. Even if the other party was badly wounded, charging such an enemy would only result in his death instead of convenience.
Additionally, the five spider eggs were a clear indication that he had raided the lair of a first-rank viscount. Li Pei wouldn’t dare to take such an advantage even if it presented itself.
Qianye finally looked up at Li Pei as though he were waiting for the latter to continue.
Li Pei only felt that Qianye’s gaze resembled two incinerating beams, scorching his body painfully from head to toe.
“I… this…” Li Pei wanted to utter some conventional niceties, but his mouth had gone dry and words failed to form. In the end, he simply gritted his teeth and left. Any amount of prestige and pride would only be a joke before this room full of dazzling spoils—lingering would only add to his humiliation.
Qianye lowered his gaze and continued sipping his tea. He was once again deep in his own thoughts and seemed to have no intention of making things difficult for that young aristocrat.
The adventurers waiting in the hall saw Li Pei coming down and leaving hurriedly with an ashen face. How could they not know that he had kicked a steel plate? As such, they couldn’t help but become curious about the identity of the person upstairs.
The lieutenant colonel received the arachnid crystal with trembling hands. A beam of magnificent radiance shone into his eyes, almost causing him to drop the dazzling item. The arachnid crystal and eggs were acceptable on their own, but the implications became much deeper once they were placed together.
After carefully passing the arachnid crystal to one of his staff, the lieutenant colonel arrived beside Qianye and asked, “Sire, how should we register your military contributions?”
The Zhao clan was a massive entity. The military register in the lieutenant colonel’s hands showed more than ten combat squads of various sizes from the Zhao clan taking part in this battle. Apart from their three dukes sending out a unit each, a fair number of branch families had also organized their own combat squads. In order to facilitate the distribution of certain special rewards, the military contributions had to be applied to specific units.
Qianye replied, “Duke You, Zhao Yuying.”
“Understood, I’ll handle this immediately!” The lieutenant colonel’s attitude was even more respectful. This was the Zhao clan’s core tier!
The lieutenant colonel had no idea how Qianye, as a high-ranking officer of the expeditionary army, had gained such a connection. But this person was apparently a core character since he was trusted enough to be allowed to deal with such an enormous amount of military contributions—his future prospects were surely immeasurable.
At this time, the military contribution numbers had been processed, and a tall, attractive female officer read it out loud, “One first-rank viscount, one second-rank viscount, twenty third-rank viscounts, and 130 warriors of various ranks below the viscount level. Is there any mistake, sire?”
Although everyone had expected this much, the final numbers still shook everyone. These numbers would soon transform into a vast amount of resources, rows of high-grade armaments, and crates of black crystals. It could be said that the sum of all contributions received during the past ten-odd days of this office’s operation didn’t exceed this single transaction.
The lieutenant colonel confirmed the numbers several times before registering them into the military contribution voucher, a palm-sized silver plate engraved with origin arrays.
According to his convention, the handler of military contributions would more or less glean some profits from it. Qianye understood this etiquette and hinted that the lieutenant colonel could pick up the odd numbers. But this fortune was simply too dangerous. The lieutenant colonel declined righteously, claiming he was completely selfless and different from Count Xiaoshan’s men. Qianye only laughed without further comment.
After concluding the procedures, the lieutenant colonel asked while rubbing his hands, “Do you want to save the contributions for now or exchange them for resources?”
After a moment of silence, Qianye asked for a pen and paper. He then wrote down a list and handed it to the lieutenant colonel, saying, “Cash it in according to this list.”
The list included four grade-five guns, four grade-four guns, thirty sets of grade-two standard combat armor, and large amounts of physical origin grenades. The remainder were all converted to cultivation-use black crystals. This list would likely clear out half of the rewards in the warehouse in one go.
The lieutenant colonel ordered his men to retrieve the materials and asked solicitously, “Do you need any escorts?”
Seeing Qianye shake his head, the lieutenant colonel slapped his forehead and said, “I’m so stupid! Who would actually dare target you? Isn’t it equal to delivering themselves up?”
Moments later, Qianye drove away from the military contribution registration office, his jeep packed full with equipment—the value was enough to make people go crazy. Even Qianye himself found it somewhat surreal. The empire was truly generous this time around, but comparatively, Qianye was much more interested in the Zhao clan’s rewards. The items rewarded to the young scions of the major clans were the truly good stuff.
After Qianye left, a mithril card with records of his military contributions arrived upon a high-speed messenger airship which flew toward the expeditionary army headquarters at top speed. The mithril card had arrived at its destination before half a day had passed.
At this moment, an extremely large origin array had been set up within the headquarters which took up almost the entirety of their largest meeting room. Four out of the six kinetic towers at the headquarters were supplying energy for its operation. Apart from this, the origin array’s core required black crystals to supply additional energy.
The mithril card, after passing through several checks, was inserted into a specialized slot. The numbers within flowed out torrentially and poured into the origin array.
The big conference room at the headquarters had already been modified. The array projected a screen, upon which was displayed a series of contribution numbers. The contribution stats for the entire bloody battle would be collected and analyzed at the headquarters before getting transferred via high-speed airship to the empire’s Eastern, Western, and Transcendent Continents at set intervals.
Even the faraway imperial capital would receive these numbers after one day’s delay.
Similar screens were present not only at the expeditionary army headquarters but also at the four major clans. It was just that the data acquirement and maintenance costs had to be paid for by themselves. This was an enormous expense, but unexpectedly, the empire had opened its coffers and offered to pay for half of these costs. Thus, it reached the point where many middle-ranked and even the more powerful lower-ranked aristocratic families could now afford it.
The main conference hall at the expeditionary army headquarters had a duplex design. Presently, there were several people standing on the second floor, watching the constantly changing numbers on the screen.
These people included Duke Ding, Duke Wei, and the expeditionary army commander-in-chief, Marshal Luo Mingji, as well as the two deputy commanders-in-chief, Xiao Liongshi and Yang Shuo. All of them were illustrious characters. If the dark races were to see these characters here, they might mobilize all their forces overseeing the bloody battle immediately.
At this moment, the list was moving constantly, and every change would display the relevant information on the large map which occupied an entire wall, showing where exactly the contribution originated from.
Duke Wei observed briefly and said with deep implications, “Some days ago, there were still some unknown characters rising to power, but the ones ranked at the fore are all major aristocratic families in the end. This goes to show that the nobility is, without a doubt, the true backbone of the empire.”
Duke Ding also nodded. “It is indeed so. The empire is fine without the Imperial Family, but not one day can it go by without the clans. Heh, heh.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Chapter 2/7 of the week ^_^ Enjoy!
Is anyone else hyped for Warcraft 3 reforged? It'll be great to revisit childhood memories.
TL: Legion ED: Moxie