Chapter 334: Bidding [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
Wei Potian hemmed and hawed for a long while before making things clear.
It turned out that Zhao Yuying had once appeared in his sickroom while he was bedridden, and for some reason, none of the noble ladies had appeared that night. This independent and unique lady walked around the room and even opened Wei Potian’s sheets to check his injuries before leaving with a disdainful expression.
The process of inspecting his wounds was presumably quite intense judging from how the Wei clan heir seemed distracted while talking about it. Wei Potian never saw her again afterward until her sudden appearance when Dong Qifeng attacked the city.
Even Wei Potian himself had no idea what he was expecting when he ran over in the early morning to ask Qianye about her. But as soon as he heard that she was the granddaughter of Duke You, Wei Potian understood that it was impossible for her to be a noble lady who had come for marriage.
A wedding was to the benefit of two families and to form an alliance between the clans. However, Far East Wei Clan had always maintained a neutral stance in the hundreds of years of its history and never formed marital connections with the major clans. It wouldn’t be a small matter if the Zhao clan had such an intention and Wei Potian would have known about it.
“Potian? Do you need any help?” Qianye’s question roused Wei Potian from his reverie.
He thought about it seriously and suddenly let out a wry laugh. “No, you don’t need to do anything. It’s enough now that I know who she is.”
Qianye went silent for a moment and then said sympathetically while patting his shoulder, “I must admit, it’s a truly courageous choice! But I shouldn’t get involved in this matter, so take care of yourself.”
Wei Potian opened his mouth but didn’t know what to say and left in a dazed state.
Qianye watched Wei Potian’s receding figure and shook his head. With Zhao Yuying’s character, it truly wasn’t appropriate for him to recommend her to be his brother’s wife. Although it was Wei Potian’s own business if he wanted to leap into the flaming abyss, Qianye decided it wasn’t appropriate for him to give him that final kick on the butt. Besides, judging from Wei Potian’s distracted mood, it seemed there were some other obstacles.
After sending Wei Potian off, Qianye found a rare opportunity to sit down and deal with proper business. A thick stack of documents had accumulated on the desk in just half a day’s time, through which Qianye looked one by one.
Dark Flame and seventh division’s reorganization was on the right track—they were already beginning joint training, and the preparations for the westward campaign was also progressing methodically. The battlefield outside of the city had already been cleaned. The various armaments and supplies had been sorted and stored away after making inventory. However, the most troublesome were those captives and airships.
This kind of private army was mostly made up of family servants and descendants of faraway branches. Hence, their loyalty to the clan and family was high. Incorporating them into one’s troops would be akin to planting a mine.
This was also one of the reasons why captives in civil conflicts were sometimes massacred. But since the other party had surrendered and the battle had already ended, Qianye simply didn’t have the heart to kill the ten thousand soldiers.
Meanwhile, airships were considered luxury goods on Evernight Continent since their maintenance costs were colossal. Not only was there a shortage of technicians, the required parts would also have to be bought from the upper continents. The Dong family’s airships were mostly freight ships, and they were also quite old. There was no use in keeping them, but it was also a pity to just abandon them—it was quite the dilemma.
Qianye thought about several methods to deal with them, but all he came up with was either not feasible or too wasteful. All in all, there wasn’t a fully satisfactory solution to this.
Song Zining waltzed in just as Qianye was busy with work. It seemed the injuries that had been worrying him had taken a turn for the better. After the two talked for a while, Song Zining came to understand the predicament Qianye was in. He then immediately ran over to the residence of the third young miss of the Chongyang Hou Family and asked to meet Sun Kaiyan.
The Marquis of Chongyang and the Song clan were longtime friends. The moment he announced his identity, the personal guards immediately invited him through the doors, and a maid hurried over to bring him into the pavilion in the inner courtyard.
Immediately after seeing him, Sun Kaiyan asked with a smile, “Zining, long time no see. Is Mulan well?”
Song Zining replied with a laugh, “She’s doing fine. You, on the other hand, have gotten even more beautiful during this time.”
Sun Kaiyan chuckled. “What glibness!”
The maid beside her chimed in from Song Zining’s side, “Young Miss, Seventh Young Master isn’t exaggerating at all! You probably don’t know, but the eyes of the Zhou family and Tian Family’s young masters were about to pop out after seeing you!”
Sun Kaiyan snorted. “You cheeky lass. Watch how I’ll tear your mouth apart in a while!”
That maid only giggled. Although she apologized politely, there wasn’t the faintest trace of fear on her face.
Sun Kaiyan said to Song Zining, “Can’t help it. This lass has gotten used to being rude since childhood. Zining, did you come here just to chat?”
Song Zining smiled faintly and proceeded straight to the point, “Kai Yan, what do you think you should rely on to take the Marchionette position?”
The two had known each other for many years and shared a good relationship. She didn’t really feel offended even though Song Zining had directly mentioned such private matters. She was, however, somewhat stumped by the question.
She immediately sighed and said, “How should I know? Wei Potian and I originally got along quite well, but now, there’s an entire group of orioles and swallows around him. How can I ever catch him alone? It’s not even possible to exchange a few words with him alone! Actually, I’ve stopped thinking too much about this matter. I’ll just take it as coming out on vacation. Could it be that you have some bright ideas?”
Song Zining had already planned for this in advance. “Actually, the crux of this matter doesn’t lie with Wei Potian and you, but on Marquis Chongyang.”
Sun Kaiyan was startled. “Why do you say so?”
Song Zining smiled and said, “This matter has already reached a stalemate. Even if you have methods to break the status quo, the others won’t just sit idly by. All of this is because Marquis Bowang casually said ‘as long as the youngsters are in love’. The way to break this stalemate also lies with Marquis Wei.”
Sun Kaiyan’s brows were slightly knitted together but seemed to have realized something soon afterward.
“Both of us are very clear what the real significance of a marriage is. As such, only by having Marquis Chonyang negotiate with Marquis Bowang will you have any hope of sealing this deal. And during this process, your status and reputation in the clan are extremely important. The greater your weight, the more chips Marquis Sun will be willing to throw out, and the greater the chances of moving Marquis Bowang.”
Sun Kaiyan said with a frown, “That may be so, but what should I do?”
Song Zining waved his folding fan and said, “Actually, there’s an opportunity right in front of us. The great battle just now ended in an unrestrained victory. Although the Sishui clan ranks on the lower end among the middle ranked nobility, dealing with an army that had mobilized in full force isn’t that easy. This battle was a complete victory; the merits involved aren’t small and can be considered quite dazzling. Didn’t you also climb the city walls to take part in this? If you can bring back some captives, it will be a proclamation of your military accomplishments. Everyone knows the number of guards you brought this time, and their ratio to the number of prisoners will serve as a measure of your accomplishment in people’s eyes.”
Sun Kaiyan felt a rush of excitement after hearing this. The Great Qin Empire had always given the most weight to military accomplishments, and the nobility weren’t an exception. All of these noble ladies were to be married into other families and wouldn’t take part as a family successor. However, military accomplishments would definitely increase their status and resource quotas within the clan.
But she hesitated for a moment and said, “But the captives are all in Dark Flame’s hands.”
Song Zining laughed and said, “Those captives are all private soldiers of the Sishui family and this is Evernight Continent. What use does Dark Flame have for them? They don’t dare take these people into their ranks, and it’ll be quite the waste to sell them off as ordinary slaves. As long as you propose to buy these captives, Dark Flame Commander Qianye won’t have any reason to refuse.”
“You’re right! I’ll go find him right away!”
Sun Kaiyan had a brisk temperament and did whatever came to mind. After saying goodbye to Song Zining, she ran toward Dark Flame headquarters with her maids and guards in tow.
Earlier on, these noble ladies had thrown Dark Flame into chaos in order to besiege Wei Potian. The guards all recognized Sun Kaiyan and thus she was able to meet Qianye without any difficulty. She said as soon as she arrived, “Commander Qian, I want to buy a batch of captives and also a couple of airships, those belonging to the Dong family.”
Qianye was just worrying about how to deal with this difficult situation when Sun Kaiyan came knocking at his door. How could he refuse such an offer? He immediately summoned Song Hu and opened the list of spoils, and the two parties began to negotiate.
Sun Kaiyan didn’t look through the thick stack of documents in detail. She only wanted numbers and a certain proportion of ordinary soldiers and officers. She paid no attention to specifics of who they were.
When Qianye asked how many captives she needed, Sun Kaiyan replied, “Five hundred, no, make it one thousand!”
This number astonished Qianye. The proportion of fighters in the Dong family private army was quite high, and it would require a force of sufficient scale in order to thoroughly incorporate all of them. But that was Sun Kaiyan’s own business and had nothing to do with him.
Qianye, however, didn’t know that Sun Kaiyan was thinking how the more she bought, the less other noble ladies would be able to buy. From the very beginning, she hadn’t hoped to be able to hide this from the other young misses—the best way was to take drastic measures.
After reaching an agreement, Sun Kaiyan had her followers bring out the payment immediately. That which she had brought along were high purity energy-grade black crystals, a currency that was welcome anywhere. After the big deal was concluded, Qianye left the rest to Song Hu and had him arrange for the Sun family people to go and pick out their captives.
Blackflow City wasn’t very big. The group of young misses had one eye on Wei Potian, and the other on each other. Before long, Sun Kaiyan’s movements had reached the noble ladies’ ears, and her reason for doing so was revealed within hours. It was unknown whether their clever advisors had figured it out or if someone had leaked this news.
The many noble ladies who had been locked in a stalemate immediately found a glimmer of hope. They all realized that the key to obtaining the status of Marchioness Bowang actually lay with their families and clans, and the support from their clans would naturally depend on their own performance. Hence, all of them began to take action.
Not long after Sun Kaiyan had left, Qianye replaced Wei Potian’s position and was surrounded by a group of noble ladies. The captives and old airships which had been distressing him all this time were robbed clean, and the noble ladies almost lost courteousness in a bid to get a bigger share.
The difficult problem was placed back in the Dark Flame commander’s hands.
The share available to each of them was an issue of principles and prestige—he couldn’t skimp on this. All of these noble ladies were of extraordinary backgrounds. There were three ladies whose fathers were only feudal lords, but despite their ranks being inferior to the aristocracy, they were either high ranking frontier officers with abundant troops under their command or possessed powerful connections. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have had the confidence to send their daughters over to form a connection with Marquis Wei.
The slightest mismanagement would make it impossible not to offend people. Qianye was still hesitating about this matter when one of them started to bid.
This meant trouble—the women gathered here were highly competitive. Who would be willing to fall behind? Within moments, they had drawn their daggers and raised the prices to exorbitant heights.
Qianye saw that the situation was going out of hand and immediately shouted, “Shut up, all of you!!!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Chapter 4/7 of the week. Enjoy ^_^ That shut up in the end :P Haha...
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