However, the origin bullet was as slow as it was weak, and Qianye couldn’t even be bothered to move away or dodge. Ji Rui blocked hurriedly with an awkward expression, slapping the projectile onto the floor. He didn’t have Qianye’s steel-like constitution, so blocking the bullet bare-handed left his white palm with some broken skin and blood.
With an ashen expression, Ji Rui roared, “Fool!”
A woman ran out from the courtyard. She was clad in Chinese-style clothing, and the traces of age on her countenance could hardly hide her beautiful features. Even her angry expression contained a different kind of allure that made one want to pounce on her. She was rather tall, with a narrow waist and plump hip that only added to her attraction as she ran—a walking rarity through and through.
She rushed out of the courtyard and said through clenched teeth, “Lord, that man killed our son, you have to avenge him for me!”
Ji Rui frowned unhappily. “It’s all a misunderstanding. You go back first and we’ll talk about this after I send the guest off.”
“No, I must kill him! You, are you the one who killed my son?” She was about to rush at Qianye but was stopped firmly by the guards. The soldiers were more afraid of Qianye hurting her than the other way around. Whoever had heard of Qianye’s past exploits would feel deep apprehension.
Qianye glanced at the woman’s facial features and found them somewhat similar to the thirteenth young master who had died to his blade. He said nothing on the spot and simply waited for her to continue.
Liu Yuanxi stepped in to console the woman. “Madam He, it’s all a misunderstanding, please go back first.”
Madam He paid him no heed, however. She looked at little Zhuji with a fierce expression and pointed a trembling finger at her. “Are you that little slut who seduced my son?”
“What’s a slut?” Zhuji looked up at Qianye.
Unable to hold back in the end, he sneered, “Your son wanted to capture my daughter first. What do you have to say about that?”
“Since my son wants it, why won’t she just sleep with him!?” Madam He spoke as if it were right and proper.
Qianye broke into a laugh while Ji Rui’s expression turned dark. He shouted while stamping his feet, “Drag her away! Are you all deaf?”
The attendants finally towed the madam away into the inner courtyard, but her cries were still audible through the wall.
Ji Rui’s smile became rather forced. “Sigh, all of this is my fault, I was too lax with them. Please don’t take it to heart, General Qianye.”
“How can I? The City Lord’s methods are quite strict, actually. I was almost about to tell her that her son died because I wanted him to.”
Ji Rui laughed dryly. “You really do know how to jest.”
Qianye laughed loudly, “You’re too kind, I don’t deserve that much praise.”
After exchanging some back and forth pleasantries, Qianye left with little Zhuji.
The smile on Ji Rui’s face disappeared as Qianye’s figure vanished, replaced by an ashen countenance. An aide beside him was also gazing out intently. Finally seeing an opportunity to express his views, he said, “Sire, isn’t this fellow too arrogant? Do you want me to make some arrangements? Have him captured?”
Ji Rui was currently full of pent up anger, and his fury boiled up after hearing these words. With a raise of his hand, he gave the inept advisor a heavy slap, sending him flying with a bloodied face. The man’s face swelled up like a pig’s head.
Ji Rui’s anger didn’t stop there. “Useless, all of you are useless people! You can’t even cultivate to the champion realm, what do you know!?”
The inept advisor’s head was spinning around. He knew not what was going on and could only say yes.
Ji Rui scanned his surroundings and grew even angrier after seeing the naivety of his puzzled followers. “All of you too, all rubbish!”
After scolding his subordinates, he rushed back into the manor alone with his hands clasped behind his back.
After returning to the study, Ji Rui found his heart beating like a drum. He simply couldn’t calm down from the mixture of anger and fear.
This whole time, no one had noticed that the one he was afraid of wasn’t Qianye but Zhuji. From the moment they had met up until their departure, Qianye had been carrying the little girl, and intentionally or otherwise, the lass was always looking straight at Ji Rui.
Ji Rui had read the battle report from the Black Grove no less than five times. He was very clear that he would suffer dearly if little Zhuji were to spray a concentrated cloud of green gas onto him.
There was no way to confirm whether she could condense her poison, but Ji Rui wasn’t willing to find out personally.
At the thought of Qianye’s order, however, Ji Rui became much more spirited. In any case, this could be considered a compensation of sorts and it was only the beginning. It was at this time that a knock came from the study door and Liu Yuanxi walked in. “Sir, are we really going to let Qianye go just like that? Madam He isn’t easily placated.”
Ji Rui snorted coldly. “This woman knows I dote on her. How much trouble has she caused for me in recent years? Thirteen is also a big troublemaker. If I die, do you think we can hand Southern Blue to him?”
Liu Yuanxi replied, “Thirteenth Young Master was still young and definitely needed more tempering. But now that he’s gone and Qianye is allowed to walk away just like that… Sir, I think… it’s going to be hard to convince the masses. Who knows if Madam He will do anything drastic?”
Ji Rui snorted. “The Black Grove was our defeat.”
Liu Yuanxi was startled. He wanted to argue, but Ji Rui raised his hand and said, “Speak no more, I’ve decided.”
The chief steward could only lower his head. “Yes, Sir, but about Madam He…”
Ji Rui banged the table with a cold laugh. “What can she do? It’s true that her father owns two large mercenary corps, but now that Stormwind Fury has been destroyed, what is he going to threaten me with?”
“Stormwind Fury has been routed but Icefrost Massacre is still intact,” Liu Yuanxi reminded.
“I refuse to believe he’ll deploy Icefrost Massacre to fight me just for this,” Ji Rui replied indifferently.
He placed Qianye’s box on the table and said, “Besides, Qianye also gave us compensation for this matter. He placed an order for forty high-quality kinetic sales, and this is the downpayment. He also promised not to help the natives, so we can reconstruct our logging camps. This compensation is enough for us to formally admit our defeat at the Black Grove.”
“Forty kinetic sails! Is he trying to build a fleet?” Liu Yuanxi was startled. He observed the contents of the box carefully before closing the lid and putting it carefully back in front of Ji Rui.
“Yes, a fleet!” Ji Rui was confident. Forty kinetic sails was enough to equip eight warships, six if some were reserved for backup. It would be even more astonishing if Qianye had wanted to install them all on a single ship—only a battleship-grade vessel could be equipped with forty kinetic sails.
A fellow building an airship fleet was even more difficult to provoke than a mercenary corps, not to mention Qianye who had just routed a large mercenary corps.
There was no telling what Ji Rui would think if he were to find out that these forty sails would only make up five giant ones, and that they couldn’t even fill one corner of Martyr’s Palace.
Liu Yuanxi’s thoughts were quite active. He immediately said, “Sire, this is a great opportunity! No matter what Qianye is trying to build, kinetic sails are only a single part. Cannons, armor, engines, every component involves money. If he wants to build a fleet, then we should sell him a fleet!”
Ji Rui replied, “Well said! Since Qianye wants to build a fleet, he will eventually find out that only we have the right amount and quality of resources!”
Liu Yuanxi said after a moment of silence, “As I see it, Qianye is only testing the waters and trying to check our attitude. With his character, the Thirteenth Young Master is destined to be killed; the key is what happens after that. This forty-sail order is just to test the waters. Cooperation is only logical since we’ve admitted defeat and written off past enmities. There’s a big fortune waiting for us to earn.”
Seeing Liu Yuanxi’s increasing excitement, Ji Rui said with a calm expression, “Old Liu, we’re both getting old. It’s true that we love money, but we can’t let it cloud our judgment. There’s a reason why I admitted defeat. Just think about it, what kind of person does it take to build an airship fleet?”
Liu Yuanxi was enlightened. At the very least, a single mercenary corps couldn’t fork up such a big sum of money. This proved that there was a massive entity behind Qianye’s back, a power no weaker than Southern Blue.
Ji Rui waved his hand in response to the chief steward’s gesture of admiration, instead commanding him to keep an eye on Madam He and prevent her from doing stupid things.
How could one be so prudent and mindful of the bigger picture? Ji Rui might not like the thirteenth young master that much, but the latter was still his son. How could the city lord let just anyone kill him? The reason he had swallowed his anger was never because of this purchase order. It was because little Zhuji was so close by and Qianye’s threat was in plain sight—he was completely at their mercy.
Even if little Zhuji’s green gas couldn’t kill Ji Rui in one go, she could still wipe out half the city if she were to spray it outside. The city was his life’s work, and seeing it destroyed would be even more agonizing to him than death.
With the butcher’s blade above his head, Ji Rui had no choice but to obey. Hence, the city lord chose to exit the stage immediately when Qianye mentioned a fair deal.
As for Liu Xiyuan, the man was still a subordinate despite being his chief steward. There was a different set of principles when dealing with subordinates—one had to discuss long-term plans and bigger pictures, speaking more about ideals and less about money. Ji Rui was an expert in this regard. If he didn’t say these things, was he supposed to admit that he was scared stiff by little Zhuji?
Additionally, Ji Rui had finally managed to investigate all of Qianye’s information and each description of his many accomplishments shook the city lord’s heart. He had noticed many things from these withered reports. He could see that Qianye’s connection with the Zhao clan wasn’t as simple as it seemed on the surface, especially since all of the outstanding youths from the clan had some kind of association with him.
After some thought, Ji Rui summoned a guard and said, “Invite General Lu over, I’ll be waiting for him in the side hall.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Negotiating with a nuke on his shoulder XP
TL: Legion ED: Moxie