Chapter 115: Not A Cliffhanger
As the crowd opened up, two rows of uniformed young women slowly made their way toward where Zhang and Lingqi were. Each of these young women could be considered beauties in their own right, snow white skin and delicate faces accompanied with well-proportioned figures. If one looked closely, every single one of these young women were equipped with beautifully made swords that hung by their waists.
After the two rows of young women emerged from the crowd, the two rows split apart and created a path in between them. Walking down the path that had opened were three familiar looking faces, Yuying, Ling and lastly Ai appeared.
The two rows of women stood in salute with one hand across their chest as their other hand laid atop the pummel of their swords. These were the very same women that had been recently freed from the provincial lord’s mansion. But unlike the day before where they were entirely untrained, after a day’s worth of training from the three beauties, these young women emitted an air of unity. Perhaps after a few more days of training they would be able to compare to a unit of new recruits who have gone through basic training.
Looking at how the young women had emerged from the crowd and how they were saluting, Zhang was amazed by the progress that his wives had made on them. “Maybe I should leave the training of all of the new recruits to them.” Zhang thought as he continued gripping the arm of the bald man who had insulted Lingqi.
Tao Qian who did not know the relation between Zhang, Lingqi, the three beauties who had just arrived and the troop of trainees simply just sat atop his sedan chair and let his eyes wonder about trying to figure out the situation. To him the three beauties who had just arrived were most likely the daughters or wives of some wealthy household because disregarding how the three beauties looked, the women who were their servants were all very beautiful and to have servants who possessed such beauty meant that one must have considerable wealth and influence.
As for what household the three beauties came from he did not know, but he knew as a matter of fact that they were most likely not from New Moon city because if they were he would definitely have heard of or have met them before. Being one of the powers only under the provincial lord, Tao Qian and the other aristocratic families were at the pinnacle of power and influence.
To top it off the provincial lord was rather reclusive so the maintaining of New Moon City and the province itself was mostly left to the aristocratic families, of course the army was still under the provincial lord’s command.
“Have our men been alerted yet? I want those two doctors detained and these women detain them also and take them back to the part of the camp under our control.’ Tao Qian ordered while his eyes glinted.
“The people from the Aurora Kingdom shouldn’t have arrived yet and if these women have no relation to that Ran Kaitou fella who was put in charge by the kingdom then I can do whatever I wish with them. Even if they have relations to him, he’ll have to think twice before causing me trouble.” Tao Qian thought. News of the New Moon Province being added into the Aurora Kingdom had spread like wildfire throughout the camp and it was not a matter of if they would join or not but rather when they would join, so as long as Tao Qian did not offend Rai Kaitou who was said to be positioned as lord of the province or anyone from the Aurora Kingdom then considering his influence and status he could get away with anything else.
So believing that Yuying, Ling and Ai were simply here to ask Zhang and Lingqi who were doctors for treatment or something, Tao Qian began plotting.
Of course deep down he did not fear Ran Kaitou because of how much influence the alliance of five aristocratic families possessed. The only reason he did not want to offend Ran Kaitou was because Ran Kaitou was being backed by the Aurora Kingdom, no matter how much power and influence he and the rest of the aristocratic families held, if the higher ups in the Aurora Kingdom wished for them to disappear then they most definitely would.
What can ten thousand or so soldiers do to the armies of Aurora who numbered in the hundreds of thousands, also rumors of the prince of Aurora possessing extreme battle prowess had reached Tao Qian’s ears long ago. Zhang’s decisiveness and mercilessness had long been exaggerated, with tales in which he bathed in the blood of his enemies and the like being spread far and wide.
Although much has been said, the three beauties had only just arrived and were still the center of attention as they walked forward toward Zhang who was still gripping the bald man’s arm.
“I’m impressed by how much training you guys managed to do.” Lingqi said as she looked at her sisters and the trainees. When she had left to go look for Zhang, which was a few hours ago, the group could still be described as a ragtag mesh of unorganized people.
“There's nothing a few dozen laps and a ton of team work building can’t do.” Yuying said with a smile in response to Lingqi and she and the other two beauties neared Lingqi’s treatment station.
“It seems someone is causing trouble?” Ling said as her gaze caught the sight of Zhang bending the bald man’s arm at an uncomfortable angle.
Before anyone can reply to Ling, the sound of marching footsteps was audible and countless men clad in armor marched forth. A banner with the word Tao was visible as these men that could only be described as soldiers appeared behind Tao Qian.
“Ha… Ha… Now you’re in for it. My brother will kill you for doing this to me…” The bald man with the scar said to Zhang angrily.
“Unhand my brother!” A roar sounded out from amidst the soldiers of the Tao family. Soon a young man who looked to be in his later twenties emerged from the ranks of the Tao family’s soldiers. This young man unlike his brother had a head full of long flowing hair, tied up in a ponytail.
“And what if I don’t? In a situation such as this you think yelling commands at me would help?” Zhang asked as he strengthened his grip on the bald man’s arm.
“Listen to my command or else!” The bald man’s brother roared.
“Idiot…Does anyone even know how to ask nicely anymore?” Zhang cursed in his mind.
The bald man’s brother anxious to save his brother from Zhang’s grasp, drew his sword from its scabbard. Soon enough every single soldier of the Tao family drew their weapons and stood ready for battle.
Seeing the soldiers of the Tao family draw their weapons, the young women who were being trained by the beauties also drew their weapons. In terms of numbers the soldiers of the Tao family definitely made up the majority of the forces present, but in terms of power it was the unit of female combatants under the command of the beauties that were the stronger soldiers. Then of course there was Zhang, and the three beauties themselves who could more than likely defeat everyone present.
But before any fight could break out, yet again the sound of marching was audible. However, this time the people that arrived were neither in uniform or in armor. These men in fact resembled a ragtag team that had been thrown together without thought of cooperation in mind.
Zhang of course recognized many of these men as the same men that Ran Kaitou had brought to the hotel. Mixed inside this group of men was their leader, Ran Kaitou who had arrived because he had heard news of a confrontation possibly breaking out.
“Dammit, I knew this out goat would cause trouble…” Ran Kaitou cursed as he saw Tao Qian’s men with weapons drawn. Once his gaze swept to where Zhang was, Ran Kaitou couldn’t help but feel sorry for Tao Qian.
“Of all the people he could cause trouble for, he had to annoy those four.” Ran Kaitou thought as he shook his head.
“Break it up! All of you back down!” Ran Kaitou roared as he winked to Zhang. Right now he had to show everyone, be they commoners or aristocrats that he was in charge. Hoping Zhang would help him consolidate his position as the future provincial lord, Ran decided to put up a front. What he failed to take into account was whether Zhang would go along with his act or not.
Yuying, Ai, Ling and Lingqi narrowed their eyes as they all focused their gazes on Ran Kaitou, but did not say a word and simply waited to see what their husband would do.
Hearing Ran Kaitou’s words and seeing him wink, Zhang couldn’t help but grin. “I’ll play along and see how our soon to be provincial lord handles the situation.” He thought as he released the bald man’s arm and headed toward where his wives were standing.
Seeing Ran Kaitou’s arrival, Tao Qian signaled for the four men who were carrying his sedan chair to lower him to the ground. Slowly getting off the sedan chair he arrived in front of Ran Kaitou and began talking, ‘I take it that you are the infamous Ran Kaitou. We haven’t had the pleasure of meeting before but please take care of me in the future and likewise me and my fellow aristocrats will take care of our future lord.”
“I’ve heard lots about you too, senior Tao Qian. It is an honor to meet you, but I would have preferred that we met in a friendlier atmosphere. I’m not one to enjoy commanding others but I was tasked with ensuring the peace until the residents of New Moon City as safe behind newly built walls, so I’ll have to ask you to tell your men to sheath their weapons.” Ran Kaitou said while trying put up a stern and commanding atmosphere.
“I’m sorry to inform you, “future” lord, but sadly my men have not been behaving lately and there isn’t much someone as old as me can do to get these youngsters in line. If you wish my “future” lord, then perhaps you can try to get them to fall in line. But I feel that the other aristocrats wouldn’t like it if they heard that our future lord is discipline our soldiers in our place.” Tao Qian said, trying to hint Ran Kaitou to not go too far or else he and the other aristocrats would retaliate.
“Senior you're such a kidder, if it was left to me than your soldiers can be the scummiest bunch that roams the earth and it wouldn’t bother me a single bit. But my higher ups from Aurora have ordered me to keep the peace and if I don’t prefill my task then someone else will come and do it for me.” Ran Kaitou replied showing Tao Qian that he was no pushover and threats would not work on him.
“Brother I’m getting bored can we go now?” Asked Ai as she curled up against Zhang’s arm. Bored with the back and forth between Ran Kaitou and Tao Qian, Ai suggested to leave.
“Yea let’s leave while they are both preoccupied.” Yuying added.
Agreeing with the others, Ling turned her gaze to the trainees signaled them with her hand. Sheathing their swords, the trainees began leaving one by one in inconspicuous ways, as to not attract attention. Of course once nearly half of the trainees had sneaked off, someone noticed what was happening.
This person in fact was the bald man with the scar that ran across his scalp and ended at his forehead. “Stop them! Don’t let anyone of them get away!” He ordered while looking at the soldiers of the Tao family.
Ran Kaitou had long saw that Zhang’s people were slowly leaving so he had tried to preoccupy Tao Qian as to try to prevent further conflict to occur. But of course all of his efforts were wasted once the bald man caught sight of things.
“Enough… I said for everyone to back off!” Ran Kaitou roared as he stomped his foot onto the ground and caused an earthen wall to raise in front of the soldiers of the Tao family.
“Put away your arms or be arrested!” Ran Kaitou added as his ragtag group of men moved forward and encircled the Tao family’s soldiers. It was clear that despite lacking the uniformed presence of the Tao family’s soldier, Ran Kaitou’s men possessed a vast numerical advantage and appeared to be a tougher batch.
“Mao Liang, tell your men to sheath their swords.” Tao Qian said to the bald man’s younger brother. With a hmph, he made his way back to his sedan chair and departed. Seeing their master leaving the soldiers of the Tao family soon followed and left also.
“I’ll have my men find you all later and round you up… As long as you're still within the camp then there no getting away from me.” Tao Qian thought as he made his way through the crowd of people that were present.
“I’ll make sure to take care of you before I return to my honeymoon… People such are you should be removed before they cause unnecessary trouble. Also perhaps with you gone those other aristocrats will fall in line.” Zhang thought as he and the beauties headed back toward where the trainees were camped at.
From his encounter with Tao Qian, Zhang could tell why the provincial lord was able to amass so many black and white pears through sacrificing people unnoticed. It was because of selfish and corrupt officials such as Tao Qian who were only out for their own benefit. Perhaps no one besides the provincial lord knew about the incidents that were occurring, but had anyone in power been a tiny bit more intuitive than they might have caught wind of something.
Bad and corrupt officials only mean the people have to suffer, so if needed Zhang would make them all disappear and replace them with a fresh batch of officials.