Chapter 215 Business
Wei Lingmiao wasn’t able to meet Shangguan Ru in the end and what was in his mind was only the image of an eleven-year-old girl and the detailed descriptions added by many people. He left disconsolately, and even the fifty beauties couldn’t smooth over the regret in his heart.
But Gu Shenwei saw the red-crowned roc.
This was on the second night after the departure of the escorting team, and they hadn’t moved out of the territory of Golden Roc Castle yet. They set up a camp at the roadside. It was said that the roc had been spotted in this area. Several gongzis were eager to hunt the novelty to satiate their curiosity, but didn’t find anything until it was dark.
While everyone was sleeping soundly, Gu Shenwei quietly left the camp and wandered around. He had a strong foreboding that the red-crowned roc would find him.
The roc roiled up a gust of wind and sand when it landed. Its black feathers merged with the night and its red feathers on the head blurred in the faint moonlight. Only the pair of red eyes could be seen from afar as a flickering strange light.
Gu Shenwei pulled it to have its back to the camp, told it what had happened to him, and warned it to stay away from people.
The roc didn’t seem to fully understand what he said. It had spent a long time searching for this man, but when it finally found him it actually didn’t show too much enthusiasm except for pecking him with its long sharp beak.
Wei Gongzi’s escorting team was very large. There were fifty carriages for carrying those prostitutes alone, one for each prostitute. These women slept and got up late, which greatly slowed the pace of the whole team. But Wei Lingmiao was in no hurry, and every night he would have fun with those gongzis who had come to see him off. So it took twice the time for them to reach the east border of Golden Roc Castle, and another ten days to arrive at the camp of allied forces of Golden Roc Castle and Iron Mountain.
The base camp was stationed near the north-east mountain pass, where Gu Shenwei and Shangguan Ru had once been under siege and it was almost impossible to escape.
Big Head God and Shangguan Nu had gotten the news long ago that the gongzi of the Governor would pass by, and had made some arrangements. The seeing-off well-wishers of Jade City also chose this place as their destination.
Wei Lingmiao spent three days at the camp and received a grand reception. He was also generous enough to share the fifty beauties. In those days, the men of the camp had been sniffing women’s scents and fighting on all occasions like rutting stags.
Big Head God liked the tune and treated it as ferocity and strength.
Everyone who had slightly sharper eyes and had met the father-in-law and son-in-law once could see that the allied forces of Golden Roc Castle and Iron Mountain belonged to Big Head God.
Big Head God was huge and took up all the room of all the others, especially his son-in-law Shangguan Nu.
Amongst the group of greeters, Gu Shenwei almost didn’t see Shangguan Nu’s figure. It was not until Big Head God turned around and pulled out his son-in-law like grabbing a chicken that the crowd finally noticed him. The gloomy-faced eighth young lord had been standing beside his father-in-law. It was just that he had been blocked by a huge arm.
Shangguan Nu had always been hoping to be fully in charge and act independently, and hadn’t expected that he would fall into the hands of a person who was more tyrannical than his father the Unique King.
The Big Head God had no concept of sharing and also had no tradition of sitting as equals at the same table. Since Shangguan Nu was his son-in-law, he had to obey his orders unequivocally.
Although Shangguan Nu had one hundred killers and five hundred cutters under him, it was still incomparable to the thousands of troops of Iron Mountain. Big Head God had assigned the team to the Iron Mountain troops and started giving orders to take over without even asking for his opinion.
Shangguan Nu had actually tried to resist. But every time he opened his mouth, Big Head God would smack his son-in-law on the shoulder with his hard, heavy, and boulder-like fist, burst out in laughter and say, “We’re family, what’s the difference between yours and mine? It must be the same reason that Unique King sent you to cooperate with me. After all, the credits are all yours after we get rid of Waning Moon Hall. If not for my daughter, do you think I would be willing to meddle in this matter?”
After several failed attempts, Shangguan Nu could only hide his discontent in his heart. He couldn’t compete with the Big Head God. Even those killers and cutters were dead quiet when seeing Big Head God. Who dared to disobey this giant’s orders?
Shangguan Nu couldn’t turn to his father for help, and he even had to deliberately keep it a secret because the encirclement and suppression mission was a trial for him. If he couldn’t handle the matter of seizing command, his position would be even more precarious.
Gu Shenwei knew of Big Head God’s ambition and that the bandit gang wasn’t a long-term solution afterall. Like the Lord of Golden Roc Castle, this seemingly careless but meticulous Iron Mountain Chief wanted to earn himself a title of ‘King’, a real king.
The north-east path was once a wilderness, a place of banditry, but now it was as peaceful as those ancient times of peace and prosperity. Big Head God had sternly commanded that the bandits of the Iron Mountain were prohibited to carry on the old trade and that violators would be killed without mercy. He had also made the point widely publicized to attract refugees to settle here.
Gu Shenwei had actually seen several small villages along the way.
Big Head God’s stated intention was to make a long stand-off with Waning Moon Hall.
Gu Shenwei hoped for the Iron Mountain to grow more powerful as the stronger it was the better, but he was more concerned about another person.
He had already visited the eighth young lord alone, but wasn’t able to see Zhong Heng until the last day of Wei Gongzi’s stay.
Zhong Heng, dressed in the black clothes of the Golden Roc killers, went inside the tent at midnight. As soon as he went inside, he said, “A big business, Brother Yang. Are you interested in it?”
For Zhong Heng, who was good at beating around the bush, it was really rare for him to talk so directly. Considering that Zhong Heng was also adept at killing someone through another’s hand, Gu Shenwei deliberately treated him coldly and didn’t answer him, but instead asked him, “Lord Zhong, are you used to not wearing an official uniform?”
“Heh heh, it’s just a suit. I can wear it, and I can also take it off.
Next, the two chatted for a while. Zhong Heng went over the old topic and asked if the killer wanted to participate in a big business.
“We can talk about the business later, I’m here to listen to Lord Zhong’s secret.”
“Same thing, my secret is the business.”
Each governor would take a huge sum of ‘peace talisman’, and Wei Song’s appetite was especially big. How to safely deliver the silver to their home country had always been a big problem for the successive officials. The money was almost an open secret in Jade City, but was a taboo in the Central Plains. The official would definitely be impeached if he dared to transport the silver in a swaggering manner.
Nor was it possible to launder the money through underground money shops like the bandits, because none of the underground banks could transfer millions of silver easily, not to mention that it was also difficult to deceive the public.
So the current governor Wei Song came up with an idea. He asked for his son to come to Jade City, ostensibly for pleasure, but in fact to smuggle the bribe money he had already received before he left office.
“But the Kun Society hasn’t paid the one million or so silver yet.”
“This is the cleverness of the father and son of the Wei family. The whole Jade City knows that the ‘peace talisman’ has not been collected yet, so they will never expect that Wei Gongzi will take the silver away.”
“But where is the silver hidden?”
Gu Shenwei had been staying in the escorting team. He noticed that although the team was not small, the carriages for transporting the prostitutes occupied more than half of it, while Wei Lingmiao’s own luggage was actually not that much.
“That’s my ‘last secret’. The silver has actually been changed into gold and hidden under the beauties’ butt.”
Gu Shenwei suddenly came to understand. Those wagons were specially made, of which the bottom plates were made of gold and then covered with thin planks. Xu Yanwei and many others could never have imagined that the carriages they were traveling in were so valuable.
“Isn’t it more ostentatious for Wei Gongzi to bring fifty prostitutes back to the Central Plains?”
“The Central Plains is thousands of miles away from Jade City, and the news here won’t reach there easily. Besides, before entering the Central Plains sphere of influence, Wei Gongzi will get rid of all the ‘ostentation’…”
Zhong Heng drew his finger across his neck.
Gu Shenwei had seen lots of blood and conspiracy, but still felt that the father and son of the Wei family were too vicious. “I’m afraid this is also the reason why Lord Zhong got into the trouble of being killed.”
“Ai, there’s no way out. The Governor needs a servant to do the dirty work for him, but doesn’t want this servant to know too much about it. The servant knows it clearly at heart, but can’t get away with it either. I thought I could take away a hundred thousand taels of silver, and together with the money I had deposited, I could live a secluded life in the Western Regions. But even this small wish couldn’t be realized.”
“It seems that Lord Zhong is interested in the gold.”
“Everyone has the right to take away the ill-gotten gains.” Less than a month ago, Zhong Heng was the imposing patrol commandant. After only a few days in the Iron Mountain camp, he talked more like a bandit now. Then he revealed a knowing smile. “Aren’t you interested in it, Brother Yang? You’ve spared my life, and I’ve decided to repay you with the secret.”
The matter couldn’t be simpler, Zhong Heng wanted to use the killer to get rid of Wei Lingmiao. But what puzzled Gu Shenwei was why the other side was so direct this time. “I’m still young, so I don’t have a big appetite and I can’t swallow so much money. Lord Zhong has kept the promise and told me the secret, and that’ll be all for today. Not to mention that the eighth young lord is here, it’s not up to me to do the business.”
Zhong Heng knew that the killer would have such doubts, and his strategy today was to talk frankly and sincerely. “The eighth young lord has his own difficulties. Big Head God keeps a close eye on him, the killers under him are also being watched. He would like to do the business, but he can’t move out.”
After seeing the father-in-law and son-in-law, Gu Shenwei knew what Zhong Heng said was true. “You can do it yourself, my lord.”
“Me? Wei Gongzi has several experts around. People like me approaching him is nothing more than courting death.”
“Okay, I’ll do it.”
Zhong Heng had prepared for a long talk, so he was a bit surprised that the killer was convinced so soon. “How many people do you need? Those killers are occupied, but the cutters can be appointed by the eighth young lord at will, and they are not that noticeable.”
“No need, I’m prepared.”
Gu Shenwei’s words sounded like that he had secretly brought a group of helpers with him. Zhong Heng seemed to suddenly wake up and admiringly nodded. “The post house of the Central Plains is about five days away from here. You can gallop there in two days. Wei Gongzi will kill all the prostitutes before they reach the post house and then move light and fast. Brother Yang had better make a move in advance.”
Gu Shenwei also nodded to show that he got it. “My lord has sent me such a big business, so how should I repay you?”
“Brother Yang probably won’t believe it if I say I don’t need any return. I am penniless now, and twenty percent will be enough for me. To be honest, I feel ungrounded without money. Uh, there’s also the eighth young lord. He will provide protection and support, so he will take forty percent, the remaining forty percent will all belong to you, my brother.”
This was a generous scheme to share the booty. As the killer’s previous lord, Shangguan Nu surprisingly agreed to have the same amount of share. Gu Shenwei couldn’t help thinking more about it, but he still agreed. Not for the gold, but for Wei Lingmiao.
He would kill Wei Lingmiao. This idea had occupied his mind along the way and made him sleepless at night. And he would do it all by himself and question the reason why the Gu family had been wiped out.
Zhong Heng said that Wei Gongzi had happened to get involved in that assassination, but Gu Shenwei was not at all convinced.