Chapter 32 The Family’s Decision
Following the Seille River’s flowing waters all the way to the north was the Gaul Empire’s sole open port, Dunerk. As the empire’s third major harbor and the most important trading centre between the various countries of the northern West Continent, Dunerk’s population and commerce were flourishing, as it was one of the few trading centres in the empire.
Several kilometers to the south of Dunerk City was a large black pine forest, with the oldest tree in this black pine forest being more than a thousand years old. It was said that there were often bandits who roamed about in the black pine forest. Hence, very few law-abiding commoners dared to go deep into the forest.
The terrain of the black pine forest consisted of moderate slopes. Behind a small hill along the Seille River, there were wooden buildings made from the pine trees. The structure of these wooden buildings was simple and coarse, but each one was extremely large and spacious. Between the wooden buildings were walled pathways that linked together to obstruct the whistling, cold wind.
These wooden buildings were clearly quite old. Their outer walls were covered with thick, fallen leaves and mosses. Surrounding them were even more innumerable pines scattered about. If someone from a distance or even by the side of the wooden buildings were unfamiliar with the ins and outs of this place, it would be impossible for them to realize that there were such structures like this here.
The heights of these wooden buildings were arranged in an irregular but picturesque way, obviously following some kind of scattering pattern that could shield and protect one another. Any one wooden building was covered in another’s bow range, making their defense extremely astonishing.
The sky grew darker. At the center of the wooden buildings was a log cabin, in which close to a hundred burly men stood quietly inside the first floor hall without moving a single muscle.
The vice-president of Dunerk’s Chamber of Commerce, Old Man Blackbeard, was the city’s most successful miller and biggest flour supplier. He was widely known in Dunerk and its surrounding cities as kind, charitable, and public-spirited. Currently, this imposing man sat, reclined against the large, golden eagle chair in the hall, a black bear leather cloak draped over his shoulders. He held a thick cigar in his mouth, complacently surveying these close to a hundred tall and burly men who had looks of unruly arrogance across their faces inside the hall.
Old Man Blackbeard had a large and extremely eye-catching pitch black beard that practically covered half of his face. He and Lin Qi shared the same distinct facial outline, black hair, black eyes, and slightly dark, yellow skin. It was clear that he had also descended from a pure, oriental bloodline. But just like Lin Qi, Old Man Blackbeard’s stature was extremely imposing; many men from the West Continent weren’t as tall or as big as he was.
With a slightly burlier figure than Lin Qi, Old Man Blackbeard’s stature was lofty and majestic, yet there wasn’t the slightest bit of excess flesh visible on his body. Instead, all of the bulges on his body were lumps of extremely strong muscles. He sat on the chair, like a venerated steel statue, his whole body emitting a hint of a wild yet valiant scorching aura that made others feel suffocated.
“Such unfortunate news!” After he finished smoking the cigar, he tossed the stub to the floor, rubbing it with his foot until it was thoroughly mashed. Old Man Blackbeard then roared in a low voice with a gloomy face, “An extremely unfortunate piece of news! During the past year, the empire once again had good weather, damn it, good weather! The wheat in this daddy’s twenty warehouses will soon sprout, but I still can’t sell even a handful of flour!”
The close to a hundred men simultaneously sighed, then cursed the various gods in the heavens in unison, blaming them for the empire’s good weather and abundant harvest these past few years. The curses of these men had plenty of variety, and all kinds of obscenities emerged in an endless stream. If someone proficient in various dialects were present, that person would find that these men came from at least seven different countries and prefectures of the northern part of the continent.
“But, there is still some good news!” Old Man Blackbeard waited until these men finished venting their grievances, then grinned from ear to ear and said, “The good news is that our hotel business is doing well, the sea trade is also pretty good, and our brothers who especially poured in their utmost effort managed to secure gold that was being transported by two ships of the Vias Business Union. This extra income was enough to cancel out the loss from our flour business.”
The men loudly clapped their hands as ten men carried in several heavy, bronze chests and walked up from the back of the hall. These square bronze chests were heavily placed on the floor, and when the men lifted the chests’ lids, the glittering gold and silver coins inside were exposed.
“So this year, our brothers can still enjoy a rich, new year! But I repeatedly warn all brothers, during these next three months of winter rest, every day you have to sincerely pray. Pray that next year, the empire will experience a great drought, or a big flood, or even a plague of locusts, but definitely no more good weather!”
The men continuously applauded, stamped their feet, loudly clamoured, and laughed wildly together. Glittering gold coins, shining silver coins—the old man was precisely the old man. He was still so bold and straightforward! Of course, it was also thanks to the brothers who had poured in their utmost efforts. Otherwise, there would’ve been no way for the gold from those two ships to end up in their hands. Where else could they enjoy such a rich new year?
Just when the men were dividing these gold and silver coins according to the number of one’s subordinates and the amount of contributions made, the door was suddenly pushed open and Tie Chui walked in with heavy steps. Once he entered, he shouted, “Lord, young master caused a little trouble in Borali, and he provoked a good-for-nothing son of the Barwell Family. That boy actually asked the Dragon Cavalry and Copper Hats to make trouble for the young master. Although young master’s skill is high, and he has already dealt with them, I’m afraid there will still be troubles afterwards!”
The men who were wantonly clamouring simultaneously stopped, then turned their heads as one to look in Tie Chui’s direction. Soon afterwards, it was unclear who started it, but the close to a hundred men simultaneously pulled out the big, copper axes hanging from their waists and roared with rage, “Chop up the Barwell Family, exterminate their people!”
Mixed in with the group of men were quite a few impressive beastmen whose facial features were absolutely not that of humans. These several beastmen with savage faces roared, “Old man, let us bring the brothers and go! For beastmen to raid an aristocratic family’s manor and exterminate the whole family, hahaha, this kind of matter is too common!”
The men ferociously brandished their weapons. They simply didn’t care about a Viscount family at all. There were only a thousand days of being a thief, not a thousand days of guarding against a thief1. With regards to exterminating a whole family and plundering money, any one of these burly men was a veteran of many years.
Only Old Man Blackbeard calmly stood up and sneered several times while baring his canines.
“Barwell Family? That Barwell Family of that Hao Sen who was claimed to be the honour of the imperial army?”
Tie Chui hummed in a depressed tone, nodded, and said, “That Hao Sen is currently the empire’s Major General. He has an army of ten thousand people under his leadership. Young master provoked someone from their family, and I heard it caused a big trouble for them. I’m afraid they’ll prove to be detrimental for young master!”
Old Man Blackbeard waved his hand and mentioned casually, “There’s no need for brothers to take action. Go back and enjoy the new year. Oh, I remember, thirty years ago, didn’t that Hao Sen once cooperate with us on the slave and weapon business? Find the account book of that time. If they really dare to provoke Lin Qi, deliver that account book and some witnesses to the empire’s Ministry of Supervision. There’s no need for us to handle the rest!”
All the men in the log cabin had dumbfounded expressions. Soon afterwards, they crazily and heartily laughed.
Old Man Blackbeard was precisely Old Man Blackbeard. He actually had information that could be used against the empire’s Major General. He was indeed too formidable.
- It means it is easier to plot against someone than to be someone who are plotted against ↩