Extra Long chapter today. Thank you my new patron on patreon O_O. Didn’t post yesterday because after work I had two hours to complete a nine page English assignment that was due at midnight , leaving little to now time to write. Now I have a five page final to do before Monday……
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Returning to where their tents were set up, Zhang assembled all of the forces currently under his command. Standing before him were two groups, one consisting of hundreds of men was high cultivation bases, clad in black armor and equipped with swords, shields and spears. Unlike the regular black armor that the soldiers under Zhang’s command wore, the ones that the men present wore had golden thread lacing.
While the other group consisted of hundreds of young women dressed in matching attire, with swords hanging by their side. If one looked closely they’d be able to see that every single outfit that these young women wore was made entirely out of finely woven silk. Not only did silk make for a good material to make clothing, it also had another function that not many people realize. If an outfit is made out of silk that was woven finely enough, then the outfit would become somewhat arrow resistant. The lethality of an arrow comes from his piercing power, but when an arrow connects with silk woven clothes and tries to drill into flesh, the strands of silk would offer up resistance and make it so that the arrow would lose its piercing power.
These two groups of young men and women stood in neat rows, waiting for Zhang and the beauties to speak to them.
“Sweetheart have you even started training your men yet?” Yuying asked in a somewhat teasing manner.
“Shouldn’t take too long, seeing how you guys managed to do so much in only a few hours.” Zhang replied with a grin.
“You keep thinking that.” Yuying said as she stuck her tongue out at Zhang as she remembered how she had used her magic to share her directly share her thoughts with the female trainees. She found that instructing someone to do something was less effective than showing them how to do something and by show she did not mean demonstrate.
When Yuying showed the trainees how to do something, she sent images directly into their minds. By doing this whatever she taught them would be saved into their minds, without any variation. For example, if someone showed someone else how to do something, the person being tough would observe and interpreted the information that is being show and then try to imitate it.
But what Yuying was doing was allowing the trainees to perfectly copy what she showed them because they did not need to interpret the information that was shown to them. This would speed up the training process exponentially, compared to if one had to train someone normally. Of course how would Zhang have known this.
So as things stand the female trainees were slightly superior to the male ones, thanks to Yuying’s teaching method.
With everyone under their command assembled, Zhang and the beauties broke the group up into units. These units would take turns patrolling the grounds as a precaution in case Tao Qian showed up and looked for trouble. They knew it was only a matter of time before Tao Qian came looking for trouble or before the opportunity arises for Zhang to take care of him.
Without the aristocratic families, the New Moon Province would be void of any type of structure that was left. If one hadn’t noticed, every single province that Zhang had acquired, the majority of the ruling party was left intact. For the Red Mist Province, no one in the government was replaced besides those in the Jin Clan. To top things off those in the Xia Clan and the Sima Clan helped fill in any vacancies in the government.
As for the Green Clover Province, Guan Yu and a few of the generals who survived Guo Mei’s plot were able to hold the government together and fix what was broken. While in the Heavenly Sword Province, Sima Yi had been able to acquire the help of the White Crane trading company, and was able to use their influence to get the majority of those in the government to deflect to Aurora’s side.
But here in the New Moon Province, the majority of the government in the capital city of New Moon city had disappeared along with its ruler. Zhang did not know about the rest of the province but all that was left of the ruling class in New Moon City were the five aristocratic families. If they were taken out of the equation, after a new capital is established he would have to go to the trouble of hand picking people to govern over the rest of the people.
Then there was the fact that a lot of people would be less willing to surrender to him in the future due to the fear of being killed like the five aristocratic families. Basically politics is like a chess game where one must plan their moves ahead in order to come ahead, but if you thoughtlessly go about and simply eliminate everything that gets in your path, it is bound to come back later and cause setbacks.
After their forces were split up, Zhang and the beauties decided that there was some people they needed to meet in order for an opportunity in which they can eliminate people such as Tao Qian to arise. Although the five aristocratic families were in league with one another, there would definitely be some cracks for them to exploit.
There is never such a thing as an alliance where everyone in it is viewed as equals. There is never a relationship without strife or struggles, so all they had to do was to find out which of the families in the alliance were discontent with the others.
“My lord, I’ve sent some of our men to investigate and we’ve found that out of the alliance of five families, the Kai family and the Su Family are at the bottom, while the Tao family is the leader of the bunch.” Cheng Yu reported to Zhang who was sitting behind a desk in his tent.
“Have you found out where they are situated in the camp?” Ling who was by Zhang’s said asked.
“Milady, their tents are in the southern part of the camp, and tomorrow when we begin marching they should have been placed as the rearguard. These two families seem very close, perhaps due to the fact that they both are situated at the bottom in the alliance.” Cheng Yu replied respectfully.
“Let’s go pay them a visit. If all goes well our grip on the province will tighten and there will be a few less aristocratic families in the Wulin continent.” Zhang said with a devious smile.
“My lord should we alert Ran Kaitou?” Cheng Yu asked. Although technically Ran Kaitou who was to be lord of the New Moon province was of a higher rank then Cheng Yu, due to seniority and how close he is to Zhang he was not required to refer to Ran Kaitou as lord.
“No it’s best that he stays out of this, if our plot doesn’t succeed then no one will know who we are and there won’t be any repercussions for the things that transpire.”
Thus they decided that Zhang and Yuying along with a handful of their subordinates would set out to visit the Kai and Su Families. Ling, Lingqi and Ai were to stay behind and act if anything occurred and it was best that not only a few of them went because the more people that were left under the radar the better.
By now the sun had went away and was replaced by a radiant full moon that shone down from above. The wind howled through the camp as people closed their tents and prepared for bed, Ran Kaitou’s ragtag bunch turned into watchmen as they roamed the rows of tents keeping watch over the citizens of New Moon City.
At a time like this Zhang, Yuying along with a pair of men and a pair of women sped through the camp. They were dressed entirely in black, the group melded with the shadows. Like specters they could come and leave without leaving a single trace or being detected. Be it Ran Kaitou’s men, the civilians or the soldiers of the various aristocratic families, no one caught sight of them at all.
Soon they came upon a cluster of tents pitched tightly together, dozens of armor guards could be seen guarding the perimeter of this cluster of tents and a set of flags with the word Kai and the word Mu fluttered in the air. In the center of this cluster of tents, was one particular tent that was roughly twice the size of the others. This tent was the meeting place for the two families and served as their temporary base. Four men armed with pikes stood guard outside as a middle aged man and a young woman were inside talking to one another.
With a signal from Zhang, the two pairs of young men and women shot forth and in a blink of an eye knocked out all of the guards roaming the perimeter of the cluster of tents. Of the entire group of trainees, these four had the highest cultivation so handling a regular group of guards was very simple for them.
“Uncle Kuai Liang , did you hear about how that old frog Tao Qian was causing a ruckus earlier in the morning? To think that fool doesn’t have anything better to do in a situation such as this. We don’t even know what the force of Aurora will do when they get here and he’s out offending people…” The young woman said with a displeased face.
“Well all we can do is bid our time and build up our forces. If we play our cards right my Kai family and your Su Family can use the current situation to our advantage. With a new provincial lord and becoming a part of the Aurora Kingdom, the distribution of power within this province will be shifted. So as long as we gain the support of the provincial lord and the higher ups in Aurora we will be able to exceed those other three.” The man that young woman called Uncle Kuai Liang said as he sipped a cup of tea.
“From what I’ve heard that Ran Kaitou fella isn’t a pushover so we must be careful when interacting with him. But I agree with you uncle that this is indeed a golden opportunity for us. Although we call it an alliance, we have no say and those other three receive all of the benefits while we do all of the work.” The young woman said as she gulped down some tea.
“Su Rou just leave everything to me, I’ll make the proper arrangements and when the time comes we will act. But we make have to make some sacrifices to get the support of the right people in Aurora.” Kuai Liang said as he looked at the young woman.
“If it’s for the family then I’m prepared to do whatever it takes.” Su Rou said with a steeled expression.
Before either Kuai Liang or Su Rou could say another word, they noticed that the shadows of the four guards stationed in front of the tent had disappeared, as for when this happened they had no idea.
From her robes Su Rou drew out an exquisite looking dagger with a silver hilt that was covered with beautiful looking carvings. Kuai Liang himself had unsheathed a sword that was left lying on a bench not too far from him.
“Show yourself! We know you’re there!” Su Rou yelled as she brandished her dagger, ready to strike at anyone who showed up.
As the words left her mouth, the flickering flames that illuminated the inside and outside of the tent were extinguished leaving only light that shone down from the moon. As the moonlight embraced the tent a massive shadow could be seen slithering around the it and not long after a massive scaly head peaked its way inside.
Stricken with fear, neither Su Rou or Kuai Liang could muster up enough strength to even utter a scream, not that doing so would help them in anyway.
“Put away your weapons, we only wish to talk.” A voice reverberated inside the tent.
Once she heard the voice, Su Rou was able to calm herself, allowing her to sheath her dagger and tuck it back into her robes. The same went for Kuai Liang who took a bit longer to calm down before putting away his sword. Hearing this voice meant that the giant snake in front of them was being controlled by someone and would not kill them unless ordered to, so as long as they did what they were instructed they would be fine. Well at least for now since they did not trust or know the intentions of whoever was controlling the giant snake.
Soon group of six masked people casually entered the tent. Of this group of six, two of them walked up to and seated themselves at the table where Su Rou and Kuai Liang were previously sitting, while the other four stood by the entrance of the tent.
“Have a seat.” One of the masked people said as he poured some tea into four cups.
Slowly Su Rou and Kuai Liang seated themselves, after they were seated the masked man waved his hand and the black snake that was coiled around the tent turned into a trail of black smoke.
“My lord how may we be of service to you.” Kuai Liang said in a respectful tone as he could tell that anyone in this group of six could easily take his life, so he had to be on his best behavior or risk angering people that he shouldn’t anger. From the huge snake that turned into smoke alone, anyone was able to tell that these six masked people or at the very last the two sitting at the table were high caliber experts.
“I’ll be straight forward, we overheard your conversation earlier.” The mask man said as he placed a cup of tea behind the black cloth that covered his face and took a sip.
Once these words drifted into their ears, a number of scenarios sprang up into Kuai Liang and Su Rou’s heads. These six people could have been sent by the other three families to monitor them and be here to eliminate them or these six could be possible allies that could help them deal with the other three families.
“Is that so.” Su Rou said as she contemplated how to deal with the current situation because these next few words that come out of her or Kuai Liang ’s mouth could result in their deaths. If placed in such a predicament most people would freeze up or start stuttering but as leaders of their respective families, these two were carefully concocting plans that may help them get out of their situation.
“Our backer wishes for the other three aristocratic families to disappear.” The other masked person who sat at the table said. From her voice one could tell that she was a woman who is fairly young.
Hearing this both Su Rou and Kuai Liang ’s eyes glittered as relief appeared on their faces. If these six were against the other three families then the term, the enemy of my enemy is my friend would come into play. But they still could not be sure if the words that the masked woman said could be trusted, because that would have been a ruse to get them to admit that they were plotting against the other families in the alliance.
“My lords we do not possess the power to even consider standing up to the other families so why approach us?” Kuai Liang asked trying to get the masked men to speak.
“All our backer wants from you is that after the other families are gone then your two families are to absorb influence and stabilize the province. Of course your full cooperation is required.” The masked woman said.
“If you can give information and cooperate with us in eliminating the other three families then you would be free of their oppression. Atop of that as long as you remain loyal to the provincial lord afterward, you’ll be the two strongest forces in the province.” The mask man added to what the woman had said.
“I’m willing to cooperate.” Su Rou said, although she did not know if these people actually meant what they were saying or not, she decided that what they were saying was too good to turn down and even if she turned them down and remained at the bottom of the alliance, the other families may still set out to eliminate her family. So when placed between two roads that may lead to destruction she decided to pick the road in which she had at least a tiny bit of control. Also if these people meant what they were saying, then delaying her answer would do no good.
“If your onboard then I am also.” Kuai Liang as he patted Su Rou’s back in a fatherly manner.
“But first I would like to ask that you take over your masks and reveal your faces to us. I don’t feel
that we can properly cooperate until we at least know who we are working with.” Su Rou said as she eyed the two masked people in front of her.
“Fair enough.” The masked man said as he took off the black cloth that covered his face, revealing the face of a handsome young man who gave off the air of a scholar.
Following the handsome scholarly man, the masked woman who was seated beside him took off her mask also, revealing a face that could make nations fall. Soon the four who were standing by the entrance of the tent removed their masks also, revealing dashing and beautiful faces also.
“Is this a gathering of beautiful people or something?” Kuai Liang thought as his gaze shifted from person to person.
Once the masks were removed, the four people seated at the table began talking about how they should go about eliminating the other aristocratic families.