Book 3 Chapter 39 Long Journey
The morning breeze was quite refreshing.
Teng Qingshan led a troop of twenty odd men and marched along the path of the camp. To his side, Zhuge Yun, Zhuge Qing, and Qingyu were there to send him off.
“Brother, the distance from here to the Chu County is two thousand Li. You have to be careful of the dangers on the road!” Qingyu stood beside Qingshan, eyes filled with reluctance.
Teng Qingshan smiled as he caressed Qingyu’s head. “Little Yu, you’re worried for your brother?”
“My brother is the strongest.” Qingyu immediately raised her chin, as she spoke with confidence.
Teng Qingshan was elated to be able to venture out. As for his sister, she’d joined the Gui Yuan Sect not long ago. It was undeniable that Qingyu was gifted. With merely seven days of training with the inner strength secret manual, she managed to already gain inner strength. While it wasn’t comparable to geniuses who could gain inner strength after training for a single day, Qingyu was only 14 years old.
“Little Yun, Lady Qingqing, I will need to trouble you two to take care of my sister while I’m away.” Teng Qingshan turned to look at the two.
“Of course. But don’t be careless while you’re outside. The Xuyang County is one the most disorderly amongst all the counties.” Zhuge Yun instructed.
During their conversations, they had arrived at the northern gate of the Black Armored Army camp.
Through the north gate, Teng Qingshan could already see the carts of goods. There seemed to be a lot. He saw eight carts already, with just a glance.
“Little Yu, you guys don’t have to follow us any further.” Teng Qingshan instructed.
“Yes.” Qingyu also turned towards Teng Qinghu. “Cousin, please listen to my brother during the trip. Don’t make any trouble for him.”
“Qingshan is the lieutenant. Of course I have to listen to him.” Teng Qinghu broke into a grin.
Zhuge Qing, who had been standing at the side quietly all this time, could not resist as she said, “Big Brother Qingshan, please be careful on the way!”
Teng Qingshan glanced at her and smiled as he nodded.
Seeing this, Teng Qinghu turned around to look towards the gate.
“Let’s go!” Teng Qingshan issued the order.
The two centurions and the two squads under him all led their warhorses and marched out of the gate. After walking out, Teng Qingshan saw clearly that there were a total of ten carts in total. Separately, there were two spacious chariots surrounded by close to a hundred people. Most of them were wearing armors that resembled the scales of a snake.
“Haha, this must be Teng Qingshan, Lieutenant Teng!” An old man with graying hair walked up as he greeted them.
Teng Qingshan nodded and threw a glance at the near hundred guards. Smiling, he said, “The Zhu Clan is truly unparalleled in wealth. With so many guards, this trip will be an easier one for the brothers under my command.”
“Although these are my master’s men, how could they possibly compare to the Black Armored Army!” The old man laughed. “I am called Wu Tan! My master is over there!”
Teng Qingshan had already seen a distinguished man heading over with his two guards from a distance.
“Lieutenant Teng!” The distinguished fellow cupped his hands and smiled. “I had long heard of Lieutenant Teng’s name during the few days that I spent in Jiangning County! The Black Armored Army’s youngest lieutenant, who also happens to have the brightest future! I had originally thought that it would be hard to meet Lieutenant Teng, but I didn’t expect to see you so soon! My heart is overjoyed!”
“This must be Ninth Master Zhu?” Teng Qingshan recognised the other party.
The ninth son of the affluent ‘God of Wealth’ Zhu Tong—Zhu Chongshi.
“Why are you calling me Ninth Master? That title makes me sound old. If Lieutenant Teng is willing, you can regard me as your brother.” Zhu Chongshi said this with a smile.
Teng Qingshan commended him in his heart. The ‘God of Wealth’ Zhu Tong had used a suitable method to nurture his sons into admirable men. The way Zhu Chongshi carried himself as he spoke was refreshing and comfortable. Although Teng Qingshan usually detested those who felt that they were superior and carried their weight around, he did not have any hostility against Zhu Chongshi.
As their conversation progressed, Teng Qingshan and Zhu Chongshi started to address each other as brothers.
Very soon, the company set off.
Outside of the city gate, they started to speed up as they travelled on the main road.
“Father, I want to ride a horse!”
Not long after they started out on their journey, a little boy popped his head out of the chariot and called out to Zhu Chongshi, who was riding on a horse.
“How are you going to ride when you have yet to learn how? Stay in the chariot with your mother,” Zhu Chongshi replied.
The little boy stuck out his tongue and went back inside the carriage.
“Brother Zhu, you’ve brought along your family on this trip?” In astonishment, Teng Qingshan asked the adjacent Zhu Chongshi. “We will be facing a lot of danger on this journey to the Chu County. Why not let sister-in-law and the child stay at home?”
“Brother Qingshan, you are not aware.” Zhu Chongshi laughed. “I just returned from abroad with my family. I couldn’t leave them alone abroad, could I?”
“Abroad?” Teng Qingshan was shocked.
Zhu Chongshi nodded, but did not share any further.
Teng Qingshan could tell that the other party was keeping some secret and thus tried to change the subject. Curious, Teng Qingshan asked, “Brother Zhu, I have yet to visit the sea myself. What is there outside of the East Sea?”
“The East Sea is boundless.” Zhu Chongshi sighed. “Without venturing out, you will never know horrifying the sea truly is. Within the sea, there are also numerous islands. Some of them are uninhabited while others are highly populated. There are also some that are uncivilized and are yet to be developed.”
Teng Qingshan nodded his head silently.
Having been a member of the Gui Yuan Sect for so long, Teng Qingshan had gained a general understanding of the geography of this world.
The population reached hundreds of millions across the vast land of the Nine Prefectures.
In the west of the Nine Prefectures, there was a desert with a few oases and many small countries.
While in the north, there was a vast area of greenland, and followed by the North Sea.
In the east, there was the East Sea, known to be vast and boundless.
In the south of the Nine Prefectures existed a barren and ruthless land. The endless desolate land was full of vicious snakes and ferocious beasts, and was held to be a forbidden area for humans! That was because of the endless dangers and horrifying monsters. But according to legends…… there were many warriors who entered the desolate south to train in their pursuit of martial arts. In the desolate south, there were also the remains of the deceased warriors with their secret manuals, treasures and such.
The most prosperous and flourishing sects, with the most experts in martial arts, were still those within the land of the Nine Prefectures.
The small islands abroad and the small countries in the western regions were incomparable to the martial arts experts from the land of the Nine Prefectures.
“The people staying in the islands abroad live in destitution.” Zhu Chongshi sighed. “Having drifted across various islands for so many years, I don’t ever want to set out to sea again.”
“Brother Zhu, the purpose for your venturing abroad is for your business?” Teng Qingshan inquired.
“To deal in business is one of the reasons. Another reason is that I’ve wanted to travel across the world since I was young.” Zhu Chongshi lamented. “I had visited all the countries in the western desert before I was 20. The desolate land is close to our Yang Province, just south of it! Actually there is nothing much, just various mountains and hills and a sizeable number of large trees that have grown for the Heavens knows how many years, as well as all sorts of venomous snakes, worms, and ferocious beasts. I have even spent a month near the border of the desolate land and interacted with some warriors who ventured inside: Other than that, I never went near the desolate land again.”
Zhu Chongshi glanced around the surroundings and laughed out loud, “After roaming around for so long, I still feel that our land of the Nine Prefectures is the most prosperous of them all.”
Teng Qingshan had to admit!
He had predicted too good of a scenario. The speed of the company was slower than he expected! Although the carts were pulled by horses, the main road was all dirt with too many of small pits, rocks, clods and such, resulting in the carts’ slow progress.
One can probably catch up to the speed of the carts with just a slow jog.
At this rate, they could probably travel about a hundred and twenty Li each day
After a tiring journey, Teng Qingshan and company passed by two counties. On the eleventh day of their trip, they finally arrived at the border of Xuyang County.
The weather had been fine a moment ago, but all of a sudden, strong wind started to blow. Dark clouds gathered overhead, followed immediately by the clash of thunder and a heavy downpour! The rainstorm made the trip much harder for the travelling company.
“Such heavy rain. If only there’s a place to shelter ourselves from the rain somewhere close by.” Zhu Chongshi smiled bitterly.
Because of the rain, the earth turned to mud, slowing down their speed even further.
“Clank!” ”Clank!” ”Clank!”……
As the raindrops fell on the heavy armor of the Black Armored Army’s soldiers, they made loud crashing sounds.
“Qingshan.” Teng Qinghu rode at the side, “Haha, told you to wear your armor. See, now you’re all wet.” Teng Qinghu and company wore full-bodied armor, exposing only their faces and hands. They were also wearing neck protectors that blocked the rain perfectly, keeping them dry.
Teng Qingshan smiled.
There were twenty-three men from the Black Armored Army, including Teng Qingshan. Everyone followed orders and wore full sets of heavy armor, all except Teng Qingshan, who only wore the inner armor as well as arm and leg guards. To Teng Qingshan……in terms of the defense, the Heavy Coldsteel Armor was no match for his own body!
In addition, if he wore the full set of the heavy armor, it would affect his agility and such.
“Brother Zhu, there are no places nearby for us to take shelter from the rain. Let’s bear with it since the summer rainstorms tend to come and go very swiftly! However……Tell your men to be more alert. We are now entering the borders of the Xuyang County, an extremely disorderly county with many bandits. I’m afraid that the fame of our Black Armored Army will not unable to scare those crazy mounted gangsters!”
“Yes.” Zhu Chongshi also nodded gravely.
The Black Armored Army was uncontested within Jiangning County.
But when it comes to the other counties, one would have to see how many men from the Black Armored Army were currently present. If the number was too small, bandits would not hesitate to annihilate anyone as long as no evidence was left behind.
Teng Qingshan and the company guessed correctly. Not long after they entered the borders of the Xuyang County, news of their arrival had already reached the ears of a band of mounted gangsters who were quite influential within Xuyang County.
“Step aside! All of you, get out of my way!”
A slender one-eyed man ran into a residence not far away, yelled at the top of his voice.
“Fourth Master!” The two men at the entrance of the residence smiled as they greeted the incoming man.
“Great Master, Great Master!” The lean one-eyed man pushed open the door as he hollered. “There’s a golden goose, a golden goose!”
“Why are you barking!” A loud voice hollered.
A topless baldie with two fierce scars on his chest walked out of the hall. At this moment, he was staring at the lean one-eyed man. “Fourth brother, you mentioned that there’s a golden goose? Just leave the typical work to the brothers under your command.”
“Great Master! This time around, this target is definitely a big one! I will need Great Master to make the final decision!” The eye of the lean one-eyed man gleamed. “A band of traders enlisted the help of the Gui Yuan Sect’s Black Armored Army to escort their goods!”
“Oh?” The eyes of the baldie shone with anticipation. “Black Armored Army? How many of them?”