Chapter 705: The Peril of the Lunar Eclipse (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong was a marquis of the court, the Son of Heaven's disciple with a courtesy name personally bestowed by the Sage Emperor. Wushang was in Wang Chong's territory, so being administered by Wang Chong and responding to his calls for enlistment were only reasonable. But unexpectedly, Wushang Village would not listen to reason.
Its answer had been rejection without the slightest opportunity for negotiation.
When the villagers thought about how the soldiers that had previously come here had been wounded, they grimaced. It had to be said that with Wang Chong's status, he was completely capable of mobilizing an army to besiege Wushang Village.
Gao Feng was the first to lose his cool and stand up to argue for Wang Chong. With Wang Chong's current status, even the heads of those storied and wealthy clans with deep roots had to treat Wang Chong with utmost respect. These people from Wushang were acting far too excessively.
Wang Chong extended a hand and stopped Gao Feng. He had come to recruit the Wushang, not form grudges. And there was one thing that the Wushang Chief had probably not been lying about: Wushang Village truly did have a tradition that did not permit them to lightly leave the village and enter the outside world.
Otherwise, Wushang Village would not have remained unknown for nearly one thousand years up to the present age.
Wang Chong had heard Fang Xiaoyan talk about this rule, so he knew it well. But laws were dead and people were alive. If this rule truly was unalterable, he would have never become the highest commander of the five thousand world-famous Wushang Cavalry.
No matter what the Wushang Chief said, Wang Chong was confident that there was a way to change this tradition and make them accept the enlistment.
"Eh, Grandpa, why are you here?"
Just when the atmosphere was at its most stagnant, a familiar and childish voice rang out in everyone's ears. Wang Chong turned his head and saw a petite figure at the edge of plaza, a little girl as lithe as a civet cat, swiftly walking over with a large metal chest on her back.
The little girl skipped over and finally noticed that Wang Chong was standing across from the white-haired elder, and her face filled with surprise.
"Eh, Big Brother, why are you here too?"
Just a few words from the girl immediately caused the mood to relax.
The white-haired elder gave a bitter smile, his stern and emotionless face thawing.
The elder waved his hand toward the distance as he spoke.
Thinking about it now, it should be about time.
Wang Chong glanced at the girl and smiled, apparently having long expected this scene.
"Grandpa, I forgot to tell you, these are friends I made on the outside. They gave me a big chest of wujian grass. Haha, now I don't have to leave for quite a few days and can play with Luoluo in the village."
The girl bounded forward, quickly arriving next to the elder's leg and giving it a big hug. She began to rub against it like a kitten, and the white-haired elder didn't know if he should laugh or cry.
"Oh, that's right," the girl said, turning her head to Wang Chong. "Big Brother, this chest isn't bad. After giving the wujian grass to the elder, I kept the chest. It's perfect as a nest for my Luoluo."
"Haha, it's fine as long as you like it," Wang Chong said with a smile.
"Xiaoyan, you worked the entire day. Are you tired?"
"Grandaunt has prepared a few snacks for you. They're on the table, and you can take them when you want."
"Little rascal, don't only worry about that fox. You should also remember to keep up your training!"
The Wushang elders began to greet the girl, their eyes revealing expressions of adoration and love. Their attitude was completely different from when they confronted Wang Chong.
"I know, I know."
The girl waved her hand and tapped her mouth, looking impatient. She quickly turned her gaze to Wang Chong.
"That's right. Big Brother, did you find your friend?"
"I found him."
Wang Chong smiled and nodded as he shot a glance at Li Siye.
"So it was them!"
The girl's brow slightly furrowed, but she quickly regained her happy demeanor.
"It's fine as long as you found them. Grandpa, they're all my friends, so you can't bully them. Big Brother, I can't keep chatting with you. I need to find my Luoluo."
The girl immediately ran off with her chest, excitedly rushing to the other end of the plaza.
As they watched the girl run off, the white-haired elder and the others couldn't help but give a helpless smile. After playing around with the girl, they could no longer keep up such cold expressions.
"Lord Marquis, Xiaoyan has never been willing to get close to outsiders. Since she was willing to speak on your behalf, then at the very least, your character is not bad and you are not evildoers. But Wushang Village has its laws. These were set down by the ancestors, and even as Chief, I cannot defy them. I hope that Lord Marquis can understand this and that this is not because our Wushang Village does not wish to help. Thus, Lord Marquis, please go back!"
The white-haired elder spoke with a much gentler tone, but his meaning was exactly the same. He had no intention of softening his stance.
Li Siye, Gao Feng, and Nie Yan turned to Wang Chong. Wushang Village would not respond to the enlistment, so they could only see how Wang Chong would respond.
"Haha, Venerable Sir, since this is the case, then it's inappropriate for me to force things. However, it is getting late and Wushang Village is surrounded by steep mountains and precipitous cliffs, with the slightest misstep leading into a fall down a deep abyss. Is it possible to stay for the night and leave tomorrow?"
Wang Chong glanced up at the darkening sky as he spoke.
The elder's thick eyebrows furrowed. His instinct was to refuse, but when he thought of the girl, he hesitated.
"Fine, but you must leave at daybreak. Elder Jiu, bring them into the village to rest. When they leave at daybreak, release their subordinates as well."
Wu Jiumei nodded and turned to face Wang Chong.
"Guests, please come with me. But only for one night. After one night, you must leave, no matter what."
Wang Chong nodded, but he did not begin to move his feet.
"Venerable Sir, I know that your mind is made up and will be very difficult to change. I also know that no matter what I say, it would be very difficult for you to believe in my words. But I have a word of heartfelt advice that I hope Venerable Sir will heed!"
The Wushang Chief frowned, his face doubtful. Even Wu Jiumei stopped, not understanding what the Young Marquis of the Great Imperial Court was up to.
Especially when the Chief had already so clearly refused him.
"Don't eat rock salt!"
With these words, Wang Chong tarried no longer, bringing Li Siye, Gao Feng, Nie Yan, and the other soldiers to follow Wu Jiumei. Behind him, the white-haired Wushang Chief's body trembled, and he began to look pensively at Wang Chong.
Night set in and the sky filled with stars.
In a stone house at the very edge of Wushang Village, Wang Chong, Li Siye, Gao Feng, Nie Yan, and the guards from the great clans of the capital gathered.
Gao Feng suddenly broke the silence. "Lord Marquis, what should we do? We have to leave at daybreak. Will we really have to give up like this?"
"Although the people of Wushang are very stubborn and difficult to subdue, if we can recruit them, they would be a very powerful force," Nie Yan said, a contemplative look on his face.
The people of Wushang Village were xenophobic and cared nothing for the decrees of the Imperial Court, and had even almost broken the decorated general Li Siye, but to tell the truth, this was also proof of their valiant strength.
Such a reclusive village that no faction was currently after was truly a paradise for recruiting elite soldiers. To let it go would truly be a great pity. In his short time in Wushang Village, Nie Yan's mind had been completely overturned, mostly because of the sight of those Wushang villagers lifting massive stones weighing thousands of jin to train.
Such a magnificent scene could probably not be witnessed anywhere else but Wushang!
"My apologies, Lord Marquis. I ruined the mission and let down Lord Marquis!"
Li Siye lowered his head, his face ashamed.
This two-meter-tall giant rarely lowered himself to others, but at this moment, he bowed down to Wang Chong and the other elite guards. Recruiting soldiers should have been a simple affair.
When Li Siye left the capital, he had been brimming with resolve, even promising Wang Chong that he would definitely accomplish the mission.
A man's promise was worth a thousand taels of gold!
But there was no doubt that he had ruined the mission.
Ever since he had obeyed the summons from Wang Chong and left Beiting, Li Siye had always done his utmost to complete a mission, no matter how difficult, whether it was exterminating the Black Dragon Bandits, spreading the plague over the Tibetan Plateau, or burning the granaries and cutting off any retreat for the Mengshe Zhao.
But this time, in this obscure Wushang Village, Li Siye had stumbled.
Not only had he failed to accomplish the mission, half of his soldiers had been captured. He had even used his invincible Wootz Steel sword, but in the end, he was still no match for the Wushang.
"Haha, Siye, there's no need to blame yourself. I know that you did your best."
Wang Chong patted Li Siye on his broad back, comforting him, his face showing no concern.
"In this vast world, there's always someone better than you. Although the Wushang don't have any sort of reputation, hasn't it always been said that no reputation doesn't necessarily mean no strength? In truth, let alone you, even if Lord Zhangchou himself came to this place, he would have to leave in defeat."