Luo Huai Yuan couldn’t feel at ease leaving this matter to someone else and personally made a trip to the Pingsha Pass.
After making the decision, he had sent a letter to Yan Yan to say farewell.
Unexpectedly, after Yan Yan found out he was risking his life, she insisted on coming. Recalling that the little consort wasn’t an ordinary girl, and also being quite pleased in his heart, Luo Huai Yuan agreed.
Shen Yi Yao naturally knew what her daughter was leaving to do, but didn’t say anything to stop her. The fourth prince had brought quite a few guards and Yan Yan also brought Lady Hui. There was also Shen Dong at the Pingsha Pass so their safety wasn’t a concern. Who would have thought that Shen Qi would also end up wanting to go? Him going was naturally useful and provided a cover for Yan Yan and Luo Huai Yuan.
The group of people travelled lightly via ship first. Sailing under the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s flags allowed them to sail unhindered the entire way. Once they went as far as they could by ship, they abandoned it and switched to horses. They barely rested along the way and only took ten days to reach the Pingsha Pass.
Shen Dong’s niece and nephew had come, but what made Shen Dong most angry and anxious was that the fourth prince had come as well. Although they had many guards, the three of them were merely teenagers. What could such young people do!? However, the fourth prince had a letter from the Zhenguo Duke in hand, saving him some effort. After hearing Luo Huai Yuan’s explanations, Shen Dong couldn’t help but sigh in admiration.
Truly, truly too shameless!
However, it seems like it could work!?
With these thoughts, Shen Dong started arranging everything.
The Shen household had operated the Pingsha Pass for many years and their reach could be called all-encompassing. It wasn’t like their troops hadn’t counterattacked into the barbarians’ lands before. Therefore, they had soldiers who could speak the language of the tribes. He pulled a batch of these soldiers and after some dressing up, they were led by Luo Huai Yuan out of the Pingsha Pass into the world of the barbarians.
The northern barbarians’ territory was vast, but it was mostly made up of endless plains. Because the Shen household’s troops were outstanding, they had beaten the tribes over the years into being afraid to poke their heads out. Therefore, there were no tribes to be found near the Pingsha Pass. Luo Huai Yuan was able to enter their territory without any issues.
Shen Dong naturally didn’t feel comfortable about letting these children go by themselves. He sent some of his trusted aides along. If something really happened, these people along with the fine steeds they brought would be able to help them escape without any trouble.
The old man called Mu Ah was Shen Dong’s logistics officer in disguise. He had joined the Zhenguo Duke’s banner early on, and was now managing logistics due to his age. The old Mu Ah had grown up at the Pingsha Pass, and had interacted with these barbarians since he was a teenager. After several decades, he had a firm grasp on their customs and politics. Having his help was like adding wings to a tiger.
Understanding what this Young Noble Yun wanted to do, Mu Ah picked out this spot for him.
This spot was close to a water source. Those coming from the royal court would definitely stop here. As expected, Luo Huai Yuan’s group was able to capture them.
Mu Ah naturally wasn’t this old man’s real name. He was surnamed Li and his name was Er Gou. People called him old dog Li.1
Since Luo Huai Yuan’s group was made up of juniors, they naturally didn’t dare call him that. They addressed him as Uncle Li.
Seeing that the outsiders were all dealt with, Luo Huai Yuan’s heart settled down. He smiled and said: “Uncle Li’s acting skills are pretty good. These northern barbarians were completely fooled.”
Uncle Li laughed and took off the fur hat on his head. Only now did he look different from the northern barbarians.
It turned out that Uncle Li actually had a full head of hair. The northern barbarians usually had their hair completely or partially shaven. They would only leave some hairs by their temple and forehead for decoration. The Grand Xi’s people were all traditional, and paid attention to their body, their hair and their skin. They respected what their parents blessed them with and wouldn’t alter anything in the slightest. Luckily, despite it being almost April, the difference in temperature on the plains meant it wasn’t unusual for them to wear hats.
“These barbarians are uncivilized, know nothing of etiquette, and are like a bunch of animals. They are bossy and arrogant. Since they are under the royal tribe, they are naturally not ordinary people. In their culture, the strong are revered and the weak are disdained. However, they hate bandits even more, but they don’t dare give voice to their anger. Since they like to act this way, it’s easy for us to drug them.”
Luo Huai Yuan nodded, his face full of praise.
The barbarian woman that was pulled over by the large man earlier was teary eyed and filled with lingering fear.
“Young Noble, Xiao An Zi was scared to death.”
Seeing this, Luo Huai Yuan roared with laughter. He stroked Xiao An Zi’s face and teased: “Who would have thought Xian An Zi is pretty alluring? It’s true that compared to the others, you are rather pretty.”
The other barbarian women all laughed crudely.
This situation was very weird, but no one felt it was unusual.
It turned out that these barbarian women were all men in disguise. Because the barbarian women were usually sturdy, it was easy for these men to pass as women.
Xiao An Zi was a eunuch so his skin was fair and tender. He was shorter than these large military men, and although he had bronzed his face, his features were still rather delicate. No wonder that large man was willing to make do. Compared to the others, Xiao An Zi was truly a crane amongst chicken.
Yan Yan looked at Xiao An Zi’s pitiful appearance and also wanted to laugh. However, she was still rather kind and didn’t laugh out loud. She changed the topic instead: “Let’s wake these leaders up and interrogate them first.”
Such a scene was naturally not suitable for a girl so Yan Yan left. However, Luo Huai Yuan remained behind.
A bucked of cold water later, the people were woken up.
After waking them up, their jaws were dislocated with special methods before various other tortures were applied.
If they refused to speak, it wouldn’t end.
Luo Huai Yuan had a few martial artists by his side and they were well versed in these arts. After using tendon severing palms and similar moves, these paper tiger barbarians revealed everything.
It turned out this group of people were sent by the royal court to meet up with the “Broad Justice Band’s” people. Since this place was very close to the Pingsha Pass, for the sake of caution this group had scouted ahead. There were still a bunch of people transporting the goods behind them. Only after receiving the signal from the scouts would they hurry over.
After listening, Luo Huai Yuan spat: “These timid mice dare invade my Grand Xi. If you had all come together, the amount of drugs I brought really wouldn’t be enough. Luckily, you were cowardly!”
Luo Huai Yuan spoke Chinese and Uncle Li acted as the translator.
The large man with the golden hoops eyes bulged out. He glared at this fatty who had a head full of braids as he babbled all sorts of curses.
Luo Huai Yuan couldn’t understand their language, and also couldn’t be bothered to know what he was saying. Uncle Li was going to translate but he stopped him with a wave.
“The most amusing way of cursing someone is when they’re forced to listen but are unable to retort.” He had a wicked smile on his face. He pointed at the large man and said to Uncle Li: “You tell him that the northern barbarians are all weaklings, and aren’t worthy of being my Grand Xi’s enemies. All their sinister schemes will be uncovered by the scorching sun!”
Uncle Li didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Having interacted with Young Noble Yun for quite a few days, he noticed he was exceptionally craft despite his age. Furthermore, he wasn’t picky and mixed in with the group of soldiers. He was just a little, err, wacky. When his interests were aroused, he would often do things that left them between laughter and tears.
For example, Uncle Li had recommended bringing some women after finding out they were disguising themselves as a tribe. However, he had been firmly refused and was told it was unnecessary.
Only after getting here did he find out about the idea of having men dress up as women. After all, it wasn’t convenient to actually bring women along. It should have been fine to put on the disguises after seeing the people coming, but Young Noble Yun insisted they shouldn’t leave things until the last minute. He had those people get used to wearing their disguises in case they let something slip later.
While this was reasonable, it resulted in quite a lot of amusement over the past few days.
The people in disguise were all wily veterans. Perhaps they were a little embarrassed at first, but they soon got used to it. Before long, they would “banter flirtatiously” with the others who were disguised as barbarian men. Only Xiao An Zi wasn’t able to get used to it. Everyone else was calm and composed.
They had captured the people and found out everything they needed. These northern barbarians naturally didn’t have good outcomes.
Those who should be killed were killed, and only the large man with golden hoops was left as a backup. That large man cursed endlessly until his jaw was dislocated once more.
According to the time given by him, Luo Huai Yuan’s group set off the next day.
After they left, another batch of people disguised as barbarians came. Part of them remained as support and the rest followed behind.
After the big boss was released, he was inevitably smug but also still cautious.
The batch of goods finally return to his hands and his captured subordinates were released as well. Only after bringing the things across the pass did he let out a breath and become smug once again.
“Boss, you’re truly awesome. You even managed to escape the Shen household’s clutches. Your bros thought we were done for.”
The big boss stroked his mustache and merely smiled.
After leaving the Pingsha Pass, things grew more desolate as they proceeded. Soon things opened up and became an endless plain.
“Boss, still the old place?” The second handler asked.
There would be a main handler for every operation who was responsible for managing the caravan. The main handler wouldn’t show himself easily and none of the subordinates knew who he was. The second handler was the one who actually gave out the orders to the caravan, and only the second handler knew who the main handler was.
This sort of arrangement was for the sake of caution. On this trip, only the second handler knew the big boss. The others merely assumed he was a lackey of the second handler, and never imagined this was the “Broad Justice Band’s” big boss.
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say a crafty rabbit has three burrows.
The big boss nodded. The second handler hesitated and said quietly: “Boss, aren’t you afraid the troops will secretly follow us and catch us all in one go?”
The big boss hesitated for a moment before shaking his head.
Since the troops had released them, they naturally wouldn’t do something so meaningless. The second handler had thought the boss used a large amount of silver as a bribe to get the goods and men out safely. He was a little disdainful of the supposedly righteous Shen household. He scarcely imagined that the big boss hadn’t used money, but rather blackmail instead.
The second handler was naturally unaware but the big boss himself knew the details.
Seeing the big boss shake his head, the second handler still inevitably felt some worry. However, he also knew the big boss wasn’t someone careless.
They travelled north and didn’t see anyone on the way.
The weather was still a little cold. There had always been a rather large difference between the temperatures during day and night on the plains. The people in the caravan were mostly veterans who had made the trip several times. Seeing the sky turning dark, they followed the plants and found a water source. The group set up camp.
Early next morning, the group of merchants started cooking.
After eating, the caravan continued on its way.
At this time, they were very close to the meeting point. The big boss couldn’t help but reveal a smile.
The big boss’s group arrived a little earlier than the other party. They stopped after reaching a hill. The other party didn’t make them wait too long. Soon, the group felt the ground vibrating. It seemed a large group of people on horseback was approaching.
Some of the merchant horses were startled, neighing and kicking their legs. The carriage drivers hurriedly settled them down. The people were also unsettled since not all of them had traded with the northern barbarians before.
The people of the Grand Xi all viewed the barbarians as devils and savage monsters. They were bloodthirsty killer who murdered, plundered and did all sorts of evil things.
These weren’t all bad people. Some like the drivers and laborers had no choice in the matter, or were forced to do so for the sake of money. After all, this one trip would allow them to live well for many years. However, they were still scared. Many people were on edge hearing the movements.
Soon a dust cloud could be seen in the distance. A large group on horseback galloped over. Their aura was too overbearing and fierce, making the group involuntarily take a step backwards.
Closer, and even closer….
When they were around five meters away, the rider in the lead pulled on his reins and stopped in place. More than a hundred riders behind him also stopped, as though putting on a rehearsed performance.
The northern barbarians grew up around horses and gained experience on horseback from a young age. Therefore, they were all expert riders.
After the barbarians came to a stop, the one in the lead rode forward a couple of steps.
“Is this the “Broad Justice Band’s” big boss? Halabarsi has been sent on a different mission by the king. Therefore, I, Yunhamuchi, is here to discuss things with you!”
Halabarsi was the name of that large man with golden hoops. He was always responsible for dealing with the big boss in the past.
The big boss felt a little uneasy when he didn’t see the person he was familiar with.
However, this group of people were dressed as barbarians and were clearly vassals under the royal tent. Furthermore, only those under Khan Wulihan knew the “Broad Justice Band’s” big boss. After all, no one else knew he had personally made this trip.
The big boss walked forward with a smile and cupped his hands. He spoke in the northern barbarian’s language: “This subordinate is the “Broad Justice Band’s” big boss. May I ask why someone different was sent this time?”
This Yunhamuchi was a burly man in his thirties. His face was fully bearded and he wore a sand fox fur hat. A braid hung from the back of his head. His face was filled with impatience as he waved the reins in his hand. “Didn’t I tell you already? Halabarsi was sent by the king on a different mission!”
The big boss nodded and maintained his smile: “For safety’s sake, since this batch of goods isn’t ordinary, may I ask the lord to exchange the code word with this subordinate?”
The large man in the lead imperceptibly froze.
At this moment, a disturbance arose from the crowd. The barbarians on their large horses parted to either side.
A rather plump person appeared in the middle riding a sturdy jade blossom buckskin horse. This person was young and his skin was fair and tender. He was dressed extremely splendidly, and was clearly a barbarian noble. The big boss was especially startled at seeing the full head of little braids under his black fur hat and his earrings inlaid with various gems.
This getup and this demeanor indicated that this teenager’s status was extremely high. This was because the tribes were filled with fierce warriors. Only the wealthy tribes could have someone so fat and tender! Especially the gemmed earrings weren’t something anyone could wear. The barbarian men had the habit of wearing earrings, and there were quite a few who wore nose rings as well. However, only those from the royal tribe could wear earrings with inlaid gems.
As expected, that Yunhamuchi turned and saluted: “Prince Hadanbatar!”
Hadanbatar nodded arrogantly and didn’t look at the big boss. He merely asked: “What’s the hold up?”2
“It’s nothing. This subordinate is discussing things with the “Broad Justice Band’s” big boss.”
Hadanbatar seemed to be impatient: “Move faster. My royal father’s birthday is coming up. This prince wishes to use this batch of goods to obtain his favor! Let’s see whether that Zaha is still qualified to struggle for royal father’s favor!”
Hearing this conversation, the big boss no longer had any doubts.
As someone who did this business regularly, he naturally knew that the royal tribe’s Khan Wulihan had an extremely favored son called Hadanbatar, and a second prince called Zaha. These princes struggled against each other fiercely. Looks like Halabarsi was forced away this time. No wonder these people didn’t know the prearranged code.
However, businessmen were only interested in profits. Their struggles weren’t his concern as long as they paid for the goods.
After some further discussion, the barbarians sent ten or so people over to the caravan. They lifted the lids on the boxes and inspected the goods. The barbarians looked things over rather carefully. After around fifteen minutes, one of them walked over and nodded to Yunhamuchi.
Yunhamuchi signaled with his eyes and several large men brought over some large boxes.
The big boss and the second handler walked up and opened the boxes, revealing a dazzling golden light. It turned out these boxes were filed with gold bricks.
Quite a few people in the caravan involuntarily gulped. The barbarians saw their loss of control and roared with laughter. They were undoubtedly cursing them as inexperienced Chinese dogs.
Soon, the big boss closed the boxes and gave Yunhamuchi a satisfied smile.
“Khan Wulihan is a sincere person. I hope we can cooperate more in the future.”
Yunhamuchi nodded. “Naturally.”
The barbarians had brought carriages with them for the goods as well. The things were quickly transferred over.
The barbarians rode off with the goods and the big boss’s group took the gold bricks and headed towards the Grand Xi.
On the other side, the barbarians stopped after riding for a short while.
Hadanbatar spoke to a petite man: “Third Yan, this matter will be left to you. Follow behind them. My martial master is hiding near the Pingsha Pass. You must find these people’s lair!”
That man cupped his hands and vanished extremely quickly.
Hadanbatar’s chubby face twisted due to heartache and he whined to the young girl riding next to him: “Yan Yan, my marriage money, my marriage money….”
The beautiful girl dressed in barbarian clothing said comfortingly: “It’s fine. Even if you don’t have marriage money, I will still marry you. I still have quite a lot saved up.”
“Wuwuwu….Yan Yan you’re so nice!”
The group of people around them couldn’t bear it and moved far away. Xiao An Zi was familiar with his highness’s personality and his face twisted. He wailed in his heart that his highness had once again embarrassed himself!
A person wearing clothing with similar colors to the grass was following the caravan at a distance.
The sound of hooves was too loud so this person called Third Yan had to go on foot. This person was one of Luo Huai Yuan’s people who was skilled in lightweight arts.
To return to the Grand Xi, they had to pass through the Pingsha Pass. Therefore, he quickly met up with Lady Hui and the two of them followed behind.
The caravan didn’t get obstructed at the pass and passed through smoothly. After entering the city, the big boss didn’t stop. They left the Pingsha Pass towards the Jing Province without stopping for the night.
Only after reaching a small town in the Jing Province did they slow slightly. The carriages split up and the boxes containing the gold also vanished.
The big boss took many twists and turns. He changed outfits every now and then. In the end, he became a carriage driver.
His caution was truly praiseworthy. It wasn’t clear if he knew he was being followed or if he was just naturally cautious. If it weren’t for the fact that Third Yan and Lady Hui weren’t ordinary people and that they watched the person instead of the goods, he would have really gotten away.
At the same time, Luo Huai Yuan’s group also changed their appearances and returned to the Grand Xi. They changed into the appearances of wealthy young masters and a young miss who had come out to play. They followed behind Lady Hui at a steady pace.
This pursuit took almost a month.
However, their efforts were not in vain. They finally found the big boss’s lair.
As the big boss, it wasn’t an exaggeration to call him extremely wealthy. His true identity was actually a small landlord in the countryside.
Of course, this was also a front. Luo Huai Yuan’s people had investigated this landlord surnamed Hao. He was known as “Philanthropist Hao” in the area, and often did good deeds like building bridges and mending roads. He had two aged parents, a wife and two concubines, three sons, two daughters and a number of grandchildren. There were several tens of people in his household.
Luo Huai Yuan was extremely excited.
Let’s see where you can run off to this time. Didn’t you enjoy threatening others? Let’s see who’s doing the threatening this time!
Luo Huai Yuan had always been a decisive person. He gathered his people and attacked the “Hao Estate” at night. They captured the big boss’s entire estate, even including the chickens and dogs.
The big boss’s face was deathly pale. Luo Huai Yuan, who had finally gotten rid of the braids on his head, laughed smugly. He took out the fan that he had been carrying around recently and knocked it against the big boss’s face. “Trying to go against this granddaddy? You’re still too tender, brat! Are you sullen? Do you know who I am? For a bastard like you, this granddaddy came all the way from the capital to deal with you. Remember to give an offering to me as your benefactor after your death.”
Luo Huai Yuan’s words didn’t really make sense. How was he supposed to give an offering if he was dead? If he dies, it would have been because of you. It would be a miracle if he didn’t curse you a thousand times, let alone give you an offering!
These words could anger the living to death, and anger the dead to life!
Yan Yan who was standing next to him secretly pinched his waist. Luo Huai Yuan’s expression was weird, seemingly feeling pain and pleasure at the same time.
Prince Hadanbatar’s appearance was too unique. It was easy for the big boss to recognize him.
“This granddaddy isn’t Prince Haha or whatever. You don’t need to know who this granddaddy is! That batch of goods was not delivered to the barbarians. As for that Halabarsi, this daddy has already sent him to meet the king of hell. If you don’t want to meet him, hand over the things in your possession!”
“You guys are the Shen household’s people?”
The big boss’s lips trembled, his face deathly pale and his eyes bulging from fear. He glared at the arrogant person in front of him while listening to his wife, concubines and descendants crying in the next room. His innards were splitting apart.
Luo Huai Yuan chuckled without admitting or denying anything.
The big boss roared hoarsely: “The grand Shen household’s troops, the grand god of war Zhenguo Duke, actually did something like capturing women and children. How are you able to face the world!?”
Yan Yan’s eyes turned red in anger. She stepped up and slapped the person.
The slap caused the big boss to choke and spit out several teeth. Despite this, Yan Yan didn’t feel her hatred was vented. Even the others wanted to teach him a proper lesson. If it weren’t for their military discipline, he would have been torn apart.
Luo Huai Yuan hurriedly pulled her back and stroked her hand comfortingly.
He chuckled and stepped forward. “I’ve realized people like you really have double standards. You’re allowed to despicably and shamelessly threaten the Shen household with something that has nothing to do with them, but others aren’t allowed to threaten you with your weakness? Sometimes I really wonder how your minds work. I really want to open you up and see if you’re built differently.”
“Enough nonsense. Your Hao household’s people are all in our hands. I’m not from the Shen household. I’m just a despicable lowlife who feels the ends justify the means! You can choose whether or not you want to hand it over. I have plenty of time and don’t mind playing with you slowly. However, those elderly parents of yours don’t have the stamina to handle us. Man, people really can’t endure being startled or exhausted when they’re old. Don’t feel regretful if they end up accidentally crippled or dead!”
“You’re a despicable, shameless scumbag!”
“Aren’t you a despicable, shameless scumbag?”
“I’m not as despicable and shameless of a scumbag as you!”
“You aren’t me, so how would you know how despicable and shameless of a scumbag I am?”
Luo Huai Yuan was without equal when it came to shooting his mouth off. Before long, not only were the big boss’s eyes rolling back from being choked up, everyone else also felt their heads ringing.
Silence, continuous silence.
The big boss’s expression changed incessantly between resentment, hatred and regret. All sorts of emotions intermingled and his face was extremely twisted. The people watching couldn’t help but feel frightened.
After a long, long time, he panted fiercely and slumped in his chair: “I’ll had the things over. Release my family!”
Luo Huai Yuan nodded, “You’re quite tactful. I like interacting with intelligent people. You know how to weigh the pros and cons. There are those stupid ones who get tormented until they’re half dead. They die after a lot of suffering and still end up acquiescing in the end. Don’t you think those people are idiots? You’ve got some bright prospects, bro. I’ve got a good feeling about you!”
The big boss was already furious, and this additional bout of anger made his eyes roll back as he fainted.
Yan Yan was extremely speechless as she pinched him. “Look, he’s fainted from anger!”
Luo Huai Yuan laughed foolishly.
Cough, cough. Please don’t call little fatty vulgar. He was being resourceful!
Back to the capital tomorrow.
Little fatty: (tossing the little braids on his head, looking very cheerful) Yan Yan, do I look good with this hairstyle? Do I?
Yan Yan: Laughs without speaking.
Little fatty: What’s with that expression?
Yan Yan: I’m expressing that you’re handsome!