"Alas, the Qing prefecture's Governor has garnered hundreds-of-thousand in silver taels from the last three years' harvest. Unfortunately, this Magistrate has only raked in fifty-thousand in the past five years! You're a good for nothing!" Jun Mo Xie continued to sigh.
[You yourself said that the prefecture's Governor raked-in hundreds-of-thousands. But, I'm just a Province-magistrate. There are tens-of-thousands of Province-Magistrates under his jurisdiction. Isn't my position… very different from the Prefecture-Governor's?] Fei Zhu Chang continued to complain within his heart. However, his outer appearance was reverent and respectful as he listened to the Great Vanguard Jun admonish him.
"Anyway, it doesn't matter. Maybe you've gained knowledge after falling into the moat. Perhaps, you'll know what to do when this Young Master returns. This Young Master is likely to return from Tian Fa in two months. And, I fear that I won't be able to sit in this carriage then. You must pay special attention to time over these two months. Tax the people brutally, and embezzle as much money as quickly as you can. And, there should be a better carriage waiting when this Young Master returns. You must start the preparations early. You mustn't have to rush-about like this. Opportunities are always set aside for those who are prepared…!" the Young Master Jun stated.
Fei Zhu Chang dropped down to the ground, and banged his head against it. He started to cry, and his gurgling voice came out, "Young General! This lowly Magistrate won't dare! He will repent for his past mistakes, and turn a new leaf! This Magistrate will mend his mistaken ways, and get back on the correct path! This prodigal son will return to the path of righteousness! I will repent and start afresh; I shall begin my life anew! I will firmly work my heart-out for the benefit of the people! This lowly man will strive to do the utmost. He shall leave no stone unturned in this regard…"
"You're very cultured! You've actually spoken so many idioms! Say more of them! Maybe I'll become compassionate and show mercy… and what not," Jun Mo Xie laughed and sang out those words as he looked at him in a praiseworthy manner.
Fei Zhu Chang kowtowed in adulation. He had decided that he would rather die than remain unchanged. The man had decided that he would become an honest and upright Magistrate; a good Magistrate. [I cannot remain a corrupt official anymore! I now know the sufferings of a corrupt official…]
[I regret my past behavior... Will I have to make another chariot for this man if he returns in two months?]
[I will weep rivers in my heart!]
[I reckon I'll lose my life if I cry in his presence…]
[I must call my subordinate officials, and I must tell them to cease their corrupt governance. I must tell them to become honest and upright… to serve the people…]
The Young Master Jun had fiercely plundered the region for bandits again. He had previously sent out the Spirit Devourer Team. They had returned carrying someone's head. The blood was dripping on the ground with a "pitter-patter" sound. The blood dripped all over the Magistrate's official lobby. It practically terrified the pitiful Fei Zhu Chang; in fact, he nearly fainted.
[This is a person's head… damn me! How many of these are there in total…]
Jun Mo Xie's vanguard-unit ate their fill. They then patted their posteriors and left once they had sufficiently extorted the man. Fei Zhu Chang raised his head in hope. He hoped to see Jun Wu Yi's forces soon. This was because the Young Master Jun had told him, "I will return and make you build another carriage if there any problem with the army's supplies. And, I will break the new carriage if it's not good enough. Also, the quality of the supplies will be decided by Commander Jun Wu Yi. So, you consider all of this properly, got it…?"
Therefore, Fei Zhu Chang's overenthusiasm made the hair on the back of Jun Wu Yi's neck stand on an end. [What's with this person?]
Meanwhile, Jun Mo Xie continued to lead his two-hundred-and-fifty men — 'Heaven Destroyer Team' and 'Spirit Devourer Team' — down the road to the south in high spirits. There seemingly wasn't a need to open mountain paths or bridge streams. However, they spread a reign of terror along their route.
He painstakingly tempered them throughout the journey in a bloody manner. Their strength increased by leaps and bounds, and they made extremely rapid progress. The temperament of each man was becoming increasingly murderous. Each one of them was like an evil demon that had been let loose from the very depths of hell. Their expressions were ruthless — so was their aura. And, both these traits were clearly visible on the surface. They were like a frightening team of meat-grinders on the battlefield.
Such a force naturally moved with lightning speed. The teams were sent out every day to deal with the bandits. They would go one team at a time as per the duty roster. However, the teams had a competition between them — to efficiently clean-up the hostiles, and eliminate them swiftly with great speed. Not a single opponent was to slip through their net. The team that would lose didn't suffer a very severe punishment. In fact, the punishment that was meted-out could even be called 'an easy one'… The team that was defeated in this competition had to wash the winner's underwear from the previous day; nothing more.
This competition led the men in those two teams to view the bandits as doubly-effective aphrodisiac. Or, perhaps delicious and fat pigs since they'd charge like wolves and tigers, and would chop their prey like melons…
The penalty wasn't a big deal, but their reputation was…
Jun Mo Xie's vanguard had put a distance of 400km from the main army by the noon of the fifth day. Jun Mo Xie was seated leisurely inside the lead carriage, and it was being drawn by six horses. The carriage was quite spacious. It was two meters wide and three-and-a-half meters long. A small bed was placed inside. Yet, it still had enough space for a small wooden side-table. In fact, there was enough space to prompt Jun Mo Xie to call-in a meeting inside his carriage.
However, Jun Mo Xie had only done so once. Moreover, he hadn't even completed half of it when he was forced to call the meeting to an end. Not because of any major problems… it was just that the men had been traversing through the mountain passes the entire day. The soldiers were attired in clothes and shoes, but the smell of their feet was extremely pungent. It was capable of making people tumble. This was especially the case in this nearly fully-sealed carriage. That smell was similar to that of a salted fish which had been fried. It had taken Jun Mo Xie a full day to rid his carriage of that smell after the meeting had concluded prematurely.
"Young Master, please open… there are some people ahead. They are blocking the way," the man to speak was the head of the 'Spirit Devourer Team'; Wang Dong.
[These people must be extremely savage to leave a homicidal maniac like the 'Spirit Devourer Team's' chief to stammer…]
"Blocking the way? Bullsh*t! Who in Tian Xiang Empire dares to block this Young Master's path?" Jun Mo Xie asked in surprise. He then first lifted the carriage's curtains, and then jumped down to see the people who had been audacious-enough to do such a thing.
Jun Mo Xie got out of the carriage to look. Then, something caught his attention. He then gasped. [My God! No wonder Wang Dong was stuttering!]
The scene in front wasn't too terrifying. There were two divinely beautiful women in front; nothing more. One charming person was dressed in purple clothes. She was extremely adorable and tender in appearance. She held a snow-white leopard cub. The tiny leopard cub looked at Jun Mo Xie and winked. He, it stuck out its tongue. It badly wanted to throw itself into Jun Mo Xie's arms.
The other woman wore a white dress. She had charming, cold and proud face. She was extremely beautiful. She had a graceful posture, and an unrivalled disposition.
The two beautiful figures looked at Jun Mo Xie with a satisfied expression that was akin to a cat's after it had caught a mouse.
Those two women were Guan Qing Han and Dugu Xiao Yi.
Jun Mo Xie groaned. He felt that he'd faint.
This was too big a shock!
[No wonder I didn't see these two pester me for the two days before we left for the battle! I was mistaken to think that I had convinced them, but they had left home early in reality! And now, they're waiting for me here!]
[What do I do?!]
Young Master Jun felt regret at holding the position of the Vanguard for the first time…
In fact, he had many regrets… [How come these two scalding hot potatoes fell into my hands? I... my life is a disaster!]
[Why did I have to opt for this Vanguard Unit? Why could I have just followed the main army like a good boy? What troubles could've my Third Uncle's command have possible posed? But, now… I can shout for days and no one will come to my aid… I could shout my lungs out and it would still be in vain…]
[This is the route to Tian Fa! This isn't a road for some vacation destination!]
Jun Mo Xie didn't know what he should say. What could he possibly say in such a pinch of a situation?
The Young Master Jun restlessly turned his head back. He hoped that Jun Wu Yi would arrive from behind the smoke… that his Uncle would lead their army of twenty thousand and drop from the sky to save him from that fiery cauldron.
[That's too extravagant a hope… The distance between our two sides is over 400km at the least… there isn't enough time.]
"Don't look like that. It's useless to look like that. We had made proper enquiries, and we've come here to wait for you," Guan Qing Han spoke indifferently as she looked at him. "You can come out of the carriage. Xiao Yi and I will travel in it. You can ride on the horse. You don't object to it, right?"
Jun Mo Xie became speechless for a while.
[Does this seem like an amiable discussion? Would I have an objection? Would I dare to have any objection? Isn't this what you call 'tyrannical behavior'? As a matter of fact… this is exactly what it is. My behavior with that Fei Zhu Chang was far more straightforward than the conduct of this magnate of a woman. She's overtaking my carriage… This is exactly like the 'legendary turtledove taking over the magpie's nest' scenario!]
The members of the Spirit Devourer Team were secretly sniggering. Jun Mo Xie glanced at them in rage. That made the sniggering stop in an instant, and they started to gaze straight-ahead with a solemn look on their faces.
"Ke ke…" Jun Mo Xie cleared his throat, and prepared to use his honeyed tongue. He aimed to convince the seemingly beautiful women to return to the right path. "Listen to me Elder Sister-in-law and furthermore… Young Lady Dugu..."
"Elder Brother Mo Xie, aren't you pleasantly surprised to see me? Isn't this quite unexpected? Don't you wish to hug me? I know! I clearly understand that this is what it is about!" Dugu Xiao Yi was all smiles. She suddenly jumped in front of Jun Mo Xie, tilted her head and smiled.
Little White still felt like throwing himself in Jun Mo Xie's arms. However, the eldest daughter of the Dugu Family restrained herself for the sake of her modesty. Little White was already jumping-about, but Dugu Xiao Yi wanted to wait for Jun Mo Xie to take the initiative before she threw herself at him.
[I feel frightened. And, yes this incident is very unexpected… And hug you? I feel like spanking your small butt.] Then, Jun Mo Xie glanced at her butt, and reckoned that it couldn't be considered very small. He wondered how it would feel if he were to spank it a couple of times…
Jun Mo Xie subtly indulged in flights of fancies for a while. Then, he came back to himself, and resolutely tried to make those two women go back. His complexion sank as he became very dignified, "Elder Sister-in-law, Young Lady Dugu… you're worried about us. And I — as a representative of all the personnel of the Tian Fa expedition's army — am very grateful. However, the road to Tian Fa passes through long and dangerous mountains. There are many bandits about. And, this road is also rampaging with man-eating beasts! Further, you two are single ladies. So, it will be very inappropriate to travel that far with you. Therefore, this man humbly requests you to return to the Tian Xiang City."
[Speaking of single… these two have come without any hand-maids! They think that this is a stroll in the park with beverages that are paid with public expenses?! We're genuinely going to a war here!]
"You give it a try, and I'll see who dares to send us back," Guan Qing Han stated uncaringly as she looked at him coldly.
"Brother Mo Xie, do you really have the heart to send us back after we've made our way till here?" Dugu Xiao Yi wasn't as confident as Guan Qing Han. So, she looked at him pitifully. The rims of her eyes had become red. It seemed that she would start to weep anytime, "Besides the distance from here to the Capital is more than five hundred kilometers. It's such a long way back! What would you do if something happened to Elder Sister and me? The road is dangerous, and who can fathom a man's mind?"
"Don't follow me. Crying in front of me is useless!" Jun Mo Xie stated in an aloof manner. [I know the path is dangerous… Can't fathom a man's mind? You didn't take that into account when you set out? You think such a lie will work with this Young Master? How stupid do you think I am?]