With this divine bird in hands, what the h.e.l.l was the Marquis of Order?
This one sentence of the Black Eagle scout had fully awakened Gu Yun.
“Eagle,” he asked again in a low voice. “You truly weren’t mistaken?”
Black Eagle scout: “Your subordinate can guarantee with his own head — this is true.”
‘Eagle’ was the most unique of all the military services. Although it was not the one to burn through the most fuel, it was extremely difficult to maintain and care for, they required to be repaired by the experts from the Ling Shu Inst.i.tute every year, the total cost certainly would not be cheaper than Heavy Armors.
In contrast, Heavy Armors were much more commonly seen. In various military troops, even Kuai Lan Tu’s guards have several sets of armors that had surpa.s.sed the authorized level. However, looking at the entirety of Great Liang, only one Eagle faction — The Black Eagle — could be fully developed.
Where did the Eagles of these bandits come from?
Stolen from the Black Iron Camp?
Gu Yun stood up and strode outside. People in the Xing Zi Lin den were tense. Fu Zhi Cheng who had been stripped off of his weapon was kneeling in the middle, shouted loudly as he saw Gu Yun: “Marshal! Marshal, I have been wronged!”
Gu Yun lifted his leg and kicked him in the middle of the chest. Fu Zhi Cheng, a strong and st.u.r.dy man, was sent flying. He spat out a mouthful of blood, coughing and rolling on the ground, unable to speak.
“You have been wronged?” Gu Yun said coldly, “b.a.s.t.a.r.d, you have raised a group of rebels right under your nose, Light and Heavy Armors, Baihong arrows set up for two miles, even the ‘Eagle’ can be obtained. Compared to the Jiangnan Navy, this is still much more lavish. You have quite the abilities Fu Zhi Cheng!”
Fu Zhi Cheng struggled on the ground, his look of surprise did not seem to be a false pretense. He continuously pleaded: “Marshal, I swear to the sky, I don’t know where their iron Eagle comes from, even my Southern Frontier garrison has no Eagle!”
Shen Yi whispered: “Marshal, I had tried to investigate him for a night, even General Fu himself could not tell the origin of all the Ziliujin. He only admitted to telling Jing Xu to go contact people.”
“This idiot, conspiring with a tiger yet still thinking he raised a cat.” Gu Yun stared at Fu Zhi Cheng for a moment. “Continue to investigate, get the map — all troops get ready, prepare to encircle the rebels, the Southern Frontier garrison temporarily will be under my command for the time being, any offender will be punished by military law!”
He talked as he reached out and equipped his armor, but he could not find his bow when he searched around for it. Only then did he remember that his bow and arrow had been gifted to Chang Geng.
Gu Yun was slightly startled, asking: “Where is Chang Geng?”
At this time, Jing Xu was quickly pa.s.sing through the long and endless secret path inside the mountain, where an individual was already waiting for him.
He was a tall man. His facial features under the steam lamp were as sharp as a knife. There was a deep wrinkle by the corner of the mouth. His exact age could not be seen, and there was no telling which foreign country he came from. In short, he was not of the Central Plains.
His face was tanned from the sun, and the skin that was exposed to the outside was wrapped in a layer of weather-beaten color. His slightly blue eyes were staring at a large sand table.
In the face of this person, Jing Xu showed extreme cautiousness: “Master Ja, will that Gu Yun fall into the trap?”
‘Master Ja’ lifted his face and looked at Jing Xu: “You may be able to trick him into coming, but it is impossible to hold him off. The Marquis of Order had been on the battlefield since he was a child. He only needs to take one look to know that those steel armors flying in the sky and running on the ground of yours does not have any true fighting power against the Black Iron Camp.”
Jing Xu: “Then…”
Master Ja lifted a finger: “Remember what I had told you, the Black Iron Camp was built by three generations of people. It is one of the world’s top cla.s.s military force, a malicious weapon that had leaped beyond our time. Do not harbor any hope that you could challenge them directly, it will be nothing more than a giant fighting a child. What we have to do is just briefly lead the tiger away from the mountain and delay them for a moment.”
His fingers lightly tapped on sand table: “Gu Yun will be led here by the Eagles and Heavy Armors we have left in the light, although we can’t hold him off for a long time — but I just got a message, Fu Zhi Cheng had partially helped you, he had drawn most of the troops to Xing Zi Lin. Now the internal defense of the troops stationed in southern frontier garrison is completely empty, and the people left behind don’t even know that you have switch side.”
Jing Xu’s eyes brightened up.
“You only need to do what you have done every time when smuggling Ziliujin for Fu Zhi Cheng, hide people in the delivery box, those in the southwest storage will not stop you nor reveal themselves. When that time comes, both sides from inside and out will a.s.sist one another.” Master Ja made a movement of slashing down, “Within the time to finish a cup of tea, you can already take over the southwest storage.”
There were a large number of Ziliujin in the southwestern storage area. As long as one person stood there with a torch, let alone the Black Iron Camp, even the G.o.ds will not dare take a step further.
“There are thousands of pounds of Ziliujin there. Once they are burned, even the Marquis of Order himself could not carry this crime.” Master Ja gently swayed the steam lamp hanging on the sand table, causing his eyes to flicker in the dark, his lips revealed an unfathomable smile. “You will have a lot of room to negotiate with the court.”
Their plans could not be said to have an opening, but at this time on the land of Southern Frontier, there was another force that has not come out yet.
Before the Black Iron Camp made their move, Chang Geng in Xing Zi Lin received a second wooden bird.
The first one that flew here was released immediately. Shen Yi did not even get to touch one of its feathers. Seeing the second bird fly in, Shen Yi’s drool was flowing three feet long, he eagerly came closer, rubbing his hands together: “Your Highness, you see … can I open this one for you?”
Chang Geng generously handed it to him. The wooden bird truly was as good as real. When held in his hands, apart from the hardness that differentiated it from a real bird, there was no other difference.
Shen Yi held the divine bird with both of his palms, feeling that his heart was about to melt: “It knew how to nod and even how to peck!”
“…” Gu Yun: “Old maid, don’t do anything embarra.s.sing.”
With this divine bird in hands, what the h.e.l.l was the Marquis of Order?
Shen Yi did not pay him any mind. Touching the back of the wooden bird with pa.s.sion, he carefully looked for the mechanism on its belly.
Shen Yi: “Then I’ll open it now.”
Chang Geng: “Wait, you must first shake…”
He didn’t finish his words yet Shen Yi had already removed the belly of the wooden bird. Turned out, this small little belly hid a secret. As soon as the cover was opened, a piece of paper bounced out like a cannonball, knocking against General Shen’s straight nose bridge, almost causing a nosebleed, then covered his face in the blink of an eye.
Shen Yi: “…”
A bird as large as a palm hid a piece of paper that covered the entire wall.
“You have to shake it first,” Chang Geng would now have the opportunity to finish his words, “Because the s.p.a.ce in a bird’s belly is limited, sometimes people will use ‘sea grain paper’…”
When Shen Yi heard this, regardless of the tears that were still in his eyes from getting hit, he continued to be lengthy: “Oh, sea grain paper! I know this one! It is a type of paper made using a special technique. No matter how large its size is, it can be pressed into a pill. The ink will not fade away, and it will even restore itself when left out for a long time!”
There was nothing in the world that can stop General Shen’s incessant explanations, not even a b.l.o.o.d.y nose.
“Why didn’t it just break his mouth?” Gu Yun thought without sympathy, grabbing the piece of paper that resembled a weapon.
It was a drawing of an ‘Eagle’ — from the two wings to the golden box, and even the protective mask, all were painted in a realistic and detailed manner, signed with a big character ‘Ge’.
“This is the Eagle in the bandit’s hand?” Although Gu Yun was not a Mechanic, but every variety of battle armors was also a half of his body. He could see at a glance what was the difference between the Black Eagle and the Eagle on the drawing: “They have cut down too much on materials.”
Shen Yi covered his nose, took a look and said: “I think compared to a Black Eagle, its weight is lighter by at least one suit of Light Armor, perhaps they wanted to save fuel.”
“Even paper kite is more fuel-efficient — ” Gu Yun said, his sentence was not yet finished when his expression suddenly changed. “Hold on!”
Although this Eagle was nothing more than an embroidered pillow, its designer was undoubtedly aware of the working mechanism of Eagles, they must have known that this armor had no combat power. The other side was hanging these Eagles up so high, they were undoubtedly intending to lead the tiger away from the mountain.
The question was where was this ‘mountain’?
There was a saying that when fighting a snake, one must hit seven inches from its head. The question was, where was the Southern Frontier garrison’s …and even Gu Yun’s own heart placed?
*there is a saying that a snake’s heart is placed about seven inches from its head.
Gu Yun suddenly turned to Fu Zhi Cheng: “Where do you usually let the bandits send Ziliujin to?”
Fu Zhi Cheng’s face was covered in blood, he looked at Gu Yun in confusion for a moment, then could finally react to what was happening. His face showed a wandering look — admitting to smuggling Ziliujin, was it not the same as securing yourself to the crime of rebellion?
At this moment, Chang Geng gently said behind Gu Yun: “General Fu must think clearly, Inspector Kuai has died in your hand, there was Master Sun of the Ministry of War as a witness, your crime of rebelling and murdering was for certain regardless of any reason. A person who is bound to die, what is the difference between dying in the capital and simply dying here?”
Fu Zhi Cheng had never seen such a gentle and elegant person like His Highness. When he first saw this young man, he might have suspected that he could not even move a barrel. However, at this time, he had no doubt that if he did not cooperate, the ‘scholarly’ Fourth Prince could kill him with one sword.
Gu Yun continued in a timely manner: “If you understand your situation, you still have the opportunity to atone for your sins and do the right things.”
Fu Zhi Cheng’s lips trembled for a long while, his voice was unstable: “The southwest storage, I do not have any other place, I have always let Jing Xu send Ziliujin here, I did not move to my manor even a single drop.”
Gu Yun stood up.
“Marshal!” Fu Zhicheng suddenly shouted at him. “This surname Fu had murdered and set fire, digging the tombs and turning the graves, there were no wicked things I haven’t done, but with the order to station in the Southern Frontier, I have been working hard and stayed diligent, I have never harbored ulterior motives. I myself felt that I had never disappointed His Majesty, but now it has fallen into this ending, what might other comrades and brothers think if they were to know! Marshal, what do you think in your heart?”
Gu Yun gave him a deep look.
For a moment, Fu Zhi Cheng thought he had managed to touch Gu Yun.
However, Gu Yun was neither provoked by his emotions nor was he angered. His face seemed to be covered with a mask that could not be penetrated even by raging wind and storm, turning to leave: “Can you control what I think?”
“Ji Ping, you take the Eagles and move one step ahead, be sure to take over the southwestern storage before the bandits, Xiao An —”
The little Black Iron Camp soldier who followed Chang Geng in Sichuan stepped out of line as he was called.
Gu Yun: “Lead a branch of the Southern Frontier garrison troops and pretend to attack the hills where the bandits gathered.”
Xiao An: “Roger!”
“Wait,” Gu Yun said. “Take their armor and splash a bit of black ink on them. It doesn’t have to be very realistic, just be flexible.”
This trick was learned from Liao Ran. Xiao An was startled at first, then immediately understood Gu Yun’s intention and ran away with joy.
The three major bandit leaders in the Southern Frontier have already finished examining their subordinates, Jing Xu looked at the soundless group of bandits before him. In an instant, he also felt the pride and exhilaration of holding a thousand troops in his hands.
He made a praying gesture to the sky above and raised his voice: “The local garrisons had let their armors run rampant. The Black Iron Camp resemble a demon crow descending from the sky, their fame running across overseas. Great Liang’s military is this strong. However, in the past ten years, Fujian and Jiangnan Navy had both previously rebelled, what is the reason for this?
“If it was not because of an incompetent ruler in power, letting sugarcoating subjects running rampant, why must us commoners be like a moth into the fire and put our lives on the line? Today, us brothers have been forced into a dead end, our lives and the lives of our families had been placed onto thin ice, only the path towards death was left under our feet.
“But if we do not risk death, how could we find the hope for surviving? Are you gentlemen willing to join me by blood, to seek a common cause, to share blessings and to shoulder disasters together?”
The mountain bandits only ever robbed for all their lifetime, the number of words they recognized were not as many as their own fingers. Jing Xu’s calm voice had caused blood to rush to their heads in an instant, feeling as if they have placed themselves into the ranks of royalties.
Jing Xu took over a wine cup handed to him by one of his men, downed it in one go and dropped the cup to the ground: “Success or failure is set onto this one move!”
The bandits all drank to gain courage, smashing their cups, and moving out of the s.p.a.cious secret chamber one after another.
Jing Xu turned to look at Master Ja. This mysterious foreigner once acted as a connection from the Southern Sea when he smuggled Ziliujin for Fu Zhi Cheng. He had lived in Central Plains for who knew how many years, extremely intelligent.
Just now as Master Ja listened to Jing Xu’s speech of courage that arose from the bottom of his heart, there was not even a slight hint of change on his face. The steam lamp deepened and extended the crease on his face, standing in a place that was neither light nor dark, revealing a slight smile of mockery.
The first time Jing Xu cut one part of Ziliujin from Fu Zhi Cheng, He had wanted to sell it through Master Ja, in exchange for gold and silver to sleep on every day. At that time, Master Ja would wholeheartedly persuade him to keep all these Ziliujin, to transfer them to another safer place, then to start to gather weaponry. He even advised him not to store the collected armors and weapons in the same place as the money.
As it turned out, this unpredictable foreigner seemed to have long antic.i.p.ated the current situation.
A question suddenly arose in the heart of Jing Xu, the suspicious bandit leader. He thought: “Is this Master Ja truly only a snakehead in selling Ziliujin?”
At this moment, one of his men suddenly came to report: “Big brother, I can see a person wearing black armor coming up to the place where we left the Eagle!”
The doubts that just sprouted in his heart were overwhelmed by ecstasy: “Master Ja is right, they did indeed get fooled, enable the Baihong bow. Hold them off for however long we can! The entire army accelerates as planned! Quickly! ”
At this moment, a team of unnoticeable escorts of Ziliujin was quietly approaching the southwestern storage. At the entrance, the man leading pushed up his protective mask slightly, revealing his face to the squad leader, “It is me.”
With the smuggling of Ziliujin, the less people knew, the better. Therefore, Jing Xu on the delivery side and Fu Zhi Cheng on the receiving side all used fixed confidants of their own. The squad leader of the storage served as a connection to the bandits from inside the Southern garrison. Fu Zhi Cheng had asked him to never make any sound each time he received the Ziliujin, everything must be carried out in silence.
According to the usual practice, the captain would not ask a single question in front of them, waving his hand with a natural expression and letting them in. Moreover, he would familiarly walk with them to the Ziliujin warehouse. But today, after the captain walked for two steps, no one knew which ghost had possessed him, he abruptly asked: “I remember you people just sent a batch a few days ago, how come there was another delivery so fast?”
The entire face of the bandit escorting Ziliujin was hidden under the mask, he said with a sullen voice: “This is a matter between the Master and big brother. How can I know?”
Somehow the captain was somewhat in a trance, speaking while searching for the keys: “To tell you the truth, our Master had moved more than half of the people with him yesterday, no one knows what had happened.”
The bandit wearing the helmet stared at his movement of opening of the warehouse, subconsciously licking his mouth, rudely urging: “We are all running errands here, we do not know either, open the door!”
The captain’s hand twisting the key suddenly stopped, he turned back and frowned: “How do I feel that you are today…”
His voice went silent, he could see a bandit aiming a small bow at his throat three steps away.
The captain shivered, and the mountain bandit having immediately known that they have been discovered simply decided to finish the job. The leader flipped his hand, the short arrow on the bow rushed into the squad captain’s throat. The breath he inhaled preparing to shout finally had no chance to come out again.
The bandit with the helmet stepped forward, grabbed the fallen captain’s body by his shoulders, and reached for the key on the warehouse door —
His heart was about to jump off from the chest — because as soon as this door was opened, tens of thousands of troops from the Southern Frontier, three thousand black iron crows, all of them would be under his mercy.
At this moment, he suddenly heard a screech by his ear. The bandit had yet to come back to his senses from the excitement, and as he looked back unconsciously, he saw that his men were all frightened. It was only then that he felt that his arm was not right—the hand that was holding the keys had been pierced by an iron arrow that descended from the sky, only one inch of flesh was still connected with the arm.
Half of the exploded hand held the key of the warehouse tightly, blocking the way, unable to turn.
The bandit finally gave out a scream that was unlike a human voice.
With only such a short delay, the Eagles catching up to them had arrived. Having not put away the bow and arrow, Shen Yi directly landed on the top of the Ziliujin warehouse, taking out the Black Tiger Emblem. A rope was dangling under it — as if to get two for the price of one — where the very first Drumming Order of Great Liang hung.
He stood tall, behind the Eagle Armor was a pair of black wings as dark as a cloud, saying to the Southern garrison troops in the storage currently in a state of shock: “The Black Tiger emblem and the Drumming Order are here. Under the command of the Marquis of Order, I will be taking over the authority of the southwest storage. This place is now under restrictions, any criminals will be slain on the spot!”
The three Southern Frontier bandit leaders still weren’t aware that the situation had changed. At this time, they were divided into three routes, leading their underlings drilling out from the ground, eagerly rushing to the southwest.
At this moment, Jing Xu suddenly heard a sound of clashing metal, as if heavy objects colliding with stones were rolling down from the mountain, he looked up unconsciously —
A human head wrapped in Heavy Armor rolled off the hillside.
This Heavy Armor was hidden by himself in the Ziliujin escort cart, intending to sneak into the southwest storage.
Jing Xu went stiff —
He could only see the Southern Frontier garrison troops in the mountain’s plains, with black iron armors hidden inside. Countless sharp arrows were pointed at them from the top of the mountain — at this moment, the other half of Jing Xu’s force was still stuck inside the secret pa.s.sage.