Chapter 57: Stealing a Winning Hand[1. This is actually a really cool mahjong expression. To the best of my understanding, if multiple people want a certain piece to complete a winning hand, only the closest person wins. This expression has extended to modern lingo to mean something along the lines of stealing away someone’s success right as their on the cusp of it.]
The battle was a complete slaughter.
When it reached its final stages, most of the people remaining didn’t have the will to fight and began to attempt to escape.
At this point, the four Shadow Servants had used up all of their Thunderfire Balls, and the medicinal effects on Iron Cliff had also subsided.
However, people who had lost their bravery had simply lost their bravery. People without the will to fight couldn’t possibly turn around and counterattack.
At this moment, the villagers in the fort charged out with high morale, catching up with Iron Cliff and the others and chasing the remnants.
Even though they were essentially useless in the main battle, these villagers were extremely useful in chasing after the remnants and cleaning up the battlefield. At the very least, Iron Cliff and the others no longer needed to expend the last bits of their energy to fight.
When the last flames were put out, everything returned to peacefulness.
The battleground was littered with corpses. Very few people had been able to escape.
Iron Cliff was tired to the point of exhaustion.
He took off his armor, picked up a large pouch of water, and began to guzzle it down.
“It seems like the outcome of the battle here is pretty good,” Su Chen said as he walked over to him.
“Didn’t master expect this kind of outcome a long time ago?” Iron Cliff replied.
“I watched the conclusion, but I didn’t get to see it in all its glory,” Su Chen said as he smiled slightly.
Gui Dashan walked over and said in a heavy voice, “Master, Old Third died.”
“I know,” Su Chen said. “Did he have any family members?”
“He had a wife and kids, all of whom are at Yanping Mountain.”
“Ah.” Su Chen thought for a moment, then said, “Give his wife and kids a hundred taels of pure gold, and ten more every year from now on. If they are willing, they can also move over here. I’ll take good care of them. Of course, that will depend on themselves.”
“Yes! Many thanks, Master!” Gui Dashan exclaimed happily.
Even though bandits committed all kinds of evils, they were still somewhat loyal to their own brothers. When Gui Dashan and the others saw that Su Chen was willing to take care of their deceased comrade, they felt it much easier to bear.
In truth, even though they had lost a lot of freedom after following Su Chen and the danger had also increased, Su Chen’s everyday treatment of them was pretty good. Most importantly, their strength had also gone up.
Whenever Su Chen developed experimental objects or medicines that could raise one’s cultivation base and he or Iron Cliff didn’t need it immediately, he would give it to them. Occasionally, he would also give them some pointers so that they didn’t waste too much time. The cultivation of these bandits usually progressed with starts and stops; they had never been officially trained before, so when they received Su Chen’s instruction, it was as if they had been reborn. Their progress was quite remarkable.
During this period of time, Gui Dashan and the others’ cultivation bases were increasing rapidly.
Old Third Feng, Old Fourth Li, and Old Fifth Jin were at the peak of the Qi Drawing Realm and would be able to break through shortly. Unfortunately, Old Third Feng wasn’t able to make it until then.
As for Gui Dashan and Old Second Cheng, it would take them a bit of time before they could reach the peak.
However, the two of them weren’t anxious. Su Chen had already told them that his instructor was working on researching a way to break into the Yang Opening Realm without a bloodline. If all went according to plan, it should be completed quite soon. In the meantime, there was no need to be in a rush. Even if a method for reaching the Light Shaking Realm without a bloodline was never developed, obtaining a bloodline in the Yang Opening Realm was far superior to obtaining it while in the Blood Boiling Realm.
These bandits, who had no connections whatsoever and were just blindly cultivating, wouldn’t have had an opportunity to obtain a bloodline before. Now that they found out not having a bloodline could actually improve their fate, they were naturally extremely excited. As such, their desire to follow Su Chen became even more solid.
On the other hand, Su Chen didn’t actually care much for them.
To him, whether it was a hundred taels of pure gold or them reaching the Yang Opening Realm without a bloodline, both had little value to him.
These mountain bandit Shadow Servants were only worth so much.
Threatening them was always going to be more effective than appeasing them.
Of course, there was no need to say this out loud.
Now that he had appeased Gui Dashan and the others, Su Chen turned around to glance at Chalei and the rest of Happiness Residing Fort’s villagers.
Chalei walked over and knelt down in front of Su Chen. “Many thanks for saving us, sir!”
“Forget about the formalities. I just want to remind you that the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans will not stop their attacks here. I understand them too well; while you are a target that cannot fight back against them, they will do everything they can to deal with you. In particular, this touches the matter of their money.
Previously, Su Chen could still use the Blood-Robed Guards lent to him by An Siyuan to intimidate his opponents. However, the importance of the West River Villages was so great that they were even more important than Su Chen’s Origin Bureau. Even ten regiments of Blood-Robed Guards might not even be enough to stop the greediness of the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans.
Under such circumstances, one could easily imagine that the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans’ response would be swift.
Chalei was clearly aware of this. He said bitterly, “Then it seems that there’s nothing we can do but agree to their earlier conditions.”
Su Chen coldly said, “Then what was the point of holding out until now? Did I help you just so that you could surrender? If that’s the case, then I might as well kill you all right now so that you don’t increase the strength of my enemies.”
Chalei felt his heart jolt. He realized that he had obviously offended Su Chen with his words, so he hurriedly lowered himself and said, “I misspoke. Forgive me.”
He was already kneeling before. At this point, he was basically prostrating himself.
Su Chen continued, “However, I understand your fear. After all, the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans aren’t existences you can afford to resist.”
As he spoke, he glanced at Gui Dashan.
At this moment, the benefit of having the bandits manifested.
Gui Dashan instantly understood Su Chen’s intent. He said loudly, “You bunch of idiots, you can’t defend yourselves against the Bloodline Nobility Clans, but does my master fear them? With him here, he can naturally stop the Bloodline Nobility Clans for you.”
“But sir is unwilling to protect us,” Chalei said, stunned.
“Nonsense! Of course, it won’t work if you don’t take anything out. If you want my master to protect you, you at least need to......” Gui Dashan suddenly stopped speaking. He didn’t dare to make any demands on Su Chen’s behalf. All he could do was glance back at Su Chen.
Su Chen said indifferently, “If you want to obtain my protection, it’s quite easy. Sell the resources you earn to me.”
Indeed, that was how it was going to be.
In the end, Su Chen wanted to steal the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans’ winning hand and cut off their lifeline!
They made millions of Origin Stones every year, which wasn’t a small sum. If Su Chen were to forcefully seize their lifeline, the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans would undoubtedly be harmed.
Otherwise, what reason would Su Chen have to want to break apart the deadlock that was in place?
To him, peace was time, and time was strength!
The only thing that could disrupt this equilibrium was money!
A large amount of money could replace a large amount of time!
To Happiness Residing Fort, this was now a question of what position they would choose.
Even though they had sold goods to Su Chen in the past, they were all small shipments, and Su Chen basically used them right away. They were consumed without ever leaving the forest, which made sure that they wouldn’t attract trouble.
Now, however, Su Chen wanted to take over directly and box the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans out...... This was no longer a question of multiplying the price anymore.
Chalei said as if he were about to cry, “This matter concerns the entire fort. I cannot make that decision.”
Su Chen said faintly, “Please don’t confuse the situation. If I had never come, all of you would have died, and dead people don’t have the ability to make decisions. I don’t care about the other forts, just about your attitude. Village Chief Chalei, do you want to follow me or them? In addition, I can promise you one thing. Didn’t you want a threefold increase? The ten Bloodline Nobility Clans were too selfish. If you follow me, I can not only protect you but also promise to raise the price to five times what it was before. How does that sound?
Buying the resources for five times the original price still meant that Su Chen could sell it for twenty times the purchasing price.
But to the villagers of Happiness Residing fort, this would be a huge change.
Earning three thousand a month versus earning fifteen thousand a month would have a completely different effect on their standard of living.
Su Chen’s words became the straw that broke the camel’s back. Chalei nodded and said, “Okay, since Sir Su has said as much, the lives of the people in Happiness Residing Fort now belong to you.”
“That’s the way it should be,” Su Chen said with a slight smile.
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