Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace, Chapter 115: Uninvited Guest
There was always a short calm before the storm.
Song Zining was still on the constant move and Wei Potian had buried himself in a mountain of work.
Before Wu Zhengnan’s case had been thoroughly concluded, Wei Potian would be in charge of the city, its accompanying military base, several small towns, and a population numbering in the hundreds of thousands. In addition, these places might be hiding an unknown number of people who hated him deeply.
As for Qianye, apart from polis.h.i.+ng the details of his plan to establish a mercenary group and setting up a few initial jobs, he mostly spent his time in cultivation. Song Zining revealed an “as expected” expression when he was informed of the fate of the Song Clan Ancient Scroll.
Only then did Qianye understand why those famous clans had a very limited number of inheritors to these secret combat techniques. It wasn’t only to maintain their position by suppressing the descendants, but also because it was a matter of distributing a limited resource.
For instance, the “Nurturing Rain Art” he had obtained from the Yin family didn’t include the general principles and only contained a bottle of specially formulated primer drug. The drug would temporarily transform a small part of his origin power and use it to introduce the “Nurturing Rain Art”. This also meant that Qianye couldn’t spread the art even without the Yin family monitoring him.
The reason why it was so difficult to practice these secret techniques was because these middle and upper-grade arts pa.s.sed down from thousands of years ago were extremely difficult to copy. This was especially true for the general principles part—the chance of successfully copying it was low enough to make one’s hair stand on end. Hence after fumbling about for a long time, people eventually developed this cultivation system of using a primer to complement the art. The combatant formula was an exception. That was also why it had become an art targeted at the ma.s.ses.
Thus, even those aristocratic scions had very limited opportunity to practice with the true copy of an art. And those outstanding chosen ones, if they could complete the introduction naturally without the help of medicine, would garner the attention of the ma.s.ses as a genius. An example was Wei Potian who had successfully introduced the Thousand Mountains at the same time he ignited his first origin power node. It was no wonder he became a person expected to rise to the rank of a marshal.
Fortunately, those like the Song Clan Ancient Scroll which required the general principle to disintegrate before a successful introduction was quite rare. Otherwise, the distribution of cultivation resources would be even more intense.
Qianye suddenly recalled the few words of lamentation he had heard from Lin Xitang. Humans were able to naturally awaken their talents and powers before the thousand years of war. Unexpectedly, cultivation had actually become increasingly dependent on medicines. His heart trembled slightly—he felt that the words about the beginning of the heaven and earth within the Song Clan Ancient Scroll might not be ramblings of a madman after all.”
In any case, Qianye’s life continued according to routine. His primary cultivation was still the Combatant Formula. That was because the arts recorded in the Song Clan Ancient Scroll were mostly related to the movement and control of origin power. Additionally, he wasn’t quite familiar with many of the descriptions regarding the channels, vessels, and qi flow. Qianye couldn’t figure out which part of the body they were referring to.
However, he wasn’t discouraged and would set aside some time every day to test them out. As expected, many of them were completely unresponsive. Only a few techniques were able to activate his daybreak origin power. After practicing a few times, he didn’t feel any changes in his origin power attributes. It was just that his origin power would become slightly more condensed after each cycle.
Today, as he was convincing the two girls to leave his room after cultivating, the loud rumble of an engine was transmitted from beyond the courtyard. A jeep stopped in front of his gates, from which alighted a man in his forties. His appearance was average without any special characteristics, a man who would easily blend into the crowd within the blink of an eye. However, Qianye immediately became cautious after seeing him.
This man, whose age was nearing familiarity with heaven’s decree , likely wasn’t of high rank. However, his movements revealed some traces of solemnity amidst lightheartedness. His footsteps appeared fast and light but the center of gravity was exceptionally stable. Qianye was very familiar with such people—they were veterans with incredibly abundant combat experience and would pose a great threat on the battlefield. As crafty as a fox and as cruel as a wolf, the degree of danger they posed was grossly disproportionate to their ranks.
The middle-aged man spoke a few words to Lil’ Seven who had stopped him for inquiry and continued walking toward the main building. He halted before the steps and saluted Qianye. “This lowly one is called Song Hu, originally one of Young Master Zining’s followers. He has instructed me to follow Young Master Qian for a duration of one year and a.s.sist you with the various jobs related to the mercenary group.”
“It’s Zining?” Qianye was momentarily stunned. He then invited Song Hu into the house.
Song Hu stood respectfully and wouldn’t hear of sitting down. After Qianye was seated, he politely presented a box and a letter to him before lowering himself into an adjacent seat.
Qianye was paying attention to and sizing up this person. He wore plain warrior’s clothes, and the design was quite familiar too. It seemed to be the Song clan guards’ apparel with all insignias removed.
He was carrying an old-fas.h.i.+oned and oblong suitcase, which he didn’t put down even while seated. His sitting posture appeared rather uncomfortable and seemed as if he was in a horse stance . However, Qianye knew that this posture was extremely suited for dealing with emergent crises. He could easily switch to a combat position with minimal obstruction.
“What else did Zining instruct you?” Qianye received the box and letter but didn’t open them immediately.
Song Hu replied, “Seventh Young Master said this lowly one’s salary is 200 gold coins per annum and the cost of all equipment will be covered by Young Master Qian.”
Qianye was immediately overcome by an indescribable feeling as he waited quietly for Song Hu to continue.
As expected, Song Hu added, “Seventh Young Master instructed me to relay a message. He said that since you’re playing this mercenary game just to help that wild boar, he’s already acting quite fairly by not foiling things. He asked me to tell you that he absolutely refuses to invest both money and effort for this.”
Qianye was momentarily at a loss whether to laugh or cry. This Song Hu was indeed a talented person. Although he had relayed the two messages with a wooden expression, he was still able to perfectly deliver the meaning behind Song Zining’s words. This man was definitely not as unrefined as he seemed on the surface.
Qianye knew Song Zining had already seen through his intentions as soon as he heard about the plan to establish a mercenary group. Qianye didn’t expand further on this subject and only explained to Song Hu a summary of his recent plans along with the details regarding the training of personnel.
Song Hu listened attentively before going straight for the main topic. “Young Master Qian, since you plan to base the mercenary group in Blackflow City, we have to find a base of operations first and foremost. This lowly one will take a few days to go about the city and select a suitable location for our headquarters. However, this lowly one may be so bold as to ask, how much funds have you prepared?”
Qianye gave it some thought and replied, “Little over 1000, give or take.”
Song Hu was somewhat surprised. “This lowly one originally thought you planned to establish a medium-sized mercenary group with over a hundred members. Was it a small-scaled mercenary band instead?”
“In truth, I have close to… four hundred people, plus 100-odd children who can join the battlefield in five years’ time.” Seeing Song Hu’s somewhat odd expression, Qianye added with a laugh, “They are already fully equipped.”
Song Hu’s expression was still a bit strange. However, noticing that his behavior almost seemed discourteous, he let out a dry cough and said, “Since it is so, we’ll still need about 500 gold coins per month to maintain the group’s fighting power at an optimum level, discounting the need to upgrade equipment and supplies.”
Qianye only laughed because he knew this number wouldn’t stop here. Song Hu’s equipment and remuneration for instance—since the price set by Song Zining is 200 gold coins, his full set of equipment likely wouldn’t cost any less.
And as for those seedlings—did he need to pay them? In the beginning, these people would likely recall how Qianye had saved their lives and serve him without expecting any remuneration. But some of them would surely nurture a different opinion with the pa.s.sage of time. There would also be some who would want to lead their own lives. Some of them would definitely hold a grudge if Qianye was unable to pay them.
No matter when or where, the heart was the most difficult thing to control.
After seeing that Qianye had no other instructions for him, Song Hu expressed his desire to go into the city right away. Qianye called over Lil’ Seven and Nine to have them arrange a guest room for Song Hu. Qianye sat down at his usual place to ponder in silence after the room had once again regained its calm. This was also something he had recently been thinking about whenever he had the time.
According to Song Hu, he would require sufficient funds for the mercenary group to function normally. Qianye was merely supporting these people right now so the problem wasn’t quite evident, but once they officially start joining battles, they might run out of supplies within two months.
In the end, everything came down to money. It could be said that this was an issue of resources. When Qianye was alone, just by relying on his ability to hunt dark race members, he didn’t have to worry about food and shelter no matter how bad the situation was.
In truth, it was not that he had no way. He could take charge of an area’s defense and receive remuneration from the expeditionary army. He could also hunt high-level dark race warriors in the wilderness on his own—the rewards from this would allow the mercenary group to continue operating, albeit with some difficulty.
However, if this duty were to expand to a town, a city, a province or even a whole country, what would he do?
Qianye shook his head and decided to stop thinking about the questions he had no ability to answer at the moment. He opened Song Zining’s letter and found, to his surprise, only three words “Wei Bainian”. This was obviously the name of a person?
While Qianye was pondering how to solve the problem he had initiated, Wei Potian was under great stress from the th.o.r.n.y problems that had fallen into his hands.
Now, whenever he sat on the chair which originally belonged to Wu Zhengnan, Wei Potian felt as if he had fallen into a swamp with no sh.o.r.es. Doc.u.ments were always piled into mountains on the large desk in front of him. It seemed impossible to trim down this small hill even though he put great effort into reading through them.
Whenever he finished working on 10 doc.u.ments, 11 more would be placed onto the table. Wei Potian had brought many aides but none of them were idle. He required people to implement the content of these doc.u.ments, otherwise, they would only be worthless pieces of paper.
It was during this period where the majority were tranquil and a small number of people were distressed that a seemingly inconspicuous airs.h.i.+p landed outside of Blackflow City, and from which alighted a group of similarly inconspicuous people.
Today, like any other day, Wei Potian was buried behind a pile of doc.u.ments. Within this Wei clan heir’s limited lifetime, these few days were probably one of his most terrifying experiences. It had even far surpa.s.sed the period he had undergone Bai Longjia’s special training.
After hearing a knock on the door, Wei Potian immediately roared furiously, “More?! Can’t you deliver them all in one batch?”
The door opened on its own as a voice which had always caused Wei Potian to be scared witless was transmitted from behind, “Oh Huyang, you’re about to be promoted to colonel very soon. How come you still can’t keep your calm?”
Wei Potian’s hand trembled as he heard this voice, causing him to smudge the greater part of the doc.u.ment he had just signed.
 Confucius's own account of his gradual progress and attainments. 1. The Master said, "At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. 2. "At thirty, I stood firm. 3. "At forty, I had no doubts. 4. "At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. 5. "At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. 6. "At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right."
 A martial arts stance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_stance