Chapter 15 - The Mayor
At the end of the road, Little Meng City came into sight.
As Little Meng City came into view, Wu Qi felt disappointed. It was surrounded by a three foot tall wall built of rammed earth. It also had a low city gate, a big flag twisting on a pole on top of said city gate, and a few languished guards standing in front of the gate. A desolate place, that was his first impression of Little Meng City.
When Wu Qi got close enough to the city gate, he saw some weeds had grown on the city wall, billowing in the breeze happily. Not only that, there was also a two foot tall bush growing on top of the city gate. Wu Qi also saw dozens of fist-size berries hiding amongst the bushes branches.
Wu Qi breathed in sharply through his teeth.
Lu Chengfeng’s expression turned awful when he saw the city wall. he tilted his head and just stared at it. It seemed like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. After some time, he let out a depressed sigh, put on a smile on his face, and said, “Wu Qi, it is fortunate that I have not become the Mayor of this city. Instead I have been appointed as a General! Don’t you think you should congratulate me?”
Wu Qi gave Lu Chengfeng a gaze, then said, in a similarly disenchanted voice, “Congratulation, young master. You really are lucky for not becoming the Mayor of Little Meng City! But why did they build this crumbling city here?”
At this moment, Zhang Hu came by, riding on his ride and, with a loud voice, said, “Because of the herbs, minerals, timber, beast skin, meat, and barbarians!”
Pointing at the Little Meng City, Zhang Hu explained its situation like a man who knows everything.
Meng Mountain is rich in resources that no one can neglect. Therefore, the Lu Kingdom, which ruled the land that Meng Mountain was on, specifically built a city at its perimeter as the hub for the collection and distribution of resources. No only this, the Lu Kingdom frequently suffered attacks from barbarians near Meng Mountain. Having a city built here can be considered a first line of defense, so, when those barbarians attacked again, Little Meng City would be able to alert Lu Kingdom to the threat.
Because of this tough situation, there’s barely fifty thousand permanent residents in Little Meng City, but there are more than two hundred thousand floating residents, who are earning their living here. Not only this, there are three battalions of soldiers, Heavenly, Earth, and Mortal, which grouped into twelve companies for a total of eight thousand warriors that are stationed here permanently.
An army of eight thousand soldiers. For any other prosperous city in the Lu Kingdom, this would be a strange arrangement.
“Ah! I See!” Lu Chengfeng nodded his head thoughtfully, then said, “Even back in Liyang City, where the Lu family resided, there were only three thousand soldiers. This small city has an army of eight thousand soldiers. No wonder they need a General here!”
Soon they had come to the front of City Gate, then, Zhang Hu hold his fist to Lu Chengfeng and Wu Qi.
“Brother Wu Qi, young master Lu, we’ll say goodbye here! Brother Wu Qi, Little Meng City is not a big city. If there is anything you need, just come and look for me. All my brothers and I are staying at the ‘Vigorous Tiger Residence’! That’s our base!”
Zhang Hu bid goodbye to Wu Qi in a loud, emphatic voice, without looking at Lu Chengfeng. Then, together with his men, they sped up their pace and entered into the city, riding the horses of those dead cavalrymen.
Awful expressions came over both Laohei and Xiaohei, their dark faces twisting with frowns.
Lu Chengfeng burst out laughing, then said, “This Zhang Hu is a good man with an interesting life story. But, the way he treated me. It was as if I was some poisonous bug or wild beast, showing that he is a wise man, but also a boring man. What do you think?” He looked at Wu Qi as he asked this.
As Wu Qi watched Zhang Hu disappear, said honestly, “I think brother Zhang Hu is a good man!”
Lu Chengfeng slapped his forehead, again laughing, and said, “I have to agree with you there. Never mind, these barbarian hunters will have to deal with the City Guards Army, and I, as the General of the City Guard, will just take good care of them! Ha, aren’t they going to have to buy all their armor and weapons from me?”
Wu Qi nodded his head, turning to look at Lu Chengfeng. So, the post of General is also in charge of the weapons in Little Meng City as well?
The villagers of Meng Village also waved at Wu Qi, then, with a fast pace, they pushed those push carts into the city. They, too, don’t get along with Lu Chengfeng. They felt a huge gap between them and this young master from a wealthy family. No matter whether it was the way Lu Chengfeng talked or the way he handled things, they simply felt uncomfortable.
Especially since some of Lu Chengfeng’s guards had wounded some villagers when they were fleeing for their lives. This made the villagers from Meng Village dislike him even more.
Although Lu Cheng Feng had generously paid a huge sum of money to these villagers for medical treatment, given all the horses of those dead cavalrymen to Zhang Hu, and even gave them all the weapons and money found on the men in black, but still, he couldn’t win the hearts of these villagers. These simple villagers were of a one-track-mind. When Lu Chengfeng’s guards hurt their men, he got the blame.
Breathing out a helpless sigh, Lu Chengfeng stared at Wu Qi and clapped his hand with a bitter smile.
Wu Qi shook his head, then pointed back over his shoulder at those cavalrymen, who were looking dejected and spiritless. He spoke with a stiff tone, “Young master, you better think of some ways to recruit more people in Little Meng City, these men are useless. You might as well send them back and save on the food.”
Lu Chengfeng clapped his hand again, laughing out loud and said, “You’re right, they are supposed to be my guards. Having them here would just waste the army supplies. So be it, all of you, leave your rides behind and walk back to Liyang, help me inform lady lord that I’ve arrived at Little Meng City safely!”
When those guards heard what Wu Qi said, their expressions became dark, then, when they heard Lu Chengfeng’s order, an intention to kill Wu Qi immediately popped up in their minds. Leaving behind their rides and walking a thousand miles back to Liyang on their feet? Isn’t that a death sentence?
What’s worse, they were chased back by the young master, who they supposed to be protecting. What would the family think when they got back? They could recieve serious punishment if they really left the young master behind.
All the cavalrymen rolled around and crawled off their rides, hastening to kowtow in front of Lu Chengfeng, without caring about how dirty the ground was.
Wu Qi stared at them with a cold shoulder, with a gloomy face, he said, “Young master, it’s your call. Looks like they don’t take seriously on what you’ve just said!”
Lu Chengfeng’s face darkened with anger, he shouted at those cavalrymen, “Leave your rides behind and get the hell out of here. Or do you want me to punish you all with the house rule?”
The cavalrymen trembled, then they looked at each other and dared not to say a word. They stood up and tidied up their weapons and belongings, then turned around and walked slowly back to where they came from.
With an indifferent tone, Wu Qi said, “Fleeing in front of bandits, that’s just cowardice. Abandoning their master, that’s disloyalty. Disobeying the order of their master, that’s the greatest sin. What’s the point of having these kinds of scumbags? They can’t prove themselves. Why doesn’t the young master just hire a team of useful men in Little Meng City. It would probably be cheaper too.”
Lu Chengfengn stared thoughtfully at Wu Qi, noddingd his head in agreement.
Wu Qi let out a bland smile, staring back into Lu Chengfeng’s eyes. Lu Chengfeng had an enduring and complicated visage, the bleary eyes were like looking at layers of impassable walls, hiding many secrets that are not known by others. On the other side, Wu Qi had a crystal clear sight, his eyes were glowing like the purest crystal, however, deep within his eyes was a ripple of deep blue, tranquil water. Under this was the life-sucking vortex.
Both of them put on smiles, then, at the same time, they turned their eyes toward the City Gate of Little Meng City.
All of sudden, come a pattering of the foot from within the city. A marching army consist of more than three, four hundred soldiers was coming fast to the City Gate. A chubby man, walked difficulty at the front end of the parade, while whipping off some sweats on his forehead breathlessly.
“Is that young master from Lu Family? Oh, my lord General, you are finally here! The city guards of Little Meng City have finally gotten their master!”
From afar, this chubby man started to shout with his greasy and sickly sweet voice. Judging from what he said, it is obvious that he came to greet Lu Chengfeng.
When Wu Qi saw this chubby man’s face, he saw a target ripe for the picking.
This guy had the height similar to those from Meng Village, about two meters tall, however, the diameter of his waist is almost two times of Wu Qi’s height. His body is full of wobbling fat, even his ears, the most difficult place to have fat, had thick layers of fat, making them look like pig’s ears.
The man’s facial feature is even more astonishing. He had a pair of watery, amorous eyes, two times smaller than ordinary men’s eyes. A pointed nose. Red, delicate and cherry-sized lips seated right below the center of his face.
A shiver ran down his back, and Wu Qi forced himself not to look further on this man’s body. However, the thief in him quickly appraised everything on the man.
The cloth was made from premium quality silk. Wu Qi felt some relief, a place with premium quality silk. It shouldn’t be a bad place.
His headwear was made from Purple Gold and was reflecting a golden sheen. Purple Gold is good stuff. it was stated in the Scroll of Stealing that Purple-Gold is a foundational material with many usages. To make a sword or magical items, cultivators would need to mix in a lot of Purple Gold. The chubby man had headwear made from Purple Gold. This tells Wu Qi that there is probably a Purple Gold mine nearby. It should be easy for him to gather a large amount of Purple Gold.
Three thumb-sized gems and four pearls were embroidered on the headwear. These blood-colored gems made anyone who stared at them feel warm. They are the gemstones containing fire elemental energy, which is important for cultivators.
Compared to the gemstones, pearls were just an ordinary item. There’s no sea near to the Meng Mountain, therefore, having four pearls as the decoration on his headwear is something really luxurious. As for the gemstones, Wu Qi told himself he had to find out where they came from. Were they bought from somewhere else, or a product of Meng Mountain.
Besides this, the chubby man wore a jade belt on his waist. There was even a fist-sized, rounded, green colored jadestone right in the middle of it, which attracted Wu Qi’s gaze. That’s not an ordinary jadestone, it is a middle tier ‘Green Nephrite Jadestone’, belonging to the family of water elemental gemstones.
But, the man’s most valuable item was the golden ring he wore on his right thumb. The ring was decorated with a bean-sized, red crystal that shined mystically. Wu Qi’s heart almost jumped out from his chest when he saw the ring.
The golden ring was made from ‘Heavenly Gold’, a top tier elemental material. With this little amount of Heavenly Gold, if mixed with other materials, it could yield a strong metal elemental magical item.
The decorative red crystal is a top tier ‘Flaming Crystal’ that can absorb floating fire elemental energy in the atmosphere by itself. This thing can be used in the aid of cultivation, or as the material to forge a top tier magical item.
Although this chubby man had strange facial features, he also had lots of treasures!
With a hospitable smile on his face, Wu Qi got off the coach, sped up his pace, and walked over to the chubby man, holding his fist and bowing to the chubby man.
“Greeting my lord, can I know your name?”
Wu Qi greeted the man and asked in a polite manner, behaving like a servant from a wealthy family.
The chubby man panted for a moment, then he squeezed a smile onto his face and spoke to Lu Chengfeng, “General Lu, I am your humble servant, the Mayor of the city, Yi Yan!”
Swallowing the lump in his throat and stepping forward, Yi Yan explained with a smile on his face, “Yi, as in ‘Zhou Yi’; Yan, as in ‘Tian Ji Yan Hua’. Your humble servant came from the Yan family in RuYang. Our family is friends with the Lu family!”
Lu Chengfeng smiled and got off the coach to greet the chubby man officially.
Wu Qi stared at the fair and plump Yi Yan with a pleasant smile, but in his heart he was laughing joyfully.
This chubby man was a walking treasure chest!
 ‘Zhou Yi’ - Also known as I Ching, is an ancient divination text and oldest of the chinese classics.
 ‘Tian Ji Yan Hua’ - This means the unpredictable changes of the universe.