Chapter 333: Red-Eyed!
"We are currently on the fourth day of our mission. Counting from the first day, I have already cleared four bandit bands cleanly, and not a single one of them has gotten away under my eye. According to the orders we received, I should have cleared the first stage of the mission already. In other words, unless we receive new orders, I have the right to choose whether I want to continue hunting down the bandits or not.
Wang Chong raised a middle finger as he said those words calmly.
These bastards were clearly trying to take advantage of him! Whatever! They wouldn't understand the meaning of his gesture anyway!
Huang Yongtu's expression froze after hearing those words. Thinking back, Wang Chong had succeeded in every hunt ever since the first day, and according to the details of their mission, he had already accomplished the requirements for the first stage.
All of the words that Huang Yongtu had prepared beforehand suddenly became meaningless.
"Damn it!" Huang Yongtu clenched his fists in hate.
"If there's nothing else, I would like to ask you to leave this area. I wish to take my rest." Adjusting his posture to rest comfortably against the tree, Wang Chong flicked his hand as if he was chasing away pesky flies.
Despite his rage, there was not a single thing Huang Yongtu could say under this circumstance. Thus, he could only walk away angrily.
Xu Gan opened his mouth to speak, but hesitated eventually, before closing it. There was no idea he could offer at the moment, either.
In the ensuing days, Huang Yongtu, Xu Gan, and Bai Siling continued to struggle to accomplish their mission.
On the other hand, Wang Chong was visibly much more relaxed. If he was in the mood, he might choose to clear away some bandits along the way. Otherwise, he would just take the day off.
Since the royal court hadn't passed down the second part of the mission, Wang Chong was also glad to enjoy the peace he got.
In the forest, Ma Song suddenly spoke as he sneaked a glance backward. "Lord, their men are here again!" Within the shadows, one could vaguely see several human silhouettes.
Initially, Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu were still a little hesitant, sending only a man at a time in fear of being noticed. But their reservations gradually faded with time, so the number of men they sent was steadily on the rise.
For example, there were a few who knew that they had been noticed, so they chose to step out from their hiding spots and observe the situation from behind openly.
"This woman!" Wang Chong shook his head helplessly. Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu were still holding onto their pride, so the only one who would possibly have her men observe him so openly could only be Bai Siling.
Unlike the arrogant and condescending Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu, that woman was composed. She was also far more shrewd than the duo.
"Let them be. As long as they don't cause any trouble, there's no need to bother with them," Wang Chong said calmly, as he cleared away the traps while advancing up the mountain. The cavalrymen behind followed his trail in a neat fashion.
For bandits who made a living out of conducting raids, setting up traps was a basic skill. The reason why Xu Gan and the others had been unable to succeed after so many attempts was precisely due to the huge variety of traps they had laid out.
Outlaws had their own tricks, which those outside their circle wouldn't know. However, those were of little use before Wang Chong.
In order to fend off armies that were many times of his own, Wang Chong's armies had to resort to everything they could use, and traps was one of them.
Compared to those elaborate ones he had constructed back then, those set by the bandits could only be considered as elementary.
Wang Chong had little doubt that he would be able to bypass most of them even with his eyes closed. Only those that were slightly more troublesome did he make the effort to dismantle.
Regarding this issue, he only had a single command to his subordinates: follow his footsteps strictly.
If Xu Gan and the others thought that they could pick up this skill just by sending a few cavalrymen to observe him from behind, they were dreaming. This was a skill requiring both experience and discerning eyes.
After crossing the section filled with traps, Ma Song pointed to the top of the mountain and said, "Lord, the camp of the Black Tempest Bandits is just ahead. The gold they have hoarded should be in there." Beneath the dim moonlight, one could vaguely make out a camp at the peak.
At this moment, the camp was still asleep. No one was aware that the army led by Wang Chong had already reached this point.
"There's no need for us to stand on ceremony then. Let's go and claim the gold for our own!" A slight smile broke out on Wang Chong's lips.
He had not been idling around after clearing the first mission.
There was a huge amount of wealth to be earned from Silk Road. While clearing the bandits, he had been looking into the situation here, and it seemed like the bandits in proximity to the capital were newly-risen powers after the old bands had been cleared, so their pockets weren't as full yet.
But the Black Tempest Bandits were different. They had just robbed a Hu merchant party, and earned quite a huge pile of gold, pearls, and valuable accessories from them.
Most bandits had channels to dispose of their stolen goods, and the Black Tempest Bandits had already sold their possessions for gold.
In other words, they were a treasure trove of wealth at this moment!
How could Wang Chong possibly let such a good opportunity to earn more money?
After all, he still had many uses for money at the moment!
Di da da!
When Wang Chong finally returned with his platoon of twenty, each carrying a crate of gold, everyone's eyes widened in shock.
There were no lids on the crate, so a brilliant golden hue glimmered beneath the moonlight.
These were all full of gold!
Considering the huge sum, there were at least a hundred thousand taels in there. Who would have thought that Wang Chong would actually return with so much gold after an operation?
In that instant, Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu's faces turned green with envy.
The Xu Clan and the Huang Clan were fairly prestigious in their own rights. Just the fact that the both of them were able to get into Longwei and Shenwei reflected much about that.
However, the wealth of their clan was different from their own wealth!
Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu had raided quite a few camps themselves, and while a few bandits did escape each time, they had still succeeded in crushing them.
But of their many operations, they hadn't earned the slightest bit of money at all. On the other hand, Wang Chong was currently carrying wealth worth a hulking hundred thousand gold taels with him after an operation.
How could the both of them possibly not feel envious?
"Brat, where did your gold come from?" Huang Yongtu drove his mount forward and asked. He was trying his best to calm himself, but he was still unable to prevent envy from surfacing on his face. Wasn't that brat just way too lucky?
"I obtained it from the bandit camp, of course." Wang Chong replied calmly. He seemed to have realized what Huang Yongtu was up to at this point.
"Since you obtained it from the den, it should be considered spoils of war, then. Going by the rules, you should either hand it over to the royal court, or have it divided among the four of us." As Huang Yongtu spoke, his eyes couldn't help but drift to the dazzling trove of gold by the side.
Imagine one driving himself into the ground in an attempt to earn money, only to earn a measly sum. But on the way back, one meets a beggar who, out of some stroke of luck, managed to pick up a crate filled with gold and became a millionaire.
That was exactly what Huang Yongtu was feeling at the moment.
If Wang Chong were to agree to it, they would split the sum. Otherwise, it would be given to the officials, and he wouldn't earn anything at all.
"Hah, the instructions issued by the royal court only mentions the eradication of bandit dens. Nowhere do I see any line depicting how the spoils of war from the bandits should be dealt with. Since that's the case, the choice should be up to one's own discretion. Lieutenant Zhang, am I right?" Wang Chong turned to Lieutenant Zhang and asked.
After a moment of hesitation, Zhang Lin nodded. "That... yes, you're right!"
He also hadn't expected Wang Chong to make such huge gains from this operation. However, it was indeed true that the royal court didn't specify a standard operating procedure for dealing with the spoils earned from the campaign, so Wang Chong's words weren't wrong.
"Since the royal court didn't issue any rules, I'm afraid I'll be doing it my way, then. Pardon me, Huang Yongtu. Do move aside, you are blocking my way," Wang Chong waved his hand and chuckled.
"Bastard!" Clenching his fists tightly, Huang Yongtu felt so furious that his mouth was twitching uncontrollably. How inflexible could Zhang Lin get! He thought that the other party would at least cooperate with him on this matter.
Who knew that he would actually reply to this brat so honestly! Damn it!
On the other hand, unexpectedly, Xu Gan was very calm about this matter. "Don't worry. Since that brat was able to obtain such wealth from the bandit dens, we can always do the same as well. Speaking of which, that brat did remind me of something. Perhaps we might be able to obtain some unexpected rewards from this mission."
Along the way, he had been engrossed in thinking about the mission and how he could deal with the bandits. The thought of obtaining money from the bandits had never crossed his mind. Thus, in the previous operations, he didn't even bother ransacking the dens.
But with this, he suddenly came to a realization.
Making a living out of conducting robbery, some of the bandits should have amassed a sizeable fortune in their dens.
If he could earn a hundred thousand gold taels from here as well, he would have reaped more than sufficient benefits from this operation. Even for the Xu Clan, that would be a huge income.
Xu Gan was moved. It must be said that the fellow from Kunwu Training Camp did enlighten him on many matters.
"Huang Yongtu, don't mention the matter regarding the spoils of war after the mission. As much as this is beneficial to him, this is beneficial to us as well," Xu Gan told him.
Huang Yongtu contemplated for a moment before nodding. "This... understood!" Naturally, he had also realized the potential gains to be earned from this, so why would he crush such an opportunity?
Xu Gan turned his sights to Bai Siling and asked, "Bai SIling, what about you?"Just because he hadn't said anything about it didn't mean that he hadn't realized that she had been slowly getting closer to that fellow through the course of the operation.
This was very unlike how she was initially.