Chapter 334: Bai Siling's Insight!
"Ah?" Bai Siling was taken aback. She hadn't expected Xu Gan to ask her about this matter. However, a beautiful smile overflowing with a ravishing charm that few commanded bloomed swiftly in its place, and she replied, "Don't worry, I won't spoil your plans."
"That's good to hear." Xu Gan nodded and fell silent.
Often, reality wouldn't turn out as one expected it to.
Despite sending a sizeable team of cavalry to observe how Wang Chong managed to bypass the bandits defenses, Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu still continued falling for their traps without fail each time.
It was as if they were destined to never master the skill.
The traps set by the bandits came in all shapes and sizes. Each time, something unexpected would leap out at them, foiling their operation. But for some reason, those traps never sprung for Wang Chong.
This left the two of them so frustrated that they could tear their hair out. After all, which prestigious clan would impart their own offspring the lowly and despicable art of trap-setting? As such, Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu had never come into contact with this sort of thing.
On the contrary, it was commonly the humble hunters and peasants who boasted a greater understanding of such skills. As such, Wang Chong's outstanding performance only further reinforced their notion of his lowly birth, and their resentment toward him deepened further.
Of course, that wasn't the only reason for it. What probably played a much greater part would be the fact that they had attacked six bandit dens consecutively, only to uncover nothing at all.
Their greatest gain turned out to be just eighty silver taels.
And as if to rub salt on their wounds, the two dens that Wang Chong attacked in that period of time added further to his wealth, thus hiking his total gain up to three hundred thousand gold taels!
How could the two of them remain calm before this?
Even Xu Gan, who was calm at the start, was beginning to lose his composure. Every time, after the end of of the operation and everyone gathered together, they would feel Wang Chong's contemptuous and disdainful gaze on them.
Well, even though Wang Chong truly couldn't care less about them.
"Allow me to offer you a word of advice. If you continue to look down on him, thinking that he is a mere peasant-born recruit from Kunwu Training Camp, you will have much more to be humiliated over in the future," a slightly cold and proud feminine voice sounded at this point. Without even turning around, they could tell that those words had come from Bai Siling.
After all, she was the only one here who could talk to them with such a proud tone.
"Bai Siling, if you like that brat so much, why don't you go to him? Why are you bothering to waste your words on us?" Huang Yongtu mocked her coldly.
That woman's words were jarring to his ears, he disliked hearing them. If not for her outstanding capability and powerful background, he might have gotten physical with her over them.
Bai Siling gently pushed her hair to the back of her ears as she replied coldly, "Hmph. Huang Yongtu, you sure are a fool! I am offering you advice out of kindness, but you choose to trample on my goodwill for your own pride! It's no wonder why you ended up outmatched by your second brother in your clan."
"YOU!" Huang Yongtu's eyes widened in fury. This woman was going too far! It was normal for competition over the inheritance of the clan to be rife, and this matter had always been a thorn in his heart. Yet, this woman actually dared to bring it out in public to humiliate him!
"Enough!" Just as Huang Yongtu was about to raise his fist, Xu Gan, who was seated by the side all along, suddenly interjected sharply. "Huang Yongtu, surely you won't go to the extent of bickering with a lady?"
Huang Yongtu's expression froze for a moment. He didn't mind falling out with Bai Siling, but with Xu Gan in the picture, he would have to think twice.
Xu Gan glanced at the fair lady before him and asked nonchalantly. "Bai Siling, I doubt that you would come here just to insult us. What's the point you want to make?"
"Not bad, seems like you are far sharper than your friend here. I was debating whether I should point something out to you or not, but with those words of yours, I think I shall offer you some advice after all. After competing with him for so many days, have you really never paid attention to the steed he is riding on?"
Seated on the top of her steed, Bai Siling shot a glance in Wang Chong's direction and asked, "His mount?"
Doubt flashed across Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu's eyes as they turned their gazes in Wang Chong's direction. Beneath the twinkling night sky, they could see Wang Chong's steed munching on a field of lush grass beside a towering banyan tree.
Under the soft glow of the moonlight, the young colt's fur looked exceptionally glossy. Its elegant demeanor brought out an air of nobility, unlike other horses.
"A fine steed!" After so many days, this was the first time Xu Gan had properly evaluated Wang Chong's steed, and it did look exceptionally dashing.
But that seemed to be all to it. Xu Gan was unable to comprehend what Bai Siling was driving at.
"Bai Siling, what are you trying to say? Just spit it all out at once!" Xu Gan was only harboring such thoughts, but Huang Yongtu didn't have the patience to figure out whatever Bai Siling was saying.
"Hmph, you still don't understand even after I have already pointed it out so clearly to you? Your eyes are wasted on you, you truly deserve being toyed with by him. Take a closer look, isn't there something unique about the colt's hooves?" Bai Siling said coldly.
With Bai Siling's reminder, the duo turned their glances over, and it finally dawned on them what Bai Siling had wanted to show them.
Beneath the moonlight, the four hooves of the colt were snowy-white, untainted by the dirt of the world. Somehow, it seemed to create an impression of floating in midair, a mystical sight indeed.
"This is..." Something struck Xu Gan's mind, and his pupils widened in astonishment.
On the other hand, an equally shocked expression surfaced on Huang Yongtu as well. It seemed like the same thought had struck him too.
Taking in the expressions of the duo, Bai Siling heaved a sigh of relief. At least these two fellows aren't too dumb! In the end, as scions of prestigious clans, their eye for such stuff should be decent, at the very least.
"A White-hoofed Shadow, that is a treasured imperial steed of the royal family! Even among influential officials, very few are privileged to be bestowed with one! That guy has been riding it right in front of you for a few days now, but you fools still thought that he was just an ordinary recruit. Aren't you afraid of becoming laughingstocks if this were to be known?" Bai Siling made full use of this opportunity to put them down.
Wang Chong could have never imagined that the reason why Bai Siling had a different opinion of him wasn't just based on her intuition. Rather, she had recognized the White-hoofed Shadow beneath him on the very first day.
She was far more meticulous and astute than Wang Chong thought.
In truth, Bai Siling could have warned the both of them earlier as well, but somehow, the ridiculous rivalry had piqued her interest. But of course, she would never admit this.
"How is that possible? The White-hoofed Shadow should be exclusive to the royal family, and even influential officials would find it hard to obtain one! How could it be bestowed upon a petty brat like him?"
"Bai Siling, stop spouting nonsense, it's just a mere horse with white hooves. You must be too obsessed with him to even entertain such a ridiculous idea!" These last words came from Huang Yongtu.
"Imbeciles!"Those words uttered by Huang Yongtu had Bai Siling's eyebrows knitted together in fury. It was out of pity for them that she disclosed this piece of important information to them, but they simply brushed it away as if it was nothing.
Bai Siling was going to lash out, but a thought struck her then, and she suddenly calmed down.
"Huang Yongtu, you better watch your words. I have already told you what you need to know, it's up to you to believe me or not. In any case, I am not the ones who are going to be humiliated, anyway!"
Leaving behind those words, Bai Siling harrumphed coldly before pulling the reins of her steed and galloping away, leaving a cold back for the duo to stare at.
"That woman...!" Huang Yongtu bellowed in rage. Bai Siling's personality was indeed not a likeable one, but there was nothing he could do about her. She wasn't an easy person to deal with.
Bai Siling swiftly disappeared from view, and for some reason, the duo became extraordinarily calm afterward. Even Huang Yongtu, who had been heavily mocking her just a moment ago, fell completely silent.
As much as they were unwilling to believe it, they could also tell that there was something extraordinary about Wang Chong, Once or twice, they might still be able to put it off as a coincidence. But the fourth, fifth, and sixth times... that would be pushing it too far.
Along the path west, Wang Chong had never failed, not even a single time. In retrospect, the both of them had never succeeded. Considering their background, that was truly unusual.
Not only so, now that they gave the matter some thought, there was clearly something unusual about Wang Chong's colt, too. Despite having yet to mature, its speed, endurance, and the intelligence it had displayed were on par with most top steeds, perhaps even surpassing them.
Ordinary colts couldn't possibly behave in such a manner.
"Brother Xu... Is it possible that Bai Siling is speaking the truth?" Haung Yongtu hesitated for a very long moment before breaking the silence.
Toward his question, Xu Gan sat silently, not saying a word. Or perhaps, the silence could be considered as an answer in itself.
The relationship between Wang Chong and Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu didn't improve, but Bai Siling's words weren't completely futile either.
At the very least, Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu weren't as arrogant and condescending as when they faced Wang Chong before. They would try to avoid Wang Chong as much as they could. If one were to peer into their eyes, one might be able to see the unease in their souls.
With this, Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu had finally put down their pride.
After many consecutive failures, they had finally decided to work with one another to clear the bandit dens.
Even though they were still unable to avoid alarming them, with the bolstered forces, their chances at success increased significantly.
"Seems like you did quite a good job here!" Wang Chong's gaze turned from the duo sitting beneath a huge tree to the white-robed lady seated upon a horse, and he smiled.
The young lady before him had truly impressed him this time.
He had no idea what she said, but she actually succeeded in convincing the proud Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu to work with one another. That was truly an astounding feat.
"I am still far from matching up to you," Bai Siling replied calmly as she glanced at the huge crates placed by the side. Doing a rough estimation, there were probably six to seven hundred thousand gold taels here.
This was far more than those huge clans in the capital earned every year. Indeed, the best way to amass wealth was to engage in illicit activities.
And what left Bai Siling even more speechless was that he had actually done it with the free twenty True Martial realm helpers dispatched by the royal court.
The royal court had always maintained a tight control over their soldiers, and twenty True Martial realm experts was a considerable force even to most prestigious clans.
And here Wang Chong was, having them toil away for him for free.