They actually killed that many?
The guards were rejoicing, but they were also incredulous. When they had lined up, brandishing their weapons, there had been almost no thoughts in their minds, only a word: kill, kill, kill.
If you don't kill others, you will be killed.
Kill to live. In order to live, kill.
"Yes, you number only eighty people, and you have achieved such a result at the cost of only thirteen deaths. What's more, you were fighting against well-trained…"
Zhu Zan continued to speak as he looked at the bandit corpses on the ground. However, the end of his sentence was left unsaid.
'Well-trained what? Were these bandits well-trained?' wondered Manager Gao.
However, at this time, Master Jiu was praising other people. How rare.
"Of course, you rookies could achieve such a success solely due to my command and my matchless heroics…"
Zhu Zan's voice continued on.
'Well, he took back what he had just said,' thought Manager Gao.
But now was not the time to boast about oneself. The work was not done; happiness could not come too soon.
Manager Gao calmly walked forward.
"Noble Son Jiu, you see, we should leave here quickly," he said. "This place is too dangerous. We also have suffered casualties, and everyone is exhausted. We need to leave the valley and go somewhere safe. If bandits come again, we will not be so lucky."
Zhu Zan frowned.
"How can you talk likek this? How can you call this lucky? This is ability," he said, displeased.
"Yes, yes, I'm wrong." Manager Gao would not dare to argue with this great master whole could make trouble out of nothing. Manager Gao apologized incessantly. "We should still go soon. You can't make up for them in battle forever, as the saying goes: there are less good dogs than lazy dogs."
Zhu Zan nodded.
"Let's withdraw," he agreed and waved his hand.
Manager Gao hurried to order the guards. They immediately retreated and carried the prisoners away, temporarily ignoring the wounded bandits and the corpses.
They had already sent a swift rider ahead to go report to the government office. The place was waiting for the officials to come without delay to clean up. Now the most important thing for them was to safely leave this place.
"But why did you say that there are more lazy dogs than good dogs?" Zhu Zan was suddenly reminded of the last word and asked Manager Gao, "Are you calling me a dog?"
'Master Jiu, we have just exited the gates of hell, so could you be more serious?'
Manager Gao wished he could make him give up.
"I'm calling those bandits dogs. They're so loathsome and hateful," he said.
Zhu Zan finally dropped it and turned around.
At this time, they had already lined up facing forward. Although they couldn't see the bloody scene of before, they could still smell the lingering scent of blood.
"Indeed, a pack of loathsome dogs," he said, nodding. "Almost a complete wipeout before they tried to retreat. Truly desperate" He shook his head. "It's a pity. Their desperation was wasted here."
Where else could the bandits fight with their lives?
Manager Gao found it a bit funny.
"They are not mountain bandits," said Lei Zhonglian.
WHen speaking of fighting with their lives, there was another important person besides the bandits.
Manager Gao looked to Lei Zhonglian.
"They were disguised military men; that's why they were so brave," Lei Zhonglian continued. "These were the same kind of people who killed Master."
Manager Gao's expression was somewhat complicated.
He had also seen that these bandits were too strange. They were more disciplined then the typical fugitive criminals. And they were much more frightening.
Could it be they really were those people?
"Old Lei," he called, looking at Lei Zhonglian who had gotten back on the carriage.
His long spear was set next to him, the blood still not wiped away. His expression was wooden as before, but his eyes were bright as fire.
"This time we will do a thorough interrogation," Manager Gao said sincerely and paused for a moment. "As expected, the Yiyou Firm mercenaries were excellent."
Yiyou Firm, this was Lei Zhonglian's mercenary troop. Fifteen years ago, in the middle of an escort mission, the pillars of the troop were destroyed. Without the backbone of the team, as well as with the loss of the mercenaries' reputation, the failure put the troop out of business.
Lei Zhonglian felt his eyes sting.
"Thank you for the praise," he said in a muffled voice.
"Your hand…" Manager Gao could not help his curiosity.
At this time, Zhu Zan suddenly reined in his horse.
"Stop!" he snapped.
The group stopped immediately, and everyone's hearts suddenly beat faster.
"Master Jiu," questioned Manager Gao, while holding tightly on the reins.
"Someone's coming from up ahead," Zhu Zan said, looking solemnly at the end of the valley.
Everyone's hearts jumped into their throats. After enduring a savage attack, their bodies were still trembling slightly.
The sound of pounding horse hooves grew louder as a group of men on horseback appeared in their line of sight. Their flag was streaming behind them, and their armor was blinding.
"It's people from the government office."
All the people suddenly sighed in relief and looked excited.
"The message must have been delivered so fast."
"This is great."
At a time like this, it was Manager Gao who should step forward. He straightened his clothes and pushed a smile onto his face, but his eyes remained anxious from the harrowing encounter with death.
"Officials,", he said, pushing his horse forward.
At that moment, there was a soft sound next to his ear.
Manager Gao was now familiar with this sound: It was the sound of nocking an arrow.
His body momentarily stiffened, and out the corner of his eyes, he saw Zhu Zan lifting his bow.
"Three to the front, four to the back, five to the left, eight to the right," he said quietly. "Ready your bows."
This remark made everyone's hearts stutter.
But after the battle, the guards were accustomed to obeying orders. Although they were at a loss, they quickly arranged their formation, took out their bows, and stood firm against what was to come.
"Who are you?"
The soldiers in front stopped too.
"Were you the ones to report an encounter with mountain bandits?"
They really had sent people to report. Manager Gao hesitated for a moment, but he did not urge the horse forward like when he had faced the bandits last time.
The intuition of Master Jiu was now identical to an imperial edict to him.
"We did meet the bandits," he shouted. "Who are you?"
A man on horseback walked forward.
"We are soldiers stationed in Huaiqing government office and are under orders to act as a suppression forcet. I heard the news and immediately came," the officer said loudly.
But the man did not manage to even take a step forward before an arrow struck the ground in front of the head officer's horse.
The horse brayed, and the officer on top of it yanked on its reins.
"What are you doing?" he cried furiously.
Zhu Zan directed his bow at him.
"Soldiers stationed at Huaiqing?" he said slowly. "Who are you trying to reassure? Who is your commanding officer? Which camp are you from? Who is your superior? Suppressing local rebellion? Orders of suppression?"
After these questions, silence befell them.
The scene became stagnant, and the winds in the valley stopped blowing.
Just when everyone was about to suffocate, the soldiers opposite them fell into a bout of laughter. They did not speak, only laughed wildly, until their laughter shook the entire valley.