"The report on casualties have come out; right now, we are left with a hundred and thirty seven people, among which seventy eight are Gu Masters and fifty nine are mortals." A vice leader reported to everyone.
At this time, in this tattered tent, the surviving leaders of the caravan were all gathered together, discussing their options.
The mood was heavy and oppressive.
The caravan leader Jia Long was frowning and his brows almost tightened into a knot when he heard the report.
Their caravan had originally been a large-sized caravan with over a thousand people, but now it was down to this pathetic number. One might think seventy eight Gu Masters were quite a high number, but only twelve were rank three Gu Masters, twenty eight were rank two and remaining thirty eight were all rank one Gu Masters.
This number included all the injured and disabled Gu Masters. In truth, the amount of Gu Masters who still retained their strength did not amount to even half.
Mortal lives were cheap, they could abandon these servants, but Gu Masters were different.
Every Gu Master was a precious resource to their clans, they couldn't be abandoned.
Jia Long knew these disabled Gu Masters were a huge burden to the caravan, and were just adding more problems to the already crumbling logistics department of the caravan to preserve their lives and treat their injuries.
However, Jia Long didn't dare to abandon them, if he abandoned the Gu Masters, the morale would completely break down and all the remaining Gu Masters would feel insecure; the whole caravan would collapse. Their end result would be food for the beast groups.
At this time, the vice leader who had reported the statistics, changed the subject: "The only fortunate thing is there are still a lot of goods remaining in the caravan. If we distribute these ownerless goods, then the primeval stones we distribute will be enough to make up for most of our losses."
In the calamity just before, there were many deaths but the loss to goods was instead few.
If the goods were equally distributed, the survivors could instead profit from this.
Almost everyone present in the tent had shining eyes now.
Merchants chased after profits, even if they were in danger, this innate nature did not change.
The group of people began looking at each other before vice leader Chen Shuang Jin coughed: "I feel that equal distribution isn't quite proper. In the battle just before, my Chen Clan has sacrificed the most and has also
killed the most white feather flying elephants. I want at least thirty percent of these ownerless goods!"
"How much did your Chen Clan sacrifice? What about my Wei Chi Clan that had to sacrifice a young rank two peak stage genius?"
"No matter what, our Zhi Clan demands twenty percent."
The commotion in the tent began to turn into disputes. Everyone felt greed in front of benefits.
Only Shang Xin Ci was sitting silently in the group.
The stronger groups demanded more; the weaker groups demanded equal distribution.
The dispute was turning fiercer and even attracted many inquiring gazes from outside the tent.
Shang Xin Ci suddenly stood up.
The tent suddenly quietened down.
"Everyone," Shang Xin Ci's beautiful eyes swept over everyone, "the urgent matter is not the distribution of these goods but how we should continue forward. Maybe there will be more beast groups at the next moment! We are in the same boat and are tied together by fate. However, our individual strength is limited, so we need to collaborate together to have a chance at survival."
She paused for a moment and continued, "I suggest that we will all contribute our goods and take out the things which can be helpful to us. As I proposed it, my Zhang Clan shall act as the example; I am willing to contribute all of the goods in my possession without seeking compensation."
Momentarily, many became tongue-tied; Chen Shuang Jin, Jia Long and others all showed different expressions.
"I am tired, I hope everyone can agree on an effective method soon. I will take my leave." Saying this, Shang Xin Ci nodded her head and opened the tent flap.
She hadn't even walked five steps out of the tent, when a huge commotion broke out in the tent.
Now that Zhang Clan's goods were also added on the list, the benefits had become even higher, making everyone frantic.
Shang Xin Ci's steps slowed, but she just clenched her fists and heaved a deep sigh.
She was also a merchant and naturally wanted to chase after profits. Her so-called 'voluntary contribution' just before was of course not heartfelt.
It was just that the current situation had forced her. She was like a child who was carrying a large sum of money and had no choice but to protect herself as she walked among the adults.
When she walked back to her tent, she saw Xiao Die curling up and weeping at the corner, her eyes bloodshot.
She had grown up and lived together with Shang Xin Ci almost
almost all her life. The horror from white feather flying elephants was bursting out right now.
"Xiao Die." Shang Xin Ci sighed and sat beside her, consoling.
"Missy, I am scared. Weep weep.... Lord Zhang Zhu hasn't returned yet, it can't be, it can't be…" Xiao Die buried her head in Shang Xin Ci's chest as she wept bitter tears.
Shang Xin Ci patted her back and spoke words of comfort, but Xiao Die still continued to cry.
"Xiao Die, Uncle Zhang Zhu might not return ever again." Shang Xin Ci said in a heavy tone.
The moment these words were said, she clearly felt Xiao Die's body shiver.
"Missy… that's not true, that can't be!" Xiao Die raised her head, her eyes were bloodshot and she was repeatedly shaking her head.
"Accept the truth, Xiao Die!" Shang Xin Ci suddenly said in a strict voice, "From now on, we can only rely on ourselves. Don't cry, don't cry, crying won't solve any problems!"
"Rely on ourselves? But we are both mortals, if not for Lord Zhang Zhu, we couldn't have even embarked on this expedition." Xiao Die said with eyes filled with tears, her morale low.
"You are right. If it was not for Uncle Zhang Zhu's identity, how could these people let me become on of the vice leaders. Xiao Die, you are right, we are mortals; but mortals also have their strengths!" Shang Xin Ci's gaze flashed with a resolute light.
She looked at Xiao Die with her bright gaze and shook Xiao Die's arm: "Xiao Die, do you believe in me?"
As Xiao Die looked at the current Shang Xin Ci, she felt an unknown strength filling her.
This strength came from Shang Xin Ci and then pervaded her body, influencing her heart and making her feel like she was being illuminated by light.
"Missy…" Xiao Die's gaze flashed, she had never seen this form of her lady; at this instant, she felt that her lady looked more beautiful than ever before.
"I believe you!" She answered softly but resolutely.
"Good. Listen properly, we are in a dangerous situation now, sometimes people can be more dreadful than wild beasts. Bring all our savings and let's go find Hei Tu and Bai Yun."
"Okay. I will do as you say missy!"
After about five minutes.
In the tent, Fang Yuan and Shang Xin Ci was sitting cross-legged opposite each other.
Fang Yuan stared ruminatingly at the beautiful girl in front of him: "You are telling me, you've already contributed all of our goods for free? To those insatiable
those insatiable hyenas?"
"Yes, that is so." Shang Xin Ci calmly admitted.
Fang Yuan's lips curled up, his gaze towards Shang Xin Ci was filled with admiration.
She was truly smart, having the resolution to let go!
Zhang Zhu was dead, Shang Xin Ci was only a mortal and even if she represented Zhang Clan, her position was not equal to the other vice leaders.
It would be easy for these Gu Masters to swallow Shang Xin Ci's properties.
They would kill Shang Xin Ci and put the blame on the beast groups, no one could say anything at that time. Zhang Clan also wouldn't investigate thoroughly for a mere Shang Xin Ci.
To Shang Xin Ci, these goods on her hands had become incomparably hot and could court disaster towards her. Hence, she wisely chose to give up these cause of disaster to others, and guarantee her safety.
However, she was very aware that this type of safety wasn't reliable at all and thus came here.
"I came here to apologize to you, I am really sorry." Shang Xin Ci bowed towards Fang Yuan, "You borrowed these goods, so these goods should have been yours, but I rudely took the matters into my own hands. As an apology, I ask you to please accept these."
Shang Xin Ci brought forward the two wooden trunks.
Without even opening them, Fang Yuan knew these trunks were filled with primeval stones.
Most of it was what he earned himself and the fifty-fifty percentage shares of Shang Xin Ci as well.
Fang Yuan couldn't help but observe Shang Xin Ci.
Their gazes met each other in the air, gradually coming to a tacit understanding.
They were both smart and understood many things without them having been said.
In Shang Xin Ci's perception, Fang Yuan was deliberately hiding his identity and could very possibly be a Gu Master. From all his behaviors till now, Shang Xin Ci felt he was a reliable person. If there was someone who could still help her, Fang Yuan was no doubt the best choice because she felt at ease towards him.
However, she also had some misgivings. First, she didn't know what strength Fang Yuan truly possessed; there was a huge difference between rank one, rank two or rank three. Secondly, there was definitely some painful backstory for Fang Yuan to hide his identity, so he might not necessarily reveal his identity to help her.
Shang Xin Ci had offered up all the goods without getting Fang Yuan's consent, and after getting the most basic guarantee for safety, she for safety, she brought out all her savings to find Fang Yuan. She was saying it was her apology, but this action was actually inviting Fang Yuan to her side, hoping to obtain his help.
She knew Fang Yuan and her were the same type of people, and could come to a tacit understanding of smart people.
The two gazed at each other for a long while before Fang Yuan smiled and broke the silence: "These primeval stones, it is better for Lady Zhang to take them back."
Shang Xin Ci's expression slightly paled as her heart sank.
From her understanding, Fang Yuan refusing these primeval stones meant he was refusing to help her.
However, what could she do about this?
Even if she talked of it, Fang Yuan had already repaid her many times over; there were very few people in the world who would do this. Shang Xin Ci couldn't demand anything.
However, if Hei Tu didn't help her, who else was there? Bai Yun? That wasn't like to work, they seemed to have very intimate relationship; advancing or retreating together.
Shang Xin Ci couldn't think of any other person, a bitter smile appeared in her beautiful appearance: "I understand. But these primeval stones are my gift to you. Ordinary people holding treasures will court calamity, if you don't accept them, I might have to contribute them too."
Fang Yuan laughed: "Lady Zhang, you misunderstood me. When I and Bai Yun had just entered the caravan, we were severely wounded and were barely hanging by a thread. Our strength had fallen to an all-time low and our goods were even coveted by some strong servants. Truly, when you are low and down, even scums come to bully you. It was you who sheltered us and gave us enough time to recuperate. It won't be wrong to see this favor as saving our lives."
"And I am someone who repays kindness and takes revenge for enmity. Although you are a mortal, I acknowledge you and even admire you. It is fate we met each other among such a vast population. A droplet of water received in need will be repaid with a whole spring, let alone the favor of saving life. Take back the primeval stones, I will definitely protect you with all my strength!"
"Ah…." Shang Xin Ci couldn't help giving a soft cry.
Her eyelashes shook and her eyes reddened, turning tearful.
Because of her tears, Fang Yuan appeared blurry in her vision. However, in her heart, Fang Yuan's image became incomparably clear.