AhJing dragged a man in each hand as he threw them out without hesitation!
The crowd was completely speechless. This was the second storey! Below the building was a very deep pond, and without surprise, two giant splashes resounded.
Walking back, AhJing stood behind Yan Xun. Right now, even Feng Mian stood behind Yan Xun, both showing deference to this young man.
Smiling innocently, Yan Xun was completely devoid of the bloodthirsty aura he had previously exuded, as though everything that had just happened was completely none of his business. Serenely, he said, "I apologize for getting too excited just now."
Dead silence was the only response. These old men who usually willfully ordered others around were completely unable to process what just happened. They could only stupidly stare at Yan Xun as if he was a visitor from another world.
"Now, I wonder if any of your bodyguards can swim?" Smiling elegantly, Yan Xun quietly pointed out as he donned his most pleasant expression. If this was any other day, one would be warmed upon seeing this expression. But now to these Elders, his smile had a devilish touch to it, petrifying even their thoughts.
"I asked that because I believe if no one were to go and save them, the two of them would really drown." Leaning on the chair, he helplessly shook his head. "It was really unfortunate, I did not notice the pond when we arrived."
After he enlightened them, the masses finally responded. The old men jumped out of their seats as they scrambled for people to save the duo who had been thrown into the pond. The hall was instantly overcome with a flurry of activity. Finally, they managed to bring the drowning Elder Yu back onto land. When they had finally wiped away the cold sweat on their forehead and returned to their seats, Yan Xun had already finished his meal.
"Lord Feng, who is this friend of yours? Since he is a fellow comrade in the guild, how can he not know the rules?" an elder in red commented. This old man's surname is Liu, and he was a key appointment holder in the Da Tong Guild branch within Xian Yang City. He held his position in Xian Yang City for the past 40 years, and his influence had spread far and wide. Even Mister Wu and Lady Yu would not dare to ignore his opinion. When armies go to war, they need finances and logistics. This Elder Liu was precisely the one who held control over those within Da Tong guild.
Yan Xun calmly replied, completely unfazed, "Gentlemen, I was about to introduce myself just now. Because Elder Yu was too impatient, I was unable to do so. I believe I should now take the opportunity to introduce myself." Illuminated by the flickering flames, Yan Xun smiled, while slowly declaring, "I am Yan Xun, just having come over from Yan Bei. Nice to meet you."
"The King of Yan Bei?" Elder Liu jumped up, and in the process, he accidentally flipped the teapot in front of him. The tea spilled over half his beautiful blouse, but he paid no attention as he widened his eyes in disbelief staring into Yan Xun's harmless, smiling face.
"More accurately, although Yan Bei declared its independence, I have yet to be formally crowned as King. Then again, if Elder Liu insists, I do not mind being addressed as that."
"How can that be?" another elder commented in disbelief. "How could people from Yan Bei arrive here at Xian Yang?"
Yan Xun laughed it off. "Elder Xi, of course, you hoped that I could not come. That is because you already planned to shift all of your assets to the Tang Empire. If I came, your plan would have failed."
With that declaration, everyone was stunned yet again! The Elders stared at Yan Xun in horror, their faces drained of all color.
The smile on Yan Xun's face faded, as his tone turned forlorn. "The Xia Empire is about to rise from the ashes yet again, and will soon return to Zhen Huang City. Zhao Yang is mustering his troops with Zhao Che guarding Zhen Huang City while reorganizing the imperial forces. The war between Yan Bei and the Xia Empire is looming on the horizon. Seems like the Da Tong Guild no longer feels that Yan Bei stands a chance, so you lot are already planning your retreat to the Tang Empire, right?"
"Yan…Prince Yan," Elder Liu squeezed out an excuse, "this is but a strategy from above! To prevent complete annihilation of our forces, the Guild Leader ordered this! The Da Tong Guild has been through life and death with Yan Bei all these years and has completely aligned our interests with Yan Bei. To rescue you, we sacrificed countless men. Right now, this is but a strategic relocation to preserve our strength!"
Yan Xun coldly stared at their fearful gazes, and somberly declared, "In these eight years, Da Tong used my title to keep Yan Bei in order, and ensured that the civilian population did not suffer. I, Yan Xun, will never forget that gratitude! But!" Yan Xun's face completely tensed up as he squinted, and continued, "But it was precisely you lot who took control over the finances and taxes of Yan Bei. Gaining control over the Baiyu Pass and the trade in the west, you amassed a huge fortune. And half a year ago, right before I returned to Yan Bei, you took the opportunity to collect ten years worth of taxes, robbing the Yan Bei civilians of their livelihood. Right now, seeing how Yan Bei is about to begin a war with the imperial forces, you are planning to just leave Yan Bei behind? Where do you intend for Yan Bei to go?" With that said, Yan Xun smiled again and continued mocking them, "The young and courageous warriors of Da Tong risk their lives out in the battlefield, yet you are enjoying such luxury here. Do you not feel your conscience suffering? I heard Feng Mian possess some data. I wonder what would Lady Yu say if I publicized it?"
The crowd's pale faces turned even paler upon hearing that blatant threat. Among the next generation of young leaders, Wu Daoya had the greatest influence, but when it came to ability, Lady Yu would be definitely the best. This young lady's merciless tactics and extreme hatred toward those she deemed evil was unparalleled. If that data was made known to her, they could not imagine what wrath they would face.
"About this, Prince Yan, this old man believes that the data should still be kept away from Daoya and AhYu."
"Of course." Yan Xun smile in agreement. "Elder Liu, we are on the same side. There is still much work to do. Battles must be fought one by one, and the walls of the Xia Empire must be demolished inch by inch. We need a strong army and a peaceful governing party on the surface. As such, some things must not be made too clear. Else the populace might lose confidence in Da Tong."
"If that is the case, I am sure all of you would know what to do."
Elder Liu tested the waters by asking, "So we will just peacefully wait for the news of Yan Bei's success in Xian Yang?"
"You need not." Yan Xun shook his head. "You can continue to transport your assets to the Tang Empire."
Stunned again, the Elders stared at this young man in disbelief for the umpteenth time today only to see Yan Xun break out in a cunning smile. "Worry not. I just happen to be heading to the Tang Empire as well. After that, I will head to the southern border before going back to Yan Bei. These resources will be brought back when I am returning."
Elder Liu and the others' expressions instantly turned sour upon hearing that. Yan Xun stood up and casually ended the conversation. "Right, dinner was good, and the conversation has been wrapped up. It is time for me to take my leave. Elder Liu, this time, I will be using your nephew's name to head to the Tang Empire. I hope that by tomorrow, you can put everything in order. Ultimately, the Tang Prince is getting married. As the number one merchant in Xian Yang, you should bring some decent congratulatory gifts." Saying that, Yan Xun addressed the room full of Elders by clasping his hands, and declaring, "Farewell!"
The carriage traveled in the late night of Xian Yang, but even then, the streets were still bustling with activities.
Confused, Feng Mian inquired, "Prince, these people have great assets. Bringing all of them to the Tang Empire is too dangerous. Why not directly return to Yan Bei?"
"Did you think that bringing these directly back to Yan Bei would be safe?" Yan Bei countered with a question. "Given the Xia Empire's political instability, it is difficult to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch on the way back to Yan Bei." Leaning on the carriage, Yan Xun sighed, while continuing, "Since we do not want these resources to land in the hands of the officials of the Xia Empire, and neither do we want these to continue being wasted by these Elders, we can only take the path to the Tang Empire. The security in the Tang Empire is relatively good. And in the first place, I am taking on the role of a rich man trying to relocate to the Tang Empire from Xian Yang. To ensure the continued development of their economy, the Tang Empire would send out troops to protect our assets along the way to Tang Jing. And once we are within the Tang Capital, we have many ways to sneak out and enter the southern borders to backtrack to Yan Bei."
"But," Still anxious, Feng Mian asked, "there must be a lot of nobles in Tang Jing, and many of whom would recognize you. If you pretend to be the nephew of Elder Liu, won't you be recognized?"
"About that, you need not worry. I have my ways." Yan Xun placated Feng Mian, "To prevent this message from spreading, after I take my departure, please guard these Elders. Find a way to let them remain quiet forever so that we will not have any worries."
Feng Mian was taken aback by the ruthlessness and forgot to acknowledge Yan Xun.
Yan Xun continued speaking calmly, "With you around, I can feel easy. I think it is about time the Southeastern logistics in-charge experience a change of hand. Feng Mian, although you are still young, it is time for you to get some real experience."
Feng Mian finally responded this time, "This servant understands!"
Yan Xun seemed to be sleepy, as his voice grew soft. "These Elders were probably passionate Da Tong members when they were young too. But as they gained more and more in both power and material wealth, they could not help but to get greedy. As a human, you can dream big, but you should never lust for things that do not belong to you. Dreams can bring you great success, but greed will sink you into hell. Feng Mian, as a person of great power, you should think about the words I just said."
Feng Mian's face gradually turned pale. He lowered his head in deference and remained quiet.
The wind blew into the carriage. Under the shadow of the flickering flames, Yan Xun's expression suddenly became unreadable.
Feng Mian felt chills go down his spine, as he suddenly recalled Chu Qiao's words from two years ago before she left, "You are loyal, caring, smart, brave. Everything about you is good, except the fact that you are too capable."
He did not believe her and had not carefully considered those words. But at this moment, looking at this master of his, he was suddenly enlightened. Carefully, he picked up a robe and covered Yan Xun with it. Even though he knew Yan Xun had not slept, he took care not to make a single noise. The carriage inched forward in the crowd. Feng Mian suddenly got distracted. He sincerely hope that his master would stay safe this trip, and that the lady could quick return to Yan Xun's side. Perhaps, the only one his highness would trust, would be that lady.
In that summer night, the Yan Bei soldiers in the entourage all changed into Xian Yang's clothes and used their horses. By the second day, under the escort of the great merchant Liu Mingjun, this entourage left Xian Yang City, and headed to Tang Jing gallantly.