“Ou! Ou! Ou! The lord heir is mighty!”
“Ou! Ou! Ou! The lord heir is unrivalled!”
“Ou! Ou! Ou! The lord heir is awesome!”
The cheers of 20 odd soldiers actually shook the world for a moment, their admiration for this little marquis coming straight from their hearts.
Duan Tingxuan’s face did not change as he accepted their cheers. The reason why he was here to catch fish was to intimidate these soldiers with a show of his skill. Naturally, he was also being a little petty. How dare a mere fish slap him in the face (metaphorically) so obviously? Unless he stews this beastly creature and feast upon its flesh, this hatred would not be appeased.
The freshly caught fish was incredibly lively. It trashed about on the deck, actually shaking the little boat with its two feet plus, 20 or 30 catty body. One could tell that this fellow must have been quite the bully or even a minor despot in whatever area it saw fit to occupy. Too bad it had chosen the wrong time to show off its power and offended a certain narrow-minded little marquis. Lord Heir Duan mercilessly cut this despot’s life short with a single swing of his sword. Thus ends the tale of The Great Flashy Carp.
Having witnessed how easily Duan Tingxuan had hauled up this large prey, the soldiers were suddenly very positive about the idea of fishing for their dinner. They also felt much better about rescuing the disaster victims. After all, these people originally grew up next to the sea, and therefore were very good at catching fish and shrimps. Once they managed to them out onto the boats, they could conscript some of the healthier villagers to help them catch fish. After all, it’s fish, ah. Moreover, huge fish that one only saw during special occasions. Now they could actually have big fish as part of their rations, how luxurious is that? Just the thought alone was enough to cause their mouth to water.
They were approaching Tu’er Hill now and were close enough to see that a mass of people was currently huddled at the top. From the looks of their thin faces and sun-baked skin, they must have been stranded there for a few days now, having lost all hope of being rescued. When the fleet of boats approached Tu’er Hill, the people did not even react. Perhaps they thought they were all suffering from some kind of mass hallucination?
Just then, one of the soldiers called out to Duan Tingxuan, “Lord heir, we can’t go forward anymore. Below the floodwaters is the foot and hillside of Tu’er Hill I’m afraid the boast will be damaged against the rocky hillside if we go any further in. We have to think of a way to rescue the people from here.”
Duan Tingxuan frowned, “It’s still quite far from the shore to the boats, how do we expect them to reach here?”
Another soldier said carelessly, “Those clodhoppers mostly sprang from the mud and water anyway. They can just swim over. Lord heir need not worry about them.” With that, he cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “In the name of the Jinzhou Navy, those who could still move come quickly to the boat. Otherwise, we will just leave you here.”
He shouted the same message three times. All three shouts elicited no verbal response, a few hesitantly stood up but did not otherwise move. Feeling that he had lost face before the lord heir, the soldier said resentfully, “What a group of ungrateful plods. We came here especially to rescue them, but they still want to pretend to be ‘Big Tailed Wolves ’!”
The words were barely out of his mouth when he was kicked off the boat with an aborted scream, followed by a loud splash. The one who had kicked him off was the official who had brought the final bad news that nearly broke Cang Jian, the same one who was subsequently made to act as a faithful subordinate to Duan Tingxuan. Once the eyesore of a soldier was kicked away, the official cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted towards the commoners. “Fellow villagers. The Lord Heir to the Marquis of An Ping has personally come to rescue you. Come to the boats, we have food.”
With the mere addition of ‘We have food’, the reaction was incredibly different from before. Immediately, the people on the mountain all stood up and began stampeding down the hill. As the kicked off soldier had mentioned, these people had grew up on and around water, and were basically half fish themselves. Even little children as young and three years old could swim. Little babies and old people who lacked the ability to swim were hoisted onto the backs of young adults or set inside floating wooden basins and pushed over. In a flash, the dozen or so boats were filled with people.
The flood victims all stared up at the official with bright, expectant eyes. Thankfully, their expectations were not in vain. The official began to order the soldiers to bring out baskets of food from the ship cabins. At this, the people burst into tears and began to bow and knock their heads to the floor, crying out their thanks to the sky and sea. There was laughter too, the gladness of being alive to be rescued could hardly be described in words.
Duan Tingxuan eyed the official for a moment before commenting neutrally, “Your Excellency should be a local man, am I right? May I know your name?”
Surprised to be addressed in such a suspicious way, the official immediately bowed and said in a trembling voice, “In answer to lord heir, this humble official is called Zhang Tianming. My ancestors hail from Kaifeng, Henan. During my grandfather’s generation, disaster struck my ancestral town and our family somehow ended up here. This humble official is born in Jinzhou and was lucky enough to meet with a greatly respected teacher. Under his tutelage, this humble official lucked out at the imperial exams and was given a commander’s position here. Now that natural disaster had struck this humble official’s hometown again, it saddens me to see victims of natural disasters all over the place…”
He had not finished speaking when the soldier who had been kicked off the boat sneered, “Enough, ba, Excellency Zhang. You sure have the cheek to say ‘all over the place’ in such a desolated area? Did you think that we’re in the central pains now?”
This fellow certainly deserved to be kicked. What kind of subordinate would spat into the face of their leader like that?
Su Nuan Nuan was speechless by the sheer rudeness of this fellow.
Duan Tingxuan smirked, “Though this might be a desolated area now, but who knows what will happen in the future? The emperor already has plans to establish a port here…”
The one most excited by this news was undoubtedly Zhang Tianming, “Is lord heir’s news for real? Has… has the emperor already made his decision? We have sent appeals before, but after two years of silence, we thought that the plans might have been scrapped. This humble official never thought that I’d love to see this day.”
“How could it be false? With the lifting of the sea ban, ships have been sailing across oceans and brought back all kinds of information. For the past two years, the emperor had been studying the reports brought in, and therefore, in addition to Shandong’s Dengzhou Navy, Liaodong’s Lushun Navy and even the Jinzhou Navy will have good prospects in the future. The ports will be established within three to five years, and with it, marketplaces and people who wish to do business here. So, be at ease.”
[Gumihou: Haha, this Zhang Tianming certainly knows how to motivate people, lol!]
 Big Tailed Wolves – Show offs