Translator: Zen Translations Editor: Zen Translations
The other Company Leaders looked towards Wei Feng. They were clearly still rather wary of Zhou Weiqing, but Wei Feng waved them away. He knew that if Zhou Weiqing wanted to harm in, he could have done so earlier. Furthermore, Wei Feng was extremely confident that he would still be of great use.
Zhou Weiqing, Shangguan Fei’er and Wei Feng returned to Xiong Guangming’s tent.
Zhou Weiqing turned to him and said: “Vice Commander Wei, please inform me, what do you think the three greatest difficulties our Ruffian Battalion is facing now?”
Without hesitation, Wei Feng said: “The first problem is food. As you have already seen, Commander Zhou, this is the far north, and very few vegetation can survive in the extreme climate here. Furthermore, this isn’t even the coldest season yet. Those northern army bastards will only send us some of the lowest quality food, and at quantities that aren’t even close to being sufficient. Every day, our brothers have to go hungry, otherwise our combat capabilities would be at least increased by another thirty percent.”
“En… what else?” Zhou Weiqing said, a thoughtful look on his face.
Wei Feng continued: “The second problem is naturally our equipment. I’m not just talking about weapons and armour, but even some of the simpler tools for survival. We pretty much lack all sorts of resources, equipment, strategic materials and tools, all of which are highly important. In truth, every year we are sent several hundred men to fill our numbers and replace losses, but as you can see, our overall number maintains at around a thousand. We currently have one thousand two hundred men. I have been here for ten years, and I have seen too many brothers die. Not on the battlefield, but from cold, starvation or sickness.”
“The third problem we have is our Jewel Masters’ Consolidated Equipment and Stored Skills. In terms of overall power, I dare say that our Ruffian Battalion is definitely the strongest Battalion in the entire ZhongTian Empire, as amongst us, we number three hundred and sixty two Physical Jewel Masters and forty nine Elemental Jewel Masters. As for the rest, they all have some form of Heavenly Energy.”
“What did you say?!” It was Zhou Weiqing’s turn to be shocked. Although he had high expectations of the Ruffian Battalion, he had not even dreamed that they would be so strong, with so much potential.
A bitter look crossed Wei Feng’s face as he said: “That is the law of nature, only the strong survive and the weak perish. So many years have passed, and well, none of the people sent here are any kindhearted souls. Without power, who could survive causing trouble in the army, to actually be sent to the Ruffian Battalion? Furthermore, it is so tough to survive here, and anyone weaker has likely died, and only the strong remain. However, out of so many Jewel Masters, the number who have complete Stored Skills or Consolidated Equipment are few and far between. Of the over three hundred Physical Jewel Masters, all their Consolidated Equipment added together still numbers less than two hundred… a body full of Heavenly Energy but unable to use it to their full potential. That is also the reason why when Commander Zhou said you were a Consolidating equipment Master, everyone’s gaze turned so heated…”
Zhou Weiqing nodded slightly and said: “I understand. Vice Commander Wei, tell me more about the current situation of the Ruffian Battalion then.”
Wei Feng started momentarily, then said: “Didn’t I just say already?! Everyone is just here to pass the time and wait for death. After all, we have nowhere left to go, not even back to the Empire. In front of us are wolves, behind us are tigers… for us to be able to survive, it is already considered a miracle. What sort of current situation is there? We can just barely survive…”
Zhou Weiqing smiled passively and said: “It looks like Vice Commander Wei still does not treat me as one of your own. In truth, there are some things that just cannot be hidden. Let me ask you a question, since our Ruffian Battalion is so close to the north border… When the WanShou Empire army attacks, how can our Ruffian Battalion possibly survive? In terms of strength, I dare say that the WanShou Empire can overrun our Ruffian Battalion in seconds. Furthermore, with just these tents… when the true winter comes and the bitter cold hits, without enough food… even Physical Jewel Masters will not be able to survive, let alone the ordinary soldiers… So… If I have not guessed wrongly, the Ruffian Battalion definitely has some other secrets… perhaps… a hidden base of safety.”
Hearing Zhou Weiqing’s words, Wei Feng’s face changed, and he looked at Zhou Weiqing with a powerful killing intent.
Zhou Weiqing ignored it, as if he could not sense the killing intent. Smiling, he said: “If I can think of it, I’m sure the northern army command can easily think of it too. Yet, why haven’t they done anything about it, allow you all to stay here? From that, I can say that the Ruffian Battalion still has some use to the northern army command. Vice Commander Wei… I haven’t gotten anything wrong yet right…?”
Wei Feng took several deep breaths before finally calming himself down. If not for the fact he knew he was no match to Zhou Weiqing, he would have taken action already.
“All of that… you actually guessed all of it?” Wei Feng said solemnly.
Zhou Weiqing looked at him closely, then said: “More accurately, it was my judgement. To be honest, it wasn’t even hard to think of all that… as long as anyone came here to look for themselves, it isn’t a stretch of imagination to guess all of it. After all, no matter the terrible conditions… you all are still alive.”
“One more thing. You must remember, I am not your enemy. Since I have been sent to the Ruffian Battalion, then I will definitely let our Ruffian Battalion grow strong. In truth, this place is not bad, at least no one will be here to order us around or restrict us. Vice Commander Wei, let us be frank and above-board with each other. The three problems that you mentioned, I will definitely solve them in three months.”
Wei Feng laughed coldly: “It is hard for me to believe that what you say isn’t just some empty big talk. Those three problems have plagued us for more than ten years, do you think it can be solved just so easily just because you say so? Especially so for the lack of Consolidating Equipment Scrolls… that is at least a thousand Scrolls… even if you are a Consolidating Equipment Master, with just you alone, how can you possibly create a thousand Consolidating Equipment Scrolls in three months?! Let alone, the sheer cost of the materials, that is an insane amount in the first place…”
Zhou Weiqing smiled passively and said: “Since I dare to say it, I will definitely do it. In any case, I am already the temporary Battalion Commander for three months, and if I can’t do as I say, I will get lost. What do you have to lose? In any case, you do not have to tell me all the secrets of the Ruffian Battalion now; if in three months you all think that I am worthy of continuing as Battalion Commander, it is not too late to tell me then. However, I have one thing I must tell you in advance. I am not here just to lead you all, but to command you all. I can give you a great life, a wonderful life, with money, women, power. However, you all must submit to me. In this world, in order to gain something, there is always a price. If in the future you all gain everything from me, and do not wish to pay the cost, then I will wipe you all out from the face of the world.”
Wei Feng’s eyes narrowed. “You are threatening me?”
Zhou Weiqing shook his head and said: “That is not a threat, just a fact. Alright, earlier, the twenty sets of the personal guard’s equipment, you arrange for them to be given out. As for horses, how much food do we have left in the camp?”
Wei Feng look at Zhou Weiqing deeply before saying: “We still have some rations left, Battalion Commander do you wish to eat?”
Zhou Weiqing said: “It is not only for me. From now on, increase the rations for our brothers. I will deal with the lack of food first.”
Wei Feng said: “It is not only the lack of food, the pressing problem now would be the Sixteenth Regiment. If they come looking for trouble, I’m afraid Battalion Commander Zhou will have to handle it personally. As for the two ‘guesses’ or judgements you mentioned earlier, it is no problem telling you actually. The real reason why we have always been able to survive is because we have burrowed many tunnels across these hills. At the border, there are several of our scouts lining the place, and as soon as the WanShou Empire army shows any sign of movement, we will all move out into the tunnels, to ensure they will not find us. As for the value we hold to the northern army command, that is exactly this information. At first notice, we will send note of any such movement to the northern command as well…”
Zhou Weiqing smiled as he inclined his head in agreement, saying: “Pretty close to what I had guessed. Alright, for the Sixteenth Regiment, I will handle it, you do not need to worry. These few days, make sure everyone is well fed. Also, I need you to choose a hundred of our most elite warriors, including all the Company Leaders. Three days later, I will have a plan of action…”
Wei Feng’s heart gripped tightly involuntarily, and he said: “Battalion Commander Zhou, I need to remind you that our brothers’ lives are the most valuable thing in my eyes.”
Zhou Weiqing looked him in the eye unwaveringly and said: “I’m more afraid of death than any of you. Before we head off, there are two things to do. First of all, I want to change the name of our First Unique Battalion… Ruffian Battalion just sounds so terrible. Secondly, I want to set a few rules for our Battalion. Tomorrow morning, you gather the troops to hear me out.”
Wei Feng said passively: “Commander Zhou, gathering the troops is not such an easy task. You should know that those that are sent here, and remain her, are mostly the unruly sort, old and wily soldiers in their own right. It isn’t so easy to command these fellows.
Zhou Weiqing smiled faintly and said: “That is simple. You tell everyone, whoever reports on time tomorrow will be given a gold coin. It will be given out there and then, no owing.”
“What? Reporting to a gathering… they will also get money?” Wei Feng started.
Zhou Weiqing nodded and said: “I will teach you how to be a true scoundrel, a real ruffian or rogue. I am not here to teach you all how to be ‘good’ people, after all, I have never thought of myself as a good person either.”
Wei Feng laughed. “Commander Zhou, I am finding myself more and more interested in you. Very well, we’ll see then. I’ll take my leave now.”
Wei Feng left the tent, and Shangguan Fei’er walked over to Zhou Weiqing, saying curiously. “Isn’t it just a mere gathering, why do you need to give them money? If they don’t listen, just beat them up until they do… I can help you do that, I’ll be happy to do something like that.”
Zhou Weiqing shook his head and said: “If they are ordinary soldiers, your method is definitely the right one. However, this is the Ruffian Battalion, a bunch of scoundrels and rogues, even if you use your method to force them one time, they will not be willing, or genuinely convinced, and worse yet, will harbour evil thoughts. To such people, luring them with the promise of profit is far superior than any other method. As long as I gather them into a group that is bound together by a large profit, where everyone in the group will gain so much that they cannot resist… only then can they truly be mine.”
Shangguan Fei’er said, confused: “Such an army… can it really fight on the battlefield? If everything depends on profit, if they meet a powerful enemy, wouldn’t they run even before they fought?”
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