Chapter 590: A Friend has Come
In the blink of an eye, two months pa.s.sed. During these two months, the Flame Mercenaries had exponentially expanded and earned a place as one of the strongest mercenary groups in the Blue Wind Kingdom. A group that stood on top of the other leading factions and even the royal palace itself.
Up to this point, only the strongest families and factions had been able to prevent themselves from being subjugated by Jian Chen.
A large mansion was situated at the very center of a First Cla.s.s city called Wanzhu City. This mansion had originally belonged to the strongest power within that city, but had now been reclaimed to become the living area of the Flame Mercenaries for the time being. Even the nameboard at the very front had been swapped for the emblem of the Flame Mercenaries.
At this current moment within the magnificent halls of the mansion, Jian Chen and the strongest hundred members were all gathered around a table to discuss several important manners. For the moment, the rest of the mercenaries were all stationed outside the city in a clearing since they could not all enter the city at the same time.
“Captain, only three out of the six strongest families in the Blue Wind Kingdom were willing to join our Flame Mercenaries. The other three would rather die than submit.” Zhan Tian dutifully reported. He was one of the first to join the Flame Mercenaries and was also one of the three Earth Saint Masters from the Carnage Mercenaries, and had been given the right to speak for the entire group.
From his seat at the very front of the table, Jian Chen revealed a small grin on his face as he took in the news from Zhan Tian. “Three of them were willing to submit I see. Not bad, I wasn’t expecting as much at first. Which three have agreed?”
Not long after he finished speaking, two middle-aged men and an elder come walking over with respectful salutes and greetings.
“This one is s.h.i.+ Wanjun, representative for the Dayong clan. We of the Dayong clan would be happy to join the Flame Mercenaries and hope that we may follow the honorable captain into the brilliant light.”
“This one is An Situ, representative of the Domineering Heavens sect. We would be happy to join the Flame Mercenaries…”
“This one is d.i.c.k-Parosi, delegate of the Shuilan clan. We are willing to join your Flame Mercenaries…”
These three men were all Earth Saint Masters at about the Fourth or Fifth Cycle. The parties they represented were among the strongest powers in the Blue Wind Kingdom and once had a Heaven Saint Master presiding over them. However, those Heaven Saint Masters had been killed in the war with the Gesun Kingdom.
Staring at the three humble and respectful men, Jian Chen nodded his head in satisfaction, “I welcome you into the family that is the Flame Mercenaries. From henceforth, we are all family. As long as you work with the Flame Mercenaries in mind, then I, Jian Chen, pledge to never treat any one of you wrong.”
“I declare that the Dayong clan, the Domineering Heavens sect, and the Shuilan clan, will change their names to that of the Halls of Dayong, Domineering Heaven, and Shuilan. And you three will still lead your respective hall.”
Jian Chen had no desire to expunge anyone of their power upon entry into the Flame Mercenaries. The only thing that would change would be their goals; their relative power would remain untouched, but any sect or clan would be changed to a ‘hall’.
“A thousand thanks for captain’s charity!” The three men clapped their hands together in salute. All three of them had been worried that their authority would be stripped away from them the moment they joined the Flame Mercenaries.
Sitting on his seat while deep thought, Jian Chen said, “Zhan Tian, take some people to Loess City and eliminate the Harido clan.”
“A report for the captain. Rumors have it that the Harido clan vacated Loess City a long time ago. According to our same sources, they’ve fled the Blue Wind Kingdom already.” A black-robed elder spoke.
“What? They’ve already left the kingdom?” Jian Chen’s eyes narrowed for a moment before he waved his hand with a small smile. “They act quite fast. If I had known that they would flee earlier, I would have moved to deal with them sooner.”
“Captain, why don’t we dispatch a team to chase after them?” Zhan Tian asked.
Giving it a second to think about, Jian Chen replied, “No need. I will handle the Harido clan myself since they’re no longer a threat to worry about. Unless their leader is able to become a Heaven Saint Master, they won’t be able to do anything in the meanwhile. Even if he becomes a Heaven Saint Master in the next twenty years, our Flame Mercenaries will have grown strong enough to deal with them. Even if I’m not here, a single Heaven Saint Master won’t be able to measure up to the strength of the entire Flame Mercenaries. They’ve decided to run away from the kingdom for now, so we don’t even need to bother with them.”
“Then captain, what shall we do about the three factions that chose death over submission?” An elder asked from the side.
Jian Chen leaned back in his chair while his fingers kneaded. He realized that leading the Flame Mercenaries was becoming more and more of a headache. It was no longer as easy as before where he could act as he pleased. Back then he was the only member and didn’t require such heavy consideration.
“Everyone, why don’t you inform me of your ideas.” Jian Chen suggested.
“Captain, since the Flame Mercenaries have become so strong and those three factions refuse to submit, we shouldn’t let things lie there. We should eliminate them all. Let them serve as an example to the world of our strength.”
“Captain, we should avoid that at all costs. The remaining three factions still have two Heaven Saint Masters within their reach and a considerable amount of Earth Saint Masters. If those three join hands, then they will become an enemy that will deal a considerable amount of harm to us. Should we fight them, then we would anger even the kingdom itself. If they mobilize the entire army, then our Flame Mercenaries would suffer even more.”
“Captain, those three factions are not to be belittled. We have no conflict with them, and even if they would rather die than submit, it is not worth going to war with them only to suffer a disastrous result. The ends do not make up for the means.”
Everyone came to different conclusions about how to handle the situation. On one hand, some wanted to eliminate the group. On the other hand, some wanted to forgive and let them be.
From where she stood by the side, Bi Lian hesitated to speak for a brief second. Finally she gave her input, “Brother, there is no conflict between us and the three factions. We don’t have any real need to subjugate them, and we should forget about them for now since they’re willing to die rather than to submit. With two Heaven Saint Masters, they’d cause a lot of damage if they join together since our Flame Mercenaries have no other Heaven Saint Master besides you, brother.”
“Bi Lian and I share the same opinion.” You Yue agreed with her.
Everyone grew quiet when the two of them spoke. They all knew that these two women were both very close to the captain, and thus they were not willing to say anything else.
Jian Chen wasted no time to agree with the two of them, “If that is so, we’ll forget about this matter for now. Well, today’s meeting shall end here then. You may all leave and make the preparations for whatever necessities you need. In three days, we leave the Blue Wind Kingdom.”
“Yes, captain!” Everyone agreed before leaving the halls.
After the meeting was adjourned, Jian Chen returned to his own room. He lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. His fingers gently tapped against his temples. Now that the Flame Mercenaries had exploded in scale, it took even longer to consider and think everything through, causing Jian Chen some fatigue.
Suddenly, the doors opened to reveal You Yue wearing a pink long-skirt as she walked into the room. When she saw Jian Chen rubbing his temples, she revealed a concerned look on her face, “Jian Chen.” She softly continued, “Managing the Flame Mercenaries is a tiresome task, isn’t it?”
“Yes. It really is quite tiresome. Now that the Flame Mercenaries have grown, there is far too much to consider and far too many factors to think about. It is only now that I realize how tremendous a task it is to manage such an enormous group. Aside from having an equally tremendous amount of power, one must not neglect being able to control and manage everything.” Jian Chen replied while ma.s.saging his headache.
Choosing to sit on a nearby chair, You Yue said, “You could delegate these small affairs to someone else you know.”
“There aren’t many that I could trust. Aside from the group we travel with, there are no other capable people. Ming Dong is the vice-captain, but I know his nature — he isn’t cut out for something like this. Dugu Feng does not have the power, and Tie Ta is further away from such a position. The only ones left would be you and Bi Lian.” Jian Chen sighed. Then his eyes flew open as he looked to You Yue, “You Yue, I know that you’ve been an intelligent person since childhood and spent years learning in Kargath Academy while growing up in the palace. If I have you and Bi Lian govern the Flame Mercenaries, do you believe that you would be able to do the group well?”
You Yue was pleasantly surprised to hear the words that had come out of Jian Chen’s mouth, “What? Jian Chen, do you really think Bi Lian and I should be governing the Flame Mercenaries?”
Sitting up, Jian Chen faced her with an earnest expression, “I do. If you have the ability to govern, then I would be willing to allow you to do so in my place.”
“That would be great, Jian Chen. You may rest a.s.sured. Bi Lian and I won’t let you down.” You Yue excitedly replied.
Just then, Ming Dong walked into the room. When he saw the happy You Yue by his side, Ming Dong stared suspiciously at Jian Chen, “Brother, you’ve a friend here to see you.”
“Who?” Jian Chen asked.
“You’ll know when you come.” Ming Dong smiled mischievously.
Suspicious of his actions, Jian Chen followed Ming Dong out of the room and into the open courtyards of the mansion with You Yue following him from behind.
Soon enough, Jian Chen arrived at the gates to the building, but when he saw just who this “familiar” person Ming Dong had referred to, the expression on his face solidified into one of astonishment.
The friend in question was Huang Luan.