Chapter 278 “Bloody” (Part two)
The more he listened, the gloomier Du Wei became, “And the security office here just sits idly by and does nothing? What about the businessmen that has suffered losses, are there no reports or complaints?” He asked with contempt in his voice
“Of course there is… But Sir, as I said just now, the security office is understaffed…”
“Nonsense!” Du Wei became infuriated: “What understaffed, I only see cowardice! The temperament of the prairie natives are like wolves, prey on the weak and cower in front of the strong. If you guys had steeled yourselves and fixed them before, things wouldn’t have come to this point!!”
Upon hearing this, the river official upped his head and defends himself, “Your Dukeship! I understand everything you just said, and….. We did make the effort. However, the outcomes were…. it made us cold to our bones!”
Du Wei became stunned: “…. Tell me.”
“Last year of this time the natives were running rampant. To remedy the situation, I and the security officer at the time became determined and decided to teach them a lesson once and for all. We gathered every security soldier in town and armed most of the river workers for the ensuing fight. They were vicious, attacking other merchants, robbing their space, and destroying other people’s goods, such acts have long defied the laws of the empire! Moreover, after our people went to confront them, these bastards resisted our arrests and openly attacked us! A crime on top of a crime. After a grim struggle, three of our soldiers died with dozens more injured. In total, we apprehended more than sixty of these barbaric mongrels! Although we grieved greatly over our dead, but we were convinced it was for the greater good if we can clean up this corruption! By normal standards, these criminals should’ve been sent to death by imperial decree, or in the very least sent to Sin City to become laborers!
“Yes, you did a good job.” Du Wei nodded: “And then?”
“And then?” The river official looked him in the eyes with grief and indignation: “My lord, guess what happened later.”
Du Wei’s heart skipped a beat for he can vaguely guess the results.
The river official’s face was grey as gnashed his teeth, “Later, the sixty or so prairie natives that we confined were ordered to be released, even their cargo and horses were returned! Worst of all, the pension for the families of the dead were delayed for several months before it was handed down! As for the security officer in charge of that arrest, the poor guy was removed from his post in the end! My lord, don’t you agree that the results are bone chilling? We are not afraid of the prairie natives, but with the outcome of our efforts…. This….”
In the end the river official suddenly turned red in the eyes, tears slowly sliding down from the corners.
Hearing the story, Du Wei could not say single word.
He’s well aware of the Empire losing control over the Northwest in recent years. For fear of rebellion, the officials back in the capital are blindly seeking security by constantly appeasing the prairie natives.
It’s not like Du Wei never seen the outrageousness of the prairie merchants. In fact, back when he met Governor Bohan in the Nuling Province, he had already seen the knife drawing habits of intimidation from these barbarians.
That’s a provincial governor of the Empire we’re talking about here, imagine what it must be like for a lowly port official.
Because of Du Wei’s strict approach to governing the Desa Province, and what became of the battle of Anglia City, the prairie merchants would remain honest while traversing on his land. However, once they are in the central regions of the empire, that’s a whole different matter once you include the weak minded approach of the governing officials, they become even more unscrupulous!
Judging this river official, he seems to be a hot blooded patriot, but sadly, due to the weak minded policy from above, his heart’s been thoroughly hurt.
Thinking up to here, Du Wei stood up and passed a handkerchief to the guy: “Alright, wipe your tears first. These things are not your fault and I can understand why you are so hurt.”
Receiving the handkerchief from him, the river official not only didn’t stop weeping, the tears flowed even harder.
Not minding the sobbing cries, Du Wei ambled up to the cabin entrance and peers outside, he can tell the ruckus was becoming louder and louder.
These prairie natives are increasing in numbers as they gather, around a hundred or so now. After seeing Du Wei only had around thirty to fifty on deck, their attitude became even more arrogant and unruly. From their experience, a little intimidation now should be enough to make these weak minded Roland people forfeit their spot.
Sweating profusely, the security officer attempts to stop the intruders with only a couple of soldiers he found: “All of you get back!” He shouts again at the leader of the mob: “You bastards, this is not your place to be! This ship here is for official use, not some private vessel you can take! It belongs to a nobleman!”
Not waiting for the officer to finish his words, the leader of the mob raises his scimitar and loudly scolds back: “I care not if it’s a freight ship or a private ship! All I know is that our goods been in the warehouse for well over a day, and the more delay there is, the closer winter comes to an end. Do you expect my leather to sell during the warm season? Even if it’s a private ship, we are going to have it transport our cargo! What noble? We prairie people don’t care so stuff it!”
“Nonsense! That’s nonsense!” This security officer seems to be an incompetent person by the anxiousness creeping up in that voice of his: “There’s plenty of caravans waiting for days already, how can you demand this when you only waited a day? Listen to me and go back, otherwise, if you anger the prominent person aboard, you…..”
“We will what!” Outrageously rude, the prairie leader points his blade right up to the officer’s face and derisively laughs: “It’s not like we’re robbing the ship, we’re merely borrowing it!”
Seeing the security officer losing control of the scene, some of the more unruly ones mouthed off against the soldiers and began pushing forward. Before long, the defenders were losing ground with every retreating step.
Watching the incompetence, Du Wei sneers in contempt and calls for Captain Old Smoke to hand down his command.
Running out immediately after getting the order from his lord, Old Smoke whispered a few words into the security officer’s ear and caused quite the stir. Lapsing out for a moment, the officer gave an incredulous look like he couldn’t believe his own ears.
Not missing the opportunity, the unruly mob rushed forward and swarmed aboard the ship, at the same time, the river official lost his balance in the chaos and fell into the river.
There were many other vessels on the side and many crowds of people from different caravans watching this unfold on the dock. They may be from different regions of the empire, but they all had the same mindset and expressions right now: shaking their head in disappointment over the incompetence of their protectors.
Receiving Du Wei’s order, all of his men aboard the deck intentionally made way for the intruders so they can board – around a hundred prairie natives crowded around the deck.
Likely because they had done this sort of robbery so many times, their maneuvers were very smooth without any wasted efforts. Calling out to his men, the leader orders: “Send a few of our brothers into the interior and find us some empty cabins, then get some of our men out to the warehouses and transport everything over! The rest come with me!” After that, this prairie man grins at the security officer splashing about in the river: “We’re on the boat now! If you want us to get off then you will need to ask my scimitar and my brothers here if they are willing!”
By now Du Wei was standing atop of the second level of the deck. Seeing the daringness of the people below him, he grins coldly: “OLD SMOKE!”
“My lord!” Old Smoke answered immediately from the side.
“Pass my order down, raise our flag, and then…… Have someone remove the boarding planks! NONE OF THESE FOOLISH PUPS SHALL LEAVE HERE!”
The rioting mob finally calms down after a brief period of clamor, but just as they wanted to carry out their orders, these people noticed the strange behavior of the sailors on deck.
Reporting this to their leader, the underlings were abruptly interrupted by the booming sound of the horn blowing.
From the side of the flagpole, the banner of a flaming golden tulip rapidly rose from the string….
Attracted by the horn, they all looked up and saw the flag fluttering in the air. Knowing who this banner belongs to; most of the intruders had a major change in their expressions!
Even the unruly leader turned ghastly pale when seeing the flag.
These prairie people are here to do business so it’s a must that they pass through Du Wei’s territory. After the great battle of Anglia City, the prairie natives lost over twenty thousand of their comrades, and even their respected Gold Wolf Head General was slayed in the process. Above all, a white robed shaman was one of the casualties in that fight, how can they not know of the Tulip Flag after that?
Also, in the aftermath of the battle, many of the captives were either beheaded, or strapped to a cross shaped pole to be paraded around the province!
Such bloody means has deeply engraved the terror of Du Wei’s name into these peoples heart!
The natives of the grassland are like wolves, bully the weak and fear the strong. With Du Wei’s bloody means, coupled with the slaughtering of the prisoner and the exposure of the corpses in the sun, no trading caravan from the grassland will dare act rashly while in the Desa Province.
So, now that the Tulip banner was flying in the air, everyone present was terrified with some exclaiming out of reflex….
At this time, dozens of fully armed Tulip soldiers had rushed out onto the deck from both sides. Equipped with military crossbows, their bolts are locked and aimed true to the densely packed group of intruders.
By now the natives are in full panic mode, and the leader himself had lost all semblance of the unruly man he portrayed moments ago: “We… We are merchants, you can’t hurt us so casually … We… ”
Still standing at the second level of the deck, Du Wei dispassionately asked the river official nearby: “Hmm, I ask you, according to imperial law, what’s the punishment for offending a duke?”
“This… should fall under ‘contempt of the law’, thirty lashes for a heavy punishment, and something light should be…..”
Lashes of the whip?
Du Wei sneered in disdain: “Hmm, what if it’s not ‘offence’, but assassination? What’s the charge of conspiring to assassinate a duke?”
Shuddering at Du Wei’s question, the river official understood now what he intends to do: “Assassination…. Is, is death on sight….”
“Very good.” Du Wei smiles, his finger pointing to the people down below: “You are the local official here so you be my witness! My flag was clearly raised, yet they still swarmed my ship with weapons. If they are not trying to assassinate me, than what else can it be?”
The river official felt a chill run through his spine. The Duke’s smile may be mild and vague, but the image of a bloodthirsty lion was as clear as day to this river worker. Nodding repeatedly, he didn’t dare saying anything out of script: “Yes, yes, I will know how to write my report!”
“Very good, you’re very good, I see bright futures for you.” Du Wei gave only this praise and turns around to Old Smoke instead: “Have your men begin.”
When this command came out, the river official went numb on his legs. Fortunately the guy stabilized himself before so his didn’t fall. Clearly trembling in his voice, “My lord… you….”
Ignoring him, Du Wei gave more orders to Old Smoke:
“All assassins are to be beheaded…. Hmm, don’t these natives have a habit of making human stakes with their victims head? So many heads here, I’m sure we can get a hundred or so out of them. Have their heads staked on the dock for three days in the open sun!”
Finishing his words, Du Wei pats the river official on the shoulder with a sincere smile: “This way, your work on the port will be much easier from now on.”
Du Wei’s smile had not an ounce of flare, but in the river official’s eye, this was the incarnation of cruelty…..
Pale and unable to think properly, the last thing the river official remembered was the Duke’s last piece of command:
“Slay them all without restraint, leave none alive!”
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