Silver Overlord - Chapter 540
Silver Overlord Chapter 540 – Ambush
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Shatu caravans traveled slowly through the desolate wilderness in the summer heat.
The rock and sand on the ground were scorched by the sun. From afar, the heat rising from the ground appeared to be wavy.
The strife within the Shatu Seven Tribes at the Gulang Plains continued to intensify. The Dark Razor and Dark Wood tribes were like fire and water, while the other tribes were more or less implicated. Due to this, the Shatu caravans were impacted, and the smaller ones were frequently harassed. The soldiers from the Dark Razor and Dark Wood tribes regarded their opponents’ caravans as targets. When the Dark Razor Tribe ran into caravans from Dark Wood Tribe, they would steal from them and kill everyone. Likewise, the Dark Wood Tribe was doing the same to the caravans from the Dark Razor Tribe.
Under such circumstances, the other caravans from the other tribes were like fish in the same pond. They were also harassed, plundered, or killed by the bloodthirsty soldiers from the Dark Razor and Dark Wood tribes.
The scimitars in those Shatu men’s hands were not only ruthless to outsiders, but they were also more ruthless and violent to their own people during the internal strife. If the Shatu Seven Tribes weren’t offered protection by the Great Han Empire back then, only death would await the tribes that lost during the last internal strife.
When chaos started to set in the plains, the Shatu caravans of less than a hundred people in size were already in danger. Only the bigger caravans could somewhat ensure their own safety during their travels. With more people, they could stand a better chance against the smaller group of soldiers from the Dark Wood or Dark Razor tribes. The Shatu caravans now traveled under the banner of other tribes. Even those from the Dark Wood Tribe or Dark Razor Tribe would also travel under the banner of other tribes after leaving their own territories.
The Shatu caravans in front of them were traveling under the banner of the Earthen Desert Tribe, the Coyote Tribe, and the Stormy River Tribe. At one glance, people would think that these caravans from the three tribes had banded together and were traveling as one. There were about four or five hundred people traveling together with seven or eight hundred rhinodrake steeds and camels which were fully loaded with goods, especially the camels which were carrying goods that were piled up like little mountains. The caravan stretched a few hundred meters long. From a distance, it resembled a long snake slithering across the desolate wilderness.
In reality, this caravan and the people in it were all from the Dark Razor Tribe.
The caravans played more prominent roles as the situation at the Gulang Plains intensified. The salt, tea, silk, and weapons they were transporting were items that the important people at the plains needed most urgently.
Adebei looked at the mountain ridge at the horizon ahead of them on his rhinodrake steed and couldn’t help but curse, “Damn those bastards on Mount Jade Dragon…! Damn those Han Chinese too!”
After passing the hill ahead of them, they would be crossing the borders of Yingwei County in Pingxi Prefecture.
Adebei, the man in his fifties, was the leader of this caravan. Before this, Yingwei County meant nothing to him as it was merely a small impoverished area in Pingxi Prefecture. Yet, ever since Yingwei County’s frontier was established late last year, it became a thorn in his side.
At the border trading post were smaller tribes like the Great Moon, Wusu, and Piyue tribes which would never bow down to the Shatu. Those stray tribes cleared up a path that connected Mount Jade Dragon to Yingwei County to transport things like leather, medicinal ingredients, gems, rare beast core crystals, and valuable timbers from the mountain. The items they supplied to the Han Chinese merchants became best sellers.
The Shatu caravans used to monopolize the trade of these items. Now that there were people openly robbing them of their business, it was only natural for Adebei to be upset. To make it worse for the Shatu people, the border trading post at Yingwei County didn’t want to do business with them so they couldn’t intervene. Not only that, but the items sold there were cheaper than their prices. The Han Chinese merchants who used to trade with them before were now either taking their supplies from the Yingwei County border trading post, or trying to bargain with them by making a price comparison to the border trading post. This really put a damper on the Shatu caravans.
The caravans were now working harder but earning less than before. Adebei started to reminisce about the old days as he rode on his rhinodrake steed. Back then, the Shatu caravans didn’t even need to pay any tolls when they entered Pingxi City. Not only that, but they could even enter the city on their steeds. The Han Chinese and low-ranking officers feared them and no one dared to look them in the eye. If any Han Chinese person annoyed them, they could just easily whip them on their rhinodrake steed or hack them with their weapons. They had nothing to worry about even if they killed someone since the bureaucracy would never dare to pursue the matter. At most, they would only lose a bit of money or goods. If they saw anything they liked, they could snatch, seize, or trick the Han Chinese who were as weak as little sheep to them.
Adebei and many other Shatu people simply couldn’t understand why these weak Han Chinese people could occupy such a big piece of land and wonderful mountains. They could live in the cities where their lavish mansions were, while valiant Shatu people like them only had their tents in the plains outside the city gates to shield them from the harsh wind, snow, and rain. Life was really unfair!
Of course, Adebei never thought of the Gulang Plains as a shelter provided to them by the Han Chinese. They always regarded it as something they won over with their own efforts and had nothing to do with the Han Chinese.
The anger in Adebei’s heart made him felt even hotter. His throat felt hot after he cursed, so he picked up the water canteen hanging from his saddle and took a few swigs. The sweet water that flowed into his itchy throat instantly refreshed him. The water droplets that clung to his bushy beard glistened in the sun.
“Ahh…!” Adebei wiped his mouth with the back of his hand in satisfaction. He put the water canteen away, then heard the sounds of iron hooves approaching him. A slender, younger man with a mustache on his long oval face rode to his side on his rhinodrake steed.
“Are we not going to Yingwei County?” The man spoke arrogantly with his hoarse voice.
Adebei didn’t dare to show negligence toward this man because he was a steward sent by a noble who supported Adebei. His position in the Dark Razor Tribe was even higher than Adebei’s, and he had joined his caravan this time for another separate important task. Before coming, the noble had ordered Adebei to follow this person’s instructions.
Adebei pointed to the mountain ridge ahead of them, then replied respectfully, “Yingwei County is just past that mountain ridge ahead of us. We should be passing through Yingwei County today and we can camp for the night at the Ganzi River. After another day of travel tomorrow, we should reach Pingxi City at night!”
“Can’t we buy the new spinning frames, looms, and Aquapyro Engines that the Han Chinese have made from Yingwei County? If we can buy them from Yingwei County, then there’s no need for us to run all the way to Pingxi City. I can also return earlier with the goods and report back to Lord Hake!”
“Yingwei County probably don’t have those for sale. Besides, we might get into a lot of trouble if we were to go there!” Adebei licked his lips. “There are many people from the Great Moon, Wusu, and Piyue tribes from Mount Jade Dragon gathered in Yingwei County. There may not be as many last year, but there are about five or six thousand of them this year. Those people are making a living at the border trading post by doing business, opening up workshops, running restaurants and inns. By now, they have gained considerable power. If they see us, something will definitely happen. Last time, a caravan of about a hundred people from the Stormy River Tribe that wanted to take a look at the border trading post in Yingwei County ended up returning with only seven people. The rest got killed somewhere near the border trading post by those bastards from Mount Jade Dragon…!”
“The Han Chinese don’t care about the border trading post?”
“The Han Chinese garrison merely observed at the side but didn’t intervene. We later went to the Pingxi Military Governor’s Office but were told that the tribes living on Mount Jade Dragon are not under their jurisdiction, so whatever happens between the Shatu people and the other tribes should be resolved ourselves. We are to personally look for whoever killed our own people…”
“Damn bastards. We’ll behead all of them someday!” The noble’s steward cursed fiercely. “Let’s go to Pingxi City then!”
“Apart from those items, Lord Hake also ordered for you to bring back two Han Chinese who know how to operate them. No one in our tribe currently knows anything about it, especially on how to deal with the wool. Lord Hake wishes to see it for himself…”
“Well…” A frown immediately creased Adebei’s forehead.
“Why? Since when have you become a coward, Adebei? You can’t even manage a simple task?!” The noble’s steward shot Adebei a disdainful look. “It’s just a few Han Chinese people. How difficult can it be? Didn’t you bring back quite a few Han Chinese women for Lord Hake before?”
Thinking about the severed heads of the Shatu people hanging from Pingxi City’s walls, Adebei gulped audibly. “Ever since the collapse of the Ye Clan, Pingxi Prefecture is not the same as it was before. If we get caught by the Han Chinese, then…”
“Just tell me if you can or cannot do it.” The steward interrupted Adebei.
Adebei clenched his teeth in the end and nodded heavily. “It’d be best for us to split into two groups and move separately after arriving in Pingxi City. I’ll obtain the items that Lord Hake wants and you’ll bring the items back first while I go scout for the people. Things have been tense between us and the people from the Dark Wood Tribe in Pingxi City. Do not reveal your identity at all costs…”
“Bear in mind that this is an important matter to Lord Hake. The other important guests that have come to the tribe are also looking forward to seeing these items. If you screw this up, you will bring your own head and provide an explanation to them!”
While the Shatu caravan traveled through the wilderness, Yan Liqiang was squinting in their direction from a hill among the ridge that Adebei was pointing at earlier.
“The Shatu people are here…” Shi Dafeng licked his lips and quietly cheered in excitement. The rhinodrake steed beneath him also stirred restlessly as it pounded its front hooves against the ground…
Shen Teng, Shi Dafeng, Zhou Yong and the rest were riding beside Yan Liqiang on their rhinodrake steeds. At the bottom of the hill was a big group of students from the archery academy on their rhinodrake steeds.