Chapter 241: Slave Girl
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
Just as he thought, Zhang Ruochen could sense the aura of dozens of people hiding in the ship warehouse after a quick search.
The auras of these people were all different. Some of them had strong Spiritual Blood as if they were savage beasts in human form; others had weak Spiritual Blood and were no different from ordinary people.
Only when the remaining evil warriors were all cleansed, would the Red Spider Vessel completely belong to him.
"The Red Spider Vessel is a good treasure. It would probably make a lot of money if I were to sell it."
Zhang Ruochen was heading to the ship warehouse when he passed by Mu Qing's skeleton and saw the Golden Line Long Whip. He picked it up before pushing open the door to the warehouse and walking in.
The Golden Line Long Whip was a level seven Genuine Martial Arms and thus, it was also another priceless treasure.
The warehouse of the Red Spider Vessel was very huge. It was divided into three levels and could hold thousands of people without crowding.
The moment Zhang Ruochen entered the warehouse, an evil warrior clad completely in black armor rushed toward Zhang Ruochen with a sword in hands. His cultivation was already at the Initial Stage of the Earth Realm and clearly, he was the martial arts master guarding the warehouse.
A golden ray of light flashed across the neck of the evil warrior at the moment when Golden Line Long Whip was swung.
The black armor easily tore apart as if he was made of paper under the Golden Whip's attack.
The warrior covered by black armor froze in terror with his hand and sword raised until Zhang Ruochen had walked some distance away. Then, his head, along with his helmet, landed on the ground with a crash.
At the top level of the Red Spider Vessel, Zhang Ruochen cleared out 12 evil warriors all at once. Their cultivations ranged from the Initial Stage of the Earth Realm to the Initial Stage of the Black Realm.
They were all Mu Qing's servants and each had their own given task. Among them were weapon refiners who repaired the inscriptions on the Red Spider Vessels, housekeepers who maintained the account books, as well as warriors who guarded the vessel.
Zhang Ruochen walked into the middle section of the Red Spider Vessel and realized the decor here was totally different from others. It was as if he had just walked into a royal palace. The decorations were extremely extravagant and there were 24 beautiful slave girls congregated at the center of the warehouse. They were staring in horror at Zhang Ruochen who had just barged in.
Having felt the intensely powerful aura emanating from Zhang Ruochen, they all kneeled, trembling, on the ground and did not even dare to lift their heads.
The 24 slave girls were all first-class beauties with good figures and appearances. Almost all of them were ordinary people; only three had activated a Sacred Mark, but their cultivations were very low.
"Mu Qing sure knew how to enjoy life," Zhang Ruochen gently shook his head and asked, "Are you all part of the Poisonous Spider Club?"
The 24 slave girls all kneeled on the ground in a line and no one dared to reply.
Zhang Ruochen continued, "If none of you speak, I can only assume you were all part of the Poisonous Spider Club and execute everyone."
There was a girl among them whose cultivation had reached the Advanced Stage of the Yellow Realm. She plucked up her courage and raised her head, and replied as she sobbed, "S ... sir, we were all once citizens of the Yunwu Commandery, but we were caught by soldiers of the Square Commandery when we lost the battle and then sold to the Poisonous Spider Club."
"The most beautiful girls were singled out and sent to the Red Spider Vessel to serve the important figures of the Poisonous Spider Club."
"There were 57 of us at first, but now there are only 24 left. Sir, please, rescue us. We don't want to die here..."
The other slave girls began to cry and beg as well, "Sir, please, rescue us! This is hell on earth, please!"
Zhang Ruochen felt his heart sank as he looked at the 24 young girls who were at the peak of their beauty. They were all once citizens of the Yunwu Commandery. Some were probably aristocratic daughters, but because of the defeat, they became slaves of the evil warriors.
Who was to blame?
Only the Yunwu Commandery was to blame for not being powerful enough to protect them.
Of course, the Yunwu Commandery Prince was not entirely to blame. After all, the Yunwu Commandery was an inferior commandery while the Square Commandery was a medium level commandery, and was ten times more powerful. Once they met in battle, there was little to no chance of victory for the Yunwu Commandery.
Suddenly, Zhang Ruochen's eyes lit up and he asked, "You said, you were originally caught by the Square Commandery before sending to the Poisonous Spider Club?"
"Yes." Said the rather bold slave girl.
"Does that mean there could be a collusion between the imperial court of the Square Commandery and the Poisonous Spider Club?" Zhang Ruochen mused to himself.
If what they said was true, then it was no longer just a small matter.
Regardless of whether it was the Yunwu Commandery or the Square Commandery, they were both commanderies within the First Central Empire. Only because they were remotely located, the First Central Empire was lax in its control and allowed various commanderies to set up their independent imperial courts, take lands, and be titled, Princes.
However, no commandery could violate the basic laws of the First Central Empire.
For example, the First Central Empire was allied with the Martial Market Bank. Empress Chi Yao fully supported the Martial Market Bank, and the official power of each commandery must also align themselves with the Martial Market Bank in suppressing the black market and the Moon Worship Demonic Sect.
If any commandery was found to be colluding with the black market, not only will they face retribution from the Martial Market Bank, they also would not be tolerated by the Empire.
To put it simply, if the Square Commandery was truly colluding with the black market in secret, they were looking for death. The surrounding large commanderies could join forces to launch an attack and split the territories belonging to the Square Commandery. Even the Martial Market Bank would support them wholeheartedly.
One of the slave girls spoke up cautiously, "Sir, I have something important to tell you."
Zhang Ruochen stared at her and said, "Speak!"
The girl spoke in a low voice with tears in her eyes, "I ... I have a condition!"
"You are negotiating with me?" Zhang Ruochen smiled faintly.
The slave girl froze, thinking she had offended Zhang Ruochen. She immediately kneeled down and kowtowed to him endlessly.
Zhang Ruochen said, "You don't need to be afraid of me. Tell me your condition!"
The slave girl replied, "If you promise to release us, I will tell you an important piece of information."
She did not know Zhang Ruochen's identity, but she knew very clearly that Zhang Ruochen must be a top warrior. Otherwise, how could Mu Qing and the Golden Line Long Whip have fallen into his hands?
They did not want to continue to be Zhang Ruochen's playthings. So, they decided to stand up for themselves and fight for their freedom, even if their power was insignificant when compared to him.
Zhang Ruochen found a chair and sat down. He smiled and said, "You might not know my identity. I am the Ninth Prince of the Yunwu Commandery as well as an internal student of the School of the Martial Market. Even if you hadn't asked it of me, I would still let you go."
All their eyes lit up once they learned about Zhang Ruochen's identity. The previous fear was completely replaced by worship and admiration.
He was a prince of the Yunwu Commandery, what an important person!
Furthermore, he could kill a legendary warrior like Mu Qing. That was heroic beyond words so naturally, they came to worship him.
Being imprisoned as a slave on the Red Spider Vessel, have they not all dreamed of a handsome young prince who would lead the army and rescue them from this hellhole?
Now, their dreams had come true!
Zhang Ruochen asked, "Where will you go after I release you? You are all very beautiful and most of you haven't practiced Martial Arts and so, you can't even protect yourselves. Under these circumstances, you will soon be captured again and enslaved to others."
The slave girls' eyes dimmed as they knew Zhang Ruochen was speaking the truth.
In this world where respect was founded upon martial prowess, weak people could only be slaves. Sometimes not even as good as slaves.
Zhang Ruochen continued, "Rest assured, since I am here, I will ensure you are all settled well. Now can you tell me the information?"
Having received Zhang Ruochen's promise, they felt much relieved. The girl who had practiced Martial Arts said, "Sir, what you were speculating earlier was right. It's true that the Poisonous Spider Club and the Square Commandery are working together, and their relationship goes very deep."
"We have been imprisoned here for a year and at least 10 high ranking officials from the Square Commandery have come to visit Mu Qing. We entertained all the officials and so we have heard some top secrets."
"Rumors say, the Square Commandery's attack on the Yunwu Commandery a year ago was planned by the Poisonous Spider Club. They wanted to take advantage of the war to capture a large number of slaves to sell as goods."
Zhang Ruochen's gaze grew dark and cold, "That's terrible. It's because of them that the Yunwu Commandery has lost so many soldiers. Countless of civilians have been slaughtered and many families were separated."
Zhang Ruochen thought it was best to determine the connection between the Square Commandery imperial court and the Poisonous Spider Club so that he could wipe them all out in one go. Otherwise, there would only be more tragedies if they stirred up troubles again in the future.
"Of the high officials from the Square Commandery you have seen, who had the most important identity?" Zhang Ruochen asked.
One of the slave girls thought for a moment then said, "I met an important figure. He seemed to be a Marquis of the Square Commandery. His status was very high as he was on equal terms with Mu Qing. They discussed a lot of important business together."
Zhang Ruochen's heart skipped a beat. He immediately asked, "What is the name of the Marquis?"
The slave girl shook her head and replied, "I don't know. I only heard Mu Qing refer to him as 'Army-guarding Marquis'.
Zhang Ruochen nodded his head. With the title of "Army-guarding Marquis", it would be easy to find him.
He must make a trip to the Square Commander and verify the information before contacting the Martial Market Bank and the Martial Market School. They must strike like lightning to exterminate the Poisonous Spider Club and punish the Square Commandery.
"You can all get up! I will now take you all to Lin'an County Town and order the soldiers in the town to escort you to Yunwu City. I will give you a handwritten letter. Take this letter and find the Ninth Commandery Princess. She will help you to settle down." Zhang Ruochen said.
"Many thanks, Ninth Prince."
The slave girls were all crying with joy. They all stood up and saluted Zhang Ruochen respectfully.
A 15 years old girl stood quietly in the corner and stared at Zhang Ruochen rather timidly. It looked like she had something to say, but was too scared to speak up.
Of course, her actions did not escape Zhang Ruochen's eyes. He asked, "Do you have something more to say?"
The slave girl replied in a low voice, "I have another piece of information you might be interested in."
"What is it?" asked Zhang Ruochen.
The slave girl replied, "I always served Mu Qing. One time, he drank a lot and told me some secrets. He said ... he has a Half-Saint's Sacred Glyph, and it was a real one. He found it in the ancient ruins of a Half-Saint, and it was his most prized possession."
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