It was actually quite profitable for Jiang Zhen to buy goods and sell them in various villages, but not many people would choose to do so. At least, none of the sea merchants in Hecheng County who went to purchase goods with Jiang Zhen chose to do so, because it was actually very dangerous.
If a small merchant picked some goods and sold them only in familiar villages, it might not be dangerous. After all, they all knew each other. People who were poor, such as Wang Haisheng, who used to sail with his old boat to unknown places, were generally not in danger. After all, even if you robbed them, you wouldn’t get much money. But a small businessman like Jiang Zhen, who came to a completely new place with a batch of goods . . .
Most of the people in the world were honest, but there was never a shortage of robbers and bandits, and the bandits liked to rob small merchants like Jiang Zhen the most.
Small businessmen usually didn’t bring too many people, and it was easy to deal with them. Moreover, they didn’t have much power either. Even if they were robbed, they were not able to make trouble for those bandits and robbers. They could only blame their own bad luck if they got killed . . .
These days, if someone died in an unknown place, his family could not find him, even if they wanted to. As for reporting to the officials . . . If someone you didn’t know died, who would report it to the officials? Even if it was reported to the officials . . . the government usually threw the body in a mass grave.
If there was a bandit group that had gathered dozens or hundreds of people, and these people made a lot of trouble, the government might send someone to eliminate them. But if several people came together to rob a small businessman, the government would neglect this matter and would not even try to catch anyone.
The people who stopped Jiang Zhen this time were a small group of water bandits. They were just ordinary people from the neighboring villages who didn’t like to work in the fields, so they started making trouble. First, they stole chicken or beat a dog. Later, after robbing a small businessman, they found out that the money earned from the robbery was a very quick way to earn money, much better than stealing from the villagers, so they simply became water bandits.
They had two ships, and they took turns looking for targets in the area. They specially picked this kind of small businessmen who carried goods with them. Although they didn’t get rich from robberies, they could eat meat and fish, drink wine, and live a very happy life most of the time.
This time, they targeted Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng. They knew that they were strangers at first sight. They had a lot of goods on board, and they also had some money on their hands. If they robbed them, they could make some profit right away.
“If you obediently hand over all the silver and goods, we will let you live. If not . . . There are already many people who drowned in this river!” The chief of the water bandits was already waiting for Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng to hand over all their belongings. Small businessmen like them were basically afraid to resist them. However, Jiang Zhen was an exception.
Jiang Zhen always knew that the ancient times were more dangerous than the modern times, but he didn’t flinch from it, daring to do business only in the city, because he knew one thing, that is, in the south of the Yangtze River, except for those who specialized in selling private salt, there was in fact no other big group of robbers. There were many powerful families and big landlords here, and they would not allow large groups of robbers and bandits to appear on their turf. And those small bandits . . . Jiang Zhen was not afraid of guys who couldn’t even get a steel knife.
His ship carried not only his homemade weapons but also small things, such as lime powder. Even if he was in danger, there would be no problem to escape.
“Jiang-Jiang Zhen! . . . What are we going to do?” Wang Haisheng asked in a trembling voice. He once met water bandits who were so hungry for food that they wanted to rob him. At that time, he had no money, so he simply let them on board to search, and those people did not find anything useful on his boat. But now . . . they not only had goods on board but also silver and copper coins. The copper pennies alone filled two boxes!
“What else can you do? Take out the silver quickly!” a water bandit roared with laughter.
“They have a nice boat. Let’s take it too,” another one said arrogantly.
The moonlight was very bright that night; the water was very beautiful in the moonlight. But these bandits, who were laughing in the moonlight, were frightening. The leader of the bandits looked at Jiang Zhen’s boat and said with a smile, “This boat is not bad! Come down here. We will search you and let you go. Leave everything else behind!”
These people didn’t take Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng seriously at all. As soon as they opened their mouths, they asked for all Jiang Zhen’s belongings.
Jiang Zhen’s eyes narrowed slightly, and at the same time, he started observing the situation around him. Just then, he suddenly heard some sobs. It sounded like, well, like a woman crying? Jiang Zhen glanced at the cabin of the ship that hit him, suddenly startled.
Taking a bamboo pole from the boat, Jiang Zhen directly stabbed a man on the boat in the belly. Now that it was so hot, these people didn’t wear much. After Jiang Zhen purposely sharpened the bamboo pole, the abdomen of the man suddenly bled.
In Hexi, Jiang Zhen was very careful when he was fighting others. The medical conditions in the area were very poor at this time, so even a small wound could kill a person, if it accidentally got infected. Since he didn’t want to kill people, he was careful. But towards such water bandits, there was no need to show mercy.
The water bandit who was stabbed by Jiang Zhen screamed and fell, unable to move. The people around him were shocked. Before they could respond, Jiang Zhen had jumped on their boat with the bamboo pole.
Jiang Zhen swept one of them in the water with a bamboo pole and shouted to Wang Haisheng, “What are you doing? Can’t fight?”
Wang Haisheng . . . he really didn’t know how to fight. But it was not like he couldn’t do anything. He also took a bamboo pole and poked with it the people from the other boat when they tried to attack him. At first, he was still a bit scared, but after discovering that the water bandits on the other boat were also afraid of his bamboo pole, he let out a cruel cry, “You bastards, I will kill you! I’ll kill you!”
Compared to Jiang Zhen, Wang Haisheng hated these water bandits even more. He had been living on the water, and he had seen a lot of water bandits robbing and killing people. All these times, he wished that these water bandits would die. Although he had never fought, he had a lot of strength from rowing all year round. At that moment, when his bamboo pole was swinging, they couldn’t get close to him.
But the bandits also had bamboo poles on their boats. One of them came forth with a pole used to support the boat. However, this time, Jiang Zhen threw his bamboo pole away, grabbing the pole in the bandit’s arms and pushing it back and forth. Then he pulled the pole out of his hands and hit his neck hard.
These days, not even officers and soldiers received special training, let alone these water bandits. Jiang Zhen let them see blood first, and later dealt with several people in succession, which immediately scared the rest of them.
“There are only two of them. What are you afraid of?” the leader of the water bandits yelled at the people around him. He was very tall and fierce, and he was not as afraid of Jiang Zhen as the others. However, even if he was not afraid, the people around him were.
“They are only two people . . .”
While they were talking, another man was stabbed by Jiang Zhen with his long bamboo pole. They . . . This was a hard hurdle! Of the five water bandits, two were swept in the water by Jiang Zhen and ran away, but the rest were subdued.
When he fought the leader of the water bandits, Jiang Zhen also received several hits from him, and even fell in the water with him in the end. However, Jiang Zhen could swim. These days, he had adapted to the water, so he took the man down in the end.
They tied the four captured water bandits together. Jiang Zhen started searching them without hesitation, and let Wang Haisheng go to the cabin from where he had heard something before.
Wang Haisheng agreed. He carefully lifted the curtain of the cabin and walked in. As a result, he had just entered the cabin, when he ran out in panic. “Jiang Zhen, inside . . . there are people in there!”
“There is someone in there. What’s wrong with that?” Jiang Zhen was a bit confused. The people inside should not be water bandits. Why was Wang Haisheng so afraid?
Jiang Zhen went over and pulled the curtain, looking around on guard. Then he frowned.
Edited by : Faro