Qiaotou Village was closer to the county town than Hexi, but the villagers there were not much better off.
It was close to the county town, so some big families from the county town went there to buy land. Gradually, there was less and less land in Qiaotou Village, but there were more and more people, so people’s lives became more difficult. However, as a result, many people started looking for another way out. In Qiaotou, many young men and women went to work in the county town in order to earn money. And since Liu Heitou’s promotion, many people followed him.
These people who followed Liu Heitou said they were working for Hongxing Gambling House, but Hongxing Gambling House only needed a dozen goons, so how could they make use of so many people? In fact, they were working for Liu Heitou, making Liu Heitou act more and more recklessly. However, Liu Heitou was not stupid. He never extended his hand to the county town and did not go out to offend those who he couldn’t afford to offend.
In Qiaotou, Liu Heitou was basically the local emperor, so when Jiang Zhen brought him and more than a dozen other people to Qiaotou, Liu Heitou’s men met them immediately.
“Big Brother!” Among the people who took the lead to come was Liu Heitou’s cousin. When he saw Liu Heitou, he shouted and then looked at Jiang Zhen warily.
He knew Jiang Zhen. Originally, he and Liu Heitou went to kidnap He Qiusheng, but he was beaten by Jiang Zhen. It was just . . . why was this man standing together with their eldest brother today?
“Where is the gambling house?” Jiang Zhen asked one of the goons of the gambling house around him.
That gambling house thug was a person under Liu Heitou, yet he was not only Liu Heitou’s subordinate, but even more importantly, someone from the gambling house.
He opened his mouth and weighed everything before he finally pointed in a certain direction and said, “That way.”
“Go!” Jiang Zhen took the people to where he pointed straight away.
Liu Heitou had built a big house on that side of Qiaotou, so the people from the nearby village had a place to gamble. It was very different from Hongxing Gambling House and looked messy, but some people still liked going there.
Hongxing Gambling House was opened in the county town. Even if it was open to ordinary people, many farmers were afraid to come in looking at the tall door. But Liu Heitou’s gambling house was different; even if they were dressed in rags, everyone boldly went in.
It was afternoon, and it was also the busiest time for Liu Heitou’s gambling house. Many people with copper coins in their hands went there to lose all their money and feel comfortable.
After taking a glance at the gambling shop, Jiang Zhen, who took some people with him, rushed in straight away.
“What do you want to do?” Liu Heitou’s brother, who had also brought people with him, stopped Jiang Zhen and asked angrily.
“Liu Heitou, what are your planning?” Jiang Zhen looked at Liu Heitou with a smile.
There were several reasons why he had brought them here today. One was because of the gambling house. He and Liu Heitou had a nasty fight before, and the people in the gambling house probably knew about it. At this moment, if he didn’t say something, most of the people in the gambling house would look down on him, so he needed a way to show his authority. And the other reason was to take away these thugs from the gambling house.
There were a total of nine thugs inside, of whom, three were from the county town. They had something to do with Manager Zhang and they didn’t agree with Liu Heitou, the leader of the thugs. But the rest of them were on Liu Heitou’s side.
These people followed Liu Heitou’s lead. It was not good for him to keep them, but it was also impossible to drive them all away. So he just brought all of them here to take down Liu Heitou’s lair.
Like Liu Heitou, these people wouldn’t dare to offend the gambling house or leave it. Most of them would follow him, and when they helped him destroy Liu Heitou’s lair, they would not be able to stand on Liu Heitou’s side any longer. They had to follow him wholeheartedly because they would be afraid Liu Heitou would get even with them later.
And there was also the other reason . . . of raising his reputation and letting people know that he was not easy to mess with. Jiang Zhen looked around at the people of Qiaotou Village, who were in awe of him and in a good mood.
“Who is that man? Why is Liu Heitou following him?”
“He brought people from Hongxing Gambling House, right? Those people listen to him!”
“This man seems to be Jiang Zhen! He is from the village of Hexi, the one the Liu family recently scolded at the entrance of the village every day.”
“Why did he come here? Isn’t he afraid of Liu Heitou beating him?”
“What would he be afraid of? Didn’t you hear? Liu Heitou was beaten twice, both times by him.”
The people in Qiaotou were gossiping, looking at Jiang Zhen with gazes full of awe. This was the man who dared to beat Liu Heitou!
Meanwhile, Jiang Zhen was still looking at Liu Heitou with a smile. “Liu Heitou, what do you want?”
Liu Heitou’s expression twisted again. Qiaotou was his territory. He would really like to call someone to kill Jiang Zhen. But he didn’t dare. He really wanted to do that but unless he left his hometown to go outside, he wouldn’t be able to live in Hecheng County. However, he was reluctant to leave everything here behind.
“Jiang Zhen!” Liu Heitou gritted his teeth and gave a shrill cry that was a bit fierce.
Jiang Zhen glanced at Liu Heitou, then turned to the gambling house thugs behind him. “Get rid of all the people who are gambling inside and take this place for me!”
Liu Heitou’s brothers and the people he had raised were angry, and they waited for Liu Heitou to give them an order to teach Jiang Zhen a lesson, but Liu Heitou was silent. In the end, they unexpectedly watched as Jiang Zhen drove the gamblers out of the gambling house.
The people were noisy at first, but as soon as they saw the situation outside, they immediately lowered their heads like quails.
“I’m the manager of Hongxing Casino. Liu Heitou is a member of the casino. Setting up a private casino outside violates the rules of Hongxing Casino. From now on, this casino must be closed and can’t be opened again,” Jiang Zhen said.
In fact, there was no such rule in Hongxing Gambling House. That was why, although Manager Zhang was a little dissatisfied with Liu Heitou making trouble outside, he didn’t care too much. It was just that, these days the rules were made by the people above.
Everyone in Qiaotou Village believed it.
If the assistant of the cloth shop was doing cloth business outside, he would definitely be kicked out from the cloth Shop. It would be the same with Liu Heitou.
Although Liu Hetou was still friendly to the villagers of Qiaotou Village, the villagers didn’t like him. Now that he was unlucky, the vast majority of the villagers clapped their hands and felt very relieved. At the same time, there was growing awe for Jiang Zhen.
Liu Heitou didn’t even dare to fart in front of this man, and listened to him . . . Who the hell was he?
Jiang Zhen didn’t do anything. He let people bring him the account books and the silver from Liu Heitou’s small gambling house, as he himself leaned against the door and looked at Liu Heitou with a smirk on his face. There was no ferocious expression on his face, but facing him, Liu Heitou could hardly stand it.
Jiang Zhen had been watching Liu Heitou warily, but he knew that Liu Heitou would no longer resist. If Liu Heitou had been ten years younger, he would have resisted. If he had been so poor that he could not even afford to eat, he would have also resisted. But now, he had already changed. He was reluctant to give up his family business, so he could only helplessly watch others cut the meat from him.
“The gambling house won’t ask for the money. We’ll split it later,” Jiang Zhen said with a smile to the goons working outside.
Originally, there were still some thugs who didn’t work hard, but when they heard Jiang Zhen’s words, they immediately felt like they had been injected with chicken blood.
Liu Heitou’s cousins looked at him with red eyes. “Big Brother!” This small gambling house was the result of their painstaking efforts!
“That Jiang Zhen is valued by Master Zheng!” Liu Heitou said as he clenched his teeth.
The Liu family all knew Master Zheng. That was a person that even the county magistrate respected. If Jiang Zhen was valued by Young Master Zheng . . . they really couldn’t do anything about Jiang Zhen.
Although Liu Heitou persuaded his brother, his heart seemed to be dripping blood. Jiang Zhen didn’t play his cards according to common sense and did things against expectations. He suddenly brought people here today, so that he didn’t have time to make any preparations, let alone hide anything. He had been working hard for a long time, but he might end up being cheated by Jiang Zhen!
Jiang Zhen was staring at Liu Heitou while Zhao Jinge, who was standing beside him, didn’t know what to do. He followed Jiang Zhen all the time, but he didn’t understand what Jiang Zhen was doing. Up until now, he still had no idea what Jiang Zhen wanted to do. Those thugs were all moving things, and it was not appropriate for him to stand by. Zhao Jinge hesitated for a moment and then went to move stuff with those thugs and look for the silver.
Growing up, Zhao Jinge had never done such a thing, and when he did it, he somewhat felt tangled. His face stiffened, which made him look like he was a little unhappy when he frowned because of the scar between his eyebrows.
When those goons saw that Zhao Jinge had been following Jiang Zhen all the time and Jiang Zhen talked to him kindly, they thought that Zhao Jinge must be one of Jiang Zhen’s men, so they wanted to improve their relationship with him.
“Hey, Brother, who are you under Jiang Zhen?” There was some humility in the question.
“You and Jiang Zhen must be brothers, right? You are the same in height and wear the same clothes,” someone else came over to ask.
Zhao Jinge was silent. He was actually Jiang Zhen’s wife whom he had just married. However, at this moment, he didn’t think any of these people would believe him.
No man had ever taken his newly wed wife to work in a gambling shop and to rob others . . . In fact, Zhao Jinge didn’t understand what Jiang Zhen was thinking either. Jiang Zhen used to flirt with him and praise him for being good-looking. He was always happy to hear it, but now . . . Why did Jiang Zhen seem to see him as a man?
“Brother, what is Jiang Zhen like?” these people who saw that Zhao Jinge was silent asked again.
“Like . . . He likes money?” Zhao Jinge said.
“Yeah, who doesn’t like money?” Those people were satisfied.
“Brother, if you can help put in a good word for us in the future, we will invite you to a drink next time! There are some pretty little sisters in Qingyang. We will go to them and tell them to sleep with you.”
Zhao Jinge’s whole body froze. “. . .” Didn’t he look even a little bit like a ger? In any case, there were too many bad places in the county town. He had to keep an eye on Jiang Zhen. He couldn’t let Jiang Zhen find someone else. After clenching his teeth, Zhao Jinge continued working.
Jiang Zhen saw that Zhao Jinge was working, but it wasn’t heavy physical work and it was much easier than Zhao Jinge’s previous work, so he didn’t stop him. Even if someone spoke to Zhao Jinge, he didn’t take it seriously. He knew that Zhao Jinge was fond of him, and they were married. Zhao Jinge was merely speaking with someone. Why would he need to care?
After a while, everything from Liu Heitou’s gambling house was brought out. At first, Jiang Zhen thought that he might find some account books that could be used to threaten Liu Heitou or something. However, facts proved that he thought too much.
How could a group of illiterate thugs write any kind of account book? Among them, there was only one person who could read, but he usually only wrote various debt notes. His characters looked even uglier than Jiang Zhen’s. However, in addition to that, more than six hundred silver were found.
Liu Heitou didn’t like farming, so his biggest source of income was usually lending money to other people. This six hundred silver was the money he used to lend.
Jiang Zhen looked at it and then gave those people who followed him to the gambling house, along with Zhao Jinge, fifty silver each. He then collected the rest of the money without hesitation himself and said to Liu Heitou, “Liu Heitou, you can’t continue opening this gambling house. Besides, it is a crime to lend money. You’d better be obedient, otherwise . . . Young Master Zheng will definitely not let you go.”
Liu Heitou clenched his fist and looked at Jiang Zhen. He was already very angry.
Meanwhile, Jiang Zhen was saying to the people around Liu Heitou, “You followed Liu Heitou in the name of Hongxing Gambling House but in fact, you are not from Hongxing Gambling House at all and no one will protect you in the future, but if you follow me . . . Young Master Zheng plans to open a new gambling house for me to manage, and I am short of people.“
Jiang Zhen, this is going overboard. Coming to my place to poach my people! The angry Liu Heitou started looking around at the men he had gathered. Suddenly, he found that many of them were excited. As for the people from the gambling house . . . after they took the fifty silver Jiang Zhen gave them, they didn’t look at him at all!
The thugs from these gambling houses had a good income, but they were only selling their strength, it was already good to earn five or six silver a month. Now that Jiang Zhen gave them fifty silver at once, they would naturally want to listen to Jiang Zhen.
Liu Heitou had made so much money. But he usually only bought them a drink, which was really stingy. Why had they been following him?
Jiang Zhen closed the gambling house, but he didn’t really do anything to Liu Heitou. Such a person couldn’t be forced hastily.
After saying a few more words to his recruits, Jiang Zhen saw that more and more of Liu Heitou’s men had a change of heart. Seeing this, Jiang Zhen left with Zhao Jinge. On the way, he saw a familiar figure who was secretly running away, and shouted, “Liu Dacheng, don’t forget the money you owe me!”
Then Liu Dacheng ran even faster.
Jiang Zhen gave his silver to Zhao Jinge. Zhao Jinge, who took the silver, immediately felt extremely hot. He had the feeling that everything happening was unreal.
When the thugs of Hongxing Gambling House saw this, they increasingly felt that this silent man, who didn’t like talking, should be very well-liked by Jiang Zhen. One of them went up to specially give Zhao Jinge the silver bracelet that was included in his share of fifty silver he received.
“Brother, don’t forget what I told you! Next time I will invite you for a drink!”
Zhao Jinge: “. . .”
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Edited by : Faro