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Wen Tian naturally did not believe Changxi’s nonsense, but he was pressed down. He couldn’t fight back or run away, so could only pretend to believe his words and gradually stopped struggling.
Changxi relaxed his grip when Wen Tian stopped moving. He shouted to the far-away soldiers to retreat from West Mountain Road.
The negotiator the government sent out requested Changxi to let Wen Tian go first.
“The ransom is no problem. As long as you release Wen Shaoye, we will immediately leave West Mountain Road.” The negotiator was a stocky middle-aged man. He had on stuffy robes and he shrunk his neck back as he discussed conditions with Changxi.
He was just a small magistrate. The collaboration between the two towns to suppress the bandits was a big deal, so the county magistrate sent him out to put on a show. But everyone knew that the West Mountain bandits were formidable. A direct confrontation would result in injuries, if not death. The county magistrate wasn’t willing to be here so he was sent over.
They already agreed before they set off. If they didn’t have to fight, then they wouldn’t fight. It was best to use money to exchange the person back. After all, no one wanted to die in vain. In the end, it was Wen family’s gongzi who was kidnapped. If the Wen family was not rich and powerful and pressuring them, they wouldn’t have come.
The magistrate persuaded and coerced, but Changxi was a simpleton who paid no heed to his words. Chu XiangTian told him before he left that he couldn’t laugh or say anything extra.
The cheerless and speechless Changxi could only vent his anger through his expression, frightening people out of their wits. He looked gloomily at the magistrate and recited from a script, “Have your people retreat. Wen Shaoye is a houseguest at the fortress for a few days. Why so much fanfare?”
The magistrate wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead after being scared by his ferocious eyes and took a step back. He almost couldn’t keep the fake smile on his face. Stay as a houseguest? If he stayed a few days, they wouldn’t even be able to find out where he was buried!
The two sides were at a stalemate once again. After a time, he walked away with Wen Tian. The two mighty catapults were placed side-by-side on the mountain crossing. Two heavy stones were already loaded. It looked like they were about to go all out.