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"Seal the mountain!"
The same voice reverberated throughout multiple villages.
More than a hundred families assembled in the main square of the Northern Mountain Village, led by Village Elder Zhang Yangping. There were over a hundred armored soldiers standing in front.
Fang Houde and Qin Xuelian were amongst the crowd. Every villager was lost and helpless.
"Commander sir, you can't seal the mountain. What are we going to eat if you seal the mountain?" Zhang Yangping pleaded with the commander.
"You're the village elder of the Northern Mountain Village?" The commander looked at Zhang Yangping.
"Yes sir, I am the village elder. Commander sir, all of us villagers hunt for a living. If you seal the mountain, we will be unable to hunt. Over a hundred families will lose their livelihood."
"I hear that you all have a Hall of Dao in the village?" The Commander ignored the pleas and posed a question of his own.
"Yes, yes. That Hall of Dao was moved from the Southern Mountain Village. Back then, a lady from the Divine Constabulary had ordered it. If commander sir does not believe me, you can confirm it with the sensei in the Hall of Dao." Zhang Yangping felt a tinge of hope.
"Mm, the road from here to Huai An County has been sealed. If you all need to go there for any emergency, you had better go by a mountain road. However, there are many beasts along those roads, so go in a group. Take this token with you. When the soldiers on the mountain see it, they will let you pass." The commander took out a black metal token and placed it in Zhang Yangping's hand.
"Commander sir, then... are you still going to seal the mountain?" Zhang Yangping asked hopefully.
"Sealing the mountain is a military order!"
"About that... sealing the mountain... but... commander, commander sir... someone from our village entered in the examinations this year. He passed the provincial exams, and..."
"I know about that. Li Xiantai from Huai An County has already told me about it. If not for that reason, it won't be so easy for you all to make your way to Huai An County!" The commander waved his hand in exasperation, interrupting Zhang Yangping.
"Okay, enough. I have been rushing through the night for a few days now. All of my soldiers are tired. Is there a place for us to stay?"
"It is already prepared."
"Good. My soldiers and I will be setting up camp up here in the north. Even though we will be a slight inconvenience, we have already accorded you many privileges. Other villages are not given such good treatment. As such, do prepare better alcohol and food for us. Do you understand?" The commander requested.
"Yes, yes, commander sir, please rest assured!" Zhang Yangping wanted to add something, but he swallowed it. He had to swallow his pride for the safety of the hundred families he led.