Chapter 9 - Resolution
Li Peng had pondered over the matter, yet could not determine which party was speaking the truth. The small horn in the boys hand meant that he was not lying and was intending to sell it, but the horn would not have enough value to be sold alone. In the matter of Yuan Tu, he had been wrong when he said the boy had nothing to sell. However, considering the value of the horn, he may have had ill intentions; as Yuan Tu was implying.
The only other way he could determine the truth would be to have a witness verify their claims. But looking at the peasants, they all seemed like they would side with Yuan Tu. Li Peng had looked around and the only other people that would have witnessed the incident would be the mercenaries.
He knew they were mercenaries from Zhou Hua city. The mayor had employed three mercenary companies last month for completing some secret tasks that he was not informed about. This was probably the first group coming back after completing their task.
Snapping out of his thoughts, Li Peng spoke,
"Guards, call the mercenaries over here. They will testify about who is telling the truth."
Hearing the decision the supervisor made, Yuan Tu felt uneasy.
If the mercenaries really witnessed everything and told the truth, I would be in much, much greater trouble. NO! I cannot be punished! All us peasants know Li Peng is an impartial man, and if he found out that I deliberately accused Lin Mu of theft... the consequence would not be as simple as flogging.
Even though the Supervisor had confiscated Lin Mus property and thrown him out of the town, Lin Mu was not legally exiled from the town. Rather, it was Li Pengs method of ensuring that the other peasants would vent their displeasure from losing all their wages onto Lin Mu.
Li Peng had thought the boy would stay away from the town long enough for the peasants anger to fade or move to Eastern town. Eastern town was 8 hours away from Northern town if one walked there. The boy could have easily found work in its grain fields, since the peasants in Northern town would most likely avoid him. Yet, the boy had come back after 3 days and had even been noticed by the peasants. If the peasants had not seen him it would be fine, but now he had this problem to solve which was taking up the already limited harvest time they had left.
Lin Mu was a little relieved that his method had worked, and the supervisor had not directly declared him guilty. He was still unsure whether the mercenaries would help him or not, though. Observing the mercenaries, one could tell they were unsociable kinds of people. He saw three mercenaries being brought over by the guards; one of them being the mercenary he had talked to before.
The three mercenaries had a slight look of annoyance from being called over by the guards. They would have directly rejected them had it not been that they could not be rude, as they still had to pass the security checks in this town. Moreover, their employer was the very mayor of the city this town came under. And since it was a rather high-paying job, they would not like to lose it.
The three mercenaries that were brought were all well-armed, but the man standing at the front of the trio was equipped in better quality armor than the other two; who was obviously the leader. The three mercenaries followed behind the guards and approached the Supervisor Li Peng.
All the peasants turned their sights at the mercenaries along with Lin Mu. The lead mercenary glanced his eyes over all the people that were standing around, finally settling his eyes on the well-dressed middle-aged man.
The mercenary who had talked with Lin Mu, looked at him with a curious gaze. He had seen the whole incident, yet did not know what the boy had done that would invite the anger of all these peasants. From what he could see, the boy had barely spoken a sentence before the man standing opposite him started yelling and attacking him.
Li Peng looked at the leading mercenary with a stern gaze before speaking,
"You three mercenaries, tell us what happened here clearly between this boy and the peasants. You all should have witnessed it."
The lead mercenary then replied,
"We are from the crimson fang mercenary company. We only do the work we are paid to do, and dont want to be involved in this matter."
The lead mercenary clearly stated his stance. Mercenaries seldom involved themselves with matters between commoners and officials unless it directly involved them.
Li Peng was unfazed by the mercenarys response, fully knowing the workings of a mercenary company and their unwillingness in being involved in such matters. Knowing that he would not be able to convince them easily, Li Peng pulled out a small, metal plate from his pocket and held it out for the trio of mercenaries to see.
The leading mercenary was taken aback on seeing the metal plate in the supervisors hand. The plate had the symbols of Wu Lim on it. This was the insignia of authority issued by the mayor of Wu Lim city to the officials. The presence of an official who bore the insignia meant that they could not reject them and now had to cooperate.
Li Peng looking a little satisfied upon seeing the mercenarys upset expression, and declared,
"You should know what this insignia means, now tell us what occurred here honestly."
The mercenary leading the trio spoke first,
"We saw the boy walking on the road towards the town when this man standing opposite him started yelling at him. The boy said something to the man before turning away when the man held his shoulder."
"The boy struggled and got free, but soon the other peasants gathered and started hurling abuses at him and then started chasing him around."
Li Peng, still having a poker face, answered,
"Hmm, is that so"
"Did anyone see what the boy was doing before this"
The mercenary who had spoken to Lin Mu before said,
"The boy had approached our carriage before I stopped him. He asked us whether we were hunters and I told him we were from the crimson fang mercenary company. I told the boy to stay away as he had no business being near the carriage."
"This boy then walked behind us for about twenty minutes before we reached here, when the incident started."
The supervisor nodded his head, thinking that his guess earlier may have been right.
"So, you mean to say this man attacked the boy unprovoked"
"We could not clearly hear what he said, but it did look like the man attacked him unprovoked."
Hearing the whole conversation, Yuan Tus forehead was covered in a cold sweat from fear of what was about to come. Li Peng looked at Lin Mu for a moment before glaring at Yuan Tu with a hint of anger in his eyes before declaring....