They started during noon and finally completed the less than 10 km journey right before sunset.
Due to Salvey's weakness, they had to rest several times on the way. If it wasn't for the items Zhang Tie had to carry, he would have taken Salvey on his back. He still considered it for a couple of times.
Besides Salvey, Zhang Tie had without hesitation taken that bear trap. He had put it onto his package which added more than 5 kg to the already sizable weight on his back. Seeing the metal contraption, Salvey kept gritting his teeth.
Zhang Tie asked Salvey whether he would take the bear trap himself. Naturally, Salvey was not able to take it, so, Zhang Tie owned it. Facing the pioneer's dubious eyes, he had explained that he could obtain about 20 silver coins by selling it in Blackhot City. Hearing his words, Salvey didn't doubt him but felt speechless.
In truth, Zhang Tie admitted it only to himself but he was actually thinking about setting up Glaze and his lackeys using this bear trap. Salvey's poor look brought an evil scene to his mind—Glaze or one of his lackeys gripped by those metal jaws like Salvey had been, and rolling around on the ground. If it happened, Zhang Tie would feel much better. So he decided to carry it on his back.
The distance they had to travel tested Zhang Tie's endurance more than his physical strength.
When they reached the foot of the mountain, they moved only a bit faster than a tortoise. Thankfully Salvey expected to soon meet his companions around here, so except for necessary short rests, he had no mood to do anything else. Additionally, they weren't unfortunate enough to meet any beasts on the way, enabling them to arrive at the base where Salvey's companions stayed before sunset.
The base was on the other side of the range which extended out of the Wild Wolf Valley. If this range of dozens of kilometers in length was regarded as a bitter gourd, on the top of this bitter gourd would be the border between the Wild Wolf Valley and the Crescent Prairie. Zhang Tie stayed on the left side atop this bitter gourd while Salvey's companions stayed on the right top-side of this bitter gourd. Once passing through the top of the bitter gourd, the two places were not far from each other.
"The birch forest in front is where we should meet up..."
Pointing at the birch forest on the hillside ahead, Salvey increased his pace with one arm over Zhang Tie's neck. Seeing the target, Zhang Tie also let out a sigh, thinking about being able to come back to his own base before dusk.
After entering the birch forest with Salvey for less than 50 m, Zhang Tie abruptly felt goose bumps all over his neck. Without hesitation, he immediately rolled away.
The moment Zhang Tie rolled away, a blade flashed through the air, passing the place where he had stood moments before. There was a shadow sliding down from a birch. Realizing that he had not hit Zhang Tie, he chased after him, aiming to attack him once again.
"Stop, Miller..!" Salvey shouted out loudly.
With the luggage on his back, Zhang Tie's flexibility was restricted. That shadow moved faster than him.
So overburdened, Zhang Tie moved like a tortoise. After two rolls on the ground, he pulled out his lance, but that guy's blade had already come close to his neck. If it wasn't for Salvey who had shouted "Stop..!", Zhang Tie believed he would have definitely had his neck sliced. Looking at his lance, he found that he could at most pierce through his opponent's abdomen. The outcome would be that the shadow guy would be heavily wounded, yet he himself would have kicked the bucket.
That guy called Miller had never imagined that Zhang Tie could respond so fast. He didn't consider that Zhang Tie might be able to pull out his lance and prepare to pierce through his abdomen by the time he moved his blade close to his neck.
The moment Salvey shouted, the two people stopped at the same time. The tense atmosphere eased down somewhat. However, Zhang Tie and Miller goggled at each other without putting their weapons down.
Only after a few seconds, Zhang Tie's back was drenched with sweat. After Huck and Snade, this was his second time coming this close to dying.
"Brat, I will count to three. If you don't put down your weapon, my bow will definitely open a big hole in your neck, cooling you off..."
20 m away, another person in a gray cloak stood up from the shrubs with a bow in hand, an arrow nocked and ready to go. The sharp triangular arrowhead was targeted at Zhang Tie's neck from 20 m away.
Zhang Tie felt goose bumps all over his neck once again.
"Harley, put down your bow. He saved me, so I let him accompany me back. Without him, I might not have even been able to return..." After saying that, Salvey shouted at Miller again, "Miller, you motherf*cker, before you chop people, won't you tell me first!"
After exchanging glances, Miller and Harley seemed to notice the wounds on Salvey's shin and that crutch made of a branch. They then moved away their weapons.
"Hey, brat, it's really surprising how fast you moved!"
Miller laughed out loudly without caring about what he had almost done to Zhang Tie just now. Putting the long machete back into its holder, he then stretched out his hands towards Zhang Tie who was still lying on the ground. Zhang Tie didn't pull on his hands but picked himself up from the ground without saying anything. Seeing this, Miller just shrugged his shoulders.
During the short time of their confrontation, more than ten people rushed out of the birch forest with weapons in hands. Supported by his clutch, Salvey immediately moved forward and murmured something to one of the group of people while pointing at Zhang Tie. Hearing his explanation, they then put their weapons back and walked peacefully towards Zhang Tie.
Since the group of people had rushed out of the birch forest, Zhang Tie's eyes jumped. Although they looked like pioneers, he felt that it wasn't true. He didn't know how, but he felt that these people were dangerous as their alert and wondering eyes made him uncomfortable.
"You saved Salvey?"
A 30-odd years man walked towards Zhang Tie, as he put away his weapon. The newcomer looked thin, with an unclean beard. He had a pair of sharp, eagle-like eyes. They reminded Zhang Tie of the magistrates squatting in the corners of the walls near the railway station of Blackhot city, fixating their eyes on those orphans who only focused on passers-by's purses on their waists.
This made Zhang Tie uncomfortable too.
"Yes, I saved Salvey." Saying this, he put away his lance.
"Few students dare to come to the Crescent Prairie for survival training!" the man noted, trying to figure out who Zhang Tie really was.
"There are three students from the Wild Wolf Castle who dare to attend the loner's survival training here, and I am one of them!" Zhang Tie replied with some pride.
At the same time, he noticed that the man walking towards him exchanged glances with Miller, who slightly nodded, seemingly admitting Zhang Tie's strength.
"No matter what, since you saved Salvey, we should thank you!" The man slightly changed his attitude. "What do you need? If you have any wishes, just tell us, we will try our best to satisfy you!"
The man spoke so directly.
"No need. Salvey has returned to your place, so I will leave then!" Zhang Tie refused his proposal and looked at Salvey again. "See you next time!"
Knowing Zhang Tie was going to leave, Salvey opened his mouth, yet didn't utter a sound.
Waving his hands, Zhang Tie then strode out of the birch forest. Under the other people's gaze, he started to trot along the path he had come from. Those people just silently watched him disappear before moving away their eyes.
"Trust me, as long as he's in Blackhot city, you'll have a chance to thank him..." the archer Harley, who was standing nearby, comforted Salvey by patting his shoulder.
After moving back his eyes, Salvey revealed a smile.
"Head, this brat is not bad; he responded so fast. But he's narrow-minded..."
Hearing Miller's judgment, Salvey glared at him once again. "If he hadn't responded fast, he'd be long ago chopped down by you!"
That man with a pair of sharp eyes like those of an eagle kept watching Zhang Tie until he disappeared in the distance. He then turned back and asked, "Salvey, how about it now?"
Salvey knew that the man was not concerning about his wounds. Hearing his words, he said nothing else but pulled out a metal cylinder from his coat and passed it over.
"I've already mapped the terrain of the Wild Wolf Valley and figured out the situation there. The team of soldiers residing in the Wild Wolf Castle have already left one month ago. Therefore, the Wild Wolf Castle is the base of a group of boy scouts. There are less than ten people above LV 6 in the castle. The highest fighting force is below LV 9. The fighters are all teachers and instructors from the schools in Blackhot City.
Additionally, the city-defense equipment in the Castle can only perform to 40 percent of its maximal force under the manipulation of the students. The predominant boiler in the castle has not been used..."
Hearing Salvey's information, that man opened the metal cylinder and took out the map inside. He nodded slightly, then put the map back and immediately declared several orders without in the blink of an eye.
"You have five minutes to prepare, we'll move at once..."
Hearing his order, everybody hurriedly moved.
"Doge, prepare the message falcon to connect with the headquarters. Zola, check horses..." After saying that, the man remembered Salvey's wounds. He glanced at the injured leg roughly bound by twig-made splints and asked Salvey, "Can you still ride?"
"Yes..." Salvey replied with gritted teeth.
The man nodded.
Five minutes after Zhang Tie had left the birch forest, more than ten horses galloped out of the place. After a short while, they had already disappeared in the horizon northeast the border of the Crescent Prairie...