Chapter 11 – The Night Ride
As night came, cries of grief rang out from within Meng village.
During the battle, all of over two thousand barbarians were killed, at least half of the warriors from all three barbarian tribes were lost. But the Meng village suffered heavy losses too. Although they got the help from the barbarian hunters, who were actually there to resupply themselves, more than seven hundred villagers were killed.
At least one person in every family got killed by the barbarians. Every family is in mourning and crying in grief of their losses.
Wu Qi was sitting with his leg crossed on a tree branch of a big tree that stretched out over the river, he placed his arms on his chest, looking at the suspension bridge not far away. A few barbarian hunters with big axes are cutting down trees to help the village fix their archery tower and to fix the suspension bridge that was destroyed during the battle. Though the battle had happened only a few hours earlier, the archery tower, which had been destroyed, was almost completely fixed.
Meng village is the only supply point for those who enter and exit the woods in the few thousand miles around Little Meng Mountain. No matter whether they are venturing into the Little Meng Mountain to harvest herbs, to hunting, or, like this group of professional barbarian hunters, hunting barbarians, before they enter and after they exit the mountain, all of them will stop by the Meng village and rest and resupply all their necessities.
Therefore, the relationship between the Meng village and those herb gatherers, hunters, and barbarian hunters is very good, while the relationship with the barbarians is really bad.
Normally, Meng village would be disturbed by those barbarians a few times a year, but never had they been attacked like they were today, three barbarian tribes working together to attack Meng Village. The most surprising were those bird barbarians, as their tribe is at least seven to eight hundred miles away from Meng village. No one knows why they were so crazy as to come all this way to wreak havoc in Meng Village.
Anyway, this time, Meng village had suffered a great loss. Even Doggie’s father, the muscular man who brought Wu Qi back to Meng village, had died under the strange fireball shot out by that barbarian leader.
Sighing, Wu Qi looked up into the starry sky, murmuring to himself, “To live on is not an easy task, but I will still persevere to live on with this life of mine!”
A weird ‘hehe’ laugh came from afar. The leader of the barbarian hunters, Zhang Hu, who was carrying the three foot long ‘Nine Rings Broadsword’, was walking towards Wu Qi with a wine sack almost as big as two bulls’ heads. He thrust the huge wine sack at Wu Qi and, with a bright smile on his face, said, “What brother Wu Qi said is true. To live in this world is really difficult! But we, as men, still need to live on. Right?”
Grabbing the wine sack, Wu Qin drinks two mouthfuls of hard liquor and frowned.
There was a spicy, pungent smell mixed in with the smell of high concentration alcohol, but the taste was really awful. The wine was mixed with some unknown herbs. It was very useful to improve one’s blood circulation, expel coldness, and to help get rid of minor toxins in one’s body, but the taste of the wine was worse than some poisons.
After forcing himself to swallow two mouthfuls of wine, Wu Qi simply threw the wine sack back to Zhang Wu, who was standing under the tree. With a bitter smile on his face, Wu Qi asked, “Big brother Zhang Hu, where did you all come from?”
Grabbing the wine sack and downing a few gulps of wine, Zhang Hu burped out satisfyingly, and spoke casually, “We just came out from the mountain and were about to go back to Little Meng City and have some fun. My group has been working on the mountain for more than half a year. We had a pretty nice harvest this time around.”
With a sigh, Zhang Hu looked back toward Meng village. He smiled bitterly and said, "It was unfortunate that this happened to Meng village."
Wu Qi doesn’t say anything. He just holds his arms and listens to what Zhang Hu is saying.
“But, on the bright side, Doggie and those other young guys are going to become adults soon. Meng village will survive. Sigh, few years back I wrote a letter to the governor, asking him to send an army to stand guard in Meng village, but that governor will never agree!”
Wu Qi lowered his head, quickly analyzing all the information contained within Zhang Hu’s words.
Suddenly, they heard the pattering of feet nearby. Wu Qi, sitting up high, saw a girl from the village holding the hand of a barbarian hunter and leaving the village in a sneaky way, walking into a tall grass field near the village. Not long after that, the tall grass starting to swing back and forth.
Zhang Hu lowered his voice and laughed under his breath.
“Brother Wu Qi, let’s keep our voices down, so as not to disturb them.”
Wu Qi looked at that grass field and nodded his head, as if he had thought of something. He had seen that girl earlier in the day. Her husband had been killed during the fight and she was left alone with a daughter at home. Now she sneaks out in the middle of night and mates with a barbarian hunter. Perhaps she is trying to ‘borrow a seed’.
These barbarian hunters are all strong men. Their talents and skills are much greater than those that of the men in the village. If she can give birth to a boy, then, by ‘borrowing a seed’ from them, the boy will be able to support the family when he grows up, and continue the heritage of this family. The villagers respect those who are strong. ‘Borrowing a seed’ from a barbarian hunter is better than finding her target in the village.
Nodding his head, Wu Qi silently came down from the tree, walked closer to Zhang Wu, sat down on the ground, and leaned back against the tree.
“Big brother Zhang Hu, I have spent the last ten years following and learning from my teacher. This is the first time I have left him and ventured out alone, but then ran into this. I was wondering about the world outside of this mountain. What is it like out there?
After making up a fake identity, Wu Qi starting to ask about the world outside of the mountain. He is not planning on staying in Meng village. This piece of land is just too small and won’t provide any advantage for Wu Qi.
The skills within the Scroll of Stealing all required him to obtain the excess of this universe to supply his own insufficiency. How much of an advantage can the tiny Meng village give Wu Qi? Even if he strips away everything they have, it just won’t give him any advantages. Only by leaving this mountain and going to the outside world, will he have more opportunities. That is where he will have the best chances to become stronger.
But, what does the outside world actually look like? The villagers of Meng village rarely leave the mountain. They did, occasionally, go out, but it was, at most, just to pay a visit to Little Meng City. Then they would just come back. They simply don’t have the information that Wu Qi needs urgently.
After tilting back up his head and drinking two more mouthfuls of hard liquor, Zhang Hu smacked his lips.
“What can become of it? The Great Yan Dynasty, who is the overlord of all lords, is still not bothering with what is happening down there. All those kingdoms are fighting amongst each other restlessly. The wealthy and influential clans within these kingdoms are conning and cheating each other to the point where they are all exhausted. And the young masters of these clans are harming and hurting each other in a messy chaotic situation!”
Curling his lips in disdain, Zhang Hu gave a cold snort, “However, the Little Meng City is located in a remote place, so it is still fairly easy to earn a stable meal there!”
Clasping forcefully on Wu Qi’s shoulder, Zhang Hu sighed, “Brother Wu Qi, listen to big brother’s advice. The area outside the mountain is totally different from the area of the mountain.”
Wu Qi staring at Zhang Hu and smiles, “Fine, I’ll listen to big brother Zhang Hu. If I can’t deal with it anymore, I’ll come back here and spend the rest of my life hunting barbarians with big brother!”
Making some ‘click click’ sound with his tongue, Zhang Hu decided that Wu Qi was just another rookie who just came out from the mountain, trying to spread his wings and fly up high, but never really gave a thought on his own abilities. Does he really think he has enough to fly up in the world outside of this mountain.
Zhang Hu had seen a lot of these rookies before.
Shaking his head, Zhang Hu hesitated and asked, “Then I’ll wish you a smooth journey. But, brother Wu Qi, I saw you kill quite a lot of bird barbarians today. You are quite a skillful man, eh? You and your teacher, and your fellow disciples… what happened to them?”
Wu Qi smashed the ground forcefully with both of his hands. After some time, in a serious voice, he said, “I never had the chance to clearly see what happened. We were walking for a time, then there was a strike of thunder, and then I fainted.”
Zhang Hu, as if he had related it to something, suddenly gasped.
After remaining silent for a moment, Zhang Hu spoke with a bitter smile, “That really is a calamity. Brother, I can only say that you are just unlucky to have met some unreasonable cultivators. I guess you must have disturbed them and, thus, they struck out in anger.”
Wu Qi, nodding his head, didn’t say a word. He grabbed Zhang Hu’s wine sack, and, in one breath, drank half of the hard liquor in the sack.
Opening his mouth, Zhang Hu wanted to say a few more words to console Wu Qi, but he only shook his head and breathed out a long sigh.
The two men took turns drinking the hard liquor and, soon, the wine sack was empty. Wu Qi had the protection of innate water energy, so when the hard liquor entered into his stomach it was immediately broken down into threads of hot air and then safely moved around his body. He never even felt the slightest bit tipsy. But the liquor had hit Zhang Hu’s hard. He laid on the floor with his hands and feet spread and laughed dryly with a ‘shh shh’ sound.
“Three years ago, I, Zhang Hu, was a General, and at the peak of the Houtian level. I, unintentionally, offended a cultivator who was worshiped by a wealthy family and was forced to give up everything and run away to Little Meng City. Now I will spend the rest of my life in this deserted land. I was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I guess it was my fate. Those cultivators... why are they so strong?”
Wu Qi was listening attentively to Zhang Hu’s story, trying to get more valuable information, when, suddenly, he heard a rapid clatter from within the woods at the opposite side of the river. A line of fire torches, resembling of a long snake, was moving slowly in the direction of the village.
The barbarian hunters who were fixing the suspension bridge sounded out an alarm and many villagers, with grief and indignation on their faces, immediately rushed out from Meng village.
Not long after that, a large group of cavalry appeared on the opposite side of the river. The cavalrymen were all wearing the same black cloth and black armor and riding on animals which looked like horse or deer with gold and green stripes all over their bodies, full of strength and grandeur. These rides were restlessly hitting the ground with their hoofs. When their hooves hit the ground, a large amount of sparks were produced.
A strong deep voice came from the line of cavalry.
“Where are the elders of Meng village? We, the Third Battalion of the Heavenly Guards from Little Meng City, receiving an order to stand guard in Meng village!”
Zhang Hu, who was a bit slow because of alcohol, shouted out in surprise, “What? That damn stingy governor... since when did he become so generous and send a battalion of guards here to Meng village? Isn’t he the one who said that, due to insufficient tax income, he can’t afford the extra cost of troops?”
Shaking his head, Zhang Hu frowned and said, “Even if he wants to send guards here, can’t they come here during the day? The distance between Little Meng City and here is not more than five hundred miles. A raptor can run for two thousand miles a day. They could reach Meng village within four hours... Why do they need to journey at night? It looks like-... hmm!”
Wu Qi asked with a low voice, “Looks like what? Big brother Zhang Hu?”
Zhang Hu curled his lips and muttered in a low voice, “It looks like there’s a superior officer coming, and the governor is sending out the battalion to make himself look good.”
While two men were muttering in low voices, the suspension bridge had been lowered down.
The Third Battalion of the Heavenly Guards from Little Meng City have five hundred elite soldiers, and all of them are, at least, 2.5 meters tall, have strong and sturdy bodies, and even have an intrepid manner that the villagers of Meng village don’t possess. They also have very nice armors on their body and some good weapons, making Zhang Hu feel a lot of envy.
This troop of elite soldiers rode into the village slowly, the villagers of Meng village can’t help but greet them with cheers, washing off the atmosphere of grief that had been covering the village.
With these five hundred elite soldiers from Little Meng City stationed here, by utilizing the geographical advantages of the Meng village, unless there are more than four thousand barbarians who bluntly attack them without caring for their own life, Meng village will be safe from danger from now on.
Wu Qi also nodded his head. with this cavalry army stationed here, he can leave the Meng village with peace of mind.
It is now the time for him to enter the rest of this world.chaptererror();