Hearing the even and gentle breathing from the man on his back, Hua Yi thought, This bastard better not drool on my back. But at the same time, he couldn’t help but lighten his steps.
The Elder couldn’t stand the useless look of Old Blind trembling before a grasshopper, so he went over and motioned to him with his eyes to move aside. Then he went to Hua Yi, glanced at Chang An, and said softly, “Ghost tribe activities have been rampant recently. The Chief couldn’t get away, so he sent me to pick you up. We apologize for the inconvenience. Silver Fang-xiongdi, don’t feel that we were being negligent.”
Though Hua Yi was sneering inside, his face remained calm. He nodded his head lightly but didn’t say anything.
These simple-minded Northern beastmen were always ready to engage in conspiracy, thinking that they were the smartest people in the world, while others were only fools who had to hunt for life. They ought to be tricked by Suo Laimu until they couldn’t find North1北都找不着 – confused or dizzy. That person was the true ancestor2In Chinese slang, calling someone “ancestor” is a way of expressing helplessness to that person’s naughtiness. Here, Hua Yi can be using both the literal meaning and the slang meaning of conspiracies.
This was something that Chang An was completely ignorant about, so one must explain it to him from the beginning.
The employer of Hua Yi’s mission this time was none other than the Chief of one of the largest tribes in the area, the Giant Mountain3巨山 – Previously transliterated this as “Jushan,” but from now on, I will be using the English translation to keep things consistent. I’ll be editing later chapters to implement this change, but it may take a while, so for now, just remember that Jushan = Giant Mountain. Tribe.
The Chief of the Giant Mountain tribe was called Luo Tong. This man was in his prime, but all his life, he had only ever married one sickly wife, and his feelings were as deep as the ocean.
And what a stunning wife she was. Unfortunately, Hua Yi and company hadn’t been able to meet her. All they knew was that she had died of illness at a young age, leaving Luo Tong with a sub-beast son.
Following his wife, Luo Tong hovered between life and death. From then on, he no longer looked at others. He just lived with his son, and the two of them depended on each other. It was a pity that this son was like his dead mother in all aspects. He was born weak, and his temperament and appearance were as weak as a little girl’s. He was spoiled and pampered by his father ever since childhood, but he’d still fall extremely ill every now and then.
Luo Tong’s son had been living like this for eleven or twelve years. He couldn’t chop firewood and go hunting, and he had no skills. In addition, he wrote characters illegibly and spoke words unclearly. He was completely useless. Not only that, when he somehow caught a cold, it was as if he was really going to die.
Luo Tong was anxious. The doctors said that there was nothing they could do, but unexpectedly, this child was fated not to die. And right now so happened to be the flowering season of the Divine Grass.
There was only one Divine Grass in the entire continent, and it grew on top of Holy Snow Mountain. It was said that the Holy Snow Mountain was a burial mound dug out for the Great God when he fell to earth.
This grass on the Great God’s burial mound was unique and unusual. It bloomed only once in a thousand years, so it was extremely precious.
It’s flower had only one use. Once pressed and dried, it could turn a sub-beast into a beastman with the strength of the king of beasts.
Beastmen had extremely strong self-healing abilities. If one could become a beastman, those small calamities and illnesses the sub-beast brought from his mother’s womb would be all nothing.
The love saint Chief Luo Tong then entrusted this matter to the mercenary “Silver Fang,” and other people. And for such a task, he offered an especially high price. He promised Hua Yi that if he could save his son’s life, he would hand over the rich and powerful Giant Mountain tribe to their group of fugitives.
In the face of such a deal, the Great Elder of the Giant Mountain tribe was naturally unwilling. Fearing that the new Chief would hinder his interests in the tribe, not only was he unwilling, he even had the audacity to raise a rebellion. Then he himself took his men to intercept Hua Yi, prepared to strangle this deal in its infancy.
When he saw Hua Yi follow them unsuspectingly, he was half-relieved, thinking that he had captured the person so easily.
This mercenary Silver Fang… apart from his white hair, the Great Elder of the Giant Mountain tribe couldn’t see where he was better than others. He had, however, heard of this man’s ability to play with life. If it weren’t for it, he wouldn’t have been the sole person who was able to grab the thing the whole continent was after.
The Great Elder decided not to beat the grass and frighten away the snake4打草惊蛇 – To act rashly and alert the enemy, and instead chose to wait for an opportunity. Like, he could take advantage of when this man’s defenses was lowered and then kill him bloodlessly5兵不血刃 – Literally, “no blood on the sword,” and it’s an idiom about an effortless victory.
After getting rid of Silver Fang, dealing with those few minions that followed him would naturally be easy. He could use the ghost tribe to eliminate them, and let Luo Tong and them and the ghost tribe kill each other for a while. Afterwards, he would bring his men to pick up a bargain, and in passing, clean up Luo Tong and his sickly son, so that he himself could be the Chief.
The Elder thought that the plan was flawless, so along the way, he ordered more than a dozen people to carefully keep watch on Hua Yi and wait for him to relax his vigilance.
As for Chang An who was with Hua Yi, the Elder wasn’t as cautious as Old Blind. He didn’t put him in his eyes at all.
The Elder thought that Chang An was just a little toy that Hua Yi had picked up from somewhere. He was the same as Luo Tong’s sickly son. All day long, except for the time that he would be eating, the amount of time one could see him open his eyes was less than the amount of time he was clear-headed.
But the problem was that Hua Yi, whom he wanted to kill, was always too cautious. As they got closer to their destination day by day, the Elder was starting to get a little impatient.
He didn’t dare add anything to Hua Yi’s food. Each and every one of these mercenaries had crawled their way out from a pile of corpses. Nobody knew what they were capable of, and Silver Fang himself wouldn’t let his guard down. It wouldn’t be good if he beat the grass and frightened the snake away.
The Elder had no choice but to secretly discuss with Old Blind.
The E lder asked, “What should we do if we can’t find an opportunity?”
Old Blind whispered, “Don’t panic. There’s a valley sixty miles ahead. I’ve calculated that, with our feet, we can get there just in time for the Autumn Hunting Festival. Go get some good wine and buy some beautiful women on your way back. Let’s tell Silver Fang to have a good holiday and then never let him leave the valley.”
The Elder frowned for a moment and asked, “Do you think it will work?”
Old Blind sneered. “Young men are all hot-blooded, and what is Silver Fang? I know that these mercenaries live a hard life, but apart from wine and sex, they have no other comfort… After walking all the way like this, he will naturally let his guard down at that time, so don’t worry.”
The Elder thus held up the Old Blind’s creed and really secretly sent men to the nearby tribes to buy people. Apparently, this thing had been done many times. His subordinates were very efficient.
Some of the people bought were from the poor families of the surrounding tribes who couldn’t afford to keep them, and some were beautiful slaves—This was the fate of those who were defeated in tribal wars but were not killed. There were even certain merchants who’d walk all over the continent, making business out of selling people.
Old Blind was of old age, and he was fond of contemplating. Seeing Hua Yi being inseparable with that sub-beast boy who slept as soon as he had eaten his fill, he especially went to investigate. As a result, he found that the teenager was uniquely dumb. He would completely go his own way and was utterly uninterested with everything around him. Between the two… at the moment, there seemed to be no ambiguity.
Old Blind thought that if Hua Yi did have such intentions, he probably hadn’t succeeded. So in order to be thorough, he specifically instructed the Elder to buy not only women, but also several beautiful young sub-beasts.
On the day of the Autumn Hunting festival, this group of beautiful men and women lined up and knelt together, ready to be chosen. Hua Yi was surprised. He didn’t expect the Grand Elder to spend so much money for him.
The Autumn Hunting Festival, which had been celebrated since ancient times, was the biggest festival on the continent. It was a revelry for all. Except for the dozen confidants of the Grand Elder who were getting ready for battle and preparing to kill, the rest of the people couldn’t refrain from joining in.
Hence, as soon as night fell, people were no longer people.
Hua Yi was entangled with a man and a woman, and he had no choice but to be perfunctory with them. When he caught a glimpse of Chang An sitting by the fire, yawning and not really awake, for some reason, he couldn’t help picking on him.
Hua Yi gently pushed the woman beside him, pointed to Chang An, and said, “That’s my xiao xiongdi. Being by himself is no fun, so go sit with him.”
Hearing his words, Chang An turned his head blankly and looked at him in confusion. The woman was reluctant at first, but when she saw the teenager’s face in the light of the fire, she was stunned, and hurriedly went over.
Chang An didn’t know why the woman was suddenly coming over. Seeing her getting closer and closer, she thought she wanted to sit beside him, so he reluctantly moved a little to the side to make room for her. The woman had been trained by human traffickers for several years, so she was no longer surprised at all kinds of strange people. Thinking he was shy, she elegantly6呵气如兰 – Literally, “the air breathed out smells like an orchid.” It is used to describe a woman who is smooth, elegant, and cultivated put her arm on Chang An’s shoulder, poked his nose with her long finger, and asked with a smile, “Xiao xiongdi, how old are you?”
Chang An had never been treated like this before. Both eyes involuntarily looked at the finger on his nose. They were so close.
The woman giggled and reached out to touch his face, giving Chang An goosebumps.
He finally couldn’t bear it and stepped back. He frowned deeply, one hand unconsciously resting on the hilt of his saber.
However, the other person hadn’t done anything to him. She was only touching his face. Both Bei Shi and A’Yan had touched his face, albeit their touches had never made him feel uncomfortable. But it wasn’t like his face was a valuable thing that couldn’t be touched. He shouldn’t draw his saber over such a trivial thing. And so, Chang An could only retreat with his whole body stretched taut as the woman approached him. He stared back at her as if she were a great enemy.
The woman found him amusing. She smiled and she swayed her waist while forcing him to step back.
Hua Yi laughed so hard that he beat the ground.
Chang An didn’t have eyes behind his head. As he retreated frantically, he accidentally stepped on a person’s foot. The person moaned softly. Chang An turned around in horror and saw an enchanting sub-beast man that didn’t look like a man. He was sitting on top of a beastman with an unnatural flush on his face, his clothes half-slipping off him, and his waist writhing like a snake.
Both the beastman and the sub-beast turned to look at this beautiful and bold young man. A strange light suddenly flashed in the beastman’s eyes, and he started pushing into the sub-beast heavily. The sub-beast moaned a drawn-out sweet and soft sound.
The sound brushed on Chang An’s ears as if it had some kind of form. Chang An jolted and jumped up as if his butt was on fire, his face looking as if he had seen a ghost.
However, the woman seized this moment to crawl over. She grabbed his ankle and stroked up his leg little by little.
Chang An couldn’t stand it. His eyelids twitched, and he was about to lift a leg to kick her out when Hua Yi, who had been watching the excitement, suddenly stood up and waved away the woman’s hand. After relieving Chang An from her siege, he smiled as if nothing happened and said, “That’s enough, miss. He’s still young. Don’t bully him.”
With a smile, he coldly swept a glance at the beastman at the side, then fished Chang An out from the sea of fire. Receiving the warning, the beastman regretfully withdrew his gaze.
Hua Yi picked up Chang An by the waist from behind, and from his point of view, it was just enough to see the hair on the teenager’s neck rising on its end. He couldn’t help but lean close to hear and say with a laugh, “What, you’ve never seen it before? You don’t even know what they’re doing, do you?”
Chang An replied with a little common sense, “I know what they’re doing. They’re making babies.”
“Aiyo,” Hua Yi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so he praised him instead. “You know a lot.”
Then he deliberately turned his back to the Giant Mountain’s Elder, blocking Chang An with his own body, so that people looking from behind would think that he was only intimately hugging the teenager and speaking to him in a low voice. Afterwards, the man’s smile faded. With lips barely moving, he whispered to Chang An, “The old ghost wants to kill me. If my guess is right, he’ll do it tonight.”
Chang An’s face turned serious.
Hua Yi’s expression was very calm, and with a voice that was still as small as a mosquito and an ant, he said into his ear, “I didn’t let them find a chance along the way. I must have pushed the old fool to hurry. It’s difficult for him to find so many people to put on a show in such a short time. That old blind dog probably gave him the idea. But I’m not afraid either. My friends in Luo Tong’s tribe must have a plan, but I don’t know if they can make it. If he acts tonight, I’m afraid I can’t handle it alone. I’ll be relying on you then, xiongdi.”
When Chang An heard this, he nodded and said “en,” but then said nothing else.
Hua Yi knew that he and the teenager were strangers weeks ago. Yet, he immediately decided to give his trust to the other person, and it was as if he had used a lot of determination and courage to cut off his hand7壮士断腕 – It’s an analogy to how, when bitten by a poisonous snake on the hand, a person must immediately break/cut off the hand to prevent the spread of the poison..
Ten years later, he still remembered the clear smile of that young child by the river. Hua Yi dared to have a strange idea—If this person was also not worthy of trust, then he’d feel that the first ten years of his life was simply a complete joke.
“Be careful.” Hua Yi wrapped his arms around Chang An’s shoulder, their heads rubbing against each other as he whispered into his ear with a seemingly intoxicated smile on his face. No other person heard what he said.