Chapter 24: Melee

The woman serving wine shakily walked over with a large1In the raws, it also specifically mentioned that the wine jug was bigger than her head. “Atop the head” in the raws is 头顶 (tóu dǐng), while “head” alone is 脑袋 (nǎo dài). Completely different characters and pronunciations, so it sounds okay in Chinese. In English, however, it will sound redundant if I keep saying “head.”

The wine jug looks like this:
Chinese wine jug
wine jug atop her head. She then got down on her knees, allowing the people partying to take the jug from her head so they could fill up their cups themselves. Hua Yi took the jug, poured wine into two large cups2酒碗 – Something like this, but for Hua Yi, it’s probably bigger.

Chinese wine cup
, then turned sideways to raise a cup to the Giant Mountain Elder who’d been sneakily looking at him the whole time. He drank the first cup in one gulp in toast to him, and then took the second cup.

As soon as Chang An smelled the familiar scent of wine, he instantly recalled the tree that he had hacked at for years. He immediately raised his hand to stop the woman from presenting him the wine, shook his head, and said, “Many thanks, but I don’t want it.”

The woman lifted the tray with the jug, backed away with a slight bow, and stepped aside, waiting to be summoned.

Smelling the scent of wine, Hua Yi sighed happily. It felt as if a great part of the pressure he’d been carrying in his chest for the past months was finally put down—No wonder Old Blind planned to kill him at this time.

He looked askance at Chang An’s impassive appearance, and couldn’t help saying, “How can a man not drink? A man who doesn’t drink won’t grow up so much.”

Chang An indifferently lowered his eyes and rubbed his saber through its luggage with his palm. He was too lazy to quarrel with him, so he just took Hua Yi’s words as passing nonsense.

After two mouthfuls of yellow soup3Refers to rice wine. It’s often used when scolding someone for drinking., Hua Yi became more talkative than usual. On this point, it was like he and Bei Shi were born from the same mother.

Shaking the wine cup, Hua Yi felt that the air coming out of his nose seemed to be warmer than usual. He whispered to Chang An, “Right, you are still young… When people grow up, their blood tends to get cold. A woman’s blood can be cold, but a man’s blood must not be cold. When it’s cold, you can’t use your saber, can’t kill anyone, and can’t bear to see blood. Only with this wine can people’s blood be warmed up again.”

Chang An wanted to say something, but hesitated.

Hua Yi said with a good temper, “If you have something to say, then say it.”

Chang An then blurted out: “Why are you so meddlesome?”

Hua Yi froze for a moment, then laughed out loud. He stretched out his large hand and grabbed Chang An by the shoulder, roughly bringing him into his arms. He patted him hard twice on the back and laughed as he gave an answer that was beside the point, “I think you’re very pleasing. After finishing this task, we will have a place to stay in for a while. If you have nothing else to do, why don’t you come with us?

Before Chang An could respond, however, there was suddenly a scream and a crowd of people shouting in the distance.

The musicians began beating the drums wildly, and the people gathered in the center. Chang An and Hua Yi were squeezed into the crowd and pushed into the middle. Around the bonfire, three men were dancing around a woman to the beat of the drums. 

One of the men let out a strange cry, and his face turned red. The scent of alcohol could be smelled on him even from afar, and in a short while, he started ripping the woman’s clothes.

The woman was like a snake without bones, and her skin was like honey in the firelight, gleaming with a faint luster. With her large eyes half narrowed, she wrapped her whole body around the man, her waist and arms incredibly soft.

The crowd formed a circle around them, stomping their feet and wolf whistling to the beat of the drums as the couple unashamedly entwined with each other in public. The two other men in the field followed suit, hollering excitedly as they reached over to touch the woman’s thighs and chest.

The musicians beat the drums more chaotically, and all the people were in wild excitement. They were like beasts collectively in estrus, the air full of the scent of restlessness and desire.

A shirtless beastman jumped into the middle and poured a bowl of wine on himself. Aside from the crotch area where a piece of hide remained, he was naked all over, revealing a body full of bulging muscles, with skin glistening perhaps because of the wine or his own sweat. He thumped on his chest like a gorilla, and with a clatter, took the jiandao4 尖刀 – Literally translates as “sharp blade/saber.” Dictionaries would translate it as “dagger,” but it’s not necessarily short like a typical dagger. It can also be long. The key point is that it’s straight… or at least, that’s what I finally managed to find after researching about it and getting little to no results asdfghjkl from the man next to him and played with it in his hands.

A frightened horned deer was tied up and carried in. The man with the jiandao shouted, killed the deer in one move, and skillfully drew out its blood. Dropping on his knees, he held the large bowl of warm blood in his hands and took a long drink. His throat moistened, the beastman then opened his bloody mouth to sing a song with indistinct lyrics.

Several other people in the field joined in as well, pouring deer blood on their bodies and dancing like a bunch of monsters.

When the crowd stirred again, Hua Yi suddenly wrapped an arm around Chang An’s waist and brought him into his arms, avoiding a beastman who seemed to be deliberately trying to bump into Chang An. He said to Chang An, “Don’t move, the old bastard is looking this way.”

Chang was caught off guard, and his whole body trembled for a moment. He was most afraid of other people touching his waist. It tickled5 – the character for “tickle” in Chinese is also the same character for the word “itchy.” so much, but at the moment there was nothing he could do about it. All he could do was react as if he were being beaten, the muscles on his waist stretching taut to the extreme and stiffening into a human pillar.

With his hands, feet, and face all tensed, he looked so solemn that it was laughable against such a wild background.

His reaction was really so interesting that Hua Yi felt the skin on his own face about to stretch too6i.e. to stretch in a smile or in laughter. Yet, so as not to hinder Chang An’s movements,  he still modestly released his hold on him.

However, their bodies were still too close to each other. In such a lascivious atmosphere, Hua Yi suddenly smelled the fresh and clean scent of the teenager. He didn’t know if it was the atmosphere around him, or the two mouthfuls of wine he had drunk, but his mouth felt a bit dry, and his heart was thumping strangely, nearly palpitating.

Perhaps because the contrast is too strong, Hua Yi told himself. He soon got his mind under control and made himself look as if he had simply drunk too much as he hung over Chang An’s body. He then quietly kept an eye out on the dozens of beastmen closing in on them from all sides.

They sure think highly of me. His face buried in Chang An’s shoulder revealed a smile.

The musicians’ drumming was getting faster and faster, and the woman surrounded in the middle let out high-pitched sounds under all the beastmen doing her. Lurking in the dark, the assassins encircled them as they approached closer and closer.

The dancing and copulating of the men and women in the field seemed to be bringing the entire atmosphere to a climax. In the hand of one dancer was a jiandao, and when the light reflected off it, it was extremely piercing to the eye.

Hua Yi was swaying, looking unsteady on his feet. But then all of a sudden, whether intentionally or not, he bumped into the woman serving wine.

Carrying the wine jug, the woman was already walking very cautiously and unsteadily. After being hit hard by Hua Yi, she fell down with a cry. The large wine jug fell on her foot, and the wine splashed everywhere. Beside her was one of the purchased sub-beasts. Half of his body was spilled on by the wine, catching him off guard and abruptly making him jump up. At this time, a drunk beastman laughed out loud and hugged his waist.

Just then, from the corner of his eyes, Hua Yi caught a glimpse of a cold light.

The sub-beast suddenly let out a short and tragic cry, and his whole body struggled violently. But amidst the noisy crowd and the quick beating of the drums, the sound of his cries and of the cracking of his chest bones seemed too faint to be worth mentioning.

A beast claw was suddenly stretching out from the sub-beast’s chest. It penetrated through his entire body, smashing all his internal organs. Then without the slightest pause, it used the sub-beast’s body as cover and grabbed onto Hua Yi.

Hua Yi bent back and dropped the wine cup in his hand, smashing it on the beast claw. Wine splashed everywhere, and the man’s eyes were blinded for a moment. Hua Yi then pulled out his nine-inch saber from behind him and swung it upwards along his trajectory, making him look like he couldn’t stand still.

This drunkard struggled to stand still, but his saber was accurate and ruthless. The beast claws were cut in half, splattering blood a foot high.

But at the same time, a scimitar suddenly appeared behind Hua Yi. A beastman who had sneaked over at some point sprang up in an attempt to attack him from behind.

However, a shadow suddenly flashed before the attacker’s eyes. He looked up and was shocked to see a huge saber appearing above Hua Yi’s head, blocking his scimitar. The handle of this sabre was even in the hands of that young sub-beast possessed by the god of eating and sleeping.

Before he could recover from the shock, Chang An suddenly pressed down with both hands, lifted up the entire saber, and pressed it against the scimitar with a bang. The blade as bright as snow followed the scimitar down, and the ear-piercing sound of metal scraping rang out as the scimitar in the beastman’s hand was suppressed by the huge saber.

If they were arm wrestling, the beastman warrior knew that the other party would no way be his opponent. However, that saber weighed more than a hundred catties. With such a large blade taking advantage of the east wind, the force of its pressure could never be withstood by the scimitar. At that moment, a warrior’s intuition told the beastman that he must immediately relinquish his grip and throw away his weapon.

But he didn’t.

Abandoning his saber7 Referring to his scimitar. Just a reminder that the scimitars in my translation are translated from the characters 弯刀, which means “bent saber.” in the face of a frail and delicate young sub-beast, he just couldn’t do it.

With a roar, the beastman warrior suddenly jerked away his arm, feigned attacking with half his body, then with deft movements, lifted a shoulder to one side as he turned the scimitar to the other side. A horse-chopping saber was a good thing. It could suppress other weapons with its weight, but it was not without weakness—After all, it was cumbersome. So long as its blade got jammed, then no matter what kind of monster the sub-beast teen was, he would have to let go of it.

Blade collided against blade, sparks nearly flying out. However, at the moment the beastman warrior was about to attack, the hair on his body suddenly stood on end. Just as he raised his shoulder, he sensed that demonic horse-chopping saber becoming part of his opponent’s body, cold killing intent streaking across its blade as if it were alive.

That killing intent was like a pervasive Snake Ant enveloping his entire arm.

The beastman warrior was finally forced to let go of his scimitar.

However, he didn’t stay far away from the sub-beast. As soon as he let go, that supposedly cumbersome horse-chopping saber came after him like how a shadow would follow the form, catching him in a split second and chopping off his hand in a single slash.

The beastman howled loudly, and the women and sub-beasts scattered and fled.

The festival grounds were completely stained with the dark red color of human blood.

Hua Yi wiped the blood on his face, picked up the jug on the ground, and directly drank from the mouth of that large wine jug. He looked straight in the direction of the Giant Mountain Great Elder, then swept a glance at Old Blind, his gaze heavy with the characteristic ruthlessness of an outlaw. Then he smiled suddenly and said, “Yo, finally willing to tear your face off8 撕破脸 – to shed all pretense of cordiality? Great Elder-gexia9 阁下 – an honorific used for people of certain high-level positions. It’s like saying “Your Honor” or “Your Excellency.” is sure proficient in breaking faith and abandoning righteousness10 The author actually used 2 idioms here, but I kept only one to make it flow better. The first idiom is 背信弃义, which I have translated literally as “breaking faith and abandoning righteousness.” The second idiom is 两面三刀, which is literally “two-faced, three-knives,” and it means “to double-cross” or “to backstab.”.”

With a wave of the Giant Mountain Elder’s hand, the beastman warriors surrounded the two people. He said coldly, “You made the deal with Luo Tong, not with me. What trust did I break and what righteousness did I abandon? How could a man like him, who’d tarnish his honor for the sake of a dead woman, be worthy of being the Chief?”

Hua Yi asked, “So to say, there’s someone else who deserves to be the Chief?”

The Giant Mountain elder said, “I have been a Great Elder in the tribe for more than twenty years. From the time Luo Tong’s father was the Chief and to this day, my contribution to the tribe has always been greater than the Chief’s. It is only right that I be the Chief.”

Hua Yi smiled and shook his head. Pointing at him, he said to Chang An, “See that? I bet you’ve lived to this age and have never seen such a shameless person before.”

Chang An poked his saber on the ground and thought of how this Great Elder could still do such a thing when he was already so old, practically still eating when he was already full11 吃饱了撑的  – describes someone who uses their excessive energy in the wrong place

It’s just being a lousy Chief. What’s so good about it? Is it worth all this trouble?

Hua Yi suddenly stood up, and when he moved, the beastman nearest him immediately suffered—Beastmen had always fought in a wide open manner, and their sword skills mostly came from their experience in hunting. Where could they have seen such ghostly assasination techniques?

Hua Yi was practically killing a person a step, and no one could resist wherever he went. Chang An wasn’t interested in their struggle for power, but since he had responded to Hua Yi’s “I’ll rely on you,” he felt that he should do his part.

He followed closely behind Hua Yi, firmly guarding his back.

The others thought that the horse-chopping saber in the young man’s hand was used to make up for his lack of stature and to deal with the giant beasts and big guys in the wild, and that in a crowd, he certainly wouldn’t be able to put it to full use. Chang An, however, took the hilt of the horse-chopping saber like it was some nimble stick.

When he swung it around, he could hit the enemy from afar. And when he held it with both hands close to the blade, he could engage in close combat.

The saber was the person, and his whole person was also the saber.

At this moment, amidst the melee, a strange smile appeared on Hua Yi’s face. Tremors came from the depths of the earth, and human voices rushed in from far away.

In no more than a moment, the sounds had come close enough for everybody to hear.


**✿❀ translated by Lizonka ❀✿**
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