“Do you understand human language?” Chang An asked with a hoarse voice.
The mermaid looked up at him, his face confused, apparently unable to understand.
Chang An looked at him for a while, then lifted the saber, letting him go. As soon as the mermaid saw this, he immediately reverted to his former state. Baring his fangs, he once again moved to pounce. But unexpectedly, that saber that had already been moved out of the way suddenly came down like a door plank, hitting him right on the back with a bang. And before the mermaid could completely get back up, he was firmly slammed down.
This almost smashed the mermaid’s internal organs. A mouthful of air was choked out of his chest, and he nearly coughed out blood. It went black before his eyes, and he passed out again.
Meanwhile, Hua Yi was dealing with the birdmen. Beastmen would always go up and kill when they found something unpleasant to the eyes. Occasionally, there were plotting and scheming, and in the end, they’d carry them out. So instinctively did they not like these vile things that sprouted out from the coldest of places.
However, Hua Yi also had other considerations in mind—To these winged beastmen, poison was their life, yet they made no distinction between what could “heal” and what could “kill.” Hua Yi’s words from earlier were only meant to comfort A’Ye. He also understood that the most dangerous thing for them right now was the shortage of herbal medicine.
In this group of winged beastmen, there were only two or three strong men. They were probably also a fleeing tribe. At a glance, they were composed of the oldest of the old and the youngest of the young.
Winged beastmen didn’t look very tall and strong. In addition, their heads were surprisingly small. Be it man or woman, they all looked like a bunch of wimps with their necks shrunk to their shoulders. Moreover, the long and difficult journey had made each one of them looking famished.
Had it not been for the fact that the winged beastmen lived in the ice fields of the Far North and were very resistant to the cold, Hua Yi suspected that they would be able to walk themselves to death.
Thus, these twenty or so tall and strong beastmen were very intimidating when they blocked them. The other party immediately stopped in their tracks.
A moment later, a woman came out from amidst this flock of birdmen. Judging from a beastman’s eyes, this woman was really ugly and weird. One had to take a closer look to realize that she was actually a woman.
Her long hair was tied into several braids and hung behind her, revealing a face so small it looked as if it had been caught in a door. With a lot of fine lines at the corners of her eyes, she seemed older, cutting a very sorry figure.
The winged beastmen were not like the mermaids hiding deep in the sea whom no one had ever seen in their lives. Living together with the beastmen on the same continent, the birdmen had often had a lot of friction with them. Seeing the beastmen at this moment, they were all suddenly a little nervous.
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Hua Yi narrowed his eyes and raised a hand, stopping the brothers behind him who were itching for a fight. He took a step forward and locked eyes with the Chieftess1The author alternates between using 女首领 (female Chief) and 首领 (just Chief) when referring to the Chieftess. For consistency’s sake, and to differentiate between her and Hua Yi, I’ll stick to just using “Chieftess.” of the winged beastmen from a dozen steps away.
The Chieftess pondered for a moment. With their fighting strength, there seemed to be no chance of them winning against these beastmen here. Moreover, the environment had been so harsh, and nobody wanted to lose fighting power because of a meaningless2The raws say 无畏的争斗 (fearless fight), which I think is a typo for 无谓的争斗 (senseless/meaningless fight). Fearless is written as 无畏 (wú wèi) and senseless as 无谓 (also pronounced as wú wèi). fight.
So she let go of the scepter-like stick in her hand, stretched out her bare hands, and said in the soft voice unique to their race, “We mean no harm, just looking for a place where we can shelter from the cold winter. If we have wandered into your territory by mistake, we can leave immediately.”
A few young and strong winged beastmen behind the Chieftess looked indignant, but perhaps because this Chieftess had built up a lot of power over time, no one dared to say anything despite the displeasure.
Hua Yi nodded.
The Chieftess turned and waved her hand at his companion. “Change course.”
A young man nearest to her opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something, but when the Chieftess shot a glance at him, he choked the words back.
As soon as they turned around, a young winged beastman girl accidentally fell into the snow. She let out a small shriek, and her eyes immediately turned red. The Chieftess sighed. She bent down and lifted the girl up by the armpits, then patted her on the head.
The little girl felt wronged. She looked straight at the Chieftess with her red eyes and said in a soft voice, “A’ma, I can’t walk.”
When the winged beastmen spoke, they sounded like they were singing. And when spoken by a child, it sounded even softer, as if one was acting coquettishly, making people feel pity3It actually says they feel sour (酸), which means one is feeling aggrieved or one is having a “pang in the chest.” However, in English, “feeling sour” has an entirely different connotation, and so I improvised. for no reason. Yet no matter how much pity they feel, the other side was still birdmen with poison in their blood.
Before the Chieftess could speak, Hua Yi, who had been silent the whole time, suddenly opened his mouth and asked, “I once heard that there is an extraordinary person in the great ice field. A woman named Ahero4As you have probably noticed by now, the female characters in this novel are all named in this pattern: A (啊) + X (any Chinese character). Ahero is actually written as 阿赫萝, which should be transliterated as A’He Luo or A’Heluo. But I feel like that’s too hard to pronounce for my English-speaking readers, so I’m making it Ahero instead (that’s how Fanyi Baidu transliterates it).. Is there really such a person?”
The Chieftess paused in her steps and looked back, the sharp light in her wrinkled eyes not all diminished by her sorry figure.
She was silent for a moment, then slowly enunciated, “I am Ahero.”
Hua Yi asked, “You guys are winged beastmen, so do you have any herbs?”
Ahero seemed somewhat surprised, but her words were still very cautious as she said, “We naturally have some. Even if we don’t have herbs, there are still other secret medicines. And if we run out of secret medicines, we still know how to use things from other animals as make-do remedies.”
Hua Yi laughed. “The words of the Queen of the Far North are not to be doubted. We have a large enough offshore cave, and we also have food. If you guys want to, we can let you stay temporarily over the winter.”
Not mentioning the winged beastmen, even Shan Xi was surprised.
Chieftess Ahero didn’t show any joy. She cautiously looked at Hua Yi and asked, “I thought… the beastmen don’t like being with their winged brothers of the same race.”
This Queen of the Far North was obviously very good in lowering the donkey by the slope5就坡下驴 – An idiom about acting to favorable conditions, or finding a favorable condition before acting. . Despite her hesitant attitude, her words became winged “brothers” of the same race.
Of course, Hua Yi also knew how to pick up her tone. “In such a big calamity, if we are still unable to reconcile despite our ancient common ancestry, then I’m afraid we’ll all be buried in the ground like the Twelve Gods back then, don’t you6Hua Yi is using the polite form of “you” (您) to address her. think?”
Ahero asked, “Young Chief, what do you7In contrast to Hua Yi, Ahero is using the informal or regular form of “you” (你) want to gain by taking us in?”
Hua Yi said, “What can you people give beside medicine?”
Ahero lowered her head and sneered. “We are the winged race, the favorites of the skies. We will not submit to anyone.”
Hua Yi laughed. “Who is wanting you to submit? In the future, we will all live in a land full of all kinds of creatures. Can you live together if you submit to living in that Far North where birds don’t shit8鸟不拉屎 – idiom meaning “desolate”? I thought the Queen of the Far North was a great person, but it turns out she’s also a lowly person with an old maid’s mind.”
Ahero didn’t get angry. She just looked at Hua Yi calmly and stroked her scepter slowly.
Hua Yi continued, “Regardless of the means of combat, I admit that our brothers who can fly have the advantage of making it tricky for us. However, as far as hunting on the ground is concerned, the beastmen definitely have the absolute advantage.”
Then he suddenly raised his head, and looking at the sky, he said, “I’ll say it again. I admit you have your strength, but if we fight, we won’t be afraid of you. Having come this far, natural disasters are still too much to handle. Fighting to the death because of man-made disasters—I don’t think it’s worth it. If one wants to do great things, you don’t need to have too much heart, but you do need to have a little. A man must always have room in his heart for his friends before he can tolerate his enemies. I wonder what the Queen of the Far North thinks?”
Ahero laughed. Then suddenly, she bit on two of her fingers and gave out a long, sharp whistle. Smiling, she said to Hua Yi, “You can see that too, young man. You’re really something.”
Immediately afterwards, several shadows came down from high in the sky. They had been flying so high, they looked like finches and didn’t attract anybody’s attention. Only when they flew close could one see that they were actually a series of large birds. One by one, they landed and turned into their human forms, becoming dozens of winged-race warriors.
Hua Yi turned a blind eye to the murderous-looking warriors. With an unfazed smile on his face, he said, “Please.”
Ahero gave him a shallow bow, and when she stood upright again, she was once again that majestic Queen of the Far North. With dozens of winged beastmen neatly following behind her, the little bit of emaciation she had brought with her from traveling for days immediately counted as nothing.
Nobody had expected that the threat of war would inexplicably dissolve into jade and silk.
On the way back, everyone was curiously sizing each other up. Hua Yi was worried about the sick Chang An guarding the cave and wanted to go back early. Hence, he ordered a beastman to turn into his beast form and carry Ahero’s little daughter on his back. That little girl had probably been spoiled since she was young, for she was not at all like her mother. She was so frightened riding atop the huge beast. Her face turned white, and she didn’t dare say a word.
However, she soon realized that this big guy was very docile. He walked very steadily, and his fur wasn’t as prickly as it looked; it was rather warm.
Soon, they returned to the cave. Ahero sized up the place where the cave was located and grew more and more impressed with this young tribal Chief.
Though the place facing the sea was cold, it could be considered the warmest in the entire continent. Located between two mountains, it was sheltered from strong winds. And if anything were to happen at sea, the mountains would be there to block it, and they could also run up the mountains to take refuge.
Hua Yi’s thoughts, however, were all on Chang An. Once the birdmen were settled reasonably, he quietly asked A’Ye, “Does he still have a fever?”
A’Ye nodded with a worried look on her face.
Hua Yi went deeper into the cave, intending to check on Chang An. However, he didn’t see Chang An; instead, he saw a whimpering mermaid.
Hua Yi was surprised to find that the mermaid had woken up, and with even more wounds on his body than when they had just picked them up, especially on his back. A grown man sitting on the floor and crying endlessly. He was quite a bit like Qingliang.
Hua Yi asked, “What happened to him?”
Luda was practicing downward strikes with a wooden sword. Hearing the question, he said, “Beaten to tears.”
Hua Yi found it odd and asked, “Beaten to tears?”
Luda calmly replied, “This thing doesn’t understand human speech. As soon as it9Pronouns are hard, dammit… But while Luda and Hua Yi were talking about the mermaid, they managed to not use any pronouns to refer to it. This is hard to do in English, so I’m letting Hua Yi use he/him pronouns, while Luda uses neutral “it,” since it was implied in previous chapters that Luda is unsure of the mermaid’s gender. Luda also calls the mermaid as “this thing.” woke up, it bared its fangs and claws and moved to bite people. Chang An beat it up. After being beaten, it became a bear bag10熊包 -metaphor used to describe someone who is weak and incompetent cut from the same mould as that good-for-nothing Qingliang. I think it’s been sitting there crying the whole morning.”
Hua Yi: “……”
He looked at Chang An, who was still wrapped in animal skin and huddling in the corner. Surprisingly, the one who had beaten up the mermaid was now leaning there sickly and listlessly with his eyes closed. It was unknown if he was asleep or awake, but sometimes, he’d cough a little in a low voice, sounding extremely weak and looking a bit pitiful.
As for the one who was beaten? It cannot be said he was in tiptop form, but anyhow, he had a good build. And yet, he just sat in front of Chang An, crying endlessly.
Hua Yi felt that he had once again witnessed a spectacle. He especially observed the tears that the mermaid cried out—They were no different from other people’s tears, and they also didn’t turn into pearls. Sure enough, all legends were nonsense.
Right now, in this small cave, all the three major races were complete… One of them looked a bit miserable though.