The sound of the saber slicing into flesh and bone was distinctly heard by Qingliang. Gone numb from the winter, he couldn’t resist the smell of blood that went up his nose. The snow on the ground was red all over. As the blood fizzled out, Qingliang’s pants got wet as well. Although the old beastman had scared him with a half-truth, it was of limited effect, only enough for him to hold on a moment longer.
Luda himself also had his blood boiling. Itching to have a go, he was figuring out how to ask Chang An to let him have his fun when he suddenly smelled a foul odor. He turned his head to look, and simply didn’t know what to say.
Seeing Qingliang suddenly lose his father that day, Luda sympathized with him and impulsively said more than he should have. Since then, Qingliang had been eating and living with him.
They were… close, affectionate even. Sometimes, Luda would take Qingliang as one of his brothers, but this illusion never lasted long, for this “brother” always made him feel ashamed.
Luda was at an age where growing boys don’t know shit. He had a blind fanaticism and admiration for the strong. In his mind, if a person was strong enough, even if he was unforgivably evil, he could be excused for being evil. Qingliang, however, was mud that couldn’t support the wall1烂泥糊不上墙 – A weak person who can’t do big things, so even if he was kind and gentle, he was nothing.
However, even though Qingliang was like this, Chang An seldom reprimanded him. Luda suspected that Chang An didn’t know how to scold people at all. Every time Qingliang stood in front of him dejectedly, shivering and shaking, Chang An didn’t even know what to say to him. Most of the time, he’d just throw him a piece of candy and send him away. Out of sight, out of mind.
At this time, several beastman who had broken into the city gate at night saw the man before them, and then quickly calmed down—this was just a sub-beast without armor.
However, they were cautious. After all, no one had ever seen a sub-beast carrying a great saber before. There were always demons when things were strange. Several people looked at each other, all tacitly agreeing to end this battle quickly. And so they all cooperated together and pounced.
Two men, one on each side, pinned Chang An with the aim of entangling the saber in his hand. The other turned into a giant beast on the spot, roared, and jumped at Chang An head-on from a very short distance. The giant beast’s powerful hind legs pushed the snow out of the ground to a height more than a man’s, and its front claws and fangs went straight for Chang An’s head and neck.
The beast opened its bloody mouth wide and pounced forward with great force. Luda even felt that it could eat two of Chang An’s heads like he was just biting into jujubes.
But then Chang An suddenly bent backwards, his whole body bent into an arch. In the darkness, it was difficult for anyone even a short distance away to make anything out clearly with only the light from the flickering fire. Only the killing intent emitted from the collision of metal and the sound of the blade’s tip slicing through flesh were numbing people’s scalp.
The saber drew a sharp arc, its hilt accurately hitting the slashing long sword. The saber’s edge was deflected, but just as it swung right back from the bottom, it thrust straight into the beast’s throat. With the force of his blade that swung back, Chang An braced the body of the huge beast that was bearing down on him, and with a shout, smashed it to the side. It landed with a loud bang, blood splashing into the snow.
The beastmen on the one side were forced to dodge, while one on the other side took the opportunity to walk behind Chang An. He jumped high, then chopped straight down.
Without looking back, Chang An raised the saber over his shoulder and stopped it with a buzz. The sound of metal colliding made a fine layer of goosebumps on his body, but they went away as soon as they were touched.
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Chang An turned the saber around his neck, then suddenly took two steps to the side for a takeoff run. Stepping on the stone wall, he seemed to be “walking” on the high vertical wall with nothing to support him. Then in mid-air, he bent his knees sharply and flipped over, just in time to avoid the sword that was chasing him.
Chang An’s saber turned upside down and blocked the beastman’s long sword from top to bottom. The web in the beastman’s hand2that web of skin between your forefinger and thumb was violently torn apart, and he was forced to let go. The hilt of his own sword also brutally knocked his chin from bottom to top, and it was so painful, he was about to cry on the spot—but no tears fell.
For as soon as he raised his neck, he was like a rooster waiting to be slaughtered, sending his neck to Chang An, who immediately and unceremoniously told his head to fly separately.
The last beastman to raid the gate was nearly hit by the head of his comrade, and in an instant, he was overcome by fear. The hairs on the back of the neck lined up like a queue, and all the blood flowed back to the limbs. His mind went dizzy, and everything became a mess. Instinctively, he turned back and ran for his life.
This man’s brain had apparently turned into a melon, and so Chang An cut it up like a melon.
Luda and Qingliang stood on the stone steps and witnessed Chang An adding several corpses to the ground with his saber without saying a word.
It was only then that the few guards who had been separated from the others came down from the gate tower with great strides. They cleaned up the bodies, cut off the heads, casually wrapped them in rags, and carried them up the tower.
Chang An wiped the bloodstains on his face with the back of his hand and unhurriedly walked back.
Luda’s eyes lit up as they followed him.
He felt that the old beastmen of the tribe were right in saying that there were only a few things that could make a man’s blood boil—the smell of blood, strong wine, and the naked body of a beauty. The latter two were a little too distant for the young boy, but the pungent, rusty smell that permeated the air really made Luda unable to keep still.
He grabbed Chang An by his clothes, looked at him with a little hope, and asked enthusiastically, “What about me? Can I do it?”
Chang An looked at him, nodded his head, and said briefly, “Go up and ask them to give you a pair of armor.”
With a shout of joy, Luda turned and ran to the gate tower, ignoring his good-for-nothing “brother.” His hand at the side of his waist squeezed the jiandao hanging on his body.
In this way, Qingliang had no one to support him. He completely softened down against the cold stone, and slumped there like mud, staring fearfully at the small battlefield where the heat was splashed away.
Then a hand was suddenly and hesitantly placed on top of his head.
Qingliang slowly raised his head and saw Chang An looking down at him. That hand rubbing against his forehead was ice-cold, as if made from the same stuff as the iron blade handle.
“I didn’t let them in.” These words suddenly came from nowhere as Chang An bent down a bit and looked into Qingliang’s eyes.
His eyes were black and bright, and the corners of them were naturally swept out. A lock of hair framed his neatly-shaped eyebrows, and he looked very beautiful. Qingliang had only noticed such beauty when he got very close to him and saw his face clearly.
If he had never seen it, then in his heart, Chang An would always be the silent and unsmiling face that carried a big saber.
Qingliang was like a rabbit that would naturally tremble before all carnivores. Although Chang An never laid a hand on him or even squeezed him a little, Qingliang was afraid of him.
He was afraid, but a part of him also wanted to get close to him.
By the light of the fire, Qingliang saw his bearish look in the other man’s eyes, and he was fearful and ashamed.
Chang An rubbed the blood on his blade on the snow beside the stone steps of the city gate tower and continued, “Whether you like it or not, there are many things that you can’t help. There’s nothing you can do about crying out in fear, and there’s nothing you can do about being scared to death. You…”
When Chang An said “you,” he didn’t know what to say next. Looking at Qingliang’s fearful appearance, there was nothing he could do about it. So he just shook his head and stretched out his hand. “You… ai, you better go into the shelter.”
Hundreds of people had gathered outside the city gates. It was slightly foggy in the middle of the night, so from above, the shadows were indistinguishable. The giant beast roared and climbed up, and the arrows of the old hunters on top of the tower fell down like rain. The advantage of a city gate tower finally became evident. They could poke people down one by one, as if they were spearing fish at sea. It was fun as hell.
After watching the battle for a while, Chang An ran out of patience. Every fall and winter, he’d have a hard time. The winds of hunting on top of the tower soon made his head ache, and a vein in his head throbbed.
Thus, Chang An lifted his hand and picked up a corpse that was being carried by the guards. Rubbing against the heads of the people in the tower, he lifted his hands and threw the body down.
The old beastman covered his head with an “aiyo,” and growled at Chang An, “What kind of filth are you putting on people’s heads? You got blood on my face!”
Chang An said woodenly, “It’s already done.”
The corpse pierced through the fog and smashed a beastman climbing upward straight down. A dead man and a living man hit the ground together, and the screams below became indistinguishable.
In this way, the invaders immediately found out that the plot had been exposed. Fighting in a corner was useless. There weren’t enough of them, and all the dead bodies stacked on top of each other wouldn’t make a stone path to the top. They were very aware of the current situation. Then someone in the distance whistled. It was only for a moment, but these intruders who came in the middle of the night like a tide also receded like a tide.
The next day, when the fog cleared in the morning, the guards changed shifts.
A’Fen, who got up early to work, was carrying his son who had not yet woken up when she saw Chang An from a distance. She waved to him and said, “Chang An, come over here and help me move the malt candies from the door to the roof!”
Chang An responded weakly. He dragged his somewhat heavy saber over to the house, stood at A’Fen’s door and asked, “Where do you want it?”
As soon as A’Fen turned around, she saw all the dried blood over his body. She shrieked, almost dropping the small basket in her hand. She looked at him dumbfounded, and realizing that something had happened the night before, she anxiously urged Chang An, “Oh my god, don’t move. You quickly go find A’Ye. All this blood, my god…”
Chang An waved his hand. He stabbed his saber to the side, and bent down to pick up the barley sprouts A’Fen was hanging to dry. He lightly stepped on the protruding stone bricks and jumped up to the roof to put them in place. Only after then did he pull up the saber with eyes drooping and slowly walked away with the same half-dead pace as before.
By this time, the people in the tribe had noticed the atmosphere changed.
The guards of the inner city had been up all night, and a dozen or so corpses were neatly displayed in the small square where the Chief and the Elders usually met to discuss affairs.
At the door of the thick leather tent sat the mermaid “AAAH.” Through the curtain, the sound of a man crying and hiccuping could be heard. “AAAH” propped up his ears by the door and listened carefully. He still didn’t know the human language, but he learned how to cry and hiccup first. He giggled loudly in amusing himself.
Chang An intended to give him a kick, but when his leg was up in the air, he remembered “AAAH”’s valiant record and put it down again.
He lifted the leather curtain and walked in, only to see the dozens of wounded men who were at the end of the team the previous night, sitting shoulder to shoulder like graves in a room full of grief and sorrow.
Chang An’s one head suddenly turned into two big ones3一个头变成两个大 – The problem has worsened, or your headache intensified, but it was too late for him to withdraw. Hua Yi saw him, and while beckoning him over, he stood up himself and put his arm around Chang An’s shoulders and carried him inside. In a few short steps, he quietly touched him all over to make sure that there was nothing wrong with him, and only then did he feel relieved. He asked someone to make a small bed for Chang An, then patted him on the shoulder. “Get some rest first. I’ll talk to you when you wake up.”
Chang An’s eyelids were almost glued together. Immediately, under the eye of the crowd, he sprawled on his back on the small bed, his bones making a snapping sound.
He curled up his shoulders, touched the pillow, and faintly heard someone whispering something about some “Black Wind Puya,” but in his daze, he couldn’t hear the rest of the words.