There were ten people who squeezed to the front of the crowd. One could tell they were from the same group from their clothing. However, it was still a peculiar style. Although there was a wildness of a tribesman, they also incorporated bright silk worn by only the city’s aristocrats. Together, they wore reflective, patterned silk clothes inside and sleeveless brown animal hide coats outside.
These ten people attracted a lot of attention because of both their clothing and their height.
Shao Xuan’s Flaming Horn Tribe were tall people while the Black Bear’s tribe were mostly a little taller. However, the Black Bears’ most obvious characteristic was that they were muscular and intimidating. Right now, Black Bear was a head shorter than this person in front of him!
The other guy’s arm was thick like a stone pillar. Standing like a stork among chickens, most people were only up to his chest. He wasn’t just tall, he was muscular too. He was just like the thick and solid city walls. Anyone a little timider would shudder in front of this man. Some people wondered if he could squash anyone to death if he collapsed right now.
Anyone smarter would be able to guess who this person was based on what Black Bear said.
“Linlu tribe? The Lu family? Is that blockhead Lubi?” someone asked.
“Lubi? There was a recent rumour about him killing a bear in one hit using his hammer, right?” gasped another.
When they heard this, Black Bear and Maoda couldn’t help but raise their eyebrows in disbelief. What was that? It felt like the guy was challenging him, this was upsetting.
“So Lubi looks like that.” Some people were excited, though a little regret in their voices. They were excited to see the real person but reality was often disappointing.
Lubi was named as the prodigy of the century from the Linlu tribe. The stories denoted that he was tall and had the strength of a god. That was why the Linlu tribe specially asked for a favour from the Ji family to hire a blacksmith to make a large bronze hammer for him. The legends say that he could kill a giant bear with just one smash!
Linlu tribe’s move to King City had caused a lot of discussions and just to make themselves famous, the tribe naturally spread stories of their talents across the city. Lubi’s name was known to the public, many wondered what he looked like. They wondered if he was as fierce as a demon, had arms as large as an elephant’s leg and a hammer as large as a house. They even said he could create a pond with just one step into the ground. Unfortunately, they hadn’t seen this Lubi in person because, at that time, not all the Linlu tribe members had arrived yet.
However, everyone now knew that the main members of the Lu family had already moved to King City. The man taller than Beimi aka Black Bear was the legendary Lubi!
While there was a disparity between their imagination and reality, there were still similarities. This was enough for the citizens to talk about for a long time. They didn’t have much entertainment there.
Lubi held his bronze hammer. It had a long handle, the head shaped like a melon. On it were several deep and shallow dents left from previous battles. Not sure if it was made by a human or an animal. No matter what, one look at the hammer and you’d know this was not an easy opponent. Although his hammer wasn’t as big as a house like the stories, it was big enough to be an umbrella. Just holding a hammer like this wasn’t easy, let alone wielding it as a weapon.
Shao Xuan and Guang Yi were already considered strong and muscular. However, next to Lubi and his people, they just looked thin and weak. The rest of the crowd, including a few from Linlu, were mere matchsticks.
However, the one who spoke wasn’t Linlu but a younger man who looked more refined. He walked in front and looked at everyone like he was mocking them. His tone was arrogant.
Apparently, the fact that Black Bear called them ‘Linlu tribe’ was upsetting to them. This young man in front looked at Black Bear with cold and mocking eyes.
To them, the word ‘tribe’ made them sound primitive. Now everyone wanted to mimic the aristocrats of the great six. Instead of identifying as a tribe, they identified themselves as a clan or a family with the same surname. Then, they worked hard to become aristocrats. Within King City, when they introduced themselves, everyone went by x family, or xx clan. Who would want to call themselves xx tribe? The Linlu tribe had taken so much effort to get to where they were now, yet they were insulted to their faces just like that?
“Wandering traders are all like that. You all lack ambition, rough and vulgar!” mused the young man.
Black Bear squinted. “Right, you’re an ambitious bunch. I heard the Linlu tribesmen all moved to King City to become slaves? You’re just in time. The grains outside the city have ripened and they need people for the harvest. Perhaps you’ll all get a job soon. The pay for it is alright too, enough for maybe two meals.”
The tension in the air was thick, as if there was going to be an explosion soon.
The whispers in the crowd quietened but no one left. The ones who left quickly returned with their friends and relatives to watch. They were either there to see Lubi or to watch the fight. They wouldn’t want to miss this.
The Black Bear trading party versus the newly arrived Lu family of the Linlu tribe. Four versus ten. Who would win?
Many people were already placing bets.
“What, you’re here for the sword testing here too? Do you have the courage? Do you have the skills?” said Black Bear.
The young man in front held his chin high. “Not bad.” As he spoke, he walked towards the testing area and looked around at the crowd. “Luming of Lu family, here for sword testing!”
Another person next to Luming stepped forward. “Lupeng of Lu family, here for sword testing!”
Lubi, carrying his hammer, grinned to show everyone his white teeth. “Lubi of Lu family, here for sword testing!”
Ten people announced their names consecutively. It sounded more like they were announcing their names for the crowd and not for registration.
“You Black Bear people can get the hell out since you’re done. I don’t care if you’re not either. It’s our turn now!” Luming said, looking at Black Bear.
Being told to ‘get the hell out’ twice infuriated Black Bear. He hated anyone telling him that. Anywhere else, he would have unsheathed his sword already just like yesterday on the dirt road. However, he was now in front of the Gongjia family’s gates. He had just passed the sword test and was now qualified to hire Gongjia Heng to make weapons. If he fought them here and upset Gongjia Heng, what then? Would he miss such an amazing opportunity just for these dogs? He would never.
Also, right now Black Bear was here with Shao Xuan. He did not want to involve Shao Xuan in this, he was going to visit Ji Ju tomorrow. If Shao Xuan was injured today, then tomorrow’s plans would be ruined.
Black Bear suppressed his anger, his expressions changing by the second. His glare was so piercing they were like knives.
Too bad the Linlu people ignored him.
Shao Xuan watched the Linlu people’s actions. He guessed that these ten people weren’t here for the test. Perhaps they were, but after seeing Black Bear, they must have changed their minds. Four of them were now the targets.
After Black Bear passed his test, when Shao Xuan heard the guy, he wondered who was stupid enough to do something like that. However, it looks like they knew each other.
They were all deliberately angering Black Bear?
Shao Xuan often hunted in the forest so he was very sensitive to human and animal auras. He sensed that they were not good people. They were here to fight!
Shao Xuan was right, that was Luming’s plan. They were initially here for the test but when they realised Black Bear was here, he changed his plan. There were only four people on Black Bear’s side and there were no other Black Bear people around, while he had ten on the Lu family’s side. It was a rare opportunity!
In a place like King City- no- not just here, in any place, if you wanted to stay, you had to prove to everyone that you were strong and powerful. And to do that in a new place, they had to look for a stepping stone!
These were the rules!
The stepping stone cannot be too small or it would be useless; not too big either, that would backfire. That was why Luming targeted Black Bear. Black Bear was famous and wasn’t an aristocrat here. He was suitable!
Luming had an odd look in his eyes. His reckless provocation was actually planned. They were going to use Black Bear as their stepping stone. It’s on!
Lupeng and the rest with him continued mocking him. Even Maoda was angry. Although they knew the other party was doing this on purpose, how could they swallow their anger in front of an audience? What would happen to their tribe’s dignity?!
Therefore, Black Bear gestured for Shao Xuan and the rest to stand back and unsheathed a wide bronze knife. “Since you are here for death, I will give it to you myself!”
Luming’s eyes flashed and gestured. The nine other people with him stepped forward.
Ten people. Four groups. They were going to attack by the formation of three, three, three and one.
Everyone thought Black Bear’s opponent would be Lubi, the largest man. This was the guy who had the highest chance of winning Black Bear. However, no one expected Lubi and his large hammer to charge at Shao Xuan first!
Just like how predators hunted in groups, they had to first scatter their prey and kill the weakest ones first.
Was this bullying? Was this a lowly act?
No, there was no such thing here. They called it ‘strategy’.
Sometimes, even if both sides were equal in strength, as long as the scales were tipped a little, it could mean a landslide win. To tip the scales, the simplest way was to start from the weakest link.
Based on the ten Linlu people’s plan, it was simple enough to pick the weakest target. Of course, it wasn’t Black Bear! Maoda was his assistant, he wasn’t going to be weak too. Not him! The other two? One was an older man who was giving them a murderous look. He didn’t look weak. Not him! There was just one left. A young man who didn’t look like much. This must be the weakest among them. Didn’t Black Bear also tell him to stand back just now?
He must be the weakest member!