It was nearing the end of the year, they should be entering autumn with the temperature decreasing slightly each day. Instead, the temperature was rising with the Fearsome Beast Forest was even more active than before.
“It was the same situation last year.” The old shaman sat atop a boulder and sighed as she looked at the faraway forest, “No, this year is hotter than last year.”
The more unpredictable the weather was, the more anxious they people were.
However, their experience from last year assured the people and with the two tribes merging, they felt comfort in knowing they were in this together.
After experiencing the freezing winters on the other side of the sea, Zheng Luo and the rest weren’t used to this summer-like weather. The warmth should be better than the cold right?
The warmth also brought along its fair share of problems. The animals that were supposed to settle for the cold were now all oddly energetic. The flying insects were one of them, they annoyed the hunters whenever they entered the forest. Animals that were supposed to hibernate such as poisonous snakes were all energetic which were troublesome for the hunters.
“What is happening there?” The old shamaness noticed a group of warriors rushing out from the forest.
“Young man, what happened over there?” The old shamaness stopped Ke Ke that was running towards that direction.
After hearing the shamaness call for him Ke Ke immediately went to explain, “Shamaness, we were told the bugs were eating the cabbages and the chief wanted us there to help with the situation.”
“Bugs?” The two shamans were shocked. They immediately thought of the Veins of the Sky in the forest and rushed to the lands to check on them.
Luckily, not a single flying bug was in sight near the Veins of the Sky. Not many bugs were there in general. It seemed that the plants were naturally pest repellent. Of course, this was limited to unbroken Veins fo the Sky.
The two shamans felt great relief and went on to help with the insect infestation. They had planted many seeds with some not even germinating. They were afraid the cabbages were in trouble too.
“These insects weren’t this active in the past years.” The shaman had worry seeping out of her eyes,
Except for last year, the current situation was out of character for the area. They never had a problem with insects until the odd weather kicked in and caused the insects to skip their hibernation period.
In addition to that, the fields were close to the forest so many insects were attracted to it.
They would face the occasional wave of attacks from flying insects but it was nothing more than the farmers could handle. They never needed help from warriors like this.
Shao Xuan arrived to a mess in the fields.
Swords, knives, batons and hammers were flung around.
Shao Xuan swatted an insect to inspect it. It was nearly twenty centimetres long.
It was light yellowish-green in colour, with two large protruding eyes, a wide torso matched with a thin abdomen. Two neatly transparent wings with web patterns sprouted on its back. Five pairs of thin feet that had claws. The frontmost pair was used to hold items like when they grabbed leaves.
This bug had a mouth that was capable of chewing things, it was especially great at chewing leaves.
These were the bugs that were troubling those mightly warriors that had no trouble fighting huge beasts. When the large swarm came at once, they were flustered because there wasn’t a way to deal with these flying critters. Shooting arrows at them didn’t seem suitable.
They didn’t exactly soar in the sky but the warriors had no way of flying so the bugs still had the height advantage.
Even if they could jump quite hight, it was still tedious to kill the insects. It was quite a frequent occurrence for two warriors to bump into each other mid-air without killing any bugs.
Someone had the idea to catch them with nets but the farmlands were too large for it to work efficiently. Unless they were using nets with extremely small holes, the bugs could also fly through the holes.
After much effort and this large team of warriors, the bugs were finally exterminated.
“Someone went to cover the lands with the nets but this won’t solve the problem,” said Mai as he looked at the holes on the leaves.
Shao Xuan was thinking about the problem too.
The nets they were currently using to cover them had very tiny holes which blocked the sunlight going through. It could block some bugs but this solution can only be used temporarily.
What about pesticides?
For one, they haven’t discovered one safe for consumption yet. What they needed was highly specific and the tribe didn’t have the resources for that kind of research.
“Just use us for now,” said the exhausted Ke Ke. He was sweating buckets. Not only did the warriors need to eliminate the bugs, but they also had to be careful to not step on the crops too. It was a tough job.
Some tried to whack the insects with planks of wood but they had various degrees of success.
“Make some small holes on the plants then make the lower part of the plants thinner to make it into a handle, it’ll be easier to hold,” sais Shao Xuan.
The warriors holding the planks faces immediately brightened up, they then went to chisel the planks.
Some started to gather the carcasses to compost. The Dumb Birds didn’t eat this kind of bugs, the other beasts they had were mostly herbivores too.
Shao Xuan looked around his surroundings and headed towards the casting room.
The cabbages in the field weren’t a secret anymore so the security in the area was slightly looser now. After the big fight during the day, the guards were tired when night came.
A figure snuck in, moving as if it was floating. He landed on the ground without making a sound.
The figure listened to the surroundings and made sure no one noticed them. He “floated” once again. Just like a butterfly landing on a flower, he landed on one of the cabbages.
No one had yet to noticed him.
He hid behind a cabbage taller than a human and took a whiff of the leaf he sliced off. The took a leaf closer to the centre of the vegetable, he heard from the Flaming Horn tribesmen that the more central the leaf was, the tastier and crunchier it was. He had observed the plants for a few days and he finally got the chance to taste it.
He always liked vegetables over meat. The leaf tasted fresh and crunchy.
Staying hidden for so long paid off.
The land wasn’t brightly lit from the two moons that night. It was rather cloudly, causing the guards to not notice the man hidden behind that large vegetable.
After he finished his little tester, the man scanned the area. He remembered there was a larger cabbage here. With a little jump, he spotted it.
Imagine the shock when they find their largest cabbage missing tomorrow. He got rather excited from thinking about their reactions.
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