DOGE note: release rate is currently 1 chapter every day!! :D also, subsequent chapters will get longer and longer + the author seems to be writing more 2 in 1 chapters that are much longer than regular chaps- i won't be splitting them into part 1/2, retaining the original 2 in 1 structure for your enjoyment! hope you enjoy them!
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The wind carried with it a scent of mixed herbs. People with keen senses were sure to notice how the scent was growing richer as time slowly passed.
More birds flew in from all around, and some had already started to dine in the farms nearby, but quickly they were killed by the guards that were there.
The soldiers who came from the other side of the sea who once enjoyed reaping the harvest were already mentally prepared, but the others weren’t. Even though they had already been informed a few days ago, they never expected it to be this intense.
Especially the Drumming tribespeople who came to help. Before they were still feeling bored. It was only some crops in a field. How could it possibly cause anything? Now, they were all stunned by the massive flock of birds that were flying in from all directions.
‘Luckily we didn’t plant any crops!’ the Drumming tribespeople all thought.
The wanderers in the caves and the Flaming Horns on the hill at the headquarters all saw the birds flying in and crashing into their houses. Although most of them weren’t fearsome beasts, the number itself was enough to terrify them. They were everywhere.
Old Ke heard the trap he set in front of his house click with loud noises that followed with birds’ cries. Caesar and the other beasts were all busy working in other places. Soon their mouths would be full of bird feathers.
However, the strange thing was, the birds were merely flocking around the farm, and never got close to the thousand-grain gold plantation in the centre. This was very obvious if seen from above.
“Guys, why aren’t the birds flying there?” Wu He asked his partners as he observed the situation below.
“They know that that place is the most dangerous. After all, the Flaming Horns who are guarding that piece of land are the strongest. I even heard that the Flaming Horns hunt fearsome beasts frequently, so they’re probably full of murderous energy. Perhaps the birds also noticed it,” one of them guessed.
“No. I think there might be something there that the birds are afraid of,” someone else voiced his opinion.
“Something dangerous?” the person who spoke previously laughed. “You mean the king beast? If there was indeed a king beast, there wouldn’t be that many Flaming Horns. It’s definitely not the king beast!”
Wu He agreed. He was there when the king beast appeared. He also knew that the truth wasn’t as exaggerated as the rumours. The Flaming Horns wouldn’t dispatch this many people if there was indeed a king beast.
“Then, what’s the reason?” They were all confused.
“Perhaps the Flaming Horns have some repellents that are keeping the birds away?” someone suggested.
The others all hesitated. This might really be true.
“Speaking of which, none of the fearsome beasts that the Flaming Horns tamed are here.” Wu He said after he scanned the area. He already discovered that the giant mountain eagle that chased after him from before was flying to and from the forest and the trading point. At most, it only flew to the mountain where the Flaming Horns resided. It never once approached the farms.
“That must be it!” Now that they thought about it, all of them felt that this was closest to the truth. They knew that the slave masters also used some repellents to drive some birds and insects away from their farms, but this repellent was never revealed to the public. It had always been kept in the hands of very few amongst the slave masters. They thought that since the Flaming Horns could get the seeds from Ji Ju, perhaps they also received some repellent?
“No wonder the long-winged birds are staying away from there,” Wu He nodded in agreement.
Luckily these long-winged birds were their slaves. Even if they didn’t want to, they had to follow as they were told if they forcefully wished for them to do it. They just had to be careful when they got there. The repellents were targeting insects and birds. It probably didn’t have much effect on humans.
“Here, take this medicine first.” Someone took out a small wooden bottle and shared the pills with the others.
This pill was not specifically made to counter any repellents, but it can alleviate the symptoms, so even if they were poisoned and didn’t get treatment in time, it wouldn’t be a big problem. They were just going to steal some grains. They weren’t going to eat the poison, so there wouldn’t be much problems.
“Hurry! Get ready! I feel like the Flaming Horns are making a move soon!” Wu He said.
The others also stopped thinking about other matters and focused on the situation below them.
On the thousand-grain gold plantation, Shao Xuan’s eyes glanced quickly to his left. It seemed peaceful there, but no one dared to approach the area, not even an insect.
But there was a giant bat there.
It was still resting on the mountain two days ago, but since last night, the bat leader already set foot on the ground. Even if it was broad daylight, a time it despised, it didn’t leave this land. However, it was no longer hanging upside down from the leaves up above. Instead, it was clinging onto the leaves closest to the grains!
Since every grain was large and the leaves opened upwards, with their long shape, they covered most of the sunlight and provided it with shade.
The bat leader was hiding under this shade. If they didn’t look in that direction, they wouldn’t notice it at all. At least the guards outside the thousand-grain gold plantation didn’t notice it yet.
On the heavy grains, every seed the size of grapes shook and bumped into each other. On the surface, nothing much had changed in its external appearance, but the grains were slowly ripening on the inside.
Shao Xuan’s eyes flashed and immediately he sounded his wooden whistle.
The sound of the whistle was long but it wasn’t loud or sharp. It was a calm tune. After this whistle, tension spread through the air. Everyone was getting nervous.
This was to inform the others to get ready.
A sharp and quick whistle followed the first. It was like a gunshot, and everyone from all around dashed at the speed of an arrow to their assigned posts on the farm.
This was very similar to a battle, one in which every minute was precious.
The sharp blades made from polished beast bones easily sliced away the tall thousand-grain gold. The people who followed tightly behind the blades quickly collected the harvest with their giant beast hide bags.
There were too many grains this year, so the success of this harvest was a lot higher than the first time they planted it. Plus, they didn’t have the time to individually pick out each of the seeds this time, so they cut out the grains by the strand. They planned to pick the seeds out later at a certain location to prevent the birds from eating them now.
All of their assigned regions had been planned out beforehand so none of their assigned routes overlapped. They would not bump into each other during the harvest, and the same route wouldn’t be taken twice. All of this was planned to save time.
Except for one place.
Shao Xuan did not let anyone near the area where the bat leader was. They could not guarantee what would happen if people went there, and they must not provoke the beast. They still had to successfully harvest the crops. If someone accidentally went over and caused a huge trouble, it would be more problematic than the flock of birds attacking them all at the same time.
Meanwhile, the birds that initially didn’t dare approach suddenly went berserk and flocked towards the farm.
From above, they could see a wide circle of birds that were encircling the area heading towards the plantation that was most tightly guarded.
“Now’s the chance!” Wu He and his gang of seven were suddenly excited. Boiling blood surged through their veins.
The long-winged birds flew down forcefully under their masters’ command. They cried out unwillingly but still flew down slowly.
As the flock of birds approached, the bat leader that was hiding in the shade under the thousand-grain gold also opened its bloodshot eyes.
Its wings that initially covered its body opened gently. There was too much commotion around so the sound of its wings opening couldn’t really be heard by anyone.
However, at the instant it unfolded its wings, all of the birds that were flying over paused, as if someone pressed a pause button, freezing time in its place.
A strong murderous intent spread through the air from the thousand-grain gold plantation, especially in the sky. This murderous vibe was specifically targeting the birds that were approaching the area.
The Flaming Horn warriors who were busy harvesting the thousand-grain gold almost dropped their blades when they felt this sudden change in the atmosphere.
They had been on enough hunts to be able to tell whether their opponent was human or beast.
No, this was no ordinary fearsome beast! This was way stronger than all the ones they had felt before!
They felt like they smelled blood even though they didn’t see a single drop of blood anywhere. Nor did their noses actually pick up the smell of blood.
At that instant, all sorts of sounds--- bird cries, roars, and clangs from all types of weapons, all ceased in that instant.
It sounded like a rapidly flowing air current. It wasn’t loud, but everyone on the plantation could hear it.
This sound made all of their hairs stand on ends. It was like a beast was moving its bloody fangs, waiting to kill.
It was a bright afternoon, but the plantation had been deprived of its sunlight. It was not at all warm. Rather, an unusual coldness spread through the air, making everyone shiver helplessly.
Even though Wu He and his group of seven were quite far away, they all felt the strange energy.
Wu He shivered and almost fell from his long-winged bird.
It wasn’t just the seven of them. All seven of their birds, along with the flock of birds, all stopped flying. If their masters didn’t force them to fly in, they would’ve already escaped. Their wings flapped without any rhythm, shaking from side to side. The people who were riding on their backs almost lost their balance and fell.
“Wha--wha--What was that?” someone said stutteringly. Even if they couldn’t discern energies as well as the Flaming Horns, they experienced enough to know that something dangerous was nearby, but they didn’t know if it was human or beast.
“Why do I feel like…… something bad’s about to happen?” someone asked.
“What, what is it? Human or beast?”
“Could it really be the king beast?”
“No way!” Wu He immediately disagreed, but continued with a tone of uncertainty, “Probably not. At least not the one that appeared before!”
If it wasn’t the king beast, what was that strong energy?
What secret were the Flaming Horns hiding?
“The Flaming Horns are indeed very cunning!” someone said through gritted teeth.
The others all felt the same way. The Flaming Horns really had a lot of secrets, but they didn’t dare to investigate right now.
“What should we do?” The other six looked at Wu He. Even though they didn’t like Wu He’s despicable and arrogant character, they still had to ask and confirm. At a time like this, they trusted Wu He’s decision.
Wu He looked seriously below him and said, “Let’s wait and see. These birds won’t give up that easily. If those birds are still here, that means whatever the Flaming Horns are hiding can’t be a king beast!”
Even if there were delicious temptations, most wild beasts and fearsome beasts wouldn’t get close to a place with a king beast. However, the flock of birds continued to move in a second wave after hesitating for a moment. They were getting ready for a second shot.
“Right! It can’t be a king beast!” the person beside Wu He smiled.
To them, as long as it wasn’t the king beast, it was worth the risk. If it was the king beast, they would immediately escape without any questions. Who cares what the Flaming Horns were hiding? Who cares what treasures are planted in their land? We don’t want any of it. Leave immediately! It was similar to how Wu He dropped his cup and ran away immediately when the king stoneworm first appeared at the trading point. They were making the same decision.
But this was not any king beast. How risky could this be? There was a saying that the Chang Le people took more risks than the number of grains they ate!
The seven of them observed the situation below them as they stopped worrying. They were observing the flock of birds and waiting for the next chance to make a move.
In the thousand-grain gold plantation, the warriors who hesitated when they sensed the sudden change in atmosphere, but very soon, they continued their task after Shao Xuan called them back into reality. No matter how dangerous it was, there definitely wouldn’t be any problems with the Grand Elder here.
After the crisis of the king beast, the Flaming Horns had complete trust in Shao Xuan. Even if something went wrong, they wouldn’t resent or blame him. They all knew that Shao Xuan was thinking for the sake of their tribe.
“Ah Xuan, the birds are flying over again!” Ao aimed his bow and arrow at the sky. There were too many birds in the sky. Even a skilled archer could not face such a huge flock calmly.
“Wait, don’t shoot at them first. Look over there,” Shao Xuan jutted his chin towards the bat leader’s direction. The bat leader was growing mad, but that was just a warning. After all, this was broad daylight. It didn’t like to go out in broad daylight.
Beasts that flew in the sky never liked arrows. It was fine if they shot at them on the other plantations, but they definitely shouldn’t make any careless moves on the thousand-grain gold plantation. After all, the bat leader could fly out any time. And if someone accidentally shot at it and provoked it, the tribe wouldn’t be able to successfully finish collecting their harvest in time.
After some thought, Ao set down his bow and paid close attention to where the bat leader was. Both him and Shao Xuan did not participate in the harvest. They were both looking at the bat leader. No one knew what the bat leader was planning. If something happened, they would be the first ones to take action. In a time of danger, they were the ones expected to face it. They were stronger after all.
A bloody stench spread through the air and was growing thicker. If they weren’t surrounded by grains, the people there might even think that they’re on a battlefield.
Some warriors trembled in fear as they cut with their blades. It wasn’t because they were timid. It was a natural reaction of anxiety to the strong energy. They were already quite impressive. They could even continue harvesting normally under such a threatening vibe.
The birds slowed down as they approached the land. Some of the birds retreated while others hesitated. Some bolder birds dared to get closer and flew straight into the land of golden grains.
Even though the birds were already so close to the thousand-grain gold plantations, they didn’t fly down immediately. However, they were such a huge flock that they covered the entire sky, blocking out the sunlight.
As the birds in the centre finally decided to fly down, the birds all around also widened their wings and prepared to fly in.
A black shadow flew out from within the shadows. It brushed across the golden grains and flew upwards. As it soared upward, it released a silent and invisible wave of energy.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The birds that were closest to it exploded into a bloody shower. They didn’t even have the time to give one last cry.
As the figure flew towards the most concentrated part of the flock, a bloody mist rained from the sky as sounds of explosions went off.
The flock of birds that initially blocked out the sun was replaced with a layer of bloody mist that was slowly spreading. It rained down on the plantation under it.
If the strong energy from before was enough to terrify people with an imaginary bloody stench, it was actually coming true now. The stench of blood was everywhere.
Everyone present, including the people who were harvesting, the people on the thousand-grain gold plantation or other farms nearby, the Drumming tribe members who came to help, and the warriors on the whistle tower, all of them witnessed the terrifying scene.
The bat leader’s attack was targeted at those birds, but everyone who was harvesting also felt the impact. They had to stop whatever they were doing and cover their ears. It was like their brains were tortured by a thousand needles. The people who were farther away were luckier. Those closest to the thousand-grain gold plantation were the ones who suffered the most, but they were also the strongest amongst all of them. As long as the bat leader’s attack was not targeted at them, they could still withstand it. It just didn’t feel too good, that’s all.
Ao held his bow tightly in his hands and looked up. He didn’t care about the bloody mist that was raining down. Instead, he was directly watching the battle in the sky. No, it wasn’t a battle. It was a one-sided murder. Between a flock of birds that came here tempted by the food and a half-king beast that was provoked, it was clear who was stronger.
There were some heavy grains above Shao Xuan’s head. The bloody mist that was falling from the sky covered all the grains with a red coating.
Shao Xuan picked out a seed from the grain. He wiped away the blood from the seed. The golden colour of the husk covering the seed. The golden husk of the thousand-grain gold glittered with a brilliance that was brighter than before.
Shao Xuan thought about back all the fertiliser needed to plant and nourish the thousand-grain gold plants and looked again at the golden seed in his hand.
Perhaps this was just the way it was. Maybe the thousand-grain gold always had a bloody stench as it ripened. This was the birth of a golden light amidst the bloody stench.
The loud explosions finally silenced in the sky, but the bat leader didn’t stop chasing after the birds. It continued to kill them, but now it was using its claws and fangs.
After the bloody mist fell, scraps of dead birds also fell from the sky. Some of these carcasses were so dry that not even a drop of blood came out. Some of these birds died with an incomplete corpse, so it was obvious how brutal the killing was in the sky.
The flock of birds were all shocked. They screamed as they departed from all directions.
Of course, there were still other birds that were out of their minds and recklessly bold. They went after the thousand-gold grains as the bat leader went to kill the other birds. They thought they could get to their target, but too bad the Flaming Horns were already guarding there.
They continued to harvest. Everyone was busy, both in the sky and on the ground. Meanwhile, Wu He and his group who went into hiding when they saw the bat leader’s attack also saw the opportunity. The Flaming Horns and the scary bat weren’t looking at them!
“Hurry! There are still some grains left, let’s go get some!”