That night, amidst the forest, a few people were waiting for the perfect chance to steal. Before, the Lu tribesmen could hear many birds chirping at night, but since there were fewer birds in the forest now, they rarely heard bird cries from the forest. The night became more serene because of this.
This night was the most silent night.
Before, they would occasionally hear some strange shrieks or laughter from the forest, but all of these sounds had disappeared. The Lu tribesmen knew that it was either because these people had all left or hid because the Flaming Horns were here. They were silently observing from a distance. There was no way they would give up on robbing an easy target.
Amidst the woods, a few people hid behind trees as they looked in the Lu tribe’s direction.
“What do you guys think? Should we go and get another one of those birds from the animal pen? I’m a little hungry,” someone said in a whisper.
During their previous travels, they didn’t have many choices and ate whatever they could find, as long as they didn’t starve to death. They didn’t care much about food because treasures and other goods were what mattered most to them. However, since they arrived in this region, their appetite had grown and the usual food wasn’t enough to satisfy their desires.
The others all pictured the delicious roasted fleshy meat of the Lu tribe’s birds in their minds when they heard this question. Their mouths were salivating and suddenly the night breeze became tainted with an imaginary smell of roasted meat.
“Well, should we go take a look?”
The others turned to look at the Lu tribe’s animal pen. Suddenly, they froze and their brows tensed as they looked to one direction.
They weren’t wearing much either. Most of their limbs were exposed, and the hairs on their skin stood upright in the night. This wasn’t because they were afraid. Rather, these people had a special ability and could sense other people around them with their hairs. These hairs were like feelers that allowed them to detect any unusual activity in the air and anyone who was approaching.
Now, they could sense someone nearby.
Not long after, they heard the sounds of gentle footsteps approach. This person did not belong to their team. These footsteps were not familiar, and every step was so perfectly paced that it seemed abnormal and inhuman.
How could this person be so carefree and walk like this in the night? Even if they had better night vision than ordinary people, they were still vigilant at night, but this person seemed like he didn’t care much and walked comfortably in a well-paced manner.
What was his motive for suddenly appearing here?
Very soon, they saw a figure walk out slowly from the forest. Besides the frictional sound made by his feet’s contact with the ground, there were no other sounds. They couldn’t even hear a single breath from this person. It was as if he wasn’t alive at all.
This person didn’t wear much either, and he was bald. They didn’t know who he was.
A branch was shot out from behind a tree like an arrow and landed right at this person’s foot. This was a signal to tell him not to go any further.
Gan Qie looked down at the branch. He lifted his head and scanned the trees around him. He couldn’t see anyone, but he knew that there were people hiding behind those trees.
“I have a question,” Gan Qie asked in a calm and unhurried voice.
There were no sounds nearby. He could only hear the sound of a bug crawling on a tree nearby.
Gan Qie continued, “Are you guys a newly formed group of people who left your original tribe?” He could sense that the blood that was flowing in their veins were similar.
The people who were hiding initially thought that this was another person who was targeting the Lu tribe and wanted to join forces with them. They were stunned by such an unusual question. ‘Is this person dumb?’ they thought.
As Gan Qie waited for an answer, a figure suddenly jumped out from behind a tree closest to him. This person had an extremely curved sabre that resembled a half circle and the blade was polished with a black coating that made it opaque to light. He was so skilled in using this blade and moved with such rapid motions that most people would find it hard to predict where he was aiming. The blade whistled through the air as the person launched an attack.
Gan Qie knew that this person was aiming at his neck and was ready to slash downwards.
Many people would aim for vital areas of the body like the heart and the carotid artery because regardless of how strong their enemy was, these injuries were fatal and most would die immediately after the blow.
Gan Qie was at first too lazy to dodge the attack because he knew that nothing would happen even if his artery was cut. There was no blood flowing through his body, so he wasn’t afraid, but he recalled Shao Xuan telling him to watch out for his head and suddenly hesitated. He looked down at the blade that was approaching his neck. What if this person was strong enough and cut his head off?
Everything happened in an instant. To his opponent, Gan Qie had only hesitated for a split second.
Gan Qie swiftly dodged the blade and didn’t even show any fear as the blade rubbed across his neck. He jerked his shoulder and bumped right into his opponent.
Gan Qie’s body was a lot tougher than the Flaming Horns and his bones were even harder than the Flaming Horn’s senior totemic warriors. The person who attacked him didn’t seem weak either. If Gan Qie and this person were to stand side by side, this person might even seem bulkier than Gan Qie, but when Gan Qie bumped into him, bones cracked and this person immediately flew backwards, crashing right into a tree. The tree trembled and leaves fell.
It was a short combat. The blade did not hurt Gan Qie, but there was already one attacker down.
All the others who were hiding behind the trees were shocked. They immediately jumped down and surrounded Gan Qie with their weapons.
They could tell that Gan Qie was strong and knew they had to work together to defeat him. They never considered the possibility of failure because most totemic warriors could not win against a group attack.
Sharp claw-like structures clicked and sharp metallic weapons appeared on their hands. Their fingers suddenly became sharp spinning blades as they launched their attacks at Gan Qie. The air hissed as they approached their enemy and it sounded like a deadly snake was hunting in the dark.
Some of them held odd-looking blades.
There were five of them, and each attacked Gan Qie with the weapon each was most familiar with.
Suddenly, the sounds of punches and kicks filled the night as metallic weapons clinked. Bones were broken and a cry of terror spread through the forest. All of these horrifying sounds mixed together sounded like ghosts crying or wolves howling. That part of the forest was all shaking.
This sound reached the Lu tribe, and all of the beasts in the animal pens began to grow restless.
“What happened?” a Lu tribe’s guard looked nervously in the direction the sound came from.
“No one went out tonight, right?”
“Nope, we don’t usually go out at night. The Flaming Horns probably didn’t go out either.”
“Alright then. Let’s head back to our posts and stay alert,” the leader of this group said.
Even though this was what they decided on, the soldiers still looked over in that direction from time to time. They couldn’t help but think about what had happened over there. Did some people have a fight in the forest? Or did some new foreigners just arrive?
Ever since these thefts began to occur, the Lu tribesmen constantly felt pressured by everything around them. Any small movements nearby would worry them for a long time.
As those guards wondered about what happened, three figures dashed out from the shadows and headed for the animal pens where the dumb birds were. The clouds drifted in the sky and covered the moon, hiding the three figures in the shadows.
Even though these people were also curious about what happened on the other side of the forest, they saw a perfect opportunity to take action.
Since the noise on the other side distracted these guards, it was the perfect moment for them to invade the dumb birds’ animal pens.
These people had been stealing from the Lu tribe every day for a long while now. They took turns coming out to steal. On this very night, these three were in charge of this duty. Even if the Flaming Horns were here today and they knew clearly that security would be much tighter than usual, they still couldn’t suppress their greed for the food.
They were living the best lives, and they really didn’t care whether the Lu tribe’s fire seed disappeared. They were just used to stealing from the Lu tribe’s animal pens whenever they became hungry. All they needed to do was bait the birds with fruits, hunt them, and then eat their delicious roasted meat.
Initially, these thieves were more vigilant. Back then, they even made sure no one saw them and tried to be as discreet as they could when they stole. At first, they even avoided any Lu tribesmen who came out to chase after them, but after noticing that more people were targeting the Lu tribe, they lowered their guard. The Lu tribe no longer chased after them. They would only remain in their tribe and watch over their animal pens because coming out to chase them would mean risking their own lives.
That was why they got braver and began to push the boundaries. Sometimes they even dared to laugh loudly in the forest during their meal and throw the bones and remains of the dumb birds back into the Lu tribe’s grounds after they finished eating. After throwing their garbage, they would even mock them. This made the Lu tribesmen very pissed.
Since the Lu tribesmen were not bold enough to even step out of their own territory, these thieves had no reason to fear them.
As for this day, even though more guards had come to help, they didn’t care and still came over to steal. They were too hungry.
They were just testing the waters. It’ll probably be okay, they thought.
They entered the animal pen when the guards looked away. They looked around before finally taking the route they were most familiar with into the fenced land.
“I knew it. They were just trying to scare us. Nothing changed.”
One of them laughed silently as he caught an aromatic fruit his companion threw to him. He tied the fruit with a rope and made a few cuts on it to let the scent of the fruit spread far and wide.
The wind carried this scent to a bird nest nearby. They could see this nest from the tree on which they hid. There was only one bird in that nest, and the other birds stayed far away from this one.
They were very cautious. They knew that they couldn’t attract too many dumb birds at once or else the guards would notice. The Lu tribesmen caught them a couple times before because too many birds were attracted by their fruit. When the guards noticed them, they ran as fast as they could and barely managed to escape.
Since then, they became cleverer and went for the birds that were closer to the edges. They made sure to target birds that were alone in their own nests.
The person with the fruit slowly approached the fence and skillfully threw the fruit towards the figure in the dark.
The fruit flew across the air with a curve, landed ten meters away and rolled near the bird nest. It wasn’t loud because the ground was all grass and the fruit was rather soft.
Even though dumb birds were dumb, they had a keen sense of smell. These thieves were already skilled and experienced enough to know how far the fruit had to land. With a single throw, the fruit landed perfectly on the spot they intended for it to land.
Tap, tap, tap.
This was the sound of the bird getting to its feet.
The thieves waited excitedly.
Many times when they stole, they tried to stay away from flocks because the smell of the fruit would attract more than three birds and they had to put in more effort to catch all of them. However, only one bird was attracted by the smell this time and no other birds noticed the fruit. Nice! It saved them from all that trouble.
Judging by the sound, this seemed like a large bird. These thieves waited with excitement.
He waited behind the fence and judged the bird by the sounds because he couldn’t see clearly what was inside.
There was no one else around. The guards had not noticed and the bird had already stopped in front of the fruit they threw.
The person who was holding the rope felt a jerk on the rope. He knew that the bird was already eating it. He immediately began to pull on the rope. This skill might seem simple, but it required a lot of practice. Pulling too fast or too slow wouldn’t work. If he pulled too fast, the bird couldn’t catch up to the fruit. If he pulled too slow, the bird might finish eating the fruit and all of their efforts would then be wasted. After thinking about all these, this person felt a little proud of himself.
One of them focused all his attention on pulling the rope and judging the bird’s actions by the tension in the rope and the sounds. The other person started breaking the fence while the third person waited to blow the whistle just in case any Lu guards came.
“Hurry!” the person behind them pressed on.
The two figures beside the fence were also anxious. The Lu guards were already walking in their direction.
He pulled even faster, but stopped once in a while to make sure there was still tension in the rope. The other person had successfully made a hole in the fence. This fence was always broken and the Lu tribe couldn’t fix all of these broken parts in time. Now, most of the wood they used to fix the fence wasn't the best quality, so the gaps became wider. This made it more convenient for these thieves to break. All they needed to do was cut the ropes that were tying the wooden fence together and pull the wood out of the ground. If they couldn’t pull it out, they would saw it. They just had to wipe a special ointment on the saw to muffle the frictional sound.
The tapping sound was getting closer.
“I can tell from the sound that this is a big bird. Hehe,” the person who was sawing the wood smiled and said in a low voice. Actually, wouldn’t it be easier if they had the strength to carry a bird out from within? Well, too bad they didn’t have the strength. It would take too much effort.
The person who pulled the rope didn’t laugh. Somehow he felt that this bird was a little unusual and different from the previous birds.
He craned his neck to look through a hole in the fence. It was indeed a bird. Even though this one was a little different and wasn’t as fat, there shouldn’t be a problem. At least that’s what he thought.
They hadn’t seen any other Flaming Horn teams arrive that day. They only caught a glance of a few members who were walking in the back, so they couldn’t make the connection.
“Quickly!” his companions in the forest continued to press on.
“Okay...It’s almost ready! Prepare the rope…”
The person who was pulling the rope didn’t even get to finish his sentence. Suddenly, a strong force pulled on the rope from the other side and he was pulled forward. His face clashed into a part of the fence that hadn’t been broken. Bang!
“What happened?!” the person who had just finished sawing the wood asked. As soon as he said this, a figure suddenly dashed out as fast as the wind and stepped down on him with its giant feet.
A terrifying cry spread across the fields. All of the dumb birds in the animal pens rushed to the centre and gathered in fright.
After Chacha stepped on this person, he didn’t give the other party time to get up. He had an advantage and he would not let his opponent get back at him. This was the way he hunted in the forest too, or else how did he manage to defeat and kill beasts that were stronger than him?
The night clouds drifted across the sky and the moon was suddenly revealed.
The person who was pulled back by the rope bumped into the fence. As he turned his head, he watched as the bird jumped wildly on his comrade. Under the bright moon, he finally saw a clear view of this bird. A sudden shiver went up his spine.
This was not the same dumb bird they stole before!
This bird was about the same size as the dumb birds, but its claws were much sharper and it was stronger than the dumb birds. Its claws were like sharp hooks and easily clawed off their skin.
“Quick, over here! Someone came to steal the dumb bird again!” the Lu guards rushed over when they heard the commotion.
The people in the forest immediately rushed to rescue his comrades. However, as soon as he ran out of the woods, the giant bird jumped out and kicked one of his comrades into the air. His other comrade was still struggling to get up.
Seeing this, the person who wanted to rescue his comrades immediately halted and turned to escape. The Lu tribesmen were already here. His comrades were already severely injured, so if he brought them along with him, he definitely couldn’t escape from the Lu tribesmen. It’s better if he escaped alone.