Mu Yao stared at Shao Xuan in shock, mulling over Shao Xuan’s words. He knew that Shao Xuan and them were on different sides, Flaming Horn Tribes used to be enemies of the King City’s army. Within their team, most of them had participated in the chase directly or indirectly. Even Yi Cong, who was not currently here, was a direct participant.
It would be odd for Shao Xuan to be nice to them! Mu Yao started to grow more and more suspicious.
The Yi people could not stop this tribesman from tracking them, so what was his objective? Just to warn them?
Looking around, they were on a steep slope with many walls perpendicular to the ground. One wrong move and they would tumble down the mountain.
Seeing their cautious glares, Shao Xuan smiled. “I’m not the one you should be wary of.”
Mu Yao did not reply. If not you, then who? I know you want us all dead!
Mu Yao would think this if he were in Shao Xuan’s shoes. That was why he did not let his guard down, merely staring at him even more intensely.
“It’s starting soon,” said Shao Xuan, looking up at the sky.
It was not a scream of hatred, nor was there a murderous look in his eyes. Even his tone was calm. Goosebumps rose all over Mu Yao’s body as he felt a deep panic.
He looked up to see more mist that he could almost touch. Freezing air poured into his lungs and the chill seeped into his bones. This cold came with a sense of alarm, like something terrifying was about to happen!
Chacha had not paid much attention to the people since he arrived, merely looking up. He had gone to Eagle Mountain twice now so there was no need for him to return. However, he was still fond of the place, even feeling a little excited for what was about to happen and cawed.
The sun was actually burning bright that day. If they were in the forest, they would have felt the scorching sunlight. Although it was blocked by clouds and mist here, they still saw bright light behind the clouds.
Gongjia Yue noticed changes in the worms’ behaviours. While he could not see the ones far away, he was still watching the particularly fat worm crawling behind its peers. Other than this one, the rest were difficult to observe with the white snow.
The worms seemed to have stopped crawling. They were changing at a speed observable by the naked eye- their bodies shortened and flattened, those in the snow slowly camouflaging and merging with the snow as one.
Below a protruding rock on the mountain wall, a larva stuck to the wall like a wad of ice and snow. If one did not think about the logic of seeing snow under a rock, the change was quite shocking.
These worms were responding to their natural instincts just like animals that use camouflage to hide from threats in the forest. These worms were the same. They sensed danger.
Although Gongjia Yue was not familiar with insects, he too felt a chill down his spine. There was an inexplicable fear, like his heart was forced up his throat.
The entire mountain range fell into dead silence. Everyone breathed cautiously, only the wind howled.
Suddenly, the mist above curled into spirals as if something was blowing at them.
An eagle’s caw rang across the lands as if it was from beyond this world.
Then, even more eagle caws could be heard, both faraway and nearby at the same time.
They were the cries of giant eagles.
The mist spiralled even faster like they were disturbed by strong gusts of wind. The clouds that initially blocked their view started to dissipate.
More and more cawing approached right above their heads!
Mu Yao and the rest stared up nervously, their eyes widening and their jaws dropping. They were deeply terrified but dared not make a sound.
Large shadows fell on the thick layer of clouds above.
The air currents finally opened up the layer of clouds and mist so rays of golden light pierced through like sharp blades.
However, the rays were blocked once again, this time not by clouds but by gigantic silhouettes.
This eagle was obviously different from the old eagle he saw. All the silhouettes he saw were of recently awakened predators, itching for prey. Mu Yao thought the old eagle was a giant eagle but now he truly knew what ‘giant’ meant. The old eagle was just an average guy in this group.
Legends told that giant beasts roamed the world during prehistoric times. Due to an unknown reason, the giant beasts that roamed the world and pushed humans to the bottom of the food chain suddenly disappeared. In the end, the humans that lived through the cracks of the world welcomed a new era.
Forget about strength- based on their sizes, they were true gigantic beasts!
In the past, he thought the fearsome beasts in the forests were considered giants. Compared to this, they were not worth mentioning.
And there were so many of them here too!
As if mocking Mu Yao’s shock, the giant figure flapped its powerful wings, effortlessly fanning away a large patch of cloud. It was born to be in the sky, looking down on the world!
This was the source of their previously inexplicable fear!
What did that tribesman say? This was a sacred place?
What else? That he was not the one they should be wary of?
His chest tightened. There was only one thought, the eagles must not see us!
He then heard the whooshing of something spinning.
Several shadows flew in an arc, slamming into the mountain they were on and exploded. The rocks did not crack, nor did Mu Yao and the rest endure much harm. They merely got louder and louder.
Bang bang bang bang! Crack! Thud!
The explosions grew louder and louder.
Mu Yao was speechless, ready to kill that Flaming horn!
He looked up to see one smaller eagle penetrate the clouds, scanning the mountain arrogantly and flying towards the source of these sounds. Then, even more eagles broke through the clouds to approach them.
These younger giant eagles were very curious, at a life stage with too much energy to spend. When they heard the sounds, they all flocked over.
Behind them were gradually larger eagles, then some eagles that were just following the crowd.
“Imbecile! Cheater! Shameless!” cursed Mu Yao. The sounds were made by objects Shao Xuan tossed at them. If he wasn’t running for his life and saving his energy for retreat, Mu Yao would have cursed more.
They unsheathed their swords in preparation.
When their blades hit the eagles talons, it made a clanging sound like metal hitting metal. Just as he imagined, these eagles were very different from the old eagle, as if their talons were covered in a layer of premium armour. He would not be able to cut off a toe that easily now, plus Mu Yao and the rest were not currently wielding any particularly impressive weapons either.
When they saw these people using their weapons, the eagles turned aggressive, attacking them with sharp beaks and talons. Some were directly carried off by the eagles, eaten, or thrown off from a height. Their survival depended on their luck.
Shao Xuan watched as these people ran for their lives.
Imbecile? Cheater? Shameless?
Why didn’t you call us that to our faces at King City?
Shao Xuan did not plan to do anything else for the moment. Not every giant eagle was the same as Chacha or the Hui tribe’s eagles. Some eagles hated humans and he did not want to develop any enmity. Despite seeing people escaping the eagles, he continued to stay and hide behind a boulder.
Below, at the foot of the mountain.
“Looks like this is the eagles’ territory,” said Yi Cong, looking up.
“The tribesman is having his revenge.” Yi Qi looked up. Although he could not see clearly as it was too far away and readings did not work, he could guess.
The eagles were too gigantic, the humans too tiny.
“You’d better be careful then. Years ago when they were pursuing the Flaming Horns, you were at the front lines. Tribesmen hold grudges. If Mu Yao could not escape them, you won’t either, “said Yi Qi expressionlessly. There was no schadenfreude or worry, it was just small talk. Compared to his pressing matters, these were trivial.
Yi Cong smiled bitterly. “Whatever that needs to come will come, we cannot escape it.”
This seemed to imply something else too. Yi Qi did not refute, merely sighing. He wanted to make a comment or curse at someone but was not sure what to say. Very soon, his hesitant expression turned resolute and sighed, “It’s true, whatever that needs to come, despite having waited for years, will still come. No one will escape it. If it’s not us, it will be our descendants. Might as well we take the brunt of it first.”
As they spoke, a boulder rolled down the mountain. Someone tumbled off the mountain wall and fell on the ground. He did not have time to check his injuries, merely getting up and running for his life at the foot of the mountain. He yelled, “RUN!”
He still remembered the old eagle he had hurt just now. For his own safety, he must leave. There were too many eagles here, if the previous old eagle brought reinforcements, what would he do? Await death?
They now knew where to find the larvae. Even if their mission failed this time, they could come again. As long as they were alive, they could try again.
Shao Xuan did not tell Mu Yao that although it was a sacred place, not every eagle’s nest was here. The eagles that entered Eagle Mountain will take a long time before showing up again, maybe not ever.
When Mu Yao passed Yi Qi and Yi Cong, he noticed they were not moving and yelled, “Are you both insane? Aren’t you running?”
“You all go ahead, we’re not going,” said Yi Cong.
Mu Yao halted and looked at Yi Cong in disbelief. “What?!”
“We’ll stay for the moment, we’re not going,” said Yi Cong calmly.
Mu Yao both thought he had heard wrong and wanted to crack his head open to check if he had poop for brains!
He turned to Yi Qi, “You’re staying too?!” Yi Cong said ‘we’.
“Mm.” Yi Qi did not plan to chat. Flinging his sleeve, he turned to return to where he sat. Mu Yao almost wanted to kill them with his sword.
The Yi people were all mad!
Fine! I’m not going to stay here, waiting for death!
“Retreat!” yelled Mu Yao, bringing anyone who could still run with him. They came with five hundred but left with less than a tenth. Some of them had remained at the foot of the mountain- most who went up the mountain had died. Even Mu Yao was almost carried away by a giant eagle. During the last moment, he had shoved Gongjia Yue between himself and the talons, saving himself. At that moment, titles, weapons and everything else were unimportant. Only survival.
In the air, there were many eagles pacing in the area in search of hidden humans. Yi Cong and Yi Qi hiding in the forest were relieved to find that the eagles did not like eating on the ground, preferring to catch prey on the mountain.
Yi Cong and Yi Qi’s slaves all turned pale listening to the screams of agony, their muscles tensing up. Every rustle in the leaves was enough to make them sweat.
In contrast, Yi Cong and Yi Qi were very calm, as if they could not hear the sounds of people thrown on the ground from a height, or their screams for help. They looked at the trays in their hands, nothing could distract them. They focused on their trays until everything slowly quietened down, the eagles’ caws fading away and the people growing silent.
The sound of disturbed grass. Someone was walking towards them.
Yi Cong and Yi Qi looked up from their trays, their eyes scanning across the person, his animal hide armour and uniquely coloured knife. “Shao Xuan of Flaming Horn?”
The blade glinted coldly, enough to intimidate their slaves and step forward to protect their masters, eyeing Shao Xuan cautiously.
“You were one of the people who pursued the Flaming Horns during our migration, weren’t you?” Shao Xuan looked at Yi Cong. Although it was a question, it sounded like he knew the answer.
Yi Cong took a deep breath, then pushed the two slaves blocking in front of him apart. “Give me three days. After three days, do with me as you please.”