Chapter 137 - New Friends
The blade rung loudly again, and the dazzling black shadows swept in the air, like a dragon hovering above the wasteland, creating a rain of blood wherever it passed. The dozen swooping Wind-Chasing Wolves were cut into pieces in a few breaths.
Shi Mu then activated the Great Fire Formula on his blade, and a flame leaped up from it. With his real qi, the flame spread into the surrounding air at a high speed. Other wolves, who were ready to attack, were forced back by the searing heat. However, the fierce gleams in their eyes did not fade, and they stayed completely riveted on Shi Mu.
This respite was a best chance for Shi Mu to find the Alpha wolf, who was concealing itself in the pack. His pupils turned gold, and he cast a quick glance over the ravening beasts. After a second, his right hand gave the blade a powerful jolt, and a flame shot out from it, like lightning, whistling through the wolves. Along its trail, the blaze devoured some ten-odd wolves, leaving the others howling in great pain and fright.
Suddenly, an air-piercing, forlorn howl was heard. The cunning Alpha wolf sensed the incoming danger and was just about to flee when a burning black blade pierced its bosom directly, pinning its body on the land. Blood gushed out profusely, and its body was soon licked by the blazing flames. After a few seconds, there was only dust left on the ground.
The sight of their strong leader dispatched in a single blow terrorized the remaining wolves, and all then fled for their lives in a panic, with their tails down. Shi Mu had no intention of persuing them, and simply strode to where the head wolf was burnt and pulled his blade out, returning it to the sheath. Next, he took out the canteen and, with proficiency, siphoned the wolves' blood into it. This was his most frequently used approach to obtaining "water" in this wasteland.
Shi Mu took some mouthfuls of the blood, and then to a rest. He did not move again until night had fully descended. He hurried on with his journey for a whole night, and, before the sun rose, he stopped by a massive rock that looked like a small hill. He walked around the rock and then found a natural cave, which constituted a desirable place to hide and take a rest in, despite its relatively small size.
He stooped down and got into the cave, then seated himself cross-legged on the ground, and began to practice the Art of the Heavenly Elephant.
It had only been a short time when he heard horses coming from nearby. His eyes sharpened, and his face was filled with alertness. Judging from the hurried hoofs, the riders must be making their way in Shi Mu's direction. He stuck his head out of the cave, and suddenly Feng Li's warning rang in his ears. Hence he grabbed his black blade and jumped unhesitatingly out of the cave.
Once out, he saw clearly that, about sixty meters away, three horses were coming towards this rock at a gallop, two abreast in the front, while the other chasing them from behind. The two front horses carried a male and a female barbarian respectively, whereas the third one looked more a horse-shape monster than a real horse. There was no rider on it, and the monster itself was in hot pursuit of the two barbarians.
Out of curiosity, Shi Mu narrowed his eyes, and was shocked at the monster's appearance when seen closely with his golden eyes. It had an ox's head, a deer's body, a horse's hooves and a lion's tail! What a breath-taking sight! The two barbarian riders were also surprised to see Shi Mu appearing suddenly by the rock, and, by reflex, pulled on their reins. However, the monster behind them seized the chance to launch an attack, giving a loud, eerie bellow!
The two horses in the front were startled, and both knelt down in fright, throwing their two riders to the ground, who rolled about the sandy land near Shi Mu. Before he knew it, a foul wind blew against his face, and, even more astonishingly, the giant creature mysteriously steered its course, hurling itself towards Shi Mu at a breakneck speed. Its two sharp horns stabbing at Shi Mu like a pair of daggers.
A flame shot up, and the black blade instantly threw out thirteen burning shadows at the creature's head. A thought came upon him when the flames were just about to meet the monster. He suddenly recalled that this peculiar monster, a patchwork of four kinds of animals, was named Four Odds, and was a rare evil monster, seen exclusively in the barbarian wastelands. Though they were not that strong of monsters, they were favored by the barbarians as riding animals, due to their remarkable speed.
Shi Mu's eyes sparked with excitement, and, at the last second, he twisted his blade and flung it over his head. The black blade whistled out of his hand and sunk deep into the rock.
The Four Odds, seeing that the imminent danger was lifted, charged forward with renewed confidence, ready to plunge its horns into Shi Mu's heart. But Shi Mu would not let that happen. He gave a loud, earth-shaking shout, and instantly unleashed his real qi, sending it circulating all over his body. Meanwhile, he clutched at the horns with his two big hands, which were as powerful as a pair of tongs. He lowered his waist, squat with his legs apart, and, with all his might, resisted the beast's charge.
A dull thud was heard as Shi Mu felt a great force surging wildly along his arms. Blood rushed to his face. However, his body did not budge in the slightest, like a mighty tree, planted firmly in the ground. The beast neighed bitterly, feeling as if it had slammed against an iron plate, and a hint of fear flashed in its ox eyes. Reluctant to submit, it wriggled fiercely, using all its strength. Tts hooves struggled furiously in the air, while its head swayed tumultuously in an attempt to toss Shi Mu aside, so that it could turn around and flee.
However, its horns ached, sending an overriding force to its head, and, against its will, the beast was hauled over to Shi Mu's side. At the moment, Shi Mu's muscles strained, and the real qi in his body had grown like mountainous waves. Obviously, he had almost reached the limit of his might. If it had not been for his Art of the Strong Ape and the Art of the Heavenly Elephant, which were currently both at the fifth level, he would not have been able to tame this gigantic creature with his strength. It was very likely that he would have already been tossed away by this Four Odds.
[ED: Note: I have no idea when Shi Mu reached the 5th level of the Art of the Strong Ape.]
[TL: In the Rat Nest when he closed himself in Kun room. - -]
Now that the beast was at hand, Shi Mu gave its horn a sudden pull, which made it cry out in great pain and stagger forward two more steps. Shi Mu took the chance to lower his upper body, then he flipped his body over and mounted the beast, his hands still holding the horns firmly. On its back, Shi Mu gripped its abdomen with his two legs.
The Four Odds was filled with extreme terror, and was doing everything it could to throw Shi Mu down from its back. However, Shi Mu sat rooted on it, not turning a hair, and each time the Four Odds attempted to stir, he would give its flank a good kick, making it cry in pain. After a quarter of an hour, the beast finally learned its lesson, and quieted down with submissive and fearful eyes. Whenever Shi Mu pressed it with his feet, it would smartly turn in the designated direction, and a harder press would make it halt.
Shi Mu was immensely satisfied, and relaxed his grip of the horns. He jumped down its back, and was pleased to see the Four Odds timidly following him, without the slightest intention of fleeing.
Just then he found the two young barbarians had already stood up, and were watching him dumbfounded. The young man looked to be fourteen or fifteen, and was half a head shorter than Shi Mu. There were a few black feathers stuck in his hair, and fresh scratches were left on his cheeks. Clearly he had suffered a bad fall. The girl seemed to be a year or two older than the boy, had slightly dark skin, and pleasant features. At her age, she was already about the same height as a normal human adult woman. A cursory glance found the horse behind the barbarian girl, which had fallen near the cave, was whining plaintively, its legs broken.
"How can we thank this brave warrior? Please accept my deepest gratitude!" The young barbarian man bowed low to Shi Mu, gazing at him fervently, his eyes filled with something akin to worship. The barbarian girl also saluted Shi Mu respectfully, clasping her hands.
"Don't mention it!" Shi Mu withdrew his black blade and shook his head, answering courteously.
"My name is Sand Girl, and this is my younger brother, Sand Star. Can I ask this brave warrior for his name? Would you like to honor our humble tribe, the Tribe of Flying Raven? We'll have our Annual Raven God Ceremony soon, and it will be great fun. My father will be very glad to have such an honorable guest like you." The barbarian girl looked at Shi Mu expectantly.
[ED: The TL decided that this form of name was better/more correct... "Hello SAND GIRL. I am DUMB EDITOR!... TANTOR! TANTOR!"]
[TL: Ha? I just translated it this way for you to edit...You can certainly choose a better one! ]
"Exactly! The Raven God Ceremony is very exciting, and is chaired by my father himself." Speaking of his father, the barbarian youth's eyes blazed with pride.
Shi Mu was immensely tempted. According to his knowledge, the barbarian's ceremonies could only be held by the tribe's shaman. His lack of sources of information on the barbarian's totem culture had been bothering him recently, and he would never have believed that the chance would present itself like this. The barbarian brother and sister were, undoubtedly, the children of the tribe's shaman.
"My name is Mu. Thanks very much for your invitation. If I won't be a burden, I'd very much like to see the ceremony of your tribe." Shi Mu gave a friendly smile.
"Really? I'm so delighted! Father will be happy too!" Sand Star burst out with excitement. Sand Girl was also full of smiles, watching Shi Mu with glistening eyes and tilting her head.
"Sister, what are we waiting for? let's go, now!" Sand Star jostled her sister gently.
Sand Girl threw her brother a half-blaming look, and then jumped on her horse. Sand Star also mounted the horse, sitting behind his sister. The girl pulled on the reins and they began to ride towards the northeast.
Shi Mu ascended the Four Odd and gave it a gentle kick at the stomach. The beast got the signal, with its high intelligence, and soon caught up with the horse. Therefore the three of them, with Sand Star and Sand Girl sharing the same horse, rode abreast as they traveled.
"Sand Girl, how come you two were chased by this Four Odd?" Shi Mu asked curiously, trying to make a conversation.
"It's all Sand Star's fault," Sand Girl answered, eyeing her brother with annoyance, "he insisted on my going hunting with him today, claiming that he would catch some rare beasts and offer the meat to the ceremony. And then, what happened? This Four Odd just rushed out from nowhere, and our trap did not catch him, and, on the contrary, actually piqued it's anger, almost costing us out lives." This said, Sand Girl gave Sand Star an angry stare. The youth did not protest, bending his head, crestfallen, which was quite amusing to Shi Mu's eyes.
Since the three of them were roughly the same age, the journey went on in a merry mood, and the three almost already friends when they drew near the tribe's region. A river, which was about three meters wide, came into view after one hour's ride, and around the banks, some one hundred tents made of ox hide were scattered on the grasslands. Cattle and sheep were grazing lethargically. Every now and then, one or two bleats and moos could be heard, adding a sense of tranquility to the peaceful scene.
Suddenly, a flock of ravens appeared flying to the sky above the river. When they neared the tents, the ravens croaked harshly, then, like arrows, shot towards the three of them at alarming speed. By reflex, Shi Mu grabbed ahold of his black blade, but the next scene made him relax. Sand Girl and Sand star had spurred their horses forward to meet the ravens, which were now all hovering around them intimately. Shi Mu was enlightened. These ravens must belong to their father, the shaman of this tribe, and was their totem animal. And their amicable conversation during the journey had informed Shi Mu of the basic conditions of the Flying Raven Tribe. Theirs was only a small tribe, with a population of no more than three or four hundred people. It only had three Totem warriors, among them their father, who was also the shaman.
Translated by http://www.xianxiaworld.net/The-Portal-of-Wonderland/