Chapter 143 - The revenge
When Sand Sun heard Shi Mu's words, he looked at him with astonishment, his mouth ajar. All the people around them were also stupefied. It was clear that Sand Sun's time was coming, and they all hoped that his last few minutes could be left to his daughter and son.
"Just a few minutes, I need to ask him several important things." Shi Mu insisted, his expression hard and stern.
The tribesmen exchanged looks, as if trying to make a decision. At last, they all cast their eyes to Sand Girl - after all, she had the final say.
"Well, please be quick, Brother Mu." Sand Girl stared into Shi Mu's eyes beseechingly, then turned to look at her wretched father softly. Color was quickly receding from her face. Once making up her mind, the soft yet strong girl turned abruptly aside and stepped away with long, firm strides, pulling Sand Star with her.
Seeing this, what could all the other tribesmen say? They silently followed after their young masters.
In a minute, Shi Mu and Sand Sun were by themselves.
Shi Mu sighed, kneeled down near Sand Sun, and spoke with a6 hushed voice, "Shaman, I have checked the footsteps outside the camp. It seems that the attackers came with less people than they returned with. Besides, though I had not conducted a thorough examination, I do find that there are few very bodies of women and children here. They must have been captured by the Heavenly Wolf Tribesmen."
Sand Sun trembled as he heard his words, and a painful expression flitted across his face.
"You have sharp eyes, brave warrior Mu. It is my fault. I failed in protecting my people, and left them in the hands of the Heavenly Wolf Tribe."
Sand Sun was in an agitated state, once again recalling his outrage. Soon his breaths became short and violent.
Shi Mu quickly reached out and pressed his palm against Sand Sun's head. Pure real qi flowed into his body and his breath grew smooth.
Sand Sun raised his eyes to study Shi Mu, his chest rising and falling, surprise in his eyes.
"They left here half a day ago, with the children and women. There are no ruts on the ground so your people must have been taken away on foot. If I set off right now, it is still possible for me to catch up with them."
Shi Mu took his palm back, then he went on ,"I have received very kind treatment from your honored tribe these past few days. I truly love your people, but, regretfully, I had nothing to repay you, so now, please, let me go get your people back."
For a moment, Sand Sun was speechless, his face confounded, and gratitude had made the muscles on it freeze. His mouth was half open, not knowing what to say.
"I can make a rough conjecture that there are more than a hundred people in the Heavenly Wolf's troop, judging from the footsteps. But I do not know how many Totem warriors they have or how strong they are. If I go without knowing my enemies, it will be hard for me to succeed. Please tell me what you know." Shi Mu said slowly.
"I appreciate your kindness, but must still decline the offer, " said San Sun with a deep sigh. " They are large in number, so, just like I do not want my own daughter to court death, by the same token, I will not get you involved.." Sand Sun looked deeply into Shi Mu's eyes, shaking his head disapprovingly.
"I am clear on my strength, and I do not fear death. Rest assured, I will deal with it. Shaman, I know you can't bear to see your people suffer at the hands of these Belligerent Barbarians." Shi Mu persuaded with a cheerful smile.
"Now that you insist, I will not be polite to you any more. Thanks for your help. We of the Flying Raven Tribe will remember it forever." Sand Sun looked at Shi Mu, with much gratitude in his eyes.
"You do not have to say that. Well, just tell me about the enemies, in detail.
Then Shi Mu listened with a serious expression.
After a while, he stood up, motioning for Sand Girl, who was standing off in the distance, to come to them.
Sand Girl and the others scooted up to Sand Sun's side, only to find his father lying with a ghastly pale face. Not a single hint of blood was there.
"Daddy!" Sand Girl threw her body upon her father, calling out the intimate form of address to her father, as if time had flowed back to when she was still that little girl, capering around her young and sturdy father. However, the harsh reality is this middle-aged man was already in Death's hands.
"My girl, take care of yourself and your little brother and....." Sand Sun panted for breath, lifting one arm to touch his beloved daughter's beautiful face. However, his arm stopped on its way up, and he finally breathed his last breath.
Sand Girl burst into tears,along with Sand Star, whose eyes had already been blinded by scalding tears. Though the other young tribesmen fought back their tears, some still sobbed quietly in the last rays of the sun.
At this moment, only Shi Mu turned back silently, leaving the camp without disturbing them.
He touched the Air Piercing Bow on his waist, then he stopped in front of the Four Odds, which was standing just outside the ruins of the camp. Then he recalled the words Sand Sun had just spoken to him, and his eyes narrowed. He quickly mounted the Four Odds, his face covered with a serious expression. He was ready to track the footsteps on the ground.
"Brother Mu!" A frail figure rushed out from the camp. It was Sand Girl.
Shi Mu frowned, and pulled on the reins of the Four Odds.
"Are you going to chase the soldiers of the Heavenly Wolf to save our women and children?" Sand Girl looked at Shi Mu apprehensively and asked.
Shi Mu kept his stern expression and, after a short silence, he turned and looked out into the distance, answering in a low voice, "It will be tough, and there is a good chance I will fail, but I refuse to live with the regret of not trying."
Sand Sun's wet eyes glistened beautifully in the glow of the sun. She clenched her teeth and prepared to say something.
"You are not strong as warriors, and I will have no chance if all of you come with me." Su Mu precluded her from saying more, then changed into a gentler tone. He looked over and gave her a small smile, "Bury Sand Sun and the others. Wait for me for two days. I will come back to you, no matter if I make it or not." Shi Mu retrieved his eyes from the distressed girl and turned around. He knew that he would not be the right person to console her, and this - fighting to bring back her sole tribesmen - would be the best way instead.
He pulled the reins and the Four Odd neighed, running forward with its four hooves galloping. Soon they disappeared into the horizon.
Sand Girl stood frozen as she watched Shi Mu's receding figure under the setting sun, tears streaming down her face.
Around two miles away from the Flying Raven Tribe, lied a rolling chain of hills. Currently, a troop of approximately two hundred soldiers were marching forward triumphantly. At the front were twenty-odd wolf riders, followed by a hundred or so ordinary barbarian soldiers. At the rear of this troop were roughly a hundred captives of the Flying Raven Tribe - all were women and children, their hands were bound by ropes. There were also some domestic animals and fowl.
The girls and children were strung with a grass rope, and their tear-streaked faces were still covered with extreme fear and panic. But right now they bit their lips, without making a sound. Heads down, they inched their way forward. The animals, however, were carrying a great deal of grains and wines.
Since women and children could not walk as far as those male barbarians, and they were also carrying loads of plunder on the animals' backs, the entire troop moved at a relaxed pace as it returned home.
At the forefront, Fei Du was riding on a giant wolf, and he was in quite a good mood. This time he had wiped out the Flying Raven Tribe in one fell swoop. Though he had lost some of his men, the grains and women would definitely make up for it. Their tribe's leader would probably grin from ear to ear when he saw what they brought back.
If there was still one thing that bothered him, it would be that he didn't have Sand Girl. He failed to bring the pussy back to his young master.
"Master Fei is extraordinarily brave and strong. This is the fifth small tribe we wiped out in the last six months!"
"Who else but Master Fei could accomplish this heroic feat?!"
"The leader has promised Master Fei the position of Great Commander before. In my eyes, this will soon come true!"
The wolf riders by Fei Du all seized the chance to heap praises on him.
"Hehe, these small tribes are easy for me to take care of! " Fei Du burst into supercilious laughter. Though he was clear that these men were only licking his boots at this point, his boots, indeed, "felt polished", so why not?
"Master Fei, your humble servant has a question that's baffling him. I heard that on the frontlines, our war with the humans has relaxed. Why does our leader still ask us to gather provisions for the army?" A totem warrior that had been broodily silent suddenly broke the joyful atmosphere.
Fei Du shot him a reproachful glance, his eyes cold enough to freeze water. The latter shrank back in guilt, and shut his mouth.
Though this was an inappropriate question at this juncture, Fei Du, himself, had also held doubts about this issue. But the order came from the Leader of the Heavenly Wolf Tribe himself, so he could only keep his lips sealed. On the other hand, small tribes counted for nothing in his heart, and murder and bloodshed were his favorite activities, by the loot was generally good.
Just then, a commotion was heard from the rear of the troop, where the captives were.
"Go and see what happened." Fei Du's face dropped.
A burly wolf rider soon answered and rode to the end of the file.
It turned out that, after half a day's travel, the Flying Raven's women and children were pale and limp. Their bodies were covered with dust and mud. Those haggard faces desired water. Some of them had blisters on their faces, and some younger children had fallen down onto the scorching hot sand.
"What's the matter?" The burly rider yelled.
"Master, we have journeyed a whole night, and it seems that these women and children cannot carry on." A barbarian foot soldier soon stepped forward to answer the rider.
"Can't carry on?" The burly rider sneered, his sharp eyes flashed. He flicked his wrist and a black shadow fell on a young girl's body. The girl's blouse was slashed around her shoulder, and blood started flowing from there.
The girl shrieked in extreme terror, and failed in maintaining her steadiness, collapsing onto the ground. Her body was shivering with pain and fear.
This satisfied the burly rider a lot. His brother was killed in the battle with the Flying Ravens, so that fire of hatred would never be put out, no matter how many captives he killed - though he had already stabbed twenty women to death.Did it really matter? These women had already fallen into their hands, and would be either servants in their camp or goods to sell to other tribes. What did it matter if he killed a few of them?
His arm raised excitedly again, and was about to swing down.
Just then, a black beam flashed and blinded every one's eyes, and something like a bolt of lightning pierced the burly barbarian's throat.
The man felt as if he had just been hit by a boulder. His body was quickly thrown backward into the air by a giant force. Next, his overweight body hit the ground and plunged into a pit. He struggled with his hands at his throat, his eyes popping out, and his face full of doubts. He murmured something rather unclear.
By now, the people surrounding him clearly saw a black long arrow had nailed him into the ground, it's feathers swinging in the wind, outside his neck. The rest of the arrow had sunk into his flesh and then into the land,
Blood gushed out from his throat, and life quickly left his terrified eyes.