Chapter 86: Their Homes They were Reluctant to Leave Behind
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
"Su Ming, you..." the elder blurted out, yet when he saw the bloodshot look in Su Ming's eyes, the fatigue evident on his body, and his silent persistence, he could not continue speaking, because he could also feel the grave consequences Su Ming had paid for his persistence.
In his eyes, Su Ming was now like a notched arrow, ready to be shot. That arrow let out a shocking, sharp presence. No one could stop him until he tasted blood!
"Elder... I'm back," Su Ming whispered softly, just like he always did when he came back from the outskirts.
The elder looked at Su Ming, and in his eyes, there was happiness, reluctance, hesitation, and a complicated look that Su Ming could not identify.
"You want to fight for the tribe?" the elder asked quietly after a long while.
Su Ming nodded his head.
"Even if you may face death, are you still willing to?" the elder asked again after a moment of silence.
"Everyone has to die eventually, and if I die protecting my own home, I will die without regrets!" Su Ming voiced his thoughts in a calm voice.
"Good. Su Ming, I won't stop you. Since this is your decision, then I will give you a chance to fight for the tribe!" The elder closed his eyes as if he was hesitating. After a moment, he opened them abruptly, and there was a resolute look in his eyes.
He knew within his heart that he could not stop Su Ming anymore. If he did, then who knew what sort of insane act this child would pull once again? When he saw the grave injuries on Su Ming's body, the elder's heart clenched painfully, but he also felt gratified.
At that moment, the tribe members gathered in the square suddenly fell silent. Their gazes fell upon the people walking into the tribe.
The tribe leader was walking in front, and behind him were the Head of the Guards and Shan Hen. Bei Ling and the other powerful Berserkers in the sixth or seventh level of the Blood Solidification Realm walked back with tired looks, fresh blood staining their bodies.
When they left, their numbers had been greater, yet now, their numbers were reduced. Many of them also received injuries on their bodies. Bei Ling's face was especially pale, and there was a huge amount of blood flowing out from his chest.
Everyone held decapitated heads that were no longer bleeding in their hands. Their return sparked the tribe members' spirits, and they cheered. They quickly spread out, allowing these people to walk straight towards the elder.
Bei Ling saw Su Ming, but his usual aloof and indifferent look was gone. He remained silent instead and followed behind his father. His jealousy was nothing compared to the survival of his tribe.
If the tribe was gone, if his tribe members were dead, then what was there to be jealous about..?
The group of people walked towards the elder, and the tribe leader of Dark Mountain Tribe spoke as he threw the two heads in his hands aside, "Elder, the scouts from Black Mountain Tribe have all been chased down and murdered. It... should be safe outside now. We can start migrating!" His words reeked of blood.
The other people behind him also threw the heads in their hands aside. Murderous intent emanated from their bodies in the silence.
Su Ming stood beside the elder and looked at the tribe leader and the others without a sound. He saw the fatigue on their bodies, the sorrow hidden underneath their killing intent, and their thirst for blood.
It was not hard for him to imagine the tribe being ambushed for the first time by Black Mountain Tribe when they were getting ready to move. The battle must have been very difficult and grievous, causing the tribe to be unable to move. When the first battle ended, under the orders of the elder, these people were sent to kill all the scouts from Black Mountain Tribe. Only then could they safely migrate.
After all, most of the members of the tribe were normal people, and there were quite a number of women and children as well. They had to protect them, because they were the hope and future of the tribe.
The elder nodded his head and swept his gaze across all the members of the tribe. At that moment, no matter were they men or women, young or old, they were looking at him. Within their eyes were reliance and hope.
"Fellow members..." the elder said softly. His voice carried through the area and fell into the ears of the members of the tribe.
"We don't want to leave our homes... We don't want to leave this land, where we and our ancestors have lived for generations. We don't want to become dependent on Wind Stream Tribe... But for Dark Mountain Tribe to survive, we... must do so!
"We have to live, and we will live!
"We will tell our descendants, and we must tell ourselves that someday, we can still return to this place. We can still create our own home. On that day... we will return the humiliation we felt this day several fold back unto Black Mountain Tribe!
"I have the confidence, do you have it?" the elder shouted out loudly.
At that moment, all the tribe members let out long supressed amidst their sadness roars. Their howls shook the heavens. Perhaps the numbers in Dark Mountain Tribe were not big, but that roar was the strongest cry they had ever let out from within the depths of their soul.
"Someday... Dark Mountain Tribe will return... but now, we will migrate!" The elder closed his eyes. He did not want anyone seeing the sadness within his eyes. He swung his arm, and immediately all the tribe members in Dark Mountain Tribe who had gathered together supported each other and slowly moved under the protection of the Berserkers within the tribe. They left behind the land on which they had stayed for generations and migrated towards the unknown land located in the distance.
The long line of people slowly left the tribe behind their backs. There was still wisps of smoke coming out from Dark Mountain Tribe. The ruins of their tribe exuded an air of desolation and sadness.
Weeping sounds came from among the crowd. They belonged to the La Sus who had yet to grow up, women who were frightened, and all the members of Dark Mountain Tribe.
The men in the tribe protected their families and held onto their bewildered children. As they wept, they silently walked forward. Some of the older La Sus held onto their parents' hands in fear and looked backwards, crying.
They looked at the once familiar sight behind them, as if they wanted to carve that sight deep into the depths of their memories and turn it into an eternal memory. They were afraid they would forget, that they would forget the road back to their homes.
Every single one of them could not help but turn back and look at the tribe they were leaving behind and at their home of the past...
There was a wizened old man in the crowd. He was Nan Song. His face was calm, as if he had seen through everything that life could throw in his face. At that moment, he only had a simple bag slung across his back. He walked silently and unassumingly in the crowd.
It was noon. The sun was not strong. The snow on the ground gave off a silver light that pierced their eyes, but no matter how strong that light was, it still could not stop them from looking back frequently and from experiencing the sadness as they left.
Their home was getting farther and farther away. The outline of the tribe gradually became fainter. The tribesmen could now only see the faint wisps of black smoke rising into the air and the broken state of the tribe. Yet the times when the tribe was still beautiful were carved into their hearts. They... would not forget. They could not find it within themselves to forget.
Su Ming turned around. Every single detail about the tribe was also ingrained into his memories. The tribe contained his childhood, all the happy moments in his life, and his growth. He was familiar with every part of the tribe. He could not forget every single plot of land within the tribe. Everything within the tribe... would remain forever in his head.
Unless they absolutely needed to, no one would want to leave their homes. No one would be willing to leave behind their familiar homes and travel to the unfamiliar Wind Stream to be subjected to the fate of becoming an affiliated tribe.
Yet, this was the only way. It was the only way for Dark Mountain Tribe to not perish and continue their line. The path to Wind Stream was long, very long. The road was uneven, but they... had to continue walking down that path.
The danger was not resolved. It was just the opposite. The true danger had just begun. They had the tribe protecting them previously, hence Dark Mountain Tribe was able to defend against Black Mountain Tribe's first wave of attack. Yet during the process of migration, the crowd was forced to travel in a long line. Most of the people were normal tribe members. They had no way of defending themselves against Berserkers.
This process of migration was bound to not be peaceful...
Once Dark Mountain Tribe was defeated, what awaited them would be the death of all their Berserkers. The men would all be massacred, including the male infants and the La Sus. As long as they were men, they would all die... The only ones who would survive were the women from Dark Mountain Tribe. They would be brought back to Black Mountain Tribe and become akin to objects. Their only use would be to give birth to Black Mountain Tribe's offspring and strengthen Black Mountain Tribe. They would have to live the rest of their days in humiliation.
It was impossible to be fast when hundreds of people needed to migrate in one go. It was especially so since there was a large number of La Sus and women in the crowd. Amidst the cold brought by winter, the sounds of their weeping gradually lessened, and silence replaced all sounds.
They did not know where their future would lie. Perhaps Wind Stream was the only place they could go... Yet no one knew whether they would be able to make it alive to Wind Stream Tribe...
They did not know how many of them would die, and how many of them would never be able to see their families again after this journey...
There were quite a number of youngsters within the crowd that did not possess a Berserker Body. In the past, they rarely contributed to the tribe, and they spent most of their time playing and fooling around. Yet because they were the family members of Berserkers who died in battle, no one would be bothered by their actions as long as they did not step out of bounds.
Now, these dozens of youngsters looked around fearfully in the crowd, hoping and wishing desperately that they could reach Wind Stream in an instant.
Surrounding the long trail of people were the Berserkers from Dark Mountain Tribe. They quietly protected their tribe members with persistence even though they were tired. Sometimes they would go up and help the weak elderly folk. Walking right in front of the people was the tribe leader of Dark Mountain Tribe. His face was firm as he treaded cautiously forward. There were a few Berserkers behind him, and they all remained alert of their surroundings.
It was the same by the flanks and the back of the crowd. The elder walked at the back. In his hands, he held the white bone cane and walked forward solemn and vigilant. Bei Ling held Chen Xin's hand as they moved silently on the right flank. His face was pale and the blood staining his chest had increased, but he did not mind.
Lei Chen, Wu La, and the other Berserker in the tribe were all surrounding their tribe members as they kept watch.
The responsibilities for the Head of the Guards and Shan Hen were great as they guarded both sides of the flank and silently followed along. The Head of the Guards held a bow in his right hand. If there was any hint of movement, then he would draw his bow and shoot that very moment! Behind him, there was an old man who would occasionally look at the Head of the Guards calmly.
Su Ming recognised that old man. He was Nan Song, the old man who guarded the herb storage!
Shan Hen was indifferent, as usual. No one knew what he was thinking about. Sometimes, a complicated look would appear briefly in his narrowed eyes, but no one noticed it.
Su Ming followed the crowd and listened to their cries, which slowly turned into silence. His heart clenched in pain. When he saw the looks of fear on those familiar faces, Su Ming fisted his hands.
"Protect the tribe. Fight for the tribe!" Su Ming muttered. He was protecting the right flank. Shan Hen was walking not too far ahead of him.
He did not choose that place. The elder assigned him to that position when they were moving. In Su Ming's arms was a girl about five to six years of age. That girl's name was Tong Tong. She was asleep, but there were tears staining her eyelashes.
Her father had died in battle, and her mother done so the previous night. She was the only one left in her family.
"Mama... Papa... Pipi..." As the girl slept, she trembled as if she was haunted by nightmares. As tears slid down her face, she clutched Su Ming's shirt.
Su Ming knew that Pipi was the girl's pet. It was very cute, and she would always carry it around in her arms.
"Tong Tong, be good..." Su Ming patted her back lightly as sadness appeared in his eyes. He felt as if he had just grown up in an instant...