Book 4, Chapter 12 – Pursuit
Ji Ning instantly landed a kilometer away and grabbed the black-bearded leader, instantly terrifying the high level members of the Firewing Tribe. All of them hurriedly knelt down on wobbling knees and called out repeatedly, “Young master Ji Ning, spare us!” “Young master Ji Ning, don’t be angry!” “Young master Ji Ning, don’t be angry!”
The tribal warriors behind them who had not been hit by the waves, seeing the high level members of the tribe all kneel down, naturally all knelt down as well. At this time, the waves disappeared, and those knocked down tribesmen all knelt in terror as well.
Instantly, the black mass of men were all on their knees, aside from the black-bearded man Ning had seized.
“Pa!” With a toss of the hand, the black-bearded man was sent rolling twice on the ground.
“Young master Ji Ning.” The black-bearded man was shuddering.
“You don’t recognize me?” Ning looked at him.
The black-bearded man shook his man hurriedly. “No, no, I heard of young master Ji Ning’s fame long ago.”
“Then you still ordered an attack?” Ning frowned.
“I…I…” The black-bearded man didn’t know what to say for the moment. This caused Ning to be even more puzzled. The leader in front of him clearly knew his name, and was frightened of him. So why, then, had he dared to issue that order?
Ning shouted, “I ask you, why do you attack the Blacktooth Tribe?”
The black-bearded man immediately hesitated.
The high level members next to him said hurriedly, “Young master Ji Ning, the Blacktooth Tribe is only a small tribe. Our Firewing Tribe didn’t want to attack them at all! Only, the chief insisted on coming. We didn’t oppose him, as it was just a small tribe and thus not worth it.”
“This was the decision of the chief and the chief alone.”
“We all opposed it.”
“Half a year ago, the chief ignored our opposition and forcibly led the warriors out and destroyed a small tribe with only a few hundred people, and sold off everyone, man, woman, child, and elder alike as slaves to his good friend, Zig! Look, that one right next to the chief is Zig! The chief trusts him very much!” A silver-haired fur-clad elder pointed to the long haired youth next to Ji Ning.
The kneeling long haired youth suddenly shot out a black light from his sleeves towards the nearby Ning.
“Clang!” Ji Ning’s body was covered by beast furs, and underneath them he had magic treasures protecting him. Naturally, this attack was blocked.
“Hmph.” Ning looked at the long haired youth, but discovered that the youth’s face had already begin to turn black. At this moment, the other high level members of the Firewing Tribe were angrily howling and reaching out with their hands to seize the youth, planning to subdue him. “He dares to ambush the young master. He deserves death.”
“Don’t touch him!” Ning immediately barked.
But a muscular man of the Firewing Tribe who had charged in front had already touched the arm of the long haired youth. The pitch-black color on the arm of the youth instantly transmitted to the right arm of the muscular man.
“Swish!” Ning pointed out with a fingernail, and a ray of sword energy swung out, chopping the left arm of the muscular man off.
The long haired youth slumped to the ground, his entire body pitch black, and his seven orifices bleeding with black blood. That man whose arm had been chopped off by Ning had black blood flowing out of his severed arm as well.
The surrounding Firewing tribesmen all retreated in surprise.
Ning’s expression was grave. “Such fierce poison.”
“Aaaaah!” The chief of the Firewing Tribe, that black-bearded man, suddenly called out, then hurriedly pointed at the corpse on the ground. “It was him! It was him! Young master Ji Ning, it was all him. He originally spat a mouthful of smoke at me, and I lost my faculties. Although I knew what was going on, I treated this Zig as my master and obeyed him from my heart. Whatever he wanted me to do, I would do. Even if he wanted me to die, I wouldn’t resist at all. When I heard your name, young master, it was he who ordered me to attack. I clearly didn’t want to offend you, young master, but as soon as he instructed me, I immediately gave the order.”
The black-bearded man stared in shock and fury at the corpse on the ground. “It was that mouthful of smoke.”
The high level members of the tribe, upon hearing this, were all awestruck.
“What?” Ning was surprised as well.
In the entire Swallow Mountain area, only the ‘Blackfire Cult’ was in possession of drugs that could control a person, but the most famous medicine which the Blackfire Cult had was the ‘Holy Fire Pill’. Upon eating the Holy Fire Pill, a person would become unswervingly loyal to the Blackfire Cult and not even fear death! Only, the ‘Holy Fire Pill’ of the Blackfire Cult wasn’t a breath of smoke.
“Anyone capable of creating this thing is definitely a very powerful warlock or alchemist.” Ning was secretly startled, and he turned to look at the leader. “Speak. What did this Zig want from you?”
“To buy slaves!” The black-bearded man said hurriedly. “He first bought slaves from us twice, over two thousand slaves! Afterwards, he controlled me and ordered me to swallow up some smaller tribes and have all the members of those tribes be sold as slaves to him. He would arrange for those people to be taken away.”
Ning was puzzled. What was the point of buying so many slaves? Generally speaking, tribes would buy slaves to use them for manual labor or as servants. Slaves had to eat as well, and providing enough food for so many wouldn’t be easy.
“His subordinates?” Ning asked. “Didn’t you say that he sent subordinates to take the slaves away? So many slaves, including women, children, and elderly, would have travelled very slowly. You should be able to find traces of them.”
“I can. I can.” The black-bearded man nodded hurriedly. “Ten days ago, his subordinates took a group of slaves away. They were headed towards the east. Two days ago, a hunting squad of our tribe saw that slaver squad. Most likely, in two days they couldn’t have gone too far. We should be able to find them quickly.”
“Mowu. Autumn Leaf.” Ning turned to look into the distance.
Mowu and Autumn Leaf immediately ran over.
“Young master.” The two looked at Ning.
“I have something to take care of.” Ning said. “The two of you, immediately send word to the nearest station of black armored guards, and have the hundred closest black armored guards to escort you and Bluestone to Serpentwing Lake. My father will arrange for a dwelling to be built at Serpentwing Lake, and you will temporarily live on the island in the center of it.”
“Yes.” Mowu and Autumn Leaf assented.
“As for you.” Ning looked at the black-bearded man. “You will immediately arrange for your hunter squads to provide me with two guides. I want to find that slaving squad.”
“Yes, young master.” The black-bearded man hurriedly said, and then roared backwards behind himself, “Threeknife, Cardcloth, come over here.”
Ning led the two guides on the backs of the black beasts, traveling by day while resting at night in hot pursuit. That squad, guiding hundreds of elderly and infants, naturally travelled much more slowly. They would at most be able to advance a hundred kilometers a day.
“Young master, there clearly are footsteps here.” A swarthy man with braided hair said hurriedly. “The tracks are very clear. They should have been made less than a day ago. We will soon catch up to them.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
They continued the chase.
Soon, they saw a large cluster of figures. All of them, male and female, were fettered by the hands, with the rope being attached to a tree trunk. A group of men and women were bound all together, carrying a tree trunk. By doing so, anyone who attempted to flee would pull others with him, and once the movement became apparent enough, the slaver escorts would easily notice.
“Hurry, hurry up.” The slaver escorts were soldiers wielding whips, and they would occasionally lash out with the whips. As for some of the toddlers, they were tied up and seated on horses, with eight or ten toddlers tied up on each horse, allowing them to move more quickly.
The looks on the faces of the men and women were full of grief, and their eyes were filled with despair.
Half a month ago, they were in their own tribes, living peaceful, happy lives with their families. But now, they had become slaves and were being escorted to an unknown area.
“You two, take these three black beasts and return. Have your tribesmen arrange for them to be sent to Serpentwing Lake.” With a flip of his hand, Ning withdrew two beastheads of gold. “You made a trip with me. I won’t mistreat you.”
“Thank you, young master.” The two tribesmen hurriedly thanked him.
Ning nodded, then patted his black beast. He had ridden this black beast while adventuring. After having spent so much time with it, he was rather reluctant to part with it.
“You can go now.” Ning immediately dismounted, then began to travel by himself. After all, this squad was moving very slowly. There was no need for him to ride the black beast.
The slaver squad continued to advance through the mountain forests. On the road, although they encountered some monstrous beasts, the slaver escorts were powerful experts, almost all of them peak Houtian level, with three of them being Fiendgod Houtian experts. They easily killed the monstrous beast.
“It is indeed odd.” Ning said to himself. “Large-scale purchasing of slaves, and using medicines to control the leader of a tribe to engage in the large-scale capture of slaves. Even the slaver escorts have peak Houtian Fiendgod practitioners.”
“We’re almost there.” The slaver escorts seemed to be rather happy.
Ning secretly followed from behind. This place was already at what was considered the border between the Ji clan and the Ironwood clan, while up ahead was a chain of mountains.
This group of slavers were heading towards the mountain range.
“Enter the mountains.” The squad continued forward.
Ning moved from behind, but just as they arrived at the base of the mountain, the sun which been bright in the sky suddenly changed as soon as Ning followed them into the mountains. It was as though day had suddenly transformed into night. The area around them had turned pitch black, and only some faint details of the surrounding area could be made out. The entire area seemed to be covered with black fog.
The black fog was everywhere, and it was filled with a cold aura.
“A formation.” Ning immediately understood that he had entered a formation.
“Someone actually came to die. Hahaha!” An evil, ear-piercing laugh suddenly rang out. “Little human child, your flesh will definitely be very delicious. I will slowly devour you bite by bite.”
Ning stood there, staring into the endless black fog surrounding him. He could just barely see to a distance of ten meters. Beyond that, he couldn’t see anything. In his hands, the two Darknorth swords had already appeared.