Chapter 2 – Bone Text
Under the prayers of the chief and a few Elders, all of the males revealed solemn expressions on their faces as they conducted worship. Many women and children also quickly rushed over, silently praying that the relatives who were about to go hunting would come back safely.
The mountain range was simply too dangerous. It was a completely different world outside once one left the protection of the village and the willow tree; it was one filled with terrifying birds of prey and huge beasts.
And just like that, the village’s strongest group of individuals, carrying giant bows and broadswords on their backs, set off and entered the mountain valleys, creeks and huge lakes. Momentarily after, there was a large waft of a desolate smell.
Watching as the hunting group left, the old chief Shi Yunfeng led the group of children towards the grass patch located at the entrance of the village. He sat cross-legged and said, “Alright, you little group of monkeys need to sit down and study hard.”
The group of children immediately became distressed and all of them had dispirited expressions. They reluctantly sat down, as if they were wilted leaves.
“Grandpa chief, those bird languages and turtle writings are complicated like hobgoblin symbols. It’s too hard to learn. What is the point of studying it?”
“Exactly, it’s not as useful as the archery my father taught me!”
The group of children all had sour expressions on their faces, and they all felt conflicted.
“You group of little babies really don’t know anything. The Bone Text consists of tyrannical symbols on bones that were passed down naturally by terrifying Archaic Descendants. Embedded within are mysterious forces in which many people could not learn even if they wanted to. Even if you are just somewhat successful in learning it, who knows how many times stronger you would be compared to your parents.” The old chief criticized them for not meeting his expectations.
“Grandpa chief, demonstrate for us the power of this Bone Text.” A slightly older child spoke.
“Little guy, come here.” The chief shouted from afar.
The little guy had just finished chasing after the five-colored sparrow, and was currently putting a lot of energy into pulling a big yellow dog’s tail. Turning his head in confusion, he released his grip and ran over while shaking his buttocks. Opening his big bright eyes, he said, “Yiya yiya, Grandpa chief what do you need?”
“I want you to use the things I taught you from the Bone Text.” Shi Yunfeng said.
“Okay.” The little guy obediently stretched out his two little hands. He closed his mouth, and as he exerted energy from his body, his little face soon became red.
With a Weng sound, his palms emitted a bright light, and a strange character emerged. It looked like it was cast from metal, and it possessed a metallic luster. Soon after, it appeared on his other hand as well.
The little guy walked up a few steps and lifted up a boulder that was taller than him.
“So powerful!” Exclaimed the group of children. The little guy was barely a year old. How did he lift up such a big rock?
“Little guy, did you use all of the strength you got from drinking milk?” The older kids all teased him.
“Yiya, yes, I used up all my strength.” The little guy dropped the stone. He was extremely pure, and after sitting down on the floor, he smiled without a hint of worry. Those characters quickly faded from his palms.
“Grandpa chief, is this the power from that mysterious Bone Text that you studied for more than ten years?” The group of children’s eyes were all shining, and their previous lack of interest no longer existed.
“Don’t get too excited, this can only be considered the basics. Compared to the legendary heavenly bone texts, it is still too far off.” The old man nodded, then shook his head.
“Can Grandpa chief tell us about the outside world?” The group of children had hopeful expressions.
Everyone within the village knew that when the chief was younger, he left with roughly a dozen individuals to journey and explore the limits of the outside world.
However, ten years ago, only two of them managed to come back while drenched in blood. One of the two died soon after, and only Shi Yunfeng was able to survive.
He spent these past years studying the Bone Text, and from time to time he would test it out on the strong individuals within the village. These kids all knew clearly that when their parents, who were like tigers and dragons, were called over, they would all make howls and shouts that made hearts tremble within the stone courtyard. This made these children feel worry and admiration at the same time.
Only in recent years had the old chief’s research gradually begun to lessen, no longer frightening the village’s residents. Moreover, that little guy who drank the milk of wild beasts was raised by him, and he became his best research candidate.
“The outside world…” The old man began to reminisce. After being spellbound with regret, he said, “The world is too big. It’s vast and boundless. Just from one region to the next would cover millions of li 1. No one really knows how large it is, because a person on foot cannot even completely cover a single region, let alone the entire world. It is desolate and boundless. Different regions’ residents would find it extremely difficult to contact and communicate with each other because it is just too dangerous. The land has too many different tyrannical beasts, and they are all formidable and mysterious. Regardless of whether it is a tribe of hundreds of thousands or a magnificent and enormous city, there is still a chance for them to be destroyed overnight by some ancient species. Of course, there were still some unimaginably powerful humans comparable to archaic descendants. They possessed matchless divine power, and these humans were the most gifted ones amongst the human race.
The group of children all felt reverence within their hearts, but at the same time, they felt a sense of yearning. They were all curious about the outside world. One of them asked, “Are there any earthly gems or legendary elixirs that can completely transform someone in this land? I also want to know how powerful the strongest humans were!”
The old man laughed and said, “If you want to know, then you must first become strong.”
“If we can master the Bone Text’s mysterious power, would we be able to explore the different regions?” Some of the children began to reveal their yearning.
Shi Yunfeng petted a child’s head before saying, “Not mentioning other regions, anyone able to travel across half of this region can already be considered incredible!”
All of the children were dumbstruck.
“All I can do is guide you towards the correct path, however, where you end up in the end will depend on you. The things I have taught you should not be inferior to the things taught to children of similar ages in the outside world.” When the old man finished what he was saying, his eyes revealed a different light, and he rubbed the exotic jade bone in his bosom.
The group of children who sat in a circle around the old chief finally concentrated and began to focus on the lecture. Only at noon did they finally disperse.
“It’s too hard. Chief actually said that it required a few years for the Bone Text to slightly enter one’s body. To make it worse, most people can’t even learn it completely.”
“But that pea-sized little guy actually did it.”
The little guy innocently blinked his eyes, and then once again began to pull at the tail of that big yellow dog. The big yellow dog began to bark innocently.
The sun began to set in the west, and under the sunset’s afterglow, the entire Stone Village was infected with a faint golden layer of brilliance. In the distance, various apes and lions cried out. The stone houses seemed like divine ancient temples, holy and peaceful.
Roughly a dozen people gathered at the horizon, and their shadows were being stretched out by the setting sun. Their bodies’ outlines appeared golden within the sunset glow, making them appear incomparably tall and powerful. They were each dragging the head of an enormous ferocious beast as they returned from their bountiful journeys.
“They’re back!” There were many women and children that had waited for a long time at the village entrance. When they saw the appearance of these individuals, all of the uneasiness and fear within their hearts vanished at once. They began to shout in a loud voice.
“Father and the others returned safe and sound!”
“Heavens! To come back with so much prey. This time we obtained a rare great harvest!”
The hunt this time was extremely successful. The dozen grown men all returned while carrying their good harvest. Within the prey was the enormous body of a Dragon Horned Elephant, a beast with abundant meat similar to that of a cow. Furthermore, the buckets were filled with thick and thin Flying Pythons…
The old folks within the village all had shocked expressions on their faces. These beings were normally very hard to deal with, and some of them were even called fierce beasts. No one had expected that so many of them would be hunted today.
Take for example that Dragon Horned Elephant. The elephant’s body was like that of metal, and it was difficult for even iron spears to pierce through. The pair of Dragon Horns were sharp like knives, and they could easily split apart boulders. Meanwhile, the one-legged Kui beast could easily kill someone if it made its way up close. As for those Flying Pythons born with enormous wings, they were known as mountain killers. These terrifying creatures would dive down from mountain tops to kill their prey.
Within their harvest this time were some even more formidable creatures, such as the scarlet-bodied Two-Headed Flame Rhinoceros. They were creatures with impure blood, but these were still all genuine fierce beasts. If the villagers happened to encounter one of them in the wilderness, they would normally take detours to avoid them. However, they were able to hunt so many of them today, completely defying common sense.
“This time, we really were extremely lucky to return from such a rewarding journey without a single casualty.” Shi Linghu, the leader of the hunting group, laughed as he explained to the chief and villagers. During these past few nights, there were many powerful enormous beasts that passed through these mountains, moving the earth and shaking the mountains. They trampled everything to death, harming many mountain beasts. Many fierce beasts were hurt as a result, and those heavily injured beasts were easy prey for the villagers. Normally, these were all tyrannical creatures that the village men would avoid running into.
“The enormous footprints within the mountains were similar to those of humans, but they were simply too huge, with each of them nearly 100 meters long!”
“That large?!” The villagers all cried out in shock. This truly was shocking news.
Even the elders who heard this could not help but draw in a breath of cold air. They became increasingly confident that something in the mountain range abyss was attracting these archaic descendants.
In any case, it was a rare plentiful harvest, so everyone was full of happiness. Stone Village was filled with children’s laughter, and the atmosphere was joyful.
Chief Shi Yunfeng brought the group of people to the willow tree. The dozen or so enormous beasts were laid out on the stone platform in front of a large altar.
- Li is a Chinese mile equivalent to roughly 500 meters ↩