Book 4, Chapter 64

Recalling The Wild Years (2)

A young girl was stood by an expansive river under the same night sky. The surface of the water looked calm, but anyone who tried entering it would discover a rapid current underneath. Both banks were filled with thick rainforest, clumps of brown floating around in the water nearby. They looked just like floating logs, but these were the backs of large crocodiles.

Mountainsea didn’t so much as think as she leapt into the air, plopping down into the river and sinking to the bottom. The calm waters immediately went wild as countless crocodiles piled over each other to wade towards the creature in front of them. To these beasts, Mountainsea was an incomparable delicacy!

However, in a blink of the eye the surging tides turned violent. Huge columns of water shot up dozens of metres into the sky, the enormous reptiles struggling helplessly within as they were tossed sometimes a hundred metres away. Still, the bask was fearless in the face of death. They continued to attack the girl at the bottom of the river only to be tossed away, some of the earlier ones making their way back to join the attack.

Eventually, they wore down Mountainsea’s tolerance. Her little fist shot straight upwards and a gigantic wave flooded out from the surface, every attacker thrown onto land baring their teeth and claws. The same scene repeated until she reached the shore on the other side, where the crocodiles reluctantly dispersed.

The girl was completely drenched as she got out of the water, hair pressed into her face even as a large fish struggled in her mouth. She spat the fish out and got onto the shore, heading into the distance while dragging a crocodile that was over a dozen metres long by the tail. A short while later, the beast was slowly cooking above a huge bonfire.

Some more time later, the all that remained was hide and scattered bones. Having eaten her fill, Mountainsea was so sleepy she couldn’t keep her eyes open any more, deciding to take a nap for half an hour. A wave of her staff cut off the upper half of a large rock, leaving behind a smooth surface that she crawled onto. The night quieted down into a dull mix of a bonfire’s crackles and a young girl’s snores.

……

Early morning the next day, Richard stretched lazily and got up from the ground. Although the sunlight wasn’t very harsh, the winds were still dry and warm. However, there were traces of a refreshing breeze brewing. The tyrannosaurs nearby were deep asleep, the other beings of the land yet to awaken as well.

His ears suddenly twitched and he stood up tall, looking back in the direction he had come from. It wasn’t long before the dinosaurs nearby awoke from their slumber as well, rubbing against each other as they produced low growls of unease.

A dozen barbarians suddenly emerged on the horizon, cheering in excitement at Richard’s sight as they spurred their goats forward to encircle him. Richard didn’t move, allowing them to do whatever they wished as he folded his arms and leant against the trunk behind. Seeing their clothing and adornments, he asked dully, “Windstep Tribe? Why are you lot here?”

The leading youth’s gaze swept across his body, eyes widening at the beast-tooth bracelet around his wrist, “Tooth of the Beast God! You really are the promised person!”

Richard froze, ‘What promised person?”

The warrior had already dismounted and walked up, suddenly tearing open his upper garments to reveal a reddish-white chest that he pounded fiercely, “I am Gulzaba, one of the most outstanding warriors of the Windstep Tribe. I challenge you to a duel! If you can’t win, scram back to Norland!”

Richard raised his brows, “Why do I have to fight you?”

“Because you do not qualify to meet Her Highness!” the boy gritted out.

“Why?” Richard asked again. There was something going on here that he had no idea about.

“You Norland weaklings have too many questions that you don’t deserve the answer to!”

Richard smiled indifferently, “Alright then, does this battle have to be life and death?”

Gulzaba took a look at Richard’s body that was much frailer than his own, shaking his head, “Finding the winner is enough. I do not bully the weak. As long as you’ll go back to Norland, I will let you go immediately.”

“Okay, I understand. So, Gulzaba was it, I take it you’re not the strongest of your generation in the Windstep Tribe?”

The youth’s face immediately went red. “I am one of the ten best warriors!” he roared.

Richard shook his head, “Then switch out and get whoever is number one. You’ll only waste my time unless you’re all coming at me together.”

Gulzaba was filled with rage at the ridicule, drawing a large heavy sword from his waist, “We barbarians never take advantage of numbers! I alone can cut you down ten times over! Draw your weapon!”

However, Richard took his swords and the Twin of Destiny off his back, placing them at the side and closing the distance further, “I don’t need them to deal with you.”

“YOU! I’ll make you pay!” the barbarian youth thundered, sticking his own weapon into the ground before whirling his fists and charging towards like a rhinoceros. The ground trembled as he dashed over.

Richard stood still in place for the longest time, sparks starting to fly off his body. He only moved in the last instant, dodging the charge mysteriously before leaning back towards the youth and sending him flying. Richard flashed in front of him before his body went too far, pulling him downwards and smashing him into the ground. A cloud of dust sprang into the sky.

As the obstruction dispersed, the watching barbarians gaped at the sight of the pit in the ground. Even Gulzaba’s powerful body could not endure the immense power of the strike, struggling to even look up as his eyes blanked. Richard was crouched nearby, fiddling with a short blade that had been hung at the youth’s waist. This dagger with a handle made of beast horn was the pride of every barbarian warrior; the loss of it was an unbearable shame.

As Gulzaba’s dizziness cleared to some extent and he saw the scene in front of him, he roared in rage as he reached out to snatch it back. However, it felt as though his innards were going to roll out the moment he moved and he collapsed once more. This time, he didn’t have the strength to even raise his body.

Richard naturally knew what these blades meant to the barbarian warriors, and taking it from Gulzaba had been on purpose. He made a show of examining the edge for a while before fitting it back into its sheath, tossing it in the youth’s direction, “Before you call people ‘Norland weaklings’ next time, consider whether you can beat them. If a pushover like you came to Norland, you’d be no different from prey.

“Now, it’s time to answer some questions. Unless you want to fight again, of course. But do know that if you lose this time I’ll take your blade away.”

Gulzaba continued to struggle up, using all the strength he could muster to stand straight even as his back nearly went numb in pain. His red face was on the verge of turning purple, eyes bloodshot. However, he knew now that Richard would beat him ten out of ten times. There was no doubt that he had lost this duel.

“We barbarian warriors aren’t cowards who cannot lose!” the youth stated resentfully, starting to answer Richard’s questions.

A moment later, Richard learnt everything he needed to know.

Mountainsea’s mother was the sacred warrior of the holy shrine, second in status only to the grand elder and great shaman. When she led the totemic warriors to battle and defeated the Millennial Empire’s army decisively, her prestige had risen to incontestable levels.

However, she had decided to take the leader of the invaders as her husband, something that triggered a lot of arguments from the barbarian powerhouses. The dissent had only been staved off when the Beast God itself blessed the birth of their child. However, numerous powerful barbarians had been disappointed in her for making that choice, some even heading to other planes.

Having only visited Norland once, Mountainsea had gifted the token of the sacred child to a little mage from Norland who didn’t seem special at all. She had also arranged to meet him in five years, where they would potentially become partners for life. The sacred child had the responsibility of continuing the bloodline of strength; the first child she gave birth to would possess great potential and would be nurtured by the shrine.

When Mountainsea was born, the great shaman had exclaimed that he received an oracle from the Beast God. There was a chance for one of her children to become the Beast God’s avatar, allowing it to wander the mortal realm once more. Thus, the first child that Mountainsea handed to the shrine was already earmarked to be the next sacred warrior. They would likely become the leader of the Azuresnow Shrine.

To the powerful barbarians, becoming the father of a sacred warrior was the most supreme of glories. They definitely wouldn’t allow a Norlander to get this opportunity again. Thankfully, there were some requirements for one to be allowed to marry Mountainsea— one, to defeat everyone else qualified; two, to defeat Mountainsea herself.

Based on tradition, Mountainsea was already old enough to bear a child. She had stretched her freedom to the limits when she originally gave Richard five years for their meeting; she would then have to give the shrine a child.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA