The great wilderness was uncivilized territory, full of mountains and unruly countryside, wastelands and deserts. There wasn’t a proper path to be found in any of its expanse; everyone had to make do with the most primitive method to determine direction―referencing the stars, moon, and sun in the sky.
Qingqiu Mountain was situated in the east of the great wilderness, and Wei River to its southwest, putting it in the center of the land. It was now well into autumn with yellowed flora as far as the eye could see. Chilly breezes swept across the land, leaving hints of desolation in their wake.
The Ning Village entourage swung southwest with great fanfare. The further south they went, the warmer the days became and some greenery dotted the withered grass and trees along the way. Ferocious beasts abounded upon their route, all of them exotic and strange. Some creatures that only existed in myths and legends also appeared more than once to Lu Yun’s shocked eyes.
However, given that their retinue boasted of a pixiu constantly flaring with a savage presence unique to a divine beast, the feral beasts were always scared off before they approached the group of humans.
Lu Yun wasn’t in a good mood these days.
Three days into Ning Village’s migration, they’d come across more than one completely decimated village. The same fate had also befallen some of the larger tribes. Corpse-strewn grounds hemmed in rivers of blood, and wild beasts had already scavenged most of the bodies.
With the advent of winter, hungry animals prowled desperately for food. Humans were weedy and fragile, born without great strength. In the great wilderness, humans were the lowest on the totem pole.
“This is the great wilderness.” Jiang Ti was quite used to sights like these. “If it wasn’t for Ah Bao by my side silently keeping watch over the village, Ning Village would’ve been razed to the ground a long time ago.”
He read sympathy and anguish in Lie Shan’s eyes—which astounded him. That kind of look shouldn’t appear in a human’s eyes, because the race was long used to this kind of lifestyle.
“In my homeland, though humans aren’t the strongest race beneath the heavens, they absolutely have the right to be on equal footing with other life forms…” Determination flashed through Lu Yun’s eyes. “Humanity shouldn’t be like this…”
“Is big brother Lieshan’s homeland Nephrite Major?” Ah Bao sidled up to him.
“Shan’er, humans are different from the others,” Jiang Ti sighed. In his eyes, Lie Shan must be a great expert from an unknown tribe. Only those who wielded great combat arts could contend with the heavens and fight off fierce floods and savage beasts.
“Ordinary humans don’t have sharp claws or agile bodies. We’re powerless in front of the mighty monster spirits and vicious beasts. The cultivation methods that our tribute spirits pass on help us grow stronger, but cultivation itself is too difficult. Very few pureblood humans reach its peak, to a level where they can match true powerhouses like the Tushan.”
Jiang Ti sighed, and Jiang Ba looked downcast as well. The Yan Tribe was one of the greatest human factions and possessed its greatest expert, but they were still nothing compared to the Tushan clan of Qingqiu Mountain.
Lu Yun remained silent. For humans, the great wilderness was far too harsh.
After seven more days, their surrounding vegetation turned green and the temperature grew warmer.
“Hahaha—humans!” A piercing shriek rang out ahead of them, followed shortly by wild wolves flooding out of nowhere. They were the size of wild oxen and sizzled with fiery sparks.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve tasted human flesh…” Their leader was an enormous wolf with a sole horn on its head. Salivating over the sight, it stared unblinkingly at the Ning Village group.
“They’re flamewolves!” Color drained from Jiang Ba’s face.
Flamewolves were one of the fiercest wild beasts in the great wilderness, and each one of them as strong as an initiate in the connate great dao. Their leader was undoubtedly stronger by many times over. They’d surely already sensed the pixiu, but they’d chosen to approach nonetheless.
“ROAR!” The pixiu snarled and stalked menacingly out of the entourage.
“It’s a pixiu alright!” The leader’s brilliantly green eyes glinted ruthlessly to see a challenge present itself. It wasn’t a match for the pixiu, but it also wasn’t afraid in the slightest. “Leave three hundred humans behind and I’ll let you go. If not… I’d like to see how many you can save!”
Leering threateningly at the pixiu, the wolf king faced off against its opponent.
“Grandpa, you’re not recovered yet. Let me!” Ah Bao quickly intercepted Jiang Ti upon seeing that he was going to take the field himself.
Delight brushed over Jiang Ba’s face when he saw the girl’s actions. Ah Bao was a mountain ghost, one many degrees stronger than the Yan Tribe’s tribute spirit. With her in the mix, this pack of flamewolves was nothing to worry about.
“Don’t you do anything either!” Lu Yun quickly stopped Ah Bao. “Your identity is too important and you shouldn’t reveal it so easily. You’ll attract a lot of wrong attention that way!”
Though she was a mountain ghost on par with a human king, she was also as innocent as the day she was born. Nothing but ridiculous strength at her command, she didn’t have any combat arts in her arsenal, nor did she possess any real battle experience. If the experts that Jiang Ti mentioned came calling, she’d be in great trouble.
The Tushan of Qingqiu Mountain had backed off because she was that mountain’s ghost. If the two had erupted in open hostility that day, the foxes still would’ve been able to destroy her if they’d put everything on the line.
“But big brother Lieshan…”
“I got it.” He comforted Ah Bao and walked up next to the pixiu. “Do you flamewolves want to see your bloodline wiped out?” He flipped his hand to manifest a tuft of white fur sparkling with silver.
“A Tushan token! You’re under the protection of the Tushan foxes!” A shudder ran through the wolf king when he saw the tuft of fur. “No wonder you dared to traverse the mountain and engage in a large-scale migration like this…”
Its gaze grew uncertain. It was afraid of the Tushan, but it didn’t want to give up all this food just like this. All of the villages and small tribes in the vicinity had been picked clean, and they didn’t dare attack a large tribe… It was sheer serendipity that a bunch of humans had fallen into their lap today!
“Qingqiu Mountain is just a thousand short kilometers away from here. Do you think they really don’t know what you’re doing right now?” Lu Yun waved the tuft of fur again.
Naturally, this was a gift from Miao. As a rare pureblood nine-tailed fox, she was feted as a princess among the Tushan. Their patriarch would do whatever she said.
“We go!” Though highly reluctant, the wolf king quickly waved his pack mates off. They were still in Qingqiu monster spirit territory, and the Tushan were their king.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Maybe this was why humans were so cruel after they rose to power. They wanted to get back at everyone for everything they'd suffered before...?