“Wait, my lords!” The tribe leader had regained consciousness at this moment, kneeling before Leylin with respect. The slightest power Leylin had revealed made it obvious that this was someone powerful, and he’d had someone verify that the ancestor was still safe. How would this middle-aged man not realise that these two were actually friends of his tribe?
With the strength they possessed, these people could easily crush them if they wanted to. Hence, it was necessary to better his relationship with them.
“Are you two lords friends of the ancestor? Please stay here for a while, and let us serve you…” The leader of this tribe was nearly two metres tall, adorned in a slightly mouldy smooth leather coat. His bulging muscles seemed as hard as steel.
This man had thick lips and a high nose. His slanted eyes seemed cold, and the crossed scar on his cheek was proof of his gallantry. To survive a native had to be ruthless, violent, and most of all courageous.
However this man was doing all he could to smile, humbling himself given his lower status. As the one with the most knowledge in the tribe, he naturally knew what these two powerful beings represented. Even if they just wanted to destroy the village at will, it was enough for them to let go of all pride and serve these beings humbly.
On top of that, they were actually friends of his ancestor? Did that not mean that they must have been old monsters that had lived for hundreds or even thousands of years?
The middle-aged man was alarmed and sorrowful, knowing that his tribe having this piece of land was nothing remarkable. All sorts of powerful native tribes could die here, even wandering beasts not guaranteed to survive. The scarcity of food had led to the battles between the existing life forms to increase in intensity. The only one they could count on to protect the tribe was their sleeping ancestor.
‘With the power of these two lords on our side we might even be able to defy the city’s orders...’ The middle-aged man had a thought. The next time he looked up, he looked into a pair of eyes that seemed to be able to see through everything.
Leylin chuckled, not expressing his opinion and walking till he arrived in front of the kneeling man. He used an invisible force to lift his chin. “If you’re inviting us to stay, then tell me your name.”
“Hosain! I am the chief of the Redbud Flower Tribe, Hosain, willing to follow all of Sire’s instructions!” Hosain led his clansmen and had everyone kneel and bow. The exposure of crucial regions like their backs showed a complete subservience to the strong.
“Bodach! Looks like we’ll need to stay here for some time…” With nothing at hand, Leylin agreed indifferently. Anyway, he was rather interested in studying what was happening to Gillian.
“I’m fine with it!” Bodach gazed at Cabadole beside him, pursing his lips, but did not object. After all, he knew that the moment Leylin decided on something, he had no right to go against his wishes.
A fireplace burned away from a wall of the most luxurious building in the village, spreading warmth. A yellow copper stove stood atop a red mahogany table, burning some unknown powder that emitted white tendrils of fragrance.
Cabadole was curled up in a corner, watching Leylin and Bodach respectfully being invited to sit on a soft goose-feather rug. Looking at the numerous exquisite foods and drinks placed in front of the guests, he could not help but gulp.
‘How extravagant…’ the young man thought to himself, and then looked outside the window. The light outside had dimmed, and there was already a layer of white frost by the windowpane. The contrast with the striking red of the silken curtains left him unable to look away.
“It should be quite cold and dark outside now, right?” Cabadole wondered silently. This region had no sun nor moon, and only had faint rays of light. The natives here used the brightness to differentiate between night and day.
Once night fell, temperatures outside could reach as low as -80 or -90 degrees, or even -100 degrees centigrade! While he did not understand the concept of cold, he knew that there were always unlucky people who froze to death at night every year. Without enough food nor fuel, the lack of heat would leave them helpless to resist the arrival of the grim reaper.
If this was the case in the village, things were much worse outside. The elders who’d left today would probably not live past this night. The young man felt a hot gush at his eyes, and some warm fluid fell from the corner of his eyes.
“Here, my lords. Please!” At the banquet, Hosain did not have so many thoughts. His face was now flushed red, and the area around his scars had turned bright red as he urged the two lords at the main seats to drink.
“Mm.” Leylin answered his request and picked up the wooden cup, pursing his lips. Bodach couldn’t even be bothered to do that.
Based on Leylin’s observations, the alcohol here was fermented using some underground plant stolons with plentiful fat and starch. As the method was very primitive and behind his times, and on top of that the filtering hadn’t been performed well, the alcohol was too muddy. Bodach obviously found this beneath himself.
However, to ordinary natives, this was already a delicacy they could never obtain. This was also the same for Hosain. However, to Leylin’s surprise, every person in the village, besides the infants, all had a cup. The adults were extremely cautious and had a satisfied look on their faces.
‘Equal distribution within the clan?’ Leylin shook his head and looked at the table again.
In order to serve the two of them, Hosain had gone all out. The food on the table could be said to be sumptuous. The dessert was a sort of purple fruit that was slightly tart and sweet, while the main was a round pastry made with starch, baked till golden-brown. Even the two coarse-skinned mice that Cabadole had caught today had been brought to the table despite how precious meat was.
The aroma from such a sumptuous feast had all the clansmen gritting their teeth, doing their best to keep their bearings.
Unfortunately, this was rather crude to Leylin and Bodach. Given the one-eyed dragon’s original size, even the entire village would only be an appetiser for him. The delicacies and the great alcohol that Leylin had experienced before made it lacking for him as well.
Hence, in the face of this, Bodach found this beneath him, while Leylin ate a few fruits out of courtesy and stopped.
Upon seeing this, a slight embarrassed flush rose on Hosain’s face. He could not even bring himself to call up the beautiful young girls he had prepared meticulously beforehand, “My apologies that our esteemed guests had to have such simple food…”
“It’s already enough. Here, let’s raise our cups to our friendship!” Leylin lifted his cup.
“For friendship!” With Leylin’s lead, the rest did the same as Hosain and somewhat warmed the mood.
“I was once friends with your ancestor, so if you have any needs, please let me know…”
After putting down the cutlery, Leylin spoke respectfully. Of course, all this was out of politeness. If the request could be easily completed and he was in a good mood, he might help for old times’ sake. However, if the other party brought up a difficult issue, such as having Leylin become their guardian, then Leylin would probably become hostile and leave.
“This is quite embarrassing, but we really have come across an issue we can’t solve with our strength.” Hosain’s voice sounded grim, “We make use of the land here to survive, but we need to give Maxi of the east saige and slaves as taxes… His requests this year are far greater than we can give…”
Hosain explained the situation to Leylin. The Redbud Flower Tribe weren’t the only survivors in this area, and they were all attached to a powerful city-state named Maxi. They would have to pay the city every once in a while, giving them a type of food called saige as well as slaves as proof of subservience. Otherwise, they would be attacked.
A few accidents had greatly reduced their crop yield this year, and it was impossible for the Redbud Flower Tribe to reach its target. However, those with power in Maxi did not care for this. The moment Hosain could not hand over enough food, they would be forced to move away, or else they’d be attacked. It wasn’t just dream beasts in the wilderness coveting this land, or stray spirits.
“While the ancestor can provide us with protection, Maxi City also has an elder in power with similar strength. Besides, the ancestor is in a deep sleep…” Hosain laughed wryly as he voiced the trouble they were in.
The rest of the clansmen now stopped eating. They understood that if this did not go well, the whole tribe would be exterminated. The food may have been fragrant and tasty, but it no longer tempted them.
“Elder in office? Is that a synonym of power or authority?” Leylin stroked his chin. He had to admit that this Maxi city had piqued his interest. “A city where a large number of inhabitants of Dreamscape gather? And there might even be powerful beings comparable to rank 5 or 6 Magi there…”
This city-state would definitely maintain traces of Dreamscape’s glamour and culture before dreamforce weakened. Since he wanted to study this world, it was of extreme importance to Leylin.
Besides, what was a city-state not guarded by a being of laws to Leylin?
“I understand. Let’s find a day, and have Cabadole bring me and Bodach there.” Leylin nodded in agreement, obtaining the gratitude of Hosain and the others.
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