Heavenly Abode of the Mountains
Rody realized that Wuya’s power was definitely extraordinary. It was probably a kind of magic or sorcery. That being said, the ability to turn into a giant was not something that Rody had ever heard of before even in large scale magic or sorcery. On the other hand, destroying an entire mountain was nothing surprising. After all, Rody had already experienced a spell as terrifying as that during his encounter with the Black Veil Saint Mouse.
However, could a tribal leader of the so-called ‘barbarians’ actually have the power of a high-level magician or sorcerer?
It is possible. Master Autumn that was held in high regard by the Empire could do something like this. However, Master Autumn was also only recognized as the most promising candidate to become the next Sacred Swordsman and a Master grade warrior.
Although Rody heard that Wuya was the ‘strongest warrior of the mountains’, he only expected Wuya to be at the level of a high-level warrior of the Imperial Army. As the mountain people live in the wild, their warriors are usually just strong and ferocious people. Rody only expected Wuya to be around Randt’s level.
As a result, Rody felt overwhelmed by Wuyu’s words.
If Wuyu’s words are true, the Chief of the Flame Tribe is already one of the strongest people on the continent.
Wuya is unlikely to be a sorcerer. That is because the entire Radiant Continent does not have many sorcerers. On the other hand, sorcerers prosper in the Northern Roland Continent. It is also difficult to believe that Wuya is a magician. All the high-level magicians work for the Empire, while other magicians are usually found in religious posts. It is unlikely that the tribal leader of the barbarians would be able to learn spells. It is also unlikely for the tribes to be able to understand the ancient language of the incantations.
In that case, Wuya should be a master of warriors. Could it be possible for him to have reached the rank of Sacred Swordsman?
Could a person wearing the skin of animals and a bone necklace, smeared paint on his face and spoke barbarian language be a Sacred Swordsman?
Randt could not help but whispered to Rody, “Your Excellency. The words of the mountain people may not be true. If this Wuya is so formidable, how did he almost get assassinated?”
Rody nodded and then asked Wuyu about this incident. However, Wuyu claimed that this was caused by the evil magic of the other tribes. Wuyu then proclaimed his belief that the Chief would recover and lead them to crush these tribes. He spoke so excitedly that he ended up speaking quickly and also reverted back to the mountain people’s language. Rody who heard this only ended up confused.
After walking for ten days, Rody and Randt were already lost. They were shrouded by so many trees that they could not even see the sky. They only continued to follow the mountain people. The mountain people followed a winding path to cleverly avoid the poisonous swamps. The mountain people knew the mountains like the back of their hand, it was like they were in their own bedroom. Rody secretly thought to himself that if it was just Randt and himself, they would more likely to die falling into the poisonous swamps than to die fighting.
When evening approached, they finally left the mountainous path and entered an open space. They could see the thick foliage of grass and a canyon at a distant mountain peak.
Wuyu then shouted. “We are almost there! Once we reach the canyon, there will be a small road that will lead us up the mountain. After we cross that mountain, we would reach home!”
The mountain warriors were all excited and shouted loudly. Some of them even somersaulted.
Rody could not help but ask, “Small road? Why do we not pass through the canyon?”
Wuyu immediately showed a fearful expression and replied, “You cannot go there! That is the Death Canyon! It would lead you to the Dead Forest! You cannot go there! If you enter the Dead Forest, you can never return!”
“Oh?” Rody was surprised and could not help but ask, “There are actually places on this mountain that even the mountain people cannot approach?”
Wuyu looked at the canyon in fear. “All the tribes know about this taboo and none would dare to enter! It is said that there is a demon in there! We will never go there!”
Rody could not help but loudly asked, “What about your chief? Didn’t you say he that came from the heavens? Is he also afraid to go in there?”
Wuyu replied softly with a complicated expression, “The Chief had dispatched people to explore the Dead Forest before but… none of them returned! If you enter that canyon, you will never come out!”
Listening to these words, Rody could not help but glance at the canyon. He saw a trail in between the two mountains. There were only stones and not a single blade of grass could be found on that trail.
That location was different compared to the other mountains. The canyon was completely silent and not even the sound of birds could be heard. It was really like a dead location. Rody demanded to enter the canyon and the mountain people all stood at a distance looking frightened. Rody ignored them and entered the canyon together with Randt.
Suddenly a cold wind blew from the canyon and made both men shiver. This had really surprised them. The climate in the mountains was warm and humid but the wind blowing from within the canyon was like the cold winter wind of the Northwest Region. The trail was also covered in a dense fog.
“Your Excellency. Something seems to be strange here,” Randt could not help but say. “Your status now is different and you cannot risk it.”
Rody smiled and replied. “I am only curious. Let’s go!”
The mountain people felt relief when they saw Rody and Randt turn around. They then quickly pulled the two away from the canyon.
They followed a small road on the left and found a winding path up the mountain. This road was a secret entrance and without the help of the mountain people, Rody would never be able to discover this road.
He saw Wuyu push away the withered trees to reveal a road leading towards the mountain. Wuyu felt excited. He withdrew a small bone from his garments and blew it.
Not long after that, a sharp whistle sounded. After that, there was the faint sound of footsteps as hundreds of mountain warriors came running down the mountain. Most of the mountain warriors were dressed in animal skins. A few of them wore linen clothing that they somehow weaved. All of them wore straw sandals. They held simplistic short spears in their hands but they also carried bows and arrows at their backs.
At that moment, Rody did not dare to ridicule the mountain people’s simple and crude weapons. On his journey here, he had learned how powerful the mountain people could be. This was especially when they used their bow and arrows. Rody did not know what the mountain people laced their arrows with but they were able to easily kill the majestic black bears of the mountains in one shot. Coupled with their skillful archery, they would be unparalleled.
Hundreds of the mountain warriors casually stood in front as they were immediately followed by a tall and robust man from behind.
That man wore the skin of a leopard and a feathered crown. He held a long wooden cane in his hand. His face was painted with red paint as if he was a ghost. He looked at Rody and Randt with his pair of brown eyes.
Wuyu had already walked up to the crowned man. He lowered his head and said something in a very respectful manner. The man nodded and then he raised his wooden stick and shouted loudly. The mountain warriors that heard his shout also raised their spears and made an uproar.
Once they had quieted down, Rody took a deep breath and walked up to that person. After that, he said, “I am the Empire’s Duke of the Tulip Family. I came from Purple Leaf City and greet Wuya of the Flame Tribe!” After he finished speaking, he opened up his arms and prepared to embrace the other party according to what he learned of the mountain people’s customs.
Wuyu then whispered from the side. “This is not the Elder of our tribe. This is our Elder Shaman!”
“Hm?” Rody froze for a moment and then he laughed. “In that case, I greet the Elder Shaman!”
The Elder Shaman nodded and smiled at Rody before turning around and walking away. Wuyu then laughed and told Rody. “You may not understand this, but shamans are not supposed to embrace others. He greeted you earlier when he raised his cane.”
Rody laughed and replied, “So that is what it was. Let’s go!”
They continued to follow the mountain path until they reached a dark cave. A few warriors standing at the entrance bowed their heads when they saw the shaman. They then showed their surprise and hostility when they saw Rody and Randt. The shaman did not bother to clarify and continued to lead the crowd further into the cave.
There were torches lined along the walls of the cave. The smell of burning fat assailed their nostrils and it flooded the narrow passageway. The faint sound of water dripping could also be heard in some places. Randt vigilantly followed behind Rody as he looked around the cave. After about half an hour, they saw something bright. Rody looked up and saw that they were about to reach the end of the cave. He sighed and thought in his heart. This place is really well hidden. It’s no wonder that the mountain people could survive for hundreds of years and the Empire were never able to subdue them.
When they exited the cave, they entered a valley with a village with stockade fortifications. The walls and houses were all made of wood. When the wooden gate opened, all the mountain warriors started to sing.
A crowd of mountain people came out from the wooden houses and gathered. All of their clothes were coarse and crude, regardless of age or gender. All of them also seemed to possess a weapon. Some of the women had daggers tied to their feet. A lot of children also approached but remained at a certain distance. They were all shouting and pointing.
Rody guessed that this valley could sustain about thirty to forty thousand people. Just as soon as he thought of that, Wuyu told him loudly, “This is the village that our Flame Tribe has lived in for more than a hundred years. The shape of the village is like a gourd. This is only half of it. Turn at that corner and you will find a place that is much bigger.”
Rody walked down the street and turned to find a village that was indeed much bigger than the one in front. The mountain people in that area were very sturdy and had large hands and legs. Rody could hear the sound of clanking coming from a row of cabins. There was also a chimney on the roof that was giving out smoke. Rody whispered and asked, “What is that place?”
Wuyu smiled and replied, “That is the forge. There is no shortage of iron ores on the mountain. All of the tribes make their own iron tools. Their work is also comparable to the Empire’s weapons.”
At the walls of the valley, they saw water gushing out of the walls. Located near the walls was a small pond with a few soldiers standing next to it. There were also a few women who carried jars as they lined up to collect water.
Wuyu explained in a strange manner, “This is our source of water. When the chief ascended the position, he ordered for a few guards to stand guard here. Everyone had to line up to collect water and nobody was allowed to bath in this pool anymore. The Chief has made many good decisions but this rule is a little bit weird.”
Rody gave a supercilious look as he thought. The whole valley only has this much water. Naturally, they must be careful with it. Wouldn’t it be bad if they had bathed here as well? I have not met him but Wuya has already given me a favorable impression. I will also stay here for a few days. If the mountain people had bathed in this water as well… Rody could not help but give a strange expression as he replied, “I think your Chief is right. Let me ask you. When the Chief rose to power, did the number of sick people decrease?”
Wuyu stared with wide eyes and felt extremely puzzled. “How did you know?”
They soon arrived at a row of buildings built on top of a huge wooden platform. There is a long flight of wooden steps that led to a large wooden building. The large wooden building was more exquisite compared to the others. There were banners made with animal skin draped in front of the building. Several large guards stood outside the entrance.
The front entrance was also enormous. The curtains hanging at the entrance blocked Rody’s view. When Rody approached, he found out that the curtain was made by strings of small and large shiny crystals. “This Chief is really a dignified person. The gates of the Imperial Palace were only made of gold. However, a mere Tribal Chief had actually made his curtain out of precious crystals!”
The warriors who stood at the entrance walked forward and exchanged a few words with Wuyu. After that, Wuyu turned around and told Rody, “The shaman asks you to wait for a little while. He has entered to speak with the Chief and the Chief would summon you soon.”
Rody nodded and stood on the wooden platform. Randt stood close to Rody and vigilantly looked at the surrounding mountain warriors.
While Rody was waiting, he suddenly heard Andy’s surprised voice. “This… There is a strange feeling…”