Chapter 705 – The Bone Eating Tribe, an Egg’s Flash
“Fragrant Flower market” was called a market, but grey walls that stood several meters tall surrounded it. People flowed through the streets, and the structures stood row after row. It was clearly quite a large scale city, which was rare in the Mist province. Countless villages and tribes within several hundred kilometers engaged in trade there.
Gold earrings lead the group of merchants. After entering through the city gates, they were like a droplet of water that had dripped into a lake. They vanished very quickly. Over a dozen days later, they finally emerged again.
Gold earrings was still at the front. He had changed into a brand-new set of clothes, and his hair and beard had been combed again. He was brimming with joy, but it definitely was not because he had gotten some good sleep and a hot shower in the city. It was because the profits from this trip had greatly exceeded his expectations.
The “patterned bundle” of unknown function made it into the monthly auction of Fragrant Flower market and fetched a lofty price of a hundred taels of gold. Right now, that sum weighed heavily in the bag beside him. Even until now, he did not understand the function of the patterned bundle. During the auction, they only announced that it hid an ancient, precious treasure, but even the most powerful masters with the sharpest blades could not leave a single scratch on it.
When he thought of that, he could not help but feel a tinge of regret. If he had known earlier, he could have handled it properly, and it definitely would have fetched an even higher price. However, the people who were interested in purchasing the patterned bundle were all people he could not afford to offend. If he were in Goldie fort, then perhaps, but in the Fragrant Flower market, he dared not cause any trouble, or there would most likely be problems on the way back.
Just losing his items would be considered lucky. He would probably lose his life too. With a corpse casually tossed aside in the jungle, the smell of blood would draw over all the creatures and animals within several kilometers. Even his bones would be gone in a mere few hours.
Right now, at least he could return peacefully. Although he carried a lot of gold and silver on him, he could deal with all the people that treasured gold and silver. Even if he could not deal with them, he still had the deterrence from Goldie fort. Basically nobody would want a grievance like that over some gold and silver. Of course, there were a lot of people who did not even take Goldie fort seriously, but these people would not treasure mere gold and silver.
Gold earrings had spent many years in this line of business, so he thought through everything very thoroughly. The only small pity was he had failed to sell the stone egg, which was still in his bag right now. After all, not all businesses could be successful. Having reached his age, he had grown accustomed to this type of failure. It was unable to influence his mood.
He called to the group behind, “Men, stop being so mute. Get singing!”
“Alrighty, uncle Bao!”
The group happened to be in high morale. The shortest and most capable man began singing at the top of his voice, “Hey, oh hey, roaming the mountains and seas with bare feet hey! Run into a mountain, just cross through the caves! Run into water, just slosh through the waves! Run into the sky, just don’t look back! Hey, oh hey!”
The loud singing pierced the clouds. Smiles filled all of their faces as the entire group began singing. On the ancient, frequently-travelled path, they did not have to worry about running into any powerful daemonic beasts, and the singing could instead alarm everything around them and scare off wild beasts.
Although the Mist province was known as a land of savagery, the common people who grew up in the wilderness were known for their singing and dancing. They were not cultured with etiquette and courtesy, but etiquette and courtesy did not bind them either. They were closer to the simplicity and naturalness of human ancestors dancing around the fire. Regardless of their gender or age, they could all sing a few songs. From a certain perspective, this was their culture and legacy.
However, this joyous atmosphere came to an end during the dusk on the fourth day. They had just crossed through a mountain stream, and the surrounding vegetation became denser than before. The towering trees that had grown for who knew how many millennia listened to their singing silently.
Suddenly, Gold earrings noticed that something was amiss. The silence in the forest was a little chilling, and the docile back beast underneath him looked around uneasily. He waved his hand, wanting to stop the singing and listen for any disturbances quietly.
A rock pierced the throat of the short man who sang the loudest, making his singing come to a stop first.
“Powerful enemies!” Gold earrings immediately concluded. Despite his martial arts and being alert, he failed to see which tree the rock had shot over from. With a swish, he drew the blade on his waist and called out at the top of his lungs, “Goldie is here!”
This was a way that merchants from Goldie’s fort expressed their identities. No one within a range of several hundred kilometers did not know about it. However, the resonant voice seemed to lose its original penetrative power. Heavy murderousness permeated the surroundings with the night mist, approaching the group step by step. The pack beasts whinnied fearfully. The enemy either did not know about them, or they did not care.
“We’re from Goldie fort! May I ask which cave or village these friends are from? Please come out so that we can talk! Whether you want money or goods, it’s all up for discussion!”
Dark-green eyes lit up in the gloomy forest. The tree leaves rustled, and figures emerged. Gold earrings’ face immediately changed. He exclaimed, “The Bone Eating tribe!”
These figures only seemed half-human, where the other half was beast-like. They were bulky and covered in thick hair. Their arms draped down towards the ground, and all ten fingers were sharp claws. A pair of sharp fangs were exposed from their lips. Even with their backs arched, they were taller than regular people. The bulkiest monster extended his bright-red tongue and licked his nose. He said with a hoarse, unpleasant voice, “We want people!”
With that, he lunged over with a gust of wind. Gold earrings swung his blade and slashed his shoulder, but it felt like he had struck the tough skin of a rhinoceros. He only managed to scratch the surface of the skin before he was pushed down to the ground viciously.
Even he was so helpless, so his subordinates were even worse off. They were subdued right off the bat. They seemed like they had no intentions of killing anyone, but when Gold earrings recalled the rumours regarding the Bone Eating tribe, his heart directly sank.
However, this was no longer a situation a practitioner of martial arts like him could handle. Even real “shamans” or “sorcerers” would struggle to escape alive, as these monsters were “shamanfolk”.
The pack beasts were directly slain, producing miserable cries. The bags and rucksacks were ripped open and pieces of gold scattered into the bushes, but they could not even attract a second glance from these monsters. What they wanted were people!
The Bone Eating tribe specially hunted down other people and practised cannibalism, but it was not for the sake of filling their bellies. Instead, it was to strengthen themselves through shamanistic techniques. The more people they ate, the greater their power became, and the more twisted and vicious their appearance and personality would become. But in the great jungle where the strong were revered, no one would prioritise appearance and virtue over strength.
When regular barbarians faced shamanistic tribes, they stood absolutely no chance. The merchant group was pressed down on the side of the path, forming a row. The monster who had said “we want people” earlier began to choose. He grabbed Gold earrings by an ear and ripped the entire ear off. He tossed it into his mouth and chewed away. “It’s too tough!”
After deliberating for a while, he finally chose the youngest one. He picked him up and bit down on his neck, sucking hard. Only after he was basically done with sucking did he begin chomping away. The other monsters choose their targets too, throwing themselves on top of them and eating away. For a moment, there was only the sound of chewing in the forest.
Unlike their crude and vicious appearances, they ate extremely carefully, wasting none of the flesh and blood. Every single droplet of blood would be sucked dry before it hit the ground. Even the bones had been forcefully crunched up and eaten.
Gold earrings, who had been deemed as “too tough”, was fortunate enough to avoid the banquet’s first round. As he gazed at the nightmarish scene, his entire body stiffened, completely immobilised. He noticed a flash from the corner of his eye, only to see a ring of scarlet light appear from the bush. The stone egg that had been appraised as a regular rock was currently glowing as if something was trying to hatch through the shell.
Just what monster was it this time!?