Chapter 188: Let’s Run, Fox (IV)
“These are avani tracks.” Mutu squatted down to take a closer look at the footsteps left behind and spoke heavily, “About two hundred of them.”
The total population of the lion tribe was around four hundred; about half of them were elderly or young lions that couldn’t really fight. If the avanis chose to attack the tribe while the warriors of the tribe were out hunting, two hundred avanis were enough to kill them all.
Shang Ke frowned. The avanis have acted a couple days earlier than he assumed. But since the System hadn’t notified him of his mission failure, they had yet to annihilate the tribe.
“Let’s go!” Mutu quickened his steps and bounded for the tribe with Shang Ke.
As they got closer to their destination, the chaotic sounds of a battle reached them. The tribe had a defensive fence over three meters tall. Many lions and lioness beastmen held their place in front of the fence. Their formation was a bit scattered as they each held their weapon and defended against the attack. Countless bodies were already lying around, some to the lions and others to the avanis.
Shang Ke immediately understood how the avanis had not taken over the lions when he saw the fence. They were warned ahead of time and had placed defenses, so they were not badly beaten like the original story.
But from the looks of the situation, they wouldn’t be able to last much longer. The tribe clearly did not have enough warriors. A portion should be out trying to find Mutu while another portion were out hunting.
Watching his tribesmen being slaughtered, a low angry growl lingered in Mutu’s throat. He was about to rush in and fight when a hand stopped him.
Mutu looked at the fox. Impatience and confusion were clear on his face.
Shang Ke pointed in a specific direction, then drew a simple animal on the ground with a branch.
A lightbulb went off in Mutu’s head. He remembered the bull herd they saw at the riverbanks while making their way here. He asked, “Are you trying to say to use that herd of loch bulls to drive away the avanis?”
Shang Ke nodded. There were so many avanis, even if they joined the battle, it wouldn’t matter much. After all, they still had to protect the tribe while avanis could fight purely on offense without worry.
“Good idea.” Mutu did not hesitate and headed for the river bank with Shang Ke.
The loch bulls were a herbivore animal of Kaloch Mountain and one of the food sources for beastmen. But they were huge with thick pelts and flesh and a high population. Hunting them was a bit harder. When beastmen had enough food, they usually didn’t hunt them.
By the riverbanks, fifty or so loch bulls were leisurely drinking water and walking about. Mutu and Shang Ke hid themselves nearby with the wind blowing toward them. Mutu’s pupils shrunk as his face pulled back into a vicious look of a hunter. His golden hair stood on its end as the aura of a lion king flowed off him.
The loch bulls sensed it and became alarmed.
“Aoooo—” Mutu roared loudly, disturbing the peace of the area and showing his majestic aura as a racket of birds flew away from the forest in alarm.
He rushed out of the thickets and headed straight for the head of the loch bulls. With a mighty leap, he was on the bull’s back and grabbed its horns. He moved efficiently and quick like lightning.
“Mooo—” The loch bull made a noise of panic and charged in the direction of the tribe with some manipulation from Mutu.
The rest of the herd saw their leader running and followed without a thought or consideration in changing directions.
So he wouldn’t get thrown off, Mutu’s legs clamped tightly around the loch bull’s stomach while he unconsciously held the bull horns harder. But by doing that, it became harder to control the direction of the loch bull. The panic-stricken loch bull started to diverge from the direction he wanted and galloped away from the tribe.
As Mutu tried to adjust the direction, he heard something flying through the air and then tied itself around the loch bull’s neck.
Mutu looked back and saw Shang Ke crouching on the back of another loch bull. His right hand was holding a vine that he would tug from time to time to adjust the direction of the bull.
The wind blowing by parted his hair and revealed his delicate face. He looked calm and refined as his eyes flickered brightly and his cheeks were flushed from the exhilaration. His white tail streamed behind him with the wind. He was just so dazzling.
While his thoughts drifted, Mutu was almost thrown off the bull. He immediately pulled back his drifting thoughts and steadied himself. When he looked back again at the fox, what occupied his mind was— How did Yanu ride his bull so gracefully?
He didn’t have much time to keep mulling over it as the loch bull continued on the correct path from Shang Ke’s adjustments and charged into battle.
The avanis held the upper hand in battle now, causing the lion tribe to despair. As they watched their fence being a step away from destruction, they felt the ground shake followed by the sounds of galloping hooves.
Surprise overtook them as they all turned to look in the direction of the sound. They watched as a tall figure, riding a loch bull majestically charged out of the forest followed by a wave of dust.
“It’s the Chief, the Chief is back!” The lion tribe cheered.
The herd of loch bulls charged at the group of avanis under Mutu’s guidance. They scattered as they utterly lost in the face of charging bulls. Many avanis were trampled over and killed before they could do anything.
The bull-back Mutu was like a war god, unstoppable before his enemies. It left a firm trauma within the avanis.
They did not dare to stay and ran away in a sorry state. All of them were gone in the blink of an eye and all that remained were corpses.
Mutu saw that victory was obtained, he raised the branch he was holding and hopped off the bull. After he steadied himself, he looked for Shang Ke. He saw him hanging upside down in a tree with his back to him, watching the sunset as he swayed with the wind and his tail curled happily.
Mutu noticed that his eyes were always being pulled to the fox. Holding him in his arms made him even happier than obtaining victory.
“Come down, let’s go home.” Mutu stood under the tree and raised his head up to look at him. He extended his arms out.
Shang Ke flipped himself upright in a flash and fell stably into Mutu’s arms.
Mutu placed him back down on his feet and placed an arm around his waist.
The two of them returned to the tribe under the tribesmen enthusiastic and worshipping gazes. It was not only because Mutu had driven away the avanis and saved the tribe, it was because the way he rode the loch bull into battle was a great shock to them. In this ancient era where there were no horsemen, riding a beast was enough to show one’s courage and power.
Mutu’s prestige rose greatly and became more stable due to this unexpected victory.
He gathered his remaining tribesmen to count the casualties and tidy up the battlefield. Eleven tribesmen were killed in battle while fifty to sixty were seriously injured. Forty-three avanis were killed and four were captured. This was already an overwhelming victory in the lion’s point of view. After all, they only had some twenty or so qualified fighters in the tribe at the time. Even women and older children had come to make up numbers and fight. If it weren’t for the fence that had been put up beforehand, the tribe would have been massacred already.
As they dealt with the aftermath of the battle, the lions who had been out of the tribe returned in succession. When they found out about the crisis the tribe went through, they were furious and fearful. Then they heard of the happy recounts of their chief’s might, they were shocked even more.
“Mutu, I’m so glad you could come back safely.” Xite walked over and tightly hugged Mutu.
Mutu silently pushed him away and calmly replied, “You have worked hard.”
“Haha, we’re brothers, it’s only natural to help.” Xite smiled in a completely innocent way.
Seeing this Xite in front of him, Mutu still couldn’t believe that he was the one that betrayed him. They were full-blooded siblings and had a good relationship since young. If he wanted to become the Lion King, he could have just challenged him openly. Why did he need to do something so dangerous, to collude with the avanis and place their tribesmen in danger?
Mutu really wanted to question him but endured the impulse. They had captured four avanis this time. As long as he got the information of Xite’s betrayal out of their mouth, he could deal with Xite with a justified reason.
After finishing the pile of post-battle affairs, it was already very late when Mutu returned home. His face showed his weariness and was just about to have a good rest when he suddenly felt that something was missing.
He left his house and pondered over the problem, then remembered about where Yanu lived.
Because he was an outsider, Yanu had been placed in a remote location near the edges of the tribe.
Mutu tracked him by scent and stopped in front of a mudbrick house. The mudbrick house was short and dilapidated, like it had been abandoned for a long time. The ground was full of potholes and barren. The ground in front of the door was paved with flagstones and ended about ten meters away.
Mutu felt a bit uncomfortable at the sight. He raised his hand to knock on the door, but then noticed that the door wasn’t closed all the way. The light of a fire could be seen from within.
He softly pushed open the door and instantly found that white figure sitting cross legged by the fire. His head was hanging low as he quickly weaved some cloth.
Most of the beastmen wore clothes from animal hide. But if they had patience, they could gather fiber and use special technique to extract threads and weave it with a needle. Although it was a bit of a crude material for clothes, it was lightweight and breathable, great for when it was warm.
Within the room, there was no other furniture aside from a table, a chair and a bed. An old animal hide was spread out on the bed, a handmade bow and arrows sat in a corner with a stone hatchet. By the stove were some pottery bowls, basin and shabby kitchen tools.
Placing a snow-white fox in such an environment, Mutu felt that it was very incompatible.
Sensing his arrival, Shang Ke raised his head. He quietly stared at Mutu with eyes hidden under his bangs.
Mutu stood at the entrance and spoke rather muffledly, “I’ll get you a new place tomorrow.”
Shang Ke shook his head to express that he did not need it. Then he pointed a finger at the straw mat across from him, telling him to sit.
Mutu walked over and sat down near him. His eyes unconsciously went to the large tail next to his leg.
After staring at it for a while, he finally couldn’t hold back the desire to touch it. As he was about to make his goal, the fragrance of meat stopped him.
He abruptly raised his head and watched Shang Ke removing the lid of the pot to reveal the meat soup boiling within.
Mutu immediately felt his stomach rumble. He then realized he hasn’t eaten anything since he came back.
Shang Ke gave him a bowl of soup and placed most of the meat in it and gave it to him. Then he dug out a dirt lump from within the fire.
Mutu who was happily drinking the soup was immediately delighted. He recognized it as the roasted pheasant he had eaten before.
Shang Ke sliced the pheasant and placed it within a tray. Then he pulled out five crabs cooked the same way as the pheasant and peeled two stymph bird eggs. He poured two cups of fruit juice he made from crushing fruit and a rich dinner was completed.
Mutu’s entire day of weariness and stress was gone just like that at the table of food. All that was left was happiness from eating delicious food and fluffy fur…
SnowTime: Happy Monday~