Chapter 196: Let’s Run, Fox (XII)
After running into that last ice tornado, the lion tribe formally ceased hunting and no longer went out.
After Shang Ke recuperated for a couple days, he finally regained some strength. But Mutu still worried over him and used thick furs to bundle him tightly. He would warm his hands and feet each night while warming his bed. He was treated and loved like a priceless treasure.
Since the flute had shown its usefulness, Mutu made a variety of bells for Shang Ke. Handbells, windchimes, hanging bells—anything that could ring were made. No only did he hang them on Shang Ke, he had also hung a lot around the house. When the wind blew they would hear the countless tinkering sounds of chimes and bells, it was rather lively.
Shang Ke first watched with the interest of a spectator, but soon, he realized the shortcomings of it. On a certain night, he forgot to take off the bell around his neck. While the two were having their passionate night, the bell would ring sharply and crisply. The sound stimulated Mutu’s excitement and he would work even harder to aim for the depths and create ringing sounds with each thrust.
The ringing of the bell was very nice, it didn’t irritate the listener. But with the beastmen’s keen hearing, even if it was soft, they could still hear the ringing clearly. From the intervals of each ring, other listeners can immediately deduct how hard they were going at it.
The next day, almost all of the beastmen knew how many rounds they went, the frequency and duration as well.
Countless beastmen sincerely praised Mutu: “As expected of our Chief, so strong!”
As for their attitude toward Shang Ke, it was endless envy.
Shang Ke could only selectively ignore them and continue to repeat to himself: This is a primitive society, this is a world without a bottom line—people can even couple and have spectators watch outside, something as ‘conservative’ as listening in is simply nothing.
No matter how he consoled himself, Shang Ke still immediately insisted on clearing anything that rang on his person and bed, before allowing Mutu to touch him. Otherwise, who knows how far this guy would go. He might straight up give him a huge bronze bell!
Mutu muttered to himself: “The wolf beastmen in the tribe would all howl when they do it once, and no one said anything.”
Mutu immediately shut up with one glare from Shang Ke.
But Mutu would still sneak a small bell on Shang Ke when he fell asleep then while he was still half-conscious, go for a few rounds. As such, the ringing became quieter, the frequency lowered and the time was also shorter. Other beastmen started to wonder if their Lion King was done in.
From then on, the ringing of a small bell could be frequently heard throughout the tribe night like music that looped on without end.
The lion tribe did not have the tradition of celebrating new years. They only celebrate when someone enters adulthood, or when a new Lion King was crowned. Their entertainment life was pretty bland and the cold winter made their life seem even more bland.
However, Shang Ke did not feel that things were boring. During the day he would take care of his fields, do some research on ancient menus, and teach others some life skills. One of the things he taught was the recognition of crude oil.
No one extracted crude oil in this time period. Some of the oil would flow up to the surface and was treated as something poisonous by most people. The avanis had found the usage of oil mainly by accident. After suffering from the crude oil once, the lion tribe would have a natural fear toward it. Shang Ke did not expect them to make use of it, he only wished to educate them to understand what it was to avoid repeating the disaster from before.
Amongst all the skills Shang Ke had, cooking was the one that aroused the lions’ passions the most. Of course, they were not interested in doing the cooking, but the eating. Everyone in the tribe had eaten his cooking before and were all conquered without exception.
When Shang Ke needed their help, all he had to do was offer a meal and a whole group would respond. It was even more effective than Mutu’s orders. After half the winter had gone by, Shang Ke had surpassed Mutu’s prestige and became the most respected one in the tribe.
Afterwards, he had Mutu help him make a few chess boards and mold some chess pieces. When he had nothing important to do he would play with Mutu. They did not play anything hard like Go or Shoji that needed brainpower, but things like Checkers, Five-In-A-Row, Aeroplane Chess, and Monopoly were free to play for leisure.
Shang Ke had another purpose for making these—to teach Mutu how to math through games. Ever since he found out how many beastmen even needed to go beyond their fingers and use their fur to do simple math, Shang Ke had been unable to look at them straight.
Compared to most beastmen, Mutu’s brain was above average. Under the situation where he had no foundations to build off of, he quickly grasped simple math and could repeat arithmetic tables easily.
In addition to that, Shang Ke made a register for all the members of the lion tribe. He made a detailed record of everyone from their birthday to their gender, race, speciality, family relations and so on. Due to limited characters of this time, Shang Ke had used a lot of pictures as replacement. For example, some beastmen were good at archery, so under speciality would be a picture of a bow and arrow; some were good at forging, so he would draw a fire and hammer to express that.
Before this, the management of beastmen was very crude. As long as they were male, they had to go out and hunt. Their capabilities all hinged on how much prey they catch and how strong they physically were. But some male beastmen had naturally weak bodies and were more suited for weaving and other delicate handwork. Under conditions of when the tribe had abundant food, beastmen could choose to do work that was more suitable for them, making them more productive.
Shang Ke did not plan to get involved in the management of this though, he had Mutu make decisions himself. He merely offered a way to do some basic management. But this stone register was no doubt extremely important for the development of an ancient tribe. Later generations would use it as population and resource management and continue to improve it.
For now, it was a tool Shang Ke made to help Mutu better manage the tribe. He had pulled Mutu into bed to help him with it. Something that should have taken three days took them a full ten days instead.
The course of events was naturally a simple yet indepth exploration with new heights one another another…
Mutu was like a sponge as he greedily absorbed everything Shang Ke taught him.
Making his way out of the elder’s house, Mutu headed for the place that had become both of their homes. Although simple, it was very comfortable.
“Yanu, Yanu, what is this?” A young voice transmitted from there.
Mutu raised his head and saw a familiar face sitting on a stone chair. He was using a branch to draw something on the ground while being surrounded by a group of young beastmen.
A soft smile lingered on his face as his white hair hung freely, thoroughly giving him a gentle appearance. His soft large tail helped along a young beastmen that had just learned to walk so he wouldn’t fall.
The child hugged his tail, learning against him in a comfortable manner. The only thing that smeared the nice scenery was the drool at his mouth.
Watching how the drool was about to drop onto that fluffy tail, Mutu’s face darkened and he strode over. He picked up the child off the tail and gave him back to his brother.
Being forced to part with that large warm tail, the child felt wronged and made an unhappy face that was seconds away from crying. Shang Ke immediately took out something from his bosom and handed it over, cleaning drawing his attention.
Mutu stared, it was a drum-shaped rattle. He knew that his fox would often make a lot of toys for children and would teach them games. He also made a lot of tasty food for them and did not ask for anything in return. He merely wished for their smiles.
He still remembered how in the past, because he could not talk he would have few interactions with others and was always alone and unknown. Now he had come out and used his actions to win everyone’s favor. His world was different from others, although silent, it was colorful.
Mutu couldn’t help but lean down to kiss him. After a short reflection, he kissed him again.
Shang Ke: ……?
The children (⊙o⊙): ……!
Mutu did not pay attention to these children as he openly dominated the place next to Shang Ke and his two large hands naturally entered Shang Ke’s warm clothes.
This man’s scent made him long endlessly. This man’s gentleness turned this cold winter into a rich and warm one.
Half a month before the end of winter, the portions of food started to cut down. From two meals a day, to one meal a day. But everyone was still pretty confident in surviving this winter. Because in the past, by this point they would have already have people that starved to death. And now, all that had to do was endure a couple days of hunger and they will survive.
But hungry beastmen were often in irritable moods, and battles would happen from time to time within the tribe. Whoever won would have the loser’s food. Some weaker beastmen would have their food ‘won’ away everyday by others and have no choice but to rely on snow and branches to endure.
If this continued, Shang Ke did not know how long these people might endure. His mission was to ensure nobody in the tribe starved. With how close winter was ending, there was no way he would lose like this.
He took out the pickled vegetables and meat from his cellar and called over all the beastmen who were bullied to help him clear out a patch of land. Once night fell, he would give them the food as reward.
He understood that if he handed out food for free, others would feel resentful. Even if everyone had a share, he could not guarantee that their food would not be snatched. But as long as it was on his territory, no one would dare.
In this way, these beastmen would at least be half full each day and wouldn’t be criticized too much. Many people have seen Shang Ke’s cellar before, so how much he had stocked everyone knew. Someone had quietly calculated, in a few more days, he would have distributed almost all his food. At such a crucial time, his action had no doubt touched quite a few people and the conflicts within the tribe gradually settled down.
“Fox, for you.” Mutu gave his large dried meat to Shang Ke.
Shang Ke looked at him in confusion.
Mutu spoke with worry, “You have gotten a lot thinner recently. You don’t need to hold back anymore, just eat it. I will give you all of my food.”
Shang Ke silently stared at that dried meat: If you give me all your food, what about you?
As if Mutu read his mind, he patted his chest and spoke, “Don’t worry, I’m not afraid of hunger!”
He had only just spoken when a drum-like grumble came from his stomach.
Mutu: “…I farted.”
Shang Ke: “……”
Enduring the urge to smile, Shang Ke took the meat and sliced it in half. He was not all that hungry, the vegetables and fruits he had were enough to relieve his hunger. But he wished to share life’s joys and sorrow with this lion, so they can share food.
Mutu hesitated for a moment, then finally took it. He then earnestly told Shang Ke: “Fox, I promise you that I will not let you go hungry again next winter.”
Shang Ke’s eyes curved happily as he looked at him: Mhm, I believe you.”
【Completed Additional Mission 1—Make sure no one starves in the lion tribe this winter.】
On the final day of winter, Shang Ke obtained the notification from the System. He noticed a problem at the same time, ever since the last world, the additional missions no longer rewarded him any detainment time. He did not know if this meant some kind of restriction was broken. The System would frequently play dead these days and basically did not answer any questions. It was like an artificial intelligence had degenerated into a simple computer program.
SnowTime: I am half an hour past midnight welp. If there are more typos than usual, forgive me. My brain is half dead and my fingers type words more randomly than what my brain wants.