28 The Blood of Gold
The Hundred Thousand Mountains were huge, with forces of many different kinds. In the most dangerous area there were even primitive tribes who didn't respect any morals or rules. They would kill every outsider they met.
Along with this, there were ferocious beasts of prey and monsters in the mountain areas.
This was one of the reasons why the Jiang Mansion didn't easily allow Jiang Chen to go on an adventure there.
The Liulin River was the longest river in the Hundred Thousand Mountains. It flowed through various parts of the mountains. The narrowest part was only 15 feet wide, and its water was only up to one's ankle.
In contrast, the widest section was thousands of feet wide and had a huge waterfall with many segments.
Jiang Chen squatted by the river. He lowered an iron flask into the water and filled it, then took it out and sipped at it.
This was the fifth day since he had left the Jiang Mansion. The Southwind Ridge was already some distance away.
The moment he stood up, a sharp sound that seemed to rip the sky apart resounded. Then an arrow landed beside him and grounded itself in the hard dirt. Its tail was still shaking fiercely.
Jiang Chen was dumbfounded. He saw a boat headed downstream passing by rapidly. There were a few men armed with bows standing in the boat.
"Stop! Stop right away! He isn't from the Tribe of Thunder. That's Young Master Chen!"
Jiang Chen heard a familiar voice coming from the boat when he was about to fight back.
They're from the Jiang Mansion?
Jiang Chen recognized that it was the Jiang's boat. People were greeting him from the boat and signalled for him to go downstream.
Jiang Chen hesitated for a while and then took a ten minute walk along the river. He saw the boat had stopped by a rock and the sailors had come onto the shore to wait for him.
"Young Master Chen, you shouldn't keep on walking that direction. The people from the Tribe of Thunder are crazy!"
The man who recognized Jiang Chen was in his early forties. If Jiang Chen remembered correctly, he was called "Uncle Li." He looked worn out. He must have been in the forest for a long time.
Jiang Chen noticed the body of the boat was filled with arrows. The sailors seemed to have experienced a serious battle. One of them was screeching.
He saw that the poor guy's left foot was almost broken when he came closer to have a look.
"He stepped into a trap set by the Tribe of Thunder." Uncle Li shook his head with pity.
Jiang Chen jumped onto the boat to comfort the injured man. He said, "Hold on. I'll help you set the broken bone."
Jiang Chen treated his leg while others looked at him in astonishment. He finally stopped screeching.
Then Jiang Chen asked, "What happened?"
All at once, the hunters started to talk about the battle they had just had.
"Child Chen, we were hunting and processing furs in the water forest in the upper reach of the river. There were dozens of packages of furs, but they were stolen by those bastards from the Tribe of Thunder."
"Dozens of our men died. We scarcely escaped from them."
"Those barbarians are crazy."
A middle-aged man came up to Jiang Chen and said anxiously, "Child Chen, I thought you were from the Tribe of Thunder as well. I'm a damn fool!"
He was the one who had almost shot Jiang Chen.
"Child Chen, his daughter was caught. Please excuse him," Uncle Li helped him explain.
To Jiang Chen's knowledge, the hunting team of the Jiang Mansion was formed by hunting masters, but very few of them were women.
"That's right. We needed people to skin dead animals and pack. So he brought his daughter, but the people of the Tribe of Thunder set their eyes on her," Uncle Li said helplessly.
Jiang Chen knew pretty well the fate of the women who were caught by the tribal people. He asked, "When did this happen?"
Jiang Chen looked up at the sky. It was early afternoon. There was still hope.
"I'll go save her."
"No! It's impossible to do it alone!" This gave Uncle Li a good scare, since Jiang Chen was still a kid in his eyes.
"Yes, the Tribe of Thunder is very skilled with arrows."
"Don't act on impulse!"
The hunters tried to stop him, afraid that he would do something rash.
"Don't worry. You go back and report this to the Jiang Mansion. Ask the Jiangs to take precautions against the Tribe of Thunder."
Jiang Chen didn't take their advice and was resolute in his decision to go.
The Hundred Thousand Mountains had a long history. The Jiang Mansion and other forces hadn't been living here since the beginning of this history. Instead, they had moved here as pioneers and explorers.
The primitive tribes had already been living here before they came. These tribes were violent and bloodthirsty. They killed whomever they saw.
The Tribe of Thunder was one of these tribes.
The forces in the mountains had tried to negotiate with the primitive tribes and sign agreements with them so that they could establish mutual respect.
It was fine at the beginning. But later, whenever there was an accident, these barbarians would start to kill and rob, without respect to the agreements.
In most people's opinions, they were simple barbarians who believed in bloody traditions like decapitation.
The Tribe of Thunder had attacked the Jiang's hunting team and robbed the furs from of their territory. It was naked aggression and a declaration of war.
Jiang Chen made sure he knew his target's location and rushed in the direction Uncle Li had pointed him towards.
When he arrived at the water forest, it was already late afternoon. Fortunately, the people of the Tribe of Thunder were still there.
The water forest had been a normal forest, but due to its terrain, the river water seeped in little by little, and in the end, the forest and the river were integrated together.
Jiang Chen was squatting in the water. He noticed the bonfires on the opposite bank. They were burning corpses, all from the Jiang Mansion.
The tribe was still cleaning the battlefield!
A man of the Tribe of Thunder was ready to leave, furs packed in oilcloth on his back, humming happily at the same time.
The Tribe of Thunder knew little about practice. They were very backwards in martial arts methods and techniques, so they weren't very powerful. However, they were super skilled with arrows.
Jiang Chen didn't want to be exposed to them easily. He was observing carefully to locate the young girl.
Soon, he saw a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old girl, tied up.
It looked like they hadn't done anything to the girl yet, but she was extremely scared.
All of a sudden, a youngster of the Tribe of Thunder came up to the girl with two big men. One of them carried the girl on his shoulder, and they walked towards the forest.
Other people of the tribe shouted at the youngster out of envy. They obviously knew what he was going to do.
The young man smiled complacently and pulled his pants up a little bit, as if he were already too impatient to wait.
Jiang Chen saw his chance and followed them quietly.
He entered the forest from the other side. The two big men were standing in front of a tree as guards.
The girl's hands were tied to the tree, with her back to the youngster.
He had already taken off the girl's trousers and was touching one of her fair thighs.
Jiang Chen was approaching quietly. He jumped at the young man the moment after the latter took off his pants.
He couldn't move at will since the pants at his feet trapped him. Jiang Chen stabbed him in the heart.
The two big men turned around and saw the sword pierced in the heart of the youngster. They started to cry out in grief.
Jiang Chen untied the girl's hands quickly and dragged her to run away.
To his surprise, the two tribal men didn't chase him at all. They were squatting beside the youngster and crying for him.
"He's the chief's son," the girl said in a low voice, still scared.
Then she looked at Jiang Chen incredulously and said, "Are you Child Chen?"
Jiang Chen didn't answer her. His heart sank when he realized that these barbarians were serious followers of traditions. They thought the chief's family had the blood of gold.
And Jiang Chen had killed someone with the blood of gold!
A big man took out a horn and started to blow it.
Instantly, two big men walked towards him aggressively. A fiery anger was burning in their eyes.
The two of them were both in the completed preliminary stage of the Gathering Yuan State. One of them was holding a big knife, the other an axe.