Chapter 13 – Mo-Er
Translated by Sunyancai
Sai and his two minions did not manage to steal anything, but instead, were chased after by two dozen kids from the cave, like rats on the street
In that afternoon, almost every resident in the mountain-foot district saw the surprising scene. After all, normally Sai, together with Zhan and Ye was the one who bullied other kids. And in the past, kids from the orphan cave would not be so united. They usually acted alone, and no less than half of them got beaten up by Sai before. However, now on one expected them to be so united. Over twenty kids ran after Sai and his minions’ tails. After just a short period of time, Sai and his minions were beaten up hard. They would’ve suffered even more if it weren’t for the fact that their parents came to their rescue.
That particular incident also helped the people in the mountain-foot district refresh their understanding towards the kids in the cave. It turned out that these children knew how to be united against a common enemy. Some people with evil thoughts also had to hide their thoughts seeing those circumstances.
Fighting was nothing. Kids in the tribe feared not fighting, and no adult treated it seriously. However, it was totally a different story when someone got besieged by twenty people, even when all of them were merely children. Only the idiots would try to find trouble for themselves.
After taking care of Sai’s disturbance, Shao Xuan gathered the ferocious kids back to the cave. With the chasing and fighting earlier, their unwilling emotions got vented all out. So naturally they should come back and do the right things.
Kids in the cave saw that Shao Xuan used his fish to trade for animal skins, so they took their fish and ask Shao Xuan to do the trading for them. The group leaders that Shao Xuan appointed were not fools, and since they themselves did not like to communicate with other people in the tribe, they asked Shao Xuan to do the favor.
In the memories of some kids, they vaguely remembered that someone had taught them two things that should be prepared and stored before winter came. One was food, and the other was animal skins. The former one could save them from starvation, and the latter one guaranteed that they won’t be frozen to death. Even though the tribe would spare them some animal skins for winter use, there were also kids that got ill because of the weather every year. Before they were properly treated, they tended to close their eyes for good and thus surrender their lives to the harsh winter. Those who had lived for a few years in the cave still had fresh memories of winter times. It was so terrifying, for no one had sufficient food, and at nights they often woke up because of the coldness. Let alone the fact that their companions could end up dead whenever. So since they had food now, they would gladly spare some food and trade for animal skins.
When one kid tried to ask Shao Xuan’s favor, the other followed.
Shao Xuan recorded on the stone wall that which group had spared how many fish, and after he traded the animal skins back, he would distribute them to different groups accordingly.
As he was writing on the wall, someone came inside the cave.
Everyone hesitated and held their breath, seeing that someone walked in. Then every five of them gathered together and stared at the coming person vigilantly.
Shao Xuan knew the coming person, as he was just another kid living in the cave named Mo-Er. Mo-Er’s father was an excellent warrior, but he had an accident during a hunting mission. After that, Mo-Er’s mother remarried, and Mo-Er should’ve joined the new family according to the rules in the tribe. However, the newly formed family had more than one kid, and since there were inevitable conflicts, fighting and violence were unavoidable.
Originally Mo-Er was named as “Er”, but since his father’s name was “Mo”, he himself combined the two words and gave himself a new name.
Mo-Er carried a long stone knife that was nearly his height, and scanned around the cave. He sniffed and looked up curiously, only to find out that many fish with tiny sharp teeth were hanging above and stared at him with their dark red eyes.
Mo-Er suddenly stepped back, stiffened his body as he drew out the stone knife that he had tied on his back.
At the same time Mo-Er drew out his knife, some kids misunderstood him and thought that he was trying to rob away their fish, so they also stood up abruptly with tools tightly grasped in their hands, staring at Mo-Er with all their attention.
What? Want to rob our fish?!!
Although they lived in the same cave, ever since Shao Xuan had divided them into different groups of 5, in their hearts, anyone who did not belong to their group was considered as an outsider, against whom needed to be guarded.
“Alright! Drop all your knives and sticks… The one with the stone, don’t you dare think that I did not see the weapon in your hand behind your back! Drop them all!” Shao Xuan roared at all kids in the cave, and then walked towards Mo-Er. He pointed at the fish above and explained, “Dead.”
Mo-Er frowned and observed carefully at the fish with giant mouth and numerous sharp teeth. He held back his knife only after he made sure that they were dead fish with no ability to threaten his safety. It was also pretty hard for him to hold such a big knife. After he took it back, Mo-Er glanced at the surroundings again,
Seeing that, Shao Xuan assumed that he was looking for Ku, “Ku has gone to the mountainside district, and he won’t come back for the winter. Uncle Ge named me as the person in charge in the cave.”
Mo-Er nodded and said nothing. For him it didn’t matter who was in charge of the cave, it was just that the changes made him uncomfortable. Carrying his knife, Mo-Er headed to the depth of the cave. Unlike the old times, everyone in the cave stared at him as he walked, and sending a message that he was not welcome. In the past, no one would care whether he returned or not, after some time’s absence. They would just lie on the ground in a mess.
Just as Mo-Er wondered in private why these changes were happening since last time he left, the other kids were thinking as well. In the past they didn’t bother to think, but now they were quite eager to think.
Another person meant that more game needed to be distributed, which was such a shame… Everyone had their own thoughts and spontaneously they glanced at Shao Xuan, waiting for his decision.
Shao Xuan had heard from Ku earlier, that Mo-Er’s father had left him many good stuff. The stone knife that Mo-Er was using was inherited from his father. So compared to the other kids in the cave, Mo-Er was basically born with a silver spoon in his mouth. However, the second-generation-rich was unlike the others, as he would constantly come back to the cave, instead of living a fine life in the mountains. Sometimes, his remarried mother had to drag him away from the cave, and head back to their home in the mountain. However, after some time, Mo-Er would return to the cave again.
Perhaps he fought with the other kids in his new family, and perhaps for other reasons, he often came back. But no one asked him why, and Mo-Er had not told anyone about his life story. He was scanty with his words, and very reticent. When communicating with others, he would merely nod or shake his head, or else come directly to fight. He struck the other kids in the cave with only one impression – that he was quite a master in fighting. No one had beaten him up, including Ku, who had already gone to the mountainside district. So less than a last resort, no one in the cave would try to rob Mo-Er. Naturally one shall only rob things from the weakest person, and those with muddled brains that tried to rob Mo-Er, had all been stabbed by him.
“Are you staying in the cave for the winter?” asked Shao Xuan.
“Good. Formerly there were twenty-five people in the cave, and I divided them into five groups. Now since you are back…”
The air was tense in the cave, and everyone stared at Shao Xuan with their eyes wide open. Some would even harshly shake their heads towards Shao Xuan, as if they were afraid that Shao Xuan would misinterpret their meaning, that they did not want any new members in their group.
“So you should join our group.” Said Shao Xuan.
Kids in the other four groups were quite relieved, and their intense expressions faded away, and were replaced with joyful smiles. As for the two older kids in Shao Xuan’s group, they were not happy about it, but since Shao Xuan had made the decision, they chose not to violate it. However, they glared at Mo-Er and turned around to continue weaving straw rope.
Mo-Er did not care for the others’ obvious exclusion, at least Shao Xuan could not see his resistance based on his reaction. He was still in deep silence as before.
At night, some kids already fell asleep, and some kids who were worried that tomorrow might be yet another bad day for fishing and couldn’t sleep, weaved straw ropes mindlessly. It was so messy, they would weave and then undo the straw rope again and again. When they got angry, they would use their teeth to bite the straw rope, which made Shao Xuan quite anxious. How are we going to use these crappy ropes that were already bitten through?
The fire near the entrance had not been put out, and the curtain at the entrance was still up. The fire light was pretty obvious since it was already dark in the outside. So the night swallows would avoid the bright places and only observe from afar.
Mo-Er carried his knife and approached the entrance. He put the giant knife on his back aside, and held two short knives with both his hands. He gripped the short knives backhanded, and since he could not hide his breath like totemic warriors, the flying night swallows noticed his presence as soon as he walked out the entrance.
Shao Xuan sat beside the fire. It was not far from the entrance, and the sky could be observed from there.
Two crescent moons were floating in the sky. Yes, two of them.
When seeing the moons in the sky at night, Shao Xuan realized this could only be explained by this being a whole other world, which was far different from the world he knew. All the rules and experiences he once mastered could not be applied in here.
During this season, two moons would march against each other in opposite directions. The crescents could not provide enough light to the dark sky, so it was darker than before.
The night grew darker and darker, and winter would officially begin when these two moons fully disappeared.
Shao Xuan’s eyesight fell on Mo-Er’s body as Mo-Er left the cave. Judging from his earlier behavior and the way he held those knives now, Shao Xuan could tell that Mo-Er was quite experienced in fighting. Every day when the other kids were sleeping, he would start to practice with his knives. Even though his father was gone, there was still someone who was willing to teach him.
Holding the short knives, Mo-Er stood there in silence, as if he was staring blankly at the darkness. But Shao Xuan knew that Mo-Er was waiting for the game to approach him.
In the darkness, night swallows flew by at a very fast speed. One could not see their bodies clearly and only slight sounds could be captured.
There were a lot of night swallows outside the cave, and they were hesitating because there was light coming from the cave. Only a few of them dared to rush at Mo-Er.
A quick small sound was heard. Night swallows were approaching!
Mo-Er moved fast and he slashed his short knife to the left rapidly!
It was a quick slash without hesitation.
The second that the knife cut on the wall, there was a flashing sparkle, because he was standing quite near the entrance.
The night swallow that attacked earlier had left, but it left a half-hand long wound on Mo-Er’s arm.
It was caused by the night swallow’s shovel-like beak. But influenced by the coming knife, the night swallow slightly altered its attacking angle, so the wound it left on Mo-Er’s arm was not deep. If the peck was in the front, Mo-Er would have lost some flesh, instead of just getting a superficial wound.
A fine hunter needed to know how to hide and how to endure. Mo-Er did not reveal any painful expressions at the wound earlier, and he did not frown even a bit. His hand holding the knife was still steady and he looked just the same as before. He did not treat his wound, and just let the blood bleed from his wound.
However, the flying night swallows seemed to sense the blood in the air, and began to act restless.
Shao Xuan could hear the sounds of more night swallows flying in the air.
Compared with the other kids in the cave, Mo-Er was much tougher. In the past, Ku was very incomprehensive towards Mo-Er using night swallows to practice his knife skills. In the eyes of the kids in the cave, he was totally asking for death himself. When Mo-Er was not in the cave, they whispered and wondered about why he would try so hard in such a tough place, when he could have a far better and easier life.
Caesar was also provoked by those flying night swallows outside the cave. Shao Xuan calmed him down and stood up to lead him to the depth of the cave.
However, just after a few steps, Shao Xuan stopped, for he heard some sharp humming.
At first Shao Xuan thought they were imaginary voices, and then he wondered if it was tinnitus caused by too much thinking or other reasons. But after a while, he felt that something was wrong. The sharp humming grew stronger and stronger, as if the thing who created the sound was approaching.
Another sound caused by a stone knife and stone walls hitting, and at the same time, the sharp humming that Shao Xuan heard stopped.
Shao Xuan looked at the other side.
Mo-Er held a knife in his hand, and the knife had already poked through a night swallow’s body. The night swallow finally rested after some waves of its wings, and its blood streamed down the gray stone knife.
The approaching night swallows turned and flew afar, as they were lingering in the air.
Mo-Er flung the knife and the dead night swallow was tossed into the cave beside the giant knife that Mo-Er carried in his back. Then he continued to wait for another game.
Caesar bared his teeth to that dead night swallow, and he was very anxious to take a bite at it. However, Shao Xuan stared at the shovel-like beak of that night swallow, lost in thought.