Chapter 27: The First Time
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Under Zhang Yangping’s leadership, the Northern Mountain Village hunting square laughed loudly as they brought the game back to their own territory.
"Deputy captain is indeed brilliant, this time our yield is really high. The Southern Mountain Village hasn’t visited the mountain in many days, there are really quite a few good prey in the traps…" A hunting squad member following behind Zhang Yangping laughed happily.
"Of course, under normal circumstances, the Southern Mountain Village and Northern Mountain Village went about their own businesses in their own territories. But this year, the Southern Mountain Village’s luck hasn’t been good, having encountered the Blue Fire Wolf and I even heard that they suffered seven to eight casualties. They won’t be able to pose any short-term threat to us!" Likewise, Zhang Yangping was delighted.
"Indeed our deputy captain’s thinking is flexible, if it was us we would never have been able to think of this!"
"Huh? Deputy captain, there is a… small child behind!"
Very quickly, Zhang Yangping and his team noticed that following behind them, was a six or seven year old child, wearing a leather jacket and carrying a large basket on his back.
Fang Zhengzhi didn’t bother trying to conceal his intentions, and outrightly sauntered behind them.
The reason was simple. Having to walk around in the mountain alone, he was obviously scared!
"Such a young kid? What is he doing!"
"Quick, look! He is carrying a large basket behind his back, could it be someone from another village coming to Cang Ling Mountain to pick herbs?"
"Then let’s ignore him, carry on!"
Zhang Yangping and his team continued to walk, until they reached the Northern Mountain Village territory.
While Fang Zhengzhi continued to follow behind them.
"Deputy captain, we have already reached our Northern Mountain Village territory?!"
"What are you saying, how big can this Cang Ling Mountain be? There are so many people coming from other places and villages to pick herbs on the mountain. He is just a child coming up to pick herbs, why do you care so much about him!" Zhang Yangping huffed.
Indeed, the rest of the hunting squad thought the same. There were many villages surrounding the Cang Ling Mountain, coming up to pick herbs was a usual sight.
However, people usually chose the deeper parts of Cang Ling Mountain for herb picking, herbs on the outskirts were exceedingly rare.
Looking at Fang Zhengzhi’s tender age, the hunting squad members understood again. Looks like this kid didn’t dare to venture too deep…
Fang Zhengzhi waited till the villagers of the Northern Mountain Village stopped, and understood. More likely than not, this was the hunting territory of the Northern Mountain Village.
Reaching his destination, he leisurely began to take out the hoe, shovels and other tools from the large basket from his bag.
Then, he began to dig...
When the Northern Mountain Village hunting squad, who had started searching for more prey, went past him, they glanced a few times at Fang Zhengzhi. Then, realising that he brought neither a bow nor a blade, they relaxed and didn’t pay any further attention to him.
Fang Zhengzhi dug energetically. As he dug, he took out his ruler to make measurements, and from time to time took out a drawing from his pocket to take a few looks. Other times, he would be carrying stones from his surroundings and shifting them around.
His purpose in following the Northern Mountain Village hunting squad naturally was not to shout out, "Return my prey!"
Because, that was obviously asking for trouble…
Not only did the opponent have over twenty strong men, but just their bows or blades alone was something he couldn’t defeat with his small dagger.
Those good at offense, their enemies can’t defend against them. Those good at defense, their enemies have no idea how to attack!
Fang Zhengzhi evidently wasn’t really here to pick herbs. The past few days he had thought long and hard, and finally came up with a big plan, a plan that was enough to make sure the Southern Mountain Village hunting squad would never be bullied, a plan that would always put him at an undefeatable position.
As the saying goes: The time spent sharpening a blade won’t hinder the cutting of trees. If he wanted to reap huge rewards, he have to first sharpen a "razor-sharp blade".
His initial plan was to carry out this plan at the Southern Mountain Village territory, however now that an "accident" had happened, he decided to carry it out on the Northern Mountain Village territory instead...
Time flowed by quickly. Very soon, it was noon. Fang Zhengzhi stopped his work, took out the lunch Qin Xuelian prepared for him, ate his picnic meal, took a short break and recited The Great Learning.
As the sky started to darken slightly, Fang Zhengzhi started to leave…
Fang Zhengzhi’s first time up the mountain was devoid of any interesting surprises.
When the villagers of the Southern Mountain Village realised that he returned with empty hands, they laughed casually. After all, he was a kid, and moreover it was his first time in the mountain. Not catching anything was normal.
The second Qin Xuelian saw Fang Zhengzhi, she immediately hugged him tightly.
"I’m just happy that you are back…"
Mrs Li’s words were still undeniably harsh: "I thought you were so talented, after one whole day in the mountain, how come you didn’t even manage to catch a green furred rabbit?"
Some of the villagers in the square were unhappy when they heard this.. Ultimately, to them, for Fang Zhengzhi to stand out and volunteer to join the hunting squad was already something very respectable.
"Zhengzhi is only seven, to have voluntarily joined the hunting squad’s expedition is already good enough!"
"That’s right, am I right to believe your family’s Li Huer wouldn’t dare to go?"
"He is so young, and moreover this is his first expedition up the mountain, how can you really judge him as if he is an adult?"
The villagers noisily began to discuss. When Mrs Li heard this, she became unhappy. Arms akimbo, she retorted, "My family’s Li Huer has not joined the hunting squad, but my family’s Li Huer is studying! Next time when he passes the Law of Dao examinations, he is going to become a high-ranking official! When he excludes the entire Southern Mountain Village from taxes, wouldn’t that be much better than hunting some animals on the mountain!"
When she brought up the Law of Dao examinations, the villagers instantly stopped their chattering. The father and son of the Li Family are both currently in the Hall of Dao. The hopes of the Southern Mountain Village are pinned on those who qualified to enter the Hall of Dao, and nobody wished to offend her.
"Alright, all of you stop quarreling. Everybody just do well what you are supposed to do!" Village Chief Meng Bai stood out at this moment to round up the discussion.
"Village chief’s words are indeed wise. Everybody has their own unique lives! Moreover, isn’t it true that Fang Zhengzhi didn’t manage to hunt anything this time? Why can’t people say anything about it?" Mrs Li mumbled in a low voice, glancing at Fang Zhengzhi with a disdainful expression.
"Qingshan, why is the yield so little today?" Village Chief Meng Bai changed the topic.
"It’s all because of the Northern Mountain Village…" Ding Qingshan walked over to Village Chief Meng Bai’s side and spoke in a low voice. He didn’t know if it was appropriate to talk about this incident in front of the entire village.
Village Chief Meng Bai’s brows quickly knitted together.
"Next time… enter the mountain earlier!" When Village Chief Meng Bai finished speaking, he sighed heavily, placing the cigar on his hand into his mouth and angrily took a few puffs.
"I understand." Ding Qingshan understood his intentions. The two villages were too near to each other, Southern Mountain Village people marrying across to the Northern Mountain Village people and vice versa was common.
The affinity between them was strong, but so was the friction between them!
Fighting over the mountain, fighting over prey, these were commonplace. If this incident could be settled peacefully, they naturally didn’t wish for it to escalate into a big conflict.
The amount of prey was meagre and very quickly, it was all distributed.
Since Fang Zhengzhi voluntarily entered the hunting squad, he was rather well taken care of. Even though his first time up the mountain yielded no returns, the village chief still gave a small piece of meat to him as a "encouragement".
The rest of the villagers didn’t have much opinions. After all, there was still a person lying injured in the Fang family household.
When Mrs Li witnessed this, she was displeased. "Not only did he not catch anything, he still benefited from the reaps of the hunting squad. This trade is indeed worth it…"
Fang Zhengzhi didn’t say anything, except when he got home, he accidentally dropped a black coloured "animal trap" at the Li family doorstep.
Were indeed very obvious.
"Aiya! Which damned person placed a trap at my doorstep!!" Mrs Li’s agonizing screech pierced through the dark night.