The tree roots penetrate into the mountain soil, letting their green hands reach up towards the sky. Thick and solid tree trunks faced each other, looking similar through the distances. The exuberant branches and leaves intertwined in mid-air.
Under the surroundings of these trees was a wooden house.
The wooden house was made entirely from the solid thick barks, leaking out a type of genuine firm smell. The wooden house was not a newly built one, but it had gathered many years. Thus the house surface had green moss growing all over, and some of the tree trunks had begun to sprout out tender little branches.
Around the wooden house was a tall and great fence constructed from green spear bamboo. The back and front area was all vegetable fields, and in the middle of the fields was a man-made well.
At this time, a young and beautiful lady was drawing water from the well.
While she wore simple and plain clothing, this was still hard to mask her complexion. She was sixteen years of age, and she had a big pair of black eyes, the black and whites of her eyes clearly defined, and pure like crystals.
The sunlight penetrated through the overlapping and luxuriant tree leaves, shining onto her face, letting her skin reflect light like it was white snow, also showing a sort of transparent red flush and gentleness on her.
Her black hair hung down unruly and half-covered her cute earlobes.
The pink lips were pursed at the moment, and she was clenching her set of white perfect teeth, her face showing an expression of full concentration.
She used all her strength to pull the bucket full of water out of the well. With another breath, she moved the bucket to the ground outside the well.
“Huff!” The young girl wiped her forehead and breathed out, using her pale hand to fan her own face.
Hearing the bucket hitting the ground, the wooden house’s door opened, and an old man came out.
The old man’s hair was a mix of black and white, his face having layers of wrinkles. Although his eyes looked tired, they showed a hint of brilliance sometimes. Like an elderly tiger, although old, the tiger’s authority was still evident.
“Lass, this bucket is too heavy, I said let me carry it. Why are you secretly watering the plants behind my back again?” The elderly looked at the young girl and showed an expression of doting affection.
“Father!” The young girl sweetly called, “You were hunting until late at night yesterday, I wanted you to sleep in later today. It’s just a water bucket, look, I can carry it out, right?”
“You, always loving to act tough!” The old man’s voice was full of helplessness, but his eyes were once again doting on her.
He took a large step and got to the well, stretching out his hand and easily grabbing the bucket, “Come, lass, let’s water the plants together.”
The air was full of the smell of wild grass and flowers, and the summer’s wind blew warmly and passed by the trees, turning into a gust of refreshing wind.
The wooden house on the mountain had a vegetable field, and the girl used the pail, lowering her back to water the plants. The father was in charge of getting the water, rotating between two water buckets. The atmosphere of a loving family was evident in this tiny space.
“Sigh, I am too old, just a few buckets and I am already exhausted.” After a while, the old man stood by the well, wiping the sweat off his forehead and sighing deeply.
The young girl turned her head back, smiling like flowers, saying, “Father, you finally realized it. You’re already so old, yet you want to act tough all the time. How many times have I told you, let second brother do the hunting, you should be resting at home enjoying your life at this age.”
“Hehehe,” the old man laughed, nodding, “Relying on your second brother’s abilities, he can roam this mountain easily. With his archery skills, it even surpasses me in my youth. But I still cannot feel at ease, his heart is too wild, and with just martial art skills he wants to soar. Sigh, young men love to imagine freely, they all have this problem.”
“Father…..” The young girl dragged her words.
The old man laughed even more heartily now, his tone carrying a mischievous hint, “Oh yeah, there’s still you. You’re not young anymore, it’s time to get married. I have found a good partner for you, and with your good looks, there’s no problems with finding a good family.”
The girl’s face grew red like a tomato. Immediately she felt too embarrassed until she was lost for words.
The old man looked at the sky, imagining the great future as he sighed, “Once your second brother suffers some setbacks and curbs his nature, I will retire and never go into the mountains. Next I will find you a good family and watch you marry and have children, preferably a chubby boy. Heh heh, your father wants to take care of his grandson, that’s all I want. A person’s life is not easy, and as a hunter, how many can have a good ending? Sigh, all my partners and comrades from back then are already gone, I am all that’s left.”
“Father, you are wrong.” The young girl consoled, “What do you mean there’s only you left? You still have us.”
“Hehe, hmm?” The old man was laughing and was about to reply, but he suddenly heard a sound and turned his head.
The little entrance of the bamboo fence was broken from the outside by someone.
“You are old man Wang?” Fang Yuan’s cold expression with his eerie eyes, stepped forward with a lump of moonlight in his right arm.
The old man was shocked as he looked at the moonlight on Fang Yuan’s hand, rapidly kneeling, “This old man pays his respects to Lord Gu Master!”
“Old man Wang, your son dared to offend me, I have executed him. Bring his corpse forward!” Fang Yuan stood proudly, staring at the kneeling old man as he brought out the main topic.
His words had just finished, and two young hunters carried Wang Er’s corpse in.
Seeing this corpse, old man Wang’s body shook!
“Second brother —!” The young girl screamed pitifully, rushing forward and grabbing Wang Er’s corpse, her face flushed with tears.
“Wang family’s daughter…” The two young hunters, seeing the girl they liked crying in front of them, felt terrible. They wanted to console her, but no words came out.
“Old man Wang, I heard you’re a hunter, the best among the few villages. At such an old age, you can still hunt and get a good result every time, this is great.”
Fang Yuan paused here for a moment, and continued expressionlessly, “Draw me a map of all the traps of the nearby mountain area now, as well as the results of your observation of wild beast territories from your hunting experience all these years. Draw it for me and I will spare your son’s sin of offending me, if not… hmph.”
These villages were under Gu Yue village’s control. The villagers were all farmer slaves of the Gu Yue clan.
With Wang Er’s offense for offending his master, according to the clan rules, their entire family would be implicated!
Old man Wang’s body shook again, almost falling to the ground. An impact like this was too sudden and great to him.
“Murderer, you are the murderer that harmed my brother! You treat human lives like livestock, and you dare to confront us? I will exact revenge for my brother!!” The young girl screamed, her voice full of hatred and anger towards Fang Yuan, and she rushed towards Fang Yuan.
But she was only halfway there when she got stopped by someone.
It was not the two young hunters, but her father.
“Disgraceful wretch!” Old man Wang screamed as he gave the young girl a tight slap, sending her to the ground.
“Your second brother is dead, do you want to die too? Do you want this old father of yours to be old and alone forever?!” The old man cried profusely saying this, his body trembling furiously.
“Father!” The young girl was awakened by this, and her tears poured out. Her voice was full of sadness, unjust, pity, hatred, and helplessness.
The old man turned his body, facing Fang Yuan as he kneeled down and placed his forehead on the ground, prostrating deeply at Fang Yuan’s feet. His voice shook as he said, “Lord Gu Master, my son offended you and deserved to die! I shall draw the map for you now, please spare us with your magnanimity.”
Fang Yuan’s expression turned milder, he looked at the old man arrogantly, saying, “Be at ease, as long as you draw honestly, I will spare you. But don’t think of lying to me, for if I find any suspicious points, your lives will be forfeited!”
“I understand, this old man understands.” Old man Wang kowtowed non-stop, “Please Lord Gu Master, allow me to retrieve my brush and paper.”
“No need.” Fang Yuan waved his hand, looking at the two hunters he had forced along, ordering, “Enter the room and find paper and brush, and bring them out.”
“Yes, Lord Gu Master.” The two youngsters did not dare to rebel under Fang Yuan’s authority.
“Lord, the paper and brush are on the square table in the kitchen.” Old man Wang said.
Fang Yuan’s eyes shone but he remained silent.
The two hunters barged into the house and quickly brought out the paper and brush.
In the southern territory, the paper were specially made of bamboo, where the quality was bad and the paper was tough with green overlays. Paper like this was suited to the moist weather of the southern territorial weather.
If it was rice paper, it might be destroyed after a week due to moisture.
The old man carried the brush and kneeled on the ground, drawing out black lines, curves or dots.
He used over ten bamboo papers, before handing them all to Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan looked through them and split these bamboo papers into two, handing them to the two hunters, “Take a look if there’s any inappropriate areas. Every mistake, I’ll give you one primeval stone!”