Wen Leyang yelled in shock as he quickly smeared some green powder on Xiaoyi’s nostrils, followed by pushing a nullifying pill into her mouth. This pill had been the ancestral secret of the Wen to nullify hundreds of poisons, known as the Pill of a Hundred Antidote but it has rarely been used in the past decade.
The stench emitted by those weird bodies in the house was too much for an ordinary girl to withstand. The toxic odor had possibly leaked out from when he opened and shut the door earlier on. Wen Leyang and the people from the Death Trademark were, of course, immune to this toxin but Xiaoyi, who had never soaked in the medicinal potion and practiced the Art of Poison, could not handle the stench even if she only had a small whiff of it. Fortunately, she was not seriously poisoned.
Xiaoyi felt a cooling sensation from her nose, all the way to her heart and lungs. She shuddered as nausea and dizziness that she experienced earlier on had disappeared totally. She looked at Wen Leyang admirably, “That pill of yours tastes horrible!”
Pushing a carrot into her hands, Wen Leyang went, “Take a few bites to get the bitterness out of your mouth.”
Wen Xiaoyi happily stuffed her mouth with the carrot, taking a bite with her straight, white teeth, “What was the horrendous smell earlier? What happened to have alarmed Grandpa?”
There were glimpses of gossip in her bright shining eyes that clearly spelled out the gossiping nature of women regardless of age.
Wen Leyang briefly explained the situation in the house to Xiaoyi, including how he was given the Red Jade Box. He then concluded, “I wonder if those bodies are the people of the Death Trademark. Those heads must be really heavy, else they wouldn’t have needed two persons to carry them. It would be better for you to stay away from the main house unless you want to taste the antidote pill again. Fourth Grandpa didn’t instruct me on what to do with those bodies and I can’t handle them alone. What is the matter? If you don’t feel like eating that, give it back to me.” With that, he took the remaining half of the carrot away from Xiaoyi.
Not paying attention to him at all, Wen Xiaoyi frowned in her own deep thought, “If they use a spell called The Green Headed Widow, then the victim’s body will be drained, left only with the hairless skull and a green scalp. However, the body will feel unusually heavy with a head weighing up to hundreds of pounds. It’s the sorcery of the Seven Maidens Mountain.”
Wen Leyang was shocked by this information as Wen Bucao and the Miao were of the same clan and origin, with both ferocious families standing strong for over two thousand years. If this really was the work of the Miao, whether it was Fourth Grandpa, the Death Trademark or the Wen, they were up against a really strong opponent this time around.
Wen Xiaoyi, on the other hand, was coolly ignorant. Staring at his tensed face, she giggled, “Don’t be afraid, Wen Leyang. The surroundings of the Red Leaves Forest, as well as the mountain, were all planted with traps personally designed by Grandpa, whoever that messes around the Nine Peaks Mountain is as good as courting death!”
Wen Leyang shook his head with a wry smile and felt placated, there was no need to overthink on this at the present moment, he would only be worrying for nothing while munching on the carrot. He loitered around the Red Leaves Forest for a little while to get used to the feeling as the master of The Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death Place. Apart from Wen Xiaoyi who followed behind him diligently, no one else cared about him as usual. This young man eventually went back to the Birth Trademark awkwardly and carried on with his recitation.
There was nothing in the woods that required his attention while the others continued with their daily activities of being the living dead.
Two days later, Wen Leyang finally forgot about being the master of the square. As for the others, they never seemed to remember at all. It was the end of summer and the sky was getting dark earlier and earlier. Not too long ago there was a sunset glow at eight o’clock and now shortly after seven o’clock, the mountain was already covered in deep darkness.
Shortly after dinner, Wen Leyang let out a burp and took out a carrot. Resting lazily in a rattan chair, he was about to take a bite out of it when the two guys that were raised by beasts jumped up all of a sudden.
Startled, Wen Leyang lowered his carrot and went, “Do you guys want some too?”
Wen Xiaoyi also put down her chopsticks and admonished the two, “Old Wolf, Yuan! Sit down and eat!”
Both of them ignored Xiaoyi utterly, with Old Wolf carefully sniffing the air again and again while the grayish eyes of Yuan contracted into a sparkly thin line, scanning the surroundings in high alert.
Moments later, the two who were raised by the beasts wailed and howled at the same time before dashing out of the house like a fierce and malicious cheetah.
“Xiaoyi, stay in the house and don’t come out!” With that, Wen Leyang stretched out his legs and ran out of the house, following behind the two closely.
The chaotic howling of beasts and the cawing of crows were heard from all around, surrounding the mountain from the ridge to the foot in tumultuous noise as though something had stirred up and alarmed all the birds and beasts!
A terrifying roar that sounded almost as loud as an autumn thunder broke the air from afar, subduing all the howling of the beasts and shook the hundreds of thousands of trees in the mountain, with the rustling sound of the leaves reverberating through the sky!
The two beast men were frightened by the roar and ran with their clothes fluttering in the air, looking like two bats out of hell. Yuan clambered up his usual tree in the blink of an eye and hid behind the leaves, not daring to move an inch. Old Wolf streaked into his small house and buried his head deep in the hay, revealing only his butt. Wen Leyang almost coughed out a stream of blood upon seeing the situation, not knowing to which of them he should direct his blood at.
Xiaoyi was not behaving as well as she followed them out of the house. Listening to the turmoil, Xiaoyi flushed and clutched tightly onto Wen Leyang’s arm, “Are there enemies nearby?”
Wen Leyang covered Xiaoyi protectively with his back and smiled bitterly, “How could this be the enemy? It sounded more like a monster patrolling the mountain…”
There was no sign of any movement from the rest of the people in the square. All of them were safely inside their houses and not one dared to stick their head out.
Taking a few deep breaths to calm himself down, Wen Leyang yelled loudly, “Everybody out! Fourth Grandpa had said this earlier! When he’s not around, I call the shots!”
“Hear ye!” Xiaoyi did her best to support Wen Leyang.
Finally, the others stepped out from the houses and looked him with their dull eyes, expressionless as usual. Despite the alarming situation, one would have expected them to have a reaction that befits the ambiance.
Not wasting any more effort, Wen Leyang went straight to the point, “The situation is exceptionally strange, and everybody should patrol the woods together with me to prevent the enemy…”
He was interrupted before he could finish his sentence by one of the old folk from the Life Trademark who said with a wavering voice, “I watch over the bodies in the daytime and at night, I only sleep.”
The old folk was Wen Shulin, an old man in the Life Trademark who dealt with corpses all day long until he began to resemble one himself. If he lay down by the roadside, he would definitely be given a burial by any kind-hearted passerby.
The others also voiced out their opinions.
“I’m only in charge of the cleanliness of the house.”
“I’m only in charge of copying the prescriptions.”
“I’m only in charge of rearranging the books.”
Wen Leyang was furious and a grinned fiercely, staring with hard eyes at this sullen group of uncaring people who’ve clearly stated that it was none of their business. “Fourth Grandpa has left the Forest. The Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death is the most important place for the Wen clan. We can never allow a stranger to simply enter this place! Although the surrounding woods had been personally laid with poisonous traps by Grandpa, but…”
Shrugging his shoulders, Wen Shulin elaborated, “It’s not that we don’t care, we just have no abilities as we’re all normal people.”
Wen Xiaoyi tugged on his clothes a few times, “They’re like me, not knowing the Art of Poison and Martial Art, only the people from the Death Trademark know Martial Art.”
Though Wen Leyang was still learning about things related to The Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death, he was being patient and had never asked about the others in the square. He had assumed Xiaoyi would share that information with him eventually. But he would never have guessed that the old people, whom he assumed to have great talents, were in fact just ordinary people after all.
Dumbfounded, Wen Leyang asked, “What if we were attacked?”
All eyes and fingers pointed towards Wen Leyang simultaneously, “Then you go!”
Deciding on the best course of action, Wen Leyang instructed them to put out the lamps, plunging the square into pitch blackness. The sky was also covered by thick, dark clouds which turned the clear starry night into total darkness.
Not long later, a glimmer of green light could be seen rising up slowly from the south. It floated in the air leisurely before gliding towards the Red Leaves Forest.