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“Beast attack?” the chief looked at them with concern. “There was another one?”
“Yes,” the man said. “But it seems to be just our tribe that suffered. Every other tribe we’ve been to has been fine.”
“What sort of beasts were they?” the chief asked. He remembered the many beasts that had come for them last night too. Had they been oblivious to the amount, yesterday might’ve ended in a few tragedies at least.
“Just the normal ones,” the man said. “Anyway, we will keep our word and leave. Thank you for dueling with us.”
“Wait,” the chief said. “Tell us more about the beasts. Instead, you can heal your people in our sacred flames.”
The man contemplated for a single second before agreeing. Even if not for his people, just him alone healing would help them a lot.
“Thank you,” he said and walked into the tribe.
Alex curiously followed behind them and walked over to the hall where the chief sat down the man people and let them heal.
The 70 or so people were on guard for a while, but seeing the sacred flame heal their wounds made them feel better. Only then could they find the time to remember everyone they had lost in the past few days and so they cried.
It didn’t take long for the entire hall to be a cacophony of cries as everyone mourned for their family.
The chief waited for a while before asking the man named Han to explain his side of things.
Han didn’t hesitate and explained everything.
About 10 days ago, the Bonehead tribe had been ambushed by a bunch of beasts that killed their chief and many other members of their tribe. They tried to fight the beasts, but it was simply impossible to stop them all.
As a result, only a few of them managed to escape.
They immediately left the area and went around to other tribes to ask for help, but no one wanted to fight after learning that the beasts were strong enough to kill so many of a tribe’s people.
They would only be sending their own people to die after all. Since the beasts were known to be attracted to the Sacred flame because of its healing properties, they wouldn’t leave that place at all, and as such the tribes were much safer.
They had learned about this after the beasts had settled onto several different tribe’s locations 7 years ago after the incident of the beasts after the Northern Lights disappeared.
The tribe stayed there for a few more hours, healing up, and then decided to leave.
Just as they were about to, Alex stepped forward. “You don’t have a place to go, right? How about I help you get back to your place?” he asked.
The man who was about to leave the hall stopped. He looked at Alex and then towards the chief.
The chief was surprised and walked up to Alex. “You will do that?” he asked.
“Sure,” Alex said. “I was planning on leaving here already, so why don’t I go there.”
“You were thinking of leaving?” the chief was surprised.
“Yes, I was going to leave today,” Alex said.
“What about cultivation? You said you would teach us,” the chief said.
“Uh, that is going to be hard. Unless you are okay with losing the sacred flames forever, there is no way for you to properly cultivate,” Alex said.
“That… I suppose we will have to give up on it then,” the chief said.
“If that’s what you say,” Alex said. He turned around towards the man named Han. “You should get ready to go back to your tribe. We will leave in a bit.”
The chief turned to look at the man as well and nodded towards him in the assurance that this was the best choice.
“Very well, brother. I shall wait for you to get ready to leave. However, I hope you can do something about the beasts there without us having to fight. We already fought and lost against the beasts,” the man said.
“No, you won’t have to fight,” Alex said. “I will handle it.”
The man was surprised to hear Alex speak with such confidence, mainly because he didn’t look that strong physically.
“You can’t leave just like that,” Li Yun said. “You didn’t even fall for me yet.”
Alex smiled slightly. “I told you that wouldn’t happen. That’s why I told you to lose hope,” he said.
If he were, to be honest, he was starting to like her company. She brought a straightforwardness to life that Alex hadn’t seen in a long while.
She didn’t hide her feelings and spoke exactly what she wanted to speak. He appreciated that about her.
However, the underlying feeling of being out of place, needing to save his brother, find his father, and somehow go back to his mother, all bogged down his heart and made it impossible for anything else to appear from it.
“I’m coming with you,” she said.
“What? No, I will take these guys there and then I will go somewhere else,” Alex said.
“Well, I am going anyway. You can bring me back here if you are so worried about me. If by that time you haven’t fallen for me, then you can leave,” she said.
Alex was about to argue, but he couldn’t find the heart to. “Sigh, fine. Do what you want. We’ll be leaving in an hour.”
“Great! I will prepare the carriage,” she said.
“No, we will be going by foot,” Alex said.
“What? But the Bonehead tribe’s land is over a day that way. Do you seriously want to walk all the way there?” she asked.
“Do you want to take a carriage while all of these people walk instead?” he asked.
“Well,” the girl looked around at the many people and hesitated a bit. “They can take some carriage too.”
“Oh,” the chief said from the side. “If we send all of our carriages with them, who will be bringing it back?”
Li Yun grumbled. “Fine, we will walk. Happy?” she said with a pout on her face.
Alex smiled and even chuckled a bit. “Yes, very happy. Anyway, get ready to leave.” He turned towards the chief. “Do you know if my new clothes are ready yet?”
“Oh, right,” the Chief said. “I think they’re ready. Come let me take you there.”
Alex went with the chief over to the lady that was given the leather to make his new clothes, and she handed them two pairs of pants and two pairs of sleeveless shirts.
Alex looked at the pants and shirts that looked seamless and compared that to his own which seemed to be a wrong motion away from slipping off his shoulders.
“These look nice,” he said. “Thank you.”
The lady smiled back and urged him to wear them. Alex went into a small room inside the house and quickly changed while keeping the other pair in his storage bag.
“Wow, these fit me perfectly,” he said. He felt the pants and shirt that hugged his skin most of the time but still let air pass through it.
“Here,” the woman said, giving him something else.
Alex curiously looked at what it was and saw a pair of boots. He looked at it with surprise as he had not been expecting to have boots made for him.
Since he had been walking around with naked feet, the boot was going to be a massive help.
The sole of the boot was made from the snake’s bone, while the rest of it was made from leather. There was a small lace made into the upper area of the boot that could be easily laced together.
It left the upper area of his feet feeling a little open and without support, but that was a compromise he was willing to make. He was tired of walking without any boots after all.
Alex thanked the woman and left the area.
He walked towards the front of the tribe as he waited for everyone to gather so they could leave.
If it had gone his way, he would be saying his farewell here, maybe even promising to visit them once again in many years after he was capable of freely traversing the ocean.
However, since Li Yun was coming with him, he would have to return her here again, and as such there was no farewell.
Li Yun came out not long after, wearing something similar to what she always wore. A short leather pants that covered half her thigh, and an upper garment that was more bra than a shirt.
She held a small pouch behind her that held her clothes, food, and water.
“Here, let me take that from you,” Alex said.
“No, I can keep it. You don’t have to walk around with my clothes,” she said.
“Just give it to me,” Alex said.
“Fine, if you want to hold it behind you, then do,” she said and handed it over.
The moment Alex got it, the bag disappeared into his storage ring, surprising Li Yun. “Dammit, I forgot you had that thing. And here I thought you were being considerate and were going to carry my load.”
“That’s what I’m doing though,” Alex said.
“Not in the way I wanted,” she said. “Gah! Let’s just leave now.”
Alex sighed and turned to look towards the Bonehead tribe that was gathered not far away from them.
“Let’s go,” Alex said and left the Stepstones tribe.
Then, together with the remaining people from the Bonehead tribe, Alex and Li Yun began their journey to the west.
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