A Land Of Heroes
Richard grinned at the old man, producing a small pouch with five high-purity magic crystals stuffed within, “Here’s the round trip fee.”
The old man took the pouch and tossed it to the servants beside him, saying earnestly, “This trip of yours could be more troublesome than you imagine.”
“Haha! Go, then!” the man slapped him on the back like an affectionate uncle or grandfather, “I hope I get the chance to earn 250,000 gold for nothing!”
“You won’t get that chance, old man!” Richard gave him the finger in answer, walking into the portal. Magical light flashed, and he quickly found himself on a little island tens of thousands of kilometres away.
The island itself was small, but the scale of operations was not. More than a thousand people were gathered here, mostly Norlanders but with some barbarians mixed in as well. Someone immediately walked over the moment Richard exited the formation, guiding him to the pier where a little sailboat had already been prepared with rations and some items that could be of use on Klandor.
The captain immediately set off the moment Richard got on, telling Richard about the route they would take and giving him the opportunity to eat, drink, and rest up.
Richard took the brief respite to go through all the cards he had on hand. Two great blessings, two powerful bloodlines, his two swords, the Twin of Destiny. His multiple runes of which the most powerful was Mana Armament, a powerful magic device in the form of the Book of Holding, and a truename that was partially awakened. Although he was only level 14, he had no need to fear Klandor. It would be impossible to win against Mountainsea as he was, but there would be no problems taking care of himself.
It took about an hour for the boat to near the continent, the desolate winds giving rise to great waves that forced them up and down. The tides grew more ferocious the closer they got to the mainland, forcing them to expend a lot of effort to reach the port on the other side.
This port was controlled by a barbarian tribe with tall totems erected everywhere. Colourful banners were tied atop these totems, dancing wildly in the winds. The pier was nowhere nearly as exquisite as those of Norland, just a bunch of logs that had been cut up and nailed together to make a crude frame. The crew of the boat threw two cables onto the pier, and a pair of burly barbarians used them to pull the boat onto the bank.
When Richard jumped ashore, his heart started pounding with excitement. He could vaguely see a mountain range in the distance, the seemingly larger sky broken by huge eagles flying across. Just looking at the desolate tribe up ahead made him feel like his horizons were broadened.
“This is as far as I can go, Mr. Richard. You’re on your own for the rest.”
Richard nodded at the captain’s words, stuffing a small bag of gold into his hands before heading in the direction of the barbarian tribe. “Thank you, Sir!” a voice rang out behind his back.
He noticed that the Windstep Tribe had been noticeably influenced by the style of Norland. Some of their buildings were made of brick and stone, some even spanning multiple storeys. The central building was even three floors tall. According to his knowledge, the barbarian tribes were supposed to be made up of wooden tents covered in beast skin.
However, these buildings still retained the air of tradition of the tribe. The walls of the buildings had all been painted white and were covered in dull red patterns, with gigantic totems in the shape of eagle wings placed atop the roofs. Colourful cloth could still be seen everywhere on the bricks.
Many barbarian women were in the midst of catching fish and cutting them up on the spot, placing the meat in wicker baskets. A group of children were playing around barefoot, running past him while laughing cheerfully. The stone road was rough and uneven, sharp corners and thorns in many places, but as the barefooted kids ran over these points they didn’t seem to be injured in the slightest.
He caught sight of a few burly men carrying logs thicker than their waists towards the pier, planting them into the sea to secure it further. Majestic cries rang out on the outskirts of the tribe as the hunting team returned, the dozen or so half-naked men carrying a strange beast that looked almost like a small hill. Muscles bulged out all over their bodies, glossy skin marred by a myriad of scars. Their quarry this time was obviously special, a huge cheer erupting from the tribe members. Men, women, elderly, and youth all surged outside to welcome the returning warriors.
The scene of harmony and happiness allowed one to sense just how determined the barbarians were, fighting for survival despite the danger of their environment. Those who managed to grow in this world were all naturally courageous warriors.
There was a sizeable market in the tribe as well, with many types of shops around. Norlanders wearing barbarian clothing could be seen moving around from time to time, those of the Salson Family mingling with the locals for trade. It wasn’t difficult to notice that there were nearly as many warehouses nearby as there were residents; this unremarkable little tribe was the source of a large number of goods.
Richard headed outside the tribe, finding his bearings and heading north-east. Based on the Salsons’ map, this was the way to the centre of the continent. The tribe behind him quickly disappeared from sight, the coast fading into a boundless plain.
Klandor was currently in a drought, wilted grasses barely covering the ground while a pitiful number of trees dotted the savannah. The weather was bright and sunny, giving one an expansive field of vision. A lone eagle was circling overhead, eyeing a group of gnu goats that was lazily strolling through the land. A pack of coyotes trailed close behind, awaiting their own chance to feed.
A group of tyrannosaurs were resting under the shade of a large tree a few hundred metres away, completely ignoring the food nearby. These creatures that could grow as tall as three metres were at the top of the food chain in this part of the plains, but once they had their fill they were too lazy to move for days on end. Killing one was part of the coming-of-age ceremony for young barbarians.
This was Klandor, a land of heroes.
As he stood silently, taking it all in as a memory drifted into his mind, ‘If you decide you want to become my man, then just blow on the whistle as you step into mainland Klandor. I’ll join you for the ultimate duel…’
He didn’t know yet if he wanted to be her man, but he did want to see her. He removed the bracelet around his wrist and took a look at the large tooth in the middle, placing the edge into his mouth before gathering his courage and blowing hard.
The whistle shook slightly, not making any audible sounds, but he could feel invisible tremors spreading into the distance. It only took a moment for the bracelet to shake slightly as well, giving him the sense of a response from far, far away. That was likely the direction Mountainsea was in.
He wrapped the bracelet around his wrist once more, rushing into the distance with large strides. There were some crude roads made of red soil in this expansive plain, but someone with the strength and courage could head straight for their destination.
Richard was unaware of the large drums made of ancient hide suddenly ringing in dozens of shrines in Klandor. The low, dull thuds possessed a mysterious force that struck at the very soul of those qualified to feel it, no matter how distant they were. In a mere moment, the entire continent was thrown into chaos!
Behind the Azuresnow Shrine was a summit called Zykrama in the language of the barbarians, translated literally into ‘the peak of the land.’ This was the highest point in all of Klandor. The view of the sky was no longer azure but a boundless deep blue, the horizon so far even the most powerful of shamans could not see to the end. Legends mentioned that one could possibly see the kingdoms of the gods flit across the sky at a specific time in the year, those who could witness the event blessed with the favour of the sacred beasts to achieve immense success in the future. Of course, that was because this was the only part of the continent where one’s vision was unimpeded enough to see the divine kingdoms.
Zykrama was thus a holy land for all the barbarian tribes on Klandor, the Azuresnow Shrine second to none. Only those acknowledged by the beast gods could train here, for even saints without their protection would be reduced to icy dust from the chilly winds at the peak.
When Richard blew into his beast tooth, the drums hung within the Azuresnow Shrine emitted a low-pitched rumble as well, deeper than the other drums and able to shake one’s soul. Cries of shock rang out within the temple, quickly followed by a deathly silence. The shamans and totemic warriors who had been bounding around suddenly halted in their footsteps, exchanging gazes with expressions of curiosity. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far