[ Weiyou Tribe, Trading Route ]
[ Weicheng's POV
I woke up feeling the sunlight on my face, someone opened the curtains of my tent. I groan and covered my face.
"Aren't you supposed to be at the training grounds today, Master Granny?" I said not really opening my eyes.
I knew he was here because he has the only guts to open the curtains of my tent around this early. I call him Master Granny sometimes. He's like a grandfather to me and also my master.
"I am. But, I let everyone rest for today" I heard him sit at the chair. My eyes immediately shoot up and darted in front of him.
I could say he aged well from the first time I saw him 12 years ago. My eyes went on his clothes he is on his hunting gear. I sat right away.
his crooked teeth, his long mustache and silver hair has always been my favorite view. He became my parent, my guardian and my master. He advices me but oftentimes he's scolding me.
"silly kid, none" the moment he stood up which I immediately follow suit he threw the sword at me which I creased my head.
"let's hunt today" he smiled.
I almost broke my lips upon grinning. He always enjoy his freetime hunting together, there are times that all of his students can hunt all together, but most of the times it's just the two of us with Laohu and Mu Lin.
"what a naughty young lady" and he left the tent.
I run off to Taq Family's tent and shouted at their door. "Laohu!!! Mulin!!!!"
Aunt Mie opened the curtains as she greeted me good morning. I grinned and saw the two went out, annoyed looking at me and saying "do not disturb our rest day" with a sleepy tone.
I raised Master Cui's sword and their faces lit up right away. They knew what are going to happen. Before Aunt Mei could say anything her children went inside and drag their weapons out and kissed her good bye, saying I love you's like it's their last days.
We already saw Master Cui at the entrance of his office camp and his right hand Teacher Pu standing along. Master Cui is almost 70, but his body and endurance can beat all of the imperial guards. He is the Tribe Leader and the best Master indeed.
he always said that :the pride of our tribe is not how we are strong but how we commit to ourselves."
we all bowed upon nearing his own office camp. His camp has always been warm, he have several swords and hunting gears across, his headgear is of a beast he killed 20 years ago as what he said. His fur cape is from the biggest grizzly bear he killed 2 years ago.
He told me to enter while the two can gather up the things we need to hunt. I was left to enter his office camp.
"Weicheng" he turned around, my smile immediately formed as he told me to come near him. I am always his favorite child inside the camp. He often tells me that he is annoyed at me and my stances but he never let me do things that will hurt me in the process.
"tonight will be your 18th birthday, do you want something?"
I just shake my head slowly "None, I just want you to stay alive as long as you can"
he just nodded and smiled. He is not really intimidating for me, he always smiles and has a warm heart. Maybe in a battlefield he can be cruel and aggressive but his students know him better more than anyone else.
"Are you done reading the history of Arghon?" my eyes widen. How did he know?
as if reading my mind " I saw it in your camp when I woke you up earlier"
I just nodded
"The records are right. King of the North Kingdom of Arghon came from our tribe. During his stay here, he's the most decent and he's one of the greatest students. The King of the North was born here but after marrying to the throne, an inicident happened and he broke his alliance with the tribe."
although a lot has been removed from the records my conclusion is that,
"he's a traitor"
"no. he's not. he did it to save the empire. He needed to drop our tribe to support the family of the queen and to stop the waging war between two empires. He did it to save everyone"
"of course not. he did it to save himself. how can you trust such traitor" we were interrupted by Laohu's voice shouting outside
"It's all settled!!"
Master and I went out and we started waving off as the tribe send us off.
It was already midday when we arrived at the mountain.
Master and Lao hu's endurance are quite ecstatic. While Mu Lin tried going farther away. She kept on looking for herbal plants. She's a healer most of the time. So she studied herbal and medicinal plants by her own.
"what are you looking for?" I asked her seeing that Master and Laohu are nowhere to be found. There are three officials following us but Master brought 5 which is weird including Teacher Pu.
"ginseng? some of the elders are having colds and it's nearing winter"
we both stopped when we heard a loud crash. Our eyes darted from the highest mountain to our tribe at the foot. Kilometers away. We saw a huge fire emerging from the east entrance of our tribe. I immediately looked for master. As I saw him with Teacher Pu and Laohu.
The Eastern gates are waving off a flag. Since we are too far I couldn't see it well
"what is happening, Master Granny let's go back" i walked slowly to them still my eyes on the foot of the mountain.
"Are you willing to save your people even if you'll die?" his eyes are serious asking me
I nodded right away.
he smiled. "I knew you would. You have it in your blood"
I nodded not understanding anything as I said "let's go home and save them"
"No. I will go alone" all of us shouted no. He walked slowly leaving us
I ran off to them, teacher Pu is saying something to hu while holding his arms. Some of master Cui's officials hold us captivated.
"escape the tribe now, the empire only looks for me, they only needed me to surrender. Do not be engaged with the tribe ever again. Pu you know what to do."
he started walking away, I kicked the officials and run off to him, I am still holding his battle sword. When one of the officals tried to take me away, I hurriedly pulled the sword out and threathen him. Master stopped for a moment until he started walking away again not caring about my pleas.
I pulled his arm back as he hold my hands and looked at me proudly. The officials are holding the two still struggling to get out of their grasp with a knife on their necks. Only laohu made it with a scartch and a bleeding hand, as he kneeled down to Master not to go.
"Master they will kill you" he said "the empire is full of notice to get you"
my eyes widen upon hearing "no"
I also heard the struggling shouts of Mu Lin she was already gagged by tge officials so her words are mumbled
"I know. But if my tribe dies and I live on, I am not a true leader. The tribe needs me. That's what a true leader does."
"no, we need you too"
I dropped on my knees begging as he kneeled down in front of us
He smiled and took a chain inside his pocket and put it on my palm. I just stared at it and creased my forehead. Teacher Pu started holding us away again.
Feeling so tired, My wrist are tied in a single chain. They all dragged Laohu back to Mu Lin and tied them together in another chain. As master halted me, he smiled sadly.
The others are far from where Master, Teacher Pu and I are located.
"Being with you for 12 years made me the happiest" he said.
"if youre going down, please take me with you" I begged him
"I can't let you die" he started as he caughed "The necklace you're holding is yours when I found you 12 years ago"
"why do I---"
before I could finish I checked the neclace.
"find out your real identity, only then you can survive. I am proud of what you became and I know, I can leave you without regretting anything from this day forward"
his last words to me was "You need to stay alive. Whatever happens. Stay alive"
3 hours passed when Master left us in the woods. I begged Teacher Pu to let us go to the tribe.
He allowed us but we were tied up and our mouths were gagged.
a few moments we're already at the hidden part where I can see all the Emperial and military flags of Arghon.
Master's officials and tribe's soldiers were all taken down. Families including the Taq are all killed. Children are lined up and were chained.
"These people are trying to take the kids and sell them off to other merchants to be slaves" An official stated, I remembered that Laohu once were almost sold too.
My heart skipped when we saw Master, he was being dragged by soldiers as he was pushed to kneeled down. He was blind folded and his eyes are bleeding from the cloth.
I saw Mu Lin and Laohu crying and whimpering seeing our strongest master that way. Teachur Pu while still holding our chains are shaking. His eyes are painstakingly looking at the soldiers.
I cried watching the scene.
Drumrolls are heard and soldiers lit up the torches as it's nearing twilight.
"Master" I mouthed as if he heard my whispers under the gagged. His neck turn from left to right.
Kids are being forced to watch the scene when a commandant went out of the tribe's post. He's smiling ear to ear.
I heard Teacher Pu said "Yun"
two of our tribe officals recognised the Commandant as General Yun of the Empire.
he opened a roll and read it, even if we're a little far, the background is silent and are limited so the only noise thay can be heard are the nature and their voices echoing. It can be heard throughout the mountain ranges.
the drumroll stopped as the commandant read the scroll
"The Weiyou Tribe committed grievous crimes for years. including treason, corruption, alliance with other empire and threathening the North Kingdom. Now, the verdict has been ruled. The Empire commands for the head of the Weiyou Tribe, Feng Cui to be beheaded, this 11th Month of the Year 824AD"
remaining tribe members shouted and pleaded for master cui. I started to shout too but my voice are broken due to shouting and crying non stop. Laohu and Mu lin started to struggle too. I kept on struggling to escape.
"I need to save Master. please" my voice and my eyes are in pain too.
A moment of silence inside the tribe, halted us. My tears kept on falling down. I'm tired. My hands are bleeding as I am still holding the necklace he gave me. My wrist hurts due to struggling to get away. The chains kept on scratching against my skin.
Another person went out of the same camp after the announcement, carrying a sword.
"Is she-" an official silenced when Teacher Pu nodded at his pending question.
Before we could ask anything, someone announced. "The Queen of The North Arghon, Yun Ni Xua"
Her face is so serene. She's wearing a white gown and cape as she is holding a sword. Her voice is stern. Her eyes. Those eyes are cold.
"Master Cui. It's been so long since we last saw each other. It's such a pity that it will be the last too"
Master Cui spit on her majesty which the soldiers reach for his hair and pulled it. The three of us struggled for escape once again.
"You're still so proud. Your eyes are already taken out, how can you say you've seen everything?" She smiked.
She's enjoying this.
I saw Master pulled away from the soldiers grasp but still with chains, he can't stand up, but he's dignified.
"Any last words, The Great Master Feng Cui?"
He suddenly laugh. He's laughing like a madman.
"Your position will not last long. You have been there for quite a long time. It's time for you to pay up everything you've done"
Her smile slowly became a grimace as she wholeheartedly slashed Master's head.
I stopped breathing when I saw Master's head rolling at the scene. Blood all over, as I can see all the screams but couldn't hear any of it.
My eyes went out as I dropped to the ground at the same time.