Book 2 Chapter 13: The Hunting Squadron.
“Father, Mother!” Teng Qingshan strode into the courtyard of his house.
In the central room, his father Teng Yongfan laughed and said, “Qingshan, we were waiting for you. Honestly, training your spear technique for three to four hours a day is good enough.” Teng Yongfan, Yuan Lan, and their daughter Teng Qingyu, were already seated around a wooden table. Teng Qingshan propped his spear against the wall, sat down, and started eating.
“I know,” Teng Qingshan ate two bites of food before lifting his head and said, “Father, Mother, I want to enter the hunting squadron.”
“The hunting squadron?” Yuan Lan was hesitant as she looked at her husband, Teng Yongfan.
Teng Yongfan’s eyebrows creased, “Qingshan, you’re only nine years old, yet you want to enter the hunting squadron?” The hunting squadron was comprised of the clan’s boldest and most powerful warriors. Teng Yonglei led them up the Great Yan Mountain to slaughter animals so that the various households in the Teng Village had meat to eat. Moreover, animal fur could also be sold for money.
“My current strength should be able to rank within the village’s top ten,” Teng Qingshan said while laughing.
After hearing this, Teng Yongfan couldn’t help but smile.
During the yearly sacrifice, in the competition for the nine year olds, Teng Qingshan had lifted a large 600 jin stone. Furthermore, it was clear that this still wasn’t Teng Qingshan’s limit. If the only factor was strength, Teng Qingshan really was able to rank in the Teng Jia Village’s top ten.
“Haha…Your talent is indeed superb; it’s time for you to improve through practice and experience!” Living in this cruel world, Teng Yongfan knew what was necessary. He laughed and said, “Starting tomorrow, you will become a member of the hunting squadron! Later this afternoon, I’ll go and speak with your grandfather. Tomorrow morning, you can head directly to the training field and convene with the clan’s hunting squadron.”
“Thank you, Father!” Teng Qingshan was overjoyed.
The nearby Yuan Lan couldn’t help but glare at Teng Yongfan. She didn’t seem to agree with Teng Yongfan’s decision.
“Brother, can you bring back a live hare for me?” Qingyu’s pair of large pure eyes stared at Teng Qingshan.
“No problem,” Teng Qingshan laughed.
“Brother treats me the best!” Qingyu giggled.
“Qingshan,” Teng Yongfan suddenly said, “I’ve noticed that you often carry a few throwing knives. Do you often practice throwing knives in the Western Forest?”
“I occasionally practice,” Teng Qingshan laughed. His father was a blacksmith, so obtaining ten throwing knives from the forge was extremely easy. In his previous life, he had spent an extraordinary amount of effort on throwing knives. Currently, he would only play with his throwing knives when he was taking a break from spear training in order to maintain his connection with the weapon.
After all, throwing knives could attack opponents from a distance. Thus, they were entirely compatible with his long spear, which was mainly used for close combat.
“I’m going to remind you that you must focus seriously on whatever you learn,” Teng Yongfan nonchalantly said.
Early the next morning, when the first glimmer of light broke through the sky.
Qingyu was still asleep, but Teng Yongfan, Yuan Lan, and Teng Qingshan were together in the courtyard of their house.
“Qingshan, although you have talent and your Spear Arts are not bad, Great Yan Mountain harbours many ferocious animals and vipers. You must be careful. When genuinely fighting with ferocious beasts, you must not have a trace of timidness or hesitation,” Teng Yongfan was extremely serious as he instructed his son. He was extremely clear that there were many individuals who had strength and superb Spear Arts, but when they were faced with a life and death battle, their legs would grow weak at the sight of blood. How could they continue to fight?
If one became so intimidated that his legs grew weak, he would not be able to exhibit the slightest bit of strength!
“Qingshan,” his mother, Yuan Lan, also gave him some advice, “Don’t show off when you are with other clan members. Come, put on this animal skin clothing.”
Teng Qingshan was dressed in leather boots and an animal skin coat. This animal skin coat was skinned from thicker skinned animals, and had undergone a sort of manufacturing process. Wearing this animal skin coat was the equivalent of wearing simple armour in terms of defensive capabilities.
“Don’t worry, Father and Mother! I’ll take my leave first.”
Teng Qingshan grasped a long green spear and strode out of the courtyard.
On the training field, due to the early hour, the sky had only the first glimmer of light and morning exercise hadn’t started yet; there were only a few people present. However, the members of the hunting squadron were starting to assemble. Cheerful sounds of laughter filled the air as many people conversed. Each one of them was extremely outgoing and confident.
“Haha… Our Teng Jia Village’s future number one ranked person has arrived!” As soon as Teng Qingshan entered the training field, he heard a distant voice. He laughed and walked in that direction.
“Qingshan!” Teng Yonglei strode forward while emphatically laughing. He heavily pat Qingshan’s shoulder, “You’re really an amazing youngster; nine years old and already a member of the hunting squadron. You’re the first person to accomplish such a feat in our Teng Jia Village’s history.”
“I was 13 years old when I entered. Qingshan is indeed incredible,” a sturdy, seven foot tall, youngster also wearing an animal skin coat laughed.
“Cousin,” Teng Qingshan laughed as he greeted him. This person was Teng Qinghu.
The training field also contained other clansmen who were diligently training. When these clansmen looked at the hunting squadron members, their eyes were filled with a trace of envy. In order to become a hunting squadron member, one had to be a reputable person. Thus, they all had strength that definitely couldn’t be looked down upon.
Within the hunting squadron, including the newly recruited Teng Qingshan, there were 32 people.
“Okay, everyone’s here. Let’s go!”
Teng Jia Village’s 32 hunters, all holding a long spear, carrying a longbow, and wearing a animal skin coat, left Teng Jia Village.
“Qingshan, once we enter the mountain, you absolutely can’t fall behind. There are many people who lose their orientation and get lost during their first time on the mountain. Moreover, they don’t understand danger at all. This is your first time coming, so you must observe and listen even more than normal!” Teng Yonglei gave instructions to Teng Qingshan the entire journey as Teng Qingshan respectfully listened.
Truthfully, in his past life, rural survival skills were compulsory education.
Merely, Teng Qingshan was not sure if the mountains and forests in this world were the same as his previous life’s. Thus, he didn’t make any assumptions.
Early in the morning, the hunting squadron stepped onto the silent Great Yan Mountain, headed for it’s depths.
“The exterior of this mountain doesn’t have any fierce animals. Most of the animals are hares and wild chickens. Truly ferocious animals are further up the mountain!” Teng Yonglei talked throughout the journey. Just as he spoke, a hare seemed to have been scared by the group of humans, as it quickly fled from the adjacent thorny undergrowth.
Teng Qingshan’s eyes lit up, and the long spear in his hands rapidly stabbed towards the hare.
“Psh!” The spear tip pierced the hare’s side. Subsequently, the spear head shook and flipped the hare over. Qingshan rushed forwards and grabbed the hare with an outstretched hand.
“Incredible Spear Arts.” Upon seeing this, the surrounding plethora of clansmen all sighed in admiration.
Able to catch a hare without harming it was extremely difficult.
“Why are you catching it alive?” Teng Yonglei laughed.
“Uncle, my family’s Qingyu wanted me to bring back a hare for her to play with.” Teng Qingshan said. He then tied up the hare and proceeded to throw it into the bag on his back.
The surrounding clansmen couldn’t help but laugh. They had yet to enter the depths of the great mountain, so the clansmen were clearly quite relaxed. On their current journey, they further killed two wild chickens. Nearly an hour later, the hunting squadron finally reached the dangerous area, which also happened to be where the majority of their prey lay.
“Everyone, stay alert!” Teng Yonglei said quietly.
It was noon.
In the depths of the Great Yan Mountain, Teng Village’s hunting squadron was resting near a water source while roasting a bristled wolf.
“Today’s luck is really ordinary. Up till now, we’ve only managed to garner two wild chickens, a bristled wolf, and a warthog,” Teng Qinghu muttered. Teng Qingshan glanced at the skinned bristled wolf that was being roasted, “As expected, the reason should lie in the surrounding Spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth. The fierce animals in this great mountain, despite being the same species, are stronger than my previous life’s wild animals.”
In his previous life, a bristled wolf was about fifty to sixty Jin, yet this bristled wolf weighed 100 Jin.
The 32 clansmen ate most of the roasted bristled wolf meat.
“Rest a bit before we continue,” Teng Yonglei rubbed his nose, “Heng! At the very minimum, we have to kill two or three wild boars to bring back.” Teng Village contained over 2000 people and a wild boar was several hundred Jin; taking back two or three of them would be enough.
A wild boar’s volume was big and its quality of meat was superb, but it was hard to kill.
After all, in this great mountain, a wild boar’s attack power was not any worse than a fierce tiger’s.
“Eh?” Teng Qingshan’s ears twitched and he couldn’t help but look far away. What greeted him was a white silhouette.
“It’s a snow ferret!” from within the clansmen came an alarmed cry.
“Quickly, chase it!” Teng Yonglei jumped to his feet.
The 32 clansmen went so far as to leave the previously slaughtered warthog on the ground and chased after the white silhouette.
It was a snow ferret!
A normal mink’s fur would be worth about 2000 taels of silver in a city. An intact snow ferret fur would garner a price of at least 3200 taels of silver. If they were able to kill this snow ferret, it would be the equivalent of slaughtering 100 wild boars. However, encountering a snow ferret in the mountain was a matter of luck. Thus, the 32 clan members strove to outdo each other and catch the snow ferret.
“Xiu!” “Xiu!” “Xiu!”…
While running, the clansmen would launch arrows, but the ferret was extremely nimble and easily dodged them. Soon, the ferret kept getting further and further away.
“Catch it!” Teng Yonglei impatiently yelled.
“We can’t keep up,” Teng Qinghu’s face was full of anxiety; the snow ferret was too agile. Presently, the only person who could barely keep up with the snow ferret was Teng Qingshan! At the moment, Teng Qingshan was as nimble as a Spirit Monkey. He would rapidly leap back and forth, and his eyesight was sharp as he stared at the brambles in front of him, locking onto the ceaselessly fleeing ferret. No matter where the snow ferret fled to, Teng Qingshan was able to unwaveringly follow it.
“Now!” Teng Qingshan’s eyes flashed and his right hand made a throwing motion.
“Xiu!” A streak of cold light instantly flew across the sky.
The acutely agile ferret emitted a creaking sound and its speed unexpectedly sped up once more. However, it was too late. A throwing knife immediately imbedded itself into its hind leg.
“Well done.” Not far away, the rapidly pursuing Teng Yonglei and others excitedly gave a cheer. One must know that the entire Teng Jia Village had paid 1200 taels of silver as annual tribute to the White Horse Gang. This ferret, at the very least, would fetch a price of 3200 taels of silver. This was thirty thousand strings of copper, or 3 million coppers; each copper could buy one meat bun.
This was extremely easy money that they had just made!
“Still want to flee?” In one leap, Teng Qingshan caught it with his right hand.
“Chi—” The snow ferret fiercely turned and tried to bite Qingshan. Its sharp, saw-like teeth, were capable of breaking knives and swords.
Teng Qingshan flipped his hand and easily dodged its bite. His hand then smacked the ferret’s head.
The corner of the snow ferret’s mouth exuded a trace of blood and it powerlessly toppled over.
After pulling out the throwing knife from the ferret’s leg, Teng Qingshan grabbed it and stood up. He couldn’t help but laugh.
“Haha… Qingshan, you did well.” The other clansmen had already come over and they were all staring at the beautiful snow ferret while smiling excitedly.