Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The old soldiers were indeed men who have been born warriors. Although they were old, the rangers had a fiery temper.
Li Du knew that they were people who would achieve what they set out to do. It was unlucky for the poachers to have met the old soldiers. The crossfire that had taken place was no laughing matter.
To the rangers, the poachers were evil invaders. They had broken into the homes of the rangers and destroyed them. Some of them had even physically harmed rangers in the past.
Although they could not be certain that this bunch of poachers was the same group that had harmed them previously, they were still related by association. The old soldiers approached the poachers with the same attitude – beat them up mercilessly and then send them to prison.
The old men suffered from post-war traumatic stress disorder. They were practically a bunch of people who were half-crazy.
Sophie could not accept such cruel treatment and looked at Li Du pleadingly.
She was a lady from a civilized society. If the poachers had committed crimes, she agreed they should pay for it. However, she stipulated they should not be tortured without first going through a trial.
Li Du noticed Sophie’s expression and thought about it for a minute. Then he said, “Old buddies, I respect you guys a lot. I really do, but I advise you guys not to do this.”
The face of the old man with the plaited beard changed immediately and he looked at Li Du sternly.
Li Du couldn’t care less. They would not dare to do anything to him. Besides, he was their benefactor.
Li Du continued, “You guys should understand that these people are not the masterminds behind the poaching activities. They are only the dogs of the mastermind. What use is there to strike the dog? You guys should think of a way to deal with their master!”
The face of the old man softened. Nodding as though deep in thought, he said, “What you’re saying makes sense.”
Li Du said, “What’s next after you guys cripple this bunch of thugs? That’s just a warning you would send to whoever is behind this. They might lose this time, but in the future, will come again. Also, the next time they come, they will bring more people over.”
“So what you guys should do first is keep these people around and then think of a way to set up a trap and take down the mastermind behind the poachers!”
The man with the plaited beard nodded and then asked, “Do you have an idea?”
Li Du shrugged. “This matter requires some forward thinking. First, you guys should think of a way to draw out more information from the captives. For example, who else would be coming over, and when they would come. Also, when were they planning to do the actual poaching.”
The old man listened to him carefully and nodded. Then he started walking with big steps and shouting.
Steve placed his hands behind his head as he lay down on a lounge chair. He said, “Look where this is going. Now, will we have to continue striking back against the poachers with them?”
Li Du said, “Who said that? Just get them to report to the police. These poachers used guns. The police would not ignore that.”
Later, more of the old men entered the room. There was blood all over their hands and clothes. None of them went to wash their hands or take a shower. All they did was to wipe the blood off and then sit down to heat up some beer.
Li Du was surprised to see the men drinking hot beer. There was a bottle above the bonfire. As the temperature rose, the vapors of the beer rose out of the bottle and the house was filled with the smell of alcohol.
After some simmering of the beer, they poured it out to drink. The beer did not look too clean and the old man with the plaits laughed, saying, “We brewed this ourselves. It doesn’t look like much, but I swear, buddy, this is heavenly!”
Seeing that the room was filled with a bunch of drunks, Li Du shook his head. He did not trust any such homemade brew.
However, to the Russians, sharing a drink was the ultimate bonding experience, and several of the bodyguards decided to play daredevil and try some. After a few rounds of beer, the old men had changed their attitude towards them. Only a few still had sour faces, but the rest were smiling.
Li Du remarked, “Seems like there are some people who are not happy with us.”
The man with the plaited beard shook his head. “How can that be? Where?”
He turned around and then he understood. “Are you talking about those fellows? Hahaha, you’re mistaken. The nerves of those unlucky boys have been damaged by the cold. They look like that all the time.”
Li Du nodded. He had seen a few of them twice and those people’s expression had always seemed like they had something against him. He was glad to have been mistaken.
After a drink, it was easier for them to chat. Steve asked them why they hated the people of the Red Devil so much. After spitting on the floor, the old man with the plaits scolded, “Those d*mned Englishmen. We treated them as our friends in the past, but they stole our things.”
“What did they steal?” Li Du put in. He thought of the meteorites.
The old man went to the window and took out a few dried small fungi. He said, “This. It’s something that can act as a hallucinogenic agent. After they learned of the existence of these mushrooms, they backstabbed us and stole what we have gathered with such effort.”
Li Du and Steve exchanged a look. They now learned that the hallucinogens Blodwen had used were stolen from the hands of the rangers. They had previously thought that Blodwen and his people had found them on their own.
They, too, had been trying to find some Fly Amanita but were unsuccessful so far. At that time, Brother Wolf had a theory. He said that the Fly Amanita was often found in areas of damp moss, which meant that it only grew in certain regions of the tundra.
Indeed, the Fly Amanita came from the tundra area the rangers protected.
Steve went forward to take a mushroom and smell it. Then he told the old man about their encounter with Blodwen.
After learning that they had suffered from the hallucinogen, the old man laughed again. He said, “The feeling is pretty good right? If you use less of it, this thing can help you feel really good!”
The hallucination drug had another name – the Unique Product. It was able to shock one’s nervous system.
The old man was very friendly. He and his friends thanked Li Du and his people for their help. They also brought out the remaining mushrooms and placed them in a bag which they gave Li Du. It was their thank-you gift.
Steve asked the old men, “Have you guys seen a type of rock that looks like those in this photograph?”
He whipped out his phone to show the old men the photo of the meteorite he had taken.
A few of the old men gathered around and nodded in unison. “A type of magnetic stone. We’ve seen it.”
Steve and the rest were ecstatic. They asked, “Where?”
The old man with the plaits took a gulp of the warm beer and said, “We’ve seen it in the wild, in the tundra. We collected four such stones, but they disappeared – hey, those in your photos look like the ones we picked up.”
Li Du and Steve exchanged another look. They thought of the same thing – Blodwen did not find the rocks. He had stolen them from here!
More old men started to speak. After listening to them, the old man with the plaits turned back and said, “Oh, we have a few pieces here. We realized that it has some magnetic power and we had intended to break them and grind them to use in radio parts.”
That made Steve and the Ford brothers very excited. They forced themselves to calm down and then asked, “Where are they?”
An old man walked out of the door, having finished his beer. After a while, he returned with a bag in his hands. Then he threw it on the ground, and four or five meteorites of various sizes rolled out.