Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The location of the Cherokee tribe should not be far from this stream. Li Du estimated that they had only been engaged in the confrontation for forty minutes, and the native reinforcement had already managed to rush over.
Indeed, those men were experts at land battles. They first enclosed the area, cutting off any routes of escape for Li Du and his people.
More than ten natives appeared below them. One of them whistled and another ten men appeared above Li Du and his gang.
These people relied on trees to give them cover. They were either flexing their arrows and bows or holding guns. Some had boomerangs hanging from their waists and they looked like they were ready for a fight.
Seeing that, Li Du was shocked. He said, “Sh*t, we are surrounded!”
Firecracker smiled confidently. “No problem, boss, we can get out of here!”
Li Du did not want to exchange fire. He did not wish to offend those people. After all, he had started the trek as part of his vacation. He had hoped that the itinerary would be more relaxed and had no intentions of having a conflict with any party.
After most of the native men had arrived, the man with the feathers on his head started to get obnoxious again. However, it was not his turn to speak. A handsome, burly man came forward and said solemnly, “Who’s behind this? Come out for a chat!”
Brother Wolfwas worried that there would be danger and prepared to speak up. Li Du stopped him and shook his head. “No need, I think they might not want to have such a big fight either.”
Li Du walked forward but the burly man did not say more. He only waved and then a white man in a suit and hiking boots walked over, wiping his brow.
That man was holding a briefcase and was perspiring all over. Panting, he asked after he walked out of the shadows, “Hello, sir, may I know how to address you?”
Li Du said, “My last name is Li. And you are?”
The man grinned and said, “Hello, Mr. Li. I’m Claude. You can call me Lawyer Claude. I’m the lawful attorney for the Furious Bulls Tribe. I belong to the Pittsburgh Holton Law Firm and am pleased to meet you.”
Li Du blinked blankly after hearing his introduction. What are the natives trying to pull here? Why did they bring out their lawyer?
Claude walked towards Li Du as he spoke. As he was a lawyer, Li Du did not see the need to be wary of him. Seeing the lawyer extend his hand, Li Du did the same.
“You guys are here on a hiking trip or to hunt?” The lawyer asked casually as he shook Li Du’s hand. “I’m guessing the latter. Your weapons are very advanced.”
Li Du replied, “No, we are here for leisure, just casually exploring the area.”
After the natives said that this was the private land of their tribe, Li Du had started to put up his own defense. The lawyer seemed like he had a glib tongue. It was not a good sign; he must be trying to set a trap for them.
Hunting was illegal on private land. The game here belonged to the state and the landowner. If Li Du had said that he was going to hunt, then he would be charged with an additional offense.
The lawyer smiled and said, “If you guys are here for a leisure hike, why did you hunt down a protected snapping turtle? You also polluted the river with the blood of the turtle, which is like deliberately declaring war on the Furious Bulls Tribe!”
Li Du took the turtle shell from his backpack and said in surprise, “Are you referring to this? It’s just a common snapping turtle, isn’t it?”
Brother Wolf had inspected it and concluded that it was not an endangered species. It was a type of common snapping turtle found in the North American forest marshes.
The lawyer said, “In the eyes of scientists, that is indeed considered a common type of turtle. However, here, this is the asset of the Cherokees. To them, this is a very important animal.”
He started to tell Li Du about how Cherokees had a tradition of hunting such snapping turtles. Just some African tribes hunt lions, the Cherokees make hunting the snapping turtles into a yearly ceremony.
After killing the turtles, the shells would become an asset for the hunter’s family. They would make weapons from the shell or use it as a status symbol. The larger the shell, the higher the status.
Besides, they would also carve words on the shell. They would etch out the important things that happened throughout their lives up to this age. As the writings on the shell multiplied, the shell would become more important.
At the very end, when the owner of the shell passed on, the shell would be buried together with them.
After hearing all that from the lawyer, Li Du was shocked. “There are so many traditions regarding the snapping turtle?”
It was no wonder that when the first batch of the natives had caught up with them, they had been infuriated instantly. They must have seen the shell that Li Du carried on his back.
The lawyer nodded. “That’s right. You guys killed the turtle and tainted the river with its blood. It’s considered a declaration of war in the Furious Bulls Tribe.”
Li Du smiled bitterly. How would he know all those rules? He did not even know that that river would flow into the tribe’s home.
Based on his deduction, the natives must have first noticed that there was blood in the river and felt that it was polluted. Hence, they had traveled up the river to look for them.
In the end, when the natives found Li Du and his group, they noticed that Li Du was carrying the turtle shell. Hence, they became angry.
“How can we resolve this?” Li Du asked.
The lawyer said, “You guys intruded on the land of the Furious Bulls Tribe and abducted their assets. You even fired at their tribal people. This is not an issue that would be easy to resolve.”
Li Du sighed. “So we can only go to court? In that case, let me call my lawyer so he can talk to you to see how we might resolve this.”
Li Du took out his satellite telephone, which had reception. Then, he dialed the number of his personal lawyer, Bauer Neuberg.
Claude took over the phone and started to speak with Neuberg. After exchanging a few sentences, Claude, who had been casually leaning against some boulders, sounded more serious.
Finally, he returned the phone to Li Du. Bauer Neuberg was still on the line. He said, “Boss, don’t believe any of his words. I just checked, and the Furious Bulls Tribe do not have a legally recognized territory !”
Professional work was best handled by professionals. After learning the news from Bauer Neuberg, Li Du relaxed.
It turned out he did not break the law and the natives were just being unreasonable. The power was shifted to Li Du’s side.
Claude’s abilities were not as good as Neuberg’s. The two lawyers had confronted each other on the phone, and Neuberg had prevailed.
When Li Du hung up, Claude said humbly, “Mr. Li, how do you think we should resolve this matter?”
Li Du already knew what to do. He had not broken the law and was not afraid of Claude. Hence, he asked in return, “What do you think?”
Claude said, “I will go and discuss this with the Tribal Chief first. Then I will give you an answer, okay? I will do my best to minimize the possibility of conflict and try to resolve this problem amicably.”
Li Du nodded. Claude returned and started whispering with his clients.
The burly big man shook his head once in a while and then nodded now and then. Finally, Claude returned and said, “Following my negotiation, the tribal chief is asking for one thousand US dollars as compensation. At the same time, you guys must promise to leave this mountain.”
That resolution was indeed the outcome of the negotiation. Li Du felt that it was acceptable. Although they had not broken the law and the natives were those who came looking for trouble, the place was after all their territory. Based on the official laws, they had not broken any rules. However, based on the local customs of the natives, perhaps they had.