Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Li Du felt that it was a pretty good deal to exchange one thousand dollars and a redundant promise for peace and quiet.
Li Du had cash on him. He counted one thousand dollars and passed them to the lawyer. Then he said, “We will leave this place immediately. We will continue to climb upwards and will not hunt any more animals here.”
Smiling, Claude took the money and said, “Alright, Mr. Li. Wish you guys a smooth journey.”
Li Du was surprised at how the issue had been handled. He was afraid that he would not be able to parley with the natives. He thought that he would not be able to avoid a battle and had even prepared for crossfire and escape.
He did not expect that the natives had learned to resolve problems with the help of the law. Of course, they did not quite comply with the law, but they had not been too unreasonable. Hence, Li Du accepted the ways of their tribe.
The burly man took the cash and pocketed it after counting. Then he looked directly as Li Du and said, “Hey, sir, the monkey on your back is injured, right?”
Ah Bai, who had been hiding in Li Du’s backpack, crawled out and sat on his shoulders, watching curiously. The wound on Ah Bai’s lower body was impossible to miss. There were several layers of bandage wrapped over it.
Li Du recalled the reason those hunters had been interested in Ah Bai and turned cautious. He asked, “Why?”
The burly big man pulled out a small clay bottle from his pocket and said, “I have some traditional medicine for treating injuries. It is made from a combination of twenty-five plants. I can sell one bottle for one thousand dollars if you want it. It would cure your monkey’s injury in two days.”
His words sounded like one of those all-cure scams circulating through the market. Li Du could not help but ask, “So pricey?”
The burly big man said, “I can tell that you are a rich person, that’s why I thought about selling it to you. I wouldn’t bring it up with most people. Only those in our tribe use this medicine.”
This sounded even more like a scam.
The man seemed to sense that Li Du did not believe his words. He said, “I can promise that this monkey will be able to recover from its wound within two days. It will be able to climb trees and move around again. If you are attached to your pet, this amount of money you spend on it will be very worth it.”
Li Du said, “You dare to make such a promise without even looking at my monkey’s wounds?”
The big man laughed and said, “I know it was hurt by a hunting rifle. The wounds are not critical. However, it’s very humid in the mountains and the temperatures are extreme. That makes it hard for the wound to heal. The medicine that you guys have with you is not suited for this environment.”
Hearing that, Li Du became serious. He said, “How did you know that’s a wound from a hunting rifle?”
The big man said, “Very simple. Look at its fur. Some patches are yellowish with a tinge of black. That’s the result of being burnt by the explosive. Only the explosive in the hunting rifle can result in such a wound. I have some experience with stuff like that.”
That analysis was very accurate and Li Du started to think that this man was pretty reliable.
The big man swung the bottle and said, “I can tell that you care a lot about this monkey. It’s a pet that you really love, is that right?”
The big man spoke up again, “I wouldn’t harm your pet just for some money. Wouldn’t that anger you even further? You guys have so many weapons with you. Our tribe is right here and won’t be able to run. If I lied to you, you would be able to return and locate me anytime. That would be a big problem and I don’t want to cause trouble for a thousand bucks. I’m not that stupid.”
Li Du thought about it and said, “I’ll give you five hundred dollars.”
The big man shook his head. “One thousand. This medicine is definitely effective. We spent a year and a half just gathering all the required herbs for this!”
Li Du let out the little bug. It was easy to check that. The bug used Time Travelling and saw the process of how the bottle of medicine had been prepared.
The big man had not lied. The preparation of the medicine was very complex. It took more than a year to gather all the required herbs and only the better quality herbs were used in the final product.
Li Du counted another thousand dollars in cash. The man grinned and passed the bottle to him. He said, “Once you finish this bottle, you can come back and look for me. One thousand dollars for a bottle. It works miracles on external wounds!”
The conflict that he had expected did not take place. The natives were not entirely unreasonable. Instead, they were friendlier than most of the treasure hunters Li Du knew.
After taking the money, the natives started to leave. Looking at their backs, Lu Guan said, “They are not here to scam us, right?”
Li Du gestured for Brother Wolf to remove Ah Bai’s bandage. He said, “That’s a possibility. However, that can’t be their way of making a living. Otherwise, they would have starved to death by now. How many people will come here in a year?”
The contents of the bottle smelled like black pepper. Brother Wolf hesitated, “Are we really going to use this?”
Li Du sniffed the liquid and felt that it was not something bad. He applied a little on Ah Bai’s wound. Ah Bai gritted his teeth but stopped screeching like previously.
After spending those two thousand dollars, they continued to trek up the mountain.
The good weather spell had ended. Before they knew it, the sky became gloomy. At night, they put up their tents on a breezy and flat slope Brother Wolf found.
Li Du took out a roll of films and, using Time Travelling, watched the path that the photographer had taken. Then, he compared it to the map’s route and started to make amendments.
Up until now, he had yet to step on the golden route that the chief and the photographer had taken. Before going on that path, they would have to find the previous land where the Kochena tribe had lived.
Back then, they had already gone deep into the woods. In the past, there had been no winding roads on the mountain and it required a lot of effort to go so deep in. A trek from the outside of the woods to their current location would have taken at least six months.
It was already late at night and gloomy clouds floated in the sky. As they could not see the stars or the moon, Li Du decided to sleep early.
Usually, it was beautiful watching the galaxy in the Appalachian Mountains. It was as though the stars were shining down from the east mountain cap, as though they would be able to touch the stars after climbing a little more.
After waking up the next day, Li Du examined the map carefully. After another round of climbing, they finally arrived at a valley.
Li Du looked up and saw the towering mountains on the two ends of the valley. It was like some mythical deity had brought down a sword and sliced the valley in two.
There were some big birds flying above the valley. Through the binoculars, Brother Wolf spotted a red-tailed eagle and the northern goshawk.
That was in line with historical records. The foothills of the Kochena tribe’s camp had eagle nests, and the name ‘Kochena’ meant ‘land of the eagle’ in the local language.
This was the camp that the Kochena tribe had abandoned. After many years, it bore no sign of human habitation.
In the past, many explorers had come here looking for treasures The terrain had changed substantially over the years. They could only found the caves after some up-close examination.
The outside of the cave was overgrown with weeds that had to be pushed apart to see the cave opening.
Some caves had been occupied by beasts, and traces of native life could no longer be found.
After some rest, Li Du got ready to start everyone on the treasure route that the chief and the photographer had taken. However, shortly after starting their journey, Ah Ow wriggled his nose and then suddenly took the lead and ran towards the woods.