Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Tavisi area was to the northwest of where they had met. It was a little more than two kilometers away, but as Li Du knew well, just a few kilometers was a long distance in the mountains.
An hour later, after passing by a small hill, a higher and larger hill appeared before them.
Fortunately, they did not need to climb to the peak. The Tavisi was tribe was halfway up the hill.
In the Algonquin language, ‘Tavisi’ means ‘those who live in the middle of the hills’, and the tribes would usually build villages on the mountainsides.
Li Du looked into the distance. The village appeared to cover quite a large area. It was built in a circle around the mountainside. On both sides of the village, there were stone houses looking like a fortress, while the houses in the middle were made of wood. The whole was surrounded by a fence, and there was a total of about a hundred houses at most, closely arranged together.
The native families were large, and they were proud of having more children. Therefore, each family was numerous. A house could fit more than ten people. The Tavisi village had a population of thousands.
Li Du asked about this specifically, and the merry Catulom said that they had fourteen hundred men, of whom five hundred were warriors, and that they were the largest tribe in the neighborhood.
The road was easy to travel. The Tavisi had been living in the same place for half a century and had built many mountain roads, which they could walk along.
On the way up, there were stone towers and caves on either side of the mountain road, where some fierce-looking men stood watch.
Facing the sunlight, Li Du noticed a bright spot in one cave. He guessed that someone was watching with a pair of binoculars from inside.
Checkpoints were set up, and a big man crouched down from the tower and shouted to them in Algonquin.
Sadisram responded with a loud voice, and the big man waved his hand. The railings made of great tree trunks were pulled up, and they entered the tribal territory.
A thatched hut appeared when they were going uphill. Near it, there was a very lifelike image of a wolf which was staring, showing its teeth, and seemingly ready to lunge, which looked very formidable.
When she spotted the wolf, Ah Ow jumped to her feet and craned her neck at it as she growled, “Owww…Owww…!”
Li Du saw that it was a stuffed and mounted specimen, so he shouted, “Stop howling. What are you afraid of? It’s not real. It won’t move!”
Ah Ow closed her mouth and wagged her tail, then looked around with guarded eyes.
Young Markelov laughed and said, “It’s not the wolf it’s afraid of. It’s the tribe. The people here made a specimen out of one of her kind. That’s why she is worried.”
Without anyone noticing, Ah Bai climbed out of Li Du’s backpack, ran towards the hut, and climbed onto the back of the stuffed wolf.
Seeing this, several native guards around him shouted anxiously. They were talking in Algonquin, which Li Du could not understand.
Sadisram went up and stopped the guards. Catulom shouted in Algonquin as well, and when he spoke, the guards backed away with puzzled expressions and looked at Ah Ow.
Ah Ow glared at them. She looked like she was saying, Why are you staring at me? Do you want to take my skin too? Try if you dare!
The young condor was so frightened that it fluttered and quacked, but it could not fly. Li Du was in a fluster because he had to call Ah Bai and pull the baby condor behind him.
Catulom laughed again and shouted, “Sir, you have so many pets, and they are so interesting. I like them.”
Li Du replied with a wry smile, wondering if he was too indulgent towards the little ones. When they were adopted, most of them were timid, but somehow they became naughty.
Taking Ah Bai, for example. At first, Ah Bai was just a foodie, and at other times it was very timid, fearful of almost anything. Now, it was a mischievous monkey and was even braver than Ah Meow!
One of the guards took out his walkie-talkie and said something. Soon a few men appeared at the door of the hillside village above.
Now a big man saw the crowd and shouted, “Sadisram, have you found the supply chest? Where’s the box?”
“The helicopter wasn’t a government one. There was no supply chest,” said Sadisram dryly.
The other man laughed contemptuously and said, “So you still have the face to come back? How long has it been since you found anything worthwhile?”
Sadisram said, “I didn’t find the supply box, but I did find some friends. Isn’t that worthwhile?”
The big man suddenly became fierce and said, “Friends? You mean these guys? Or do you mean the wolf, the bobcat, and the monkey?”
Li Du frowned. It was a bit insulting.
Catulom shook his fist and shouted, “Hakatulama, shut your mouth and don’t talk nonsense. Don’t you dare to insult our friends!”
The big man, Hakatulama, said coldly, “I didn’t insult them. I insulted you two losers.”
“You want to fight?” Catulom took a small crossbow out of his backpack and aimed it at him.
Hakatulama proudly puffed out his chest and pointed to his heart. “Come, shoot here, if you dare!”
Catulom’s face grew red, and Li Du stopped him and said, “Didn’t your Mohican God teach you right? Calm down before facing the enemy.”
He looked at the other man and said, “Hello, sir. I see you don’t welcome us.”
Hakatulama looked at him critically and said, “Of course not. Our tribe will not welcome any stranger, especially if you are not Native Americans, and certainly not the likes of you.”
A slight smile appeared on Sadisram’s face as he stood silently watching the scene.
Li Du noticed this and felt a little uncomfortable. This guy was using him as a means to resolve his own conflicts!
Big Markelov saw this too and whispered, “We have no ally here, boss.”
Thinking of what happened before, Li Du quickly analyzed what happened.
At first, Sadisram didn’t want to take them back to the tribe. He knew he would have trouble if they came.
However, the appearance of Ah Ow changed his mind. He realized the usefulness of Ah Ow’s status as a holy wolf and asked Li Du to come to tell the story of their rescue.
The man, Hakatulama, did not know about the holy wolf, which Sadisram told nothing about as yet, and he was happy to see the other side having a conflict with Li Du and his men.
Li Du was uncomfortable. He had thought they were invited to the tribe as a sign of gratitude. Now it seemed like it was different. It seemed that the natives were making some little plans.