Chapter 4: Who said I didn’t have any males in my house
Jiang Xiaorou did not suspect anything and explained the various aspects of the world to him.
Yi Yun originally imagined that this was a world where martial arts was respected, but after listening to Jiang Xiaorou’s description, Yi Yun realized that he had underestimated the importance of martial arts in this world.
More precisely, this was a world where martial arts was life. In this world, humans had their own cities and campgrounds while the wilderness belonged to the wild beasts and desolate beasts. Humans risked the threat of being attacked by wild beasts or desolate beasts when out farming or hunting. Because of these monstrous huge beasts, it had limited the range of human activities. So among the commoners, there was a supply deficit.
For a campground or a city, high-level warriors were a lifeline! Without the protection of the high level warriors, desolate beasts could destroy the residents of campgrounds and cities in a night.
Unfortunately for Yi Yun and Jiang Xiaorou, their tribe was a small tribe without a single high-level warrior. The entire tribe was in a precarious state, one that could be destroyed anytime. Because of the lack of strength, these small tribes had a lot of troubles cultivating or collecting food. They were unable to survive on their own, but relied on the manufacturing of weapons such as arrows and armor for the big tribes cities in exchange for some rations and beasts to survive.
The raw materials for the arrows Jiang Xiaorou made came from a bigger tribe. She was only in charge of manufacturing them.
“Yun’er, go back in. Tomorrow I can exchange quite a bit of rations with these arrows. I can even exchange a piece of desolate beast meat. Do you still remember desolate beasts?” Those were the strongest beasts, and only very large tribes were able to hunt them. Eating a piece gave a lot of strength!
“If one ate for prolonged periods, one could become a warrior very quickly!” Jiang Xiaorou said it dreamingly, for if her brother could become a warrior, it would be absolutely splendid.
It was a pity that they only had a chance to eat a desolate beast every few months. The hopes of becoming a warrior were destined to be an extravagant wish.
However, in large tribes, the young had desolate beasts for their meals, and it was actually not considered valuable among the big tribes. Although desolate beasts were hard to hunt, a desolate beast was over ten meters high and weighed a few tons. It was sufficient to feed ten people for years.
To the proud elites in the big tribes, the meat of the desolate beasts was for the commoners. What they ate was the desolate beasts’ bones, or desolate bones.
All the essence in the desolate beasts was in their desolate bones. A huge set of desolate beast skeleton could be refined through a special method to obtain a bean-sized desolate bone essence.
This desolate bone essence was used to help warriors break their limits by opening up their meridians, stimulating blood pulses and various beneficial effects. It was something all martial artists yearned for.
Of course, a desolate bone essence was simply a legend to the poor families in a lowly tribe like Jiang Xiaorou and Yi Yun’s.
Forgetting a desolate bone essence, even refining a piece of desolate bone would require many steps and secret methods. It was impossible for a normal person to refine it successfully.
“Desolate beast, desolate bone essence…” Yi Yun mumbled to himself. The terms he heard from Jiang Xiaorou’s mouth surprised him, as she was so knowledgeable.
After a silent night, Yi Yun woke up early the next morning due to hunger.
Without eating for a few days, and only eating a tiny bit of porridge, Yi Yun’s level of hunger was understandably high.
Now, Yi Yun was accustomed to calling Jiang Xiaorou sister. He had learned from the chat yesterday with Jiang Xiaorou that he used to call Jiang Xiaorou “Sis Xiaorou”.
“Oh…Sis Xiaorou, why are you…”
Yi Yun suddenly realized that Jiang Xiaorou’s clothes were soaked with a lot of dew, and her originally bright eyes were now speckled with red blood vessels. She looked extremely tired.
Looking at the two bundles of arrows that Jiang Xiaorou was hugging, it was clear to Yi Yun that Jiang Xiaorou had not slept once throughout the night to finish the arrows!
They were so poor that they could not afford to light a lamp. Jiang Xiaorou had used the faint glow from the fireflies and the moonlight to arduously finish the arrows overnight.
Jiang Xiaorou smiled saying, “Yun’er, previously when you fell and hurt yourself, I kept taking care of you. In the past two days, I was busy with your burial and rites, so I didn’t have time to make the arrows. Today is the day we exchange them for rations, so if I had not rushed to finish them, the two of us would starve. I’m even going to get you desolate beast meat to nurse you up!”
As she said that, Jiang Xiaorou looked lovingly at Yi Yun’s forehead.
Yi Yun was dumbfounded as he saw Jiang Xiaorou use linoleum to wrap the two bundles of arrows carefully. Her expression was that of glee and satisfaction.
Yi Yun exhaled deeply and tightened his fists. He was determined to give the sister who cared for him a much better life.
“Let’s go, it’s time to collect our rations!”
Jiang Xiaorou held on to Yi Yun while carrying the two bundles of heavy arrows. She came full of anticipation to the Sun Valley field where the ration exchange was taking place.
There were already many people gathered there.
The thing that caught people’s attention was the man in a robe on stage.
He looked approximately twenty-five and sat majestically on a beast hide covered chair. A well-made sword hung by his waist.
The man in the robe was lazily glancing at the suffering crowd as they busied themselves below the stage.
These people were moving the bundles of arrows and the sets of exquisite leather armor. A person who looked like a treasurer recorded down every item that was moved.
Standing beside the robed man was an elderly man dressed in yellow. He was all smiles, with a fawning look on his face.
“Are the weapons and armor satisfactory, Lord Tao?” The elderly man bowed before him as his face wrinkled up. The robed man took a glance at the elderly man before snorting as a response.
Although the robed man was full of disdain, the elderly man didn’t betray any of his thoughts and carried on smiling.
Lord Tao was an ambassador from a large tribe, and was in charge of collecting the weapons. It was because Lord Tao was not considered special in his tribe was he sent here on the errand, but to the yellow-robed elder, he was someone of utmost importance.
Jiang Xiaorou handed over the two bundles of arrows she made in exchange for two small wooden tablets. With the two wooden tablets in hand, Jiang Xiaorou’s face reddened as she gripped it tightly in her clammy palms for this was for her and her brother’s ration.
After fifteen minutes, all the weapons and armor were stored in the large cart that was pulled away by two big horned horses.
Lord Tao lazily scanned the books as he threw a large wooden chest at the yellow-robed elder before leaving with his subordinates.
The yellow-robed elder politely sent Lord Tao away with smiles before finally wiping them off his face to exude a face of dignity.
All the tribal folks were burning with anticipating saying, “Patriarch, please distribute the rations.”
“Right! We haven’t seen it in months!” A couple of people had started shouting for they were all waiting to collect the rations to fill their stomachs back home.
“Silence!” as the yellow-robed elder quelled the masses with a gesture. Yi Yun never expected that this spineless old freak was the Patriarch.
“Since everyone is so impatient, let’s distribute the rations!” The moment he finished saying, a few strong men walked up hurriedly and brought out bags of rations from a warehouse and stacked them into a small mound.
“That’s not right, Patriarch. Why is there so little this time?”
“Yeah! There used to be a lot more!” “Also why don’t we see any beasts?”
Many people started rabbling for they had handed more weapons than previous years, yet the amount received was pathetically lesser. Not only were the rations halved, but, even the beasts had disappeared.
“The Fire Cloud tribe has gone too far, how can they dismiss us with this tiny amount?””
“Patriarch, what’s the meaning of this!”
Seeing that the mob was getting more disorderly, the yellow-robed elder snorted and said, “Shut your mouths!” You will understand in a while. Distribute the rations now! Hand over your wooden tablets, and whatever you receive is all you will get!
The yellow-robed elder said it with force resulting in many of the dissatisfied to zip up their mouths immediately. This yellow-robed elder was a warrior. Although he was a low-classed Mortal Blood warrior, he was definitely the tribe’s pillar, so few dared defy him.
“Those from the warrior preparation camp are the first to receive the rations!” The moment the yellow-robed elder waved his hand, a group of men wearing animal leather walked forward. Their age ranged from fifteen to forty years old. Without exception, all of them were stout and muscular from their training. These people were members of the warrior preparation camp, and were the hope of the tribe. As young adults with good physical attributes, they were chosen from young for training. Besides hunting occasionally, they did not farm or manufacture arrows or armor.
Besides, anything beneficial like food was first distributed to the warrior preparation camp. Because, if any of them were to become a high-class warrior, they would bring lots of riches to the tribe. Besides being able to protect, high-level warriors’ output capabilities were extremely high as they were strong enough to go out into the wilderness to hunt. Just a few large wild beasts would be enough to feed the entire tribe for days. Without exaggeration, a single high-level warrior could sustain a small tribe!
There were dozens of people in the warrior preparation camp, and because they never participated in the manufacturing, they naturally didn’t have any wooden tablets; but each of them still took away a big bag of rations.
The small amount of rations was further reduced by a fifth, but there were tens of times more people who haven’t received the rations compared to the warrior preparation camp.
From this, it was fated that many would starve.
Jiang Xiaorou, who was by Yi Yun’s side, grasped the wooden tablet tightly. Her face was pale for their days were numbered if they didn’t manage to obtain any rations.
The people were solemn as the warrior preparation camp members took their usual share, which definitely meant there wasn’t enough to distribute.
“Household with Tier one males, come collect your rations!” The yellow-robed elder gave another order. In this world where martial arts was life, those males not from the warrior preparation camp received distributions proportional to their abilities.
A simple test was that of strength; being able to lift 300 lbs was a Tier one male!
The lesser they lifted, the lower their tier.
Those households with Tier one males heaved a sigh of relief and rushed forward to collect their rations. The wooden tablets were just for show. These households received much lesser rations than normal, but at least they received something.
These households were originally wealthier, and would have surplus food. So even though their days ahead required them to be frugal, it wasn’t a desperate situation.
“Household with Tier two males, come collect your rations!” The yellow-robed elder opened his mouth again. Compared to the person who was bowing to “Lord Tao”, this yellow-robed elder was a totally different person with his cold demeanor.
A Tier two male could lift about 250 lbs. of stone. The rations they received were reduced greatly.
The ration bags depleted rapidly. With every disappearing bag, Jiang Xiaorou’s face turned paler. Her clammy hands griped the wooden tablet tightly.
The problem wasn’t about having fewer bags of rations; this was a matter of life and death. Without the rations, they would starve to death!
She was originally full of hope for this round’s ration distribution. Besides getting the rations, she was hoping to receive a piece of beast meat to nurse Yi Yun. However, there weren’t even any normal rations left.
“Household with Tier three males, come collect your rations!”
With the depleting rations, Jiang Xiaorou held her breath.
The yellow-robed elder frowned, as the amount of rations was too little. Many still had not received it. In the months to come, many would be fated to starve to death.
But for the tribe’s benefit, to catch that golden opportunity, the yellow-robed elder could only harden his heart and sacrifice the weak.
It was common for people to die of hunger or sickness in the tribe. The adverse living conditions resulted in the average life expectancy to be frightening short.
“The rest, come collect your rations.”
With those words, a large group of people rushed forward. Jiang Xiaorou screamed as the mob pushed her down.
She was bruised from her fall, but she held on to her wooden tablet closely, as if it was her freedom giving her hope.
“Sis Xiaorou.” Seeing Jiang Xiaorou fall, Yi Yun rushed through the mob and pulled her up.
“Are you alright, Sis Xiaorou?” Yi Yun was anxious as being trampled by this mob would result in death. Jiang Xiaorou held on helplessly to Yi Yun’s hand.
“Stop squeezing. All of you be orderly!” The yellow-robed elder shouted. His voice seemed to be imbued with a special energy, causing the mob that was squeezing forward to quiet down.
“Line up, one by one!” The yellow-robed elder was authoritative. No one dared to defy him for they all knew he had the power. He was in charge of the tribe, and he would execute whoever disobeyed on the spot.
The people lined up for the rations, even if it was a pathetic amount. But in a while, the rations were gone, leaving many without any.
Jiang Xiaorou’s heart sank. Without the rations, they could not survive.
“Wang Long, bring out a few stored rations out,” said the yellow-robed elder to a stout man. Wang Long was one of the yellow-robed elder’s family members.
“Yes, Patriarch.” Wang Long left and returned in a short while with a small cart of rations. These were the stored rations containing only grain.
On Earth, eating grain was a source of vitamins resulting in healthiness. However in this alternate world, it was a totally different matter. Grain was the remnants after processing. It was mixed with wheat bran as food. The taste was horrible and hard to swallow.
Also grain was low in nutrients, and difficult to digest. In fact, it provided very little energy, about half of the rations. Although it was grain, it was better than nothing. The crowd could only resign to fate and collected the extremely tiny amount of grain. Jiang Xiaorou was right at the back, and by her turn, there was almost no grain left.
She passed the two sweat sodden wooden tablets and received two palm-sized bags of grain. Even if she and Yi Yun ate the grains as porridge, it wouldn’t last them more than ten days.
Jiang Xiaorou was stunned as she held the light bags of grain, unwilling to accept her fate.
Her brother had just come back from the dead, are they going to starve together?
“What are you staying there for, stop blocking the way!” The man in charge of distributing the grain said impatiently, wanting Jiang Xiaorou to leave as soon as possible.
Jiang Xiaorou felt anger. She had worked hard overnight to make those arrows, and all she got was this tiny amount. Although she was a weak girl, she daringly faced the group of men who held the tribe’s authority. “Why is there so little? I handed over two bundles of arrows. Not only did I not get the rations, but all I got was grain that is far from the normal amount!”
The man in charge of distributing the grain was stunned. He never expected the young girl to have the courage to question him.
“Do you even know the rules? You are just a kid, and a young girl at that. Without any males at home, what’s the point of having so much food? It would be a waste!”
In this world, the smaller tribes favored males. In the big tribes, there were various kinds of desolate beasts, and even desolate bones. So the differences between the two sexes didn’t matter as much.
But in a small tribe, a male’s strength was an advantage gap that couldn’t be closed. Few girls had the strength comparable to men.
Being looked down upon, Jiang Xiaorou shouted angrily, “Who said I didn’t have any males in my house? There is one right here!” Saying that, Jiang Xiaorou grabbed Yi Yun’s hand and stood beside him.