Chapter 4- Duston Village
When I first tell Grandpa Dugo about my news in breaking through the 1 star stage, Grandpa Dugo then tells me to that we are heading to a village. There is no way Grandpa Dugo does not know that I despise humans the most. I hate him. He is the person who understands me the best after mother and yet he is bringing us to a place that is filled with the humans I meet. However, I do not show any signs of displease for maybe he does have something arranged for me. The night ends with less sleep for I am felling anxious about the journey of mine. Endless probability can happen; I just hope that Grandpa Dugo does not die.
The next day we exit the forest with less resistance than expected. I wonder what happen in the forest for such a phenomenon to occur. After exiting the forest, there lies in front of us is a sign board saying, ‘50km to Duston Village.’ Not long we have reach, Duston Village. The first thing that is see is the spaciousness and also a slight hint of desolate as if the heaven does not permit any life signs to continue living. However, obviously this is not such a case. The main reason lies in the lack of contact with the outsiders. This has in turn probably make it hard for the humans to train in any martial arts or either their martial art techniques are too weak which resulted in them unable to protect themselves from the magical beasts’ attack. It is indeed an eye-opener for me as I never expect that the humans can be weak and fragile like this.
“I hope that this will give you a better experience in knowing that just like the animals, humans too have the strong and weak people. Good or bad are usually more of a perspective things. Therefore, how one judge that the person is good or bad entirely depends on oneself. So, give in a thought about what I say,” says Grandpa Dugo.
Hearing Grandpa Dugo says so, I give it a deep thought and conclude that I should observe a bit more before giving a judgment. After walking for a while, I notice that there a couple, one young and one old. The young one should be the middle-aged man’s daughter. The father appears to be in a grave situation. A long sword cut can be seen from the shoulder-blade all the way diagonally to somewhere near the kidney area. He is bleeding profusely and is lying down. He wriggled and bends to one side and tries to comfort his crying daughter. I wonder Grandpa Dugo can do something about this man as I know the pain of losing one’s love one. “Grandpa, can you do something to heal this man?” I asked.
“Well, well, I am quite surprise that you are asking me to help you. Okay, I help him,” says Grandpa Dugo.
I watch Grandpa Dugo approaches the injured man and motion the injured man to stay still. After a second, a small congregate of light gathers around Grandpa Dugo’s hand. Grandpa Dugo’s hand move in a motion following the sword wound. I cannot believe I am watching a miracle for the wounds are slowly closing up and now the sword scar is barely visible. After the father’s wound is healed, I cannot fathom that the girl is still crying. Is there a problem in saving this man or not? I squat down to level ourselves and to have an eye to eye contact. The curious me then asks, “Why are you crying when your dad is healed?”
It all started off the noble war. It was one of the worst wars that the human kind had faced in the century. Millions upon millions die for their own respective noble. Nobles annexing one another to wrest the other nobles’ power and land. The noble that lose would be dead while the females of the lost noble’s family or followers will be used as prostitutes and the males use as cannon fodder for the next war. The fight was indeed terrible. The fight went on till there were about 10 nobles left and it was then when my father was starting to lost the war as 3 nobles agreed to send a portion of their armies and did a pincer attack on my father’s army. Knowing that he would lose, father gathered hundreds of his best soldiers with his family and tried to escape this disaster.
The disaster, we escaped but later did we know that spillover effects of this war had sown chaos and disorder everywhere. Bandits were everywhere. One upon one soldier died as we continuously encountered a successive waves of bandits. I could still deeply remember the one fight that had caused my mother’s life. It was that night when an unexpected ambush from the bandits came. Arrows showering to our area. Worse still, our rations and materials were burned by the fire arrows. The morale sunk to a new low some soldiers began to desert the group. The brutal fight was a first-hand experience that was seen from the first person view rather than a third-person view. It was truly different and this experience had put up a toll onto my brain. Stiffness and immobility occurred as my mind was unable to accept such a reality as for all the other fight, the fight was usually ended by the scout or my vision was blocked by my mother. “Dodge, Jeslyn!” a familiar person’s voice shouted. I snapped out of it only to notice the bandit brandishing his sword towards me and our distance is less than a meter and I know that my weak legs had given up on me. It was time for me pass on to the afterlife. I shut my eyes in preparation counting, 1, 2, 3?
Noting happened. I then opened my eyes and saw that my mother was on top of me. Understanding what has happened, I shivered and cried non-stop. The fight has ended as the bandits had all died but I had lost my mother in this fight. Before, passing away, mother gave her red ribbon and tied it to my hair. Giving her last smile, she collapsed with her heart never pumping again. The fight with the bandits were getting lesser as we walking out of the jungle but the death toll among the soldiers is not staying still. Some died from excessive bleeding while some died in the lack of food. All in all, the only one left was just my father and me. Supporting him, as the previous sword wound had reopened, we finally reach a village. Laying him down, I tried to seek help from the villagers but they declined as they had neither an alchemist nor a powerful practitioner here in the village capable of healing the wound of my father. Upon walking back disappointed, I noticed that my hair is moving loosely. The red ribbon given by mother is gone. I walked back to my father’s side and started crying. If it was not for this war, I would not have to suffer such things. I wanted to blame my father for all of this as if he did not participate in this war but rather choose to escape earlier on, we would not have been such a precarious situation.
After then, a boy around my age and an elderly walked. Feeling dejected, I had already fully given up in asking in the elder. It was not like asking another person can actually change a situation. However, such thoughts was proven wrong as father did indeed heal back. I still continued crying as I will never find back the first and also the last memento belonging to my mother.
The child then squats and asks me for the reason for I am still crying. “Mommies’ ribbon is gone.” I says while sobbing. The boy squats there and is pausing. Then, he draws out a sword and remove a vermillion colored ribbon from the hilt and says, “Is this okay?” “No, it is not good. It is not mommies’ one.” I replies. “Just think of it as it is,” he answers. I do not think that this boy actually understood the importance of the ribbon but I can see the sincerity of him in trying to help me. Reluctantly, I nods as I do not want to him feel bad for not being able to help me. Who have known that the nodding has cause a misunderstanding? He actually thinks that I am nodding for him to allow him to tie my hair. Is he not thinking too high for himself? Upon closer proximity when he is trying to tie my hair, I noticed that he has almost the same hair color as the ribbon. Can it be that the ribbon is made from his hair? The elder also appears to have this vermilion colored hair. So weird. After all, all the humans have black color hair.
After all of this, the sun is slowing going down while the moon is making its appearance. The boy then suggest, “Why don’t you and your father stay with us?” I nod it as a sign of yes as at this current situation, father is neither fit to move around freely and we still have not find a room to settle down.
Grandpa Dugo’s POV
What a luck it is. I have never expected the first encounter with the human and the human girl appears to be in a familiar situation as Rancer. This will indeed a good progress to alter his perception of humans. Another thing that also sparks my interest is that injured man. Through his eyes, I can see an undying determination in him and when healing him, I happen to notice that he has what it takes to be a stronger cultivator. This is because he has a wider and thicker chi paths compared to normal humans. As a result, this man can draw more chi and at the same time withstand the high pressure of collecting more chi. All in all, he should be able to advance faster than anyone provided that he has a proper guidance from a senior which will be me. It is time to do a good deed. I shall be the Samaritan that will bring forth revolution to this village. Maybe, this can be also a good investment for my grandson, let it be rather in short-term or long-term. Rancer can make new friends and learn more of the culture of the human from the children in the village. At the same time, this can be a future source of human power for Rancer if he needs it later in the future and I am unable to provide any for I may busy. That should be it. It is time to start the Project Vermilion City.