The Magus Era - Chapter 9

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Calculation


At a clearing in the dense jungle, a natural hot spring was bubbling.


The spring water was so clear that one could see down to the bottom. There was a layer of white sand on the bottom of the pool. Near the mouth of the spring[1], a black flagstone had been set at the side of the pool. The spring water was constantly gushing out of the pool, flowing through few traces on the stone surface and seeping into the ground.


Ji Wu was comfortably sitting in the warm water, eyes closed and with a smile on his face. His skin occasionally emitted a faint, fiery light.


Jiang Yao, held a three-meter-long, red serpent, and circled around the pool while whispering a strange, ancient spell. Her voice gradually grew louder. Suddenly, she sliced the serpent's neck with a black jade knife in her hand. Hot blood poured onto the stone and formed a dozen strange spell symbols[2] on the stone surface.


Seven big and muscular women were standing around the pool, throwing medicinal packages made of all kinds of herbs into the water. In addition to the medicinal packages, they sometimes threw in odd things, such as a arm-long beast fangs, poison sacks from unknown creatures, and a variety of insects bodies or carapaces[3] into the pool.


Following Jiang Yao's voice, the clear spring water gradually changed colour, turning into a pool of blood-red, thick liquid. Wisps of red smoke drilled into Ji Wu's skin. Ji Wu then began to twitch his body. His tranquil expression also became twisted.


A few miles away, Ji Hao stood on a treetop, and smiled as he watched Jiang Yao and Ji Wu.


The stoneman was sauntering under the tree. He felt annoyed that his body was too heavy for him to climb up trees. Yet he was very curious about what they were seeing from up there. The only thing he could do was frequently look up at Ji Hao and hope that he would speak a few words.


Next to Stone, there was an old tree. This tree had human-limb-like branches and a mouth-like, large tree hole, with which it sipped fruit wine from a vat that it had wrapped with its branches.


Whenever Stone walked near the old tree, the tree would lash his butt with branches. However, Stone could not sense any pain with its body made up of stones.


Sitting next to Ji Hao on the treetop was a breathtakingly beautiful girl. Leaves and vines decorated her body and made her look like a woodland fairy. She held a longbow with a charming smile on her delicate face. Her facial expression kept changing at every moment. Sometimes she frowned and pondered seriously, and in the next moment she would suddenly raise her eyebrows and giggle.


The girl was riding a leopard, which had fire-red fur with silver spots on it. This thirty-feet-long leopard was standing on a kid-fist-thick branch, but the branch didn't even sway a bit. The beast seemed as light as a phantom and as graceful as a prince.


The stone man was a 'Stonemlin'. The 'Stonemlin' once was an ancient stone down in the valley. Somehow, the stone had learned to absorb the life force energy from nature. Year by year, it started to grow a human-like spirit and eventually learned how to turn itself into a human shape.


The old tree was a 'Treeman'. Slightly different from Stone, this old tree was born from seeds and had grown into a mundane tree. However, this ordinary yet special tree was born with a strong spiritual power. One day it had unexpectedly awakened into sentience. Since then, it had always known how to enhance itself with the natural life force energy. After years of practicing, the old tree became a mobile Treeman with human-like limbs.


The girl named Heng Luo at Ji Hao's side, was a little girl and a deity from the nature. She was a 'Nymph', which was a magical creature. Hong Luo was born by the gathering of natural life force energy and spiritual power, with the talent to control beasts, identify all kinds of plants, and communicate with all living creatures. She was the guard of the jungle;the vitality of the jungle and that of her were tightly connected to each other.


Ji Hao had never liked to hang around with kids in the village. Ever since he had learned to walk, he had spent nearly all his time in this jungle. These years, Stone, the Treeman, Heng luo, and few other special creatures were his true friends.


Mr. Crow was also standing on the treetop beside Ji Hao and Heng Luo. It turned its head sideways and cawed to them.


Heng Luo nodded;she touched a branch near her with her slim finger. Suddenly, a green sprout on that branch started to grow rapidly, quickly turning into a big flower. An intense fragrance came, along with the voices of Ji Wu and Jiang Yao, from the flower.


In the jungle every plant could become the eyes and ears of Heng Luo.


Ji Hao squatted down next to Heng Luo, quietly listening to what Jiang Yao was saying to her son.


Jiang Yao walked rapidly around the hot spring pool and constantly threw things into the water. Meanwhile, she was harshly talking to Ji Wu.


’’Wu, you're the son of mine. Your grandfather is the Master Maguspriest and a powerful leader in the Bi Fang Clan[4]. You have the noble blood, which is far better than that of the people from this humble Fire Crow Clan. How could you lose your fight against a kid, four years younger than you?’’


’’Amma!’’ Ji Wu grimaced in pain then said. ’’He Attacked me in the back! That little bastard...I won't let him have another chance at the ceremony. I will split him!’’ While speaking, Ji Wu waved his arms in the air excitedly.


’’That's right. My son, you belong to our Bi Fang Clan, you should be way better than those Crow's people. You should kill the little bastard at the ceremony...You're my son, you can never lose to a boy of that lowly Qing Yi Clan woman!’’ Jiang Yao said in a cold voice.


’’Qing Yi Clan woman?’’ Heng Luo curiously looked at Ji Hao and asked, ’’is that your Amma? Hao, I like your Amma, I like her smell.’’


Ji Hao listened to the sounds coming from the flower, and slowly answered: ’’I like Amma too, but it seems some people don't...’’


’’But Wu... No, do not kill him. You will make the blood oath[5] with Ji Hao at the worship ceremony. If one of you loses the fight, he will become the slave of the other one.’’


’’You will enslave that little bastard! You understand?’’ Jiang Yao paused then continued.


’’I have enough slaves! Abba eliminated dozens of small clans these years, I have hundreds of slaves! I don't want him to be my slave. I want to kill him, Amma!’’ Ji Wu yelled when he heard what Jiang Yao said.


’’You silly boy, you will enslave him.’’ Jiang Yao narrowed her eyes and her voice turned vicious. ’’Enslave him... If I can't kill Qing Fu at the ceremony, we will trade two of her treasures with Ji Hao's life!’’


Ji Hao heard what she said through the flower, raised his eyebrows and applauded to this 'perfect' plan.


’’Wonderful...Her husband wants to replace Abba and be the leader;she wants Amma's treasures;her son wants to kill me! What a nice family!’’


While laughing, Ji Hao pointed towards the spring pool.


The Treeman opened his tree-hole mouth wide, swallowed the vat, moved his gigantic body, and slowly walked towards the pool.



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