A cliff reaching thousands of meters, decorated with small trees swaying in the strong winds, a man-made cliff flat and open, a small silhouette is seen to be basking in the afterglow of the sunlight, lazily hanging his feet on the edge of the cliff, unconsciously swaying it, seeming very lonely.
This is a man of sixteen or seventeen, with faint yet wide eyebrows, a pair of slender eyes, which seems as though he squints his eyes through habit, giving people the feeling of a young man in need of sleep. A slim, outlined/defined face, as though it has been sliced through with an axe, giving off a firm feeling. As he has not become an adult,he seems like a child, however upon further inspection, one can feel the small presence of a man who has experienced many hardships.
“This world is really sadistic! Even the time is different, I don’t even know how much time has passed….3 years? Or 4? This place only has 2 seasons, summer…..winter….haizz…..I can’t return anymore…..”
The young man sighed again, and slammed his fist on the floor. Staring at the fist mark on a blue rock, he smiled. To him, this world has nothing that makes him feel happy, other than strength, this weird place was devoid of any entertainment. Everyday, other than worrying about food, he has nothing else to do. For him, this is the only meaning of life in this world.
A pitched whistle sounded. The young man quickly stood up, jumping along the top of the cliff at an extraordinary speed, quickly reaching a stone fort within seconds. The 7-8 meters large/tall fort was seen standing on the cliff, with two big pillars supporting it.
This particular fort is still very small, however, it was sharp and long, protruding though the cliff and was supported by a wooden structure at the very top. On the floor was a hole with a length of about 3 meters and a width of 2 meters, one could properly see a tunnel heading downwards, a metal ladder on the side of it, installed with giant wheels.
A man with an impressive beard, saw the young man coming in and said,“Feng, the hunters are back. Your eyes are good, can you please go out and check if there’s any problem?”
The young man nodded. With a hand holding onto the wheel, he headed downwards. In front of him was a sea of darkness, suddenly, beams of fading silvery light shone from his eyes, he smiled, “Uncle Ke and his men have returned…hurry up and lower down the basket!”
The big bearded man reached his hand out and grabbed a hoop, pulling it, a huge tied basket appeared. Two men started to turn the wheel, lowering the basket.
The basket, about 3 meters long, with the width of 2 meters and a depth of 1.5 meters, specially made for transporting people or objects, is one of the 2 entrances to the Tiger cliff castle. Tiger cliff castle only has 2 roads connecting to the outside world, one is right here, and the other is a tunnel behind the castle which is extremely hard to reach, which is why the people of the castle uses the roped basket to travel.
Within the rope basket, sat two men and a pile of prey. The young man blinked once, and said, ”Why are there only small animals, Uncle Ke, aren’t there any big guys?”
The basket only had wild rabbits, chickens, ducks and a few Zhen sheeps.
Zhen sheep was one of the main specialties here, it was a very small type of sheep, which loved various types of Soul Grass. The taste of the meat was considered as one of the best delicacies here, the only problem was it being too small, with barely any meat. One Zhen sheep was equivalent to at most 10 kg of meat, which was slightly better than the wild chickens, ducks and rabbits, when comparing the amount.
Uncle Ke laughed, “Feng, we did kill a Baoya boar, which is about a few hundred kilos. The haul this time is already not bad. Feng, later head over to my house to grab a pig leg, hehe.”
Xin Feng grinned from ear to ear, “Sure, I’ll send you home.”
Everyone in Tiger cliff castle is a hunter, those who grow yam and make cereals normally live in the valley. The young man, Feng, belongs to one of the roughly 200 households, which consists of his grandpa and younger sister. However, men don’t normally farm, they are obligated to hunt, as the population of people living in Tiger cliff castle is very small.
These few years weren’t easy. When he just woke up, little sis was only 3 years old while grandpa was already too old to hunt, leaving the young Xin Feng as the sole breadwinner. At first, Xin Feng relied on harvesting wild fruits, and some hunters who pitied the family of three, occasionally shared some meat. That was how they painfully lived to this day. The people here were very friendly and helpful, within the neighborhoods, they helped each other. Without these people, Xin Feng would not have lived to this day.
However, after this year’s summer, Feng will have to prepare food for the winter, which is a huge responsibility for a young man of his age.Not only does he have to fend for himself, but for his grandpa and his young sister as well.
Uncle Ke(deleted a comma) went down the basket again, this time bringing back a 200+ kg Baoya boar. The meat of this kind of boar had a rough texture, without any culinary skills, it would not be delicious. Of course, Feng did not really care, as long as it was edible he would eat it. Ever since he was here, he had never really felt full before. Even though he ate large amounts, he never felt full. He couldn’t understand it, why could he eat so much?
A few hunters and Feng laughed merrily as they walked back to the castle.
Tiger cliff castle was built on steep surroundings, with many barriers in its surroundings. The center, had a radius of about 2km, and had an empty plot of land for farming. The people in the castle lived in the caves below the inner cliff. Every household was entitled to a cave, there were natural and man-made caves. A small cabin made of wood, during summer, people could live in the cabin, but in winter, everyone must enter the cave.
The shape of the castle was just like a plate, residents lived in the plate, and the outside of the plate was a cliff. This was the natural fortress of the castle.
Which/This was why it quickly became a residential area when the humans found it.
Quickly walking home,Feng’s hand was holding a large boar leg, and in his other, were two wild chickens.
He reached the wooden fence surrounding his house, the house was built beside a cave. A young lady saw Feng returning and called out, “Brother, Brother…” while running towards him.
With the coldness already starting to set in, the young lady wore a fur coat. The long fur swaying as she ran, she looked like a little furball rolling over. Feng laughed, “Don’t run…slower, slower” and squatted down. However with the meat in his hands, he couldn’t reach out and hug her.
The little lady charged into Feng’s arms, hugging his neck. Feng stood up, with the girl hanging off his neck giggling, “Bro~ whose meat did you take now~”
Feng used his forehead to gently bump the girl’s and laughed lovingly, “Uncle Ke gave me some of his prey he caught today. How’s Grandpa?”
She giggled, ”Grandpa went to boil salt and just came back.”
Tiger cliff castle also had unique specialty, there was an underground halogen salt mine, and one could go underground to collect halogen salt water.After boiling, it can last a household for a while, and was one of the main reasons the residents of the castle could survive in such an environment. Boiling salt was also the normal chore for old people and women to do.
Contact between the outside world and Tiger cliff castle was virtually impossible, problems must be settled by oneself, which caused Feng to feel unaccustomed. After a few years of torment, he gradually integrated into the lifestyle of these people.
The young lady continued to hang from Feng’s neck, and the both of them chatted merrily as they walked to the small house. Feng shouted, “Grandpa, I’m home, look! Uncle gave us a front leg of a Baoya boar, which is about 15 kilos, enough for us to eat for a few days.”
The little lady slid off Feng’s body and ran towards the old man, hugging his arm as he squatted down, “Grandpa, Auntie Qing gave us a piece of bull leather, I kept it in the cave. It was a really big piece, wait for a few days, the leather armor would be completed and then bro can wear it! Hehe, grandpa, I’m really competent right!” She exclaimed with a face full of self-compliment/self-praise, causing Feng to laugh out loud.
“Haha, little sis is really reliable!”
Feng complimented her.
The old man gently patted the head of the young lady, nodded and said, “Right, Yaoyao is the most reliable one in the house!”
The young lady beamed.
The leather armor is one of the necessities of a hunter. The leather armor’s special shape, which is entirely hand-crafted from a variety of beast skins, and lined with tough hide in at the inner layer, is a locally-produced armor, made with bull skins as the main material.
Creation of the leather armor is really complicated, with a total of about 10 producers only. About 2 years ago, grandpa started to make it, and a large part was made with the help of the young lady. With two generation’s worth of hard work, until recently, it could be announced as about to be completed, because it was lacking a piece of bull leather.
This piece of armor is specially made for when Feng goes out and hunt. For the hunters of Tiger cliff castle, it is a must for the hunter to wear a piece of leather armor made from his family, a custom, you might say. Once this armor is worn, Feng will finally be a hunter.
The leather armor needs about 3 types of leather. A soft pelt for the first layer, which should have many holes the size of soy beans, not only is it soft, but it is also good for blocking out the cold. The middle layer is the bull leather, and the outer layer is a pelt of a beast known as the Changmao bear. (TL: it is actually long haired brown hair but it’s too long so I used the pinyin) During the creation of the armor, the fur will be weaved together, creating a pattern. And after smearing a type of animal oil, it will not only become cold-resistant, but also an armor with high defense.
Translator : Puttty
Proofreader : Midori