Book 2 Chapter 1 Teng Jia Village
The world was divided into Nine Prefectures, and Yangzhou was the most bustling and fertile among them. Inside of Yangzhou, in the Jiangning County of Yi City stood a huge mountain named Dayan Mountain. At the foot of Dayan Mountain sprawled a village named Teng Jia Village. All the houses in the village stood close together, and it looked like a whole. Surrounding Teng Jia Village was a wall built of wooden barriers, standing as high as nine Chi*.
(TLN: * Ancient China measurement unit. 1Chi = 0.3333m)
With the protection of these wooden barriers, wolves from the mountain couldn’t easily enter the village to eat people.
Within the courtyard of one family in Teng Jia Village, there was a gathering of about ten people. Among them, a short, nearly thirty year old man prowled back and forth anxiously outside the door of the house.
“Yongfan, stop pacing back and forth.” A serious sound rang out. The speaker was a gray-haired but thickly built old man.
“Teacher, I…” The man dressed in a short gown did not know what to say.
It was impossible for him to not be nervous. His wife was giving birth inside the house. It was usually rather dangerous for women giving birth to their first child. There were cases of women in Teng Jia Village who died due to complications during labor. He had been married for nearly eight years, and yet his wife had only gotten pregnant now. Therefore, he valued this child greatly. At this moment, he was naturally anxious.
“Brother Fan, have you thought of a name for your child?” A lean man standing beside Yongfan changed the topic with a smile on his face.
“My child belongs to the ‘Qing’ generation. I already have names in mind. If it’s a boy, I will name him Qingshan, while a girl will be named Qingyu.” Teng Yongfan, the man dressed in a short gown, flashed a rare smile as he spoke.
As soon as he finished speaking, the loud and clear cry of a baby resounded from the room.
Everyone froze and looked towards the door at the same time. A creak sounded, and a woman ran out of the door with a baby in her arms as she shouted with a pleasantly surprised smile on her face, “Yongfan, it’s a boy. It’s a boy!”
“What about Lan?” The sturdy old man was the first to ask.
“Chief, Yuan Lan is well. Both mother and baby are doing well,” The woman smiled happily.
At this moment, Teng Yongfan took the baby from the midwife and examined the baby carefully as he smiled radiantly “Haha, it’s a boy. Haha, I, Teng Yongfan finally have a son…” At this time, the sturdy old man near him took the baby from him.
“Teacher, you look after the baby and I will go check out Yuan Lan,” Teng Yongfan ran into the house immediately.
While the sturdy old man looked at the baby in his arms with a smile.
“The little boy’s cries just now were quite loud. Good, very good,” The sturdy old man smiled happily.
“Teacher, the little boy is staring at you,” A group of people looking beside the old man were also smiling.
“Look, these dark round small eyes are staring at me without a flicker. Haha……”The sturdy old man laughed heartily and gently touched the baby’s nose with his finger, “My lovely grandson, Little Qingshan, come! Call grandfather!” As the old man spoke, he couldn’t help but laugh.
After all, how could a newborn baby speak?
Laughter surrounded him, but Teng Qingshan’s mind was actually very chaotic.
“What’s going on? I… I am dead, am I not?”
Teng Qingshan remembered clearly that after battling with two of God Kingdom’s giants, Shiva and Vishnu on Moon Lake and killing Shen Yangming, he himself died.
When he regained consciousness, he was in a woman’s womb and was born soon afterwards.
“This old man is my grandfather? My mother’s father?” Teng Qingshan observed the old man carefully. “I can understand the language spoken by the people around me, so it’s also Chinese. The appearance of his clothing and the clothing of the people around me……it’s obviously not a modern society. It’s the ancient society! I am…how did I arrive at the ancient world?”
Even though Teng Qingshan underwent the grueling hitman training, no matter how stable his mentality was, he was completely shocked at this very moment.
However, at this time, Teng Qingshan felt tired and sleepy, “A baby’s brain is not fully mature; I just pondered a little and am already tired out.”
Teng Qingshan closed his eyes and was sound asleep.
It was the winter of the first year Teng Qingshan arrived into this world.
Feather-like snow cascaded without ceasing. The whole world seemed to be dressed in a silver cloth.
“Qingshan, is the snowfall beautiful?” The kindly faced women, Yuan Lan, held her son ‘Teng Qingshan’ as she enjoyed the view of the snowfall.
“Ah!” Teng Qingshan’s little face flushed crimson.
Having been born less than a year ago, his vocal cords had not developed fully, and so he could only babble. However, Teng Qingshan always looked like a little grownup, always nodding and making an ‘ah’ sound, but he could only make ‘ah, en’ sounds.
“It’s nearly lunchtime but your father still hasn’t return,” Yuan Lan said.
“Hi, sister-in-law,” At this moment, a sound came from outside of the courtyard door, and the door was pushed open. A young man wearing rain clothes and holding a big hare, came in, smiling, “The hunting squadron that went up the mountain came back. This hare belongs to your family. Keep it well. I am going back.”
With this, he placed the hare near the threshold.
“Thanks!” Yuan Lan replied with a smile.
“No problem.” The man said as he walked out.
Since Teng Qingshan had the wisdom of an adult, he had obtained quite a bit of knowledge concerning this Teng Jia Village within a short few months. Teng Jia Village was a self-sufficient village. There were often squadrons that went hunting on the mountain, and the prey they brought back would be distributed according to the contribution of each family in the village. For example, Teng Qingshan’s father, Teng Yongfan was the master blacksmith in Teng Jia Village.
The weapons forged by him were very popular in Yi City. Naturally, he had a high rank in Teng Jia Village.
The earth shook as if in an earthquake.
“Bandits have come to collect the annual tribute” Yuan Lan’s facial expression changed. She immediately tied Teng Qingshan on her back. She simply took a red tasseled spear from the house and ran out.
The whole Teng Jia Village, regardless of age or gender, were rushing out with spears and arrows in hand.
“Bandits?” Teng Qingshan was shocked.
“Qingshan, don’t be afraid. It’s okay,” Yuan Lan ran while comforting her son on her back.
In a short while, Yuan Lan arrived at the largest training field in Teng Jia Village. Both the length and width of the training field were two-hundred meters. At this time, the training field had gathered thousands of people, young and old. Almost everyone was holding a red tasseled spear while some were carrying bows.
“Yuan Lan,” A bare chested man, wearing a simple fur, came up with a spear in hand. The man was Teng Qingshan’s father Teng Yongfan.
“Brother Fan,” Yuan Lan ran close to him immediately.
(TLN: In ancient times a wife can call her husband brother if they trained in the same clan, sect, etc.)
Teng Qingshan looked at his father. In such a severe winter, his father only had some fur draped over his shoulder and both his thick arms and strong chest were revealed. It was obvious that he was a very strong man. Without sufficient muscle, it wasn’t possible to become an excellent blacksmith.
“Son, don’t fear,” Teng Yongfan touched Teng Qingshan lovingly.
“You two stay here and don’t run away,” Teng Yongfan instructed and immediately rushed to the front.
All the able men in Teng Jia Village were standing at the front of the training field, while the elderly, women, and children were behind them, all with weapons in their hands.
“Hello, little boys of Teng Jia Village,” A booming shout came from outside the fence.
Teng Qingshan looked through the crowd and saw the group of people outside the fence. All of the people in that group rode tall horses. The leader’s bare chest was full of black hair. He had a deep knife mark on his face. He shouted loud and distinctly, “It’s time to deliver your annual tribute. According to the old rules, each person gives half a tael!”
(TLN: Tael: 50 grams (1 ¾ oz). A former Chinese monetary unit based on the value of a tael of standard silver.)
“This guy, he wears only unlined clothes in the severest winter, he is definitely a master,” Teng Qingshan judged with just a glance, “The number of robbers can’t be seen clearly, but there are definitely a few hundred.”
“However, the few hundred men in Teng Jia Village can’t be easily bullied,” Teng Qingshan could also see that all of the men in Teng Jia Village had undergone many years of training. While standing there, every one of them were like a beast. Although there were many fierce bandits, but it would also be difficult to defeat the men of the Teng Jia Village.
At this time——
The crowd in Teng Jia Village divided into a path, and a gray-haired but sturdy old man walked past.
“Grandfather,” Teng Qingshan identified him at a glance.
Teng Qingshan’s grandfather, named Teng Yunlong, was the chief of the whole Teng Jia Village. He held absolute prestige in Teng Jia Village. Teng Qingshan’s mother, Yuan Lan, was an adopted daughter of Teng Yunlong.
“Ha-ha, it’s actually the Third Leader here this time,” Chief Teng Yunlong laughed loudly, “We also know the rule. Each person is half a silver tael. Our Teng Jia Village has five hundred families, or two thousand people, so one thousand silver taels. Am I right?”
“Haha, Old Teng, you’re right! One thousand silver taels!” The scarred man laughed.
The population of Teng Jia Village was obviously not precisely two thousand. However, it was very close. The chieftain of the bandits also would not mind that.
“Open the gate,” Teng Yunlong shouted.
“Creak…” The main gate of Teng Jia Village was opened with a loud bang. Simultaneously, two men holding two large crates went directly to the gate, then threw out the crates and let them hit the snow.
“Please count, Third Leader. There are five hundred silver taels in each crate,” Teng Yunlong shouted.
“Go count,” The scarred man ordered his subordinates.
Two men jumped off their horses immediately and ran to open the boxes. Inside the boxes, there was only part of the money which was silver. The others were strings of copper coins. Each string was one hundred copper coins. The two bandits apparently did this often, as they were very skillful. After just a moment, they had finished numbering them. They then turned back to the scarred man and nodded.
“Old Teng, you can go back and have your dinner. Haha, let’s go, boys!”
Hundreds of bandits rode their horses and dashed away like the wind.
On the training field in Teng Jia Village, every person dispersed one by one.
“Son, let’s go home and have dinner,” Teng Yongfan smiled and held Teng Qingshan with one hand, but Teng Qingshan was still pondering, “The bandits actually have thousands of horses even though the price of every horse is not low. To have the ability to purchase so many horses, it looks like they are also a very strong bandit group.”
Based on that scene just now, Teng Qingshan understood in his heart, “Pay annual tribute? Since it’s an annual tribute, it must be paid every year. This group is able to get Teng Jia Village to pay protection money every year, which means the dispatched hundreds of people are probably not the entire group.”
“So it was the White Horse Gang here to collect money. I thought it was other bandits,” At the side, the discussing voices of men from other families could be heard.
“If other bandits come to offend our Teng Jia Village, it’s no doubt that they are seeking death,” The men talking were full of hostile spirit.
But it was obvious that they couldn’t do anything to the White Horse Gang.
“How strong exactly is the White Horse Gang?” Teng Qingshan thought deeply.
However, since he was too young, his vocal cords hadn’t developed fully and so he couldn’t speak to ask. Even if he could speak, could he dare to ask his father——‘Father, how strong is the White Horse Gang?’ If he did, his father would probably be petrified, and the whole Teng Jia Village would probably be in an uproar.