Chapter 39: Encirclement hunting
Stopping then continuing; this cycle happened the whole way. After half a month, they entered the Jade West Mountain Forest basin.
The first half month of the hunt at Jade West was spent on hastening in their journey while clearing up the ferocious beasts in their surroundings. Any harvest during this period would be distributed equally in the small team— the sect would not meddle with this matter.
Once they reached the Jade West basin, they had to listen and obey the commands of the overall dispatcher to carry out a round of encirclement hunting. All harvest from this encirclement hunt would belong wholly to the sect — of course, there were prizes to be won if one displayed an exceptional performance.
Regardless of a prize, there were numerous that were intending to try their hands at it and perhaps even display an exceptional performance. This is the best opportunity to become famous in one shot!
Before they left the scope of the jungle, an informative bird calling used by the Nine Jade Palace travelled over from up front.
After half a month of the spring hunt, Lu Mingshu could now more or less distinguish the message in the bird calling. This time, it was an interrogative call sent by certain fellow disciples of the Nine Jade Palace. They had discovered their team's presence. If they did not respond in the nick of time, the other party would take them as enemies to guard against.
Wei Peng stopped in his tracks, and blowed his wooden whistle once.
Very quickly, footsteps sounded in the mountain forest. Two men in hunting attire appeared before them.
"Which small team?"
Wei Peng went up to report the small team's number. They confirmed each other's identities with an examination of the other's tablet seal.
"So you're Junior Brother Wei." One of the men returned the tablet seal to Wei Peng, then said, "Your Hall head is already there."
Wei Peng inquired about the current situation from the other party.
The other party disappeared into the mountain forest once again after giving a brief reply.
"Let's go." Wei Peng walked back to the team. "We'll report for duty."
Once they left the jungle, the sight of the hill— which completely contrasted the flat mountain and fields — and whose edges could not be seen with a glance, greeted them.
Tents had already been set up in the surrounding area within the mountain and fields as numerous people in hunting attire were entering and leaving. Apparently, the heavy supply wagon team that had set off after they had already transported all the heavy supplies over.
Wei Peng left the team and walked towards a huge tent with a raised eagle flag above it by himself.
Since it was his first time attending the spring hunt, Gao Xiang looked left and right curiously and even tugged on Zhu Jingliang's sleeve to ask, "Senior brother Zhu, we would have a tent to stay in later too, right?" It is so inconvenient to sleep in the wild these past few days.
"We would." Zhu Jingliang explained, beaming happily, "The encirclement hunting will begin once everyone has gathered. Looking at how many we've killed throughout the whole journey here, the ferocious beasts in the forest will have been alarmed. It will be a perfect encirclement, as the alarmed beasts will all run in this direction."
"No wonder we were intentionally alarming the ferocious beasts these few days! I even thought we chased them in this direction because our small numbers were no match for them!" Gao Xiang suddenly realised.
"It's true that we are no match for them." Zhu Jingliang said, "With barely more than ten people in the team, it would be easy for an accident to happen if we were to meet a flock of beasts."
"Then what should we do next?"
"Don't be anxious, There'll be an elder to lead us personally when the time comes. The dispatch arrangement is the elders and hall heads' job, all we have to do is listen to their commands."
While he spoke, Wei Peng had returned. "Go and collect the tent."
Once they had fully set up the tent, Yi Jiao caught Lu Mingshu. "Let's go and bath!"
Lu Mingshu stunned for a moment. "Senior Sister, where do we take a bath?"
Yi Jiao beamed. "Just follow me."
Although they were able to wash up in the streamlet for the past half a month, it was all done in a hurry and on alert. Lu Mingshu felt an itch all over her body the moment Yi Jiao brought it up.
Following Yi Jiao out of the tent, they heard sounds of running water and female laughter after thirty minutes of left and right turns.
Bypassing a huge boulder, they were greeted with the sight of a zigzag stream whose depth was visible. The female disciples in the stream were like white flowers — dazzling together with their brilliance.
Yi Jiao wasted no time at all; she removed her hunting clothes in seconds and entered the stream with her underwear.
"Come in! Don't tell me you are shy when you are like a board?" Yi Jiao grasped her arm and helped her undo her buttons with nimble hands.
"Se-senior Sister…" Lu Mingshu said in a fluster.
Yi Jiao laughed out loud, teasing while she worked on Lu Mingshu's hunting attire. "You finally bear a bit of resemblance to a child now. Don't you find it stuffy to be like an old lady when you are only so young?"
Before continuing she said, "What are you afraid of when even this senior sister isn't afraid of being watched by others?"
Pulled in by Yi Jiao, Lu Mingshu shivered upon contact with the icy-cold stream water that chilled her to the bones. It's cold, yet so relaxing.
"Woah! How refreshing!" Yi Jiao shouted in exaggeration before submerging into the water to swim a few rounds. They only saw water and long legs at a glance, but a vast majority of the Xichuan females had healthy, beautiful figures, buxom chests, and slender waists!
The two had a delightful bath and returned with uncombed hair.
Lu Mingshu saw an unexpected person when they passed by the hall head's tent. This person was Le Xiaoyi who had been sent back to the cliff previously.
"Senior sister." Lu Mingshu tugged on Yi Jiao's sleeve.
Yi Jiao took a glance before speaking with an apathetic tone. "She probably came with the heavy supply wagon team, don't bother too much about it."
When Le Xiaoyi spotted them, she gave them a glare before twisting her head around and walking off.
Unable to make head or tails of her glare, Lu Mingshu could not help but ask, "Why did she glare at us?"
Yi Jiao raised a corner of her lip to show contempt. "She definitely glared at me because I sent her back. She glared at you to take her anger out on you."
Yi Jiao patted her head. "You be more careful. Without support, it's not a good thing to be in the limelight too much."
They cooked plain porridge and noodle soup for breakfast and all sorts of barbecued meat and fresh soup for lunch and dinner. Ever since they reached the encampment, the days were much more comfortable than those in Green Jade Valley. Lu Mingshu truly believed that this spring hunt was no different from a spring holiday.
The team arrived pretty early as the other scattered and small teams reached the camp successively after three days.
On the morning of the fourth day, once the bugle horn sounded, everyone was clad entirely in hunting attire, equipped with a bow and sword as they assembled outside the tent.
The Elder had already rushed here and was currently sitting on the temporarily set up high seat. The four Hall Heads stood below.
Lu Mingshu saw Zhou Yinru.
Clad in a body of hunting equipment, Zhou Yinru had a heroic aura that looked completely different from their first meeting.
Lu Mingshu restrained herself from taking another glance at her.
After the elder inspected and encouraged them, they were assigned tasks.
The Hall Heads that assigned the leaders of the four teams came down to arrange them after receiving a command.
Their main force obviously consisted of those small teams formed from those in higher realms. This left the group with the task of patrolling the outer encirclement.
Once Wei Peng received the command, the team set off.
Lin Chen could not resist expressing his discontent. "I knew we wouldn't be included. We can't fish up anything if we were to patrol in the surrounding areas of the encirclement."
Yi Jiao rolled her eyes. "I guarantee you to be able to hunt for the large ones if you were in the main force. But do you have the ability to do so?"
Lin Chen felt indignant. "Don't you want to fish a large one too?"
"Of course I do. But without the ability, there's no use even if I complain. Why don't I spend my time performing well, so I might be lucky enough to catch the eye of the Hall Head, and even be in the main force for the next hunt?"
The depressed Lin Chen replied, "Pfft, saying that is as good as not speaking at all."
"What do you want then?" Yi Jiao laughed bitterly, "Know your place, we have a teacher here!"
Having been seen through with a glance, Lin Chen was embarrassed. "I didn't even say anything much …"
"Haha." Yi Jiao sent two looks of disdain his way.
Sweeping a glance over them, Wei Peng spoke with a heavy voice. "I won't be against it if you guys want to establish an achievement of your own. However, to be absent without a valid reason is out of the question. As long as the big picture isn't disrupted, you guys will naturally be dispatched whenever an opportunity arises."