Chapter 307 – Village
The Mage pulled Shang along at a speed equivalent to Shang’s Stage. Apparently, she knew exactly how fast a barbarian could move at that level.
Surprisingly, it was quite a bit faster than a Peak General Stage warrior could run, but it didn’t reach Shang’s limit.
He could still run about half a level faster without many problems.
‘This probably means that the Procedure has a greater increase of power than whatever the barbarians use to increase their strength.’
They jumped from one spire to the next, and the Mage kept glancing at Shang.
She wanted to force Shang to move at his limit, but even with this incredibly heavy weapon, Shang was still keeping up.
‘Even though he is annoying, I can’t deny that his talent is outstanding,’ she thought.
However, that thought only annoyed her.
By now, she didn’t doubt Shang’s origins anymore. Someone with such a powerful body at this level had to be born in the Grandmountain Kingdom.
After a couple of minutes, the two of them reached a gigantic canyon. The cliffs on either side were over a kilometer high, and the roads were barely 20 meters wide.
Shang didn’t feel any specific kind of Elemental Mana, but he knew what kind of Zone this was regardless.
‘A Zone with a Zone Beast that has an Earth Affinity. The Mage also has an Earth Affinity. I guess she is either a very high figure in this territory or the ruler.’
Right now, Shang still wasn’t sure if the Mage was a powerful True Mage or a High Mage.
The two of them kept running through the area, and Shang kept glancing at his surroundings inconspicuously.
“Why are you missing an eye?”
This question suddenly came from the Mage, and her tone sounded annoyed.
“I killed a beast with black scales that looked similar to a worm,” Shang said. “It destroyed my left eye, and I can’t regrow it.”
The speed of the Mage slowed down until she eventually stopped.
Then, she looked at Shang with burning eyes.
“Where and when?” she asked.
“Long ago,” Shang said. “It was near my home.”
“When specifically?” she asked with narrowed eyes.
“Only humans care about time.”
“Beasts don’t care about time.”
“Without humans, time has become meaningless.”
“I don’t know when. I only know that it has been long ago.”
The Mage looked deeply into Shang’s remaining eye. “What happened specifically?”
Shang only looked back.
“I saw it.”
“I didn’t recognize it.”
“I tried to kill it.”
“A part of its body vanished.”
“My eye vanished.”
“I killed it before it could do anything else.”
The image of a Soldier Stage Abomination appeared in the Mage’s mind.
“You’re lucky you’re still alive,” she said before pulling Shang forward again.
Shang didn’t answer.
After running a couple more minutes in silence, Shang noticed a huge, brown tower on the horizon.
It was built on one of the gigantic walls, and it overlooked the entire Zone.
It wasn’t nearly as big as Warrior’s Paradise, but it was still about 500 meters high and 100 meters wide.
Shang guessed that this was some kind of military outpost or personal residence. The tower obviously wasn’t suited for many people. At most, 200 people could fit in there.
However, instead of going towards the tower, the Mage pulled Shang to a smaller path, and a couple of seconds later, Shang saw two Mages standing near the path.
Shang could feel that they were True Mages.
“Governor!” both of them said with a salute.
‘Governor?’ Shang thought, glancing at the Mage. ‘I can guess that a Governor is probably the equivalent of a Duke. This probably means that she is a High Mage.’
‘Interesting. On Earth, a governor doesn’t have as much freedom as a duke. Dukes have free reign over their territory as long as they follow the King’s commands, but a governor doesn’t have as much freedom.’
‘Does this mean that the Grandmountain Kingdom is more militaristic? Additionally, the Mages didn’t bow but performed respectful salutes.’
Suddenly, Shang was yanked forward by the chains, and he stopped between the Governor and the two Mages.
“He’s a wild barbarian,” she said. “His punishment is to fight on the frontlines for the next five years. If he survives, he may choose to join a tribe.”
“Understood, Governor,” one of the two Mages said as the chains floated over to him.
The Governor nodded, threw one last look at Shang, and left towards the huge tower.
Shang was pulled forward again. “Follow, scum!” the Mage shouted strictly with disdain.
Shang’s expression didn’t change, but inside, his interest was piqued.
‘I wonder if he called me scum because I’m a barbarian or because of not being part of a tribe?’ Shang thought.
‘Nevertheless, I’m quite certain that warriors in the Skythunder Kingdom are not forced to stay inside cities.’
‘I’ve heard of plenty of hunters that simply live wherever and just come to Warrior’s Paradise to earn some money. Even if they suddenly decided to never come back, nobody would probably mind unless they signed a Magic Contract.’
Shang didn’t answer, but he followed regardless.
When the two Mages saw that Shang didn’t resist, they weren’t sure what they should feel.
On one hand, this made their job easier, but on the other hand, there was no reason now to beat the barbarian up.
Eventually, the two of them pulled Shang along, and a couple of seconds later, Shang saw something.
It was a village with wooden huts and tents.
The tents and wooden huts were crafted rather well, but there were no buildings made of stone, which told Shang quite a bit about the Grandmountain Kingdom.
Shang saw that the streets were filled with adults and children. Nearly all of them wore clothes made of fur, but the clothes also looked quite old.
Many adults were talking to children, but only very few children talked with each other. It was almost like everyone stuck to their own family and wasn’t allowed to interact with strangers.
Surprisingly, Shang saw far more grown women than grown men, but he saw an even distribution among the children.
Yet, the most shocking thing was something else.
The village was rather quiet.
It was like every small group was afraid of other groups overhearing them, which made them whisper amongst each other.
Shang got an occasional glance from an adult or a child, but they quickly looked away again.
As the villagers whispered amongst themselves, the two Mages walked through the middle of the village without any care. When they talked with each other, they were talking at a normal volume.
Shang glanced around the village, and he used his intuition to gauge the power of the villagers.
‘There are only a very small number of villagers that feel slightly dangerous to me, but none of them feel like a death threat. That probably means that there are only a handful of Commander Stage barbarians in here.’
‘Usually, I would be surprised that such a village had a Commander Stage warrior in the first place, but this village is near the gigantic tower where the Governor lives.’
‘Additionally, all the Commander Stage barbarians are middle-aged or older men. There is not a single woman that’s even near the end of the General Stage.’
The image of the Grandmountain Kingdom became clearer and clearer in Shang’s mind.
‘The Mages lord over the barbarians and treat them like lower citizens. Any barbarian that wants to escape this suppression needs power, and the Mages offer it to them.’
‘However, in exchange, they probably have to work hard for the Mages.’
‘Antiquated gender norms from Earth are probably how things are handled here. In the Grandmountain Kingdom, the job of a male barbarian is to die on the battlefield, while the job of a female barbarian is to create children and raise them.’
‘In a way, this isn’t really any different from raising aggressive dogs to act as triggers for a minefield.’
‘Additionally, the Governor said that Mages are the ones that create the techniques for barbarians. That probably means that barbarians don’t have the means to further their own power.’
‘Is this a deliberate choice? Like this, the power of the barbarians can never get out of control, and they are reliant on the Mages.’
‘Without Mages, no barbarian can even hope to reach the True Path Stage, and knowledge on how to create techniques is probably also extremely scarce amongst them.’
‘Sure enough, the Grandmountain Kingdom is very different from the Skythunder Kingdom.’
‘Suppression, segregation, birthright.’