It Starts With A Mountain – Chapter 9

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Chapter 9: Heavenly Toad Swallows the Moon

Cheng Dalei’s many years of experience as a gaming addict told him that opening chests is a matter heavily dependent on one’s luck. There’s the chance of drawing a common item or an SSR. It’s even possible to get absolutely nothing.

However, given the trend he’s been having this day, that last one definitely won’t happen.

He washed his hands, lit up some incense, and bowed to the heavens three times before finally pulling a wooden chest over and forcefully opening it up.

“Everyone pay attention now. Witness the moment of a miracle!”

Everyone drew closer to look, and they discovered that the chest was completely empty. Cheng Dalei awkwardly spoke, “In a roll of thousands, you’ll never win on the first. Has no one ever told you that logic? The good luck is all waiting later on.”

The second chest was also empty. Cheng Dalei refused to believe and opened up ten chests in a row, but in the end, he got nothing. Especially for that last one. He felt that it was especially heavy, so Cheng Dalei was super excited at the chance of finally breaking his unlucky streak, but when he opened it up, he discovered that it was just a pile of rocks in the chest.

This made Cheng Dalei too terrified to continue. He was rather depressed. Even if the system was traumatized by him repeatedly grinding the BUG, it still shouldn’t have gotten him back this way.

“Boss, let me open one.” Xu Shenji spoke.

“Go ahead. You’re unluckier than even me though.”

Xu Shenji excitedly moved a chest over. Although he didn’t hold out much hope, Cheng Dalei still went to take a look.

“There’s something here, there’s something here…” Cheng Dalei loudly shouted before asking in confusion, “What is this stuff?”

What’s inside was a chest full of a black powdery stuff. Cheng Dalei grabbed a handful before getting excited, “This is gunpowder.”

“What’s gunpowder?” Qin Man, Xu Shenji, and Xu Linger all asked in confusion.

Cheng Dalei didn’t answer them. The whole time, he had no idea what this world’s production level was like, but based on his judgment, he didn’t have any chance at a technology uplift. He didn’t have that kind of ability back in his first life, and this world’s production capabilities didn’t exactly give him much of a foundation for that either.

Although it is a fact that Blackbull Mountain is rather cut off, information wise, seeing that the three before him didn’t recognize gunpowder though, it does at least mean that gunpowder based weapons aren’t widespread yet.

With the help of the gunpowder though, combined with taking advantage of the terrain, it shouldn’t be impossible for them to deal with Blackstone City’s attack.

Cheng Dalei got exited and spoke, “Open up the rest of the chests, quick. Check and see how much of this stuff there is.”

Xu Linger and the other two started happily opening up the rest of the chests. Whenever someone got a hit, they’d shout out in excitement. However, Cheng Dalei could only look enviously from the side. It can’t be helped after all, he’s been possessed by misfortune, so Cheng Dalei didn’t dare to risk it.

In the end, they managed to get 10 total chests of gunpowder, with the rest of the chests all being empty. Cheng Dalei also needed to consider how to best utilize all the gunpowder to the best effect.

“Store those chests properly. I still have uses for them.”

“The boss is wise. This is all good wood. We can use them as firewood come winter.”

“I actually want to try burning you instead. Properly store them. If any of them break, I’m going to be making you take responsibility.” Cheng Dalei shook his head resignedly before suddenly remembering something and asking, “Strategist, where’s our base’s farmland?”

“Over in the back of the mountain. It’s already gone fallow for years now. I even tossed some wheat seeds on it back during spring, but nothing grew at all. Why do you ask, boss?”

“Let’s go take a look.”

“It’s nearly dark already though, why bother? It’s several miles away you know.”

Xu Shenji is very lazy. He was already tired from moving the chests too, but since Cheng Dalei insisted, he had no choice but to lead the way.

Yet, when the four of them reached the back of the mountain, Xu Shenji was stunned. Ten acres of farmland, side by side, were now covered in golden stalks of wheat. The spring up on the mountain that had long since dried out was now gushing with clear spring water.

Everything was within Cheng Dalei’s expectations. He had finally seen the best set of system rewards that he got.

“Gods bless, gods bless!”

Xu Shenji suddenly charged into the wheat fields with a drunken expression on his face. Not even all the previous gains back at the base were able to make him act this way. Even Qin Man let out an honest smile.

Cheng Dalei was shocked. He just stared dully at the whole thing.

“Linger, don’t run about. Be careful not to break any of the wheat.”

“These can all be harvested. All together, it should be worth thousands of pounds of food. We can get through the winter now.”

“We can keep the stalks for burning as well, that way, we can get through winter without drinking as much.”

“We have to harvest it as soon as possible. The rainy season’s almost here.”

The three of them stood within the wheat fields, excitedly discussing the matter. They’re quite knowledgeable and technical about it too.

“Boss, let’s harvest the wheat through the night. It’s all going to be a wash if it rains.” Xu Shenji ran over and spoke.

“Alright, you guys hurry and get it all stored then. That way, when the people from Blackstone gets here, they’ll be right in time to take it all with them.”

Xu Shenji had no words to that. He instead suddenly knelt down and started repeating, “Gods bless. Thank you for your grace.”

Cheng Dalei had no words. Isn’t it just a few acres of wheat? Is that really worth going so far for? What’s even more surprising to him though is that even Qin Man and Xu Linger had also knelt down and started chanting the same words.

Looking at the sincere looks on their faces, Cheng Dalei suddenly realized something.

A bandit camp isn’t like what he had thought, filled with vicious and cruel men who could kill without blinking, who would descend the mountain to commit robberies at the drop of a hat, and would stuff themselves with meat and wine all the time. The reality is that a bandit camp is sometimes more like a village. There are elderly and children. People would clear away the wilderness to plant new fields of farmland. And sometimes, they’d even send people down the mountain to trade for various necessities of life.

Take the three before Cheng Dalie for example. Really, calling them bandits is father overestimating them.

Take Xu Shenji. The the last two days or so, Cheng Dalei had pieced together his origins. Back when Xu Shenji was living below the mountain, he was a private teacher in a certain village. Although he’s called a private teacher, it’s only to the degree where he was barely literate. His greatest joy in those days was to earn a few coppers, buy a cask of wine, and drool over the chests of the village widows.

He was someone quite hateable be he up or down the mountain.

On a certain day, Xu Linger had caught the eyes of a certain ruffian. Said ruffian wasn’t someone who’s all that big a deal, but a relation of his through a number of twists and turns is the servant of a noble in the city. Even so, there’s no one in the village who dared to go against him, never mind skinny little Xu Shenji.

On a certain day, Xu Shenji dressed Xu Linger up nice and pretty, invited the ruffian to his home, borrowed some money to buy some wine, and butchered their family’s old egg-laying hen…

“Being able to follow you is truly a great fortune for Linger, and I’ll be able to get some fortune rubbed off on me too.”

“Look how pretty my Linger is. How white her face is. She’ll definitely be able to service you well.”

“You’ll have your wedding night today. Don’t worry, I’ll keep watch… Haha…”

Then, when the ruffian had become utterly insensate from the wine, Xu Shenji used a kitchen knife to cut off his head. Then, he took Xu Linger with him as they ran away. After a number of twists and turns, they finally ended up with the Toad Bandits.

This may very be the first strategy that Xu Shenji every planned out, and it’s also definitely his only success.

Finally, as the sun dipped below the western mountains, the three of them finally reluctantly left the wheat fields, and the four of the them headed back to base.

Cheng Dalei pulled out the flag that was the system reward and waved it before Xu Shenji.

“Eh? Isn’t this our base’s original flag? Here I thought that someone had resewn it as a pair of pants by now, but to think that we actually found it today.”

“I’m just asking. Just who designed the picture? A toad with an egg on his head? What’s that trying to represent here?”

“That’s not an egg. That’s the moon. This picture is of a heavenly toad swallowing the moon, so don’t go calling it that way, boss…”

“Hang it up!” Cheng Dalei tossed the flag to Qin Man.

Qin Man was as agile as an ape. He easily climbed up the flagpole and hung the flag up at the top.

When he got back down, the four of them all looked up at the flag, waving in the night winds. As the flag danced in the wind, the toad embroidered upon it was like it was actually moving, staring up at the moon above it with greed, as if it’s trying to express a certain meaning:

Even if I’m a stupid toad, I will still swallow the moon and devour swan flesh.

The heart of all four of them seemed to have been connected to something. There’s food in the base, so everyone will be able to live through the winter. If only. If only they can get through the upcoming danger that is. Flames seemed to dance in the eyes of all four of them, and a conviction to protect this place was suddenly born in their hearts.

“I guess this counts as having gotten started then?” Cheng Dalei thought to himself. At this moment, the system gave him two message.

Beep. Oh youth with a just heart. Your flag had been raised. Heroes from all four directions will come hearing of you, to join your banner.

Beep. Quest received: Gather population. Bring the population of the base to 100. Reward: Prize draw x1.

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