Chapter 76: Large Handwriting
After she says this, everyone is taken aback, including Ru Yan who was about to announce Yan Haotian’s ownership.
“Restoration Pill? What Restoration Pill, it can’t be what I’m thinking of, can it?!”
“But I’ve heard that the Restoration Pill can only be refined by Master Jian Feng from the Heavenly Road Sect?”
“In Yanwu Continent, there are very few Apothecaries who could use Alchemy, and even those masters that could refine draughts are quite scarce. Not to mention that even among these few Alchemists, for a third level Elixir like the Restoration Pill, who else can refine it except for Master Jian Feng of the Heavenly Road Sect!”
Ru Yan’s excitement makes half of her body almost spill out of the high platform, with a loud voice: “This Restoration Pill, is it a Restoration Pill refined by Master Jian Feng?”
“It is precisely!” just as the voice falls, Gong Qianxue, wearing a white muslin mask, slowly emerges from Private Room No.7.
Her torso is slender, extraordinarily graceful, and her whole body exudes a noble and elegant temperament.
“Ah, that’s Gong Qianxue! The Princess of Jing Cheng Country and the youngest Heaven Stage expert in Yanwu Continent!”
“Gong Qianxue is Jian Feng’s junior sister. I heard that Master Jian Feng is very fond of this junior sister, so it’s not surprising that she has a Restoration Pill on her hands!”
“But to actually use a Restoration Pill to exchange for a beast-slave. This Princess of Jing Cheng has really large handwriting!”
This so-called Restoration Pill is a third rank Elixir.
In the circumstance where an early Earth Stage martial practitioner has depleted his or her Internal Force, he or she only needs to take a Restoration Pill and the Internal Force can be fully restored immediately.
Even a Heaven Stage Practitioner can restore nearly half of his Internal Force.
For martial practitioners, this unnatural potency can play a life-saving role during crucial moments.
From this, it can be seen just how precious a Restoration Pill is.
Gong Qianxue finally smiles after listening to the envy and admiration from everyone below: “I wonder if this Restoration Pill can match the four million gold coins?”
Ru Yan abruptly returns to her senses, excitedly saying, “It could match, of course it could match. A third rank Elixir that Master Jian Feng has refined can’t be found in the market and is priceless. To say nothing about four million gold coins, it won’t be excessive even if you double that price!”
Even Jian Feng can’t easily succeed in refining a third rank Restoration Pill.
Gong Qianxue only has this single one at hand. Taking it out like this really makes her flesh hurt.
But at the thought of making everyone from below greatly admire and envy her, as well as making the person in Room One be jealous and resentful of her, she feels that it’s worth it even if she expends a Restoration Pill.
Yan Lie steps out to follow beside Gong Qianxue, loudly saying: “Since we already established that the Restoration Pill is priceless, is miss Ru Yan still not satisfied as to declare the outcome of the bidding…”
“Yes, I declare that the winner of this bidding competition for Beast-Slave Number Three is…” Ru Yan coughs, ready to announce the result.
“WOOUH… AAAH – !!” on the Beast Fighting arena, Yan Haotian issues angry and unreconciled cries within the iron cage.
A pair of red eyes are ferociously glaring at the direction of Room One.
It’s as if those cries are saying: didn’t you say that you would take me away? Didn’t you say that you would redress my blood sea vendetta?!
Everyone is waiting for the moment that Beast-slave No.3 would belong to Gong Qianxue.
But suddenly, a drawling voice is heard from within Room One: “Just a moment, since when did the Beast Fighting Colosseum have the rule that if one party bids, the other side would not have a chance of bidding further?”
As soon as this voice comes out, the entire Colosseum suddenly falls into a strange silence.
Because the voice obviously belongs to a young woman.
Clear, elegant, of light clouds and soft breezes, with what seems to be a dreamy laziness.
Chapter 75: Capricious
The Beast Fighting Colosseum erupts once again!
“My God, just where did this nobility in Room 1 come from? Two million gold coins, two million ah, and its just thrown out so casually!”
“Hahahaha, the one in room seven seems inadequate by comparison. Every time, they increase the bid only by 100,000 gold coins…”
Although the private rooms are located on the second floor, the words of the people below are still faintly audible.
Gong Qianxue hears how the people below talk about her inadequacy, and her lungs are about to blow up from the angry breath.
And yet, there’s still something that Gong Qianxue doesn’t know.
The gold coins that Muyan is currently using to bid right were, in fact, looted from her Jin Hong Men.
No less than ten million gold coins!
With great difficulty, she used money and medication to train that killer organization – but in the end, everything was harvested by Muyan for cheap.
If she knows of this, Gong Qianxue would probably die from being unable to breathe.
“Three… three million gold coins!” Eventually, Gong Qianxue clenches her teeth and shouts out an astronomical price.
On the high platform, miss Ru Yan’s charming face has already turned red from excitement, she loudly announces: “Three million gold coins, three million! This is the highest price for a beast-slave in the history of our Beast Fighting Colosseum here in Xia’an! How would the noble guest from Room No. 1 respond?”
The servant girl of private room No. 1 comes out with a smile on her face, she loudly announces an amount: “The noble guest from Room 1 bids four million gold coins!”
“Another increase of one million! Hahahaha… the noble guest of Room 1 is mighty!”
“I’m wondering if guest One is toying with guest Seven on purpose!”
“The rich are capricious! Hahaha…”
Gong Qianxue’s face is already ashen, and even Yan Lie could not sit still.
Since the money that the two of them brought this time, even if added together, is not enough.
“In the end, who is in Room No.1? Could it be that they’re not aware that it is I, Yan Lie, who will buy this beast-slave?!”
In the countries of Chi Yan and Jing Cheng, who doesn’t not know the name Yan Lie, head of the mercenary group called “Raging Inferno”?
However, the ghost city’s servant girl just smiles courteously and says: “I’m very sorry, but ghost city has a rule that we cannot disclose the guest’s information, unless the guests themselves wishes for it.”
“This insignificant slave servant, don’t you know who you’re talking to?!” Yan Lie says with a sinister face, he raises his hand to slap the servant girl’s face.
However, Gong Qianxue pulls him to stop: “Excuse me, can I meet with the person in charge of the Beast Fighting Colosseum?”
“Please make a request, miss, and I will pass it on.” The servant girl is still as professional as before.
Traces of a dark haze passes through Gong Qianxue’s eyes, but the surface of her face still shows a smile: “I am Gong Qianxue, I believe that you must have heard of my name, right?”
For the first time, the servant girl’s face finally reveals a trace of astonishment, “The youngest Heaven Stage expert, Princess of Jing Cheng Country, a favored disciple of Heavenly Road Sect, you are actually that Gong Qianxue.”
At this, Gong Qianxue finally shows a complacent expression on her face, “I am. This time I want to bid for myself, no need to trouble you.”
For a while, there still aren’t any sounds coming from room No. 7.
From below, there are spirited discussions as everyone thinks that the guest in room 7 could not afford four million gold coins and is planning to give up.
Inside the iron cage, Yan Haotian’s eyes are unwaveringly staring at the direction of Private Room Number 1. The light in his eyes flickering in and out, like hope and like fear.
On the high platform, Ru Yan smiles and says in a clear voice: “Congratulations, Room No. 1…”
Before she could finish her words, there’s an unexpected voice from Room Number 7.
It isn’t the voice of the servant girl, but it is a clear and mellow voice of a young woman: “I’m willing to offer a Restoration Dan to purchase this beast slave!”
Chapter 74: Bidding
“Sabre-toothed tiger!! It’s an early Earth Stage Sabre-toothed tiger, it’s seriously so formidable a!”
“It’s over, this beast-slave number three is set to lose today!”
“That might not be the case. I have heard that even though he’s only the peak of Profound stage, this beast-slave number 3 has the strength to compete against an Earth Stage. During this month of his stay in Beast Fighting Colosseum, he had consecutively won about a dozen matches! ”
Above the platform, Ru Yan smilingly says: “Ladies and Gentlemen, are all the present practitioners ready? There is still a quarter of an hour before the Beast Fighting match begins. Inviting everyone to pick bets.”
In a private room.
Muyan is happily eating some fruits with Xiao Bao while they’re watching the fight on Beast Fighting Colosseum.
Far from them, Yan Haotian is released from the cage. Standing in front of the huge saber-toothed tiger, he looks just as small as an ant, like one could easily trample him to death.
The voices in the crowd becomes even more heated as they bet on the saber-toothed tiger to win after seeing this contrast.
Muyan looks to the side and sees her son’s cold and exquisite little face, his bulging cheeks are smeared with fruit juice. She can’t help but pull him over for a kiss, smiling as she asks, “Xiao Bao, who do you think will win between the two below?”
“Number Three.” Xiao Bao says with an expressionless face.
“Because niangqin picked him.”
Muyan sees her son’s deadpan bet on her, and she can’t help but kiss him again.
The result of the fight is just as Xiao Bao said.
Number three wins.
And he also won relatively easily.
Only his shoulder blade is mangled from the claws of the saber-toothed tiger.
Beast slave number 3 is placed back into the cage and Ru Yan’s figure once again appears on the platform.
“Before the match, two guests had paid a deposit, wanting to buy Beast-Slave Number Three. We will now start the bidding between our noble guests from room No. 1 and room No. 7. The base auction price for Beast-Slave No. 3 is 500,000 gold coins. .”
When Ru Yan stated this, the entire Beast Fighting Colosseum suddenly bursts in heated discussions.
“Good Heavens! Five hundred thousand gold coins just to buy a beast slave. Who can afford that?!”
“You can’t say that, this beast-slave no.3 is indeed powerful. If someone brings him back to good health and grooms him, he could definitely turn into their left and right arms!”
In the No.7 VIP private room, Gong Qianxue hears that someone else had bid for him, and she feels a burst of annoyance.
Yan Lie takes a glance and immediately says some words to the maid waiting beside them.
The maid hears what was said, she smiles and loudly announces: “The noble guest from room seven bids 600,000 gold coins!”
“Ya! To go as far as immediately adding 100,000 gold coins, really has a big handwriting!”
deals with huge sums of money
In the private room No.1, Muyan leisurely quotes a price –
“One million gold coins!”
As soon as this statement comes out, the entire Beast Fighting Colosseum immediately explodes to the sky.
“Adding 400,000 gold coins all at once, just who is this holiness in private room one?!”
“Just for a beast-slave, this is too extravagant!”
Gong Qianxue can barely maintain her soft, gentle and subdued expression, her beautiful pair of eyes revealing a malevolent light.
In the end, who is it that doesn’t have eyes and actually dares to fight with her.
Although a million gold coins is nothing for a princess like her, it’s really a loss if it’s used only for buying a single beast slave.
Especially after Jin Hong Men, which was originally a large source of money for her, had been extinguished.
It really hurts her flesh to further spend one million gold coins just to buy a beast-slave.
But after thinking about it, Gong Qianxue nevertheless clenches her teeth and shouts: “One million and one hundred thousand gold coins.”
In private room No. 1, light as a feather, Muyan quotes her second bid: “Two million gold coins!”
Chapter 73: Why is it No. 3 Again
When Gong Qianxue sees Yan Haotian’s blood-covered and scarred appearance, she immediately shows a distressed expression, “Are you hurt? Don’t be afraid, I’ll get you out of here soon.”
Saying that, she shows no aversion to the filth as she reaches out to touch Yan Haotian’s wounds.
As she does that, Yan Haotian roars angrily and swats her hand.
Yan Lie sees the red marks on the back of Gong Qianxue’s hand and he immediately erupts in anger.
He picks Yan Haotian up by the collar, and ruthlessly slaps his face..
Ye Ling flings him away and Yan Haotian tumbles to the ground, spitting out a mouthful of blood.
Yan Lie hasn’t vented enough, still moving to continue with the beating, but he is pulled back by Gong Qianxue. “Brother Yan, don’t be like this, I’m fine. I believe that he didn’t mean it…”
Then, she crouches down in front of Yan Haotian once again, quietly and softly saying: “Would you like to tell me what you’re name is? My name is Gong Qianxue, Jing Cheng Country’s princess… don’t be afraid, your bitter suffering has come to an end, I’ll save you out of here as soon as possible… but you first have to promise me that you’ll win your next Beast Fighting match, okay? Because I can only ask to buy you from the Ghost city if you win in the arena… after leaving the Ghost city, I will definitely let you live a good life… won’t you believe me?”
Any normal person, who had struggled for months within the dark world of the Beast Fighting Colosseum, will surely be emotionally moved if he hears a beautiful girl saying that she wants to save him.
Not to mention that even though this beautiful girl is country’s princess, but she is still so gentle and so patient with him. She doesn’t even blame him for hurting her just a moment ago.
Gong Qianxue is very confident in her mind.
She believes that after he gets out, this beast slave will definitely be willing to die for her.
Sure enough, the eyes of this beast slave glows brightly after hearing her words.
To anyone who sees it, it seems that this beast slave is brimming with the west king’s will to fight, all because of Gong Qianxue’s words.
Satisfied, Gong Qianxue leaves with Yan Lie.
At the entrance, Yan Lie takes out the initial deposit and gives it to the ghost envoy, saying: “I want to buy the beast slave number three.”
The Ghost envoy reveals a strange expression, “Number 3?”
“Can’t do it?”
“No! Of course you can!” the Ghost envoy takes the deposit and gently mumbles to himself, “Why is it number three again?”
However, Gong Qianxue and Yan Lie hurriedly left so they didn’t hear it.
At noon, the match officially begins.
Two cages covered in black cloth are pushed to the center of the Beast Fighting Colosseum.
The first cage is four or five meters high, it is as big as a house. The other is a cage shorter than two meters. Beside the first cage, the latter appears very dainty.
Immediately afterwards, a seductive figure of a woman appears on the high observation platform.
As soon as the woman appears, the crowd immediately bursts into enthusiastic cheers, “Miss Ru Yan, miss Ru Yan…”
“Greetings to all the martial practitioners, who had spared some time in order to watch the Beast Fighting match today.”
Ru Yan smiles sweetly, her voice crisp like a yellow oriole.
Although she doesn’t raise her voice to speak loudly, everyone could hear her properly and clearly because of this Ghost city’s strange formation.
“Appearing on the stage today, one is an early Earth Stage saber-toothed tiger, and the other is beast-slave Number 3 of the peak Profound Stage! Ladies and Gentlemen, which side do you think will emerge victorious?”
As soon as Ru Yan’s voice is heard, the cages are simultaneously uncovered by yanking away the black cloths using ropes hanging from above.
“ROAR!!” an earth-shattering beast roar shakes through the sky.
Several people in the audience go terribly pale from the powerful pressure, coming from the giant creature revealed before them.
Chapter 72: Him
Muyan pauses her steps to take a glance back to the man, she reveals an enigmatic smile, “Do you want to ask how I know your real name?”
The caged man nods desperately, his eyes glowing with a ray of intense longing.
Muyan slowly shakes her head, “Not only do I know your real name, but I also know of the blood sea vendetta that you carry with you. If you want to follow me, have me to heal your injuries, and take your revenge, then you must first win the next game. Prove your own worth.”
Having said that, she doesn’t pause again but and turns to leave with Xiao Bao.
While doing so, a foolhardy man reaches out and tries to grab her, but she gracefully and skillfully clutches him instead.
There’s a cracking sound of shattering bones, followed by a man’s shrill and blood-curdling shrieks.
The ‘ghost envoy’ comes after hearing the commotion, and sees a very strange scene –
A young woman looks absolutely beautiful in fluttering white clothes. With a shallow smile, her whole body gives off the disposition of an Immortal – obscure yet noble, holy but beguiling. People dare not look directly.
Those fiendish slaves in their cages, swept over by her gaze, each and every one incessantly tries to shrink back. There’s an occasional pained wailing from someone that had his hand broken.
The way that the ‘ghost envoy’ looks at Muyan changes in an instant.
He realizes that he made an error of judgement. Perhaps this girl is neither weak nor stupid. On the contrary, she may actually be very powerful.
“This Guest, may I ask if you have chosen the slave you wish to bid on?” The ‘ghost envoy’s attitude has become extremely respectful.
Muyan points to the cage with the number 3. “Him.”
“Very well, I’ll register this Guest right away. Inviting this Guest to first go to your private box to wait for the Colosseum’s matches to begin .”
On the cage no. 3, Yan Haotian watches the direction where the pair of mother and son are leaving. The gleam in his eyes flickers in and out, and soon after, a brilliant flame roars into existence.
A pair of bloodstained hands tightly grasp the iron bars.
Not long after Muyan had left, wearing pink clothes and a veil over her face, Gong Qianxue also appears together with a tall man at the backstage area of the Beast Fighting Colosseum.
“Yan Lie brother, where is that beast-slave that you mentioned? Is he really as awesome as you said?”
The man called Yan Lie glances sideways to look at Gong Qianxue. There is adoration and longing in his eyes, “When has your brother Yan ever fooled you, Qianxue? Rest assured, before this beast slave was sold to the ghost city, he had already reached the peak of Earth Stage while being just twenty-four years old. Although his strength is now greatly reduced due to sustained injuries, as long he is treated with Dan medicine, he will definitely become your right arm in the future!”
Were it not because of such talent,
He wouldn’t have massacred this Yan Haotian’s whole family, cut off his tongue, and sent him to the Beast Fighting Colosseum.
After experiencing this level of despair, as long as Gong Qianxue descends from the sky to save him,
He will inevitably shed tears of gratitude, and thereby pledge his life to vow loyalty and devotion to Gong Qianxue.
Hearing Yan Lie’s words, Gong Qianxue reveals a grateful smile, “Brother Yan, even though you’re the head of Jing Cheng Country’s first mercenary group, you’re still willing to do so much for Qianxue. I really… really don’t know what to do in order to thank you!”
Saying that, she gently holds Yan Lie’s hand, her watery eyes glistening and filled with awe and gratitude.
Once she sees that dazed and obsessed expression on Yan Lie’s face, a trace of a contemptuous sneer flits within the depths of her eyes.
As they were talking, the two have already arrived in front of Yan Haotian’s iron cage.
Chapter 71: It’s up to you, Number 3
A few ways away from them, the ferocious beasts in the lined-up cages go silent one by one, not even daring to pass gas.
The “ghost envoy” doesn’t follow after Muyan, wanting to frighten the girl and make her give up on the intention of buying a slave.
It’s may be fortunate that he doesn’t go after them, otherwise, he would be absolutely terrified to see this scene, that his eyeballs would fall out.
Going through the area where spiritual beasts and strange beasts are detained, Muyan and Xiao Bao eventually arrive at the place where the slaves are locked up.
The cages that contain slaves are much smaller than those holding the beasts’. Humans don’t have large bodies, they don’t have sharp fangs or claws, and they appear to be less dangerous than the fierce beasts.
In reality, it’s just the opposite.
As soon as Muyan walks into the area, pairs of cold, cruel, and brutal eyes affix on them.
Each and every one of those pupils are red, and are more dreadful than a beast’s.
Those gazes are as sharp as knives, like they could slowly strip away all the clothes, flesh and blood on her body.
There comes an insane gurgling laughter, “Here comes a little beauty, how long since I haven’t tasted such a fresh, sweet and tender flesh…chi chi chi… little beauty, come here, grandpa already can’t wait!”
Muyan takes Xiao Bao and very slowly walks inside.
Completely not caring about the surrounding slaves that are baring their fangs and brandishing their claws.
Until they stop in front of a dark red, rusted iron cage.
Locked inside this iron cage is a man with a dishevelled hair.
Compared to the fierce snarling of the other Colosseum slaves, the silence of this man is very strange.
The loose hair covers his expression.
However, the visible hands are covered in bloodstains, one can only imagine how many creatures this man had killed with his bare hands.
Seeing this man, Muyan’s mind couldn’t help but conjure his appearance in her previous life, a loyal and devoted guard standing beside Gong Qianxue.
This man is called Yan Haotian, a very ordinary name, but with an extremely persevering temperament and innate skill.
He was already practically invincible in the Beast Fighting Colosseum, but after he was taken away by Gong Qianxue, his strength had further risen up all the way to the peak of the Heaven Stage.
As a loyal dog, acting as Gong Qianxue’s claws and fangs, Yan Haotian had eliminated countless enemies for Gong Qianxue. For her, he also brought up a shadow guard unit called “The Order of the King of Hell”
And the reason why Yan Haotian was so readily loyal to Gong Qianxue was because Gong Qianxue had saved him from the Beast Fighting Colosseum.
Pitiful Yan Haotian, as perhaps he didn’t know until the moment of his death: the man who murdered his whole clan is Gong Qianxue’s trusted henchman.
Muyan stands in front of Yan Haotian’s iron cage.
A white jade hand gently grabs the sign hanging on the cage, she indifferently says: “You’re number 3. Later, if you win on the Beast Fighting Colosseum, I will take you away.”
It was a long time before the man inside the cage slowly raises his head. There is no human emotion showing in those bloody eyes, just a vicious glare directed at the young woman in front of him.
He doesn’t speak, but a loud beast-like roar erupts from his throat.
Muyan completely pays no mind to his howling and threatening attitude. She holds Xiao Bao and gracefully turns around.
Immediately after she turns, a voice that is euphonious and light as a feather enters his ears. “You mustn’t let me down, Yan Haotian!”
“Ah-! Ah-!! Ah-!!!”
Hearing those words, the caged man behind her suddenly howls loudly.
When he opens his mouth, one could see that the tongue inside was cut off at the base. It’s not surprising that he can only cry out, but he couldn’t speak.
Chapter 70: The Colosseum
Heavens, this four-year-old boy actually faced a brawny man, as well as man in the peak Profound Stage, the he instantly won over them.
How is this possible?!
Afterwards, no one dares to block the pair’s stride anymore.
From beginning to end, Muyan continues to wear that languid and leisurely smile. She holds Xiao Bao’s hand and care-freely walks to the direction of the Colosseum.
Despite that smiling expression however, there is frost slowly burrowing deep within her bright, water clear eyes.
“This girl, I’m sorry but this leads to the backstage area of the Colosseum. The regular guests can’t enter.”
Muyan and Xiao Bao were stopped at the junction of passageway by a black-clothed ‘ghost envoy’.
The Ghost city’s Colosseum is an area reeking of blood, a place of violence and business opportunities.
The “beast” in the Beast Fighting, doesn’t just refer to Strange Beasts and Spiritual Beasts, but it also includes slaves that were sold like animals in the Ghost city.
And so, in the Beast Fighting Colosseum, you can see people fighting against people, beasts against beasts, and more predominantly people against beasts.
Only by winning will they be given a meal, have their injuries treated, and be able to keep their lives .
If they lost, it will only result in a slow and miserable death.
Visitors of the Colosseum will be on the stands, watching the Beast Fighting matches, placing bets on the slaves – or even beasts – that they favor.
To put it bluntly, be it human or beast, it is nothing more than a plaything in the hands of wealthy people.
As one can expect, the humans and the beasts that had lived in this kind of environment can be very cruel and violent.
Where Muyan wants to enter is the backstage area of the Colosseum, it is the place where these man-beasts are detained.
They are in iron cages, but seeing such a scene and feeling the dark and bloody atmosphere… even your usual martial practitioner might piss their pants in fear.
Blocked by the ‘ghost envoy’, Muyan just smiles lightly and easily flips her wrist over. A banknote appears in her hand, “I want to purchase a beast slave. This is the initial payment.”
The ‘ghost envoy’ stares blankly, the wooden face reveals a rare astonished expression, “This girl, do you know the rules of Ghost city?”
“Of course,” Muyan says heedlessly, “Only the beast slaves who won in the Beast Fighting Colosseum are allowed to be up for sale. If the slave that I picked lost, the initial payment will not be refunded.”
That is a deposit of 10,000 gold coins.
And, ghost city has a certain provision –
If there are people fighting over a purchase, then it can only be resolved by a custom of the Ghost city – using martial power to determine the winner
Regardless of life and death!
The ‘ghost envoy’ couldn’t believe that such a delicate girl like Muyan can adhere to the Ghost city’s rule of using force to determine victory.
But seeing that Muyan is so insistent, the ‘ghost envoy’ no longer persuades her otherwise, and lets her enter.
The passage leading to backstage area is awfully long.
And the further you walk in, the damper and colder it becomes. It is also permeated by a nauseating smell of decay, a horrible fishy stench.
The first thing that catches the eyes is the rows of enormous cages lining on both sides. The cages contain a countless number of ferocious beasts.
As soon as they see Muyan and Xiao Bao, they immediately spread their bloody mouths wide open like sacrificial bowls. Eyes wide open like the hole inside a bronze bell, they let out sky-shaking roars.
Muyan’s expression doesn’t change, but Xiao Bao coldly looks at the ferocious beasts on both sides.
He doesn’t even diffuse his mysterious energy. It is only the faint glare of ice-blue pupils that would make the beasts shiver as soon as they catch sight of it.
“Wuu…” The various beasts whine in horror, desperately shrinking and curling up on themselves.
Some are so timid that they even bury their heads between their legs, their massive forms trembling.