Within a cave, twenty children were lying on the ground in random positions. A thin animal hide with a few holes covered seven of them. The ones who weren’t covered either had their own or had to curl up on the side. But it didn’t matter if they were covered, for they slept soundly.
This cave hadn’t been cleaned in a long time and many people slept inside so a heavy stench lingered. There were air holes around them allowing sunlight in, so there was at least some light inside.
Underneath the hole on one side of the cave was a young child clad in torn hide, sleeping. He was different from the rest, for there was also a large dog sleeping by his side, almost as big as him.
Shao Xuan opened his eyes. There was sunlight shining on his shoulders. He rubbed his eyes, crawled up and tidied the hay beneath him. Upon seeing Shao Xuan move, the large dog, who had its eyes close, rose and knelt by his side so Shao Xuan could also pick up the hay it was sleeping on.
After he bundled the grass up, Shao Xuan walked out of the cave with one hand holding the bundle of hay, the other holding a leash made out of rope.
He’d arrived abruptly in this primitive tribe, the brat of this tribe in the middle of nowhere. This body was very thin and weak, probably from a past sickness. It had been half a year since Shao Xuan woke up in this body. It didn’t matter if he still hadn’t gotten used to this, all he could do was clench his teeth and move on. Staying alive was the most important.
Shao Xuan had never imagined himself actually arriving in such a place. This was a primitive tribe very different from the Stone Age tribes other people had described. While the people here weren’t anything special, they were different.
Have you ever seen a normal person carry a boulder the size of a water tank with one hand, stroll about aimlessly?
Have you ever seen an ordinary man jump three stories high without the help of any tool and land properly after leaping off a three-meter tall tree?
Shao Xuan had never seen such a thing in his past life, but in this life… he witnessed it every day.
The cave he exited had a name, “Lying Down Cow Cave” because the cave looked like a cow that was lying down. This term was coined by the tribe’s shaman back then but it had been a thousand years since then. As the years went by, the tribe built houses outside the cave as their population increased. Hence, the cave was then used to house orphans taken in by the tribe. It was since named ‘Children’s Cave’ by the tribesmen. Children who lived in this cave had no parents nor people who were willing to take them in as their own. In short, “Children’s Cave” was the tribe’s orphanage.
Shao Xuan had not met anyone from other tribes since his arrival. That meant that there was only one tribe in their region of the mountain range --- the Flaming Horn tribe.
The isolated tribe lived an independent life of self-sufficiency.
With the dog’s leash in his hand, Shao Xuan took a leisurely stroll.
Soon, he saw a wooden house. It was made of wood, along with other materials like stone, grass and dirt. Compared to the previous house, this was slightly larger and looked sturdier. It could be a mansion, near the foot of the mountain.
It didn’t matter if they were wooden houses or stone ‘mansions’. To Shao Xuan, they were absurdly simple structures. However, after staying here for so long, Shao Xuan longed for a wooden house for himself-- though it was merely an unattainable dream.
There were already people moving about. The men had taken out their stone tools for grinding so their next hunt would be more convenient with sharpened stone knives ready. The women had their own work too--- they sewed animal hides, dried and preserved food etc.
Several people looked when Shao Xuan passed them-- they were not looking at him but at the animal Shao Xuan had with him. They were drooling greedily, gulping for in their eyes, Shao Xuan was dragging around a huge chunk of meat enough for several meals. Several pairs of eyes belonging to those who were working on empty stomachs stared hungrily but when they saw what was tied around its neck, they held themselves back unwillingly. It was the marking tile of the shaman. This meant it belonged to the shaman so they did not dare touch it. To them, Shao Xuan was merely helping the shaman watch his wolf.
Yep, that was actually a wolf born in the mountains. However, when it was little, a warrior out hunting had seen it and brought it back for Shao Xuan as food. Coincidentally, the tribe’s shaman was there. He left a marking tile with the marking of a shaman, then left. Shao Xuan named the wolf “Caesar”, after a dog he had in his previous life. He raised Caesar like a dog too, until today.
The people here had a very odd way of thinking. Yes, they respected the shaman but they did not treat Shao Xuan any differently even after the shaman gave Shao Xuan a marking tile. The only thing different was that they held themselves back from slaughtering Caesar for food. As for the other aspects of life, they did not go out of their way to do anything. The shaman did not give instructions to help Shao Xuan anyway. Why would an important figure like the shaman pay attention to a child? As days went on, they slowly got used to the child and his wolf. The shaman never appeared again, since the day they found the wolf cub who hadn’t even had a complete row of teeth.
These people who lived near the foot of the mountain were baffled by this though: why did Shao Xuan call Caesar a dog?
Wait, what is a dog?
However, no one dwelled on these questions though. They did not bother thinking about them because they focused on something else--- food.
Shao Xuan had long gotten used to these looks. As if nothing was happening, he continued his walk with Caesar’s leash in his hand. The tribesmen would not rob a shaman’s property even if they were greedy. As Shi Qi had said, shamans were highly-ranked figures within the tribes. Why would a shaman, who lived in the ‘aristocratic area’ of the mountain, let Shao Xuan, a measly child who sleeps in the cave, such an important tile? All because Shao Xuan said the word “raise”. Shao Xuan had said to raise the little cub before eating it, and the shaman had coincidentally heard him. He let Shao Xuan raise it and to prevent other tribesmen from taking it away, he left a marking tile for Shao Xuan to be hung around Caesar’s neck.
The Shaman seemed to have a great interest in raising the wolf but the old man hadn’t even appeared once in over half a year. Hence, Shao Xuan had an impression that the old man was--- an irresponsible swindler. Was it easy raising a wolf here? With all these people glaring at him every day? He would’ve gone insane if it wasn’t for his own willpower.
In short, he got Caesar out of a coincidence.
Life was difficult! Although the tribe fed the children in Children’s Cave, he was still hungry.
He gave a resigned sigh. As he looked ahead, his eye twitched.
Before him was a person holding a stone club on his shoulder. It was two meters long, shaped like a baseball bat but much thicker. It was heavy, even in his past life, Shao Xuan would’ve found carrying it to be exhausting. Yet, this person carried it effortlessly as if it were just another farm hoe. With a yawn, he trudged along, probably going to meet his group of hunters to talk about hunting.
This was a regular person in this place. Shao Xuan belonged to the weaker group of people who hadn’t awakened their Power of Totem. His totemic power would be awakened around the age of ten, and only then would he be counted as a warrior who could hunt outside. The Power of Totem was the only benchmark available to see if one became a hunting warrior.
As for what exactly Power of Totem was, he did not know. Perhaps he’d understand when the time came.
At this point, the middle-aged man in front of Shao Xuan, carrying the stone club sleepily, had not noticed that the pants made of animal hide were slipping down to his knees. He trudged along in broad daylight as if nothing was wrong. No one reacted when they saw him either.
Shao Xuan wanted to stay quiet but in the end, he said, “Uncle, you in the front with the club, your pants are slipping!”
He had to yell three times before the person turned around with a yawn. He eyed Shao Xuan, though his gaze fell on Caesar for half a minute, then finally looked down at his slipping pants. He calmly pulled them up, tied its string then continued walking ahead with his club.
Shao Xuan never spoke again.
What were courtesy and etiquette to these tribesmen? Are they food? No? Then why waste time talking about it?!
read chapter 2-314 here