After leaving Maka tribe, Shao Xuan came across people from other tribes who were out of their village, but he did not join them. Those people were very wary of Shao Xuan, probably because they were carrying goods and worried that Shao Xuan would rob them.
Shao Xuan had travelled long distances before. He knew that a group would shun strangers, so he didn't walk up to them, instead just asking questions about 20 meters away.
Seeing as Shao Xuan didn’t mean to get close, one of them grudgingly answered two questions from Shao Xuan and left in a hurry.
Shao Xuan only asked about the geographic features of the surrounding area, but the answers were too brief. He could only combine the information he got from the Maka tribe to figure out the direction.
There were tribes and places managed by slave masters here. But tribesmen and slave masters did not have many contradictions, and they did not conflict as much as the people in the sea. The tribesmen even trade in the cities under the jurisdiction of slave masters, which was very common for them. For example, there were groups of people from Maka tribe travelled long distances to the nearest city to exchange things for cloth, copper weapons, and so on.
However, Shao Xuan did not intend to go around the territory of the slave masters. Instead, he just wanted to find out whether the other half of the Flaming Horn tribe was here.
If the preference of the Flaming Horn tribe had not changed, they would most probably stay in mountain areas, especially those areas with lots of fierce beasts. The beasts got fewer in areas with more people, thus Shao Xuan decided to try his luck in the mountain areas with fewer people.
After inquiring about the geographic features of the surrounding areas, Shao Xuan tied the rope to do a divination and headed to the direction he had confirmed. However, he could only estimate the approximate location of the place, he did not know about the distance. Thus, he could only head in that direction and kept walking until he was there.
In the first two days, he could still see some people travelling along the road. But the further he travelled, the lesser the people he could see. The land was getting more desolate and the mountain forest area was broad, but probably due to the soil conditions, the growing plants were not lush and there were not many thick trees.
Shao Xuan looked up and saw undulating mountains which appeared slightly desolate. He didn’t intend to change his route. Instead, he planned to walk through the valleys. Listening carefully to the movements around, apart from some bird chirpings and small beasts sounds, Shao Xuan heard no other strange voices. The calls of birds and beasts were rather peaceful and did not feel frightened. It should be relatively safe here.
There were streams flowing through the valleys occasionally. Shao Xuan had been walking along the planned route and direction. When he came to a small stream, he saw there was someone lying on the water’s edge. The person’s head was laid on the side of the stream and the stream water was flushing through his face. His grey hair scattered in the water and swayed along with the streamflow.
If the person was already dead, Shao Xuan wouldn't do anything. But there was breath in him, just a bit weak.
Shao Xuan went over to check on him and found out he was an old man with many wrinkles on his face, which was older than he looked from the back. There were no severe injuries on him. Except for the bone fracture on his right arm, his other body parts were fine.
The old man was covered in grey clothes, not knowing what he had encountered, his torn clothes were just a bit better than when Shao Xuan first arrived here. He was carrying several knives made of copper. The knives looked different, but they were all small in size, and they didn’t look like they were used as hidden weapons either. He also had an animal skin bag wrapped around his waist. Looking at its texture, it should be made from the fierce beast. Animal skin from ordinary wild beasts would not be that stiff.
Shao Xuan took a closer look at the old man, carefully turned him over and moved him away from the stream.
Seeing the old man remained unconscious, Shao Xuan’s eyes fell on the animal skin bag on his waist and reached out to poke the bag over there. When Shao Xuan first found him on the side of the stream, his uninjured left arm was holding the bag tightly, and even when he was turned over, his arm did not leave. His action was subconscious, showing that the animal skin bag was of great significance to him.
Shao Xuan poked the animal skin bag, the old man didn’t wake up, but his facial muscles twitched.
Shao Xuan poked again, the old man’s eyes snapped open, his bloodshot eyes were wary and murderous. He struggled up on his elbows and quickly rolled away from Shao Xuan. Then, with a bang, his head bumped into a big rock next to him, and it sounded really hurt. Why is he so nervous?
Fortunately, he did not faint. After a few groans of pain, the old man wanted to reach out and touch his injured forehead, but his right arm was injured. He slightly moved his uninjured left arm which was holding his animal skin bag, thought for a second, and put it back where it was – then continued holding his animal skin bag.
Blood flowed down his face from the wound on his forehead, but his eyes kept staring at Shao Xuan, fearing that Shao Xuan would rob him.
“Don’t worry. I won’t grab it.” Seeing his reaction, Shao Xuan said.
At this old age, got fainted on the edge of a stream and bumped into a rock when he awoke, he must be feeling bad.
The old man was slightly relieved, but he was still on alert.
“If I wanted to, I would have grabbed it, I don’t need to wait. Plus, even if I’m going to grab it now, do you think you can stop me?” Shao Xuan said.
Yeah, he was right. The grey-haired old man’s eyes appeared less wary and less murderous. He felt a bit dizzy, trying to relax. Then, he moved his nose as if he had sensed something and looked at Shao Xuan, “You have meat?”
It was a question, but he sounded quite certain.
Shao Xuan grabbed one piece of meat from his bag and threw it toward the old man, asked, “What happened? Why did you faint?”
The old man quickly caught the meat Shao Xuan thrown and smelled it. His eyes showed dislike, but his movement was fast. He quickly took a few bites and answered Shao Xuan in a murmur, “No food.”
Shao Xuan thought the old man was poisoned or some other reason but did not expect that the answer turned out to be starving.
Quickly finished the piece of meat that Shao Xuan gave him, the old man again looked at Shao Xuan, “Any more?”
Shao Xuan took out another piece of meat but did not pass it to the old man right away, he said, “Answer a few questions and I will give the meat to you.”
The old man frowned and did not speak, seemed unwilling to do so.
Shao Xuan didn’t care either, he pointed his finger and asked, “If i keep walking this way, how long will it take to see the dense woods?”
After hearing Shao Xuan’s question, the old man stopped frowning. He thought Shao Xuan was going to ask him something more troubling.
“I don’t know. I have never been there, and this is my first time here. But as far as I know, you will never get to see the dense woods in at least two days, everywhere else is just like here,” the old man answered, “it is a well-known wasteland, not a single tribe lives here. Even if you walk for another two days, you will never see anyone else.”
After passing the meat to the old man, Shao Xuan walked to the stream to wash his face and continued on his way. The old man should have regained his energy after eating meat, and Shao Xuan could finally leave without having to worry about him.
However, after walking a few steps, there came the old man’s voice from behind.
“Hey, wait! Buddy!”
A few moments ago, the old man was still very wary of Shao Xuan as if he was guarding against a thief, and now he was intimately calling Shao Xuan “buddy”. He must have some other intentions.
Shao Xuan turned around and looked at the old man with questioning eyes.
The old man got up from the ground and looked around. His eyes fell on somewhere and happily pointed over there, “There! The white-striped grass over there, pluck it for me.”
The old man had spoken in a commanding tone. Shao Xuan turned to look at the place where the old man pointed at. There were several blades of white-striped grass, half an arm's length, growing on the side of a hill almost perpendicular to the ground. And they were at least 30 meters away from the ground.
Shao Xuan was about to turn and leave but seeing the old man didn’t seem to realize his tone was wrong, Shao Xuan thought for a moment and shook his head. He decided not to argue with an old man. Plus, he wanted to know what the white-striped grass was used for.
In such a strange place, it was always good to know more.