Shao Xuan could feel the obvious difference in climate after crossing the mountain. The climate on both sides of the mountains was very different. It seemed like the rain and the humidity on this side were all blocked from diffusing to the other side of the mountain, which was arid.
The further Shao Xuan went down, the more familiar the environment was.
Although this was his first time here, he could feel a sense of belonging in this place. This environment reminded him of his hunting grounds- similar to the mountain forest located near the river, where Flaming Horn tribe was originally at. It was also similar to the forest full of beasts, where he previously went hunting. As far as he could see, the place was all in green.
Shao Xuan felt great exhilaration. He was in such a place filled with liveliness and danger. He couldn’t identify the exact reason he was excited. It was either due to the familiarity he felt in this environment or due to the feeling of getting closer to the Flaming Horn tribe that he had left for almost a thousand years.
When he was heading down the mountain, he took off the fancy necklace that was made of beast’s claw or ox’s horn. This necklace was the booty he earned from hunting, which was useless from now on. He even tossed away the stone pot he had used for cooking for the past few days. All these things were burdens to him if he would like to survive in this environment. He had to be more careful in this environment, thus he wanted to keep himself as lightweight as possible to ease him in hiding and moving around.
It has been around six months since he was in this deserted land. Since then, it was the first time he entered such a forest.
Shao Xuan took a deep breath, stepped lightly and immersed himself into this environment. He was smelling the odour given off by the grass and the woods and listening to the various sounds that were made by the birds in this forest.
In between the dense wood, there was a wide and long river, which Shao Xuan couldn’t see the end of it. The river was filled with creatures, which includes the fish with dark-coloured back and the python, which was a giant hunter hidden beneath the water. All these creatures could clearly be seen if one stood on the tree.
Shao Xuan could identify the location of the tribe even though there was no clear sign given by the flame. He took a look at the bone ornament he was wearing. It was an ornament that signified the identity of him as the elder of the tribe. In the middle of the ornament, there was a ball that glowed in a bright red colour. Looking at the ornament, Shao Xuan wondered Will the people in the Flaming Horn tribe recognise me from this ornament? Do they recognise this ornament?
Shao Xuan continued to head in that direction he had identified after cheering himself up.
During the time Shao Xuan was continuing on his journey, he saw traces of human activities, including rags, defective weapons and human bone, which was discovered under a tree. Shao Xuan made a wild guess that these humans were killed when they were hunting here.
While travelling, Shao Xuan tried his best to discern all the traces in his surroundings. He had also taken a quick judgement on the various creatures along the way. His steps were cautious, but not slow.
There was a snake well hidden on the tree through camouflage. At first glance, it was difficult to know that there was a poisonous creature that was hidden on the tree. When Shao Xuan passed the tree, the snake wanted to bite him. However, Shao Xuan was too fast, the snake had no time to prepare for the attack. In an instance, Shao Xuan passed by the tree, without leaving a chance for the snake to attack. When the snake saw that it had no way to bite Shao Xuan, its tongue flickered, adjusted its posture and stayed in the same place to wait for its next prey.
Moving on, Shao Xuan had seen some tools that were used by humans. Then, he even saw some engravings on the branch and the wall, though he could not identify the tribe that left the engravings. Among those engravings, some were totemic patterns and some were words. There were also some engravings that described the prey that the human had killed- they’d carved the pictures to show off.
Shao Xuan glanced through the carvings. He could identify all the words, but not the drawings because he was not familiar with the drawing style. It would have been done by the people from other tribes. Thus, he concluded that the Flaming Horn tribe was a distance away, perhaps the people in that tribe did not come here frequently.
Since there were traces of human activities, Shao Xuan not only had to be cautious of the beasts that may have been hidden anywhere in the forests but also human beings. Sometimes, human beings were more ferocious than beasts.
The deeper Shao Xuan went into the forests, the stouter the trees were. He was stepping on the soft soil ground, feeling the sunlight that fell through the dense branches.
It was the third day Shao Xuan arrived in this forest. He was walking when he sensed something staring at him. It was a stare with killing intent. Although this being was trying to hide its intention, he could still feel it due to his instinct trained from many years of hunting. The stare was so strong, it was impossible for him to not realising it.
However, Shao Xuan didn’t know whether the other party was a human being or a beast.
Since there was no movement from the other party, Shao Xuan didn’t plan to take the initiative in attack. Instead, he chose to continue on his path. He was waiting, he wanted to see what the other party would do.
Shao Xuan speeded up and travelled between the woods. He could feel that the other party was still staring at him. This being was not slow, it also did a great job in hiding itself. Shao Xuan couldn’t identify its whereabouts when he was looking around. However, he was able to capture the sound that was made by the party when it was tailing him. Although it sounded soft and it could be covered by the sound from the movement of the branches, Shao Xuan could still hear it clearly.
The wind was blowing again. The trees in the surroundings were swaying, which led to the swaying of the leaves. The leaves rustled as the leaves shook in the wind. There was also the sound that was produced by the birds, which occasionally flew away or stopped on the branches.
Shao Xuan could still identify the movement of the party beneath all these noises. Shao Xuan sped up again, like a breeze flying through the trees, light and fast. During the run, he took sharp turns frequently, changing his direction of travelling. During the seventh time he took the sharp turn, he stopped by a large tree with lots of leaves and hid inside the tree.
There were a few flying bugs on the tree. A beautiful flying bug was resting on the tree. When Shao Xuan suddenly hopped on the tree, it was startled and almost rolled off the leaf where it was resting on. In the trunk, there was an unnoticeable, long and narrow crack on the tree bark. A slender worm that was hiding in the bark dashed out and leapt at Shao Xuan like an arrow.
A worm like that could burrow itself into a human’s body if it managed to bite the human.
Shao Xuan didn’t even look at the worm. He took a branch with a sharp end, broke it and threw it towards the worm that was heading towards him. The worm was nailed on the tree bark in an instant by the branch
The worm writhed and tried to break free from the branch but it could do nothing.
Shao Xuan did not have the time to look at the worm. He paid full attention in identifying the sound from the party, his eyes continually staring at the direction, which the sound came from.
Shao Xuan saw a brown figure among the trees. While the figure was passing by a tree, it stopped for a while and left the tree at a greater speed. It seemed like he’d realised that Shao Xuan was hiding deliberately. When the figure was approaching the tree where Shao Xuan situated, it suddenly made a turn around a tree and disappeared behind the tree.
Shao Xuan frowned and stared in the direction where the figure disappeared, but his attention was on the surroundings. The figure had successfully tailed Shao Xuan, now it was smart and it knew how to hide.
Shao Xuan gripped his black knife and grew alert.
The figure suddenly appeared from the trunk behind Shao Xuan, hacking off the branches and leaves between itself and Shao Xuan. Shao Xuan could feel the tension rising in this small area. A flash of cold glimmer flew cruelly in a arc at Shao Xuan.