The hunting party and their leader were summoned by the chief when they arrived at the tribal village.
Every time they returned from a hunt, they would have a small meeting to report their hunt. The leader thought it was the same thing so when he stepped into the room, he briefly told the chief about what they got from the day’s hunt and the odd reactions from the Taihe tribesmen that day. He was told that the Taihe tribesmen had such reactions because they had been attacked again.
It was inevitable. The two tribes lived close to each other and while there were no major conflicts, there were constant minor fights between them. And when they fought, the Taihe people were often the weaker side. After many fights, everyone was used to this.
That was why to the leader, the Taihe people being attacked was a very normal occurrence. Was there a need to bring it up? This wasn’t even worth talking about, in such a harsh environment, the weaker tribe would have to listen when the stronger tribe spoke. The losers should know when to shut up.
However, this time, apparently the Taihe people weren’t just injured, they were robbed of something valuable. What was it? They had not received intelligence about it yet. All they knew was that the Taihe tribe had spent a lot of effort in procuring this valuable thing but it was taken forcefully by the Flaming Horn people.
The Flaming Horn people knew that usually, their tribesmen would not interfere if the thing was already in the other person’s hands. However, the other person hadn’t gotten it yet, it was considered up for grabs- finders keepers. They never hurt the Taihe people severely though, since they were neighbours. If this happened in other tribes, there would’ve been bloody wars.
That was why the leader was delighted to hear that his tribe successfully took something from the Taihe tribe again. This meant today’s hunt must’ve been successful, his good mood improved once again. He leaned back and put his leg up, looking at the few young people standing at the side with kindly warmth. These were the talented warriors of the Flaming Horn tribe. Though they were young, they were gifted.
He heard a young man was the one who took the thing? And this young man was up against Taihe’s Fei Ang and his team! Fei Ang of Taihe was an advanced warrior, if this young man could defeat them AND take their stuff, he must be very capable…
The leader’s eyes swept across the few young warriors as he reached into his animal hide pouch to produce a piece of jade as big as his palm. The jade was a beautiful shade of green, translucent, even from far you could feel tranquillity rolling off the stone.
Holding out the jadestone, the leader said proudly, “Who did it? Step out now and I’ll praise you, I’m very proud of you today. I coincidentally found this during today’s hunt, it’ll be yours!”
Usually, he would never offer this jadestone up as a reward but he was in a very good mood today.
However, he waited for a moment and no one stepped up.
“What? No one’s taking the reward?” the leader said incredulously.
No one spoke.
“Wu Zhe? Tao Zheng? Zhui?”
He mentioned every person’s name as his eyes swept across the group but they all shook their heads.
The three of them were initially worried because they hadn’t participated in today’s hunt and yet they were summoned for a meeting here. Plus, they weren’t the ones who did it, what was the use of the reward? They couldn’t lie to the chief and the leader, could they?
The leader retracted his smile, as if sensing something. He turned to the few people around and then the chief, straightened his posture and asked, “What’s going on?”
He then noticed the peculiar tension in the room. He’d focused on his excitement before so he did not notice. Now that he had calmed down, he realised they were all in a solemn mood, including the chief and the shaman. They were silent, as if mulling over something.
“Guang Yi, tell me. What’s going on?” said the leader, turning to one of the people on the side.
The middle-aged man who was sitting next to him sighed, “Although we were very happy to receive such news, after asking around, no one admitted to it.”
“I’m saying, this might not have been done by our people,” Guang Yi sighed.
“How is that possible? Something like that must’ve been done by our tribe!”
The rest narrowed their eyes at him. What? You think all the Flaming Horn people do is this? Or other people can’t do the same?
But this matter did require investigation.
“Perhaps someone is pretending to be a Flaming Horn tribesman? Or the Taihe people were lying, blaming us for the incident?” asked the leader.
The chief at the head of the table said, “Based on our history, the chances of them lying to us is very low.”
“No matter what, this matter requires serious attention!” an old woman with a head of silver hair and a lot of accessories sitting next to the chief spoke up.
“This matter shall remain a secret, do not tell anyone else in the tribe for the moment. We’ll decide after investigations,” said the chief.
Now that the shaman and the chief had spoken, the rest nodded, “Yes, sir.”
The meeting adjourned. When the leader of the hunting party saw Guang Yi leaving, he called, “Ey, Guang Yi, where are you going? I have some questions for you!”
“Ask someone else!” Guang Yi, who was walking in front, did not even turn his head. Waving impatiently, he continued walking.
All he could do was ask someone else to know more about this matter. It was peculiar indeed.
After Guang Yi left the chief’s room, he was deep in thought as he walked, wondering who would do such a thing. Was it someone from their tribe? Or one of the descendants of the Flaming Horn people from the outside? That was not likely.
Without noticing where he was going, he had already left the residential area of the tribe and arrived at the border. It was a quiet place suitable for thinking.
The Flaming Horn guards greeted him when they saw Guang Yi then left. With Guang Yi there, there was no need to patrol this area, plus he looked like he really wanted them to leave.
He grunted nonchalantly and did not look at them.
Guang Yi continued walking towards the border until he arrived at the river. They’d dug this river on their own. Although it wasn’t huge, it helped keep out some fierce wild beasts, it was their first line of defence.
Now that he was here, he did not plan to leave this spot anytime soon. He sat on the ground, staring at the glimmering river gently rippling in the sunset until he heard rustles and footsteps.
Guang Yi was a very capable warrior. Even the hunting party’s leader might not defeat him in a fight. His hearing was out of the ordinary-- after the rustle, he was cautious and stopped thinking. He stared intently at the patch of forest on the other side of the river.
Rustle rustle. Rustle rustle…
It sounded like someone was walking.
Who would be walking there at this time of the day?
The hunters had all returned and the people on patrol duty would not be at the other side of the river at this time. Then who was it?
The footsteps grew louder.
Shao Xuan walked on the moist, grassy ground. Although he usually thought of himself as a mentally strong person, he couldn’t help but feel nervous. The nearer he got to the Flaming Horn settlement, the harder it was to stay calm.
Would the other half of the Flaming Horn Tribe be the same as the Flaming Horn people he knew?
Their temperament, values… would they be like what he imagined they would be?
Would they be very different? How would they treat him? The two branches of the tribe had been separated for a thousand years!
As he was thinking, he stepped out of the forest to see a person on the other end of the river. This middle-aged man was clad in clothing made from animal hide and fabric, he had stubble on his face and a muscular build. He was dark-skinned, his posture very straight and stable, though he gave a feeling that he was ready to attack at any moment. This man had an intense stare of sternness and focus in Shao Xuan’s direction.
The first thing Shao Xuan felt was, I found them.
Guang Yi furrowed his brows when he saw the young man walked out, immediately reprimanding the kid. “Why are you out this late?!”
He had thought of all the reactions the tribe might have to him but not this.
When he saw Shao Xuan’s confusion, Guan Yi’s tone grew sterner, “What are you still doing there, come here now!”
As he spoke, Guang Yi turned around and took a tree as thick as two people and kicked it into the river.
Shao Xuan looked at the floating tree then at the uncle’s scolding stare. Fine, I’ll cross the river and see what happens.
He leapt and landed on the tree, then utilised the buoyancy of the tree as support to leap unto the bank. When he turned around, the uncle was dragging the tree trunk bag on the bank. This tree trunk had straw rope tied to one end so once the other person had crossed the river, it would be kept for the next use.
When he tossed the tree trunk aside easily, Guang Yi looked up to see Shao Xuan still standing there and was upset once again. “What are you staring at, go home! It’s late, and you’re still loitering about!”
Shao Xuan scratched his head. What did this uncle mean? Did he talk to strangers like that?
Didn’t seem like it.
As he stared at the man walking back, Shao Xuan wanted to ask if the uncle had gotten the wrong person.
“Follow me now! Don’t even think of slipping out now!” Guang Yi scolded, his eyes so piercing they could nail a human to the ground.
Guang Yi’s behaviour was an adult catching a child slipping out to play, now he was scolding the culprit.
Shao Xuan grew increasingly confused but since he was already in the tribal settlement, his goal was achieved. Fine, he’ll go.
Weighing his options, Shao Xuan quickly caught up to the man in front as they headed to the place he had been looking for.
If other Flaming Horn people were here, they wouldn’t have reacted like this. However, coincidentally, Guang Yi had chased away all the other people on patrol duty. Anyone who didn’t know Guang Yi would not know a characteristic he had.
The people of the Flaming Horn tribe knew that he was a more capable warrior and hunter compared to the current leader. Then why was Guang Yi not the leader? There was only one reason: this master hunter was diagnosed with facial blindness.