What answer was that?
Zhao Ming looked at Shao Xuan cautiously. He knew that this person was undeniably one of his tribesmen so he relaxed a little but did not fully believe it. While he was not great in other aspects, he had a great memory. Like the rest of the children who had not had their powers awakened, he loved watching all the people who went out hunting every day. The children would discuss the more famous people on the hills, even if they were not famous and they did not know their names, at least he would recognise the face. Yet he did not know who this was.
Although he believed Guang Yi would never bring someone who was a threat to the tribe back here, Zhao Ming trusted his own memory better.
“I have never met you before.” Zhao Ming had one hand behind his back, there was a dagger in his belt.
Shao Xuan did not care. There was just a random kid in the house so he was not in a hurry to explain himself and planned to tease the kid. The kids here were more cautious than the kids in the other Flaming Horn tribe perhaps due to the more complex living environment. The other branch of the tribe had lived an isolated life for almost a thousand years, naturally, they were more innocent.
Dragging a wooden stool over, he sat down and looked around the house.
This was an area at the foot of a mountain, this should be one of the average households of the tribe. Looking at the daily appliances in the house, there were not many people living in it. Perhaps just the two brothers. Although everything was simple, compared to Shao Xuan’s life in the other Flaming Horn, the people were came into contact with more types of things. There were cloth pouches hanging from the walls, alloys and metal tools while there were very few pure stonewares. There were ceramic pots and bowls on the table and another ceramic water tank in a corner. All colourful ceramics.
When he saw Shao Xuan studying the things in his house, Zhao Ming took a step forward and a deep breath as if to steel himself. His voice grew a little louder. “Who are you, really?”
“I’m Shao Xuan.”
“Shao Xuan? I have not heard of this name! Are you really from Flaming Horn?” His powers were not awakened so his sensing abilities were not comparable to Guang Yi. Without Shao Xuan using his totemic power, he could not deduce if he was truly a Flaming Horn tribesman.
Zhao Ming’s answer lied in the totemic patterns on Shao Xuan’s face. Due to the clothing and animal hide, all the totemic patterns on his shoulders and everywhere else were not visible. It was late and everything was dim so he could only see the markings on his face.
The totemic patterns were very powerful proof worth a thousand explanations. When he saw the pattern, Zhao Ming heaved a sigh of relief and started to relax.
“Where do you live? I have never seen you before. Also, why did Guang Yi bring you to my house?” he pulled a stool over and sat down.
“I was walking around outside and Guang Yi caught me. He asked who I was, I said I’m Shao Xuan, then he brought me here.” Shao Xuan shrugged as if even he did not know what to do. “Does your brother look like me?”
Zhao Ming shook his head vigorously. “No, not at all. But Uncle Guang Yi can’t recognise faces and barely remembers names. My brother is Zhao Quan, not Shao Xuan.”
A man with facial blindness. Although Shao Xuan had deduced this, he had never met a person like that. He couldn’t believe the first person he met here could not recognise faces or names.
“You’re not going back?” asked Zhao Ming.
“I can’t. I’ll have to stay for the night,” said Shao Xuan.
He did not understand what Shao Xuan meant by ‘I can’t’ but when he was about to ask, Zhao Ming’s stomach rumbled.
They had to eat first. Zhao Ming tossed his questions aside. They were from the same tribe and did not have any history with each other, of course staying a night was fine. Just like how his brother was staying over at one of his hunting friends’ house today.
“You can stay here. My brother’s not coming home tonight, you can sleep there. Right, have you eaten?”
“No, I hadn’t eaten and Guang Yi dragged me back here. He lectured me all the way here.”
Zhao Ming shot him a look of pity. Guang Yi was famous for his scoldings, always walking around with his solemn face. Many people revered him, even the young, talented warriors of the tribe.
“I’ll share some with you.” Zhao Ming brought a ceramic pot over. There was meat soup inside, still warm. His brother had gotten someone to bring this pot of soup over so he wouldn’t starve. If he couldn’t finish this, he could eat more tomorrow. It wouldn’t spoil over just one night.
But it won’t be enough for Shao Xuan. He was a totemic warrior, he needed to eat more.
“Should I go cook more?”
Zhao Ming wanted to get more food after putting the pot down but Shao Xuan stopped him.
“I brought some food, I just need to borrow your pot and get some water.” Shao Xuan shook his skin pouch.
In the forest, he often roasted random animals he found for food, sometimes even eating them raw but he had no choice because it was too dangerous in the forest. He had to always been on guard. It was difficult to find caves for shelter too. A good cooked meal was hard to come by, often his meat was not completely cooked and sometimes a little blood would flow when he bit into it. Soup was definitely not an option in the forest. Since he was here, he wanted to have some meat soup.
“What meat are you cooking?” Zhao Ming inhaled.
“I don’t know what it’s called. It looked very weird. Want’ some?”
“It’s fine. I can’t eat stuff you totemic warriors can eat.” Although he wanted some, he knew of this.
“You can have a bit of the soup.” Shao Xuan scopped a little soup into his bowl. The beast he cooked was not the extremely ferocious kind so after broiling in soup, it would not be a problem for children. Shao Xuan had seen children drinking soup lik this one, plus he thought the kids here were physically stronger.
“Hehe, my brother says that too.” Zhao Ming flashed a huge grin, liking Shao Xuan better now.
He wasn’t sure but Zhao Ming felt like this soup was much better than anything he’d drunk before. He could feel a very obvious surge of energy in his body afterwards. He’d spent the day making clay pots so this warmth was very comforting for his tired body.
The sun had set when they finished.
They smothered the fire then entered the house to sleep.
It had been half a year, this was the first time Shao Xuan slept soundly. He did not have to worry about desert beasts or slave masters, or the various threats of the forest. There were Flaming Horn people all around him. Although there was no fire seed, he felt as if he had the fire seed with him, he was at peace.
It was a dreamless night. He slept through the night till the next morning.
Shao Xuan rose early in the morning, a little alarmed by all the chatter and noises outside. It took a moment for him to remember he was in the Flaming Horn tribe, not hte one he was familiar with but the other he had been looking for.
Opening the room windows, smelling the fresh fragrance of the morning air, Shao Xuan looked outside.
This moutain was not tall but it took up a large area. Every house was at least more than 10 meters apart, some further. There was a lot of land, no need to be frugal with it.
Zhao Ming awoke to a smell. Yawning, he walked out.
The meat soup was done. Shao Xuan drank his portion and even cooked for Zhao Ming with a bit of the beast soup added.
“Where do you plan to go later?” asked Shao Xuan.
“I have to get my pots.” Zhao Ming had made several huge containers yesterday and handed them to the people in charge of baking hte clay pots. All he had to do was retrieve them today.
“I want to go with you.”
“Alright.” Zhao Ming had long forgotten yesterday’s questions, gulping down his soup.
After licking off the last bit of meat, he packed and then brought Shao Xuan to the pottery.
The place where they baked pottery in the tribe did not allow people to enter, especially not curious children because it would only invite trouble. That was why once the pots were done, the staff would place them all on the ground outside and each family would take their own.
When they saw Shao Xuan, a foreign face, many people were puzzled and asked Zhao Ming about him. When he said he was brought here by Guang Yi, they did not probe further.
Zhao Ming made two huge clay tanks and five containers yesterday. However, when he could not find them, he saw a few pieces on the floor with words on them.
“I made five of them, two failed?! Thank goodness the tanks did not break.” Not every clayware succeeded every time, for a mistake during the process could affect the results. Zhao Ming was dissatisfied with his results.
Shao Xuan looked around at the clayware of different sizes.They were all placed together based on family. If they failed, the person in charge would write on the pieces and leave the pieces here.
Everyone could recognise their own clayware because they had drawn or written on it. For examples, Zhao Ming’s pots had the word ‘Zhao’ on it. However, everyone had the same drawing-- the Flaming Horn totem and the word Flaming Horn.
The characers were not the kind he saw the slave masters use but the kind Shao Xuan had read since young.
It looked like the Flaming Horn people never forgot about their language.
Zhao Ming had planned to take several trips but with Shao Xuan here, once was enough.
He put the smaller containers into the tank then carry one tank on each shoulder.
A roar echoed across the area.
Shao Xuan looked towards where the sound came from.
Zhao Ming’s eyes brightened when he heard it. “Let’s go watch! The hunting party must have brought back many beasts, the animals from my brother’s huntring group are all there!”
The booty from the hunts were also separated by who hunted it. That was why Zhao Ming’s family also had a share of the large animal he saw there. When they slaughtered it, they would get a huge portion.
Kids who had never participated in hunts were always curious, especially Zhao Ming. He no longer wanted to go home, dragging Shao Xuan over to show off.
“It’s a dinosaur!” it was a rare find so he was very excited.
Sc looked over to see a beast tied up with thick vines. There was a fence made of thick tree trunks around it too, though these were meant to keep people out. It would ne difficult to keep a non-tied up animal in.
Many childrenclimed on the wodden fence to look at the beast, chattering excitedly about whose family would get how much meat and which part.
The dinosaur’s head was shaped like a crocodile or lizard, the skin on its head was cracked. It looked like any fearsome predator in the forest. However, there were no thick scales beyond the head, just thick skin with sparse hair. Its head looked very heavy, it likely used its horn and head to fight. Its tail was short and heavy to maintain its balance when it stood up.
When it roared, he could tell fromt he teeth that it was herbivorous.
Two young warriors were explaning about the beast’s living habits to the curious children.
Zhao Ming gestured for Shao Xuan to put down his tanks and climb up the fence. He could only see through the gaps here and that was too troublesome.
It made sense, it was not like someone would take their tanks.
Zhao Ming ran to a side to listen to the two warriors with the rest of the kids while Shao Xuan looked at the beast who had changed its lying position.
The beast was huge. Lying down, it was already four to five meters tall, it was enough for everyone.
However, he noticed there was something off with the vines. He was a person who often used vines and could see that one of the parts was broken because of the way it loosened.
“Hey, you two, the dinosaur’s chewing through the vines,” shouted Shao Xuan.
The two excited warriors were suddenly interrupted. They rushed over and also noticed something was off.
“Get down quick!” Someone waved at the kids on the fence then bkew on a wooden whistle. They often met situations like that so they were not panicking. They also knew that just the two of them would not be enough to take down this beast.
The beast knew it was noticed so it no longer acted in secret. With a huge bite, it unfurled the vines and stretched its humungous body.
Shao Xuan heard the sound of something breaking, then a high-pitched cry from the beast.
Zhao Ming and the rest of the kids slid down the fence hurriedly, not looking back as they hurried off. This was a job for the warriors, they were only going to be a hindrance if they stayed.
Zhao Ming ran for a bit before he remembered something. He turned around but did not see Shao Xuan, only the two huge tanks next to the fence.
Just as he wondered if he should turn around to search for him, he heard a thud as deafening as thunder that caused the ground to shake.
The beast did not make any sounds after that.
Everything returned to normal.
He could not see what was going on with the warriors guarding the pen so Zhao Ming walked over with a huge gulp. Through the gaps of the fence, he saw the huge dinosaur kneeling on his front limbs. Its huge head was slammed into the ground while hind limbs flailed about as it attempted to pull its head out of the ground to no avail.