After a while, Duo Li brought the piece of crystal back to Shao Xuan with some degree of unwillingness. A glowing rock was more convenient than lighting a torch at night. The most important thing was that he had never seen anything like that before.
“Shao Xuan, where did you get this crystal?” Duo Li asked curiously.
“Yeah, Elder Shao Xuan, where did you get this? Can you tell us?”
Even Tao Zheng and the rest came over. They had never seen Shao Xuan with this crystal before. They had heard of glowing rocks from the slave masters but never knew where to get them.
Shao Xuan took the crystal back. “This rock…”
Everyone strained their ears.
“Was taken from the dried river the other day.” Shao Xuan brought over the two other rocks on his table and showed them.
The glowing rock was bright enough to be a lamp so everyone could see the other two rocks.
“How is that possible?!” gasped Duo Li.
“This is the one?” Tao Zheng held the two up but they looked so different.
Shao Xuan nodded.
“How? You cut them open?”
“No, cutting them open is useless. As for how to transform it, I’m not too sure either.” It was true, Shao Xuan wasn’t sure either.
There were several more questions but it was getting late so Duo Li and the rest went back.
When everyone left, he had time to study the rocks.
It wasn’t bright like this during the day, he’d put it on the…
Shao Xuan looked at his table, then his window.
Or the stone only glows at night?
Not sure which. Shao Xuan planned to attempt again. He had two more stones, he would know the answer later.
He picked up one of them and harnessed his totemic power. The reaction was still in the outer shell of his totemic fire.
A thread of light extended out from his head, flowing down his shoulder into his palm.
This time, Shao Xuan observed its changes. It could feel it as if the rock had been peeled off a layer of skin. There was a rustling, then the surface turned to dust. He did not need to brush it, for the dust fell off and all that was left was the crystal.
The new crystal was not glowing. It was duller than the one he opened during the day.
Did it really need sunlight?
Shao Xuan planned to experiment again with the third one on the next day.
He massaged his forehead. Like the first rock, he felt tired after the process. He rested for a moment, then got ready for bed.
He slept well that day but some people did not. For example, Duo Li, who had also taken a rock back, spent the entire night fussing over the rock. He was so loud that Duo Kang woke up to scold him. He then worked quietly but still did not sleep.
When the sun came up, Shao Xuan put last night’s crystal where there was sunlight. Then, he transformed the third stone.
He did it with the third stone in the sun. He held it up in his palm, facing the sun.
When the transformation was complete, he closed the door and windows.
It was true. The third stone was glowing. Although it was faint, it was still much brighter than the other two. This meant that it was affected by the sunlight.
Last night’s crystal was now glowing after he put it in the sun for a while. While it was not as bright as the Water Moon Stone in the Drumming Village, it was still very bright.
“Shao Xuan! Elder Shao Xuan!” Duo Li ran over, panicking.
“What’s the matter?” asked Shao Xuan, looking at Duo Li, who was sweating anxiously.
“This!” Duo Li showed him his rock with a face of disappointment. “It broke.”
He had spent the whole night on it but couldn’t make it glow. However, he accidentally broke it in the process.
“I wanted to slice off a little but then it cracked and broke!”
Shao Xuan looked at the crumbs in his hand. “You have to use totemic power, not brute force.”
Well, he didn’t know. Shao Xuan gave one of his three crystals to Duo Li. “You can have this one.”
“Eh? The other two transformed too?” Duo Li held it in his palm as if it was a treasure.
Shao Xuan thought of something. “Are glowing rocks very rare here?”
“It’s very rare!” said Duo Li. “I heard people from other tribes used to be able to exchange a lot of gold and grains with the slave masters using glowing rocks!”
This was odd. Shao Xuan thought about it. On the other side, while people loved Water Moon Stones and could be used for trade, they were common enough for people to be familiar with it. There were other glowing rocks that were rarer than the Water Moon Stone. Why did the people here get physically stronger after the merging of the Fire Seed but lost so many special traditions?
Was this because of the Fire Seed?
When a human merged with the power of the Flame, was he still able to transform the stones?
Shao Xuan went to look for the shamaness.
When she heard his question, she frowned for a long time. It was ironic but they had not seen the fire seed themselves either.
The tribes on this side did not have fire seeds to set the fire ponds ablaze anymore.
The Flaming horn people could only see the totemic fires in their minds. However, they had never seen the fire seed brought over by their ancestors that could burn in the coldest weather. All they knew was from drawings but it was still unclear.
Since the shamaness couldn’t give him an answer, he could only look for it himself.
He gave the other two glowing rocks to the shamaness and the chief, then decided to enter the forest to get more.
When they knew Shao Xuan wanted to get the rock, Duo Li, Tao Zheng and the rest were excited. Almost the entire hunting team was present plus Duo Kang and Guang Yi. They both said they were there to protect them but in reality, they were also very curious.
There were fewer people going out this time and they didn’t bring hunting weapons and traps with them either. Instead, they carried huge sacks and nets with small holes.
The Taihe tribe saw them and quickly reported to their chief. They couldn’t guess what the Flaming Horn people were up to.
“Is it some treasure?”
The Taihe people did not understand.
On the other side, the people who entered the forest had a clear goal. They did not hunt nor did they pay attention to anything else. They did not look at the fat beast walking past them either. The glowing rocks were more important. If they could get them, they’d be able to get a lot more bronzeware from the slave masters.
They rushed to the bank of the dried river. Duo Kang looked at the riverbed with weeds growing out of it. They were just ordinary rocks! “These?!”
They were very different from the glowing gemstones he had in mind!
Then again, if that were true, it would have been very odd that no one had seen them but Shao Xuan. It was likely the rocks were somewhere very inconspicuous.
“Yep, these are the ones1” Duo Li could not wait any longer. He was already flipping up rocks with a long stick, out of the river bed unto the bank.
Before Shao Xuan spoke, everyone started to work. There was even a clear delegation of jobs.
The dried mud was stirred using long sticks, its upper layer moved aside in search of stones. The wet mud underneath was now exposed. There were still stones inside.
“Are there still more underneath?” Duo Kang used a spade to dig up the mud.
Duo Kang flipped the rocks up. Everyone ignored the pungent smell of mud, rubbed the stones with leaves and passed one to Shao Xuan.
“Are these also the ones?” asked Duo Li.
After analysing it, in front of everybody, he harnessed the totemic power in him.
The shamaness said they were trustworthy so Shao Xuan did not attempt to hide this. Also, everyone here had the same powers anyway. It would only benefit the tribe if they could produce more crystals.
As if sensing something, everyone dropped what they were doing to look at him.
Even Guang Yi, who had always been solemn, had a look of anticipation. He wasn’t interested in the rock, but more on the power rippling within Shao Xuan. Shao Xuan was from the other branch of the tribe, they still had the fire seed with them. Guang Yi wondered how their powers differed.