As soon as Shao Xuan’s stone was taken out, it caught the eye of quite a few people.
The words on the wooden sign were so simple and clear that many people didn’t need to stare for long, merely squeezed directly towards the area of the Flaming Horn tribe.
“What is that? It’s glowing?”
“It’s not going to be some nonsense, is it?”
“It looks like it’s the place where the Flaming Horns tribe is. Their animal skins sold well before this.”
“Go check it out. See if it’s true!”
Whatever their opinions were, they were curious. They’d rather waste time checking it out instead of missing out. The purchasers sent by slave masters knew that bringing a rare item back could mean a possible reward if they made the masters happy. The wandering traders could also re-sell these rare items in other places.
These people went towards the Flaming Horns tribe area, carrying the goods they had traded so far. After Shao Xuan took out the crystal, the people around kept increasing so he also had to keep vigilant. Every year, there were many thieves who take advantage of the chaos. They had really sharp eyes for an opportunity.
This time, Shao Xuan had a total of ten stone crystals but now only took out one.
The weather had turned chilly. Many people were wearing large cloaks made of animal leather. To check whether the crystal was really glowing was very simple. They only had to cover the crystal with their coats. Of course they didn’t think about stealing it since there were many eyes around. As long as someone saw something, the thief would not be forgiven.
A large body squeezed out of the crowd, completely covered with animal skin coat, moving towards Shao Xuan to cover his hand holding the crystal. Under the dim light, the small stone crystal emitted a clear light that could make words readable in the dark.
Not waiting for the man to study it more, Shao Xuan took back his hand to show it to the next person.
When more people had taken a look, Shao Xuan put the crystal stone back to his bag. To the surrounding crowd, he said, “Are you satisfied now?”
Someone nodded. Someone choked and didn’t make another noise, but they all stared at Shao Xuan. Their eyes were hot, waiting for his next words.
But Shao Xuan did not speak. It was Duo Kang who took over the task, but he did not tell everyone the whole truth. He only said that the crystal was something they encountered when out hunting for beasts and dug it out in a river connected to the sea. That’s not a lie. If there was water in that river, it would be bigger than the one in front of their tribe. Didn’t that mean it was a big river? They heard that the river flowed to another larger river, then the larger river to the sea, so it was not wrong to say so.
When they asked about the number of stone crystals, Shao Xuan only said that there were five. This was what he had deliberated last night together with Duo Kang and others.
Unlike Shao Xuan, some of the people who often lingered here were no stranger to Duo Kang, hence, they also believed that Duo Kang wasn’t lying. At least not completely.
At the time when Duo Kang was introducing this glowing crystal, Black Bear who had been away these last three days, was in the city in a large yard of a stone house holding a large pottery bowl. He ate a large bowl of meat soup and next to the plate was a large piece of barbecued meat. Black Bear ate two or three more mouthfuls before he was satisfied.
While Black Bear was eating, a big man barged in.
“Boss, there’s something else going on with the tribesmen!” the newcomer shouted as he ran.
Every year, when the tribesmen came over, they would bring something rare. Black Bear would not survey the goods himself but leave someone there to keep watch.
“Is there anything I have to go over personally for?” Black Bear asked after taking another gulp of the soup, then put down the bowl.
“That man from the Flaming Horn tribe took out a stone that glows! That rock glows, it’s true! I saw it with my own eyes!” The big man was afraid that Black Bear wouldn’t believe him, so he quickly said that he saw it himself.
“It was the Flaming Horn tribe again?” Black Bear muttered. He put on his coat, called the man, then strode over the trading area.
Over at the chaotic trading area, Du Kang had already announced the rules of the transaction. It was the same as before where they would negotiate through an auction, to sell the five crystal stones together.
An announcement like that would certainly attract more attention. If they split it all up, it would take longer to sell which was more unfavourable to them. They might be able to get more benefits that way, but the danger was also greater. It’s better to be quick, then get out of here and walk away first. Duo Kang had also consulted this with the Taihe tribe on the side. In order to get the Taihe tribe to cooperate, Duo Kang also divided some goods with them.
Duo Kang took out a copper sword which he had traded before. At a glance, they could judge the value of this sword, and Duo Kang used this as the base price to let the others start the bidding.
“A sword plus a bag of grains!”
“Two swords plus five animal skins… But if you don’t want animal skins, then a bag of grains guaranteed that was just collected this year!”
“Two swords plus ten bags of grains!”
Listening to the chaotic atmosphere getting noisier as people called out the price higher and higher, Du Kang was really happy inside.
“Boss, do we want to bid, too?” the man next to Black Bear said in a hurry. With that kind of crystal stone, even if it was for five bronze swords, it would still be very cheap. If they traded it at King City, they could even get more.
Black Bear’s eyes took in Shao Xuan and Duo Kang in a sweep, about to call out a price when they heard an arrogant voice shout out, “One Ding cauldron!”
[Note: Ding 鼎 cauldron = three-legged copper cauldron]
The unit of measurement had been swords and grains so far, the word ‘cauldron’ came as a shock- like a crow of a chicken in the midst of a group of pigs.
The crowd was forced to break open a path, then four tall, muscled men opened the road in front, followed by a young man in a silver-gray animal coat coming towards them. There were other people in his wake, the most conspicuous of which was the man standing next to him, carrying a heavy object. With each of his steps, he was able to leave a clear footprint on the ground, accompanied by a heavy beat, as if he was very, very heavy. On his back, there was a heavy object wrapped in cloth. Was it the cauldron?
The crowd only felt that the ground beneath their feet was shaking with each of the other person’s steps.
The heavy cauldron was put down not far from where Shao Xuan and Duo Kang were. When it landed, it let out a muffled sound with a metallic clang. The hearts and minds of those who heard it felt like they were being shaken by this sound.
Someone guessed the identity of the young man.
A person with such an arrogant aura was naturally a slave owner of Anba City, his identity was well-known here.
The young man walked slowly, then lifted his hand to sweep off nonexistent dust on his skin coat. He spoke with an arrogant tone to the people, “One Ding cauldron. Don’t you tribesmen like bronze? I’ll give you this which is more than enough for you to make a lot of swords.”
Duo Kang almost spat at him. Listening to this tone, he mused at how these people thought they could take advantage of the tribesmen. Could a scrap of copper be the same as an already casted sword? Did they really think that any metal could simply be made into another thing? When were we so gullible?!
The other party pulled off a piece of cloth, revealing the copper cauldron that reflected the dazzling sun. Many of the people present marvelled at the sight.
When they looked at it, they thought that this cauldron was actually a good product… Wait. No. Why were this cauldron’s three legs not of the same length?
The copper cauldron had two long legs and one twisted. Once it was put on the ground, it looked unsteady. The pattern on the copper cauldron looked blurred, and even some parts of its round body were misshapen!
The slave owners here attached great importance to the cauldron. As part of their rituals, they would certainly not tolerate such failure to have for themselves. Yet this bastard wanted to trade with such a crappy product?
He acted as if he was doing a beggar a favour, tossing his trash at them.
The people of the Flaming Horns tribe never liked the slave owners. When you talked to them about strength, they talked to you about class. When you talked to them about class, they talk about something else. Their values were never the same, so the last thing the Flaming Horn tribe liked was slave owners with some superiority complex. However, the slave owners did have a lot of good things in their hands. There were a lot of skills and knowledge they could learn from them, and they admit some price had to be paid to try to learn it. But learning from them was different from being afraid of them.
The slave owners looked at the people of the Flaming Horn tribe. They thought tribespeople were a bunch of dumb but stubborn people!
Unfortunately, this young master clearly did not understand the style of the Flaming Horn tribe.
“We won’t trade! A sword or axe has to be cast, then we’ll take it,” said Duo Kang.
Not expecting to be rejected, the young man frowned, not satisfied with Duu Kang’s answer, “You don’t want it?”
“We don’t want cauldrons,” Du Kang affirmed again.
The young man smiled. There was not much laughter in his eyes, instead, a glimmer of anger flashed. “You have to!”
As he spoke, the man who put down the copper cauldron retracted his arm. Almost all of his power gathered in his arms, then he pushed out the scrap of copper towards Shao Xuan and Du Kang.
The copper cauldron was shoved forward at a high speed, accompanied by a flash of golden light. It went off the ground. With the cold strong wind and the chill of the gold, it went straight to where Shao Xuan was at, holding the crystal!
Black Bear thought that Duo Kang would take the shot. After all, in these usual cases, the fights were taken care of and blocked by the team leader. They represented the whole tribe. It meant that their decision was the decision of the whole team.
To contend or compromise? The onlookers pondered to themselves.
But to everyone’s surprise, Shao Xuan, who stood closest to the Duo Kang, did not dodge but was still standing in place.
In the face of the copper cauldron rushing towards him, Shao Xuan just lowered his waist and bent his knee. His whole body was like a mountain rooted to the ground. He raised an arm, punching it out towards the scrap of copper.
He actually chose to face it himself!
With a trembling echo of the heavy metal, the deafening sound waves like from a huge drum suddenly sounded. Even the golden light reflected by the three-legged copper seemed to be completely shattered in that instant.
At the moment the deafening clang sounded, everyone at the trading area was shaking from the force of it!
What happened?! Someone who didn’t witness this thought.
What happened?! Someone who witnessed the scene but couldn’t process it wondered.
Black Bear’s eyelid twitched. That kid… He could actually save himself alone!!
There was another rattling sound, but it was different from the sound from just now. It was just the sound of the copper falling because of its weight.
The cauldron, almost as tall as a human, landed on the ground again. The soil around it was shaken off, dust flew, and the copper cauldron failed to advance another inch. It had stopped right in front of Shao Xuan.