In the free trading area, before Shao Xuan sold the stone crystals, he would use his spare time every night to polish his stone tools.
Because the animal skins sold out fast, the few days before they returned were idle. Shao Xuan made some of them go out to find stones, then he’d choose the satisfactory stones from it. He’d polish it into stone tools he needed.
The landscape on their way back was mountainous, with much vegetation distributed around. The species of flora and fauna in the mountains were diverse. This was what Shao Xuan learned from the Duo Kang and the others, so, when he polished his stone tools, he had already thought about what kind of traps he should make. Even if they had no stone crystals, according to Duo Kang’s past experience, they’d encounter a lot of ambushes once they left Anba City’s trading area. Many would talk to you the day before and laugh, but after a day, they could easily attack you in the mountains, not hesitating to kill.
Outside the trade, an inhuman heart is necessary, so Shao Xuan made these stone tools. However, it was also to prevent the pursuit of too many people, in case of an emergency.
Stone tools were not like metal. Usually, the requirements for stone were not really high. Stone that could be used could be found everywhere in the mountains, unlike gold, wherein wasting would cause heartache. For many tribesmen, a small dagger can be very precious. With that, it was impossible to use metals to make weapons such as darts which you’d throw out and sometimes could not be recovered. That would certainly cause heartache.
Obviously, the same idea was thought of by the people sent by An Yan to hunt them down. They inquired about the previous style of the people of the Flaming Horns tribe, inquiring about the past. However, they never heard of the tribe using large-scale traps when on the way back before, so the chasers were not alert. At first, because the Flaming Horns tribe did not follow their original route, the chasers did not see them. Once they later saw traces of their footprints, they were excited and continued chasing. That was until they heard a slight sound.
It was as if a bird was just fluttering from a tree, when these people were suddenly faced with dense wooden thorns.
It was too sudden that, even if they reacted quickly, they could not completely avoid these sudden wooden thorn attacks.
One man in the line waved the sword in his hand. The sword formed a shield that blocked the prickly wooden thorns. At the same time, one quickly jumped to an open area, wanting to avoid these wooden thorns. However, when he landed again, he had stepped on something under his feet. He only felt as if there was a string under his foot that suddenly pulled out, then thorns flew out from his side. Not only that, but whenever he dodged a step, it always triggered a noose that he hadn’t seen, then another round of attacks bombarded him.
That’s not just for one person. There were so many people in the team. As long as there were one or two that triggered the traps, once they panicked, it’d trigger other series of traps.
The thorns were not as hard as metal, but when shot out that fast, it could still hurt. There were also other traps aside from the wooden thorns. Once it had scratched skin, the poison on it would immediately spread into the bloodstream. It would not cause death but could still cause them a little trouble. Besides, it would also affect the speed of their pursuit.
There was a light noise, then the air suddenly exploded in a cloud of yellow fine powder. It was like a fog that quickly spread out in the open.
People who could get out of the circle jumped away, no matter what that was. It’s better to dodge. But the man who was attacked by the wooden thorns thought it would be some poison, so he held his breath. After blocking a wooden thorn and jumping out of the range of the attack, once he saw the yellowish smoke dissipate, that’s when he finally breathed again.
When everything finally stopped, the leader looked at the man lying and rolling on the ground, muttering it was a “waste.” His sight moved to a tree on the side of the body, where more than ten thin wooden thorns were nailed to it. He carefully moved over to make sure nothing was triggered again before reaching out and picking a leaf quickly, then wrapping it around a wooden thorn before pulling it out of the trunk.
This is a wooden thorn that was broken from a plant in the mountains. The tail end of the thorn was also marked with some brown and green colour, indicating that they were not plucked out for a long time.
This plant was common in the mountains. A lot of animals here have rough coats though, so these wooden thorns were not much threat to those with thick fur. But that’s not the same for humans. They don’t have thick fur, nor any kind of armour, so the poison had some effect on them. Fortunately, these poisons were not strong and would not kill them.
Such cheap tricks! The leader was furious.
However, who had set it up to burst out like rain after a round of attacks?
Was it someone else’s ambush? Or was it the man who left with the Flaming Horn tribe?
There was a faint sweet fragrance around. He didn’t know whether it was the flowers on the tree or something else.
The leader threw away the wooden thorns he was holding, frowning. His eyes swept around. Even though the several rounds of attack they had encountered had ended, they could not find traces of the traps.
“Keep chasing!” Ignoring the poisoned ones, the rest decided to move on.
“Everyone should watch their backs. Those tribesmen like to play dirty!” The leader reminded them. In their view, these were just childish tricks made of wood and flowers.
But after just two steps, nobody knew who stepped on what but they just heard another “whoop” from a short vine and their brains suddenly thought of the attack earlier. They clutched their weapons, while the leader even pulled another person’s copper shield, warily looking at the direction of the sound.
However, they didn’t see a new round of attacks of wooden thorns but saw a few strange crescent-like wooden pieces flying out. The direction of its flight was not towards them but in the direction away from them.
The flying wood accurately passed through the gap between the branches of the forest. It was not blocked by the thick trunks and thick branches but managed to fly out of the shade of the leaves, along an arc, then into the distance.
Bang, bang, bang!
They didn’t know what the flying wood had hit but when they heard the sound, they panicked again.
After the wood hit something, it flew in the opposite direction, then there was some buzzing sound.
Realizing what it was, the leader shouted, “It’s leaf bees! Run!”
Unlike other wild bees, the buzzing sound of leaf bees was very special, like the whooshing sound of arrows passing through. They were two to three times larger than ordinary bees, and they flew fast. Because there was a conical hard armor in front of their heads, they could easily pass through any defenses. Once stung by them, the consequences were much worse than the wooden thorns.
“There’s got to be a hive of leaf bees around here!!” The leader reminded them immediately.
Leaf bees generally did not attack. However, once provoked, they’d become aggressive. Additionally, the hive of the leaf bees was very large that almost every hive in the forest would occupy a whole tree. With that, the number of bees was naturally much more than usual. Except for the beasts with thick fur and often stole honey, all the beasts in the forest were cautious around the hive of the leaf bees.
These pursuers obviously hadn’t expected the Flaming Horn tribe to use bees like that. The crescent-like wooden pieces were actually to attack the bees!
The bees were furious.
It was evident from all the buzzing.
When they realised it was leaf bees, the rest of the team panicked and spread out to distract the bees. If the bees were going after the others, they would be able to escape the attack themselves.
However, even if they were out in the open again, there was always a leaf bee chasing them.
It’s that yellowish powder with a slightly sweet smell!!
When he thought of the cause, the leader was livid. If only a few of them were killed, it was nothing. It was just that these annoying tribesmen with these little tricks could actually kill a lot of them!
Those who managed to kill a few bees only angered them more. The forest around them buzzed constantly.
One person, because of trying to avoid a leaf bee, even touched another trap and he was now upside-down with his feet hanging up. Not waiting for him to cut the vine, he was caught on both sides with pointed stones like gaping jaws. He wasn’t even able to cry out.
Suddenly, the smell of blood spread.
A similar situation had occurred everywhere else, be it bundled up or falling into a pothole, then they were greeted by the real killing trap.
Besides the whooshing sound of a leaf bee like a dense storm, there was also the panic of the pursuers screaming echoing across the forest.
At the foot of the mountain, two teams were on their way. It was the people of the Flaming Horn and the Taihe tribe.
Both tribes could hear noises coming from the forest. From time to time, they took their eyes off the road to glance at Shao Xuan.
They didn’t know exactly what Shao Xuan did. After changing the course, Shao Xuan made them go to the original road, not paying attention to the footprints they left on the ground. After a break, Shao Xuan left with a few people after looking for some Taihe people to ask for some herbs.
Because it was for the safety of the two teams, the Taihe tribe did not hide anything. They gave him all the things Shao Xuan requested. The kind of powder that attracted the leaf-piercing bee was actually made by the Taihe tribe. They dared walk to the hive of leaf bees also because the Taihe had a way to avoid attracting the leaf bees.
The team waited at the foot of the mountain for a while until Shao Xuan and the rest came back. The expressions on those people’s faces were very strange. They were a little dazed but expectant.
Duo Kang was one of them. He thought that Shao Xuan brought them to block those who hunted them, but he did not expect that once they were on the hillside, Shao Xuan asked them to stop, then assigned them tasks. They were told to break wood thorns, cut wood, look for vines, while Shao Xuan carried his wooden box, with those things to continue to walk up the mountain and began to make preparations.
Shao Xuan said he could stop their pursuers. Duo Kang did not believe it, but now, he could hear sounds coming from the mountains. Shao Xuan might be right.
A flock of birds in the sky flew over the woods.
“Those birds…” The people of Taihe tribe looked at the sky. Their eyes followed the birds, looking at the mountain behind them which was constantly rustling.
Those birds were scavengers. They could smell blood from afar, then follow the scent to scavenge for food.
When hunting in the mountains, these people also judge what was happening in a certain place based on the movement of the scavengers. Now, where the scavengers were flying towards were where the people of the Flaming Horn tribe laid their traps.
“Those people, are they all dead?” someone asked.
“It’s not that easy.” Shao Xuan replied, “However, there were still a few more traps in the back. There should not be much left of them.”
A few more…
Both the people of the Flaming Horn and Taihe tribe looked at Shao Xuan. They averted their eyes and continued their journey in silence.