The team did not cover their tracks. Even if they had, it would not be completely covered, so they simply did not make an effort to. Besides, they had hundreds of people carrying their goods so it would take a lot to cover all their tracks.
Along the way, Shao Xuan would set up more traps, while the Taihe tribe would also help with their herbs to make Shao Xuan’s traps more effective. As long as the people behind them continue to follow their footprints, then they’d continue to be “entertained” by these traps.
If you could use these skills against the enemy, why use brute force? The people of the Flaming Horns and Taihe tribe were naturally happy that they didn’t have to waste time and manpower to deal with their pursuers. They just had to guard against those who had set up ambushes along the way, which greatly reduced their stress.
Two days later, the number of ambushes they had encountered had been reduced by a lot. The bigger half of the day, they also did not meet a heist. Du Kang’s heart loosened until his worries finally passed. In the future, they only had to protect the goods from the beasts in the mountains.
Because of the arrangements Shao Xuan made, the people behind them failed to catch up. They’d only occasionally see a group of scavenging birds shrieking and flying over the tops of their heads.
Along the way, they would see Shao Xuan making stone tools, hence, during breaks, some people in the group would come to ask Shao Xuan how to use and make various stone tools. In case they became trapped in the mountains, with no other weapons in their hands, they could use stone tools to save themselves.
They thought that since he had few gold wares, he basically had to use stone tools. It never entered their minds that what they initially thought to be barbaric was useful. But after the events these two days, they realized that the ordinary stone tools could also play a bigger role, not just to be broken to pieces.
In the absence of gold, their brothers on the other side were using all kinds of stone tools to deal with one mountain beast after another. Their other brothers were really fierce! If they had a chance, they really wanted to see it and have an exchange with them.
As for what Shao Xuan said about the various hardness of stone, many of them were confused because, in their view, the stones were all the same. Instead, it was Guang Yi who suffered from facial blindness who learned to distinguish the stones the fastest.
As the Flaming Horn and Taihe tribes went back, on the other side, inside Anba City, An Yan looked at the ten bloody and muddy people standing in front of him. His angry face was turning darker. He slapped a hand on a table, making the copper cup on it fall to the ground.
“A bunch of idiots!”
The scolded men stood there trembling, accepting the words. This time, it really did cost them a lot of people. The constant traps they encountered were one, but they were also robbed by other tribesmen. They had a lot of casualties!
Outside of the Anba City, the other tribesmen would put up a smiling face but could still rob you in the open, regardless if you were from the great six cities or not. Their immediate interests were the most important.
Because of the traps, most of the people An Yan had sent out were hurt, so they were taken advantage of from the looting of the other tribes. From the hundred sent out, only the ten were able to return. How could this not make An Yan angry? It’s like his chest was being crushed by a big rock, feeling so stuffy that he wished to vomit blood.
He didn’t manage to get the stone crystals from the Flaming Horns tribe and he didn’t even manage to snatch back the cauldron!
Why did An Yan easily give away that cauldron at the time?
One reason was to pull envy towards them from so many people in the free trade zone. There were bound to be more people eyeing the trading team of the Flaming Horns tribe so they could borrow other people’s hands to create trouble for the people of that tribe. Of course, that would make An Yan happy.
The second reason was to use the copper cauldron to drag the pace of the Flaming Horns tribe. Carrying such a large scrap of metal in the mountains was certainly not convenient. It would also leave traces of their way, which would make it easy to track them.
But the outcome was like a loud slap to him, mercilessly slapping An Yan across his face.
Bronze was still very rare for tribesmen, since the casting process was complex. Every cauldron, especially those big ones, needed a lot of manpower and material resources. Besides, it was also rare since, from its birth to the present, it has always been for exclusive use of the slave owners. They were still owned by the six from the ruling class and even the city’s slave owners with lower status had no capacity to own one. Most people could only use them once.
Admittedly, An Yan, as a descendant of those in power, was certainly entitled to reward the cauldron to others. But to the tribesmen? An Yan never thought so, even for a failed casted cauldron. He never wanted to give it to the tribesmen and merely used it as a chess piece. Who would have expected that this piece would actually be stolen away!
Were they ever going to get it back?
Another glass fell. An Yan ignored it as the cup broke into pieces.
“Get out of here!” When he saw these people standing in front of him, An Yan just became angrier. If they remained alive, this meant he probably still has use for them. If he didn’t find them useful, he would have dragged these idiots out and killed them himself!
Next time, he’ll wait for the people of the Flaming Horns tribe to settle in Anba City’s free trading area again. He must make those people pay!
Unfortunately, what An Yan didn’t know was that the Flaming Horns had struck a deal with Black Bear and didn’t need to go to the free trading zone anymore.
When the Flaming Horns and Taihe trading teams returned to their tribe, the weather in the mountains had already turned cold. When one stood high to take in the view, he would see the mountains everywhere turn golden. It won’t be long before those leaves fall completely, and at that time, winter has come.
After this outing, the Taihe tribe learned one thing—the young Elder of the Flaming Horns tribe was amazing.
First, he could fight with brute strength. Playing mind games? He could do that too!
They had seen in particular how Shao Xuan had set up a plan with a few people to set up traps. Deep in their hearts, they were glad that Shao Xuan did not use traps against them. Otherwise, they would go crazy if not dead.
After separating from the people of the Taihe tribe, Duo Kang walked on with the team with a smile on his face. He carried the big cauldron reflecting the golden rays of the sun. This time, they didn’t have to cover it with a cloth, and revealing its copper body was quite eye-catching.
Just looking forward, Duo Kang was carrying the cauldron, eager to show it off. Guang Yi, meanwhile, ordered the others to keep up.
As they walked through the woods, they finally saw the river on the outskirts of the tribe. On the other side of the river, the chief led the tribe, standing there to greet the trading team.
Duo Kang carried the big cauldron, almost flashing the eyes of the greeters blind.
When Chief Zheng Luo first saw the big cauldron, he did not dare believe it. He closed his eyes, then opened them again, but Duo Kang was still there, grinning with that glittering cauldron!
What could they have traded it with? Why did they get such a thing?! It’s still just a copper cauldron! Maybe for cooking, but it’s not as good as the big stone pot the ancestors left behind!!
Seeing that the cauldron’s body was unsteady, Chief Zheng Luo’s expression got even worse.
“What’s this?!” Chief Zheng Luo went up to inquire. If Duo Kang had traded weapons for this, he decided he would immediately hold a tribal meeting and dismiss Duo Kang.
Duo Kang put the cauldron down and stretched his arms, loosening his tight muscles. He then smiled and replied, “You mean this cauldron? It’s Shao Xuan’s.”
Once he heard it was Shao Xuan’s, the chief’s stiff face stiffened more, his breathing slightly slowed. He was still planning to reprimand Duo Kang. Why did he not persuade Shao Xuan to not exchange this cauldron? But he still listened to Duo Kang explain how it came about.
After listening, the chief collected himself as he smoothed a hand down his beard. He smiled. “Since it was given to us, then we should take it.”
But from what he heard, how could he not understand what really transpired?
As the tribe leader, it was clear to the chief what the team had experienced. For the slave owners, the cauldron was not a free gift to be given away. He can now guess An Yan’s face.
They did not steal anything! It was even openly given to them! That’s that! They deserved it!
He also heard from Duo Kang about the partnership with Black Bear, which made Chief Zheng Luo’s eyes crinkle even more from smiling. “Good! Good! Good!”
The good mood of the chief made him call Shao Xuan up the mountain, giving him some linen and silk fabrics and such. “Our other trading team received these. I have a lot here. You take some home.”
Although the other textile raw materials were rough, since they were cheap and easy to get, they used it more while the silk fabrics were used less. It was the slave owners who were very fond of glossy and smooth things.
After stuffing some linen and silk fabrics to Shao Xuan, Chief Zheng Luo then asked Shao Xuan about his experience trading. Duo Kang just briefly said some, but he still wanted to know more details about it.
When they had finished, the chief looked again at the cauldron that had been brought in.
“Those cloud patterns should be cast by the Xia people,” the chief said.
“Xia people?” Shao Xuan never heard of them from previous discussions.
“Well, it used to be the Xia tribe. The Xia people are good at casting, but later, the tribe scattered. They changed their surname to ‘Gong’ and mostly still cast for a living in different areas. Anba City has a lot of cauldrons made by them. A Xia person’s style was mostly to make a round cauldron with cloud patterns. In recent years, they also made it flatter. Most of the six big cities now mostly cast their cauldrons round, second is square, while flat was the least common, of which more than half casted by a Xia person’s hand. If coupled with the cloud pattern rather than the beast pattern, this cauldron should be casted by the Xia. It’s just that somehow, the casting of this cauldron was unexpectedly a failure.” Chief Zheng Luo looked at the flattened cauldron’s body, feeling puzzled.
Since he did not understand, he wouldn’t waste more thought on it, so the chief just advised Shao Xuan. “This cauldron is yours. You can use it as a furnace for smelting or for cooking soup.”
Shao Xuan carried the cauldron he obtained out there to return to his home. He put it in his own stone-making room, where it was big and spacious enough for the scrap of metal. It was also a convenient place for him to study the decorations on it.
The words on the cauldron were a little obscure with a few ancient writings. If it was other people, they’d probably be able to read it, though not smoothly, but they wouldn’t understand. However, Shao Xuan could still understand some.
The usage of this language on this side had changed for the past thousand years. Some words had even changed in meaning and grammar. However, what Shao Xuan had learned from those people in the desert was, in fact, the original writings here from thousands of years ago, which was closer to the ancient writings on the cauldron.
Shao Xuan would have to write all those words on the cauldron’s body on a piece of cloth, then study it carefully.
However, when Shao Xuan started copying those words, then looked at the cauldron standing crookedly, he felt that the patterns on it were a bit strange. It was like a whirlpool, attracting the attention of the person staring.