After being fed meat of wild fearsome beasts, the Thousand Grain Golds seem to despise regular wild animal meat. When they brought it regular animal meat, another two died. Qi Qi and the rest quickly tossed several pieces of fearsome beast meat on the ground when they saw this.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Shao Xuan was the Elder, he would probably have been beaten up by both Qi Qi and Quan Bai. They had the opinion that Shao Xuan did not care about the plant. In truth, he definitely did not place much importance on the plant. After that, he spent more time deciphering on the cloud patterns so he did not spend much time on the plants.
Shao Xuan had eaten the Thousand Grain Gold before and felt the benefits of it. However, he did not think it was anything special. There were at least three types of plants from the Taihe tribe that could achieve the same effect. Those plants were way easier to plant!
It was not worth it to keep supplying the plants with fearsome beast meat. The tribe’s main occupation wasn’t agriculture anyway, and they brought back plants and fruits of medicinal value from the forest after every hunt. Why spend so much effort on this one? Hunting fearsome beasts requires risking your life, just to feed a few plants? Not many people would be willing to do this.
Qi Qi, Quan Bai and the rest had not eaten the grain before. He wondered if they would still be this passionate if they tasted it after so much hard work.
One day, Shao Xuan walked out of the house while rubbing his tired eyes. He walked into the yard to check on the plants he hadn’t seen in a long time and suddenly stopped.
Perhaps due to competition for resources, even though several kinds of beast meat and fertilisers were used, several still died. There were thirty-four left now. They were as tall as his shoulders, not sure when they would be ready for harvesting.
Shao Xuan was shocked when he saw the plants. The leaves were wider and longer than he remembered. Every plant was way healthier and fatter than the plant the mice were fighting over.
He touched a needle-like leaf. It felt different.
Was it due to better environmental conditions? So it’s healthier?
If that’s true, would the grains have a stronger medicinal effect?
Shao Xuan checked on all the thirty plants. Every plant had larger leaves than he remembered. Qi Qi said they were still growing and would grow much taller. No one knew what would happen then.
If the outcome was worth the hard work, they would try planting more. However, if it wasn’t worth it, he would just distribute them to be eaten. Who knew how long these grains could last? He didn’t ask Ji Ju. Here, even the most experienced farmers didn’t know.
Shao Xuan tapped on a leaf, whispering, “We’ll see how well you do.”
It had been half a year since last year’s winter when he started deciphering the cloud patterns. There was progress, at least he could feel the ‘door’ where Taihe’s ancestors couldn’t. This was because he built on their work. Opening this door would be difficult and he was stuck.
It was as if he desperately wanted to open this door but it was locked and he didn’t know how to open it. He could see the view behind the door!
After talking to Duo Kang and Guang Yi, he knew that the shamaness and the chief had sent a team to the coast where Shao Xuan arrived. Shao Xuan had brought them there once. A team stayed to watch the area and every now and then, the shamaness and the chief would send another team for exchange. They were there to observe any changes in the coast. Perhaps one day there would be a change.
After a stroll, he saw Qi Qi and Quan Bai in his yard checking on the plants. They came twice a day, and sometimes when the climate changed, they would come more often, sometimes even staying on the hill.
The relationship between Taihe and the Flaming Horn people improved a lot because of this plant. They even revealed several ‘secret techniques’. If they wanted these plants to grow, they had to be honest here.
When Shao Xuan stepped into his backyard, Quan Bai was holding an animal skin scroll, talking to the Flaming Horn people.
“A long time ago our ancestors found Green Drought’s Spring here.” Quan Bai spoke with glee and pride.
“Green Drought’s Spring” was a type of medicine. They grew in a very special environment- when they were young, they preferred dry soil. Wet soil would cause the seeds to rot and not germinate. After living in dry soil for a while, due to the rain in the mountains, the places with active springs would trigger the second phase of these plants. They would then grow flowers, bloom and bear fruit.
The seedling, flowers and fruits were all green, hence the name. It was a mild medicine used for inner and outer injuries. Both tribes often traded using this plant because the hunters brought some with them during hunts.
They said that most of the plants were found from the wild and it took them tens of generations to attain the best method of planting the plant. As for where they found the plants, that was a secret because the Green Drought’s Spring was one of their main sources of income.
They reveal part of the secret because of the Thousand GRain Gold but most of it was vague and they never went into detail.
Out of curiosity, Shao Xuan leaned in to read the scroll too.
There was a map. Or more specifically, a simplified map. Quan Bai had made a simplified copy of the map with vague details before bringing it here.
However, when Shao Xuan looked at the lines, his eyes flashed. It was… familiar.
After some thought, Shao Xuan’s pupils dilated.
“What are these curved lines at the top?!” he asked.
Quan Bai was explaining with much vigour and did not notice Shao Xuan behind him. He leapt in fright when he heard him. He dared speak with arrogance in front of others but not Shao Xuan. Thousand Grain Gold belonged to him, and he had helped them too.
After he heard Shao Xuan, he regained his composure with a smile. “These are rivers. The thicker lines are wider rivers, finer lines are smaller streams. This is a river that cuts into your hunting area.”
Since it was a river in the Flaming Tribe’s territory, it was not drawn in detail. This map was drawn a thousand years ago when the Flaming Horn people were here. They did not draw much detail so they did not draw the branches that led into this river.
Shao Xuan knew of the river because it was the river connected to where they fished the glowing rocks. It should be filled now, although this river was not on the map.
Shao Xuan did not care about the smaller branches. He was focused on the thickest line and a few of the most important branches.
The main river was curved, only one portion was on the map. One side was the ocean, another was the centre of this piece of land. However, the curves were already of great help to Shao Xuan.
One of the questions he had while deciphering the cloud patterns had been solved.
Quan Bai thought Shao Xuan was going to ask about their secret and was thinking about how he was going to avoid them. However, Shao Xuan only asked about unimportant details and did not ask where his ancestors got the herbs so Quan Bai heaved a sigh of relief in the end.
After getting the information he needed, Shao Xuan patted his shoulder happily. “Thank you!” Then he rushed into his house.
Everyone was stunned. Quan Bai asked Qi Qi, “What’s the matter with your tribe’s Elder?”
“Who knows.” Qi Qi did not know what he was thinking either. She would not ask, plus she wouldn’t tell them if she did know. While two tribes communicated, there was some information they could not tell the other party without the chief and shamaness’ permission. The Elder must be mulling over something important too.
Shao Xuan rushed into the house, closed his door and lifted the stack of leaves on his desk. This was the stack of cloud patterns he could not decipher, not even a bit. However, after he saw the lines on Quan Bai’s map, he realised they were not words, they were maps! A map of somewhere!
Shao Xuan had been staring at the Ding Cauldron for days due to the bottleneck. While he couldn’t draw the patterns from memory, he was familiar with the entire thing. Everything he saw outside could be related to the patterns. That was why he could relate the map and the cauldron.
He scattered the leaves and then arranged them in order according to the picture on the cauldron. Then, he tried to draw on his sand tray using a branch. He only drew the important lines and left out lines meant to mislead the reader.
The cloud patterns on the cauldron were words and a map!