This regular cliff face was a stone door!
How could there be a stone door here?
There was only one answer. They were here.
Gongjia Heng’s hands were shaking as he pushed the door open. He was so emotional he barely could push it so he had to calm himself down first.
Shao Xuan did not help him. If it was a regular door, he would but this was most likely the stone door leading to Gongjia Mountain. This should be a task left for a true Xia person, it was their pride and honour too.
So Gongjia Mountain wasn’t beyond the valley, it was in the valley1
When the stone door was opened, a gust of cool breeze blew from inside.
As they peered inside, it was pitch black.
Gongjia Heng did not care, hurrying inside. Shao Xuan followed him.
When they entered, Heng closed the door once again.
With the glowing crystal, there was no need to light a fire. There was no firewood anyway.
After they entered, Gongjia HEng did not speak. He just walked ahead quickly down a tunnel. He had been looking for this place for twenty years, it was understandable that he was overwhelmed with emotion.
Shao Xuan walked with him for about thirty minutes. The breeze in the tunnel smelled like flowers.
There was light ahead. They were arriving at the end of the tunnel.
When they walked out, there was a place completely different from Xia valley. It looked like a regular valley, plus a stream flowed through it. On both sides of the stream were all kinds of plants, Shao Xuan saw many edible plants, and also fruit trees!
This was where the Xia people once stayed!
Not far away was a three-meter-tall bell. Not sure how long it had been there. There was a lot of dust and sand covering it so they could not see what it looked like.
Gongjia Heng walked over and picked up the bell hammer next to it. He hit the bell.
A bright yet graceful sound echoed across the valley as if it had its own rhythm and melody. The notes rose and fall, announcing the arrival of yet another Xia person.
As the bell vibrated, all the dust and sand were shaken off. Its true form was revealed.
It was just a bronze bell, though it was almost a golden colour. It was bright and smooth with no traces of rust. There were words and images carved on it, the largest characters read-- ‘Gongjia Valley’.
There was still a ringing across the valley. At this moment, Gongjia Heng, standing next to the clock, let out a hearty laugh at the skies as if he had gone mad. When he was finally done laughing, he put down the clock’s hammer and looked around.
The mountains around were not as steep or bald as the ones at Xia valley. There were creepers and flowers blooming on cliff faces here.
However, neither of them looked at the flowers or the creepers. Instead, they were admiring the sunlight reflected by the bell onto the face of the cliff. There were patterns too.
These reflected rays made the valley more mysterious.
“Twenty years! Haha! It has been twenty years! I finally found it!”
Gongjia Heng followed the face of that cliff and found a bronze door. When he pushed it open, he first saw eighteen shiny bronze statues about five meters tall. Every bronze person’s posture, clothing and weapon in their hands were different. They held an axe, dagger, spear, sword, knife, bow, crossbow, arrow. The ones that held protective gear included armour, a shield etc. Anyone in this industry would know that many of these were ancient.
There were carvings on the walls around them too. They were words left by the Xia ancestors for their descendants.
“Talent. Attitude. Opportunity.” Gongjia Heng read one of the lines aloud, frowning. And then he grinned.
Most people only placed emphasis on the first two- or just talent. However, to Xia people, all three were important. At least to the ancestors. Xia people did not want to pass down their knowledge to people with talent but not the right attitude.
In terms of talent, Gongjia Heng admitted he was not as good as the ones who had arrived before him. These were elites of their people who came here all on their own. Their names would be recorded in history, even until now, many people would have heard of their names.
Compared to them, he did not have the talent, but he knew how to take an opportunity!
The key factor to his success was definitely Shao Xuan. Without Shao Xuan, Gongjia Heng knew he probably wouldn’t find this place in another twenty years. This probably counted as luck and opportunity. It wasn’t cheating. After letting go of the discomfort in him, he felt much better. His dad once said that a craftsman must have skin as thick as a cauldron. Gongjia Heng felt like he had to learn from his dad.
“Shao Xuan, I’ll be going in first. You wait outside, all the fruits here are edible,” said Gongjia Heng.
“Can I go in and check the place out?”
Heng smiled. “You’re not a Xia, you can’t come in.”
This was also why when people other than the Xia’s came here, they still weren’t able to learn about the Xia secrets. They couldn’t enter!
“You can try if you don’t believe me. Just don’t force your way in, that would just bring harm to you. You can take a small step inside.” Since Shao Xuan had been a huge help, Heng did not plan to burn his bridges here either. However, there were some things that were not up to him to decide.
Shao Xuan walked up to the bronze door and peered inside. It looked like the inside of the mountain was dug empty and converted into a shrine.
Like what Heng said, he only took one small step inside.
The moment his foot touched the ground, he felt a strong sense of danger, every hair on his neck stood up. His totemic patterns appeared in an instant and all his muscles were tense.
At the same time, cloud patterns appeared on all eighteen statues. They were supposed to be non-living objects, and yet, in one second, they looked alive like eighteen five-meter-tall advanced totemic warriors. The power they exuded was suffocating to Shao Xuan. It felt like there was an actual object squashing him, the tension in the air felt like their weapons would be used against him mercilessly!
One step was enough to create such a tensed atmosphere. Right now, the eighteen statues were the only visible threats. Shao Xuan knew there were other weapons to stop outsiders from entering. The Xia definitely didn’t just have statues.
“The power of the shaman?” Shao Xuan felt a power similar to a shaman.
This was just one step. With another step, the sense of non-belonging here would be stronger. Shao Xuan bore this pressure alone, it was exhausting.
Gongjia Heng was about to tell Shao Xuan to step back when he saw a flash of fire on Shao Xuan.
Flames shot out from his bone ornaments, wrapping around Shao Xuan. At the same time, it blocked off the tension from the eighteen statues.
Not sure if they had felt Shao Xuan’s resistance because the cloud patterns on the eighteen statues were even more obvious now. The looming threat was even more grave. It was as if they had stepped into a battlefield. They were just five meters but it felt like they were giants!
The atmosphere within the room changed immediately. The air was frozen.
Gongjia Heng was a true Xia, standing behind the eighteen statues. Yet he could still feel the pressure. He looked at Shao Xuan in surprise. This kid could trigger such a huge response from the statues?! The more powerful an outsider was, the stronger the response would be. Just from one small step, Shao Xuan had triggered a huge change in the space.
It was just one regular step. He did not jump or take a large step. And it was already like that?! Gongjia Heng felt like he had overstepped some boundary and almost slapped himself. He shouldn’t have let Shao Xuan try, this kid was too peculiar.
On the other side, as the eighteen statues changed their energetic stances, Shao Xuan did the same.
The flames around Shao Xuan roared and shot up tall- as tall as the statues. At the same time, a vague silhouette of a person formed from the flames. This giant held up a palm as if to stop the statues.
Two can play at this game!
Both sides went through another energetic battle.
The tension could kill.
Although the threat was not directed at Heng, he was still very uncomfortable. He clenched his teeth hard, feeling all his bones starting to shake. If this continued, his entire being would just explode before he had a chance to see what his ancestors had!
He looked at Shao Xuan. This was the person fighting against the eighteen statues. Although it looked like a tough position to be in, he seemed to fare a lot better than Heng. Heng felt like he was going to suffocate, it was getting more and more difficult to breathe.
But this was not the end. The energetic clash rose another level, a buzzing could be heard from the statues. They felt like warriors on a battlefield, about to start their massacre. The totemic patterns on Shao Xuan’s body turn brighter, the giant rising even taller.
The tension was too much.
Gongjia Heng was drenched in sweat. Veins bulged from his arms, he felt like his veins were about to explode. He wanted to speak but found that he couldn’t. Like the blood in his veins were also frozen in time.
Where was this kid from? This was a regular warrior from the Flaming Horn tribe? Bullshit! Even a genius would not cause this! He hoped Shao Xuan wasn’t some demon!
Just as Gongjia Heng felt like he wasn’t going to make it, he saw the bronze statues vibrate. It must have been a hallucination.
However, in the next moment, the tension was gone. Shao Xuan took his foot back.
The frozen air suddenly flowed naturally again.
Gongjia Heng looked at Shao Xuan at the door. He still looked normal. Although his breathing was quickened, he didn’t look pathetic at all.
“Alright, I tried,” said Shao Xuan.
Heng’s face twitched. Tried?! I almost died!
“Will you promise not to force yourself in?”
Now Gongjia Heng was truly worried about Shao Xuan using brute force. In the past, he could say confidently that no outsider could safely step into Gongjia Mountain. However, he had his doubts now. Even if Shao Xuan couldn’t make it inside, if he forced himself in, it could shake the entire mountain. He didn’t know what would happen then.
“Don’t worry, I won’t.” Shao Xuan turned to leave.
When he saw Shao Xuan leave, Heng wiped off the sweat on his face. The muscles in his thighs were stiff, he could barely walk.