Last night, while Shao Xuan was asleep, he saw many people in his dream. Although he couldn’t see their faces clearly, he was sure he didn’t know any of them.
He saw someone carving words on the face of the cliff. The first person looked very defeated, carving the first line. Then, there were people who came and merely read the writings, while the rest took out their knives to carve a comment. Some looked serious, others were proud.
Other than this wall, there were other people carving words on other parts of the mountain too.
There were two carvings that had the most people visiting them. One was the discussion about forging and casting that he had read about. The other one was…
Shao Xuan approached another wall according to what he saw in his dream last night. There were many plants here, the vines were so thick they covered the entire wall.
He carefully cut off the vines to reveal the words underneath.
However, the difference was that the earliest line of words was written using some colour pigment. He didn’t know what pigment it was that could penetrate into the stone and still remain so clear after so long.
The writings were all sharp and clear. It was obvious these people were proud.
“I have observed the life and death of plants, the waters and the rocks. I have watched the skies and the lands prosper and wither. Today, I have understood the changes in the core seed. I am here to learn!”
What the guy implied was: I’m here to be a party pooper!
On the left of the sentence were a few rings drawn on the wall. The ring patterns were very complex, the distance between the centres of the rings were different. Shao Xuan liked it a lot.
While Shao Xuan did not understand the labels, he could read the words written later. One was bronze, another was tin, so the other rings represented other metals.
His heartbeat quickened as he read it. This was his first time so close to the secret of the core seed. Gongjia Heng merely talked about historical events. This was the direct truth.
So the core seed could cause changes within rocks. The people who worked with the core seed used the principals to generate ore.
According to this Yi Tribe person here, he could tell which ring an ore belonged to if you gave him a random piece. He could even tell you what ore was best for forging what wares. At the back, he signed off as ‘Yi Qu”.
This Yi Qu was from the Yi tribe, his writings gave Shao Xuan a deep understanding of how the core seed brought changes to the rocks and their final forms. Which metal was for what, the ratio of alloys for different products etc. All of them were listed out with their formulas too. However, the formulas were derived from the ring diagram and Shao Xuan couldn’t understand it for the moment.
He had to admit this person from the Yi tribe was a genius!
He thought the Yi people were just famous for divination but he didn’t know they were this advanced and intelligent!
After Yi Qu, there was a reply written by a Xia person. Compared to the complicated diagrams from before, this person wrote a simple word: “Bullshit!”
This word was directly carved on the wall, very large too. It was carved deep, obvious that the person was not in a good mood. They must have been frustrated because they couldn’t understand it.
However, there was another Yi person who wrote with a similar colour pigment. After the Xia person’s comment, he wrote, “I am deeply inspired by my dear elder’s words.”
This ‘elder’ the person referred to was Yi Qu. He even wrote his ‘inspirations’, which was an upgraded version of the ring diagram. The rings were closer together and each ring was of different thicknesses. There were many lines on the diagram for more accurate calculations
After this picture, there was another line. “These are my findings. As for the Xia’s comment above, he must be uninformed, I am too embarrassed to comment on this matter!”
There was another Xia person who came to comment on the upgraded version of the formulas and diagram. Just as the other Xia person, his comment was simple: “This is all bullshit!”
They did not understand the first diagram, of course they wouldn’t understand the upgraded version of it. But this did not stop them from mocking the Yi people.
After that, there were debates between Yi and Xia people, for example on the ratios of the metals, the best mining season etc. However, one side reasoned using theory while the other relied on actual experience.
The Xia people’s main values involved having actual experience and practice. They had a natural talent in casting and forging, far exceeding other tribes. Talent and consistency created very impressive products.
On the other hand, the Yi people were intelligent and sensitive to numbers and divination, always making calculations. They could calculate the ratio of bronze and tin in an alloy up to ten decimal points.
One emphasised on real-life experience, the other on theory. One loved physical activity, the other encouraged mental exercises.
One Xia person said: Yi people like beating around the bush, they think they can change the world if they move their lips.
A Yi person rebutted: This is called rigour, it is where true capability lies.
Xia: Dear Yi people, quit daydreaming or you’ll go insane. Move your hands! You’re all as thin as chickens, can you even hold a hammer?
A Yi person scoffed: I’m smart, I’m so much more powerful than you idiots banging your hammers. We only need to use our brain to squash you all! No matter what, we are one of the Great Six. We are more superior compared to the scattered, weak Xia people.
Xia: We are willing to sacrifice entire lifetimes to devote ourselves to the art of craftsmanship. We are able to utilise the core seed to its full potential, changing the world. What can you all do? You think you’re so smart because you can draw circles? Such a waste! Absolute idiots! It’s no wonder you were all conquered by the Ji tribe! Go back to ‘observing the life and death of plants, the waters and the rocks!’
Shao Xuan almost died from laughter as he read their debate. He took out a scroll and copied everything down. There was a lot of useful information in this, not just the complicated formulas and diagrams drawn by the Yi people but also the little details revealed in the debate. For example, the Yi people were physically weaker- they had the core seed but were not good at forging. They mostly relied on theories and calculations. Also, there was information on the Xia people’s history that Gongjia Heng hadn’t mentioned.
The argument mentioned techniques related to casting and forging. They were all very useful tricks so Shao Xuan copied every word down.
Shao Xuan had just witnessed a war of words spanning a thousand years.
The other wall could still be considered a scientific debate. While they were passionate people, they were mostly Xia people answering. The words used were a lot calmer. As for this part, if the people were physically here, spit would be flying everywhere.
Shao Xuan had understood the origins of the core seed, plus its uses. He also learned about the distribution of metals and techniques for forging. They were all recorded in his animal skin scroll. He remembered people putting stonewares around the core seed in the desert. Different stonewares would affect the core seed differently too. Shao Xuan had to look for more answers on this aspect.
Shao Xuan went looking for other walls but the carvings were all very casual. They were mostly by outsiders and useless. Most of them were to express the person’s frustrations. They had been through so much hardship to arrive here, just to be stopped outside the Gongjia Mountain. He wanted to destroy this place but could not fight against the protective properties here.
In general, Shao Xuan was still very satisfied with the knowledge he received from this trip.
During the next few days, while restoring his power of inheritance, he dug up all the useful things in the valley and also spent his time studying the complicated diagrams left behind by the Yi people. It didn’t matter if they were by the Yi or Xia people, they were all useful. Shao Xuan probably could merge their principles- merging theory and practical- and his casting skills should improve a lot.
Gongjia Heng occasionally came out, though he was often in a hurry. He would pluck some fruits and then, as if he was in a daze, he’d enter again. He ignored everything else in the outside world. Shao Xuan once noticed his arm jerked while plucking fruit. The fruit was squashed into pulp but he did not notice.
This man was too immersed in his world.
Ten more days passed. Shao Xuan felt most of his power of inheritance restored. He planned to try triggering the power within his ornaments once again.
To avoid creating too many craters, he planned to attempt again in the same crater.
This time, since he already had experience, he was more familiar with the process. Borrowing the pressure coming from the Xia shaman’s powers, he moved the power of inheritance within him to the ornaments so the flame giant appeared again. Shao Xuan tried walking but like before, he could not move much other than take a small step.
Then, the crater that was originally ten meters wide, one palm deep was now twenty meters wide and half a meter deep.
Before he left, Shao Xuan wrote a line of words along the wall of the crater, going in a circle: Thank you to the elders who have visited Gongjia Valley. This trip has been bountiful. ---Shao Xuan of Flaming Horn