“What’s going on? At this point, Qingfeng should have already caught up to Flaming Horn. Don’t they usually brag about being the fastest trackers ever?” said the girl, displeased.
“The people of Qingfeng decide to temporarily halt all movement,” said Yi Zong. That was what the letter said.
Were they ‘halting’ or is it because they couldn’t catch up?
Was the quality of Qingfeng falling?
The Qingfeng Group was special in a way that if one of their feelers was chopped off, they would retract all their antennae, then watch quietly from afar.
“So this means Qingfeng encountered something unexpected?” said the young man.
What would something unexpected be?
The people in the carriage could not imagine. Yi Zong could not get an explanation from his divination either.
“Then we can only ask Qingfeng later.”
Within the forest.
As they travelled forward, the tribesmen had long left familiar regions. At least Shao Xuan had an impression of it, and his map drawn from memory was used as a reference.
Tribesmen rarely came here unless there were special circumstances. When he first arrived, Shao Xuan met the Taihe tribesmen only because they were chasing after the long-clawed monkey.
Shao Xuan used two days to complete this journey but the entire tribe took seven. At least they’d sped up a lot as they got used to the rhythm of travel.
“We’ll be arriving at the mountain soon. Everyone, remember to prepare enough water. It will get drier later,” reminded Shao Xuan.
When he finished, he took out some rope. These days, he conducted readings daily. There were so many people and this involved their entire tribe. He must take it seriously, even if his readings did not yield any results.
In the past, so many consecutive readings would leave him exhausted and in a daze. Perhaps after controlling the bone ornaments, or some other reason, readings became much more effortless. However, there were still many matters he could not conduct readings for.
The tribesmen were used to Shao Xuan’s readings. Every time he took out his rope, Zheng Luo and Duo Kang would come over and wait aside.
When he completed his knots, Zheng Luo asked, “What does it say?”
“We have to be careful tonight,” said Shao Xuan.
Zheng Luo’s expression changed. “Will someone come tonight?”
These few days, they had met other people along the way. If it weren’t for Shao Xuan’s many traps, they would have met even more. It was very rare for them to come at night though.
Zheng Luo got up and paced around. “We have to find a place to let the tribe settle down. We don’t want to be unprepared.”
The dark night was a difficult environment to battle in. It might result in many injuries.
“Why don’t we speed up. We’ll definitely be able to arrive at the mountain. I remember there’s shelter there,” suggested Shao Xuan.
There were not many mountains here, nor places to hide.
“Alright, we’ll do that.”
The entire tribe left again. Shao Xuan and Zheng Luo discussed their plan.
During the evening, the entire tribe arrived at the tall mountain. It felt like crossing a border. On one side of the mountain, it was moist with many rivers. The other side was arid.
There were no caves in the mountain but there were gaps enough for weaker members like the elderly, children and non-totemic-awakened girls to hide. This would prevent them from being ambushed.
The sun slowly disappeared. The sky darkened.
Zheng Luo and his men stood on the mountain, watching the forest below. “They should be here soon.”
“Mm. Have you all distributed the things? You all know what to do?” Shao Xuan asked everyone behind.
“Yes!” replied the warriors. Although they didn’t know why Shao Xuan wanted them to do these things, at this point, they only had to follow instructions.
Zheng Luo rolled his shoulders, waving his arms as he stretched. He looked coldly at the forest. Flaming Horn rarely bullied anyone, even during battle, they respected the rules of the forest. Around the cities, unless they were provoked, they did not cause trouble. Yet there were always so many people who tested their patience. These people chasing after them, weren’t they blatantly going to rob the tribe?
You think we can be bullied so easily?
I’ll kill them all!
Anyone who fell into Zheng Luo’s hands would be killed instantly.
Shao Xuan looked up at the darkening skies. “Let’s go.”
He ran into the forest first with Zheng Luo and the rest behind.
The forest at night was pitch-black. There was no breeze, so quiet they could only hear insects and the occasional bird.
However, there was a point of light. Some insects were attracted to this light source.
Shao Xuan leaned on a tree, tossing the glowing crystal in the air.
Then it came to an abrupt stop as Shao Xuan turned to look at a spot not far away.
“Might as well come out if you’re here already!”
The glowing rock was thrown with force, forming an arc of light in the air.
There was the sound of shaking rope.
A dense shower of wooden thorns shot out into the forest.
They’d arrived not long ago so Shao Xuan could only make simple traps. But it was enough.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
There were sounds of wooden thorns hitting hard objects. Black silhouettes rushed out of the dark forest, straight at Shao Xuan.
These people were all wrapped in black, revealing only their eyes. In the day, if one looked into their eyes, you’d realise they had the eyes of a nocturnal animal. Pupils dilated to the maximum as they rushed out. They were not afraid of the dark because they could still see!
Shao Xuan unleashed his totemic power to the maximum. His muscles, bones and blood were all filled with totemic power as his power was unleashed like awakening a beast in a deep sleep. It bared its teeth.
Shao Xuanw as too fast, attacking accurately without the help of the glowing crystal. His sword radiating a killing aura, intimidating his enemies.
The first person had a bad feeling, every hair on his head stood on its end. The sword in his hand vibrated upon impact as if he had just hit a boulder. He wanted to parry away this force but he realised that the more he resisted, the larger the pressure pressing on his arms. If that was a boulder, after a moment, it felt more like a mountain. Shocking!
They knew Flaming Horn was strong, but not like that!
Just with one collision, the person was thrown back, his arms numb from the vibrations. He had not even used any of his skills yet. A cold blade slashed as quick as lightning in the silence of the night.
The person, who was barely standing, now sprayed blood from deep slashes across his neck and waist.
The moment Shao Xuan attacked, Zheng Luo and the rest also sprung to action.
When their partner fell, the people in black were slightly shocked but maintained their confidence. They were the kings of the night, they loved hunting in the dark. Their eyes were well-adapted to darkness, they could still see clearly in pitch-black environments.
So what if they were strong? Did Flaming Horn think they could beat them in the dark? Laughable!
However, just as they were about to reach the Flaming Horns, they heard a thud.
A huge cloud of pungent smoke formed instantly. Forget about their irritated noses, most importantly, the smoke had blocked their vision!
In the night, the Flaming Horns had limited vision and movement. All they could do was rely on their hearing and senses. They relied on their hearing when they could not see, hence they were trained in their other senses.
These robbers had powerful night vision but with one ‘smoke bomb’ made by Taihe, everyone had a level playing field now. No one could see a thing! It was a free for all!
Taihe tribe had gifted them these as a parting gift, placed in the same sack as other herbs. The shamaness had found these when she looked through the herbs.
These smoke bombs were made from a secret formula. The Taihe ancestors had learned this technique from wild animals and then did their own research. If they met with an undefeatable beast during hunts, they would throw a smoke bomb to escape. Although it only stunned the animal temporarily, at critical moments, one second could determine life or death.
In the past, Flaming Horn had asked for these many times and Taihe never agreed, stating high prices. In the end, Flaming Horn decided not to buy any out of anger. We’ll hunt using our own skills!
They didn’t expect Taihe to gift them two hundred smoke bombs upon leaving, they were very generous! These things were hard to make, not every Taihe hunter had one either.
They hadn’t used any along the way. Now that Shao Xuan predicted a night ambush, they decided to use them. If their opponents chose to attack at night, it was likely they had special night vision. Shao Xuan had heard the Black Bears talk about them. There was a group of people who specialised in night assassinations called the Night Tribe.
After meeting them here, Shao Xuan could confirm their identities. Even if these weren’t the Night tribe, even if the smoke couldn’t stop them, smoke was definitely a distraction. Plus, the pungent smell would stick on them. Without washing, this smell would linger for a long time. Everyone would be able to sniff out each other’s location.