“What now?”

“Attack again?”

“What if… Wait a bit and then see what happens next?

King City’s army stood on the cracked ground, rows and rows of soldiers waiting. Although their opponent’s flame giant was already gone, Shao Xuan was engulfed in flames. No one was sure if the flame giant would appear again. 

Everyone stared at Shao Xuan in horror. That was extremely weird and shocking! It all happened in just a moment’s change, the flame giant was extremely overbearing to everyone everywhere. Even the ones far away could feel the intimidation and danger radiating off the fire. 

“What was that?!” asked the girl next to Yi Zong.

“I don’t know.” Although Yi Zong exhausted himself trying to look calm, he was absolutely horrified. He felt as if he was personally hit. Although they were too far away to suffer physically, he felt a huge impact on his mental state! Forget about conducting a reading, he could barely focus his attention on anything. 

Nothing happened for the moment. On the other side, when Shao Xuan realised his opponents did not plan to retaliate immediately, he turned around and walked towards Zheng Cheng and the rest. 

The Flaming Horn tribe had already travelled far. They’d entered the semi-desert region already, this bunch needed to catch up. 

“Let’s go first!” Shao Xuan called all the people over, who were still stunned. He ran towards where the tribesmen headed. 

“Sigh, Shao Xuan, just now… what the hell was that? Was that the power of our ancestors? Can you do it again?” Zheng Cheng looked at him in anticipation. If he could wield power like that, then they did not need to worry about King City’s army anymore. 

Looking at the hopeful eyes around him, Shao Xuan shook his head with a bitter smile. “I can’t.”

That sudden explosion of power was more successful than he imagined. That was also because he had never unleashed it to this extent before. The stress he endured during that was bigger than ever, all his energy was used up. Although he looked like he could walk now, every muscle hurt. He could do it one more time, maybe. Just once. If he had to do it a third time, he would not be able to walk afterwards. 

“King City… Will they still come after us?” asked Duo Kang. 

“Yes. They just won't’ move for the moment, not immediately. We need to take this chance to leave quickly or the consequences could be dire. I’m guessing that King City still has reinforcements,” said Shao Xuan. 

“They still have reinforcements?!” Not just Zheng Cheng and Duo Kang, everyone else didn’t understand. Just for one Flaming Horn tribe, King City would pour in so much resources to kill them? All of what? None of them believed it was just for their salt and fire crystals because at this point, King City had never mentioned them. All they did was attack the moment they met, the violent and angry kind that meant they wanted everyone dead. 

“All I’m saying is, it’s best we hurry along as fast as we can,” said Shao Xuan. 

The buffer team maintained a distance between the tribe and themselves to prevent King City from coming again. As they entered the semi-desert region, they saw very few people. Threats greatly decreased to. They just had to watch out for King City’s army. The tribesmen ahead had enough manpower to defend themselves against the small tribes ahead. 

Everyone watched as the Flaming Horn tribesmen left. King City had not given another command to chase after them. They remained in the same spot, regaining their composure. 

“How long till Chaoqiu and Feng City arrive?” Yi Zong asked the people around him. 

“Soon. At most, two days. Tomorrow night at best,” said a young man, whose clothing had the ‘chao’ character embroidered on it. “The Flaming Horns are impressive indeed, definitely a huge threat. Especially that Shao Xuan guy. A person like that must be killed. It’s for the best.”

“You’re right. If we let them leave, I’m worried they’ll be the second thorn,” muttered Yi Zong as he watched Flaming Horn leave. 

The young man from the Chao family’s ear twitched. 

“Second thorn?” Chaoqiu City was the furthest from King City. Since King City had personally visited them, he first followed their army over. Their men would arrive later. Perhaps he could receive some benefit from this. To him, salt and fire crystals were valuable. He thought everyone thought the same but the situation was more complex than he imagined. 

As one of the great six tribes, Chaoqiu tribe’s Chao family did not care much about many matters. Other than some tribesmen who stayed in King City, the rest of the Chaoqiu tribe stayed in Chaoqiu City, guarding their plot of land. Sometimes, they’d get some supplies from small tribes nearby. They heard some news about Flaming Horn too. 

“You mean there’s already the first thorn? Who is it?” asked the Chao man. 

The rest, including the girl clad in leather from the Ji family, also leaned closer. They had not heard of this before. Who was the ‘first thorn? 

Yi Zong did not speak. There were secrets he would not tell them. He was one of the most talented members of his family, hence he was also a core member of the inner circle. There were some secrets only this inner circle knew. 

The girl looked around and dragged Yi Zong aside. 

“Hey, Ji Lu, where do you think you’re dragging Yi Zong to?!” yelled someone. 

Ji Lu ignored them all. She was the royal family, Ji family’s descendant. Her grandfather was the lord of the city, her father was his eldest son. She could likely take over the throne one day so her rank in this place was very high. She was qualified to know a lot. 

“You may speak now, it’s just us here. What did you mean by the first and second thorn?” asked the girl. 

Yi Zong thought for a moment. “Do you know what happened to King City a thousand  years ago?” 

“A thousand years ago?” Ji Lu obviously didn’t expect Yi Zong to bring up something that happened so long ago. However, to plot against Flaming Horn, she had heard about many incidents recently. She also read through the ancestral records and knew that the Flaming horn appeared a thousand years ago. 

“I only know that the Flaming Horn came from the ocean a thousand years ago. Some people left from this side too,” said Ji Lu. 

“Do you know who was among the people who left?”

“I don’t know this. I asked my father but he wouldn’t tell me.”

Yi Zong looked towards where Flaming Horn left. “That year, the people who left were mostly people who were banished by King City. Two of them were very important figures. One was Mu family’s Muhan, another is from our Yi family, Yi Xiang. 

Muhan? Yi Xiang? These names were foreign to Ji Lu. 

Yi Zong continued. “If that year, Mu Han had successfully taken the position as patriarch, then the Mu family wouldn’t be consisted of the current people. I heard at the time, Mu Han had been fighting for the patriarch position but failed, hence was banished out of King City.”

“What about Yi Xiang?”

“Yi Xiang… In our Yi family’s ancestral records, he was known as ‘the unlucky one’. Since birth, our ancestors did a reading for him and found him to be an unlucky person, a person who would bring disaster to the family. However, Yi Xiang seemed to always avoid getting in trouble, always surviving. In contrast, anyone who went against him would meet a terrible fate. 

After that, there was some internal chaos within the city. Yi family wanted to kill off Yi Xiang in secret but he suddenly disappeared.” When Yi Zong knew of Yi Xiang’s story, he thought it was a pity that such a prodigy would be called ‘the unlucky one’. Yi Xiang was a person who mastered all sorts of ancient divination skills. One of them was the lost art of knot divination. After him, no one truly mastered the art of knot divination. 

It was such a pity they lost a prodigy. 

“That year, due to the chaos within the city, many people were executed but many escaped too. I heard those people left together with Muhan. Yi Xiang was very likely to be with him too. When the entire city finally regained stability and people woke up from the chaos, the tunnel in the ocean had already sunken. That was also the point when Flaming Horn appeared. King City once tried to target them but due to the recent civil war, King City was barely stable. Hence they could not attack Flaming Horn immediately. They created many rumours to degrade the impression of Flaming Horn. In the end, Flaming Horn entered the forest, fading out of view and after many years, they were slowly forgotten by everyone.”

“I see,” sighed Ji Lu. She had wondered why King City would target Flaming Horn just because of the Fox tribe and the incident at the city gates. They weren’t the only reasons. 

“Why didn’t they attack sooner?” asked Ji Lu. 

“One, because they were often in the forest and rarely appeared in King City. Two, the current people in King City are unwilling to attack so easily.” 

If these were the nobles from a thousand years ago, they would’ve attacked long ago. However, after hundreds of years, the core members of the six families had changed, their values changed too. No one wanted to cause trouble, all they wanted was to earn and protect their money. If it weren’t for the Yi and Mu family constantly reminding them, these people would have forgotten about this threat under their noses. Every ten years, when Flaming Horn entered King City, the ones who caused conflict were often the Yi and Mu family. 

Ji Lu thought about the personality of these people in King City. it wasn’t like that at all. “But it’s been so many years. Muhan and your Yi family’s unlucky one should be dead long ago, no? Unless they’re like the king beast.”

“This is what we are worried about too. Perhaps Mu Han’s long dead but who’s to say he didn’t have children? At the time, Muhan had left with deep hatred. He swore to return and take revenge, stating that if he could not do it himself, he would send his children and grandchildren. As for Yi Xiang… Perhaps, he is still alive. He might be staying alive using a secret technique.” 

The rest of the people in King City knew about the ‘everything united must part, everything parted must unite’ prophecy. However, that was just the half of it. Only the Yi family knew this other part. 

The other part was a special reminder for the Yi family: “The Unlucky One” is still here.

On the surface, it looked like King City was attacking Flaming Horn. However, one could say it was actually the Yi and Mu family targeting them. The main party pushing for this attack was the Yi family. It was a rare opportunity. Hence, they used the city gate incident and the Fox tribe to persuade everyone else. The way they spread rumours was the same as what they did a thousand years ago. It was like borrowing a knife to commit murder*. 

[Idiom- to use someone else to do a dirty job for you] 

Several other young masters in the carriage were all here for fun. However, Yi Zong was here on a mission. He had to confirm whether Flaming Horn truly had divination powers. If so, what sort of divination powers? Was it related to Yi Xiang? If that was true, then the Yi family would destroy Flaming Horn no matter the cost. 

That year, the incident with Muhan, Yi Xiang and the rest was the equivalent of a thorn to the great six. Would Flaming Horn become the second thorn? If they didn’t pull out the thorn, they wouldn’t be able to sleep at night! 

“But what are the Flaming Horns doing there? That’s not a good place to settle down.” Ji Lu pulled out a simple map in confusion. “If they walked there, they’d arrive at the coast soon. If all of us join forces to surround them, they’d be forced to jump into the sea! Shao Xuan is powerful but I believe he won’t be able to maintain this stance!”

When he heard the phrase ‘jump into the sea’, Yi Zong’s eyes sprung open. He had a very bad feeling.