As they travelled, Shao Xuan could clearly feel the bone ornaments weakening.
In the beginning, the seawater was a distance away from them. After that, the open-air sections shortened in the front and back so the troop had to shorten their lines and squeeze together.
It was the first time they left the land they’d lived in for so long, the first time they walked on such a peculiar path. After the awe had worn off, all there was left was anxiety.
They feared the tall walls of water on both sides, worried that the bone ornaments might not have enough strength to sustain the journey, worried that the walls would collapse and drown them all. They felt how small they were in this vast ocean. Their future was uncertain.
There were many in this tribe who did the same thing every day. They had their daily routines. But now? They didn’t know what would happen. However, if the tribe was here, everyone was here. They were willing to die together.
Shao Xuan looked ahead. Although he could only see seawater before him, he felt a sense of familiarity.
His first slave, that blue beetle was there. Other than the beetle, there was one more…
The excitement in his eyes grew.
“Soon! Don’t worry, there are people there to welcome us,” said Shao Xuan.
He sensed Caesar’s presence. Compared to Sapphire the beetle, the connection between Shao Xuan and Caesar was weaker. He only sensed it because he was close by. This meant Caesar was at the end of the path.
If Caesar was there, then all the other Flaming Horns must be there. The shaman and Ao would never let Caesar here alone.
Shao Xuan told the shamaness, Zheng Luo and others about what he sensed. Everyone perked up with this news.
Why were they so worried? They were worried they might not be accepted. Everyone already knew many secrets, they knew that there was another part of the Flaming Horn tribe, that the two branches were initially one. Now, they will unite as a complete Flaming Horn tribe.
As they approached their destination, the walls of seawater changed too. They gradually shortened as the sea became shallower.
The path was much brighter.
The bone ornaments’ powers were still weakening. In front, the journey was entirely supported by the bone ornament’s powers. At their breaking point, if no one took over, the path would grow more and more narrow until everyone drowned.
Shao Xuan knew the ancestors could only help so much. After this, it was up to them.
Since he brought them into the ocean, he had to bring them out too.
Taking out a fire crystal, just like how he pushed snow, he pushed the water apart. It was an exhausting task, he would never have been able to survive. He relied on a fire crystal to replenish his energy.
Just as the people at the back of the line were ready to drown, they realised that the water, which was about to touch their heels, was pushed away once again. The wall of water was now half a step away from him.
Knowing that Shao Xuan was doing this, the shamaness passed a pouch with fire crystals to Zheng Luo. She was still carried on someone’s back since she wouldn’t be able to keep up with their speed. She could not walk so Zheng Luo was tasked with replenishing the fire crystals.
When Shao Xuan exhausted the powers within one fire crystal, Zheng Luo would pass him another.
On the other end of the tunnel, on a cliff.
The Flaming Horn party had already arrived. The swarm of insects had scared them but they didn’t expect that one large beetle from the swarm to lead Caesar here. The people all followed them here.
“This was where Ah Xuan fell?” asked Guihe.
The two high-ranked leaders of the tribe, Guihe and Ta had fought to come on this trip. Since they were both major leaders, one of them had to stay with the tribe. In the end, because Guihe had a bird that could help them survey their surroundings in the air, he was sent with the troop while Ta stayed at the village.
Chacha had disappeared for a very long time, no one could find it. Now, Guihe’s snow-white falcon was the only one who could help them scout and survey their surroundings.
“Must be here.” Ao grew more upset as he thought about how Shao Xuan was forced to jump off here. However, at this point, Snow Plains City and Fire Mound City no longer existed. There was only the King of the Desert, Yan Ling.
All the Golden Armours of Snow Plain City were killed.
“So we’ll just wait here?” asked guihe.
Ao looked at Caesar, who sat at the edge of the cliff. “We’ll wait here.”
Caesar was staring at the ocean. Would Shao Xuan come from the waters?!
Ao and the rest didn’t understand but all they could do was wait. They could even go down the cliff and spear some fish for food. If they saw giant fish, they wouldn’t swim. They could provoke beasts in the forest but not water because they would be at a disadvantage underwater.
Days passed but they did not see anyone jump out of the water. Until one day, Caesar started howling, facing the ocean.
One of the tribesmen, who was scaling a fish, dropped what he was doing and came to the edge of the cliff.
“Come look at this, what’s that?!”
“Is that fire?”
“Nonsense, how could there be a fire in the ocean…. Hey, I think it could be fire!”
Everyone came to stand at the edge of the cliff, forming a long line.
“Why would there be a fire in the sea? Is that Ah Xuan’s doing?” Guihe was very puzzled. There were clearly flames on the surface of the blue ocean. They were obviously not reflections of the sun!
Caesar howled once again, pacing its four legs on the ground impatiently. It wanted to run forward but it was a pity it couldn’t fly. All it could do was wait impatiently here.
“There, are those people?”
As the fire in the ocean approached land, they saw something moving among the gaps of the flames. Not just that, every Flaming Horn tribesman could feel a strong emotion rising, a sense of joy and passion in their mind’s totemic flames. And they weren’t at war. The totemic flames were abnormally active, as if anticipating something great. They could clearly feel like a missing part of themselves would be filled soon.
Ao thought about what the shaman said before he left, and these sensations. His heart raced, his palms sweaty. He craned his neck, staring straight ahead.
Ao, Guihe and the rest stared at the approaching flames intently, not sensing something behind them.
Someone bumped into several warriors. they nudged their elbows back, annoyed.
“Stop it! You’re going to push me off..” just as he spoke, he sensed something odd. Something was blocking the light from behind. When he turned his head, he saw a block.
The warrior’s face twisted as he moved aside to make way for the giant beetle.
Everyone in front quickly made way for it too. They weren’t usually afraid of giant beasts of this size, they hunted many fearsome beasts a lot larger than this beetle. However, this was different. This was the commander of the swarm of beetles. If they provoked it, perhaps it would command its army of beetles to attack… and that would not be a good thing.
The giant blue beetle looked straight ahead. Then, out of nowhere, it spread its wings.
Everyone turned to look at the blue beetle as it fluttered its wings, flying towards the flame.
Everyone stood in stunned silence.
Aargh! The guy can fly!
After a thought, Guihe made his falcon follow the beetle.
Shao Xuan was holding on, using all his might to control the tunnel. He had fire crystals but it was still exhausting. He was almost at his breaking point, every muscle screamed. But the land was close! He could smell the sand and dust in the air.
Sensing something, he forgot about his sweat and looked up.
Everyone heard the sound of vibrating wings and looked up.
Shao Xuan grinned when he saw the familiar block of blue.
“Sapphire. Long time no see.”
When he heard Shao Xuan, Zheng Luo gestured for everyone to put down their weapons.
Everyone watched as the enormous beetle lowered itself, following above Shao Xuan’s head.
There was also a screech in the skies. It wasn’t Chacha but Guihe’s white falcon. If it was here, then Guihe and the rest were here too.
With this information, Shao Xuan finally relaxed. The fire crystal in his fist had already turned into white powder. He gestured for Zheng Luo to pass another fire crystal.
“We’re here. There’s only the last section left. Hold on! Our brothers are here to greet us!” As he spoke, Shao Xuan sent Sapphire to bring the weakest elderly and children up to the coast first.
Zheng Luo first chose three people- one old person and two children. They were not doing well, severely ill. They had to be carried, for they were already unconscious.
Receiving Shao Xuan’s command, Sapphire grabbed the three people. Its first reaction was to roll these people up into balls and roll them away. Then after some thought, it realised these were live people. It had never carried live humans before.
A weight lifted as they watched Sapphire carry the three away. At the same time, they sensed friendliness from this region, like they were meeting their blood once again.
On the cliff, Ao had already received the three people and then sent his people to care for them.
“Where’s the rope? Prepare some rope!” roared Ao.
“Chief, there isn’t enough rope. We used some to catch fish.”
After some thought, he looked down at the leather clothes tired around his waist. Since it was hot out, most of them were topless, only putting on clothes at night when it was colder. He took it off. “Use this if we don’t have rope!”
If one shirt wasn’t enough, one thousand shirts would definitely suffice!
All of them were wearing fearsome beast skin- flexible but strong.
As they tied the clothes together, Ao rubbed his reddened eyes. He felt like crying.
The flames were approaching land, the people on the path could see the people on the cliff.
We’ve been separated for too many years.