“What?” Ao asked, puzzled.
Shao Xuan told him about the situation on the other side of the sea. The past winter was very odd, both coasts showed extreme weather on both sides of the spectrum!
As one side froze, the other side was so hot they didn’t want to wear clothes.
As he spoke, Ao fell deep in thought. Shao Xuan’s descriptions were worse than the climate they faced at the large river.
No one was settled knowing that the climate had changed. Although they had many speculations, they hadn’t expected it to be this serious.
“No matter what, it’s fine if everything remains the same after this. If this year’s winter becomes hotter, we will have to make preparations accordingly.” Even warm weather was not a good thing. Plants would loose their original rhythm of life, the habits of forest beasts would be ruined. If they wanted to maintain their harvests and stores, they had to be prepared.
However, there was about half a year more- there were more pressing matters.
The whole troop rested and regrouped for three days. They could not stay for long because food and water were constant problems. If this continued, the situation would worsen.
Several beasts helped carry a portion of the patients. Ao also instructed some people to carry the patients. Even if they were tired, they were still in better condition than the people who just crossed the ocean.
Even if the situation wasn’t the best, everyone was still in a good mood. Joy was motivation enough.
Shao Xuan got Sapphire to let its army follow behind them, travelling underground. This was because the beetles would scare other desert beasts away. While in the past they didn’t want to meet the beasts, now they needed food!
That was why when a large scorpion appeared, everyone’s eyes turned green. When the fierce scorpion suddenly felt a wave of more intense aggression, its waving tail froze and it turned to run.
Tens of people sprinted out. The scorpion didn’t stand a chance.
Guihe and the rest wanted to show off in front of their brother tribe. “Let us do it, you all back off! We’ll do it ourselves! You rest, we should be the ones serving you!”
While Duo Kang and the rest said, “You don’t have to, really! We can do it! We haven’t hunted in so long, we’re itching to hunt!”
The scorpion was not enough for the whole tribe. Even the several beasts felt like minor characters in their show. Their cool, majestic stance was ruined by that beetle, until now, they hadn’t had a chance to do anything.
Most of the time, the tribe waited until the sun dimmed before travelling. During the day, they rested.
It was impossible for such a large group of people to avoid attention.
When Flaming Horn entered the desert, Rock Hill had already sent spies to watch them. However, they encountered the insect swarm and couldn’t follow. They sent a report to their leaders and stood guard in several points, preventing tribesmen from robbing them again. If they hadn’t kept their important goods first, the tribesmen would’ve taken more.
During the desert wars, many tribesmen took the opportunity of the chaos to rob them of metal weapons. These desert folk had a very bad impression of tribesmen. That was why they grew cautious when they saw a thousand tribesmen enter the desert like that. In the past, they had seen tribesmen but not on this scale. They even brought beasts!
Now, they watched Flaming Horn again but did not see the insect swarm. Suitable conditions for spying. Too bad there was a very inconvenient white bird so it was difficult to watch from the skies too. They could only follow from the distance. But… Why did their numbers grow so suddenly?! They were even more alert now. Since when did such a large group appear in the desert? Unless they recruited several groups of wanderers in the desert?!
They had to report this immediately.
Flaming Horn also knew there were spies but it would be difficult to catch them. They didn’t have the strength to attack either. All they could do was leave as soon as possible. As long as these people did not provoke them, they did not want to waste their energy on battling.
“Eh? Look!” A Flaming Horn warrior with his clothes covering his head looked at a sand dune nearby.
There were some organisms walking on the long sand dunes.
Most of the people wanted to rush forward and slaughter them for food but Shao Xuan stopped them.
If he wasn’t Shao Xuan, they would’ve ignored him. Why would they pass up on food? The chief hadn’t even said no, why would you?
But this was Shao Xuan. On both sides of the ocean, he had a very special position. Although his rank was below the shamaness and the chief, he was way more influential than both. Especially after they crossed the ocean, among the Flaming Horn tribe, no one dared object to his words. They would be smacked if they did.
That was why the ones who ran excitedly with their knives turned and walked back obediently. Shoa Xuan must have his reasons for stopping them.
Shao Xuan lifted a hand to block out the sun. He saw the long line of camels and grinned. He wondered how this group of camels could live until now, safely as such a large group.
“Mud! You’re still alive!”
Yep, the leader of the row of camels on the sand dune had a white face, two white, short ears, and dark brown marks on its hump and neck. This was the camel Yang Sui gave Shao Xuan.
The high temperatures distorted his vision a little. Blocking out the sun, he looked at ‘Mud’, at the front of the line. It was walking over with its group.
Mud cried, its tuft of hair on its head fluttering in the breeze as if it was greeting Shao Xuan.
When Shao Xuan yelled ‘Mud’, Tuo and Lei recalled the camel’s history and explained to everyone.
When Shao Xuan left Fallen Leaves City, he let Mud go because he couldn’t bring it along. It only had a leather pouch filled with water hanging around its neck. The pouch was long empty now. It hung open, most of it bitten to bits.
Without the pouch, Shao Xuan wouldn’t have recognised it.
Mud came to walk next to the large beetle. Shao Xuan sensed that Sapphire seemed to be familiar with Mud, speculating that the reason why this bunch of camels could remain so safe during this warring era was because of Sapphire. With the swarm of beetles, who would still want to hunt the camels?
“Let’s go?” Shao Xuan patted Mud’s neck. Although it was thin, it was still energetic. Mud was very lucky to be alive.
Shao Xuan didn’t know if that was a yes or a no. He let a few warriors sit on the camels but it did not object. These camels had been reared by humans, escaping the slave master’s cities during the war. Wild camels would not be this friendly.
“Bring the injured and the sick over, let the camels carry them.” Shao Xuan fed them some water and felt that they were a lot friendlier now.
With the camels helping out, it was much easier for everyone.
Sapphire kept pacing around Shao Xuan, determined to stay close even in the face of Caesar’s gnashing teeth.
Shao Xuan knew what it wanted. After its third lock was removed, there were still two locks on its body. Every slave wanted to be set free! Plus during two years of war, Sapphire had sustained several injuries. Without its army, it would not have survived. It wondered if humans would come back to attack it once the situation in the desert stabilised. The swarm of beetles posed a serious problem to the slave masters, especially the Shi family, now in power. Shi Shu knew Sapphire was on Shao Xuan’s side, he would never let a threat remain in the desert.
Sapphire and the beetle army were used to the desert climate and environment. They liked the sand, they would be uncomfortable in other places. To ensure Sapphire’s safety, the best way was to make it more powerful.
Hence, when they travelled closer to the edge of the desert, Shao Xuan brought Sapphire to the back of a sand dune during their rest time to try unlocking its fourth lock.
After he left the desert, he didn’t know when he would come again. If this was successful, he could further ensure that the beetle would survive.
He spent a lot of totemic and inheritance power just to unlock the fourth lock. He had recovered some of his energy after leaving the ocean. Since he could accurately wield the power of the bone ornaments now, he still succeeded in opening its fourth lock even though it was difficult.
After that, Sapphire burrowed deep into the sand. Shao Xuan could sense that it would fall into a deep sleep for a long time. The fourth lock was more difficult than the third. It was also a ‘block’. He could only unlock it for the beetle. Sapphire would have to rely on its own strength to survive the unlocking.
As Sapphire sank into the sand, the rest of the beetles never appeared again. For a very long time, the beetle swarmed never appeared in the desert again.
On the fourth day after Sapphire’s lock was unlocked, the tribe finally stepped out of the desert.
The troop planned to rest near the Rain Tribe, then get some food.
Yang Sui had received reports about a large troop approaching Rain tribe, very worried that it might be a group of attackers form the desert. However, as he looked closer, he realised they weren’t slave masters. He saw familiar faces!
Yang Sui finally relaxed and grinned. When he saw the group of camels next to the troop, he recognised ‘Mud’ walking at the front and grinned wider. However, his delight slowly turned to surprise, then shock.
Huh?! They went in with a thousand people, why did they come out with so many?! What the hell happened?!