Yang Sui was happy to see Shao Xuan again. Without Shao Xuan, the Rain Tribe’s shaman would not be where he was today, he would’ve been burned to death long ago.
Although he didn’t know what Shao Xuan had gone through for the past two years, it was already the best outcome for him to walk out of the desert alive.
Yang Sui’s childhood best friend, Mixu, was happier than Yang Sui. While she was indifferent to the Flaming Horns, she was happy to see Mud. When she last sent Mud off, she was prepared to not see it again. She didn’t know they’d meet again, plus Mud even brought back more camels!
Now that these camels were out of the desert, they were likely going to stay at Rain Tribe’s village now. They did not seem to want to leave either, obediently following Mixu as she pulled them away. Now, Sapphire was underground and they did not have any more protection. It was safer here than in the desert.
Yang Sui still got his people to prepare food and water although he didn’t understand why the number of Flaming Horns increased by four times.
“Thank you for these.” Shao Xuan passed the rain stones Ao borrowed back to him. As for the stone Yang Sui personally gave him, Yang Sui did not ask for it.
“Hahaha, you’re welcome. It’s great you came out alive. I heard the desert has been chaotic these two years.” Yang Sui passed the stones to his people.
When the Rain Tribe saw how every rain stone was returned, they finally relaxed and became much less hostile to the Flaming Horns. They lived in an arid region, rain stones were important to them.
There were too many people in Flaming Horn so there weren’t enough houses. Only the weaker patients were allowed to live indoors while everyone else sat on the floor outdoors.
“There won’t be any sandstorms these few days, you can rest here,” said Yang Sui.
Shao Xuan trusted Yang Sui’s weather predictions. If he said there weren’t going to be any storms, then there won’t be. He was the shaman after all.
Since they were starving, even hard biscuits were delicious. As they chewed on the dry, hard biscuits and sipped carefully on water, they felt alive once again.
“These people, they’re also part of Flaming Horn?” Yang Sui looked at all the people squeezed together and asked Shao Xuan. In the beginning, he thought they had brought a batch of slaves out of the desert but it didn’t look like it. They communicated too well with each other, as if they were part of the same group. Plus the new people had the aura of the fire seed. As the shaman, Yang Sui was very sensitive to these matters.
“Yes, they’re all part of Flaming Horn.” Shao Xuan sighed. “Right, so much happened in the desert and you all live so close, did they cause you any trouble?”
“Of course!” As he spoke, Yang Sui got angrier. Due to the desert wars, there were often people escaping out of the desert who caused problems to the rain tribe. Some people wanted to rob them, then several Rain tribesmen who left to look for rain stones went missing. They sent a search party several days later to the place where they usually searched for rain stones, only to found skeletons without much meat left on them. There was evidence of sharp weapon usage, they weren’t eaten by animals!
“Now, as long as slaves exit the desert, our tribe treats everyone as the enemy. It’s fine if they stay far away but if they come closer, our patrol team will kill them.” Yang Sui sighted. “I know living so near those slave masters is dangerous too. Actually, I’ve been thinking how nice it’d be if we could move our tribe further to a place with more fertile soil.” Some things couldn’t be solved with praying for rain. Those people in the desert were too dangerous, who knew what would happen?
As the Rain tribe’s shaman, Yang Sui carried a very heavy weight on his shoulders. He truly wanted his tribe to live in a better location but moving brought high risks. If it were safe, they would’ve moved a long time ago. No one was willing to take this risk. What if their fire seed extinguished midway? The Rain tribe wasn’t as strong in battle as Flaming Horn.
As if thinking of something, Shao Xuan’s expression changed and he gave Yang Sui a look. “Let’s talk about it?”
Knowing Shao Xuan wanted to say something secret, Yang Sui nodded and brought him into the Shaman’s house. No one was allowed to enter. Even the chief could not enter without his permission.
Yang Sui’s current situation was so different from before he became the shaman, thought Shao Xuan as he looked at the decorations in the house.
“You’re living a good life as the shaman.” Shao Xuan sat on a stone stool.
“It’s not too bad.” Yang Sui grinned. “Right, what did you want to say? Something important?”
“It’s important. I remember, two years ago, you said that your tribe’s fire seed had a problem.”
Shao Xuan knew about the secrets of the fire seed from Yang Sui too.
“Yes.” The Rain tribe’s shaman could pray for rain- the key element for this success wasn’t the shaman, but the fire seed. Due to the fire seed’s condition, no matter how they prayed, they couldn’t get any rain. Yang Sui told Shao Xuan it felt like the fire seed was asleep, yet the shaman could not wake it no matter what he did. Every year, it woke once during a large prayer ritual but never outside of it. Some years, it didn’t wake at all. This problem worsened over centuries.
This was why the Rain tribe went crazy when Yang Sui successfully prayed for rain two years ago.
“I found the reason,” said Shao Xuan, “And I know a solution.”
Yang Sui shuddered and looked at him incredulously. “What solution?!” If there was a solution, he was willing to take any risk to do it.
Shao Xuan told him about the stuff he learned on the other side of the ocean. He didn’t talk about the specific situation, just how the fire seed could be merged into everyone’s body so they didn’t need the fire pit. However, after the fire seed disappeared, the tribe could risk scattering. There were many tribes who disappeared that way. WAnderers formed new groups of power, while tribesmen entered the cities to live a life controlled by slave masters. The power of the tribes would greatly weaken. This was the largest risk.
Yang Sui fell silent. Shao Xuan’s reasoning made him hesitant. Now that he knew the reason and the solution to stop the fire seed from weakening, such risk still made the decision very difficult.
The tribes existed because everyone’s strength was united around the fire seed. If the power was no longer concentrated, would Rain tribe still exist?
“What will your tribe’s choice be?” Yang Sui looked into his eyes to confirm if he was telling the truth.
“Our choice? It’s obvious. Based on your abilities, you should already know the difference between these newcomers and the previous Flaming Horns you met, don’t you?”
Yang Sui’s pupils constricted, his fists clenched by his side. “The difference is…”
“They ARE the fire seed!” Shao Xuan stood up to leave. He had finished what he wanted to say. The decision was for Yang Sui to make.
“If the tribesmen exist, the fire seed will exist; if the tribesmen’s hearts exist, then the tribe will exist. Think about it. Come look for me at Flaming Horn once you’ve made your decision. We’re at Fearsome Beast Forest, you’ve been there.” Shao Xuan knew Yang Sui wouldn’t make the decision immediately. This was a major matter involving the entire tribe. He might be the shaman but he couldn’t make this decision alone.
Once Shao Xuan left, Yang Sui locked himself in his house alone to think for a very long time. He told his guards outside to turn away all disturbance. Once he fell into deep thought, he forgot the entire world. When he stepped out of his house, the Flaming Horns had already left.
He spaced out while standing next to the fire pit. Then, he invited several very experienced elderly tribespeople and the current chief into his house for a discussion. The Rain tribesmen didn't know what these high-ranked people talked about. All they knew was that every person came out in a daze after the meeting. However, all of them kept their lips sealed, refusing to talk about it.
On the other side, Flaming Horn was heading towards the Fearsome Beast Forest.
To the new people, everything here was very new. This was because the tribe here maintained their ancient traditions, including using stones and animal bones for weapons and wares.
Their metal knives were all wrapped in leather or clothing, all covered. That was why the Rain tribe did not see their metal weapons either. They also wove many baskets along the way to hide their metal wares. Metal was rare here, it would attract attention. Since they were new, they did not want to cause unnecessary trouble.
“About the fire seed, you talked to the Rain shaman about it?” Ao asked Shoa Xuan.
“I did, the decision is up to him,” said Shao Xuan.
Ao nodded. He felt like Yang Sui was trustworthy, plus he helped Flaming Horn before too. Although Ao was also doing this out of respect for Shao Xuan, after some time, Ao thought Yang Sui was a good person. At least more trustworthy than some people from other large tribes.
Ao himself could barely believe this. When Zheng Luo and the rest arrived, Ao was anticipating their fire seed. In the beginning, they thought the fire from the ocean was because of the fire seed, then they were told that it was the power of their ancestor’s bone ornaments. So what happened to the fire seed?
After Shao Xuan’s explanation, Ao understood.
As the chief of a traditional tribe, Ao could not imagine how life would be without the fire seed. However, when he saw that their new brothers seemed much stronger than his own people, he understood that this was the power of the fire seed. Plus, their ancestors had separated just because of this reason. Now that they returned, it proved that those people who left were right. They had completed their mission, found the solution to stop the fire seed from weakening further. AS he listened to their life on the other side, he realised they were much better in many aspects.
The new era had begun. At these crossroads, it was up to them to choose.
Just as Ao was thinking about this, Shao Xuan thought about how two tribes had to merge as one when they got back. That meant they had two chiefs, two shamans, and three hunt leaders!