Ta walked over unconsciously. Everyone in the tribe also walked forward, standing behind Ta as they stared into the forest.
Many dots of light danced in the dark forest. In the beginning, they thought someone might be carrying torches. Soon, they realised the glow came from the people themselves.
The people were glowing?
There were many people in the forest, they knew this from the footsteps. They would’ve scrambled to get their weapons if they hadn’t sensed the familiar beasts’ footsteps, Ao and their own people’s scents. However, there was still a strong sensation of something foreign yet familiar.
Until they saw the frontmost person’s face…. Ta was shocked. “Ah Xuan?”
At this moment, Shao Xuan and his people had already stepped into the village. The warriors surrounding them also walked forward. Initially, they were worried they might be Wanshi people but this wasn’t true. These people did not feel threatening.
The shaman’s hand was shaking as he gripped his walking stick, every step felt as heavy as a thousand kilograms. He was so impatient, yet somewhat scared. He was in a daze.
And on this very normal day, two parts of a tribe merged as one within the forest after a thousand years.
It had been two years, Shao Xuan finally saw them again.
“I’m back.” Shao Xuan hugged the shaman.
“Good, good!” The shaman’s eyes were watery as he studied Shao Xuan. Shao Xuan looked the same, yet the feeling was different. The bright totemic patterns on his body were different too.
He regarded Shao Xuan, then looked at everyone behind.
The shaman had forgotten about Ao and the rest. Everyone was too familiar, plus they didn’t really stand out since everyone’s totemic patterns were glowing.
As the shaman, he could feel the strong sensation of the fire seed from these people in a dialogue with their own fire pit.
But he didn’t see the fire seed.
As if realising something, a thought flashed across his mind. But this was not the time to think. These people before him were all Flaming Horns, the descendants of their own ancestors. Their ancestors had been waiting for them, and they were finally here. Eh, who was the old lady on Caesar’s back?
Ao walked over and introduced these people to the shaman. He turned to Ta, “Tell everyone to prepare food. We shall welcome our brothers with a feast. Right, also, tell everyone to prepare houses for them tonight, and bring out more tools and utensils.”
“Uh, alright.” Ta nodded furiously. Although he wasn’t sure what was going on, his instinct told him a little. After looking at the new people, he turned around to make arrangements.
“There are many injured and sick patients here, we need more medicine,” said Shao Xuan to the shaman.
It had been a long journey from the other side of the ocean to this piece of land. Then, they trekked through the desert and then the forest. Zheng Luo and his people were extremely tired by now, yet still very awake out of excitement. Especially when they saw the tall flames roaring in the fire pit, everyone knelt down sincerely.
It’s the fire seed! The true fire seed! Not the kind that had merged in their body, this was in their fire pit, they could see it with their own eyes!
When they saw the fire seed, they felt like they had come home. All anxieties and worries disappeared instantly.
Ao introduced the new people to the tribe. At this point, the sick and the injured finally received better treatment and rest. The hungry warriors could finally let down their guard, fully relax and eat.
The tribesmen living here were very warm. Although it was their first encounter, there was a little reservation in the beginning, very soon after several pieces of meat were eaten, everyone talked like old friends.
On the way, Zheng Luo and the rest had talked a lot to Ao and his people. That was why they were a lot more familiar with their mother tongue. They didn’t need to gesticulate to get messages across, now they could have full conversations.
The women grouped together to chat, the men sat around the fire to brag about their lives while the elderly and young children were given places to rest.
There were too many people here. Although there were temporary shelters built, not every person could sleep indoors that night. It was too late to build more houses too.
However, Zheng Luo and his people were not worried. It was a warm day, unlike winter’s harsh snow nor the desert’s heat. They could sleep on the grass. They were all familiar, plus the fire seed protected them. They felt safe here. After the feast, they were satiated.
“Don’t be afraid. We’ll accompany you on the grass!” said Mai to a person who was the same age as him.
Around the outskirts of the village, at the border where the tribe and the wanderer’s settlements crossed, Yan Zhi and Jiao Wu carried several roasted beast thighs on their shoulders. They also had several large leather bags tied to their waist containing fruits and last year’s harvest.
After knowing who these new people were, Yan Zhi and Jiao Wu were delighted. Their arrival meant Flaming Horn would become more powerful. Their own tribesmen were obviously better than any tribe they could partner with. They were willing to trust people Shao Xuan brought home.
In a great mood, the two brothers carried a large portion of their stores out when the chief told them to bring some food for everyone. They could always hunt more food but their new brothers here couldn’t starve. They heard the journey here had been tough, many people were as thin as sticks now.
The brothers were walking happily when someone called them.
“Eh! Yan Zhi, Jiao Wu, wait!”
They looked over to see a wanderer they met at the Longboat tribe, He’er.
Ever since returning to the homeland, Yan Zhi, Jiao Wu and the rest had their totemic powers awakened, hence they lived much better lives. Even the wanderers who once helped them benefited from this.
He’er had followed them here because he didn’t have a choice. This was a ray of hope for him. However, he didn’t expect to live a good life. Although he was in the middle of the Fearsome BEast forest, he lived under the protection of Flaming Horn. Plus Flaming Horn often hired wanderers for help and paid them. To He’er and the ones without totemic power, they were satisfied with this life. He’er even married a fellow wanderer and had a child early this year.
However, someone in the wanderer community had told him yesterday that Wanshi was planning to declare war against Flaming Horn. Half of their forces had already left the forest, it was likely Flaming Horn might fall.
After living here for a long time, they too had heard many stories about Wanshi. They knew Wanshi’s style. Hence, the wanderers began to doubt. They had finally gotten two good, stable years. Were they going to move again?
He’er wanted to talk to Yan Zhi or other more familiar warriors but they couldn’t find most of them. Flaming Horn seemed to be shrouded in anxiety, the guards refused to tell them anything too.
The wanderers secretly left and the guards did not stop them. The rest gradually moved out too but He’er did not leave. He declined their offers. He was just unsettled by uncertainty, but did not want to leave.
After one day, he finally met the brothers.
“What are you both doing?” He’er wanted to ask them about the war but the brothers didn’t look like they were preparing for war, more like celebrating something.
“New people came, we’re going to meet them,” said Jiao Wu happily.
“New people? From which tribe?” asked He’er.
“Flaming Horn, of course!”
He’er thought it might be Flaming Horn wanderers who returned. “How many? You look happy.”
Jiao Wu showed him four fingers.
“Forty?” asked He’er.
Jiao Wu scoffed.
“Four hundred?” He’er was shocked. Four hundred was a lot.
Jiao Wu scoffed again.
“Four… four…” stuttered He’er. This was impossible.
“Hahaha, four thousand! We don’t have time to talk, they’re waiting for us.”
“Wait, four thousand wanderers?” asked He’er.
“Huh? These are people like us! I heard they’re awesome too.” Jiao Wu was not satisfied with this. INce these people rested, he must spar with them to check out their strengths.
He’er watched, stunned as the brothers left. He slapped his head and then ran home.
Although he didn’t understand, it seemed like something major happened. And no one looked like they were preparing for war.
Leave? I would never!
Of course he had to live under their protection if he could! Who else would treat him to such a good life? As a wanderer, this was a rare opportunity. He’er thought life here was amazing. Those people can leave if they feel uncomfortable, he’d never leave.
The flames in the fire pit roared through the night, warriors chatted and laughed around the fire.
Shao Xuan was finally back. Old Ke cooked a huge pot of soup for him. After a feast, Shao Xuan took a shower and slept soundly through the night. He was more tired than the rest, since he had expended more energy wielding the bone ornaments. He had recovered a little but then exhausted himself unlocking Sapphire’s lock. He was exhausted, the journey had been long.
Shao Xuan slept for two days straight. He didn’t wake once, nor did anyone wake him up.
On the third day, when he woke there were already many new houses in the tribe. Some were made of bricks, some out of wood. They couldn’t make more bricks in time so a portion of people had to live in wooden houses first.