Time was needed for everyone to get used to the merging of the fire seed, absorbing the residual energy. That was why during the next two days, the tribe became much quieter. Other than warriors on patrol, everyone rested at home.
Shao Xuan wasn’t sure how major the changes were but he could see the changes in himself and Old Ke.
These two days, Old Ke seemed restless, as if he had too much energy inside him. He made stonewares through the night, then the next day continued boiling his meat soup.
In the past, he needed a walking stick and had to rest on Caesar after a distance. Now, Old Ke tossed his cane away and even skipped around the house happily.
Shao Xuan was a little worried about the old man jumping around but Old Ke seemed fine.
“I’m doing better than ever. Don’t believe me? I’ll jump every day to prove to you!”
“You look more energetic now, you’re glowing!” smiled Shao Xuan.
It was true. In the past, Old Ke’s hair was mostly white. Now, his hair had mostly turned black. If he maintained good health, perhaps he’d have an entire head of black again.
Old Ke grinned. The changes within him were drastic after the merging. In the past, he hadn’t been well. He’d lost a leg to a hunt and ended up making stonewares for a living. He hadn’t had a very good life, with his illness flaring up occasionally. Although Shao Xuan’s herbs had helped him a lot, he felt the most change from the fire seed. Other people might not show a change as drastic as his.
No matter what, everyone was happy with positive change.
After breakfast, Shoa Xuan met Duo Kang and the rest when he left his house.
Duo Kang was talking to Guang Yi about the totemic patterns.
“I have so much coloured mud left. Can’t believe we don’t need it anymore after merging with the complete fire seed. We don't need to cover ourselves with coloured mud for hunts next time.” Although it was one less thing to worry about, Duo Kang was still not used to it. He was packing for a hunt in two days, constantly feeling like he had left something out. They had to get used to this somehow. Although their patterns weren’t as bright as before, they knew this pattern was still the most suitable for hunts out of the three kinds they’d seen so far.
Before Guang Yi spoke, Duo Kang spoke again, “Actually, it’s great here. I heard this entire forest is ours. We won’t have to worry about walking into another tribe’s territory now. We can hunt whatever we want now, hahaha!”
Guang Yi shook his head, ignoring the overly excited Duo Kang. With his hands behind his back, planning to spar with someone. He hadn’t done much in two days, he was restless. He had to wait until the day after for their hunt too.
Shao Xuan walked around, checking if everyone was well.
Without the fire seed, the people of the old haunt were still unsettled. They often stared at the fire pit far away, now without flames. Their gazes were empty, as if without the fire seed, they had lost their roots.
However, for the future of their tribe, it was necessary. The tribesmen were the core of the tribe. With the tribesmen, and their hearts, they could live anywhere.
Shao Xuan walked towards the fields.
They had brought back many seeds from the other side of the ocean, good seeds that Ji Ju had given him too.
In the past, Shao Xuan always thought they only ate regular crops on this side of the ocean. He heard afterwards that major tribes did have precious crops but shrouded them in secrecy, fearing that other tribes would know of it. They never announced that they had crops, rarely bringing it out for trade. The trading parties would only bring back normal seeds. Only the people whose totemic powers weren’t awakened would eat these crops.
Now, these seeds were different.
The people in charge were naturally Qi Qi and her team. They were familiar with these seeds, the farmers on this side had to learn from them. They must expand their fields someday so they had to learn too, so they could help out.
When they saw Shao Xuan, Qi Qi, who was briefing her people, hurried forward and bowed in respect. She had the utmost respect for Shao Xuan. Without him, they wouldn’t be here.
Everyone hurried over too.
Since he was the only Elder for both branches, he was the Grand Elder of the tribe.
Although he was the only Elder now, after a while, there would be more Elders in this tribe.
The two shamans had already discussed that once Gui Ze was trained, they would both retire. Having two shamans always resulted in disagreements- at this point, they were even in an argument about how they should be greeted.
[‘巫/Wu’ is both a gender neutral term for shaman or a female witch, hence the confusion. There is a separate male version called 觋/Xi]
Sometimes, someone would yell “Shaman (Wu)!” and both shamans would reply. It was very confusing. The old lady wanted the old man to change his greeting to ‘Xi’ because on her side, male shamans had a separate term but the old man would not do so.
Why would he change? His ancestors were all shamans, why would he use a name the slave masters used? This old man is not changing!
The old lady almost fought him with her walking stick.
Other than these little disagreements, both thought that they were already very lucky people because their lifespans were extended now by the fire seed. It was high time they retired anyway. It was time for the young ones to carry this weight. Both old shamans would now become Elders.
Ever since they merged with the fire seed, not sure if it was due to years of training or his natural talent, Gui Ze had the power of inheritance now. It was a rare thing that both shamans had the same opinion- they approved of this successor. However, since they still fought often, Gui Ze would learn from both of them on alternate days.
New people were in charge of the medicine store. Shao Xuan sometimes went over to teach the new apprentices. The snapping turtle had grown, the only thing it did was eat and sleep. Although it only ate herbal plant waste, it was growing well. Shao Xuan even considered taking its shell to make a piece of armour.
AS for the chiefs, both chiefs would not step down for the moment. They agreed that they would step down when there was a new chief. Like the shamans, they would become Elders of the tribe, participating in major discussions only.
The new chief would be one of the three hunt leaders. That was why Duo Kang, Gui He and Ta were all so eager to display their talents. Duo Kang was eager to go hunt to show off his capabilities.
Although there were going to be four more Elders soon, Shao Xuan’s special position was still irreplaceable. That was why the term ‘Grand Elder’ was coined. He was the Elder who wielded all six bone ornaments, while the rest did not have any.
Even if he wanted to distribute the ornaments, the rest wouldn’t want it either. They were not able to activate the ornaments, they didn’t think they were qualified.
That was why Shao Xuan was now the Grand Elder.
Shao Xuan looked at the soil. “How much have you planted/”
“We’ve planted a little of everything suitable for this season.” Qi Qi brought him around the fields, telling him about their progress.
Qi Qi had gotten these seeds from the shaman. The job distribution was as such: the shaman was in charge of the seeds, the shamaness in charge of the salt. They had brought a lot over from the other side. When Gui Ze was named the shaman, both would be controlled by her.
Actually, the shaman thought Shao Xuan should keep the seeds since he was the one who received them. However, Shoa Xuan would be participating in hunts. Even if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be in his house all day either. People who came looking for seeds would not get any if they couldn’t find Shao Xuan.
Other than the fields, there were many people at the animal pens too. Both sides often talked about their experiences. When he arrived, the duck house keeper was talking about how it was a pity the green ducks weren’t here.
Just as he thought about the wild piglets, Shao Xuan heard someone call him. He turned to see two chiefs and three hunt leaders. What were these five people talking about?
“What are you guys doing?” asked Shao Xuan, walking over.
Ao did not speak, merely nudging his head in one direction. Shao Xuan understood. It was where they stored the core seed.
The core seed was the tribe’s secret. Even if they had brought back metal weapons, most of it was put away. Duo Kang had too much fun playing with stone axes these days. Initially, he thought stone was useless for actual hunts. However, his impression of stone changed after meeting Shao Xuan and his tools. When he arrived, he too learned much more about stone.
Shao Xuan sent Tuo and Lei back with the core seed not to leave it here.
“Let’s go.” Ao led all of them over.
Since the core seed was dangerous, they stored it a little far from the tribe. They had to first travel a distance.
On the way, Ao thought for a moment and said, “Ah Xuan, do you feel like the fire seed merges faster after eating the Thousand Grain Gold?”
Ao ate the Thousand Grain Gold much later than the rest so he could clearly feel this.
Shao Xuan didn’t notice this. Perhaps his body was just different? The shaman once said that his totemic patterns and his body were different. Perhaps he couldn’t feel some things other people did.
Zheng Luo, Duo Kang, Ta all agreed.
Shao Xuan thought about what Ji Ju said. “You’re probably right. The ‘Golden Grain’, Ji Ju, said that Thousand Grain Gold would grow in a way that suits us most. Perhaps it grew to be like this because we needed it. The seeds came from the same plant, yet our crops differ greatly from his. Because it is growing on Flaming Horn land.”
“Thousand Grain Gold is peculiar indeed,” sighed Ao. They didn’t have to stare longingly at other tribe’s crops now, for they had better things like Thousand Grain Gold. They would never share this with anyone, even if they offered fortunes for it!