Shao Xuan chose several kinds of fearsome beast blood carefully to be used for forging. 

To him, it was counter-intuitive to use beast blood to process ore but at this point, there were too many things that didn’t make sense in this world. 

According to the Gongjia ancestors, they must first remove impurities within the ore, then carefully control the flames while observing the steam emitted from the melting ore. It would turn from black to yellow-white, then green as the temperature within the melting pot increased, then finally green-white. When all the ore had melted and only green steam was left, beast blood was added along with the shaping process. 

Shao Xuan experimented with many different types of beast blood. He made a very small mould for this purpose so casting would use very little metal. These were just experiments- they still had little metal so he could not be too wasteful. 

It was too bad that the results were abysmal. The Gongjia ancestors added beast blood to strengthen the metal, yet Shao Xuan’s products ended up more brittle and chipped. 

The hunt party had brought back many types of fearsome beasts but none of them gave the wanted effect not even a little. Either the method was wrong or the blood source was still wrong. 

Years ago, the process for the Gongjia family to discover this secret must have been extremely difficult. Either that or they were just too lucky. 

“So it’s true, we can’t use any blood.”

When he showed the chiefs and leaders his results, they were also disappointed. However, they did not expect overly significant results. They had to take it step-by-step. It would already be extremely good news if they successfully create weapons. 

Just as Shao Xuan talked to them about his experiments, several unwelcome visitors arrived. 

There were fifteen people, consisting of people from the Mang, Eight Limbs and Feather tribe. These three tribes were considered major tribes in the central region.

When people talked about the eight major tribes, other than Mang, Eight Limbs and Feather, they also included Thousand Masks, Longboat (both from the central region), Hui and Tianshan (both from the grasslands). These made seven. 

Although Wanshi was considered one of the eight major tribes, there was a caveat- if it weren’t for the slave masters supporting them, they would never have developed this much. They would have been destroyed by the other tribes teaming up together. There were small and medium tribes who feared Wanshi too, they were notorious for not being good people. 

Everyone was just grateful that Wanshi was not in the central region where the soil was most fertile and population densest. 

After that, when Flaming Horn arrived, many people thought they were in for a good show. They thought both sides would go into war soon but didn’t expect a stalemate to last this long. Many people would talk about this in trading areas. Why wasn’t Wanshi doing anything? Was it because they didn’t want to, or they couldn’t do anything? 

Flaming Horn did not know about these discussions, nor were they interested. 

Shao Xuan recognised the three leaders from the three tribes- Huang Ye from Mang, Qiu Gu from Eight Limbs, Gu Zhi from Feather tribe. 

These three must be here because they had been to this place and could lead the way. 

Just as Shao Xuan expected, these three had been to the Lu tribe first to ask about Flaming Horn. After the Lu tribe’s Yan Jiu and his men returned, to attain satisfactory answers, these three had to shamelessly visit Flaming Horn because they did not want to go back empty-handed. 

When they decided to cross the desert, they were merely visiting out of curiosity. When they arrived at the desert, they did not think this was important at all. However, they didn’t know such major changes would happen, nor did they see Shao Xuan there. Huang Ye left a letter behind and left the desert with the rest. 

Afterwards, Flaming Horn basically stopped contact with the seven major tribes. Other than the Hui tribe coming to update them about Chacha, other tribes did not set foot in this place. 

They had no choice this time. 

When they neared the Fearsome Beast Forest, they felt the changes. 

Other than Yan Jiu telling them that the Wanshi tribesmen weren’t around, they also felt something had changed. 

The last time they were here, they could strongly feel the repulsion exuded from Flaming Horn’s fire seed. However, they were used to repulsion because they often travelled between the major villages. After a while, they didn’t think much of it. This time, it was different. While the repulsion effect was very faint now, they still felt very uncomfortable! 

It was worse than before! 

“Is this really because of the fire seed?” Huang Ye thought about what their shaman said. Was the Flaming Horn fire seed really gone? 

Qiu Gu from Eight Limbs’ face was solemn, unlike his usual state. He squinted, deep in thought. “Looks like Flaming Horn has many secrets of their own.” 

“We just don’t know if they’ll reveal any of them,” sighed Gu Zhi from Feather tribe. 

After their previous experience, they did not let their birds out. All fifteen people arrived on the Feather tribe’s birds but they seemed unsettled after arriving here. The Feather tribesmen did their best to calm these birds down, without them, the birds would have flown away. The birds were not adapted to the local environment. Most importantly, the tribe hiding in the forest did not want visitors. The birds could sense hostility. 

The patrol team had received instructions on what to do. They unwillingly brought these visitors into the village. 

In the past, they wanted to meet most people, especially when Flaming Horn first arrived at the old haunt. They were curious, everything seemed new and they wanted to get to know these tribes. Unfortunately, this bunch was not friendly. After the desert war, the warriors were no longer welcoming, only guarded. 

The fifteen people entering the Flaming Horn tribe were not given as much freedom as before. As they walked, many people watched them. They were led directly to the stone guesthouse. 

Although they were not able to look around, Huang Ye and the rest realised there were many more houses built closer together. Plus the houses were not scattered either, it looked like this place was planned before construction. 

The tribe did not look like a major disaster had just hit them, most tribesmen looked like they were in a good mood. That was why the speculation about a major disaster hitting Flaming Horn was dismissed. 

Of course, these were second to the most important discovery--- the feeling these warriors gave them. 

Something felt wrong, yet they didn’t know what. These three were not shamans, they weren’t as sensitive to the fire seed. 

Other than the two shamans, the two chiefs and three hunt leaders were all present to meet the visitors. Shao Xuan also temporarily dropped his work to be here. 

The last time both parties met, Ta and Gui He were standing. However, this time, they sat like Duo Kang. Why should they be so polite? 

Huang Ye and the other two looked at the people sitting on the opposite side of the stone table. They had good memories, yet they had no impression of three people at the table. 

“We’re here… because we have some questions.” Huang Ye did not plan to beat around the bush. They never liked doing that. Plus he knew Flaming Horn did not like such a method of communication either. “Recently, we sensed certain changes coming from your tribe, that’s why we decided to visit. Could you all please tell us the reason?”

“Apologies, we can’t,” said the shaman dryly. 

No one spoke. The air in the house froze. 

One party wanted to listen and wait for more, the other was too lazy to speak. 

Huang Ye’s eyes swept across the room, then finally on Shao Xuan. 

Shao Xuan sighed softly. While Huang Ye was not the most pleasant person, compared to other people in the desert, he was already quite alright. 

“Everything is well here. As for the rest, that is our own business, you do not have to worry about us.” 

This translated into - please don’t ask anymore questions, you won’t get any answers. 

Qiu Gu’s eyes were slightly slanted as he squinted, he looked like a kind, elderly man. 

“I know… because of what happened in the desert, you all must be angry. That was definitely our fault, I was not careful enough,” said Qiu Gu. 

“You know it’s your fault, yet it took you so long to come? Where have you been during the past two years? Have you been robbing the desert?” Duo Kang crossed his legs, staring down at the three with his chin up. He did not give them any dignity at all. 

Perhaps the people of the old haunt were not good with words. They used to be isolated from the rest of the world, mostly communicating with only their own tribesmen. They all had boundaries they couldn’t cross if they fought among themselves or the shaman would be upset. After arriving at the old haunt, they started to meet more people during trades. However, they were still the same because they mostly stayed in the forest. 

Duo Kang and the rest were different. They used to often fight with their neighbour, Taihe tribe, probably as often as once every three days. During hunts, they would be even more vicious, directly insulting each other if they got mad. They were even more casual talking to other tribes, saying whatever they wanted. 

Duo Kang and the rest were already told about what happened, so he couldn’t help but mock them when he heard what Qiu Gu said. 

He did not like how these people faked politeness. In the past, after seeing Taihe tribesmen so often, they thought Taihe people were annoying. Now they kinda missed Taihe. No matter what, Taihe was better than these people, right? 

Duo Kang looked up and stared out of the window, then spaced out. 

Huang Ye and the other two furrowed their brows when they heard Duo Kang. 

The matter of the bronze wares was no longer a secret. Since the slave masters had escaped out of the desert, naturally some information had spread too. Especially trading points where traders from all places gathered, both real and false information spread like wildfire. No matter what, everyone had already known about the seven major tribes taking the slave masters in. 

Of course, to the tribes, it did not matter. On the contrary, it proved that the seven tribes were strong enough to trap the slave masters, especially the ones who were usually arrogant. The other tribes still respected the seven tribes for doing it. 

Huang Ye and the rest thought the same, yet Duo Kang’s words did not sit well with them. It sounded too much like he was insulting them. Was this person jealous?