Huang Ye and his people had robbed many slave masters in the desert, hence they had many metal wares in their inventory. Before entering the forest, they had already prepared gifts if needed, bringing along a lot of metal wares.
Their impression of the Flaming Horns was that they rarely left the forest and must not have seen much. That was why they brought second-tier goods, mostly bottles and cans and very few weapons.
However, at this point, Huang Ye and the other two did not feel like they had the upper hand at all. They had deliberately put a large wooden crate in the empty space nearby, yet the crate was largely ignored. There was a ‘chip’ in the corner of the box to reveal the golden-coloured wares inside so the goods looked very shiny in the sunlight streaming from the windows.
The Flaming Horns did not look at the box at all. Even if they saw it, they merely gave it one look and nothing more. Especially the man who mocked them, he had taken a look of contempt at the box. As his eyes swept towards them, the condescension did not fade.
All three men were furious. They had never been treated like this when they visited other tribes! Only Flaming Horns would do this.
The Flaming Horns implied one thing- they were a stubborn bunch, if I don’t want to tell you anything, you can’t force me to.
But the secret of the fire seed was like a cat’s paw, scratching within their hearts.
Unsure if this method would work, Qiu Gu from Eight Limbs lifted a hand, gesturing for the people standing behind to open the crate and take the things out.
Perhaps the angle was wrong, that’s why the Flaming Horns couldn’t see its contents clearly? Or they only saw a small part, that’s why they didn’t know what was inside?
Well, time to show them the world!
When the crate was open, golden light reflected off the wares throughout the room. Delicate containers were placed on the table, including wine bottles, wine pots, small bowls, etc. There were even patterns and images of animals on them, they looked good.
When Qiu Gu and the rest first took these, they had stared at the wares for a long time, admiring them. They almost couldn’t bear to part with these. However, they had to sacrifice something for information.
Other tribes often went crazy if they showed wares like these, craning their necks to look close. They occasionally gifted some to other smaller tribes to make themselves likeable.
Qiu Gu was delighted to show them his wares. You Flaming Horn people hide all day in this damn forest, you wouldn’t have seen anything like this. Let me show you something good!
However, very soon, Qiu Gu realised this wasn’t happening as he imagined.
All eight Flaming Horns on the opposite side of the table stared at Qiu Gu like they were staring like an idiot. His smile froze.
Duo Kang exhaled hard through his nostrils. “Pfft!” He snorted, snickering as his eyes gave Qiu Gu an even more condescending look.
These were all useless crap, why is he so smug with himself?
It wasn’t that Duo Kang looked down on them because he knew that metal was hard to come by in this place, especially from amongst tribesmen. He would not look down on them because of the wares. He was just angry that these people thought these useless crap would be enough to make Flaming Horn spill their secrets!
Over two years in the desert, these people must have gotten lots of useful things like knives, swords, spears, axes and armour. And what were they offering? Containers for food and drink! Even If they were in the city, they would not trade their goods for these containers. They weren’t practical! The slave masters might like to lead luxurious lives, but to the tribesmen, these were useless ornaments. What’s the use of these if they couldn’t kill an animal with it?
This bunch must have kept all the good weapons for themselves. Who were they fooling with such useless gifts?! Do you really think the Flaming Horns are that gullible?!
Gu Zhi of the Feather tribe had been sitting quietly, observing the Flaming Horns’ expressions. When he saw their faces, his pupils constricted.
These Flaming Horns didn’t look like strangers to metal wares!
Sensing that something was wrong, all three started to think about the reason. There was one possibility.
Rumours told that the bunch of Flaming Horns who recently left the desert had been stationed within the desert a long time ago, what if that was true? They were merely waiting for the war to begin, then started robbing the slave masters!
These savages were cunning foxes!
They underestimated the Flaming Horns!
Huang Ye and the other two men’s minds raced like a camel broken free from its rope, running around in a sandstorm.
They wondered how much the Flaming Horns managed to get out of the desert.
No, that wasn’t the point!
What the hell happened to their fire seed then?
It felt as if the number of secrets was increasing.
At this point, all three leaders from the tribes regretted their past behaviour. If they had taken the time to visit this tribe every once in a while, perhaps they would’ve built a good relationship. Too bad their sights were always on the desert.
It was a wrong move!
So the room was silent once again.
However, they would not give up just like that. If metal wares didn’t work, then time for something else.
“Ah, we were short-sighted, I can’t believe we didn’t know that Flaming Horn was busy too. I’ve made a fool out of myself.” Qiu Gu laughed, as if mocking himself. He did not tell his people to keep the shiny wares. If they were out, he had no plans to put them away again. Although these wares were precious, they came from a major tribe and they must with generosity fit for a major tribe. They shouldn’t focus on the small stuff. They’ll treat these as an apology.
“According to what we know, many slave masters escaped out of the desert. These people all seemed to be in one place.” Qiu Gu pointed in the direction of Wanshi’s village. “I know you all have been wanting to solve this problem, you just never got the chance to make a move due to certain reasons.”
Qiu Gu did not know what the ‘certain reasons’ were, though he guessed it was because Flaming Horn did not have enough firepower to win, hence they could not declare war. However, it would just embarrass Flaming Horn if he said it out loud, hence he did it in an indirect manner.
“Actually, we never liked Wanshi either. We weren’t able to do anything to them because the slave masters support Wanshi. Now, the general political situation has almost stabilised within the desert. All the people supporting Wanshi have now come out. There aren’t enough of them to cause alarm.” Qiu Gu’s eyes widened slightly, trying his best to look sincere. “What if...we work together? What do you think?”
“Yes,” said Gu Zhi, “Count Feather in.”
They too wanted to destroy Wanshi with the slave masters they were harbouring, they just never had the time. Now, they could solve this problem by borrowing the Flaming Horn’s power. It was also a good opportunity to build good relations.
“Count Mang in too,” said Huang Ye.
They seemed excited, but there was only silence from the Flaming Horns.
When they finished, Ao finally said, “We thank you for your kind intentions. As for the Wanshi tribe… it’ll be better for us to deal with the problem on our own.”
Qiu Gu and the rest did not understand why Flaming Horn would refuse. It was a win-win! Why couldn’t they figure out these people? Wanshi was not an easy opponent. All the slave masters were out of their desert but they still had power, especially their slaves who did not seem to fear death. They had learned this lesson many times in the desert. Flaming Horn should know this too, why were they so arrogant? Short-sighted, stupid idiots!
Just as Ao finished talking, Zheng Luo spoke up. “If you all also want to deal with Wanshi, what about… you all make your move first? I heard the few major tribes of the central region have close ties, if you all work together to invade Wanshi, it should not be difficult.
What Zheng Luo meant: If you think you can, do it. If you can’t, stop this bullshit and we’ll do it ourselves. What’s there to talk about?
Although the Flaming Horns knew that teaming up would save them a lot of trouble, what would happen after? These people would come hounding them for favours. Plus they hadn’t even agreed on anything and these people had proven to be untrustworthy. Why would they want to work with people like that? There was not an ounce of sincerity. Such bullshit! So much worse than Taihe.
Zheng Luo started to space out as he reminisced about their good neighbour, Taihe.
All three fell silent once more. They thought about this too, though none planned to act immediately. The two years they camped in the desert had benefited them greatly but they also had wounded men. Time was needed for recuperation. If it wasn’t for the fire seed, they would not offer to team up against Wanshi. They would not be too insistent on wiping out Wanshi either. In reality, Wanshi helped curb Flaming Horn. At least Flaming Horn couldn’t call themselves king here. If Flaming Horn prospered, they would become a threat.
Shao Xuan also came to the same conclusion. However, he knew the Flaming Horns well. This time, Flaming Horn planned to go through with it. Wanshi would be the lab rat for their newfound power.
In this place, one would only get power and influence through working hard and fighting for it. It was the most primitive law. Shao Xuan would bet that if Flaming Horn agreed to work with them today, even if Wanshi was obliterated, other people would say Flaming Horn only succeeded because there were other tribes involved. Their shaman would vomit blood if he heard this.
To the Flaming Horns, they believed in fighting for their dignity on their own, getting help did not count as success. They insisted on it.
If Flaming Horn wanted to return to its prior glory, then the Wanshi tribe was a good stepping stone. Only one could stand on this stepping stone, and that was Flaming Horn!
“About Wanshi… Our tribe will arrange for it accordingly, don’t worry about us,” said Shao Xuan.
Qiu Gu and the other two did not give up. They continued talking only to receive stubbornness in return.
When they were told to leave the forest, Qiu Gu and the rest were frustrated. How stubborn could the Flaming Horns be?
“Do you think Flaming Horn will actually declare war against Wanshi?” asked Qiu Gu.
“Not sure. Although they look as if they are easy to read, who knows what they’re really thinking?” At this point, Gu Zhi had branded Flaming Horn as a ‘cunning’ bunch.
“We’ll wait and see. If they really think so, then war will come soon,” said Huang Ye in a low voice. The Flaming Horns had always been stubborn.