The Flaming Horns did not know the slave masters were now thinking of taking advantage of them. Even if they did, they would snicker and say, ‘A bunch of idiots!”
If the whole fire seed was still in the fire pit, perhaps the slave masters still had a chance to regain their former glory. It was the tribe’s source of power after all.
Unfortunately, the fire seed had now been merged into the Flaming Horn’s bodies. Even if Wanshi and the slave masters could sense its changes, they would not think of this. BEcause merging had never happened before!
Not every slave master knew all the secrets. The ones hiding in Wanshi were not very familiar with the fire seed, hence they had the wrong impression of it. They thought that the destruction of the fire seed would be the time they could rebuild their kingdom. Many people were thinking of returning to the desert to take revenge on Rock Hill City.
While they strategized, Wanshi was preparing for battle. Within the Fearsome Beast Forest, Flaming Horn had already regrouped on a large scale.
Every person not involved in the battle was safe in a set shelter. The terrain there was tough for battle, if any sudden changes occurred, it would still keep them safe for a while. The wanderers had another shelter.
When Shao Xuan returned to the tribe from the edge of the forest, he saw a group of warriors chatting. They had just completed training. They stood proudly, filled with vibrancy.
“This time, we must chase Wanshi out of here, not even one bit of land will be left for them! All of the land outside the forest will be used for our crops!”
“Yeah! They destroyed our fire pit once, now’s our chance to dig up theirs!”
“Yeah! Dig! Dig! Dig!”
These were the ones who witnessed the pathetic state of their old haunt when they arrived. All of them were passionately shouting to kill.
The tribe had its boundaries. Anyone who crossed it would have a war coming for them. This war had been delayed for a while, it was finally the day.
Beasts are chased out by hitting them, not by reason. To the Flaming Horns, Wanshi was an evil fearsome beast circling by their homes, always ready to pounce on them. They must unite to slaughter this beast with all their might, either this or they must chase it out.
Who the fuck could tolerate such a thing? No more of this bullshit! Not everyone could live peacefully with their neighbours like Flaming Horn and Taihe.
Lei and Tuo were in the crowd, the lines on their faces showed anticipation and determination.
Tuo held a stone knife, the kind he was used to. Although there were metal knives, they didn’t have the time to make the kind he was used to. There was a huge difference between stone and metal. Since they were going to battle, he did not want the enemy to gain an edge because he wasn’t used to his knife.
Shao Xuan noticed wooden splinters on the blade. He was fresh out of training, he must have been chopping wood for practice.
“How are the preparations?” Shao Xuan, Duo Kang and the rest asked Tuo.
“Great,” smiled Tuo, “Excited for revenge.”
Tuo and Lei’s hatred against Wanshi and the slave masters ran deeper. When they left with Shao Xuan for the desert, they were kidnapped and tossed into the fighting arena. Without Shao Xuan, they would’ve died there.
The people who hurt Lei and Tuo were Wanshi’s new shaman and the people of White Stone City. They must take revenge!
Excitement and anger flashed within Lei’s eyes. He could finally take revenge now!
War was an important component of human activity. Large and small conflicts often occurred between slave masters’ cities, tribes etc. Warring was the most direct way of resolving conflict. The ultimate goal was survival.
Duo Kang and the rest were no stranger to war. They had gotten their land, resources, salt mines etc through war. To the other half, this was their first large-scale battle in one thousand years.
Shao Xuan was thinking when he heard someone call him.
“Ah Xuan, the shaman wants to talk to you,” said Mai, hurrying over.
It must be something important. Immediately, Shao Xuan left Duo Kang and the rest behind and ran.
The two shamans’ houses were not far away. When he arrived, Shao Xuan saw Ao and Zheng Luo at the old man’s door.
When he saw Shao Xuan, Ao nudged towards the house with his chin, gesturing for him to hurry.
Hurrying inside, Shao Xuan realised the old shamaness was also present.
They were both sitting on thick animal hide, apparently waiting for Shao Xuan.
Shao Xuan sat on the huge piece of animal hide on the ground before them. “Do you have something to tell me?”
The old man looked up. “Do you know what to do for the battle with Wanshi?”
Shao Xuan nodded. “Yes, I’ll be leading the troops with the three hunt leaders.”
The battle strategy had been set but Wanshi had been on guard for a long time. An ambush might not work, they had to invade directly. Since it was war, then the highest-ranked warriors must naturally be in front.
This time, the two chiefs would not be charging into battle, instead at the back to control the big picture. Duo Kang and the rest, the three hunt leaders, would be at the front. The chiefs would take this opportunity to test their abilities.
As the Grand Elder of the tribe, Shao Xuan must also be in front- or who would trust him in the future? He couldn’t just rely on their ancestors and his past achievements. These things fade with time.
Shao Xuan was mentally prepared. It was not his first battle but it was the largest battle he had seen. He was under a lot of pressure too.
Although he knew that charging in front was a very dangerous thing, it was also a place that favoured the powerful warriors. They had to attack where they could! Plus this was Flaming Horn’s first large-scale battle, they must lead their troops.
The higher their rank, the larger their burden.
Both shamans nodded. It was rare that both were on the same page. In the past, they would have objected to him from going anywhere dangerous. However, the tribe was now complete and had returned to its prior glory. The tribe would have to survive through many more events. If Shao Xuan wanted to stabilise his position, he must have positive results from battle to gain trust.
“This time, your mission will be different from Gui He and the rest,” said the shaman. “Their targets are the Wanshi tribesmen- the Wanshi hunt leader and chief. Your target is Wanshi’s fire seed!”
Shao Xuan’s eyes widened slightly. “Wanshi’s fire seed?”
“Yes! If you can, destroy their fire seed, don’t give them a chance to take the fire seed with them. Tuo and the rest will help. Of course, they will definitely have very strong defences around their fire seed. If you can’t find an opportunity to do it, it’s fine. We’ll wait till after the battle. If you do have a chance…”
“I understand.” Shao Xuan nodded. “If I did have the chance, what do I do to destroy it?”
“About that…” The old man touched his beard. “According to our ancestral records, you should use your power of inheritance. It will guide you.”
The two shamans did not have experience destroying a fire seed but they heard it required the shaman’s power of inheritance for complete decimation. Most tribes would wait till after the war when they cleaned the battlefield, then they would send their shamans to destroy the fire seed.
However, they never experienced this before so they could only describe what they knew.
“Don’t force this, your life is more important. At most, we can just wait until after the battle. When most of Wanshi’s people are gone, both of us will go there personally,” said the shaman.
“Mm, I understand. Don’t worry,” said Shao Xuan solemnly.
Both of the shamans’ hearts suddenly skipped a beat and grew more anxious. They suddenly regretted telling Shao Xuan this. Before he left, they reminded him again, “Do not force it, don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
The tribesmen were mostly moved out now. When Shao Xuan left, Caesar was carrying a large bundle, helping Old Ke and several families carry their things. The most eye-catching one was Old Ke’s huge box of stone tools.
Old Ke had already made a lot of weapons to be distributed to the people in hiding. Although they were mostly the elderly, the weak and the sickly, they could still move. With weapons, they could fend for themselves with weapons.
“Don’t worry about us, you take care.” Old Ke patted his shoulder hard. He knew Shao Xuan would be in the frontlines with the hunt leaders. The people in front would bear a risk many times larger than going for a hunt. Old Ke was worried. If this was another person, Old Ke would’ve said it was only right for a young, high-ranked warrior to be in front. He wasn’t the shaman, nor was he old, hiding would be shameful. However, this was Shao Xuan.
Double standards for the ones you loved. It was human nature.
“The shaman used the white wormskin for skin tight armour.” Shao Xuan showed Old Ke the white clothes he wore underneath. “It’ll protect me.”
Old Ke sighed, not speaking.
No material could give absolute protection. Wormskin was durable, but it was only a defense against cuts. But would it do anything against a direct hit from an axe?
Two days later.
Non-warriors were already moved to the shelter, both shamans had left too.
Before dawn, it was still dark out.
Shao Xuan sat next to what used to be the fire pit, looking at the assembly of troops.
Shao Xuan stood up, patted Caesar next to him, then led the troops out of the tribe.