Even though the forest in front was a dense one, it still differed from Fearsome Beast Forest.
There were many trees here but they were not huge ancient ones. There were few trees that exceeded a hundred years old. There also wasn’t much human activity here. At most, it was the occasional traders passing through the forest.
There were no beasts here, only some smaller wild animals were active in this area.
As the person rushed into the forest, he started searching for the perfect hiding spot. His running route became irregular and unpredictable, weaving around the forest.
With his vision blocked by the leaves, Shao Xuan couldn’t see the figure of the person he was pursuing. He could only rely on the sounds of wind passing through leaves and tree branches cracking.
Shao Xuan soon realised the intruder was definitely a master from the way they moved. He could step around the forest with minimal sound, it started to seem apparent that he was purposely making sounds to throw him off.
Shao Xuan tried to sense the intruder’s fire seed but as he pursued the fire seed seemed to disappear.
Shao Xuan slowed down and slowly moved forward.
There were a few small animals hugging tree branches that looked at Shao Xuan curiously while cooing softly. Shao Xuan didn’t pay attention to them.
There was a slope in front of them. Shao Xuan couldn’t be sure of what he saw because of the dense leaves blocking his view but he guessed that there was a river from the sounds of flowing water.
Halfway down the slope, there was an animal skin shirt which was worn by the intruder. Even lower down the slope, there were a pair of pants and shoes.
Shao Xuan didn’t go down to check but stood at the edge of the slope and looked at his surroundings.
The trees were larger here. Maybe because fewer people passed through here, the trees were older than the others out front.
The trees weren’t very tall though, Shao Xuan could see most of the terrain as he stood with a straight back.
After scanning the ground level, Shao Xuan walked around some old trees, sometimes looking up to a random branch. At times, he stopped to listen to the surroundings to check if anyone was nearby. It was near silence in the forest other than Shao Xuan’s footsteps and the occasional bird cooing from a far place.
After circling around a few more times, Shao Xuan left.
With Shao Xuan gone, the area was quiet again save the few insignificant bird calls.
After some time, on a tree near the slope, there was a soft rustle.
Twenty meters of the ground, on a tree bark, right in the middle two branches, a pair of eyes were seen. The pupils sweep around the surroundings.
At a glance, it looked as if the eyes were part of the tree but with closer inspection, one could see the human skin on the tree bark, followed by light breathing movements.
This person was Shao Xuan’s target!
After looking around, the person jumped down the tree and prepared to leave. After two steps, his gut told him that it was dangerous here.
His legs outstretched, he prepared for the second round of fleeing. Before he got to run, he heard a hum followed by something circling his leg. Branches and leaves that fell from trees gathered and connected together to form thick vines.
In a flash, his two ankles were tied so tightly together as if the vines were about to slice off his legs.
He wanted to grab his knife but there was no time for that because as he reached for his knife, the vines had restrained his legs preventing it from moving anymore.
Not far away, a set of footsteps was approaching in a controlled manner.
As he heard the footsteps, the restrained person could only sigh in defeat.
“Fine, I won’t run.” The person raised his hands and flashed a smile to the approaching Shao Xuan.
Shao Xuan returned the smile and with one swift movement, a sharp blade rested next to the person’s neck.
“Don’t kill me! I don’t have any evil intentions. I was just curious. I heard that you destroyed the Wanshi tribe and wanted to look for myself.”
Shao Xuan didn’t waste his breath on him and said, “Come out.”
The person’s eyebrows raised but he didn’t say anything.
The forest was very quiet except for the few insect and bird sounds.
“If you don’t come out, you’ll have to take care of this corpse!” Shao Xuan was prepared to slash the sword.
A female voice of unknown age was heard from behind some trees.
The person looked young but gave off an aura of maturity. With a plain and rather forgettable face, she was dressed to look like a Flaming Horn tribeswoman. She wore an animal skin shirt with Flaming Horn style fire patterns and had bone jewellery. She could blend in Flaming Horn without getting caught.
“Let’s talk like civilised human beings, there’s no need to kill anyone,” The lady continued calmly, “Seeing that you haven’t killed us yet, you must be interested in finding out more from us.”
“Not bad.” Shao Xuan kept his blade but kept the vines on the person.
The woman looked at the restrained person as he shook his head. She knew then that those vines were nothing of the normal sort, she had to find another way to get him free.
Shao Xuan ignored the two looks exchanged with each other and asked, “Who are you? Why are you in the Flaming Horn tribe? I don’t think you were just curious. Cut the bullshit or you’ll lose your legs.”
Although he delivered his sentences calmly, the two knew he wasn’t kidding.
Knowing there was no other way, the man said, “Robber Eleven.”
“Robber Twelve,” said the woman.
The man continued, “We’re not lying. I think you know we’re the ‘Robbers’. We get our names from our ranks.”
It was a half-truth. Their ranks were how they were referred to each other but it was just a code name. None of them would easily say their actual names. Even within the ‘Robbers’ they might not know each other’s real names.
Shao Xuan didn’t reply. Instead, he stared. He noticed something weird about them.
He thought that these ‘Robbers’ had a different aura but now it could confirm that it was true.
He knew long ago that ‘Robbers’ were a special tribe. Their members were fairly independent unlike the other tribes that stayed together most of the time. No one knew their exact location.
Many hated them to their core and spent enormous effort to search for them, especially those that lost something precious. They called for the extermination of the ‘Robbers’ fire seed, to remove them from the surface of the world.
However, no one came close to succeeding all these while.
Of course, they wouldn’t succeed, the ‘Robbers’ original fire seed was long gone!
Shao Xuan had thought the Flaming Horn tribe was the first tribe to merge the fire seed but it looked like that was not the case!
This explained why the ‘Robbers’ were so secretive. No one knew that they had no need to gather around their original fire seed as they had already merged with their fire seed. They only gathered when necessary which was just another way of organisation.
No wonder no one could find their tribe.
“What did you steal from Flaming Horn?” asked Shao Xuan.
“Nothing! We hadn’t done anything when we got caught,” said Robber Eleven. He was telling the truth and did feel bummed out that he was noticed so quickly.
“Other than you two are there any other intruders?” asked Shao Xuan.
“I don’t know. We don’t know about each other’s plans. We do our own thing.” said Robber Eleven.
“Do you really not know? He went to the house where you buried something,” said Shao Xuan.
Robber Eleven and Robber Twelve facial expressions immediately changed. How did he find out they buried something? Did the Flaming Horn tribe discover the thing already?
“It’s Robber Seven.” The two felt no need to hide. They only told Robber Seven about the hiding spot. It was most likely Robber Seven that went there.
Seven? Their rank was higher than these two then. No wonder their reactions were so quick.
“Where did you steal the thing you buried from?” asked Shao Xuan.
The two didn’t speak but exchanged some glances.
“If you are honest, I’ll let you go.”
“Really?” The two looked at Shao Xuan, trying to see the truth in his words.