The journey back was rather peaceful. The tribespeople didn’t encounter any more beasts or dangerous animals and plants. The only bad thing was that it was an unbearably hot day. The moss on the ground had started to dry up. Animals fought over water by the river, sometimes water collected by the tribesmen would be stained red.

The heat was enough to kill lifted spirits. Even the Flaming Horn tribesmen, the happiest of the bunch, were bummed out then. Duo Kang, in particular, was having a rough time. The winter he experienced last year was the polar opposite of the weather now. If this year was much worse than last year, could the other side of the sea be flooded by melted ice? 

When they reached the tribe, Shao Xuan only knew they had it easy in the forest. The stream that was the main water source for the tribe had dried up. Not a single drop of water was seen in the nearest three streams to the tribe. Luckily, the strong Flaming Horn tribespeople were still able to send out a team of warriors to carry back large jars of water for their animal enclosures and farmlands. 

The other tribes had it worse. 

The troubled people held rituals every day to pray for rainfall but nothing good had come out of it. The weather got even hotter. 

With no rainfall, not only the beasts in the forests were killing each other, humans too. 

Apparently, during these odd winter seasons, more tribes went to war with each other, mostly over water. When the water supply was scarce, with each tribe trying to survive, battles were unavoidable. 

After they exited the forest, the other tribes didn’t hang around the Flaming Horn Tribe for long. Not only because of the beasts, but they were also worried about the drought. 

It was lucky that only a portion of the tribespeople went hunting in the forest. The other half were well-rested and could help protect the green-faced fanged beast from thieves during the transportation process. When life was getting tougher, crime was more likely to happen.

When the rest of the tribespeople left, the members of the Flaming Horn tribe got busy.

The long-awaited green-faced fanged beasts were here, it was time for the next step. 

They were eager to slice its skin for blood but it’d evaporate before it was used. And if they rushed the weapon-making process, there would be a lot of mistakes.It was better to collect and store some blood beforehand. 

Shao Xuan made a syringe using bamboo. It was half a metre long with its insides thoroughly cleaned to avoid contaminating the blood. The piston was made of sap from a type of tree in the forest. 

The needle head was made from bird bones. The bones were hollow in the middle and carefully selected so they weren’t not too fine nor too thick. This was to make sure they wouldn’t break that easily. 

After testing it with water and making sure it didn’t leak, the syringe was done. 

The crowd was excited to see the new invention put to use. They caught on to its functions as soon as they saw Shao Xuan testing it. 

The seven green-faced fanged beasts were still unconscious. On their way back, as soon as Shao Xuan noticed the beasts regaining consciousness, he would inject more poison in them. The odd thing about the beasts was that other than the time they ate, their mouths were all tightly shut, even when they slept. Shao Xuan couldn’t even feed them medicine. 

“Will this work?” asked Ao and Zheng Luo, standing behind Shao Xuan. 

“We’ll see.” Shao Xuan wasn’t sure either. Who knew if the blood would react with the bamboo or tree sap? 

“Get one here.” Shao Xuan instructed Duo Kang. 

Duo Kang scanned the beasts and took the fattest one there. It was the first one Shao Xuan had caught. 

It didn’t have a round stomach anymore, it was much “skinnier” now. However, it was still much thicker than the other beasts. 

‘If this works, we could spare the lives of the beasts. We still don’t know how much blood we need to use so it’s better to keep them alive. Seven may seem like a lot but what happens if we failed all the way? Do we have to return to the mountains to catch more?’ thought Shao Xuan.

Shao Xuan squatted and looked at the bone structure of the beast. He guessed the placement of each organ. Then, he got a dagger and made a cut right at the beast’s breast while avoiding all the organs. 

The cut wasn’t deep but just enough to break through some of the skin. Not much blood flowed out. He had to first slice through the toughest part of the skin so that the needle head wouldn’t snap. 

Green blood flowed out and soon followed the sizzling sound of boiling water. 

This was the first time Ao and the rest saw this special property of the blood. 

Knowing that the beast had strong recovering abilities, Shao Xuan didn’t waste a second to stick the syringe in. 

He stuck it in from a tilted angle with one hand and pulled the piston rod with the other. Although he couldn’t see the insides of the bamboo, if this invention worked properly, he would be able to feel the blood being sucked up.  

When he felt the suction power, Shao Xuan felt relieved. 

It was just a test so he only filled a third of the tube and took it out. 

The cut was starting to heal as soon as Shao Xuan pulled the needle out. It took a lot of effort to pull the needle out, he almost broke it too. 

When Shao Xuan pushed the piston, green drops of blood came out. It evaporated as soon as it appeared. The tube still had liquid in it so it meant the blood inside was still there. 

Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. This was the way they would use to collect and store the blood for the welding process.