When the Lu tribes went back, Shao Xuan escorted them with a team of Flaming Horn warriors. They too wanted to see what the situation was like outside.
They encountered several robberies on the road. Indeed, as Yan Jiu said, those people had lost their sanity. They didn’t even bother to judge the strength of their opponents before combat. All they thought about was killing and taking over their resources.
Those who hijacked them on the road came from different backgrounds. Some were soldiers from unknown tribes. Others were wanderers who were not skilled in battle. For them to survive and reach where they were was already an extremely difficult task, but as they lost their sanity and became crazy, they did unimaginable things that they usually wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. Under normal circumstances, they would not even dare fight against the tribal warriors.
Along the way, Shao Xuan also saw some corpses but he couldn’t tell how long they had been dead. Insects gathered densely on the corpse, covering it entirely. Even when scavenger birds flew over, it was difficult to drive them away.
Humans, animals, and insects were all driven to their extremes under the conditions of this weather. They had grown too accustomed to the weather in the past, so much so that they could not adapt to the changes in these two years.
After going for a walk outside, Shao Xuan returned to the tribe, only to see the soldiers patrolling outside under the shade of a tree, his eyes scanning the grounds like an eagle. They appeared tenser than when he left the tribe.
“What happened?” Shao Xuan asked a soldier who was patrolling on the borders.
“Someone had attacked, and the hunt leaders sent people over to keep guard everywhere.” The man pointed in a direction, “The fight happened over there.”
Shao Xuan walked to where the soldier pointed and slowly came to where the wanderers attacked the Flaming Horns. This was where they attacked, except the warrior who was keeping guard there killed them right on the spot where the border was drawn.
There was still the lingering smell of blood. Some flying insects and scavengers wandered nearby, and there were some broken weapons on the ground made from stone, bones, and horns.
Under these circumstances, it was impossible for the Flaming Horn tribe to let those people escape alive. Shao Xuan did not inquire about anything else. He only asked what they were deciding to do with the corpses. It wasn’t a good idea to leave the corpses lying there under the hot weather. What’s more, they didn’t know if those people were sick before they died. The people from the Lu tribe told them that some tribes had sick people and also told them how sick they were. The people of the Lu tribe did not know how dangerous it could be, but they knew that they had to prepare for the worst.
When Shao Xuan went over there, Ao was giving out instructions to people, telling them to drag the corpses of those trespassers into the forest and feed them to the beasts. After Shao Xuan came and gave his suggestion, they dragged the bodies of these trespassers out of the forest, set them up on firewood, and burned them to ashes.
There were many who actively attacked the Flaming Horn tribe. One after another, these cases were solved. Among these attackers, there were some wanderers. These wanderers came from outside the forest.
A wanderer went out and never came back. When their family went out to search, they only found a corpse. These wanderers had arrived here together with the Flaming Horn tribe years ago, but some left when they were in the middle of their journey and went to rely on other tribes instead.
Now, since the climate became abnormal and it was hard to survive, one guy who left found his way back to the forest. When he arrived, the guards were told not to let any outsiders enter, so this person could only use his whistle to call out to his old friends.
A wanderer who lived on Flaming Horn grounds heard the whistle and went out because he recognized his friend from the past. He let down his guard and came out unarmed. Not only was his jug of water stolen, but he was also stabbed a few times and died immediately.
The two chiefs did not hide this matter from the rest of the Flaming Horn tribe. They wanted to warn those reckless wanderers who wanted to go out so that they would stay indoors. If they didn’t want to follow orders, they could leave right away.
Because of what happened to the attackers and wanderers, those who wanted to betray the Flaming Horn tribe temporarily ceased to have such thoughts, whether it be wanderers or some Flaming Horn soldiers.
When the hunting team entered the forest to hunt, they also saw some human bones. They belonged to people who entered the forest from other places. Unfortunately, they either failed or escaped. There might’ve been a few who managed to obtain food and water, but the hunting team had not met such people yet.
Days passed, yet the weather was hot as ever.
Humans and beasts alike were all maddened by heat.
Shao Xuan made some copper scissors for cutting hair and animal fur. He cast this scissor using the most common casting method. For the purpose of cutting hair and fur, scissors worked way better than knives.
Because the weather was too hot, sweat and dirt stuck onto their messy hair. Most of the soldiers were too lazy to care about their hair, so they simply tied it up with a straw rope and covered it with a hat made from leaves.
Water was a scarce resource so even if they were in the forest and could find water, they could not shower every single day, so after days had passed, their hair became entangled and it was difficult to even comb. They returned to their most primitive look. Over the years, they had developed a habit of combing their hair. Recently, they slowly let go of this habit.
The scissors made by Shao Xuan helped them a lot. One after the next, they came in line and got their haircuts. At this time, they did not even think about the idea of how “our bodies, hair, and skin were given to us by our parents,” and cut their hair according to their own preferences. They were happy with whatever felt comfortable.
[Note: In ancient China, the practice of filial piety included not injuring oneself, and this principle meant one should not damage one’s own body, skin, and hair.]
Usually, they would not even be willing to cut all their hair. After all, they still had to wear ornaments made from animal teeth and bones in their hair. But now they were too hot and weren’t allowed to take showers, so it was better to cut away all of their hair. As a result, a lot of people in the tribe began to have bald haircuts.
Besides the warriors, Caesar and the other beasts were also about to get their thick fur trimmed, except Shao Xuan found it almost impossible to trim their fur with normal scissors. After several tries, he finally gave up and lent his scissors to those who were in charge of the animal circle. There were some animals with thick fur on the side. They should have been slaughtered back in the wintertime and their fur was supposed to be kept as clothing material. Their entire bodies were covered with thick fur and it was obvious that those beasts felt extremely hot. It was clear now why it had been so hard to breed these animals recently. They seemed like they even lost their passion for living. Even if they were hydrated, they didn’t feel much better.
The hot climate slowly passed as it received many prayers and curses from the tribes. In the dark sky, when two crescent shapes began to appear, the entire Flaming Horn tribe, no, it should be almost all the tribes, most people and beasts, took a sigh of relief. Some even wept with joy.
The appearance of the two crescent moons meant winter had just passed.
For the people on this land, almost every minute and second of this winter was suffering. They had never experienced a winter like this one ever in their lives.
Did the end of winter imply that such weather was coming to an end and everything was going back to normal?
After the appearance of the two crescent moons, on the second day of their sacrificial festival, the temperature indeed began to drop. Even the winds grew stronger. The coolness of the gusty winds caused people who experienced the torturous winter to roar with joy. In the mountains and forests, the beasts also roared, welcoming the pleasing changes in weather.
But were all the nightmares really gone yet?