There was still a possibility that they would have to leave in order to hide from the disaster, but it was their last resort, and no one in the tribe wanted this.
If they were really forced to leave, how drastic would the changes be?
Plus, it had been more than three years since they moved back here. The construction, field planning, and other plans were already set on track. It was the perfect time for them to develop rapidly and catch up to their previous glory. They could only say that they were unlucky.
This was fate!
No matter what would happen in the future, it had not arrived yet, so they still had the chance to prepare for the big changes. This could prevent them from panicking and fussing over what was to be done when the disaster actually hit.
The people who took care of the farmlands came over and asked Shao Xuan about whether they should start sowing the Thousand Grain Gold. The unusual weather pattern last year was unpredictable, so they only planted other seeds. They did not want to risk wasting any of those seeds. They were even more precious than the ones given to them by Ji Ju. Therefore, they did not plant even a single Thousand Grain Gold in their lands last year.
The weather had returned to normal, so the person in charge of the land thought of sowing some new seeds. After he consulted with Qi Qi and the others, he came to ask Shao Xuan directly. After all, the decision laid in Shao Xuan’s hands.
“No, don’t plant any more new seeds for now.” Shao Xuan said. Seeing Qi Qi’s hesitation, he continued, “I don’t mean just the thousand grain gold, but temporarily stop planting all the other crops too. If there are any mature plants, collect them and save them up. Especially the millet planted last year.”
Some crops in the fields had already matured. According to their original plan, after their harvest, the crops would be distributed according to how much each of them worked, and a portion would be given to everyone, but at that time, they did not foresee this disaster. Now they needed to change the plan and adapt to the current circumstances.
Beast meat could not be stored for long, but crops like millet could be stored for a long time. If the time came and there were no longer any prey to hunt, they still had grains stored in the warehouse, ready for use in crucial situations.
Although Qi Qi did not understand why Shao Xuan made this decision, since Shao Xuan said so, he would just follow.
“But as a result, there will be a lot more arable land wasted,” Qi Qi said. The lands were never left unused even in the past winter. The people who took care of the farms had their ways of taking care of the arable land, making it rich in nutrients and ready for sowing. But now, Shao Xuan suddenly told them to stop planting. Qi Qi did not complain or resent, but it was just a pity to her.
What Shao Xuan meant was not to stop planting completely. He only meant for them to stop planting those plants that needed longer growth cycles, but they could still plant those that had shorter growth cycles. The time between planting and harvest must be relatively short, so they were already ready for harvest before the disaster happened. At least they would have more in their storage and not waste the arable condition that the workers worked so hard in keeping.
After he realized what Shao Xuan meant, Qi Qi nodded and left solemnly. Although Shao Xuan did not tell him exactly what would happen, the shaman had already told everyone during the annual sacrifice that year to be extra careful.
Everything was for the Flaming Horn tribe. Qi Qi believed in their decisions. With some thoughts on his mind, he went and passed down the orders to the rest of the workers.
Besides the Flaming Horns, other big tribes like the Mang tribe had also foreseen the disaster. Shamans were not there for nothing after all. They had a hunch before, but it was just not as strong at that time. Now, perhaps because the disaster was getting closer, their intuition was also becoming sharper.
Every tribe was making preparations, and they were all moving farther away from the Fearsome Beast Forest, far from where all the big tribes were. They moved to the borders of the mainland, near the boundless river.
The Drumming tribe’s trading team had just returned from the Pu tribe. On their way back they were standing on the backs of large crocodiles, each carrying bamboo baskets full of various utensils and rough linen, just like before.
The crocodiles in the river swished their powerful tails, and only part of their bodies appeared above the water. Their cold, emotionless pupils scanned their surroundings.
In the past winter, tribes in other parts of the land had encountered big problems. Some people even died of thirst. But for tribes who lived near the river, although the high temperature was barely tolerable, they could still bear it. At least they had no worries about water.
The small river they passed by almost dried up during the wintertime. Even the riverbeds of the parts with higher elevation had reached the surface. The mud on the bottom of the river had already dried and formed cracks. The crocodiles had already escaped into the big river. The people of the tribe only dared to go fetch water from the river because these crocodiles protected them. They protected them from other dangerous river beasts in the river.
Under such a high temperature, not only were people growing more restless, even some fish in the river became murderous.
After winter had passed, a few days of heavy rain made these small rivers rise again. But it was only those few days. During this time, the water level had dropped significantly, and the crocodiles became even more irritable as they swam in the river.
“Will the river dry out again?” asked a warrior from the tribe.
"Who knows, but even if it dries, we still have a big river next to it. This is already plenty for us. We won’t die of thirst,” Another soldier standing on the back of the crocodile said, indifferent.
People deeper inland were facing a severe shortage of water, but they were not. They were not the type to care about the life and death of others. They only cared about their own tribe.
The closer they were to the Drumming tribe, the stranger the warriors became after their trade.
“How come it seems like there are more fish today than usual?”
“I saw it too, I thought they wanted to greet us, but it seemed more like they…”
More like what, the soldier did not continue. He just frowned—other people carried the same expression.
They were familiar with these crocodiles. The crocodiles were the totem of the tribe. They could tell right away if the crocodiles were not in a good mood.
In this small river, not many crocodiles remained. As they returned, they noticed there were more crocodiles now than before. There were three times more!
If the number doubled, it would already feel abnormal to them. They would look for the cause. After all, this was three times more than before. Seeing this made them panic.
As the warrior said just now, the crocodiles did not come to pick them up. It was more like they were avoiding something.
Even if the crocodiles did not panic, this situation was making the Drumming tribe panic.
The shaman continued to seek the reason. He was not as powerful as the shamans from the larger tribes, but he could sense something was wrong. He continued to look for solutions and tried to understand the behaviour of the crocodiles.
Days passed, and they still hadn't figured out the reason. It's just that there were more and more crocodiles lurking in the internal ponds of the tribe. They either stayed ashore or swam in the small river, but there were fewer crocodiles in the big river.
Without crocodiles in the big river, the dangerous fish and river beasts were a huge threat for them. For a time, the people dared not enter the big river and only went into the small streams that had many crocodiles.
One day, the tribal warriors who were patrolling on the banks of the river heard a grunting sound. They thought it was a river beast in the river, so they became alert immediately.
They stared at the river for a while, but only saw some bubbles surfacing. They saw no river beast.
Fish with long fangs jumped out of the water from time to time and fell back into the water. They danced around restlessly in the waters.