The Flaming Horn people were still fresh in the memories of the people in the Drumming tribe. They didn’t come into contact with other tribes often and the Flaming Horn tribe had helped them once.
However, the tribe they met then was much smaller.
The people of the Drumming tribe were rather happy to see Shao Xuan and some other familiar faces after four years but they couldn’t help but ask, “Are you … moving?”
They just moved here four years ago, are they moving away so soon?
They were moving way too frequently. Even though it was because of a natural disaster, their moving frequency was still very high.
Fu Shi didn’t have any ill intention behind his words but it still stung the Flaming Horns. If they weren’t forced to do so, why would they give up on the homeland they worked so hard on for four years?
In the group, Ao, Gui He and the others felt a sense of familiarity. The thought popped up in their heads again. Were they really heading back to where they came from?
The thought of it made them excited. Compared to a new place, they would much rather go back to the forest they once called home. Although it wasn’t perfect, they were still sentimental to the place.
Before Fu Shi spoke again, Ao said, “Would there be any changes to that river? Did the river beasts come back? Can we use the boats further upstream?”
With Ao’s rapid volley of questions, Fu Shi had a weird expression on his face. The warriors of the Drumming tribe had the same expression too.
Shao Xuan then asked, “Why? Did the river change?”
“Change? Of course!” Fu Shi pointed towards the river and said, “Did you notice the sounds of the river had changed?”
The sounds of the river?
The people of Flaming Horn didn’t conduct many activities on water, so comparatively, the people of the Drumming tribe were more knowledgeable than them in this sector.
“I don’t hear it,” said Ao honestly.
Fu Shi didn’t judge him for it but his eyes carried mixed emotions. “The sounds of the large river aren't there. That large river isn’t there anymore.”
Fu Shi sighed. When the earthquake happened, his people were nearly thrown around by it. They tied themselves and their family members to the trees or went to hilly areas. There are many hills and mountains here, not many flatlands so even if they wanted to hide, they would just be hiding from hill to hill.
When everything settled down, Fu Shi tried to go back to the river banks only to find that the village was destroyed. The houses were all gone but even more shocking, the river too!
The people of Flaming Horn, who had mentally prepared to stay around for a year, were shocked to hear Fu Shi’s words. Shao Xuan was not excluded. He was thinking about how to build the ships while waiting for the rainy season to stop.
Everyone was left speechless.
How did such a large river disappear?
Additionally, according to the Drumming tribespeople, the changes happened within five days. If they hadn’t escaped in time, maybe they would have lost many more members in the disaster zone.
“Let me bring you there.” Fu Shi sighed as he started walking.
Shao Xuan and the two chiefs followed his lead.
There were adult and small crocodiles in the area. A brown-eyed one quickly ran towards Shao Xuan. It was the crocodile from many years before. It was much bigger now so Shao Xuan didn’t recognise it until Fu Shi pointed it out.
Shao Xuan was still preoccupied with thinking about the river so he only patted its head before he hurriedly followed Fu Shi again.
The reason for the destruction of the homes in Drumming tribe wasn’t because of the shaking ground but because of the rain that brought down a landslide of mud.
“There it is, see for yourself.” Fu Shi pointed in a direction.
In front of them was only a raised stone mound, they couldn’t see beyond it.
When they walked onto the stone mound then only Shao Xuan could clearly see the area.
“So… it’s true...”
“There… That… There it is!” Ta was too agitated to speak full sentences. The others couldn’t understand him but the Flaming Horn people knew.
Across the tiny stream, it was the place they once lived!
The mountain seemed to have gotten taller, the flatlands were now hills. The houses they built had all toppled.
The heavy breathing and red faces of the Flaming Horn people confused Fu Shi.
“There was where we lived!” Ao said after a deep breath.
They lived in the homeland for four years but that place across the river was their home for more than a decade!
How could they not be agitated?
When they first left, they had thought of coming back here to live. The shaman had also said that if things didn’t go well in the new area, they could come back. As time went on, the new tribe thrived so they didn’t have a reason to go back. They would have the occasional dream of the mysterious forest, those familiar hunting routes…
“Who would have thought… Hahaha!” Ao took another deep breath. He seemed to exhale out all his frustrations.
“Is this it? Ah Xuan?” Ao stared at the other side of the river.
Yes.” Shao Xuan was sure that the knot divination was pointing in that direction.
A thousand years ago, their ancestors fled the land because of a crack in the ground which formed the great river, forbidding them from returning. Now, a thousand years later, the lands were connected once again.
The great river that existed for a thousand years was no more. The only thing left of it was a small stream.
At least this gave the Flaming Horns some comfort.