Every time a flock of birds flew by their tribe, Shao Xuan would observe and see what kind of birds they were. Even though he couldn’t see them too clearly, he could tell what species they belonged to, their body shape, and their speed. These were simple judgements he could make.
The first flock that flew over were large-sized birds. Most of them were beasts that travelled fast and had strong stamina. After these birds left, other ordinary birds came.
The green ducks were one of the last flocks to fly by their tribe. Maybe they were a special case. If the green duck flew here by himself, he would’ve been one of the first birds to arrive, but because he was bringing along his family members- a group of ducklings- it delayed his travel, so they were one of the last flocks to arrive.
After the green ducks arrived, the birds that came after were even more ordinary than before. The birds that departed from their flock and flew down because they heard the green ducks’ calls belonged to those regular types. They were even more common than those Shao Xuan had seen before when they were living beside the sea.
These ducks had different colours of feathers and behaved differently. But because they looked similar, Shao Xuan categorised them all as wild ducks.
Back then, when they were living on the other side, the green duck had also attracted many wild ducks into the tribe. Now, the same situation was happening again- except this time, it wasn’t just the green duck calling out to the other birds. His ducklings also followed what he did and quacked to the birds from afar.
The wild ducks that were flying over caught the attention of many tribal workers who were busy working on their task. The people who had seen this phenomenon before were delighted. With so many ducks in their tribe, they knew more eggs would be laid.
The guards did not stop the wild ducks from getting close, so right after the wild ducks departed from their flock, they followed the green ducks and flew down to the lake.
The lake that was usually serene and quiet was suddenly full of excitement. The wild ducks that landed took up more than one-third of the lake’s surface. But this was only the beginning. Many other wild ducks were still descending into the lake.
Not all the birds that flew by the tribe descended, and the tribesmen knew there were many more ducks from these flocks. These ducks just didn’t know about this place because they hadn’t heard the green ducks’ quacks.
“We underestimated them!”
Shao Xuan looked toward the fat duck on the lake. He shouted, “Hey! Duck!”
The fat duck, swimming peacefully in the man-made lake, slowly turned its head in Shao Xuan’s direction.
“Please… don’t fly up into the sky anymore.”
The fat duck turned its head, and without giving any response or acknowledgement, it kept swimming in the same direction.
But afterwards, when Shao Xuan observed them, the ducks no longer flew into the sky again. Shao Xuan calmed down and breathed out a sigh of relief.
The people who worked on the lake once again dug out and expanded its area. Judging by the lake’s current size, the space was insufficient for all these wild ducks.
The keeper who took care of the duck shed also renovated the shed, so they didn’t have to worry about the sudden increase in the number of ducks. The green ducks were picky, but the wild ducks weren’t. Their food was easy to make, and it wouldn’t be too much trouble for the keepers because they already had experience taking care of them.
Two days later, five boats had already been constructed, and they were ready for testing. On each boat, there were fifty to a hundred people, and this time, the number of people who were going out to trade was around three hundred. Their name list had already confirmed this number.
The five boats with Flaming Horn totem signs marked with paint departed from the man-made lake into the canal.
When the sail was hoisted, there was a totem sign drawn on it signifying the Flaming Horn tribe. It was the best time to establish a stronger presence in the community. The symbol on the sail was drawn by the two shamans. When the winds blew, the curvature of the sails made the signs look like they were alight with flames.
“We can probably leave now. There seems to be no problem,” Zheng Luo said to the five boats entering the river.
On this trip, the captain was Ta, one of the major hunt leaders. Duo Kang came along because he wanted to have some fun. He knew the group did not need two major hunt leaders on this trip, and this wasn’t the only time they would go out for a trade, but he wanted to go anyway.
The Drumming tribe had finished rebuilding their tribe and saw the five boats carrying Flaming Horn totem signs. They stared enviously but regarded these boats as extravagant possessions. They felt that there was no need for such vehicles. If they wanted to cross any type of waters, they could just ride on the back of their crocodiles.
The reason the people from the Drumming tribe was envious was that they would’ve been able to trade in farther areas if the disaster hadn’t happen- they would’ve had a huge supply of Water Moon Stones left, and perhaps they could use them to negotiate with the Flaming Horn tribe, asking them to bring them along to farther places to trade. Many people in the Drumming tribe had never travelled to faraway places. The farthest most of the warriors of the Drumming tribe had been to was where the Pu tribe lived.
Before, they didn’t like the idea of socialising with strangers of other tribes. But now, they thought differently. Seeing the Flaming Horns with their boats, the Drumming tribe suddenly had many thoughts and ideas.
“Maybe next year, when we have a greater supply of Water Moon Stones. Then we can pay back the debt from last time and maybe even travel along on the boats from the Flaming Horn tribe,” one of the warriors from the Drumming tribe said.
“I have decided not to go trade with the Pu tribe tomorrow. I want to save up my Water Moon Stones so that when the opportunity comes, I can ask the Flaming Horn tribe to take us to farther places to make even better trades with other tribes. Flaming Horn is a better option than the Pu tribe,” another warrior said.
It was not just them. Other people from the Drumming tribe also had similar ideas. Some of them made a silent decision in their hearts and prayed for an increase in the production of Water Moon Stones. Then, they could pay up their debt and stop worrying about working all the time.
When they were testing the sails, Shao Xuan took the boat down a section of the Flaming River to check on the Rain tribe. He wanted to see the progress of their reconstruction.
The Drumming tribe was working on the foundations of the ruins left behind, but the Rain tribe was starting anew. It was more complicated and required more work. Like most tribes with primitive fire seeds, when they arrived, the first thing they did was build a fire pit. Then, they built the necessary houses for the leaders in the tribe and then for the rest of the people.
When Shao Xuan arrived, the Rain tribe’s houses had already been built. They were already preparing to cultivate the lands and making animal pens. They did not have many resources, so they depended on hunting birds that flew by or beasts that lived beside the Flaming River. Besides hunting, they also plucked fruits. They had the seeds, except it wasn’t possible for them to start sowing this year.
The Rain tribe had already begun to use many of the new pots they made. There were also many spinning wheels and other tools used to make the pottery set in front of their houses. The Rain tribe had picked up their old skills again and started a new way of living. They were thinking up new plans for making a living.
According to the Rain tribe, there were more tribes living nearby this area- some wanted to move away from here because they thought this place was too dangerous. They saw the forest by the river as dangerous territory. It was too close for comfort, so they were scared and wanted to leave. Of course, many of the tribes that survived the disaster chose to stay. They did not dare take any risks migrating again.
All in all, many tribes were living along the river bank. After all, this was a significant water source. Even if they did not live by the river, they wouldn’t stray too far away.
“More tribes are living here than I thought,” Shao Xuan said.
Shao Xuan had an idea in his mind. Before when they talked about trading, some people mentioned that the trading markets were too far away. This was a problem they all faced.
Indeed, if they wanted to make better trades, they had to travel farther to places where people had better talents and unique crafts, or maybe to some large marketplace. But those places were too far. If they were closer, it would be a lot better for all of them. It would save them all the time and trouble.
He knew it was impossible to move another market here. But what if they were to build a new market in this place?
The Flaming River was no longer a river that people feared. It was providing water for the people who lived nearby, all the large and small tribes. If they were to build a trading point here, what would people think?