The group of people who stole the wooden sign sprinted rapidly in the woods, like wild monkeys moving swiftly in the forest. As they travelled, only the sounds of leaves rattling and branches swaying in the wind could be heard.
Thick vine ropes were attached to their feet, and their toes were exposed. Compared to the other tribes, these people had longer toes and bigger feet. Their toes were twice as long compared to those of the other tribes.
When they dashed rapidly in the forest, they were like animals who travelled on all fours. Their toes were strong and flexible, like another pair of hands. As they wrapped their hands on a branch above and swung forward, their feet had already caught on to the next branch and continued the next propulsion.
These people belonged to a tribe nearby, and this group was assigned to hunt for food. They killed any beasts they saw and plucked all types of fruits that grew on trees. On the first day the Flaming Horn tribe started working on their trading point, these people had already sensed their presence, but they knew they were not strong enough to fight them. They were not even strong enough to fight the Pu and Drumming tribes. The only tribe they could manage to fight was the Luo tribe which was pretty much wiped out from the previous disaster.
Their chief had told them about Flaming Horn. Back in the days when the Flaming Horn tribe left on their boats, many warriors from this tribe had seen them.
The tribes recognised each other by their totem signs. Thus, when they saw stone plates with Flaming Horn totem signs erected in the area, they already knew who was there. They did not dare to get a closer look so they couldn’t figure out what the Flaming Horn tribe was trying to do there.
After two days of continuous observation, they still didn’t get any information about what the Flaming Horn tribe was doing, so when they went over to look today, they saw a Flaming Horn tribe member putting up a wooden sign. Out of curiosity, they went to take a look.
In this group, not many knew how to read. None of them could understand all the words of this language. Their daily routine did not require any understanding of their written language, so they didn’t care. The leader of this group knew the most words, so after he figured out the general meaning behind those words, he was shocked by the news.
They always thought that tribes were built around their fire seed, regardless of their size. Most tribes had the fire seed as their centre, and the only difference was the size of their territory. When they saw the Flaming Horn tribe marking this new territory as their own, they thought to themselves, ‘Is something big about to happen? What is this Flaming River Trading Point for?’
They couldn’t understand the Flaming Horn tribe’s intention, so they went to consult their chief and shaman.
But the thing was, they did not know how to write nor had excellent memories, so they removed the wooden sign from the ground and brought it back with them. They did not think about the consequence of their actions and whether it would infuriate the Flaming Horn tribe. After all, no one in their tribe had done this before.
With the wooden sign in hand, they travelled past mountains and reached what seemed like a small space between two mountains. There was a narrow trail between the mountains that became visible as they came closer.
The path led them to a small space made in the depression of the mountains. Mountains surrounded this territory and many trees grew in this land. Between these trees, houses made from vines and branches stood in rows, with huge branches or thick leaves as roofs. Some of these houses even had dried leaves and branches as their roofs.
Many things were laid on the ground outside the houses, but most were made from stone or wood. Pottery was rare in this area. Tools made from horns and bones of animals were their hunting equipment. The bones and horn tools were weirdly shaped, but most of the wooden tools looked sophisticated. These people mostly relied on wooden tools made from bamboo and vines.
Villagers who were busy with their work looked over curiously when they saw the hunting team rushing back. Weren’t these people sent out to find food? Why did they bring back a wooden board? Was it firewood?
The people who carried the wooden board didn’t care about the others who were talking about them. Instead, they ran towards their chief’s house and set down the wooden board beside the chief who was busy weaving a rattan basket.
As they dropped the wooden board on the ground, the chief’s hand jerked in shock, causing the rattan vine in his hand to snap in half.
The chief’s eyebrows arched upwards, signifying his growing rage.
The warrior who brought back the wooden board scratched his head nervously.
He didn’t know how to explain, so he pointed at the wooden board.
The chief, still angry at those men who just came back, calmed down and looked at the wooden board on the ground. His eyes flashed with curiosity, and suddenly, his look of anger disappeared. He kicked the rattan basket away and looked closely at the words on the wooden board.
As the chief, he was capable of reading the words on the board. He quickly recognised the words on the board and understood what was happening.
Seeing others still staring at him from the side, he waved at them, signalling them to leave him alone. He sat there by himself in deep contemplation, and after he made a decision, he went to the shaman to discuss the wooden board.
Meanwhile, people were talking about the Flaming River Trading Point in the Pu tribe.
The first reaction the people in the Pu tribe had when they heard about the trading point was, “Crap! They’re stealing our business?!”
Some of them wanted to fight with the Flaming Horn tribe and show them their strength, but after they realised the power of their opponent, they no longer had such thoughts. They knew that if it had been some smaller tribes, they would immediately approach them and hold a “discussion” with them, but the Flaming Horn tribe was powerful, so they could only quietly watch and do nothing.
But as the famous merchant of the time, the Pu tribe started to think about ways to reap benefits from this Trading Point.
The Pu tribe did not suffer huge losses during the previous disaster. They were lucky enough to survive and praised their ancestors for picking such a safe location for their tribe, or else they would’ve ended up like the Luo tribe, destroyed and wiped out from the face of the earth.
After thinking about how lucky they were, they became frustrated again.
The disaster had wiped out some of the tribes that used to trade with them. Even if some of these tribes didn’t get wiped out, they suffered huge losses and could no longer join forces with the Pu tribe. Every year when the Pu tribe went out on travels, none of these tribes joined them. Their tribes were already low on members, so if they sent people out on these travels, who was left to guard over their land?
So the Pu tribe no longer went out to trade. They had plenty of supply in their hands, ready to trade with the other tribes. The only problem they faced was not being able to travel afar to trade.
Now that the Flaming Horn tribe built a new trading point, it was an excellent opportunity for them.
Thus, after complaining about their misfortunes, the Pu tribe started preparing for the upcoming trade at the Flaming River Trading Point.