Abuli’s facial expression grew tense. “Okay,” he said as he took down the rattan basket from his back.
Shao Xuan realised Abuli did not mean to look arrogant and haughty. His facial expression just looked stern because he was too nervous, his motions were stiff even when he removed the straps to the rattan basket from his shoulders.
The warriors of the Zhi tribe stood behind their chief Abuli, and each of them carried similar baskets on their backs. They had all taken down their baskets, but they did not want to open it yet. They clutched their baskets with nervous expressions. Their chief Abuli was already the calmest of the group.
The Flaming Horn warriors who stood around them also looked at Abuli’s basket. They were curious what the strange people from the Zhi tribe had brought over to trade. If it was not what the Flaming Horn tribe wanted, would they still decide to trade with them?
The rattan baskets were knit so tightly that even when he uncovered the lid, it made a scratching frictional sound, clear and crisp in the silent warehouse.
When Abuli opened up the lid of the basket, Shao Xuan saw a glimpse of light. The reflected light from the basket made his heart race.
“These… are what we brought.” Abuli set the rattan basket on the table in front of him and pushed it over to Shao Xuan, who was on the other side. The muscles on his arms were so stiff it seemed like they were frozen. His movements were not at all smooth and both of his eyes stared attentively at Shao Xuan as if seeking an answer.
Would the Flaming Horn tribe want what they brought over? If they didn’t want these goods, should they just carry them back? What should they do?
Feeling the glance from Abuli and dozens of people staring from behind him, Shao Xuan calmly moved the rattan basket over and looked inside.
Inside Abuli’s rattan basket, there were many white transparent objects, each cut into unique shapes. These objects were clustered, and some smaller pieces of the crystal pillars seemed like they were chipped off by a strong external force.
Shao Xuan took out a broken piece from the basket. He held the white transparent chip in one hand. The bottom, where it was chipped off, was white. The other end of the crystal was almost colourless and transparent.
Shao Xuan looked at the spar of crystal that was as big as his forearm. Although he had seen crystals in other trading markets, to most tribes, these were nonessential goods. Unlike the jade produced by the Mang tribe, these crystals did not have any effect on their totem power. They could not glow like the Drumming tribe’s Water Moon Stones, and neither could they compare to those medicinal shells that could be used as currency in the markets. So, even if people purchased these crystals, they could only be used as fashion accessories. Thus, these were considered luxurious goods that only people who did not lack any food or clothing and were equipped with their daily necessities. Most tribes that were in short supply of daily needs would not even bother to trade for these crystals.
But these crystals that the Zhi tribe brought over were not only large but clustered. The pillar of crystal that he had brought out from the basket was about the size of his forearm. Crystals the size of one’s palm could only be considered small compared to other ones in the basket.
Seeing how Shao Xuan was only slightly surprised at first, the people from the Zhi tribe became even more nervous.
Shao Xuan handed the pillar of crystal over to Lang Ga.
For the Flaming Horn tribe, goods that could only be used as accessories were not worth trading. Only the people who used to live on the other side of the ocean looked over at Shao Xuan, as if wanting to express their opinions, but out of respect, they did not speak.
Lang Ga picked up the crystal in his hands and then took out a short knife. With a swift and fierce movement, he chipped at the crystal with his blade.
Crushed stone powder sputtered out where Lang Ga’s blade created an impact.
The people from the Zhi tribe were startled by Lang Ga’s sudden action, and all of them took a step back in retreat at the same time.
Seeing the medium-sized cut on the crystal and the damage the crystal made on the short blade, Lang Ga said, “This is a medium-upper grade stone.”
After he tested the stone, Lang Ga set the crystal back on the table with a stern expression. Besides the fact that the stone looked special, there was nothing about it that surprised him. What’s the use if it merely looked good? Isn’t this similar to the polished stone tools used for hunting?
It’s okay to trade for a few but if they wanted to trade for more things from the Flaming Horn tribe, Lang Ga would not be willing to trade. The Flaming Horn tribe did not lack any stone tools. Plus, most of them were already using bronze tools. What’s the use of these crystals?
To people from the Flaming Horn tribe, the best fashion accessories were not beautiful stones, but rather horns, fangs, and claws of ferocious beasts. Those were ornaments that could truly show off their strength.
Well, there’s something in this world called “difference in aesthetic taste”.
One of the Flaming Horn warriors who stood beside Lang Ga could no longer hold back and wanted to express his opinions, but Shao Xuan made a gesture at him, and he was immediately silent again. He moved behind everyone, trying to keep a straight face, and no longer looked as anxious as before.
“So this is all that you’ve brought over?” Shao Xuan asked.
Abuli nodded, “Yes, this is everything we brought over.”
Seeing the calm reaction of the Flaming Horn warriors, the warriors of the Zhi tribe behind Abuli felt that these stones were perhaps not as valuable as they thought they were. They were suddenly discouraged and did not even try to hide their emotions. It was as if a frost had struck them.
In fact, Abuli was already mentally prepared. He once secretly went out to trade with people from the Pu tribe and didn’t receive much. Although he had high hopes for this trade with the Flaming Horn tribe, he had already prepared for the worst. He had even thought about the worst-case scenario, which was bringing the crystals back home after being rejected by the Flaming Horn tribe.
The most stressful time had passed. Now, Abuli was acting more natural than before. He clutched the rattan basket, looked at the large clusters of crystals inside and said, “This is called a crystal? In our tribe, it has a special meaning. These stones are bright and sturdy, so they are very precious in the Zhi tribe.”
In the Zhi tribe, these crystals were made into jewellery and worn in front of the chest. Sometimes they were also made into weapons. These were traditions established by the ancestors of the Zhi tribe, but even though the crystals were crafted into weapons and jewellery, it was seldom displayed outside. If they ever wore it, they would keep it under their clothing or close to them. Many times, although they held wooden weapons in their hands, they kept crystalline weapons inside their clothing.
People from the Zhi tribe believed that precious things should be kept hidden from others. Even though it was not considered valuable to other people, as long as it was precious to them, they would keep it hidden from the sight of others. That’s why even when Lang Ga saw them before in the woods, he had never noticed any crystalline jewellery or weapons because they were hidden and could not be seen.
After Abuli calmed down, he gradually relaxed and spoke calmly, “These are all that we have. I know that we can’t exchange these goods for much, but these are already the best we can offer.” He knew that the Flaming Horn tribe did not lack stone tools, but their face was not that important to them anymore. He wanted to face the situation calmly and find out how much goods he could exchange with the Flaming Horn tribe and whether they were willing to trade with them.
Shao Xuan listened to him speak and nodded. He pointed at the crystal on the table. “We can trade. A crystal this size can be exchanged for a piece of beast meat. You have already seen the size of the beast meat just now.”
“What?” Abuli was shocked.
Not just Abuli, but all the warriors from the Zhi tribe who stood behind him were shocked. Their eyes widened in shock. They couldn’t believe what they just heard.
“A stone for a piece of meat?” Abuli gulped.
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“This big?” Abuli gestured with his hands and recalled the size of the meat he saw before. It was about two palms long and one palm wide.
“Aha!” Abuli jumped up from his chair.
This completely exceeded his expectations. He initially thought that a basket of crystals could only be exchanged for two to three pieces of beast meat. After all, these crystals were all in tight clusters and weren’t the best for making weapons.
All the warriors from the Zhi tribe were no longer timid. They were so excited that they wanted to run around outside.
“We can trade!”
“We can trade for meat!”
“I want to eat the meat of the beast with the sharp ears. I saw it outside!”
“That one doesn’t look too delicious. I want the one with the longhorn!”
“No, no! What the heck? Of course you should pick the fatter ones instead!”
The warriors, each with a basket of crystals in their hands, were so happy that their eyes could no longer be seen. They jumped around cheerfully as if their baskets were full of meat. If they could fly, they would have done so.
Meat! A basket of meat!
Abuli now felt that the Flaming Horn tribe was much more pleasing and friendly. They were much better than the Pu tribe. Back then, they had been tricked so miserably by Pu tribesmen.
Just the memory itself made them feel distressed!
“Right, why haven’t we seen any of the beasts you guys have hanging outside?” Abuli asked. He wanted to know about the names of these beasts so even if he couldn’t hunt these beasts, he could finally boast about his knowledge of their names. He wanted to be the smart and well-educated chief of his tribe.
“Of course! These fearsome beasts live by the woods beside the Flaming River. They couldn’t come here before, and the possibility of them coming here in the future is unlikely too,” Shao Xuan said.
Behind them, they heard continuous sounds of people collapsing on the ground.
Lang Ga thought it was strange. Even the ground was flattened by their giant feet. How could these people even trip over themselves like that?
Abuli, who hurried and got up on his feet, didn’t care about Lang Ga’s curious stare. He walked over to Shao Xuan, and asked in a stutter, “Fear… fearsome beasts? You mean your beast meat is the meat of fearsome beasts?!” Abuli’s voice trembled at the end of the sentence. He only heard the two words in Shao Xuan’s sentence.
“Yes,” Shao Xuan said.
Abuli nodded, but his expression remained stern. His face was red, and he suddenly hopped around excitedly on the ground three times, kicking dust up in the air.
Not just Abuli, but all the other people from the Zhi tribe also did the same thing.
The members of the Flaming Horn tribe in the warehouse stared at the Zhi tribesmen in confusion. They did not know what these people were doing. Were they declaring war? It didn’t seem like it.
They didn’t know that this was how the Zhi tribe behaved when they were over-excited. This was their unique way of expressing themselves.