Looking at the stone the shaman held, Shao Xuan knew why he was here.
On the other side of the ocean, Shao Xuan noticed traces of crocodiles in the forest, he also found many stones left by the crocodiles. He was able to produce the water sun stone from it. The water sun stones needed to be placed under the sun to be functional, unlike the water moon stones that could glow for a long time.
The tribe brought over some stones from the other side but they soon realised the water moon stones were much more convenient and inexpensive. Hence, the water moon stones replaced the water sun stones.
The Drumming tribe people probably found out about it after noticing some Flaming Horn warriors using the water sun stones.
As Shao Xuan walked in, the Drumming tribe shaman shifted his focus from the stone in his hands to him. The shaman was agitated.
“I’m sorry for bothering you but Grand Elder Shao Xuan, how did you get this stone?”
Shao Xuan thought and replied, “These are from the other side of the sea.”
The shaman nodded, this he had already known. “Can you tell me more about the stones, Grand Elder?”
Shao Xuan told the shaman about how he found the stones but vaguely mentioned how he made them, “I was just tinkering with the stones, I didn’t expect it to work.”
The shaman had curiosity written all over his face. He knew that there were crocodiles in many places so Shao Xuan was able to find the stones but how did a Flaming Horn tribesman like him make something like this from the stone?
Wasn’t this the Drumming tribe’s speciality?!
Shao Xuan didn’t spill any of his secrets. This was all he said.
Hence, after staring at the stone in his hands and thinking hard, he said, “Do you still have any more of these stones?” After a slight pause, he added, “The ones from young treasure fish?”
“Can we borrow… cough.” The shaman suddenly remembered his tribe had a large debt that was hanging over their heads. How could he borrow even more now?
“Yes, please wait.”
Shao Xuan brought back some stones with him. When they first left to cross the sea, he took some stones with him. He didn’t find any problem with giving one to the shaman.
Upon closer inspection, the shaman felt that although they looked very similar, these stones were not from the crocodiles in their tribe. There was a sense of unfamiliarity to him. The tribe was very close to their crocodiles so they could feel their auras but this stone had none of that.
“This… can I borrow it for a few days?” asked the shaman carefully. He had to be polite in front of his creditor.
“No problem.” Shao Xuan didn’t mind much.
“Thank you so much!” thanked the Drumming tribe shaman. He carefully placed the stone into his animal skin bag. As if he suddenly remembered something, he looked towards Shao Xuan and said, “Grand Elder Shao Xuan, did you say you changed the stone yourself?”
“Without help from the fire seed? I mean with your own powers?”
“That is the case.”
“How is that possible?” The shaman was utterly confused.
The Drumming tribe could only produce the water moon stones on the day of the full moon with the help of the fire seed. How could Shao Xuan do it himself?
If they hadn’t seen the stone themselves, the people from the Drumming tribe would have never believed it.
Before he left, the shaman asked one last question, even if he didn’t get his answer, he just had to get it off his mind.
“I didn’t feel the presence of your fire seed, did something happen to it?”
Ever since the Flaming Horn tribes moved here, the Drumming tribe tribespeople hadn’t felt any sense of pressure or repulsion. They didn’t notice it at first, the disaster took up much of their thoughts then. When things started to settle down, they soon noticed. They didn’t feel the presence of a fire seed!
In addition to that, these Flaming Horn tribespeople seemed to have undergone some changes. They didn’t feel like the people they first met.
Tribes without a fire seed would cause their people to become wanderers. This was acknowledged throughout the lands. However, not only did the Flaming Horn people not lose their powers, they seemed to have gotten stronger. The choices they made were much bolder too, such as claiming land apart from their tribe.
“We are fine,” said Shao Xuan, “As for the fire seed, it is true that it isn’t in the fire pond anymore.”
The shaman’s eyes were filled with confusion, “Not in the fire pond?” He couldn’t understand, “If the fire seed isn’t in the fire pond, where could it be?”
Shao Xuan looked at the shaman with a gazed that hid so many secrets behind it. He pointed at his eyebrow and said, “Here, and…” He pointed to his heart, “Here.”
The shaman narrowed his eyes as if he thought of something. He wasn’t sure what he thought of exactly, his mind was travelling at the speed of light, everything was mixed together.
After blanking out for a while, the shaman finally snapped back to reality. Shao Xuan had already left, he was seated alone. He wasn’t sure how long he had been there. His cup of tea had been refilled but the tea was cold now. The firewood was replenished too, he hadn’t noticed all these when he was deep in his thoughts.
He stood up to loosen his stiff body. He patted the stone in his pouch and left for the river.
The Flaming Horn guards at the river greeted the shaman.
The shaman smiled as a reply and stepped onto the frozen river.
The footprints he left when he came weren't very visible anymore. He walked on the layer of ice, each step making a creaking noise. He wasn’t worried the ice would break, it was quite thick here near the banks.
He walked towards the crocodile and turned to see the Flaming Horn tribe once again.
As a shaman, he was more sensitive towards the fire seed energies. He could detect things others couldn’t.
The Flaming Horn fire seed was indeed not there anymore but that was the surface-level understanding. It wasn’t anywhere a person could see. He could now feel the scorching hot aura of the Flaming Horn fire seed. It was on that mountain, everywhere on that mountain!
He thought back to the time in the stone building, what Shao Xuan said to him. He took a deep breath and stepped onto the crocodile.
The ten-meter long crocodile floated on the water, its moving tail sending waves down the river. Beneath the surface, piranhas circled but didn’t get close.
The shaman looked at the direction his tribe was located at and thought, ‘These Flaming Horn tribespeople seemed to have picked a different path for themselves. What about the Drumming tribe? What should we do?’