The actions of the Drumming tribe shook Yang Sui to the core. Although he didn’t know that they would have made the decision so quickly but as soon as he felt the movements of their fire seed he knew that it was worth a try.
After dragging on for so long, Yang Sui had no more patience to drag it on any longer. Just as everyone was resting for the winter, it was time to solve this problem.
As the leader of the Rain tribe gathered to discuss matters, the other nearby tribes felt the change too but had no idea what was going on. Some timid ones abandoned their plans for going out and hid in their houses. Too much had happened these two years, they didn’t want to take any chances.
“They probably succeeded,” commented Shao Xuan who stood on the mountain looking at the Drumming tribe.
“Yes.” The shaman felt relieved, they were friendly with the Drumming tribe as they were the best neighbours they ever had. They also produced water moon stones so he didn’t want anything to happen to them.
Two days later, Shao Xuan and the shaman went to visit the Drumming tribe.
Within two days, the complicated feelings the tribespeople felt from fusing their fire seed had subdued but Shao Xuan could still feel agitation from the Drumming tribespeople.
With the fire seed gone, the fire pond wasn’t up in flames like it was usually. There was no more protection given by the fire seed, all the energy was now inside the tribespeople, they were on their own now. All their customs in the tribe were built around the ancient fire seed so most of them were not used to this change. Only the children were much more accepting of this new normal.
“How do you feel?” Shao Xuan asked Fu Shi who was cutting wood.
They had enough firewood for the season. They were stacked high behind the house.
“... Fine.” After a long thought, Fu Shi could only mutter a word and continue cutting wood. He spoke as he swung his axe, “I feel so right and so wrong at the same time!”
“That’s normal, we were like that too,” Shao Xuan said, “You have to get used to it.”
“Sure.” Fu Shi didn’t know how to verbalize his thoughts so he chose not to say anything.
Many in the Drumming tribe were in the same state, they feel comfortable yet uncomfortable in their own body because of the fusion.
“Wait for the fusion to be complete and it’ll be fine.”
For the Drumming tribe, while the fire seed was important to them, the water moon stone was equally important too. Without the fire seed, they needed another place to get energy for the Water Moon Canal. They had tried to make water moon stones but hadn’t succeeded at all.
The shaman in the Drumming tribe was in no hurry; he knew that the fusion had to be completed for the two problems to be solved. The water moon stones were made when the moon was at its brightest so they should try to borrow energy from moonlight too.
Although most of them hadn’t adapted to their new life, so far nothing bad has happened. Shao Xuan and the rest were quite relieved at that, they could only confirm to see whether they could make the water moon stones when the moon was out. Even if they couldn’t make any more water moon stones, the Drumming tribe shaman still had no regrets about this.
After the fusion was done, it was still winter. The snow didn’t stop curious minds going to the tribe to check out on what happened but the Drumming tribespeople chased them away. The tribespeople themselves did whatever they wanted, hoping that the fusion would be complete by the time spring rolled around, for they had many things to do.
As for the Flaming Horn tribe, the people were worried.
They planned to reopen the trading point when the weather warmed and invite the nearby tribe’s leaders to join- but no matter how they thought about it, their plan was not good enough!
In other words, they think their plan didn’t showcase Flaming Horn’s strength properly.
The tribespeople had their own set of rules and etiquette that was different from the slave masters. Maybe it was hard for them to understand but it was the way things were here. Hence, to start a non-violent war was very hard.
During the discussions, Shao Xuan rarely gave input. Although he was accustomed to the lifestyle here, his thinking and values were wildly different from the tribespeople here.
The days passed quickly and the time for planning was ending soon. If winter ended early this year, the moon would be out in a few days, they had to finish everything they planned for the winter. It would be too late to make a decision after the winter was over.
“What should we do?”
Some wanted to invite tribes further out, one suggested a performance to show off their strengths but everything was faced with mixed reactions.
Seeing the people in the building argue, Shao Xuan thought of something and said to the shaman beside him, “Should we hold a banquet ?”
Although they hadn’t announced the new leaders, they have already started sitting according to their new ranks. The elders sat together with the shaman beside Shao Xuan.
The building was silent and everyone arguing looked at Shao Xuan.
Although his voice wasn’t loud, everyone looked towards him with their ears perked. He didn’t expect all of them to notice him when they were so preoccupied with the debate.
He wasn’t sure if it was his imagination but he felt everyone’s heart beat a little louder and faster.
Everyone was looking at him. He didn’t say anything but looked at the shaman than the other elders.
“I think Ah Xuan has a point.” Ao was touching his sword’s hilt as he spoke. His eyes were gleaming and he couldn’t help but tap the blade with his fingernails. “A banquet is a good idea. A thousand years has passed and we never had one before.”
Ao looked at Zheng Luo. He knew about the situation here but not on the other side so his eyes turned to Zheng Luo.
Zheng Luo let out a bitter smile and shook his head, “It's the same for us.”
There were records of a banquet in the ancestral notes and there were some stories here and there but they were all just fiction to them. Now, they could turn it into reality.
It could be said that each tribe would have the dream of being capable of throwing a banquet.
Up until now, no one in the Flaming Horn tribe had been capable of doing so!
“R-really?” Duo Kang asked quietly. It was much softer than his usual voice was. It wasn’t because he was tired or had a different opinion but he was too emotional. From the tears in his eyes, everyone knew that he fully agreed with what Shao Xuan said.
Everyone in the room, the elders and the current leaders all had that spark of excitement in their eyes.
If Shao Xuan hadn’t mentioned it, everyone would have forgotten about that word. Right now their blood was pumping through their bodies with their excitement through the roof.
Was it finally the time for one?
Can Flaming Horn really hold a banquet?
It wasn’t one person, it was the whole tribe doing it together! No one for just the tribe but one for the whole region to witness!
Before this, Shao Xuan thought banquets were too crazy, arrogant!
But now, he could feel what the other tribes felt then. To garner support from other tribes, they don't necessarily need to use their force to push them to the ground literally. They would get their support by using ‘soft power’. Holding a banquet was exactly that. After seeing their tribe, it was sure that the other tribes would support them!
On this winter day, their blood didn’t seem to want to slow down. It coursed through them, making them feel alive.
What was the point of inviting others to the trading point? It was to spread the name of the Flaming Horn tribe! It was to gain the respect of all the tribes around them!
No, this would solidify Flaming Horn’s status as a powerhouse.
In many people’s twisted values, during these turbulent times, people that had the power to control other people were the true rulers of the world.
Shao Xuan remembered that night in the cave, Lang Ga and the others sat around the fire pit and said to him, “You wouldn’t understand.”
Then, he wanted to slap the brains out of those idiots but now he was doing the exact same thing. Not only that but he was leading the other tribespeople to do the same!
“What do you think of Grand Elder’s suggestion?” The old lady saw that nobody was speaking and made the first move. She stomped her cane on the ground as she spoke.
The thud snapped everyone back to reality.
What did they think about the suggestion?
It was the best thing ever! Duo Kang jumped up from his seat out of joy.
“Is there anyone that disagrees?” said Gui He.
Everyone that was about to reply the old lady immediately zipped their mouths.
Only heavy breathing could be heard in the room.
Seeing that no one reacted, the shaman let out a small smile and nodded at Gui He.
Gui He looked around the room to make non-verbal confirmations with everyone. After seeing Shao Xuan nod, Gui He and Gui Ze softly discussed between themselves and said, “If that is the case, we will follow the Grand Elder’s suggestion. Since it is currently the winter and not the best time for hunting, we will start preparation work as soon as winter ends.”
No one rejected the decision.
Winter was ending soon anyways, they just needed to wait a bit and hunting could begin. Duo Kang couldn’t wait to hunt the fiercest beasts he could find to show off his skills.
When the meeting ended, everyone rushed back to gather their own people. They all had plans in their minds already.
It was once a dream to not go to bed hungry.
Now, it was reality.
It was once a dream for the tribe to be strong and have things others didn’t.
Now, it was reality.
Once it was a dream to hold this huge banquet they only heard stories about.
Now, it would become a reality.