The banquet did not keep its guests waiting for too long. Because they could not communicate with those who were invited but still absent, there was no way they could know if those people were reluctant to come or if something had happened to them on their way here.
The banquet would not be delayed because of these issues. It wasn’t because the Flaming Horn tribe cared about other people’s complaints, but they were also not willing to take all the blame. So many people came for this occasion, and in order to organize a successful banquet, a lot of food in the trading point was made free. Thus, the amount of food consumed each day was huge.
The Flaming Horns wanted to hold a banquet similar to a grand feast just to show off their wealth. They weren’t like those overconfident people who didn’t even have the wealth but still desperately wanted to hold a grand feast. Those people would only end up impoverished.
Therefore, they notified everyone about the specific time and location for the banquet the next day.
The boat team from the Longboat tribe finally arrived on the day before the banquet. They had encountered some problems on their way. There were some obstructions in the river so they arrived later than expected. The good thing was they made it in time.
The five major tribes from the central region as well as the Lu tribe that had a decent relationship with them before were all here.
Because the Longboat tribe arrived late at night, they could not see many things in the trading point clearly. It was not until the next day when they walked out of the houses the Flaming Horn tribe had prepared for them that they saw their surroundings and took a deep breath.
“This… this is a trading point?!”
Aren’t trading points just set in designated places where people could just display what they wanted to trade? Why were there so many buildings? And this was not even the Flaming Horn headquarters?
The people from the Longboat tribe had already seen the Flaming River Castle the previous night. It was the one building that was located in the centre of the trading point, towering over all the other buildings. They just didn’t see the castle in its entirety because they didn’t get close enough the night before.
When they thought about the things their tribe did to the Flaming Horn tribe during the migration from the previous disaster, some of them felt regretful. Back then, they should have taken the initiative to help the Flaming Horn tribe instead of taking advantage of the situation and urging for negotiations. They never thought that the Flaming Horn tribe could develop so fast after enduring such a disaster and migration.
It hadn’t even been long since that time!
“Stop looking, let’s get ready to leave,” a member of the Longboat tribe called the others who were standing outside back into the house. The banquet the Flaming Horn tribe was holding was today. They should be getting ready to leave.
In the custom of most tribes, banquets were usually held in broad daylight and not at night. There were too many uncertain factors they had to consider at night, so they would prefer to avoid the night time. The Flaming Horn tribe’s banquet this time also took into consideration the customs of most tribes, so it began in the morning.
When they received a signal from the Flaming Horn tribe telling them it was okay to move forward, they packed their things and headed for the Flaming River Castle in the center of the trading point.
Many people came from each tribe, but not all of them would enter the Flaming River Castle. Even if the Flaming Horn tribe wanted it to be arranged that way, the other tribes might not necessarily agree. After all, they didn’t fully trust the Flaming Horn tribe. It was always safer to keep their guards up.
They sent a group of people in, and kept another group outside to keep watch. Actually, there were also people outside the trading area waiting for signals. If there were any changes outside the trading area, they would send out a signal.
Teams came out from their houses one after another. Even if they met any familiar faces on the way, or anyone who had bad history with them, no one cared enough to talk at this time. Rather, all of them looked thoughtfully at the direction of the Flaming River Castle, wondering what might happen next.
There were a few entrances into the trading point, but only one gate into the Flaming River Castle.
All the tribes that were invited had to enter through the same gate into the Castle.
The gate of the Flaming River Castle was a large rectangular space that was wider horizontally and about twenty meters high. Even Chacha could easily enter from this gate.
Above the entrance was a giant stone carving of two horns similar to the totem of the Flaming Horn tribe.
At each of the four corners of the entrance was a giant cone-shaped fang, far bigger than the ones Shao Xuan had gifted the Feng tribe. If all the fangs were aligned, their lengths combined would far exceed the height of the gate.
The pair of fangs at the bottom slightly protruded outwards, so the fangs from the top and bottom didn’t come into contact. This solved the problem of the beast fang being too long, and combined it made the design more three-dimensional than before. This entrance was like the mouth of a giant beast, waiting for the guests to walk in.
As the sunlight shone down on this entrance, the dazzling reflection from these four sharp fangs struck terror to the hearts of those who saw it. It made them feel as if the four fangs would snap shut anytime, biting and crushing down on them.
Although a few of the people who belonged to the major tribes were shocked, they had seen enough of the world and encountered giant beasts. Even though the beasts they had seen before could not compare at all to the four fangs laid in front of them, their past experience enabled them to maintain their composure, so they seemed calm at least on the surface.
But those people from smaller tribes who had never even encountered giant beasts trembled and gave out cowering cries.
“Goodness! Are those fangs? Real fangs?”
“...Yes they’re real, I just went over to touch it. I swear on my totem, that is definitely real,” the person who spoke mumbled on, his body shivering from the peculiar chill around him. It was as if the murderous intent from the beast fang was still stuck on his hands and couldn’t be shaken off.
“How did they get such a huge fang?”
“If I came across such a giant beast, I would’ve run away instantly.”
“Well, you’ll have to see if you could even run. You might already be crushed or scared to death by the beast before you tried running.”
When Abuli walked in with his tribespeople and saw these fangs, his craving for food suddenly disappeared and his two giant feet bumped into each other. He almost fell over, but luckily he covered quickly and didn’t lose his dignity here.
The tribes who lived by the Flaming River region had probably seen those giant river beasts from the past, but they were far away so they couldn’t be seen clearly and these tribes didn’t have a deep impression of these beasts. Plus, those beasts had never interfered with their lives. However, these beasts that the Flaming Horn tribe took out were real behemoths that lived on land! They stalked the mountains and forests for real prey!
If these giant beasts indeed existed here, what should they do? Well, luckily they had the Flaming Horn tribe. If they were able to get these four fangs, they could probably defeat those giant beasts, right?
At this moment, those who disliked the Flaming Horn tribe’s existence rejoiced and felt fortunate for their existence. They could not stop the river from disappearing. They could not change anything about the river bank encroachment, and the fierce beasts from the forest opposite of them could attack anytime. They were afraid but they had no intention to wage war. But with the Flaming Horn tribe here, perhaps they were safer?
The Flaming Horn tribe’s headquarters was even located on the other side of the river, closely in contact with the forest where the fierce beasts resided. As the saying went: if the sky falls, there is a taller person holding it up. If the fierce beasts were to cross the river and charge at them, with the Flaming Horn tribe here, why should they still worry?
Although in shock, they let out a long sigh of relief. Small tribes who lived in the cracks of the world could always find a reason to comfort themselves.
The Flaming Horn warriors who guarded the gate of the Flaming River Castle observed every person who walked by and saw their reactions. Even the people from the major tribes, no matter how hard they tried to act strong, the guards could feel their unstable emotions even if it was just an instant. As they thought about these, the corners of their mouth arched upward uncontrollably. But they still had to keep guard, so they had to maintain their stern posture, or else they would have laughed out loud.
These four large fangs were the success of the Flaming Horn tribe’s hunting team. There was no way one or two people or even a few could hunt down such a giant beast. In order to find these fangs to decorate their facade, even Shao Xuan, Ao, and Zheng Luo who had already stepped down from their leadership position, joined the hunt.
And now it seemed, it made quite an impression. It was worth all the time and effort they spent waiting, laying traps, surrounding the beast, and finally hunting it down.
In the Flaming River Castle, besides the most attractive fangs at the giant beast fang gate, some people also noticed the surrounding walls.
Here, the giant stones used to build these gates and walls all underwent an intricate process of carving and polishing. Even if other tribes wanted to make these, they would need to spend a lot more time compared to the Flaming Horns. How they wished to have the Flaming Horn’s strength! Too bad it wasn’t the case.
In fact, in many people’s eyes, the impression they had about the Flaming Horn tribe was that they were strong wild barbarians, but now, after observing the layout and architecture of the trading point, they realized that perhaps the Flaming Horn tribe were not just strong. They couldn’t have achieved this with mere strength.
The beast fang gate had already left a deep first impression in those who came. In the future, if these people ever encountered any other fierce beasts, they would probably not consider their fangs huge anymore because they had seen these fangs.
After these people entered the gate, they were shocked once again even before the shock from the beast fangs from before had dissipated.
After they entered the huge gate, a straight path led them to the meeting place where the banquet was held. And atop the walls that lined both sides of the path were rows of complete skeletons of giant beasts!
Above the whitish-grey stone walls, the forms of giant beasts were reconstructed from individual bones. Even without their skin, the beasts’ bones could still maintain their original structure with an unyielding strength. The complete skeletons perfectly portrayed the giant beasts as they were when they were alive in the forest. The life force that was still lingering onto the bones of the beasts gave out a murderous intent that chilled those who passed by.
Abuli felt his legs trembling uncontrollably again. Although he was wearing a thick fur coat on a warm day like this and was sweating a lot from his head, he suddenly felt that no matter how thick the fur, it could not protect him from the dead-cold energy of the beast bones. Even his hairs stood on their ends when he saw them.
Many of these people heard about the dangers of the ferocious giant beasts on the other side of the river, but had never come across one themselves. Now, the decorations in the Flaming River Castle was their first encounter with these beasts and gave them an initial understanding.
The beast meat and hides that they traded before had all been chopped and cut up. They were not good representations of the beasts’ original magnificence. Now, they finally had a first-hand experience walking amongst the giant beasts.
The remains of an animal, like the teeth, bones, and horns were common things tribes would come into contact with. Animals provided the tribal people with food, while the remains of their body were made into tools or decorations. Then, they would be sold, traded for other goods, and used to maximise the utility of resources.
But now, as they compared the meat they had and the horns, fangs, and bones left over from the animals they hunted before to what was laid out in front of them now, these seemed to belong to two different worlds. They had never seen a tribe with such huge and fierce decorations!
Although they were both horns, one belonged to a typical wild cow, and the other belonged to a giant forest beast a few times bigger than normal humans. How could these two be compared?
Many tribes in the Flaming River region that were invited initially didn’t care much about these decorations and wanted to leave as soon as the banquet was over, but now they couldn’t help but stay vigilant because if a tribe like this were to go crazy, they couldn’t be sure they wouldn’t be used as practice targets. In the future, they’d better not provoke the Flaming Horn tribe.
Although the grey architecture, white beast bones, dark beast horns, and the beast fang gate and walls lacked the exquisite elegance of the slave masters on the other side of the sea, it expressed an open wildness unique to the tribal people of this continent.