The straight path led the crowd to a wide open-air venue.
There were twenty-four tribes that came that day, and each tribe brought around fifty to a hundred people. The total number of people was around a thousand and eight. Including the people from the Flaming Horn tribe, there were over two thousand people in the arena. There would still be many seats left empty even after everyone had taken their seat, and even if the entire Flaming Horn tribe were to come over, they would still have space to move freely.
A circle of tall stone houses were built around the venue, and above the walls of those houses were the same skeletal structures they had seen outside displaying the forms of various beasts. These structures’ intimidating aura filled the entire atmosphere.
The structure that was directly facing the direction of the Beast Gate of the Flaming River Castle was the highest building in the entire castle, the Flaming River Tower.
Seven massive chairs made from beast bones were laid out on the empty land in front of the Flaming River Tower. The bones that were used to make these chairs came from the same beast that provided the fangs for the gate. The white beast bones underwent a carving process that transformed it into chairs with stylistic lines. Thick layers of beast hides acted as cushions for the chairs. V-shaped lines were marked on the beast hide, and the people who sat on the chairs would fit perfectly in the center of the V-shape.
These seats belonged to the chiefs, shamans, and elders of the Flaming Horn tribe.
The seven chairs were lined up in a row, and the centre-most seat belonged to the current chief, Gui He. As the Grand Elder, Shao Xuan’s seat was placed right beside Gui He, and on Gui He’s other side was Gui Ze.
It was the first time such a grand feast was held, and it was inevitable for Gui Ze to feel a little nervous in front of so many other tribespeople, but in order to keep his dignity, Gui Ze maintained a calm expression with a slight smile and looked as lighthearted as the clouds in the wind. His composure was similar to the shaman back in the old days. No matter what he was on his mind, he had to act as strong as he could so others wouldn’t notice his flaws. He had to be more careful especially in front of all the other tribes.
When all the people arrived and entered the arena, Gui He stood up and took two steps forward. His sturdy muscular arms were exposed and he took a few firm steps. With each step he took, he displayed an apparent fierceness. As the current chief of the Flaming Horn tribe, he had to show the necessary attributes of a leader.
“Today is the first grand banquet hosted in the Flaming River Trading Point by us, the Flaming Horn tribe, and it is the mark of a new beginning! After today, the Flaming River Trading Point will officially open, so all tribes in the Flaming River region, as well as the expedition teams from other tribes, are welcomed to trade here. Our trading point has the best beast hide, the best fearsome beast meat, and sometimes we might even have some precious herbs. If any of you would like to come here and trade for the long term, feel free to talk with us after the banquet. Elder Zheng Luo will be the one in charge of the trading point.”
Zheng Luo, who was sitting on his elder’s seat, stood up and his eyes scanned through the crowd as he spoke, “My name is Zheng Luo, and I’m the one in charge of any matters related to the Flaming River Trading Point.”
Those who frequently came into contact with the Flaming Horn tribe wondered, “When did the Flaming Horn tribe appoint a new chief?” And those people from smaller tribes who lived in the Flaming River region only looked briefly at Zheng Luo, and continued to look around them again, wondering when the banquet would start. They had already noticed the delicious smell of food.
Zheng Luo didn’t mind their attitude. He knew that not all matters could be achieved merely by talking alone. He had to take action. Even if they did not care now, he knew that they would rush over to look for him after. After he showed his face to the crowd, Zheng Luo returned to his seat. The impression he wanted to leave in those people’s hearts was still yet to come.
Gui He didn’t say much. He knew that these people came just to watch the excitement. Some came merely to enjoy the food and drinks. They cared none about what he said. But it was okay because there were definitely times when they actually paid attention.
Gui He continued with a few more words introducing the Flaming River Trading Point, and when he received a glance from Shao Xuan, he raised his hands and clapped.
“The Flaming River Grand Feast begins now!”
Boom! Boom boom! Boom boom!
The drums were sounded with thunderous rhythms, and the sound waves attacked the crowds, making them feel like their brains were about to explode.
Some weaker ones displayed uncomfortable expressions. Their eardrums were hurting, and the stone cups laid out on the table vibrated to the sound of the drums. The friction between the cups and the stone tables gave out screeching sounds.
Two exquisitely painted cups on Gui He’s table shattered into several pieces.
The cups and bowls on the tables of other people were all made from stone. None of them was pottery. They had already noticed the instant they walked in, and some even thought the Flaming Horn tribe were cheap. Some people believed that besides some specific cases, exquisite pottery was far more valuable than stone utensils. They could show off the tribe’s talents in arts. Some even thought, “How stingy! Can’t believe the Flaming Horn tribe is this cheap!”
But now, when they saw the cup on Gui He’s table break, they realized why the Flaming Horns decided to use stone utensils rather than pottery. Pottery was too fragile and couldn’t stand the vibrations made by the drums.
Now that they thought about it, the crowd realised that it was not because the Flaming Horn tribe couldn’t afford pottery. Rather, stone utensils were much sturdier. And if they looked closer, they could notice that the material used to make the wine vessels belonged to a middle-upper grade. Of course it didn’t crack easily.
Those with experience dealing with stone wine vessels could tell right away what grade the stones were. It was reasonable if they used stones like these to make wine cups, but the Flaming Horn tribe were using such a high-grade stone to make wine jugs! Besides the major tribes that everyone acknowledged, other tribes probably couldn’t afford to show off like this, right?
Gui He looked as if he didn’t care at all when he waved his hands and swept away the broken pieces of the pottery. With his other hand, he set down another golden wine vessel on the table. Under the bright sunlight, the entire wine vessel gleamed as if surrounded by a golden halo.
The material used to make these wine vessels came from the desert slave masters, but after remolding, it gained a new appearance. There was even a hideous head of a beast printed on it.
The crowd’s eyes had not yet moved away from the golden wine vessel on Gui He’s table, but another aroma already floated through the air and made most of them stop caring about anything else. Eating was their priority.
To them, if survival was summarized into one word, that was “eat”!
Dance? They couldn’t appreciate it.
Talk about life? They had no interest.
If the Flaming Horn tribe were to hold other shows before serving their main dish, the crowd would probably hold a deep grudge. The good thing was that the Flaming Horn tribe was direct and straightforward!
Abuli and others from the Zhi tribe rubbed their fists and said, “It’s coming it’s coming!”
Cauldrons that were over three meters tall were carried one after another into the arena. Each cauldron was carried by three Flaming Horn warriors, each at one foot of the cauldron. The cauldron was not empty. There was a lot of soup inside. The aroma that floated through the air came directly from the soup.
Even though the cauldron was full of soup and was heavy, they were carried steadily and not even a drop was spilt.
There were twenty-four tribes, and in each section of the arena where a tribe was located, a cauldron was carried over and set atop firewood. To the slave masters on the other side of the sea, cauldrons had a special symbolic meaning, but to the Flaming Horn tribe, they chose to use cauldrons because it was more convenient and looked nicer.
Not long after, the already hot soup began to boil inside the cauldron, giving out bubbling sounds. The soup’s aroma spread faster than before and never stopped arousing the desires of those who smelled it. It was as if they could already taste it already just by smelling.
But no one in the twenty-four tribes touched the soup in front of them. Even though some were already staring to the point that their eyes almost dropped out and some were continuously gulping down saliva, none of them moved. They were waiting for their respective leaders to speak for their tribe on their behalf. To be able to come here representing their tribe, the people who were present were all considered elites. They wouldn’t act inconsiderately even if they wanted to.
Until a few Flaming Horn warriors brought out large spoons with long handles and poured a portion into a bowl.
Abuli gulped down his saliva and his eyes stared unmovingly at the Flaming Horn warrior who was holding the bowl. The other person lifted up the bowl to his mouth and drank a few sips, smacked his lips, and smiled at the group, “The flavour is great, perfect! You can enjoy it now.”
Abuli didn’t even need to say anything. The other members of the Zhi tribe had already rushed over to the cauldron and fetched the spoon from the warrior’s hands. They quickly served two bowls of soup to Abuli and his wife. After all, if their chief didn’t eat, none of them would dare to taste it.
Although it seemed like the Flaming Horn warriors were tasting the flavour, they were also proving to the other people that there was no poison in the soup and they could drink it without any worries.
The soup in the stone cauldron was cooked with beast meat, and there was even a layer of oil on the surface. They didn’t know what the Flaming Horn warriors put in the soup, but not only did it smell good, it was delicious! But...
Abuli didn’t care about the heat. After he finished a bowl, he came to his senses. There was no meat in the soup!
With the spoon in hand, he looked desperately in the cauldron for a piece of meat, but there wasn’t even one!
“Where’s the meat?”
They didn’t come here to drink soup! Even if the insects tasted good, it could not satisfy their desire for fierce beast meat!
Abuli looked doubtfully towards the Flaming Horn tribe. The long toes on his giant feet tapped furiously on the ground. Where was the meat? He wanted to eat meat!
At that moment, Ao, the previous chief and the hunt leader, Ta walked out from their seats in the Flaming Horn tribe’s higher level seating area. Ao moved his arms, and said to Ta, “It’s time to serve the meat.”