News of the Flaming River Trading Point spread across the continent. It didn’t matter if it was the few major trading points in the central region, or the trading point at the grasslands, people were talking about it. This was arranged by the major tribe, also something they promised Flaming Horn.
As it became more famous, more people visited. In the first three days, very few people came but soon after, people came in groups.
These expedition teams from far away all came with their own objectives hence they brought many goods with them. They would never return empty-handed. These tribes traded for a lot of beast hides and fearsome beast meat, even beast claws and fangs were popular items.
Now, Flaming Horn did not have to store and accumulate their extra beast hides, merely sending all their extra stock to be stored at the Flaming River Trading Point. They didn’t have to bring their goods across a long journey for trade now. All they had to do was guard the Flaming Horn main village and the trading area, then enter the forest when it was their shift to hunt. Overall, Flaming Horn saved a lot of time and physical labour.
“This is even more convenient than the time we were on the other side of the sea.” Duo Kang had just returned from a hunt. He left some of the game at the village, then extras were processed so that beast hide, flesh, horns, bones and teeth were all separated and then brought to the trading point for the people in charge of the stalls to display them.
“The party that arrived two days ago hasn’t left yet, they were waiting for this batch of beast meat. Two more groups arrived today, saying they’re reserving Giant Claw Beast claws for themselves first.” Duo Li shrugged, unsuppressed glee painted on his face. “Our goods are superior. These people are all willing to wait a few days here just for our stuff.”
“Yep, that’s because we’re Flaming Horn! Would we ever provide sub-par goods?” Duo Kang smiled so hard his eyes squinted. He turned to Duo Li. “Do you think Taihe would envy us if they heard about our lives now?”
“They’d be jealous to death!”
The two older men sat on the upper floors of Flaming River Castle, looking far away into the scenery and sighed at the same time. “I wonder when we’ll get to meet them again.”
Suddenly, Duo Kang saw a flock of birds fluttering out of a point in the forest, far away. It was a distance away from the trading point and the vegetation was dense there. “
“Is someone coming?” Duo Li also saw the movement.
“Do you think it’s a trading party from far away or one of the tribes around Flaming River?” asked Duo Kang.
Duo Li thought for a moment. “More likely to be a trading party from far away.”
“I think so too.” Duo Kang slapped his thigh rhythmically, humming a hunting song. He was very relaxed.
Once the number of people at the trading point increased, they grew more vigilant in watching the surrounding forest too. If they saw someone but they weren’t targeting the trading point, Flaming Horn would not initiate anything. But if anyone was bold enough to touch the trading point, they would be killed.
At least these expedition parties knew they could not possibly overpower Flaming Horns so they set their eyes on the smaller tribes in the area. They tried to get some stuff from these smaller parties but it was too bad that anyone who could survive in this area for so long already evolved to have their own survival tactics.
The Drumming Tribe that arrived a thousand years ago after the major geographical change didn’t count, nor did the newly arrived Rain tribe. The tribesmen who had been here a lot earlier than that had ancestors that truly fought countless fearsome beasts. At the time, the Flaming River did not exist, there was no crack in the ground, both sides of the river were one. Being so close to the forest and beasts, how would it be possible to survive without their own survival tactics?
That was why when Flaming Horn told them that there would be many strangers visiting the area, the tribesmen from smaller tribes did not really panic as others expected them too. They looked well-prepared.
One should not underestimate the small Zhi tribe either. They had smaller numbers, and on the surface looked poor and unassuming. However, the Zhi tribe could comfortably offer something to be traded for food at the trading point every single time. Then, they successfully returned to their tribe safely afterwards- even robbing an expedition party (who’d planned to rob the Zhi tribesmen) in retaliation once.
“Right!” Duo Li teasingly leaned over to Duo Kang. “Dad, I heard Grand Elder’s planning for an expedition?”
Duo Kang raised an eyebrow. “What, you want to go?”
“I know you can’t make it so if I get to go, I’ll tell you the stories of what I did on the expedition.” Duo Li had his argument ready.
Since the trading point was still new, even though Zheng Luo was here, he still needed more help. Zheng Luo and Ao, the two former chiefs, were assigned the trading point and main village respectively. The two major hunt leaders, Ta and Duo Kang, had to take turns leading hunt parties or patrol teams and sometimes visiting the trading point to help out. That was why they definitely couldn’t leave with Shao Xuan.
Now that Duo Kang couldn’t make it, Duo Li was itching to get his father to talk to Shao Xuan so he could join the expedition team. A limited number of people could go with and he was worried he wasn’t among the candidates. Now that both sides of the tribe had integrated, competition was intense. In just the younger generation, there were too many people stronger than him. He couldn’t even beat Mao, Mo’er, Yang and Guang etc.
Duo Kang was angered the moment he saw Duo Li’s hopeful face, slapping his cheek hard. “Go fight for your spot on your own! That’s none of my business!”
A long journey like that was dangerous. If he wasn’t strong enough, how could he still think of joining the party? Forget about slowing the team down- worse case scenario, he could die on the trip.
Duo Li, who had just taken a slap from his father, pursed his lips. He had expected this answer anyway. He hung his head and sighed, then straightened up. Did they want to fight? Well, he refused to believe that it would be impossible!
At this moment, Shao Xuan had just exited the medicine store of the Flaming Horn village. He had planned to make a large telescope but due to some minor imperfections, it did not work. That was why he made the polished convex lens into a magnifying glass about two palms big and gave it to Gui Ze instead.
Although she had already gotten the power of inheritance as a shamaness, in the past she hadn’t awakened her totemic power yet. Now that the fire seed had been merged, she was still weaker than other people. For example, Shao Xun could see the tiny strands of a grass rope but Gui Ze could not unless she strained hard.
However, Gui Ze was talented in concocting herbal medicine. Before inheriting the shaman’s position, she was the one who concocted a majority of medicine in the tribe. She even invented new medicine that were more effective, all successfully made into convenient, portable pills with longer shelf lives. In terms of this, she was even more capable than the former shaman. The old man was proud of her because of this.
Sometimes, Gui Ze needed to study minor structures on various herbs and it was exhausting. Shao Xuan’s magnifying glass solved this problem effectively.
Gui Ze also provided a lot of medicine for this expedition. Although making medicine for expedition teams was one of the shaman’s jobs, because she was close with him and he’d helped her before, she stuffed three extra clay bottles into his hand. There were five hundred pills per bottle, all made in the last twenty days.
These were venom and poison antidotes, especially snake venom.
Temperatures were rising at this time of the year so there would be many venomous animals and insects in the forest.
“New pills, definitely good for neutralising venom. I’m just not sure how strong it is.” Gui Ze wasn’t sure because these hadn’t been in use yet. She’d consumed some before so she knew of its antidote properties, just not sure of its magnitude.
“No problem, I’ll test it and tell you the results when I return.” Shao Xuan carefully put the three bottles of medicine into his beast hide pouch and descended the mountain to the crop fields.
The Thousand Grain Gold seemed to be doing well. The fertilisers had been prepared beforehand according to Ji Ju’s previous suggestions. Fermented fearsome beast meat and bones, especially beasts that liked to eat grass, moss and shoots. Some bone marrow was also extracted to be added inside. In addition to the previous experience of Qi Qi and the rest, the success rate of Thousand Grain Gold was very high. However, the next part of the story was the most important part.
Ji Ju once said that every ‘road block’ of the Thousand Grain Gold’s development were key moments. As long as they survived, they would have growth spurts.
The ones in the fields had passed the first roadblock now so they were taller than Shao Xuan’s waist. At this rate, they would hit the second block soon. Afterwards, they’d grow even faster.
Shao Xuan planned to observe the progress of the Thousand Grain Gold, only leaving after the second block. If their trip was short, they might even be able to make it back by the third block and see the grains on the plants.
As he looked out into the patch of green, Shao Xuan thought, ‘Even if only one tenth of this survives in the end, it’s already a cause for celebration.’
His plan for the expedition was to travel downstream along the Flaming River and explore the area. They would be staying here for a long time. In the past, they did not have the resources to travel far. Now, they must explore further to get an idea of the region.
There were not many tribes upstream of the Flaming River. It was better to travel downstream because they knew that the number of tribes would increase downstream.
After looking at the empty spot on his animal skin scroll, he rolled it back up. They did not plan to travel too far, just to spend a little time looking around. In the event of an invasion, it was important to know where the enemy came from.