When the ritual was completed, the sun was already high up in the sky, its scorching rays burning up the ground. 

The Gu people had their backs drenched in sweat but there was not even time to wipe their sweat. They quietly formed into the groups they were assigned to and went off to the places they needed to go. 

Everyone got into formations, the archers got their bows, the frontline was ready to run, the warriors had their nets ready. They were all nervous, this was the first time they had to fight a beast that powerful in a thousand years.

With everyone else in position, the shaman stood alone by the fire pond. He held a disk made from fibrous hemp tightly coiled together, its diameter as long as a palm and nearly an inch thick. It was connected to a handle which was where the shaman held it. 

He lifted his arm to let the disk face the Flaming River. He moved slowly until he reached a certain spot where he suddenly stopped. He focused on that area with a gaze as sharp as a knife as if his eyes cut through the forest straight at the river. 

The shaman maintained his pose. The mountain of nets had been removed already. All that was left in the pond was the lone flame that looked like the only flower blooming in a garden. 

Whoosh-- 

The flame flickered violently. 

Loud sounds of waves crashing came from the direction of the river.  

It’s here! 

The shaman gripped the handle a little tighter. He was nervous but as the shaman, he couldn’t show it. He had to maintain his calmness for the sake of the others. 

He decided to attack today because his divination told him now was the best chance they had. The weather was good, no rain would disturb them. It wasn’t too humid or dry which was ideal for the warriors. Most importantly, they had the highest chance of succeeding today. 

The beast wouldn’t attack in the morning. Even if it was tired of waiting, it would strike during the night but the night was too disadvantageous for the tribespeople. Hence, the shaman had to attract it here with a “bait”. 

He used a simple trick that was passed down in the Gu tribe, he deepened the beast’s hatred for the tribe. As soon as the hatred was large enough to consume its emotions, it wouldn’t be able to think logically. 

The splashes got louder but the trees blocked the tribesmen’s view. However, the shaman could guess what was going on from the sounds. 

The “bait” was a success! 

The shaman left out a tiny breath of relief, he still was on his toes staring at the direction of the river. The disk shook in his hands, he couldn't help it. Stopping it would require energy and attention he cannot afford to waste. 

Thud! 

The ground shook.

Thud! Thud! Thud! 

It got louder and louder, each thud more urgent than the last. 

It has come up the bank!

Although the forest here was dense, it was nothing compared to the ancient forest on the other side. The tribes here had to use a lot of resources to survive so there weren’t that many ancient trees here. This was a problem for the large beast, it couldn’t walk through the tiny gaps. 

The large beast just smashed through the area like a tank, knocking down everything in its path to its feet. 

After a deep breath, the shaman said, “Go!” 

It wasn’t loud, in normal situations, anyone slightly further away wouldn't be able to hear it but for the hidden Gu warriors, they immediately heard the order. 

Bo Gu looked at the large beast that had finally shown itself. A drop of sweat dripped down from his cheek, his heart beating out of his chest. 

This was his first time encountering such a large beast. He had seen the bones of such beasts in the Flaming Horn Trading Point but they were just bones. Now, he was looking at a live one. 

Don’t panic! Stay calm, calm! 

Bo Gu’s shaking hand calmed with his emotions. Then, he pulled up his arrow as confident as ever.

The other hidden warriors moved as soon as they heard Bo Gu. Some would lose their accuracy from the shock but it was fine, now was only the beginning. 

They had to push on no matter what! 

The large beast kept using smaller beasts to test them but the warriors did end up improving from the attacks. 

They were nowhere near the level of their ancestors since they lacked the experience. If it wasn’t for the disaster last year, they would have continued a life separated from beasts but now they had to adapt to this new environment. 

Gritting through their teeth, the warriors pushed their totemic powers to the max, letting it flow throughout their body. 

Tens of figures weaved around the forest like shooting stars but the arrows proved to be useless against the shield-like skin the beast had. 

Clang! Clang! Clang! 

The arrows hit onto the beast’s body and let out a sound that resembled metals banging on each other. 

The beast's long neck seemed to be a weak point but it was still covered with scales which acted like armour for the beast. 

The stone arrowheads had no impact on the beast other than leaving small scars. It didn’t help that they broke on impact too. 

The beast shook its head to avoid the arrows aimed for its eyes. It’s gaze was sharp as it looked around with anger. 

After being ‘baited’ by the shaman, it looked even scarier. A malicious aura radiated out from its scales. Jaws agape, its sharp teeth crunched through branches effortlessly.

The Gu tribe knew that there was too big of a difference between the power levels of the beast and them. If they continued using their traditional hunting methods, it would be a lost cause for them. 

It wouldn’t be easy to win!