After the shockwaves weakened, Shao Xuan, who kept being thrown up into the air, finally landed on the beast’s back.
Just as a preventative measure, as soon as he landed, he got as far away from the beast as possible.
He didn’t dare to let go of the still glowing string in his hand.
The beast was fully burnt now with none of its stripes visible anymore. So scales were flipped over to let out hot air that was trapped inside and … the smell of deliciously cooked meat.
Was this it?
The shaman let down his guard first. From the first strike up until now, he had used way too much of his energy. Even if he hadn’t died, a good half of his remaining life was gone. He looked much older and the peppered hair he had was all white now.
Shao Xuan soon followed suit.
When Shao Xuan let go of the string, it was still burning. It only stopped when Shao Xuan fully retracted all the powers he let out.
“Shaman, are you alright?!”
Every Gu tribe member that was able to walk rushed forward to check on the shaman.
The Flaming Horn tribespeople did that same to Shao Xuan.
“Are you alright, Grand Elder?”
“Yes.” Shao Xuan sat on the ground, catching his breath. He pointed to the beast and said, “Go and check.”
Ah Guang carried the bow that was nearly as tall as she was and shot an arrow there.
The green arrowhead pierced its skin but it didn’t make it far.
The beast had no reaction.
Wei threw his stone weapon at the beast. It wrapped around the spear that was still attached to the body. He pulled the spear out forcefully. There was no reaction from the beast but blood started flowing out.
During the expansion, the second spear had dropped out from the body while the first one was still attached but it was much looser now.
“It’s not thoroughly cooked yet,” said Duo Li.
The skin of the beast was really burnt to crisps but there were some places where the flesh of the beast was still raw.
“Let it bleed,” said Tuo.
There were no objections.
Many beasts would fake their deaths in the forest, they had seen their fair share of those. The beasts would sacrifice a part of their body and when it was safer, they ran for their escape.
This beast didn’t seem like the kind that would fake its death but there was no harm in being careful.
However, this beast wasn’t the Flaming Horn tribe’s game. It was a collaborative effort between the two tribes so they had to ask the other tribe on how they wanted to deal with it.
The Gu people agreed, they didn’t have much experience in this factor anyway.
“Do… Do you need help?” the person carrying Bo Gu on his back asked. He couldn’t move but the other Gu warriors could.
“No.” Wei shook his hand and took out his blade as he walked towards the beast.
The scales on the neck were turned more outwards than other parts of the body, especially the ones that had direct contact with the net.
The net made from the white worm silk had broken into smaller pieces due to the fire. With a little more force they would crumble into dust.
Not just Shao Xuan's string. The ones made by the Gu tribe all changed into grass pulp as soon as the fire was extinguished. They had done what they were meant to do.
Wei lifted up more scales at the part of its neck where the string was.
He cut along the burn wounds left by the string on the beast’s neck. With one slash, the scales pointed outwards to reveal flesh underneath. It made slicing much easier.
The slash was half his knife’s width deep. Deep red flesh could be seen when the wound split open.
"No blood?" Ask Bo Gu.
"Don't you see it's cooked? Of course, there's no blood." Duo Li wanted to take a piece of meat to try but he knew now wasn't the time to do it so he waited at the side.
"It's just the surface." Wei looked at Tuo. After looking at Tuo nodding, he cut the beast again at the same spot.
Two cuts in, the wound was much deeper now. One could see the cross-section of the blood vessels that were sliced open.
"Still no blood?"
"There's still nothing?!"
Bo Gu looked at the Flaming Horn tribespeople. They were much more familiar with beasts than his own tribe. Remembering how the Gu tribe had treated the Flaming Horns, it was an awkward situation. Should he apologize or should he thank them? But it seemed that the Flaming Horn people were much more interested in the beast at the moment.
They were hunters, they would naturally be attracted to beasts, especially rare and special ones like the one before them.
Wei’s back was drenched in sweat at this point. He had cut through to the centre of the neck to not find a single drop of blood because the beast had been fully cooked on the inside.
It would be weird if the beast was still breathing when it was cooked like this.
Bo Gu was dumbfounded.
The damage to the neck area was fully done by the Flaming Horn people. The strings that they thought were useless actually did more damage than their net.
The neck was the only part that was thoroughly cooked, the other places were only cooked at the surface level.
Although it could be argued that the neck had a smaller diameter than the other parts of the body, the burnt marks were the worst on the neck.
This didn’t make sense at all.
How did this happen?
The shaman was looking at the cut open neck. He wanted to shout out in joy when he saw the beast fall but looking it got stuck in his throat.
He was silent for a moment and said, “It really is cooked through.”
This beast that nearly destroyed their tribe was… cooked through just like that?
His heart was still beating fast, the anxiety from before hadn’t cleared completely. Looking at the large beast before him only made him more confused.
If they didn’t get help from the Flaming Horn tribe, would they have lost?
‘We’re too inexperienced. If we had made more preparations for the traps, had better fighting skills, the net system would have succeeded,’ thought the shaman.
If they had all that, the Flaming Horn people wouldn’t need to do anything and the Gu tribe would still be able to succeed. But life did not wait for what ifs.
One thousand years of inexperience took its toll.
The shaman walked towards Shao Xuan with the help of others to bow before him.
They were all sincerely grateful for the help. No matter what their intentions were, they wouldn’t forget this.
Those that sustained minor injuries were helping those who were injured badly. The shaman took a quick rest before he started going around treating people.
They had to set up the medic camp a little further from where they were because of the fallen trees and smashed rocks.
The Flaming Horn people cleared out the area. They lifted rocks and trees with no problem.
Wei chopped off some of the beast meat to share with the tribespeople. They needed it to boost their energy. He then passed some to Shao Xuan and sat beside him, “We need to be more careful next time.”
“Careful about what?”
“When beasts take revenge,” said Wei.
These beasts were quite petty, they held onto grudges for a long time.
“When we hunt, let’s deal with them in one shot. Don’t wait and finish beasts later. We don’t know how they might turn out to be.”
The law of the jungle meant that the stronger beasts were at the top of the food chain but who knows whether the weaker animals might change their fate and sit atop one day.
Shao Xuan continued to talk to Wei then suddenly looked back.
He didn’t see anyone but he saw a flurry of dust.
They were in the middle of the battlefield. The beast’s stomps did cause some parts of the ground to raise upwards but the lumps weren’t tall enough to hide a person.
Shao Xuan was sure someone had been here. Wei was about to head over until Shao Xuan stopped him.
“Come out!” yelled Shao Xuan.
“Either you come out yourself or you die right there,” said Shao Xuan.
The Flaming Horns did not like when people spied on them behind their backs. There were many beasts in the forest that ambushed prey in this matter.
“No no no! I’m coming out!”
These words were uttered so quickly, if Shao Xuan didn’t have better hearing, he wouldn’t be able to catch any words.
Shao Xuan stared at the same spot and saw soil being pushed upwards. A human head slowly peeked out where the ground opened.
It was a man with a full face of hair. He looked extremely dishevelled with hair sticking out at odd places. With so much soil crumbs stuck to his beard, they could not make out his face at all.