Shao Xuan watched the Jing shaman enter the quagmire. His figure disappeared as soon as he entered the deep mud.
The centre quagmire did not smell unpleasant at all. Even the external quagmire had a rotten smell caused by the mud, but besides the basic stench of mud, there were no other smells.
Even if seeds fell here and could adapt to the muddy environment, the muddy centre quagmire had never seen any green plants sprouting nearby. No plants grew here, but oddly, many strange creatures lived underneath.
The fire seed was a natural repellent for beasts and insects, but there were special cases. For example, the crocodiles of the Drum tribe and the ground eyes of the Jing tribe. These creatures were not afraid of the fire seed’s energy and would gather near the area.
Everyone around didn’t fret for the shaman when he walked into the quagmire. They trusted their shaman’s ability. The only thing they were worried about was whether the shaman could catch a Universal Eye. Up till now, no one in the external quagmire caught any Universal Eyes. As for the centre quagmire, only the shaman, who had the highest authority in their tribe, and ten Jing warriors who proved their results from the previous year could enter.
However, since the disaster happened, they could not hold any contests last year. As for this year, anyone who wanted to enter the centre quagmire had to first receive the shaman’s permission, but they had to wait until the shaman was finished with his business. Now all they could do was wait patiently from the side.
Shao Xuan lifted his head to look at the shaman’s house. It was not far away. Miu had not come out, but he was sure that Miu definitely had the ability to see what was happening here. The vision that he sensed from before was Miu’s. Shao Xuan was sure about this.
What a strange pair! Shao Xuan knew that the Jing shaman and his son were hiding something from him, but these were matters of the Jing tribe. It was best if he didn’t ask too many questions. He should only focus on finding the True Eyes.
The strange sounds in the quagmire were constantly changing, sometimes loud and sometimes quieter, but the sound never came from the same location. It was travelling fast. The better the quality of these ground eye stones, the harder it was to catch.
After the Jing shaman entered the quagmire, he didn’t go after the Universal Eye immediately, but instead went to check if the True Eye was there.
The True Eye was a lot harder to find than the Universal Eyes, and even harder to catch, so the shaman had to focus all of his attention to search for it.
Shao Xuan changed his vision and looked through the muddy water. He could see the Jing shaman moving underneath, and also small illuminant objects travelling at a high speed, but there were not many of them. One of the brighter ones was the one that made that noise.
Judging by the brightness of the object, Shao Xuan could tell that it was the Universal Eye. The illuminant objects were all ground eye stones, and two of the brighter ones were Universal Eyes. One of these didn’t make any sound while the other one was travelling at a high speed while making a strange noise.
Shao Xuan suddenly thought about something as he was watching the quagmire. He turned to look at the Jing shaman’s house. That patient was being mischievous again.
Miu who was secretly observing them from inside the house had been warned by his father twice, but his curiosity got the better of him. Even though he knew that Shao Xuan would notice him and what consequences he would have, he couldn’t help but look at Shao Xuan. It was the first time he saw someone who had a figure following behind him. It was like a spirit was behind him. He was too curious and his dad didn’t let him ask too much.
As he looked at Shao Xuan, Shao Xuan also looked over. He thought that it would be the same as before, but very soon, he noticed that he was wrong. Terribly wrong.
Shao Xuan’s eyes were like two bright lights, obviously different from before. When he looked over, Miu was forced to shut his eyes due to the brightness. Even after he closed them, his eyes were still burning, as if a fire scorched them. It hurt even more than the last two times he looked. He almost screeched in pain, but he was worried that others might hear him, so he held it in through gritted teeth. He had to hold back the pain and suffer the consequences of his actions.
Even though he dodged Shao Xuan’s vision, Miu could still feel the two bright lights coming from his eyes. They were like two burning fire pillars ready to fall anytime.
Miu’s body only relaxed after Shao Xuan averted his eyes. His tense muscles gradually relaxed.
Sweat poured down his entire back.
“That was too scary!” Miu whispered while he panted. Shao Xuan’s eyes were not like that before. How come they changed so suddenly?
The Flaming Horns had no third eye and other people didn’t appear to be special at all. So Shao Xuan was the only one that was different.
“What eyes were those?”
While Miu was trying to figure out what those two eyes were, the Jing shaman had already finished his first rounds around the quagmire. During his round, he came up from the stairs a couple times to catch a breath, and walked a full circle around the quagmire. Then he came out with mud all over his body.
He accepted the clean linen cloth that others offered him and wiped his eyes. “I don’t see it yet. I’ll go down again later after a light rest,” the shaman told Shao Xuan with a depressing tone.
Without any results, the Jing shaman did not permit anyone else to enter the quagmire. He was worried that they would scare away the ground eyes that were coming over.
Other people naturally had to obey the shaman’s orders. They had no other matters here, so they went back to the external quagmire to hunt for more ground eye stones.
“Can I give it a try?” Shao Xuan asked suddenly.
The Jing shaman was wiping away the mud from his body. Hearing this, he almost dropped the cloth in his hands.
“What?” the Jing shaman asked again. He wasn’t sure if he heard him clearly.
Shao Xuan pointed at the quagmire and asked again, “Can I give it a try?”
The Jing people who were watching around them looked at Shao Xuan with strange eyes. In their minds, Shao Xuan seemed like an idiot who was looking for death.
“You? You want to enter the quagmire?” the Jing shaman asked in disbelief.
“Yes. Can I?” Shao Xuan looked at the shaman.
In the Jing tribe, people could only enter with the shaman’s permission, but they never mentioned anything about whether people from foreign tribes could enter. Usually, people from foreign tribes would never want to enter the quagmire because first, it was close to the fire seed. Second, the quagmire was so dark that people could easily lose their sense of direction. The quagmire was like a small lake. If they really went in and discovered that it was different from what they imagined, it would not be any different from putting themselves in a giant lake.
Even the Jing people who were skilled in telling the direction lost their way under the quagmire. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t tell where they were going, so what’s to say for anyone from foreign tribes.
The Jing shaman didn’t mean to object. He was just worried that the Flaming Horns would try to get revenge if anything happened to Shao Xuan under the quagmire.
“Don’t worry. If it’s just a problem with the direction, I can deal with it,” Shao Xuan said.
If other people requested, the Jing shaman would definitely reject without a second thought, but Shao Xuan was the person asking. Besides the fact that Shao Xuan saved his son, he was also a special person, so the Jing shaman intended to maintain their friendship.
He thought of what Miu said. People who were protected by their ancestors were especially lucky. After he thought for a while, he nodded in approval.
The other Jing members were shocked when they saw the shaman nod in approval. It was as if their shaman did something crazy, but when the shaman looked over at them, all of them looked away. They dared to look at Shao Xuan with disrespectful eyes, but they didn’t dare to look at the shaman like that.
“You can enter the quagmire if you wish, although I have no clue what means you have to determine the direction, but just in case, hold on to this rope.” the Jing shaman suggested.
Even the Jing people didn’t dare recklessly enter the centre quagmire. If they weren’t the shaman, they had to stay connected to the surface by tying themselves to a rope, so in case they were lost, they could follow the rope back to where they came from. The people on top could pull the rope to let the people underneath know which direction they were, and they could also pull the person up in the case of an emergency.
“Just tie it to yourself. If you can’t tell the direction when you’re down there, I’ll pull the rope to remind you,” Wei said.
Tuo and the others all nodded in agreement.
After they experienced the case at the Gu tribe, they noticed that Shao Xuan was especially good at repelling the force from a foreign tribe’s fire seed. At the Gu tribe, his movements were natural and not restricted at all. The Jing tribe’s fire seed was even weaker, so it wouldn’t affect himl. Thus, they didn’t care much about the fire seed’s repulsion, but this was a quagmire. The risks were still quite high.
Although Shao Xuan thought this was unnecessary, he followed their suggestions and tied a rope to his body. He was careful not to make any mistakes. Shao Xuan entered the quagmire where the Jing shaman pointed him to. There was a slanted hill there that led to the bottom of the quagmire, and people who went in the first time would usually enter from there. It was easier for them to adapt to the gradual decline in elevation by travelling down the slanted hill. After all, the quagmire was different from ordinary pools. Adapting to it first would make it a lot easier for him to move around later.
As Shao Xuan walked down, he noticed that the further down he went, the greater the pressure. The quagmire was more diluted on the surface. The bottom layer of the quagmire was a lot muddier, and mud sunk downwards. The only thing that was different was this quagmire was more even compared to other quagmires. There was no clear line separating water from mud. The middle layer was consisted of sticky mud that could not float to the surface. This mud forcefully pulled people to the bottom.
Going deeper, Shao Xuan was entirely submerged in the mud. Walking further ahead, he reached the bottom of the quagmire, and the force that was pulling him down also stopped.
He heard sounds around him of creatures swimming. Some were small. Some were larger.
A ground eye swam by not far away from Shao Xuan. They were fast despite the pressure of the mud from above. No wonder they were so hard to catch. Shao Xuan felt the air gaps created in the mud when the ground eye flashed by.
Above the quagmire, the Jing shaman looked at the Flaming Horns nervously. He asked, “Are you sure your Grand Elder is really okay?”
The Flaming Horns thought, ‘You make it sound like there’s something wrong with our Grand Elder’s brain.”
“Of course, he’s definitely okay,” Wei said with a sullen expression.
“That place is close to the fire seed.” The Jing shaman could see Shao Xuan walking under the quagmire with his third eye.
Wei turned his head to look at the Jing shaman. Carelessly, he said, “Your fire seed isn’t even that strong.”
The Jing shaman was lost for words. Such sensitive remarks were better not said than said.
He could finally feel what the two brothers, Di Pi and Di Pa felt when he joked about their eyes. What a bad feeling it was!
Wait, that’s not right! The Jing shaman suddenly thought that this was not the thing he should be worried about! He should be most worried about the guy who went down into the quagmire. What if he decided to make a move on their fire seed?!
How could he be so careless!
The Jing shaman felt like he had done something terribly stupid.