The sudden loud noise surprised everyone who was watching beside the quagmire. Even the two brothers, Di Pi and Di Pa, who were leaning on the surface and hearing the movements, were so shocked that they jumped up. Their short chubby bodies stumbled backwards and flipped a couple times before they stopped rolling. After they stopped moving, their first reaction was to dig a hole and hide underground.
That was too scary!
They only wanted to watch the excitement. Who would’ve expected something as scary as this?!
The Ya brothers were frightened by the trembling sounds and quakes that travelled across the ground and air. Although they didn’t know what happened, these sounds were enough to scare them, so they decided to dig a hole and bury themselves under. It was safer underground for them.
Beside the quagmire, the waves of black mud splattered on the people who were stunned by the sudden event. It rained down harshly on them, and the mud even entered through their open mouths.
The Jing people saw their quagmire become a pothole. It was as if the entire quagmire had been scooped by a giant spoon.
Even though the mud from around the pothole filled the hole quickly after the impact, it left a deep impression in all the Jing people’s minds. After this event, the impression that the Jing people had about the Flaming Horns might most likely be this memory of the Flaming Horns hammering a hole in their centre quagmire.
The active ground eyes in the quagmire flew upwards from the impact, and then dropped back down into the quagmire again.
Only one of these didn’t fall back into the quagmire. A hand reached out and caught it before it fell.
The ground eye was still spinning rapidly when the hand caught it, but the rope that was tied around the hand uncovered the mud around the creature, and the friction even caused sparks to appear. The creature was about to burn, but the hand that caught it quickly dipped it back into the quagmire again so the frictional sparks disappeared.
The mud had stopped splattering, and the mud rain gradually fell back to the ground. The ground eyes that were initially actively moving suddenly calmed down. Were they shocked by what happened or knocked out by the sudden force?
Under the silver plate that hung from the sky, everything was clear and illuminated by the moonlight. After everything had stopped, the mud no longer churned.
The confused crowd was looking at the Jing shaman, but the shaman was only looking at one direction. That was where Shao Xuan entered the quagmire. The slanted hill. Shao Xuan walked down from there when he entered the quagmire.
Watery sounds came from underneath the quagmire and ripples appeared on the settled surface of the quagmire. Someone was approaching from underneath.
A head emerged from under the quagmire. The person’s entire body was covered in mud.
“The Flaming Horn guy is coming out!”
“What did he do?”
“Look at his hand!”
As Shao Xuan walked up the slanted hill, the upper half of his figure was revealed. His fists were clenched, but there was a spindle shaped creature in one of his hands.
“It’s a ground eye!”
“What type of ground eye is that?”
“It’s quite massive, but I can’t tell what type that is.”
Even people who were experienced in the Jing tribe couldn’t confirm what type it was. They stared closely at the ground eye in Shao Xuan’s hand and then looked at the Jing shaman, waiting for his evaluation.
The Jing shaman’s face was stiff.
His heart was still beating violently from when Shao Xuan hammered a hole in the quagmire, and he hadn’t calmed down from the shock yet. He almost thought Shao Xuan had smashed their fire seed and before he even had the chance to shout “stop”, the quagmire had already returned to its peaceful state.
Shao Xuan looked like he was finished with his “short walk”, and it seemed as if he had no other plans after this. The Jing shaman finally heaved a sigh of relief. He was holding on to this breath as Shao Xuan was walking up.
The Jing shaman’s third eye was affixed on the ground eye in Shao Xuan’s hand. To be frank, that ground eye wasn’t that special. He had seen many special ground eyes during his time as shaman, but the only reason he had such a huge reaction was entirely because his third eye didn’t sense it at all before it came up to the surface!
The Jing shaman could see Shao Xuan moving underneath, but he couldn’t see what Shao Xuan was holding. He only saw it after Shao Xuan brought it to the surface.
He was in shock. He couldn’t believe it. The Jing shaman even questioned whether there was a problem with his third eye.
How come he couldn’t see it?
As he thought of what Shao Xuan said, he recalled him saying that there was a ground eye that was even faster than the Universal Eye. So this was the one.
Was he really blind? He must’ve been infected with the Ya people’s disease.
The Jing shaman started doubting himself. Up till now, he couldn’t tell the difference between this ground eye and the others.
It so happened that Miu was carried out by someone from the house at the same time. He also wanted to see if the ground eye that Shao Xuan caught was actually the True Eye.
“Grand Elder, what kind of ground eye is this?” Kun Tu and the others surrounded him.
“I think it’s at least a Universal Eye!” Tuo said.
“Brother Xuan, hurry and open it up! We want to see it!” Ah Guang and Duo Li urged from the side.
Shao Xuan didn’t have the experience. He walked towards the Jing shaman. “Can you please help me open it and see whether it’s actually it?”
The Jing shaman snapped back into reality from his self-doubt and went to gather the equipment from inside the house. He also ordered another person to bring out a basin of water.
He carefully held onto the ground eye that Shao Xuan passed to him, and as he caught it, the ground eye suddenly started to spin again. Luckily the Jing shaman was experienced. He held it tightly with the grass rope that was tied around his hand and didn’t give it any chance to escape.
That torque, it’s even stronger than the Universal Eye’s!
The Jing shaman felt the strength of the force in his hands. He was already changing his mind and started to believe in Shao Xuan’s speculation.
The knife that was used to cut open ground eyes was made from polished animal horn. It was definitely not as sharp as the weapons Shao Xuan’s group possessed, but the Jing people were already accustomed to using their own tools, so it was more convenient for them, not to mention that these knives were specially designed with a curve made to perform such a task. It could cut smoothly along the curved lines on the creature’s conch shaped shell. That was why the Jing shaman didn’t accept the dagger Shao Xuan handed him.
The spinning motion of the ground eye slowed down a lot after the shaman washed it in clear water and removed the mud that was covering it.
The Jing shaman caught the ground eye in one hand, and a blade in the other. He eyed the measurements and then stabbed into the shell near the centre of the ground eye.
The Jing shaman’s force was strong and his movement was swift. With a single stab, a slit was formed in the centre of the shell. With the second stab, they could already see the white meat on the inside.
Contrasted with the grey outer shell, the meat inside the ground eye was unbelievably white. Under the moonlight, it carried a crystalline luster.
After the second stab, the Jing shaman took a deep breath. The people all around him also tensed up. The third stab would reveal its true colours. They would finally find out now whether it was a Universal Eye, a normal ground eye, or the True Eye that Shao Xuan deeply desired.
Shao Xuan was staring unblinkingly at the knife in the shaman’s hands. With the third stab, the white meat was split open, revealing the creature’s centre.
The Jing shaman’s hands stopped moving.
Shao Xuan looked closer. Under the meat, he did not see any round pearls. Regardless of the type of ground eye stone, it was definitely not the same colour as the meat.
However, even though they didn’t see any ground eye stones, they saw a tiny round ball in the middle of the ground eye meat.
The meat surrounding this ball was already hardened, so it didn’t open up under the Jing shaman’s third stab.
“What is this?”
The Jing shaman had never seen such a case before. He frowned and looked at Shao Xuan. “Should I continue?”
“Sure. Break it open and see what’s inside,” Shao Xuan said. When he was under the quagmire, he knew that the light came from the round object covered inside the hardened flesh.
The Jing shaman was even more careful this time. He cut the hardened meat open slowly, until a thin black line was revealed.
“It’s the True Eye!” the Jing shaman almost shouted. He could finally see it! It was as if this hardened layer of meat blocked his third eye’s vision from seeing its true identity.
After the Jing shaman’s proclamation, everyone who was watching from all around cheered in excitement.
“It’s the True Eye!”
“The shaman said it was the True Eye!”
“He actually caught it!”
When the people in the external quagmire heard the loud noises made by the people here, they stopped whatever they were doing and came over immediately. They rarely heard of anyone who caught the True Eye. Sometimes no one could catch it for years, so of course they had to take a good look.
More and more people gathered around to look. The Jing shaman grew impatient and waved his hands at people to move away. After he thought about something, he called out ten names. “This year it’s your turn to catch the ground eyes under the centre quagmire.”
The ten individuals who were called were elated and hurried to prepare their tools for entering the quagmire. They no longer rushed over to look at the True Eye. Perhaps they might catch something nice too?
The Jing shaman brought Shao Xuan over to his house to speak. It was too noisy here.
As he walked over, the shaman was still thinking about how such an occurrence could happen, but after he recalled what happened to Miu, the Jing shaman immediately calmed down. This was not the time to worry about the problems with his own eye. There were too many types of True Eyes. Perhaps he had only encountered a few types.
After he entered the house, the Jing shaman continued to cut the ground eye open. The True Eye looked like a pure black pearl. It didn’t have any gaze similar to the pupils of the other ground eyes. It also couldn’t tell the direction like the Universal Eye. It just looked like a typical black stone.
“This is the True Eye?” Shao Xuan asked. It looked too ordinary and small. The Universal Eyes and ground eye stones were at least the size of a quail egg, but this one in front of him was not even a third of those stones’ sizes.
“Yup. Why? You don’t think it looks like one? Just wait till the merging ends. Then you’ll know.” The Jing shaman checked the ground eye that he dissected again, and then put it back into the hardened meat case. Then he shut the outer shell of the ground eye and tied it tightly with a rope, preventing the meat from coming out. After he finished tying it, the shaman put it inside a large bamboo tube.
“You can preserve it even longer if you put it in here, but I still have to warn you to use it as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it might affect the merging process,” the Jing shaman said.
Shao Xuan also thought the same way. He could still come back another time, but if he missed out this chance to get Caesar his new eye, he wouldn’t know when he would get the chance again. After all, the Jing shaman mentioned that it was rare to encounter True Eyes. Usually, if the ground eyes were not active, it was even hard to find a Universal Eye.
He was intending to preserve the ground eye with the Jing shaman’s proposed method. The temperature was rising, and he didn’t know how long it could be preserved under such a hot day, so it was better to hurry back.
Shao Xuan asked the Jing shaman about other important details he should note, like whether he needed any medicinal assistance during the merging process for humans or beasts.
“There’s not much you need to know. Just feed the meat of this ground eye to the beast. It might help with the merging process. Speaking of which, for my case, a slit opened on my forehead back then, and all I needed to do was put the True Eye there. It merged right away.” The Jing shaman was quite proud of himself as he said this. He was one out of many who succeeded in merging the eye. He was already considered gifted in his tribe.
“However, if the person’s reaction is too severe, try to do your best to help. If that person…… that wolf is experiencing too severe a reaction, or if he bleeds too much, you must stop the merging process right away. Even if you inserted the True Eye already, you have to remove it right away.” The Jing shaman looked strictly at Shao Xuan. He then warned him again, “Some things cannot be forced.”
“I understand,” Shao Xuan replied with a serious tone.