If they could not defeat the king stoneworm, directing it away was a good solution. However, they must lead it far enough away.
One person was baiting it away while the rest weren’t moving. Were the Flaming Horns sacrificing one guy to protect the rest?
Wu He speculated as he watched from above.
At this moment, Shao Xuan twisted and turned in the forest, his full focus on the king stoneworm behind.
It followed him wherever he went. However, it merely followed Shao Xuan’s location in a straight line- even if there was a mountain in front, it would have rammed right through it!
The king stoneworm left behind a ridged stone trail wherever it went while surrounding trees turned grey. It left a pencil-straight tunnel when passing through mountains like the tunnels in its old nest. Moving around here was as easy as a beast walking through a meadow. The rumbling became softer when it wriggled through an entire mountain compared to moving on the ground.
Shao Xuan observed the fire seed aura from the king stoneworm and its fluctuations to guess its emotions. He realised that the fluctuations were not huge and could be described as simple. Other than joy and a little excitement, he did not sense anything else.
Shao Xuan was not sure if it was due to his own limitations or this king stoneworm just did not experience complex emotions. He believed it was the latter.
Not having complex emotions was not good news either. Shao Xuan had no way of guessing what it wanted to do, what it desired and what its goals were. All he could do was experiment and guess.
At least the king stoneworm had not shown signs of negative emotion yet. There was even a hint of friendliness there in its excitement.
This did not mean the king stoneworm would not attack Shao Xuan, it just meant it might treat Shao Xuan as someone of the same species. Just like how the bat leader treated Shao Xuan as ‘one of its own’.
The difference was that while the bat leader did not attack Shao Xuan, this worm could not control its powers. If they got closer to each other, Shao Xuan would be turned to stone.
Zheng Luo and Gui He guessed that Shao Xuan was leading the worm away. But how far did he have to lead it to consider it a safe distance? And how would he shake the king stoneworm off afterwards.
“Cha Cha’s here too.” Gui He looked up and was more at peace to see Cha Cha following them.
“That’s good, that’s good.” Zheng Luo was less stressed too. They just had to lure the king stoneworm away, then Cha Cha could bring Shao Xuan back. The worm could not fly, what could it do?
After that, Gui He took out a strip of cloth and a stick of pigment to write a note. Then, he called his snow falcon over and had it bring the note back to the trading point.
The white bird flew off towards the trading point, ignoring the long-winged bird in the sky.
Duo Kang and the rest were waiting anxiously at the trading point. It had been a long time since Shao Xuan left and the king beast did not seem to be close by. All they could do was pace around, unable to sit.
Alas, they saw the snow falcon flying over. Ao, who was resting on the floor, leapt to take the note tied to its leg.
“What does it say?” Duo Kang and Ta rushed over.
“It’s Gui He. He says that Ah Xuan has lured the king beast away.” Ao read the note aloud.
“Lured the king beast away?” Duo Kang was confused. Can you lure a king beast away just like that? If it is that easy, why is everyone so afraid?
At the salt mines, the salt beast acted completely according to its own whims and ignored everything else. The king stoneworm should not be lured away this easily.
However, this was Shao Xuan. It was possible.
“Luring it away is a good thing,” said Ta. After the encounter with the king stoneworm, he did not want to fight it. Fighting a king beast would require huge effort and the outcome might not even be good.
Very soon, new of their Grand Elder luring the king beast away spread across the trading area. There were not many people anyway, so it was reasonable.
“Lured it away?!”
The Flaming Horn tribesmen cheered.
The other people who stayed looked disappointed. They were prepared to die gloriously, even promising the Flaming Horns that they would help fight the beast when it arrived. But now it wasn’t coming anymore?
What was the point of staying behind then?
The future was dark!
“No way, I’m leaving!” Someone suddenly broke out of the crowd.
The patrol team had just started to relax upon receiving news. Although the three gates were closed, the fences were not useful against a person good at climbing. This person was agile enough to climb over. Since it was unreasonable for the patrol team to chase after one person in this situation, they let him be.
A few more people escaped too. The rest thought about leaving too, complaining that they wanted to see the king beast. They were beaten up by the guards. The Flaming Horns did not want a riot just because of a few people.
Duo Kang furrowed his brows, worried these people who escaped might disturb Shao Xuan. He then chased after them with a group of guards. If he found them interfering with Shao Xuan’s work, he would kill them immediately.
“Master, is the king beast really gone?” asked Grasshopper carefully, looking in a direction anxiously.
“Wouldn’t you feel it if it truly was lured far away? So, not yet.” Yi Si looked at the row of spines on Grasshopper’s back.
When he was afraid, the spines on his back would stand up. Most of it had already retracted but the row of spines along his backbone were still standing.
Grasshopper might not be bright but he had beast blood in him so he had sharp senses. Even if his brain could not process the situation, he had an animal-like instinct.
Grasshopper touched the spines on his back, then dumbly grunted. He was extremely afraid of this king beast compared to the rest, almost wetting himself.
Meanwhile on the other side, Shao Xuan was indeed intending to lure the king stoneworm away. Since the worm was following him, his guesses were also confirmed. But where should he lead it to?
Or towards the central plains?
If he led it there, Flaming Horn would make too many enemies. Many people knew about this incident and they would not be able to cover this up. It was not a good choice.
Theoretically, leading it somewhere with fewer people was the best. There were fewer people upstream. Rain tribe was a little upstream from Flaming Horn so he must lure it away from the few small tribes in the area.
Shao Xuan saw a river ahead, which was a stream leading to the Flaming River. It was not large and two green boulders on the riverbed could be seen during the driest seasons. These two boulders were currently submerged.
Shao Xuan wanted to travel along this river but thought about it and gave up. He snapped a tree as thick as three people in half, then tossed the trunk into the river.
He bent his knees and sprang outwards, landing on the floating tree trunks. He then leapt again and landed on the other side of the river.
This river was only about ten metres wide. With his abilities and the tree trunk, he crossed it easily.
However, the king stoneworm would not be able to replicate this. Shao Xuan knew if could pass through physical obstacles. What about a river?
Would it swim through or dig underground to cross the river?
Shao Xuan ran a distance forward and then turned around.
The king stoneworm had stopped by the river. It looked at the water, then at Shao Xuan, thinking of a way to cross.
Shao Xuan did not feel a large fluctuation in its emotion. Perhaps this minor inconvenience was nothing.
Just as he made a guess about how it would cross, the king stoneworm started to move. It did not go underground, instead travelling forward as if the river did not exist.
Crack crack crack---
Cracks that sounded like water turning into ice sounded.
Shao Xuan watched as the river water turned as solid around the king stoneworm, expanding outwards. But it was not ice, rather a grey-white colour like the rest of the forest!
The water was turning to stone!
The king stoneworm wriggled ahead as usual but beneath it was a stone trail like continuous tracks laid out for this insistent train. All it had to do was charge forward.
Taking a deep breath, Shao Xuan turned to run when it was about to cross the river. This time, he turned in the shape of a ‘U’ and then returned to the same river. Using the same method with the tree trunk, he crossed it.
The king stoneworm crossed the river like before, leaving behind a stone trail.
Shao Xuan had an idea.
The group of people following behind, clamouring to catch a glimpse of the king beast, were shocked to see Shao Xuan leading the king beast back!