The people at the Flaming Horn headquarters were also aware of the situation there, and many soldiers on patrol also hid around the area as they waited for Gui He’s orders. They stayed a safe distance away from where the king stoneworm was returning. If they were too close, they would risk turning into stone. Everyone kept their breaths shallow and tried their best to stay as nonexistent as they could. All they needed to do now was to stay alert and not make any careless moves or reveal themselves earlier than they were told.
On the other side, Cha Cha had already brought Shao Xuan down onto the riverbank. After they descended, they noticed that the king stoneworm was still following tightly behind them, so they didn’t stay there. They lifted off once again and set off for the forest.
The king stoneworm finally hesitated for a moment after it reached the other side, but not long after, it continued to chase after Shao Xuan. The long stone bridge that extended across the Flaming River and continued to lengthen as the king worm moved. A road of stone trailed behind as it moved.
Along the riverbank, trees, flowers, and grass in the area all turned into a greyish-white colour. After it landed on the shore, the stone worm king worm moved the same way as before, the way it was accustomed to travel on land.
The rumbling noises continued, but it didn’t turn around even once to glance at the long bridge behind it. It did not care at all about the terrifying damage it had done to its surroundings. Perhaps this was insignificant to it. It was merely following Shao Xuan’s tracks.
The patrolling soldiers who were hiding in the forest at the Flaming Horn headquarters also saw the worm leave. They only heaved a sigh of relief after he had left. They were all terrified when they saw what happened to the surface of the river.
“Yes. It already left with our Grand Elder. It probably won’t turn back.”
“What was that on the river’s surface, the thing that the stone worm king worm made?”
“That…. It’s probably a bridge? I heard the Grand Elder and other people mention it, but the Grand Elder said our ability was limited, so we never built one,” someone said.
“So we have a bridge now? That one?” another person pointed on the greyish-white bridge on the surface of the Flaming River.
“Probably. Should we try walking across it?”
“Let’s not. We should wait till the Grand Elder and chief are back,” Wei tried to stop the people who were trying to go there.
“Hey, leader, look over there! Someone’s coming!” the person behind Wei shouted while pointing at the other shore.
Wei looked over. There were indeed people who stepped onto the long greyish-white bridge.
“It looks like hunt leader Duo Kang. Oh! Hunt leader Ta is there too! Elder Zheng Luo and the chief are all there!”
Filled with curiosity, Duo Kang had brought a few other people across the new bridge on the Flaming River. They followed tightly behind Gui He and Zheng Luo, and also Ta, who had just arrived from the trading point.
The king stoneworm hesitated at a location while it was crossing the river, so where it hesitated, the stone bridge was slightly wider.
Gui He stepped on the hardened grass beneath him. The petrified grass here was a little harder than the ones in the forest. He could still hear a crisp cracking sound when he stepped on the ones in the forest, but here, the stones were harder to crush and it required more strength to break apart even a single tuft.
“Should we go take a look?” Zheng Luo suggested.
“We can try?” Ta was a little expectant as well.
“Then let’s go.” Gui He was the current chief, so he walked in front and led the team across the stone bridge.
Even the king stoneworm could travel steadily across this bridge. Their combined weight was lighter than the king stoneworm, so they reckoned there wouldn’t be a problem.
Gui He, Zheng Luo, Duo Kang, and Ta stepped onto the newly formed bridge. Behind them, Duo Kang also led a team of Flaming Horn warriors across. To them, this was an entirely new experience.
After Gui He stepped on the bridge, he tried to put some more pressure on his toes to test the quality of the bridge. It was much harder than he anticipated.
It was hard and very sturdy. If it could hold the weight of a king stoneworm, it wouldn’t easily be trampled broken.
After the first step, the second and third step felt much easier. At first, they were all nervous and doubtful, but after they walked for about ten metres, they became much more relaxed.
They could actually walk on water!
The people who were on the stone bridge felt the sturdy stone bridge underneath them, and also the waves that were lapping from both sides. They inhaled deeply. Water splattered onto them as the waves came into contact with the bridge from both sides. The waves washed away a layer of powdered stone that trailed behind the stone worm.
The stone powder was the dust that the king stoneworm dragged along as it squirmed across the river. Its body was not at all suffering from petrification. Thus, as the waves splashed, the powder mixed in with the stones.
The faces of the people who were walking across were splashed with greyish-white mud brightened. They just wiped away the mud and let laughter take over them.
To the Flaming Horns, this bridge made their lives more convenient. After all, there were still problems ships could not solve, and they didn’t have enough giant mountain eagles to carry things across. Even if they did, it wouldn’t be as convenient. Now that they had a long bridge that extended across the river, then all their work would become so much easier. They could transport items across the river any time they wished between the trading point and their headquarters. They no longer had to care about anything that stood in their way.
With both sides of the Flaming River connected, people who couldn’t embark on ships across the Flaming River could now easily come across from the other side.
This bridge connected both shores of the Flaming River.
Less than thirty Flaming Horns crossed this bridge, yet they caught the attention of more than a hundred pairs of eyes.
Wu He, who was still in the sky, the people from other tribes who were still hiding in the forest behind them, as well as the patrolling soldiers at the Flaming Horn headquarters, were all observing them from where they were. They watched with amazement as these people walked across the bridge from one end to the other.
“They…… crossed it!” someone from another tribe’s expedition team said as he saw the situation. His tone was filled with surprise as he watched the team of Flaming Horns walk across the stone bridge.
“I want to walk across it too, but that’s the Flaming Horn’s territory,” another person stared unblinkingly at Gui He’s group from behind a tree.
Some bolder people walked out from the forest and approached the stone bridge, but they still didn’t dare step on it.
In their view, this was made by the Flaming Horns, so it definitely belonged to them. If they didn’t have the Flaming Horn’s approval and stepped onto the bridge, it would be considered as trespassing and provocation.
They were also scared after the king beast’s incident. It was better to stay cautious.
However, they couldn’t hold back their curiosity when they saw the bridge so close to them. Some people ran over quickly and stepped on the bridge, and then dashed away to hide in the woods. At least their curiosity was sated.
The others also saw those people who quickly disappeared into the woods, and looked over again at the bridge near them. Gritting their teeth, they also took a few steps forward and stepped on the bridge. They hurried and ran away as soon as they landed a step on the bridge.
In the sky, Wu He, who was sitting on the back of the long winged bird, looked at the group of Flaming Horns as they successfully walked from one end of the bridge to the other. He knew that if he came across any other Chang Le’s in the future, he would certainly brag about it to them. It was not easy for him to witness a miracle like this. He made the bold decision to stay at a crucial moment. If he had decided to leave back then and heard it later from another’s mouth, he would certainly regret his decision.
Regardless of what everyone else was thinking, Shao Xuan kept luring the king stoneworm, leading him back into the forest.
The king stoneworm never bothered to rest while it chased after Shao Xuan. As long as it was still following him, he could not stop. He had to keep heading towards the king worm’s cave.
However, the king stoneworm slowed down quite a lot after it reached this side of the river. It probably used up too much energy from crossing the river. To the worm, squirming on the ground was much harder compared to underground.
Stoneworms ate stones, but Shao Xuan was not sure what the king stoneworm ate. Regardless whether it was stone or earth, or even some stone that no one knew about deep underground, they were all underground. It was used to moving underground, so that was why it didn’t feel as comfortable travelling above ground.
That was why the king worm drilled into the ground as soon as it reached the other shore. Of course, it was still following Shao Xuan, so it didn’t drill down too deep. It still stayed close to the surface as it followed Shao Xuan. This allowed the worm to detect Shao Xuan’s presence.
After the king worm drilled into the ground, not all of the grass and wood became petrified. If they shovelled away a layer of grass on the surface, then they could see the petrified soil. This was probably because the king worm used up most of its energy when it crossed the river and also when it travelled across the entire area. Its petrification power had weakened greatly.
Shao Xuan could sense where the king worm was, so he didn’t stop to rest. He led the king worm into the forest, and his plan was working as expected, so this was a good sign.
Even though the king worm no longer petrified everything on land, its energy was enough to scare away all types of beasts nearby. All of the fearsome beasts hurriedly left the area when they sensed that the king beast was approaching, and this also made Shao Xuan’s travel a lot more convenient.
Without any fearsome beasts in his way, Shao Xuan could smoothly head toward his destination. This was not a short route, and it was already close to sunset when they crossed the river.
Even as the sun set and the night descended on them, Shao Xuan was still quite far from the king worm’s nest. He had to continue his travel in the nighttime. Luckily, he still had his special vision so he could travel at the same speed even during the night time.
Usually when a hunting team is in the forest, they would consider their members’ ability and the fearsome beasts that were in the area and decide whether they should go around a place or keep going straight. However, Shao Xuan was the only one here and there was also a king beast behind him, so no other fearsome beasts dared to attack Shao Xuan. That was why Shao Xuan boldly chose the shortest route.
Shao Xuan could finally see the high mountain when the daylight dawned upon them.
The king worm suddenly increased its speed and appeared to be overly excited because it was familiar with the scent all around it. It couldn’t hold back its energy and as it moved, everything on land around it turned into stone and the area widened.
The king stoneworm was still travelling underground. It didn’t emerge but drilled down even deeper. Shao Xuan could feel the king worm drifting away from him.
The grey area on ground no longer widened, so Shao Xuan also retrieved his energy. He was already finished with his duty.
In the high mountain, all types of fierce beasts roared continuously.
All the beasts that had moved into the king worm’s nest during the time it had left suddenly felt terrified by the beast’s return. All of them were trying to escape the cave.
The king of the mountain had returned. How could they still have the guts to stay in the mountain?