Seeing how the Flaming Horns had begun to scoop, the people of the Longboat tribe scooped even faster.
The people of the Taihe tribe heard the commotion, so they also came out to watch the excitement. Although they were exhausted, they still came out to help.
The Longboat tribe had plenty of ships, but the Taihe tribe was definitely on the Flaming Horn’s side. Mu Fa was furious when he saw so many Taihe tribesmen coming out to help the Flaming Horns. Their ships were the reason the Taihe tribe could cross the sea!
No matter how he felt, this was the reality. The Taihe tribesmen were all on the Flaming Horns’ side.
Small ice cubes and chunks with unknown objects frozen within were scooped up one after another. Some of the ice had frozen insects inside, while others had small beasts or fish-like creatures.
“What are these, actually?! What’s inside the ice?” Duo Kang was very curious. Through the ice, he couldn’t tell what was inside clearly. Even though he had experience in the forest and saw many different beasts, he could not recognize a single creature stuck in the ice. At least he had never seen these during his hunts in the forest.
“I’ve never seen these before either.” Even though Guang Yi couldn’t tell faces apart, he could still distinguish animals and beasts. He couldn’t recall seeing these insects or beasts.
The chief of the Taihe tribe, You Yu, also shook his head. None of them had ever seen these before.
“Huh, have you guys seen these before, Longboats?” Duo Kang looked towards a member of the Longboat tribe.
“No, I’ve never seen these, but they’re definitely from the sea!” The Longboat warrior was confident and believed in his chief’s words. They definitely came from the sea! Who would have the time to freeze all of these insects and beasts and throw them into the sea? Some of these animals were the size of their palm.
To the people of the Longboat tribe, all of these creatures in the sea were treasures! They were precious, fresh, and new! This was an area that required further exploration.
“How could these have come from the sea? They’re obviously creatures that lived on grass or in the woods,” Duo Kang said in disagreement as he looked at the pieces of ice. He wasn’t sure about some, but judging by their appearance and his experience in hunts, he could guess the living habitat of those creatures. Their appearance was closely connected to their living habitat. Something that looked like a stone worm couldn’t possibly fly.
“But the thing is, where did they actually come from? Where was their home?” You Yu was also confused.
It wouldn’t matter too much to them if there was only one species they hadn’t seen before. However, everyone from the Longboat tribe, Taihe tribe, and Longboat tribe had never seen any single one of these beasts and insects frozen in the ice.
Shao Xuan looked toward the direction these ice drifted from.
The wind brought them here. When they departed, the wind at sea at that time was blowing from a different direction. Even if the wind had fluctuations now and then, it was still blowing in one direction. These ice pieces were probably blown in this direction because winter was coming to an end.
There was probably more ice similar to these where these pieces drifted from. But this was not the time to go search for these ice. Their priority was to return safely to the other side.
Their fleet’s direction did not change, however. They only slowed down to scoop up those pieces of floating ice.
Some of these creatures stuck in the ice were revealed as the ice was melting. The fish in the sea chewed up the parts that were no longer covered by ice. These parts were incomplete and rotten. However, the parts that were still frozen and perfect in shape created a stark contrast. Fish would eat the parts that had melted and those parts would start to rot, but the parts that were still frozen would still look the same.
They only scooped up the ones that were still completely frozen. As for the ones that had already begun to rot and had teeth marks, they would only scoop them up to take a look at them and then throw them back into the sea.
“I heard rumours that the place where these ice came from, is the coldest place on earth,” You Yu suddenly said.
“The coldest place on earth?” Shao Xuan asked.
“We read about it in the handwritten records passed down by the Taihe tribe’s ancestors. I never thought about it before, but seeing how you’ve been looking in that direction, I suddenly thought about this,” You Yu said. “As for what that place actually looked like, we can’t be sure, because we’ve never been there either. Our ancestors also heard it from others, so there wasn’t much recorded information. However, since it’s the coldest place on earth, it’s probably a place with very few people. That’s why almost no one talks about it.”
A place with extreme weather wasn’t suitable for settlement, so gradually fewer people went there. That was why information regarding that place slowly decreased until no one even mentioned it.
You Yu saw it when he was organizing his ancestor’s notes for writing the response letter to the Flaming Horns. He had accidentally come across it, but he didn’t pay too much attention. The world was too big and there was no way they could travel to every place in the world, so he only focused on what mattered most to them and their tribe. He just never expected to encounter something like this.
Shao Xuan already had his guesses when he heard You Yu mention the coldest place on earth.
It didn’t matter if this place existed, but if what You Yu said was true, and the rumours their ancestors heard were also true, then there were probably icebergs over there. These small ice pieces probably broke off from the giant icebergs.
However, Shao Xuan speculated that it was probably the last disaster that caused the iceberg to break apart and float across the sea. If the iceberg was indeed huge and the temperature was low enough, it could maintain its shape for a very long time.
These pieces probably broke off from one of these icebergs, but as to how an iceberg could break into so many small pieces, there were too many possible causes, so they couldn’t be too sure.
“Qing Yi, you swam in the sea once. Have you seen these before? These probably belong to the sea,” Duo Kang pointed at a few creatures with scales.
“I’ve never seen these, not even in the river.” Qing Yi knelt on the side, observing the odd-looking creatures.
Duo Kang noticed Shao Xuan thinking about the same issue on the side, so he asked him, “Shao Xuan, what are your guesses?”
Qing Yi, Guang Yi, and You Yu all looked toward Shao Xuan and waited for him to respond.
“These…” Shao Xuan pointed at the creatures that looked like insects and beasts inside the ice and said, “There’s no way these creatures belong to this era.”
“You mean?” Mu Fa walked over too.
“They probably lived a very long time ago,” Shao Xuan said.
“How long ago do you mean?” Mu Fa asked.
“Could be tens of thousands of years, or even millions. No, maybe longer.”
Mu Fa, Duo Kang, and a few others inhaled deeply when they heard what Shao Xuan said. They had many thoughts, but none of them were even close to what Shao Xuan had said.
Ten thousand years was already a very long time for them. Many tribes had only begun to keep records during that time. That’s why they were all shocked when they heard the numbers “tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions”.
If other people said this, Mu Fa and Duo Kang would’ve thought those people were bluffing, but Shao Xuan was the person who said it.
Shao Xuan had always been accurate whenever it came to guessing.
“Tha-th-that long?” Duo Kang’s voice was still trembling when he finished his sentence.
These things lived even before their ancestors?
“They’re probably… all dead, right? Mu Fa said as he pointed at the frozen creatures on the ground.
“What kind of nonsense are you spouting? How could they still live after being frozen for so long?” Duo Kang scanned the ground and ordered some people to pick up one of these creatures. They lit up some torches to speed up the melting process.
As the ice melted, the hairy creature that was even smaller than the average hand of an adult warrior was completely revealed. Without the ice, they could finally see this strange creature clearly.
“Have these really existed for that long? It doesn’t seem like much has changed,” Duo Kang said.
“They’re dead,” Guang Yi said in confirmation.
“I see injuries. It looks like they were pierced all the way through,” Duo Kang noted as he examined the strange creatures.
They also scooped up one of the creatures that was bitten in half by some fishes. After they melted these with the torch, they noticed that most of these had similar wounds. The beetles with shells were pierced right through at the neck. The ones that resembled fish and shrimp were also wounded the same way. A hole pierced right through them.
Duo Kang dissected the first beast that they melted and noticed that there was still undigested food within its stomach. You Yu said it was some type of grass.
“What killed them?” Duo Kang asked.
“Who knows? They were definitely killed by their predators. Some wild beasts, perhaps. But now is not the time to think about these,” Mu Fa said. He ordered the other Longboat tribesmen to put all the frozen creatures together and scoop up more ice to keep them frozen.
Meat could be preserved for a longer time if stored within a cold cave. These unknown frozen ancient creatures probably need to stay frozen in order to be preserved for a longer time.
Duo Kang also followed what Mu Fa did. He wanted to bring some back as a souvenir, so he also ordered the other Flaming Horns to keep scooping.
Shao Xuan took a glance at the ice that they scooped up and then looked back into the sea.
There was still a lot of ice and most of these ice had creatures frozen within them. Some were just ice, but most of the creatures were similar to the ones they scooped up.
Seeing these pieces of ice floating on the sea, Shao Xuan pointed to a single piece and told the person beside him who was scooping, “Scoop that one up.”
“Which one do you mean, Grand Elder?” the person who was scooping didn’t know which one Shao Xuan was referring to.
“Here, I’ll do it,” Shao Xuan took the net and scooped it up himself.
“What’s this?” Duo Kang couldn’t tell what it was. The ice was opaque, so they could only see what seemed like dried mud.
They couldn’t scoop up all the ice because there was limited storage on the ships, so they became more selective.
They would first scoop up the ice that was transparent so they could tell what was inside, or else their efforts would be wasted. They didn’t want to go back and find out that all that was inside the ice was a mass of soil. That was why the one Shao Xuan pointed to was constantly ignored by the others who were scooping. They already had a collection of all the different types so it wouldn’t make sense for them to scoop up more of the same kind. He just wanted to find out what it was, so he decided to scoop it up on a whim to bring it back as a souvenir.
“I don’t know what that is either,” Shao Xuan observed the piece of ice in front of him. After a few glances, he passed it to the person in charge of storing these ice on the ships. “Put this one with the other pieces.”
Since Shao Xuan scooped this one up personally, the person in charge of the storage didn’t want to make any mistakes. Even if this was just a chunk of soil, they would treat it with high caution and care.