Shao Xuan carried the cage all the way back to headquarters. When he reached a place with no one else around, he opened up the cage.
The pterosaur couldn’t wait any longer. When Shao Xuan lifted the cloth that was covering the cage, the pterosaur strained immediately. The pterosaur could see what was outside through the small holes on the cloth. The scent of the forest was familiar. Although slightly different from what it remembered, as long it was in the forest, it was elated.
The pterosaur had been locked in the secret underground room for too long and every day, it could only look at the same water moon stones and stone walls that surrounded it. Seeing the new environment, it was so excited that it flew up into the sky right away. However, it didn’t dare to move when it was still inside the cage. Shao Xuan forcefully suppressed its movements whenever it didn’t behave so it learned to behave inside the cage. Before Shao Xuan unlocked the cage, the pterosaur didn’t dare hop or move around.
After it landed on the green grass, the pterosaur lowered its head and smelled the familiar scent of grass before it took a bite. Then, with a flap of its wings, the pterosaur lifted off the ground.
Shao Xuan wondered if this pterosaur was unique or whether all pterosaurs were like that. It was very obvious how the creature couldn’t fly as naturally as those birds that flew on a daily basis. This pterosaur wasn’t as flexible and agile.
After it landed on a tree, it stayed high up and observed all the trees and grass below it. It could also see a clear view of the river that was not too far away. It flapped its wings, as if ready to fly, but hesitated and looked at Shao Xuan again. It didn’t dare to fly because it wasn’t sure if it would die if Shao Xuan took control over its body in the middle of its flight.
That was why the pterosaur stopped occasionally to look at Shao Xuan, checking if he was angry or said anything before it continued to fly again.
The pterosaur was small so it didn’t have any trouble flying through the dense forest. The combination of colours on its body was a mix of the forest’s green and the grey of branches, it camouflaged well as it flew through the woods.
Shao Xuan even noticed that the creature had learned how to hide its breath. It wasn’t hiding its own breath however. Hiding one’s own breath was a skill all hunters needed to learn and it had mastered it long before. Now, it was learning how to hide the breath of the Flaming Horn fire seed’s energy within its bone marrow.
Perhaps in their future hunts, it would master control over its breath faster. Once it could finally control its breath and hide it, no one would be able to find it easily besides Shao Xuan.
Sometimes, animals with a small physique shouldn’t be underestimated. They could very possibly be more dangerous than the larger beasts.
Shao Xuan didn’t bring it to the residential area of the tribe. He only brought it out to move around in the forest near the boundaries of their territory.
There was a whistle tower here. Soldiers on patrol would rest there whenever they finished their rounds.
Shao Xuan noticed that the pterosaur was quite well-behaved, so he brought it to that area.
Now, it could already understand the simple orders given by Shao Xuan. The pterosaur was hunting for some insects that were hiding behind a leaf, but when Shao Xuan hinted for it to follow, it left its prey immediately and followed Shao Xuan into the woods without question.
The team that was resting in the woods stood up. They had just finished patrolling, and were resting here
After the patrolling soldiers greeted Shao Xuan, their eyes shifted to the other figure beside him.
Shao Xuan pointed at the pterosaur that was resting on the tree beside him. He said, “He’s going to be quite active around this area these few days. Just be careful not to shoot it down. He’s not a bird and he’s very fierce.”
The soldiers on patrol looked over. The “bird” that was resting on the tree also looked at them. The creature’s vertical pupil was oval shaped and seemed to carry a sharp vision. People with enough experience in hunting could tell what type of beast an animal was by judging their eyes. Some herbivores that were usually targeted by predators had horizontal pupils, whereas the predators usually had vertical pupils. There were also others with other pupil shapes, like round pupils. This way of determining an animal’s species was highly restrictive and wasn’t too accurate, but it was still a skill experienced hunters loved to share with newbies.
Regardless of whether this “bird” was really fierce, at least no one treated it as a harmless herbivore.
After he informed the soldiers on patrol, he then went up to the whistle tower and informed the soldiers stationed there too.
The pterosaur waited on the branch for a while and only flapped its wings and flew to Shao Xuan when it saw Shao Xuan appear on the whistle tower. It flew up to the tower and rested on the rooftop.
Shao Xuan was just talking to the soldiers on the whistle tower when Duo Kang came over to look for him.
“I saw you heading in this direction. Come with me, I’ll bring you to Taihe's place and take a look. I heard they would be pretty much finished with the houses and the farms by today. We could discuss our plans for future hunts with them today too.”
The Taihe tribe also needed to hunt here and there were definitely places for hunting. After all, this was such a huge forest. The six hunting trails the Flaming Horns marked didn’t cover that much land, and they hadn’t even penetrated deep within the forest. Some deeper parts of the woods had not even been explored.
However, the Taihe tribe wanted to establish a new hunting trail, and this wasn’t something that could be done in a day or two. That was why the Taihe tribesmen had been following the Flaming Horns out to the forest to decide on where they would set their trail. This was still not confirmed.
When Shao Xuan heard about this, he decided to follow Duo Kang because he didn’t have much to do at the moment, but he didn’t plan on bringing the pterosaur. He was planning on letting it roam the area in the meantime.
Even if Shao Xuan left to the Taihe tribe, he could still sense where it was and could still control it. Shao Xuan had determined his radius of control and knew how far away he could be from it and still control it. The Taihe tribe’s property was still within this distance.
After Shao Xuan and Duo Kang left, the warriors on the whistle tower couldn’t hold back their curiosity. They stuck their heads out the window and looked at the creature on the rooftop.
They hadn’t seen a single bird in their tribe lately. The ducks and the tamed beasts didn’t count.
After they came back from the sea, Cha Cha had been going out for hunts in the forest. It was probably because the food it hunted out at sea was too bland, and since it came back, it had been going out for adventures. Sometimes they wouldn’t see him for a few days. As for Gui He’s snow falcon, it flew too fast and only stayed near the residential area so they rarely saw it.
The warriors on the whistle tower examined this strange bird. Yes, indeed. Most of the Flaming Horns considered creatures with wings to be birds. This one was just a little different from the other birds they had seen before, so they were all curious.
“Did you hear? The Grand Elder brought this bird back from the sea,” someone said.
“A bird from the sea? No wonder it looks so weird.”
The pterosaur was resting on the roof of the whistle tower. It probably didn’t like how people were watching it, so it flew down from the rooftop.
The whistle tower was close to the Flaming River. Atop the whistle tower, the pterosaur eyes could scan past the woods and see what was on the river. As it lifted off from the roof of the tower, it glided in the air and flew down to the river.
“No, it flew away!”
“It probably wouldn’t go too far, right?”
“Look, over there! It’s heading for the river!”
The pterosaur flapped its wings twice and dived aggressively into the river.
“It’s a duck? How can it swim?” The warriors on the whistle tower were all shocked. The ducks in their tribe didn’t look like that.
“....I think something’s wrong. Look there! What’s happening?”
“Hurry, let’s go! Fast!”
When the patrolling soldiers heard the commotion of the others on the whistle tower, they panicked too. All of them went to the Flaming River together.
The people who were initially on the whistle tower saw water splashing wildly in the river. It seemed like something was battling underwater. They were only worried about the strange bird that dived into the river. The river was full of piranhas after all. It was the Grand Elder who brought it here. If something happened to it, they would owe him an explanation. Everything happened under their watch, and it all happened too quickly. When they rushed over, they were already a step too late. The river had already turned bloody.
Shao Xuan was walking with Duo Kang to the Taihe’s residential area, but he suddenly stopped.
“What’s wrong?” Duo Kang asked.
“Wait, I have to go back. Something happened back there.”
“What happened? I’ll follow you,” Duo Kang knew that whatever made Shao Xuan return was no small matter.
When the two of them finally arrived at the Flaming River, they saw the crowd of people there. It was those same warriors from the whistle tower and those who were patrolling.
“What happened?” Duo Kang took a step forward and asked them.
The people who were crowded there moved aside and let them pass. On the ground, there was a lump of bloody meat on the ground.
This wasn’t the pterosaur that dived into the river. It was a piranha that was half the length of a human’s height. The piranha no longer looked like what it was when it was alive. Meat clumps dangled from the creature’s dead body and all of the gills and scales had been forcefully torn off from it. Half a tail dangled from its body, and no eyeballs remained in its sockets.
These wounds were not inflicted by other piranhas. Although some of these wounds were worsened by some other piranhas, they were not the ones who injured it so severely. Duo Kang had seen animals being torn apart by piranhas. It was different from the injuries on this piranha.
“This…...What happened?” Duo Kang asked everyone who was there.
The people from the whistle tower and the others who were patrolling all looked simultaneously at a tree not too far away. On that tree, the strange “bird” was shaking off the water from its wings.
Duo Kang looked at the pterosaur on the tree and then at the piranha that had been brutally killed. He then turned and looked at the other warriors around him. His eyes were filled with astonishment, “It killed it?”
Everyone there nodded. It’s true! They saw it with their own eyes! When they pulled the fish out from the river, the strange bird was still tearing at the piranha’s meat.
The bird that they were worried about wasn’t in trouble at all. The warriors who pulled the fish out from the river glared at the strange bird on the tree and wondered why the pterosaur flew up to the tree and stopped eating the fish. Did it sense Shao Xuan coming?
Duo Kang opened his mouth. His lips trembled uncontrollably.
Fearsome beast! It had to be a fearsome beast!
How could it not be one if it was so fierce?
During all his years of hunting, Duo Kang had never seen a fearsome beast so small.
Perhaps there were also others that existed in the forest, but usually they would go for larger fearsome beasts. The smaller ones would be harder to find because they could hide.
The rank of a fearsome beast isn’t determined by whether a beast is fierce or brutal enough. Rather, what matters is whether it has the strength. All this time, Duo Kang had been treating this pterosaur as if it was one of their ducks. He never thought….
Duo Kang glanced at the bloody piranha on the ground that no longer resembled one. He gulped down the saliva in his mouth and said to Shao Xuan, “I think I finally know why it survived the ice.”