After the totemic sign appeared on the giant shell, the seal broke and the shell snapped open into two separate shells.
An unusual fishy smell came from within. It was a smell similar to fish hunted by the pterosaur.
This smell came from a seashell after all. It was probably because it was sealed for too long. The thing that was within the shell was rotten, so it gave out an unpleasant smell. When Shao Xuan and Gui He looked over, they noticed that besides some fish skin that appeared smooth and unrotten, there was also a person.
Even though this was a person, it did not look like one anymore.
Judging by her size, she was a child. She was around ten years old but her skin festered so severely that there wasn’t a single part that was clean and normal so they couldn’t tell what she truly looked like.
And it was this child’s body from which this unpleasant fishy smell originated.
However, even though they couldn’t see her face clearly, her eyes were still sparkling and beautiful. It didn’t appear lustreless or affected by the symptoms on her skin. When she was called awake, she was slightly confused at first, but very soon, as she returned to her senses, she looked doubtfully at Shao Xuan and the others in the room.
He Bian lowered his voice. He was afraid his tone would scare the child. “Dian Dian, this is the Flaming Horn tribe. This is probably the place the shaman told us about.”
After He Bian finished, he introduced Dian Dian to Shao Xuan, “She is… a child from our tribe. The shaman ordered us to bring her here to seek help because she’s sick.”
Now, Gui He finally understood what He Bian meant when he pleaded for them to “save their tribe”.
This probably wasn’t the only child in the Di Mountain tribe with this strange disease. They only brought one of them here. If most of their children were sick like this and couldn’t be cured, there was no future for their tribe. This was no different from extinction. No wonder He Bian was so worried and emotional just now. Gui He couldn’t maintain his composure when he saw her either. If this happened to their tribe, he might even be more emotional than He Bian.
Their tribe could cure typical illnesses but this was an unusual disease, and they might not be able to treat it. He had never seen anything like this before, and the cause of this disease might very possibly be linked to their living conditions. How could the Flaming Horns understand their situation?
They couldn’t help them even if they wanted to.
Gui He looked at Shao Xuan and waited for his decision. He couldn’t decide on this matter. He had to send people to look for Gui Ze in the medicine house.
When Gui Ze saw the child in the shell, he drew a sharp breath but very soon she hid away the shock she had and said, “She doesn't look too well.”
What do you mean?
She’s literally at the brink of death!
He Bian and the others were all saddened. They had some things to say, but didn’t want to say it yet. They were only watching the people in the Flaming Horn tribe patiently, waiting for a hopeful response. The shaman had told them that many tribes here loved shells.
They didn’t have many other things, but they had a lot of shells. Even if they didn’t have enough, they were willing to go back and get some more from the sea. Regardless of what they requested, whether it be glowing stones or pearls, no matter how big or small, if that were what the Flaming Horns wanted, they would try their best to look for it as long as the Flaming Horns could cure their illness. He Bian made this very clear. He waited for the Flaming Horn’s response.
Suddenly, the entire house was silent.
The atmosphere was a little heavy.
The Di Mountain people all looked at Gui Ze for an answer. After all, there was only one shamaness in this tribe. They weren’t looking for a chief or a Grand Elder. The person they were looking for was the shaman!
Gui Ze was just about to say something, but Shao Xuan immediately said, “How about this. You guys can rest here for a bit and tell us if you need any food. You’ll have the energy you need after a meal. As for what you requested, we can see that it’s no simple matter. We need to discuss this amongst ourselves first.”
He Bian opened his mouth to speak. He was worried sick but he knew that worrying wouldn’t help them at all so he forced himself to suppress his frustration.
After Shao Xuan and the other Flaming Horns left the house, they came to the medicine house to discuss.
The Di Mountain tribesmen needed some medicine to treat their injuries, so Gui Ze sent people to deliver these medicines. They were all just typical decoctions made from common medicinal herbs, so it wouldn’t hurt to give them more.
When Shao Xuan, Gui Ze, Gui He, and the other two retired shamans were the only ones left in the room, Gui Ze finally said, “That child is very strange. There are two totemic energies within her body.”
Gui He and the others couldn’t tell, but Gui Ze was a shamaness and was sensitive to totemic and fire seed energies so she identified this immediately. When she saw the child in the shell, Gui Ze’s reaction had such a strong response because, despite the severe illness, there was something else within the child. It was these two totemic energies.
Shao Xuan noticed this too, so he too thought it was strange.
“Two totemic energies?!” This was the first time Gui He heard about this.
Totemic energies came from a tribe’s totem. Two totemic powers pointed to a possibility of them having two totems.
How could a tribe have two totems?
Did that mean that the Di Mountain tribe had two different fire seeds?
But how could these two different fire seeds coexist?
“Could this be the reason for her illness?” Gui He suddenly asked. His mind was blown by this new fact. Sure enough, all sorts of unusual things existed.
“The reason why the situation became so severe was that a conflict happened between the two totemic powers within her body. Even though she’s a child who hasn’t awakened to her totemic power, it doesn’t mean these totemic powers don’t exist within her. This conflict exists as long as those totemic powers are there,” Gui Ze explained.
They had a cure if it was any other illness, such as external injuries or poisoning, but they didn’t know how to help or cure this disease. This problem was tied to their fire seed and totem. How could they solve it for them? Those people weren’t Flaming Horns.
“There’s something you probably didn’t notice,” Shao Xuan said.
“What is it?” Gui He was doubtful.
“It wasn’t just that kid. All of them from the Di Mountain tribe have this problem. They just aren’t as affected by it compared to the kid.”
“How is this possible?!”
It wasn't just Gui Ze and Gui He. Even the two elders who were silent on the side exclaimed in shock.
“Ah Xuan, what you mean is, their entire tribe probably had this problem?” the elder asked.
Shao Xuan nodded, “Very likely.”
“No wonder. At first, I thought only some of their children would have this sickness, but I never thought this was their entire tribe’s problem!”
“Then does the Di Mountain tribe really have two totems? They have two fire seeds burning in their tribe?” the old ex-shamaness shook her head. “No, it cannot be. Or the Di Mountain tribe would have gone extinct long ago.”
“Could it be that they’re trying to merge with another tribe’s fire seed?” Gui He guessed.
This was reasonable speculation. A long time ago, when a tribe won in a battle, they would try to merge the defeated tribe’s fire seed with their own but all of them failed. That was why no one thought about this anymore after a battle. They would rather destroy the other tribe’s fire seed. At least this had been recorded by their ancestors in their notes. They had even warned their descendants not to mess around with this matter, or unpredictable things may happen.
“Instead of us guessing, why not just ask them about it? They need our help, so I don’t think they would try to hide any secrets,” Shao Xuan said.
“Yup, if they don’t tell the truth, we can’t help them anymore,” Gui He agreed.
After their discussion, Shao Xuan went to have a chat with He Bian. Gui Ze went to look for the child in the shell.
Shao Xuan brought He Bian to a room to speak privately to him. He Bian was obviously anxious, but he tried his best to suppress his emotions.
As soon as he saw Shao Xuan, He Bian immediately asked, “Grand Elder, do you have a cure?” He only remembered this person was the Grand Elder. He wasn’t paying attention when he said his name, so he forgot Shao Xuan’s name.
Shao Xuan handed him a cup of herbal tea. “Currently, no. We need to understand more about the situation in your tribe. There are some questions we need answers to before we can find a solution.”
“Just ask!” He Bian didn’t mind telling them. He gulped down a huge sip of herbal tea in the warm cup and waited for Shao Xuan to ask. The slightly bitter taste in the tea soothed the tension in his body and made him feel more relaxed. His anxiety was also calmed, so when he spoke, it was clearer than before.
“Is there only one totem in your tribe?”
“Of course!” He Bian thought this was a dumb question. A totem was something sacred. Of course, they only had one! How could there be two?
“And you only have one fire seed?” Shao Xuan asked again.
“Of course!” He Bian was even more bewildered now. Are the Flaming Horns stupid? How could they ask such dumb questions?
“Have you ever thought about merging another fire seed?” Shao Xuan acted as if he didn’t notice He Bian’s reaction at all.
“Why would we do something so stupid?!” He Bian almost dropped his cup. Their tribe didn’t like to communicate with other tribes, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t know such basic concepts!
Shao Xuan thought to himself, ‘Perhaps everyone else in the Di Mountain tribe had no clue what’s going on. Many probably don’t know the root cause but that doesn’t mean that no one else does. They just haven’t told He Bian. They didn’t even tell their chief, so it’s apparent the chief’s status in the Di Mountain tribe isn’t very high.’
He Bian initially thought that if this Grand Elder were going to ask another stupid question, he would burst out in anger, but the next moment, Shao Xuan asked a question that seemed more normal than the ones he asked before.
“Tell me about the traditions in your tribe,” Shao Xuan said.
Traditions? This is related to the disease?
He Bian gave a suspicious glance but remained hopeful. He decided to calm down and tell Shao Xuan about it.
“There are many differences between our tribe, the Di Mountain tribe, and other tribes, but the most special one is probably the Di Fish,” He Bian said.
“Yup. There is a mountain by the sea called Di Mountain. This fish lives in the mountain, and it is called the Di Fish. They have been living there for generations, and every generation of our tribe has lived in harmony with them. Our ancestors received their help before and arrived safely at Di Mountain, establishing the Di Mountain tribe. That’s why the Di Fish is also part of our totem!”
Shao Xuan recalled the picture of their tribe’s totem. The fish-like patterns on the human face were probably what He Bian was talking about. However, he couldn’t tell what a Di Fish looked like just by looking at the totem.
“The Di Fish are an essential part of our tribe. During our sacrificial rites, the Di Fish would also come to join us. Plus, in our tribe, whenever people pass away, we perform a fish burial instead of a cremation, as you guys would.”
The fish burial that He Bian was talking about was not burying a fish. It meant throwing the dead body into the waters and feeding them to the Di Fish. They were buried in the fish’s stomach.
And the executor of this fish burial method was the Di Fish!
Di Fish… What a nightmare.
If it was exactly like what He Bian had said, then the Di Mountain tribe was not too different from the Drumming tribe. The Drumming tribe had their crocodiles for generations. The only thing that was different about them was this, the fish burial.
The Drumming tribesmen knew how to bury fish, but they never had anything similar to a fish burial.