When Dian Dian arrived safely on land, He Bian and the rest enquired about her physical condition, to which she answered, “I feel great!”
He Bian told her about the concern Shao Xuan had, causing the excited Dian Dian to fall silent suddenly. He Bian did not bother her for he knew that she was weighing the pros and cons in her mind.
After waiting for a while, until the other Flaming Horns asked when they were leaving, he crouched over and whispered, “Dian Dian, why don’t we go home?”
There was no answer.
He Bian asked again but there was no reply.
Shao Xuan walked over to tell him, “She’s asleep.”
Dian Dian’s head had been lowered all this time so he could not see her face. Upon closer inspection, he realised that her eyes were closed and breathing slowed.
“She’s probably very tired.” Shao Xuan lifted the stone tub and walked up the hill.
Dian Dian had just recovered and merged two types of energies in her body. Since the merging was not complete, it was still difficult for her to control them. Swimming excitedly in the river also used up a lot of energy. She had fallen asleep from exhaustion, though initially mulling over her problems.
They had no choice but to wait for her to wake before making plans for the future.
She slept till the next morning.
She was still in the stone tub. The weather was not cold this time of the year and Di Mountain tribesmen were also built to withstand the cold anyway. They even added water into the tub.
He Bian did not know if she needed water but Di fish probably fared better with water around. That was why He Bian poured in some clean water after Shao Xuan carried the tub up the hill and she slept soundly through the night.
After one night, the water in the tub was just a little murky, though much better than before. The rotten parts of her body had recovered tremendously, almost fully healed.
When Dian Dian woke, He Bian and the rest were resting nearby. Now that her life was no longer in danger, they could finally relax and eventually fell asleep.
She felt refreshed, like a weight had been lifted. That was also why she could swim well in the river yesterday.
Thinking about the changes in her body, she planned to check out the lower part of her body. But something was off once again.
Shao Xuan was walking down the hill, planning to check on the pterosaur when he was stopped by He Bian. Dian Dian was sitting on his shoulder.
The difference from yesterday was that Dian Dian looked exactly like a regular human instead of being in a half-human-half-fish state.
“Grand Elder! Grand Elder! Something happened again!”
He huffed and puffed as he ran over, gesticulating wildly. “Grand Elder, look! She changed again!”
They had already made the mental preparation to accept Dian Dian in her half-fish state but who would’ve known she’d wake up as a full human once again?!
At this point, the Di tribesmen never looked for the chief or shaman, always just ‘Grand Elder’. He Bian could not remember Shao Xuan’s name but knew that he must look for the Flaming Horn Grand Elder if he ever had a problem. He had rushed to Shao Xuan’s house but was told that Shao Xuan was going down the hill so he sprinted over.
The pterosaur had to wait. Shao Xuan followed them back to where the Di people stayed.
He checked her conscious mind. All normal. Similar to the day before but the totemic power in her body had gradually been retracted.
“Try activating your totemic power again,” said Shao Xuan.
Worried that she would turn back into a half-fish, she wore a fish skin skirt, revealing two feet at the end.
Upon his suggestion, totemic power surged across her body as fish scale-like patterns appeared once more. Though she was in a long skirt, her bent knees were still obvious. The bend where her knees were turned rounder while fish scale patterns appeared at her heel and green-gray lines appeared on the top of her feet, slowly darkening. Her two feet that were placed together changed in shape until they were the two fins at the end of a fishtail.
“Uh…” He Bian was shocked once again.
They had thought this half-fish state would be permanent but looks like it’s not?
They must not re-evaluate the situation completely. Perhaps this wasn’t a bad thing to the tribe after all?
“How do you feel?” Shao Xuan asked.
“Same as yesterday, energetic as ever. I want to go swim.” She flapped her tail, yearning to go swim in a wide body of water.
“Can you retract your totemic power again?”
“Eh? That will be… difficult. But compared to yesterday, I can control it a little bit now. But it’ll be very slow,” said Dian Dian.
To confirm that the changes in her body were caused by totemic power, Dian Dian swam in the Flaming River until she was tired, then returned to land.
Shao Xuan did not need to bring a tub over now. He switched over to a vine-woven basket so they could carry Dian Dian on their back up the mountain.
She exhausted herself and slept through the night. On the next day, she was a full human once again. This happened a few days in a row until they understood the process.
Activating her totemic power was easy but retracting was difficult- however, her transformation was confirmed to be caused by totemic power. If she could master her totemic power like regular tribesmen, she might be able to switch between two states easily.
He Bian knew this too. He started thinking about the pros and cons of this to the tribe.
These days, the Flaming Horns often saw a shadow within the Flaming River shooting left and right like an underwater arrow. Occasionally, it would even bring a peculiar river beast from the bottom on land as a gift to the Flaming Horns. Grand Elder told them they were edible and they found them delicious. The beasts’ scales were used to make other goods.
About ten days later, Dian Dian had healed completely and could slowly control her powers. Although she had not mastered it fully, it was only a matter of time.
During this time, Shao Xuan also explained the dangers of having a merged fire seed to her.
After her recovery and finding a solution to their tribe’s problem, Dian Dian and He Bian did not plan to stay. They must leave as soon as possible because there had been schools of Di Fish eyeing the tribesmen maliciously near their tribe. It was not safe to stay outside their tribe for long.
The Di Mountain tribe did not like outsiders interfering with their battles so Shao Xuan did not offer to follow. He merely mentioned that he would bring his fleet downstream if he had the chance and wished to visit them hear the river mouth.
“If we succeed, we will travel up the Flaming River with handsome gifts for the Flaming Horn Tribe.” Dian Dian thanked Shao Xuan and the rest sincerely as she stood on the wooden raft. All the gemstones and shells they brought were left with Flaming Horn too. And if they won, they would bring more marine treasures.
If they truly solved their problem with the Di Fish, and the tribesmen changed like Dian Dian, they would likely arrive at Flaming Horn tribe very soon too. Based on Dian Dian’s swiftness in the waters, this was very likely.