When Shao Xuan arrived, many people were already there. The ones who did not leave the trading point stood on building roofs craning their necks for a look, occasionally looking down probably to give their friends a live update. After all, an object falling from the sky was a mysterious phenomenon that sparked imaginations.
“Grand Elder is here!” yelled the Flaming Horns.
Wu He and the rest hesitated to snatch the object only because they saw Shao Xuan approaching, finally making the decision to stay put after thinking about their past experience. When Shao Xuan arrived, he even looked up at Wu He, sending chills down their spines.
Cha Cha was off having fun in the forest so there were currently no threats in the sky. Without Shao Xuan, they could have pushed it but they still remember how Shao Xuan hit them. They all simultaneously flew higher to put a distance between themselves and him, even backing away from the crater.
The guards who surrounded the crater tightly opened up to allow Shao Xuan in.
He saw a couple of Taihe tribesmen too, the ones who stayed at the trading point and were familiar with the area. They had come over to help block onlookers during the emergency. While they couldn’t see the object either and were very curious, it was best to help their old friends at a moment like this.
The soil where the crystal landed was compacted, a crater had formed after the flying soil and pebbles settled. Surrounding grass had turned a charred black as if there was a fire, covered with a layer of soil.
“Shao Xuan, what was that?” Duo Kang studied the crater.
“It fell from the sky, it’s obviously something valuable,” said Shao Xuan.
While he did not speak loudly, most with better hearing heard him because he did not lower his voice on purpose. Many outsiders strained their ears to hear his answer to Duo Kang’s questions while Shao Xuan’s answer made them fall deep in thought.
Shao Xuan scanned the area without a word. He hadn’t brought any tools over since he was in a hurry so he borrowed a dagger.
The soil was not soft so the crystal core hadn’t been buried too deep. He soon dug it out.
Perhaps due to the explosion and impact, its shape was different from when they first mined it out from the crystal slab. It was not as long and now more irregularly shaped.
Other than its shape, it looked different too. The messy bits of crystals stuck to its surface were gone. A clear pattern on its black surface could now be seen reflecting a metallic sheen.
Since it wasn’t large, once it cooled, Shao Xuan requested for a leather bag and placed this strange crystal core inside. Instead of bringing it back to the Flaming Horn headquarters, Shao Xuan walked to the Flaming River Castle within the trading area under the watchful eyes of the crowd. There was no point in hiding with so many witnesses here, sneaking around would only attract more attention.
Once he entered the castle, outsiders could no longer watch him. They erupted into conversation since they were not allowed inside.
“I think it must be something very rare! Didn’t you see the Flaming Horn’s Grand Elder personally coming to collect it?” The older residents of the trading point all felt they were familiar enough with the place to make accurate guesses.
“Nonsense, anything that falls from the sky is rare! It’s too bad I’ve never seen anything fall from the sky in my life other than bird poop.” Many traders sighed at their apparent misfortune. They lamented the fact that despite being well-travelled, they had never seen such treasure before. All they’d ever encountered were troubles! “Why are the Flaming Horns so lucky? Unless they moved here because they knew this would be a good place to be?”
“I’m not interested in anything other than what something from the sky looks like and what it can be used for.”
“I don’t know about that, we’ll have to listen for more information. Someone saw it I think, it’s apparently a piece of rock!”
There were all kinds of speculation in the trading point, some willing to trade with the Flaming Horns for the thing that fell from the sky, offering higher prices but it was a pity the Flaming Horns did not lack anything.
What about robbing them? There were too many guards and they were on Flaming Horn turf. More and more tribes had recently started to side with Flaming Horn too, looking for opportunities to display their loyalty towards the Flaming Horns. If anyone decided to make a move, these people would heroically volunteer themselves even before the Flaming Horns react. There was a new tribe called Taihe tribe that recently moved here too who made it much more difficult for thieves.
“Yi Si, what do you think?” asked Wu He when he returned sulkily.
Although Yi Si had no divination abilities, his guesses seemed quite accurate. If Wu He had listened to him the last time, he would not have suffered this much.
“I only know of two things that came from the sky, the fire seed- which is according to the legends and of questionable truth- the other is the core seed but those are controlled by the King City folk,” Wu He continued, “But the thing that the Flaming Horns took isn’t a core seed or fire seed. That’s strange indeed.”
Yi Si was still deep in thought. He only made accurate predictions about things he was familiar with. Since he had not encountered anything from the sky, his only solid confirmations were what Wu He said- it was not a fire seed or core seed.
“That’s enough of thinking, I have a lot of bookkeeping to do.” Since there were many people bad at math in the trading point, Yi Si found a way of making a living here given these people were faced with the problems that came with their expanding businesses. However, he did not think the stone from the sky was as mysterious as people thought.
Seeing that Yi Si wasn’t talking, Wu He left to gossip with another person.
Within the Flaming River Castle, Duo Kang and Zheng Luo surrounded the black rock, fussing over it. This was the first time they saw something like that. Was it some treasure?
Duo Kang picked it up, studying it.
“It’s heavy.” Duo Kang was surprised at its weight. While he could still pick it up (a rock of this size could not be heavy enough to exceed his limit), it was relatively heavy.
Tossing it around, he commented, “Anything from the sky is definitely different!”
“What can this be used for?” Zheng Luo looked at Shao Xuan.
“I want to see if it can be made into tools and what characteristics they have,” he said.
“With this much?” Zheng Luo agreed but this was a small chunk, was this enough? He knew that the process of forging tools was not simple either. They would have to experiment to find the best conditions.
Experimentation meant they needed much more. What could they do with this bit?
“Who said this is the only piece?” laughed Shao Xuan.
Duo Kang’s eyes brightened. “You mean more stones fell from the sky today?”
“You really think this is a divine rock from the sky?” Shao Xuan then explained what the crystal core was and told them about the forging incident.
After a moment of stunned silence, Zheng Luo and Duo Kang laughed heartily. So that’s what it was! If Shao Xuan had not explained, they would have thought it came from the sky!
The tribesmen always revered anything from the sky. So this was the truth, the people outside would never expect that the rock from the sky was actually a misunderstanding.
However, they did not plan to explain themselves. Zheng Luo had the same thought as Shao Xuan, which was to let them think the Flaming Horns had a rock from outer space. It would aptly cover its true origin. They did not want people knowing about their core seed anyway.
“That would be the best!”
The forging process would still have to begin eventually. When the crowd saw Shao Xuan carrying the rock into the castle and exiting empty-handed, they knew it was left inside.
Two days later.
Everyone who passed the Flaming River Castle heard ‘ding ding dang dang’ sounds from inside. Those were not sounds made by hitting a rock.
Metal was no longer a rare material here now, any well-travelled person would know of it.
Curious ones leaned closer to listen. Were the Flaming Horns making weapons out of the rock from the sky? Those who felt like they knew the Flaming Horns well started to spread their speculations.
In reality, that was just a distraction. The true heart of the matter was still in the forging room at Flaming Horn headquarters.
The forging room had been rebuilt after the explosion and more crystal hearts hacked from changed crystals. They all operated carefully now after the explosive accident.