The pterosaur had been enjoying life back in its natural habitat, and had thought it was finally free when Shao Xuan decided to throw it back into the silent underground room again.
The pterosaur did not have a good impression of this room. This was where it woke up after being frozen for so long. More precisely, this was where it regained its life. At the same time, this was also where Shao Xuan gained control over its body and took away its freedom. The pterosaur could still clearly recall the time when it suddenly lost control over all the bones in its body. It was so terrifying!
The pterosaur knew it could not fight back, so it had no choice but to accept its fate. It screamed in protest a few times, but when Shao Xuan looked over, it immediately became silent.
Shao Xuan and Zheng Luo left some food and water in the secret room and shut the door tight behind them as they left.
“It’s very smart,” Zheng Luo said.
That was true. Even those warriors who were patrolling had to admit this fact. This pterosaur looked like a bird, but it was smarter than most animals. It was adept in learning and knew to stay away from danger. It knew how to judge a situation, and even if it didn’t enjoy being locked inside this secret underground room, it did not rebel or fight back. It just stayed inside obediently and waited patiently.
“That’s exactly why I decided to lock it up inside. It didn’t behave well when I left the tribe recently, so I have to punish it. Now it won’t be able to go out for the next few days,” Shao Xuan said.
Shao Xuan had his plans, so Zheng Luo decided to stay quiet. He also hoped that Shao Xuan could successfully control the corpse. Even though Zheng Luo had never been to the desert, he heard enough about the monster’s power from those who came back. It was indeed frightening. If Shao Xuan didn’t go to the desert with the others, they might not have been able to make it out alive.
“Do you have any arrangements set for the people from the Gongjia family?” Zheng Luo asked as they walked up from the Flaming River Castle.
“They already told me on the way here that as long as we take them in, they are willing to help us forge weapons. Gongjia Ren also mentioned that casting had always been an inseparable part of their lives, and they might be unhappy if they were suddenly told to stop casting weapons. So this was mutually beneficial for both of us. However, they also said that their casting skills are secret so they won’t teach it to any outsiders, not even us.”
Zheng Luo was a little disappointed when he heard this, but he understood why. At least they were willing to cast weapons for the Flaming Horn tribe. That was enough for Zheng Luo.
Zheng Luo pointed at the blade in Shao Xuan’s hand and asked, “Can we produce more of these weapons?”
“With the materials we have now, we can only make around a hundred weapons,” Shao Xuan said. “They’ve begun replenishing the supply of crystal core in the forge, but we still need more time to make more weapons.”
Zheng Luo nodded.
A hundred was already plenty. It was more than he had imagined. If this new material was better than the other metals, the new green bronze might completely be replaced.
However, it would take a long time for these new weapons to completely replace the previous green bronze and it was still too early to think about this.
The material used to forge Shao Xuan’s blade was made from crystal core so it was different from the other blades. They called this “crystal metal.” However, not many people knew about this gem metal’s existence because this news had not been made public. Even the senior members of the tribe didn’t know about it.
The six Gongjia men had finished their tour around the trading point, so after they left the Flaming River Castle, Shao Xuan brought them to their headquarters.
The six of them were appalled at the sight of the Giant Bridge. They even thought, ‘If such a bridge connected the two continents, they might have been able to go around the battlefield. Travel between the two continents would also become much more convenient.’ However, after a while, they were grateful for the fact that there wasn’t a bridge. At least they already escaped from the other side. They might not even be able to return if they wanted to, so there was no point for them to keep thinking about the other side.
“A new life…” Gongjia Ren looked toward the hill at the Flaming Horn’s headquarters. They could see the people on the mountains and the houses there.
The six Gongjia men kept a low profile as they entered the Flaming Horn’s headquarters. They didn’t want to catch anyone’s attention because they were on the run. This had already become their habit.
Since the Gongjia men felt this way, Shao Xuan respected their decision and brought them to the place they most wanted to see---the forge.
The last time the Flaming Horns used this forge was when they had to cast the blade that Shao Xuan was currently using. They also built a new forge to cast new crystal metal weapons. However, even with the introduction of this new metal, the green bronze was still most commonly used in the Flaming Horn tribe, so they had to build new forges for the green bronze too.
Shao Xuan did not notice this forge when he left, but when he came back, he noticed a new forge that was roughly the same size as the old one.
The six Gongjia men discussed with Shao Xuan and asked if the Flaming Horns could make a forge for each of them. Back in their hometown, the only time they would gather to cast was if their teachers were teaching them a new skill or if they had to work together on a task. Most of the time, they preferred to cast weapons in their own space.
When they first started learning how to cast, they spent more time in the forges than in their own bedrooms, so they did not ask for much here at the Flaming Horn tribe. The only thing they requested was for the Flaming Horns to build six separate forges for them. There was no need for houses. They only needed a small room each beside their forges to sleep in. They didn’t care much about other facilities except for the forge. They had been living this way for too long, so it was hard for them to change their habit in such a short time.
This was not at all difficult for the Flaming Horns. They had plenty of space anyways. Shao Xuan arranged for people to help them build their forges under their supervision. After making the necessary arrangements, Shao Xuan no longer had to stay, so he left to tend to other matters.
He returned to the hilltop and had a brief meeting with the other senior members and gave them a short summary of their trip. He also mentioned that he brought the ancient corpse back.
The others and Zheng Luo were all thinking the same thing. They all hoped that Shao Xuan could successfully control the monster.
That night, Shao Xuan remained at headquarters and didn’t go to the Flaming River Trading Point.
It was midnight. In the secret underground room under the Flaming River Castle,
The pterosaur had finished the beast meat Shao Xuan left in the room. Out of boredom, it scratched the ground with its sharp claws and then looked over at the long wooden coffin on the stone table.
It flapped its wings and landed gently on the stone table. The wooden coffin was slightly damaged on the way here, so there were some cracks on the cover.
After encircling the wooden coffin a couple times, the pterosaur squeezed its head into a tiny crack on the side. If it was as scrawny in size as it was back then when it first woke up. it might be able to manage to squeeze into the coffin, but now, it had grown so fat that it would be hard for it to squeeze in. Now, the pterosaur’s head was still stuck in the crack.
Using its claws and mouth, the creature widened up the crack and finally managed to squeeze in.
It didn’t like the smell inside. There was no trace of life in the coffin. If this was a carcass of a beast that had died not long ago, the pterosaur might think about eating it, but this thing had been dead for way too long. The pterosaur had no appetite for this. Plus, it had been spoiled by the Flaming Horns with so much good food that this did not at all interest it.
The pterosaur walked back and forth on the corpse and explored the dead body out of pure curiosity. It pecked at the stones and beast bones in the coffin. After crushing an ancient ornament, it continued to step on the corpse’s chest and walked up to its face. The dried face of the corpse was no longer recognisable. The cheekbones were the most obvious features on its face. Where the eyes should be were sunken and hollow eye sockets. All of the corpse’s hair had fallen too.
The pterosaur walked on the corpse’s face for a while and continued to search within the coffin. It finally came out after noticing that there was nothing interesting inside.
At first, the pterosaur thought that Shao Xuan would punish it, but it suddenly realized that there were no other creatures besides itself within this room, so there was nothing to worry about. After pacing the room for a while, it finally decided to go to sleep in its cage. It was only active during the daytime, and at night, it would just rest.
The next day, Shao Xuan came to the trading point from headquarters. When he opened the door to the secret room, the pterosaur was still sleeping in its cage, and only woke up when it heard the noise. Its eyes widened when it saw the food in Shao Xuan’s hands. With a gentle flap of its wings, it glided down from its cage and landed in front of Shao Xuan.
After scanning the room, Shao Xuan noticed that besides some faeces on the ground, there was no other mess in the room. He threw the meat to the pterosaur.
There were scratches and peck marks on the wooden coffin. After uncovering the coffin, Shao Xuan noticed the broken ornament and some footprints on the ancient corpse. Shao Xuan could sense these movements telepathically last night and knew what the pterosaur was up to. Shao Xuan only brought food over today because he knew that it didn't destroy the ancient corpse.
As the pterosaur fed on the meat, Shao Xuan decided to try controlling this ancient corpse.
Back then, although the pterosaur was weak, it was still alive. Shao Xuan did not start the enslavement immediately, but waited until it finally died to start because that would increase the success rate of the enslavement. However, the case now was different. Shao Xuan did not need to wait because the corpse was already dead. Enslavement of the dead was a lot easier.
However, he failed once on their way back, so he was more careful and cautious this time. He no longer had to worry about bandits or anyone ambushing from the side, so he could fully concentrate on this task.
As he lifted his hand, Shao Xuan summoned the power of the Flaming Horn fire seed. This was no different from the time he enslaved the pterosaur. He used the Flaming Horn fire seed’s power but did not completely suppress the other energy within his body. He knew that summoning both energies at the same time would increase his success rate.
As totemic lines surfaced to his skin, flames appeared on his hands. He extended his hand and placed it above the ancient corpse and gradually pushed downward.
No one knew how long the ancient corpse had been preserved, but the potential in the corpse’s bones were very active. This was probably why the people from Rock Hill City brought it along. A corpse with no active potential was of no use to them, so they wouldn’t have kept it. However, since the people from Rock Hill City valued it and set it aside carefully, it meant that this corpse was valuable to them.
That was why Shao Xuan decided to give it a few more tries.
However, very soon, Shao Xuan noticed the same thing again. It was exactly the same feeling he felt before. The energy of the fire seed could not penetrate or seep into the corpse. He did not feel any repulsion when he enslaved the pterosaur. Back then, the fire seed’s energy seeped in through the creature’s skin and muscles into every single bone of its body without any repulsion. Now, Shao Xuan felt a repulsion.
Shao Xuan failed in enslaving it once on their way back home because of this same repulsive energy. Back then, he had to worry about the dangers and threats around them, so he could not continue the enslavement process.
However, Shao Xuan did not stop now. Instead, he summoned more of the special energy in his body, causing the flames to burn stronger.
When flames appeared in Shao Xuan’s hands, the pterosaur dropped its food immediately and hid in a corner of the room. Now, it was hiding under its wings, in a defensive crouch similar to when it was still frozen.
Shao Xuan increased his energy. As the flames seeped through the skin of the dead body, he could feel a strong repulsion, and it felt like he was swimming against a strong current, but that was not the worst part. When his energy reached the bones, it was as if he encountered an impenetrable shield and the repulsion was much stronger. He increased his energy after sensing that the repulsion had increased, but the repulsion only grew stronger.
After Shao Xuan increased his power, it became clear to him.
He could not be wrong. This strong repulsive force made it impossible for Shao Xuan to continue. No wonder the people from Rock Hill City never succeeded.
Dead creatures could not fight back. They had no consciousness and could no longer control their bodies. However, this ancient corpse was fighting the Flaming Horn fire seed’s energy!
How could this be?!
This was all really happening! Unless…… this ancient corpse is alive!
But he did not detect any life force in the dead body.
Shao Xuan was shocked because there was no way to explain this.
Shao Xuan moved his hand away and thought for a while.
After a while, Shao Xuan lifted his hand and placed it over the corpse again. Now, he was summoning a different power. He did not use any power from the Flaming Horn fire seed this time.
The unique thing about this ancient corpse was that despite being clearly dead, its bones were reacting the way a living person’s would. This enslavement method was not suitable for living people because they would reject the enslavement. The enslaved wanderers were an exception, but the fire seed’s energy in most tribesmen’s bodies would fight a foreign energy if it tried to enter their body. Even people who hadn’t merged their fire seed would have totemic powers, and since totemic powers originated from the fire seed’s power, it would also repel the enslavement.
Fire seeds were highly repulsive towards other fire seeds, and that was the only thing that was stopping Shao Xuan from enslaving.
That was why Shao Xuan decided to stop using the Flaming Horn fire seed’s power and tried again with his other power. This special power was what protected Shao Xuan from other tribe’s fire seeds.
This time, the flames that appeared on his hands were white and he brought his hand down to the corpse’s body again.
As his palm approached the corpse, the white flames began to flow downward and seeped through the dry green-grey coloured skin of the corpse.
Shockingly, the repulsive energy disappeared!
Shao Xuan was sure now that he made the right decision this time.
The flames continued to seep into the body and through the ancient corpse’s bones. There was no longer any strong repulsion from the bones. It was as if the shield had been removed.
The entire process went smoothly!
The high active potential in the ancient corpse’s bones quickly absorbed the energy from the flames.
Shao Xuan used his special vision to scan the corpse. It was similar to the pterosaur. A white flame flowed through all the bones in its body.
However, there was no blood in the corpse, so the white flames only stayed within the bones and did not enter any blood vessels or meridians. This was the only thing that was different from the pterosaur.
Well, it made sense. An ancient corpse wouldn’t behave the same way as the pterosaur. It was not alive, so naturally there was no blood in its body. All of the blood vessels and meridians had lost their functions over time. The monsters that the people from the Rock Hill City controlled were all like that.
Did he succeed?
Shao Xuan moved his hand away. The flames on his hands disappeared and he tried to control the corpse with his conscious mind.
The corpse on the stone table had no reaction.
Shao Xuan frowned. This can’t be, he thought. Didn’t he succeed? How come he couldn’t control it?
He tried the same thing a few more times, and still, nothing happened.
He could influence the energy that was within the corpse’s bones, but he couldn’t control it the way he controlled the pterosaur.
Shao Xuan also experimented with other dead creatures back then, and he managed to control the pterosaur’s movements. Now, according to previous experiences, this was clearly a success, but somehow he couldn’t control it!
It took him so much effort to finally seep his energy through the bones of the corpse, but he couldn’t control the corpse at all. Shao Xuan couldn’t find the reason behind this. He was stuck.
Just as Shao Xuan became pensive about the reason behind his failure, Zheng Luo called for him. He said that Gongjia Ren was here and wanted to ask about the forging process of the gem metal.
Gongjia Ren had only worked with bronze and rarely worked with any other materials. They knew other metals existed, but they had never come across or worked on anything new, so they were very excited about this new metal. Their forge was still under construction, but they could not wait to discuss the casting process with the Flaming Horn craftsmen. The Gongjia people came up with many questions to ask them, but the craftsmen could not answer these questions. Gongjia Ren grew impatient with their doubtful expressions, so seeing Duo Kang and the others heading to the trading point with their new game, he decided to follow along.
Shao Xuan thought he should clear up the Gongjia people’s confusion, so he decided to go explain it to them. He knew that he needed more time to experiment with this ancient corpse, so to avoid having Gongjia Ren come again to ask more questions, he decided to tell him all about it at once to clear up his doubts.
He told a Flaming Horn warrior to guard outside the door just in case something happened. Then he left to look for Gongjia Ren.
As the stone door shut tightly, the pterosaur and the ancient corpse were the only ones left inside the room.
The pterosaur finally got up to its feet and walked cautiously towards the stone table. It was shocked by the flames in Shao Xuan’s hands, but right after Shao Xuan left, its boldness grew. It flew over onto the stone table to take a look at the strange figure in the coffin.
Besides the fact that there was a similar energy in the ancient corpse’s bones, nothing much was different about it from the night before.
The pterosaur glided down from the table and returned to its unfinished food after losing interest in the corpse.
As it bit on the meat, the pterosaur suddenly felt a chill down its back. It stood unmoving and hesitated for a moment. Then, it quickly threw the food to one side and hid in a corner of the room under its arms again and peeked over at the stone table.
On the dried body of the ancient corpse, thin red vessels started to appear and interlaced like branches on a tree across the dead body. It gradually grew and spread to all parts of the corpse’s body. The vessels grew thicker and slowly enveloped the corpse. Those vessels were where blood vessels and meridians should’ve been. They were both channels where energy passed through. Now, a situation Shao Xuan had never anticipated was happening.
Gentle crackling sounds came from the shrivelled and stiff body of the corpse. Upon closer inspection, one would notice that changes were taking place in the dried parts of the corpse. These changes were not obvious, but they were happening.
Under the corpse’s sunken eye lids, within their sockets, something began to roll.
The corpse’s arms started to tremble and its fingers started to shake. At first, only two fingers trembled. Very soon, the shivers spread to the other fingers until both its wrists began to turn.
The ancient corpse suddenly sat upright. When this happened, the pterosaur trembled in fright in the corner of the room.
If Shao Xuan was here, he would be surprised too. This ancient corpse was already shocking enough, but what’s more surprising was that this figure had no heartbeat!