After Shao Xuan returned to the Flaming Horn tribe, he told the other senior members about what Yang Sui had told him. Yang Sui requested for Shao Xuan to not spread the information to others and expose their tribe’s embarrassing history, so Shao Xuan only told those whose ranking was hunt leader or above.
As for the monster, everyone agreed to wait and observe first before deciding on whether they should kill him. They wanted to know more about the monster’s tribe, and the two retired shamans were especially curious about this. Back then when the pterosaur was revived, they were already curious about what happened to the fire seed at the time the pterosaur lived. Too bad the pterosaur couldn’t speak, but at least it was smarter than most birds or beasts. It was not as smart as humans though. It wasn’t even smarter than Caesar and Cha Cha, so the two retired shamans felt destined not to get the information they desperately wanted to find out.
But this time was different.
No one knew when this Han tribe existed and there were no relevant records in the Flaming Horn ancestors’ notes. Perhaps it was because the Han tribe existed too long ago. Even if this information was recorded, it was probably lost during some major events or catastrophes. The disaster that happened a thousand years ago had destroyed most of their historical records, and even though most of it had been recovered, it was still not complete. It would be great if they could find out more about that era from this monster. Memories could be recalled after all. Humans can speak, so this case was obviously different from the pterosaur’s. Of course, this was still built on the premise that the monster posed no threat to the Flaming Horns. If he did, they had no choice but to kill him.
After the monster fell asleep with his head in his arms in a squat position, he had not woken up since.
Shao Xuan couldn’t stay there all day long. The six members of the Gongjia family were still waiting for him and Zheng Luo didn’t want to delay the casting of the new metal weapons. Duo Kang led the hunting team out not too long ago, and they didn’t need to go out to hunt for the time being so Zheng Luo and Duo Kang took turns guarding outside the secret chamber while he was gone. These two had to personally guard the room. They could not entrust this duty to anyone else.
Only after five days did the monster in the secret room finally open his eyes.
Zheng Luo felt very strange guarding over such a silent and breathless person. This was the first time he found out about such creatures.
Zheng Luo peeked into the room carefully when he heard the movements. There was a newly built wooden box on the ground placed beside the original coffin. Due to the damage done to the coffin, Shao Xuan made one that was similar to it and placed the sleeping monster inside this new coffin.
Zheng Luo didn’t know how Shao Xuan thought of such an idea. In fact, when Shao Xuan looked at the monster, the only thing that came to his mind was a zombie.
When Zheng Luo looked inside that big wooden box, the crouched person’s hands and feet were already relaxed, no longer in the same stiff posture as before. When he moved, the muscles and bones in his body still made creaking sounds.
This time, the monster was unexpectedly quiet.
He probably knew that someone was outside, but he completely ignored it. After he sat up, he remained silent and no one knew what he was on his mind.
When Shao Xuan received the news, the monster was still sitting in the same position, as if he had just woken up not long ago.
“How is he?” Shao Xuan asked Zheng Luo.
“He’s been in that position for very long. He hasn’t moved a single bit.” Normal people would make slight movements once in a while, and they would blink too. However, this person had not moved at all. Even his eyelids were still, as if his whole body was frozen. His chest did not rise or fall and his heart was not beating either. Even his pulse could not be noticed.
Shao Xuan was confused too. How could this person be so quiet?
Shao Xuan was holding a thin-neck clay bottle. Zheng Luo smelled a bloody scent from the bottle and knew immediately what it was for.
When Shao Xuan entered the room, the monster finally turned his head and looked up at Shao Xuan. They didn’t know if it was the scent of blood or Shao Xuan’s arrival that triggered him to move.
“You’re awake? Would you like a drink?” Shao Xuan handed the earthenware bottle to the monster. This was filled with fresh beast blood he obtained from the butchery.
Even if this person seemed to not have any intention to attack, Shao Xuan remained vigilant.
The monster glanced at Shao Xuan with an unchanged expression. He raised his hand and took the bottle from Shao Xuan. He studied the bottle with stern eyes. He wasn’t aware of the strength he was exerting on the bottle, and accidentally punctured a hole in the bottle. The crack expanded as blood flowed out. The monster hurriedly blocked it with one hand and relaxed his grip on the bottle. He probably didn’t expect this bottle to be so fragile.
After a while, he pulled out the cork with his mouth and smelled the scent of the liquid with his nose. Only under such circumstances did he express a need for breath.
Without hesitation, the man tilted the bottle upwards and started pouring the liquid into his mouth.
The sound of the monster gulping down blood filled the room.
People who were not strong enough could not bear to have too much fearsome beast blood in their system. Back then, when Shao Xuan was just a junior totemic warrior, a small cup of this blood was enough to replace a whole meal. This person finished eating the beast limb a few days ago, and maybe that was why he slept for so many days. Now, he wasn’t as hungry as before and drank the blood slowly. He drank around four litres of beast blood.
Although his voice was a bit strange, Shao Xuan understood what he said and raised his eyebrows in surprise. He noticed how swift the monster’s movements became when he unplugged the cork of the bottle without even making a sound. He seemed to be very familiar with this action.
“Can you remember anything now?” Shao Xuan asked.
“A lot,” the man paused and continued, “My name is Gan Qie and I belong to the Han tribe.”
The man calmly told Shao Xuan about the Han Tribe. His description was very similar to what Yang Sui had told him before, except it was more detailed.
The Han tribesmen preferred drought, and likewise, they also liked the scorching sun, so that was why they had a circle in their totem, representing the sun. They could survive in extreme arid conditions. On the contrary, they would be very uncomfortable and might even get sick in places that rained often.
It sounded ridiculous indeed that they would get sick in a humid environment with their strong physique, but this was the truth.
The central region of their tribe was most arid. The soil there was all desertified, especially near the fire pond of the Han tribe. The tribe was built on yellow sand, the same sand in the desert today.
Because the trees were sparse in arid areas, even if the Han tribe mastered the wood scraping methods to start fires, they rarely felt a need for fires. This was why the monster was used to eating his food raw, just like what Shao Xuan and the others had witnessed.
Gan Qie only became emotional when he mentioned the battle between them and the Rain tribe. Blood seemed to flow within his bloodshot eyes.
Back then, there were not as many Han and Rain tribesmen. There were only around seven to eight hundred, no more than a thousand, but the two tribes were much stronger back then. Gan Qie was only a junior totemic warrior at the time, but even so, their strength was equivalent to the strength of two present junior totemic warriors combined, or maybe more. The tribes’ strength depended not on their population, but their overall strength. Of course, generally speaking, most powerful tribes had larger populations, and back then, a tribe with a population of seven to eight hundred could already be considered a major tribe. The numbers back then were drastically different from the present.
At the time of the war, it seemed as if the Han tribe had the upper hand because the desert area expanded and the Rain tribesmen were forced to leave, but the people of the Rain tribe never knew that the Han tribe actually paid a heavy price after the victory. Something happened to their fire seed, and the tribesmen fell one after another because of that. The fire seed was slowly falling apart, and even the shaman at the time could do nothing about it. That was why the desert expanded. As the desert expanded, their fire seed also weakened.
In the end, the shaman of the Han tribe made a final decision. If this continued, not only would their fire seed disappear from the world. Even the Han people would disappear and become exterminated. That was why the shaman decided to sacrifice eleven people, himself included, to save their fire seed. They burned their bodies as sacrifice to prevent the fire seed from weakening.
“Unfortunately, they failed at the end, and our fire seed disappeared!” Gan Qie looked sad, but luckily, he didn’t lose control of his emotions.
Perhaps it is because the saddest moment had already passed, Shao Xuan guessed. He continued to listen to Gan Qie’s narration.
After that, the shaman of the Han tribe became seriously injured. The eleven of them dug a tunnel underground and buried all the dead tribesmen inside. After a few years (Gan Qie could not remember how long), the Han tribe’s shaman had become delirious and could no longer support the fire seed. The ten others, Gan Qie included, wanted to continue living, but their fire seed had been destroyed, so they were good as dead. What was the point in living without a fire seed? They followed the shaman into the underground cave and decided to bury themselves alive with the shaman. They thought that maybe if they died, they could see their tribesmen again in the afterlife.
Although Gan Qie’s pronunciation was a little strange, he was fluent and spoke slowly, so Shao Xuan could understand what he was saying.
Gan Qie looked down at his hands. If he could wake up, that meant that they were not really dead after all.
“I have a question,” seeing how Gan Qie had recovered his sanity, Shao Xuan continued, “I found the power of the fire seed within your bones, which means that your fire seed had not really disappeared. Instead, it merged into your bodies. All eleven of you.”
Gan Qie raised his head and looked at Shao Xuan. He asked surprisedly, “Really?”
“Have you not noticed? This is the Flaming Horn tribe’s territory, but do you feel any fire seeds here?” Shao Xuan asked.
“No…no fire seed…how can there be no fire seed?” Gan Qie could no longer remain composed.
“Nowadays, more and more tribes have chosen to merge their fire seeds with their own bodies because the primitive fire seed weakens over time. If the fire seed is merged into our blood, then not only will it ensure that the fire will not continue to weaken, the energy of the fire seed would also be passed down from generation to generation through their blood. In this form, blood and fire have the same origin.” Shao Xuan briefly explained the situation on this side of the sea and on the other side to Gan Qie, and explained why most tribes chose this path.
“So…...so...our fire seed is not gone? It’s...it’s……” Gan Qie was upset, but he didn’t cry. He was not as emotional as Shao Xuan expected him to be.
“So, does that mean that our tribe can continue to exist?” A light of hope flashed across Gan Qie’s eyes, but the next moment, Shao Xuan poured cold water on this hopeful thought.
“I’m afraid you don’t understand the current situation in the desert. Do you know how you got there?” Shao Xuan asked.
Gan Qie looked expectantly at Shao Xuan, waiting for him to elaborate. Ever since he woke up, he trusted Shao Xuan for no apparent reason. He just found him trustworthy, and he couldn’t understand why he felt this way. He just did. Perhaps it was because Shao Xuan’s energy influenced him to wake up in the first place.
Shao Xuan told him briefly about their trip to the desert.
The Rain and Han tribe were mortal enemies. The battle back then left them both damaged. A once powerful tribe became an unknown tribe and barely managed to survive. The other seemed to have won, but actually suffered greater losses. It was as if their entire tribe had to pay for the consequences. Now, Shao Xuan didn’t want to see them fighting anymore, so he could only direct their hatred towards the desert.
“I’m guessing the other nine are not in a very good condition.” This was not an unfounded guess either.
“The people from Rock Hill City could enslave the dead and use them as puppets. Now, it seems like they already dug out the Han tribesmen’s bodies and distributed them to every slave master. The only problem they’re facing is that the Han tribesmen’s bodies are not easy to control due to their special physique, and I’m not sure how many of these people from the Han tribe have been made into reanimated corpses.”
Every word Shao Xuan said seemed to infuriate Gan Qie, and the more he told him, the stronger his murderous energy grew. Now, the air seemed to be tainted with viscous blood, which made Zheng Luo shiver outside the secret room. This kept him on his guard, ready to take action if the person inside launched a sudden attack.
“If you don’t believe me, I can prove it to you. I just don’t know how high the success rate is, and I don’t know for sure if it will really happen.”
“How long will it take?” Gan Qie asked. If it needed too long, he would immediately leave to investigate in the desert.
“Very soon, it might happen these few days,”Shao Xuan said.
Gan Qie decided to wait. He stayed in this secret room and followed Shao Xuan’s instructions. He would wait here until what Shao Xuan said happened.
Seeing Shao Xuan come out of the secret room, Zheng Luo hurriedly walked up to him and asked, “So he actually remembers?”
“It seems like it.”
“Could it be that his head hadn’t recovered when he first woke up, and now he’s recovering after his nap?” Zheng Luo guessed. He thought about the event Shao Xuan warned about, and asked, “How should we make arrangements? Do we need to strengthen our security?”
“No, just do what we did before. If we make it seem too deliberate, it might not be good.”
“That’s true. Then what’s he going to eat?” Zheng Luo asked.
“Tell someone to send in a bottle of blood. He has regained his senses and rationality. Before understanding his current situation, he won’t attack us. But just in case, if I have time, I’ll personally come and bring him the blood.”
“Don’t worry, keep your focus over there,” Zheng Luo pointed in the direction of their headquarters. He also wanted to get a crystal metal weapon as soon as possible. “I’m here, just leave it up to me. If something strange happens, I’ll go look for you.”
Shao Xuan talked with Zheng Luo and Duo Kang about the arrangements before heading to headquarters. They had already begun casting the crystal metal. Gongjia Ren and the others were still unfamiliar with the procedure, so Shao Xuan had to check on them.
Two days later.
At night, a dark shadow ran past the side of the empty trading point, like a ghost in the night. He was skilled in hiding his presence. When he ran, his motions were synced with the sound of the wind. He was so skilled in hiding himself that no one noticed in every room he passed by.
This black shadow approached the Flaming River Castle, and as soon as a guard left his post, he climbed up the stone wall like a gecko.
“Hey, what are you doing there?” several Flaming Horn warriors held the water moon stone up and asked the person who was squatting on the ground beside the wall of the fortress.
“My stomach hurts, so I didn’t follow them out to patrol,” the person stood up and answered. He had a similar outfit and ornaments as the other guards on patrol, and he was indeed a guard who was stationed there, or at least he looked like him.
“Is it serious?” someone asked caringly.
“It’s not serious. I just need to rest for a while.”
Not far away, a few Flaming Horn warriors laughed, “You stole something to eat, didn’t you. Or is that just an excuse to be lazy? Don’t get caught by Elder Zheng Luo.”
“Alright, I know, I know!” the person standing by the wall waved at them. “You guys should get back to patrolling too. Don’t be lazy.”
“You’re telling us to not be lazy now?” Ha!” Those Flaming Horn warriors laughed as they left.
After those few Flaming Horn warriors left, the person who was leaning against the wall laughed and his face twitched. He started to laugh derisively.
Flaming Horn guards? What a joke!
He sneaked into the Flaming River Castle and hid in a dark corner. No one patrolling outside could spot him now since no one would pass by at this time.
He took out a round wooden box and turned the lid. Inside, there was a brown-yellow worm as long as a fingernail.
The man observed the worm as it wriggled against one corner of the round box. The worm stopped at one point and bumped its head against the side of the box.
After seeing this, the man closed the lid and sneaked towards the direction the worm pointed to. In the middle of the night, he had to avoid the Flaming Horns, so he took careful steps towards that direction, until he found the entrance that led him to the secret underground room.
There were people around, and that person waited for a while until they passed. His hands reached behind his back and gently shook, and a thin object similar to a cicada wing fell to his palms. It was similar to crushed claws of a beast.
He was about to kill the two Flaming Horn soldiers who guarded there, but when he heard footsteps approach, he decided to wait a little longer.
“Hey, you two! The leader called for you,” the person who came to the aisle called out to the two soldiers at the entrance.
“What’s wrong?” The two soldiers were puzzled.
“I don’t know. The leader has something to tell you. It should be about that monster, so hurry and come back quickly.”
The three soldiers left the scene. After the sound of footsteps slowly faded, the person finally came out of the shadows. With his experience, he easily found the location of the entrance.
He carefully pulled open the stone slab that was keeping the door shut. In his heart, he cursed the Flaming Horns for placing such a heavy stone slab there.
After sneaking into the underground room, there were no water moon stones and no light source at all. He didn’t take out any incandescent gemstones and kept advancing into the room.
After making sure that no one else was in the room, he took out a small bead and brought out the same wooden box with the worm inside to check which secret room it was.
He finally walked up to a door and forcefully pulled the stone door open. Again, he cursed the Flaming Horns for using such heavy stones for their doors.
The door opened, but there was no one in the room. He tried his best to sense every movement and sound in the room. There was no breath, no heartbeat, not even a pulse, but his target was here.
Looking inside the room, he found a long large wooden box on the ground. The lid of the box was covered and it was exactly as his employer had described.
This must be it!