The blades sliced across the forest, their lights reflecting the massacre. Weapons clashing, branches snapping, arrows flying, and the sound of human cries filled the bloody scene.
Shao Xuan wiped the blood marks off his face and continued to advance. Suddenly, he halted. The entire team slowed down too.
Shao Xuan noticed Gan Qie standing beside a tree nearby. They already noticed many dead bodies on the ground on their way here, and they knew from the wounds who had attacked them. These corpses were all slaughtered in the same fashion and seemed to have been killed by bare hands. There were even strips of linen cloth on the ground beside the corpses.
Gan Qie was severely injured. If he was a normal human, he would’ve died multiple deaths, but he was still walking like a normal human now, with the same expressionless face. He even waved and greeted Shao Xuan’s group calmly when he saw them.
He must’ve gained a lot of new information from the previous night, Shao Xuan thought.
The Flaming Horns did not stop there. Shao Xuan gestured for the others to follow him and they continued to sweep across the forest in the same fashion, two teams slicing whatever lay in their paths like sharp spinning blades cutting through the forest. They sliced whatever they saw in the forest beside the Lu tribe. Gan Qie did not participate in this, however. He had other matters to tend to, and joining them required teamwork. He could not adapt to their team and he had no plans on joining them. Judging by his looks, Shao Xuan could tell that he had a clear target in mind and he was heading for that target, so Shao Xuan didn’t bother calling him.
After Shao Xuan’s group advanced, Gan Qie lifted his head and glanced up at the sun. It was not shining as brightly as noon now and it was getting closer to sunset.
Gan Qie’s cloak was already ruined and tattered. What remained of his cloak hung loosely on his body and he didn’t care one bit about its condition. He sniffed the air around him as he managed to trace a faint bloody smell. This was the scent of his current target.
Gan Qie didn’t know how he was able to discern different smells in the air. Perhaps his organs had changed and made him more sensitive to smell. However, the scent he was smelling now was different from the usual smells. This smell was not carried here by the wind. It was a smell that belonged to people whose bodies had merged with fire seeds. It was different from the smell of ordinary beasts. Even if those people stood in the wind and their scents were carried to a different direction, Gan Qie could still sense it clearly.
After he had woken up from his long sleep, his senses became keener to smell and taste as his body slowly recovered.
There were no blood stains on the ground. It was clear that the other party did a good job in concealing their deed and even considered which direction the wind was blowing, but even with such effort, they failed to escape Gan Qie’s nose. They might not know that another smell tainted their bodies, a smell that differed from the usual smell in their blood. This smell could not be blown by the wind.
Behind a tree that was as tall as an average adult, a man was holding onto his belly tightly.
He breathed carefully and glanced around with watchful eyes. He was terrified and his body was already exhausted. Luckily he was far away from the Lu tribe. The Flaming Horn team probably wouldn’t come here either.
His group had been active in this area for a long time so they were familiar with the grounds. That was why they escaped so much faster compared to those others behind them.
Did he successfully escape? He was worried and full of regret. He never thought that the five of them would be defeated by that one man. What a miserable fight it was!
As he recalled that person, he shivered uncontrollably. That was definitely not a human. Or else, how could they not kill him even after beating him so many times?
Luckily he escaped in time, or else he would’ve lost his life like his four companions.
As he thought about this, he suddenly heard something rustling through the forest. It sounded like someone was running.
Who is it?
He didn’t want to run. He felt that this hiding spot was already good enough for the moment and all he had to do was keep hiding here. That was why he only turned his head slightly and looked through the gap in the tree to see who it was.
A green figure flashed across his vision, scaring him so badly that he stopped breathing for a moment. His entire body froze in fear.
How did this person manage to catch up?!
This was his first thought, but his body moved a step too late.
An arm shot out in his direction like a spear and a punch landed on his jaw the very next moment. His entire body was blasted upwards and his face was instantly distorted by the blow.
After he landed on the ground, he wanted to say something. He wanted to answer the question they ignored previously and wished to beg this person to let him go, but his jaw was fractured so it was hard for him to even open his mouth, much less speak a clear sentence.
As he watched his opponent approach, his arms pushed against the ground forcefully as he tried to get up. He wanted to escape but it was already too late.
A hand gripped his head tightly and pressed him down to the ground.
His head slammed down hard into the ground. Grass and dirt flew up into the air.
He had already suffered a heavy blow. Now, an attack like this meant nothing but death. As his head smashed into the ground, he lost consciousness.
Following the crack in his skull, the person on the ground died.
Gan Qie lifted his hand from the person’s brains. As he rose, his expression was still one of confusion.
Why did these people look down on tribesmen? This was not a matter of power or strength. These people weren’t strong themselves, so Gan Qie couldn’t understand why they felt superior to tribesmen after leaving their tribal lives behind.
Even though they did not answer Gan Qie’s questions directly, he sensed an unmistakable condescendence in their tone and actions. It wasn’t just these five though. The others were all like that.
Gan Qie was unhappy when he heard these people from the other side talk about tribesmen. Once they made him unhappy, he didn’t go lightly on them.
Weren’t they tribesmen once too? Even if they chose to live a different life, there was no need for such condescendence. Was it their fire seed that changed, or them? Gan Qie was immersed in deep contemplation.
No. Their fire seed was still the same. They were the ones who changed. Just like he did.
Gan Qie moved his fingers and felt the warmth of the blood in his hands. This was much warmer than his body temperature, since his body was not warm at all.
He did not look back at the corpse. Gan Qie stood up and scanned the woods nearby. He sensed something and decided to walk over, but after turning to look at the sky, he decided to turn around and head back to the Lu tribe. He was hungry.
The sight of fresh blood aroused his hunger and he even thought about drinking the blood from the corpse, but this was merely a thought. He did not take any actions. He had no interest in drinking human blood.
After Gan Qie left, the figures that were hiding in the direction he looked at walked out from behind the trees. They were all pale and frightened.
These people came from a middle-sized tribe in the central region. After they merged their fire seed, the people in their tribe suddenly felt like wild horses freed from their reins. All kinds of thoughts surfaced to their minds as they broke free from their previous ties. They wanted to take advantage of the situation after they heard about the Lu tribe’s critical condition, but not only did they gain nothing, they almost lost their lives.
They did not leave immediately after hearing Shao Xuan’s warning that morning, but after hearing the Flaming Horns slicing across the forest at such a rapid pace, they decided to escape. At first they thought they were already outside the zone of warning. Upon hearing the commotion, they wanted to check what was going on but they never expected to meet such a frightening person here!
They swore that this person had noticed them. He just turned and walked away for some unknown reason.
This bunch felt like they were the luckiest people alive.
It was already sunset when the two groups of Flaming Horns walked out from the forest, tainted with fresh blood.
They didn’t stop for a single moment during their massacre and had been killing for a whole day. Their energies were drained and they were tense throughout the whole process. They were in their hunting mode and their bodies burned with vigor as they sliced across the forest. Although they had come back from the hunt, they were still feeling energetic. Despite feeling emotionally excited, they were all tired. No matter how strong they were, there was no way for them to not feel tired after what they did that day. They weren’t like Gan Qie, who was restless, and they were all at their limits.
But even if they were tired, the murderous energy and bloody scent still radiated from their bodies. Every pore of their skin was sending out killing intent and made them seem as fierce as fearsome beasts. Whoever saw them now felt chills go down their spines. Even those who didn’t mind seeing blood moved aside and kept their distance when they saw them.
The Lu tribesmen who had been waiting for their arrival moved aside as soon as they saw them arrive. They opened up a way for them to pass through. Even if they were five steps away, the Flaming Horn soldiers made them anxious.
The Flaming Horn members felt much relieved after coming out of the forest. Some were even smiling and putting their arms around each other like they had come back from a hunt in the forest. The injured were carried into the Lu tribe and they brought their own medicine since the Lu tribe’s medicine couldn’t compare to their own.
Bai Xing wanted to have a chat with Shao Xuan. As he approached him, his eyes scanned past the Flaming Horn team and landed on someone behind them, “Who’s that?”
Shao Xuan turned to look, and replied with a laugh, “He’s Gan Qie, the person who wore the cloak before this.”
The Lu tribesmen were shocked when they heard this. This was the person who was perfectly fine after being stabbed by a sword?
Yesterday Gan Qie was hooded and cloaked so they couldn’t see his face clearly, and since he was out in the forest the whole night, none of them knew what he looked like. Now that he was unhooded, they could see his face clearly. They were even more shocked now that they saw his face.
Gan Qie didn’t seem any different compared to ordinary humans. The only thing that was slightly different was his skin colour. It was faintly greener than the normal skin tone, but the thing that shocked them was not his face, but rather his injuries when he walked out from the forest.
Gan Qie did not look strong, and if they compared him to the Flaming Horns, he seemed skinnier and weaker. His cloak was torn and tattered, so it could not hide his injuries. Countless scars crossed his body, covering his chest, back, and even his limbs and neck. There were even some on his face, but all of these wounds had closed up and began to heal. New and old scars crossed his face and it was all very frightening.
Some of them were highly impressed. With these injuries, he was definitely a strong warrior, but they could also tell how dangerous the forest was just by judging his wounds. Besides these, some of the Lu tribesmen also noticed something else on Gan Qie, and this shocked them even more. They were impressed by the look in Gan Qie’s eyes, but more than that, they were scared of him.
More than half of the injuries on his body meant death for ordinary humans. Those who could survive these blows had to be very lucky. Some of these wounds were impossible to survive from, and the most obvious ones lied in areas such as his heart, his neck, and a few other places. They could tell how deep the cut was from looking at the wounds and it was clear that normal humans would’ve died several times from these injuries, but surprisingly, Gan Qie behaved no differently from the day before. His face was calm and he walked normally, as if the injuries had not affected him at all.
Dian Fa looked at Gan Qie with doubtful eyes. This person was much more dangerous than the Flaming Horns. Where did the Flaming Horns find such a person?
And why did he decide to side with the Flaming Horns?
“Grand Elder Shao Xuan, the people in the forest…” Bai Xing inquired.
“The situation should be okay now, unless there are still others hiding somewhere in the forest we didn’t notice,” Shao Xuan scanned the forest around him. Flocks of scavenger birds were already digging in on the freshly massacred corpses.
“Thank you so much!” Bai Xing said solemnly. “We will deliver the promised rewards tomorrow.”
“Sure.” He had to accept what was promised in the deal. Shao Xuan continued, “We’ll leave once the reared beasts are ready.”
Hearing this, Bai Xing suddenly stopped in place and stayed silent for a moment.
“We already did what we came to do so we won’t stay here any longer. We won’t intervene with your decisions, but if you decide to migrate, these two days are the best days to merge your fire seed.”
They had already cleared the threats in the forest and those who escaped wouldn’t return anytime soon, so this was clearly their best opportunity to merge their fire seed. If they missed this chance, they wouldn’t know when the next opportunity would come. It was best to not have too many threats or disturbances near them during the merge.
“I understand,” Bai Xing made a firm decision in his heart and replied through gritted teeth.
Seeing Bai Xing walk away with heavy steps, Guang Yi asked Shao Xuan, “Will the Lu tribe really merge their fire seed?”
“They will, but I’m not sure where they'll go if they choose to migrate. I just know for sure that they won’t stay here anymore.” This was Shao Xuan’s conclusion after eavesdropping on some Lu tribesmen’s conversations.
The Thousand Masks were still waiting for the Lu tribesmen to give them a final answer.
“That is not good,” Guang Yi furrowed his brows. He did not like what the Lu tribe was doing and he was not hopeful about the Lu tribe moving to the Flaming River region.
“We can only see what they decide to do now.” If the Lu tribe still can’t figure out the problem after all this, they might be able to withstand the threats this time, but it’s not likely for them to survive the next. Even if they merged their fire seed, they wouldn’t be able to handle the threats.
Shao Xuan went to check on the injured soldiers and arranged for their night shifts and duties. He told Ah Guang to bring the Phorusrhacos to the animal pens again to keep guard. Even though they had already cleared away a huge group from the forest, there might still be people who were bold enough to come steal the birds.
That night, the Flaming Horns slept soundly while the Thousand Masks and Lu tribesmen all suffered from insomnia.