The sky was pitch black and it was silent everywhere.
The desert energy and the Han fire seed’s energy slowly dissipated and finally disappeared.
Shao Xuan looked down from the sky. Gan Qie was still standing in the same place. Chacha took him to a safe hiding place far away from the destructive desert energy. That was why Shao Xuan couldn’t see what had happened to Gan Qie. He could only tell that Gan Qie’s bones had become brighter after his transformation.
This meant that the fire seed’s energy caused a new transformation in his body. It was like he had been redesigned.
There were initially four of them, but Gan Qie was the only one left now. The other three had disappeared. They finally died after their energies were extracted. Even their bones turned to ashes. Since the fire seed’s energy had been extracted within their bodies, there was no longer a driving force propelling them forward.
However, Shao Xuan wasn’t sure if Gan Qie was rational or not at the moment, so he planned to wait for a while before going down to check on him. If he wasn’t conscious, he might attack Shao Xuan like he did with the others.
Meanwhile, Su Le and Chu Xu were still on the run. They seemed to have been affected by the desert energy. They stumbled on their way and their pace slowed over time.
Gan Qie finally moved.
His footsteps produced tip-tap sounds as he walked. The Han puppets were nothing but ashes now. The tattered remains of their cloaks drifted across the sandy ground as the wind carried them away. Gan Qie took a glance at the cloaks before his eyes turned towards the direction in which Su Le and Chu Xu escaped.
The sound of footsteps grew louder and faster. Su Le and Chu Xu recalled what they saw moments ago and trembled in fear and hopelessness as the footsteps accelerated in their direction. They had no courage to fight at all.
The murderous energy travelled so fast in their direction. They could even hear the sound of Gan Qie’s arm slicing the air.
Chu Xu, the weaker of the two, tripped on a stone and stumbled. One of his teeth was chipped by a rock as his face slammed to the ground. He didn’t even have the time to grunt about the tooth he just lost. He had to act fast. Chu Xu grasped a rock and threw it behind him with as much strength he could muster and didn’t even look back as he threw the rock.
Small sparkles lit the night as Chu Xu threw the rock. Instantly, it was already broken into small chunks.
Chu Xu listened to the sounds behind him as quivered helplessly.
That person was clearly no different from the other ancient corpses. What changed about him? What did the Flaming Horns do to him?
Caught up in his thoughts, Chu Xu suddenly felt a burning sensation shoot up his back, as if a thorny cane had swept across his back, ripping his skin.
The cry of terror sounded through the night. This sound made Su Le shiver and run even faster. He thought he could escape if Chu Xu managed to hold Gan Qie back for a while but after the terrifying cry, Chu Xu became completely silent. The shifting tip-tap sound was getting louder behind him and it was approaching him at a very high speed.
His feet were sore. Perhaps it was because of the yellow desert energy from moments ago. The energy was so strong that it prevented him from travelling at his maximum speed. However, the person behind him continued to run like a wild fearsome beast chasing after its prey.
Su Le thought that he was already very far from Gan Qie and even had high hopes of escape. Now, he knew that he had underestimated his opponent.
Shao Xuan knew after hearing the terrifying cries as well as the trembling sounds rattling across the ground that Su Le and Chu Xu would not be able to live until tomorrow.
Gan Qie’s main intention wasn’t to kill them. Rather, he was trying to vent his anger out on them.
Even though the three Han puppets had lost their consciousness and became killing machines, they were once Han tribesmen. Perhaps they even had a close connection with Gan Qie a long time ago.
“Let’s look for a place to rest. We’ll come back and check on him tomorrow,” Shao Xuan said to Chacha because he didn’t know how long Gan Qie would stay in this condition. He wanted to let Chacha rest on a mountain nearby for the time being.
Chacha was already exhausted after flying for an entire day. Plus, Chacha felt how dangerous Gan Qie was and did not want to stay anywhere nearby. That was why he lifted off instantly as soon as he heard Shao Xuan’s words.
No trees survived the desert energy explosion. Perhaps some plants and animals managed to survive, but a long time would pass before they recovered from the damage. At least it would be hard for them to fully recover in a short time.
The next day was still a bright sunny day.
Shao Xuan went over to take a look at the place. Gan Qie was still there. Now, he was sitting on a rock, deeply immersed in thought. If it weren’t for the white hair on his head and the dark brown claws that extended from his fingers, Shao Xuan wouldn’t have noticed any other differences.
The energy around Gan Qie seemed stable now. Hearing footsteps approaching, Gan Qie turned to look. As he turned, Shao Xuan saw a new fresh look in his bloody eyes as well as two beast fangs in his mouth.
Shao Xuan was speechless. So much had changed overnight.
Seeing Shao Xuan’s surprised look, Gan Qie looked at the claws on his hands. Gaining control over the new energy in his body, the totemic lines slowly faded and his brown claw-like nails also retracted. The fangs in his mouth also disappeared. Now, no one would be able to tell how much destructive energy was contained in his seemingly weak body.
Gan Qie’s physique had also changed. There were some newly evolved structures in his skeleton now. Every inch of his bone was extended and new bones appeared in his arms and feet. Some of these changes weren’t as obvious because they were covered by his skin, but they were still noticeable.
Fire seed can bring changes to a person’s body and can even change a person’s internal structures. This was the first time Shao Xuan noticed this on a person’s body. Many warriors could also transform after activating their totemic energy, but that was just a temporary change for battle. After ending the battle and deactivating their energy, they would return to their initial looks. Gan Qie’s case was not like this. The changes in his body were permanent and these structures wouldn’t disappear even when he retracted his energy.
Shao Xuan was also doubtful about the fact that Gan Qie could absorb the energy from the three puppets and make this energy his own. This was not something anyone could do.
Gan Qie seemed mentally awake and had no intention to attack. Just like before, Shao Xuan asked him, “What are your plans now?”
“I’m thinking about joining arms with the Flaming Horn tribe. What do you think?”
What he meant was he would follow Shao Xuan back to the Flaming Horn’s territory and that he wouldn’t head to the desert for now.
Shao Xuan looked at Gan Qie in surprise and nodded, “We can discuss more about this later. We must find you a cloak first.” After yesterday’s battle, Gan Qie’s cloak had been destroyed. Shao Xuan felt he shouldn’t bring him around uncloaked.
Upon hearing this, Gan Qie noticed that he wasn’t wearing his cloak. No wonder he felt so uncomfortable. The sun was out.
Gan Qie looked up at the sun. The sun could not do him real damage and could only make him feel uneasy at most. He just didn’t feel good under the sun, and after he absorbed the other three’s energies, this feeling grew even stronger.
Not far away, Chu Xu and Su Le’s corpses were already covered by a thick layer of sand. Their corpses could no longer be identified even if they were found because they were so badly damaged. Even if people from Rock Hill City came here, they might not be able to recognise these two bodies. Yesterday when Gan Qie attacked them with fury and hatred, his energy was scorchingly dry.
The sun was already up high when Shao Xuan and Gan Qie left the desertified land.
Five figures appeared on a mountain nearby. They were tribesmen who lived in this region.
“What do you guys reckon happened here last night?” a person asked as the group climbed up the hill. His watchful eyes scanned his surroundings as he spoke in a careful tone.
Their tribe lived nearby, so they heard the sounds from the previous night and even felt a strong energy that made them shiver. They just didn’t dare to come out then because they couldn’t see well in the dark and they were afraid of losing their own lives. Another reason was that they were not confident in their own strength and didn’t think they could escape in time if anything bad happened. The energy last night was too overwhelming for them.
“Was it a fearsome beast?” someone guessed.
“No way. There are no fearsome beasts in this area, unless someone brought them here. Our shaman even said that the powerful energy belonged to a fire seed. But no one knows what happened last night.”
“Was a tribe merging their fire seed?”
“We came here so many times, how can there be a tribe we don’t know about? The truth is there are no tribes here!”
As he said this, the group of five arrived at the peak of the mountain. Their tribe was quite some distance away, so every time they returned home, they would have to go up a mountain on one side and travel down the other. Since there were fruits at the mountaintop, they often picked some on their way back home.
These tribesmen panted and wiped the sweat on their foreheads as they carried bamboo baskets on their backs. The place in front of them was where the energy came from the previous night.
As they watched the damage done to the land there, they were so terrified that their arms froze midway as they wiped away the sweat on their foreheads. Their eyes widened in shock and their jaws dropped. They stayed speechless for a while.
After rubbing their eyes, they looked again. Indeed! It was still the same!
“What...what happened here?!”
The five people on the mountaintop were all shocked by what they saw.
As far as their eyes could see, everything that used to be green dried and wilted. It was springtime and flowers should be blooming, but everything here was dry and dead. There was no colour and life here. Everything from the green in the trees to the colours in the flowers and grass was now dry and yellow.
It was as if the life force had been stripped from this land entirely. This land was now a deadland.
When they finally got to their senses, they ran wildly back to their tribe. They had to spread the message and let everyone in their tribe know to not come here. What if people came and died just like the trees and grass did?
Very soon, word spread about this land and different versions of stories were told about this desertified region. Some stories said that a king beast appeared and others claimed that some tribe had deliberately caused this. Some even said that it was the people from the other side who did this. Well, there were many stories told about this desertified land, but no one knew the truth since nobody was there when it happened.