After the Sickle tribe and Thunder Mountain tribe arrived, more tribes continued to arrive for the next few days.
All the way until thirty tribes arrived. There was only one day in between when no tribes came.
Thirty-seven days had passed since the announcement was made.
“It seems like we can start preparing for the meeting soon,” Zheng Luo said as he looked down at the people walking in the trading point from the Flaming River Tower. Back then, he told Shao Xuan that there was plenty of space in the trading point, but now, it didn’t seem like this space was enough.
And this was only the first time they made this announcement. Many other tribes were still spectating and only sent people to the trading point to watch the commotion. They currently had no plans on coming, but things might change in a year or two.
The space for trading was indeed a little packed now.
The thirty tribes that had arrived had settled in thirty houses arranged for them in the trading point. Conflicts happened from time to time, but they still had to follow the rules in the trading point. The new rules had been made clear enough even before they decided to join the Great Alliance. If they started any fights in the trading point, the Flaming Horns would have to kick them out.
After some discussion, the Flaming Horns decided to have the gathering on the fortieth day in the Flaming River Castle.
On the three final days before the gathering, two more tribes arrived at the trading point. Their tribes were located too far away and they had never been on such distant travels, so it took them a while to get here.
A loud and prolonged horn sound was heard all throughout the trading point. This was not the same horn sound from the Beast Head Gate. Compared to that horn sound they were so accustomed to hearing, this sound was higher in pitch and longer in duration.
This horn sound came from the roof of the Flaming River Tower. It served to tell everyone that the gathering was about to begin.
An area in the trading point had been cleared at the time the announcement was made. This space was arranged for the tribesmen that were about to come join the alliance. As soon as the people heard this horn sound, people began to walk out from every compound and started to gather in the streets.
They wore different outfits and had different totems. Teams with different characteristics, heights, body sizes, all began to fill the streets. All sorts of noises could be heard amongst this crowd.
“It’s time to go!” Lu Zhai of the Thunder Mountain tribe yelled out to the people in their compound as soon as he saw people heading to the Flaming River Tower.
They had been here for a few days.
During this time, they learned about life here as well as the rules they had to follow. As long as they lived by these rules, there shouldn’t be any problems.
They were quite blown away by the people and things they saw here. Everything in the trading point told them one clear message: The Flaming Horns were very well off. Besides their strength, their wealth and materialistic possessions were so abundant that they would never starve or catch a cold.
Lu Zhai arranged the bone ornaments on his body. Some of these ornaments were beast fangs and beast claws. Some were uniquely shaped bones that were specially polished. These all served to brand the wearer. Before he arrived here, Lu Zhai was quite confident about his outfit. He only realised how large a gap existed between their tribe and the Flaming Horn tribe after he entered the trading point and saw the fearsome beast meat as well as the beast fangs and bones that were sold here.
Even though Lu Zhai was confident about his power and his tribe, he knew that wild beasts and fearsome beasts were too different. If there was such a chance, he also wanted to hunt fearsome beasts. He felt embarrassed about his own outfit after he saw the fangs that the Flaming Horns were wearing.
When they arrived at the Beast Fang Gate, his embarrassment grew so much that he wanted to take his own bone ornaments off and throw them away. Even though he had already seen the beast fangs at the Beast Fang Gate on his second day here, he didn’t feel as uncomfortable back then. He noticed that many teams in front of them and behind them were stealing glances at his outfit from time to time. He was ashamed and unconfident, but he still kept a dignified facade.
After inhaling deeply, Lu Zhai made a decision in his mind.
Behind Lu Zhai, the other Thunder Mountain tribesmen’s eyes were still affixed on the beast fangs at the Castle’s entrance. If it wasn’t because of the others who were pressing them to move, they would even go up to the giant fangs to take a closer look. They wanted to touch it with their own hands.
This wasn’t envy or jealousy. It was a desire for power.
Thirty something tribes departed for the Flaming River Castle as soon as they heard the horn. Some tribes almost started to fight because they didn’t want to be the last one there, but they couldn’t actually fight, so they merely battled with their energies. Whoever lost had to move to the back!
The Flaming Horns wouldn’t care about this kind of fighting.
That was why those stronger individuals who were more combative arrived first. Amongst this group was the Thunder Mountain tribe, the Sickle tribe, and the Shuihu tribe. Those who were more timid had to move to the end of the line. The Zhi tribe and Zutong tribe were such groups.
The expedition team members in the trading point all climbed up to their roofs and stretched their necks to look in the Castle’s direction. They also wanted to go into the Castle when they saw the crowd heading in that direction. Some even tried to blend in with the crowd but they were noticed by a few tribes even before they were halfway there. They were surrounded and beaten up by these tribesmen. If it weren’t for the rules here, the tribesmen would’ve killed this person on the spot. Even though that person didn’t die, he was badly injured and they flung him far away like they were throwing a sandbag.
When the last tribe entered the Castle, the thick stone doors at the Beast Fang Gate closed behind them. As the gates shut, the people outside weren’t able to peer in anymore.
The Flaming River Castle was the highest building in the trading point, so even if those people wanted to see what was going on from the height of their roofs, it was impossible. They could only give up.
Amongst the thirty-two tribes, some tribes brought many members along while others only brought a few. Now, regardless of how many people came from each tribe, only the chiefs and shamans were allowed to enter the Castle. The Flaming River Castle had limited space after all.
That was why everyone else waited outside the Castle after their chiefs and shamans entered. After the Beast Fang Gate closed, these people who couldn’t go in stood outside and kept guard along with the Flaming Horn guards. These tribesmen discussed this before and they kept a distance from each other while they guarded the area allocated to them. Some others who weren’t informed also did the same. At the end, all of these people lined themselves up against the Castle, keeping those who were here to watch the commotion farther away.
Seeing this, the people who came to watch the show sulked. How could they hear the sounds inside if they were so far away?!
Curiosity burned within them but they had no choice. They weren’t a part of the Flaming River Drainage Basin Great Alliance after all.
The hall within the Flaming River Castle had been divided into thirty-two sections. The guests could sit wherever they wanted. The Flaming Horns only made sure that enough seats were provided for all the tribes that were present.
The Drumming tribe, Rain tribe, Taihe tribe, and Zhi tribe had their seats reserved. Other tribes had to find their own spots to sit.
The Zhi tribe finally managed to squeeze into the Castle. They were pushed to the back of the line, but that didn’t matter. Their spot was already reserved. They didn’t have to look for a spot like the other tribes. They certainly had made the right choice by riding on the Flaming Horn tribe’s coattails.
Gui He and Zheng Luo watched the tribes as they entered and took their seats. Some had already begun to work together and teamed up while others continued to isolate themselves from other tribes. From their actions, Gui He and Zheng Luo could already tell what kind of people they were. They knew immediately which tribes were more combative, which tribes were more conservative, and which tribes were wealthier. Everything was crystal clear in their eyes.
When everyone who entered finally found an empty seat, they looked around astonishingly at the different people who had come.
“So this is the Great Alliance?”
“So many tribes came!”
They were initially vigilant towards the Flaming Horns. They were worried that the Flaming Horns might seize this opportunity to exterminate their tribe, but after seeing so many tribes here and recognising some of the tribes that were already their allies, their worries gradually faded. This worry was soon replaced with expectation.
The Great Alliance? Were all of these tribes really going to become allies?
If this was really the case, it was a good thing for all of them who were present.
Some people began to count the tribes in the castle after being astonished by the large crowd. There were thirty-two spots. Why was a spot vacant?
“Didn’t they say there were thirty-two tribes?”
“Yeah, I heard that too. I remember us being the last one to arrive, and I even counted the number of tribes on the stone tablet. We were the last one to arrive,” a Zutong tribesman said.
“Which tribe is not here? If we don’t count the Flaming Horn tribe, there are only thirty-one tribes present,” someone said after taking a count of the tribes that were present. He was right. One of these tribes was missing!
‘Could it be that they decided to leave last minute?’ someone thought.
As people began to discuss, people looked toward the Flaming Horn tribe’s chief’s seat.
Gui He looked at the empty seat in the Castle and frowned. He turned to look at Zheng Luo, “Who’s the last tribe we’re waiting for?”
After he finished his question, he recalled, “Umm...what was that guy’s name again? Why is he not here yet?”
Zheng Luo said, “He probably overslept?”
“I thought he didn’t need sleep?”
“Maybe he’s trying to clear his mind of something,” Zheng Luo sent people out to look for Gan Qie.
If it wasn’t because he saw the name list before, he would’ve forgotten who it was. For the past few days, Zheng Luo had been thinking about the tribes that had arrived after hearing the announcement, but he totally forgot about the dangerous person who was living in their tribe. He never really thought Gan Qie would choose to come forth and represent his tribe in the alliance.
After Zheng Luo finished his sentence, a figure entered the Flaming River Castle from one of the gates. It was still daytime, so Gan Qie was wearing a cloak. More than half of his face was covered by the shade of his hood.
“Alright, the last tribe has arrived,”Gui He said as he looked over at Gan Qie, who was approaching them.
“The last tribe? Where?” people began to search in all directions.
“I didn’t see anyone. No one came in from the Beast Fang Gate.”
“Oh, is it that guy?” someone pointed at Gan Qie.
As the crowd began to doubt, Gan Qie said loudly as he walked in, “I’m Gan Qie of the Han tribe. I came to gather upon hearing the announcement.”
Some people were still busy fighting over their seats while others already settled comfortably. When Gan Qie spoke, all of them stopped and looked up at him in shock.
“Han tribe? I’ve never heard of this tribe before.”
“One person?! I can’t believe he came alone!”
“I thought only chiefs and shamans were allowed to come! Is he the chief of the Han tribe?”
A person in the crowd stood up and shouted at Gan Qie, “Why did you come here alone? Isn’t there anyone else in your tribe?”
Gan Qie walked over gracefully and stopped about five metres in front of the person who spoke. He lowered his gaze and replied in a gentle tone to the person who was seated comfortably on the beast hide cushion. He enunciated each word clearly and slowly, making sure to have his point delivered, “I’m the only one in my tribe. Do you have a problem with that?”
The Water Tiger chief was initially just trying to mock him. After seeing how Gan Qie responded to his remark and even spoke to him in what sounded like a condescending tone, he felt like Gan Qie was challenging him to a fight. The smile on his face immediately vanished. He stood up and took a step forward and looked down at Gan Qie, who was a few inches shorter than himself. He snarled in a beastlike manner at Gan Qie, “Were you speaking to me?”
Gan Qie’s expression hadn’t changed and he didn’t answer the person’s question either. Instead, he only repeated what he said a moment ago. Even his tone was the same. There was no change in volume or pitch.
“You’ve got a problem with that?”
Gan Qie’s attitude fuelled the Water Tiger chief’s anger. He was furious. How patronising!
The Water Tiger chief inhaled deeply. The veins on his forehead pulsed visibly. His chest was inflated. His eyes opened wide and his pupils dilated instantly. The muscles on his back and shoulders began to bulge and his skin tightened. Revealing his strong firm muscles, his arms opened up to both sides and his fingers began to crack loudly as green totemic lines enveloped his body.
His muscular leg stomped the ground as he took a step forward. When his foot came into contact with the ground, a muffled sound trembled echoed around the arena. This person didn’t seem to only possess mere force. He was like an agile tiger, ready to pounce on his prey any moment now. The distance between the two was just about five metres. One step forward, and he could land his fist on Gan Qie!
His round eyes looked fiercely at Gan Qie as he flared his nostrils.
A tiger-like roar came rushing out of the person’s throat and the energy it carried hit Gan Qie as well as the people around them. It was so strong that even their shirts flapped wildly.
However, Gan Qie’s hood and cloak were barely affected by this roar. The roar didn’t even manage to unhood Gan Qie.
Seeing this, the Water Tiger chief roared two more times. Each time, his volume and power increased, and the people around them felt as if their eardrums were about to burst. Everyone backed away from their seats and covered their ears.
He already roared three times. Even a dim-witted person should’ve noticed something was wrong.
Gan Qie’s cloak and hood seemed like they were practically attached to his body!
Everyone at the scene looked over in their direction. Some were making guesses while others began to muse. Others merely sat and watched the show.
It was absolutely silent. The only thing that was audible now was the Water Tiger chief’s heavy panting.
As he waited for the totemic energy within his body to recover from the three loud roars, the Water Tiger chief’s eyes fixed tightly on Gan Qie, who was still standing in the same fashion, unaffected by his roar. He wondered if he should continue roaring a few more times.
“Are you done roaring?” Gan Qie lifted his head slightly and said to him calmly, as if his roar was nothing but a joke. It had no effect on him at all.
The Water Tiger chief didn’t even have the time to respond to this question. In the next moment, Gan Qie’s eyes suddenly turned blood-red and thick lines wrapped around his pale green face. His feet were still in the same position as he leaned forward slightly. The bones on his back popped loudly in a continuous chain and his arms jerked out like a wild beast. Brown claws extended from the tips of his fingers and his cloak began to flap. His hood was suddenly lifted as his white hair flew up wildly. Two sharp fangs extended from his open mouth as he let out a long loud roar.
If the Water Tiger chief’s roar was the roar of a fierce tiger, then Gan Qie’s roar was the roar of nature itself. It sounded as strong as a blizzard, a storm, a tsunami, or even a landslide. It was much more powerful, so intense that it pressed on their ears. People who were present found it hard to even breathe normally. The air around them was completely disrupted by this long roar.
The energy flow from his roar was so strong that even a stone table nearby started to rattle.
The pottery on the table cracked.
Where Gan Qie stood, the ground began to crack and split open.
The Water Tiger chief who stood closest to Gan Qie felt as if an ancient giant beast was staring him straight in the eye. He felt an urge to run and escape and even felt his whole body blown back by the roar. He didn’t want to stagger and he was already trying his best to plant his feet firmly. Two deep holes drilled into the ground where his feet were and yet he still struggled to fight back. All the energy he mustered disappeared as soon as Gan Qie roared.
The Water Tiger chief’s first roar lasted around ten seconds and his third roar, which was the longest, lasted about twenty seconds. For people like the Water Tiger tribesmen who liked to roar, ten seconds was already considered long and only a few could manage to roar for twenty seconds straight in the Water Tiger tribe.
When their chief roared for twenty seconds straight, some of the Water Tiger people’s eyes gleamed with pride. The Water Tiger tribesmen learned to roar even before they awakened their totemic power. They had been practicing this skill since young. Roaring was a skill used frequently in battle and many Water Tiger tribesmen were known for their extraordinary lung capacity. They had been desperate about showing this off here.
However, reality slapped them across the face. Someone was better than them at roaring.
When Gan Qie’s roar reached twenty seconds, some of the Water Tiger tribesmen were already frightened. When his roar reached thirty seconds, some of them stared at him unbelievably, but even then, Gan Qie had not stopped.
He was still roaring!
Forty seconds, fifty...
When he almost reached one minute, Gan Qie finally stopped. He wasn’t panting and his breathing wasn’t affected either. That can’t be!
The Water Tiger people finally managed to come back to their senses after the long roar. They looked Gan Qie up and down.
This person seemed like… he wasn’t even breathing! There was no movement in his chest!
Suddenly, the people of the Water Tiger tribe became lost for words and they stared at Gan Qie unbelievably.
Gan Qie’s eyes once again looked at the Water Tiger chief, who had now staggered a few steps back. His eyes caused the people of the Water Tiger tribe to shiver.
“Do you still have a problem?” Gan Qie asked calmly once more.
The Water Tiger chief’s face jerked uncontrollably as cold sweat trickled down his back. It was as if all the blood in his body suddenly froze. After some hesitation, he finally replied in a hoarse voice, “No.”
Gan Qie’s eyes swept past the Water Tiger chief and looked towards everyone behind him, “Do you guys have a problem?”
Everyone in the Water Tiger tribe shook their heads. Even their chief admitted defeat. They did not have the courage to fight against such a strong opponent.
Gan Qie’s gaze turned to the crowd, “Do you guys have a problem?”
Everyone who caught Gan Qie’s eyes felt anxious. Even Ci Du from the Sickle tribe shivered and felt the chills when he saw Gan Qie’s bloodshot eyes.
“Who else has a problem?”
Gan Qie’s bloodshot eyes scanned the arena. Everyone who met his eyes immediately looked away. No one dared to stare into his eyes. Even those who were far away felt the cold murderous energy in his bloodshot eyes.
They even noticed that there was some sand on the ground where Gan Qie stood. As the wind blew, the sand was carried away.
It was definitely sand!
The only reasonable explanation for this was that Gan Qie brought it into existence.
Seeing how everyone was silent, Gan Qie flipped his hood over his head to block away the sunlight and walked away. He stopped beside the Rain tribe.
The Rain tribe’s seat had been reserved early. Gan Qie didn’t tell the Flaming Horns to leave him a designated seat.
He didn’t even look at the Rain tribe. Instead, he turned to look at the Bo tribesmen who were sitting beside the Rain tribe.
“This seat is mine,” he used the same calm tone as before. His words were simple and straight to the point, but it gave a lot of pressure to the listeners.
After gulping down his saliva, the Bo chief turned to look at those behind him. Seeing the people in his team nod in agreement, he stood up and gave his seat to Gan Qie.
The others who were present wouldn’t make fun of the Bo tribe for giving up their seat. They would’ve done the same thing if they were put in their place.
His roar from a moment ago was enough to show how strong he was.
They marked this person down in memory. This tribe only had one person, but this person by himself was terribly strong. These people felt like they wouldn’t be able to defeat him even if their entire tribe teamed up in a fight against him.
Truly terrifying! He didn’t seem human at all!
Gan Qie of the Han tribe. They kept this person in their minds!
Yang Sui’s face was pale as paper. His hands trembled uncontrollably beside him.
That’s him! Gan Qie of the Han tribe!
The sole survivor of the Han tribe!
Even though he was by himself, Yang Sui felt the dangerous vibe that was emanating from him. However, Yang Sui could tell from Gan Qie's eyes that despite the unfriendliness, he had no intentions to cause them any harm. His gaze was merely condescending and he seemed to be ignoring their presence.
Gan Qie looked down on the current Rain tribe. They were indeed too weak now compared to before and were obviously no match for him, so he didn’t feel like he should make a move on them. Yang Sui also sensed this attitude from watching Gan Qie. He sighed out in relief upon this realisation.
Regardless of whether he was looking down on them or ignoring them, as long as he wasn’t planning on killing them, Yang Sui was glad. Plus, since Gan Qie also decided to join the Flaming Horn’s Great Alliance, this meant that as long as the alliance existed and both of them were in the alliance, they wouldn’t be enemies.
All thirty-two tribes arrived and everyone was seated.
An eagle flew across the sky. A person jumped down from its back and landed in the arena.
His landing caused a sound to echo across the ground.
“Sorry, I’m late,” Shao Xuan darted towards the Flaming Horn’s seating area.
Something had happened over at the forge and Shao Xuan was called over to help. Gui He and the others knew about this. Even though the Great Alliance was very important, they could not ignore the problems at the forge.
“How is it?” Gui He asked in a whisper.
“It’s no big deal. The problem has been solved,” Shao Xuan replied.
Three seats were placed in the frontmost line in the Flaming Horn seating area. These seats belonged to the current chief and shamaness as well as Shao Xuan, the Grand Elder.
All three of them were now present.
Gui He looked at the thirty-two tribes in front of them, “Well, this marks the beginning of our meeting!”