Since Chacha did not want to answer, Shao Xuan did not ask again.
Shao Xuan had learned from the Hui tribe that the giant mountain eagles held many secrets and never brought people to Eagle Mountain. Shao Xuan’s trip to Eagle Mountain was extremely rare, only because Shao Xuan raised Chacha since he was an eaglet and that was Cahcha’s first time to Eagle Mountain. If he were another eagle, a human might not be allowed in.
Even if humans found Eagle Mountain, they might not be able to scale up to the icy peak or fly together with the eagles to the true Eagle Mountain, just like what Shao Xuan did. The tall and long mountain range was an obstacle. The true Eagle Mountain was where all the eagles flew towards after the mist of the icy plains cleared. It was taller than this mountain range, its foot and peak both obscured. No one knew what was at the bottom of Eagle Mountain.
However, the obstacles and distance would not be a problem if he could explore through his consciousness in that special dark realm.
After some rest and recuperation, he had some food and looked at Yi Qi and Yi Cong. Their totem had brightened a little but nothing obvious.
Shao Xuan decided to go check out what he suspected to be the eagles’ ancestors.
With his first success, he managed to enter the dark realm once again, straight in front of the blue fiery figures. He tried to count them but the numbers were shocking.
Thousands, maybe more than ten thousand, maybe more.
Although there was still life force in these blue fiery figures, they were different from beings that were truly alive- similar to the Bone Reading Beast that the Yi family used. Of course, merely similar in certain aspects. These gigantic figures displayed different life force intensities, having stronger life force like aggregated fire seeds, i.e. the way the Yi family aggregated a hundred people together. The number of animal figures here was unknown. They were like matchsticks contributing to an ancient, burning bonfire.
The soul of eagle mountain!
A thought popped into his mind.
He studied each beast’s individual shape but they were all stacked too tightly together. While they could not be distinguished from each other, Shao Xuan could still make out an approximate shape.
Indeed. They were different from the modern giant eagles but more similar to the pterosaur he found in the ice.
Chacha did not want to tell him Eagle Mountain’s secrets but he had already guessed that these giants might be the secret hidden within. The ancestors of the giant mountain eagles were the prehistoric giant beasts! They once ruled the world!
Perhaps that pterosaur would be familiar with them.
A long time ago, when the Flaming Horn was still trapped by the edgeless large river and isolated from the world, Shao Xuan heard the shaman mention that the giant mountain eagles had their own faith. They were tough to tame and did not accept foreign fire seeds. This might be the giant mountain eagle’s ‘faith’ then, since generations of eagles would fly here every year, from young eaglets to dying old birds. They came here to be completely reborn, just like how totemic warriors awakened their totemic powers, or levelled up. These changes could be due to the stacking of these blue figures.
The stacking of the blue figures had formed a ‘fire pond’ for the giant mountain eagle clan, it was the true core of Eagle Mountain!
When he first saw the pterosaur, Shao Xuan once wondered, where did all those giants at the top of the food chain go?
There were records of them in ancient ancestral texts but they were all from prehistoric times so there was limited information. Many tribes had similar stories, though told from a primitive fire seed’s perspective. Legends told that a long time ago, when humans were still prey, the fire seed gave humans power when they were weak. Fire seeds were the reason why humans thrived.
No one knew what happened but based on what Shao Xuan knew, he confirmed that the fire seed had changed the world- it did not just change humans, even other living beings transformed across time. Perhaps humans were just the smartest, to have comprehended using fire seeds to their advantage first.
The soul of Eagle Mountain was evidence. And Eagle Mountain was not the only place of its kind in the world!
No one knew where the other places would be hidden. The world was huge. In a relative sense, only a corner of this patch of forest was understood. Humans had not explored the rest of the world yet but Shao Xuan had a feeling more of these places would be found.
Just a feeling.
His brain started to hurt due to fatigue and he left the dark realm.
When he opened his eyes, he felt a surge in fire seed energy. He looked at Yi Cong and Yi Qi. Their brightened totemic fires were changing, sometimes dimming and other times brightening.
It has begun!
Changes like that could only mean that both parties are already fighting!
Shao Xuan rested as he observed their flames. He wanted to wait until their flames weakened, that would mean their battle was ending and Shao Xuan could go check out the situation.
Within the dark illusory space.
After Shao Xuan’s second disappearance, Yi Xiang, who was initially staring at the Yi family, turned to look at where Shoa Xuan used to be. After a moment, he started moving. The hand with the necklace of wooden ornaments started to move, albeit slightly. An unobservant person would have missed it.
Yi Tuan, who was watching Yi Xiang, was quite surprised. The rest did not understand but he did.
Yi Xiang was conducting a reading!
Why now?! If that was the case, then Yi Xiang must be doing a reading about the Flaming Horn tribesman!
It did not matter why Yi Xiang did that, Yi Tuan did not have the time. He must grab this chance. Everything else could wait. They just had to solve this problem at hand.
Yi Tuan roared, “GO!”
Almost in unison, the three Yi elders- including Yi Tuan- all raised their hands at the same time, four bright dots flying out from each. When these spots flew past the fireball in front, they turned into gigantic beasts like before, some slender, some muscular, some shelled as they formed together with fireballs that looked like meteors. Those were the same pieces used for the Yi family’s fortune readings.
They were prepared for this, one could tell from the way they were perfectly coordinated. The combined auras of the three elders felt as magnificent as a river gushing into the great ocean.
Twelve beasts and meteors formed from bones, shells and stones charged in Yi Xiang’s direction. The combined power of the three elders was astonishing, creating a gust of wind even in this illusory space. Anyone who was slightly weaker in the team felt their breathing turn irregular, a weight pressing down on their chests. Reverberations could be felt through their feet, causing their thighs to go numb. It all felt suffocating.
Yi Xiang was not startled by the three elders’ sudden attack. Without moving his feet or turning around, his other hand still holding the necklace of wooden pieces, he lifted his other arm that was now facing the Yi family’s totemic arc. As if shaking off dust from his sleeve, he flicked his arm casually, pointing at his own arc not far away.
The moment he flicked his arm, Yi Xiang’s fire arc roared and grew ten times taller, as if he had poured oil on the wall of fire!
The Bone Reading Beasts had begun charging, slamming themselves into the tall fire wall.
A giant surge of energy was released upon impact. Yi Xiang’s arc of fire exploded like an erupting volcano, flames extending in all directions.
Deafening booms sounded along with the collisions between the beasts and the rocks, hurling themselves against the wall. The arc acted like a city wall blocking out an army, though it no longer ‘whooshed’ like regular flames in the wind, rather rolling and roaring like an animal while heat waves exploded and sparks flew as far as the eye could see.
If one could see their expressions, you would notice that the three elders’ expressions had changed. When they ambushed Yi Xiang, their eyes had been filled with hope, hoping that this attack would work. Even if he would not be severely injured, just a small wound would be worth celebrating.
But their hopes and dreams were crushed. What replaced passion was shock and severe disappointment, as well as sorrow. But no one knew what they felt.
This was the first large-scale collision between both parties. Although there was no billowing sand or flying pebbles, everyone within range felt like they could disintegrate at any moment. The Bone Reading Beasts were manic, slamming into the fire wall as if they would not back down even if it meant cracking their heads. One of the beasts even opened its jaws wide at the peak of its ferocity an arm’s length away from Yi Xiang. You could imagine how fierce they were!
In contrast, the mood on the other side of the arc was calm. No sparks flew this way. Although the beasts were an arm’s length away, Yi Xiang did not pay much attention to it. After flicking his arm, he continued his task from before, ignoring everything else.
That was just a defensive move. He did not even look towards Yi Tuan, maintaining his position as he faced sideways, away from the crowd. As if the crowd’s full-blown attack did not matter.
He does not even acknowledge us!
Yi Tuan and the rest were already furious at his remark on how ‘this generation was useless’. Yet his reaction to their attacks proved his point.
This was Yi Xiang. The Unlucky One. The person that the entire Yi family wronged.
On the other side, after Yi Cong and Yi Qi’s totemic flames started to change, Shao Xuan focused his full attention on observing them.
Their flames had initially strengthened. Then, there was a strong ripple and their bodies seemed to be withstanding a large force, their bones even crackling while their veins twitched beneath their skin.
‘Looks like the Yi family isn’t doing too well,’ thought Shao Xuan to himself.
This situation carried on for three days when finally, the totemic fire fluctuations gradually weakened.
“Has it ended?” Shao Xuan could not confirm but this was too soon. He had only waited for three days on this side. This meant that not that much time had passed in the dark realm. Perhaps it was a momentary ceasefire between both parties.
Should he go check out the battle? Let’s see who’s winning: the Yi family, or the mysterious, legendary ‘Unlucky One’.
While he waited, Shao Xuan had been maintaining his body in a good physical state in preparation of entering the dark realm once more.