Yi Family Residence, within the heavily guarded courtyard.
The tense atmosphere turned more and more solemn. The ones who could not take it paced in circles frustratedly, afraid of making a sound in case they disturbed the people in the centre.
Their hearts sank the moment the bone in front of Yi Tuan shattered. When no second bone chip shattered, the people guarding the yard privately sighed in relief. They waited and waited, several days passed. Although the elements were kept out by the totem, these people still could not keep their cool after so many days.
Some wanted to continue waiting but the more they waited, the more dishevelled they became, lightheaded and frustrated as if they had not eaten or slept well these days.
Many were in the same condition, some even fainting suddenly, collapsing from the mental stress. Although they were not doing anything physically strenuous, it was still a stressful position to be in. And it had been many days.
‘Nothing has happened, that’s good news,’ thought some. At least no more rocks or bone chips shattered. This meant the battle situation was still stable.
“I hope they are well. Or the Yi family would weaken greatly.” The people guarding near the three elders were on edge. Since the Yi family closed its doors, many people had come with questions. They were either from the other five aristocratic families or other places, though they acted concerned for the Yi family, they bore ill intentions. If anything major happened to the Yi family, these people would take the first chance to harm them.
There was no goodwill between the six aristocratic families when they had the option to benefit themselves. If one of the other families fell into danger, the Yi family would take action too. As fortune-readers, the Yi family understood what consequences would come from this situation.
On this day, the shift that had taken a short rest returned to the yard once more.
“Get some rest, we’ll take watch,” said the leader to the people in front.
They alternated between two shifts, taking turns to rest.
The person sitting on the animal hide near Yi Tuan had dark eye circles, unfocused eyes and messy hair, his clothes started with some soil. He would never look like this on a regular day but everyone was like this now. No one cared about looks.
He got up from the animal hide during the changing of shifts, hammering his stiff thigh. He was about to say something when he straightened in shock and turned to look at Yi Tuan.
Within the courtyard, light shot out of the tortoise shell in Yi Tuan’s hand, the bone chips rattling frantically. The air around them froze as all eyes were glued to the shell, as if they refused to believe it.
They knew what the changes in the shell meant.
“I can’t believe they had to use the ancestral shell too!”
“Is that Yi Xiang really that powerful?”
“I wonder what the battle is like now.”
They discussed in whispers but no matter how they comforted the people around them, they had one thought--- danger!
How severe were the circumstances for Yi Tuan to use the shell left behind by their ancestors?
The people who planned to rest after their shifts did not leave, instead sat down and watched. Who would have the appetite to eat now? No one would be able to fall asleep either!
Just like that, as the days passed, the people in the yard grew more haggard. The guards outside were very nervous and hearts had begun to stray.
More time passed and the weather warmed. Within the yard, everyone was anxious and drenched in sweat, though a chill cut deep into their bones.
Something’s wrong! The giant totem looked like something was suppressing it, and seemed on the verge of dying out.
Suddenly, the totem brightened and its energy fluctuated wildly. It destabilised, like something was hammering the totem repeatedly.
“What? What’s happening?!”
They had no way of knowing, all they could do was worry but suddenly, they heard a ‘crack’ that snapped their nerves in half.
Everyone’s eyes widened, their faces pale and beads of sweat flowing down their temples. Without even wiping their sweat, they stared at the shell like stone statues.
“That’s… impossible! Impossible!” cried the person nearest to Yi Tuan, his voice trembling, every word piercing as ever.
The hardest part of the carapace, the back of the shell that even the Gongjia family’s best sword could not scratch, started to crack!
Very soon, they had no time to watch the shell because the totem in the yard flashed wildly, unable to even sustain its shape. It was breaking down!
The totem that almost covered the entire yard flickered wildly and then exploded to bits, sparks flying like meteors across the night sky, finally dying out.
The crowd within the yard cried in surprise. The person closest to Yi Tuan rushed forward to support Yi Tuan, who had broken out of his trance. Before he could ask questions, Yi Tuan sputtered a mouthful of blood and roared, “THAT FLAMING HORN!”
After that, his eyes rolled back and he fainted.
Although the two other elders next to Yi Tuan did not faint, they were no better. Their faces a ghostly pale, as if they had aged tremendously, they could barely keep both their eyes open. Their hands as thin and dry as tree branches, they would have not been able to sit up if it were not for the people around.
Behind the three elders, within the army of a hundred, many people fainted with blood flowing out of their orifices, their conditions unstable. Everyone knew this meant the Yi family had lost the battle- and it was a terrible loss!
A major upheaval was coming to the family!
Many people were confused by what Yi Tuan yelled out before he fainted. Were they not fighting Yi Xiang? Why would he mention Flaming Horn? He did not even mention Yi Xiang.
What had this got to do with the Flaming Horn?
The entire Yi family camp was incapacitated. Within King City, the other families who had been closely observing the Yi family received news and started to mobilise.
Far away from King City, on the other continent, at the foot of the mountain range near Eagle Mountain.
Shao Xuan’s eyes sprung open, panting heavily to catch his breath before the dizziness faded slightly. His muscles twitched uncontrollably and he could still feel the weight on his body. His clothes were drenched in sweat.
Chacha quickly rushed over when he heard the commotion, chirping a few times.
“I’m… I’m fine.” Shao Xuan waved tiredly. Even moving his arm was difficult.
After some rest, he felt some energy return and stood up slowly. He realised that the spot he sat in had a cross made of the double 工 symbol, as if it had been burned into the rock on the ground.
After some thought, Shao Xuan still did not know why. However, he was starving so he walked to the forest for food.
After a few steps, Shao Xuan noticed a commotion over at Yi Cong’s side and looked over. Yi Qi was glaring murderously at him.
“YOU!” Yi Qi pointed with a shaky finger, spat out a few mouthfuls of blood, then his arm dropped and fainted.