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Collecting the worm skin and silk took up a lot of time. When they went down the mountain, the first sun rays had already started to appear. The forest beasts started to simmer down.
Upon landing, Shao Xuan first searched for a place to store the things he collected. He sensed his surroundings to find that the two Yi people had not moved, similar to the day he left. Yi Qi was awake and they were both discussing something. He heard sounds of suppressed arguments, along with coughs. Although he was awake, Yi Qi was not very well. Shao Xuan could tell Yi Qi’s condition just from the coughs so he was not in a hurry to go look.
Gan Qie was in a hurry. After landing, temperatures had started to rise and the oppression from the mountain lifted, He felt much better, though he was most excited about the liquid in the pouches.
“They’re probably something like pupa shells, though different from the usual kind,” said Shao Xuan.
“It’s blood.” To Gan Qie, those ‘melted ice’ felt like blood, because he was not interested in many things outside of blood. Anything that could attract him must be blood!
Now that he had the blood, it was time to drink it.
He opened a small gap at the mouth of the worm skin pouch, then poured the liquid directly to his mouth.
Gan Qie took two big gulps, then drew the pouch and passed it to Shao Xuan.
After swallowing two mouthfuls of worm blood, Gan Qie turned ghostly pale. All the rosiness from drinking beast blood in the forest disappeared. His expressionless face suddenly twitched and contorted uncontrollably, his hand clutching the pouch trembled like he was in huge pain.
Shao Xuan took the pouch and before he could ask, Gan Qie disappeared like the wind, sprinting into the forest.
Looking at Gan Qie, then at the pouch-- although Gan Qie had taken two mouthfuls, those were unusually large gulps and one-third of the pouch’s contents. That amount was the equivalent to what they collected from more than ten nests.
“He drank so much… will he be alright?” muttered Shao Xuan. He did not dare taste it because he sensed that it was not suited for consumption. Drinking it would hurt his body, just like the green-faced fanged beast’s blood. The pupa shell of a star butterfly larva could protect it but probably not humans, maybe even more harmful than the green-face fanged beast’s blood.
This feeling became stronger as he collected the liquid, he did not dare treat it like a regular beast’s blood. He had planned to ask Gan Qie for his opinion but turned his head to see that Gan Qie had drunk so much. Not sure how he was.
Shao Xuan sent Chacha to check on him but Chacha flew in one circle and quickly returned.
Gan Qie was quite a distance away from the foot of the mountain. There were many fearsome beasts there and the beasts were still not completely subdued from their aggression during the full moon. Strangely, those manic-looking beasts still did not approach Gan Qie, even avoiding him on purpose.
Even Chacha did not want to stay to observe him.
After a while, a long howl was heard, along with it, an intense killing intent exploded. Gusts of wind blew, dense tree branches blew out of shape. The strong winds cut like flying knives, howling and murderous.
The predators of the forest lurking and hunting for prey were startled by this sudden blast of murderous intent, immediately, turning around to run off in the opposite direction.
The wind brought with it the scent of blood, along with it the cries of various beasts. Startled flocks of birds left the scene in a hurry while hoards of animals retreated. In the next moment, the previously unsettled forest due to the full moon suddenly turned dead silent. A dangerous aura spread across the forest, as if a devil lurked amongst the trees.
Chacha’s neck feathers stood on end as he took off into the skies immediately. It was his instinct to fly up whenever there was danger.
The eight slaves around Yi Cong and Yi Qi grew alert, scanning their surroundings nervously. Two of them had blood similar to Yi Si’s Grasshopper, so the spines on their backs shot up straight with fear.
This was what everyone thought.
Shao Xuan could discern that the aura came from Gan Qie, though the winds brought along the scent of animal blood too. Such a strong smell had to mean more than ten beasts were killed.
Why would Gan Qie kill so many beasts suddenly? For food? But if he was feeding on them, he never had to kill so many. Was it because of the worm blood?
When he planned to check, the howling winds quietened and the pungent smell of blood faded.
After a while, he sensed that Gan Qie was approaching so he halted and looked up.
Soon, Gan Qie emerged from the woods, his cloak dishevelled and splashed with beast blood like he had just emerged from a battlefield. His footsteps were heavy like he was injured.
He slowly retracted his violent, murderous aura. When he locked eyes with Shao Xuan, his eyes were still red and filled with residual violence.
“What happened?” asked Shao Xuan.
“Nothing, there were just some minor changes,” said Gan Qie.
Shao Xuan studied him carefully. Although tired, the ghostly pale was gone. In fact, he looked rosier, more like a normal person. When his eyes lost their manic look, he looked like a normal person save for the fresh bloodstains.
But Shao Xuan felt like something major must have changed him greatly. It should be a positive change or he would not have been attracted to the blood this strongly.
“Are you drinking anymore?” Shao Xuan passed the pouch back to him. They had already discussed when they came down the mountain that Flaming Horn would take a third of the liquid so at this point, one third was still left for Gan Qie.
Without a word, he took the pouch and took a swig, though this time a much smaller mouthful and less impatiently, like a casual tasting.
After a little, Gan Qie paused and then passed the pouch back. “You all can have the remainder.”
“You’re not drinking anymore?” Shao Xuan regarded him from head to toe in surprise, shocked that Gan Qie could get out of the forest alive despite drinking the liquid. He had already tasted the liquid by dipping his finger in it just now and decided that it was definitely not fit for the Flaming Horns’ consumption.
But Gan Qie was no regular human. He could withstand what others could not.
“This is probably the thing you think will help with weapon forgery. I can sense that it’s similar to the green-faced fanged beast blood.” This was a rare elaboration from Gan Qie’s side.
Gan Qie was sensitive to different types of blood. If he made this remark, then it was likely that Shao Xuan’s guesses were right.
“So this is really it?” Shao Xuan quickly kept the pouch well. Mu Yao had come here to look for the worm blood in the Gongjia ancestral records. IT was unfortunate that Mu Yao did not find it and was even attacked by the giant mountain eagles. He did not know where Mu Yao was now, perhaps the Yi people knew.
The far-travelling party had suffered greatly on this trip and their whereabouts currently unknown. Yet they had led Shao Xuan to the blood.
According to Shao Xuan’s plan, he wanted to bring Yi Cong and Yi Qi to his tribe. He wanted to get more useful information from them, perhaps the uses of the worm blood or other detailed procedures. It was too bad that one of them might not live to do so.
Yi Qi’s condition was more severe than Yi Cong. Although the slaves did their best to treat him, nothing improved. Yi Qi did not want to live either, he badly wanted to die here. If he lived, he would be brought back to the Flaming Horn Tribe by Shao Xuan. Yi Qi could not take the humiliation of such a deed.
Yi Qi’s hatred towards SHoa Xuan was deeply rooted. Shao Xuan and Yi Xiang were the same in his eyes, both were great threats to the Yi family. Although they only escaped through the crack in the seal because of Shao Xuan, Yi Qi was furious at how Shao Xuan slammed their giant tortoise at the boundary to make the crack. It was an utter insult.
When Shao Xuan went over, Yi Wi was currently lying horizontally on the ground while Yi Cong knelt by him with the eight slaves around.
When he saw Shao Xuan, Yi Qi coughed up another mouthful of blood, glaring at Shao Xuan. His lips parted, then he turned to Yi Cong, clutching YI Cong’s shoulder tightly with his body fingers as if about to break it off. His eyes bore into Yi Cong and as if using up the last of his strength, he enunciated every word, “You must do as you promised! You must!”
Yi Cong nodded solemnly.
Then, Yi Qi unleashed a manic roar at the skies, using what was left to vent his frustration at the heavens. He was a powerful man in the Yi family, a respectable ‘Master’ in King City! Who would have thought he would end up like this?
Yi Qi was deeply impacted by Yi Xiang’s appearance, he still remembered clearly the hopelessness and helplessness he felt in face of Yi Xiang moments before his death. Although he was only one of the people in the Yi giant totem, unlike Yi Tuan at the frontlines, he still felt deeply.
Yi Qi was very clear what this result meant for the Yi family headquarters. This was why he was frustrated, even privately fearful. He was worried that the past glory of the Yi family would be gone just like that, that they would end up like declining tribes that disappeared with time.
Forget about Yi Xiang-- even this punk from Flaming Horn had deeply humiliated them! It was all because of Shao Xuan that they were able to escape. A mere tribesman had given them their only chance of survival! He could never live this down.
If Shao Xuan knew what Yi Qi thought, he would have scoffed.
Those Yi family members had lived their arrogant lives thinking everyone was beneath them. He did not care that the Yi people resented him for breaking their ancestral shell because he needed to slam the giant tortoise to crack the boundary.
What nonsense is that? What else would I use if not your shell? My fists? Do you know how painful that would be? How tiring?
Supporting a whole giant was already tiring, he obviously needed to look for an energy-efficient method to save himself.
What were the two things that the tribesmen’s ancestors treasured most?
Fire and tools.
Anyone who did not use a readily-available tool was an idiot!
At least Shao Xuan could not read Yi Qi’s thoughts and hence did not say such a thing. If Yi Qi heard this, he would have coughed up one more mouthful of blood before his death.
Yi Qi’s pulse stopped.
The Yi family members chose their own graves and did not insist on being buried at their headquarters. King City was not their ancestral land anyway, so their feelings for King City was as cold as the Ji family. The Ji family had a lot of farming land and grains there while the Yi family only wanted to die with their fortune reading tools. They did not feel attached to the city at all.
When Yi Qi felt like he could not hold on any longer, he had already talked to Yi Cong. Out of his four slaves, two would be buried with him while the other two would follow Yi Cong.
Yi Cong found a place to bury Yi Qi near the mountain range. The two slaves to be buried with Yi Qi did not need to be killed- they finished the deed after digging the grave.
The slaves they brought here were trained and had the slave shackles embedded deep in their minds. They would never betray their masters and would die if ordered to, despite their own wishes.
Shao Xuan did not interfere with Yi Qi’s burial. Afterwards, Yi Qi went to negotiate with him. What surprised Shao Xuan was that Yi Qi would rather die than get captured to be brought back to the Flaming Horn tribe. He even made Yi Cong promise not to let the Flaming Horn bring his body back to the tribe. On the contrary, Yi Cong was not against being a captive in the Flaming Horn tribe.
While Shao Xuan could not tell if this was a lie, he thought it was eighty percent trustable. While Yi Cong looked like he was following Shao Xuan willingly, he did not express any other opinions. He also swore on the Yi family totem that he would not do anything to harm Flaming Horn.
It did not matter if Yi Cong was telling the truth. After Yi Cong buried Yi Qi, Shao Xuan brought Yi Cong and his six slaves out of the mountain range to the Flaming Horn tribe.
Twenty worm skins, one large bundle of worm silk and two small pouches of mysterious ‘melted ice’ from the star butterfly pupae were also brought away.