Compared to the time they went to collect the Taihe Tribe, this trip involved many more people.
After deciding to leave for King City, Gui He picked one thousand people from their tribe. He wanted to go too because he rarely left the tribe since becoming the chief. There were many matters to attend to and Shao Xuan had been taking over any external matters. Now, he finally got to leave.
Other than Gui He, the other higher-level leaders leaving with Shao Xuan were Ao and Ta. Duo Kang and Zheng Luo stayed behind to guard Flaming Horn.
Zheng Luo and Duo Kang came from the other side anyway and while they were not familiar with King City, they had seen cities before. Ao and Ta had always been on this side and only knew of cities based on hearsay. Now they could truly see the place for themselves.
One thousand Flaming Horns and one thousand tribesmen from various tribes.
Gui He’s message told the tribes that they were going to get the missing people back, emphasizing the dangers of this expedition. However, many more tribes who did not have missing members also volunteered to follow.
Shao Xuan even saw a few timid Zhi tribesmen.
“Your tribesmen went missing too?” asked Shao Xuan.
The Zhi chief, Abuli, nodded vigorously. “Yes, someone went missing!”
“How many went missing? Children or adults?”
Abuli thought for a moment, his eyes shining. “A….adults. We lost adults.”
Shao Xuan looked at the four other Zhi tribesmen next to Abuli. When his eyes met theirs, they quickly looked at their toes. They kept scraping the ground with their huge feet and looked very anxious. Perhaps they were not sure how they could help their chief lie.
Shao Xuan understood that Abuli was looking for an excuse to come on this expedition and did not interrogate them further. He left to check on the other tribes.
Although each tribe did not send too many people, the numbers added up quickly. Some tribes like Thunder Mountain and Sickle tribe sent at most one to two hundred people. They wanted to send more but Gui He specified not to send too many. Other tribes only sent a few. However, since there were so many tribes- tribes that recently joined the Flaming River region during Shao Xuan’s disappearance, some even moving from the central region- the numbers added up to a little more than one thousand.
That was how a total of more than two thousand people set off from Flaming River. This group would only get bigger when the Longboat tribe joined them.
Although the Flaming Horn tribe also built their own boats, they only had about ten ships that could withstand marine voyages. This was a large group so they needed to borrow the Longboat tribe’s ships when they met.
Gan Qie decided to follow too.
When everyone gathered, the Flaming Horn tribe wasted no time and set off.
The Longboat tribe had moved its main village to the coast but they had not abandoned their original village either, in case of an emergency. They merely moved their main matters over by the sea.
This time, the Flaming Horn convoy would meet the Longboat tribe at their old headquarters, then head to the coast together.
When the Flaming Horn boats arrived, more than ten Longboat boats were already waiting. They did not have many members so a portion of the Flaming Horn convoy went over.
“Their boats are much faster now.” Shao Xuan could feel the obvious difference between these new boats and what they used to be. The Longboat tribe was talented in building boats, just like the Gongjia family and forging weapons. It was admirable.
Shao Xuan took a look. Those Longboat people were probably bringing all types of gemstones with them again.
The tribesmen did not care for gemstones here, they were just pretty rocks and were not as attractive as meat or grains. That was why the Longboat tribe could trade for these stones with many willing tribes. They would then resell the gems after crossing the ocean at a high price and purchase more metal wares and other more practical items.
Their impression of the slave masters was as such: dumb people with a lot of money.
Since they founded their marine trade route, the Longboat tribe had earned huge profits. All the tribes that merged with the fire seeds in the central regions had developed but the richest tribe was now Longboat tribe.
The convoy followed a familiar inland stream through the plains until they arrived by the coast. Due to their frequent travels, the tribes who lived by the river paid not much attention to them, a stark contrast to the initial shock. However, the current size of the fleet did attract more attention.
The people who were on the boat for the first times felt strange to see other people staring at them from the riverbanks. Of course, they were excited because not everyone in their tribes could be chosen to be here.
The Longboat tribe’s new headquarters was by the coast, near many mountains. They did not build many houses here, instead choosing to dig holes.
Previously, Shao Xuan could see a few houses here and very few caves but this time, there were much fewer wooden and stone houses. Instead, there was a mountain almost completely dug hollow within, containing many caves and tunnels.
A few warriors told Shao Xuan that they lived in the caves because there were frequent storms in the area. While their stone houses could withstand a few gusts of wind, no one was confident they would last very long. They had much less to worry about now because they could just tie their boats to a windless area behind the mountain and then hide inside the mountain during a storm. All they had to do was seal the entrance. There were many holes for ventilation so they would not suffocate.
Only the Longboat members were familiar with the inner structure of the mountains. This terrain was almost impenetrable and easy to defend during combat so they were very satisfied to move their headquarters over so quickly.
When the fleet arrived at the river mouth, Shao Xuan saw a few Longboat tribesmen on a boat nearby, something shaking in their hand. A fish half an arm long leapt out of the water and the warrior swung his arm in an arc, catching the fist tight in his hand. With a dagger in the other, he sliced its belly, took out its internal organs, then rinsed it in some seawater and ate the still moving fish. He would occasionally spit some scales out and continue chatting with his friend.
These movements meant they had long grown comfortable with life around here.
“Hahaha, long time no see, Flaming Horns!” Mu Fa, the Longboat chief, walked over with a grin.
Due to being exposed to the elements, the Longboats had become darker and more muscular.
Although they were thin, they gave off a sense of explosive resilience, their gaze sharp. They had experienced many things during their voyages, and with time, they gained a wild look. They were as fierce and intimidating as the Flaming Horn hunters now.
The Longboat tribe was completely different from what Gui He remembered. No one would have guessed they were the same tribe.
A person becomes more dangerous when his heart is released like a caged tiger. This was how the ambitious Longboat warriors truly looked like.
Mu Fa, who was in his prime, had enough time to satisfy his ambition and finally led the Longboat tribe to make its own mark in history like his ancestors dreamed of. Every descendant who talked about the era of marine exploration would talk of the legendary chief, Mu Fa, and how the tribe ascended to glory.
Mu Fa came over to greet Gui He, then looked at Shao Xuan. “You’re really going to King City?”
Although he had not been to King City, he knew about it. If this group of Flaming Horns encountered the slave masters’ army, they could die. And the slave masters were untrustworthy people too.
“Why? Have you changed your mind?” asked Shao Xuan.
“I’m going! I’m definitely going!” said Mu Fa immediately.
“When are we leaving?”
“We can’t leave for the moment. Wait first.”
“Why? Is someone else coming?” Shao Xuan had done a knot reading and found this time to be very suitable for a voyage. The Longboat tribe had made sufficient preparations too. The only reason he could think of that would make the tribe delay their departure was that they were waiting for someone.
Mu Fa did not say no either, “A few days ago, the Hui tribe said they wanted to leave with us. The Mang and Eight Limbs tribe then also sent messages saying they wanted to go too.”
Ever since the Longboat tribe moved to the coast, the Hui and Tianshan tribes from the grassy plains and the Mang and Eight Limbs tribe from the central region had also followed the Longboat tribe on their voyages before. But why did everyone want to go now, at the same time?