Three flags represented the Flaming Horn tribe, Flaming River Alliance and Longboat tribe. There were other tribesmen in the unit, i.e. Hui, Mang and Eight Limbs tribe, they did not raise flags not because they did not want to, but because they did not have one. Privately, they regretted it. Why hadn’t they thought of bringing one?
Make one now? No, a totem flag must be made of satisfactory material and personally drawn by the shaman. Only then could it represent the tribe. Unfortunately, they were here just to satisfy their curiosities and did not think of bringing a flag.
The three totem flags flapped majestically in the breeze. When they approached, the people on the city tower could see the totems on the flags.
The unlucky traders at the city gates no longer banged on the city gates. When they saw the foreign army approaching, they immediately turned to leave.
Chao Wen’s eyes were fixed on the unit, discussing their strategy with a subordinate next to him. One, they could attack immediately, killing them while they were tired from the long journey. On the other hand, they could first negotiate to get to know their motives. Perhaps they were here only to trade. This could prevent conflict.
In the past, Chao Wen would have been more inclined to the latter. He did not like spending military power, it was a waste of money and people. However, these people were from the other side of the ocean, particularly Flaming Horns. So they must be careful.
The people around him were arguing passionately. Chao Wen was also in a frustrating dilemma. How unlucky they were!
As he pondered, his ear twitched and he looked up in the sky.
A black figure swooped through the air straight at Chao Wen.
His face lit up and he lifted an arm. The figure landed immediately.
It was a black bird about two palms small. It looked like an elongated scissors when it flew, and had a slender figure when its wings were retracted. A messenger bird.
He untied the little bamboo tube tied to its foot, taking out a piece of thin fabric. It was made of fearsome beast silk so it was quite sturdy.
When he saw the fabric note, he could truly confirm that the note came from King City.
His tensed face slowly relaxed when he read the note.
“Father, is that a letter from King City?” Chao Chuan, who had mobilised the troops, rushed up the tower, drenched in sweat.
“Mm.” Chao Wen grunted distractedly, then re-read the note and heaved a long sigh of relief. “Open the gates.”
“Huh?” The command stunned Chao Chuan. He thought they were here to fight a battle, why open the gates?
When he saw Chao Wen furrowed his brows, he knew his father was displeased again and quickly yelled to the city guards, “Open the city gates!”
The people at the bottom were waiting for a decision but were stunned to hear this command. Seeing that Chao Chuan was not joking, they looked at each other, then finally opened the city gates slowly. They opened it very, very slowly, terrified that something might suddenly happen. They looked at the unit far away through the opened gates.
When the people crowding around the city gates saw this, they exploded in discussion, all quickly retreating back to keep a safe distance from the gates.
Only three hundred people from the entire unit entered the city, the rest of the tribesmen waited a distance away from the gates.
Shao Xuan led Caesar into Chao Qiu City, the rest of the group following behind.
Their intimidating aura scared the city guards so much they did not ask for an entry fee.
After he entered the city, Shao Xuan did not continue walking. He made a gesture, telling his people to make their purchases.
Chao Wen continued standing on the tower but did not go down. He had not decided how he should speak to Flaming Horn, also unsure of what to say. If his tone was taken the wrong way, there would be huge trouble. That was why Chao Wen was hesitant.
The Flaming Horns never intended to greet the lord anyway. They just wanted to enter the city like other trading parties and make their respective trades. Shao Xuan, Mu Fa and the few leaders stood in front at the entrance while Caesar lay next to them, staring at the guards with his cold wolf eyes.
Shao Xuan looked at Chao Wen, who was looking down at them. Their eyes locked for a few seconds, then they each looked away. They understood each other’s intentions without needing words.
Shao Xuan saw that Chao Wen did not want to start a war. Perhaps they had received news from King City already. They opened the city gates and half their city guards retreated.
Chao Wen privately heaved a sigh of relief. Thank goodness. Looks like they are here to trade. Let’s hope they leave soon.
The people entering the city did not know the local language and were not familiar with the city so they were led by Longboat tribesmen. All of them rubbed their palms with glee. They went straight to Chao Qiu City and not around because they wanted to shop! There was a long distance between King City and here, they should stock up, right? And see these slave masters’ cities for themselves.
Unfortunately, their expectations might have been too high. The more they walked, the more disappointed they became.
They were already used to the Flaming Horn trading point so Chao Qiu City was not impressive at all. In fact, there was a feeling of ‘that’s it?’.
There were indeed beautiful and exquisite goods too. Naturally, they were inclined to buy some back to show off in the tribe but they were too expensive. Not good deals at all, and troublesome to carry around.
The people here had been to Flaming River Trading Point many times. Even if they were not familiar with businesses, they had their own perceived values for these goods. These are all so expensive, why does it feel like these businesses are all scams?!
In the past, they thought the goods at the trading point were expensive but in comparison, the Flaming Horns were the ethical ones! How can a small pack of dried meat be so expensive here?!
However, they were in a foreign place. Even if the goods were not satisfactory, they had no choice. At least they had ‘money’!
The six main cities had a unified currency but businesses still traded goods for convenience.
Before they came, the tribes learned about the value of their goods and gemstones from the Longboat tribes. Having prior knowledge, they were not worried about being cheated. There were Longboat tribesmen there to remind them too.
Abuli and three Zhi warriors came to a shop along with two Longboat tribesmen.
It was a food shop selling everything from grains to pastries and meat. Far-travelling groups often visited this place.
The tribes on this side had undergone many changes from tribesmen to trading parties, distributed in various cities manning various shops. Abuli learned this from the Longboats so other than eyeing the shopkeepers curiously for a few moments, he ignored them and focused on the goods.
There were people carrying boxes inside. When the person heard customers walking in, he put down his box. He was squatting down and saw them through his peripheral vision- three pairs of large feet.
Although large feet were peculiar, they were not enough to shock since different tribes had different characteristics. They were used to all kinds of people. What shocked him was that the three pairs of feet were rough and had wounds on them- they looked like beggars,
The shopkeeper thought they were beggars who were not even fit to be slaves in the city, about to chase them out when he looked up. Eh?
Frozen, the shopkeeper stared at the blinding gemstone worn around Abuli and his warriors’ necks.
Clear, transparent crystals that refracted seven-coloured light. They were attractive and every crystal was as thick as a child’s arm!
The shopkeeper closed his eyes, then opened them. This is not a hallucination!
“Y-you guys.” His words were stuck in his throat as his eyes glazed.
Usually, traders would keep their wealth a secret, terrified of people knowing about their wealth. Yet these people acted like prodigal rich sons, they had no intentions of hiding their wealth! How strange!
Abuli ignored the statue-like man, his eyes fixated on the sacks of peculiar grains, as well as dried meat that were processed for long travels.
There were many types. Although they were not as good quality as Flaming Horn’s goods, there was more variety here.
“Which should we get?” asked Abuli. He could not choose.
“That one.” A Zhi warrior pointed at one type of grain near them. The grains were fat and large, they looked filling.
Abuli waved. “Buy!”
“That one.’ The other guy also picked a grain.
Abuli looked at it. “Buy!”
“Also that one, that one looks good. Eh, it looks delicious.”
“Buy! Buy! Buy!”
It was a rare chance for Abuli to show off his wealth. Knowing that his crystals were valuable, he went on a spree. He was not afraid of being robbed either- they had four thousand people in their group! That was the source of his confidence!
Five shops away, in a grain specialty shop, Gui He carried an animal skin pouch filled with gemstones while he pointed at something on a shelf with the other hand.
“That one, that one, that one, that one. Also, that whole row. One hundred sacks each.”
“Huh?” The shopkeeper was stunned.
“Why? You don’t have enough?”
“Ah, no, we do!” Seeing Gui He about to turn and leave, the shopkeeper quickly stopped him. Nonsense, how could he let such a customer leave?!
Some people looked around for a long time but realised there was nothing good enough for them. They fell into an ‘I have money but I don’t know what else to buy other than food’ dilemma.
Gemstones were rare and very valuable here. How did this happen? Why were both continents so different?
The main reason was the core seed!
Gemstones were rare here due to the core seed. Although all kinds of gemstones used to exist, since the appearance of the core seed, those gemstones turned into metal ore.
Rare objects were precious so when the aristocrats started to fancy gemstones, they became much more valuable. It was too bad that gemstones were rare, especially top grade ones. Many slave masters sent their slaves to mine for gemstones but in the end, the number of slaves dead from exhaustion far exceeded the gemstones.
In contrast, to the tribesmen on the other side, gemstones were all too common. They could even throw a couple of stones back into nature if they felt like it.
Since core seeds were not common there, all the natural crystals remained intact. Just like how the Zhi tribe’s territory was rich in crystals. They had more crystals than food sometimes.
This was one of the methods the Longboat tribe used to grow rich.
The Chao Qiu City folk, as well as foreign traders in the city had one deep impression of Flaming Horn’s unit: stupid people with a lot of money.