Gui He stared at King City, deep in thought. They weren’t too far away from it now.
King City really was King City.
It laid in the distance like an ancient giant beast. Even if it was silent, it still radiated a majestic and powerful aura. It felt as if the city would start devouring everything that came near in the next second. There was this suffocating tension floating about in the air. Any first-timers to the city would certainly be intimidated.
The slave masters and the descriptions coming from Zheng Luo had diminished any good impressions Gui He had on the city. His hatred towards the people of King City was considerable. However, he could not deny that the city itself was huge. It looked absolutely superior to the cities they had passed along the way. There were definitely good reasons tied to its power. Logically, Gui He felt the need to learn from them to be a better tribe chief.
“So this is King City.”
There were many that shared Gui He’s sentiment. Many had thought that the Flaming River Trading Point was huge enough but this… was certainly out of their expectations. This was probably the largest trading area they had seen in their entire lives. It was only then that they realized that there were indeed bigger things in the world.
Gui He finally understood why Shao Xuan had brought them along to King City. If it wasn’t for this visit, many of the Flaming Horn tribesmen that were blinded by confidence would not be humbled down. The direct experience was much more effective than reprimands. Most of the participants involved in this journey were born and raised on the other continent. There was a considerable difference between their limited knowledge and Zheng Luo’s party. They had benefited greatly from this trip.
The Flaming Horn tribe was developing at an alarming rate. Its rapid speed was too fast for their mentalities to catch up with their ambitions. They needed to sober up for there were still many things to accomplish.
“Do you think our Flaming River Trading Point could achieve such scale in the future?” asked Ao.
“Our Grand Elder said we can,” replied Tuo confidently. The trading point was in the midst of expansion. Following the continuous expansion of the Flaming River Alliance, the trading point would continue to grow in size. Though they too wished to reach a scale as huge as King City, getting too ahead of themselves would create a pompous image. It was better to be rooted and build a solid foundation. The shamans too reminded that defences, population and the human heart were factors that must be considered in this case. Even if he wouldn’t be alive to see their glorious days, he believed that the Flaming Horn’s time would eventually come.
Gui He’s lips were curled into a smile. “I feel the same too.” As soon as his words died, his expression went serious. Gui He raised an arm and swayed it hard.
Patter patter patter---
In front of King City was a huge wide plain. Six flags that bore a totemic pattern were brought forward, lined up in a row and waved in the wind.
Why six totem flags specifically?
Back then, only three flags were used at Chao Qiu City- The Double Horn totem flag of the Flaming Horn tribe, the Dragon flag of the Flaming River Alliance and the totem flag of the Longboat tribe. In this trip to King City, they were joined by the Hui tribe, Mang tribe and Eight Limbs tribe. The three tribes had gathered together their members and did a headcount. They felt like they were at a loss. Though not many of their tribesmen were involved in the journey, it would be a pity to give up on a chance to show off their existence, piggybacking on the Flaming Horn’s status.
But the totem flags couldn’t be created at ease. In the end, they found a middle-ground approach. They wouldn’t be drawing the totem flag on behalf of their tribes but only to represent this small bunch of members that participated in this journey. This would definitely create a gap in production quality among the totem flags. However, the slave masters and tribesmen here had no idea of how the tribesmen on the other continent worked. As long as the totem flags were shown to them, they would know that the particular tribe had visited King City before. With that, it wouldn’t be a total loss for the three tribes.
Ta held the Flaming Horn’s totem flag and stabbed its pole into the ground. Pang!- The surface dirt and grass flew up. He released his grip and allowed the totem flag to stand independently in silence.
He rolled his shoulders, locking gazes with Ao in a silent exchange. As someone who was a seasoned hunt leader, Ta could clearly feel the hostility coming from the city gates. Perhaps it wouldn’t be an easy feat for them to get past King City’s gates.
Were they afraid?
Of course not!
After exercising his joints, Ta wrapped his fingers around the flagpole again and plucked it out from the ground.
The earlier thud that rang from the totem flag’s landing had snapped the tribesmen back to reality from the sheer surprise of seeing King City. As the flags flapped in the wind loudly, their fears were chased away.
Was King City scarier than the fearsome beasts and forests? They weren’t afraid of the fearsome beasts lurking the deep forests. What was there left to fear of King City? Plus, they all believed that the Flaming River Trading Point would someday surpass King City. The Double Horns would succeed in everything they wish to accomplish!
Perhaps the shift in the Flaming Horn members attitude was contagious. Soon, the other tribesmen slowly adjusted their emotions.
Indeed. What was there to be afraid of? Plus, the Flaming Horns would protect them from any potential trouble.
The horn from the city gate sounded after the long wolf howl. A commotion was detected at the gates, the guards’ armours were glowing with a golden sheen as they moved.
Noticing that, many began to step forward with their respective leaders. They rolled their joints, the knives, swords, axes and hammers in their grips thirsty for action. Some were even screaming out in excitement as they strode forward. Their behaviour seemed more like they were about to invade the city rather than anything else.
Frankly, the shock was mutual. While the tribesmen were blown away by King City’s majesty, the city guards were equally surprised by the sheer number of visiting tribesmen. The sight of the approaching army of tribes sent shivers down their spine. Though many among the Flaming River Alliance weren’t necessarily as skilled in battle, the tribesmen had chosen the right time and right location to conjure an intimidating impression. The tribesmen looked like they were capable of tearing down thousands of soldiers! Currently on this continent, perhaps only trained troops or even a few tribes that lived in the deep mountains were able to achieve this. This was the advantage of the tribesmen’s recent fire seed merging. With united hearts, the influence of ancient fire seeds was present.
Luming watched the approaching formation among the curious onlookers gathered at the gates. He gulped.
Why were there so many of them?!
Where were the others from? Wasn’t Flaming Horns the only one visiting? Why were there different totem flags? Without intervention from King City, the Lu family and fox tribe alone would find it hard to defeat them.
The Lu family members began to hesitate while the fox tribe members were contemplating giving up. Though Shao Xuan was the only one they knew out of the visiting Flaming Horn bunch, the sheer number of tribesmen involved was astounding. Based on the fire seed aura radiating off the Flaming Horns and their behaviour, the cunning fox tribe members had the urge to withdraw. The arduous task of attacking the Flaming Horns was better left to the Lu family.
The armoured young man on the city tower peered down at the incoming army. He hesitated for a moment but decided not to head down and welcome them. It wasn’t a decision made out of fear. He merely wished to observe the situation further. Reminded of what Ji Fang, his brother, had said, the armoured man began searching for a certain someone in the nearest visible row.
Where was Shao Xuan of the Flaming Horn tribe?
Ji Fang mentioned that the Flaming Horns would be visiting for a discussion. The most important figure was Shao Xuan alone. If Shao Xuan wasn’t here, there was no need for Ji Fang to be so fearful towards the Flaming Horn tribe.
As he continued to search, an eagle screeched in the sky.
This wasn’t part of the eagles that had been circling the sky since earlier. This was an eagle that was coming in from another direction. It swooped towards the approaching army of tribesmen.
A figure leapt off the bird’s back, landing ahead of the army.
The armoured man noticed that as soon as the man appeared, the army went silent. All their screams and roars died and their leaders all had their eyes glued on the man. They looked as if they were waiting for something.
“Is that Shao Xuan of the Flaming Horn tribe?” The armoured young man asked.
“Yes. It’s him.” His subordinate answered in a hush next to him.
Shao Xuan’s presence had evidently eased all the tribesmen’s tension.
Sweeping his gaze across his alliance, Shao Xuan turned around to look at the city gates that were not far away. He raised a palm to stop their march.
Aside from the Flaming Horns, the members of the other tribes and even the eagle in the sky had paused. No one protested Shao Xuan’s orders and no one looked displeased. This reaction could not be staged!
The armoured man on the tower narrowed his eyes. This was surprising. He stared at Shao Xuan, slipping into deep thought.
Shao Xuan studied the surroundings of King City’s gates, finally settling his gaze on Lubi.
Though the size of the tribesmen horde had greatly exceeded their expectations, Lubi wasn’t the least bit bothered. His sole target was Shao Xuan. His glare directed to Shao Xuan was heavy with hatred, facial muscles contorted together in wrath. Years ago, Shao Xuan was the one who snatched his hammer away in public and attacked him with it. This had greatly humiliated King City’s most famous prodigy of the Lu family. Today, Lubi was here for revenge. Regardless of what the others may think, Lubi’s target was crystal clear. He was going to avenge himself!
Naturally, such a strong glare wouldn’t go unnoticed by Shao Xuan. Shao Xuan said nothing. He began striding towards where Lubi and the others were standing.
There was no roar, no intense aura and no changes beneath his steps. The only thing visible was the dirt and dust Shao Xuan stirred with every step taken. He was walking like an unassumingly normal civilian and not like an incredibly dangerous fearsome beast that was padding over.
Despite that, Lubi felt like the immense pressure coming from Shao Xuan’s approaching presence. It felt like an insanely tall mountain was threatening to rumble onto him. He wanted to roar and exert a larger force to chase away his past embarrassment. Yet, he helplessly realized that everything was futile!
Like a raging flame that was suddenly sucked into a vacuum, Lubi had no way of exerting his powers. He had no choice but to swallow everything back!
Lubi, who was holding a hammer big enough to shade himself from rain and the sun, had his aggressive intimidating aura suppressed without warning. He wished to mobilize the fire seed power merged into his blood, only to notice that the powers refused to budge at all. Reluctant to be activated, it was as if they were deliberately avoiding something,
“How… How is this possible…” Lubi’s eyes were full of disbelief. He gripped his copper hammer tighter. Compared to the old hammer Shao Xuan had snatched away at the Gongjia’s gate, the current hammer was larger. However, it was trembling slightly due to its wielder’s shaking arms.
If he could not swing the hammer, what was the point of a bigger one?
Many could not understand Lubi’s response. Wasn’t he screaming all across the streets that he’d teach Shao Xuan a well-deserved lesson since a few days ago? Why wasn’t Lubi even waving his hammer now that Shao Xuan was right in front of him?
Unbeknownst to everyone else, Lubi felt like his head was about to explode. Droplets of sweat began forming along his spine as the fear in his heart surged. The man even thought of running away.
He had seen flames in Shao Xuan’s eyes. A ball of white fire.