Shao Xuan could sense the fire seed’s power flowing through the mountain. However, like a human, totemic warriors did not display their powers when not in battle. Similarly, the mountain looked like an ordinary mountain other than the fact that there were no plants on it.
“Do we sign now?” asked Shao Xuan.
“If I want, you can. You all have already read the contents of the agreement. If you have no objections, you may sign now,” said Ji Fang.
To stabilize their relationship with Flaming Horn, Ji Fang had offered decent conditions. Everyone would remain in harmony, no wars will be declared, both sides will respect the other party’s rules when on their territory, etc. The agreement would last a hundred years. King City planned to expand and was busy with internal and external affairs. Flaming Horn was in the same situation, they needed time to develop their territory. This agreement would benefit both sides.
One hundred years sounded like a long time but many tribesmen lived twice as long as that. If Ji Fang could continuously keep his power, it was not impossible that he would remain the lord for more than a hundred years.
Then again, even if Ji Fang was not there in a century, the agreement still stood and the next lord must follow the conditions. Just like how the agreement between King City and the Black Bear chief’s predecessor was still effective to this day. No matter who the Black Bear chief was, they must abide by the conditions until its expiry.
Shao Xuan looked at Gui He and the few. Seeing as they did not object, he nodded. “We’ll sign now.”
Ji Fang handed them an animal skin scroll containing the agreement. Once they confirmed that there were no errors, he walked towards the mountain wall with the scroll rolled up in his hand. He paced around, then stopped to point at a spot. “There is a larger empty space here, you may sign here.”
Shoa Xuan nodded and Ji Fang’s expression was solemn. He lifted his right palm and with a flick, a slash opened on his palm, blood poured out. Before the blood dripped off his palm, he pressed it on the wall. At the same time, a creeper plant-like pattern appeared on his body. Shao Xuan had seen this pattern on Ji Ju before.
The Ji family’s fire seed aura radiated from Ji Fang. The palm on the wall burst into flames. At the same time, Ji Fang started to recite the contents of their agreement. With every word he uttered, a portion of his clan’s totem would appear.
When the one-metre long totem was almost completed, he too almost finished reciting the agreement.
“...the agreement shall last a hundred years!”
When the last word of the agreement was uttered, a circle of red light shone from the Ji totem. This was the mountain fire seed’s flames. The circle of flames encircled the totem.
Ji Fang retracted his hand. The totem and red circle of flames remained.
Taking two steps back, Ji Fang gestured for Shao Xuan to step forward. “You just need to leave a mark next to it.”
Shao Xuan nodded, stepped forward and pressed his palm on the wall next to the Ji family totem.
When Shao Xuan touched the wall, the circle of red flames extended in his direction.
He closed his eyes, sensing the power flowing within the mountain and the fire seed at the centre. Perhaps other people might find this fire seed too foreign even if there was no strong repulsion. The oppression was stronger near the fire seed and caused great discomfort. But Shoa Xuan did not feel the oppression at all. He felt there was something familiar with the fire seed, it was similar to the white flames in his body.
A signature was an imprint made by a fire seed’s power. Shao Xuan could feel power every wisp of energy flowing beneath his palm.
His eyes shot open and a flash of white flames appeared before him, totemic patterns rolled across his entire body. Energy from the Flaming Horn fire seed within him poured towards his palm and the Flaming Horn fire seed’s aura radiated in all directions.
Outside the palace.
The betting house had received news from a few noble clans that Flaming Horn was about to sign the agreement. That was why the crowd had not dispersed. To prevent people from stealing the goods on the table, Bo Yi sent many guards over- three layers of them surrounded the betting table and every guard looked at every person like a potential thief. Anyone who wanted to place bets could only enter through one gap, then exit through another.
They could feel a fire seed fluctuation from the palace so they knew the signing had begun.
“Flaming Horn’s fire seed,” remarked Abuli.
“Who from Flaming Horn do you think will be signing?” asked someone.
“Is that a question?” Everyone looked at him like he was an idiot.
Yes, was that even a question? The signer was obviously going to be Grand Elder Shao Xuan.
The entire King City was startled by the abrupt aura, quieting down. They looked anxiously in the palace’s direction, trying hard to sense the energy fluctuations. Although they could not see inside, they could speculate through the fire seed energy fluctuations.
Within a house near the betting house, Su Li and tens of Changle people were here to watch the show. They too were observing the palace closely, as well as the betting house. Yes, they were here for the fun, but they were also waiting for an opportunity. Capitalising on chaos was one of their strengths.
Within the palace, in the courtyard with the Heaven and Earth Agreement Book.
Ji Fang sensed the Flaming Horn fire seed aura radiating from Shao Xuan and knitted his brows. The aura was becoming stranger and stranger, as if there was something else too, not just Flaming Horn’s fire seed.
What the heck is that?
Ji Fang’s mind raced. He looked at the mountain, then at Shao Xuan, very puzzled.
Based on the usual situation, the Flaming Horn totem should have appeared already. So why hasn’t the double horn totem appeared beneath Shoa Xuan’s palm yet?
Just as he had many questions, Ji Fang suddenly heard a huge rumble like a rolling boulder or thunder. It startled everyone in the yard.
White flames erupted from Shao Xuan’s palm, then they extended in a line of flames beneath his palm until they arrived at the centre of the wall, and extended upwards. At the same time, another flaming line extended in the opposite direction to form a white cross.
The mountain trembled, pebbles rolling off its edges. However, these grain-sized stone chips came with a deafening rumble that sounded more like an avalanche.
Red flames exploded out of the top of the mountain. The flames started to rise and heat up while the mountain shook even harder as if the slumbering mountain was finally awakened.
Bright sparks flew in all directions as flames rushed vertically upwards.
As the flames sputtered out of the mountain, a similar red glint appeared in Shao Xuan’s eye. However, this red glow was not noticeable against the white flames.
Gui He and the rest gawked in shock. Was every signature this dramatic?
If Ji Fang and the rest in the courtyard knew what they thought, they’d scream: No, you’re overthinking it!
Their past signatures were never like this.
In the past, it did not matter which tribe the signer was from. Even if there was a large commotion from the mark, it was contained and not this dramatic. It always felt within the mountain’s control. This time, it felt like the mountain itself could not contain the power surge!
The word should not be ‘contain’- Ji Fang felt like the mountain had given up!
Ji Fang’s eyelid twitched. The situation was getting out of his control.
The rumbling in the yard grew louder and louder as gusts of manic wind blew. Dust and sand were thrown in the air while bits of leaves rolled in the sky as if a storm was brewing.
The Mu patriarch drew in a sharp breath in shock, though he accidentally choked on some flying dust and started to cough violently as if he was about to cough blood out.
No one paid any attention to him because they were staring at the mountain. The Yi elder was more astonished than the rest.
Was it not just an agreement? What was this?!
Outside the palace, all the observers also heard the rumbling from within the palace. If it wasn’t for the sun shining brightly in a clear sky, they would have thought a storm was coming.
“What… what happened?” asked a timid person, his teeth chattering from anxiety.
Some people laughed at the rest. “This is normal. Of course there will be some commotion when a Heaven and Earth Agreement is signed. There is nothing to worry about.”
“Are you… sure?” Many were skeptical. Their fears were justified because they were all traumatised from prior natural disasters. The rumbling and shaking were very uncomfortable.
“Of course!” The person tried his best to maintain the calm expression on his face, insistent on his opinion. Even if he was not, he stubbornly stood his ground.
Bo Yi reminded his subordinates to remain vigilant in case someone stole their goods during the chaos.
Abuli and the rest gawked with curiosity, sighing, “So this is how signing an agreement looks like!”
In a house nearby, Su Li shot up with shining eyes, looking at the Changle people around him. “Something’s happened!” His favourite activity was robbing and stealing goods by capitalising on chaos. He loved to see his victims’ expressions when they noticed their missing goods, and the way they were helpless towards the Changle people.
“Watch the betting table. Once you see an opportunity, act immediately…”
Su Li had not finished his sentence when Wu He shook his head vigorously. “I’m not doing that! You all go ahead, I’m not participating in this!”