Something seemed to be swimming beneath the waters. The unit descended, then dove right to the surface, opening their jaws to swallow the surrounding fish.
They did not even need to enter the water, for very soon, a large school of fish leapt out of the water, their scales reflecting a blinding silver.
It was a feast.
The long formation expanded in surface area, every flying beast enjoying their food. The bigger ones wolfed down their prey hurriedly, swallowing multiple fish at a time as if they did not want to miss out. The ones at the end could only eat one fish at a time, though they were also quick to feed. The fish were eaten the moment they left the surface, and in the end, only fish remains fell back into the water.
After they were full, the unit flew high up again. Now, the school of fish was even more active, and more of them arrived, but the flying unit had already pulled away from the surface into the sky.
A giant figure leapt out of the surface and fell back down. All these small fish were probably chased up to the surface because of this big one.
In the air, the flying unit flew in a long formation once again. In the water, the school of fish swam along the same path.
Shao Xuan looked at the small figures at the end of the flying unit, then at the school of fish. Seems familiar.
He suddenly recalled a scene in the village when the pterosaur cried rhythmically on a branch while the fish gifted by the Di Mountain tribe swam upstream into their manmade river appeared on the surface.
He compared this with his memory.
So the migratory flying beasts had long known the fish in the ocean.
Shao Xuan was just a spectator following the migrating herds, observing the vast, magnificent world in awe.
The wheel of life turned as he observed every scene.
Millions of years felt like one day.
Until one day, a flash of white light slashed through the skies and crashed into the ground.
White flames erupted in all directions, burning every tree, fish, insect, and animal it touched.
The arrogant kings of the world with their gigantic bodies, threatening claws and sharp teeth could not do anything. All they could do was scream in agony, rolling on the ground in pain.
That was how the white flames infiltrated this world.
Shao Xuan watched animals large and small run towards where they thought would be safe from the flames, only to be blocked by more white flames and subsequently burned to death.
Humans who were already living through the gaps could not escape either. The ones who hid in caves still did not escape the wrath of the white flames.
The white fire seemed to be cleansing the world of life.
Some flames fell into the ocean, though the fireballs continued to burn as they sank deep into the ocean. Compared to the ground, very little fire hit the ocean. That was why many ocean beasts had escaped the disaster.
The rulers of the skies were also hit hard, the giant flying beasts with protruding crowns flying in flocks towards one direction. Some of them started to fall from exhaustion, ultimately turning to ash while the rest suffered through their burns.
Shao Xuan saw them fly to a piece of land, into the forest, then collapsed. Their bodies each the size of a small hill piled together into a tall mountain like a mass grave.
The world was engulfed in white flames, the land once teeming with life now silent.
The animals who thought they had arrived in a ‘safe haven’ had escaped from the white flames but another threat awaited them. The land without the white flames cooled rapidly and everything froze instantly. All these escaped animals stopped running forever.
Not sure how long had passed since then but the world changed once more. The white flames were no longer there, they must have dissipated into the air.
The trees changed to look differently, while the animals Shao Xuan saw changed drastically. Animals crawling out of the water, soil, branches all did not look like the previous ones.
Within the forest, on the peak of the tall mountains, a figure broke through the ice and snow and took off into the skies. Its wings were not covered in membrane but thick feathers, its body also drastically transformed. All that remained was how it looked when it flew, its cries echoing across the silent mountains as it spread its wings. Its magnificence could rival the heavens!
However, very few of these figures remained after the fire, most of them had been buried in the mountain.
This scene matched with the place in Shao Xuan’s memory.
This is the origin of the giant mountain eagles, the sacred place of the eagles.
Life and death happened in the blink of an eye. When more figures took off, they looked different once more.
Shao Xuan’s field of vision zoomed out and travelled far, until it stopped on an ordinary mountain.
Ahead was a cave and there were signs of human activity. Humans lived there.
Night fell but no one moved the boulder meant to seal the cave.
All sorts of threats were laying low in the forest, biding their time.
The reborn nocturnal animals once more placed their attention on the weak, following their scents to the mouth of the cave. They surrounded the entrance, then closed in. The stronger ones kicked away the weaker predators, closing in quicker to get to the prey first.
However, the ferocious predator at the entrance suddenly picked up on a dangerous scent. It paced around, hesitating to enter.
A blurry ray of white light appeared in the cave, slowly brightening as it extended out of the cave.
When the white light approached the cave mouth, the nocturnal beasts reacted as if they had seen something terrifying, backing away quickly with fear in their eyes.
A rough hand covered in wounds trembled as it parted the vines hanging down at the mouth of the cave.
A figure walked out, casually wrapped in some fur of unseen colour, then stood at the entrance and looked at the beasts. In the end, as if mustering his courage, the figure took a step out.
A ball of white flames burned on his other hand. This fireball made the nocturnal predators, previously filled with bloodlust, cry in terror as if they had met their natural enemy, turning to sprint back into the forest.
Shao Xuan stood outside the cave, watching the figure walk slowly out.
His movements grew from initial small, timid steps, to more confident strides, the beasts’ terrified reactions giving him more confidence. When all the beasts cried and ran off, his bent back slowly straightened. Step by step, he held the fire ball as he left the dark cave into a more open area.
The beasts hid in the forest fearfully, green eyes peeking out of the bushes, regarding this man from head to toe.
The flames had given all beings a chance for transformation, also giving way to new life. Yet the fear still remained in their instincts.
The man approached these hiding beasts, then with frustrated roars, they all retreated and ran off.
The man was fixated on the flames in his hand, desire and excitement in his eyes. His hair, as dishevelled as withered grass, billowed in the wind. Powerful emotion stirred within his eyes, the white flames reflected in them.
An excited cheer rang across the forest. Shao Xuan could feel the joy and excitement mixed within.
The white Founder Shaman Seal appeared beneath the pair of wounded and calloused feet as white smoke curled from the ground, burning all nearby insects in the air.
The true primordial fire seed!
This was the first person to control the fire seed, he was the one who changed the world. From this day on, humans no longer had to hide in the gaps of the food web, they were no longer at the bottom of the foot chain! They could finally step out of the darkness!
The first rays of the day broke through the skies and shone on the lands.
The man looked away from the fireball at the rising sun, taking large strides, speeding up then finally threw all fears from his mind and sprinted.
The world in Shao Xuan’s field of vision shrank as the forest and person blurred. All he could see was the ball of flickering white flames--- the first fire seed.
The white flames were moving, and as it moved, more fireballs appeared. The first to appear was a white and orange fireball, then subsequently fireballs of other colours emerged, large and small, then started to move in other directions. Shao Xuan had seen some of these before and could recognise the tribes. He saw Flaming Horn’s fireball with the double horn totem on top, then the other tribes like the six aristocratic families of King City, Hui, Mang, Rain, Han…
There were also fireballs he had never seen before.
All these fireballs originated from the first one, which was the white fire seed, that was why it was never repulsed by other fire seeds. These fireballs would become the foundation and core of every tribe--- a tribe’s fire seed was the source of the tribesmen’s totemic power!
The emergence of this fire brought destruction, but new beginnings. It was a force to be revered, for millions of beings were both born and destroyed by it.
The world was reborn once again.
What emerged after the destruction was life, colourful and beautiful as ever.
Perhaps humans were the most fortunate winners of this disaster.