Leading The Hunt
Thirty-five tribes came in total. Three tribes couldn’t make it in time for the previous gathering since they lived far away and had never been to this part of the region, but they were here for this hunt today. All thirty-five tribes entered the forest with the Flaming Horn tribe’s hunting team.
The three tribes that came late for the gathering actually arrived on the day it was held, but the meeting ended when they arrived. However, they didn’t return home immediately. Instead, they stayed in the trading point until the hunt began. They decided to leave after the hunt because they lived too far away. When they chatted about this matter, two of these tribes even said that if they could successfully merge their fire seeds, they might very possibly migrate upstream.
Before, they chose to settle in a place no one else settled on for safety reasons. Now, since the situation had changed, they desired to move to a place with more tribes.
Of course, even though many members came from each team, not all of them joined in the hunt. Some tribes that were not fond of combats and hunts only sent a few members to join. This was very minimal when compared to the number of people who came from the Thunder Mountain and Water Tiger tribes. All tribes had their own specialty after all. Some never had any experience in hunting and this had never been their way of life, so if they forced themselves to join, not only would they be a burden for the team, they might even lose their lives before they entered the forest.
However, even the weakest tribes sent out one or two members to join this hunt. The people who came were mostly chiefs or skilled warriors from each tribe.
For example, the Zhi tribe would never want to come face to face with any fearsome beast. Before, they would never have the courage to even walk into a forest full of fearsome beasts if they had a choice. However, it was different this time. So many tribes had joined the Great Alliance and they were following a whole team out to hunt, so if they chose not to participate, they would be laughed at by other tribesmen. Chief Abuli decided to join the hunt with two other warriors from his tribe. Abuli was known to be the most powerful member of his tribe and the two warriors that came with him also had the biggest feet in the Zhi tribe, so they were naturally equipped with fast feet. Thus, even if they encountered any fearsome beasts they couldn’t defeat, they could still run away.
Most tribesmen felt that strength in combat meant everything. That was why those tribes that were more combative felt more confident and emboldened. Tribes that didn’t like to solve problems with mere strength usually preferred to use their own unique skills to trade for valuable resources. Those who came with their tribes and didn’t join the hunt would wait in the trading point while the hunting teams went out to hunt. They would try their best to adapt to everything in the trading point as the others in their group went to hunt. A part of this group that stayed behind also decided to help the Flaming Horns with the construction and expansion of the trading point.
Before they set out, Shao Xuan gathered the leaders of each team to discuss a few important matters. He told them what they had to watch out for in the forest and those who had no experience should follow and observe those who had more experience, such as the Taihe tribesmen and the Flaming Horn tribesmen. He specifically warned them not to use their own techniques because those techniques might work on the wild beasts they were familiar with, but not fearsome beasts.
The Flaming Horn team chose a hunting trail different from the six trails they usually went on. This new trail didn’t have as many fearsome beasts as the other six because this land wasn’t fertile. There weren’t many plants or animals here.
If the Flaming Horns came to hunt by themselves, they definitely wouldn’t have chosen this trail. This trail did not have enough fearsome beasts, so they felt that it wasn’t challenging enough for them. However, it was perfect for these tribesmen because they were new to this place and if things suddenly got out of hand, they could still manage to fix the situation. If they went on another trail and suddenly too many beasts appeared and caused chaos, even with the number of Flaming Horn warriors that came, it would be difficult to save everyone from that situation.
There were a total of three hundred people who came from all the teams. The Thunder Mountain tribe and the Sickle tribe brought around fifty members each. Most other tribes only brought a few members. Tribes like the Zhi tribe didn’t have a huge population to begin with, and other tribes that were not combative and had no experience in hunting had very few people who joined.
Luckily, the Thunder Mountain tribe, Sickle tribe, and Water Tiger tribe didn’t live by the same tributary because the hunting teams were separated according to their tributaries. Even though these three tribes currently had no conflicts with each other, they felt an urge to combat the other tribes, so luckily they weren’t on the same team.
After they crossed the Giant Bridge and walked deeper into the forest, they noticed that the trees were getting taller and the grass thicker. The grass in some areas were so tall that people would vanish as soon as they walked in.
The smallest tree trunks here were even thicker than the bulkiest person in this team. This forest was full of tall ancient trees. Compared to the size of those trees, their team of five hundred was insignificantly small army of ants.
The fog and mist in the mountains carried a silent murderous energy, as if something dangerous was lurking behind them, quietly observing them from afar.
How tiny they were!
This was a very special moment for those who first entered this forest. They finally understood why the Flaming Horns wanted to bring them out for a hunt. If they didn’t come, they wouldn’t have realised how tiny they were.
The Flaming Horn tribe chose hunting as the first team bonding activity of the Great Alliance. The main purpose of this hunt was to correct some of the improper attitudes these tribesmen held, especially those tribes that were more arrogant. This forest was not full of wild beasts that they often hunted, but of fearsome beasts that were way more dangerous.
Their ancestors from thousands of years ago might’ve encountered fearsome beasts, but they had been separated from the forest by the Great River for almost a thousand years, so they no longer had the experience their ancestors had.
If we compare these tribes to blades, the tribes that never had any hunting experience were like dull blades while those who had hunting experiences were sharper blades. If those dull blades wanted to prevent the slave masters from kidnapping their people, they had to sharpen themselves and gain more experience to become sharper blades capable of defending their tribe.
They heard a roar from far in the forest and anticipation began to build. The Flaming Horn soldiers who had experience in the woods could tell that this roar was an exclamation of excitement by a beast that had successfully hunted an intruder. A fight between beasts had taken place before they arrived.
Another roar came from the team of tribesmen.
The Ya tribesmen looked around nervously and some of them began to dig holes in the ground. Abuli’s giant feet staggered in retreat before he realised that this roar came from their team.
When the crowd looked over, the chief of the Water Tiger tribe, Qu Li, had raised his head and was roaring so loudly that even the veins on his neck bulged.
The other Water Tiger tribesmen behind Qu Li also opened their mouths as they prepared to roar.
“Silence!” Shao Xuan demanded in a low voice.
Hearing this, Qu Li stopped roaring and turned around. All the Flaming Horns in front of him were looking at him as if he was an idiot. The other tribesmen seemed ready to punch him in the face.
“Sorry, I couldn’t help it,” only now did Qu Li realise the terrible mistake he had committed. He heard a roar deep in the forest and he was too excited. The blood in his body was bubbling and he couldn’t find any words to express his current feelings, so the most instinctive thing to do was roar.
The Water Tiger tribesmen often used roaring as a way to vent their feelings. Whether it was anger, sadness, or excitement, they would roar. This was a habit that had existed for thousands of years in their tribe, maybe even longer. Their ancestors had this habit. That was why he couldn’t control his excitement just now.
In this forest, roaring was something fearsome beasts did if they wanted to warn intruders to stay away from their territory. Besides this, roaring also meant they were challenging opponents to a fight. Qu Li’s action was no different from seeking death.
What an idiot!
Many people cursed him in their hearts. If it wasn’t because of where they were, they would’ve screamed at him or even beat him up.
“If you roar in this forest, sometimes it just means an earlier death,” Shao Xuan said. Roaring in the forest required perfect timing and skill. One had to be adept in judging the situation and know when to roar and when to stay silent. This was clearly not the right time for a roar.
The team continued to advance. The Flaming Horns no longer needed to tell them to stay silent. All of them were already quiet and vigilant, cautious for even the slightest sounds around them. Even all the Water Tiger tribesmen bit their lips and stayed silent.
Even if these weren’t the best warriors from each tribe, they were skilled and all had keen senses. Threats were all around them. Even though the sky above was curtained by the towering ancient trees, many sensed the invisible dangers around them.
The grass here grew taller than them. Creatures hid behind the tall grass and the team could feel the murderous glares even if they couldn’t see these creatures.
Seeing how anxious everyone was, Shao Xuan said, “Don’t worry, those are just shadow birds. They’re very sly creatures. The stronger you pretend to be and the calmer you appear, the less likely they’ll make a move on you. If you look or act weak, then they might see you as a potential target.”
As soon as he finished speaking, a bird flapped its wings about a hundred metres ahead of them. When they looked ahead, it was a bird about half a human’s height with green and grey stripes.
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Caesar snarled beside Shao Xuan, a low roar sounding in his throat.
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