Shao Xuan placed old Ke’s sabre onto the newly-made stone table in his room, while Caesar bared his teeth as he glared at the sabre, standing at least two meters away from it. Ever since he sniffed the sabre earlier, Caesar became extremely cautious and his eyes showed that he was extremely alert, for he kept his distance from the sabre all the time and never came near.
Shao Xuan reached out his hand to touch the sabre’s body, which was not the same cold feeling as normal stone knives. It had been decades, and the intense ferocious aura of the sabre finally settled down. After thousands of times’ polishing, the knife became smaller in size because of the abrasion. The blade was full of small dents once, but it became smooth and sharp again after old Ke re-polished it.
Shao Xuan sighed slightly and he used a leather bag to carefully cover the sabre. He did not expect old Ke to give him such a precious sabre, without caring about that he might lose it.
After placing it aside, Shao Xuan took out a piece of stone plate. The stone that it was made from was not of good quality, and Shao Xuan was merely using it as a writing board. He had been keeping record on how many stone tools he needed to craft and how many had already been completed.
Aside from spearheads and arrowheads, Shao Xuan planned to make a few stone balls to take to the hunting, which could be used for flying chains to trip the beasts.
For the next three days, Shao Xuan had been stone crafting in old Ke’s place and he was there listening to old Ke’s hunting stories.
Old Ke did not brag about his glorious days, and Shao Xuan did not ask further. He assumed that old Ke would tell his legends when he wanted to.
After they were finished with the work, old Ke asked Shao Xuan, “Do you know why people in the mountainside district rarely go fishing?”
That was something that Shao Xuan also wondered about, since people noticed that fishing was easy, why would so many people be so willing to risk their lives for hunting?
To be honest, pulling out fish was quite simple, so one would not go through much trouble as long as they mastered the tactics in it. Besides, as far as Shao Xuan knew, not every person in mountainside district had sufficient food.
However, in actuality, Shao Xuan had only seen a few old men, who had trouble walking around, come down the mountain and join the army of fishers. None of the kids living up there went fishing, let alone those warriors, except for those guards by the riverside. Basically no one would try to snatch the fish from people in the mountain foot district.
Old Ke raised up his hand and stared afar through the window. From that direction, the mountains afar could be seen.
“Because of the tradition,” said old Ke, “Nine hundred years ago, the Chief and the Shaman left an admonition together, that all warriors must go for hunting as long as they are not disabled. Even when the food is sufficient, no one shall indulge himself in a leisurely life. One can never slack off and should try every possible way to better himself!”
It was never easy for totem warriors to improve their strength. When they were hunting outside, they needed to be engaged in thousands of life-and-death struggles to improve themselves from first-level warriors to mid-level warriors. However, it would be extremely difficult if they wanted more progress. For warriors like Mai needed to be prepared to lose their lives every time they went hunting outside.
Among the whole mountain, people living in the mountain foot district were the weakest in ability, which also meant that they were relatively the slack group of the tribe. But even so, every time when hunting, Shao Xuan had not seen a single face of reluctance. Everyone was so positive, even when they already had enough fish to support their living.
Many warriors living up in the mountain would never allow their kids to come down the mountain for fishing. Perhaps they did not want their kids to have the concept of “obtaining food is easy”. From the admonition that passed down through generations, all they needed to know was that they had to take risks to obtain food. To earn food and clothes, one had to put himself into danger and fight against those fierce animals in the forest.
Pressure was the only motivation of improvement.
“Those warriors who had not been tested by hunting are no true warriors!” old Ke summarized.
It sounded cruel, but quite understandable.
Shao Xuan thought of the fresco he saw on the wall back in the cave, and the last sentence, “One day, we shall return to our previous land. Glory is still in the fire, and the fire of the Scorching Horn will never be put out.”
After leaving old Ke’s place and coming back to his own cabin, Shao Xuan counted the stone tools he made today, and sorted them out, while placing them at the same place where he stored the other stone tools.
The arrowheads that Shao Xuan crafted for himself were not the same as those he made for Lang Ga. These arrowheads had more streamlined bodies and the wings appeared more like flat strips. Aside from those, Shao Xuan crafted a few three-winged arrowheads. Unlike the stone tools for training purposes, Shao Xuan had carved his name on every piece of stone tool that he planned to take with him on the hunting trip, which was a custom of all hunting warriors in the tribe.
After sorting out the stone tools, Shao Xuan noticed that Caesar was yawning as he squatted there with his ears droopy. He was not spirited at all, and at first sight one would see him as a lazy dog lying in front of his own door. No wonder that Lang Ga and the others would just ignore him these days, instead of seeing him the same way as they saw game. Animals like Caesar were not challenging enough, and they certainly had no interest towards a wolf who had lost his wild nature.
However, how should he deal with Caesar while he’s gone hunting? It would be over twenty days!
Leaving him home was not an option, and Shao Xuan would not feel comfortable if there was no one to look after him.
Send him up and ask for the Shaman’s favor? No, that old wizard could barely look after himself when he got busy.
Shao Xuan even considered whether he should send Caesar back to the orphan cave, but after some serious thought, he gave up on that idea, for Caesar would be totally undisciplined if he stayed in the cave, and no kid there could control his behavior.
He thought of several people who might be able to take care of Caesar, but finally, Shao Xuan decided to ask old Ke to be his guardian. Also, Caesar would be obedient at old Ke’s place.
Since Shao Xuan had been learning from old Ke for such a long time, Caesar became quite familiar with the place. What’s more, Shao Xuan believed that old Ke would be good to Caesar.
So, three days after the previous hunting team came back, the other team prepared to set off.
Carrying old Ke’s sabre and the stone tools he crafted for himself, Shao Xuan took a detour to old Ke’s house, for he planned to leave Caesar there. Aside from Caesar, Shao Xuan left plenty of fish and meat. Caesar was growing fast, and he ate more every day.
“Now be good and stay with old Ke. I’ll pick you up once I return.”
Shao Xuan could still hear Caesar’s whine as he carried his equipment and climbed up the mountain. He sounded pretty pitiable… He was more like a dog…
According to the earlier agreement with Lang Ga, Shao Xuan should stop by at his place first, and then Lang Ga would be the one to take Shao Xuan to the mountain top. Before the hunting team set off, there was a gathering. Shao Xuan was unfamiliar with many rules and procedures, so he had to be guided by someone, or else he could easily make mistakes.
By the time Shao Xuan arrived, Lang Ga was already waiting at the door, with quite a few big animal-skin bags full of tools and equipment.
“Let’s go.” Lang Ga carried the bags and walked in the front.
Many people saw Shao Xuan as he climbed the mountain with Lang Ga. People were pretty surprised to see him, for no one expected that Shao Xuan could tag along with the hunting team this time.
“Is Ah-Fei not with us?” Shao Xuan asked Lang Ga.
Shao Xuan had seen Fei’s figure, but he noticed that Fei did not carry any equipment, nor was he heading up the mountain. In fact, he glanced at Shao Xuan angrily.
“Oh, him.” Lang Ga whispered, “In the last hunting mission, that lad disobeyed some order and caused a scene. So Mai and the others forbade him to join this mission, but left him at home for reflection. If his reflection was satisfying, then perhaps he could join the third mission. But anyway, he can’t go this time. So, you must remember to follow the orders when you are in the hunting team, Ah-Xuan.”
“Understood.” Shao Xuan answered.
They met Ang and a few other warriors that were Lang Ga’s friends, so they all went up to the mountaintop together.
The gathering was held the same place as last time’s ritual ceremony, however, this time the fire fit was not lit entirely.
The Shaman dressed in a grey cloak stood beside the fire pit with a stick in his hand, talking with Chief Ao. When Shao Xuan looked at him, the Shaman looked his way as well. After seeing Shao Xuan in the crowd, the Shaman obviously got stunned a little. Apparently he remembered Shao Xuan this time, and did not expect Shao Xuan to participate in this hunting mission as well.
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