Although confused, the Shaman did not come and ask, but continued his work as usual.
The scene was not as spectacular as the ritual ceremony, which was attended by thousands of people. For every hunting mission, there were only about two hundred warriors. Warriors that got wounded from last mission would remain at home for recovering, and there were some others who needed to welcome a new birth at home, or needed to look after others. So they wouldn’t be joining the hunting. Warriors in unstable conditions or had other assignments were also excluded from the hunting team. So even the same team would send out different warriors for different hunting missions.
Lang Ga and the others stood on their old spots naturally, and Shao Xuan stood right next to them.
In the front of the team stood the important people. There were about ten warriors and Mai was one of them.
The Shaman stood beside the fire pit, with a stone bowl in his hand. Inside the bowl there was some dark green pigment extracted out of some plants.
Warriors stepped forward one by one to let the Shaman draw patterns on their faces with that pigment in the bowl.
The patterns were similar as their totem patterns. As the Shaman was drawing, he whispered something in his mouth. Shao Xuan could not hear him clearly, or even if he heard him clearly, he could not understand what it meant.
Not everyone in the hunting team could be painted on the face by the Shaman. The only group qualified enough to be painted were the important people standing in the front. Now their facial expressions were serious and respectful, as if they were in the middle of some holy ceremony.
As for Lang Ga and the others, there was pure admiration in their eyes. Perhaps deep down in their hearts, they were dreaming about some day to stand in the front of the team, and obtain the Shaman’s blessing before the hunting team set off.
Even though Shao Xuan had his own opinions, his facial expression was just like everyone else in the crowd, which was serious enough, but mixed with some admiration.
After all ten warriors had been painted and stood back to where they were before, the atmosphere immediately loosened up. Led by the Chief, people began to sing the Song of Hunting.
It’s such a shame that… Shao Xuan did not know how to sing that!
In the past, Shao Xuan had heard the Song of Hunting a few times, but he never managed to learn it. He had no idea that warriors were required to sing the song before the hunting teams set off.
Shit, it’s like not knowing how to sing national anthem in the middle of a flag raising ceremony. So embarrassing to speak it out! Fuck!
However, the problem was that within the tribe, normally parents and other elder relatives would tell their kids how to sing the Song of Hunting. Shao Xuan came from the orphan cave, and he was in fact not this previous Ah-Xuan in the inside, he had never paid attention to that song. Lang Ga and the others did not expect to teach him about that as well, so all ignored it.
However, since Shao Xuan was not a real kid, he knew how to pretend even though he did now know how to sing the song.
Shao Xuan remained calm and he stood there with his mouth opening and closing constantly in silence. If not paid extra attention, he could be identified as an offbeat person in the crowd.
“Our ancestors existed since the beginning of heaven and earth. We relied on hunting when our tribe rose. Spring is warm, with all ice and snow gone with the wind. Fowls and beasts dance, while birds and animals sing and warriors cheerfully go hunting…”
Originally Shao Xuan assumed that the Song of Hunting would come to an end after a few verses. However, as time went by, he discovered that the song was rather long, as if it was telling a story. Also, the verses described circumstances from spring to summer, and then from summer to autumn, while it finally ended in winter.
It was not only a long story; it was a fucking sad story!
As if all warriors were preparing to die chivalrously!
He wondered which “talent” in the tribe wrote that kind of a song.
Even though the song described a lot of things that happened in hunting missions, and warned people to be cautious, especially during winter time, Shao Xuan found it hardly inspiring. However, almost all warriors at the scene became really excited with their necks turning red, as if they got high on marijuana.
Shao Xuan could not understand these people’s mentality anyway, and perhaps that was just the difference between insiders and an outsider.
As Shao Xuan was singing silently in the crowd with his mouth opening and closing, the Shaman looked at his direction quite a few times. Shao Xuan sensed his sight already, but still, he kept his eyes fixed to the front and learnt from Lang Ga and the others. He got excited when others were excited. Also, when others took spears and roared at the sky, Shao Xuan copied and did the same. Lang Ga had mentioned before that Shao Xuan should do the same as he did, and then he wouldn’t make any mistakes.
The Shaman’s old face twitched when he observed Shao Xuan from the fire pit. Of course he noticed that Shao Xuan did not know how to sing the Song of Hunting. However, he had never expected him to be so shameless. He acted as if he were a real expert at the song. Other kids would already have been really scared if they were in Shao Xuan’s situation.
After a whole Song of Hunting, Shao Xuan felt that he had digested all the food he had in the morning.
Since the pep rally worked, the Chief did not say any more, but asked the main leader of this hunting mission to lead the team and set off. There were timings on hunting missions, or there would be many troubles if they missed the timing.
Shao Xuan lifted his legs and walked forwards after Lang Ga.
He sensed a sight fixed on him, and it was just the lad Mao as Shao Xuan looked that way.
Mao was in a big surprise, for he did not expect that there would still be some newly-awakened warrior tagging along in the hunting mission, given that Fei had an accident during last hunting mission. The truth was, because of that accident, even those good-behaved newly-awakened warriors weren’t allowed to join this mission. Obviously, Mao did not consider himself as one of the “newly-awakened” warriors.
Shao Xuan looked away after a glimpse at Mao. To avoid making mistakes, he had to follow up with Lang Ga, and how could he spare extra energy to stare at some wimpy kid?
As the hunting team went down the mountain from the top, there were a lot of people gathering on both sides of the Path of Glory. In this hunting team, there were only two newly-awakened warriors, who were just Mao and Shao Xuan, so these two were extremely outstanding among all warriors.
Many people living up in the mountain were not familiar with Shao Xuan. So after they saw Shao Xuan in the team, they only realized that he was the one that got awakened in advance from that ritual ceremony when others told them.
This was yet another occasion for Shao Xuan to be seen in public. So he impressed even those who did not remember Shao Xuan last time. Marching with the hunting team meant that he had the ability. All people respected those with strong abilities.
With the team going down, there were more and more familiar faces. People were waving their fists towards Shao Xuan, not as threatening him, but as a kind of encouragement.
To Shao Xuan’s surprise, children from the cave also gathered by the Path of Glory. They joined in the group to see them off, with admirations in their eyes, and their little fists in the air.
Shao Xuan was a little touched, for they showed gratitude so he didn’t help them in vain.
Also, Shao Xuan recognized Sai in the crowd.
However, Sai was brought here by his father against his own will. Sai planned to sleep more in the early morning, but got dragged to the Path of Glory by his old man. He was watching the hunting warriors reluctantly, but the eyes of him suddenly became wide open and his yawn stopped in the middle. He spotted Shao Xuan in the team, and then he looked at his old man stiffly…
As expected, Sai’s father narrowed his eyes as he saw Shao Xuan in the team. Of course he planned on strengthening Sai’s training, and thinking how to train him harder when they got back.
When the hunting team got to the end of the Path of Glory, it speeded up, until the noise faded away and people behind could not be heard.
Shao Xuan carried all his equipment on his back and followed Lang Ga closely. Here was still the region that tribal warriors would patrol around. Ahead, there was a small flat ground. They would be finally outside of the tribe’s territory once they passed the flat ground.
Running on the thick grass, Shao Xuan took the time to look up at the forest on the other side of the flat ground.
Fog rose up like steam, and then stopped in the middle of the air. It looked depressingly heavy since the fog covered a large area of the forest. A sharp and rigid mountain top revealed its face above the fog and cloud, as a black eye looking down at everything.
Before he even went into the forest, Shao Xuan felt a heavy pressure, as if being buried alive.
In fact, before they went into the forest, there was a small break, when leaders assigned their tasks to warriors.
Shao Xuan took the chance to ask Lang Ga a question, who was sorting his ground bows, “So what should I do later?”
Lang Ga smiled, “You don’t bother thinking, all you have to do is to keep up with the team.”
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