When the different hunting groups in the hunting team were supposed to meet up, the advance group was usually the first to reach the place. They needed to build a new wooden box to contain all the plants and herbs that they had collected. Because of the Green Thief, the entire advance group hurried back, directly arriving a whole day before the other hunting groups.
Despite finally reaching the rendezvous point, the exhausted warriors did not have much time to rest. After chopping down quite a few trees, they made a wooden box the size of a carriage, and put all the plants and herbs inside, before sealing it from the outside. They used vines to tie the box tight, and then covered it with leaves and other similar things. No one could see what was inside, and insects and other pests were prevented from getting in.
When they had finished packing up the plants, the advance group divided into two groups. One group stayed behind to guard the plants, while the other group went hunting. They would take turns so that they would all have a chance to hunt down some game. After all, they had been out for almost twenty days, so they should at least bring something back home. Or else what would they be eating for the next dozens of days? Besides, they needed something to drag back when they walked on the path of glory, otherwise it would be embarrassing.
There were not many high-level ferocious beasts near the rendezvous, so they did not worry that the storage area would meet any unbeatable dangers. In the first place, the rendezvous spot was located near the mountaintop, so there were fewer animals around.
Shao Xuan wanted to tag along with the first group to go hunting. Ta agreed seeing that he was in good spirits. Anyway, the ferocious beasts nearby weren’t so dangerous, so the other warriors in the hunting group would be able to protect him well even if something happened.
One day later, the other hunting groups began reaching the meeting spot.
Mai’s hunting group was the second one to arrive out of the five hunting groups. It seemed that they had a good harvest this time, for the facial expressions on the warriors’ faces were quite joyful.
“How’s the advance group, Ah-Xuan? You look well!” Lang Ga slapped Shao Xuan’s shoulder as he laughed. However, his smile froze right away when he set his eyes on the other warriors in the advance group.
Not only Lang Ga, the other warriors in other hunting groups all speculated that perhaps the advance group had encountered some massive disaster after seeing the state they were in.
After quite a few days of endless running and killing, they were busy building the box and packing the plants when they finally arrived at the rendezvous. Aside from that, they had to go down the mountain for hunting in order to maintain their status and reputation in the team. Hence they could not choose the easy targets and thus they had no time to rest properly.
The forty warriors were divided into two groups, and those groups took turns going down the mountain to hunt. All the rest they had was from last night, but a single night’s sleep was not enough for them to recover their fatigue. Naturally, they were a mess when the others came to the rendezvous. Even after a quick clean up, they were still a mess.
When had the advance group been as embarrassed as they were now? The others had all kinds of speculations. At least, from the time they were awakened and joined the hunting team, they had never seen the advance team in such a state, as if they had experienced an inhuman torture.
As for the reason for that…people could not help but compare the differences in this hunting trip.
The only difference was that – Shao Xuan had tagged along with the advance group.
The other kids had originally been soaking in the happiness of participating in the first hunting mission in their lives and discussing their experiences with other newly-awakened warriors. However, now they whispered to each other about Shao Xuan.
“Look! The warriors in the advance group are all so tired, they must have had to protect Shao Xuan! However, Shao Xuan is totally fine.”
“Yes, indeed. He must have been a huge liability.”
“So what if he had been blessed by the ancestors? Good fortune can’t be at his disposal all the time. In fact, he is lucky enough to have come back safely.”
“Well, judging by the situation now, I suppose he will not be allowed to tag along with the advance group next time.”
“Alas, it would have been better if he had just stayed humble and stayed in the small hunting groups like we all did. He is not old enough, nor strong enough for the advance group after all. He is only a junior totem warrior like us, but he wanted to tag along with the strongest group.”
The kids were not the only party that had such thoughts. The others in the hunting team all shared the same thoughts. All the people in the advance group except Shao Xuan seemed to be worn out and exhausted, just like the other experienced warriors who had to do their best to protect the newbies in the team. So it was reasonable that they got this tired because of Shao Xuan’s existence in their group.
Of course, the place that the advance group goes to for hunting would be much more dangerous, and any slight mistake could result in severe consequences and different outcomes. Shao Xuan was the only unstable factor this time.
“I’ve said that they shouldn’t have allowed Shao Xuan to join the advance group.” Someone whispered.
“The warriors in the advance group must have tried real hard to protect the kid, Shao Xuan. Look at their exhausted faces! I’ve never seen them like that!”
“It seems that the advance group had run into some real trouble this time!”
“Well…to have been tortured like that…Even the game was a lot less…”
“I think that my boy is no worse than Ah-Xuan, ha-ha. Perhaps he’ll be recruited into the advance group some day in the future!”
“Perhaps someone in the advance group liked this kid Ah-Xuan, given that he had hunted some nice beasts last time. Perhaps he wanted to marry his daughter to him, so he specially recruited Ah-Xuan to the advance group!”
“Stop making things up! The team leader has no daughter!”
“But the others have daughters!”
“Hey, listen, do you think that the others in the advance group are planning to kick Ah-Xuan’s ass when we get back to the tribe?”
It was not known who had said what, but all of them began to laugh aloud. However, the laughter did not remain for long before their faces gradually froze. Because they noticed that the forty people in the advance group were staring in their direction, as if looking at morons.
If people in the advance group weren’t too tired to move, they would already have headed over and kicked their butts!
Ah-Xuan was useless?
Have you seen the traps that the lad sets? Have you seen the kid capturing the Green Thief? Have you seen the kid cutting down two Fire Lances and soak the ground with their “blood” in one move? You don’t even know anything so what are you blabbering about?!
They couldn’t help but recall the past when they had mocked Shao Xuan themselves. In the end, they got slapped in the face just two days after entering the green forest.
They had suffered a lot? Well, if they could have the chance to capture the Wind Ball and the Green Thief, they would very willingly suffer every day!
As for the troubles they had encountered along the way, there was even less to say. Everything had its price. Since they had found something as precious as the Green Thief, it was worth it to spend much more effort. Ever since they first joined the advance group, they had mentally prepared to pay the price to be elites.
Tortured? If they could find more rare plants on the animal skin roll, get to eat things like the Green Thief, and encounter all those wonderful treasures, they would wholeheartedly accept this torture every day!
Seeing that the expressions of the warriors in the advance group were not good, the leaders of the small hunting groups all glared at the ones who were chatting, warning them to stop.
Aside from the warriors in the advance group, no one knew that it was Ta who approached Shao Xuan first to ask him to join the advance group. The others did not know that Shao Xuan had made no such request, so naturally they had all kinds of ideas. But there were some nimbler minds who had guessed that the real situation must have been more complicated. However, no matter what the advance group went through, it was not something they could gossip about.
“Not having the ability and still mocking others.” Lang Ga sneered at those who were chatting with a look of despise.
“What did you say?!” Someone in the other crowd stood up suddenly. Being unable to do anything about the advance group didn’t mean they were unable to touch him!
“I called you losers, so what?” Lang Ga was not afraid either.
A few other warriors in the same hunting group stood up together with Lang Ga. They had a pretty good impressions of Shao Xuan. Whether it was because of the blessing of the ancestors or not, they felt that Shao Xuan was a good warrior. That was reason enough.
The two hunting groups were only one second from fighting each other, when the team leader shouted out, “Shut up, all of you!”
Ta swept both groups with a cold look and said in an icy voice, “Whoever talks again should forget about the next hunting trip.”
People on both sides immediately quieted down, for the team leader had the right to pick the ones who could attend the next hunting trip.
When Lang Ga was walking back to his hunting group’s resting spot, he saw Shao Xuan waving at him from the advance group’s spot. Earlier he had a face full of dissatisfaction but now he showed a big smile to Shao Xuan. Shao Xuan’s gestures were telling him that he had something good for him when they get back home.
When all the hunting groups had gathered, Ta led all of them back to the tribe.
– Inside the tribe –
Old Ke was sitting on a piece of stone in the training ground with his hand on his cane, looking thoughtful.
Suddenly, he heard something and looked up. It turned out to be Caesar, running towards him with a stone coated with grass juice in his mouth.
After Shao Xuan left, Old Ke had not stopped Caesar’s training. He trained Caesar with Shao Xuan’s methods. He had to admit that the kid’s methods worked pretty well, and Caesar was making obvious progress. He could quickly find and fetch things even when you threw them extremely far away.
As a reward, Old Ke tossed Caesar a piece of meat. Before he could say anything, he saw someone running back to the tribe, shouting that the hunting team was returning.
Counting the days, it should be about time for the hunting team to return.
Old Ke could not wait any longer. After Caesar finished eating his piece of meat, he sat on the wolf’s back and gently tapped on his head, “Go back home, quickly, Ah-Xuan’s about to return!”
At first Caesar was reluctant to head back, but as soon as he heard Shao Xuan’s name, he began to run quickly, even refusing to listen to Old Ke’s command to slow down.
The wounded had already been sent back to the tribe, and when Old Ke had reached the tribe, there were plenty of people standing along the Path of Glory with their necks stretched, waiting.
Finally, figures appeared in the distance, and the man standing at the mountain foot whistled to signal to the awaiting people.
When the hunting team finally set foot on the Path of Glory, the people along the road began to cheer wildly. This time, some families had children who were participating in their first hunt, so all the members of these families were present to welcome their return.
Seeing that Shao Xuan remained unscratched, Old Ke was relieved at last. However, when he gazed at the others in the advance group, his heart leaped a little. With his keen eyes, he could easily discover that the status of the warriors in the advance group was not normal.
He recalled the time when Shao Xuan said “You can just rest assured” before he left. Old Ke’s right hand clenched over his chest, unable to calm his racing heart. It seemed that every time Shao Xuan said “You can just rest assured”, something big would happen…
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