When they had returned to the tribe and completed the sword cleansing rite, all the warriors in the hunting team descended the mountain and returned to their homes. Shao Xuan did not have many kills, so he could carry everything and leave the mountain directly.
The Shaman didn’t detain Shao Xuan to chat, as all his attention was focused on the Green Thief that was brought back by the advance group. But after the sword cleansing ritual, the Shaman had informed Shao Xuan that he would send someone to invite him to a talk in a few days.
This time, the ferocious beasts that the advance group had hunted were less than before, the quality was also lower. However, their merit was the biggest. Unfortunately, the Green Thief could never be spoken about aloud, and only a few people in the tribe learnt about it. Moreover, those who knew were only those with high positions or large contributions in the tribe. Most common people had no idea. The only thing they knew was that the advance group had made huge contributions this time.
Most of the normal people wouldn’t pry into the details of the advance group’s contributions.
They tended to care more about the harvests of their own families and friends. In regards to other people, they were nothing more than the topics of their gossip. Even though many residents were curious about the appearances of the advance group at first, they were no longer concerned once they returned home and busied themselves with processing the game.
Shao Xuan rushed over to Old Ke’s house once he had dragged the meat home, bringing some eggs and fresh meat along the way.
As Shao Xuan travelled down the mountain, he delivered some bird eggs to Mai and Lang Ga. He had eaten his fill of them in the green forest, and the only reason he had brought some back was to allow the others to have a taste. He was curious to see if eggs from the green forest were different from those from other places, and if they could be used for medicine.
In Old Ke’s room, Shao Xuan briefly described this trip’s harvest. As there were some things that could not be shared, Shao Xuan instead described in great detail the white fur he had used in the traps.
“The white fur could be woven into a long white thread and is very suited to use in traps. It is a pity that it cannot be preserved for very long. I initially wanted to bring some back for you to take a look at, but it was all used up on the way back. We encountered some troubles, and after setting the traps, the used thread started deteriorating after a few days and lost its elasticity, a single tug and it’d break. By the time we reached the tribe, it had all disintegrated.”
Although some of the terms that Shao Xuan used while explaining felt very unfamiliar to Old Ke, he could still guess the meanings, and hence understood Shao Xuan’s words.
“That’s too bad.” Said Old Ke. The lack of good materials was also one of the reasons why trap setting skills were difficult to pass down.
“It would be good if someone discovered a way to bring them back whole.” Said Shao Xuan.
Old Ke shook his head, “You can’t force that.”
For Old Ke, all he wanted was to pass down the skills he had to someone suitable. Now that he had found Shao Xuan as his apprentice, he had no regrets. What’s more, that Shao Xuan could tag along with the advance group and return safely, was proof of his luck and ability.
“What are those eggs?” Old Ke looked at the eggs that Shao Xuan had placed in the pot.
“I brought them back from the forest. People in the advance group often eat them, so I brought some back.”
On hearing Shao Xuan’s reply, Old Ke did not inquire further. Since Shao Xuan said that it was on the diet of the advance group, it should be something good.
Shao Xuan kept three bird eggs for himself and gave the rest to Old Ke. After having dinner at Old Ke’s place, he brought Caesar back to his own cabin.
Before sunset, Shao Xuan planned to treat the animal meat that he had brought back first.
A stone pot was set in the room. After kindling the fire, Shao Xuan put the remaining three bird eggs into the stone pot. He wanted to cook them first before cutting them and bringing them to the orphan cave.
Shao Xuan paid no mind to the pot after tossing the eggs in. Instead, he treated the animal meat outside his cabin. Otherwise the night swallows would come to stir trouble after dark.
Caesar was chewing a bone in his paws as he crouched beside the door. Suddenly, his ears twitched as he looked back at the stone pot inside. He listened carefully, and then ran towards the stone pot to look inside.
There were three bird eggs in the stone pot, and each of them was the size of Shao Xuan’s fist. They weren’t the biggest amongst Shao Xuan’s stock nor were they the smallest or the ones with the most patterns. These were merely in different colors.
Shao Xuan put the meat in the stone trough for pickling before he noticed that Caesar was staring at the stone pot.
“What are you looking at?” Shao Xuan walked over and glimpsed inside the stone pot.
What the fuck?!
Shao Xuan reached in and scooped the broken egg directly from the stone pot. He held it in his palm and carefully examined it.
Earlier there was only one crack on the shell. Luckily, Shao Xuan’s quick actions prevented water from getting in. The crack on the shell became bigger and bigger, while sounds of chirping could be heard clearly.
Very obviously, the chick was about to come out from its shell.
Looking back at the stone pot, Shao Xuan used his other empty hand to take the other two bird eggs out.
Fortunately, the stone pot had just been set up and the water was not too hot or the newborn bird would be directly cooked after spending a bit more time in the pot.
None of the eggs that Shao Xuan brought back had had such circumstances. He had eaten quite a lot of them, and there had never been an embryo. When collecting those bird eggs, Shao Xuan had followed Keke’s rules, only picking those that looked recently stolen. Normally there would be no baby bird inside. That was Keke’s experience. It was not due to Keke having a warm heart or something. It was simply that it was not convenient to start a fire in the green forest and Keke did not like to eat raw baby birds.
Recently stolen birds eggs were relatively cleaner than the rest, while the older eggs would have stains and other marks on their shells. The egg-stealing birds paid no attention to hygiene. Their nests were crude and simple. Often, bird droppings would fall from the nests above onto the nests below. Instead of shaking the eggs one by one Shao Xuan selected eggs that were clean.
Also, under those circumstances, it did not really matter whether there were baby birds inside. Just like Keke had said, if you didn’t feel like eating it, you could just throw it away. Previously, Shao Xuan had never encountered any eggs with forming embryos. Who knew, now he had.
Having just skinned a few animals, Shao Xuan’s hand was still bloody. In the palm of that bloodied hand, the crack on the egg grew bigger, and the sound of chirping grew louder. Shao Xuan could feel the egg’s movement clearly in his hand. He stared at the egg and thought, if the chick can survive, he’ll keep it as a chicken. He did not know whether it could lay eggs like chickens, but it won’t be a problem, for he could always eat it after it grows bigger in a year.
The broken egg shell got pushed away, and the baby bird inside gradually revealed its appearance.
It was not like the chicks that Shao Xuan had seen in his last life. The chick was wet all over with barely any down. Its eyes were still closed.
There were two types of baby birds, those that matured early, and those that matured late. Early maturing bird could open their eyes once they got out of their shell. It would be covered in soft down and could move around and eat food independently. However, the late maturing bird could not open its eyes after birth, and it had little fluff. Instead of feeding itself, it had to be nurtured by its parents.
Apparently, the one on Shao Xuan’s palm was one of the late maturing birds.
Shao Xuan examined the beak of the hatchling on his hand, and noticed that it had a beak for eating meat.
Probably the smell of blood on Shao Xuan’s hand stimulated the baby bird’s nerves. It opened its mouth wide and pecked on Shao Xuan’s palm. Perhaps it considered Shao Xuan’s hand as food, only to discover that it could not swallow it.
Shao Xuan looked around, and took out a piece of old rug made from animal skin and threw it over the stone table. He then placed the hatchling on the rug, before taking out a chunk of unsalted animal meat. He cut a slice off and tore it into smaller strips, using two thin branches to pick up a strap before putting it into the bird’s beak.
This chunk of animal meat was from the weakest amongst Shao Xuan’s hunted preys, but it was not that weak. Shao Xuan had no idea whether the hatchling could bear the energy that it contained.
Unexpectedly, the baby bird swallowed the meat strap directly, and opened its beak again, chirping for more.
It seemed to be fine.
Shao Xuan continued to feed it for a while before it finally closed its beak and fell asleep immediately after.
Shao Xuan looked at the silent fledgling on the animal skin rug, and then shook the other two eggs beside his ears. There was no shaking sound, so he tossed them back into the stone pot for cooking.
As for the new born baby bird…Shao Xuan shook his head. It was almost cooked, but luckily it broke its egg shell before being cooked.
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