Lang Ga and the others were trying to attract its attention.
Shao Xuan could feel its sight fixed on himself, and finally it looked away after staring at him for about two minutes.
“Run, Ah-Xuan, run!” Lang Ga shouted from the other side.
In fact, Lang Ga didn’t need to shout. Shao Xuan’s legs suddenly bent his knees and then jumped up high with all his strength the second when it looked away. He basically ejected himself in the blink of an eye.
The stone pillar that he stood on immediately cracked on the top, while Shao Xuan’s body shot out like an arrow.
The moment Shao Xuan moved away from the stone pillar, he glimpsed a long shadow which shot out and promptly retracted back. If Shao Xuan was a little slower, he would probably have been pulled down by the long shadow.
Shao Xuan knew what that long shadow was. If touched by it, he would’ve been dragged into the water.
Meanwhile, Lang Ga and the others had tossed the long spears they had at hand towards the creature in the river. Earlier, they dared not to do that, because Shao Xuan was standing in a really delicate position, and he could easily get hurt accidentally. Now, since Shao Xuan was not there anymore, they did not need to be overcautious. The veins on their upper arms popped up as they tossed out the long spears.
Stone spears flew through the curtains of rain, and Shao Xuan could hear the “whoosh” sounds as the spears flew in the air.
Puff! Puff! Puff!
Three long spears stabbed into the creature’s body, and red blood poured out immediately after that. If those piranhas were around, they would already have gathered around by the attraction of fresh blood. However, now, except for the struggling noise made by that injured creature, there was nothing else.
Another two long spears were tossed there.
Long straw ropes were attached at the end of the long spears. Apparently, they were attached so that the wounded game could be dragged to the bank.
As people dragged it up with the straw ropes, Shao Xuan finally got to see what that thing looked like.
And although like his earlier speculation, the thing that was dragged to the bank did look like a frog, but surprisedly it also had a long tail!
Was it a tadpole? The kind that hadn’t grown into a frog, but had the limbs?
Judging by its call earlier, Shao Xuan did not expect to see something like this.
The long-tailed frog that had become a pincushion was still struggling, but not as strongly as before. Its four limbs were thrashing around, leaving trails on the bank.
When the long-tailed frog was stabbed once again and stopped struggling, Shao Xuan went closer for a detailed observation.
Aside from the long tail, its four feet were fully webbed, and were not very toe-like. When you force-opened its mouth, there were sharp teeth inside. Besides that, the rest of it looked exactly like a mature frog.
Not only that, the size of the long-tailed frog surprised Shao Xuan a lot. If the long tail was not included, its body was over five meters long! No wonder that Lang Ga and the others were so nervous.
It was Shao Xuan’s first time seeing such a big frog with a long tail and sharp teeth.
“You almost frightened me to death!” Seeing that Shao Xuan was unharmed, Lang Ga was quite relieved. He warned Shao Xuan, “Now that this thing came out, you need to be extra cautious from now on. Do not go to check on the fish fences for now.”
Whether they could catch any fish was not a big deal. The important thing was their own safety.
Lang Ga still had a lingering fear, for he did not expect the thing to come out so quickly. When he saw those two bloated eyes appear in the water near Shao Xuan. Lang Ga felt as if a jar of icy water was poured on his body.
Some people in the patrolling team had been dragged into the river in the past, and none of them ever returned alive. Even though people became more careful lately, and they were able to kill some of them every year, they would still be dragged down once they reduced their vigilance. You cannot let down your guard in front of the game.
Watching the others kill and dissect the long tailed frog, Lang Ga shared more things with him about the things he needs to pay attention to. Also, he told him some tragedies that happened in the past, to draw Shao Xuan’s attention.
“But this thing has its merits. It’s delicious! We can now kill some of them, but in a few days it will become very hard.” Said Lang Ga.
On that day, Shao Xuan killed three long tailed frogs together with the others. Those three frogs had different patterns and colors, but all of them had long tails, and seemed to belong to the same strange species.
People in the same duty all shared the meat, and later, they brought some of the frog meat back after finishing patrolling. It was delicious. Although it was not as tender as the frog meat that Shao Xuan had tried in his last life, it contained more energy than the river snails.
The rainy season was relatively shorter than winter. But it was not just a day or two. The rainy season would last for about thirty days. No one could say the exact date, for each year it varied.
Two days later, the unceasing rain made the river grow a lot.
Shao Xuan speculated that based on that rising trend, in less than ten days, the river will rise over the stone line. However, seeing their behavior, the others didn’t seem to be scared at all.
When Shao Xuan was patrolling again, he could see a large amount of triangular heads and bloated eyes along the river bank line
No wonder that Lang Ga said that later they would be difficult to catch. So many long-tailed frogs…Rather than pulling them to the shore, they would pull you down into the water..
When there was nothing else to do, Lang Ga would stuff mud into the empty shells, and toss them towards the frogs to watch the frogs snatch them with their long tongues. Just like the frogs that Shao Xuan knew in his last life, those long-tailed frogs would capture moving objects. Most of the times, before the shells fell into the water, they would be snatched with the long tongues.
Those long tailed frogs never came on the shore, they would at most stand in the shallow waters, with their triangular heads and bloated eyes revealed above the water. Unlike in Shao Xuan’s old memory, they barely made calls. Occasionally, a loud “Quack” could be heard.
With the rising river, every time when Shao Xuan went patrolling, the patrolling line would be drawn back a little. Because of the existence of those long tailed frogs, they needed to maintain a safe distance from the river.
Until one day when Shao Xuan came towards the riverbank, he found that those long tailed frogs near the river bank had all disappeared. He also noticed that the river, that had risen to the seventh fish fence, had begun to recede.
The rainy season was not over yet as Lang Ga told Shao Xuan. It was merely the first ebb of this rainy season. In the coming days, there would be more ebbs in this rainy season. But after the first ebb, all those long-tailed frogs would all disappear, and never come back again until the next rainy season.
In the meantime, Shao Xuan noticed that when the river was ebbing, the obvious trend of the flowing direction of the river seemed to have changed. As Shao Xuan speculated, nowadays, the river was not flowing in the same direction as those lords of the river, but it was flowing what was before upstream.
The altered flowing direction, and the long-tailed frogs that disappeared overnight, both told Shao Xuan that something happened upstream of the river. Per Lang Ga’s theory, there would be quite a few times that the river would ebb, and along with every ebb of the river, the flowing direction of the river would alter. A lot of strange things were happening during every rainy season. [Who can make a guess at what might have happened? Quite a few hints were dropped, not saying that it might be relevant to the story in the future. Maybe it might, maybe not.]
Just because of those weird phenomenons, people in the tribe felt that the limitless mysterious river became even more mysterious. The whole time, they were reluctant to explore, for they did not dare to explore.
During the first ebb, Shao Xuan found a wood-eating insect in the seventh fish fence.
Shao Xuan personally set the seventh fish fence, and he placed a few bulks of wood inside the fish fence. Unexpectedly, this sudden ebb trapped a few wood-eating insects inside.
The wood-eating insect was like a ball of mucus. When they smelled wood, they would quickly attach to the wood, or just drag the wood down after the insect changed its shape.
However, Shao Xuan noticed that there were a lot of trees growing in a place that was flooded by the water, but they were not chewed on much. But if you tossed a bulk of wood into the river, in over an hour, you could see it being dragged down. Normally, the wood bulk would disappear from the surface within two minutes.
Apparently, those wood-eating insects were acting abnormally during rainy seasons.
So, every time when Shao Xuan was patrolling, he would place a piece of wood on the river to see how long it would take for it to be dragged down. On the wood bulk, he attached a thin straw rope, with the other end tied on a stone pillar so that the wood bulk doesn’t drift away. When he returns home that day, he would write the observation down in his secret notebook.
This rainy season only lasted for twenty-seven days, and it was shorter than last year. It was a normal situation. According to the experienced warriors, the longest rainy season in their lives lasted for about forty days, while the shortest rainy season was no more than twenty-five days.
When it stopped raining and the haunting dark clouds finally faded away, the precious sun finally shined again above people’s heads. Everyone in the tribe was feeling refreshed from the fine weather.
Having been cooped up in their houses for nearly thirty days, the kids now were running around excitedly outside their houses. Children in the orphan cave also began to prepare things again. With the end of the rainy season, they could start fishing as usual. Temporarily, they did not have to worry about the disturbing noises that might hurt their chests.
Because, the disappeared water demons would appear again after some time, and then they would scream again.
“Let’s go, Ah-Xuan!”
Lang Ga and the others were packing their things and preparing to leave.
“I’m almost done! You guys go ahead!” Shao Xuan answered.
After the rainy season ended, you weren’t in danger anymore so long you didn’t step into the river. So, Lang Ga and the others were not worried.
When Lang Ga and the others had left, Shao Xuan took out a small wooden boat from the animal skin bag. It was made by him during these last few days after he came back from his patrolling duties. It was a simple sailboat, and he made it with some wood he had and some tiny stone needles.
The sail was made from the leaf of some plant, and the wood planks were all normal timbers. The body of the little sailboat was only two palm’s long.
The wind was blowing from the bank towards the river. Shao Xuan placed the simple little sailing boat on the surface of the river. With a slight push from his fingers, the little boat moved away from the bank and was sailing away from the shore, drifting towards the center of the limitless river. The dot of green on the boat was particularly conspicuous.
There were a lot of piranhas in the river. Those big fellows with low IQ, that had disappeared during the whole rainy season, had now finally come back, and became more active than before. One single slice of meat or blood would cause chaos for a long time within the river. They were very energetic. Luckily, they had no interest in wood, while the wood-eating insects that were obsessed with wooden objects seemed to have disappeared.
After standing on the bank staring at the green dot for a while, Shao Xuan collected his things and left. When he was climbing up the mountain, he looked back at the river and could still see the little dot drifting away.
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