Shao Xuan placed the animal skin curtain down and greeted her: “Hi, my name is Ah-Xuan, and I’m here to learn from the Shaman.”
The person dealing with the herbs on that stone plate looked up at Shao Xuan and then smiled: “My name is Gui Ze.”
Although she was smiling, Shao Xuan didn’t feel much kindness or welcoming from the smile, but she didn’t seem to have any malice either. Just like the Shaman, she smiled at everyone in a gentle way, but only for appearances.
Well, the Shaman had an excellent apprentice. They had the exact type of smile.
Compared with other warriors whose totem power had awakened, Gui Ze was relatively slender. After all, no matter boys or girls, anyone who had awakened their totem power would have a stronger physique. Therefore they would look stronger in terms of appearance.
It was warmer inside, just like everyone in the tribe said that this medicine house was connected with the fire pit. Shao Xuan didn’t know how the heat got transported to here, for there was nothing spectacular or suspicious in the room.
Shao Xuan walked towards the stone table and asked: “What should I do first?”
Gui Ze dropped the stone plate that she had in her hand and thought for a moment: “You can just stand there and watch what I do.”
“Sure.” Shao Xuan had no problem with that. He needed to watch and learn first, for he had no idea how to process these herbs.
All the plants were totally alien to Shao Xuan, but just as what Shao Xuan had learnt about herbs during his last life, most of the medical plants needed to be selected and processed, before they could be used on people.
One plant might have different effects on different parts. Some parts of it might save people’s lives, while the other parts might make things worse, or even take people’s lives.
However, now all Shao Xuan knew about herbs was the basic usage of the common-seen plants and herbs that he had encountered during his hunting trips with the team. When he was a part of the advance group, he learnt a thing or two about picking up rare plants. For example, when the proper time was to pull out the plant, what kind of plants had their valuable parts above the ground, what kind of plants needed to be pulled up as a whole, and what kind of plants could only be collected when they blossomed.
As for now, the first thing that Shao Xuan should know about was how to select them out, and when the herbs should be delivered to the medicine house.
Gui Ze was doing that right now, and she was half-done. After all, it had been over twenty days since the last hunting team returned. The short preservation life plants had long been processed, and the plants with long preservation life would be processed in the end.
Shao Xuan walked closer and stood by Gui Ze’s side, so that he might have a clearer look at how she processed the plants during each step.
The turtle approached Shao Xuan in silence, and suddenly, it bit on Shao
Shao Xuan’s eyes were fixed on Gui Ze’s moves on processing the plants, and he did not care for the turtle beside him. However, his hand quickly moved, and pulled out his stone knife. Without hesitation, he stabbed towards its eagle-hooked mouth with the back of the stone knife.
The turtle got struck, but it waved its head, and still looked at Shao Xuan in an unfriendly way. Perhaps it still held a grudge, and it remembered how it was treated by Shao Xuan.
However, to Shao Xuan’s surprise, that turtle did not try to bite him again, which was totally different from his behavior back down the mountain in that old broken stone crock. Back then, it would fight till the last minute when it had an object.
Shao Xuan was a little confused. The turtle was a biter, but why was it calm in here? Because of the Shaman? How peculiar!
No matter what, it saved Shao Xuan a lot of trouble, since that turtle was not obsessed with biting people.
Now it was almost winter time, and the temperature dropped as well. In Shao Xuan’s previous world, the standard turtles would eat less and become lazier than ever. However, that odd-looking turtle with an even more bizarre character had totally upturned Shao Xuan’s original understanding of nature.
It looked pretty vigorous, and was much more vivid than when it was left in the stone crock, trying hard to survive. Although it wasn’t moving fast, the steps it made were very energetic.
“Some rare plants brought by the hunting teams could be eaten raw. When they are delivered in here, they would normally have impurities attached, such as mud and dirt…”
Gui Ze would also explain the basic knowledge to Shao Xuan as she was processing the herbs on the stone plate.
Regarding the newly-brought plants and herbs, some of them had high water content aside from the impurities such as mud and dirt. If not processed in time, they would go bad. Sometimes, they became moldy like normal food, and sometimes they would have special changes. So, whenever the advance group returned, they would deliver the plants here as soon as possible. Someone in the medicine house would quickly process the ones that were the quickest to go bad.
“When you roughly clean and wash the newly-brought plants, and then sort them out based on different species, you need to know that some of their non-medical parts must be removed. For example, this is the palpus fruit, and you have to remove its outer layer. The outer layer may cause diarrhea.”
People in the tribe were pretty strong, especially the totem warriors. If the palpus fruit could cause diarrhea to residents in the tribe, and even totem warriors couldn’t survive, then it was very much toxic.
Shao Xuan saw Gui Ze skillfully slice off the outer layer of the palpus fruit with a sharp stone knife. She peeled off the layer with the beard-like long hairs, without harming any of the translucent jelly-like flesh. Obviously, Gui Ze was very practiced in processing it.
Shao Xuan wanted to ask how to deal with the peeled toxic layer after it had been processed. But before he could open his mouth, he saw Gui Ze toss the peeled toxic layer towards the turtle’s open mouth, as it was already waiting with its mouth open.
Shao Xuan was speechless, “……”
What the fuck! Wasn’t that supposed to be toxic?!
One of them was tossing naturally, and the other was eating as if it was supposed to do so.
Shao Xuan was totally stunned at the scene.
The Shaman left this turtle in the medicine house so that the turtle could serve as a lab rat? Or as a garbage disposal bin?
Gui Ze did not realize Shao Xuan’s astonishment. Because she wanted to demonstrate different kinds of procedures, so she did not continue to process the same thing. Instead, she walked towards another stone plate, and held up a plant which already seemed to be dried. She continued, “Not all plants need to be peeled, for example, this one needs to have its stem and stalk removed, for those parts might numb people’s hands and feet.”
Shao Xuan saw her rapidly remove the stem and stalk, and then, again, tossed the waste parts into the turtle’s mouth.
Shao Xuan: “……”
Seeing the turtle’s chewing mouth, Shao Xuan said to himself…severe diarrhea? Numb hands and feet?! All those toxic parts went strictly into the turtle’s belly!
Moreover, the turtle seemed just fine!
“Why did you feed it with all those toxic parts?” asked Shao Xuan.
He sent the turtle to the Shaman, assuming that the Shaman would ask someone to stew it for supper. Unexpectedly, it was delivered to the medicine house, and behaved just like a pet. The thing that surprised Shao Xuan the most was that Gui Ze really cut off the toxic parts of plants and fed them to this turtle! And the turtle ate them all happily.
“The Shaman said that I can try feeding it with that.” Gui Ze did not feel anything wrong. Since the Shaman had said it, the thing must be right, and all she needed to do was to follow the Shaman’s command.
It was indeed the undying creature. Now Shao Xuan had a deeper understanding of this exotic specimen.
He followed Gui Ze, taking a tour around the stone table, and watched her process different kinds of plants at the table preliminarily. After that, Gui Ze continued on her work.
After watching for some time, Shao Xuan asked when Gui Ze was not that busy, “Are there any kind of documents, like animal skin rolls, that I could read?”
After all, the plants and herbs were precious things brought back by the advance group, so they could not be processed by someone as novice as Shao Xuan, even if the processing procedures were simple, only if the Shaman gave his agreement. Gui Ze could not decide for the Shaman, so Shao Xuan could not lend her a hand even if he wanted to.
Gui Ze thought about it, and she agreed with Shao Xuan’s idea. Back when she started learning, she learnt from the pictures and records on the animal skin rolls to know the basic knowledge of plants. Only after that, did she learn directly from the Shaman. However, she did have a better environment of learning, for someone walked her through all the animal skin rolls. Indeed, she would like to help Shao Xuan with the reading, but unfortunately, she still had a lot of plants that required immediate process.
Gui Ze said as she pointed at the animal skin rolls laid on a small stone desk in the corner, “They are all over there, and you can read them first.”
“Then I’ll get started. You should go back to your work. I’ll ask you for help if there’s something difficult to understand.”
Shao Xuan came in front of the stone desk, and he found that most of the animal skin rolls seemed to be very old, while at the end there were some relatively new. they should have been made in this year.
Shao Xuan took an old animal skin roll and opened it.
There were plants with their pictures and simple demonstrations. The note was not very detailed, so were the pictures.
How to identify different kinds?
In the views of outsiders, when you looked at those paintings, you would feel that four out of ten kinds looked similar! They were nothing but leaves, roots, grass and seeds! All the same!
The pictures were in one color, and they were painted quite roughly. And the notes were not detailed either. Without the real fruit to look at, and no one to explain, one could only have limited understanding of those plants on the animal skin roll.
Shao Xuan read a few old animal skin rolls continuously, and knew that they were in the same style. After confirming that, Shao Xuan looked at a relatively new one. That animal skin roll was in much better quality than the others.
However, Shao Xuan became totally stunned when he opened the animal skin roll and had a look at its content.
If you said that the earlier pictures on the animal skin rolls were painted roughly, then the pictures on this one should be called crude doodles. Just like the symbols that the Shaman was painting, no one could ever understand what these pictures were about.
Staring at one of the ink masses on the animal skin roll, Shao Xuan suspected, perhaps, it was a drop of pigment dropped by the Shaman while he was doing the painting.
However, unexpectedly, in the next second, Shao Xuan felt like that he was seeing some round brown fruit gradually revealing itself from the picture.
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