Chapter 6 – Troublesome
Translated by Sunyancai
There were 27 children living in that cave in total, including Shao Xuan. Since every one of them was ferocious enough, how could Shao Xuan take over the cave with his skinny arms and legs?
Many children in the cave would love to inherit Ku’s position in order to get more food. Obviously, it raised a lot of discontentment when Shao Xuan got the job at such a young age. And it’s known to all that discontentment breeds strife inevitably.
The word “troublesome” could briefly describe the situation.
The middle-aged man called “Ge” was in charge of delivering food to the orphan cave every day. He was not as strong as Mai and even worse, he lost an arm in the process of a hunting trip, which ended his identity as a hunting warrior. That was why he retired from hunting team and began his job in delivering food.
Shao Xuan went to ask for the reason, but he didn’t get an answer.
With the food distributed, Ge carried the stone crock with one hand and left. Even though he lost one of his arms, his bodily strength remained intact and he had no problem with carrying a stone crock with only one hand.
After Ge left, Ku went inside the cave to announce the decision of who was going to replace him and take over his position.
“Starting tomorrow, Ah-Xuan will be in charge of distributing food!”
The atmosphere had just calmed down from the earlier fights over food, but immediately the air became tense again because of Ku’s announcement. Kids in the orphan cave did not yell to complain for they were not experts in arguing. They merely looked unfriendly and dissatisfied.
Ku did not stay longer or give any further explanations, and soon left with all his belongings. He was almost an adult and if no accidents happen, his totem power would be awoken after this winter. Which meant that he might be leaving the cave for good.
Ku left easily, but Shao Xuan’s mind was weighed down with anxiety.
Looking up at the sky, Shao Xuan noticed that it looked to be around three o’clock in the afternoon if a day was still broken into 24 hours as it was in his last life. This left him some time until sunset to go out.
Together with Caesar on a rope, Shao Xuan went to the gravel yard again, sitting on the ground thinking about what his next move was going to be.
Originally, he had thought that he would keep on living a plain life. After a few years, he would awaken his totem power and start his own life on the outside. Barring accidents, he could build a house, join a hunting team, and live out his years. Even if he were a late developer, his totem power would still awaken at Ku’s age. However, based on the current circumstances, living a plain life was no longer an option. For example, when he had just left the cave with Caesar, he noticed quite a few kids stared at them maliciously.
“Do you think they will wake up at midnight and make you their snack?” Shao Xuan looked at Caesar who was wandering in the gravel yard.
In the past, while Ku was around, those whelps dared not do anything for real, but the situation would not be so predictable now with Ku gone. Children in the cave were much more ruthless than outsiders and a lot dumber. With severe hunger, they would definitely ignore the patterned plate from the Shaman. What if they do unite together, and roast Caesar? Shao Xuan would never have a chance of winning faced with dozens of kids there.
Caesar was not aware of the coming difficulty as he kept searching for stone worms in the gravel yard. Since there weren’t many left, he began moving towards the black swamp.
In the vicinity of the tribe, there were two restricted areas. One was a large black swamp, where people would easily get stuck in, and being stuck basically meant death. The other one was the river in front of the hill, and its other bank could not even be seen. In that river lived numerous water monsters. In the early rumors, a few powerful warriors in the tribe went into the river to catch fish but never came back again. With too much unknown danger, the leader of the tribe forbade people to enter the river.
So, aside from some women in the tribe occasionally going near the shoal to wash animal skins, no one would touch the water. There was another stream coming down from the top of the mountain where the tribe’s drinking water came from. Naturally no one would willingly come into contact with a river of unknown dangers.
There were guards taking turns to guard at the black swamp and along the riverside, in case that someone should step into danger unconsciously, or some unpredictable danger happened.
Fishing and hunting were often combined, and since there wasn’t much luck in fishing, the tribe mainly relied on hunting, added by the lack of domestication and farming. That was also the main cause of the food crisis within the tribe.
Food is the cause of everything. Children in that cave were already slobbering after Caesar as he walked around with all the meat under his skin.
“What should I do?” Shao Xuan sighed again, and he began to blame the old Shaman who had given him a patterned plate, then never showed up again.
People, especially kids with no totem power were forbidden to go into the black swamp, or enter the waters, but no one said anything about wolves. So once in awhile when they were nearby, Caesar would go to the black swamp to find something to grind his teeth, for example, some odd beetles living there. Time after time, the guarding warriors would turn a blind eye to Caesar’s coming.
Animals have sensitive instincts for danger, so naturally Caesar would only wander around the edges, for he knew the black swamp was filled with risks.
This time, Caesar came back with something in his mouth. When he got near, he spat out a black lump in front of Shao Xuan.
It was some worm that Shao Xuan had never seen. Unlike the beetle last time, this worm was much softer and was as big as Shao Xuan’s palm with a flat oval shape. It had many thin and long feet, and it was as black as the swamp.
When it was in Caesar’s mouth, it used its feet to poke at Caesar’s nose.
Caesar had taken back a few worms in the past, perhaps he was doing it for entertainment. After all, there were not many creatures that could be found nearby the tribe. And chasing rabbits only existed in his dreams. It’s pretty sad that Caesar, a wolf, had to deal with worms all the time.
Just as Caesar was trying to recapture the fleeing worm, Shao Xuan discovered that the worm spread out large quantities of black bubbles from its mouth and the bubbles covered the worm as a whole. Caesar did not like those bubbles, so he had to let go of the worm.
The black bubbles gathered and finally it was as large as a football with the worm in its center. Caesar circled around the ball made from bubbles yet did not bite. The bubbles must have really tasted bad, because obviously, Caesar hated them.
About fifteen minutes later, Caesar gave up on the worm inside the black ball, and turned back to look for some stone worms in the gravel yard.
However, Shao Xuan was quite interested in that worm, so he pulled out his stone knife and poked onto the ball. Surprisingly, soft black bubbles became hard and crisp as time went by. And the black “football” broke into halves at Shao Xuan’s poking. The worm hidden inside ran out in panic and fled toward the black swamp. It had shrunk by more than half and now looked shriveled.
Shao Xuan squatted down instead of chasing the worm and took a careful look at the “ball”, which had already been broken into two pieces.
By picking up the half spheres with the stone knife, Shao Xuan found out that the two parts were pretty light in weight, and it required some strength to crush.
After working on one half-sphere and eventually crushing it, Shao Xuan set his sight on the other half. He called back Caesar after some time thinking, and walked towards the river with the intact black half-sphere.
Even if the tribesman came to the river, they too would only carefully move about the shoal, as the shoal was still considered safe.
Of course Shao Xuan was not looking for trouble, so he remained at the shore. God knows what kind of weird creatures were in the waters. He was just going to try an experiment with the half-sphere, to prove his guess.
Shao Xuan untied the straw rope he had on his waist, and tied one to the end of the black half-sphere, with the other end being held in his own hand. He then tossed the black half-sphere into the waters.
As expected, the black sphere-half floated on the surface of the water.
That thing… could be used for fishing.