Chronicles of Primordial Wars Chapter 178
Chapter 178 - Singing Together
The sun rose.
For some, the new day was exactly like the previous one, for others it was quite different.
For instance, those from the Feng tribe who wanted to exchange things with the travelling group were wondering what to choose and what to give in return; those who had been in charge of looking out for birds could have a rest today, as today, there was a bigger one in the sky; also, it was a special day for an old man who lived in the wanderers' area of the Feng tribe.
To Old He, today was an exceptionally special day. Every year this day, he would go to the mountaintop, face the same direction, and worship, pray and sing songs.
He didn't know from what time his ancestors had set the rule that every year on this day they should come here to pray and sing songs, to memorize the words passed down for centuries, as well as the name of the tribe no one knew. Old He had gotten used to coming here every year at this time, fulfilling his ancestor's wishes, as well as his.
Every year at this time, an amazing dream would come to his mind. Everything was very clear, including the rising flames and the two horns surrounded by them. It seemed to be the same as what the ancestors had told him. Sometimes he couldn't even tell whether he was dreaming or in reality, whether it was created by his mind or it really existed.
Did the tribe still exist? Every time he felt such confusion he would stand here, to pray and sing songs, which strengthened his conviction.
Many wanderers did not understand his behavior, some even feeling pity for him. He didn't care, and just held on. He also really liked singing in this way. At that time he would forget all the anguish and troubles. Here was where he would sing all day long, throwing away all of his sorrows.
Today, just as how he had done in the past, he took a straw bag packed with roasted meat and a water jug, and walked up the mountain.
The mountains within the territory of the Feng tribe were not high at all. He reached the peak in no time. The old man would have preferred a higher one. But the area over there was not the territory of the Feng tribe, and he probably would not even survive the climb. He would be regarded as an intruder and be killed on the spot before he got there as well.
Standing on the green mountaintop, Old He took a deep breath, as he had done in the past years, raised his voice, and started to sing.
His song spread from the mountaintop to all nearby places. Some people heard the song, but didn't care at all. People sang everyday. As to what the song was, they did not pay any attention, still busy with their own lives.
"Since the beginning of the world, our ancestors and tribe had grown up, starting to live on hunting. Spring comes, air warms, ice and snow have melted already. Children and adults jump joyfully, birds twittering while beasts roaring, hunters looking for food…" [It's a song, doesn't really translate well artistically.]
Standing at the mountaintop alone and facing towards one direction, Old He kept on singing. Suddenly, he heard a second voice, someone had joined him. What he sang was the Hunting Song passed down by his ancestors, which was the only song that he could sing, as he couldn't even learn the songs of the Feng tribe.
Old He could only sing one song, but when the others sang, he would also try to follow. Others sometimes went around trying to sing his song as well, even if they didn't know the words. The others' and Old He's versions were totally different, though. The former sang as if they were mourning, and the more they sang, the sadder they became, while for the latter, the more he sang the better he felt.
Maybe only people of the Flaming Horns tribe could sing such a sad song so heroically.
So, at first, when Old He heard someone singing with him, he did not pay any attention. He didn't turn around, but still stood there and continued on.
But soon he found out that the man could manage to sing for a really long time. Not only that, the man was better than him. As to why he could tell, it was clear. The feelings the man's singing brought were not at all as depressing as the others', making Old He feel even more cheered up. Some tunes were obviously different from what he remembered, but Old He felt that this song should be sung in this way.
The man was right behind him, and Old He was dying to turn around to have a look, to see who the man was and ask where the man was from. But Old He did not do so. He would be showing disrespect to the ancestors if he did not finish the song.
"…To hunt for the prey, hurry on day after day, go deep in the mountain, come back with heavy bags, we're capable of identifying and tracing the beasts.."
While singing, Old He lost himself in that amazing state again. He saw the two horns with flames appearing near but untouchable. He felt something essential missing.
After finishing the Hunting Song, Old He did not immediately recover from that state. Half an hour had passed when Old He gradually came to his senses. He remembered the man who sang with him and turned around, only to see a youngster he had never seen before.
"Hey, whose kid are you? How do you appear here?" Old He asked.
"Hmm?" Shao Xuan felt confused, "Have you seen someone else like me?"
"Who are you? What's your name?" Old He asked after drinking some water.
"My name is Shao Xuan." After thinking for a second, he added, "From the Flaming Horns tribe."
Old He took a look at Shao Xuan, his eyes seemingly saying: What nonsense are you spouting.
After drinking water and resting for a while, Old He talked with Shao Xuan again, "No matter where you come from, sing with me again if you have the time."
Shao Xuan: "…." That's it?
After seeing the fierce and excited reaction from Yan Shuo before, Shao Xuan didn't know how to respond to such a weak reaction. Therefore, he went over and sang the song once again with Old He.
After finishing, Old He sat on the ground to rest.
"Where do you come from?" Old He asked suddenly.
"I came here with the traveling group." Shao Xuan replied.
"Eh? Don't you have any fear at all? The people in those traveling groups are not good. You should be careful with your companions."
"Why would you face towards that direction when you were singing just now?" Shao Xuan asked.
"You don't know the reason?!" Old He looked at Shao Xuan with eyes of reproach, "It's the place where our tribe was located! Remember this and don't forget it in the future!"
After chatting with Old He for a while, Shao Xuan understood why he had come here to sing.
It seemed that everyone in the Flaming Horns tribe was committed to living in their own way, trying to keep the belief in their mind.
Old He's son had passed away, his daughter-in-law had ran away, and his wife was at home, taking care of their sick grandson. Only once a year would Old He come here to sing. Last year, he had gone with his grandson. Unfortunately, his grandson was severely sick these days, so Old He came here alone. When he was singing, he prayed to his ancestors to protect his little grandson from illness. Many people in the grasslands had died from it.
After a little rest, Old He called Shao Xuan and began to sing again. He firmly believed that singing with Shao Xuan inspired him and made him feel as excited as a hunting warrior preparing for battle
Time after time, Shao Xuan sang with the old man.
Old He did not stop singing until it started to become dark.
It was time to go back.
Old He went down with Shao Xuan. He also asked Shao Xuan about his future plans and learned Shao Xuan was going the central area. Old He didn't agree with him.
"It's too far away and too dangerous over there. How can a boy without any ability like you go to the central area with those travelers? That area is a lot more dangerous than other places. I advise you to go back to the place where you lived before. Maybe you are badly off, but at least you are alive. You look sturdy. And If you really can't find a place to live, you can stay here, with me. Although it's difficult to make a living in the grasslands, it's better than wandering aimlessly." Old He tried to persuade him.
"It's ok, don't worry. I have the ability to protect myself." Shao Xuan said.
"Young man, don't think that you can go everywhere with a relatively good strength. We might be strong, but we can't compare to the totem warriors."
"But I am a totem warrior."
"I mean, I am a totem warrior, an intermediate one… hey, watch out!"
Before Shao Xuan could finish his words, he saw the old man's feet twisting as he fell down on the hillside. If it weren't for Shao Xuan quickly grabbing him by the hand, Old He would have probably rolled farther, or even hit a stone.
Old He returned home from the mountain on Shao Xuan's back. He had sprained his ankle, but fortunately had no other injury.
Old He's wife was looking after her young grandson. The moment she saw her husband on Shao Xuan's back, she hurried over to check the condition of his injury.
"I'm fine. I only sprained an ankle. Hey, Shao Xuan, come on, why did we stop just now? Let's continue! Who else is in the tribe? What did the Shaman teach you?" Old He had no time to answer the questions of his wife, nor did he care about his injured ankle. He only wanted to ask questions about the Flaming Horns tribe.
After Old He was put on the wooden bed and got the medical treatment, Shao Xuan replied: "I thought you knew it all when I saw how poised you were."
"How can I know that you really were a member the Flaming Horns tribe. I thought you were a wanderer." When speaking of this, Old He felt even more embarrassed for misunderstanding him.
In the past, when several tribes in the grasslands had friendly relations, he had travelled a bit and saw wanderers like him. Fellow sufferers shared their anguish with each other and then returned home, moving on.
Everyone wished to return to the tribe someday, but one generation after another, from birth to death, that wish had not come true.
Once, Old He also thought that his life would be a similar case. His grandfather, grandfather's grandfather, and the ancestors of the early days worked for the tribes here on this grassland and made a living, without knowing how long it had been. The only things left were the song and the things they were required to know, that were passed down by the mouths' of one generation after another.
"We've lived here for a long time. We have good tempers, great strength and like working hard. People from the tribes ask for us from time to time. Take the people from the Feng tribe for example, sometimes they will even ask me to help with grazing. So, tell our tribe not to worry and that we can still hold on! We look forward to the day they return!"
"You can graze?" Shao Xuan asked.
"Yes. I've done it for as long as I can remember."
"Do you know how to raise livestock?" Shao Xuan questioned him again.
"Of course. All of the people living in the grasslands know how to raise livestock."
Shao Xuan thought they were all really talented. If it were his fellow tribesmen at the other side of the river, the livestock given to them would be cooking in the pot not soon after.