Ancient Eden - Chapter 44
Youyou, on the side, saw that she was frozen and lightly poked her thigh, and said a series of words, with a very eager expression, like she couldn’t wait to go back. Mu Qing finally snapped back from her thoughts, casting behind the unpleasant thoughts that made her unhappy just now, she hurriedly put her clothes back on, and went back to the settlement with Youyou.
She soon learned why Youyou had been urging her just now. Some kind of celebration similar to a sacrifice was going to be held tonight.
That evening was as lively as the evening Li Mang had been chosen as the next leader. In front of the hut of chief, in the middle of the settlement, a large bonfire had been lit, and in front of the bonfire, there were huge pottery bowls as well as long-necked jars. The bowls contained various fruits and millet, the jars were filled with an amber liquid that resembled alcohol. On the ground in the middle, there was a huge elk whose four hooves were tied up. The elk was still alive, struggling non-stop, and mooing.
Compared to those she had seen on a regular basis used for eating and carrying water, those pottery bowls not only were much larger, but they also appeared to be much more delicate and refined, with various decorative motifs carved on the surface of the bowls.
The entire settlement, men, women and children, all together, knelt down in front of the bonfire, forming a huge circle. The old woman who had treated Mu Qing that night was standing in the middle of the circle. She was holding in her hands a long tree trunk-like object, the top was carved into the shape of a bird’s head, with a pointed beak that was vertical to the sky, a string of clay bells was hanging below, following the violent swaying of her body, the clay bells made continuous striking sounds.
Mu Qing gradually understood a little bit. This was probably a ritual for them, where they presented offerings and prayed with devotion to the gods to ask for abundant food and the prosperity of the tribe. So, when she saw all the others as well as Naduo and Youyou besides who, following the old woman’s dance and loud prayers, started to kneel down with faces full of devotion, she also silently knelt down.
The old woman’s prayers continued for some time. She grabbed a handful of fruit and millet and scattered them into the fire. She then pulled out a grey knife from her waist and raised it high above her head.
This blade of the knife was polished and shiny. Mu Qing, for a moment, had the misconception that it was an iron knife. But very quickly she knew she had been wrong, it was not iron, it was a knife made of sharpened jade.
Li Mang got up from the crowd and walked towards the fire, and when he arrived in front of the old woman, he knelt down and received the jade knife with both hands. He then walked towards the huge elk. Under the sad and shrill sound of the elk’s cry, the knife in his hand pierced deeply into the neck of the elk and when he pulled out the knife, dark red blood spurted out high up in the air. Under the light of the bonfire, it looked like a flowing rainbow.
The elk’s wailing was soon drowned out by the cheers that resonated all around. The elk blood was collected into a huge clay jar, and the old woman put her hand in and stirred it, just like she had done that day before she gave Mu Qing that medicine, and then there was another round of prayers.
Li Mang held the jar of blood and walked towards the chief. The chief took the first sip, Li Mang himself took a sip, and then everyone in turn, each person that was kneeling was able to take a sip of this blood that had just been running through the elk’s veins.
Mu Qing was kneeling in the crowd, her gaze slowly followed Li Mang’s figure. Then her gaze stopped, when she saw Yi Jia.
When Li Mang handed the elk blood to Yi Jia, Yi Jia’s face showed a carefree smile as he took a light sip, then his gaze went through the crowd and stopped on Mu Qing.
Translator : Laura
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