Chapter 20: Step Up


 

Nestled upon Chuandao, the Donghe Tribe thrived without the presence of a grand temple, instead channeling their devotion to an extraordinary deity embodied within a mesmerizing sculpture hewn from vibrant blue stone, aptly named “Qi.” Rather than casting wishes to these divine entities, the tribe dutifully adhered to the age-old sacrificial customs inherited from their esteemed ancestors of the Donghai clan.
Immersed in their maritime pursuits, the Donghe tribe sailed the waters, honing their skills in fishing and even displaying a penchant for enslaving others.

 

Lu Yao clicked on [Miracle], spending 30 units of Faith, and chose the powerful [Hurricane] option.

 

Swiftly, the tempest materialized upon the water's surface, conjuring a colossal vortex that surged relentlessly toward the ship island belonging to the Donghe tribe.
Surprisingly, faced with the imminent hurricane, the tribe displayed no signs of panic; instead, they engaged in carefree conversations and laughter.

 

“A storm approaches,” remarked one of them nonchalantly.

 

“Indeed, this tempest may bring an abundance of fish and perhaps, even crabs,” responded another, with an air of optimism.

 

“Praise and beseech the Gods, for they shall send us sustenance,” chimed in a third.

 

“Once the storm abates, the heavens shall reveal a resplendent sight,” added a fourth, awe-struck by the impending natural spectacle.

 

“Wow, this is truly a mighty storm,” someone exclaimed, marveling at the grandeur of the approaching gale.

 

Perplexed, Lu Yao observed the unfolding scene.
Suddenly, just as the hurricane neared the ship island, it collapsed into a gentle breeze, meandering harmlessly in all directions.
Remarkably, the dissipating hurricane bestowed upon them an unexpected bounty of fish, which fell onto the island's deck, much to the delight of the Donghe tribe.

 

In response, the resourceful villagers of the tribe swiftly grasped their harpoons and commenced an impromptu fishing frenzy, seizing the opportunity that had presented itself.

 

Yet, Lu Yao's keen eyes discerned something intriguing—the surface of the statue's totem on the ship island exhibited slight cracks.
It appeared that this totem, besides being a symbol of faith, served as a defensive artifact, capable of withstanding even the onslaught of miraculous natural disasters.

 

Energized by this revelation, Lu Yao's excitement grew, fueling his determination to test the limits of the totem's resilience.

 

“I wonder,” he pondered aloud, “how many times can it withstand such onslaughts?”

 

With resolute focus, Lu Yao invoked his next Miracle—[Lightning].

 

“Summon forth the thunder!” he commanded.


 

Like a silvery bolt of light, thunder descended from the heavens once more, striking the totem squarely at its core.
Much like the preceding hurricanes, the lightning dissipated instantly upon impact, posing no threat whatsoever to the formidable Ship Island.

 

Curiously, the Donghe tribe continued their casual banter amidst the peculiarity of the weather.

 

“The weather seems strange today,” one of them remarked, oblivious to the brewing chaos.

 

“I wonder,” he pondered aloud, “could this be a sign of impending rain? Storms and lightning often precede rainfall,” speculated another, as they observed the darkening skies.

 

“Last summer was arid, but this spring appears to herald copious rainfall,” mused a third, contemplating the implications.

 

“With abundant rain, the river shall swell, boding well for us,” opined a fourth, expressing hope for the benefits it might bring.

 

The unsuspecting denizens of the Donghe tribe remained blissfully unaware of the impending catastrophe.
However, the cracks that had marred the totem's surface became more apparent with each subsequent lightning strike.

 

“By the gods, what in happening?” a bewildered voice exclaimed.

 

“Are these lightning bolts attacking us?” another queried, bewildered by the events unfolding before them.

 

“Someone must inform grandmother that today's waters bear an ill omen,” urgently advised a concerned member of the tribe.

 

“Thank the divine for the protective totem; without it, this calamity would surely have befallen us,” a grateful voice intoned, underscoring the significance of their safeguard.

 

Undeterred by their growing realization, Lu Yao intensified his efforts.

 

[Lightning] once again!

 

[Lightning]!

 

[Lightning]!


 

[Lightning]!

 

With resolute determination, three consecutive bolts of lightning pierced the heavens, descending upon the ship island with resounding force.
The first four discharges dissipated harmlessly, but the fifth and final bolt struck the island with relentless fury.
It claimed the lives of two unsuspecting Donghe tribesmen who had failed to flee, igniting a conflagration upon the ship island.

 

The once-resilient blue totem, which had suffered countless cracks and damage before, finally succumbed to its demise, reduced to naught but ashes.
Chaos enveloped the Donghe tribe, their previously tranquil existence shattered.

 

Frantic tribal members scurried about, battling the spreading flames, while opportunistic slaves seized the moment, leaping into canoes and escaping their captors.
The Donghe tribe, now fragmented, found themselves compelled to divide their forces to hunt down the fleeing slaves.
Yet, their most significant loss lay in the destruction of their cherished totem.

 

“The prayer totem lies in ruins! All is lost!” cried out one, overcome with despair.

 

“We have been stripped of our shelter, no longer able to resist the ravages of storms and treacherous vortexes!” lamented another, consumed by the weight of their predicament.

 

“The gods have forsaken us! Our prayers go unanswered!” mourned a third, their voice filled with despair.

 

“Divine heavens! Divine heavens!” wailed yet another, their plea resonating with anguish.

 

Meanwhile, five individuals from the garlic tribe stepped forward, their expressions filled with righteous anger.

 

“Lightning! Lightning has returned! The gods have returned!” proclaimed the first, his voice resonating with fervor. 

 

“It is the mighty God Yao! Your transgressions against the garlic tribe have angered God Yao!” exclaimed the second, vehemently accusing the Donghe tribe.

 

“God Yao's wrath knows no bounds!” warned the third, his tone laced with foreboding.

 

“Your ill fate is sealed; misfortune shall befall you!” declared the fourth, casting a somber prediction.

 

In this moment of turmoil, the Donghe tribe faced the repercussions of their actions, as their world crumbled around them.

 

The Donghe Tribe, however, remained oblivious to the warning cries of the garlic tribe.
They continued their activities with an air of arrogance and superiority.
Their insolence stemmed from their belief in the invincibility bestowed upon them by the sea monsters they controlled, as well as the defensive power of their revered totem.

 


As Lu Yao delved deeper into his experiment, his suspicions were confirmed.
The totem, a sacred item used for prayers, proved to be a consumable artifact bestowed upon them by the gods.
Seemingly ordinary in appearance, it crumbled under the relentless barrage of 210 faith points, indicating its formidable strength.

 

Despite being a relatively small tribe of only a hundred members, the Donghe Tribe managed to sustain themselves along the Donghe River for an extended period.
Their modus operandi involved raiding other tribes in their canoes, capturing slaves, and exhibiting an overbearing disposition.

 

Their offensive capabilities relied heavily on the sea monsters they controlled, while they sought protection from the gods through their prayer totems.

 

Now that Lu Yao had dealt a severe blow to the Donghe Tribe, panic ensued among their ranks.

 

Observing their predicament closely, Lu Yao realized that the Donghe Tribe possessed no means to repair their shattered totem.
Sensing the impending crisis, the tribal leader known as “Grandma” swiftly issued a series of urgent commands.

 

“Set sail immediately! Gather all the sea monsters that have shed their skins this year and return to the clan temple.
Offer sacrifices and beseech the gods for new totem gifts!”

 

“Block the river to conceal the destruction of our totem from other tribes until the new one arrives.”

 

“Use the female slaves to feed the sea monsters, hastening their skin shedding process.”

 

Witnessing these developments, Lu Yao gained a comprehensive understanding of the situation at hand.
The prayer totem of the Donghe Tribe originated from the esteemed Donghai clan's temple.
As an offshoot of the clan, the Donghe Tribe maintained close ties with their ancestral roots.
They raised sea monsters not only to bolster their military might but also for the purpose of facilitating the skin shedding process necessary for their sacrificial rituals to the gods.

 

In essence, without the coveted kraken skins, the East River Tribe would be unable to obtain a new totem.
Without this vital protective artifact, the Donghe Tribe's vulnerability would be laid bare for all to see.

 

Lu Yao's smile widened with each passing moment, his mind abuzz with a strategic plan taking shape.

 

Eager to seek aid from their clan, the Donghe Tribe swiftly set sail, their fleet comprising five canoes laden with sacrificial sea monster skins.
These vessels were escorted by three mighty sea monsters, embarking on an arduous journey toward the east.

 

Seizing the opportune moment when the boats had distanced themselves from their water settlements, Lu Yao deftly tapped the [Lightning] option, casting bolts of electricity that converged upon the five canoes.
The sudden and violent lightning strikes ignited the vessels, engulfing them in flames.
The surviving pixelated figures aboard were forced to abandon ship, desperately struggling in the water, their terrified expressions palpable.

 

The sea monsters, themselves helpless against the fury of the inferno, valiantly attempted to carry the distressed survivors away from the burning vessels.
The sacrifices within the canoes were reduced to ash, consumed by the merciless flames.

 

With the aid of the sea monsters, the surviving figures, now mere pixels in a struggle for survival, managed to reach the relative safety of the ship island, their escape fraught with peril.

 


Word of the sacrifices' destruction spread like wildfire through the Donghe Tribe, plunging them into a state of utter turmoil.

 

“All the kraken skins are lost! We cannot return!”

 

“Lightning, it surrounds us on all sides! It will not relent!”

 

“We have incurred the wrath of the gods in this place.
We must offer sacrifices, or else our tribe shall face the unyielding wrath of lightning.”

 

“Our tribe is doomed, utterly doomed!”

 

“Let us flee, let us flee!”

 

The once-proud Donghe Tribe, faced with natural calamities that exceeded the realm of human intervention, witnessed a surge of surrender and desertion among their ranks.

 

Nevertheless, “Grandma,” the venerable leader of the tribe, displayed the unwavering composure and determination befitting her station.

 

“Some slaves have spoken, claiming that it was the wrath of Yao, the god of the Garlic Tribe, that brought forth this punishment.”

 

“We shall journey to the garlic tribe and seek reconciliation,” she declared, her voice infused with resolve.

 

And so, the boats of the Donghe Tribe made their slow descent onto the shore, their arrival marked by a cacophony of voices and bustling activity.
“Grandma” led a delegation consisting of two female captains, venturing forth to meet the prophet and shaman of the garlic tribe in a private setting.

 

Behind closed doors, the two parties engaged in a profound conversation, their words laden with gravity and consequence.

 

An exclamation mark materialized above the prophet's head, signaling a profound revelation.
“The Donghe Tribe has incited the wrath of God Yao.
To seek absolution, you must revere the gods and offer unwavering faith.”

 

“Build temples in homage to God Yao,” the prophet advised, emphasizing the benevolent nature of this deity who cherished peace and all forms of life.
“Yao punished the Donghe Tribe due to their insolence and offenses,” the prophet continued, casting judgment upon their transgressions.

 

Moments later, a prompt materialized on the screen, delivering a consequential message.

 

“The Donghe Tribe presents a sacrifice to you.”

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