Ch1 – Xiong Ye
The sun shone down from the sky and dappled across the luxuriantly green woods.
Giant trees spread out their branches and used their broad leaves to take in the sunlight.
The leaves of these trees were so large that only stars and dots of light remained by the time the endless sunshine fell on the vegetation below.
A gust of wind blew through, and the speckled sunlight flickered.
The wind caused the leaves to rustle, and a Lesothosaurus approximately one meter in length with tiny arms and powerful hind legs jumped out of the bushes.
This was a relatively rare, very small, bird-footed dinosaur. It was a hunting target for many carnivorous dinosaurs.
The Lesothosaurus raised its upper body and looked around. After determining that there was no danger, it used the arrow-shaped teeth on both sides of its jaw to bite off the leaves in the shrubbery and began to eat.
It ate very attentively, its mouth moving incessantly. But right at this moment, a huge brown bear sprang out from behind the bushes beside it and rushed over…
It was too late for the Lesothosaurus to escape the brown bear, and in an instant, there was silence.
The brown bear finally stood up.
The brown bear was more than two and a half meters in length, and when it stood up, one could see that the Lesothosaurus on the ground had been crushed – just now, the brown bear had used its own weight and crushed the Lesothosaurus to death… After all, even if he had lost a lot of weight over the winter, he was still 400kg while the poor Lesothosaurus weighed only a little more than 10kg.
The brown bear scented the air, then looked at the Lesothosaurus on the ground again before suddenly transforming into a tall, handsome, but rather slim man that was about 1.8 meters tall.
The man jumped behind the bushes and brought out a leather skirt made of dinosaur skin. He put it on before picking up the Lesothosaurus he had just caught and dashing through the forest, his honey-colored skin and fluttering dark green leather skirt blending in and out of the forest.
He ran very quickly and soon arrived at the valley under a nearby mountain.
The valley was not very big. It covered about eight to nine acres and had no vegetation. The soil on the ground had been trampled flat by people passing through so it was very smooth, forming a large square surrounded by mountains.
The square was surrounded by a number of shacks made of wood and other debris. A steep mountain slope on one side was covered in man-made steps and cave entrances from which people intermittently came and went.
Currently, dozens of men and women dressed in animal skins were busily doing things in one corner of the square. When they saw the man run in from outside, they greeted him one after another, “Xiong Ye!”
“Xiong Ye, you’re back!”
“Xiong Ye, you’re amazing! You just went out for a short while and still managed to catch a Lesothosaurus!”
Everyone’s faces were full of envy. One of the women, who had a beautiful figure, swallowed and said, “This Lesothosaurus is really substantial, it looks delicious!”
“I was lucky.” Xiong Ye, who was carrying his prey over, laughed and passed by the group as he headed towards the eastern part of the valley.
He was in a hurry to find someone—Shi Li will be very happy that he’d managed to catch some prey!
Those who spoke to Xiong Ye watched him go and returned to their work—they were cutting apart several Struthiomimus.
These Struthiomimus each weighed about two to three hundred kilograms and had been hunted down by the young warriors from their tribe this morning. Prey that had been brought down through collective hunting became public property that belonged to the entire tribe, and after the tribe had prepared it, everyone in the tribe regardless of their gender or age would have a share. Of course, the best parts would still be left to the fighters who participated in the hunt. As part of the main fighting force for the tribe, people like Xiong Ye and Shi Li would also obtain a portion of the prey’s heart and liver.
The viscera provided them with extra strength, made their eyes brighter, and was one of their most favorite foods. Some vagrant beastmen who hunted in their animal forms would tear apart their hunted prey’s stomach and eat the viscera raw as soon as they caught their prey.
The beauty that had coveted the Lesothosaurus in Xiong Ye’s hands cut apart the Struthiomimus’s long neck with a stone knife and stared at the back of Xiong Ye’s figure in admiration, “Xiong Ye is really powerful! He went hunting with everyone this morning and still has energy to go out again in the afternoon. It would be great if I could have a child with him!”
“Don’t even think about it. He likes Shi Li. When the time comes for the flame flowers to blossom, they will become mates with the priest’s blessing.” A skinny man next to the beauty spoke up.
In their tribe, the vast majority of people did not mate with others, but instead got together with whomever they liked. They would have children with whomever they wanted to have children with, and separate if they no longer liked each other.
Some women had seven or eight children, and the father of these children might all be different.
However, if two people swore to be mates in front of the Beast God on the day the flame flowers blossomed, they would no longer be allowed to separate, and the other beastmen would no longer try to hook up with them – it was a crime to break up a mated pair that had been blessed by the Beast God.
They had always believed in their lord priest’s words.
The beauty pouted after hearing what the skinny man had to say, “Who doesn’t know that? Alas! Why did Xiong Ye choose Shi Li as his mate? They’re both men, and Shi Li can’t even bear children for him!”
The men in the tribe gained more glory the more children they had. Xiong Ye’s father, the previous patriarch of the tribe, had sired nine children amongst five women. The current patriarch of the tribe, Xiong Ye’s uncle, had five children from three different women.
However, Xiong Ye was an anomaly. He actually decided to become mates with a man shortly after reaching adulthood.
When the beauty thought to this point, she felt that it was a great pity.
She grew up with Xiong Ye and was very fond of this man who was the strongest warrior in their generation. Xiong Ye had awakened as an extraordinarily powerful brown bear, and she had told her good friends that when Xiong Ye reached adulthood, she would sleep with him and give birth to his child.
But in the end, this person who was especially well suited to siring children and being a father couldn’t see things clearly and actually went to find a permanent mate!
It would be fine if he just wanted to find a permanent mate, but he went and chose a man from the tribe!
The beauty glanced over at the skinny man next to her and sighed.
Aside from Xiong Ye and Shi Li, the two most powerful warriors in the younger generation, the next strongest would be Hu Yue. Unfortunately, Hu Yue was female, and could not have children with her. And the next person after that… was herself!
She really didn’t want to have children with those men who couldn’t beat her in a fight and weren’t even handsome!
The beauty was extremely sad. She slammed her knife down and easily split the Struthiomimus’s leg bone into two halves.
These bones would be used to make soup – the bone marrow contained within was a rare delicacy that also provided them with energy. They couldn’t waste it!
While the beauty was still regretting that she couldn’t give birth to Xiong Ye’s children, Xiong Ye had already brought the Lesothosaurus with him and arrived at the eastern side of the valley where many caves had been excavated in the mountain.
They called this tribe the Big Bear Tribe because the people who had founded this tribe all awakened as giant brown bears. Every beastman would awaken their beast form at around the age of ten, and then they would be able to fight and hunt in their animal forms. Everyone would put the name of their animal form at the front of their names after their awakening.
For example, Xiong Ye was called ‘Ye’ until he reached the age of ten and awakened his brown bear form that was the same as his father’s. He then added ‘Xiong’ in front of his name, and his name became ‘Xiong Ye’.
Another example was Shi Li. He had originally been called ‘Li’, and after he awakened as a lion, he became known as ‘Shi Li’.
At the bottom of the mountain slope on the eastern side was a giant cave that was set aside as a collective living space for the children and the elderly. When going up the stairs beside it, one would arrive at the second and third levels that held many caves for the warriors who lived in the tribe. In front of each level of caves was an aisle around two meters wide.
Shi Li’s cave was on the second level.
Xiong Ye noticed Shi Li even before he began to make his way up the steps. He was wearing an animal skin skirt as he lay at the base of the valley on a vast stretch of dry grass, lazily basking in the sun, his eyes at half mast.
People who awakened as a lion all really liked to sleep, just like how those who became brown bears all had the habit of hibernating in winter… Shi Li’s current lazy appearance was something Xiong Ye saw often.
But he was still fascinated by it.
He really liked Shi Li and could never look enough… Shi Li was so attractive!
But it wasn’t that early anymore…
“Shi Li, wake up,” Xiong Ye called out as his mouth curved up in a smile. “I caught some prey!”
As warriors of the tribe, they would participate in collective hunts every other day. Today had been a hunting day.
Shi Li ran a little too much this morning and had laid down after coming back, unwilling to go out again in the afternoon. However, Xiong Ye had worried that the food the tribe would portion out for them might not be enough, so he had made another trip.
His luck was not bad, and he had managed to catch a Lesothosaurus without hunting for too long.
Although the Lesothosaurus wasn’t big, when it was added to the food that the tribe would distribute to them, it was enough for him, Shi Li, and Shi Li’s family to eat their fill over the next two days. There was no collective hunt tomorrow, so he and Shi Li could go out again to hunt for additional prey that they could store up.
After going through a winter, he had lost a lot of weight, and his beast form was no longer as burly as it had once been. He now urgently needed to eat more.
Shi Li was lying on the dry grass. He opened his eyes, looked around and scowled, then quickly closed his eyes again.
“Shi Li, wake up!” Xiong Ye reached out and patted Shi Li on the shoulder.
Shi Li was suddenly awakened. He was shocked as he looked over at Xiong Ye, “Xiong Ye? You… Aren’t you…”
Shi Li shut his mouth abruptly, his eyes full of doubt and disbelief, staring at Xiong Ye as though he was some sort of terrifying dinosaur.
His expression made Xiong Ye feel rather strange, “Shi Li, what’s wrong with you?”
Shi Li didn’t speak. He jumped up suddenly, scowling as he looked around, then looked down at himself, even giving his stomach a pinch.
Shi Li was like Xiong Ye in that they were both very tall compared to the other people in the tribe, and powerfully built. His head of long, brown hair had grass stuck in it and was scattered wildly in all directions, swaying around along with his movements.
Xiong Ye found his appearance a little awkward and reached out to pull the grass from Shi Li’s hair.
This action brought Shi Li back to his senses, and he looked at him again.
Shi Li’s expression changed and then shifted again before he abruptly turned into a lion and dashed away.
Xiong Ye watched on blankly as Shi Li ran away, then picked up Shi Li’s animal skin skirt whose string had broken due to Shi Li’s sudden transformation, and headed towards the steps to the side.
That was Shi Li’s cave.
Shi Li, his mother, and his younger brother had come to their tribe eight years ago.
It was during the summer. Xiong Ye, who had always been fond of entering the water to catch fish had just awakened his brown bear form. Seeing his uncle catch fish in the river, he had followed by his side to learn and ended up learning to do it in exactly the same way. He turned into a small brown bear and caught quite a few big fish that he had been unable to catch before.
He bit the fish to death and left them by the river, planning to bring them back to eat. Unexpectedly, a dusty, grey lion cub popped out and ate his fish…
He rushed over to beat up the lion cub, knocking them unconscious, and frightening himself in the process. He quickly went to find his uncle for help, and then his uncle brought this little lion cub as well as the cub’s mother and younger brother back to the tribe.
That little lion cub had been Shi Li.
Shi Li had been suffering from hunger back then and fainted. He hadn’t suffered any lasting harm, but his mother had been very, very weak, and had almost died. The grandfather priest finally had to take out some medicinal herbs in order to save her.
From then on, the three of them settled in with the Big Bear Tribe.
Back then, their family was small, young, and weak, so they were not accepted as members of the tribe. Xiong Ye’s uncle, the tribal chief, only allowed them to live with the tribe and gather food from the surrounding area.
Three years ago, Shi Li was finally able to participate in hunts, and the tribe finally accepted this outsider family. Last year, when Shi Li became an adult, and grew iincreasingly powerful, the tribe finally assigned them a cave to live in.
During the years when Shi Li and his family lived on the outskirts of the tribe without being accepted as members, Xiong Ye had always taken good care of Shi Li and brought him along to catch fish, small dinosaurs, and even insects. The feelings between the two of them became better and better, and they were almost inseparable. At the end of last year, when the two of them reached the age of eighteen, they decided to be with each other exclusively – they wanted to become mates with the blessing of the Beast God.
Today though, Shi Li was acting strange… Before, Shi Li would have rushed over to discuss how to eat this Lesothosaurus with him, then given him some praise.
Xiong Ye was really puzzled.