The terrain around Red Twill Mountain was rough, covered mostly by hills and forests. Occupied by deadly wildbeasts and venomous creatures, it was a place where only the fittest could survive. Countless corpses of both men and beast were hidden under the mushy soil and dead leaves, forgotten by the rest of the world. It only got more dangerous at night, with a vision-suppressing fog and the constant threat of being attacked by deadly creatures.
Li Tianming had spent two days on the outskirts of the mountain, where there were many others trying to gather plants and herbs, so there was little reward. Now, with his cultivation having returned, he decided to venture further in.
“I wonder if they sell clear spirit grass in Ignispolis. If they don’t, I better prepare more,” Li Tianming muttered. Ignispolis was the capital of the Vermilion Bird. Not only were Flameyellow Scions Institute and Lightning Manor located in Ignispolis, it was also home to the ‘Vermilion Bird clan’, the rulers of the nation.
Even after two days of non-stop searching, Li Tianming could only find a single clear spirit grass.
“Please let there be more in the deeper parts of the mountain.” The deeper parts were dangerous places that even skilled and experienced beast masters would not venture into. After all, wildbeasts were fundamentally different from lifebound beasts — the latter were intelligent creatures capable of communicating with each other, whereas wildbeasts were not capable of thinking and relied on hunting others to get stronger.
“That is… a fire lingzhi!” On their third day in the inner parts of the mountain, Li Tianming and Ying Huo found a rare lingzhi mushroom on a hard to reach cliff. The lingzhi even burned when a beam of sunlight shone onto it.
“Let me do it.” The little chick flapped its wings, picking the mushroom off the cliff in the blink of an eye.
“Time to run.” The duo left resolutely after picking the herb. After all, natural treasures like this were often guarded by wildbeasts. Spirit herbs were beneficial even to the wildbeasts, but they were cautious about it. Consuming the lingzhi directly would cause the spiritual energy to implode inside the wildbeast’s body, killing it immediately. This was why treasures like these were left there, to be absorbed at their guardian’s leisure.
The world was filled with spiritual energy, and if ores could absorb these energy from the ground to form spirit ores, plants could too. After spending enough time in absorbing spiritual energy from their atmosphere, these plants would slowly develop heavenly patterns. Just like spirit ores, plants that developed heavenly patterns were known as ‘spirit herbs’, their quality determined by the color of their heavenly patterns. Similar to the spirit ores, there were nine different colors ranging from red to white, with red ones being the most common and white heavenly patterns being the rarest.
“Clear spirit grass only has red heavenly patterns, and can be considered as the lowest tier of spirit herbs. That said, it still has significant medical uses.” Li Tianming exclaimed while studying the fire lingzhi. It had a slightly charred orange heavenly pattern,, which suggested that the fire lingzhi was a tier two spirit herb.
“Excellent, here’s your share.” Just as Li Tianming was thinking how much he could sell the fire lingzhi for, the little chick tore it into half, and the spiritual energy inside the herb began to dissipate.
“What are you doing?”
“Nincompoop. If I can eat spirit ores, then what is stopping me from eating this?” Ying Huo glared at him while tossing half the plant into his face. Before he knew it, the little chick had already pecked down a good portion of its share of the fire lingzhi.
“Wow, I’m burning!” For all its boasting, Ying Huo’s skin was now burning, and the little fireball began to hop around madly.
“Yesss, that hits the spot!” The Aeternal Infernal Phoenix was indeed an amazing creature, capable of tolerating such a strong burst of energy. It even started to use the Aeternal Infernal Codex to refine the energy from the herb. In comparison, other beasts would never consume it like this, and would probably take a dozen days to slowly refine and absorb it.
“Li Tianming, I dare you to eat it, though I doubt if you have the balls. Heh,” Ying Huo taunted.
“Ha,” Li Tianming laughed. It wasn’t the first time he had a burning stomach.
With a few quick bites, he swallowed the fire lingzhi. The herb turned into a numbing, scorching stream of lava as it slid down his throat, and as it entered his stomach, it didn’t feel that much different from swallowing magma.
It took the fire lingzhi years to absorb enough essences to form the orange heavenly patterns. Other than these two monsters, no one else could even imagine eating it raw, which was only possible due to the Aeternal Infernal Body’s extraordinary fire immunity. Before long, Li Tianming started burning like a fireball too.
Of course, this was a great opportunity for him to cultivate. Using the tremendous amount of energy the two had just absorbed, Li Tianming and Ying Huo channeled their beast veins to convert this energy into Aeternal Infernal Beast Ki, as they sought to enter fifth level Beast Vein.
As they slowly converted this blazing energy to their own, their pain also eased and it got easier and easier. After a while, they had completely absorbed the fire lingzhi.
As expected, the two of them made a breakthrough to the fifth level of the beast vein stage!
“Ahh, cultivating with you makes me feel like we are spending the night together. That’s disgusting, I want to find a pretty girl and ‘cultivate’ with her instead.” The little chick pretended to sigh, even though the breakthrough just gave him a ton of energy.
“You’re in the wilderness right now, the chances of you finding a female ghost is way higher,” Li Tianming joked.
He had already reached fifth level Beast Vein, his power almost comparable to three years ago. Such incredible improvement speed was only made possible with the blood of the Primordial Chaos Beast.
With his current strength, he could probably easily beat Li Zifeng without even using his fire immunity.
“But this is still not good enough for Liu Qianyang, who is at ninth level Beast Vein...” Li Tianming frowned at the thought of that teenager.
After absorbing the fire lingzhi, they ventured further into the mountain. Li Tianming removed the glove from his left hand to make use of the third eye on it. He realised the vision from this single eye was even clearer than the ones his actual eyes could offer.
The little chick shuddered. “Don’t use it to look at me, it makes me uneasy.”
“What a coward.” Li Tianming would never let a chance for him to laugh at Ying Huo slip past him. Just as the little chick was about to rebut, they heard a loud rumbling sound, like that of a falling tree, in the distance. At the same time, the ground began to tremble, and faint beastial roars echoed from the source of the rumbling sound.
“Wildbeast!” Li Tianming recognised it at once — a wildbeast’s roar was infused with an uniquely-distinct primal quality, as a creature that lacked intelligence and followed its base desires.
Just as they were about to run away from the wildbeast, Li Tianming suddenly froze on the spot, his eyes staring at the beast’s direction.
“A female ghost?!” The little chick, who was standing on top of his head, was also shocked by what it just saw, its eyes wide open. They were right about the wildbeast, but it was busy chasing someone, the ‘female ghost’ Ying Huo was referring to.
“Ghost? That’s totally a goddess!”
Li Tianming had seen plenty of beauties back at the Flameyellow Scions Institute, one of them being Mu Qingqing. Ignispolis had gathered many of Vermilion Bird Nation’s most beautiful women, some of them talented, and others with reputable background. Even back in Flamehaven, there were a good number of charming ladies like Liu Qing, whose smile could make many men lose their mind.
And yet, despite his prior experiences, time seemed to stop as Li Tianming looked at the figure running towards him. The girl appeared to be shrouded in a glistering white mist, her silky black hair flowing like black ink. Her face had a smooth oval shape, the facial features perfectly balanced on it like a piece of art. This was especially true for her eyes, bright and mesmerizing like the stars under a dreamy night sky.
She wore a turquoise long skirt that pleasantly brought out the charm of her thin waist. Her fair skin was as fine as the most exquisite of jade, so soft it looked like it would break from the lightest touch. Such a girl sure looked like she was a goddess who had just descended from the heavens, and had never experienced the taint of the mortal world before.
The most unforgettable thing to Li Tianming was still the sparkling of her skin. Unlike normal people, her skins glistened as if they were gems, giving off a soft glow in the darkness. It was exactly this glow that formed the white mist that surrounded her. Li Tianming never knew there were people so beautiful, who could make the whole world bow before their charm.
The girl’s appearance seemed to brighten up the forest, making Li Tianming forget about all the bloodshed and danger it hid. How could a human body give off such a pleasant glow?
The girl’s presence made his mind go blank. A sentiment appeared in his heart. It was a feeling he couldn’t understand, and yet he knew that the two of them knew each other before, that this encounter was one decided by fate.
“I must admit, I’m in love.” Even the little chick was defeated by her beauty after getting a better look.
“Cut your crap, we need to save her!”