As the sun drifted to the west, so too did dusk slowly descend over the village.
Strains of flowing and resonant mountain songs echoed in the woods as fifty men carried eight enormous beasts on their shoulders. Stepping forward in high spirits, they headed in the direction of home. Eight beasts amounting to a thousand kilograms of meat was an enormous harvest for the hunting party.
They’d destroyed the previously set traps, especially those that’d caught game, recreating them in a location very far away from the original. The beasts of the mountains were intelligent creatures—they would decrease their wandering in an area where one of their kind had been injured.
Lu Yun also returned with a full basket in tow. All sorts of herbs poked out of it, but he wasn’t sure what they could be used for. He had to analyze them through slow and steady experimentation and deduction.
“Stop!” Ah Zhuang suddenly ordered in a low tone, causing the entire group to halt.
“What is it, Brother Ah Zhuang?” some of the young men asked.
“Something’s wrong… there’s something here!” His expression was uncommonly serious, leading to similar changes in the others.
“Bird chirps, bug chitters, and the sounds of little animals have all disappeared. It looks like something big’s showed up,” mumbled Lu Yun.
Ah Zhuang looked in surprise at the newcomer. He hadn’t thought that this pampered young man would be able to immediately determine the situation at hand.
“The smell of blood is in the air, that thing’s probably injured.” Lu Yun’s nose twitched. Though he’d lost his cultivation, his five senses were still unusually sensitive.
“Injured?” Ah Zhuang’s eyes lit up. “Then what are we waiting for? Brothers, come with me! There’s easy pickings to be found!”
“Hold on!” Lu Yun quickly cut them off. “There are some things you can’t handle even if they’re injured. We should take a good look at what it is first. Otherwise, we won’t even know how we happened to die!”
He really had gotten a great shock from their impulsiveness, and he even wanted to describe them as all brawn and no brains. He didn’t know how strong Ah Zhuang and the others were, but caution was the parent of safety.
Ah Zhuang blinked and thought carefully. “That’s true, the pixiu outside the village can eat us all even if it had only one breath left… I’ll go take a look!” He gestured for the others to stay put and headed forward.
“It’s on your left…” Lu Yun rubbed his forehead to Ah Zhuang’s embarrassment. “I’ll go with you!”
Sudden inspiration struck him and he placed the little fox on the ground, tagging along closely behind Ah Zhuang. Unwilling to risk herself, the little fox stayed right where she’d been left, with the hunters.
“Hey Shan, I didn’t think that you’d be so brave as to come with me. Aren’t you afraid that the beast will swallow you with one gulp?” teased Ah Zhuang as they carefully picked their way toward the unknown creature.
“What am I afraid of? I’ve got you here.” Lu Yun chewed on a strand of grass and slowly swallowed it. A wave of fiery pain rose in his body, but at the same time, he clearly felt his body grow that much stronger from the pain. This jade-green blade of grass was the first useful thing he’d identified—it was a herb that strengthened the constitution.
A small ball of flame ignited in his dantian a few moments later, and his vanished spirit root actually showed signs of coming back to life!
Falling silent, Ah Zhuang looked at the enormous clearing in front of them. Such a vast expanse of open land was very rare in a dense forest. In Lu Yun’s eyes, the clearing looked more like the aftermath of a struggle between two great beings. They’d flattened the surrounding trees and shrubbery, then burned it all.
A thick burnt smell intermixed with the tang of blood wafted from the clearing ahead of them. A large bird measuring thirty-some meters across lay prone in its center. Its body was ripped to pieces, something having torn off its head and wings, but Lu Yun could still identify it.
Dark blue feathers sporting scarlet red patterns covered it, and it had… only one leg!
“A Bi Fang!” both Lu Yun and Ah Zhuang yelled at the same time. 
Based on Lu Yun’s understanding, the Bi Fang was a legendary divine beast. Mysterious and powerful, it was the perfect basis for a battle formation projection. But now, one that’d been mutilated by one blow sprawled in front of him. He could clearly sense the remaining energy ripples on the divine bird—absolute strength that exceeded peak dao origin realm!
In Ah Zhuang’s eyes, the Bi Fang was a vicious beast that heralded great disaster and misfortune. If this bird had made it to the village, all of Ning Village would turn into a sea of flames and nothing would remain of it.
“Um…” He stood dumbly where he was, at a loss of what to do.
“Um what?!” Lu Yun kicked Ah Zhuang in the butt. “This Bi Fang’s corpse is full of treasures! Drag it back to the village, chop chop! Hurry up! You go by yourself taking another route, I’ll bring the hunting party back along the original path!”
Ah Zhuang shook himself into action. “Oh, right, okay!”
Though the Bi Fang was more than thirty meters long and weighed almost five thousand kilograms, that only made it slightly heavy to him. In the face of Lu Yun’s awestruck gaze, Ah Zhuang rolled up his sleeves, shouldered the divine beast, and vanished with a few quick strides.
Swallowing hard, Lu Yun quickly ran back to the hunting party.
“Ah Zhuang’s body is on par with a core realm cultivator… and he’s reached that without ever having cultivated…” The revelation quite shocked him.
When the hunting party reached the village, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and the Bi Fang’s body was nowhere to be found. The village chief, Ah Bao, and Ah Zhuang had disappeared.
That didn’t bother Lu Yun much. Though he also wanted the divine beast’s corpse, he was unable to endure such colossal energy given the current condition of his body.
He lived at the village chief’s house, and there was no one home. Upending the contents of his basket, Lu Yun cleaned all of his findings and then tasted them one by one. He used what remaining power of formula dao he could access to theorize the properties and uses of these herbs.
“I suddenly feel like I’m Shennong tasting all of the herbs beneath the heavens. …PAH!! This one’s poison, and it’s really bad poison!” Just when he’d started daydreaming, the shock of trying acute poison scared any delusions of grandeur out of his mind. He quickly called upon the breathing method and circulated his organs to expel the poison from his mouth. 
The breathing method of the five elements was something he’d derived from the world’s organs. Its greatest use was to actively call upon the body’s organs to expel whatever foreign influence was present.
“The poison properties of this grass… have… something to do with paralysis. It will paralyze the heart in a short amount of time after it reaches the blood and ultimately lead to death. I need to remember all this so that the villagers don’t accidentally eat it.” Lu Yun grabbed a piece of charcoal from the fire pit in the house and started drawing various diagrams on the ground.
2. Shennong, variously translated as "Divine Farmer" or "Divine Husbandman", was a mythological Chinese ruler who has become a deity in Chinese folk religion. He is thought to have taught the ancient Chinese not only their practices of agriculture, but also the use of herbal drugs.