Chapter 11: Encounter
As I walked forward, without any visible objective or clearer goal than becoming a member of a cultivation sect, I came to encounter several things on my journey.
More monsters, not to say that it was as easy as before to deal with these new types. They were far smaller than the leopard and weaker. But their numbers were problematic.
I ended up entering the territory of a lizard monarch or something of the sort as there were hundreds of said critters moving around me. Black lizards with sharp claws hissed and skittered around me. None of them dared make a move, but at the same time, they surrounded me from all over, on the ground and tree branches.
They seemed to be expecting something, perhaps a command to attack, as they have yet to show any hostility toward me, except when I tried to move. The closest of the lizard would hiss and only calm down when I stopped.
Soon, a lizard, far bigger than any of the rest, and probably as big as a German mastiff. Came toward me, its skin was obsidian, dark as the night, and exuded a powerful presence among its peers, they all gave way to it as it walked.
'This must be the king or queen of these lizards,' I believed.
Once the larger of the reptiles came within an arm's reach, it slowly sniffed the air around me. Then it shook its head, it began coughing or sneezing, and this enough caused me to worry. If the same happens to it as did to the leopard and the lizard starts bleeding, the rest of its company will come for my throat. And I'll have to deal with their ma.s.sive numbers. Hopefully, my poison breath is strong enough to take them down rapidly or I'll probably be torn to pieces judging by how sharp the claws on them.
Yet, the lizard hadn't sniffed enough poison Qi from me to be fatal to it, it reared back, hissed a few notes and the rest of its group slowly backed off and skittered off, disappearing among the thick forest foliage.
The lizard king or Queen, I'm not a biology graduate mind you, did the same soon as everyone had left.
I sighed a breath of relief, there was no need to take a life if one didn't need to, and I had no use wasting another valuable poison breath for nothing.
I continued my journey until I heard the sound of running water. There was a river nearby.
I headed there to wash up, it has been a long time since I last took a bath, and the stench and sticky sludge I have on me had accompanied me for a long time now.
Once I was on the riverbed, I removed my clothes and slowly dipped my battered and disgusting body in it. The cool water soon removed the oily sludge I had coating my body, and bit by bit, the stickiness lessened and I felt refreshed. Still, the pustules and tumorous bulges I had all over my body were a sight to behold. Disgust was the first thing anyone would think of, even me.
Still, that was not bad on its own, first, looking like this will keep me out of trouble. No one wants to a.s.sociate themselves with a creature such as myself, and second, there was a promise in the book that after reaching certain milestones, the pustules will disappear and I would probably regain my former appearance. That is of course if I reach these milestones.
"Ah c.r.a.p!" I muttered as I noticed something.
Fish, floating on the river, dead.
The filth all over me, or probably my existence was poisonous enough that it killed off a lot of the fish in this river. And this probably contaminated it. I hope that no humans drink from this stuff right now, that would certainly end up killing them.
I went back, b.u.t.t naked to get my filthy clothes. Most of them were torn beyond repair, but these are all I had. And I didn't dare wear one of the cultivator's clothes, in fear that I might meet someone who will recognize the outfit.
Simple, it was a risk not worth taking, I'm weak, not stupid. If I were to wear their clothes and one of their sect members meet me, how will I explain it? Or worse, what if I encounter a member of a hostile sect to these robes?
A risk that was not worth taking for the comfort of fabric.
I washed my clothes as best as I could, removing the sludge on them, and at least had them clean enough to be worn and not look like a low-cla.s.s beggar. I looked like a beggar alright, but a clean beggar.
Once they were dry, I gathered up my stuff and headed alongside the stream. There was no way for me to cross it, as there was no bridge and I didn't want to risk swimming across. And now that I think of it, I should have thought about that before dipping myself into the river, you never know if there is a cultivator crocodile version here in this river. Or worse.
Later I managed to cross the river thanks to some protruding rocks I found making a small bridge. Still, without a clear destination to where to head to, I continued marching, for hours. Until the sun sat and rose back again, days went by as I moved.
Unhampered by hunger as I didn't feel the need to eat, unhampered by fatigue as I felt refreshed even after all that walking, and never even dropped a sweat.
Old and battered as I may be, this still is better than when I was 'human.'
A cultivator's life is rather amazing.
One day, as I was walking I encountered something that changed my way of thinking.
There was a small purple flower on the ground, it seemed to be the only living thing in the vicinity. Decayed corpses of snakes, bugs, and birds were sprawled all around the flower, yet this thing, br.i.m.m.i.n.g with life and I felt it beckoning me.
I walked up to the flower, making sure that there was no monster or demonic creature in the vicinity, I still remember from those stories, that if this thing is a 'treasure' it would mean that it must have a guardian beast protecting it.
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But after straining my eyes for so long, there was nothing of the sort.
I drove the flower, roots, and all into my mouth and began crunching it. Scorching hot and at the same time icy liquid dripped down to my stomach. It was rather uncomfortable but no way as near as to what the Bone and Body Grinding poison did to me. This was rather refres.h.i.+ng in the sense, pain makes one feels alive. Or perhaps I have grown m.a.s.o.c.h.i.s.tic. Nevertheless, the benefits that this flower came with were rather surprising.
One of the largest pustules on my right hand outright disappeared once I consumed the flower, and for the first time, I was able to see one small patch of my skin, that was not contaminated with pustules or tumors.
"Good good good."
Just as I was about to continue walking, I felt the meridians in my body vibrate. I immediately sat down and began cultivating. Rotating the newly consumed energy proved to be far easier than when I did with the Bone and Body grinding poison. It was simple and it was far faster and more comfortable.
The energy rotated at a rapid pace and continued doing so until I felt a sudden release of energy, I broke through!
The peak of the lower Qi condensation.
I hastily checked the book for any new updates, but there was nothing there for me. No news about what to do next. So I sighed and continued cultivating.
I needed to have my foundation stabilized, gaining a new cultivation level is good, but without proper stabilizing of the foundation, it will prove a hindrance to one's future achievement. I read too many stories to know that once one breaks through, they have to meditate and cement their cultivation first.
I closed my eyes for a while, slowly rotating the newfound energy to a new meridian that has just unlocked in my body. Now, the energy I could manipulate, even if it had increased by just one meridian was at least a third more than before.
Soon, I felt the world went out of focus, and I was immersed in cultivation. Never sensing when the world turned, and the sun had dipped. Over and over again, days had wen by and I was still in my lotus position, diligently cultivating.
I never sensed when monsters approached me, and hastily ran off when birds thought I was an immobile stone and perched on my head, only to fall to their deaths soon after. My whole body is poison.
This state would have probably continued for a while more as I tried diligently to break through to the next level using the remaining energy of the Burial Purple Petaled flower, but I was rudely awakened when the earth began to wildly vibrate.
I opened my eyes and realized that the vibrations were getting stronger, and they were headed my way.
Suddenly two people showed up, they flew using two swords under their feet, and both of them looked badly wounded.
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