Chapter 19 - The Legend Of The Weasel
During his time in Scented Cloud Mountain, Bai Xiaochun, now an outer sect disciple, lived a very relaxed and comfortable life. Other than his longing for the food back at the Burning Stoves Kitchen, he was very content with everything else there.
At the rate that his cultivation and research on herbs were advancing, Bai Xiaochun felt like he was living life to the fullest. Only, he occasionally felt bored since the yard that he lived in was rather isolated without anyone he knew living near him. He didn’t even have a single person to talk to.
“Could it be that all cultivators feel this lonely?” Bai Xiaochun lamented as he raised his head to the sky, old beyond his years as he stood in the courtyard.
The fall winds had passed, and the winter flurries had started. On the horizon, snowflakes could occasionally be seen falling to the ground as the temperature dropped. With the descent of the winter chill, the Spirit Winter Bamboos were growing at a faster rate than in the previous seasons, already surpassing Bai Xiaochun’s height. They created the image of spring with their jade-green leaves.
It has been more than a month since he took first place in the assessment. The problem now was that the difficulty of the second examination far exceeded his expectations. The progress of his research had slowed down a bit, but the important thing was that despite Zhou Xinqi’s failure to take back first place, Bai Xiaochun felt pressured as he remembered the unassembled herb fragments that were left when the first assessment ended.
“My reputation must not be surpassed by that little lady, Zhou Xiaoqi.” Bai Xiaochun quietly made up his mind to work even harder until he achieved his dream of proudly announcing before ten thousand people that he was the Turtle Medicine Master. It was a dream that had already taken root within his heart.
Though he was slower at studying the second book, his Unending Longevity Technique had almost reached a small circulation.
Every time Bai Xiaochun trained, the pain reached new heights, but his obsession the words “Unending Longevity” kept him going until now.
“Three more days. Three more days, and according to the Unending Longevity Technique’s manual , one small circulation will be completed,” Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath, gritted his teeth, and continued sprinting back and forth in the courtyard as he studied herbs.
Three days passed quickly. On the dusk of the third day, snowflakes floated down from the sky, wrapping the Spirit River Sect in a cloak of silver.
Bai Xiaochun was doing his running routine as usual, when suddenly his body trembled violently, making him abruptly stop in his tracks. The throbbing pain in his body vanished as soon as it came.
It was followed by sudden bursts of heat which spread throughout his body. When they finally reached the surface, his skin turned as hot as iron fresh out of a furnace.
The snow that landed on his body was instantly evaporated, and transformed into steam before floating up towards the sky.
“Done!” Bai Xiaochun’s mouth was dry, and the burning heat was killing him, but he couldn’t be happier. He lowered his head and looked at his body, immediately noticing the black radiance that gradually dispersed as it circled him.
Bai Xiaochun poked his arm, and the hardness akin to the skin of a bull made his eyes shine. He stretched his body a bit, feeling an obvious improvement in speed. Excited, he flashed forward, appearing a long distance away.
This was double his old speed. Seeing this prominent improvement, Bai Xiaochun felt even more pleased with himself. He tested this newfound speed a few more times before he was satisfied.
Soon after, Bai Xiaochun continued his cultivation according to the Unending Longevity Technique’s manual. This time it was a training that involved blocking the nose and mouth, using the body to breathe instead. Each breath counted as a small cycle, and he was to do it eighty one times every day, for eighty one days before a circulation was completed.
If he could manage to achieve this, combined with the painful circulation he just completed, his body would become nearly invincible!
Bai Xiaochun tried for quite a while before slowly beginning to understand the method. Standing in the courtyard, he started breathing with only his skin, but just as he barely managed to finish a small cycle, his body had already visibly thinned.
At the same time, waves of intense hunger surfaced, causing Bai Xiaochun’s stomach to rumble. Ignoring the rumbling sounds, Bai Xiaochun continued his breathing. His body gradually got skinnier. When he finished the fifteenth breath, his body almost looked like a skeleton wrapped in skin.
It was as though all the nutrients in his body had been sucked out. However, at this moment, his skin looked even tougher than before.
But Bai Xiaochun was at his limits. His head started spinning the moment he opened his eyes his eye whites nearing turning green.This kind of indescribable hunger caused him to feel as though he could swallow an elephant whole, if one appeared in front of him.
“I can’t take it anymore, I’m about to starve to death!!” Bai Xiaochun swallowed his saliva with difficulty, his vision blurry and his legs wobbly. There wasn’t any food around him, except the juicy, green bamboos that looked irresistibly delicious at the moment.
He tried to control himself, but the sense of starvation was too much for him. Dashing to the winter spirit bamboos, he took a huge, savage bite.
A snapping sound could be heard as he bit off a huge piece, chewing it loudly in his mouth. Bai Xiaochun’s expression suddenly twisted as the bitterness of the bamboo hit his tongue, his entire body shivered.
“I want to eat rice…” At this moment, Bai Xiaochun’s desire for the food back at the Burning Stoves Kitchen, was amplified to the extreme. He was hungry. He had never been this hungry in his entire life. At this moment, he had starved till his head felt faint. His eyes turned increasingly green and his breathing was rapid. As his body involuntarily lunged forward, Bai Xiaochun sprinted out of the courtyard.
At this moment the Burning Stoves Kitchen was preparing food. After Zhang Fatso One and Black Fatso Three’s departure, Yellow Fatso Two became the head of the place. He was pouring rice soup as a gust of wind blew in, the bowl disappearing from his hand. Under the soup was Bai Xiaochun with his mouth wide open.
“Ah?” Yellow Fatso Two jumped up. The other fatsos were also momentarily stunned. By the time they realized that it was Bai Xiaochun, before they even managed to speak, he had already lifted a huge pot of soup. With eyes burning from hunger, he gulped the entirety of the contents down loudly. Unsatisfied, he plunged his whole head into another pot, finishing the soup inside within seconds.
One, two, three gulps… Bai Xiaochun took more than a hundred gulps of soup, his body like a black hole, not feeling full at all.
“Hungry… I can’t, I’m still starving… I need meat!” Bai Xiaochun was frantic, sweeping his eyes around, the first thing he saw was the huge mountain-like bodies that belonged to his fatso brothers. He swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
The fatsos in Burning Stove Kitchen stared at Bai Xiaochun with wide eyes and gaping jaws. They had seen starving people before, but this was on a whole new level. This was not Bai Xiaochun anymore, it was some ghost that had died of starvation.
Yellow Fatso Two especially, lost it when he realized the horrible fact that Bai Xiaochun was swallowing his saliva as he stared at him and his brothers with hungry eyes. Immediately backing away, he roared loudly.
“Fatso Nine, there is spirit food prepared for Elder Zhou in the kitchen!”
Hearing this, Bai Xiaochun charged into the kitchen with ferocity in his eyes.
The fatsos outside all looked at each other before they sucked in a breath.
“Did you see that? That’s what happens when you become an outer sect disciple. Poor brother, how did he starve to this state…?”
“I would sooner be beaten to death than become an outer sect disciple.” The other fatsos all made up their mind, pitying the crazed Bai Xiaochun.
As he ate, Bai Xiaochun did all he could to control himself from eating more than the edges, remembering the six codes of Burning Stoves Kitchen. He knew that eating all of it would only bring trouble to his brothers. He could never bring himself to do something like that.
After finishing the soup and the edges of the meat, Bai Xiaochun wasn’t starving as much as before. Feeling his self-control return, he felt like crying but could not shed any tears. He was terrified by the Unending Longevity Technique’s training methods. Although the pain had already disappeared, the hunger was enough to drive a man insane.
“Second Brother…” Bai Xiaochun looked anxiously at Yellow Fatso Two. Only after seeing that Bai Xiaochun had calmed down did Yellow Fatso Two dare to approach him. Patting his shoulder, he gave him a look of sympathy.
“Don’t worry, little Brother. We can always make more food for Elder Zhou. Look at how hungry you are. Oh… do come back next time, you need the nourishment.”
Upon hearing his words, Bai Xiaochun was touched. Gritting his teeth, he decided against coming here often. Otherwise, with his current condition, there was no guarantee that he wouldn’t lose control someday and bankrupt the Burning Stoves Kitchen.
As Yellow Fatso Two and the other fatsos bid their farewells, Bai Xiaochun sighed as he climbed up Scented Cloud Mountain. The pleasure and comfort he just experienced, dissipated without a trace in an instant, replaced by despair and hopelessness. He feared that he would really starve to death someday.
“I don’t know if any disciples have died of starvation in the Spirit River Sect, but I really don’t want to be the first one.” Bai Xiaochun’s face drooped as he thought of ways to solve this starvation problem in the long run. Just then, the sounds of chickens’ clucking suddenly came from a place not far away.
Upon hearing the clucking, Bai Xiaochun slowly turned his head fixed his gaze in the direction of the clucking noises. His vision had already tunneled, his stomach already rumbling.
“Chickens…” Bai Xiaochun looked around, to make sure that no one was watching, before diving into the bushes, as fast as a weasel, disappearing with a whoosh.
After a moment, Bai Xiaochun appeared, crouching outside the fences of Scented Cloud Mountain’s chicken coop. Staring intently at the prideful chickens that walked about with their triple coloured tails. They were as big as baby cows, and Bai Xiaochun was unable to count how many times he gulped.
“Meat…” Bai Xiaochun laughed. It was an incredibly eerie laughter.