Chapter 20: The Floor was Covered with Chicken Feathers
The Spirit Tailed Chicken, which had harder feathers and a larger body compared to an ordinary chicken, was born ferocious. An adult Spirit Tailed Chicken was comparable to a cultivator at the second-level of Qi Condensation.
This kind of chicken was edible, their eggs were nutritious, their blood as well as their bones were excellent medicinal materials, and their tails could be used as rare fuel to produce three-coloured flame. Therefore, Spirit Tailed Chickens were mass reared in all three peaks of the Spirit River Sect’s South Bank.
However, these chickens did not belong to the sect. They were the personal properties of Li Qing Hou and the ancestors of the other two mountains, so only a few disciples were responsible for taking care of these chickens. On the Scented Cloud Mountain, three territories were enclosed for rearing Spirit Tailed Chickens.
Bai Xiaochun hunkered in the shrubbery while looking at those Spirit Tailed Chickens. He had never seen a live Spirit Tailed Chicken before, but he had tasted one in the Burning Stoves Kitchen and he knew that this kind of chicken was extremely delicious. He had also heard from Zhang Fatso One that this kind of chicken liked to eat spirit bugs.
Eventually, Bai Xiaochun’s body flashed away. Instead of acting rashly, he chose to go downhill to buy a bag of spirit bugs with his dwindling supply of spirit stones, before returning to his yard.
The moment he returned, he felt hungry again. Forcibly repressing his hunger pangs, he searched around, seemingly looking for some materials.
Soon after, when his gaze landed on the Spirit Winter Bamboos, his eyes suddenly lit up. These bamboos had grown to over a zhang tall and were as thick as a fist. Glowing with spirit light, they looked quite extraordinary.
(ED note: One zhang is approximately 3.58 meters, or 3.645 yards)
Bai Xiaochun hurriedly walked up to those bamboos and circled around them a few times before he laughed out loud. Using the herbal knowledge he had acquired, he cut off two sections from the head of a bamboo stalk, which was also the toughest part of the bamboo.
As for how to steal the Spirit Tailed Chickens, Bai Xiaochun had his own special way. The most important thing about stealing a chicken was ‘weaseling out.’ Weaseling out, or escaping the notice of others, was indeed an art.
With the two sections of bamboo, Bai Xiaochun quickly made a bamboo-cicada. This was something he had learned from his father when he was little. According to legends, this kind of bamboo-cicada was a useful tool in catching any fowl, be it chicken or phoenix. He then weaved a rope with the bamboo fibers. After tightening the rope to test its tautness, he tied the bamboo-cicada to it, then darted out under the cover of night.
“I want to eat chicken!” Bai Xiaochun’s belly was rumbling, but his eyes were shining with a bright green light. His starvation pushed him to run faster, straight towards the nearest Spirit Tailed Chicken coop.
He slowed down when he neared the chicken coop, sneakily approached the fence, and threw the bamboo-cicada with spirit bugs hanging onto it into the chicken coop. Afterwards, he held the rope that had been tied together with the bamboo-cicada and silently waited, while enduring his hunger.
A few cabins were built within the yard. Beyond them, were the training grounds and living areas of Outer Sect Disciples. Inside the broad hennery yard, were hundreds of Spirit Tailed Chickens. Most of them were lying on the ground, while others were walking around.
Occasionally, they pompously raised their heads high up in the air. After a short while, a Spirit Tailed Chicken seemed to notice something. It turned around and took a glance at the surrounding area, before approaching the bamboo-cicada. The chicken instantly noticed the spirit bug that had been hung on the bamboo-cicada. As it came closer, it then unconcernedly opened its beak and pecked.
But at the exact same moment the chicken’s beak pecked the spirit bug, it triggered the mechanism. Instantly, the bamboo rod bent by the chicken’s pull violently sprang apart and ingeniously trapped the beak of this Spirit Tailed Chicken. It forcibly propped the chicken’s beak open.
The Spirit Tailed Chicken tried to make a sound but failed because of the bamboo stuck in its beak. It then tried crushing the bamboo, however, it failed again due to the sturdiness. At the same time, a strong pull came from the shrubbery.
No matter how hard the chicken struggled, it could only be dragged to the fence in a quick and silent manner. After that, the rope suddenly shook and lifted the chicken into the air. Bai Xiaochun grabbed the chicken in his hands and gathered the power of his fourth-level Qi Condensation into his palms. Together with his tough skin and great strength, he easily twisted the chicken’s neck, then threw it into the storage pouch. This series of moves was extremely skilled, as if it had been an old trick that he had completely mastered.
The entire process had spanned less than thirty breaths, if he hadn’t waited for so long, it would have been even quicker.
Bai Xiaochun was very excited. He dashed back to his own yard, and soon, a delicious scent came out of his cabin. By the time dawn arrived, the entire chicken had ended up in Bai Xiaochun’s stomach.
The only things left were feathers and bones covering the floor…
Having finished the Spirit Tailed Chicken, a large portion of Bai Xiao’s great hunger had vanished. He clearly felt that his body had been replenished a bit, and it was filled with warmth, making him feel quite comfortable.
Even the amount of Qi his body contained had improved slightly. The most obvious improvement was that after he finished that chicken, Bai Xiaochun could operate the Unending Longevity Technique for seven to eight cycles of breathing without pause.
Every single breath had brought Bai Xiaochun waves of warmth. It spread all over his body, before gathering on his skin. This made his skin look stronger and tougher, with black lights flashing from time to time. However, if one looked closer, his skin was still as white and tender.
“This Unending Longevity Technique, first with pain, then starvation. It’s indeed not that easy, but its effects are excellent.” said Bai Xiaoxhun as he raised his right arm and pulled out the wooden sword, before carefully touching it with the back of his hand.
When this wooden sword, which had gone through two spirit refinements, touched Bai Xiaochun’s skin, he clearly felt some resistance. He didn’t continue, but he was even more convinced that he should keep cultivating the Unending Longevity Technique.
“According to the Unending Longevity Technique, the impentrable skin is divided into four stages, which are gold, silver, copper and iron; I am currently at the the basic level, but if I breathe like this for eighty-one days…I will gain an initial success on the invincible skin.” murmured Bai Xiaochun while glancing at the chicken bones on the ground. He had already come up with a good plan which could help him achieve the final stage of the invincible-skin.
(ED note: Er Gen is being realistic with the skin rankings. IRL in terms of hardness, gold<silver<copper<iron. Copper could also be TLed as bronze however bronze is harder than iron so we used copper.)
“Fortunately, there are enough Spirit Tailed Chickens on this mountain,” laughed Bai Xiaochun. He was now even more interested in Spirit Tailed Chickens.
He didn’t know that during the past ten-thousand years, quite a lot cultivators had tried cultivating the Unending Longevity Technique. Amongst these people, most had given up because they couldn’t bear the great and terrifying pain during the first eighty-one days, and only a few of them had stuck to it. However, after the first eighty-one days, the difficulty of the technique stemmed from the large consumption of resources.
If he intended to achieve the highest stage of the invincible skin, the amount of materials he needed to consume for his cultivation would be so terrifyingly large, that even an entire sect couldn’t afford it easily. After all, although cultivating other techniques using the same amount of materials couldn’t gain a cultivator an immortal life, it would still be more cost-effective.
This was the biggest reason that this technique had been buried in the bookshelves for years, with no one even sparing it a glance.
Cultivating for a while, Bai Xiaochun cleaned those chicken bones before burying them in his spirit field, together with the chicken feathers.
After that, he walked out of the yard, headed for a place where outer sect disciples congregated, mingled with the crowd, and carefully listened to people’s conversations, trying to find some useful information. With the experiences that he gained in his old village, he understood that he couldn’t steal a chicken everyday, every three to five days would be the best.
Listening to people’s conversation for a while, he hadn’t heard anybody talking abount any missing chickens. Surprisingly though, he learned that the Spirit Tailed Chicken’s tail were fuels of three-coloured flame.
Bai Xiaochun hurriedly rushed back to his yard after hearing this, dug the three-coloured chicken tail feathers out of the spirit soil, held them in his hand and stared at it for quite a while, seemingly thinking of something.
“No wonder these Spirit Tailed Chickens are mass-reared.” Bai Xiaochun hurriedly placed the feathers in his storage pouch. To others, these feathers were nothing more than fuel of three-coloured flame, but to him, these feathers meant three spirit refinements.
He didn’t use them right away. He was planning on saving them till he had spirit medicines, then refine the medicines to improve their effects.
A few days later, Bai Xiaochun, who had quietly stayed at home for a few days started to feel hungry again. This night, he put down the jade tablet of the second volume of herbs and sneaked out again, under the cover of the night. When he returned home, another two Spirit Tailed Chickens had been added to his storage pouch.
As time went by, a month had soon passed. During the past month, gradually, more and more Scented Cloud Mountain’s disciples had heard of the Spirit Tailed Chicken heists.
Even Li Qinghou himself had heard of this. After all, during the last month, the number of lost chickens in all three henneries were in the dozens. However, this didn’t catch too much of his attention, besides, he had to leave the mountain for other affairs, and as a result, he didn’t look into it.
The ones who were angry the most about this were those outer sect disciples, who were responsible for taking care of those chickens. These seven to eight people were not angry because of the lost chickens, after all, those chickens didn’t belong to them, and the elder didn’t blame them for this either. They were angry because they felt humiliated. They couldn’t believe that a thief dared to steal the chickens from right under their noses. Every time they thought about that thief, they would find themselves grinding their teeth.
However, they had absolutely no idea about how to prevent the chickens from being stolen. No matter how hard they tried to guard them, there were always one to two chickens lost every couple of days. What they couldn’t understand the most was how every single chicken was stolen so silently, not a single noticeable sound was made. It was as if those chickens had disappeared into thin air.
As for Bai Xiaochun, his body had fully recovered during the past month, and had even slightly fattened. No matter how much the Unending Longevity Technique exhausted him, he had enough chickens to replenish his body. His face now had a healthy flush, as if he had returned to his happy life from back then.
While happy and full, his efficiency in learning the second volume of herbs was raised. Finally, the day he had thoroughly studied the entire second volume of herbs arrived. After what he had experienced previously, this time he was even more careful in his research. He was now familiar with all of the leaves, stems, roots and even villus. He was confident in his ability to recognize a herb with a single glance, even when it had been split into dozens of parts.
After he felt confident enough, he walked out of his yard in large strides with his head held high and his chest puffed out.
“This time, I’ll let everyone know that I am the turtle who had topped Zhou Xinqi!” Bai Xiaochun rushed towards the Ten Thousand Medicine Pavilion, his face filled with anticipation.