Chapter 19 - Danger And Harvest
Lin Mu stood up and stretched his limbs, followed from which a series of cracks and pops could be heard from his body. The first thing Lin Mu felt different was now that he had broken through to the 5th stage of the body tempering realm, he did not feel as cold as before. With his skin's resistance increased, Lin Mu would be able to withstand the harsh climate with much greater ease.
"I'm one more step closer to becoming a qi cultivator. Now I just have to keep up this pace and not falter." Lin Mu declared firmly.
He then entered the hunting shack to cook some food. Now that he had plenty of condiments, the only things he lacked were vegetables and meat. Lin Mu just hoped that he would be able to hunt a beast tomorrow.
After eating dinner, Lin Mu lied down on the makeshift bed and slipped into a deep sleep. He found himself in the same black space as before and just waited for his body to wake up naturally. Lin Mu woke up in the morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
He went to the stream to bathe, after which he washed the clothes he was wearing and then wore a new black set of clothes. He then entered the forest to check the traps. Lin Mu checked all the traps and could only find one snare that had caught a black-horned rabbit which he took and went back to skin and prepared for his breakfast.
He roasted the rabbit and applied plenty of spices and condiments, which made his meal much more enjoyable. After his stomach was filled, Lin Mu felt like he had the energy to last the entire day now. As today would be the first time he would be hunting in the forest, Lin Mu felt both excited and agitated.
He entered the forest and chose a different path than before this time. This path headed towards the north into the deeper parts of the forest, where stronger and larger beasts lived. Lin Mu still felt a little nervous, so he tried to make as little noise as possible; to not alert any of the beasts.
Lin Mu had walked for an hour, during which he had seen many beasts; most of them being smaller beasts like the thorn tailed rats, with others being larger herbivores such as the stone-hoofed deer - which he would not be able to chase after. He thought he was a little lucky that he did not encounter any larger carnivorous beasts.
He was searching for a suitable prey that he could kill, without putting himself in much danger. Another hour later, he found a beast that he could hunt. It was a hook winged swan that had caught his attention. It seemed like it was separated from its flock and was currently pecking at worms and bugs in the grass.
Lin Mu approached the beast silently. Even though the beast was not that strong, being roughly around the 3rd stage of the body tempering stage, if it chose to fly away Lin Mu would not be able to do much.
He sneaked behind the beast with his short sword drawn and approached it. But just as he was about to slash at the beast a bush behind Lin Mu rustled, alarming the beast.
The hook winged swan cried in surprise and unfurled its wings to take flight upon spotting Lin Mu behind it. Seeing that his prey was about to escape, Lin Mu shot forward with startling speed and stabbed the beast in the base of its neck. The beast screeched in pain and struggled as its life drained from its body.
Taking a deep breath, Lin Mu came to his senses; as his instincts completely controlled the entire process that happened before. Lin Mu quickly stored the carcass of the hook winged swan in the ring and turned around to check the bush where the sound came from. He knew that it was absolutely necessary to be aware of one's surroundings when they were hunting. One wrong step and they could be injured, or worse: killed.
But before Lin Mu could even start moving towards the bush, he heard a loud squeal coming from it; finding a large boar charging out of it. The boar was tall enough to reach up to his waist and seemed extremely angry with its eyes crimson red. It was a mid-tiered beast called the Red-snouted boar. Its snout was red as one could tell from its name and they were highly territorial, even attacking beasts much larger than them without blinking an eye.
Adrenaline surged through Lin Mu's blood as he broke into a sprint, running away from the boar that was now chasing him. He knew that the Red-snouted boar was much stronger and faster than him, so he had to find a way to get rid of it quickly.
He kept on running, but the Red-snouted boar only got closer and just when the beast was about to ram him... Lin Mu jumped and grasped a low-hanging branch to pull himself up on a short tree.
The boar rammed into the trunk of the tree with a loud thud, making the entire tree shake. Seeing that its enemy had escaped on to the tree, the Red-snouted boar kept on ramming it; trying to break it down. Chips of wood flew every time the boar rammed into the tree with its tusks, digging deeper and deeper. Cold sweat appeared on Lin Mu's forehead because of the fear from the boar.
His brain functioned at a lightning speed to find a solution to the current predicament, as it did not seem like the tree could stand much longer. Thinking quickly, Lin Mu promptly decided upon a plan.
"I only have one chance, so let's just hope this works or my cultivation journey would end before it could even begin." Lin Mu thought out loud.
He stretched out his right hand over the edge and timed when the Red-snouted beast would slam into the tree. Just when the beast was about to slam into the half-broken tree, Lin Mu willed it and a large rock appeared in his hand. It was the same rock he had found in the spatial rift.
Lin Mu pulled his hand away as soon as the large rock appeared, as he could not bear its weight; for the rock easily weighed more than a few hundred kilograms.
As soon as he moved his hand, a sickening crunch could be heard since the rock crushed the skull of the Red-snouted boar. The beast did not scream, nor struggle, as its life was ended in an instant. Lin Mu waited for a minute to ensure that the beast was dead and would not miraculously come back to life the next moment.
He then climbed down to check the aftermath. Blood and brains could be seen splattered around the head of the beast, giving off a bloody stench. Lin Mu finally calmed down after checking the dead beast, and his adrenaline rush faded. He placed his hand on the large rock to store it back in the ring.
'I could not identify what kind of rock it is, but at least I found a practical use for it,' thought Lin Mu with a chuckle.
After the large rock was stored into the ring, Lin Mu could see the state of the Red-snouted boar. Its head was barely recognisable, having been crushed, with only its hard tusks surviving the impact. Lin Mu stored the carcass of the beast into the ring and ran in another direction, as other beasts would soon be attracted because of the fresh scent of blood. He did not want another dangerous encounter and felt like he had enough adventure for one day.
Lin Mu reached the hunting shack 3 hours later. He then went towards the stream to skin the carcasses. Now that he had a blade to skin and gut the beasts, things would be much easier for him.
Lin Mu first took out the carcass of the Hook-winged swan and started removing the feathers while being careful of the small hooks located at the tips of the feathers.
He removed all the feathers and stored them in the ring, as they could be used to make fletching. He would be able to sell them, along with the pelt and tusks of the Red-snouted boar, in the town. The next thing he did was to slit the throat of the boar to drain the blood. It was a little difficult for Lin Mu to lift the beast as it weighed over 100 kilograms.
While the blood drained from the boar, he cut off the head of the hook winged swan and let its blood drain as well. After its blood was drained, he slit the belly and removed all the guts, keeping the heart and liver behind. He then washed and stored the carcass into the ring. He did the same for the Red-snouted boar too, except that he only threw away the stomach and intestines; keeping the large organs.
Lin Mu felt a little tired after completing the task and wanted to rest. Now that he had the Red-snouted boar's carcass, its vital energy rich meat would last him for at least a week.
He went to the shack to cook the hook winged swan's meat first, which he flavored with spices. He rested while the meat was roasting. Lin Mu then gorged on the roasted swan beast and felt a warmth spreading from his stomach.
This warmth was the vital energy stored in the beast's flesh. He did not feel this before from the black-horned rabbit as its flesh had very little vital energy stored in it. After finishing his meal, he went outside to continue training his body and to practice with the sword.