After parting with the matriarch, the three found Fang Ren and gave her her Transcendent realm technique. They then had her escort them home, where they prepared for their outing.
They discussed it with their mother and grandfather, who didn’t take much interest in it.
The next day, the three headed out for their first trip to the Spring Leaf Forest.
As they were walking through the city streets, they could see various stalls, selling tools and supplies for those who wanted to head into the forest.
Noticing the many goods, Hei commented:
“It seems like a lot of people head into the forest. These people are making a killing.”
Not only were there a lot of customers at each stall, but there also never seemed to be a lack of goods. Evidently, the stores had managed their inventory quite well and had good supply chains.
Hearing Hei’s words, Tianlan responded:
“Indeed, a lot of juniors from the various clans head into the forest for training.”
The three had never come down these roads, they had only known the Wu Clan and the Fang Clan. Furthermore, they weren’t particularly interested in exploring the city.
As he was walking, Hei remembered that in most of the stories he read, there would be a scenario where the main character stumbled upon a treasure that looked like a piece of junk. As a result, the main character would get it for a cheap price.
Having thought this far, Hei decided to give it a try.
‘Treasure detector. Activate!’
He had just finished his thought when, all of a sudden, nothing in particular happened.
‘Either there aren’t any treasures here, or it doesn’t work that way. Sigh.‘
Hei had tried, on multiple occasions, to activate his other abilities, but he was still unable to figure out how they worked.
Even though he was a little disappointed, the thought of the unique fox, cheered him up again.
The three continued on their journey until they reached the city gates.
They were quite large, and there were a lot of people passing through, but other than that, they were just ordinary gates. Nothing much to look at. So, the three continued on their way.
The city had been built right next to the forest, such that one step out of the city was one step into the forest. However, the city did have multiple entrances. The one the three had passed through was the only one that led directly into the forest.
As he looked around, Hei felt that the forest was a little plain. He expected some glowing plants or other unusual things, but all he saw were trees and bushes. There was also some grass if one wanted to go into detail.
In other words, Hei could have found a place like this in his previous life, no problem.
He decided to look on the bright side. The matriarch had already told them how dangerous the forest was, so he assumed that it would become more interesting as they went deeper. And that was the right assumption.
As one got further away from the city, all sorts of bizarre things started to appear. If one looked carefully, one could see eyes on some of the trees.
“Are these the demonic plants we read about?”
The three had come across some information of what was common in the forest. For some reason, there wasn’t much detail and there weren’t many illustrations, but it was enough to know what you were looking at it.
“I think so. These would be considered the lowest level though. They are unable to move, but they are able to cultivate. If they get to a certain level, they can transform into human-like beings from what I’ve read.”
Bai had interests in all sorts of areas. So much so, that she had read miscellaneous books in the Fang Clan library, where she acquired some knowledge that her brothers lacked.
Their grandfather’s books were particularly interesting. They had all sorts of information that wasn’t available in the Fang Clan’s library.
Hearing Bai’s response, Hei grew interested in these trees. Nevertheless, he had bigger fish to catch.
After walking for a while and seeing strange sights, Hei had an idea.
“Tianlan. See if you can find some treasures with your eyes. Check for any areas that are out of the ordinary.”
All this time, Tianlan had used his eyes for observing people. What if he could also find rare treasures with them? It would be a nice boost for the team and would save them a lot of time in the future.
Hei was already thinking of how he would support the Shao Clan as it grew. He intended to make it the strongest clan in the world, after all. How embarrassing would it be if they had no treasures? Conversely, if Tianlan was able to detect treasures with his eyes, then gathering cultivation resources and rewards and such would be much easier.
Agreeing with Hei’s idea, Tianlan activated his eyes. As a result, he was able to see past the regular things, and reveal the mysteries hidden behind.
As he scanned his surroundings, his eyes became wide.
“This place is full of stuff. How come it hasn’t been found yet?”
Tianlan could see more interesting locations than he could count. It was as if someone had buried a bunch of toys in a sandbox, ready for him to discover.
Hei was excited. Unfortunately for him, it seemed Crystalia had dropped the ball on the treasure detector, but at least he had Tianlan.
With that, the three began their adventure in the forest.
“You say there is a treasure here?”
Hei was looking at an ordinary forest scene. There were trees and bushes, and some grass here and there. Nothing like a treasure at all.
“Mm. It’s right here.”
Tianlan reached for the treasure, but his hand was blocked by an invisible barrier.
Seeing this, the three understood what was happening. Hei was the first to speak.
“Someone set up an array formation here? Why?”
Hearing his words, Bai responded.
“I read that some natural treasures cause things like this to happen. It isn’t necessarily a man-made array.”
After hearing this, Hei and Tianlan both nodded in agreement. Then, Tianlan used Sonic Qi to cut through the barrier, and as he did, what lay behind it was revealed.
It was a tiny little tree that had red fruits attached to its branches.
The three didn’t even bother to identify it, before Hei took the tree, roots and all, into his storage space. This was one of the reasons he asked for it to be able to store living things.
He had read many situations where a character was unable to take a natural treasure because they lacked a certain tool or the appropriate storage environment. He could skip all of this by taking the treasure and its surroundings, all at once. Then he could worry about extracting the useful parts later.
Fortunately, his storage space had grown quite large over the months. It was now close to 5 meters on all sides.
“One down. On to the next one.”
Having taken the treasure, the three were no longer interested in the area.
Funnily enough, they had yet to come across a spirit beast or people for that matter. After all, the area they had come to wasn’t particularly interesting. There didn’t seem to be any particular reason for spirit beasts to come here.
The three continued on their way, picking up various treasures on their way.
It was as they were looking for the last treasure before they headed home, that they found something interesting.
As they were walking, Hei could hear two people arguing.
“Little Princess. You know I don’t want to hurt you. Just hand it over and we can be done here.”
“I can’t. You also know that I have been injured for a long time. Now that I have found a way to heal myself, you want me to just hand it over?”
“Then you leave me no choice. Even though we treat you well here, we still have our own needs. And right now, I need to advance in my cultivation.”
Hei was interested in this, so he led his siblings over, saying:
“There are some people over there, do you want to have a look?”
This was the first group of people they had met since coming into the forest, and for some reason, the spirit beasts seemed to be avoiding them.
Hearing Hei’s words, Bai and Tianlan looked to each other, before they turned back to Hei. Tianlan was the one to speak.
“There are two people having an argument over there.”
Hei pointed in the direction where the sound was coming from.
Tianlan and Bai had blank expressions as they looked at Hei. Bai realised something, so she asked:
“How far away are they?”
“Not far. Can’t you hear them?”
Hei was now the confused one. After a moment he realised something himself.
“Ah. They are speaking a different language. That’s why you can’t hear them.”
“A different language? All I can hear are grumbles. It sounds more like beasts than humans.”
Tianlan and Bai still weren’t buying it. What they heard was completely different from a language. They decided to just follow Hei anyway. Obviously, he was aware of something that they weren’t. Furthermore, it was in the same direction as the treasure.
Hei noticed the strange looks in his sibling’s eyes, but he understood that they had never heard another language before. Everyone in Spring Leaf City spoke the same language. He, on the other hand, had heard many different languages growing up.
With that settled, the three headed towards the source of the sound, and as they did, Tianlan and Bai became more and more confused at what their brother seemed to be hearing.
“Are you really going to take it by force?”
“This… There is no other way.”
“So be it.”
Hei was getting more interested. He turned to his siblings and said:
“It looks like they’re about to break into a fight.”
His siblings looked back at him like he was crazy.
Hei decided to ignore this, as he moved some leaves that were in the way, and what he saw left him confused.
“Eh? A monkey and a wolf?”
Hei was seeing a large gorilla-like creature and a small white dog-like creature.
After noticing his presence, both creatures looked at Hei, with hostile intentions.
The little one spoke first. It seemed to have a strong hatred for humans. And backed away slightly.
The big fellow spoke afterwards.
“Get lost if you know what’s good for you.”
Hei ignored the big fellow because he was seeing something unbelievable.
He turned to Tianlan and Bai and asked:
“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”
The two nodded in response.
They were seeing the same aura that the three of them had, around the little one. As a result, they were left speechless, staring at the little one with wide eyes.
The big fellow seemed to not like having been ignored, so it spoke again, angrily.
“Get lost, puny human.”
It pounded its fists against the ground in an effort to intimidate them, but instead, it only annoyed them.
Hei responded without thinking.
Hearing this, both of the creatures were shocked. And it was not only them. Tianlan and Bai also stared at Hei with confused looks.
The big fellow spoke:
“You speak the beast language?”
The big fellow never expected Hei to respond.
Bai also spoke to her brother:
“What was that growl you just made? Are you mocking them?”
Hei turned to Bai and responded:
“No, I told the big fellow to be quiet. Apparently, it was beast language.”
He then turned back to the big fellow and spoke.
‘I have business with the little princess. Get lost.’
“I have small girl is to make you lose.”
Hei’s words came out wrong. This reminded him of his early days in this world. Because he was speaking this language for the first time, his pronunciation was all wrong, causing his sentences to become distorted.
He decided to try something simpler, so he shooed away the big fellow with his hand.
The big fellow took offence to this and immediately launched an attack.
Seeing this, Tianlan activated his Sonic Qi, creating a blade around his hand before he disappeared. When he reappeared, he was right in front of the big fellow and was already thrusting his blade straight at the big fellow’s heart.
Before his attack could land, Hei grabbed his hand.
The big fellow was shocked at their speed. It knew that if Hei hadn’t stopped Tianlan, it would have already died.
It took stumbling steps backwards and fell to the ground, paralysed by fear.
“Tianlan. Don’t kill if you don’t have to. Leaving this thing alive will never cause us problems.”
Hei didn’t want to see a life end just like that.
His mother had always taught him that life was precious, and he agreed. But he also knew that these cultivation worlds were cruel and that sometimes killing your opponent would save you a lot of trouble in the future.
However, in this case, the big fellow would never become a threat. All it was was an eyesore, so he didn’t agree with ending its life.
Tianlan shrugged his shoulders and took back his hand.
Hei turned to the big fellow who was trembling on the ground.
“Please let me live. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
Hei didn’t expect this big fellow to change its tune so quickly. He responded.
Luckily, his words came out right this time.
The big fellow immediately got up and ran for the hills.
After that was settled, Hei turned back to the little one.
“W-what do you want, Human? I won’t give this to you.”
The little one was slowly moving back, trying to escape.
Hei smiled at this and stepped forward.
Seeing this, the little one ran to escape.
Hei activated Unlimited Chain Works and followed behind the little one as it ran.
It was quite fast and seemed to know the terrain well. But even with that, Hei would be able to catch it with the snap of a finger. He decided to play with it until it became exhausted. That would be when he would lower its guard.
The little one was not feeling too good right now. It was quite unnerving hearing the jangling sounds of the chains behind it as it ran.
Every time it looked back, it could see a jumbled mess of wriggling chains coming out of the human, who was leisurely walking on top of a sea of chains.
It seemed that the whole forest would be covered in chains if he so wished.
Every now and then, a few of the chains would thrust forward and come dangerously close to the little one, piercing the ground beside it.
Bai and Tianlan observed this and thought to themselves, ‘When did Unlimited Chain Works become so overbearing?’.
After seeing that escape would be difficult, the little one decided to stand and fight.
It jumped at Hei and opened its mouth wide, trying to scratch at his unprotected face, and Hei chose not to avoid it.
Hei was surprised at the power of the little one’s claw attack. He didn’t feel any pain whatsoever, but he was still able to tell that there was quite a lot of force in this swipe.
Seeing that fighting was also not effective, the little one decided to discard its treasure and escape. It spat out a round object from its mouth before dashing away.
Hei let it think it had gotten away.
After it had stopped to rest, Hei surrounded it in chains and pulled it over to himself.
“No. I already gave up the treasure. You, humans, are all the same.”
The little one tried to struggle, but the chains were too strong for it to escape.
Now that Hei had captured the little fellow, he took the time to examine the treasure it had abandoned. It was a hard-shelled plant of some kind.
After identifying the plant, Hei used Sonic Qi to slice it open and placed it back in the little one’s mouth. He then unchained it and returned it to the ground.
The little one seemed to be surprised that Hei had done this.
“What are you trying to do? I won’t fall for your lies.”
Hei didn’t want to say too much, in fear that it would come out strange, so he used few words.
“Next day, I come to also be here.”
The little one stepped back cautiously.
“Is to see again.”
After saying this, Hei turned and left. He knew that this was a delicate operation because this little one seemed to have been wronged by humans in the past.
After a while, Hei spoke to Bai and Tianlan:
“Well, we didn’t find old red, but we found something much better.”
“Mm. Who would have thought we would find another like us? It seems it isn’t limited to just the three of us.”
Tianlan added on:
“I even thought it was something about Mother that made us this way.”
As they were returning home, Hei described the interactions he had with the creatures and his plans for the little one. He wanted to befriend it before taking it in as a member of the Shao Clan. In addition to that, he could practice the beast language by talking to it.
Bai raised some points about it possibly running off somewhere, but Hei wasn’t too worried about this. He had felt something interesting as his chains held the little one. It was a strangely comfortable feeling, and he guessed that the feeling was shared between both of them.
He didn’t want to tell this to his siblings because he was sure Tianlan would take the chance to annoy him. ‘Even spirit beast girls would fall in love with me? It looks like only beasts would love you Onii-chan. Hahaha.’
After the three had returned to their home, they filled the kitchen with the treasures they had found. They would use them in their baking training.
If any other cultivators heard about this, they would pull their hair out in frustration.