“How many rusty iron boots are we going to find here?” Zhang asked, dismayed by the sheer amount of rusty iron boots that they’ve found. These iron boots were most likely worn by regular soldiers or people of little importance who took part in the battle, because they did not show any trace of being enchanted at all.
“Maybe we should move to a different area.” Cai Cao said as he eyed the small mound of rusty iron boots that they’ve managed to collect.
“Yea, I never want to see another rusty iron boot again.” Zhang said as he tossed a rusty iron boot he was holding onto the top of the pile.
Thus our two adventurers set out back into the woods in the hopes of finding treasure elsewhere. Although their spirits were somewhat dismayed, they continued forth.
Roughly half an hour later, the two of them was well immersed in the woods since there were no long any more dirt paths to take. Trekking through the endless sea of trees, Zhang and Cai Cao continued to pick up whatever herbs they happened upon. If anything they would at least make a small harvest in regards to contribution points when they exchange these medical herbs.
“CHIRP! CHIRP!!” One of the chickens sounded out in the distance. This was a sign that danger was approaching and that they should be on high alert.
“Let’s go.” Zhang said as he pointed up a tree.
Not long after he could be seen climbing up the tree with Cai Cao following right behind him. Soon the two of them were high up in the canopy and were fairly well hidden from whatever was lurking down below in the woods.
Minutes passed by before two large beasts come into view, a large bear with snow white fur was speeding through the forest as a pitch black leopard was in pursuit. Simply from the size and aura that there two gave off, one could tell that they were not ordinary animals, but were instead demonic beasts.
This being the first time, Zhang felt the aura and saw a demonic beast, he couldn’t help but have his eyes glued to them. The leopard sped through the woods at blinding speeds and soon closed in on the fleeing bear and sank its claws into the bear as it pounced.
However, the beat’s dense fur seemed to be able to hold up against the leopard’s sharp claws, since not even a hint of blood could be seen from where the claws were clinging to the bear.
With a mighty roar the bear slammed into a tree, smashing the leopard and the tree onto the ground.
“Shit, if they come here then we might get dragged into this.” Zhang thought as he poked Cai Cao and pointed to a tree a bit away from where the leopard and bear were fighting. With Zhang leading the way, our two adventurers crawled from one tree limb to the other and made their way away from the raging battle that was happening between the bear and leopard.
“That’s a late fragment realm Blizzard Bear and that’s a late fragment realm Shadow Leopard.” Cai Cao stated once they were a bit away from the two beasts.
The battle below the canopy continued to grow fiercer as the two demonic beasts began using their innate abilities. He bear’s claws turned translucent and gave off an ice air as they lashed out at the leopard, however the leopard seemed to mend with the shadows as it evaded the bear’s attack. Resulting in an icy gouge mark on the trunk of a large tree. That tree soon tumbled over due to having half of its trunk missing.
“We might end up with a good harvest depending on how this fight concludes.” Zhang whispered to Cai Cao, who replied to him with a nod.
If the battle resulted in the death of both demonic beasts then Zhang and Cai Cao would be able to scavenge their corpses, which can be considered small treasure troves.
Although these beasts were only in the later stages of the fragment realm, their pelts, claws, fangs and other body parts can be used to make medical pills, weapons and armor, that can be considered treasures for people like Zhang and Cai Cao who are in the early stages of cultivation.
As Zhang and Cai Cao waited for the battle to conclude, the leopard continued to pounce at the bear, unlike before when it was now aiming for the bear’s under bellow that was now covered in their fur. Faint traces of blood could be seen trickling down onto the ground as the bear slowly became cornered by the leopard.
But of course the battle was not entirely one sided because the blizzard bear managed to land a few hits on the shadow leopard at the expense of revealing an opening for the leopard to attack. If the battle dragged on then the blizzard bear would definitely gain the upper hand, since it possessed an overall higher vitality than the leopard who possessed more explosive battle prowess.
The leopard’s sleek black coat of fur was now trickling with ice particles from the few hits that it received from the Blizzard Bear, it’s speed had dropped by a fraction and it no longer moved like a blur like it was doing so before. Had it not been for the leopard’s ability to blend in with the shadows then it would probably have sustained much heavier injuries then by now. But thanks to its agility the Shadow Leopard still had the upper hand against the Blizzard Bear.
As the battle drew on the sun reached its peak and began to descend, with their eyes focused on the battle unfolding in front of them neither Zhang nor Cai Cao realized that the day would end in a matter of hours. If they left and did not see to the end of the battle then they would make it back to camp before the day ends, but they were too engrossed in observing the battle and waiting to claim the spoils to notice the time.
When the battle finally neared conclusion, the Blizzard Bear’s snow white pelt was stained red in blood and the Shadow Leopard was left with a broken hind leg and a few missing fangs.
With a hand signal from Zhang, our two adventures leapt down from the tree they were hiding in with weapons drawn. The leopard and bear were both about to fall over from blood loss and exhaustion so now was the perfect time to move in.
To begin their assault, a barrage of needles shot out from Cai Cao’s sleeve and embedded themselves into the leopard and the bear. In the meantime, Zhang drew his sword and took lead in the charge. Of course they would not move in right away, rather they would stay at a distance while Cai Cao continues to barrage the leopard and bear with needles.
“The poison should be kicking in soon.” Cai Cao said as he continued launched needles out from his sleeves.
Although Cai Cao was interfering with their battle, the Blizzard Bear and Shadow Leopard kept an eye on each other and did not charge toward where Cai Cao and Zhang were. They were too worry of being attacked by one another and too tired from the prolonged battle to deal with Zhang and Cai Cao, to them our two adventurers would seem like pests rather than threats this was because Cai Cao’s needles were not made to inflict pain, instead they were made to interrupt essence flew within the body and disperse poisons.
So even if the Blizzard Bear and Shadow Leopard wanted to attack Zhang and Cai Cao, they would not be able to due to their numerous injuries inflicted by one another and Cai Cao’s poison kicking in. Soon the two formerly mighty demonic beasts fell to the ground and Zhang began his approach with his sword drawn.
“I’ll take out the bear and you take out the leopard?” Zhang asked as they closed in on their prey.
“Okay.” Cai Cao said as he reached down to his belt and withdrew his belt sword. The sword flexed about in the air as Cai Cao lifted it up after withdrawing it from its scabbard.
The bear and leopard eyed Zhang and Cai Cao as they laid powerless on the ground, wait for their end to come. Though Zhang felt a hint of pity for the bear, who was chased and attacked by the leopard, he knew that on a normal occasion if the bear was in tip top shape, he would be the one to his end.
“I’ll give you a quick one.” He said as he lifted his pitch black blade up and plunged it into the back of the bear’s neck. Likewise, Cai Cao’s belt sword curved and gave the leopard a quick death by severing its carotid artery.
“Collect the blood, claws, fangs, pelt and some meat. Also check if either of them have demonic cores.” Cai Cao said to Zhang, reminding him what parts to harvest. Demonic beast blood was rich in essence and would greatly promote cultivation, while demonic beast claws, fangs and pelts would be made into weapons and armor. Demonic beast meat, was like demonic beast blood and was also very rich in essence and would also greatly promote cultivation. Lastly there were demonic cores, which are only occasionally found within demonic beasts.
These cores are condensed from pure essence that had accumulated overtime within the demonic beasts and could be absorbed by cultivators to further strengthen their cultivation.
“Alright.” Zhang said as he bent down and began cutting away at the bear, first removing its blood stained fur, then claiming it’s claws and fangs. Once those were removed, Zhang pulled out a glass bottle from one of the sacks he was carrying and began collect bottles of Blizzard Bear blood, the blood itself contained the essence of the Blizzard Bear and seemed to freeze as it was collect inside the glass bottle.
Once a considerable amount of blood was collected, Zhang began harvesting some meat from the Blizzard Bear, only taking what he and Cai Cao could eat because taking too much would only cause it to spoil and attract unwanted visitors. The meat much like the demonic core and demonic blood, contained traces of essence also, but it tended to spoil fairly quickly unless properly preserved and since they could not safely transport the two corpses back with them, it was best not to be too greedy.
With his sword Zhang slit open the Blizzard Bear’s chest looking to see if it had a demonic core, sadly there was nothing there for him to take. By now the sun was only peeking out of the horizon and was able to disappear until morning.
“We should be heading back now.” Zhang said realizing the time after he had finished collecting their spoils.
“Just a second let me get this thing out of the Shadow Leopard’s chest.” Cai Cao said.
When Zhang looked over, he could see that there was a shiny looking purplish crystal poking out of the Shadow Leopard.
“Odd how the Blizzard Bear which seemed to be stronger than the Shadow Leopard, didn’t have a demonic core, but the leopard ended up having one.” He thought.
“It’s okay I’ll give you half of the core once we get back.” Cai Cao laughed as he finally managed to pull the demonic core out of the Shadow Leopard’s corpse.
“We can celebrate back at camp, the scent of blood these two have been giving off should have attracted a lot of attention by now, we should really be on our way.” Zhang said with a grin.
“Alright let’s go.” Cai Cao replied.
With a big harvest in tow, our two adventurers headed back to camp. True to Zhang’s words, on their way back to camp, they spotted dozens of early fragment realm demonic beasts, heading toward where the corpses of the Blizzard Bear and the Shadow Leopard laid.
“We’re almost there, I can see part of Whale Rock from here.” Cai Cao said as he pointed out ahead. Moonlight was currently showering down from above and partially lit the path for Zhang and Cai Cao.
“Wait… I think I heard something.” Zhang said as he placed his hand atop of Cai Cao’s shoulder.
‘What?” Cai Cao said as he turned back toward Zhang, positioning his body so Zhang’s hand could not rest on his shoulder. Although they could be considered very good friends by now, Cai Cao still seemed to avoid coming into direct contact with others.
Before Zhang could reply, a heart wrenching screech reverberated in the air. Whizzing straight Zhang and Cai Cao was a small group of demonic beasts.
“Shit, we’ve intruded into their territory.” Zhang said as he ran behind a tree, trying to stay out of sight. However, the demonic beasts did not turn back or even look at Cai Cao or Zhang.
“No, I think they’re trying to escape from something.” Cai Cao pointed out.
“Let’s not stick around to find out what was chasing them then.” Zhang said as he signaled Cai Cao to follow him.
A short distance away from where Zhang and Cai Cao were, there was an enormous silhouette lurking about. This silhouette of course was the very same silhouette that had slaughtered six Misty Mountain Sect disciples the night prior.
As if it was following something’s scent the silhouette closed in on the location where our two adventurers had been mere moments ago. Countless blood red eyes, glared into the darkness as the silhouette sped through the woods, unimpeded. All of the demonic beasts within the area had fled long ago, for they knew the terror of the silhouette.
“Bodies.” The silhouette said in an ancient hoarse voice that seemed older than time itself.
While the silhouette stood in the dark woods, searching about, Zhang and Cai Cao were but a short distance away from their camp. From where they were they could spot Whale Rock under the moonlight and expressions of relief and glee were evident on their faces.
Whatever it was that was in the woods, they had managed to slip away from it. With the harvest that they had collected earlier, it could be said that today was their lucky day.