Chapter 60: Stalking
Hui Yue stood bent over the One-eyed Demon Dog corpse, and he was about to remove the beast core when a deep sigh could be heard coming from him. He straightened his back and looked up into the tree-crowns above him, before he said out loud: “Okay, come out. How long do you plan on stalking me in this forest?”
It had been three weeks since the battle against the three female beasts, and Hui Yue had since then entered the magical forest together with the others. Everything had been exactly as they had previously agreed upon, and none of the humans stepped into the clearings which belonged to the humanoid beasts, just as those three ensured that the Saint ranked magical beast stayed away.
The three weeks had gone by in a flash, and the six youngsters had moved further and further into the forest, as they were gradually increasing the difficulty for each fight. Even though they were now fighting beasts of the Disciple rank, none of these proved difficult as they all had overpowering skills and they could not compare to the intense fight against the three females at the start of their training.
Even though the fights had proved slightly lacklustre, the six young people managed to gain one enlightenment after another regarding their abilities. Each time one of them gained enlightenment, the essence of the heavens and the earth would flood around that person, rapidly increasing the speed in which they would break through.
This help from the heavens and the earth caused everyone present to manage to refine much more Qi in a short amount of time than they had ever done before.
Hui Yue managed to break into the ranks of a six star Disciple, while Rong Xing had reached the peak of a third star Practitioner. Rong Ming had finally caught up with his sister, stepping into the third star like her.
Gao Yan, shocked Hui Yue once again. His cultivation technique had allowed him to reach the fifth star Disciple rank after only a few insights It was obvious that this guy would soon overtake Hui Yue’s rank once more.
Ma Kong had not managed to break into the Practitioner rank, before entering the Magical Forest, but after having enlightenments of his own regarding the Qi Bomb, he now found that he too had entered into the realm of Practitioners.
Deng Wu was the one who Hui Yue was most anticipating a break through. He had been a peak nine-star Practitioner for such a long time, yet he still had not broken through. This alone showed just how hard it was for someone to unlock the middle dantian.
Although it had not happened yet, Hui Yue knew that it would soon. Every time Deng Wu moved around within the forest, the air would fluctuate and the various elements would be drawn to this boy. It was as though the specks of energy waited to see which elemental affinity would be revealed.
Since the fight, Hui Yue had felt a constant pair of eyes which followed his every move. At first these eyes caused a feeling of danger, but Hui Yue quickly noticed that they no longer contained hostility, but curiosity.
Currently Hui Yue was partaking in a competition, which Gao Yan had started, to see who could gather the most beast cores within three days. It would be their final one, before they would journey back to Riluo City, but even now these eyes were following his every move.
Having accepted three weeks of being followed, Hui Yue had finally had enough, and he decided to call out the snake-woman who had been following him for so long. Just as his voice rang out through the dense forest, a slithering sound could be heard and the yellow woman appeared in front of him; her eyes shone with curiosity whenever she looked at him.
A big smile appeared on her face as she held out her hands, within them were beast cores which had come from random Disciple ranked beasts. Seeing this many cores, Hui Yue could not help but suck in a breath of air, and his eyes were displaying disbelief as the snake-woman urged him to take them.
Seeing this, a thought struck Hui Yue and he withdrew a few Qi Congregating Pills from his satchel, which he placed in the clawed hands as he accepted the beast cores.
The snake-woman c*cked her head to the side slightly, reminding Hui Yue of a pet which waited to be granted allowance to eat a snack, and an involuntary laughter escaped his lips.
The laughter caused the snake-woman to remove her focus from the four pills in her hands, as she looked at the boy in front of her before, she to, laughed as well. Her laughter was like pearls of water falling on dry land, and even Hui Yue was put into a trance just by listening.
The forest suddenly turned much more appealing than it had been before. The colours were more vivid, and even the dead carcass of the One-eyed Demon Dog seemed like a fluffy puppy.
Hui Yue was smiling mindlessly as he floated closer to the snake-woman. Suddenly a jolt went through his body, and Hui Yue felt how his consciousness was sucked away, leaving his body to be controlled by Lan Feng.
Shock filled Hui Yue as he understood that this snake-woman was indeed an enchantress who could confuse the senses of men, yet he also understood that she was not aware of doing so. In a way she was exactly like a child.
‘Don’t be fooled.’ Lan Feng warned as he stayed in control over the body. ‘Although she is not ranked incredibly high, she still has the intelligence equal to a King ranked beast considering her human blood.’
Hearing this somewhat shocked Hui Yue, as he had never expected human blood to give such a major benefit to a magical beast. Although it was a benefit, it also proved that these humanoid beasts did not belong together with the rest of the magical beasts, but neither were they humans.
Low growls appeared from the snake-woman as she looked at Hui Yue with curious eyes.
“No.” Lan Feng said out loud. “We will be leaving soon.” As soon as those words were said out loud, a worried expression appeared on the face of the woman, and a throaty growl followed by a sneer.
“We are from the big city.” Lan Feng said, and Hui Yue saw how the phoenix was conversing with the snake-woman. The conversation went on for quite awhile, and Hui Yue felt annoyance grew more and more intense within Lan Feng’s soul, as he kept trying to explain that Hui Yue was here only for training, and that he lived far away in a city much bigger than the village which lay just outside the forest.
“Listen up woman!” Lan Feng finally roared, as he had lost his patience, “You cannot see him again unless you make a beast pledge!”
Hui Yue furrowed his brows as he heard the word beast pledge. As a cultivator, how could he not understand what a beast pledge was. Beast pledges were much like blood oaths. It was a pledge which the beast swore on their blood, vowing that they would give their lives to the cultivator whom they pledged to.
Unlike the soul contract, the beast pledge was a master servant relationship, and it was a bond which was affirmed by blood. This meant that the cultivator and the beast were just that, a cultivator and a beast. They were unable to communicate with each other, until the beast had a high enough intelligence to learn the human tongue which usually would not happen before they reached the ranks of an Emperor or King.
A beast would never lower themselves to volunteering a beast pledge, while many would rather die than becoming a human’s servant. If this happened, the cultivator had the option of catching the soul of the beast and ingesting it.
To catch a beast soul one needed an inscription pattern created by a water affinity cultivator. These inscription patterns would not allow for the soul to move into the netherworld, but instead link it to the person who activated the inscription, and while swallowing the soul it would be linked to their cultivation base, forcing the soul to lend its strength and abilities to the human cultivator.
Hui Yue had understood from the previous conversation that it was obvious this snake-woman had been curious about Hui Yue and other humans, but after hearing Lan Feng mentioning the beast pledge Hui Yue knew that the snake-woman ought to be mad. If she was not mad, then she should at least be displeased, and try to change the subject.
Unfortunately, things did not go the way Lan Feng and Hui Yue had expected. Quick as lightning, the snake-woman pounced forward, a cold chill spreading through Hui Yue’s body, yet by the time he managed to withdraw blood was already running from his arm.
Seeing this Hui Yue was alert, and he quickly circulated his energy within his body about to release his most dangerous attack, Fire Spark, when he saw that the snake-woman had not followed up with another attack, instead she had sliced her own arm with one of her claw-like nails.
She then mixed the blood of Hui Yue with the blood of herself, and her voice allowed for certain growls to escape.
As soon as those growls had vanished a golden light shone on the wound on her arm, and a silvery light enveloped the entire beast, eventually illuminating the entire area in this soft and gentle light.
Hui Yue felt how this light was absorbed by the cut on his arm as it slowly closed up, leaving behind a small scar. The rest of the light flooded towards the snake-woman. Some of it entered her wound as well, closing it up much like Hui Yue’s had done.
The rest of the light moved to her forehead where a pearl like gem had become visible, and this gem absorbed the rest of the light. Slowly the gem vanished into her forehead, and now her eyes no longer shone with the beautiful red colour they had previously. Now they were silvery, the sign that showed one had successfully been subdued by a cultivator, and that she had made the beast pledge.
Silence overtook the small area within the forest as both Hui Yue and Lan Feng were completely shocked, neither attempting to speak as they were gobsmacked to see a beast initiate the beast pledge. Finally, Lan Feng cleared his throat before finally asking, “So what is your name?”
Walking back to camp, Hui Yue sighed deeply. He was currently walking hand in hand with his new beast companion, yet no matter how he looked at this woman, it was impossible for him to see her as a beast.
Her lower body was that of a snake while her upper body was that of a beautiful mature woman. Her head was at the height of almost two meters. Her beautiful face was of a woman who had seen the world and her now silvery eyes shone with intelligence.
Yet this intelligence was only in certain aspects as she seemed to know absolutely nothing about the world outside. During the conversation earlier Hui Yue had learned that her name was Sha Yun. She did not understand the concept of age, so she had no idea of how old she was.
Three weeks ago she had gotten interested in Hui Yue when he had spared her and her sisters and even gifted them medicinal pills. After that she then had observed him daily, and she slowly found him more and more interesting to the point where she started wondering what other humans were like. What the world outside this forest was like.
She had always wished to ask him, but she knew that he did not understand her questions; when she heard that Hui Yue was going to leave the forest fear struck her, and she had acted rashly and initiated the beast pledge.
“What is she doing here?” Gao Yan asked with furrowed brows, as Hui Yue made his way into their camp with Sha Yun in tow.