Chapter 197 – Thundergrass
During the day, Thundercrash Mountain was truly a marvelous spectacle to behold. Lush forests carpeted the base of the mountain, and 10,000 feet up the greenery thinned to shrubs and high grasses. Another 10,000 feet and there were only sparse weeds. As one gradually ascended, it slowly turned to icy plains of snow, and closer to the peak, there was no snow or ice; there were only the faint flashes of sizzling white lightning.
From bottom to top, it was dark green, yellow, brown, and eventually white.
Thundercrash Mountain was 100,000 feet high. The dense forest at the base was dozens of miles wide, and the trees were extremely large and tall. If seven or eight people holding hands wrapped around a tree, that tree could be considered a king among trees. However, in the forests of Thundercrash Mountain, this kind of tree was simply ordinary.
As Lin Ming walked along, he even saw a tree with a trunk that would take several dozen people to wrap around; it was over 1000 feet high, even the roots of the tree that stuck up from the ground were as large as a temple. This tree looked to be at least four or five thousand years old.
The deeper in water, the larger the fish. The forest was like this too. The deeper one went in, the higher the trees were and the fiercer the vicious beasts were.
There weren’t only these monsters. There were also venomous snakes and insects that hid within the thick grass, they were extremely lethal due to their very toxic venoms. Fortunately, Lin Ming had already applied a special Southern Wilderness oil to his body, so he didn’t fear these poisons.
Lin Ming kept his guard up the entire time. As he saw these giant trees, he didn’t think it was too strange that Thundercrash Mountain had been able to produce a Thunder Lizard that was equal to a Xiantian realm martial artist.
Of these vicious beasts, Lin Ming avoided those that he could. For the rest that chose to rush upon him, he would simply eliminate them.
Like this, Lin Ming safely traveled up the surrounding forest of Thundercrash Mountain and arrived at the hillside grassland areas. The grass here was no shorter than a human, and it was filled with countless venomous snakes and insects.
Lin Ming walked for a bit. Suddenly, something caught his attention. He saw that there was a small 30 foot patch of land with no grass, and a black rock in the center.
This rock was actually a chunk of magnetic ore. In a crevice of this rock there was a white sword-shaped grass that stubbornly grew. It was about a foot high, and there was a small white fruit blooming in the center. The fruit gleamed with a faint electric light.
When Lin Ming had bought the introductory pamphlet to Thundercrash Mountain, he had memorized the appearance of the Thundergrass. Thundergrass was quite conspicuous. They were usually only found within magnetic ore. Not only that, but because of the presence of the power of thunder, there often weren’t any other plants in its surroundings. Like this, it was extremely easy to recognize.
“The leaf is white and the veins have a light red color… this should be 50 year old Thundergrass.”
Lin Ming casually plucked the small white fruit of the Thundergrass, but left the plant itself intact. Thundergrass grew only within magnetic ore; it was not easy to nurture and grow. Lin Ming didn’t want to destroy it, he only wanted to take the fruit that was filled with the power of thunder.
Holding the white fruit in his hand, Lin Ming focused and began to slowly drain the power of thunder that was contained within. The power of thunder flowed along his meridians and into his heart, where it was greedily absorbed by the Heretical God Seed.
Lin Ming was slightly disappointed when he tried to feel if there was any change in the Heretical God Seed’s Thunder Soul. Of course, 50 year old Thundergrass simply wasn’t valuable enough.
Lin Ming sighed. The power of thunder around the base of Thundercrash Mountain was less than that in the Seven Profound Martial House’s Thunder Valley. It wasn’t strange that there wouldn’t be much here that was able to help his Thunder Soul grow. It seemed as if his dream of collecting a massive amount of young Thundergrass to cultivate his Thunder Soul was only an illusion.
If he wished to cultivate his Thunder Soul, then he would have to find Thundergrass that was several hundred years old or even 1000 years old. He might also have to find a way to extract the power of thunder from a Thunder Lizard’s body, and if there was even a faint chance, find a Thunder Soul within Thundercrash Mountain.
Of course Lin Ming didn’t even entertain any hope of that last possibility. Even if there was a Thunder Soul, it would most likely be within the summit of Thundercrash Mountain where lightning struck year-round. With just his own strength, there was no way for him to reach the top.
Lin Ming continued walking forward. Suddenly, he heard the faint sounds of fighting coming from up ahead.
In the high grass of these forests, one had to watch out for more than vicious beasts, they also had to be wary of other martial artists. It was simply too easy to kill someone and steal all their possessions, leaving them here to rot away with no clue as to who did it.
However, Lin Ming didn’t worry about this. This was because the martial artists who hung around the base of Thundercrash Mountain were mostly below the Bone Forging stage.
Although it was said that not even Houtian realm martial artists would go more than halfway up the side of Thundercrash Mountain, the truth was that Houtian realm martial artists would almost never come here.
This was because the only value in coming to Thundercrash Mountain was Thundergrass. The martial artists that came here only came to pick Thundergrass. 100 year old Thundergrass sold for a bit more than 100 gold; it was a paltry amount that Pulse Condensation Period martial artists and above wouldn’t even glance at.
As Lin walked through the grass, he saw figures in front of him flashing around. The sounds of fighting were becoming increasingly clear, and he could clearly hear the sounds of swords clashing as well as the deep roars of beasts.
As Lin Ming spread out his soul force, he was able to sense that in a clearing not too far away, five martial artists were encircling a vicious beast. This vicious beast looked like a rhinoceros, but its back was covered in scales and its tail was thick and long, with a barbed tip.
From the aura it was exuding, it was no weaker than an Altering Muscle martial artist. Its skin was rough and its flesh was thick. Every time it whipped its long and spiked tail, it had a power behind it that was easily able to shatter stones.
The vicious beast was surrounded by five martial artists; three men and two women. They had a symbol shaped like a small black dragon covering the right area of their chest; it seemed as if they were from the same family or the same school. The two women were identical twins, and looked to be around 18 or 19 years old. The sisters’ cultivations were at the early Viscera Training stage, and they used longswords. The strikes lacked strength, and the sword wind from their blades only left superficial cuts on the iron armored rhinoceros’ body.
A young man whose age was about the same as the twins was also at the early Viscera Training stage. His strength was a bit less than the twins – at most he could serve as a distraction.
Finally, the last two were older martial artists, respectively at the early Altering Muscle stage and the peak Altering Muscle stage.
The man who was leading the assault was the peak Altering Muscle martial artist. He was wearing an impressive black outfit, and he used a black darksteel staff as his weapon. Against a vicious beast whose body was entirely covered in armored scales, it was difficult to use a sword. Instead, the long staff had the greatest effect. The black-clothed martial artist had quick reflexes, and every time that armored vicious beast would switch targets, the black-clothed man would take advantage of the opportunity and quickly suppress it with the staff.
He especially attacked between the eyes of the armored rhinoceros. This was where the central nervous system of the armored rhinoceros was, and also its point of greatest weakness.
Although the armored rhinoceros had formidable defensive capabilities, it couldn’t stop the black-clothed martial artist from smashing it with his staff. Slowly, its vision began to blur and its movements dulled until it started to bleed from its eyes and ears.
The black-clothed martial artist saw an opportunity, and his whole body erupted with a torrent of true essence. The black darksteel staff in his hands began to shine with a deep red light.
“Five Mountains Collapse!”
The black-clothed martial roared as he used his strongest martial skill. His staff struck the armored rhinoceros on the forehead, and with a loud cracking sound, the armored rhinoceros’ head caved in, its skull broken.
The iron rhinoceros gave a pitiful howl, swayed on its feet, and finally fell to the ground.
“Senior Apprentice Brother’s Five Mountains Collapse is truly fierce!” The not yet 20 year old youth hurriedly flattered the black-clothed martial artist after he beat the armored rhinoceros to death.
The black-clothed martial artist smiled and guffawed, enjoying this immensely. He said, “Little Long, go and cut off the rhinoceros’ horn, that thing can sell for a high price.”
“Okay.” The youth called Little Long nodded and, in high spirits, went to cut off the rhinoceros’ horn.
The two twin girls came over. They enviously said, “Senior Apprentice Brother’s Five Mountains Collapse is becoming fiercer every day. We sisters still haven’t learnt a martial skill yet…”
All the words were flattery, there was also a small amount of resentment hidden within. To an ordinary martial artist, the legacy of a martial skill was hard to come by.
These five people could be considered the lowest level of marital artists. Their talent wasn’t impressive, and they came from an ordinary family background. They had joined an unknown small school of martial arts. But, this school in truth only had little more than a dozen students. They also only had one so-called ‘master’, who was at the peak Bone Forging stage.
These five people, in comparison to the worst disciples of the Seven Profound Martial House’s Human Hall, still had a big gap between them.
Hearing the two sisters’ complaints, the black-clothed martial artist laughed and said with a smile, “Sang Yu, Sang Lan, don’t be discouraged. Your talent is good, as long as you work hard and strive for excellence, then master will naturally teach you. In two days when I have a chance, I’ll put in a good word for you to the master, and ask him to hand down the ‘Nine Flower Blade’ to you.”
The two sisters heard this and were ecstatic. They sweetly said, “Thank you Elder Senior Apprentice Brother.”
The black-clothed warrior nodded in satisfaction. He liked the feeling of being able to influence the fate of others, especially when they were a pair of beautiful twin women.
But at this moment, he noticed Lin Ming not too far away. It seemed as if this youth had suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He was startled that he hadn’t noticed him until now.
However, this young boy’s cultivation was only at the early Viscera Training stage, so he wasn’t worth caring about.
The black-clothed man glanced over and seemed to have suddenly remembered something. He said to Lin Ming. “Hello friend, did you come to Thundercrash Mountain for an adventure? Would you like to come along with us? We’ll give you a low price. With your early Viscera Training cultivation, it’s dangerous for you to go up Thundercrash Mountain. If you encounter a Thunder Lizard you will surely die.”
As the black-clothed martial artist spoke, the other four also noticed Lin Ming. After they saw Lin Ming’s cultivation, they were somewhat surprised. A newborn calf really didn’t fear a tiger, this boy was truly fearless. His cultivation was only a trivial early Viscera Training stage, and he was by himself, yet he dared come to Thundercrash Mountain.
Lin Ming said, “No need, I’m used to being by myself.”
After being rejected by Lin Ming, the black-clothed martial artist smiled and didn’t say anything. Yet in his heart he had a hope that Lin Ming would suffer some misfortune later. Young people these days really didn’t know how vast the world was. For a 15 or 16 year old to have a cultivation at the early Viscera Training stage was impressive. However, it was inevitable that his heart would swell from the self-confidence, and thinking that he was above the world, he would suffer some miserable fate. In the worst case, he would also lose his life.
The young man at the side of the black-clothed martial artist curled his lips as he heard Lin Ming’s refusal, and whispered, “He doesn’t know what’s good for him. If Elder Senior Apprentice Brother was willing to take him along, then he was already thinking highly of him. Since he rejected him, he’ll just die sooner or later.”