Xue Wuya abruptly turned his head, and with a quick sweep, maliciously faced Junior Leopard at his hiding place. Junior Leopard was both startled and terrified but he did not dare to stop. He ran into the valley, all the while dragging the creatures with him.
"Master, this is — !"
Before he could finish speaking, he felt an invisible force pushing him out of the way. Soon afterward, he saw Xue Wuya's fingertip take ten preys and kill them all at once. He then inhaled a mouthful of fresh blood and sat down to catch his breath.
Junior Leopard did not dare to utter a word. He dutifully waited for two hours when Xue Wuya finally opened his eyes.
After two hours of regulating breathing, Xue Wuya recovered a bit and his pale face got some color. With bloodshot eyes, he glanced at Junior Leopard and nodded. "Well, you have done well, in such a short period of time you managed to get enough living animals and promptly brought them to me. You have helped an awful lot!"
"All this is the master's great fortune!" Junior Leopard quickly replied and caught on that Xue Wuya's mood did not appear bad, therefore, he mustered up his courage and asked, "Master, what is this monster?"
"How should I know! There are too many monsters in this world. This time around, had I not woken up in time, I am afraid the waste would have been beyond words!" Xue Wuya appeared rather gloomy.
"Master, how about changing locations for self-cultivation?"
"That's not necessary!" Xue Wuya shook his head and said, "The monster has been deeply injured by me. Its pneuma has already been sapped out. It has to go underground for a while to recover its strength before it can come out again. For the time being there is no threat at all, moreover... !" After saying that, he became conscious of something, but only shook his head and spoke to Junior Leopard. "Today I am worn out. From tomorrow onwards, increase the amount of living animals. Do you understand?"
"Your disciple understands!" Junior Leopard dared not say more. He lowered his head, but in his mind thoughts were tossing and turning.
"Is that sword handy?" Xue Wuya asked suddenly. As if in deep thought, he glanced at the big black pig that Junior Leopard had sheared its long, sharp, protruding teeth.
"Very handy indeed. Had it not been for this sword, I would never have been able to get so many living animals so fast!" Junior Leopard said repeatedly.
"Handy. That is great!" Xue Wuya nodded his head and said, "I see you have some bruises on your body. How is it that when you were looking for living animals, you had no problem?"
Junior Leopard's bodily outlook was overall neat. Only that when he was fighting the big white-scaled python to dodge its attack, he got scratches from tree branches all over his body. Although he wasn't badly hurt, nevertheless, he had a lot of cuts all over his body. Some of the blood had already solidified, some cuts were rather deep, and still had a bit of blood flowing out of them. He was covered with blood from head to toe, looking as if he had come from the battlefield.
"The sword that you gave me has a sharpness that is unparalleled, naturally I would not have encountered any problems!"
"It was an oversight on my part. Yesterday I was anxious and I needed medical attention, therefore, I did not have a serious talk with you but only gave you this coal dagger. Although you used it well, you did not seem to understand sword skills. I have here a sword skill, its movement is powerful, a formidable force made by a Stranger. I have time now and I will teach you the movement of the sword so that you will not have to exert yourself too much when you go hunting. However, its skill is mysterious, even I cannot fully understand it. You have to practice diligently if you are to master the skill of the sword," Xue Wuya said as he stared at Junior Leopard with shimmering eyes.
"Thank you, master!" Junior Leopard was overjoyed, as if something good had fallen from heaven. There was nothing he had to lose to learn an additional skill. At least Xue Wuya, at the moment, no matter what insidious thoughts he had, Junior Leopard wouldn't meddle too much. Judging from the current situation, he didn't need to put too much effort nor take so many turns to kill himself.
Xue Wuya was also a straightforward person. Now that he had decided, he was unwilling to delay even one moment. He would immediately give the sword skill and mental cultivation methods to Junior Leopard.
Unfortunately the sword skill was just as what he told Junior Leopard, its movements were quite abstruse. Junior Leopard was no fool, but when faced with such mastery of movement, he who knew nothing about sword skills could not understand any at all — it was like mumbo jumbo. Xue Wuya continuously taught him for more than an hour. But it was of no use, he understood nothing.
Xue Wuya was so enraged that he wanted to slap Junior Leopard to death, but in the end, he had no choice. Xue Wuya took two hours to let Junior Leopard cram the movements and mental cultivation methods. He also took some of his experiences and let Junior Leopard recite them to memory. Afterwards, before he broke out, he drove him out of the valley.
"Add more living animals, saying is easy, how about you come and try!"
Junior Leopard muttered to himself as he came out of the valley. It was true that an order from a leader would take the apprentice great efforts to fulfill it. Five living animals were miraculously added once he opened his mouth. Was it that Xue Wuya thought it had been particularly easy for him to hunt for living animals? While he was upset, a strange noise came from his belly. In the end he was overcome by weariness, and he walked with a kind of unsteadiness.
Junior Leopard took hold of the wall beside him and took a breath. "Forget it, I will not think too much. Let's first go back and rest. It's been a long day and I've put in too much effort."
Indeed, this day had been longer than usual, longer than a normal day of the year. First, he had braved the rain and, halfway up the road, he was abducted by Xue Wuya. He had been in a tense state throughout, until Xue Wuya took him as his disciple in martial arts. He helped him hunt for living animals and it wasn't until in the afternoon that he got time to regulate breathing when he was learning the Blaze Technique of the Heavenly Nine Dragons in a small opening on the cliff. He had continually been on edge. Hunting was draining and he had not eaten one morsel of solid food, not to mention taken a sip of water. Right now, the days' work was done and at the same time there was no danger to speak of. To relax and let loose was only natural. Once he relaxed, an immeasurable weariness overwhelmed him. If he continued as he was, he was afraid his body would cave in.
"Better to go and get some rest, eat some solid food, drink some water, and get enough sleep!"
Junior Leopard summoned up his energy and crawled back to the small opening on the half-cliff. He took some dry provisions and sat along the stream. He ate his food hastily with water from the stream and once his belly was full, he crawled back up the cliff. He sat with his legs crossed and quietly began to meditate.
His meditation lasted through the entire night. When he woke up again, it was already daytime.
When Junior Leopard woke up, he looked refreshed. A whole night in meditation had dispelled the exhaustion of yesterday and all was left in its place was an empty stomach and he was hungry once more.
He walked to the mouth of the cave and all around him he saw branches swaying. The distant hills were filled with howling roars of beasts and the flying birds up in the skies passing by from time to time. He had his feet in the stream and the next moment, a flock of wild beasts came to the stream to drink water. Had he looked at them, he would have seen a perfectly beautiful landscape painting, a perfect harmony of nature right before his eyes.
Sadly, such harmonious scenery could not last long. Out of the thicket darted out a panther who rushed to the stream, grabbing a wild goat by the neck and scattering all the wild beasts who were drinking water. The animals then all took flight in fear.
Junior Leopard did not stop to think but raised his hand. With one dart, he hit the panther directly in the middle of its left eye. The panther howled loudly, put the wild goat down, and turned back. Junior Leopard was not going to give the panther a chance to run away and he hit it on one of its legs. The panther wailed and fell to the ground. He struggled to get up, but it wasn't easy.
Junior Leopard fell down from the cliff and the tip of his foot missed the panther by an inch. He pulled out the nail that was inflicting so much pain from the panther's eye and cut its throat. When he looked at the goat that had just been seized by the panther, its throat was already gnawed, and although it wasn't broken, it lay twitching on the ground. It did not have much time left.
"Saved me the effort!" Junior Leopard smiled. He took both carcasses and put them under the big sycamore tree. He threw the panther aside, tore the goat open, washed it, lit a fire, and set it on top of the rack.
It was the technique he learnt in the village from Wang Tianlei and other hunters. When he used the same technique today, he thought it was very convenient. His only regret was the lack of salt.
He lifted up the wild goat and gently controlled the temperature of the fire. Gradually, a faint aroma from the goat roasting on the rack drifted around.
Looking at the roasting goat and smelling the sweet aroma, the smile on Junior Leopard's face gradually spread out. He was imagining what it would be like once the goat was done roasting and ready to eat when he suddenly felt as if there was something curving him under his foot.
He lowered his head and was dumbfounded.
"What is this thing? A squirrel? A chipmunk? Or some other thing?"
At that moment, beneath his feet, a fist-sized, stout thing was trying to arch his feet. On closer inspection, it was a chipmunk-like creature. This little monster was covered in grayish-brown fur, with a furry tail dragging behind it and bending itself hard against his feet. He didn't know what it was arching.
Junior Leopard frowned, put out a hand, and by its tail, he lifted it upside down.
"Squeak, squeak, squeak — !" Junior Leopard lifted it and the little monster was very uncomfortable. His mouth creaked and squeaked. His four claws were scratching in the air. He struggled and struggled to free himself from Junior Leopard's grasp.
"What a bold fellow!" Junior Leopard's heart jolted. After two days of contact, Junior Leopard knew something of the wild beasts in the mountain. They were sneaky and clever, vigilant, and extremely wary of strange things. Whenever there was something amiss, they would scatter and run. Wherever would you encounter such a creature — whose size was smaller than Junior Leopard's fist, seemingly without strength, yet to one's surprise audacious enough to run up to his foot and arch him?
At this point, Junior Leopard had brought the little monster before him and had finally seen its face. It was a little chipmunk. The only difference from the chipmunks on earth was the silvery fluff on this little one's forehead. It was very conspicuous and in the sun it had a silvery gleam.
"Interesting!" Looking at the chipmunk's eye bone, the little chipmunk's eyes turned continuously. Its mouth was wide open, its big teeth were bright and white, and it squeaked. Maybe it had moved too much, and its body was spinning in midair.
Junior Leopard looked at this little monster in fascination and did not let go.
After a few spins, the little monster stopped struggling.
"Well, why is it not moving?"
Junior Leopard was stunned, and at that moment, the little monster was facing him with its back.
Suddenly, "Poof!" A strange smell from the chipmunk's body spurt out.
"What the fuck — ?!" By the time Junior Leopard realized that something was wrong, he had already inhaled a bit of the smell.
"This odor — "
Although Junior Leopard had a bit of resistance, the smell got into his nose and his stomach began to squirm. The acid in his stomach shot up which led him to relax his grip and the little monster fell to the ground.
"Blargh — !" Junior Leopard turned, held his breath, and bent facing towards the stream. He vomited the acid from his stomach in the stream. Had he not held his breath in time, who knew what would have happened.
"Phew, phew, phew — !" After Junior Leopard had finished throwing up, he didn't dare to breathe in that spot. Only after climbing several meters did he take a big breath and waited until he exhaled out all the air. On turning his head, his lungs were within an inch of exploding.
It is said that the rat pulls the turtle, and now the chipmunk was dragging away his half-roasted goat. Toot, toot, toot. It went off straight to the woods. He didn't know how so much energy could come from such a small body. Junior Leopard looked back only to see the half-cooked goat. On the edge of the thick forest, it shook for a moment, then it was dragged by the little monster.
"What the fuck — !" Junior Leopard flew into a rage. He leaped thirty feet high and rushed straight into the woods, vowing to take the thief by force!