Time was like a white steed that flitted past a crack, and summer left with the arrival of autumn.
In the walled-in path, Fang Yuan stood once more before the giant boulder blocking the way.
Due to the weather growing colder, he wore plain and simple garment with long sleeves. But his body figure was no longer the thin sort like how it was a few months ago.
His chest, two arms and legs, and abdomen all showed obvious muscle.
These muscles were not as protruding as a stone, but it showed as a type of streamline, matching up with Fang Yuan’s slowly growing body. Matched as well with his white skin, this gave others a type of youthful, full of vitality feeling.
"Starting from three days ago, the White Boar Gu stopped supplying me any increase in strength. That means, I already have one boar’s strength, thus reaching the Flower Wine Monk’s requirement. Today, I shall try pushing this round rock again!"
Fang Yuan’s eyes shone as he took a step forward with his right leg, his left leg at the back, forming a bow step.
His arms touched the surface of the round rock as he took a deep breath in and pushed with all his strength.
The large boulder moved under the pressure of both his arms, moving slowly, gradually gaining momentum and rolling forward.
The road before the boulder blocking the path was an inclined slope. Being turned into a round rock by the Flower Wine Monk, it was most suitable for rolling. This must have been his intention, to allow the inheritor to push the boulder upwards and move it away.
"Ten steps, twenty steps, thirty steps..." Fang Yuan slowly progressed, counting in his heart, "Last week, I pushed it to forty-five steps and that was the limit of my stamina, forcing me to quit. This time, I wonder how far I can push it?"
Forty steps, forty-five steps…...
A while later, Fang Yuan broke his original record, but that was enough for him to feel unbearably tired.
Forty-six steps, forty-seven steps…...
Fang Yuan could feel strongly, at this point his stamina was almost all gone.
Forty-eight, forty-nine steps....
He mustered all his strength and moved another two steps. Finally, he was at his limit, sweating profusely. Using his shoulder and leg to anchor the rock in place, he took a few deep breaths.
"Should I give up?" Fang Yuan could not help but have such thoughts. This inclined slope, when returning he has to expend quite a bit of stamina as well. After all, the rock has to roll down and he had to slowly release it in the process.
If he let go and ran, the rock would roll faster and faster. Fang Yuan did not want to get turned into a pile of flesh after being unable to avoid it.
But thinking for a while, Fang Yuan felt indignant. Let’s push it a few more steps.
He suddenly felt that the pressure from the huge rock had lightened. It had actually rolled into a straight platform.
Fang Yuan pushed for a few more steps. After routing past the huge rock he found himself in a secret room.
This secret room was like the rock crack’s secret cave. He temporarily named it the second secret room.
There was nothing in the room. The four walls were a strange red soil, glowing red. On the other end of the secret room, there was a simple grey-coloured rock door. It should be the hurried product of the Flower Wine Monk.
Fang Yuan rested for a while but did not immediately open the rock door, as he had a new discovery.
He found that the ground before the rock door was slightly damp.
"Don’t tell me..." Fang Yuan had a thought. He bent down, stretching out both arms and loosening the soil.
The second Earth Treasury flower!
Fang Yuan laughed heartily, carefully peeling the flower petals and retrieving the Gu worm slumbering in the golden nectar.
Once he deployed his primeval essence, it was instantly refined.
This was a Jade Skin Gu. Its appearance was like the bedbug, flat and wide with a small head and its green body was oval in space, emitting a faint jade coloured glow.
"I obtained the White Boar Gu, and was still thinking where could I get a Jade Skin Gu so I could refine it into the White Jade Gu. To think that the Flower Wine Monk already prepared it for me," Fang Yuan contemplated, thinking about the significance of this Jade Skin Gu.
This is Fang Yuan’s sixth Gu worm.
Although he had five already, none were defensive. Now that he had the Jade Skin Gu, he could cover up his weakness in defense.
At times, defense means offense.
This was not hard to understand. Taking for example Fang Yuan’s body. Using the White Boar Gu, his strength grew to one boar’s strength. Theoretically, with this strength, he could smash a rock in one punch, but Fang Yuan never did such a thing.
Because he knew his defense was not sufficient, so with one punch, the rock would break, but his fists would also turn bloody from the damage.
Now that he had the Jade Skin Gu, he could supplement the advantage he had in strength.Obviously, there were advantages and disadvantages.
The Jade Skin Gu had a high value, being one of the best defensive Rank one Gu. It was not easy to feed, consuming two pieces of jade rock every ten days.
Jade rock’s market price was expensive, and the source was often the problem.
Fang Zheng also has a Jade Skin Gu, but he has the clan leader’s backing, providing him with jade rocks. If Fang Yuan wanted jade rocks, he would have to buy them, and that could easily expose him.
"Originally in feeding the White Boar Gu, I had to regularly kill wild boars, and that is already troublesome. With the addition of this Jade Skin Gu, do I have to go dig in mines?" Fang Yuan laughed bitterly, seeing a new problem in front of him.
Keeping the Jade Skin Gu, temporarily nurturing it in his aperture, Fang Yuan gradually opened the rock door.
The rock door was heavy, and if Fang Yuan did not have the White Boar Gu’s boost in strength, he would not be able to move it. But now, with Fang Yuan pushing it, the door slowly opened.
The scene that was revealed to Fang Yuan caused his field of vision to expand all of a sudden.
It was no longer a narrow tunnel or a secret room, but a large spacious plot of underground stone forest.
Fang Yuan estimated at initial approximation, the stone forest’s size was over thirty Mu(1)! On earth, a standard football field was only eleven Mu.
"I should be inside Qing Mao mountain now, this underground space should be naturally formed." Fang Yuan looked up at the stone walls.
The stone walls in this space were over sixteen meters tall, and the ceiling was also made of stone.
From the top, there were large dark red pillars erected. Each emitted a faint red glow, and so did the walls, just like the tunnel and secret room. The light although dim, allowed Fang Yuan to see some things at least.
Fang Yuan looked far, and each stone pillar was like an upside down tree, except without branches, and only leaving the stem.
The stone pillar’s surface was not smooth, and was full of dark eerie holes. Numerous pillars drooped down, forming an inverted stone forest within the mountain.
Nature had its way with things.
Fang Yuan with his immense knowledge, was not shocked, but stared at the dark holes in the pillars, frowning more intensely.
He had suddenly understood the Flower Wine Monk’s intention in placing the Jade Skin Gu.
"If I am not wrong..." Fang Yuan turned his right hand, and out came a moonblade.
The eerie blue moonblade flew through the sky in an arc, precisely hitting a dark hole in the stone pillar.
A shrill and angry sound came from the dark hole.
With a ‘swoosh’, a grey monkey flew out from the cave and leapt towards Fang Yuan.
Pow pow pow.
Fang Yuan shot three moonblades.
The monkey was in midair and could not adjust its position, but its tail was extremely agile, sweeping several times and causing its body to flip in midair. After avoiding two moonblades, it was finally hit by the third, plopping on the floor dead.
It was dead, without a drop of blood.
Only its grey body turned to stone, and in a second, its flesh and blood body became a stone monkey statue.
The statue’s posture and facial expression was just like the monkey right before it died, imitated to perfection. After two breath’s time, the stone monkey’s surface cracked, and cracks developed all over its body. Finally with a boom, its entire figure blew up into tiny rock fragments.
"It really is an underground colony of jade eye stone monkeys." Fang Yuan knelt down, sweeping the fragments aside and taking out two jade green yellow pearls. These two pearls were the jade eye stone monkey’s eyes.
This strange animal would turn into grey rock fragments once dead, and only its eyes would turn into two jade green spherical pearls. Each were very heavy, reaching at least fifty grams.
This meant that as long as he killed jade eye stone monkeys, the Jade Skin Gu’s food problem would be resolved.
"I not only have to feed the Jade Skin Gu, I also have to continue the inheritance. Flower Wine Monk’s next clue should be hidden in this stone forest.
Fang Yuan frowned. Things had become complicated.
He tried taking a few steps forward, his eyes peeled to the stone pillar.
On his seventh step, on the pillar closest to him, numerous jade-coloured glowing eyes could be seen peeking out of the stone holes.
At once, a drop of sweat fell from Fang Yuan’s forehead.
He quickly took a step back, and the numerous eyeballs in the dark holes faded.
Evidently, each pair of eyeballs meant a jade eye stone monkey. The jade eye stone monkey was terribly agile, and to kill one Fang Yuan had to use four moonblades.
On a stone pillar, there were at least a hundred jade eye stone monkeys, and in the entire forest, who knew how many were there in total.
With Fang Yuan’s current strength, he would die from being attacked by four monkeys. If he included the Jade Skin Gu’s defense, Fang Yuan could deal with twelve monkeys at once at most.
Thankfully, these monkeys usually slept in their dark holes and ate rocks when they were hungry or thirsty. The stone pillar was their home and food. Unless he got within ten meters of them or provoked them purposely, they would not come out.
Using earth’s words, they were a bunch of neet/hikikomori monkeys.
(1) Mu (亩) - 1 Mu is 666 ⅔ meters²