Shi Mu was so shocked that he just sat there on the branch for a while. When he finally woke from his shock and looked down, what he saw below him was almost as crazy as the dream like event he just went through.
The originally half-dead tree was now covered with verdant leaves, its branches stretching out vigorously as though awakened from a long slumber.
Shi Mu gaped at the sight. Then he looked at the tree more closely. Only once he had assured himself that there was nothing obviously strange going on with the tree, other than it starting to revive, did he jump down.
Shi Mu’s landed on the ground with a thud, stirring up a ring of dust. After letting out a long sigh, he looked up at the sky again, still full of wonder at the crazy events of the night.
At last he accepted the fact that he had actually stayed on the branch for most of a night. He still remembered how it felt to be unable to control his body, and he had a chill upon remembering that frightening scene.
This was the first time he had ever had a daydream.
Although technically speaking it was not a “daydream”, but only this word could describe the weirdness: his mind staying absolutely sober while his body was paralyzed. Also, when recalling the scene of when the ape’s eyes absorbed the glittering lights in the sky, Shi Mu touched his eyes involuntarily and rubbed them, feeling a vague sense of unease. But it seemed that, apart from some aches, there was nothing wrong with his body.
Pondering over the event, Shi Mu cast another glance around the yard.
He was struck dumb with amazement yet again.
Not until this moment, did he understand what had happened to his eyes. With just a small glance, he could clearly see an ant over twenty meters away from him on the grass. Directing his eyes to a corner of the yard, he saw a spider as big as a bean weaving its cobweb in the morning silence.
Shi Mu sucked in a cold breath, and then raised his head to look at a certain leaf on the big tree. The sight was astonishing: the light-coloured veins in the leaf were as clearly visible as the veins on his hand.
Shi Mu was dumbstruck.
After an unknown amount of time, he suddenly burst into wild laughter, shaking the manor as well as the servants sleeping in it. Awakening from their dreams, naturally the servants were very irritated, but as soon as they identified the source of the laughter, they could only go back to their sleep with muffled curses.
Shi Mu returned to his bedroom after laughing for a while. He closed the door and walked to his bed, and grabbed an iron knife sitting beside his bead. After a brief thought, he directed his eyes to a flickering candle - much of its body already burned - and gazed at it.
He shook his wrist lightly before a shadow of the knife blurred past the tip of the candle, which immediately went out.
Shi Mu gave the candle another cut, backhanded.
Piercing sounds whizzed through the air, while cold lights rolled over the desk like a tiny tornado. But the candle remained in its original spot on the desk.
Shi Mu smiled and pressed the edge of his knife into the desk.
After trembling slightly, the candle split into 8 symmetrical pieces, each looking as if precisely cut with a ruler.
“Eight Cuts in One Breath! It is exactly as I suspected, but, if I could cut more precisely, the speed could also be raised. No worries, I’m still getting used to my newly acquired eyesight. Once I get adjusted to my enhanced eyesight, I might even be able to do Nine Cuts in One Breath.” Looking at the pieces of the candle, Shi Mu murmured to himself, his face taking on an impassioned glow.
Immediately after uttering the last word, he slashed his iron knife through the air again. Each slash produced seven or eight knife shadows, that could be faintly seen in the air. Meanwhile, Shi Mu’s eyes grew increasingly bright, and he took no breaks, practicing his techniques ceaselessly.
Several days later, in the evening.
The windows of Shi Mu’s bedroom were open, and faint moonlight scattered in front of the bed. Shi Mu was tossing about in his bed, unable to fall asleep.
After a sigh, he got up from his bed. Pushing open the door, he walked out of the room to bathe himself in the moonlight, as if trying to sense something.
After a moment, he scrambled up the verdant tree in the yard. Finding his posture, he squatted proficiently and began to look up at the sky.
After a short span of time, he trembled slightly, and his whole body was glued to the tree, unable to be moved.
The next moment, he turned into the white ape of his dream again, still squatting at the branch and absorbing the lights falling from the sky. He was well aware that he had no control of his own body now that he was the ape, but still he could not resist glancing over the surroundings at the edge of his vision.
“There should have been a green worm three chi away, but now it’s not there. One, two, three...seventeen, there were nineteen leaves on the branch at my left hand yesterday in the dream, and twenty the day before yesterday. It seems then I’m not repeating the same dream. The dream also has its days and nights. So time definitely flows in the dream.”
Thinking this, Shi Mu became increasingly confused. Ever since he acquired superhuman sight after seven successive dreams, he had not had the same weird dream again. But if there was moonlight during the latter half of the night, he could again return to the dream as the ape, if he climbed to the tree and squated on the branch. It was as though he was dragged into the dream, and forced to absorb the moonlight with the body of the white ape.
These days, whenever he woke up from the dream, his eyesight had grown better than before he dreamed. However, the gain was not as much as the first time. Even so, his current eyesight enabled him to clearly see the legs of a flying mosquito over thirty-three meters away with ease. If he stood on a tree and looked to the distance, he could even spot a worm’s hole in a big tree over a hundred and seventy-five meters away.
But he was not able to get into the dream during those days that the moon did not show herself. So he had a rough feeling that the white lights absorbed by the ape in the dream should be some type of essence from the moonlight, which was able to enhance one’s eyesight. Also, he calculated that if he continued to dream the dream which was beneficial to his eyes day by day, he could still enhance his eyesight greatly.
Shi Mu had another thought: if all of this went as smoothly as he thought, and his eyesight increased even more, maybe he should try to learn more kinds of martial arts.
Three days later, in the hall of his manor, Shi Mu received two acquaintances.
“Brother Shi, this is the thing you ordered from Master Ma. He’s finished it and we’ve brought it for you. We also got you something special.”
The older one of the two passed two heavy packs to Shi Mu, smiling. He was none other than Feng Li of the Black Fox gang!