This book had given him a basic idea of the Western Continent as well as the Demon Race. It contained information related to the habits, characteristics, and other things of many demon beasts.
This ancient book suggested that the Western Continent had an extensive area. In fact, its area was a lot larger than the Eastern Continent's. Also, it was blessed with a plentiful amount of natural resources. However, this continent was also characterized by its many sparsely populated areas. In fact, the population of this continent was far lesser than the Eastern Continent's.
The Eastern Continent was occupied and revered by the Human Race, whereas the Western Continent was primarily dominated by the Demon Race. The Barbarian Race occupied the second place in this continent. As for the ordinary humans… they were very rarely seen here.
The number of small and big territories of the Demon Race was beyond counting. In fact, they were scattered in every corner of this continent.
It could be said that the demon beasts belonged to seventy-two branches if they were thoroughly traced back to their foundations. The majority of them were subdivided into animal-type demon beast. But, there were also some plant-type demon beasts. And, those Radish Shuttles were one of such plant-type demon beasts.
A demon beast could partially transform into human form if its strength reached such an extent that it became equivalent to that of the Human Race. Such demon beasts were called Commanders. And, a demon beast could undergo a major transformation into a human form if its strength ascended to the degree of the Earth-rank. Such demon beasts were called Generals. And, the demon beasts that acquired the strength of a Heaven-ranked powerhouse could transform into a true human-form. They were called Demon Kings.
However, only a handful of demon beasts had truly ascended to the rank of the Demon King in the Western Continent since time immemorial. This could be said based on the record that Shi Mu had obtained.
Shi Mu received the ancient book in his Vast Earth Ring. He then waved his hand, and a jade slip appeared. It was the map of the nearby area; he had received this from Lu Tang.
Shi Mu infused his spirit sense into it in order to explore it. A fairly large map emerged in his mind the next moment. A large number of towns, cities, and tribes that fell under the influence of the Barbarian Race were marked on it. In addition, some annotations could also be seen which indicated whether the area belonged to the Peaceful Barbarians or the Vicious Barbarians.
Shi Mu had already figured that Western Continent's Peaceful Barbarians and Vicious Barbarians weren't on good terms with each other either. He could tell this in light of the Giant Tree Tribe's Chief's initial approach towards him. Perhaps, he might not receive a favorable treatment if he went to any Peaceful Barbarian City here with his Vicious Barbarian's identity.
His eyes fell on the northernmost part of the map. A very large Vicious Barbarian Tribe was located there. It turned out to be the Fierce Snake Tribe based on the annotation mentioned on the map.
And, the area where Shi Mu was at present fell under the territory of the Peaceful Barbarians.
Shi Mu intended to make his way to that place which was under the influence range of the Vicious Barbarians since the Peaceful Barbarian Tribe wouldn't welcome him.
Cai flew up from the bottom of the mountain peak. He held a purple fruit in his mouth. He landed on Shi Mu's shoulder, and gobbled up the whole fruit in a few mouthfuls. He then narrowed his eyes in a relaxed manner, and asked, "Shi Tou, you've been racking your mind for quite a while. Have you decided the place we should go to now?"
"You're so talkative! Let's go." Shi Mu flicked his finger at Cai's head as he said. He then put away the jade slip, and gazed toward the north.
There was a vast expanse of swampy waters. Luxuriant thickets of grasses were spread everywhere. A few birds would fly from the thick patches of grass every now and then. A thin layer of mist was floating over the water. It constituted an illustrious landscape of a hazy place.
Shi Mu stood on a high ground, and was looking around at the moment. Cai squatted on his shoulder, but there was a dispirited look on his face.
This place was an extensive marshland. And, most of this area was called Swamp of Snakes.
Nearly one month had passed since he had departed from the Giant Tree Tribe that day. Shi Mu hadn't been in a hurry to speed-up his journey during this time. In fact, he had spent half of this time in his training in an attempt to maximize his strength.
After all, this crisis-ridden Western Continent was pervaded by lurking dangers… so much so that the Eastern Continent couldn't even be compared with it in this aspect. Therefore, even a little enhancement in his strength could play a substantial role in ensuring his safety.
The Swamp of Snakes was a part of the Fierce Snake Tribe's territory according to the map provided by Lu Tang. Shi Mu would reach a large city called 'Peaceful Sun City' if he passed through here. That city naturally came under the Fierce Snake Tribe's jurisdiction.
As the name suggested… numerous kinds of snake-type demon beasts resided in the Swamp of Snakes. Many of these demon beasts were regarded as extremely poisonous. Therefore, this place was well-known as a dangerous place in the local area.
However, this marshland also abounded with various kinds of heavenly and earthly treasures. In fact, it was a paradise for opportunistic people who were truly devoted to finding treasures.
Shi Mu had come to the marshland almost three days ago. He had weighed this matter over and over again, and had eventually arrived at the decision that he should pass through the swamp instead of taking a detour.
"Shi Tou, you can pass through this swamp simply by flying, can't you? So, why are you so desperate to pass through this swamp on foot? This place isn't only very dirty and stinky. But, it's laden with all kinds of dangers as well," Cai said.
"I have to blend into the Western Continent as quickly as possible so that I can understand the various aspects of this place to the best of my ability. And, I think experiencing the nature is the fastest way to achieve my goal. Moreover, the adventure of treasure-hunting is a delightful experience," Shi Mu replied.
Shi Mu had no idea how many such dangers he would have to pass through on his way to the Rising to the Heaven Peak. So, it was nearly impossible to take a detour or choose to fly whenever he wanted.
Moreover, flying through the air might not be a safe option in this perilous place… especially the swampy areas. Swampy areas were generally known for their flat terrain. So, flying in the air over a marshland would expose him to everyone. And, that would make him prone to ambushes.
Shi Mu swept his gaze around in a vigilant manner. Then, he went down the highland, and walked in the forward direction.
He couldn't show the slightest sign of carelessness while walking in such a dangerous place. He had noticed that the creatures in this marshland were very good at camouflage. He had already suffered many hardships over the past three days.
Shi Mu had barely passed through a jet-black thicket of grass when a "Bang" sound was heard. That thicket of grass burst open. And, the big and ferocious mouth of a beast pounced at Shi Mu in an attempt to bite his feet. It was a huge pitch-black python. Half its body was still hidden in the ground.
Shi Mu had already sensed this danger. He pointed his foot below, and drew backwards with one swift movement. Thus, he managed to avoid the python's big mouth with his quick response.
The huge black python ended up biting the air as a result. But then, its long body swayed from side-to-side, and drilled out of the ground. Its huge body was forty-or-fifty-feet long, and as thick as a lower millstone. Its faint-green snake eyes were emitting an ice-cold radiance.
Shi Mu's brows twitched into a frown when he noticed that this was a black earthworm-python demon beast. It was at the peak of the Hou Tian Realm. Shi Mu had bumped into these types of python several times over the past few days.
He flicked his fingers, and the golden sword light shot out in order to chop down the black python.
The black python wasn't smart. It exuded a shriek as he saw the sword flying toward it. And then, opened its big mouth, and bit toward the golden sword-light.
Shi Mu flicked his fingers again, and the golden flying sword streaked across an arc at an astonishing speed.
The huge head of the python flew up in the air, and a spurt of blood splattered everywhere. The fact was that its body had been hacked into two parts by the sword. It made a few futile twitches on the ground for a moment. Then, it became motionless.
Shi Mu waved his hand to recall the golden sword. Then, he walked up to the python's body. He turned his hand, and took out the beast soul bag. Then, a red light darted from the bag.
A cluster of black lights flew out of the python's body, and got sucked into the beast soul bag.
Shi Mu wanted to collect as many beast souls as he could. In fact, this was another reason why he hadn't chosen to take a detour or fly over the swamps.
The ominous python's totem on his chest was very close to ascending to the advanced stage. All he needed to do was to break through this critical juncture. After that, the might of the secret totem technique would again make an illustrious growth. The fact was that Shi Mu hadn't been able to accumulate beast souls in the Eastern Continent due to various reasons. But, a sea of opportunities had appeared before him now. He naturally didn't want to let these fortuitous opportunities slip by.
Shi Mu didn't leave this place immediately-after wrapping things up. He instead walked toward the place from where the black python had just popped out.
According to the Demon Race's Directory… there was a higher possibility of finding a spirit grass called Wind Spirit Grass in the places where black earthworm-pythons resided. This kind of spirit grass was very efficient in detoxifying most of the snake venoms. Therefore, it was considered very precious.
However, Shi Mu's brows suddenly wrinkled, and a look of vigilance flashed through his eyes.
A little fluctuation occurred in the mist before him. Then, a sound of footsteps spread from it. Then, five or six people walked over in his direction.
These people revealed a stunned look on their faces as if they hadn't expected to run into Shi Mu here.
Shi Mu's gaze swept over these people. He noticed that a deep-red python's pattern was embellished on the clothes of these people. This was the symbol of the Fierce Snake Tribe.
There was a man with a big stature in this group of people. He seemed to be their leader. He carried a sword on his back. This person was the strongest in this group. He was a Xian Tian Advanced stage warrior, while the other people were only at the Hou Tian Realm.
The piercing gaze of that swordsman swept over Shi Mu's body. Then, his eyes glued to the Vast Earth Ring in Shi Mu's finger, and the beast soul bag on his waist. He then noticed the corpse of the black python, and a gleam of surprise flashed through his eyes. He then said, "Boy, who are you? You have dared to gather a beast soul openly in the Swamp of Snakes!"
Shi Mu cast a fleeting glance at the people in front of him. Then, he retraced his gaze. After that, he didn't pay attention to them, and instead continued his search work in the ground nearby.
The swordsman was enraged by this. But, Shi Mu's attitude had left him to feel unsure about the situation. So, he threw a meaningful glance at a thin man who stood beside him.
"Boy, Boss is asking you something. Are you deaf or dumb? Do want to die here?" A "Shua" sound was heard as the thin man drew out his machete, and aimed it at Shi Mu. Then, he said in a loud voice.
The subordinates of the swordsman surrounded Shi Mu in a casual manner.
Shi Mu's eyes brightened up at this moment, and he stepped forward quickly. He picked up a bunch of pale-green small grasses from a certain thicket of grass, and received it in his Vast Earth Ring in an unhurried manner. He then raised his head, looked at those people, and asked, "What are you anyway? Are you in-charge of the beast souls that I am collecting here?"
"Boy, we are the patrol team of the Fierce Snake Tribe, and we have been stationed in the Swamp of Snakes. We are specialized in dealing with poachers like you. We have apprehended both the thief and the stolen goods. You better allow yourself to be seized without putting up a pointless fight!" the swordsman shouted in a stern voice since he had noticed that Shi Mu was an outsider.
"Oh, the patrol team doesn't allow other tribes to infringe on their territory, right?" Shi Mu couldn't help sneering inwardly as his sweeping gaze ran over the beast soul bags hung on each person's body. Then, he opened his mouth to ask.
"And, you know pretty well about this," the swordsman said.
"But, I'm also a member of the Fierce Snake Tribe. So, I don't think I can be considered a poacher here," Shi Mu replied while revealing the Fierce Snake's totem on his chest.
Shi Mu didn't pay much attention to these people. But, he had barely set foot in the territory of the Fierce Snake Tribe, and had decided that he should keep a low-profile appearance here.
The swordsman and the others were initially dumbfounded when they saw the totem mark. But, they put on a mild smile afterwards.
Shi Mu's appearance had certainly left them with a sense of fear.
"Oh, so you are one of us. But, don't you know that you need to pay spirit stones in order to get the hunting qualification here? It looks like it's your first time here. So, you obviously don't understand the set of rules that work in this place. Hand over the beast souls that you have poached here along with the storage ring that you are wearing. And, we will let you go without carrying further investigation. We'll even provide you with a horse," the swordsman stated with a nasty laughter.
Shi Mu let out a long sigh, and his facial expression gradually became cold.
The opposite party had obviously noticed that he was young and alone in such a place. So, the idea of plundering him had naturally cropped up in their mind.
"What? Boy, do you still want to show your teeth?!" the swordsman shouted in a stern voice. The other people also drew their weapons as he said this.
Shi Mu turned his hand, took out a magic charm, and stuck it on his body. A layer of green light enveloped his entire body. Then, his stature flashed and appeared in front of the swordsman the next moment. After that, the black blade appeared in his hand with a flash of black light, and he hacked it towards the swordsman.
The swordsman was taken aback since he hadn't expected that Shi Mu would be as fast as a demon. But, he was a Xian Tian Advanced stage warrior. So, his response timing wasn't slow either. He bellowed, and pulled out the big sword from his back
A green light shone on the sword's blade as it moved forward to receive the black blade.
Then, a loud metal clanging sound resounded!
The swordsman's complexion changed very terribly as a terrorizing and massive force rolled from the black blade and pounded him. He felt as if a hill had been slammed heavily on him. His feet slipped deep into the swampy ground. In fact, he had gotten submerged to his knees by the impact of the force.