Shi Mu returned to the avenue of medicine shops after he left the tavern to make a few more purchases. After buying a few more pills, he decided to call it a day. When he finally returned to his little stone house, the sun had already set and the night sky was covered with stars.
Today he had acquired information on magicians from Huo Mao, which opened the gate to a whole new world for him, far surpassing what he had previously imagined.
As he recalled, Yu Qianji, who appeared on his way to the Black Demon Sect, was exactly a magician, and guessing from the dialogue between him and his opponents at the time, Yu Qianji seemed to be a Star-grade magician. His strength left a strong impression with Shi Mu.
Among the over two thousand disciples in the Black Demon Sect, there were, at least, a hundred Scholar level magicians, which might be his competition in future matches. Thinking this, Shi Mu decided to do everything he could to obtain more resources in these contests, as the resources would help him in his practice of the Art of the Heavenly Elephant.
This thought in mind, Shi Mu pulled out the pill bottles he had gotten from the Sweet Pill Market. He had some Bone-Tempering Pills and some Blood-Strengthening Pills.
Shi Mu sat on his stone bed, with his legs crossed, for a while and picked up a white bottle, pouring out a Blood-Strengthening Pill and swallowing it with his eyes closed.
He had been practicing the Art of the Heavenly Elephant and, as the pill worked its way inside his body, he clearly felt that his speed of absorbing qi from the environment had increased considerably. This was a cheerful sensation to him. But he dared not pause to celebrate. He unceasingly absorbed the Heavenly Qi[A] and spirit power from the earth and heaven, transforming them into the Real Qi of Heavenly Elephant, which flowed through his vessels and veins to finally join together in his dantian[B].
As time flew by, Shi Mu suddenly opened his eyes, picked up a blue bottle and poured out a Bone-Tempering Pill. The pill turned into fluids as soon as swallowed, getting hotter as it entered his stomach, sending a hot gush of energy through his body and into his extremities.
Shi Mu’s skin started to change to a dark red color, his muscles bulging here and there, making his skin seem to roll.
At the same time, his bones kept making a cracking sound, his body becoming overwhelmingly hot, especially his bones, which burned as if they were being licked by roaring flames. He now got the reason why the pill was named Bone-Tempering Pill.
He took a deep breath and started to practice the Art of the Heavenly Elephant, which made his Qi flow and slowly strengthen under the effect of the Bone-Tempering Pill.
After nearly two hours, the color of Shi Mu’s skin returned to normal and the cracking sound subsided.
He had been drenched in sweat, his clothes soaking wet. There was a strange black color mixed in his with his sweat, which gave off a nauseating odor. He quickly took off his clothes and washed his entire body with clean water. This done, he felt quite refreshed, as if his spirits had been purified. He tried to exercise his muscles, and the smoothness, with which his body moved, pleased him tremendously. Apparently, his Qi of the Heavenly Elephant had been purified and strengthened after this tempering session, and, more excitingly, his physical strength was largely intensified, too.
In the next few days, Shi Mu completely immersed himself in practicing the Art of the Heavenly Elephant. If the mood took him, he would practice his Gale Force Blade Art in his spare time. After all, he knew that the Gale Force Blade Art was more powerful than the Stone-breaking Fist in actual combat. Hence, as his Qi kept increasing in his body, he also made progress in the Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade, reaching the level of Ten Cuts in one Breath.
However, there was still one thing unsolved in his mind. Under the white moonlight, Shi Mu sat on the edge of his bed, deep in thought.
In recent days, as long as the sky was clear, he would have the dream in which he, as the white ape, would listen to the elder talking. But he still couldn’t figure out what the elder is telling him in his dream.
Shi Mu thought for a while before he stood to his feet and walked several steps in the room. After a while, he suddenly made a decision. The next minute, he pushed open the door and left the room.
It was the middle of the night when he went outside. People must have been asleep for a long time as there was only silence in the valley, except for the occasion singing of insects and frogs.
Shi Mu swept the surroundings with his eyes and walked quietly to a certain place in the valley.
He finally arrived at a clearing in woods after a quarter of an hour. It was a remote place just outside the thirteenth mountain, away from roads and paths in the valley and hence less visited by the others in the sect.
Shi Mu looked around carefully and only relaxed when he made sure no one else was present.
Taking a deep breath, he glanced at trees around him and finally chose a tall one, climbing to the top very easily. He squatted down on the highest branch and lifted his head to stare at the moon.
He had been fully engaged in his practice ever since he entered the Black Demon Sect, and for fear that people might catch sight of his strange behavior, plus his unfamiliarity with the environment of the valley, he had not tried to come into the ape’s dream these days.
Shi Mu kept the posture of staring at the moon for about an hour, but his spirit kept resisting the effort and would not recede into the deep recess of his unconsciousness for the ape’s mind to take over.
Shi Mu’s expression changed, murmuring in bewilderment.
He had been able to enter the dream if he acted like this with enough moonlight and it would cost him, at most, maybe a few minutes. But today he unexpectedly failed.
“Maybe the strange ability to come into the dream, of my own accord, has been lost?” This thought depressed him. But, come to think of it, it was weird being brought into the dream in the first place, so it was not impossible that one day he might lose this ability. It was that the loss of the further increasing of his eyesight - however little it may be - that severely depressed him. Shi Mu would not come to terms with the gloomy prospect so he kept on squatting on the tree for another hour. Eventually, he ended up admitting his failure and feeling even more depressed.
He sighed and was just about to return to his house when he saw a patch of grass in the woods, where moonlight had left its silver luster, rendering a scene just like when the white ape listened to the elder’s lesson.
Shi Mu immediately had an epiphany.
In recent days, he had not seen the white ape climbing up high to stare at the moon, but sitting on the ground and listening to an elder speak, with his legs crossed. Could it be that…...
Shi Mu got extraordinarily excited as he sat down on the grass with his legs crossed, looking forward like the white ape did in the dream.
Immediately after he took this pose, a loud *BOOM* resounded in his head, and he felt his muscles stiffen.
Shi Mu fell into the ape’s dream again, himself transformed into a white ape. But this time, he found himself sitting on the grass on the top of a mountain, with the white-browed elder standing in front of him, raised his wooden ruler to slowly pat him on the head.
One, two, three......
There was another thunderous *BOOM* in Shi Mu’s mind, with many silver lights flickering in front of his eyes before they formed into some small word.
The first three words were shining brightly: Moon Swallowing Art.
[B] - Sorry, I have been saying ‘lower abdomen’ or ‘lower stomach’ lately because our translators translated Dantian into English… from here on out I know better, sorry guys.