The moon exuded a serene glow, and mist gently curled in the air.
Seated cross-legged in front of a large rock, Xu Ziqing grilled a piece of wild animal meat over the fire. The meat’s oil dripped slowly onto the flames, filling the air with the enticing aroma of roasting meat.
Beside him, an eagle spread its wings, shielding him from the wind.
On the ground, several vines extended and coiled into a circle, seemingly harmless but actually controlling the area, preventing intruders. Rongjin, having consumed much flesh and blood, temporarily separated from the main body’s branch that still needed to warm the seed in its “mother’s” dantian.
Once the meat was cooked, Xu Ziqing threw it up with a smile. Chonghua swiftly swallowed it, and the cycle continued, embodying a wild and carefree spirit.
After several days, this was the first time Xu Ziqing had such a leisurely moment.
In the distance, the cries of beasts echoed, but Xu Ziqing seemed oblivious. He had implemented sufficient restraints and protections in the area, preventing intruders and potential disasters.
After feeding Chonghua, Xu Ziqing indulged in a piece of animal meat to sate his hunger. Leaning against the boulder, he closed his eyes for a brief rest, refraining from entering meditation at this time.
After over an hour of tranquility, the night deepened.
A faint scent of blood wafted through the wind, causing Rongjin to tilt its body, expressing greed.
Suddenly, Xu Ziqing’s eyes shot open, and a slight frown appeared on his face.Advertisement
The source of the bloody smell was within three to five miles, approaching rapidly. This raised his concern. Swiftly, he extinguished the fire with a wave of his hand and placed Chonghua into the beast card.
Obediently, Rongjin retracted its body, climbing onto Xu Ziqing.
Soon, the scent of blood intensified, and it seemed to be growing.
Xu Ziqing ascended, leaping onto the boulder. He suppressed his aura entirely and widened his eyes in astonishment.
A white figure moved swiftly through the wind, akin to light smoke, untouched by dust.
With Xu Ziqing’s keen eyesight, he discerned it was a woman—beautiful and graceful, unlike those traversing the wild beast plain. Her snow-white skin, almond eyes, peachy cheeks, and allure between her brows surpassed the Sunu girls he had encountered practicing the method of obsession. Her irresistible charm emitted an indescribable allure.
A natural beauty.
These thoughts flashed in Xu Ziqing’s mind, but the next moment, vigilance overtook him.Advertisement
Something was amiss.
He extended his divine sense swiftly, scanning the woman. As expected, this woman… was not human.
Behind her, an elusive phantom trailed, its shape indiscernible but noticeably different from ordinary entities.
This unmistakably revealed the behavior of a monster, not a demon cultivator. It was a creature that had refined its bones and assumed a humanoid mimicry through some magical means. To ordinary individuals, it might appear flawless, but those with certain cultivation bases, especially cultivators, could see through the disguise at a glance.
The woman, at this moment, had bleeding lips, a face as pallid as paper, and a look of panic. Clutching something tightly in her arms and concealed beneath her skirt, she hurriedly fled. Evidently, her aim was to protect the precious item she held.
Sensitive to vitality, Xu Ziqing detected that there was also a monster within her arms. He pondered whether this woman’s loved ones were exerting their utmost efforts in a dire situation. This thought prompted a light sigh from him.
In pursuit of the woman was a wild beast.
This beast boasted three horns on its head, two golden and the other red.
Its power equaled that of Xu Ziqing.
The woman lagged behind. A rough estimate indicated she was unharmed, and her cultivation level was only at the fourth stage, comparable to a cultivator in the foundation establishment period.Advertisement
As they drew nearer, the woman reached the boulder rapidly. She stumbled, and the items in her arms spilled out onto the ground. The object rolled several times, revealing its snow-white fur. The small creature trembled and emitted a mournful cry.
The woman, alarmed, attempted to rush over, crying, “My child!” However, she was immobilized. The triangular beast pursued her closely, forcing her to bend over. She could only hastily push the little creature away, positioning it between her and the beast.
Observing the menacing beast, the woman panicked and urgently said, “I am the concubine of the Demon King of Panshan Mountain. If you treat me this way, aren’t you afraid the king will avenge me?”
The three-horned beast chuckled menacingly, “A concubine is just a concubine. You, a runaway concubine, gave birth to a concubine’s child. How about you give me the wild seed, and then you follow me back, birthing a few cubs for me?”
The woman grew increasingly agitated, fully aware of the wild beast’s cruelty. If captured, she would be subjected to group exploitation, reduced to a creature whose sole purpose was to bear offspring. Yet, how could she bear to sacrifice her child, born after numerous hardships, to such a fate?
In this dire moment, she felt she had no choice but to face death with her child. How pitiful – her newborn was so young; how could she bear to let it perish in such a manner?
Watching from the stone, Xu Ziqing couldn’t bear it.
Wild beasts were known for their cruelty and lust. While they could converse in human language like the three-horned beast, they could never transform into human bodies. Their temperament was lawless and irrational; they were mere talking animals. However, the woman was different. Despite being a monster, she possessed a loving heart.
Yet, having once been a concubine of the demon king, she likely consumed human flesh. Given this, should he intervene and save her?
Xu Ziqing wrestled with hesitation, but the two beasts below remained oblivious.
While retreating, the woman gently nudged the white bundle backward. Facing the wild beast, she adopted a stance as if confronting a formidable enemy. Suddenly, ears appeared on the top of her head, and a long tail emerged behind her. Her eyes elongated, and her chin became pointed, giving her an oddly gorgeous appearance. Exactly like a humanoid beast.
Xu Ziqing’s heart skipped a beat.
This woman seemed poised to unleash her core!
In this critical moment, she had resolved to face death alongside her child.
Faced with such urgency, Xu Ziqing no longer wanted to hesitate. If anything went wrong, he would deal with it after rescuing them.Advertisement
However, before he could act, his complexion changed drastically as he enveloped his body in a protective layer of true energy!
A thick and vibrant flame surged forward rapidly, transforming the night into a crimson hue. The scorching and formidable power swept across in an instant, resembling a fire dragon that set ablaze a torrent of flames! Within moments, the sea of fire condensed into an extremely thin line, skillfully entwining around the triangular beast’s neck!
In the next moment, the fierce animal’s head tumbled, and the blazing flames consumed it, turning it into ashes in the blink of an eye!
The three-horned beast had no time to react; it toppled sideways. No blood adorned its neck; it was completely charred by the fire, its entire body blackened.
The intense heat of the flames shocked the fox-shaped woman, who had bent her knees and fallen to the ground.
In just a few breaths, the once-powerful three-horned beast lay dead, and the fox girl, overwhelmed, struggled to maintain her semi-simulated form, eventually transforming into a large green fox lying on the ground.
It kicked its legs repeatedly, crawling to the cub’s side and sheltering it beneath its belly.
Xu Ziqing marveled at the sight, having never witnessed such a pure flame—so immaculate and flawless.
Moreover, he had no idea about the cultivation level of the person who unleashed the flames, as he had been completely unaware of their existence!
Soon after, a slightly cold voice resonated, “What a useless cultivator; you need to think carefully when killing a beast.” The tone was indescribably casual and indifferent.
However, as the voice faded, a figure suddenly materialized beneath the moon, moving step by step without making contact with the ground. The man swayed gracefully and was already close, standing right in front of Xu Ziqing.
His appearance was exceptionally handsome, not purely beautiful because the beauty was subtle, yet not clearly handsome because the attractiveness was profound. There was a certain dignity in his demeanor that commanded admiration, and because of this, people naturally avoided his gaze. His black hair cascaded like a waterfall, loosely tied behind his back, and his fair skin contrasted with the silver threads in his white clothes, creating a clean and extraordinary aura.
On this particular night, the impeccably clean individual had not a trace of blood on his attire. He exuded the aura of a powerful and solitary figure, much like Yun Lie. Despite being alone, he appeared impervious to the cold. A dense flame surrounded his body, almost forming a torrent that completely enveloped him. It gave the impression of intense coldness, yet simultaneously, it seemed as if he were cloaked in a raging fire.
Xu Ziqing had encountered numerous fire cultivators, even recognizing a close friend, Su Xin, who possessed a single fire root. However, even Su Xin’s aura was not as pure as the one emanating from this young man.
It was this purity of flame that instilled fear in Xu Ziqing, who had previously consumed the essence of Ethereal Wood. He couldn’t help but wonder if this young cultivator, too, had absorbed the essence of fire.
Before he could dwell on this thought, the young cultivator casually raised his hand and swept it through the air.
Instantaneously, a bright red flame shot from his fingertips, swiftly landing on the three–horned beast and erupting into a fierce fire.
Under the intense heat, the animal carcass rapidly disintegrated into dust, leaving only the three horns and a core the size of a baby’s fist.
Subsequently, the young man gracefully bent his fingers, and the core and animal horn levitated, landing seamlessly in his robe sleeve.
Xu Ziqing was nearly astonished by the precision with which he controlled the flames…
Who was this young cultivator?
He heard the young man chuckle and remark, “This beast had excellent fur, but it’s a shame its cultivation base was too shallow. Even if you skin it, it’s useless.” In his words, he showed no concern for the demise of the fox girl, treating her no differently from the previously mentioned beast. There seemed to be no emotion in his eyes—only utility or uselessness mattered to him, and he wouldn’t bother with things unrelated to him.
As a follower of the way of heaven and a wood cultivator, Xu Ziqing held compassion for many living beings. Normally, a person with such a temperament should be kept at a respectful distance from this person.
However, for some inexplicable reason, he felt an undeniable sense of closeness to this enigmatic figure.
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