If it wasn’t in the cave, could it be scattered somewhere on the ground?
Filled with curiosity, Shao Xuan went around the area to search. He only found some grain-like plants but it didn’t seem like something the Ji family would plant. The plants seemed like it was native to the land, he had seen plants like this here before. He remembered someone telling him that the earlier tribes would plant the grains they brought here but switched them out to different species which had higher yields which left the original grains to be forgotten by people.
If he could spot any plants that were more common a thousand years back it would only be because of the small tribe that lived here once. With a cave here that was used to store the grains, there should be some that were dropped in the ground and lived.
However, nothing around the area looked special enough for the Ji family to bring over a thousand years ago.
After searching for some time, Shao Xuan hasn’t found anything that fit the requirements.
Could it be that the three from the Ji family didn’t bring any seeds with them? Or their seeds really rotted to dust?
Or did someone come by here and dug everything away?
No, that isn’t it. Robber Eleven and Robber Twelve were here two or three years ago. If someone was here before this, the longevity leaf wouldn’t be theirs to claim.
Perhaps I thought wrong?
Shao Xuan stood at the mouth of the cave and looked at his surroundings.
There were a lot of weeds, different types of plants he didn’t know the name of. There weren’t many trees, only a few weak saplings and sad looking shrubs. The area looked comparatively empty.
On this piece of land, there were much fewer trees than the other areas. The weeds seemed to be growing well but that was only because of the abundance of them. If one were to look closely, they weren’t growing well too.
Shao Xuan remembered that in places where the Thousand Grain Gold were planted, they sucked all the nutrients from the soil. Even though it didn’t seem obvious that the grain was planted here before but there were hints showing that it did.
Yes! There must be something here!
Shao Xuan scanned the area once again but this time he didn’t focus on the grain-like plants, he looked at the area as a whole. It was then his gaze stopped at a plant no taller than his knee.
He didn’t notice this plant before when he was looking for grains but at a second look, this plant seemed familiar.
Shao Xuan walked through the forests a lot so he was familiar with different sorts of the plant but this plant didn’t seem like something he would see in a forest. After thinking about it, the plant looked like a crop he saw at the Ji family’s field.
During his visit to the Ji household, the family members brought him to their fields and he got to know many common plant species they had there. Many were crops to feed themselves while some were special plants.
One of them was called “Veins of the Sky”. In the Golden Grain fields, there was a large, heavily guarded plot of land for that specific plant. The slaves were not allowed in the area and the plant was tended by the owners themselves. When Shao Xuan passed by the area, the members of the Ji clan didn’t say much and brought him away.
The Golden Grain fields were famous for their grains, so the owners mostly introduced their different types of grains. Shao Xuan would have forgotten the look of Veins of the Sky if he hadn’t seen it then in the forest.
The plant he was looking at now looked very similar to the Veins of the Sky that the Ji family planted. In comparison, the plants in their fields had more leaves and looked healthier whereas the ones here looked sickly. If one didn’t pay attention, they might not even connect those two plants together.
There was another reason Shao Xuan didn’t notice it at first. He had only seen the upper half of the plant before. He knew the most valuable part of the plant was at its roots that looked like human veins, that was why it was called Veins of the Sky.
Was it really that special plant?
Was this the plant that those three members of the Ji family brought over?
After looking around once more, Shao Xuan noticed a few more plants but they were all far from looking as healthy as those in Golden Grain fields.
Shao Xuan stabbed his sword into the ground and took out a dagger to dig out one of those plants. Two-step forward and Shao Xuan felt that something was wrong. He tilted his head to look at a bush ten meters away from him. At first, he thought it looked like a normal bush but he now felt that something was off with it.
He walked towards the bush and noticed it wasn’t a bush, rather a plant with many branches. The leaves were not that big, wait, the leaves were exactly the same as the Veins of the Sky!
The only difference was that this plant had a wooden stem while the others he saw before didn’t have it, including the ones he saw in Golden Grain fields.
This Vein of the Sky could be the healthiest one he had seen here so far. Although it was only half the height of an average person, this still was the largest Vein of the Sky in the area!
If this Vein of the Sky had evolved from a grass stem to a wooden stem which allowed for endless growth, could this plant be the original one that the Ji family planted?
But was this the only change for the plant this past thousand years?
No matter what, this was a huge discovery!
The fire in Shao Xuan’s heart burned up. He was excited to see the roots of this plant but he was scared that he would accidentally damage it.
Hence, he grabbed the dagger and slowly dug the small plant out.
With small bits of dirt slowly scraped away, this plant that barely reached Shao Xuan’s waist was showing it full self.
There were many roots tied together in this dense underground web. At first, Shao Xuan thought he could dig it out himself but this proved to be more complicated than digging out ginseng.
Shao Xuan became even more careful, trying to take this Vein of the Sky out in one piece.
The more he dug, the more shocked he got. When he saw the whole plant, chills were spreading throughout his body.
It looks so similar!
Way too similar!
When the Ji family was introducing the plant to Shao Xuan, they mentioned that the roots of the plant looked like human veins. Now that he was holding one, he could see exactly how similar they really were.
The root system that wasn’t larger than a palm was filled with roots that were near carbon copies of each human vein. The thickness, the length, even the pattern was similar!
Shao Xuan wasn’t sure about the uses of the plant, the Ji family only said it had medicinal properties. If he were to take a guess, it probably had something to do with human blood vessels.
Shao Xuan looked around for more Vein of the Skies. On closer inspection, there were quite a few of them in this small area, nearly twenty plants! They did seem a little weak, maybe the largest one took all the nutrients away from them.
Shao Xuan planned to dig some out and move them back. It would be best if he could transplant it because if the Ji clan could spare such a large field and so many guards for this plant, this plant is something special.
After chasing the two robbers and spending some time here, the sky was already getting dark. Shao Xuan decided to stay here for the night and keep watch of the area.
He hunted a wild boar and picked some fruits for his dinner. During his hunt, he saw a flying squirrel that was targetted by a predator. This was a common sight in the forest, usually Shao Xuan would ignore it but that day, Shao Xuan decided to save it.
It wasn’t because Shao Xuan suddenly felt kind, he wanted to try out the effects of the Vein of the Sky on the flying squirrel.
Shao Xuan used a straw rope to tie down the frightened animal. No matter how much it struggled, it couldn’t break free from the rope.
Shao Xuan had his dinner before starting his experiment. He accidentally put his finger too close to the small rodent and it bit him. After he shook off the pain, Shao Xuan held the tied up flying squirrel in one hand and the Vein in the Sky he dug up earlier in the other with the roots facing the squirrel.
The flying squirrel tried its best to avoid the roots but Shao Xuan continued to shove the roots into its mouth. It bit down on the root and immediately froze.
Well, for just a second. Soon, the flying squirrel was chomping down on the roots crazily. The sound of it reminded Shao Xuan of a chef cutting vegetables on a chopping board.
When Shao Xuan took the plant away, the squirrel fought to get the root back into its mouth. However, it was too small to do anything and could only sulk.
Shao Xuan then carefully observed any changes in the animal.
Many animals had a good instinct towards medicinal herbs, they knew what was good for them. If the flying squirrel was so desperate to eat it, this Vein of the Sky should have some huge benefits.