Shao Xuan couldn’t believe what he was looking at. He looked at it for a while. After he was sure that he wasn’t hallucinating, he went down the hill towards that familiar-looking vegetable.
Shao Xuan had a good reason to not notice the cabbage even though he walked around the area a few times, it was way too big!
The forest was home to all sorts of weird and unique plants, he also has seen his fair share of plants that had similar leaves so he didn’t pay much attention to the flora as he walked.
However, when he stood on the hill, it became hard to ignore, especially when he could see the thing as a whole.
Although the leaves of the plant had some differences with a normal cabbage, it was almost identical to one. However, this cabbage, in particular, was taller than Shao Xuan!
Shao Xuan stood before the odd vegetable and took a closer look at it.
Shao Xuan heard a soft buzzing sound.
He turned his head to find a worm as thick as his arms biting off bits from the outer leaf of the cabbage. It may have sensed Shao Xuan’s presence because it stopped chomping and lifted half of its body up in Shao Xuan’s direction.
If Shao Xuan hadn’t prepared himself and knew it was a herbivorous worm, he would definitely think the creature before him was a snake.
The worm had intricate patterns and spots that mimicked the look of a poisonous green snake found in the forest. Even the outline of the scales was clear from afar. The two “eyes” on the worm’s head really made it seem like a snake was staring at you.
Shao Xuan had seen this type of worm too many times to be afraid. Instead, he observed it excitedly nearby.
The worm sensed that Shao Xuan wasn’t a threat and continued his mission of demolishing the leaf.
The worms in this forest needed years to transform into butterflies or a moth. This worm was near its transforming stage.
Shao Xuan pulled away from his gaze from the worm to look at the huge vegetable before him.
He used his dagger to slice off a piece and took a big whiff. It didn’t have any weird smell but he didn’t think it was wise to taste it. What was safe for the worm to eat may not be safe for him. He took the sliced piece and placed it before the flying squirrel. It didn’t seem to show any interest for the leaf. Only after some agitation, it took a bite but immediately spat it out.
Shao Xuan tried that a few more times only to find no changes when the flying squirrel bit and swallowed the leaf angrily.
Fine, no more torturing the rodent.
Shao Xuan walked around the surrounding forest land near the cave. The plants around it didn’t grow well because of the Vein of the Sky. That plant that he found just now was further away from the cave but it proved to be quite a strong species since it managed to squeeze a plot of land for itself in this crowded forest.
After circling around the area, Shao Xuan found about thirty of those cabbages but only the first one he found that large.
There were still many that didn’t manage to grow to a significant size, some had obvious animal tracks on them, some were bitten by insects, leaving their leaves with large holes. Shao Xuan didn’t count those in as they most likely wouldn’t survive, either killed by the animals or lack of nutrients.
Done with his counting, Shao Xuan headed towards the cave. He spent the last night observing the flying squirrel and the whole morning running around. He needed to recharge so he sat on the grass to rest and had some leftover meat from yesterday to ease his hunger.
Shao Xuan thought about the origins of those cabbages.
Are they native to this land?
People planted vegetables similar to this plant too but theirs had thicker stem and roots. The tribespeople mostly ate the stems and the leaves were more of an afterthought. The cabbage here were slimmer looking with their stems thinner and longer. The largest cabbages the tribe grew to Shao Xuan’s waist but it was nothing compared to the cabbage he found here.
Did it evolve?
Shao Xuan was reminded of the vegetables by the sea.
Shao Xuan had seen cabbage-looking crops at the Ji residence. However, those cabbages there had large leaves like the one here but their leaves aren’t tightly coiled like this one and they were very short. Most of them reached Shao Xuan’s knee. Many tribes didn’t plant it as a crop as the yield was very small for that plant and it wasn’t filling enough yet the slave masters loved it.
Only the slave masters in King City liked the vegetable so much to use a large plot of their land to plant it. Hence, they were the only ones that had the seeds of that plant on that side of the sea.
These cabbages didn’t seem like the same kind the tribes here had, it also was quite different from the ones the slave masters had although they were similar. Up until now, Shao Xuan had never seen anywhere that had this type of large cabbage.
The small tribe that lived here had some agriculture going on in this rather flat terrain. It’s rather likely they left some crops here.
Could the three Ji family members have spread the seeds around the area before they left this world?
Did the two similar plants breed together and form a superior gene?
Was this the truth or was Shao Xuan overthinking?
It would take forever to get a satisfactory result from artificial cultivation, even the crops they had in the tribe now had to be carefully selected to breed for a few generations.
Right then, Shao Xuan was looking at the perfect mixture of two species from two different sides of the sea. It has the best characteristics from both sides, the ultimate strain with the best adaptability.
This cabbage didn’t spread upwards as the traditional ones do, its leaves curled like a ball instead.
This cabbage had all its leaves curled into an oval other than the few larger side leaves.
Whether it was a mixed breed or it evolved into its current form, Shao Xuan was very satisfied with his discovery.
But was it edible?
Shao Xuan decided it take one back just to test around,
Shao Xuan swung his sword at the original large cabbage he saw. The few outer leaves looked too old and caused the otherwise perfect oval to be inconvenient to pack so Shao Xuan cut those off too.
The large ball of vegetable that was taller than him was quite heavy, which meant the leaves were packed tightly together. Shao Xuan was happy to know that if this plant was edible, it could be a good crop for the tribe.
He moved the cabbage back to the cave on this shoulder. He suddenly remembered he left something and went back for the flying squirrel.
Shao Xuan was only greeted with a thoroughly bitten rope. It probably got away when Shao Xuan was looking for the cabbages. The flying squirrel must have healed quite a bit to have the energy to escape.
The Veins of the Sky nearby didn’t have any bite marks which meant the flying squirrel didn’t notice them. Well, without looking at the roots the Veins of the Sky looked like any other plant there.
Robber Eleven and Robber Twelve would have never thought the real treasure was the boring plant next to the cave. After all, who would randomly throw their “treasures” to the ground?
Shao Xuan covered up his trees and placed the neatly wrapped Vein of the Sky in his animal skin bag. After getting some more large leaves and straw rope to tie the cabbage, he left.
Shao Xuan didn’t plan to do much to the area then as was the only one there. He needed a lot more help to move the large Vein of the Sky if he wanted to plant it in the tribe.
Other Veins of the Sky and cabbages were precious too, so Shao Xuan would order some tribespeople to take all of them back to the tribe.
The guards were on high alert in the tribe after the chase yesterday.
They saw a suspicious figure carrying a huge ball on their shoulders. They were ready to attack but immediately dropped their weapons to greet the figure when they knew it was Shao Xuan.
They had no idea what he was carrying but it must be something special for him to personally carry it back.
The guards weren’t the only ones curious about that unidentified object, anyone that saw Shao Xuan was curious too. The ball was large so it was hard to ignore.
Shao Xuan didn’t explain anything to them. He just carried that ball of vegetable and rushed into the tribe quickly.