Xiao Zhiqing’s expression reminded Yang Chen of something. He quickly asked, “What do you see?”
The woman tried to suppress her excitement. “I’m not sure yet. Let’s take a closer look.”
With that, she left her two companions and ran towards the stream’s bank.
The shore was obstructed by various plants and among them was Xiao Zhiqing’s target. It was an unassuming eucalyptus-looking tree.
Noticing that, Yang Chen quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her back harshly. He yelled, “Wait! Didn’t I say to always walk behind me?!”
Xiao Zhiqing was taken by surprise but she quickly moved to stand behind him.
Yang Chen grinned. “Remember to always stay behind me.”
He then started to walk towards the edge of the bank.
Just as he stepped foot on the bank, something happened!
A rough animalistic roar rang out alongside the rustle of plants and splashing. What they saw next was a gigantic mass pouncing out from the plants.
Its movements were as fast as lightning despite its body being humongous! The animal opened his wide gnarly jaw and dove straight for Yang Chen’s leg!
Xiao Zhiqing and Liu Mingyu screamed in unison, their faces went pale.
As soon as the green bodied Giant Crocodile was about to land its jaw on Yang Chen, the man’s right leg quickly sprung into action!
With a muffled thud, Yang Chen kicked the bottom of its jaw!
The impact of Yang Chen’s counterattack sent the Giant Crocodile flying like a broken kite. It flew for a few good meters before it was returned to its habitat!
Making a gigantic splash, the crocodile frantically scurried away with its tail shaking with each stride. Its small puny brain hadn’t imagined that it would’ve met such scary ‘hunters’ today!
Yang Chen whistled. “Damn, this thing is pretty tough. I thought it’d have died after I sent it flying.” Though he hadn’t channelled much power into that kick, the fact that it survived his attack was pretty commendable.
On the other hand, Liu Mingyu and Xiao Zhiqing were thoroughly traumatized by the incident.
Liu Mingyu was even close to tears. She quickly rushed forward to hit on Yang Chen’s back. “You had the heart to whistle?! Do you think that was funny?! We almost got a heart attack because of you!”
Yang Chen chucked. “Well, I just wanted to show you the dangers of this place. Remember, I mentioned that this place houses about one hundred thousand crocodiles? These vicious reptiles are natural hunters. You better remember to check every water body here before approaching it.”
Xiao Zhiqing patted her chest in relief. She felt indebted to Yang Chen. “But there wasn’t a need to scare us like that.”
Yang Chen rubbed his nose then turned around. “I won’t do it next time. Right, you wanted to check on this tree?”
“Yeah!” Xiao Zhiqing made her way over to the tree and observed it carefully.
Yang Chen tried to identify the plant. He frowned. “This looks like a eucalyptus tree, but the veins on the leaves are different and its bark is brownish-red.”
Xiao Zhiqing seemed to have confirmed it. “This is probably a Cardinal Tree. It’s pretty accessible but relatively rare alchemy material. We don’t see this much in China, it’s usually used for mid to low-grade elixirs.”
Yang Chen was joyous until he realized something. “The entire tree is the ingredient? Gosh, how am I going to move this home?”
Xiao Zhiqing shook her head. “Only certain parts of the tree are usable, all we need is its root hair. The hairs must be immature. The matured portions have no special medicinal properties.”
Receiving the influx of information drove Yang Chen dizzy. Why were there so many rules and in this field? Thankfully, getting the root hairs wasn’t too much of a hassle. All they had to do was to dig it up. Yang Chen was the best at getting physical after all!
Taking Xiao Zhiqing’s suggestion to mind, Yang Chen was cautious enough to leave behind some root hairs while he dug. It was to ensure the tree’s survival or such precious materials would die out. There would be more to harvest the next time they came.
Now that they had some results on the first day, Yang Chen’s confidence in the coming days grew.
They continued to trek for a while but found nothing new. Hence, they found a dry cave, placed some simple tree bark on the ground as bedding and slept the night away.
When morning came, Xiao Zhiqing was sharp enough to notice a herb nearby the cave they slept at. It was a Dragon Knot, a herb that absorbs morning dew at dawn.
Yang Chen wondered to himself. He felt like he had seen this plant before but he had never known that this weed-looking being was a herb to the friars.
But one thing was sure, the ancient continents outside of China certainly had more unexploited materials lying around.
The three continued to brave the night breeze and slept outdoors for another four days. By then, their bags were almost full of materials.
The contents in all three bags had amounted to at least twenty kinds of herbs. According to Xiao Zhiqing, if all the elixirs could be made, he’d have about ten different types and more than one hundred pieces. But of course, it was under the assumption of Yang Chen’s mastery of the Samadhi True Fire and successful alchemy.
Yang Chen was troubled. He was lacking a breakthrough before mastering the Samadhi True Fire. He knew that he was close but still so far.
To get to the northern coastal region of Arnhem would require at least a week on foot. Yang Chen wasn’t too pressed to get there, opting to bag as much he can find along the path. The man still had his ring made of mustard plant and Sumeru to use. It was only the concern was that the materials would go bad inside its space which stopped him from doing so.
Liu Mingyu’s trained body was able to utilize True Qi to nourish her veins. After she had gotten used to the terrain and weather, her body was improving very quickly.
Reaching the fifth night, the two women were completely accustomed to sleeping outdoors. Their search for shelter did not take long. Following what Yang Chen had taught them, they went to peel off some tree bark and collected some dried leaves nearby. They laid the bedding down and proceeded to get some shut-eye.
Yang Chen had no need for those. Looking at the three herb-filled bags, he began to ponder out loud. “We have enough water but we have run out of food. Should I consider going to a nearby city to replenish our rations before continuing our search?”
Liu Mingyu stretched her body and mumbled, “How about you contact the plane and we all go back to the city? Are we really going to continue walking for another week here?”
Yang Chen missed his family back in Zhonghai. Though Yan Buwen was no longer a threat, Yang Chen couldn’t help but be a little worried due to the lack of communication.
Perhaps Lanlan’s grandfather was already back in Zhonghai. Yang Chen had promised Lin Ruoxi that he would try his best to have the girl remain with them. Perhaps it was about time for his return home.
“You’re right. When morning comes, I’ll contact the plane,” decided Yang Chen.
The stars above the savanna were exceptionally bright and radiant.
Yang Chen lifted his chin to glance at the stars, then laid on his back. He was about to close his eyes when an oddly intense sense of danger enveloped him!
Yang Chen quickly sat up, teleporting himself ten meters away from his position.
Liu Mingyu and Xiao Zhiqing jolted, quickly leaving their beddings to check on the situation.
Yang Chen’s expression tense as he glanced at the air one meter ahead of him.
Standing mid-air was a golden-masked, long-haired mysterious person clad in black. His attire was synched at the waist with a dark belt and his face was shielded by a Peking Opera mask.
Yang Chen clenched his fist tightly. Not out of rage, but out of fear!
Yang Chen couldn’t help but feel nervous. There was an inexplicably ominous feeling that the mysterious person had as if Yang Chen was about to face unprecedented threats!
Yang Chen had a faint feeling that this wasn’t the first time he had encountered this mysterious person. The mysterious person had never shown Yang Chen his true capabilities!
Weirdly, Yang Chen couldn’t detect what his skills were!
“Who the hell are you?” Yang Chen had a strong feeling that this person meant harm!
The voice that rolled out of the mysterious person was obviously altered. His voice was scratchy and gruff.
“My identity is not important. The important thing is that you know that you’re no match against me.”
Watching the scene unfold before them, Liu Mingyu and Xiao Zhiqing were perplexed. The only thing they could do was to cast worrying glances towards Yang Chen. They were well aware that Yang Chen had brought this onto himself.
“I finally found you after a few days.” The masked man chuckled slowly. “I have not much time left so I’m going to offer you two choices. One, surrender the Endless Resolve Restoration Scripture to me or two, let me take control of your body and retrieve the scripture myself.”