Chu Yang felt that his knowledge of martial arts had deepened to an extent. He kept jumping from tree-to-tree; like a whirlwind.
The Nine Tribulations Sword’s Sword Point poked its head out of his index finger as it probed the surroundings.
Sword Point didn’t dare to be negligent since it knew that its master was undergoing a life-and-death crisis. Therefore, it led Chu Yang towards any medicinal herb that it discovered. It’s said that beggars can’t be choosers. Therefore, Chu Yang absorbed every medicinal herb that he came across; without any exception.
The usefulness or futility of these herbs was decided on the basis of whether they were poisonous or not. Chu Yang even absorbed ordinary herbs like the Solomon’s Seal plant, the Dahurian Angelica herb, the Female Ginseng herb and so on; he didn’t even spare ginsengs, spirit mushrooms, fleece flower roots and others…
Chu Yang felt as if the Sword Point was grieving and harboring resentment every time it absorbed an ordinary medicinal herb.
[The Nine Tribulations Sword has never been forced into consuming ‘just anything’ in a thousand years because of the urgency of the situation. So it isn’t interested in herbs which aren’t precious… It’s like a person who has the habit of eating exotic delicacies is being forced to eat vegetables and tofu everyday…]
[No wonder it feels cheated.]
A rustling sound came from far behind him. Then, some indistinct shouts and roars were heard. This indicated that the pursuers weren’t far away.
Chu Yang frowned. He then grabbed and uprooted some green grass. The grass had been turned into a big green ball in Chu Yang’s hands by the time he had stridden for a distance of 1.5 kilometers.
Chu Yang squeezed the round bundle of grass. Then, he started to knead it in order to crush it into a smaller ball. This caused the grass-juice to drip down drop-by-drop. Chu Yang collected the juice in his palms and applied it on his face and upper body…
He then proceeded to dye his clothes with it.
He repeated this action over-and-over. He would collect some grass and squeeze-out its juice to store it in the Nine Tribulations Sword. He continued to do that until he had collected a bucket of grass juice which was enough to be used a dozen times; if required.
This was rightly taken into account since Chu Yang was escaping through a forest. And it’s a known fact that a human body’s smell is very different from the fresh and clean smell of the mountain-forest. Moreover, Chu Yang was leaving behind his scent as he fiercely ran through the forest… In addition, his blood was exuding the deadly orchid fragrance…
The scent of green-grass is the most natural smell in the world; even the scent of the juice of trees or the herbal smell of the medicinal ingredients isn’t as natural and strong. Moreover, the smell of green grass could camouflage every other scent.
Suddenly, the Sword Point burst with excitement. It began to shake violently, and nearly broke-out of his finger to point in a certain direction.
Chu Yang looked around and saw a canyon at a distance of about hundred feet. He couldn’t help but smile. He then said, “Little guy, our pursers are right behind us. We won’t be able to escape even if there’s a good component down there since we’ll first have to go down and then come back up.”
The Sword Point ignored him and kept pointing in that direction; it seemed impervious to excuses.
Chu Yang was confused, but had no other choice. He was forced to change his route. Therefore, he rushed towards that canyon. He was shocked when he finally arrived there. It turned out that it wasn’t a canyon. It was a steep cliff. It was filled with clouds and mist. Therefore, it was hard to tell how deep it was.
He heard the rustling sound coming from nearby. Suddenly, he heard a voice, “Who’s that? Stop right there!” Then, a number of human figures rushed over. Their silhouettes hadn’t yet approached, but a few cold lights had been swept-out towards Chu Yang.
[It’s evident from their strength that they are the experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department.]
Chu Yang snorted and bounced back. Two ‘pop’ sounds were heard as two short knives came flying-in and dug into the spot where Chu Yang stood a moment ago. Chu Yang jumped-up as a cold light flashed in his eyes. Suddenly, the sword light burst into thousands of rays of cold light with a ‘whooshing’ sound.
Nine Tribulations Sword… Nine Heavens Sword Play… the first move – one ray of cold light pierces ten thousand fathoms!
The three approaching experts issued pitiful screams as they were chopped into six parts; their blood spattered in all directions.
These three experts were quite unlucky. The experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department had scattered throughout the Qilang Mountain. But, these three experts had rushed to the forefront as they were eager to render meritorious services. Therefore, they had ended-up becoming the first ones to discover Chu Yang’s traces. But, they also became the first ones to lose their lives…
However, their screams alerted the nearby experts.
Someone shouted from a distance, “Over there!” Then, people came rushing from every direction with a ‘whooshing’ sound.
Chu Yang rushed to the edge of the cliff and jumped down without any hesitation. He had heard a whistling sound coming from the top. The Sword Point trembled on his finger as he struggled to stabilize his falling body. He had dropped for 200-300 feet when he inserted his right hand into the cliff’s face. He slid for 10 feet before he came to a halt mid-air.
He hadn’t yet gone down to the level of the clouds and mist. However, he had a damp feeling in his entire body. He looked down, but couldn’t see anything. [The Sword Point is still pointing downwards. It seems that the component is somewhere down below…]
Then, he loosened his grip and started to fall again.
He looked down to determine his position. But, the clouds and mist blocked his vision.
He descended another 100 feet in a flash. The Sword Point had calmed down. Chu Yang gathered some courage and began to fall down again. He felt that he was falling faster-and-faster.
Suddenly, the Sword Point trembled; as if to remind him of something.
Chu Yang stretched-out his right hand and inserted the Nine Tribulations Sword into the cliff’s wall.
Nine Tribulations Sword’s edge cut through the rock wall with a ‘chi-chi’ sound; as if it was butter. He slid down for several hundred feet before coming to a halt mid-air.
Chu Yang looked down. There were no more clouds and mist in the air. So, he could clearly see a vast meadow below. He was just 50 feet above the ground…
Chu Yang broke out into a cold sweat.
[I would’ve plunged to my death if there had been any delay in stopping my fall.]
He scolded the Sword Point in his heart, “Are you trying to kill me? Why didn’t you warn me earlier?”
The Sword Point trembled with excitement as it pointed towards a spot on the ground.
Chu Yang knew that the Sword Point was so excited about the elixir that it didn’t even hear the scolding. So, he swallowed his anger and slid all the way down.
He was greeted by a strong fragrance even before he touched the ground. Chu Yang’s spirit shook as his feet landed on the ground.
The Sword Point quivered with excitement, and nearly pulled Chu Yang to the side of a small pool. Chu Yang saw a big and withered pine tree; it stood in the middle of an open area. Three snow-white plants stood in its vicinity.
“Jade Snow Spirit Ginseng?” Chu Yang exclaimed in a surprised tone.
[Jade Snow Spirit Ginseng isn’t one of the Nine Great Herbal Medicines… but it’s a top-tier ‘heaven and earth treasure’. Moreover, three of these have appeared together. It’s hard to guess the number of years these must’ve been growing under this cliff…]
Chu Yang sighed as he looked at the surroundings, [This land is barren. Not a single blade of grass can be seen in the surrounding area of a few thousand feet. The grass growing outside this range seems to have lost its vitality; it looks weak and pathetic. In fact, the trees under this cliff look devoid of life-force as well. They seem thin and frail despite years of growth.]
[These Jade Snow Spirit Ginsengs are the only plants in this area which seem full of vitality; their trunks are thick enough to wrap one’s arms around them. But, the pine tree has withered and its trunk seems as if it’s about to collapse…]
[The ‘heaven and earth tier’ elixirs plunder the vitality of every other living thing in order to boost their own growth – this saying is indeed true.]
The Sword Point was bursting with excitement at his fingertip. It expanded and contracted in a constant manner since it couldn’t control its impatience.
Chu Yang snorted as he narrowed his eyes and looked at the Sword Point. He was about to extent his hand to grab the herbs when he heard the Sword Spirit’s voice in his mind, “Don’t absorb them!”
“Why?” Chu Yang retracted his hand. Sword Point began to expand and contract in his hand to show its dissatisfaction. Its condition was similar to a child who had seen something delicious but was barred from eating it. It had assumed an unruly appearance. It was trying to make a ruckus to get what it wanted.
“These three Jade Snow Spirit Ginsengs haven’t yet reached the required age-limit. They aren’t fully ripe yet.” Sword Spirit said, “Put them in the Nine Tribulations Space and let me accelerate their ripening.”
“Eh?” Chu Yang was stunned. [Not yet matured? How many years have they been growing for?]
“Jade Snow Spirit Ginseng can be divided into different age-limits on the basis of their appearance. The ones that have surpassed 500 years of age attain milky-white appearance. The ones between 1000 years and 3000 years of age are considered mature. They have a silvery-white appearance. Their appearance becomes pure-white when they reach their maximum age-limit of 9000 years. If they aren’t used once they attain maturity… then they scatter away into fine twinkling stars and their ‘heaven and earth’ spirit energy fades away…”
Sword Spirit further said, “As you can see… these three Jade Snow Spirit Ginsengs have already attained a pure-white appearance. They’re about a decade away from arriving at their maximum age-limit. A fully matured Jade Snow Spirit Ginseng can compete with the Nine Great Herbal Medicines. It can also be used as an ingredient in the preparation of Nine Tribulations Pill. Only a single Jade Snow Spirit Ginseng is needed to prepare a pill. You would’ve wasted a valuable product of nature if you had absorbed it carelessly.”
“So, that’s how it is. In that case… how long will it take for them to fully mature if you accelerate their ripening?”
“It should take about ten days,” Sword Spirit pondered and then said. It seemed that it had detected what Chu Yang was thinking. So, it added, “But, don’t get the idea that I can accelerate the ripening of any herbal medicine. And don’t even think that I’ll work on useless stuff. The medicine should be as relevant as the Nine Great Herbal Medicines… and should be close to reaching its maturity. Otherwise, it’s out of the question. If it’s one of the Nine Great Herbal Medicines… then you’ll need to find the fifth fragment of Nine Tribulations Sword so that I can use my ability of ‘accelerated ripening’ in a continued manner.”
“Eh… I knew it would be something like this.” Chu Yang had intended to collect some elixirs and use ‘accelerated ripening’ on them. However, he dispelled this idea after hearing Sword Spirit’s words. “Will this medicine assist my recovery when it’s fully matured?”
“Your recovery will be difficult since you need to be nursed back to health. It will take a long time. But, more than half of your injuries can be cured by a single Jade Snow Spirit Ginseng. It will be useless to consume more than one since it won’t have much extra effect. Your injuries merely need to be healed-enough to free your life from danger. After that, we can take our time to find a way to help you make a full recovery,” the Sword Spirit said. It was clear that it was relieved. The three Jade Snow Spirit Ginsengs seemed to have given it great confidence.
[There shall be a way for the Master of Nine Tribulations Sword to recover as long as he isn’t dead and his soul isn’t annihilated. Recovery of more than half of the injuries is as good as a complete recovery.]
“These Jade Snow Spirit Ginsengs can be used to synthesize a Nine Tribulations Pill?” Chu Yang was anxious. [Qing Wu awaits a Nine Tribulations Pill. So, how can I not exploit this opportunity to collect its ingredients?]