Chapter 14 – In the mountain crevice hides a profound theory
The Liquor worm was shaped like a silkworm, its entire body giving out pearl white light. It was a little chubby and had a cute appearance.
The Liquor worm fed on wine and could fly. When it flew around, it would curl up into a ball, and its speed was very fast. Even though it was only a Rank one Gu, but it was worth even more than a few Rank two Gu.
To make it into one’s vital Gu was way more beneficial than the Moonlight Gu.
Right now the Liquor worm was glued to a bamboo pole merely 50-60 steps away from Fang Yuan. He held his breath, not closing in rashly, but slowly walking backwards.
He knew his distance was very near, but to really catch a Liquor worm directly it was an incredibly difficult task for a Gu Master who just opened the primeval aperture like him. You could say, there was totally no hope of success.
Fang Yuan’s was unable to see the Liquor worm clearly, but in the darkness he could feel the Liquor worm directing its vigilance at him. He slowly backed away gently, trying his best not to disturb the Liquor worm.
He knew that if the Liquor worm was to fly away, he could never catch up with his own speed. He needed to wait until the Liquor worm drank until it was drunk, and then with its flying speed slowed down he would have a chance to catch it.
Seeing Fang Yuan retreated further away, the Liquor worm crawling on the bamboo pole stirred. The strong aroma of wine before it was so tempting, so attracting, making the worm lost in a reverie. If it had saliva, it would have long been drooling a pool of saliva around it.
But the Liquor worm was incredibly wary and vigilant. Only after Fang Yuan retreated 200 steps back did it shrink a little and bounced into the air. When it fluttered high in the air, its body curled up into a ball, looking like a small and white rice dumpling. The little dumpling swept across the air in a round arc, floating down onto the grass that was sprinkled with green bamboo wine earlier.
With delicious food right before its eyes, the Liquor worm dropped its guard. It impatiently climbed onto a flower bud filled with some wine and popped its little head in, only leaving a chubby tail on the outside.
The Liquor worm was ravenous, and the green bamboo wine was so delicious. It opened its mouth wide and inhaled, very quickly lost in the deliciousness of its food, totally forgetting about Fang Yuan.
At this moment, Fang Yuan started to approach cautiously. He could see the tail of the Liquor worm outside the flower bud. This tail was just like a silkworm’s tail, chubby and rounded. The light it emitted made people think of a pearl.
At first the Liquor worm’s tail was hanging outside, unmoving. Then after a while this tail started to curl upwards, showing that it was drinking really happily. At the end when Fang Yuan was only ten steps away, its tail started wagging and swinging with a cheerful rhythm.
It was totally drunk!
Seeing this made Fang Yuan nearly laugh out. He did not continue walking forward, but patiently waited. If he rushed over right now he would definitely have a huge chance on catching the Liquor worm, but Fang Yuan’s intention was to have this Liquor worm guide him to the Flower Wine Monk’s remains.
In a moment the Liquor worm withdrew from the flower bud. Its body was fatter and its head swayed about, resembling a drunken man. Unexpectedly it did not realize Fang Yuan’s presence. It climbed up onto another bright yellow flower and perched on the stamen, feeding heartily on the wine droplets there.
This time after it had finished drinking, it finally felt full. Its body slowly shrank into a round ball and slowly flew up. When it was 1.5 meters above the ground, it leisurely flew in the direction of the deeper part of the bamboo forest.
Fang Yuan quickly followed after its trail.
The Liquor worm was already heavily drunk, making it fly slower by half of its usual speed. Even though this was the case, Fang Yuan still had to run with all his might to follow after its shadow.
The night was washing past his vision as the young teenager ran in the bamboo forest, chasing after a small bead of snow not far ahead.
The moonlight was gentle, the breeze slow and steady. In the bamboo forest that was like a clear pond, the stalks of green spear bamboo flashed past before his eyes, quickly falling behind him. The ground was a green carpet of grass, riddled with blossoming wild flowers. There were small stones with moss growing, and the yellow shoots of bamboo.
Fang Yuan’s faint shadow was also speeding ahead on the ground, passing through the shadows that each stalk of bamboo cast on the earth like a black line. He tightly kept his sight on the bead of snow, gulping in huge amounts of fresh mountain air, ordering his legs to catch up in the midst of faint wine aroma in the air.
Because of his speed, the moonlight looked like water to his eyes. Light and shadow moved frequently, like he was galloping in water filled with seaweed.
The Liquor worm flew out of the bamboo forest, and so did Fang Yuan. A sea of white flowers with a yellow spot in the middle borrowed the wind from his feet, scattering their petals. A group of Dragonpill crickets resembling a flowing poem just so happened to move to the front; as Fang Yuan dashed through there was a swoosh and a red cloud bloomed before him, dispersing about a sea of red star fireflies that emerged from the cloud.
A quiet mountain stream paved with pebbles, the gurgling water surface reflecting the spring moon in the night sky; with a few splashes Fang Yuan waded across, creating thousands of silver coloured ripples.
It was a pity that this stream, after so many ages, had its beautiful and precious stones trampled upon and broken.
Fang Yuan was in hot pursuit, firmly following behind the Liquor worm. Going upward the mountain stream, he could already hear the sound of a waterfall. After he turned around a sparse forest, he saw the Liquor worm fly into a crevice in the middle of a boulder.
Fang Yuan’s eyes lit up and he stopped in his tracks.
“So it’s here.” He panted heavily, his heart beating against his chest like mad. With this one stop he could feel his entire body covered in sweat, hot air surging throughout his body accompanying his accelerating blood flow.
Looking around, he found that this place was a shallow benchland (1).
Pebbles of various sizes covered the ground, the river surface barely covering over the small stones. There were also blocks of gray boulders scattered freely in the area.
Behind Qing Mao Mountain was a huge waterfall. The flow of the waterfall varied with the weather; it plummeted down to the earth, pounding out a deep pool. Beside the deep pool was the Bai Clan Village, a clan with powerful influence that was comparable to the Gu Yue village.
The waterfall branched out to many smaller branches, and it was apparent that Fang Yuan was facing one of the many branches of a branch. On normal occasions this benchland was dry, but due to the recent heavy rainfall that went on for three days and three nights, a shallow stream formed here.
The source of the flowing stream was from the huge boulder that the Liquor worm had entered into earlier.
The boulder leaned against a vertical mountain wall. Small waterfalls that branched away from the main waterfall were like silver pythons that flowed down the mountain wall, hitting onto the boulder. After a considerably long time the middle of this huge boulder had eroded away and formed a crevice.
At this time as the waterfall washed down, the water current gently roared. It was like a white curtain, completely obstructing the gap in the boulder.
After observing his surroundings, Fang Yuan’s breathing was no longer anxious. His eyes flashed with a hint of resolve; he walked to the boulder and took in a deep breath, and then he rushed in headfirst.
The boulder gap was rather large, and two adult humans could walk side by side in it with no problems. What more to say with Fang Yuan, who was merely a 15-year-old teenage boy?
Once he rushed in, the rapid currents pressured down on Fang Yuan’s body. At the same time the cold water quickly drenched him from head to toe. Fang Yuan battled against the water pressure, moving in quick steps forward. As he walked a few dozen steps, the water pressure started to lessen.
But the space in the fissure also began to shrink, and Fang Yuan could only walk sideways. His ears were filled with the roaring of the water, the top of his head was a sheet of white, and deeper into the boulder was a black darkness.
What was hiding in the darkness?
It could be a poisonous serpent, but it could also be a poisonous gecko. Perhaps it was a trap set by the Flower Wine Monk, or perhaps it was empty.
Fang Yuan could only continue forward by walking sideways, slowly edging into the darkness. The water no longer washed over his head; the stone walls were covered in moss, grazing against his skin, feeling slippery. Soon he was swallowed by the darkness, and the stone crevice became narrower, squeezing around him. Gradually even his skull could not rotate freely. Still Fang Yuan gritted his teeth and continued forward.
After walking another twenty more steps, he realized that there was a red shade of light in the darkness. At first, he thought it was an illusion. But when he blinked and focused, he began to confirm that this was indeed light!
This realization made him renew his spirit.
He continued walking for another fifty to sixty steps, the red light growing brighter. In his eyes the light slowly expanded into a long, vertical and fine seam.
He stretched out his left arm, suddenly feeling that the wall in front had bent away. Instantly he rejoiced, knowing that there was an enclosed space inside the huge boulder. With another few steps he finally rushed into this light seam.
His eyes were greeted with the sight of an approximately 80meters² wide enclosure.
“I have been walking for so long. With this distance I’d have long passed the boulder, so I should be in the heart of the mountain cliff right now.” As he sized up this hidden space, he moved his hands and legs about, stretching his limbs.
The entire room was filled with dim red light, but he could not tell where the light was coming from. The stone walls were damp and covered in moss, but the air here was very dry. On the walls there was also a few withering vines. The vines intertwined with each other, weaving across half of the wall surface. There were even a few withering flowers growing on the vines.
Fang Yuan looked at the remnants of these flowers and leaves, feeling somewhat familiar.
“These are Wine Sack Flower Gu, and Rice Pouch Grass Gu.” Suddenly a thought had crossed his mind and he was able to recognize these withering stems and vines.
Gu came in many shapes and forms. Some were like mineral rocks such as the blue crystal form of the Moonlight Gu. Some came in the forms of worms, such as the silkworm-like Liquor worm. There were also flowery grassy types, just like the Wine Sack Flower Gu and the Rice Pouch Grass Gu before Fang Yuan.
These two types of Gu were Rank one natural Gu. Just with pouring in primeval essence would they be able to grow. After growing up the middle of the flower would secrete flower nectar wine, and the grass pouch would grow out fragrant rice.
Fang Yuan moved his line of sight along the vines, and sure enough he discovered a heap of withered roots gathered into a ball-shaped clump at a corner. The Liquor worm was resting on the clump of dead roots, sleeping soundly. It was already within easy reach.
Fang Yuan walked over and took the Liquor worm into his arms. Then he got onto his knees and pulled the dead vines apart, discovering a pile of skeleton bones bundled inside.
“I’ve finally found you, Flower Wine Monk.” There was a smile on his lips as he saw this.
Just as he was about to reach his hand out and strip away the remaining vines, suddenly-
“Try touching it?” A voice full of murderous intent suddenly sounded behind Fang Yuan.
(1) Benchland : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bench_(geology)