Chapter 35: Sending back
"The Blood Scorpion's poison is pretty valuable. There aren't many uses for its shell, so you might as well keep it." Lin Chen nodded after hearing what Zhu Jingliang said.
Blood Scorpions were difficult to catch, making their poison valuable. However, with all the poison gone after they were burnt up, the bodies were virtually of no value to them.
"Good or bad this is still your first hunting trophy. You might as well keep it as a memento."
Gao Xiang, who was standing by the side, took the opportunity to chime in, "Senior Brother, Senior Sister, I want a memento too. Can I have a rat? I want a living one!"
Zhu Jingliang chuckled, "You really are a little kid. What do you plan to do with it when you go hunting? Tie it to your body?"
Zhu Jingliang's words left him feeling embarrassed.
"Take it!" Zhu Jingliang's heart could not help but soften, as he had a grandson of Gao Xiang's age. "I'll weave a cage for you later, so you can just keep it there."
Gao Xiang was overjoyed. "Thank you, Senior Brother!"
Nine Jade Palace only allowed those in the direct line of descent to enter the rankings, while the average disciples would be the lowest in the Martial Practitioner hierarchy. Hence, it was not wrong for Gao Xiang to call Zhu Jingliang Senior Brother, even if Zhu Jingliang was old enough to be his grandfather.
Zhu Jingliang immediately picked some rattans from nearby. He weaved a cage in a matter of seconds and even asked if Lu Mingshu wanted one too.
"Yes, weave one for her too, so we can raise them together!" Gao Xiang was extremely excited.
Once the cages were ready, they placed the two young rats in them.
"Okay, look at them later. Work!" Zhu Jingliang patted Gao Xiang's head.
"Coming!" The two hid their cages well before returning to their chores.
The five distributed the workload; Zhu Jingliang and Lin Chen were in charge of peeling the skin, Yi Jiao had to then cut the rats into sections and pass them over to Lu Mingshu and Gao Xiang, who were in charge of washing and packaging.
The sun had already set by the time they were all done. The others had also already returned by the time the five had reached the camp. However, the atmosphere seemed to be a little weird.
"What's going on?" Yi Jiao whispered.
Shao Zhengyang peeked at the corner of the camp, before whispering, "Junior Sister Le has gotten injured."
The few looked over, only to see Le Xiaoyi sitting there with bandaged shoulders, while another female teammate looked after her.
Wei Peng's face went dark. This spring hunt was really not running smoothly. He specially guided Le Xiaoyi personally when he discovered her lack of courage, yet an accident that caused Le Xiaoyi to be heavily injured still happened.
He knew of Le Xiaoyi's background. It was not as sturdy as Gao Xiang's, but he was still not in a position to be able to offend anyone. He would undoubtedly be punished for letting Le Xiaoyi get injured.
But, putting that aside, the even more important question was her injuries. They could hardly be considered light, and at just Inner Breath Realm, the best way to deal with the situation would be sending her back to the cliff for recuperation. However, Le Xiaoyi probably felt so ashamed of getting an injury, that she refused to go and cried uncontrollably whenever leaving was mentioned.
1Wei Peng was extremely troubled. If he were to bring her along, not only would she be unable to help, she would also be a distraction. But if he did not bring her along, she would throw a tantrum again.
Once Yi Jiao came back after inquiring about the situation, she whispered to Lin Chen, "That girl is way too timid. She got scared shitless the moment she met the ferocious beast."
The two exchanged glances thinking about the same thing:
Speaking of newbies like Le Xiaoyi, there would be a few every year. These newbies were truly fierce when in the sect, but once they were face-to-face with a real ferocious beast, they could not help but cower in fear. It was not a sin to be timid. However, her presence there would be troubling the others.
Hence, after much consideration, Wei Peng still decided on sending her back. As a team leader, he had to be responsible for the team. How would the others not oppose her staying, when keeping her would only drag everyone down? Anyway, he had already offended her backers when he allowed her to get injured.
Hearing his decision, the others heaved a sigh of relief.
After this interruption, no one was in the mood to discuss their haul anymore.
They allowed Wei Peng to record down each person's harvest, before storing it away into the mustard seed pouch.
Lu Mingshu looked at the storage tool with a blazing gaze.
"Such an item would only be useful at this stage." Gao Xiang said when he saw Lu Mingshu's reaction, "We will be able to use the universal sleeve once we reach the Spirit Realm. Then, we can just store our items away there."
"Universal sleeve? What is that?"
Gao Xiang looked at her in shock. "You don't know?"
Lu Mingshu shook her head. Due to her special circumstances, she either spent her time in the Heavenly Ascension Pavilion, surrounded by books or in the Heavenly Wheel, that gave her very rich experience. Liu Jizhen was still immersed in his unsolved bitterness so he had never taught her. Thus, she lacked in the general knowledge department.
"The universal sleeve can open up a portable space. Its storage space isn't as large as the mustard seed pouch though."
Lu Mingshu quickly asked, "Can I learn it in advance?"
"Of course not. You won't be able to break open space without your strength being at the Spirit Realm."
However, Gao Xiang's words reminded Lu Mingshu to ask around the Heavenly Wheel for a similar spell. Having a storage space would make traversing much more convenient.
At nightfall, everyone rested in their respective spots.
The whole night passed by silently.
On the second day, Wei Peng got Yi Jiao and another female disciple to send Le Xiaoyi back to the cliff (despite Le Xiaoyi's protests), while the others had free time.
With such an atmosphere, Zhu Jingliang no longer had any mood to hunt. Hence, he brought Gao Xiang and Lu Mingshu around to look for some commonly used spirit herbs.
By evening, they had gathered a pretty good harvest.
To a Martial Cultivator, spirit herbs were a must-have. Without spirit herbs that help heal internal wounds, their cultivation speed would never increase. The total worth of these spirit herbs was much higher than the entirety of yesterday's harvest.
Lu Mingshu was so impressed that she did not want to hunt anymore. In the Heavenly Wheel, the value of demonic beast corpses was was low and they were not as popular in general, compared to spirit herbs.
She had only let out a tiny remark when she was scolded by Zhu Jingliang.
"Why do we have the spring hunt? Do you think we have the spring hunt just for that little harvest? The harvest is important, but the hunting process is even more important. What use is there for us martial practitioners to practice behind closed doors! Think back to the girl yesterday, how is her ability any inferior to the two of you? Yet why is she so useless? It's all because she lacks in practical training! Don't look down on her, because courage can be trained! Many people had done so to get this far. If the two of you want to cut corners, others will sooner or later catch up to you!"
He berated Lu Mingshu harshly.
Zhu Jingliang softened his voice. "Not that I enjoy scolding the two of you, but I just think it would be a pity if talents like yours were wasted."
Ever since she arrived at Nine Jade Palace, Lu Mingshu had never been scolded by anyone. Zhu Jingliang's scolding might not have been polite, but it was full of his earnest feelings. As someone who was able to recognise other good intentions, Lu Mingshu admitted her mistake immediately. "I was wrong, thank you for your guiding words, Senior Brother Zhu."
1Seeing her understand his intentions, Zhu Jingliang was brimming with joy. "I have guided a lot of newbies in these years, and the two of you have the best aptitude among them all. Work hard and use your gift wisely!"
The two nodded in agreement.
Gao Xiang, who got scolded together with Lu Mingshu, asked, "Senior Brother, will Le Xiaoyi be punished when she is sent back?"
"What punishment?" Zhu Jingliang said, "It is already considered a punishment for Le Xiaoyi to not be able to attend the spring hunt."
"That's okay then …"
Zhu Jingliang flicked his forehead. "It's not a big matter, all newbies go through such experiences in order to improve."
When night came, Yi Jiao came back.
The atmosphere in the temporary camp had lightened a lot. There, fragrant aroma of the half step to Harmonise Realm Thorn Hog soup wafted around the camp. The hog had been caught by Wei Peng earlier that day.
Yi Jiao gave Lu Mingshu and Gao Xiang a small bowl each. "Don't resent the small amount. The two of you can only drink this much, and don't forget to absorb everything you can."
The two obediently nodded, before starting to meditate to absorb the mystic force.
Three days later, the small team moved out toward their next hunting grounds.