Chapter 10: Mysterious Bottle
han li slowly followed the path from the god hand valley out of force of habit. his steps automatically carried him towards the crimson water peak.
he did not have anything important to do at the moment, and as such, he followed his normal schedule and visited zhang tie, who was training at the crimson water peak. zhang tie grimaced in pain, allowing the impact of the waterfall to temper his body as he cultivated the way of the armored elephant.
not everyone could withstand the torturous pain from cultivating this particular martial arts. even the first layer already required one to suffer excruciating pain. to reach the ninth layer, wouldn’t it require one to cultivate to the point of insanity, losing their skin in the process?
“hmm, i wonder if zhang tie already regrets his previous decision. the excruciating torture one had to endure to practice the way of the armored elephant is impossible to imagine,” han li thought as he walked, carelessly kicking the fallen leaves and branches that were blocking his way.
“maybe after a few more days, the two of us will go and beg doctor mo for another martial arts skill for zhang tie so that he won’t need to suffer from excruciating pain each time he practices.” having absorbed himself in thought trying to think of methods to allow zhang tie to escape from this torturous path of practice, han li slowly roused himself to look at his surroundings.
han li tilted his head as he gazed at the line of trees by his side. currently, the year was approaching the late stages of autumn. the trees' branches were all naked and devoid of leaves. piles of sticks and dead leaves layered the small paths. walking on them felt like walking on cotton. han li found this experience extremely comfortable.
in that moment, the sounds of weapons clashing drifted over from a nearby mountain peak, as well as the many loud cheers.
after hearing the noises, han li glanced in the direction of the mountain peak, annoyed that his good mood had been disturbed.
the noise came from disciples of the hundred forge division. they were training the disciples selected to join their division in the various arts of weaponry.
everytime han li saw other sect members gathering and undergoing their training sessions, slight hints of jealousy surfaced in his heart. he wanted to wield a real weapon and demonstrate his skills as well. what a waste! after he officially became a disciple under doctor mo, he had been strongly forbidden from practicing such things. doctor mo strongly emphasized that han li was to devote all of his time to the nameless oracular chant.
therefore, han li could only stare with wide and envious eyes. occasionally, to scratch his itch, he would borrow a few weapons from some of the other sect members he was on good terms with and practice with them.
how truly useful was it to cultivate the mysterious chant? up until now, han li had not seen any positive effects of his constant cultivation. other disciples had already strengthened their body and mastered impressive martial art techniques. if the path of martial arts was compared to a marathon, han li was certain that he had remained at the starting point and hadn't advanced in the least.
even zhang tie, who had cultivated for two months, had some beneficial changes to show for his efforts. his skin and muscles had become tougher, and his level of strength was also noticeably higher than before.
however, if doctor mo had not accepted zhang tie as an unofficial disciple, he would not have passed the unofficial disciple test two months ago. if he had not passed the test, then staying on the mountain would be impossible, let alone sending money back home!
if zhang tie was unable to cultivate another branch of martial arts, his path would be forever sealed.
on one hand, han li was grumbling about the unfairness of their situation. on the other hand, he was reassuring himself that since he passed doctor mo’s test, he would not be kicked out of the seven mysteries sect.
han li retracted his gaze from the other sect members, but he continued to think about doctor mo’s irritating commands. distracted and in low spirits, he gazed at the two lines of trees alongside the road as pangs of dejection struck him.
all of a sudden, han li sucked in a mouthful of cool air, his facial expression turning ugly. out of reflex, he squatted down and used both his hands to tightly clamp on the big toe of his right foot, doubling over in the grass. a sudden, painful flare-up had caught han li unaware. his face became a pale white as waves of fiery pain assailed his right foot.
evidently, han li had accidentally kicked against an extremely hard object hidden in the piles of leaves.
han li arched his body and used both of his hands to wrap around his foot. after he lowered his head and removed his shoes, he began to blow heavily on his injured toe; while his brain flooded with pain, he was worried that his swollen toe might have been injured to an extent that would impact his day-to-day activities
after a long moment, han li craned his neck and peered downwards to that pile of leaves, trying to find the ungodly, dastardly stone that caused him to be injured.
haphazardly lying about, the fallen leaves were all the same reddish-yellow color. they obscured him from finding the target he sought.
han li wrinkled his forehead and surveyed the ground before finding a slightly long and thick tree branch. holding the branch, he stood up carefully.
unwilling to give up, han li used the branch in his hands and continued to probe piles of leaves.
ai! he spotted an object the size of a fist.
han li paused momentarily and considered the object in front of him. the culprit, the sinful object that caused injury to his great self, actually had the shape of an elongated bottle. the surface of it was stained with mud, and its original color was impossible to discern. overall, it looked extremely commonplace.
initially, han li thought that this was an ordinary little bottle, but in his hands, the bottle was extraordinary heavy, its weight vastly different from that of a normal porcelain bottle.
could this bottle be made of gold? no wonder it caused so much pain when he kicked it. but.. bottles made of gold were rarely seen…
made of gold….? han li’s interest in this bottle peaked as he temporarily forgot about the waves of pain arising from his toe.
as han li wiped off the excess layer of mud, the original color of the bottle began to unveil itself. the bottle emanated a shiny green glow, and there were intricate black green leaf patterns engraved on its surface. at the head of the bottle, there was a bottle cap that tightly sealed the mouth of the bottle.
hmm, could the interior be hiding something precious? han li placed the bottle close to his ear and gently shook the bottle, but he didn’t feel any movements from the inside of the bottle.
unwilling to give up, han li placed his hands on the cap of the bottle and tried to pry it open. however, no matter how hard he tried, it was to no avail.
curiosity was burning in his heart, and just when he was about to use another method to open it, the pain from his foot suddenly flared up again.
damn! he had forgotten that the toe of his right leg had been injured after coming into contact with the porcelain bottle.
looking at his injury, it seemed he could not visit zhang tie today. han li decided to return to his residence and apply some medicine on his injured toe before taking his time to figure out the secrets this mysterious bottle was holding.
in order to keep the bottle from being spotted by others, han li stashed it inside his robes regardless of how dirty the bottle was. turning back, he limped step by step back to his home.