Lin Mu was passing through the trees with ease. He would wade and flicker through them, dodging each and every obstacle. His spirit sense was spread forward and helped him sense the upcoming path. With the help of his spirit sense, he would know everything that was there.
A couple of hours passed by and Lin Mu was still running. He would slow down once he felt the fatigue building up, but would never stop. His progress in his body tempering realm had also helped in increasing his stamina by a notch.
After he slowed down, he would soon feel better and then he would continue on and increase his speed again. Three hours passed like this, and even now Lin Mu could not see any spirit beasts.
“Where did they go? Even if they hide, they should at least have nests nearby.” Lin Mu spoke while running.
“The spirit beasts are smarter than normal beasts, so they should have retreated to the edge of the forest instead. But for the normal beasts, they probably stuck where they are because of the fear or they too filled the spirit beasts. Either way, you should probably see them soon.” Xukong replied.
Lin Mu simply nodded his head in response and kept on running. Another hour passed and Lin Mu finally saw his first beast. It wasn’t a spirit beast, but rather just a common bird beast that could be seen anywhere in the forest.
“Seems like they ran pretty far.” Lin Mu muttered.
He then spread his spirit sense around in all directions and observed if there were more beasts nearby. His search showed him that there were plenty of beasts here, and they all seemed to be a bit startled. When he passed by the beasts, they ignored him and let him pass by without bothering him.
The number of beasts was now much larger than before, and it became impossible for Lin Mu to avoid them anymore. Eventually, he had his first encounter with a spirit beast. The spirit beast looked like a mongoose and was the same size as that of a normal one.
If it were not for the faint spirit qi waves coming from the beast, Lin Mu would have not been able to tell that it was one.
‘Oh, it should have been obvious. No normal mongoose would live this deep in the forest, that too in a cold place like this.’ Lin Mu thought to himself.
The mongoose beast looked at Lin Mu with sharp eyes and watched his every move. With every step that Lin Mu moved, the beast would move to. The beast was wary of Lin Mu and seemed to be a little afraid.
Lin Mu watched the beast as well but did not attack it as he didn’t want to be needlessly involved right now. Seeing that the beast had no desire to fight, Lin Mu moved a little distance away and walked away. The beast did the same and just watched him go away.
“Well, that was strange.” Lin Mu said to himself.
“Most intelligent spirit beasts won’t attack straight away, especially in tense situations such as the one right now when most of them have been scared by the great slumber bear. They will avoid getting into a conflict as the other beasts may take advantage of this fact and catch them off guard.” Xukong replied.
Lin Mu nodded and then continued on his journey. He had more encounters with spirit beasts, but all of them acted the same way the mongoose beast had. They watched him but did not attack, and when he moved away, they let him go.
Lin Mu was rather intrigued by this behavior. In the past, he had thought of all beasts as having zero to no intelligence and only having basic instincts that an animal has. He of course knew that senior Xukong was a beast as well, but he was way beyond his comprehension. Thus did not include him in his list.
Lin Mu felt fascinated by the intelligence of the spirit beasts and wondered if he would get to see any beasts that had the same intelligence as humans here. He also wondered if the great slumber bear would be smarter than this or not.
Lin Mu had seen how the core condensation realm Alpha steel back wolf had acted and led his pack of wolves. Common of that kind needed a certain level of intelligence, which perhaps only beasts above that of the qi refining realm have.
Lin Mu had traveled even more far and guessed that he was rather close to the camp now. His guess turned out to be true as he could soon see clouds of smoke rising from the front, a few hundred meters away from him. Lin Mu approached the camp with a little apprehension and stayed alert.
While Lin Mu knew that the camp would be safe because of the scent of the alpha steel back wolf, he was still a little worried in the back of his head. He wondered if the roar of the great slumber Bear had scared the spirit beasts so much so that they would ignore the scent of another core condensation realm beast.
Lin Mu’s hidden worry turned out to be for naught as he saw the camp was safe and calm. There were two men standing guard at the border of the camp, while four tents were set up in a circle with a Bonfire in the center.
Seeing that the others were not here, Lin Mu guessed that they were most likely resting in the tents.
~tap~ ~tap~ ~tap~
Lin Mu walked into the camp and made sure to make some noise of footsteps so as to alert the guard. He didn’t want to surprise them too much by directly turning up behind them and wanted to announce his arrival. He could tell from their expressions that the guards had been a little stressed, as the fatigue could be seen on their faces.
The two guards turned to look at the source of the sound and saw Lin Mu enter.
“It’s senior Lin Mu!” One of them spoke.
“Senior Lin Mu has returned!” The second one announced to the camp.
Upon hearing the shout, four people walked out of the tents. Xie Bohai was one of them and looked at Lin Mu, who had just walked in. Lin Mu approached them can came to stand in front of them. All six of them cupped their hands in greeting and spoke.
“I hope Senior had a breakthrough in his cultivation.” Xie Bohai spoke.
Lin Mu nodded in response and spoke, “Ah yes, I did indeed.”
Lin Mu then looked at the last remaining tent and the others followed his gaze. Xie Bohai instantly guessed what Lin Mu was thinking.
“Senior Hei Yingjie is better than yesterday and has improved. His condition has been stable now.” Xie Bohai reported.
Lin Mu simply nodded and walked into the tent. Upon entering, he saw the unconscious Hei Yingjie that was calmly sleeping. Lin Mu extended his spirit sense and checked the internal condition of him. The number of Small clots and internal bleeding had reduced by a lot.
Though it still seemed like it would take a long time for Hei Yingjie to recover his cultivation base, which had regressed. Lin Mu observed the man’s dantian and saw the pale White core floating in the center. It would let out faint wisps of spirit qi at regular intervals and would similarly absorb spirit qi that appeared in the dantian.
“Hmm, at least his spirit qi circulation is still working normally now. He just needs to rest more and recover his cultivation on his own.” Xukong explained.
“I guess it’s good that there were no culprits in the cave there. At least we won’t have to clash with them now that we don’t have a core condensation realm expert of our own.” Lin Mu spoke in a slightly relieved tone.
He then turned around and left the tent. He saw Xie Bohai waiting for him outside, and he looked to be calm.
“Senior, there has been some strange activity with the beasts since last night. We also heard a faint roar coming from the northwestern mountains.” Xie Bohai reported.
“I know, it was caused by another core condensation realm beast.” Lin Mu replied.
Xie Bohai seemed to be a bit more nervous after hearing Lin Mu’s response.
“You know about it senior, but how? Weren’t you cultivating?” Xie Bohai questioned.
“My cultivation went smoothly, and I had a breakthrough rather early. After I was done with my cultivation session, I heard some noises, so I went to check. I ended up finding what we came for here.” Lin Mu answered.
Xie Bohai became surprised after hearing Lin Mu mention about his findings.
“Senior, you don’t mean, you…” Xie Bohai spoke but was then interrupted.
“Yes, I did indeed. I found the hideout of the culprits.”