Somewhere in the middle of the forest, after a good night’s sleep in a hidden cave she found, Baihe began her physical training course. The cave was huge and if you could ignore the old, dusty cobwebs, it was a relatively good place to temporarily stay in.
Unbeknownst to her, a group of temple monks have entered the Huang’s general household, preparing to exorcise her evil spirit. Garnished in their yellow robes and Buddhist prayer beads, they began chanting while ringing the divine bells and burning talisman papers.
None of their grand fanfare had any effect on Baihe. Although she was a ghost living in the shadows, she was still human. Right now, she was busying improving her weak physique using modern day exercise methods. From sit-ups to push-ups, with other various work-out techniques in-between, her body was soon drenched in sweat. Before long, she found herself dozing off beneath a large tree, not too far away from the cave.
As an assassin, she was a light sleeper, always maintaining some degree of awareness to her surroundings. The moment she felt a hand on her, those tired eyes popped open and reflex kicked in, attempting to throw the intruder over her shoulder.
“Miss…why are you holding onto my arm like that?”
Baihe froze, turning around awkwardly to look at Xiao Bao. Her current body still lacked sufficient strength to haul the person over her shoulder — ending with her stuck in a weird posture of grabbing Xiao Bao’s dangling arm on her shoulder, but unable to perform the complete action.
She didn’t know if she should laugh or cry. Casually, Baihe released the maid’s arm, pretending nothing had happened. “Did you get what I’ve asked you?”
Excited, Xiao Bao handed over some food wrapped in cloth. “Miss, quickly eat some food first! It took me a while before I finally found you! They’re probably all cold by now!”
A loud rumble escaped from Baihe’s stomach the moment the aroma reached her nose. She accepted the offer and began munching on the meat buns and chicken legs.
One must eat if one doesn’t wish to die. Training on an empty, hungry stomach is just self-torture! Even though I could hunt for a pheasant or quail in the forest, I’m currently too weak to venture too far out. Not to mention the lack of a good weapon. It won’t be surprising if I get hunted instead by some other animals.
Satisfied with seeing her Eldest Miss happily eating, Xiao Bao handed over the second package, containing a fresh set of clothes and new shoes before finally passing over the two manuals on cultivation.
Sparing the maid a glance, Baihe instructed, “Next time, make sure to feed yourself as well. In the meantime, I’ll have to trouble you for my meals. If you need more money, let me know. Also, when you head back out to the marketplace, find me a face mask.”
Xiao Bao was touched at how her Eldest Miss still thought of her in a time like this. She happily accepted her responsibility and departed once again, completely skipping over the reason behind why Baihe would need a face mask for.
Truth was, Baihe only didn’t want the maid to die on her so soon when she still has her worth. As an assassin, she was only taught how to kill, use, and manipulate people. Things like compassion, love, trust, and all those other righteous crap meant nothing to her. Instead, they’d only become your weakness and any form of weakness must be eliminated or it could get you killed.
Wiping her mouth and hands on the cloth once she was done with the food, she reached for the two manuals by her side. Opening one of them, her eyes scanned the contexts within. Those keen orbs flickered and became brighter as her hand flipped through the pages.
From the beginner’s manual, she learned that cultivation was the process of refining one’s mind, spirit and body to gain supernatural strength through the practice of ancient martial and mystical arts. By absorbing the spiritual energy and qi found in the world around them, cultivators could advance and grow stronger; however, not everyone could cultivate. One must have the innate talent and affinity to do so.
The light dimmed in her eyes. She was known as the good-for-nothing useless trash. Does this mean her body doesn’t have the innate talent required for cultivation? Stubbornness replaced those dimmed eyes as determination and fighting spirit burned within her.
I was the infamous assassin of the 25th century! As if such prerequisite could stop me! I won’t give up until I have tried and exhausted all means possible.
The thing she found most skeptical about was the idea how cultivation could increase longevity and life expectancy, with the goal to eventually ascend toward immortality. She snorted, if such things were true, people in her previous world would bring forth the apocalypse if it meant they could get their hands on such heaven-defying miracles.
But then again, as advanced in technology and innovation her previous world was, not one earthling had discovered something called cultivation. Deciding to not completely disregard this notion, she shuffled the information into her memory castle.
According to the instructions, she must first establish her foundation core. Baihe crossed her legs and went into meditation. This wasn’t anything new because it was one of the basic insights from yoga, an exercise focusing on breathing control, meditation, and the adoption of specific body postures practiced for improving health and aiding relaxation.
As the hours ticked by, not a speck of spiritual qi was found. Either her senses have turned dull or this was a bunch of phonies!
Suddenly, she felt a slimy, gooey substance landed on her. Opening her eyes, she lifted her head and found a gigantic spider looming above her. This insect was a mutation compared to the ones she saw in her previous world. The enormous spider was taller than the trees!
A mutated black widow? This isn’t good! Those shits are fucking poisonous!
Immediately, she rolled her body under the gaps between those long legs and started running. The speed was a far cry from what she was originally capable of, but the rush of adrenaline allowed her to push the body to its limits.
A huge gust of wind burst passed her. The trees next to her toppled over in a domino effect and blocked her path.
What the fuck? How?
Baihe jumped over the logs, even climbing them when she had to, refusing to slow down or look back for the answer to the question swirling in her mind. The next moment, her expression sank. Strong spider webs tangled around her legs, obstructing her movement and preventing her escape.
Left with no choice, she finally looked back and observed the destruction. Only then did she realize that the black widow spider had cultivation and the hidden cave Baihe found was actually the crawling insect’s dwelling place. The black widow spider was mad over her trespassing into its territory!
Had she stepped on dog’s poop or something? Why the hell was her luck so bad?
A straight confrontation with any organism of cultivation wouldn’t result in a happy ending for her. Baihe dug her fingers into the webs, trying to forcefully tear them apart, but those silks were strong and her opponent didn’t give her the chance to escape.
The black widow spider was enthusiastically spitting out strands of silky web, wrapping her body in a tight cocoon with its strong threads and soon, Baihe was mummified. Every part of her was covered, from head to toe. Only her eyes were spared, allowing her to see everything that was happening, but unable to do a damn thing about it.
Enemy assessment completed. Fucking spider was a sadist…