d there was no one else nearby.
Beneath him was soft ground, full of abundant greenery and fine grass.

The flowers were fragrant, the birds were softly singing, and there were many ancient trees several meters high on the side, with their roots knotting and intertwining together.
There were several mountain peaks stretching out in the distance, standing grandly.
And taking a deep breath, his seven senses felt even more refreshed.

What heavy spiritual energy! If this was the secret realm, the secret realm was truly beautiful.

Xu Ziqing stood up, patted away the dust on his clothes, and looked around.
Not only was Old Man He not there, but none of the other people could be seen.
Was it possible that he was separated? Or was there some other accident?

After thinking about it, again and again, Xu Ziqing couldn’t be sure, so he slowly found his way forward, gently caressing his cuff with the palm of his hand.
It turned out that although Old Man He felt that Xu Ziqing would be in the same place with him in the secret realm and would be able to take good care of him, he was also worried about any accidents, so he gave him four or five talismans at hand, which could be used for protection.

In the hands of cultivators, talismans have always been of great use.
Although Xu Ziqing was not yet able to use spiritual talismans, among the three types of yellow, red, and green regular talismans commonly used by experts in the Qi Refinement period, green talismans were quite rare, but Old Man He gave him one.
There were also three second-class red talismans.
If he was careful, he could also use them.

Because of the abundance of spiritual energy in the secret realm, there are also many kinds of spiritual herbs.
Xu Ziqing walked all the way, identifying them along the way, and found that he recognized quite a few of them.
After all, those spiritual herbs were not recited and memorized in vain.
Unfortunately, he had no magic tools at hand and could not collect them, so he had no choice but to keep moving.

Although there was no one around, Xu Ziqing still exercised caution to its fullest extent.
Although the secret realm was beautiful, it was also very dangerous for him, a little Qi Refinement cultivator who was alone.

As he was thinking, a fishy scented wind suddenly came from behind him.
Xu Ziqing’s pupils shrank, and he turned, rushing off to the side.
Sure enough, where he was just standing, was a pool of sizzling pitch-black liquid, as if he had been splashed with a handful of sulfuric acid, which immediately corroded a large area.

What is that stuff?! Xu Ziqing sucked in a breath of cold air, hurriedly took two more steps back, and immediately looked around quickly.

Then another mass of black liquid was sprayed out.
Xu Ziqing swept to the right again to avoid and looked along the path of the black liquid to see an arm thick snake coiled on a dead branch of an ancient tree, with colorful scales, hissing with a flicking tongue.

Seeing that Xu Ziqing noticed it, it opened its mouth and spit out more black liquid.
Only then did Xu Ziqing realize that it was the snake’s venom.
Once his body was stained with even the slightest bit of it, he would be corroded like the grass!

Xu Ziqing was alert.
He had very little spiritual power in his body, and he had only opened up a few acupuncture points.
He was not the opponent of this snake at all.

The snake was a little lazy, and looked at him sideways, with a trace of contempt in its eyes.
Xu Ziqing was taken aback.
The snake seemed to have some spiritual intelligence, but it was indeed a thing of the secret realm, so it must not be underestimated.

He didn’t know how many methods the strange snake had, so Xu Ziqing put his fingers in his sleeve, pinched a red talisman, and prepared to shoot out as soon as something went wrong! Facing off with the snake for a moment, the snake made no move.
Xu Ziqing stepped back slowly, but his fingers pinched even more tightly.

After retreating for about four or five meters, the snake abruptly raised its head and suddenly lunged forward!

Xu Ziqing was just about to use the red talisman, but he saw that the snake had stopped moving.
The snake’s mouth was still wide open, revealing four extremely long hooked teeth inside.

“Second Brother3, what do you think of my immobilization technique?” He heard a clear youth’s voice ring out.
“It’s a Spotted Demon Snake! Look, I caught it! I’ll dig out its core to refine medicine for Second Brother!”

Another voice, a little more mature and pampering, answered, “Fifth Brother’s immobilization technique has already met the eighth level of attainment.
This Spotted Demon Snake has been cultivating for 100 years, its core is promising.
This foolish older brother thanks Fifth Brother for this great gift.”

Xu Ziqing was a bit frightened and raised his eyes to see the two people approaching together.
One of them was young in appearance, the other was tall and slender, both of which were unfamiliar faces.

As soon as he wanted to thank them, he saw the young man wave his hand impatiently, “What are you still doing here? My brother is going to kill the snake and take its core! Your spiritual power is weak, you should leave quickly!”

Xu Ziqing knew that these two people had saved his life, but they did not deliberately do it for his benefit.
Although the young man’s words were unpleasant, he was neither relative nor friend to them.
It was exactly the time to hunt monsters and get the spoils.
It was improper for him to really stay here.
He bowed slightly and thanked them, then turned and left immediately.

It was only after this incident that Xu Ziqing became even more cautious about this secret realm.
His every move became more and more careful.


1, An ancient Chinese time measurement, depending on the author it generally, means either 5 minutes or 30 minutes.
In this case, I believe it is 30 minutes.

2, This is a sound, rather than a word.
The character written here was ‘咄’ which makes a ‘tut’ or ‘tsk’ sound by clicking the tongue.
I’m not sure why it’s used in this instance.

3, Although I said in previous chapters that I would be using pinyin for things like this, I decided otherwise after some deliberation.
If you want me to go back to using pinyin, do tell me.
In using the address Second (Older) Brother and Fifth (Younger) Brother, in groups of people (and especially in families), the members are sometimes distinguished and addressed according to age/rank, rather than by name.
In a group of male friends or siblings, they can call each other Boss / Big Bro 大哥, Second Bro 二哥, Third Bro 三哥, Fourth Bro 四哥, Fifth Bro 五哥, etc etc… This could be according to birth order or their social ranking within the group.

T/N, I didn’t intend to take this long to post this chapter, however, my village, as well as several other towns nearby, lost power due to powerful winds for a few days.
I slept in my unheated house for the first night (much to my suffering), and then stayed at a motel, unable to use my PC.
Then I had to attend an early Christmas dinner after the power returned, and because of that first night of sleeping in the cold house, I am now sick.
So, I struggled to translate this and am still sick now.
The next chapter might take a bit of time because of this as well, I hope no one minds.

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