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    Chapter 56

    "What's going on? What tripped me?"

    Qiu Guokai clutched his forehead as he struggled to his feet, quickly scanning the ground. The terrain in this part of the forest was a gentle slope, covered in a thick layer of pine needles, soft and spongy underfoot, with no visible obstacles.

    Director Wang hurried over to support him, perplexed that their investor could have gotten such a bruise on his forehead from this path. "Are you alright, Mr. Qiu? How did you fall so badly?"

    The numerous Daoist priests present paid little attention to Qiu Guokai's misfortune, all of them focusing intently on the forest ahead with serious expressions.

    In the woods, the howling mountain wind had yet to subside, filling their ears with the rustling of leaves.

    Fang Xiaojie, who had been gloating just moments ago, also fell silent, quietly retreating behind the group of Daoists. Suddenly, an elder Daoist in the crowd spoke up, "What is that?"

    Qiu Guokai immediately turned his head, indeed spotting a pile of greenish substance next to a straight bamboo trunk. The color should have been highly noticeable in the dimly lit forest, but the adjacent bamboo was so vividly green that it stole the limelight.

    Wei Xi stepped forward to pick up the object, unfolding it for inspection. The group was stunned. "Isn't that clothing?"

    Director Wang turned to look and responded in disbelief, "This is a prop for the Bamboo Spirit character. How did it end up here?"

    Upon hearing this, everyone fell silent. The Taoist masters exchanged glances, sensing that the situation was dire. Their thoughtful gazes fell upon the straight, towering bamboo in front of them.

    "Such a magnificent bamboo," Qiu Guokai remarked, having finally taken it all in. "So tall and thick. I rarely see such specimens even in the mountains of the south. It must have taken many years to grow like this."

    Almost as if in response to his words, the bamboo's branches and leaves seemed to tremble as if stirred by a breeze.

    The masters glanced at him surreptitiously, thinking to themselves that he truly was a master of flattery, adept at business dealings.

    But they also realized something. This unusually tall bamboo, along with the pile of costumes beside it, indicated that they might have found the culprit causing trouble on the film set.

    Mao Hua Mountain was deep, steep, and nestled near the capital, bordered by the Dragon Vein for ages. Its favorable feng shui made it an ideal habitat. The plants in the mountain, with their long lifespans, had grown and thrived in the rich vitality for hundreds or even thousands of years. It wasn't unusual for some to develop a rudimentary form of intelligence.

    Especially in the last decade or so, similar tales had emerged from spirit mountains and great rivers across the country. While ordinary people were unaware, these stories had already circulated within the esoteric community.

    As for a solution, there were options. After all, these were creatures of heaven and earth. There was no need for brute force; persuasion was often enough for those who didn't commit evil.

    The Taoist masters began discussing their next steps. "What should we do? Set up an exorcism ritual?"

    "One could ask the production team to perform a sacrifice. Mountain spirits are different from ghosts; an exorcism might not be effective," one suggested.

    Amidst the rustling of the bamboo in the nearby Tai Cang Sect, Unity Righteousness stroked a stalk and exclaimed, "Master, this bamboo is lovely. It would make excellent bamboo rice."

    Wei Xi asked, "Bamboo rice?"

    Unity Righteousness replied, "Huh? Master, you don't know? I saw it online. It's a specialty from the southwest. People there fill raw rice into bamboo tubes and roast them over a fire. After roasting, they split the tubes open to eat the fragrant rice inside."

    Listening to his eldest disciple, Wei Xi looked thoughtfully at the bamboo before him. "Fragrant indeed... Righteousness, Lu Que, do either of you have a knife?"

    Shuo Zong's face was cold as he replied, "...No."

    The fawning Unity Righteousness patted his pocket, pulled out a Swiss Army Knife, and promptly offered it with enthusiasm. "Master, how about this one? Will it do for splitting?"

    Wei Xi weighed it in his hand. "It will suffice."

    The bamboo, which had been swaying gently in the breeze, froze the moment their conversation turned to this topic. Under the blade in Wei Xi's hand, it began to sway again, but this time, the movement was much gentler. It didn't seem like the wind was causing it; rather, it appeared to be trembling.

    The Taoist priests: "..."

    What on earth is going on with this Taicang Sect?

    Qiu Guokai, who was currently holding his head, suddenly cried out in shock, "M-Master! Look! What are those things?!"

    Everyone's attention was drawn back by his exclamation, and as they followed his gaze, they were all equally alarmed. They saw pairs of eerie green beast eyes emerging from the dark shadows of the surrounding trees!

    Those eyes stared intently at the group, their lifeless pupils filled with a wild, chilling savagery. The eyes were densely packed, encircling them, gradually revealing their true forms from the distance.

    They turned out to be a group of animals, of various sizes and shapes!

    Qiu Guokai had never witnessed such a bizarre scene; his scalp tingled, and he let out a loud cry. Director Wang was somewhat braver, but he was still terrified, barely able to stammer through the dim light, "What the hell is happening? Are those...minks?! Foxes?! And even boars?! Hasn't Huamao Mountain been developed? Where did all these animals come from?!"

    The Daoist priests were also incredulous. The timing of these animals' appearance was too peculiar – what were they planning to do?

    Unexpectedly, at that moment, one of the boars, which seemed to be leading the way, turned towards Wei Xi, who was standing in front of a bamboo shoot with a knife in hand. It opened its mouth and slowly croaked out a muffled, hoarse human voice, "Scram."

    Director Wang: "!!!"

    Qiu Guokai: "!!!!!"

    Shuo Zong's gaze also sharpened. Could it be that this was a wild boar that had become enchanted? What about the other beasts behind it? Were they also enchanted creatures?

    He slowly stepped in front of Wei Xi, his eyes shifting slowly to the green bamboo that had finally stopped trembling since the beasts' arrival. He deeply furrowed his brow. How could such a small and lush Mountain Huamao possibly incubate so many monsters?

    The wild boar spirit was clearly not one to provoke. It looked fiercely intimidating, baring its teeth and revealing two sharp fangs that shimmered with an icy glint.

    Tuan Jieyi, startled by the creature's voice, grabbed the hem of his master's robe in panic. "M-Master, is this, is this a monster?!"

    Indeed! It was a monster! The wild boar spirit's eyes gleamed with satisfaction upon hearing this, and it grew even more animated. It lowered its upper body, dug its front hooves into the ground, and roared, preparing to attack.

    It raised its head and stared coldly at Wei Xi, who held a knife. It bared its fangs menacingly, assuming its most terrifying expression!

    Sure enough, the man with the knife gazed at it blankly, his expression dazed. After a long moment, he slowly opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something.

    The wild boar proudly snorted. Was he scared? Dumbfounded? Well, if he was, then he'd better scurry away quickly! It pricked up its ears, eager to hear the screams of this audacious madman as he ran away.

    But all it heard was the man staring at its fangs and muttering, "...Braised..."

    Wild Boar: "???"

    The man's voice indeed became clearer after his daze: "...Braised wild boar meat..."

    Wei Xi looked at the animal before him with a tinge of nostalgia. It was the most familiar ingredient he had in the barrier, but unfortunately, he hadn't tasted it since leaving the mountains. Whenever they caught one before, Wei Dedao would always request to braise it, pairing it with braised pork, allowing him to eat three large bowls per meal.

    As this thought crossed his mind, his gaze swiftly transformed from astonishment to longing, fixated on the plump belly of the wild boar.

    So fat...

    It truly is beautiful.

    After cooking, it would surely be tender and succulent, filling the air with an irresistible aroma and melting in the mouth.

    Wei Xi eagerly clenched the small knife in his hand.

    In the dark forest, the situation was perilous, and many Taoist priests had already taken out their phones to call for backup. Qiu Guokai and Director Wang, shivering, decided to call the police while leaning on each other. The standoff between humans and beasts created a tense atmosphere as the Taoist priests nervously watched the motionless wild boar lying on the ground with its fierce gaze and robust physique.

    The fighting power of such a large beast was formidable, let alone there being so many of them! Ants could even bring down an elephant!

    Amidst their concerns, the motionless wild boar suddenly swayed. Supporting itself on its front hooves, it slowly rose to its massive frame. Its sturdy muscles rippled with the movement, and its curved fangs showcased its immense physical strength, stirring their hearts with a jolt.

    In trouble! It's going to attack!

    The moment the boar faced Wei Xi straight on, everyone's eyes widened simultaneously. The muscles in Shuo Zong's arm, which was shielding Wei Xi, tensed gradually, and his gaze turned sinister. Unity Righteousness confronted the beast head-on. Recalling news from various media about villagers being gored to death by wild boars in the mountains, he yelled in sheer terror, "Master!"

    The next second, the boar demon indeed made its move, leaping abruptly into the air—

    Only to turn around and dash away.

    Wow, it was incredibly fast! Its four sturdy legs propelled it with great strength, stirring up fallen leaves as it ran. Its footsteps thundered like a storm, and if it were on a racetrack, it would undoubtedly be a champion!


    There was a brief silence. Not only humans, but even the beasts that the boar had led were stunned, turning their heads to stare in disbelief at their leader's retreat. The tall, tranquil bamboo swayed wildly, its rustling leaves seemingly screaming in fury—"Traitor!!"

    A faint snort of the boar carried through the wind—Goodbye, friend!

    Startled by this sudden turn of events, Wei Xi refused to give up. He pushed aside his second disciple who was blocking his way and, grabbing a small knife, hastily chased after the boar. "Stop right there!!"

    The many Taoist masters present, instead of expressing relief that he had dodged a bullet, watched him run after the beast in confusion. What... was he doing?!

    In no time, a shrill cry echoed through the forest, followed by a dull thud and the sounds of a fierce struggle. The stunned crowd was jolted back to reality, exchanging bewildered glances.

    Until Wei Xi's urgent cry rang out, "Brotherhood! Lu Que!!! Come help me!!!"

    Instantly, everyone snapped to attention and instinctively followed the Tai Cang Sect disciples who had responded to the call, rushing into the woods. After a brief run, they witnessed two entangled figures in combat.

    The boar was in a pitiful state. Wei Xi held its tusk firmly, restricting its movements with a fierce glint in his eyes. Blood stained his clothes, and he clamped a dagger between his teeth, fixated on the creature's throat!

    The boar spirit fought back fiercely. Wei Xi delivered a powerful punch to its forehead, rendering it incapable of speech, only able to emit a hog-like squeal.

    Seeing his disciple, Wei Xi promptly spat out the dagger at his feet. Blood from the blade stained the corner of his mouth, and he licked it gently with his tongue. He panted heavily, his body trembling from the thrill of the blood. "Brotherhood! Lu Que! Hurry up! Use the knife to cut its throat!"

    Unity and Righteousness stared in disbelief as his slender master battled the boar. "..."

    Shuo Zong frowned, observing the bloodstains on Wei Xi's body and face.

    The ground-dwelling boar spirit shrieked even louder upon hearing Wei Xi's voice. It struggled desperately, perhaps driven by the imminent danger it sensed. Amidst its cries, a clear, human-like scream pierced through, "I'm a second-class nationally protected wild animal!!!"

    Everyone present: "..."

    Wei Xi ignored the boar and punched it right in the nose. Seeing that his apprentices weren't moving, he picked up the dagger lying at his feet again, ready to viciously stab the wild boar's throat.

    "No, you can't do this!!" The stunned crowd finally reacted and rushed over in alarm. "Grandmaster Wei! Stop! This is a second-class protected wild animal!"


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