Ye Xiu stalked a black feline that was focused on catching fish from the river that ran through the entire valley. Ye Xiu had learnt after several hours of failing to catch his prey, that their instincts were much sharper compared to his friend's own instincts. It was probably also due to the fact that the majority of the Qi Beasts that he was hunting had more experience than him when it came to hunting.
It didn't help that he was unable to conceal his smell and movements. After immediately removing his scent using an elixir that he had spread all over his body. Though he couldn't learn how to conceal his movements and the sounds that he made when he adjusted body as he hid, he was able to conceal his presence immediately.
He was lucky that he had learnt how to conceal his presence after several gruelling sessions with Shi Die and Yan Guo. Shi Die's sharp senses didn't help that he was noticed in a matter of minutes when he was trying to hide from him and it was the same with Yan Guo with his skill in sensing opponents in an area, it required him to learn how to conceal his presence quickly.
The black feline was getting ready to leave after it had finished catching all the fish that it required. Ye Xiu planned to stalk it until it reached its habitat. Ye Xiu required a space to live in whilst he was stuck in the valley, he could certainly live up on the cliff but he wanted to be sheltered from anything that could see him even though he had a tent that could certainly allow him to live on the cliff.
He utilised his 'Swallow Mirage Steps' to keep up with the movements that the feline made to journey across the dense forest that surrounded the valley and river. He didn't have to worry too much about concealing the sounds of his movements during this period because the feline made enough noise to mask his own and all he had to do was match his movements in time with the feline's to prevent discovery.
In a matter of minutes, they made it to a small cave that was hidden from view by dense vegetation and vines over the opening of the cave. He looked at the cave to spot if any other living beings were inside but could see no other Qi signatures. Seeing that it was safe, he entered with the feline before activating 'Solitary Stand' and cutting off the head of the feline in a single motion.
It was a smooth kill, the feline never even noticed that Ye Xiu was going to kill it. The Qi Beast's danger instinct didn't even have time to give a warning to the beast before he had cut off the head. Ye Xiu's hands and body were covered in blood whilst his katana was completely clean due to the inscriptions that it held.
Ye Xiu was glad that he had taken off his clothes and went bare-naked when he had started to hunt for Qi Beasts. He knew that he had to eventually kill so he didn't want to dirty his clothes because it was hard to wash the blood off of clothing. He started to skin the feline, his lessons of survival training under his father certainly came in useful. His father mainly taught him how to skin an animal and how to survive on only fruits and water.
He felt a stab of emotion after the kill but he knew that he had to come to terms with himself when it came to killing. He always wondered why his father never tried to desensitize him to killing and bloodshed but guessed that it probably never came up in his father's mind. He knew that Shang Yang, Xiao Tu, Yan Guo and Shi Die all had experience when it came to killing and he was actually the greenhorn in the group.
They had all given him advice on how to deal with his first kill even if it wasn't human. He was lucky that the mindset that he had when it came to killing would probably stay the same until a big event occurred to change his mentality. The unrest in his mind was quickly quelled by the efficient reasoning that all living things died eventually and that it was the survival of the fittest.
The advice from Shi Die was extremely helpful since he was the only person who survived for years on end in the wilderness. Ye Xiu appreciated nature in general and he did feel regret when he killed the beast. Shi Die told him that if he wanted to feel regret, he could always do it after the matter happened but never to think about it afterwards.
After easing whatever turmoil was going on in his mind, he started to gather up some firewood so that he could get some heat into the cold cave. The cave was bare which wasn't surprising, he lit up a fire with his Qi before starting to set up his tent. Once he managed to get everything sorted out, he started to cook a portion of the meat that he had skinned. He took out a few of the spice bottles that he had in his dimensional storage.
He was happy that he was prepared when it came to cooking and always had the tools needed for him to survive in the wilderness. The spices and herbs that he had in his dimensional storage added flavour to the meat that was slowly being smoked. He was smoking the meat because it would last longer than if it was cooked in a different way and he wanted to test out a recipe that he had learnt about.
Ye Xiu didn't bother infusing the food with his Qi because he wanted to save it up for any other hunts that he was going to eventually do later on in the day. He had learnt the very basics of Qi infusion and easily learnt it due to the similarities with the Medical Arts. After smoking the meat and hanging it out to dry in a secure spot where he knew that only the smoke would affect the flavour of the meat and that no pests would contaminate the food.
He had made sure to cover the entrance to the cave so that the smell would not leave the cave. It was dangerous for him to be cooking because of all the beasts that lurked around in the valley but he was cooking at the very back of the cave so as long as he covered the entrance, he should be safe. He was also glad that the cloth that he used to cover the cave was one that the group used for their missions when they wanted to be discreet and not give off the smell of cooked food or smoke from the fire.
He walked up to the entrance of the cave, used Qi to move the cloth that he used to cover the entrance, walked out before sealing it with his Qi once again. The cloth naturally camouflaged with the vegetation, giving no sign that there was even an entrance to a cave in the first place. Once he made sure that he had left a Qi imprint on the cloth so that he could find it again, he started to make his way to look for his next hunting prey.
The sun had already set but Ye Xiu was willing to move about in the dense forest because he knew that he would have to learn how to hunt and fight in poor conditions such as this one. He took out the dagger that Yan Guo had given him and palmed a few seeds that had been infused with Shang Yang's water Qi before setting off on his hunt. He had his observation technique on since the poor visibility during the night didn't help him with finding anything.
The observation technique didn't help with night vision but it was enough for him to be able to sense the Qi inside the Qi Beasts and some of the herbs and plants that also contained Qi inside of them. As he was looking around the forest, he noticed that he had forgotten something very important that he would have to remember in the future. 'If I see any Grade 3 or higher Qi Beasts, I must remember to not only take their carcass but the Beast Core inside of them as well.'
He trekked the forest floor extremely carefully since he had to be wary of tripping on any branches, roots or vines. He was planning to go towards a portion of the river where he could refill his waterskins without being disturbed. He also knew that the river was also going to be one of the most populated areas during the night since many of the beasts would need to drink.
Managing to get to the river without any incident, he refilled his waterskin before climbing a tree so that he could wait for anything to come over to take a drink. The place he had refilled his waterskin was a relatively safe area that was surrounded by trees and if you managed to get to the area it was either through luck or that they knew the area already. He knew that many of the beasts would come through here because he had spotted many different tracks of different animals on the ground.
He set himself up to be right above the area where the Qi Beasts would have to drink. It took over half an hour before anything started to approach the area. It was a bear-like figure and was relatively massive compared to him. The bear-like figure started to drink water from the river and Ye Xiu readied himself to kill the beast. Ye Xiu wasn't worried about the beast having a thick skin simply due to the fact that his katana infused with his metal Qi and together with 'Solitary Stand' would be able to take down most.
After jumping down from the tree that he was on, he immediately went for the neck since he wanted a quick and clean kill. It was obviously much harder than he expected since the beast was much bigger than he was and that being in mid-air made it harder to move around. The attack was a clean slashing motion and it died instantly. Ye Xiu knew that he was obviously lucky that he had surprise on his side for both his kills and that every kill wouldn't always go like this.
After placing the body into his dimensional storage, he started to wash in the river. He had no qualms about being dirty from mud and dirt but he disliked killing and he disliked the smell of blood even more. To him, the smell of blood ruins his appetite. It doesn't make his queasy but it ruins the taste of the food whenever he eats which is why he always makes sure to wash if there was any blood splattered on him.
He immediately started to make his way back to the cave. It took him a substantial amount of effort to make it back since he had to avoid the detection of multiple beasts that were heading in the direction of the river. It didn't exactly help that it was dark and though he could remember the route he took easily, he had to change where he went simply because of how many beasts actually roamed the forest at night.
He found his cave after a relatively short time even though he complained about the many branches that smacked him on the face. He let himself into the cave before sealing it once again. He wasn't afraid of suffocating inside of the cave because the cloth lets in fresh air into the cave courtesy of a few inscriptions on the cloth that removed any poison in the air. He sat down to meditate because it was too late for him to eat anything else and he was rather tired.