The black ox said, “Don’t be afraid; I won’t harm you.”
They had spent all these years together after all. Li Qingshan was not particularly afraid; he was just temporarily unable to take in this surreal situation. However, when he thought about everything he had been through, he calmed down. He probed with a frown. “Are you really brother ox?”
The black ox nodded in approval when he saw how Li Qingshan had calmed down so quickly. “Truly someone with innate knowledge.”
“What’s innate knowledge?” Li Qingshan immediately raised his guard. He did not want anyone to know that he had transmigrated. He could put up an act before other people, but he was not as cautious around the black ox. His behaviour that contradicted his identity and age at certain times must have caught its eye.
“Amongst the six realms of sa?sāra, beings that retain the memories of their past lives appear from time to time. That’s what innate knowledge is. You and I both have the memories of another identity. We’re not a regular farmer and ox. For us to be able to meet can be regarded as a form of destiny.”
“I see.” Li Qingshan eased up slightly inside. He had heard of something like this before, but at least the ox never exposed his identity as a transmigrator. “I never thought that this world would actually have monsters, and to think that I’ve raised one for over a decade. Why didn’t you talk in the past?”
“There wasn’t anything to talk about. I’ve never asked about where you come from, so don’t ask me where I come from either. All you need to know is what I can give you.”
“Give me... what?”
“Have you heard of superhuman abilities before?”
Before Li Qingshan could ask anything, the black ox continued, “These so-called superhuman abilities are the mighty abilities of demons and gods, ranging from moving mountains to filling seas to picking the stars and moon from the sky. Those who seek longevity can attain longevity, while those who seek eternal life will attain eternal life. Moreover, things like glory, wealth, money, and women can be brought to you with a simple flick. Does that interest you?”
The two words, superhuman abilities, basically encapsulated the desires of all living beings. Li Qingshan was only one of these living beings, so how could he not be interested?
His deeper feelings included disbelief; he was like someone who had spent over a decade blind before suddenly opening his eyes. Everything before him was so dazzling; all of it just seemed so surreal.
Li Qingshan restrained his excitement. “Brother ox, what kind of superhuman abilities do you want to teach me?”
The black ox shook his head. “You still don’t have the right to learn as of now.” He changed the topic. “If you want to practise superhuman abilities, you need to eat meat first!”
“What?” Li Qingshan doubted his ears. He felt that it was absurd. Why would the great abilities that could move mountains, fill seas, and pick the stars and moon from the sky be related to something so ordinary?
“The first step to cultivation is ‘refining vitality into qi’. You have to refine the vitality in your body into true qi. With how sallow you are right now, is there any vitality to be refined?”
Li Qingshan smiled bitterly. It was impossible for anyone with a childhood like his to grow up to be strong and sturdy. Was it not a joke for someone who even struggled when lifting a bucket of water to talk about moving mountains and filling seas?
“May I ask where the meat will come from?” It was not like Li Qingshan did not want to eat meat. Compared to those imaginary immortal pills and spiritual medicines, the taste of meat had been firmly embedded in his head. It was enough for him to think of it in his dreams, and he still cherished the memories even now.
However, for a poor kid who could not even stuff himself with coarse grains, where would the meat even come from? He could not help but stare at brother ox’s sturdy body, subconsciously carving it up into tenderloins, t-bone steaks, ribs, and all the different bits and pieces. His eyes shone green with gluttony.
The black ox smacked him over the head. “Don’t look at me like that.” He extended a hoof boldly at the Myriad Mountains in the west. “The meat is right there.”
Li Qingshan became alarmed instead of joyful. Being a hunter in this world was no easy job. None of the wolves, tigers, and leopards in the mountains could be trifled with. Additionally, with the black ox being a living example, the legends of supernatural creatures did not seem to be all tall tales. If he accidentally came across one, his life would basically be over.
However, the black ox only told him to not worry, telling him to go home and wait before running off and vanishing.
Li Qingshan made his way down the hill by himself. He was still unable to calm himself down from all the excitement. This was actually such a bizarre, colourful, and dazzling world. If he really could practise cultivation and attain enlightenment, traversing the entire world with all of its mountains green, the name he gave himself would not be wasted.
Li Qingshan returned home. His big brother had already gone to the fields, leaving his sister-in-law leaning against the entrance and eating melon seeds. She rolled her eyes a few times upon seeing him. The wives of other people would all begin the household chores or do some weaving to cover the costs of basic necessities when their husbands went out to work. However, she was renowned within the village for being a lazy wife. She tossed all the chores to Li Qingshan, and she had never touched a loom before either.
Li Qingshan just ignored her and directly entered the house. He lifted the lid of the pot to have a look. Let alone a hot meal, there were not even cold leftovers.
The sister-in-law said dripping with ambiguity, “Our house has no rice to spare for idlers. Why don’t you take the ox with you to caretaker Li for work?” Suddenly, she noticed that the ox was not present and asked, “Where’s the ox?”
Chapter 2: Cultivating by Eating Meat | Legend of the Great Sage
“I lost it,” Li Qingshan replied in a detached manner as if he had just been pulled out of a fantasy world to a cruel reality.
“Then go look! If you lose our ox, it’ll be a miracle if your brother doesn’t beat you to death when he comes home, you wastrel of a thing. If the ox is gone, you can go too!”
“That’s my ox!” Li Qingshan strided out from the house. If he still did not leave, he would probably fail to hold himself back from teaching this woman a lesson. However, if he really did that, he would no longer be able to remain in the house. As such, he could only yield.
It was not until dusk did he return to the cowshed in exhaustion. His eyes shone as he looked around the empty cowshed before gloominess overcame him again.
Aside from letting the ox out to graze and cleaning, Li Qingshan’s daily job was to lead the cattle to the landowner’s home to help out so that he could cover the expenses of some necessities.
Without the ox, he could only work like the other farm hands today; this was work that even adults found tiring, let alone a growing child like him. He had not even eaten breakfast.
Compared to his exhaustion, the insults and scolding from the farm head only seemed like an insignificant daily matter. Falling into the straw head-first, he no longer wanted to think about anything else, but his belly began to rumble.
It was obvious. In an environment like this, any aspirations he had would have been worn away completely, only leaving behind the instincts needed for survival.
The black ox said, “Don’t be afraid; I won’t harm you.”