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“Big, fat mouse? What do you mean?” Munching on a carrot, Wen Leyang asked with a look of curiosity. Carrying a bag, he had left the village with First Uncle the next day into the mountains. It was off the beaten track deep in the jungle and there were no roads to walk on. But after practicing the Faulty Punch, the Inner Disciples of the Wen clan were as nimble as squirrels. Though it was a rugged path, it was no different from walking on the flat roads for the both of them.

Along the way, First Uncle talked about the cultivation of the Art of Medicine of the Wens during his time.

Wen Tunhai sang in a sorrowful tone while moving his head around, “Fat mouse, fat mouse, don’t eat my millet! I’ve been rearing you for three whole years and now you refuse to do me a favor…” The Book of Poetry was a lesson that every disciple of the Wen had to learn at an early age.

When he finished singing, First Uncle let out a sigh. With a stern look, he grimly told Wen Leyang, “To conclude the apprenticeship, the Disciple of the Tuo Xie Sect has to complete a question or task given by the senior. Only upon completion will one be allowed to address themselves as the Disciple of the Tuo Xie Sect. During my time, the question given by the Grand Elder was related to the song Big, Fat Mouse .”

Wen Leyang laughed, “It’s really interesting but weird to use The Book of Poetry as the examination question for your cultivation method.” While saying that, he was thinking not to ever simply use the title of Tuo Xie unless the situation called for it.

With a smirk, Wen Tunhai took a look at him, “Interesting and weird? You’ll know when it’s your turn. Well, the examination questions are multifarious till it’s enough to crack your head.”

Wen Leyang stuck out his tongue in astonishment and smiled, “Then, what did you do at that time…did you make a mouse drug?”

Wen Tunhai had been training his nephew for the past two years to know that at times he can be extraordinarily smart but yet he can also behave like a total fool. He shook his head while laughing and said, “Making the mouse drug when given Big, Fat Mouse as the title. Then, what about Papaya as the title? Do you make breast enhancing lotion instead? How could it be so simple? If I even handed the mouse drug to your First Grandpa then, he’d have beaten me to death! To complete the question task, we have to understand the question first. The Big, Fat Mouse  is not a song about a mouse, but bitterness instead! Therefore, I’ve named my prescription medicine as The Mount Wu !” Clearly satisfied with his prescription used to answer the examination back then, Wen Tunhai paused for a while purposely and looked at his nephew with a smile.

Wen Leyang quickly asked, ” The Mount Wu ? What’s it have to with big, fat mouse and bitterness?” He was not just asking it for fun. In fact, Wen Leyang was indeed in deep admiration of both his First Uncle’s and First Grandpa’s capability. So, when he heard his First Uncle speaking about his past, there was an immediate interest to get to know more.

Wen Tunhai continued walking and even passed a mountain ridge, keeping the suspense up before he answered Wen Leyang slowly, “With this prescription, I’m referring to the hidden meaning from a poem – There are no clouds to one who has passed Mount Wu . The verse means one who has seen the world doesn’t stop at small things. I’ve collected seventy-four types of herbs, six classes of insects, with over dozens of tests performed and refined it for six days and six nights. Then I finally succeeded in refining the Mount Wu drug! With this prescription, it is tasteless when first eaten but after a while, a sweet fragrance will directly rush deep into the bone marrow and there’ll be nothing else in this world that can match the sweetness. Those who had tasted the Mount Wu drug, even when eating honey, will find it utterly bitter to even swallow. If swallowed forcefully, the stomach will find it extremely bitter and throw up everything!”

Shocked, Wen Leyang asked, “Nothing can be eaten, wouldn’t one starve to death?”

Wen Tunhai snorted, “Without the antidote, one will starve to death for sure!”

Wen Leyang was taken aback by surprise, the prescription of Mount Wu sounded artistic in conception with a sweet aftertaste when eaten but in reality, it was a thousand times more toxic and poisonous than a poisoned wine. Comparing his Impotence Pill with the Wang Zai Mantou flavor to this, the former was child’s play.

Wen Tunhai tapped on his shoulders with a smile, “Question titles like this are a test of the mind and thinking. With the refining of the Mount Wu drug, though the solution was accepted, the Head of Family commented that the dark side of my mind was not suitable to lead the clan and decided not to hand over the position to me.”

Wen Leyang lifted up his head in shock and looked at his First Uncle with a stunned expression, he did not understand the purpose of his uncle telling him all these, nor what to say in reply.

Wen Tunhai, on the other hand, smiled liberally and smacked Wen Leyang on the head, “What’re you thinking? What I mean is that you don’t have to think about the way to answering the question right now because there’s no way to fake it when it comes to the mind.”

He paused for a while before continuing, “Poisons are categorized into Five Elements. There are also vegetation, birds, insects, and beasts. The attributes and properties of each of them, parts of them that can be used, the effect of synthesizing different materials and the effect of heat during the refining process, all this knowledge can never be fully memorized in a lifetime. Most of it is down to the comprehension, perception and the power of understanding of the individual disciple. Bringing you into the mountain this time is for you to learn some of the real skills left behind by our ancestors. Learn with all your heart and soul! In two to three years down the road and with a broader outlook on life, your heart naturally will have the answer when you receive the question from First Grandpa. If you manage to answer well, you too can play some mahjong with the three Elders then!”

Wen Leyang took a few steps ahead suddenly and walked side by side with First Uncle, “I’ve to first gain some experience in this mountain, learn some useful skills, refine some poisons that suit myself, wait two years for Grandpa to provide me with the question and pass the exam. With that, it’s considered completing the apprenticeship?”

Wen Tunhai nodded, “More or less that’s it. However, to refine the real thing that suits your own body by continuing to refine and cultivate toxins into the body through The Faulty Punch is not easy. It has to be done slowly.”

“Will you continue to train me in this two years?”

Wen Tunhai laughed, “Boy, I don’t have that much of time to spare, the Wen clan still has many responsibilities and duties to be conducted outside the village. Because of you, brat, I’ve been delayed for two years. Of course, by bringing you into the mountain, there’ll be someone to teach you. You’ll know when the time comes!”

Several steps later, Wen Leyang looked at First Uncle again and felt puzzled, “Do you mean I’ve to learn from the experiences left by the ancestors?”

Impatiently, Wen Tunhai waved his hand and said, “You’ll know when the time comes, there’s no point asking now.”

“That’s not what I mean, I was saying…” Wen Leyang puffed and blew for a long while, got his face red, then finally stammered, “No one from our ancestors managed to get the insight on the cultivation method of the Art of Heaven’s Cultivation…if we learn according to their ideas, experience, and ability that were left behind, I think we may not…may not achieve immortality.” Ever since he got to know of the immortality cultivation background of his family, he had always yearned for it. He could not be blamed for thinking so, being young, everyone wanted to achieve immortality immediately and to be able to fly in the sky around the world.

First Uncle staggered and gave the back of Wen Leyang’s head a hard smack, “What the heck is this wooden brain thinking? For over two thousand years, the Wen clan has produced countless world-class geniuses who could unleash the power and scripture of poisons to maximum effect. But even they could not achieve immortality and sainthood! Not even the ancestor, Wen Lazi managed to cultivate successfully, so it is better for you to end this thought immediately and focus on refining and cultivating the toxins that best suit your body instead! As for Heaven’s Cultivation, well to me it seems more like an unachievable dream. It’s fine to think about it occasionally but too much of it will undoubtedly impair your learning and lessons!”

Stunned, Wen Leyang asked, “Ancestor Wen Lazi?”

First Uncle grunted without saying a word and continued his walk. He no longer seemed interested in discussing this topic further with him.

Pulling out a carrot, Wen Leyang started humming the song The Invisible Wings while munching on his carrot.

Invisible wings, keeping the dreams unvarying like the sky, giving myself a wish to imagine…

Laughing out loud, Wen Tunhai gave Wen Leyang’s ass a kick.

Though they were joking along the way, there was not a single delay in their movements. They did not run about wildly either, merely jogging through the mountainous green grassland. Soon enough, their figure was completely engulfed in the wilderness.

Deep in the Nine Peaks Mountain, there was a large tract of indigenous forest with no trace of technology or civilization. The two of them chatted along the way and drank from the spring when thirsty. Eventually, it began to get dark. Wen Leyang helped his First Uncle poison some wild animals and the two of them, an ex-County Head and a high school dropout set up a campfire barbeque and feasted on the nationally protected animals.

After they finished their barbequed meal, First Uncle threw away the bones to the side and smiled to Wen Leyang, “Boy, take out your Black Jade Incense Tripod, I’ll show you how to use it properly.”

Wen Leyang was overjoyed as he had always wanted to try out the ability of his precious tripod. He quickly yet carefully removed the tripod and some herbs from his traveling bag. The herbs were lit moments later and a wisp of fragrant smoke rose into the air and diffused to the surroundings. The uncle and nephew climbed up a tree and with the light of the campfire nearby, they waited eagerly for the appearance of poisonous insects and beasts.

They were well hidden at a nearby spot. Wen Tunhai took the opportunity to remind Wen Leyang: “The ordinary poisonous insects are afraid of the fragrance coming out from this tripod so only the exceptional ones dare to come out. Be patient, if there’s nothing special around this area, there might not be any movement for the whole night.”

He had barely finished saying this sentence when a piercing cry broke through the still night. Something was approaching fast! Wen Leyang was staring with his eyes open wide excitedly in the tree, though he felt a little uneasy at the same time. From the sound of it, it did not sound like some kind of insect. In fact, it sounded more like a rhinoceros instead. If it was huge in size and landed on the tripod, the precious tripod of his would surely be crushed.

The continuous stomping sound came nearer until suddenly, the vision of Wen Leyang blurred, his pupils dilated, he stared at the empty space under the tree in disbelief.

From the wood came two burly figures.

The expression of the two men was dull-witted and they cheered happily upon entering the clearing. Ignoring the black jade tripod totally, they ran towards the leftover meat on the barbeque rack and started eating the meat, taking no heed of the heat.

For the first usage of the Black Jade Incense Tripod, Wen Leyang did not attract any poisonous insects but instead two foolish men.

The faces of the two men were so dirty with their hair and beard all entangled that Wen Leyang could not tell their age. They were fighting for the meat around the fire, and soon enough they finished eating all the meat. Wen Leyang cried out in the tree suddenly as he recalled the food was poisoned by him and First Uncle. They had soaked in the medicinal potion since birth and their bodies were immune to such toxins but it was lethal to ordinary people.

Like a strange bird, he dashed towards the bones in the hands of the two men while shouting, “There’s poison in the meat! Don’t eat it!”

“Someone wants to steal the meat!” Taking a look at each other, they both let out a loud roar. The two men then began beating Wen Leyang from head to toe.

Their fists, legs, elbows, knees, and shoulders were attacking all at once with an immense strength that pierced through the air. The two men were using theFaulty Punch from the Wen! Their attainments were clearly above him, in fact, they were almost as good as his First Uncle. He could barely get close to them to land a punch while the two men kept hitting him with their punches. If it was not for his practice in soaking in the potion and the stronger physique acquired during the past two years, he would have become dead meat by now.

Luckily, the two men did not infuse toxins with their punch or else, Wen Leyang would have turned as black as charcoal.

Wen Leyang was no match for them at all and yelled in panic, “Stop! Stop! The meat is mine! I’m Wen…” He did not get to finish his sentence as the two eccentric men suddenly let out a loud yell.

“Old Seven, the meat belongs to others!” Man A yelped.

“Old Eleven, faster run!” Man B turned and ran away.

“Old Eight, wait for me!” Man A followed the other crazy man in front and started running.

“Old Three, remember to take the meat!” Man B yelled again.

“Old Fourteen, I’ve eaten enough, let’s run!” Man A took a look at the bones left on the racks and hesitated for a while before he started running.

If one listened with their eyes closed, one would think there was a group of people fighting for the meat.

Lying on the ground, Wen Leyang felt as though all of his bones were about to fall apart. Upon hearing the form of address used between the two eccentric men, his brain started hurting as well.

Then, Wen Tunhai jumped down from the tree while laughing out loud and shouted to the two foolish men, “Old Nine, Old Thirteen, stop running! Big Brother is here to see you!”

Wen Leyang felt like vomiting blood to express his ‘respect and admiration’ to the two men for their extraordinary attainment in mathematics.

The two silly men were at first startled when they caught sight of Wen Tunhai jumping down from the tree, but cheered jubilantly and dashed towards him laughing out loud. Their four greasy hands held on tight to Wen Tunhai and they laughed while jumping all around.

First Uncle did not mind their dirty hands at all and let the two foolish men hold on to him while his eyes filled with affection and love. He then turned around and smiled at Wen Leyang, “Boy, come and meet you Ninth and Thirteenth Uncle.”

Wen Leyang climbed up from the ground shakily. The two fools saw him get up and wanted to run away again. Wen Tunhai was quick of eye and deft of hand to pull the two men back and said, “No need to run! The meat is roasted for you two!”

The two fools finally let out a long sigh and standing side-by-side, they bowed to Wen Leyang and called out,

“Ninth Uncle!”

“Thirteenth Uncle!”

The two men looked at each other looking puzzled, one of them then asked, “Am I the Ninth Uncle or the Thirteenth Uncle?”

“You’re Ninth Uncle and I’m Thirteenth Uncle because of our age difference,” the other man explained.

“I see,” the first man acknowledged.

Wen Leyang brought some water over and took a closer look at the two smiling strange men. “Ninth Uncle? Thirteenth Uncle?” He then turned to First Uncle, “They’re…they’re my Ninth Uncle and Thirteenth Uncle? Since they use the Faulty Punch, they’re the Inner Disciples of the Wen as well?”

Wen Leyang had never met these two eccentric men in his life before.

Wen Tunhai was helping to groom the two eccentrics who sat on the ground obligingly. By way of explanation, he pointed at his head while twirling his finger, “They have a screw loose.” Giggling, the other two also held out their hands and pointed to their heads with their fingers.

“Both of their muscles and bones were outstanding, their physiques were superior in our generation, but they were ignorant of worldly affairs. Although they’re unable to refine prescription that matches their body for further cultivation, your First Grandpa took them in and taught them the Faulty Punch. On normal days when there’s nothing much to do, we’ll just leave them playing around on the mountain. During your training and practice in the future, you can ask a fight or two from them. Even I’m no match for the fighting patterns that were created by them based on the Faulty Punch.”

Wen Leyang listened to him while helping to groom his Ninth and Thirteenth Uncle while the two fools politely smiled and said to him, “Thank you, Seventh Uncle (Nineteenth Uncle)!”

It was clear that the concept of mathematics to the two was extremely confusing.

Wen Tunhai patted the shoulders of the two eccentrics and pointed to Wen Leyang, “He’s your nephew, not uncle. You just call him Leyang next time.”

Wen Leyang suddenly recalled something and looked at his First Uncle in panic, “First Uncle, these two uncles can’t be the ones teaching me in the future, right?”

Wen Tunhai cursed, “B*llshit! They both do not understand poison and prescription, someone else will be teaching you.”

With that, Wen Leyang let out a sigh of relief. His two foolish uncles looked at him and smiled happily, “Don’t worry, Taiyang 1 the Old Fairy will teach you!”

Soon enough, after they finished cleaning and grooming the Ninth Uncle and Thirteenth Uncle, they were actually handsome and dignified in appearance without the beard. The only thing was the sluggishness in their eyes which became more obvious when they grinned.

Wen Tunhai looked at both his brothers affectionately, “Now, this is more like it. Just you guys wait, I’ll each bring you each a daughter-in-law the next time I’m back to the mountain!”

Ninth Uncle and Thirteenth Uncle looked at each other excitedly, “Big Brother, is a daughter-in-law tasty?”

While the four of them were joking around, Wen Tunhai suddenly slapped his forehead, “Damn it! I nearly forgot about it!” With that, he suddenly threw his two brothers up into the tree and instructed in a low voice, “Nobody move!” He then added further, “Whoever moves is a b*stard!”

After being thrown up into a tree, they had thought about moving but once they heard the second sentence, they immediately turned into a clay sculpture with each holding onto a tree branch and did not move an inch at all.

Wen Tunhai pointed to the Black Jade Incense Tripod nearby and silently gestured to Wen Leyang. They then climbed up a tree quietly and almost did not make a sound.

It was midnight and surrounded by silence, Wen Leyang only noticed then that the chirping sound of the insects and birds had disappeared totally. There was an extremely soft sizzling sound like paper burning which was heard not far from there. Something was approaching very slowly towards them.

Wen Tunhai tapped on Wen Leyang lightly and pointed towards a certain direction. Wen Leyang looked over in the direction of the Northwest, where the lush grass was being parted to two sides in an abnormal and bizarre manner. This moving thin line was approaching from afar.

Wen Leyang had progressed much over the two years, his vision was a lot sharper than before. He could vaguely see from a distance even in the dark, more so when the object became nearer.

The speed of that moving thin line was extremely slow, with a short stop every now and then. A distance of no more than a dozen of meters took almost two hours. The two eccentrics were still holding on to the tree branches, with the exact same expression when they first went up, determined not to be a b*stard no matter what.

Wen Tunhai seemed to know of the approaching object and looked at his nephew and gently smiled, “Boy oh boy, life’s is treating you good!”

Feeling excited and anxious, Wen Leyang carefully wiped his sweaty palms on his trousers as he anticipated the arrival of that strange creature that was attracted by the Black Jade Incense Tripod.