The moon shone brightly with very few stars in the sky. The night was cool like water from a stream.
Somewhere in the Tang Kingdom, specifics unknown.
Deep in the mountains, wild animals howled, their cries echoing high and low throughout the landscape.
A breeze swept past the mountains and through lush bushes, its leaves and the branches of the trees nearby rustling continuously.
Buried within the forest, in a well-hidden and secretive location, was a thin bamboo. It was shining with a soft, gentle light.
"Did I actually… become a bamboo?"
His voice, which sounded like he was still in a dream, mingled with the rustling sounds of the bamboo leaves that were blowing in the wind. Quickly, the sound disappeared.
Lin Ming woke up from a dream, only to find himself reborn.
He had turned into bamboo.
The bamboo's leaves were emerald, while the bamboo itself was rich with green, just like a jade sculpture.
Though he had been rebirthed as bamboo, Lin Ming didn't feel negatively about it at all. In fact, he accepted reality pretty quickly and even felt a huge sense of relief.
After all, it felt pretty good to be alive. This was much better than before, when both of his parents had passed away and he led a life where he might have died of a heart attack at any time.
Besides, he now had quite a good cheat he could use.
A glowing personalized dashboard that was only visible to him immediately appeared before his eyes.
[Lineage: Moso Bamboo]
[Evolution Points: 0]
[Ability: Razor Leaves]
The evolution points were currently at 0, as he had previously evolved and used them up to achieve the 'Razor Leaves' ability he now had.
'Looks like I'll need to wait until sunrise tomorrow to earn any Evolution Points,' he thought to himself.
Lin Ming received this System after becoming a bamboo. Within the deep forest where he was surrounded by other bamboo plants, a silky thread of flickering sunlight had gifted him with some Evolution Points.
He was now quite certain that he could convert light energy into Evolution Points using photosynthesis.
As for other methods to gain points, he had never experimented with them before and did not know if they would work.
Compared to when he was a human, his sense of sight was now greatly improved. He could see three hundred and sixty degrees around himself with no blind spots – and he even had night vision.
His power of sight was due to a top branch of his, which allowed him to zoom in or widen his range of sight with ease, much like how a video camera would work.
He assessed himself and noted that his bamboo body was close to ten centimeters thick in diameter and he was fifteen meters tall.
He already had many branches at his top, and his bottom was slowly growing rich with them as well.
Close to thousands of emerald-green leaves adorned his body.
His main roots were separated from the roots of other bamboos nearby, not disturbing them. His foundation into the ground was relatively shallow.
He observed his surroundings.
The hill that he was on housed a luxuriant bamboo forest, angled slightly on a gentle slope. Between the many bamboos was a thick carpet of weeds that was spread almost everywhere.
The hill was hidden within a basin covered by several mountains that were thousands of meters tall. For the hill itself, its terrain was not too high so not a lot of sunlight could reach the area.
Every bamboo around Lin Ming had grown close to fifty meters tall, and their diameters were so wide that a man would barely be able to reach his arms around them in a hug. Their gigantic leaves covered the sky and blocked out what little sun reached the area.
He was clearly abnormal in relation to these monstrous plants.
His height of fifteen meters was normal for a bamboo tree. What happened to all the others around him?
It was because of this he could only absorb minimal Evolution Points through the few flimsy sunbeams that weaved through the canopy of leaves above. Even his range of sight only extended to a small area.
It was quite a tough environment to survive in, let alone thrive in.
That was not the only issue, too. The forest was plagued by a serious case of pests.
There was a huge amount of bamboo locusts, bamboo borers, venomous moths, and so on. They were frighteningly large and had a crazy appetite.
As the smallest and weakest tree in this forest, Lin Ming had no doubt he would be targeted.
What place even was this? What time was it now? Was this all happening during the same era he used to live in? He could not answer any of the questions that he asked himself.
The booming sound of an airplane flying above could be heard coming from the sky, amidst the bustling night.
Lin Ming felt a strange sense in the air controlling the bamboo's absorption process, yet at the same time – it inexplicably comforted him.
As his consciousness slowly drifted away, he fell into a hibernation-like state.
When he awoke, it was already dawn.
Greyish-white fog had filled up the entire valley, making the scene look like a misty paradise.
The insects seemed to chirp even louder than usual in the humid air, waking him up properly as they grew noisier.
He had seen quite many insects sitting on a few plants nearby.
Would those plants die if the insects bit them?
Lin Ming certainly did not want to die now, after being reborn as a bamboo. He glanced at the Razor Leaves ability on his personalized dashboard.
Judging from the name, this ability would probably be an Attack Type. He wondered what its power would be like.
Just then, a dark green bamboo locust happened to jump onto him. It seemed to be aiming for the numerous leaves that were growing on Lin Ming.
Focusing his consciousness, a leaf nearby the locust suddenly flew out at an instant!
The crisp sound pierced the air, as if the atmosphere itself had been cut.
The locust was sliced in two, green fluid exploding from its body and splattering onto the soil as its carcass fell to the ground.
[You killed a bamboo locust, you received 1 Evolution Point!]
The System's voice rang out at the kill, and Lin Ming saw his Evolution Points increase to one on his personalized dashboard.
He was taken back. The many minutes he had spent in the sunlight during the day had only gotten him 1 Evolution Point. Compared to this, that was a very low efficiency.
Could it be that the System was encouraging him to attack and kill these insects?
The speed of the attack was amazing. Not only that, but where the leaf had shot out from now had a new leaf growing in its place.
It didn't seem like there was anything for him to worry about.
He looked at a bamboo about three meters away from himself and moved his consciousness again.
Crack! There was another crisp shooting of a leaf, but it instantly slowed down two meters into its journey and floated down like a normal leaf.
The range of attack seemed to be quite small.
He moved his consciousness once again in an attempt to get two leaves to fly out at the same time, but he only managed to shoot one leaf while the other made no sign of movement.
Things should not continue this way.
Lin Ming knew that the ability of the Razor Leaves was still quite weak. He had to find a way to strengthen it.
As for how it could be strengthened…
The only Evolution Point he had was cleared, and following another weak beam of sunlight, he felt a surge of energy hit him, as well as the Razor Leaf ability gain a '+1' in small wording by it.
"My ability seems to have strengthened."
Two grey venomous moths were flying about three meters away from him now. He concentrated on moving his consciousness. Two leaves swiftly flew through the air, effortlessly cutting the two creatures in half.
[You killed two venomous moths, you received two Evolution Points!]
The System's voice rang out once again. Lin Ming wasn't sure what had changed with the effectiveness of the Razor Leaves Attack, but its range and the number of leaves he could control had now increased.
He had not expected his ability to strengthen this much and this soon. He had much to look forward to in the future, it seemed.
He grew a little excited as he surveyed around. There were quite a lot of insects nearby, both small and large. It was almost an unlimited supply. It didn't look like becoming more powerful would be too difficult to achieve.
There was nothing more for him to worry about, as he used up his latest two points to strengthen his ability again.
He wasn't concerned about killing to become more powerful. He had already turned into bamboo, so why should he concern himself with trivial ethics like that?
It wasn't long before insect carcasses littered the ground!
Days and nights passed. The stars realigned.
To Lin Ming, the concept of time no longer held any importance.
Without realizing it, he had already grown twenty-five meters tall and now had a diameter of twenty centimeters thick. He had more leaves than ever before, all a verdant green shade.
His leaves were just like jade stones, decorating the space between his branches luxuriously like layers of stacked umbrellas.
The branches on his body could also move about at his whim.
His Razor Leaves ability had just been leveled up to reach Superior Level. There was no more room for any upgrades.
The Attack Range had now increased to the limits of his sight, and he could now shoot out hundreds of leaves at a time!
Lin Ming was now deciding how he could test the limits of his newfound power.
Hundreds of flying leaves shot out of him, turning into a flash of green. A loud boom echoed through the area, as the mass of leaves neared a bamboo plant thick enough that even a grown man would not be able to fully embrace it if he tried.
Crack. Crack. Crack!
It sounded as if something was crashing down. A cloud of dust filled the air, which was still recoiling from the sounds of the explosion just then.
Lin Ming realized the attack had sliced into three gigantic bamboo trees and turned them into mere flasks of dust.
'If this attack had landed on a man…'
For some reason, he compared the attack on the trees to a possible attack on a human being. He was quite sure it would only take a single leaf to kill a human being, out of the hundreds that had been utilized just a few seconds ago.
It was not too long ago that he was able to kill a bamboo rat. Could a human being even be compared to that little animal, now that he had upgraded his abilities so much?
Come to think of it, these little animals and the various insects he had come across during this time period all seemed to possess some interesting qualities, especially when he thought back to his first impressions about them.
The bigger they were, the faster they could be. There even seemed to be some minor changes to the way that they looked.
Was this… still the world he was familiar with?
He looked again at the bamboos that surrounded him, and suddenly a phrase came to mind.
'The reawakening of the spiritual aura.'