Chapter 19 - The Seventy-Third Mine
The Lingyun Mountain in the southeast corner of Black Cloud City, was called a ‘mountain’, but in actuality, it was a mountain range made up of many different sized mountains.
The main peak of the Lingyun Mountain was thousands of meters high, towering over the clouds, and was filled with Spirit qi.
The mountains in the surrounding area were extremely small compared to the Lingyun Mountian’s main peak. Because the environment of the Lingyun Mountain’s main peak had a high concentration of Spirit qi, the surrounding mountains each had their own unique strangeness. On some mountain peaks, the Lingyun sect grew numerous spirit grasses, which were taken care of by the Lingyun Sect’s disciples. There were also other mountain peaks, with a relatively higher internal Spirit aptitude, that had Lingyun disciples mining on it.
In the afternoon, both Nie Tian and Nie Qian had arrived outside of the Nie Family’s Fire Cloud stone mountain peak mine.
“Miss, right now the Fire Cloud stone inventory hasn’t arrived yet. Why did you suddenly come?” Outside the entrance of the mountain peak mine, the manager, Nie Xiang, strangely looked at Nie Qian, who had even brought a child. He was slowly becoming more and more suspicious.
“This time I’m not here to see the Fire Cloud stone inventory. Instead, I’m here to bring my nephew to see the world,” Nie Qian smiled and said.
“Going to a mine to see the world?” Nie Xiang was a bit stunned, and became increasingly baffled.
Because the mine wasn’t a safe place, only the Nie Family’s children, whom had committed bad crimes or had violated the rules, would be sent here.
Nie Qian, by bringing Nie Tian over and saying that she was showing him the world, made Nie Xiang very puzzled.
Nie Qian didn’t explain too much, and after greeting Nie Xiang, pulled Nie Tian directly into the mine.
“Miss, this child… he’s too young. If there happens to be an accident inside the mine, I won’t take the blame.” Nie Xiang hurriedly said.
“Ah, if anything truly happens, I’ll take full responsibility.” Nie Qian responded.
Hearing her say this, Nie Xiang didn’t say another word, allowing Nie Tian and Nie Qian to go directly into the depths of the mine.
Inside the mine, Nie Tian curiously looked around at his surroudings. “Fire Cloud stones are here?”
“In the depths of the mine.” Nie Qian exhaled a breath, her eyes filled with worry. “Remember, you must listen to what I say and you must always follow me. Because of excess mine exploitation, there are a lot of places in the interior of the mine that are extremely hollow; every now and then there will be earthquakes and some places will collapse. I know the places that are safe and the places that are dangerous, therefore, you’re not allowed to leave my side.”
Nie Tian raised his head, looked at the stalactites hanging form the ceiling, five to six meters above his head, and promptly nodded.
Those stalactites weighed over a thousand jin. If they were to fall upon him, he feared that he would instantly be reduced to a meat patty.
Nie Qian grasped his arm, and led him along the inner, gloomy stone path.
Along the way, Nie Tian curiously looked around at his surroundings and silently followed along, seemingly careful and cautious.
“Good day Miss, why are you here?”
“Miss, be careful. It isn’t safe inside. A few days ago, an entire section even collapsed.”
“I’ve seen you before Miss.”
After seeing Nie Qian, a lot of the Nie Family branch members and some employed laborers along the sides of the road all respectfully greeted her.
Nie Qian, smiled and nodded towards every person, urging them all to be careful and to avert an accident at all costs.
Nie Tian saw that everyone, who was extracting Fire Cloud stones from the mine, sincerely respected Nie Qian.
“Those mining Fire Cloud stones in the interior of the mine really have a bitter fate; every time they come in, they already know what they might have to face.” When there was no one around, Nie Qian quietly sighed and said, “Little Tian, if you are not admitted into the Lingyun Sect before you turn fifteen years old, then it is likely that your Second Grandfather will appoint you to this place to mine for Fire Cloud stones.”
“Isn’t it only the Nie Family branch members that work here?“ Nie Tian asked.
“Back then it was like that, but in the future, not neccessarily.” Nie Qian shook her head, her expression dim. “The mine’s mortality rate is very high. In every brief moment, there is a person that is getting buried. Despite that, the Nie Family’s most important duty is to help the Lingyun Sect extract Fire Cloud stones; all other family related affairs are not as important.”
“For these past few years, because the surrounding supply of Fire Cloud stones has been exhausted, there’s no other choice but to dig deeper into the depths of the mine, which becomes more and more dangerous.”
“Within the clan, the family’s branch elders are also trying to use any means possible to stop their descendants from being sent to the mine.”
“However this is the Nie Family’s bottom line. Everyone is afraid of death, and the Family employed laborers, not even counting the clan members, are also unwilling to go mine in the depths of the mine. Although this is the case, we still need to pay an annual tribute of a sufficient amount of Fire Cloud stones to the Lingyun Sect. If there comes a year where the amount of stones is too little, the Lingyun Sect would possibly even stop caring about the Nie Family.”
“Losing the shelter of the Lingyun Sect would make it very difficult for the Nie Family to hold our foothold in Black Cloud City.”
“Thus, this one mine is really of the utmost importance to the Family. Due to your second grandfather being in power, he has also said there needs to be a reform. From now on, whenever the interior of the mine needs family members to watch over it, direct family members must also work in the mines.
After saying that, Nie Qian paused a bit and meaningfully continued, “Because your grandfather was disgraced in the inner family and had not relinquished his long-held family-head position, I had begun to frequent the mine. Currently, our influence is even weaker. If you cannot become a disciple of the Lingyun Sect, you’ll be unable to escape this inevitable future, and will definitely be subject to working in the mine.
Nie Tian bowed his head and thought about what was just said. Soon after, he gently nodded his head, “I understand.”
“Let’s go.” Nie Qian continued deeper inside.
After a little while, Nie Tian found that the stone path leading into the mountain side became increasingly narrow, and felt that the distance from the top of his head to the ceiling of the cave was gradually shortening.
He had also noticed en route that the amount of workers grew less, and their bodies grew skinnier and more shriveled.
“Miss, it is dangerous up ahead. You should not go any further.” A dark, thin, middle-aged man, coming from another corner of the stone road, unexpectedly popped out and kindly reminded, “Eight days ago, in the Seventy-Third Mine, a cave-in occurred and two people died. We are just now cleaning it up.”
Nie Qian suddenly halted. Her dignified face showed a bit of concern as she said, “Thank you for your warning. I’ll go take a look and come right back.”
“Then you absolutely must be careful, I… won’t go with you.” The man said fearfully.
“Oh, you’re right. You’re busy.” Nie Qian nodded her head, the dark, thin man, who then disappeared from sight again in a flash.
“Further inside, the mortality rates are much higher. That’s why this places’ laborers, each and every single one of them, emit a dead, lifeless atmosphere. They know, that one day, they’ll face distress.” Nie Qian became silent for a moment, and then continued, “They’re all unfortunate people from Black Cloud City. Only for their wife and children inside the city, would they go and take the risk to come here.”
“The Lingyun Sects’s Lianqi warriors all have excellent strength. If they were to come here, even if there was a cave-in inside the mine, there wouldn’t be an accident right?” Nie Tian asked.
“Cultivating to the Middle Tian (zhong tian) realm would allow a person to run amuck inside the mine, absolutely unafraid of sudden cave-ins inside the mine.” Nie Qian lightly nodded, and began to reason again, “However, why would warriors that have reached the Middle Tian (Zhong Tian) realm come waste time for a low-priced, fourth level Fire Cloud stone?”
“Formidable Lianqi warriors are the most ruthless! The Nie Family doesn’t even count as anything in their eyes, so why would a few people’s deaths simply burden their hearts at all, even more so the employed, bitter-fated mortals? Genuine Lianqi warriors are naturally superior; our Nie Family’s clansmen can only serve them. Similarly, the mortals of the Black Cloud City also serve our Nie Family. This world is naturally this cruel and you and I cannot change this. There is only one way to become superior to others and not let them enslave you. And that is to become one of them!”
Nie Qian thoroughly lectured.
Nie Tian’s face was solemn as he heavily nodded. “I’ll definitely become one of the strong Lianqi warriors!”
“Go, head to the Seventy-Third Mine!” Nie Qian was also very determined.
Before long, Nie Tian, under her direction, arrived at the gigantic mine’s interior.
As soon as he entered, he noticed that on the mine’s rock walls were faintly glistening red lights.
“Fire Cloud stones!” Nie Tian’s spirit was roused.
“This place is dangerous so don’t waste time; hurry up and try to use the animals bone to absorb all the Fire Cloud stone’s flame energy! It’s best if we do not linger around here too long. We’ll leave as soon as the blood condenses out of the animal bone in order to avoid any possible mishaps!” Nie Qian loudly urged.
“Ok!” Nie Tian immediately set about working.
jin: about 0.5kg
Translators: Loghut and Bread
Editors: Zach and Sietse