Such an incident had already exceeded Yao Ruoxian’s scope of knowledge. He didn’t have a clue about what was happening—it was too abnormal! So much, that he was a little fearful of simply tearing open Charcoal’s belly to find that Yao Core.
That was in the case if anything did happen to Charcoal, but now it didn’t seem like there was a problem. It just seemed as if it was sound asleep.
However, Yao Ruoxian was a little unsure of how he would explain things to the two girls, and just continued crouching there, feeling about Charcoal’s body with an awkward expression.
He was too ashamed to look at them. Time and time again, he had guaranteed that things would be fine; that he would be able to deal with it. In the end, he failed to pull through. How would those two girls think of him now? His image of a Teacher in the two girls’ hearts was probably ruined by now.
The two weren’t idiots after all; after being around Yao Ruoxian for so long, they were aware of the kind of person Yao Ruoxian was. As soon as they saw him dawdling around, they knew he couldn’t resolve it.
The two of them stopped putting their hopes in him, and anxiously made their way towards Miao Yi’s quarters.
"What do you two think you are doing?" said Yao Ruoxian, as he strode ahead of the two girls, and stopped them.
"We’ve caused trouble." Xue’Er said miserably.
Qian’Er added, "We will inform Master, and ask him to punish us."
"What is there to inform him about? I will obviously settle the matter." Yao Ruoxian assured them, and patted his chest.
However, the two girls had very little confidence in his words now. Xue’Er bit her lip, and asked, "Teacher. Can you assure us that Charcoal will be fine?"
From her tone and words, she was obviously implying to Yao Ruoxian, ‘If anything else happens, we will never trust you again.’
This was asking Yao Ruoxian to give them a final promise!
"This….." Yao Ruoxian was quite reluctant to do so. On the off-chance that he couldn’t deal with it, he would be trampling on that last ounce of respect he had in those two girls’ hearts. Yet, even he himself couldn’t make heads or tails of the situation, so it was a little difficult to make such a promise so easily.
With that moment’s hesitation, the two girls were sure now. ‘Teacher doesn’t have any confidence at all.’
In a quiet voice, Qian’Er said, "Master has many ideas. If we let Master know now, maybe Charcoal can still be saved."
Xue’Er nodded her head vigorously. The two girls had absolute faith in Miao Yi.
Yet, Yao Ruoxian was displeased by those words. ‘Why did it seem like he wasn’t as capable as that brat?’ He glared at them and said, "Him? Do the two of you think that I would be less capable than him?"
The two girls did not have the mood to dally along with him. ‘Who cares if you’re more capable or not? We need to save Charcoal urgently.’
They circled around Yao Ruoxian’s sides, ready to head inside the silent quarters to ask for aid, and be punished.
Yao Ruoxian was anxious now. Once again, he flashed in front them both and stopped them. He scanned his surroundings, then lowered his voice to whisper, "Both of you are such idiots! That brat won’t leave his closed-door cultivation if nothing happens. So long as we keep quiet about this matter, how will he know what happened? If he ever asks, both of you can just simply say that had no idea. What could he do then? We-"
Before he could finish, he found himself unable to continue.
The way the two girls were looking at him now was loaded disappointment, as if to say, ‘Teacher. How could you be this kind of person?’
The two girls didn’t say another word, and again circled around him; leaving hurriedly.
"...." Yao Ruoxian was speechless for some time. Then, he turned around and grumbled as he left. "Those two girls are so hard-headed. They don’t even realize that I said that for their sakes…."
Within the silent quarters, Qian’Er and Xue’Er were already kneeling in front of the stone couch; once again disturbing Miao Yi from his closed-door cultivation. With tearful faces, they explained to him everything that had happened outside without holding anything back.
‘Charcoal is going to die?’ Miao Yi’s eyes slowly widened.
When he finished listening to the two girls’ report, Miao Yi had already jumped up. As he spread his hand open in mid-air, a cold light flashed and the Inversed-Scales Spear appeared in his palm. Immediately, he dashed out of the silent quarters.
Once he charged out of his quarters, he twisted around and caught sight of Charcoal’s unconscious form, and laboured breathing. He went up to him, and gave Charcoal a couple of kicks, shouting, "DAMN FATSO! DAMN FATSO!"
Seeing that there was no response to his shouts, Miao Yi’s expression twisted. He suddenly turned around to glare at Yao Ruoxian, who was standing with his hands behind his back—pretending to have a leisurely stroll in the courtyard. With a wave of his spear, he jabbed at him angrily and shouted, "YOU SHAMELESS OLD BASTARD!"
He instantly dashed forward—the dragon’s roar reverberating through the air. Qian’Er and Xue’Er had rushed out after him, but before they could stop him, they caught sight of Miao Yi viciously striking at Yao Ruoxian with his spear.
Initially, Yao Ruoxian had intended to talk matters out with Miao Yi after he came out.
He hadn’t expected Miao Yi to react so strongly; he was irrationally picking a fight with him without any room for discussion—making Yao Ruoxian somewhat speechless. From this, it was clear that this kid had a very close relationship with that damn fatso. Even when he knew he couldn’t beat him, he still chose to pick a fight.
However, the reality was, there was an enormous gap of strength between both parties. It was no longer a difference of one or two stages, but a difference like Heaven and Earth!
Yao Ruoxian swung his hand forward with his palm opened, to face the incoming Inversed-Scales Spear. A large and powerful surge of transcendence energy rippled out, and instantly froze the incoming Inversed-Scales Spear in mid-air.
Miao Yi was frozen in mid air with the spear in his hands. His whole body was stuck—he couldn’t move an inch! With his cultivation, he couldn’t hope to resist Yao Ruoxian at all.
"Brat, are you sick of living?" sneered Yao Ruoxian looking on in contempt as he mocked Miao Yi for even daring to fight him!
With such overwhelming transcendence energy restraining him to the point that it was difficult to even speak, Miao Yi was consumed with rage as he invoked his arts and forcefully shouted, "Qian’Er. Xue’Er. Notify the men of the Cave immediately, and have them quickly request for Suppressing Second Hall’s experts to kill this old bastard. I want to make sure this old bastard no longer has a place to shelter himself in this world!"
Yao Ruoxian’s expression froze, immediately finding himself unable to laugh any longer.
Even though the other party’s cultivation was low, he had a whole hierarchy of power supporting him from behind. Forget about Red Lotus experts, he could have Purple Lotus experts; and even Golden Lotus experts coming over.
Even though he didn’t know any of the experts in the upper echelons of the system, he was a member of the system. So long as it was a reasonable request, even the Realm Beyond Heaven’s Mu Fanjun could be asked to come out. If that happened, Yao Ruoxian would definitely be backed into a corner.
This was the greatest difference between a Loose Cultivator, and a cultivator within the system. The former didn’t have any support unless they were under the protection of an expert; whereas the latter had the support of a whole hierarchy behind them, and a force that was incomparably large!
Yao Ruoxian could see it now. This kid was trying to get revenge on him, even if he had to give up his own life. He had lost all reason.
It wasn’t that he was scared of Miao Yi. With his cultivation, he could easily kill at the men of East Arrival Cave before news of it spread, but there was no need to go so far for just a dragon steed. On the off-chance that news of this were to leak out, he would most likely have to face a great deal of suffering for the rest of his life.
Most importantly, once he killed Miao Yi, he would be out of luck with the tiny mantids.
Qian’Er and Xue’Er was now in a panicked state. To one side, was their Master; and the other was their teacher—they didn’t know what they should do.
Seeing the two of them still not moving, Miao Yi bellowed, "Are you two disobeying my previous command!?"
These words had a strong impact on these personal handmaidens of his. Qian’Er and Xue’Er’s delicate bodies trembled; their expressions change, and they hurried away wanting to do as Miao Yi instructed.
Yao Ruoxian’s face twitched. He pushed his palm forward and sent Miao Yi flying away, then stepped in front of the two girls and stopped them. Then, pointing at Miao Yi, he shouted, "Brat, were you bitten by a rabid dog? If you want to fall out with me, don’t you think you should at least let me know why?"
As soon as Miao Yi landed, he swang his spear and pointed at Charcoal. "You have caused the death of my steed…"
"Bullshit!" Yao Ruoxian pointed at Charcoal as well, and added, "Is he dead? He’s obviously sleeping soundly over there. Where does it look like he’s dead to you?"
"..." the furious Miao Yi was a little dazed after he turned to look. Charcoal was was snoring so loudly—he really wasn’t dead.
Before he could give it any more thought, Yao Ruoxian already snorted, "You haven’t even assessed the situation properly, and yet you had the audacity to pick a fight with me. Do you really think I wouldn’t dare to kill you?"
Miao Yi was stunned. In hindsight, he realised he really had been a little too rash.
He had let the blood get to his head when he came, but right now his aura was visibly weakening with Yao Ruoxian’s words. "Qian’Er and Xue’Er told me-"
Before he could finish, Yao Ruoxian cut in again, "What do those two girls know? As if they could understand. I was just joking with them, but they thought it was real. They don’t understand. You don’t understand either!"
Qian’Er and Xue’Er glanced at each other. His words were highly suspicious to the two of them, as they had seen how guilt-ridden he was—almost to the point of breaking out in a cold sweat before.
Miao Yi was instantly lost for any words to rebuke with. He slowly tucked the Inversed-Scales Spear in his hand away, and turned to stop by Charcoal’s side. He crouched down, and invoked his arts to examine him.
He felt a strange force stopping his transcendence energy from probing within Charcoal’s rapidly flowing bloodstream. He sped up the circulation of the art source inside his body, and strengthened his transcendence energy for inspecting. Finally, he easily broke past the barrier, and could see the internal state of Charcoal’s body—how all the orifices within its flesh were sealed. Then, he locked in on the Yao Core that was being closely enveloped by Charcoal’s organs.
A strange substance was being secreted from Charcoal’s stomach, and was slowly digesting the Yao Core. Miao Yi’s transcendence energy could detect that the Yao Core’s energy was being released from the corrosion, and was slowly being absorbed by Charcoal.
"What!?" Miao Yi exclaimed in surprise. "Senior Yao, can a dragon steed refine a Yao Core?"
"Well…." Yao Ruoxian was still thinking of an excuse he could use to sway Miao Yi, when he heard those words; he turned and said, "Huh?"
He walked over with a look of surprise on his face, and curiously asked, "Refine a Yao Core?"
"Didn’t you know?" Miao Yi was stunned, and said, "You’ll understand once you take a look."
Yao Ruoxian had a doubtful expression on his face, as he pressed his hand on Charcoal’s body once more to examine it. The result was the same as it was before—his transcendence energy couldn’t determine what was going on within Charcoal’s body at all. He then probed with a question, "You found the location of that Yao Core?"
"It’s just inside its tightened up stomach!"
"Huh?" Yao Ruoxian wanted to say, ‘Are you trying to trick me?’
Then, he abruptly rolled his eyes, and gave a light chuckle. He had figured something out in his head, ‘This kid has probably realised that he can’t afford to provoke me, so he is looking for a way to save some face.’
As though he understood what the other party was talking about, Yao Ruoxian nodded and said, "That’s right. It is refining the Yao Core."
The truth was, the two of them were as ill-matched as ‘A horse’s mouth on a cow’s head’.
Taking his hand off, Miao Yi glanced at the unconscious Charcoal as it snored; before asking curiously, "Senior Yao. How did this happen?"
Since the brat was being tactful, Yao Ruoxian figured he might as well play along with it. It wouldn’t do any good if they were to fall out with each other.
He stood up, placed his hands behind his back, and pretended to be experienced in the matter as he said, "The reason he is sleeping so heavily, and isn’t waking up is clearly because he is concentrating his mind on refining the Yao Core inside his body."
"I’ve never heard of a dragon steed being able to refine a Yao Core before." Miao Yi also got up and asked. "There won’t be any problems, will there?"
"Just like how the skies have unpredictable weather, man has his own ups and downs. Even accidents can happen during cultivation. No one can assure that there won’t be any problems at all. We shall see when the time comes." Yao Ruoxian casually replied. With these words, he wouldn’t be held responsible if any problems were to arise.
Qian’Er and Xue’Er glanced at each other and were lost for words. ‘Could Teacher really be joking just now? His acting was very real indeed. We’ll have to be careful about what Teacher says from now on, and not let him trick us again.’
"Senior Yao. Why did you let Charcoal consume a Yao Core?"
"Do you think I have plenty of Yao Cores to spare? He was the one that kept nagging me to let him have it. Forget it, I won’t hold the matter of a single Yao Core against him. I’ll just think of it as feeding it a nutritional supplement."