Had he really succeeded?
Yao Ruoxian wanted to believe that he had succeeded, but as he swung the perfectly intact wooden spear in his hands, he didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary.
Some things you just couldn’t lie to yourself. With the wooden spear over his shoulder, Yao Ruoxian held his chin with his hand and thought deeply for a moment, when he suddenly faintly heard the sound of rushing wind from afar. Without wasting a second, he hastily left and hid himself.
Very soon, a shadow rushed over under the night sky and landed right on the spot where the stone mountain had been reduced to a plateau; the dust still hadn’t settled yet.
The person that came was none other than Miao Yi.
Previously, he had been at the waterfall observing Qian’Er and Xue’Er, and just returned to his cave to cultivate, when he suddenly heard the faint blast of exploding rocks from the other side of the island. Feeling something was amiss, he quickly rushed over to investigate.
In the end, there wasn’t a single person in sight anywhere; but the dust in the air was proof that the rocky mountain had only just been shattered.
Miao Yi’s lips revealed a sly smile. He didn’t need to think very much to know whose handiwork this was.
It hadn’t taken him much time to rush over after hearing the commotion—to be able to pulverize a rocky mountain within such a short period of time—it was impossible for a Blue Lotus realm cultivator to possess such terrifying strength! Other than a certain someone, it wasn’t likely for anyone else to have done this on the island.
He knew from the very beginning that a certain someone had questionable intentions when he had encouraged Qian’Er and Xue’Er to master his spear arts. He had expected this.
Nonetheless, it didn’t matter. He could learn if he wanted to, so long as he had the ability to actually master it.
Miao Yi didn’t stay over long. He dusted off both his sleeves and smugly left, going back to his cave to continue his cultivation.
Not long after he left, Yao Ruoxian jumped out from a nearby area with the wooden spear in his hands. He looked at the pulverized stone mountain with a flickering gaze.
After some time, the wooden spear in Yao Ruoxian’s hands instantly burst into a fine powder. With a slight nod, he said, "I get it now. My cultivation isn’t something those two girls can compare to, so naturally I would have passed the initial stages. I only need to learn the crux of the art in its final stages, but…."
Yao Ruoxian suddenly found himself in a bit of a quandary. Miao Yi said that to train in his spear art, one cannot use Orbs of Will to speed up their development. In that case, should he continue to use Orbs of Will, or continue to abstain from it….
From that day onwards, Yao Ruoxian suddenly became bored out of his mind. He would just keep blindly pacing around the island, deep in his thoughts; always contemplating whether or not he should use his Orbs of Will.
If he didn’t use it, and cultivated without any resources at his level—his cultivation speed would be pretty much negligible. However, it wouldn’t be good for him to ask Miao Yi either.
Since he was bored, he started hanging out with Charcoal again; since it was laying about on the island most of the time. He would always tug on Charcoal’s tail, or try to pry open his jaws. He wanted to understand how this dragon steed came to be able to refine Yao Cores.
However, even after thoroughly examining Charcoal from head to toe with his transcendence energy, Yao Ruoxian found that he wasn’t any different from any other dragon steed. He couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
Charcoal was annoyed with Yao Ruoxian messing around with him, and would run away the moment he saw him. In the end, the old man flashed out another First Grade Yao Core in his hand, and shouted, "Fat Thief, why don’t you have a look at what this is?"
He shook the Yao Core in his hand, as if he were holding a bone and trying to tempt a dog.
As he was running, Charcoal turned his head around to look—and immediately came to a stop. He stomped about in place, his four hooves giving away his thoughts; then slowly turned around and galloped back again. He snorted at the Yao Core in Yao Ruoxians hands.
Yao Ruoxian chuckled, and tossed the Yao Core far away. Charcoal immediately chased after it fast as lightning. Just before the Yao Core was about to touch the ground, he managed to chomp down onto it, and immediately swung his head up to swallow it down.
The end result was predictable—not long after, Charcoal looked like he was drunk again. He walked back to his ‘old nest’ with uneasy steps, and dropped down. Once again, its breathing began to sound like bellows.
Yao Ruoxian had been closely following behind, and quickly took this opportunity to invoke his arts and examine it—but the results were the same as before. When the blood flow inside Charcoal’s body sped up once again, Yao Ruoxian lost another Yao Core in vain. He circled around Charcoal hundreds of times while he was sleeping heavily, but he still couldn’t make a detailed examination of the him.
Miao Yi appeared on one of his occasional forays out of his cave, and realized that Charcoal was sleeping again. He couldn’t help asking Yao Ruoxian, "You fed him Yao Cores again?"
As he continued to circle around Charcoal, Yao Ruoxian gave a depressing nod, and stroked his beard.
Even though Miao Yi didn’t know what was going on, this already happened before, so he paid it no mind at all. There was nothing wrong with Charcoal after consuming the Yao Core. When he tried to ride him, he discovered that Charcoal’s speed had even gone up a little.
The Seniors of the cultivation world had a vast store of knowledge. This was why he believed it when Yao Ruoxian said that dragons steeds would gain a large boon from consuming Yao Cores.
All in all, Miao Yi had to admit that he didn’t have enough Yao Cores for Charcoal to gorge on as he liked; he couldn’t indulge in such methods for Charcoal to obtain great boons. Since Yao Ruoxian wasn’t afraid of wasting his Yao Cores and was willing to use them as supplements for Charcoal, he himself wouldn’t bother with it.
He crouched by Charcoal’s side and invoked his arts to probe into his body. Afterwards, he withdrew his hand, and nodded, "It seems his speed in refining Yao Cores has become slightly faster than before."
"Slightly faster?" Yao Ruoxian looked surprised, as he watched Miao Yi move away.
By the time that Charcoal had woken up again, Miao Yi’s words were indeed proven to be correct. Charcoal was a few days quicker in waking up this time. Furthermore, he became even thinner. It seemed that Yao Cores had a slimming effect on Charcoal.
Yao Ruoxian immediately felt like he was going a little mad. ‘What was going on? Why did it feel like he had become an idiot, ever since he came to this island?’
With that, Charcoal became addicted to the taste of Yao Cores and kept pestering Yao Ruoxian, asking for more food.
Yao Ruoxian would then aggressively grab onto Charcoal, and examined him from head to toe.
Charcoal didn’t run off anymore, and allowed Yao Ruoxian to examine him as he pleased. From his previous experience, Charcoal understood that he would be able to eat Yao Cores after being messed around with. As such, he tried to be as obedient as possible towards Yao Ruoxian.
Unable to find anything conclusive from his examinations, Yao Ruoxian wrung his hands and left—not willing to waste anymore of his attention on this.
However, Charcoal threw a tantrum and—as though believing that he could not allow Yao Ruoxian to mess with him for nothing—began following Yao Ruoxian wherever he went, and annoyed him endlessly.
In a rage, Yao Ruoxian took out a Yao Core that glowed with a blue light, and fiercely growled, "I don’t believe that you can continue to eat like this without any repercussions. This old man will not believe something so ridiculous!"
He viciously stuffed a Second Grade Yao Core into Charcoal’s mouth.
He still had a few First Grade Yao Cores on him, but this was the only Second Grade Yao Core he had. After all, it wasn’t easy to obtain a Second Grade Yao Core. This Yao Core was the one found inside of the body of the Azure Ape Commander, from the Sea of Constellations—and he fed it to Charcoal just like that.
As a result, Charcoal acted like he was drunk again. Looking high, he walked off as if he was fluttering on air, before dropping to the ground once more.
When Miao Yi came outside to check up on Qian’Er and Xue’Er’s training progress again, Miao Yi found Yao Ruoxian standing guard by Charcoal’s side. As he invoked his arts to examine Charcoal again; he exclaimed in shock, "Senior Yao. You fed it a Second Grade Yao Core?"
An Ungraded Yao Core was only worth a single low-grade Orb of Will. A First Grade Yao Core’s worth was a hundred-fold of that, and a Second Grade Yao Core would be another hundred times of that. A single Second Grade Yao Core was equivalent to ten thousand low-grade Orbs of Will!
He didn’t suspected that it was precisely because it was worth a fortune, that Yao Ruoxian would stand guard by Charcoal’s side and keep him under constant supervision. Otherwise, he wouldn’t lay about to accompany Charcoal like that. A mighty Red Lotus realm cultivator had no need to stand watch over a dragon steed so.
Yao Ruoxian looked at him indifferently, but his face was twitching madly. Right now, he was absolutely sure that the brat could see what he couldn’t—he had been the only one present when he fed Charcoal the Second Grade Yao Core.
Yao Ruoxian stared at Miao Yi for a moment, before nodding in a reticent manner.
"That was a Second Grade Yao Core!" Miao Yi said in shock. "Why did you do such a thing?"
"Mind your own business! I had leftovers to spare and had nothing better to do, okay?"
Yao Ruoxian viciously twisted his head to the side in anger, but he almost broke out in tears. At this point, even he wanted to know why he did such a thing.
"Uhh… please do as you wish, Senior." Miao Yi shook his head and sighed as he left. It was Yao Ruoxian’s belongings, after all. He could do whatever he wanted with it, and others couldn’t say anything about it.
However, deep down he was wondering about how thick the old man’s pockets were. Red Lotus cultivators were truly not someone normal people could compare to. They could even casually take out a Second Grade Yao Core, and feed that Fat Thief like it was candy.
He was a little depressed about the treatment he was receiving. Yao Ruoxian was truly kind to the two girls, and treated Charcoal even better; it was only he, himself that Yao Ruoxian wasn’t particularly nice to.
‘Aaeee! If I had known earlier, I would have tried to improve my relationship with the old man. It’s such a waste that I can’t ride on his coattails…"
Charcoal slept for a long while this time around. After he downed the Second Grade Yao Core, Charcoal didn’t wake up even after a full six months had passed.
The winter snow already began falling by the time Miao Yi left his cave once more. Seeing Yao Ruoxian still standing guard by Charcoal’s side, he stepped forward and cupped his fists, asking, "Senior. Please send me back for a moment."
Back when they had first arrived, the two of them had already agreed that Yao Ruoxian would have to send him back to East Arrival Cave to check up on matters every few months or so. This time, it was because it was time for East Arrival Cave to hand over its annual tribute, so he had to make the short trip back. The members of East Arrival Cave were waiting for him to give out their wages.
"The Fat Thief will probably wake up soon." Yao Ruoxian didn’t want to see his Second Grade Yao Core go up in smoke just like that, so he was keeping a close guard over Charcoal and wasn’t willing to leave. He waved his hands and said, "It’s not like you don’t have any legs. Go back yourself."
Miao Yi was really impressed that he would take such good care of Charcoal on his behalf. It seemed like he couldn’t simply blame the old man for their poor relationship; he had to see if there was something wrong with he, himself to begin with. Maybe it was because he wasn’t respectful enough, and there was a problem with his manners.
He then began invoking his arts to probe the situation in Charcoal’s body. Afterwards, he politely cupped his fists towards Yao Ruoxian and said, "Senior. Charcoal won’t be waking up for a while. He only just refined half of the Second Grade Yao Core in his body."
Yao Ruoxian slowly lifted his head and looked over. He naturally believed what Miao Yi said now—since he said that only half of the core in the Fat Thief’s belly was refined, then it must be true.
Nevertheless, he still wanted to ask Miao Yi, ‘How are can you see that? Why is it that I can’t find anything even though my cultivation is higher than yours?’
Alas, he had already boasted about his own abilities, and acted like everything was within his expectations. If he were to try asking now, and the brat found out that the Second Grade Yao Core was lost due to his own ignorance—wouldn’t he be a laughing stock then?
Sometimes, one’s own pride was more important that one’s life. Many people would risk their lives for the sake of their pride. Yao Ruoxian could only grind his teeth, and pretend he knew everything as he gave a nod. With a wave of his giant sleeve, he wrapped Miao Yi up and they flew off; this time, without Charcoal along with him…
Back in East Arrival Cave, Yuan Fang and the rest were a little anxious as well. Their master Hong Changhai were pushing them hard, but they could barely catch a glimpse of Miao Yi’s shadow of late—how could they discover the source of Miao Yi’s cultivation resources, if they couldn’t even get in touch with him?
After Miao Yi returned and distributed everyone’s wages, he disappeared again without a trace. They clearly saw him walking towards a certain direction. Yet, even when Blue Lotus cultivators like themselves quietly following behind him, they couldn’t even catch a glimpse of Miao Yi’s shadow after….