Another half a year had gone by before Charcoal awoke once more. After gobbling the Second Grade Yao Core, he had been asleep for over a year.
Charcoal had no concept of how much time had passed while he slept. When he opened his eyes, they shone with a demonic gleam. After shaking his head and wagging his tail like a pug, he headed straight over to Yao Ruoxian, who had been standing guard over him for the past year. He nestled in Yao Ruoxian’s embrace to demonstrate his affection.
Clearly, he didn’t think that he had slept for very long. Judging by the way he looked, it seemed like he wanted to ask Yao Ruoxian for more Yao Cores to eat. Otherwise, there was no need for him to suck up to him so.
Yao Ruoxian pushed him away and examined him closely.
While Charcoal was lying on the ground, he hadn’t looked any different. Only when he stood up would you notice that the once fat thief had now become slim. His figure was almost the same as a regular dragon steed’s, all sleek and dark.
Especially those robust muscles of his—they were like bands of steel. At first sight, they seemed to be filled with an explosive strength.
With his four muscular limbs, his sleek and shiny black coat; and that mane of his that flowed beautifully in the sea breeze as he happily shook his head and flicked his tail—after the demonic read gleam in his eyes slowly faded away, one could say that his appearance had become incredibly striking.
Yao Ruoxian’s lips twitched. He had thrown away a Second Grade Yao Core without any visible results, and instead made this Fat Thief become a lot more handsome; transforming him into an outstanding breed amongst dragons steeds. ‘That was a Second Grade Yao Core that was worth ten thousand low-grade Orbs of Will!’
Yao Ruoxian had nowhere to vent his frustration. To make matters worse, Charcoal continued pestering him, asking for Yao Cores to eat.
‘Do you really think I’m such an idiot?’ Regardless, Yao Ruoxian was done messing around, he couldn’t afford it! He pushed Charcoal away.
However, Charcoal continued to act shamelessly. Humiliated by his antics, Yao Ruoxian completely snapped—he lifted his foot, and stomped hard on the ground.
A strong wave of transcendence energy rippled out, shaking the earth heavily, and tearing it asunder.
Charcoal neighed in panic; flailing with his four hooves as he fell into the breach.
Then, with a vicious expression, Yao Ruoxian clapped his hands together. The sundered ground rumbled, and slammed shut once again—blasting dust and dirt everywhere! Truly an astonishing scene.
This was the terrifying strength of a Red Lotus cultivator! Charcoal was buried alive on the spot.
Miao Yi was in closed-door meditation inside his cave, when he was startled by the commotion. He rushed over just in time to see Yao Ruoxian shaking his sleeves, and walking over with a dark expression.
"What happened?" Miao Yi quickly looked around, then asked, "Where is Charcoal?"
"I buried him alive!" growled Yao Ruoxian; he was peeved.
"Ah!" Miao Yi was speechless. Before he could ask anything, the two of them were startled by a commotion behind them, and turned around to look.
All they could see was the closed-up ground trembling heavily as cracks started to form; the ground sank and rose repeatedly, as though something was about to burst out from beneath the surface.
Finally, something ripped open the surface of the ground, spewing up a huge cloud of dirt and rock that flew everywhere! Yao Ruoxian and Miao Yi both swept at their large sleeves to brush away the debris of dirt and rock.
Within the dust, they saw a grey silhouette leaping into the skies; his four hooves stomping restlessly as landed amidst the rain of dirt and rock.
The surrounding dirt and rock were still falling like rain, but within the dust, a dragon steed stood with his head held high to the sky and screamed.
As he neighed at the skies, the sound waves blasted throughout the place—sending dust rolling away from his shriek—revealing his stalwart figure, and eyes that gleamed with a demonic red glow. In that instant, it looked as though a devil had risen up from Hell.
Miao Yi was dumbfounded.
Yao Ruoxian stared at the twenty-meter deep crater in the ground; completely stupefied.
He had buried Charcoal alive out of anger just now, because he wanted to teach him a lesson. With the amount of earth on top of him, there was no way a normal dragon steed would have been able to escape.
Under such immense pressure from being buried deep in the ground, this Fat Thief was actually able to burst out from the ground and escape in a single breath. How much explosive strength did he need for this to be possible? How could a dragon steed possess such power?
Charcoal’s neigh lasted, but for a moment. Yet witnessing the intense aura released by Charcoal, as he cried out to the skies by the crater; Yao Ruoxian couldn’t help swallowing deeply. ‘This Fat Thief is very strong—so strong that it’s a little absurd! When did dragon steeds possess such a tyrannical aura? Could this be the aftereffects of refining a Yao Core?’
"Could it be…." Yao Ruoxian narrowed his eyes as a thought flashed across his mind.
Legends tell that dragon steeds are the offsprings of a dragon, and a pegasus or otherwise known as a draconic stallion. According to those legends, the two powerful bloodlines negated one another, and made it difficult for dragon steeds to gain sentience; they only knew how to breed, and eventually became the mounts of the average cultivator. However, if one of the bloodlines were to awaken and suppress the other then…
As Yao Ruoxian stared at Charcoal, his eyes suddenly took on a mysterious shine, and he swallowed his saliva again. He stuck his tongue out and licked his lips, as though he were quenching his thirst...
Even Qian’Er and Xue’Er, who were worn to the bone with training, were startled by the commotion and came to take a look. With their clothes in rags, and holding wooden spear in their hands—they were stunned as they stared at Charcoal crying out by the crater in the earth.
Charcoal stopped crying out after a while, and the demonic red glow in his eyes also gradually faded away. He shook his whole body, throwing the dust off him, and revealing his sleek black coat. His figure and image was absolutely handsome—a stark difference from his previous damn fatso appearance.
Charcoal scuttled off to Miao Yi’s side, still a little fearful after catching sight of Yao Ruoxian. After being treated that way, he no longer dared to ask him for Yao Cores to eat, and hid by Miao Yi’s side.
Even though his appearance had changed a lot, that personality of his was obviously the same as always.
"How did this happen?" Miao Yi turned to ask Yao Ruoxian. Reaching out tentatively with his hand, he touched Charcoal’s head. He honestly had a hard time recognizing him.
His steed was always the laughing stock to others. Now that he had become an outstanding breed among dragon steeds, he found it rather difficult to adjust to.
"Don’t worry It’s nothing serious." Yao Ruoxian was suddenly all-smiles, and rubbing his hands together. Sticking his head out from beside Miao Yi’s body, he waved his hand at Charcoal and said, "Fat Thief. Do you still want to eat Yao Cores?"
His smile was extremely radiant.
Miao Yi couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on with him—one second he was dour; and the next, absolutely chipper! ‘Why is this tramp of an old man trying to do by first being so overbearing, then suddenly becoming so friendly?’
Charcoal was absolutely terrified of Yao Ruoxian after experiencing his fit of rage. When he was forced underground just now, he had experienced what death truly felt like—the trauma was still vivid in his mind! He realized that this old man was truly too terrifying. He moved his body again and hid on the other side of Miao Yi’s body; terrified of facing Yao Ruoxian.
"I was just joking with you just now!"
Yao Ruoxian chuckled and circled around. He was holding a First Grade Yao Core in his hand, and waving it at Charcoal, still trying to tempt him.
Charcoal wouldn’t forget so quickly and simply brush off the fact that he was almost killed just now; that near-death sensation was too horrifying. Even if he was offered a Tenth Grade Yao Core now—he wouldn’t dare accept it. Once again, he tried to hide on the other side of Miao Yi’s body.
"Senior. What are you two up to?" Miao Yi twisted his head back and forth as he asked.
"Nothing. Nothing at all."
Yao Ruoxian tucked his Yao Core away and held his chin to ponder for a moment. Then, as if hitting upon an idea, he nodded and said, "I’ll have to test this out."
Without any forewarning, he suddenly launched himself into the sky and enveloped himself with a ball of light in mid-air, then swiftly shot towards the distant horizon…..
Unsure of what Yao Ruoxian was planning to do, Miao Yi simply shook his head. Putting out his hand, he placed it on Charcoal’s body and once again invoked his arts to examine his body. As always, besides the fact that he had become slimmer, he found nothing out of the ordinary.
He hopped onto Charcoal and rode him for a complete lap around the island. He discovered that Charcoal had gotten even faster now, though not significantly faster than he was before.
Finally coming to the entrance of his cave manor, he jumped down and patted Charcoal, "It’s good that you’ve become thinner. Now you won’t have to be mocked by others any longer."
However, looking at the crater in the ground, he still turned to take a few more glances at Charcoal with some doubt in his eyes.
Just now, Charcoal’s explosive strength was absolutely shocking. It seemed that consuming more Yao Cores was indeed beneficial to him. However, he himself didn’t have that much capital on hand; he didn’t have enough Yao Cores to feed him with. ‘Let’s think about this in the future. Right now, my priority should be to focus on raising my own cultivation. Only when my cultivation is higher, will there be more chances of obtaining Yao Cores in the future.’
Seeing Charcoal scrambling away to the ocean to look for food, Miao Yi couldn’t help but shake his head and smile. Turning towards the ragged and worn-out Qian’Er and Xue’Er, he simply said, "Fill up this crater." Afterwhich, he returned to his cave manor, and resumed his closed-door cultivation.
Celestial Nation. A few gray silhouettes flew across the sky, and landed in the depths of a certain mountain forest. The only things in sight were Yao Ruoxian, and a couple of dragon steeds.All that could be seen was Yao Ruoxian with a couple of unidentified dragon steeds.
After making sure no one was around, he took out two First Grade Yao Cores and fed it to the two dragon steeds.
The two dragon steeds did not cooperate, and instead shook their heads as they took a step back. It seemed they weren’t the least bit interested in Yao Cores, and didn’t display the gluttonous behaviour that Charcoal did.
After trying to feed them for a long while without any luck, Yao Ruoxian lost his temper. Invoking his arts, he just shoved the two Yao Cores down the throats of the two dragon steeds.
However, soon after forcing it down, the two dragon steeds looked like they were in terrible pain from the ache in their stomachs; and retched out the Yao Cores from their bellies.
Yao Ruoxian picked it up, then stuffed it back down their throats.
When the dragon steeds again retched the Yao Cores back out from the pain, Yao Ruoxian picked them up and stuffed them back down again.
After trying this for a while, Yao Ruoxian forced it down their throats once more—and soon after, invoked his arts to restrain the two dragon steeds—preventing them from retching it out.
As a consequence, the two dragon steeds began bleeding not long after from all their seven orifices; their stomachs bloated up terribly, and they looked terribly pained.
After invoking his arts to examine the reaction within the stomach of the two dragon steeds, Yao Ruoxian simply sighed, and shook his head in the end.
He couldn’t see the shrinking of the stomach in their bodies like in Charcoal’s case. Instead, their organs were beginning to bleed from being aggravated by the energy of the Yao Core. If he continued to experiment with them, these two dragon steeds would surely explode and die.
He quickly invoked his arts and retrieved the two Yao Cores. After tucking them away, he scanned around; when he confirmed that there was no one else around, he took out an immortal fruit, and blew several wisps of stardust into the two dragon steeds’ nostrils.
After healing the injuries of the two dragon steeds, he loosened the binding of his transcendence energy, and released them.
Miao Yi would probably never have expected, that the old fool who always threatened to smash him to a pulp with his mace, would actually have such a kind-hearted side to him. He was actually willing to use an immortal fruit to treat the injuries of the dragon steeds.
Looking at the silhouette of the two dragon steeds swiftly disappearing into the mountain forest, Yao Ruoxian twisted his slovenly beard and clicked his tongue as he said, "He truly is quite different. Quite different indeed. Could that legend be true? It seems this old man has struck gold this time. I cannot let the kid know the truth of this matter. Otherwise, I might not be able to obtain him."
When he thought about how amazing this was, he giggled like a fool and almost drooled. Suddenly bursting into a dance from the excitement, he crowed, "Fat Thief. This old man is coming!"
A ball of light enveloped him, and he instantly shot towards the horizon—swiftly flying in the direction of the island.