"Hehe!" Yao Ruoxian’s old face was creased with amusement.
He realized that this kid really didn’t know how to hold back. ‘I can’t believe he agreed just like that, but this is good as well. This is good, very good.’
He tucked the battle armor into his storage ring. Without another word, he quickly stepped out of the cave manor, and chased after Charcoal.
"Fat Thief! Fat Thief!"
After just being mistreated, Charcoal head snapped back in horror—seeing it was the old man, he immediately dashed away.
Yao Ruoxian rose up into the skies and chased him from up above. He continued to use a Yao Core to entice him, but seeing that it had no effect; he rolled his eyes and tossed it over agreeably. Then, he landed and stopped giving chase to avoid startling Charcoal.
Unexpectedly, this didn’t work either. Charcoal simply jumped over the spot where the Yao Core had dropped in front of him.
Yao Ruoxian was speechless. He slowly walked over to the Yao Core and sucked it back into his hands. He stood with his hands behind his back, and watched in a daze as Charcoal’s silhouette slowly faded away.
Finally he gave a pitiful sigh. If he knew that things were going to be like this, he wouldn’t have done something like bury that Fat Thief alive back then.
But then again, if he hadn’t buried Charcoal alive back then, he wouldn’t have associated Charcoal with that legend at all.
He couldn’t help but shake his head with a sigh, "No rush, no rush. I will eventually…. Huh…"
Yao Ruoxian blinked. After carefully scanning around with his eyes, he slowly relaxed his hands from behind his back, and revealed the hand holding the Yao Core. He saw that a tiny mantis had climbed onto his palm, and was taking large bites out of the Yao Core to munch on.
It was probably because the Yao Core had just been at the edge of this sleeve, and attracted it over.
Ever since he started feeding the tiny mantids, their figures had grown slightly larger. The greatest change was that their bodies had become more sturdy.
Perhaps it was because they were constantly fed with crystal coins. Their bodies had various, gold, black, and silver-colored marks. They were mostly silver-colored, probably as a result of mostly eating White Crystals. At the edge of their tails were silver loops and, added to the tiny mantids’ original body colour, made their entire appearance seem quite mysterious, yet beautiful.
"..." Yao Ruoxian was speechless. Dazed, he lifted his head to look in the direction that Charcoal had disappeared in. ‘This thing eats Yao Cores too?’
The speed at which the tiny mantis consumed the Yao Core was evidently faster than when Charcoal was refining the Yao Core. Its abdomen just kept getting larger, and larger. After about half-a-day had passed, it finished tucking the entire Yao Core into its stomach, and slowly climbed back into the large sleeve.
Yao Ruoxian wanted to closely examine this. Pulling open his sleeve, he checked on the situation inside, and found the tiny mantis completely motionless.
Sticking his arm out, he tried to grab it for a better look. The other tiny mantids turned their heads to look at him in alarm—if Miao Yi hadn’t already ordered them not to, they would have stabbed down with their tiny sickles already.
Only the tiny mantis with the bloated stomach was unresponsive after eating the Yao Core. Yao Ruoxian pulled it out to examine, and found that it was still motionless. If he hadn’t discovered signs of life, he would have assumed it was dead.
Yao Ruoxian’s eyes widened as he invoked his arts to examine it. There was no mysterious force interfering with his probing, like the one within Charcoal’s body. He could clearly feel that the tiny mantis was slowly refining the Yao Core inside its body.
"This….." Yao Ruoxian was dazed for a moment. Then, he suddenly took out a pile of Ungraded Yao Cores from his storage ring, and immediately threw it into the nest of mantids.
As expected, the little fellows immediately became rowdy and fought for the Yao Cores.
Yao Ruoxian patiently waited. When the Yao Cores were completely consumed, all the little fellows stopped moving immediately. They hung onto the inside of his sleeve as though they were dead.
He invoked his arts and checked on each of them. They were the same as the one before—all eighty-five tiny mantids had entered a state refinement on the Yao Cores.
Yao Ruoxian’s eyes brightened as though he had discovered new land. He put the matter of Charcoal aside for the moment; he even forgot about refining a new set of battle armor for Charcoal, and found a cave to coop himself up inside. Placing the tiny mantids on the ground one-by-one, he kept watch over them and closely paid attention to their every move...
One month later, the slumbering mantids woke up one-by-one. Only the tiny mantis that had consumed the First Grade Yao Core had yet to awaken.
Their situation was different from Charcoal’s. Charcoal became slimmer after he woke up, whereas after these little fellows woke up, they actually grew larger.
‘They can grow faster by eating Yao Cores?’ Yao Ruoxian immediately let his imagination run wild. He thought about how terrifying of an existence the Hell Mantises of the Boundless Secular World were—they were an existence that could even kill a Purple Lotus expert!
‘If these little fellows could grow up to that size, and live outside of the Boundless Secular World….’ Yao Ruoxian shuddered at the thought of it.
Immediately after, he felt a welling of joy. If he could have eighty-five of these monsters from the Boundless Secular World by his side—what kind of crazy idea was that?
"Wahaha….." Yao Ruoxian danced as if he had discovered a new continent.
However, after a brief moment of happiness, he realized that the little fellows on the ground weren’t obeying him anymore; they were all spreading their wings and flying out of the cave.
"Hey, hey, hey! Where are you guys going!?" Getting a little anxious, Yao Ruoxian hastily tucked the tiny slumbering mantis on the ground away, and swiftly chased after them.
He wouldn’t have known that after the tiny mantids had awakened, Miao Yi—with his blood bond to them—had abruptly opened his eyes from his meditation, whilst cross-legged on the stone seat.
He had been a little surprised because originally, the tiny mantids had left the boundary of their psychic connection. Now the connection had been re-established and—from the distance between them—it felt like they were probably on the other side of the island.
‘There’s such a great distance between us, yet I can actually detect the presence of the little fellows. This never happened before. What is going on?’
Miao Yi immediately used his psychic bond to summon the little fellows to him. He wanted to find out what had happened.
Not long after, a bunch of the little fellows swarmed inside the cave. Miao Yi extended his arm, and the little fellows all landed on top of it.
Once he saw the little mantids appear, Charcoal—who had been lying down beside the stone seat—immediately stood up in alarm. He was a little fearful of these little fellow. Stomping his hooves, he ran off; almost crashing into Yao Ruoxian just as he was about to enter.
However right now, Yao Ruoxian didn’t spare a thought for him. Immediately dodging to the side, he landed inside the cave and glared at Miao Yi, saying "Brat. What are you trying to do? They belong to me. Are you trying to take them away? Don’t think that this old man won’t smash your head to a pulp with his mace!"
Miao Yi was used to him always shouting threats at him, so he didn’t bother with it. Instead, he stared at the little mantids on his arm and exclaimed, "It seems they have grown a lot. How did this happen?"
He reached out and grabbed onto one, then flicked the little fellow’s carapace with his finger. His flicks made a ‘pa pa’ sound.
Just with that, the silver loop on the little fellow’s tail was accidentally flicked off. Miao Yi and Yao Ruoxian jumped in fright, thinking that the little fellow was injured.
Yao Ruoxian was enraged. He sucked the silver loop that dropped onto the ground, into his hand and waved it as he bellowed, "You used so much force and flicked it… flicked… flicked-"
It seemed his attention was caught by the thing in his hand. He swallowed the words he was about to say, and exclaimed in wonder after closely examining the shiny silver bit in his hands; completely dumbstruck. "High Purity Crystalline Silver…. This…"
"Crystalline Silver?" Miao Yi felt it was strange. Crystalline Silver was made from White Crystals. While Crystalline Obsidian was made from Black Crystals, and Crystalline Gold from Gold Crystals. He couldn’t help asking, "Aren’t Crystalline Silvers made from condensing the essence powder released from refining White Crystals? Why would it appear on the tiny mantids body….."
His voice stopped, as he thought about how the tiny mantids ate that sort of thing. Looking as though he had just realized something, he slowly lowered his head to look at his own arm.
Yao Ruoxian suddenly invoked his arts and sucked one of the tiny mantids over from Miao Yi’s arm. Positioning it in his palm, he imitated what Miao Yi had done before, and flicked it with his finger.
With a ‘pa’ sound, the silver loop attached to the little fellow’s tail fell off. He held it in his hand, and examined it. After that, he examined the little fellow’s tail.
It was difficult to discover if you didn’t look hard enough. It turned out that there were numerous tiny pores on the little fellow’s tail. It was impossible to see without opening your transcendence vision to examine.
Checking the little mantid again, it didn’t seem like there were any signs of injury on it. He sucked another little fellow into his hand and flicked it with his finger, another silver loop dropped off. He kept repeating it on the little mantids.
Miao Yi also caught on to the idea. Grabbing one of the little mantids, he squeezed the silver loop on its tail. Without using much force, it dropped off.
He also closely examined the little fellow’s tail, and concluded that the silver loop was actually the little mantid’s excrement.
This silver loop stuck on their tails had grown larged—so back then, they assumed it was part of the little fellows’ body. No one carelessly touched it. Only now did they realize that this wasn’t the case at all.
Soon, the two of them extracted all of the silver loops on the little fellows’ tails. The ones in Miao Yi’s hands were snatched away by Yao Ruoxian.
With the silver loops from over eighty little fellows’ tails gathered together, it was only a small handful on Yao Ruoxian’s palm. However, this small handful required countless White Crystals to be refined.
After raising it in his hand and closely examined it, Yao Ruoxian broke out in dance again as he crazily laughed, "It’s fully pure. It’s actually a Crystalline Silver that is free of any impurities. I can’t believe Crystalline Silver free of impurities actually exists in this world. Wahaha! To think I have actually stumbled onto it."
As a professional artifact artisan, he was naturally an expert in appraising these kind of items.
And to a professional, high-grade materials for refining artifacts were an absolute favorite.
Miao Yi was also in awe. He knew that it was difficult to extract the essence powder within Crystal Coins. Most importantly, it was difficult to maintain its purity; there would always be some degree of impurities mixed within. With the presence of impurities, if the essence powder was refined into transcendent artifacts—it would disturb the effect of transcendence energy on the transcendent artifact to some extent. It was a first to hear of Crystalline Silver that was free of impurities.
"So the little fellows could actually excrete the essence powder within the Crystal Coins after ingesting them. I actually thought that it all went into their carapace, which was why their carapace became harder. I never thought it would be like this."
"Brat. Do you know what a fully pure Crystalline Silver means? It means that for channeling transcendence energy, it will be comparable to a normal Crystalline Obsidian. Transcendent artifacts refined using this kind of Crystalline Silver will achieve the same results as those refined by normal Crystalline Obsidians."
"If the little fellows were to only eat Black Crystals, then wouldn’t the Crystalline Obsidians that would extracted be fully pure as well? Wouldn’t they be comparable in effect to a Crystalline Gold transcendent artifact? If they were to only feast on Gold Crystals, then what would the Crystalline Golds that are extracted be like?"
"Wahaha! I have already found the method to speed up the little fellows’ growth. The larger the little fellows are, the more they’ll be able to eat, and at a much faster pace too. Won’t that mean that they will be able to excrete these things faster, and in larger quantities as well? Wahaha, good stuff! This is really good stuff!"
Yao Ruoxian seemed to have completely lost himself in his excitement. He gestured about here and there, and without his realizing, his saliva was raining down everywhere. He looked like he was going mad.
Miao Yi was also very excited after hearing this, but he didn’t feel as strongly about it as someone who refined artifacts like Yao Ruoxian. Naturally, he wouldn’t be as excited as Yao Ruoxian, to the point of losing his own composure.
He was also concerned about another problem. He curiously asked, "Could I know if Senior has discovered some method to help them grow up faster?"
"Just feed them-" The overexcited Yao Ruoxian suddenly clamped his previously unchecked mouth shut. He had finally regained his senses with Miao Yi’s question. Drawing back his crazed laughter, he widened his eyes and mocked, "You don’t have anything to do with the method of speeding up their growth. You don’t need to concern yourself with my things."
With an indifferent expression, Miao Yi doused him with cold water by saying, "Senior. Please don’t forget, you already exchanged them for Charcoal."
"I…." Yao Ruoxian was lost for words, ‘How had he forgotten about that?’’ After being dazed for a brief moment, his face tensed up as he replied, "We haven’t completed the exchange yet, no?"
Miao Yi mocked him in his mind, ‘It doesn’t matter if the exchange is made or not. Do you really believe that the little fellows will listen to your instructions and go away with you?’