Chapter 26: Charcoal
There was nothing wrong with being darker in color, but the crucial point was that this dragon steed was also as fat as a pig. When the dragon steeds slept, they would sleep while in a standing position, which was no different than ordinary horses. However, only Charcoal had its own original idea and was the only one to sleep while lying down.
And what made people even more speechless was the fact that Charcoal was incredibly lazy. When the other dragon steeds ran, they were as fast as lightning. But only Charcoal would slowly and lazily gallop forever without a sense of urgency. Its speed was not much different compared to that of an ordinary horse, and it was also useless trying to hit it to move faster.
Charcoal was one of the dragon steeds that were gathered by the Transient Light Cave’s Cave Master ten years ago. All its kin were chosen and taken away by cultivators, with the exception of this one since it was simply too outrageous, as one would be better off riding an ordinary horse than riding this dragon steed. Could this even be considered a dragon steed at all?
None of the cultivators were fond of it. They all avoided it like the plague, afraid that it would be forced onto them without room for refusal.
The lazy has its own luck, and a lazy dragon steed was also blessed with its own lazy luck. With its surrounding kin coming and going, and with countless others dying alongside their owners in battle, it managed to survive one disaster after another and was able to live till this day because nobody deemed it worthy.
As they said, birds of a feather flock together. In spite of everything, Luo Zhen had taken care of Charcoal, perhaps because its personality was similar to Yan Xiu’s. Otherwise, she would have abandoned it to save on rations, or to save herself from the trouble.
Which was why Charcoal and Luo Zhen had a very close relationship with each other. After noticing Luo Zhen entering the Hidden Dragon Valley, it immediately let out a long neigh before getting up from the ground, its plump body staggering towards Luo Zhen, before nuzzling its head against her’s.
“This…” Miao Yi glanced at the other high-spirited, lofty and valiant dragon steeds before facing Charcoal’s ‘majestic’ physique. If he hadn’t known better, he would have mistaken it for an enormously huge wild boar, so he couldn’t help but remark with a rigid smile on his face, “It really is something special.”
He really didn’t know what else to say, as this dragon steed had thoroughly toppled his impression of dragon steeds. It really was a bit fat, but then again, he reckoned it wouldn’t have fallen into his own hands if it weren’t comparatively unusual in some way.
Luo Zhen felt a little unsure, so she tested the waters, asking, “Nobody wants it. Either way, it’s an extra, so if you want it, you can have it without the Cave Master’s permission.”
“I don’t have a mount of my own, anyway. This is better than nothing.” Miao Yi laughed.
“He has a flaw.” Luo Zhen seemed to feel embarrassed for Charcoal. “I’m sure you know that dragon steeds are omnivorous.”
Miao Yi nodded his head and said, “This, I know.”
Luo Zhen said a little diffidently, “Charcoal only eats meat and not vegetables.”
“That’s easy.” Miao Yi laughed. “If I recall correctly, the feed for the dragon steeds are all sent here by someone from Transient Light City?”
“Yes.” Luo Zhen herself couldn’t resist the urge to shake her head. She decided not to beat around the bush anymore and said directly, “Charcoal only eats seafood, such as fish and prawns. It won’t eat chicken or ducks, so basically no livestock. And the fresher the seafood, the happier it is.”
Miao Yi stared speechlessly at Charcoal—the dragon steed already looked like this, so what right did it have to be so picky with its food?
“There’s no need to force yourself if you’re not fond of it. You have a good relationship with Cao Dingfeng, so if there’s a chance, he would definitely help you find a better dragon steed. It’s just that I’ve had to take care of this one for many years, so I’m quite attached to it. Now that you’re the new Horse Deputy, I hope you can assist in taking care of it in passing.”
“No problem, just leave it to me… Can I try it out?”
Miao Yi pointed at Charcoal, wanting to ride it to get a feel of it.
This was naturally approved because if Miao Yi weren’t allowed to ride it, then gifting Charcoal to him would just make a fool out of him.
“Charcoal!” Luo Zhen patted its body.
Generally, a dragon steed would never acknowledge another person as their master, unless their current master had passed on. This was due to the fact that this kind of spiritual beast had the ability to perceive the life and death of their master through telepathy. Hence, they wouldn’t normally allow anyone else, other than their own master, to control them.
However, Charcoal was very gentle and compliant. It seemed to only have a slight reluctance towards Miao Yi, but since Luo Zhen had commanded it to do so, it could only turn its body around to allow Miao Yi to get on without any difficulty.
Without saying another word, Miao Yi mounted the horse.
A pair of fleshy feelers emerged from within Charcoal's glossy, jet-black mane. They slid along Charcoal’s body and towards Miao Yi’s thigh, eventually latching onto him.
Miao Yi immediately felt Charcoal’s lazy mood, which was transmitted through the fleshy feelers. It appeared to be asking where to go next?
Miao Yi instantly sensed that it would be very interesting to communicate with his dragon steed in this manner. He didn’t even need to use reins, which saved him a lot of trouble. He lifted his head, looking towards the Hidden Dragon Valley’s exit.
Charcoal understood, and at that moment moved its four limbs, stomping the ground with hooves as large as an earthenware pot, displaying a somewhat decent amount of vigor. The only setback was that its speed wasn’t something to speak highly of, as it moved at a slightly lazy pace.
It wasn’t even as fast as an ordinary horse. Thus, Miao Yi quickly used his mind to urge it to gallop faster.
But apparently, it was futile to try pushing it to go faster because its speed stayed as it was whether it was being ridden or not.
After half a day of torture, Miao Yi’s face had turned gloomy, especially after realizing that Luo Zhen had put in a few good words for Charcoal. With this speed, she dared to say it was no different than an ordinary horse? It even slipped when going up the mountain slope...
Miao Yi finally understood why nobody wanted this beast—it truly was a bastard. Other than the fact that It didn’t have a tiny ounce of awareness as a dragon steed at all, it was practically a freeloader too. And not only was it a freeloader, but it was also a godd*mned picky eater as well.
After circling for one round, Miao Yi got off the horse and said to Luo Zhen with a mirthless grin on his face, “Not bad… it does have some good qualities. Its plump body shakes as it runs, so my bottom doesn’t press painfully while I ride.” He forced himself to try coming up with a good trait for Charcoal, as an act of giving face to Luo Zhen.
Brother Miao was simply too kind. Luo Zhen’s face reddened in embarrassment at the scene, throwing a few kicks at Charcoal. “What a lousy thing!”
As a result, Charcoal indistinctly revealed a very innocent look before nestling against Luo Zhen’s side, neighing.
Unable to resist the temptation, Miao Yi rolled his eyes at the fact that this beast could even understand human emotions.
He could tell that both Luo Zhen and Charcoal had a very deep relationship and felt very familiar with each other. After going back, Luo Zhen prepared a sumptuous meal of good wine and dishes, once again requesting Miao Yi to bear with Charcoal.
“Pfff...” Yan Xiu spurt out a mouthful of wine on the spot, glaring at his wife as he asked, “You gave Charcoal, the one you didn’t want to ride, to Brother Miao?”
Luo Zhen then replied with a sour look on her face, “Drinking wine can’t even shut you up?”
“Haha…” Unable to restrain himself anymore, Yan Xiu hugged his tummy and doubled up into fits of laughter. He could practically imagine Miao Yi’s reaction when he rode Charcoal.
Luo Zhen immediately marched up to seize her own husband and began to pinch him violently. “You good-for-nothing, you’re still more useless compared to it!”
The days gradually went by. Miao Yi led a quiet life in Transient Light Cave. All he needed to do was to cultivate and watch over the dragon steeds. With Cao Dingfeng covering him, no one dared to do anything to him. However, Yan Xiu and his wife were still being bossed around to do menial chores. After being subjected to anger, Luo Zhen would return and immediately blast Yan Xiu directly, throwing insults along the lines of being a spineless coward to his face.
Occasionally Cao Dingfeng would drop by to visit him. Including Yan Xiu and his wife, apart from the three of them, practically everyone in Transient Light Cave had forgotten there was still such a person among them.
Miao Yi had yet to see the Cave Master, Yuan Zhengkun, not since the day they met when he first arrived at the Transient Light Cave. He did, however, hear that he’d entered closed-door seclusion training.
In addition to the others, who were also training in seclusion, Miao Yi didn’t even know all of the associates in the cave. Sometimes, he would come into contact with some of them when he brought the dragon steeds out, but usually, he would not get called if there were any serious affairs to attend to. They probably minded that his cultivation was too low, so he wouldn’t be of much help. They even wanted to order him to do menial jobs, but since Cao Dingfeng was around to protect him, none of them dared to be disrespectful towards his status.
Miao Yi had the impression that he’d been forgotten and left behind, so he went on cultivating, continuing to look after the dragon steeds, as well as riding Charcoal who was as plump as a pig.