*Cling*... *Clang*... *Slash*...
Next to Wu Qi, a cultivator was digging and picking on a wall in the pit with feeble strokes of a pick. Suddenly, he dug out a rock the size of a human head. The black rock that looked dirty like coal fell to the ground, causing its outer skin to break apart and reveal a metallic core– a heavy black ore about the size of two fists combined. The ore had a faint golden tinge on its surface, and it was none other than one of the rare and precious ores highly sought after in the world of cultivators, the 'Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper'.
The cultivator leaped towards the ore excitedly. Although his face was pale and his limbs were weak with hunger, he still managed to cup the heavy ore up and place it into a mine car behind him. A couple dozen cultivators who were also mining for ores not far away gave him an envious look, then turned around to gaze at the few Yakshas who were grilling fishes and merrymaking near the pit entrance, before raising their picks up again and continuing digging and picking.
Wu Qi gave the lucky fellow a look too. Quietly, he raised the pick and continued hammering on the rock wall before him.
The Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper had a very high value in the world of cultivators.
The spirit medicines, herbs, and various rare ores which Wu Qi brought from Myriad Immortals Planet were all spirit items below seventh-grade. In other words, the things he brought from Myriad Immortals Planet were very valuable, but just for the Heaven Immortals!
Those immortal pills concocted with spirit medicines were only effective for Heaven Immortals, and those rare ores could only be used to craft immortal items. As for the upper-grade energy stones that stacked up like a mountain, although they were very useful for cultivators below the realm of Heaven Immortal, they were of little use for Heaven Immortals, and could only be considered as daily consumable items for them.
But, for the existences above the realm of Heaven Immortal, these things were totally useless!
For Gold Immortals who were one realm higher than Heaven Immortals, what they needed were spirit items of fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade. The Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper was a spirit item of upper sixth-grade, a supreme material very close to fifth-grade that they could use to craft Gold Immortal items.
Yes, the Gold Immortal items that were stronger than Immortal items! The predecessor of Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper was Dark Flaming Red Copper, an ore that sprayed out of underground volcanoes, and had been constantly compressed and washed under the tremendous pressure in the deep ocean for at least two Aeons, while absorbing a vast amount of natural energy during the process. It was an innate spirit item of double-element, Gold and Water!
Ordinary Immortal items used by Heaven Immortals only had the power of a single element, a representation of a single principle. Be it the Heaven Immortal items of Fire, Water, Gold, or other elements, regardless of what materials they were crafted with, these Heaven Immortal items were the ultimate representation of one single power, one that was very close to the core of a principle.
As the power of a Gold Immortal was based on fusing, mutating, twisting, and transforming principles, only materials with double or multiple elements could be used to craft a Gold Immortal item. If Wu Qi were to trade the mountains of spirit medicines, ores, and energy stones that he had brought from Myriad Immortals Planet with a Heaven Immortal, he might still be able to get himself countless treasures. However, if his target of trade was a Gold Immortal, that Gold Immortal would never give his treasures even a single glance. Instead, would prefer to choose a fist-sized Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper.
The quality of Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper in this mine was pretty good. The yield was about one kilogram for every million kilograms of ores. And, after being purified by the Gold Immortal's True Flame, the final product would be about five grams of Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper essence. When 250 grams of this essence was combined with some other materials, a Gold Immortal could craft himself an extremely powerful Gold Immortal item which was fused with the power of Gold and Water elements.
The total deposit of Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper in this mine was approximately 150 million kilograms. If they were all extracted and purified, the final yield was more than enough to craft at least three lower-grade Gold Immortal items. On an average, for every 500 grams of ores extracted, the coolies would have to dig out about 500 kilograms of rocks and soils. The workload was simply tremendous.
It was especially the case because the mine had taken shape after being constantly pressured and washed by the immense pressure in the Dark Abyss of Northern Ocean. The rocks were extremely dense, and several hundred times harder than ordinary steel. Apart from cultivators, no ordinary humans could remove even a small rock in this mine.
It was even worse when the Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper was crazily absorbing the natural energy around it. Not even a single thread of natural energy could be found in the place where it existed. As a result, the cultivators who were working in this mine could not absorb even a tiny bit of natural energy to restore their strength.
In this mine, all the cultivators were no different from ordinary mortals, other than the fact that their strength was stronger, which allowed them to barely bore through the thick and dense rock wall.
A crispy noise suddenly echoed out from Wu Qi's pick. It had dug out an ordinary rock, behind which came flying out a fist-sized ore. With a swift move, he grabbed the ore and tossed it into a mine car behind him. The fist-sized ore weighed about 15 kilograms, and a fully loaded car weighed about 500 kilograms. Every cultivator was required to fully fill a car before they could receive their food and drink for the day from the Yakshas who supervised them.
After losing the replenishment from the natural energy, even Heaven Immortals would feel hungry and thirsty, and would need to consume a large portion of food and drink to supply them with sufficient physical strength to keep them alive.
Moreover, without the supply of natural energy, once these cultivators had depleted the energy in their bodies, even fleeing would become a vain hope.
Turning around to look at the barely half-filled mine car, Wu Qi swept his finger across his chest, drawing out a stream of fresh water from Spirit Breeding Ring and drinking it with his head thrown back. The ring was once occupied by ten thousand people from the Long Bo Kingdom, and Wu Qi had prepared them a generous amount of food and fresh water. With their incredible appetite, the food and water was merely enough to last them one year, but it would take Wu Qi one hundred thousand years to finish them.
As the Spirit Breeding Ring did not have the ability to freeze time, after the people of Long Bo Kingdom were killed by the Primordial Gold Talisman, Wu Qi had transferred most of the food and water into the Black Dragon Spirit Ring and hid it in his Spiritual Ocean. He only left a small portion of food and water in the Spirit Breeding Ring.
Seeing that Wu Qi was drawing fresh water out of his Spirit Breeding Ring, those cultivators around him had their eyes turned green. They gave him a few glances before all shook their heads together. An old cultivator with a white beard said with a faint sigh, "Young man, how many things can you store in that ring? You better enjoy your days while they last! Once you have finished all the food, drink, and energy stones, you will look just like us!"
He was a Nascent Divinity cultivator. Yet, there was no energy left in his body, his Nascent Divinity was listless and dull like a tiny withering grass, and his body stooped like an ordinary old man. After losing all the energy in the body, even though he was a Nascent Divinity cultivator, when faced with tasks that required physical labor, the old man had become like an ordinary mortal, completely exhausted and having all his vitality nearly consumed.
Wu Qi gave the old cultivator a look, then turned to glance at the dozen cultivators in the same pit with him. Without uttering a word and maintaining his composure, he pulled out a flatbread made by the people of the Long Bo Kingdom, measuring ten feet in diameter and three inches in thickness. He gently moved his finger above it, slicing it into a dozen portions, then quickly threw them to the cultivators around him, who seemed to be in a shock. After that, he produced a dozen clay bottles and filled them with fresh water enough for the daily consumption of three to five people, and gave one to every cultivator.
A wild joy struck all the cultivators as they stared at Wu Qi with gratitude in their eyes. With the flatbread and fresh water, they could now survive at least a dozen more days in this dark pit. Wu Qi gave them a nod, then continued to wield his pick, digging and picking on the hard rock wall.
It was the second day after Wu Qi was sent to work in this pit. He had yet to complete the task of filling a mine car full. Therefore, he was yet to receive the food and water provided by the Yakshas. But, Wu Qi did not mind at all. When he heard the noises made by the Yakshas, he left the pick and the mine car behind, walking out of the pit with the rest of the cultivators in a single file and coming to the tens of miles wide mine cave.
There they entered another hole, walking along a tunnel for some while and coming to a huge pit entrance. Together with several thousand cultivators, Wu Qi walked into the pit entrance, and after walking for tens of miles in the tunnel, they came to an enormous cave that could house at least ten thousand people at the same time. Countless stalactites were hanging from the ceiling about one mile above the ground. Fresh water was dripping from their tips.
Thirst had nearly driven one cultivator insane. Stealthily, he lifted his head and opened his mouth ever so slightly, letting one drop of water to drip into his mouth.
All of a sudden, a ferocious-looking female Yaksha unleashed her flying sword, turning it into a beam of blue light and killing the cultivator. All the supervising Yakshas burst into a loud laughter, clapping hands and stamping feet excitedly. Some even wagged their hips and began to dance.
All the cultivators had lined up and were waiting quietly in the cave. After approximately fifteen minutes, footsteps could be heard coming from behind a naturally formed rock screen. Before long, escorted by a parade of cultivators clad in green Daoist robes, an old man walked out, who had a commanding appearance and a long, grayish beard that made him look like a true Immortal.
Wu Qi quickly bowed his head when he saw the old man, hastily using the mystic technique he learned from Scroll of Stealing to adjust his visage and muscles. Then, with a slight twist of his body and two cracking sounds from the bones, he was shorter by three inches.
The old man was obviously Lu Buwei. 'So, he is that Supervisor Lu of Miao Ying Palace? But, how is it even possible for him to arrive here two years ago?'
Even as Wu Qi's mind was troubled by that, Lu Buwei had already stood on a tall stalagmite and shouted at the top of his voice, "The cultivator with the least ores harvested this month will be executed!" His words were followed by a beam of blue light that flashed across the void. A female cultivator whose face was pale with fear gave a horrifying cry. When she was about to turn around and flee, the blue light caught up with her, brushing across her waist and cutting her in two.
Satisfied with the result, Lu Buwei said with a nod, "That's what you will get for not working hard!"
Clearing his throat and putting out a faint smile on his face, he said, "Thirty-eight new fellow Daoists have joined us this month. Please come forth, my new fellow Daoists. Mm, hand over all your storage items, flying swords, and magical items. Otherwise, do not blame me for being cruel and merciless!"
Suddenly, among the several thousand cultivators, a hideous-looking cultivator from the Evil League gave a nasty laugh. A dark and dense smoke rose from his body, transforming into a bony fiend who sprung up into the air and leaped towards Lu Buwei.
Wu Qi raised his head to look at the dark smoke, but at the same time, he was gazing at Lu Buwei out of the corners of his eyes.