Chapter 1, Mining Slave
Lu Ye carried a mining basket on his back and a mining pick in his hand as he walked forward, step by step, inside a dark and damp mining tunnel.
The youth had a sorrowful expression on his face, and his eyes were fixed on the empty space in front of him as though he was staring intently at something.
To an outsider, there was nothing in front of him.
But in reality, the youth could see a translucent shadow in his vision.
It looked like the shadow of a tree that was grey and indistinct.
He could not get a clear glimpse of it.
Nevertheless, he could see that it had lush foliage.
The tree branches split off from the tree trunk approximately one-third of the way along its length, splitting to the left and the right.
They were supporting a semi-circular canopy.
It had been more than a year since he arrived in this world called Jiu Zhou, but he had yet to figure out what that was.
All he knew was that if he concentrated hard enough, there was a chance for that Shadowy Tree to appear in his vision.
However, nobody else seemed to notice it.
“What a depressing life,” He sighed.
He had suddenly woken up and found himself in this unfamiliar world one year ago.
Unfortunately, the Sect he was staying with had been seized by a gang of thieves before he could familiarize himself with the environment of this world.
Many people had been killed during the attack, and he became a prisoner of that gang of thieves along with some other young men and women.
They were then sent to this mine to become lowly mining slaves.
It wasn’t until much later that he learned from the scattered conversations around him that the Sect he had previously been staying with was known as Mystical Sky Sect.
It was a Sect that belonged to the Grand Sky Coalition.
Although that Sect had an awesome and tyrannical name, it was very small in reality.
On the other hand, the Sect that attacked Mystical Sky Sect was known as Evil Moon Valley, a Sect under the control of Thousand Demon Ridge.
Grand Sky Coalition and Thousand Demon Ridge were the two major factions in this world.
They were both formed by the union of countless large and small forces that constantly fought against each other with the intention to wipe out the other party.
It was said that their battle had been ongoing for several hundred years.
In Lu Ye’s opinion, the struggle between the two forces was simply a confrontation between the lawful faction and the evil faction.
It was also nothing more than an accident that he got dragged into the confrontation.
The lands of Jiu Zhou had been ravaged by countless wars over the years.
Every year, small forces like Mystical Sky Sect would be wiped out completely, but more forces would soon spring forth like bamboo shoots after rain.
These forces would occupy various places and make the situation even more chaotic.
[Oh well… If I am a mining slave, then so be it…] Lu Ye comforted himself.
[Compared to those who were killed, at least I am still alive.] It wasn’t that he had any special skills or anything that allowed him to survive.
It was just that Evil Moon Valley needed people to carry out their miscellaneous chores, and a young person with no cultivation like him was undoubtedly the best choice for that task.
In fact, the mining slaves at this mine did not just consist of the members of Mystical Sky Sect but also the disciples of various small Clans and Sects.
Evil Moon Valley was not weak.
It had captured many territories over the years, and the original forces in those territories had been wiped out completely.
Among those who were defeated, those that were deemed useful had been sent to various places as slaves.
None of these people had anything special about them.
None of them had been Enlightened nor started cultivating, so they were very easy to control.
There was a saying in Jiu Zhou that went ‘Demons who were not Enlightened had difficulty taking Human form, and Humans who were not Enlightened had difficulty cultivating’.
To begin cultivating, one needed to unlock their Spiritual Points.
In other words, only those who managed to unlock their Spiritual Points had the qualifications to begin cultivating.
Enlightenment was not an easy thing to achieve.
Only 1 out of 100 people could unlock their Spiritual Points after undergoing systematic training.
That probability might increase somewhat if they came from a cultivation Clan or Sect and received guidance from their Elders.
Since Lu Ye could not unlock his Spiritual Points, he could only earn a living by mining in this dim mining tunnel.
Fortunately, it wasn’t as if mining slaves had no way out of their predicament.
If they could successfully achieve Enlightenment and report their achievement to the person in charge, they would receive the opportunity to take an assessment.
If they passed the assessment, they could become a disciple of Evil Moon Valley.
It was just that very few among the mining slaves could achieve Enlightenment.
How could they achieve Enlightenment when they worked all day long in this dim environment and couldn’t even get enough food to eat? That was why almost 99% of the mining slaves were resigned to their fate.
They worked themselves to the bone every single day just to get a full meal to eat.
Lu Ye did not have any sense of belonging towards Mystical Sky Sect.
After all, he had only just arrived in this world when Mystical Sky Sect was destroyed.
He didn’t even know any of the people in the Sect.
Be that as it may, he did not want to become a disciple of Evil Moon Valley either.
It was not part of the lawful force.
Just listening to the name gave him an evil vibe.
It was bound to be destroyed, sooner or later.
Even so, he could not spend his entire life as a mining slave in this place.
What kind of life would that be? He was one of the elites of the modern era.
If he had no dreams or ambitions, how would he be any different from a piece of salted fish? That was why he had been working hard to achieve Enlightenment over the past year.
At first, he thought that the Shadowy Tree only he could see would give him some kind of magical help.
Unfortunately, the Shadowy Tree remained nothing more than a shadow.
Forget about helping him out, it even affected his vision occasionally.
He strongly suspected that there was something wrong with his eyes.
Turning a corner, he saw a faint light in the distance.
It was one of the exits of the mining tunnel.
He had a good harvest today.
If he turned in the ore in his mining basket, he could probably get 3 Contribution Points.
Combined with the Contribution Points he accumulated over the past few days, he had around 12 points in total.
2 points would be used to exchange for 2 steamed buns, and the remaining 10 points would be just enough for him to redeem 1 Qi Blood Pill.
The Qi Blood Pill was a very Low-Grade Spirit Pill.
It was not something that could aid in achieving Enlightenment, but an abundance of Qi and blood were required to achieve Enlightenment.
Although the Qi Blood Pill was very Low-Grade, it was extremely suitable for people like him who had yet to achieve Enlightenment.
The reason why Evil Moon Valley was willing to hand out the Qi Blood Pill was not out of kindness.
It was because they were well-versed in the art of manipulating a person’s heart.
Despite being the cheapest and lower-grade Spirit Pill, it could make hopeful people work even harder at mining.
Lu Ye was a prime example… He worked very hard every single day.
Above 100 metres away from the entrance of the mining tunnel, he inadvertently glanced at a certain spot in the front left corner.
There was a huge boulder in that spot.
He kept walking and continued walking until he was about 35 metres away.
Only then did he put down the mining basket on his back, tighten his grip on his mining pick, take out a medium-sized rock from his mining basket, and weighed it in his hands.
In the next moment, he suddenly ran toward the boulder, slid sideways as he approached the boulder, and kicked out at the rock wall of the mining tunnel.
Then, he swooped down from above toward the back of the boulder with the help of the rebounding force from his kick.
His movements were as agile as a cheetah.
Two figures were half-squatting behind the boulder, concealing themselves with the help of the boulder.
They did not expect anybody to notice their presence.
Hence, it was too late for them to stand up by the time they heard a sound and looked up to see Lu Ye.
Under the horrified gazes of those two, Lu Ye raised his hand and threw the ore in his hand at them.
It hit one of them directly on the nose.
That person screamed in pain and fell on his back to the ground.
Blood flowed freely from his face.
Meanwhile, Lu Ye attacked again with the mining pick in his other hand.
Before his attack landed on the second person, that person reacted swiftly and turned his head to avoid the attack.
However, Lu Ye had already rushed over and followed up his attack with a kick to that person’s lower abdomen.
An expression of pain flashed across that person’s face as he staggered backwards from the kick and slumped to the ground, throwing up bile.
Lu Ye strode forward and grabbed the other party by the hair.
When he saw the other party’s face clearly, he sneered.
“I was wondering who it was.
It turned out to be you two brothers!”
He knew these two.
They were the disciples of the Liu Family Clan.
After the territory of the Liu Family Clan was seized by Evil Moon Valley, a few of the younger disciples of the Liu Family had been sent here to become mining slaves.
Strictly speaking, Lu Ye and the two brothers from the Liu Family Clan were in the same boat.
“Didn’t I warn you never to let me see you again!? I told you I’d kill you the next time I saw you!” While speaking, Lu Ye picked up a rock from the ground and viciously brought it smashing down.
That blow was very heavy, and Second Brother Liu let out a groan before collapsing to the ground unconscious.
After that, Lu Ye walked toward Big Brother Liu, who had been injured by him previously.
Big Brother Liu’s forehead was badly injured and the blood from his injury blurred his vision.
When he saw Lu Ye walking toward him through his blurry vision, he was so frightened that he scrambled away in a half-crawl.
“Have mercy! We didn’t know it was you! We thought it was someone else… Have mercy!”
The two brothers from the Liu Family Clan had been sneaking around in front of the exit of the mining tunnel.
It was clear that they had been up to no good.
These two had been pampered and coddled all their lives prior to their capture by Evil Moon Valley.
They refused to endure the hardships even after becoming mining slaves.
Unfortunately, the status of mining slaves was extremely low.
The people of Evil Moon Valley didn’t even consider mining slaves to be Human.
There was no way to obtain food without the ores to exchange for Contribution Points.
For that reason, these two brothers often hid in one of the mining tunnel’s many exits to rob the mining slaves who were alone.
Many people had suffered at their hands as a result.
Not only would they be robbed of their hard-earn ores of the day, but they would also be beaten half to death.
These two had tried to rob Lu Ye not too long ago, but they were no match for him and were taught a harsh lesson instead.
Lu Ye never imagined that he would encounter the two brothers again only a few days later.
All kinds of people existed in the mines.
There were people like the two brothers of the Liu Family Clan among the mining slaves who were gluttonous and lazy, and then, there were also people like Lu Ye who had dreams and ambitions.
Over the past year, Lu Ye had been using the Contribution Points he earned from exchanging ores to redeem Qi Blood Pills, in addition to ensuring his daily food and clothing necessities.
He had probably consumed more than 30 Qi Blood Pill by now.
This had caused his body to be stronger than most mining slaves.
Although his physique could not be said to be muscular, the power inherent in his body has already surpassed most ordinary people.
Dealing with two gluttonous and lazy mining slaves was naturally not a problem for him.
Big Brother Liu was still begging for mercy, but Lu Ye simply pretended not to hear anything.
Grabbing Big Brother Liu by the hair, he lifted another rock in his hand and viciously brought it smashing down again.
After spending a whole year as a mining slave, he had witnessed countless tragedies.
He had long since understood one truth in this world: pity and sympathy were useless in this dog-eat-dog world.
It wasn’t as though the mining slaves were cordial among themselves.
Mining slaves that came from various forces could never truly live together in harmony.
Thus, they often came to blows over a good piece of ore.
People died in the mining tunnels every single day.
One could see piles of bones scattered across the ground at varying intervals.
That was because many mining slaves starved to death after being robbed.
Big Brother Liu fell to the ground.
Lu Ye picked up his mining pick and his mining basket, then he strode toward the exit.
He had not killed the brothers from the Liu Family Clan.
It wasn’t out of kindness.
It was simply because injured mining slaves generally could not survive for long in this place.
He had only taken a few steps forward when a person rushed in through the exit in a panic.
“Get out of the way!” that person shouted.
At the same time, a palm struck toward Lu Ye.
At that moment, Lu Ye felt his entire body going cold.
He had caught a glimpse of a pale blue light flowing through the other party’s palm.
That was the light of Spiritual Power.
In other words, the person attacking him was a cultivator!
Only those who achieved Enlightenment were qualified to begin cultivating and be known as a cultivator.
A cultivator’s Spiritual Power was an extremely mysterious power.
Lu Ye had seen one of Evil Moon Valley’s cultivators launching an attack before.
Although the power behind that attack had not been much, that man had smashed a piece of ore with just a light hit of his palm.
It was precisely because Lu Ye had witnessed that strange sight that he made up his mind to unlock his Spiritual Points and become a cultivator.
He also secretly assessed that the weakest cultivator of Evil Moon Valley could easily take down 10 of him.
Therefore, he understood that he was in great danger the moment he realized that the person attacking him was a cultivator.
At that critical moment of life and death, he forcefully stopped in his tracks and leapt backward abruptly.
A numbness spread out from his chest and the sound of bones breaking rang out.
He was sent flying and collapsed to the ground with a groan.
The severe pain made his head clear up significantly.
When he realized he was still alive, he immediately stood back up.
“Huh!?” The cultivator who attacked seemed a little surprised.
Although he had not used his full strength just now, a normal mining slave should not have been able to withstand that attack even though it was just a casual swipe.
Borrowing the dim light, he saw the face of the mining slave and blurted out, “Lu Ye?”
At this moment, Lu Ye had turned around and was prepared to run away.
Upon hearing the voice coming from behind him, he froze in shock.
This cultivator surnamed ‘Yang’ was a lower manager at the mine.
Lu Ye would often deal with him because the redemption of the Qi Blood Pills was done through him.
Therefore, they could be considered rather familiar with each other.
Manager Yang had quite a favourable opinion of Lu Ye.
Mining slaves like Lu Ye who could bear such hardships yet still work so hard were very rare after all.
Nevertheless, there was no special treatment regardless of his positive impression of Lu Ye.
As long as Lu Ye did not achieve Enlightenment, there would always be an insurmountable gap between ordinary people like him and the cultivators.
After recognizing that it was Lu Ye, Manager Yang immediately understood why the other party had not died from his attack.
Lu Ye had redeemed many Qi Blood Pills from him over a year.
Therefore, Lu Ye’s physique was stronger than an ordinary mining slave.
Combined with the fact that his attack just now had only been a casual blow with no intention to kill, it was not surprising that the other party managed to survive.
Opposite Manager Yang, Lu Ye felt his heart pounding wildly like a drum in his chest.
Cultivators of Evil Moon Valley generally did not care about the life and death of the mining slaves.
Besides, they were aware of the constant fights between the mining slaves in the mine and generally turned a blind eye to them unless it happened right in front of them.
Right after he assaulted the two brothers of the Liu Family Clan and left them lying unconscious on the ground, he had turned around only to receive an attack from Manager Yang.
In his opinion, it seemed as though Manager Yang was disciplining him.
However, he soon noticed that something was not quite right.
Manager Yang had looked panicked when he rushed into the mine.
He didn’t look like he was trying to help the two brothers of the Liu Family Clan.
While Lu Ye was lost in his thoughts, Manager Yang revealed an expression of pleasant surprise.
It was almost as though his encounter with Lu Ye in this place was a good thing.
Leaning forward, he reached out and grabbed Lu Ye by the shoulder.
“Come with me!”
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