Chapter 474 – Spiritual Stone Mines
“Have you stared enough?” Ru Xin did not reveal her awkwardness and uneasiness. She casually raised her hand and swept aside her hair with her little finger in a leisurely manner. Her fair, graceful face formed clear curves under the ceiling lights, which made her seem extremely beautiful.
Her gaze drifted away, perhaps provoking him or turning him down.
“I’ve grown sick a long time ago.”
Li Qingshan retorted immediately, only to remember he should have responded with something sickly sweet like “I can never get enough”. This was an almost automatic defensive response he had developed from spending time with her.
“You, oh you!” Ru Xin smiled and shook her head gently. Who knew whether it was disappointment or relief.
“You might be rather good-looking, but it’s nowhere near enough to seduce me!”
Li Qingshan smiled too, recovering his composure. He did not wish to see their relationship destroyed because of what he felt on a whim.
“Right back at you! If you’re sick of it, then piss off. Don’t get in my way of refining pills.” Ru Xin stood up to see him off.
“But I haven’t even finished my tea.”
“It’s finished.” Ru Xin picked it up and emptied it before shooing Li Qingshan out the door.
When Li Qingshan left, he wanted to say something, but all he saw was the door being slammed in his face. As he gazed at the stone door, he felt rather reluctant to just let this end like this.
Ru Xin stared at the stone door too as light rippled through her eyes. It seemed frigid, yet also passionate.
The two of them simply stared at one another with the heavy, stone door there, unable to see one another. However, their gazes did not shift at all.
Li Qingshan suddenly smiled, turning around and leaving on a cloud. He crossed his arms leisurely. He just dismissed it as becoming slightly muddle-headed for once during his long journey of cultivation. It was fine if he was reluctant. There was still plenty of time ahead.
Ru Xin let out a gentle sigh and sneered. “Coward.” Suddenly, she began to rub her head in distress. “With all these spiritual herbs, how long do I have to refine them for!?”
She was not completely joking with what she had said earlier. Recently, she had become rather tired of refining pills, but with so many benefits laid out before her, she would put up with it no matter how tired she was.
The night deepened. The rain eased up slightly, but it continued to patter endlessly, drenching the earth and mountains.
With the arrival of spring came the season of rain.
It also rained a thousand kilometers south-west.
There was a great, ruptured mountain. The mountain was teeming with spiritual qi, which indicated the presence of a spiritual stone vein. Within the rupture, scattered pieces of spiritual stones shone gently.
On the foot of the mountain was a mine. Ye Liusu appeared there like a shadow. Her simple, black armour was extremely revealing. Her slender legs in boots moved even more gently than a cat as she made her way through the rain.
Her brows were slightly furrowed on her delicate face, as if she was considering something. Her dark blue skin did not affect her beauty at all, adding a mysterious sense of charm instead.
“Sister, the daemons are retreating. What should we do? Dammit, to think they didn’t contact us!” Ye Liubo followed closely behind. Her appearance was only slightly lacklustre to Ye Liusu, but with her curves, she possessed a romantic charm that even Ye Liusu failed to match.
Leading the army of night roamers, Ye LIusu attacked the various spiritual stone mines scattered throughout the land. Some mines were heavily guarded, protected by powerful cultivators, but compared to their army, they were nothing. Although they had suffered quite a lot of casualties, only a single night roamer who had undergone the first heavenly tribulation died in battle. The resistance that they faced was rather weak.
The biggest problem did not actually come from the daemons or the humans, but from themselves.
Although Li Qingshan had given Ye Liusu the task of commanding them, the various forms of strike, both open and secret, immediately began to spread through the ranks without his presence. The powerful night roamer who fell in battle died to extremely strange circumstances.
From a certain perspective, these battles no longer had anything to do with their interests. Instead, it was a form of instinct. They would harm one another as soon as the opportunity presented itself, even if it offered no benefits. It was no different from, “You’re too perfect in this area, so I couldn’t help myself but to kick you. It’s been quite some time since kicking someone has been so satisfying”.
This was the aspect that troubled Ye Liusu the most. Sometimes, she would even think in anger, Are night roamers like them really worth all my effort? However, a thought like that would vanish in a flash. It was not enough to influence an idealist like her.
Through the various trials, she developed a leader’s bearing, and her supporters gradually increased. They all found Ye Liusu extremely admirable.
Ever since the Daemon Suppression alliance and the Academy of the Hundred Schools forged an alliance in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain, they placed most of their focus on attacking the daemons that ran amok on the surface. After all, spiritual stone veins were important, but they could always steal them back if they lost them. It was not like they could be uprooted and taken away. At most, they would just lose out on some spiritual stones.
On the other hand, death was permanent. If the Clear River prefecture had actually been decimated, not only would the academy be unable to recruit any suitable disciples, the various sects would be no different. Humans had short lifespans, and the lifespans of cultivators were not particularly long either. Going a few generations without accepting any new disciples was definitely enough to end a sect’s legacy and lead it to its demise.
Although none of them cared about the lives of regular people after becoming cultivators, all of them understood the foundation of the cultivation community lay among these regular people who produced generations after generations.
As a result, these attacks from the night roamers essentially went unimpeded. Instead, they were more than willing to use these mines to keep the night roamer army busy and reduce the pressure they faced on the battlefield. As long as they defeated the daemons, did they have to worry about losing these mines for good?
Ye Liusu gazed at the night rain and said after quite a while of thought, “Let’s retreat too. We can’t stay behind and serve as the vanguard for them.”
“But we only managed to claim these mines after so much effort.”
“We’ll give up on them all,” Ye Liusu said resolutely.
The battle had been on the safer side, but they had not exactly reaped a bountiful harvest either. Although they had obtained large quantities of spiritual stone ore, the spiritual stone veins underground had always been much more plentiful than the ones on the surface. Mining underground was much safer too.
Moreover, night roamers were nowhere near as knowledgeable as humans when it came to using spiritual stones.
That was because spiritual stones could not be directly used the moment they were mined. They had to be further refined, purified and concentrated to obtain the type of spiritual stones regularly used for battle and cultivation. Otherwise, the spiritual qi would be extremely impure, making it very difficult to use.
Night roamers obviously did not possess the technique to refine them, so they were not particularly enthusiastic about something like mining. Obtaining all this ore was rather useless.
Of course, there were spiritual stone mines with very high levels of purity, but they were claimed by various Daemon Generals. Let alone venturing into their territory for mining, even if they managed to sever the spiritual stone vein from below, that was enough to lead to war!
Ye Liubo smiled. “Fair enough. These shitty rocks don’t seem to be of any proper use anyway. I’ll go call everyone right now. I just happen to be missing master too. The rain is so pretty!”
There will be a day when we can shower under the rain as we please, Ye Liusu thought to herself.
Cultivators observed the army of night roamers from extremely far away through techniques. They saw them abandon the mines and leave in a winding mass. The cultivators immediately returned to the mines and reestablished the formations, commencing with the excavation again.
“Sir prefect, the night roamers have retreated too. We’ve retaken all the spiritual stone mines already, except rebuilding what we had will lead to some difficulties.”
In Clear River city, Liu Zhangqing listened to the report of a subordinate and stroked his long beard in thought. After the battle ended, the first thing he asked about was the situation of the spiritual stone mines. Spiritual stone mines to cultivators were like gold mines to regular people. They were extremely important. Normally, a single spiritual stone mine was enough to spark a great conflict between two sects.
The night roamers were very dissatisfied with their spoils this time, but it did cause quite a loss to the human cultivators. Apart from the spiritual stones themselves, the defensive formations and mechanisms and the puppets for mining had all been destroyed. It would take them quite the effort to establish everything again.
“How long will it take before we recover our previous functionality?”
“Over a month at the very least.”
“We’ve already lost most of the month.”
Liu Zhangqing let out a sigh. The three years of war had already depleted many of the resources they had accumulated over the years. Once they lost their supply of spiritual stones, many powerful mechanisms and puppets would be rendered useless and many formations would not be available for use. Cultivators would not be able to draw out the spiritual qi within spiritual stones to recover either. The consequences would be unthinkable.
“Please invite the leader of the school of Miscellany, Gou Dai, over!”
As soon as Li Qingshan returned to the dwelling and spoke a little with Xiao An, he felt a series of disturbances from around him. With a thought, the exquisite patterns carefully carved by the night roamer craftsmen filled his eyes.
A few blue butterflies fluttered about, illuminating a small range. Beside him, Milliped had already woken up from his sleep. Who knew where he had wandered off to.
The original dwelling had also been sealed up by a carefully sculpted stone door. Behind the door were many obscure auras that silently drew closer.
“Sir Northmoon!” “Master.”
The stone door opened, and the night roamers returned from above ground. They immediately reported back to him, passing through the Blue Butterfly flowers like shadows and arriving before the stone bed, performing a bow together.
Unable to help herself, Ye Liubo immediately became tempted to throw herself into his arms, but looking at the surroundings, she managed to hold herself back. She stood behind Ye Liusu obediently.
The social hierarchy was clearly divided in the underground world. If she acted fearlessly just because she had her master’s trust and damaged his bearing, it would be bad. She did not want him to dislike her. Just as she thought of that, she suddenly saw Li Qingshan waving his hand at her with a smile. “Liubo, come over here!”
Ye Liubo could no longer care anymore, diving into his arms. The matriarchs all witnessed this and could not help but blame their own daughters. They had also served Northmoon for so long, so why hadn’t they received the same level of favour from him?
“Oh, you’re back. How are the spoils of the battle?”
Li Qingshan asked despite already knowing the answer. The night roamers had not become too involved with this battle, so he was not too worried about Ye Liubo’s safety. However, seeing her standing before him safely still brought him great joy.
As for his so-called dignity or bearing or whatever that was, he did not care at all. People of power naturally possessed a dignified bearing, while the weak only knew how to pose around in a futile manner.
Before Ye Liusu could reply, he lowered his head and ran his hand down Ye Liubo’s back gently. He asked in concern, “You weren’t injured, were you?”
“Please check for yourself later, master.”
Ye Liubo clung onto his waist firmly. As she listened to his metallic voice ask those words of concern, her heart almost melted. She nodded forcefully. When the somewhat sharp tips of his fingers ran across her skin, she could not help but moan in delight inside.