As they travelled in the deep underground tunnels, Chengfeng realised that he had no sense of direction, nor could he tell apart day or night. The only things that they could rely on right now were three things — The pickaxe in their hand, the squirrel within the cage and… light.
Su You grabbed a fire torch for himself, however, since he did not gesture the others to do the same, none of them dared to touch it. Chengfeng, on the other hand, was debating with himself on whether or not he should go back and retrieve the remaining fire torch that was left beside the elevator. But just as he was thinking, glistening blue light suddenly emerged from the tunnel in front of him. This light was cold but bright; It was the same light that was emitted from the crystals as they descended the mines.
It immediately caught Chengfeng’s attention, but just as he was about to use his pickaxe to mine the crystals, Su You quickly stopped him. “Junior Brother Chengfeng, these crystals cannot be mined. They’re used as a source of light for us to pass through. Furthermore, these are spirit stones, the ones that we’re looking for are spirit jades. Just follow us, and you’ll be able to start mining.”
Chengfeng was humiliated, but luckily he had thick skin. Moreover, under these dim lights, no one could see what his facial expression looked like.
The group followed Su You as they moved forward. After walking for about forty meters along the tunnel, something else caught Chengfeng’s attention once again. They had arrived inside a giant stone cave, this stone cave was the size of an acre and was about eight meters tall. In between the stone cave stood tall and sturdy stone pillars, some of them even reached the top of the cave, whereas the others were short and jagged. However, all of these stone pillars were sparkling in a faint neon green light as spirit jades were wedged in between them. This stone cave already had a fair amount of cultivators mining through, each of them had occupied one stone pillar each as they exerted their utmost strength to mine the spirit jades on the top.
Chengfeng took note of how they mined, each time these people raised their pickaxe, they tended to chisel the part that was further away from the spirit jade. As they finally chiselled out a large piece of stone and spirit jade, they would change into the smaller tip of the pickaxe and gently chisel the entire piece of spirit jade out from the stones.
Su You had no intentions of stopping as he continued to pass through the cave, Chengfeng observed for a while, then quickly chased after Su You and the rest with their journey. Among the group, quite a few had chosen to stay as they began to mine the unoccupied spaces.
After they had passed through the giant stone cave, Chengfeng realised that the tunnel turned into eight diverging paths. Su You and Tianjun walked towards the tunnel that was the second to the left as Chengfeng tried to keep up with them.
Just like that, they had travelled hundreds of meters. After passing through three giant stone caves that were similar to the first one, they continued forward. Until a stone cave that was so huge and so dream-like that Chengfeng could not even believe his eyes had appeared before them.
This cave’s size was at least ten times bigger than the previous stone caves! The cave’s walls were riddled with tunnels, where all of them were being mined into an upward slope. Every eight to seven meters would be another level of tunnels, and each level was surrounding the giant stone pillars that stood in the middle of the cave and extended to the other tunnels. Whereas the middle part of the stone pillars looked like spider webs as they extended into the other paths on the same level.
Chengfeng eyeballed the stone pillars and hypothesised that each of them would require at least ten grown men with their arms extended to fully surround them. As he lifted his head, he could see countless spirit stones embedded into the stone ceiling above him as they glistened brightly like a galaxy. These stone pillars all stood up high as they connected the ground to the ceiling, like giant heavenly trees. Each level of spider web-like stone paths was just like it’s tree branches, while the glistening spirit gems looked like its fruits.
Surrounding each ‘giant tree’ and every level of ‘branches’ was seven to eight shirtless men as they swung hard with their pickaxe. The massive cave was filled with echoes of metal to stone clinking. As these clinking sounds combined, it felt as if it was a long, never-ending note.
Chengfeng was rendered speechless at the scene as he stood perfectly still, in awe with its magnificence while he thought to himself, ‘So it’s true that reading thousands of books is not equal to travelling thousands of miles! My mind has been utterly opened! If I did not see this in person, my mind could never have imagined such a sight!’
Chengfeng couldn’t help but ask, “Senior Brother Su, are these… all Senior Brothers from the Spiritual Mountain Sect?”
Su You smiled, “They’re mostly servants from the other heavenly courts, that or they’re employed miners.”
“Employed?” asked Chengfeng puzzledly.
Su You nodded, “Many Senior Brothers of Hidden Brocade Court and Grand Senior Sister of Hidden Beauty Court do not come down here to mine minerals on their own, they would usually just employ long term miners or make their own servants come down and mine for them.”
Chengfeng couldn’t help but slap his forehead as he let out a long sigh, “Aiya, a miscalculation!”
“What is it?” asked Su You.
Chengfeng sighed, “If I knew this earlier I would have made Su Yuehan come down here to mine! I, the Young Master, am a gentle soul made from golden branches and jade leaves! How could I possibly do all this manual labour! Aiya, miscalculation! What a miscalculation! Next time, I’ll make her come down here! Yeap, that’s settled!”
Su You stared at Chengfeng in shock, “Junior Brother Chengfeng, do you really have the heart to let such a frail and helpless Junior Sister to come down here and mine for you? You… You really don’t know how to treasure a woman, do you? Please Junior Brother Chengfeng, think carefully!”
Chengfeng replied with a straight face, “It seems to me that she has no hope from the heavens now. Anyhow, this is something like a treasure hunt! Plus, she would learn so many things from this experience! It’s such a rare opportunity! And since I am such a gentle and considerate, not to mention, kind Young Master, if such a great chance were to arise, I will definitely give it to her!”
Tianjun couldn’t help but let out a guffaw, Su You too was laughing.
However, among the group, someone was listening in on their conversation. But as this mysterious person heard what Chengfeng had said, they couldn’t help but clench their teeth and thought to themselves, ‘It’s such a pity that I was so worried about you that I even secretly followed you here! And to think that you even thought about sending me to this sh*thole to dig for minerals? Dig your stupid head! I’ll dig you a grave and bury you in it!’
Chengfeng and the rest joked about, but soon after, some miners had come to argue with them.
“Hey, what are you doing here? Get out. This is my turf!” A ‘miner’ that was drenched in sweat glared at Chengfeng in a fury. These ‘miners’ were on guard after seeing a large group pass by the humongous cave, fearing that they would come and steal their mining turf away.
Chengfeng was still laughing, however, Su You quickly pulled him aside, “It seems we’ve arrived late. Let’s go deeper into the mountain.”
Chengfeng continued to move forward, while he walked he kept mumbling, “We departed before the sun had even risen, how could we possibly be late?
Tianjun laughed, “Maybe Junior Brother Chengfeng doesn’t know but many of these miners… live here. They would bring some dry food and water down here, and when they get tired, they will set up a small blanket for them to sleep for the night. These people would only leave once they dug out enough spirit gems.”
As Chengfeng listened, he slowly noticed that some miners were curled up with their thin blankets as they slept on the ground, while others had sunken eyes, with their dark circles very apparent. Not to mention, some of them were so skinny that their ribs were poking out.
Chengfeng was shocked on the inside as he continued to follow Su You down the path. They eventually passed by a few more caves. However, the miners surrounding them were becoming lesser. Those who had followed behind Su You eventually all left them to mine these empty places on their own.
Chengfeng did not want to fight with them for a spot, so he continued to follow Su You as they passed by more caves. Chengfeng was more mindful than the others when it came to this, he would carefully observe the surroundings before mining instead of fighting for the first vacant spot they see like hungry dogs fighting for a bone.
Eventually, the group of ten or so people had all found their own mining areas. There were not many people left that were following behind Chengfeng. When he turned his head around to get a glimpse, he noticed that not far from him was a person who had their head lowered, this mysterious person was wearing a cultivator’s robe as well as a hat. However, when they realised that Chengfeng was looking at them, this mysterious person immediately turned around to run.
The moment Chengfeng saw this person’s body shape, he immediately felt so angry that he started to laugh. In one fell swoop, Chengfeng caught this person. He then proceeded to tug on their hat and slapped them in the butt. A crisp slapping sound could be heard resonating from the stone caves.
This person had silky black hair that was tied into a bun, although they wore robes that were sizes too large, their small and slender silhouette could still be seen clearly. Her face blushed red in embarrassment as she held onto her butt, jumping backwards as she angrily glared daggers into Chengfeng’s eyes. This girl was beautiful even when she was angry. If it wasn’t Su Yuehan, who else could it be?