Shao Xuan did not tell anyone about his success with the beetle, nor did he seal the beetle hole in the corner of the house. 

He’d initially planned to kill it after but he’d change its mind and let it live instead. However, that beetle would appear once a day, and on one day it even rolled a ball of dung right to his feet.

When that happened, all Shao Xuan could think was should he kill it, or kill it? 

Perhaps sensing Shao Xuan’s feelings about this incident, the beetle lifted its legs and pushed the ball of dung back into its hole. After that day, it never pushed any dung balls out of its hole again, saving its own life. 

Every day, whenever it scurried around Shao Xuan, he could barely hold himself back from stepping on it. After a while though, thank goodness the beetle stopped scurrying randomly indoors. Other than appearing before him once a day, it stopped walking in the house. Shao Xuan occasionally saw the beetle at the camel stables. 

In the beginning, this beetle was hard to spot. There were many insects walking around even on cold days in Beast Battle City. These insects were the more cold-resistant species, often spotted around places where there were animals. After a while, Shao Xuan could easily spot his beetle slave from tens of different beetles. 

As days passed, he realised his beetle was growing at immense speed- much quicker than its peers. Within five days, it had almost doubled in size and seemed to still be growing. 

Other than its size, it was changing in colour too. Initially black, the beetle was now a bright blue. 

Shao Xuan even attempted to unlock one shackle but he was not familiar with the process of unshackling, nor had he seen Su Gu unshackling his slaves. After a while of consideration, he gave up on this thought. 

Five more days passed. It had turned a deeper, purer blue. It was as if it was wearing a suit of deep blue armour, shiny under sunlight. It was still growing- if anything, it was growing bigger, faster. 

It was ten days since the day of enslavement. From a black dot no bigger than the tip of Shao Xuan pinky, the beetle was almost as big as his fist now. Its six legs looked like knives with hooks, Shao Xuan had personally witnessed this little bastard easily cut through grass while rolling dung at the camel stables. 

Initially, Shao Xuan was worried it might be seen by someone, the beetle being so unique. However, the little bastard was quite smart too. It dove into hiding at lightning speed every time someone passed, leaving a dung ball obviously larger than the rest out in the open while it hid in some grass. Fortunately, the slaves caring for the camels did not notice. 

Usually, even if the beetle appeared at Shao Xuan’s room, it would remain near its hole in the corner, never scurrying randomly across the floors. This was at his request, and to his surprise, the beetle listened. This beetle had grown to be receptive towards more and more complex commands. 

Other than Shao Xuan, Lei and Tuo naturally knew of this beetle’s existence too, though they did not know it was his slave. 

They were given the instruction not to kill this beetle, so naturally, they too noticed the changes in this beetle as time passed. While they had their questions, since Shao Xuan was unwilling to talk about it, they never asked. They privately wondered if Shao Xuan had somehow tamed this beetle. 

When it wasn’t moving, this beetle looked like a block of sapphire. 

“Hey, it does look like a sapphire!” remarked Lei. 

They’d seen blue diamonds a few days ago used as bets among the slave masters, quite different from the flame mound stones or fire crystals they’d seen before. This beetle looked like sapphire. 

That was why when no one was around, Lei and Tuo jokingly referred to the beetle as Sapphire. After a while, the name stuck. It didn’t matter that the beetle’s job was pushing dung balls around, Lei and Tuo didn’t mind. They took a liking to the beetle, and when they were bored they even played with the beetle, watching the beetle cut thin branches into bits. 

Today, Shao Xuan and the other two were going to watch a battle between Su Gu and a slave master from White Stone City. 

Recently, Su Gu had been invited to several battles against a few slave masters from White Stone City. He lost some, won some, yesterday even winning a rare herbal medicine used to treat injuries, specially produced in the desert. Su Gu had gifted it to Shao Xuan for he’d been very helpful in picking prizes. That was why he would gift some of it to Shao Xuan. 

Shao Xuan brought some of the medicine with him and left the rest in his room. 

----

A stone house within White Stone City’s base, not far from Beast Battle City. 

Doors and windows were shut tight. A few rocks were glowing weakly in the dark. There was a strange smell in the room but the three people inside did not seem to mind. 

“How’s progress?” asked a young man wearing a lot of jewel-encrusted jewellery. 

Another young man sat with his legs crossed on some animal skin. On his neck hung bones carved into shapes of skulls, his eyes gleaming with cruelty. Upon hearing the man’s question, his features relaxed. “Do not worry, young master.” 

As he spoke, he opened a container made of some animal’s shell, releasing its contents. 

Ants as large as soybeans crawled out. There were nine in total, each brownish-black. 

The ants crawled into a hole in the house and disappeared. 

The young master sat down when he saw this. “Su Gu should have accepted the invitation for a battle at Beast Battle City, he must’ve left the house by now. I can only imagine the look on his face when he realises his Flame Mound Stone is missing upon his return! Hahaha!” 

News of Su Gu winning a Flame Mound Stone from Flame Mound City had spread, plus he had been appearing in many battles. His name was a hot topic of discussion among the young slave masters, many were jealous- including the slaves of White Stone City who hated Su Gu. 

Unfortunately, Su Gu never placed bets using this stone. 

To teach Su Gu a lesson, this young slave master had instructed two people to think of a plan. At the same time, he had received news that Su Gu did not like slaves staying in his room, hence the birth of today’s plan. 

The young slave master from White Stone City let out a guffaw once again when he thought about what would happen to Su Gu if he lost the stone he’d won. He would definitely be so embarrassed among the slave master community! 

‘Face’ was very important to these young slave masters. 

There was a third person in the room, though he had not spoken since the beginning. He merely sat quietly as he listened to their conversation. 

Underground, a team of nine ants marched towards the Fallen Leaves City’s base from White Stone’s camp.