Shao Xuan stared at the other person’s horrified look and whispered into his ear, “Answer me! I’m asking you a question” 

His captive nodded repeatedly. 

Shao Xuan slowly loosened his hold on his captive’s throat. He saw that the man heaved a sigh of relief and asked, “What is Dao Yu doing down there?”

The man suddenly looked up with eyes filled with fear. He did not expect Shao Xuan to mention Dao Yu’s name directly. It was obvious that he was very afraid of the name Dao Yu. 

Shao Xuan tightened his grip on the man’s throat once again, as if he was planning to slash his throat right on the spot.

The man nodded and shook his head at the same time, as if he had something to say but couldn’t make a sound. When Shao Xuan released him, the man kept coughing. 

“Tell me now.” 

“He is at… at… go to hell!” 

All of a sudden, the horrified expression on the man’s face disappeared and was replaced with a murderous look. The man stepped back abruptly, twisted his legs and swept towards Shao Xuan like a whirlwind. A sharp bone piece was sandwiched between the toes of his foot. And if anyone was cut by the sharp bone, it would certainly be a bloody tragedy for him. 

However, Shao Xuan was prepared. He did not attack, but only moved his hands slightly. 

A wooden thorn pierced the man’s throat. 

While in the desert, Shao Xuan had broken off this wooden thorn from a tree covered in hard thorns. The thorn itself was hard and Shao Xuan smeared poison on it. The person stabbed by this wooden thorn would feel drowsy, then fall into a deep sleep. 

After the man fell, Shao Xuan killed him with his knife and buried him. Then he went to the place where the man came from. He imitated the man’s movements by brushing off the sand and knocked on the slate a few times.

The slate opened a slit, and a guard on duty who was standing below looked outside, but did not see anyone. The guard opened the slate in disbelief and craned his neck for a closer look. Not long after, he felt a sudden burst of pain on his neck and his sight quickly blurred. 

After the man fell on the ground, Shao Xuan waited outside the silt for a while to see if there was anyone nearby. When he was sure that he was alone, he slipped through and carried the fainted man to the side. He arranged the man into a position to look as if he had fallen asleep on the ground. 

When Shao Xuan pulled the slate back to its original position, he saw a small opening behind the slate. He then picked up a polished stone stick next to it, and stuck it there to prevent other people outside from pulling the slate to enter. After the slate was pulled up, the passage below became dark. 

There was a fire torch next to the slate. 

But Shao Xuan did not need the fire torch.  

The tunnel was nearly 2 metres high, and not more than one metre wide. Shao Xuan listened cautiously to the movement in the tunnel and moved forward. The dark tunnel wasn’t a difficult challenge for him, it was only a matter of changing the direction of his vision. 

He continued walking forward and reached a fork at the tunnel, which led to three branch passages. 

Shao Xuan chose one passage intuitively and walked in. As he walked further in the tunnel, the image of the shell of the totem flames in his mind became brighter. But at the same time, he was feeling uncomfortable. Every nerve fibres in his body were screaming danger. The danger he sensed did not come from any human beings, but due to different reasons. 

The further he walked in, the wider the tunnel became. There was wind blowing through the passage, perhaps there were other exits available. The tunnel did not seem like a newly built one, but looked like an ancient tunnel built a long time ago. 

Shao Xian moved a little forward and found that there were a lot of warehouses, and there were people guarding them. There was a fire torch nearby, three guards were leaning on the torch while sitting on the ground. However, the guards looked like they were dozing off. 

Shao Xuan sneaked into one of the warehouses, the three guards standing outside the warehouse were oblivious to this.

There was no door in the warehouse. Inside the warehouse, there were many stones of different sizes and the stones were of high quality. The first thought that came into Shao Xuan's mind was that this was the place where White Stone City stored their stone materials, to make stoneware. But he thought it was quite suspicious that the stones were stored so far away from the city. It seemed like these people were plotting something. 

At that moment, Shao Xian heard a noise outside. He then hid himself behind some rocks and peered through the cracks of the rock to see what was going on outside. 

A group of people came towards the same direction and were holding torches that illuminated the interior of the warehouses.

"Hurry, hurry, move more of these over there!" a man said. 

"Again? There are already a lot of stones inside the warehouse."

"Master Dao has given the orders. And we must obey him. So hurry up and move them now! He’s standing there, looking at us now." 

There was the sound of stones moved out of one of the warehouses. A man lowered his voice and whispered, “I heard that there were a few more dead, and their body had rot, you think we’ll become one of them?" 

"But if we are able to survive for these few days, Master Dao promised us we will be promoted. He said that he will inform the master about this. 

The men moved the stones and gradually left. The place darkened again. 

The three guards outside spoke for a while. One guard went for a quick loo and left for a moment. This was the place where the stones were stored, they wouldn't dare leave. 

Only two guards remained. One yawned and continued to sleep as he was not feeling very well. The other guard looked towards his companion who was dozing on the floor, and saw that his face had started to rot. He was terrified and was sure that his companion would not last long. 

While he was sulking about it, he heard the sound of a pebble falling on the ground and was startled. He went over to see what it was but saw nothing. He then went back to where he was and soon was deep in his thoughts. 

But Shao Xuan had already left the warehouse by then. The sound of the pebble falling on the ground was just his idea to distract his enemy. 

He remembered the route which the men took while they were moving all those rocks, and head towards that direction. 

The sense of danger was growing stronger. It may be related to the disease that the men were infected with. 

What exactly is hidden here? 

Is Dao Yu the Master Dao those men mentioned? 

As Shao Xuan continued to sneak in the passageway, Dao Yu was looking at a small object not far away with furious eyes.

There were various sizes of stones surrounding Dao Yu. Most of the stones were of high quality. 

This place was originally built by one of the former lords of the White Stone City to hide all his gemstones and served as his tomb after his death. Hundreds of slaves died to build such a burial ground. The remaining slaves were all killed even after the underground chamber was built. Thus, only few people know about it. Even if some people know about the existence of this chamber, they do not know the exact location. 

Later, the late lord of the White Stone City opened the place again, and placed his deceased ancestor's coffin in a corner. He also made the underground chamber into a place to store his gemstones. This was because he knew a secret the three big cities were hiding, and also thought that one day he could steal it away from the three big cities. 

It was a pity that the lord was killed by his subordinates and did not manage to fulfill his greedy ambitions. He had not expected himself to die so soon, and that his slaves would get all the benefits for themselves. More than one person who had betrayed him. Two out of three personal bodyguards betrayed him, and one who was loyal to him had been killed. 

Dao Yu looked at the object that was no bigger than a fist. That was the core seed the lord of the White Stone City was yearning for. With the help of Shi Shu, he managed to steal it from the Snow Plains City during a riot. He was ecstatic when he was allowed to keep the core seed. 

Those shiny weapons used by the three big cities, such as the armor and weapon used by the late Snow Plains Lord were derived from the core seed. The core seed could turn rocks into ore so they could extract what was needed from the ores. 

These will be mine soon! 

This will be Dao Yu’s very own underground chamber!

Was he afraid of the Flaming Horn tribe’s revenge? 

Initially, he was worried after receiving news of them. But as the strength of his army grew and the information he held increased through knowing some of the tribe's secrets, he now looked down on the tribe people. The slave masters were the true rulers of the people! 

And he, Dao Yu, would think of a plan to become a slave master himself!

When he thought about Shao Xuan’s abilities, he grew depressed. But very soon he was happy again. With White Stone City and the core seed, he did not have to be afraid. He could still find a solution to solve the difficulties ahead. 

A war would soon take place in the desert. After the war was over, the three big cities would no longer exist. Dao Yu had no idea whether the other cities would be able to survive the ordeal, but Fallen Leaves City might be able to survive from the tragic circumstances. As for his future rule over White Stone City… No, no more calling it White Stone City, I will have to change the name of the place. 

However, Dao Yu, who was dreaming of a better future, did not know that the person whom he disliked very much was heading in his direction.