Chapter 516 The Mines
The group was led like they were cattle to the depths of the Fire Lord's dominion, down under a steep mountain, and further down its burrows. Through a cave system that looked so complex that it wouldn't be wrong to call it a maze.
The baleful Qi spread all over the cave system, invasive and devastating to anyone who is exposed to it for prolonged periods of time. It slowly eats away at one's vitality in exchange for filling them with bloating amounts of Baleful Qi.
The process was simple, it was like force-feeding the cultivators. Since they're shackled and restrained, they can't rotate their own Qi to battle against the Baleful Qi, and all they could do was take it in and suffer for it.
Once the Qi reaches lethal amounts, one of two things will happen, mostly the cultivators turn demonic as the pervasive Qi ruins their foundations and rebuilds their bodies forcefully and painfully into that of a demon.
For those who are more unfortunate, it makes them stronger and regenerates their bodies to handle the baleful Qi. Though why are they unfortunate if that happens?
It is because they become food for the Fire Lord.
People who are able to suppress the Baleful Qi are able to purify it in their bodies and will become food for the Fire Lord nothing more than supplements for his endless greed and desire.
The group was led to a deep underground cave, and along their path, they saw many old, wrinkled and skin-to-bone cultivators mindlessly carving through the stones.
They had a large bag behind their backs where they placed any Blood Stones they obtained from mining.
And on the ground lay the dead and dying cultivators. No one took care of their bodies for a simple reason.
After a while, their bodies will be consumed by the very cave and then ground down to become more bloodstones.
This cave was full of death energy it was so suffocating that anyone who didn't have a good talent in cultivation usually dies within the first few days.
As for those who are slightly capable they live to suffer for a while longer.
One would almost envy the dead.
No, here, everyone envies the dead. And they can't even take their own lives since the shackles prevent them from doing so.
The sound of a whip resounded through the cave, and it was at that point that the group arrived to the source of the sound.
A cultivator was on the ground with his back almost split open by the whip that he was struck with.
"You think you can laze around here?" the guard spoke, "Then how about I give you an eternal rest!" he said and struck him on the back once again, rending flesh and spraying blood all around the man who couldn't even scream due to how weak and exhausted he was.
Meng Hao had been here before, and he knew the suffering these people were going through, and he could do nothing but grit his teeth.
"Newcomers? Hah, welcome to h.e.l.l!" the guard with the whip said as he struck it right next to Meng Hao's feet.
"Get to f.u.c.king work!" he said as he pointed at the pickaxes and baskets.
Without complaints, Meng Hao moved first and grabbed the pickaxe. He slapped the basket behind his bag and began digging.
This caught the guard by surprise.
"You almost seem like you've been here before, strange?" he said.
Meng Hao didn't reply, and due to that the Guard smiled, "Good, you know better than to talk back to your superiors, keep up the good work, you might actually not be beaten half to death on your first day, Everyone else!" he said as he struck the dying man ending his life, "Get to f.u.c.king work!"
The remaining people then began grabbing pickaxes and started mimicking Meng Hao and what he was doing.
Most didn't even know how to mine. Some were normal cultivators who never did something like this, and some were even famous sons of clans and sects in their country never had never before worked in their lives.
Complaints and begging didn't work against the guards.
In fact, if anyone even tried it, they'll be punished severely.
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Money, status, power, nothing is of value here in the mines. Only the Fire Lord's rules apply, and if anyone disobeys them, they'll suffer a fate worse than death.
"But how did you realize where to place the baskets? No new basket is placed there, did you not think that it's the wrong spot and you'll be punished for it?" he asked.
"With respect to you good sir, the ground there had several indentations there, meaning that heavy objects were placed there, the indentations look like the bottom of the basket. So I didn't wish to bother you with asking questions when I could figure it out on my own," Meng Hao said.
The guard smiled and lightly slapped Meng Hao on the face, "Good, it's good to use your brain…hmm, this kid is awfully useful, keep it up, you might even have a chance of leaving this place in the next ten years," the guard said and ignored Meng Hao.
"Xiao Lai, what's going on?" another guard asked as he saw the interaction.
"Nothing really, I just found an interesting kid, that's all," the first guard spoke.
"Interesting? The interesting thing is you not shouting and ripping these newcomers apart…"
"Yes, they're following the orders rather diligently, its less pain in the a.s.s for me, so I don't mind it, what about your batch?"
"Oh, I already killed four of them… I'm envious though, how about you trade me the new kid if he's that useful?"
"Nah, with this kid leading these b.a.s.t.a.r.ds, I'll fill my quota better than you, why would I give you a golden goose, after all the reward for filling the quota is better than what you could trade me."
"d.a.m.n greedy b.a.s.t.a.r.d," the second guard laughed, "But still I could use some help send him my way if you're done with him."
"I'll see what I can do," the guard said then turned seeing a person that just dropped his axe.
"Well, I have to deal with that first," the guard said as a vicious smile plastered his face…
For now, Meng Hao's group can't do anything yet. But the gears in Master Rain's mind have already been moving since the moment they got into the mines.
A plan to leave this area and retrieve the incense burner has already been created. All he needs to do, was wait for the right time.
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