Chapter 64: A New Discovery (Part 10)
When he opened his eyes, Iron Cliff found himself lying inside a cave. Not far away from him, a crystal lamp was lit. Su Chen walked towards him.
“You’re awake? How do you feel?” Su Chen asked.
Iron Cliff sat up and rubbed the back of his head. “The bed is slightly small.”
Su Chen laughed. “Thankfully, you weren’t too injured; only some of your muscles were torn. This is my first time seeing pure physical strength resist an Origin Skill...... not bad.”
Iron Cliff laughed with some embarrassment.
He looked around, and when he saw something lying in the corner, he discovered that it was that frightening giant beetle. He instinctively jumped into the air out of fright.
“Don’t be nervous, it won’t hurt you.” Su Chen waved his hand at Iron Cliff.
Perhaps out of habit, after running around outside for a bit, the metal-eating bug had automatically returned to the corner of the cave, unmoving.
Iron Cliff sat back down with some annoyance.
Su Chen handed him a bottle. “If you drink this, you will recover more quickly. But as a side-effect you might feel weak for a day, or you might have diarrhea. However, there shouldn’t be any big problems.”
“Okay.” Iron Cliff obediently received the medicine, gulping it down.
Upon seeing his quiet, obedient attitude, Su Chen suddenly asked, “Why did you help me?”
Iron Cliff replied straightforwardly, “You are my master. Of course I would fight for you.”
“But you aren’t my soldier; you’re just my servant. Fighting is not your responsibility. Also, if I died, then you would be free to go.”
Iron Cliff shook his head. “I didn’t think about it. I just thought that I should do it this way.”
“So there was no other reason? Such as ‘you like me as a master’, or ‘you feel like I treated you better than Black Hand’, or any other reason?”
Iron Cliff shook his head. “I’ve followed four masters. You are not the one that has treated me the best. My second master, who was female, treated me the best. She was very kind. She never made me work. She was always good to me.”
Su Chen let out a laugh. “You really don’t know how to flatter people. So why didn’t your previous female owner want you anymore?”
Some pain flitted across Iron Cliff’s eyes. “It’s not that she didn’t want me anymore. She died. In the midst of a battle, a despicable person mounted a sneak-attack and stabbed her in the back.”
“My condolences,” Su Chen said.
Iron Cliff lowered his head, sitting there without making a sound.
Seeing his quiet appearance, Su Chen’s heart was moved.
He said, “Do you want to become my soldier? Someone who specifically does battle for me?”
Iron Cliff was stunned. “I don’t have any Origin Energy power.”
“I can teach you.”
Iron Cliff shook his head. “I am very stupid. The previous three masters all taught me, but I just couldn’t learn it.”
“Was it that you couldn’t learn it well, or that you couldn’t learn at all?”
Iron Cliff thought for a moment, then replied, “It should be that I couldn’t learn well. The Cliff Race’s perception of Origin Energy is very low, and our cultivation speed is also very slow.
“But you can still learn, can’t you? It’s just that it’s somewhat slow.”
“But I don’t want to learn.” Iron Cliff lowered his head. “I hate battling, and I don’t like killing.”
Su Chen was stunned for a moment. It was a long while before he responded, saying, “You’re right. Killing is not a good thing, but only with enough strength can one control their own destiny and avoid being killed. Do you not want to become stronger? Do you not want to get revenge for your female master?”
Upon hearing the last sentence, Iron Cliff’s eyes began to flicker with energy.
But in the next instant, this spirit once again dimmed.
He lowered his head, saying with melancholy, “I couldn’t beat that person. He was very strong...... You couldn’t beat him either. Even if we combined forces, we couldn’t beat him.”
“But that’s only right now.” Su Chen grasped Iron Cliff’s shoulder. “If you trust me, I might have a way of increasing your speed of cultivation.”
Iron Cliff raised his head with amazement. What he saw was Su Chen’s eyes, filled with confidence.
Warmth began coursing through his heart. Iron Cliff slowly nodded his head. “Okay, I am willing to be your soldier. What do you need me to do?”
“Right now......” Su Chen laughed, “Sorry, although your previous female master didn’t make you work, I am not that generous, mostly because I have no one working for me. Help me dig out some ore; mine out all the starsilver ore inside this cave for me. Whenever you finish digging, we will return, and I will cultivate with you at that time.”
“Okay!” Iron Cliff nodded his thick, heavy head.
In the following days, Iron Cliff spent all his energy mining for ore.
Although this cave was where the metal-eating bug lived and ate, its appetite was limited. Once the bug was full, it would not continue to eat, so its ore consumption rate was far less than that of the insatiable human race. For humans, as long as they could still find ore, they would continue to mine it incessantly.
Because of this, there was still quite a significant amount of starsilver ore that came falling out as Iron Cliff continued to mine.
Under these circumstances, that metal-eating bug actually became somewhat of a nuisance.
Every time the large beetle got hungry, it would whimper and run over, eating voraciously from their pile of ore. After finishing, it would leave to sleep once more.
Quite a significant chunk of ore that Iron Cliff had bitterly mined was eaten by this guy. Thus, Su Chen just gave his storage ring to Iron Cliff, and told him to place the ore into the ring as soon as he found it.
Since the metal-eating bug couldn't find anything to eat, it would run around Iron Cliff, whimpering as it did so. It wouldn't attack him, making it look like a dog. Iron Cliff found the beetle quite interesting, so from time to time he would secretly feed it a few pieces of fragmented ore. The metal-eating bug was not picky and happily ate it up. However, as a result it began to follow Iron Cliff around even more closely.
Su Chen knew this as well, but he did not care.
He was extremely busy.
Now, apart from cultivating his Origin Skills every day, he also had to look at Ulrich’s writings in a bid to learn the ancient Arcana script.
The knowledge that Ulrich had recorded was very scattered and lacked organization. His writings were simply the procedural documentation of one person’s experience. However, because of this, Su Chen could also more easily understand them. These writings very clearly detailed Ulrich’s journey to understand the Arcana techniques, including the process of knowing nothing to knowing a little bit. If it were written with depth and complexity, Su Chen might not have been able to understand any of it. These writings were filled with a person’s guesses and slow progress, so Su Chen was able to understand it much more easily.
As he read about Ulrich’s progress, Su Chen saw reflected his own experiences in learning ancient Arcana techniques and very quickly lost himself in reading. Through the phrases Ulrich used, Su Chen began to have a deeper understanding of the previous Arcana Kingdom. They were a miraculous kingdom which had thirty thousand years of glory and had made countless important discoveries and inventions.
Inventions such as the powerful, flying Origin Demon Puppets; devices that could convert the Origin Energy in the air into motion; the rare bloodline extractor instrument and the Life-Altering technique, as well as many other mystical ancient Arcana techniques. They were all invented and spread during that period of time by the Arcana Race.
The current bloodline system that humankind relied on for survival originated from a small branch of the Arcana Kingdom’s research.
Upon thinking to this point, Su Chen felt quite shaken.
However, it was quite tragic that most of what they had discovered had been lost in the sands of time. Now, even when talking about the Arcana Race themselves, there was no way of regaining the former glory of that time period.
When he had free time, Su Chen would call Iron Cliff over to teach him the Dartfrog Absorption Technique.
One had to say that the Cliff Race was truly stupid, and their brains were filled with rocks. Iron Cliff took four days and nights before he could barely exercise it. By comparison, Su Chen had been able to exercise it proficiently after only one night.
In terms of perception, the Cliff Race did not even have half that of a regular person.
However, perhaps it was because they were so slow that they were also so loyal.
With losses there would always be gains. It was impossible to hope that a person could be absolutely loyal yet extremely intelligent. That kind of person did not exist.
Having thought through this point, Su Chen was also satisfied.
Today, Su Chen was examining an experiment from Ulrich’s writings when he suddenly heard Iron Cliff yell, “Don’t come here, you can’t have this!”
When Su Chen heard this, he walked out only to see Iron Cliff holding a piece of starsilver ore in the air, continuously backing up. The metal-eating bug was chasing after the ore in Iron Cliff’s hand. It did not have any malicious intent, but its giant mandibles were extremely frightening, and Iron Cliff was being chased all over the place.
“Why not place the ore inside the ring?” Su Chen asked.
Once the ore was placed into the ring, the metal-eating but wouldn't be able to smell it anymore, and it wouldn't cause a fuss anymore.
“The ring is full. I can’t fit this piece of high-purity ore in, and it won’t stop chasing me,” Iron Cliff said with distress.
“Hmm. Just give it to it.”
Although he was somewhat unwilling, Su Chen similarly did not wish for Iron Cliff to be continually chased by it.
The starsilver carved out a beautiful line as it flew off into the distance. The metal-eating bug was like a trained hunting dog, as it furiously charged towards the ore before swallowing it in one go.
The metal-eating bug stopped bugging Iron Cliff now that it was satisfied. It first rubbed itself against the walls of the corner of the cave, then pooped for a bit before sauntering to another corner to go to sleep.
The metal-eating bug was alive, so it naturally had needs to take care of. Su Chen did not mind this. Ulrich had already taught it to find a corner to take care of business, so Su Chen and Iron Cliff didn’t need to worry about that. Just as Su Chen was about to return to his cave, he saw that the metal-eating bug’s poop shone with a metallic light.
Su Chen was surprised and intrigued, so he walked over to take a closer look.
Because the metal-eating bug only ate large amounts of metal ore, its poop was not smelly, and most of it was hard slag, and the rest was mostly earth. Its appearance was not that gross.
Su Chen broke the hard earth shell on the outside of the poop. A brilliant silver light shone out from the inside of the poop. It looked like starsilver, yet it seemed to be more precious than starsilver.
“Starsilver essence?” Su Chen yelled with surprise.
Starsilver essence was produced when large quantities of starsilver were refined again into a higher-quality metal. It was specifically used to create high-tier Origin Tools and could improve a tool’s ability to conduct Origin Energy. It was not something that Su Chen, who was barely an Origin Qi Scholar, could come into contact with or use.
Su Chen did not expect that the metal-eating bug would actually produce something like starsilver essence. In that instant, the first thought that flashed through Su Chen’s mind was: ‘Is this a lucky coincidence? Or is this normal?’
Upon thinking to this point, Su Chen furiously began to break open all the piles of poop in front of him, attempting to find a second piece.
Nothing, nothing, still nothing.
He raised his head, then charged towards the darkness, where piles of poop from the metal-eating bug were everywhere.
Bang bang bang bang! Under a series of repeated attacks, Su Chen finally found another bit of light that appeared.
Su Chen picked up a silver ball of metal that was significantly smaller, yet his eyes displayed an expression of excitement.
“Master?” Iron Cliff walked over with some doubt. “What are you doing?”
He had no idea why Su Chen would suddenly have an interest in the metal-eating bug’s poop.
“Nothing much.” Su Chen forcefully repressed the happiness in his heart as he said, “In the future, I will have some new work that I want you to do.”
“What work?” Iron Cliff asked.
“Digging through feces,” Su Chen replied.
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