Chapter 56 – Refining, Heart of Oak
Translated by: Sephilia
Edited by: Rango, Krithika
TLCed by: Zaza
The Blackstone Labyrinth’s starting point only had roads leading north and south. As one progressed, there would be more and more forks until they were uncountable. Even experienced veterans would very easily get lost.
Of course, no matter how many forks there were, they would all converge at the end of the labyrinth.
That was under the ten-thousand year old ancient oak tree.
Only those who were lucky enough to walk to this spot could get the Heart of Oak.
However, this ‘Heart of Oak’ which could increase the ability of plant-type beasts was a more neglected reward compared to the other types of crystals such as ‘Gaia’s Crystal’, ‘Beast’s Soul’, ‘True Vision Pupils’ and so on. Normally, people were not willing to go through trials like the Blackstone Labyrinth which would not help their own beasts much. Even so, after thousands of years, even though it was unknown how many plant-type cultivators had come, just the directional signs carved onto the blackstone were so densely packed it could make people’s heads dizzy…
Yue Yang was slightly nervous. In Blackstone Labyrinth, there was the same law of restriction.
He was still unable to do anything personally.
After a day, if the Barbaric Cow was summoned, the Quintet Seeking Golden Mice could not be summoned. Conversely, if the Quintet Seeking Golden Mice were summoned, the Barbaric Cow could only wait until the next day to be summoned.
Fortunately, there still was Hui Tai Lang who was not contracted.
“The three of you are in one group. If you guys manage to find Yue Bing first, then you definitely must protect her safety well. I am willing to pay an additional reward. If you reach the endpoint without finding Yue Bing first, then exit the labyrinth and wait for me at the Warrior’s Guild.” Yue Yang split up with Ye Kong and the Li brothers. He chose to head south, while the other three headed north to search for Yue Bing who had been inside for two days.
Originally, Ye Kong had wanted Li Ge to stay by Yue Yang’s side to protect him. But thinking about how he was completely unscathed after entering the Aries Temple, he stopped himself from saying anything.
After all, Yue Yang still had the Level 4 Bronze Hui Tai Lang.
Although there were a lot of monsters in Blackstone Labyrinth, they were mostly Level 1 or 2. There were only a few Level 3 monsters and even they weren’t too strong. In normal circumstances, there would not be any danger to their lives.
“If you’re lost, then use this teleportation scroll.” Yue Yang said to Ye Kong. Even though teleportation scrolls were expensive and were sold at one gold, they had still prepared one for each person.
“Yes.” Ye Kong replied. They were a little nervous. Wasn’t the one who would actually get lost this Third Young Master of the Yue Clan that had never gone out before?
“Don’t worry, I won’t have any problems walking through the labyrinth.” Yue Yang knew what Ye Kong and the others were worrying about and smiled slightly.
He had the Quintet Seeking Golden Mice. Finding the correct path through the labyrinth was, of course, not a problem.
Even if he did not have these five little mice, Yue Yang’s directional sense was not bad. As long as he had walked through it once, then he would be able to memorise 70-80% of the road. This was true even before he was thrown into a new dimension. After entering this new dimension and cultivating the Innate Invisible Sword Ki, Yue Yang felt that his wisdom, perception and reactions had a sharp rise and his memory had been greatly enhanced. He was able to infer many things from a single situation using his mind and spirit, so he was not afraid of getting lost at all. Even without all these, he still had the Level 2 Divine Vision, it was still helpful in some way when it came to navigating through a maze.
Yue Yang walked with extreme speed. He let loose five small mechanical mice and let them search for the way forward.
With them searching the area, there was no possibility of Yue Yang getting lost. He would not even fall for the wrong directions that some cultivators had intentionally placed and directly chose the most correct path to move onward.
Something that made him a little regretful was that the Quintet Seeking Golden Mice did not find Yue Bing’s scent or any mark that she had left behind.
At the first fork in the road, Yue Yang could not summon the Quintet Seeking Golden Mice in front of the others. He could only rely on his own senses to choose the southern region. Now, it seemed that Yue Bing could have headed north instead and he was walking in the opposite direction from her.
If not, there was no reason why the Quintet Seeking Golden Mice had not found any trace of her movement for such a long time.
Thinking of this, Yue Yang hurriedly advanced, and decided to wait in front of the ten-thousand year ancient oak tree for Yue Bing to give her a surprise.
Most of the monsters in Blackstone Labyrinth were insect-types or plant-types. Frequently, a large group of demon insects could be seen rushing out to attack people. Although their offensive ability were laughable, they were hideous. There were also numerous oddities. Sometimes, they would be accompanied by Man-Eating Tiger Thorns, Corpse Eating Flower King, Man-capturing Ghost Grass and such plant-type monsters, which would also give people headaches. Sometimes, Level 2 Green Snakes, Grass Snakes, Flower Snakes, Pond Snakes, Blue-tongued Lizards and/or Fearful Claw Lizards would pounce at him from within the darkness, sneaking up on Yue Yang who was passing by.
However, even if he did not have Hui Tai Lang with him, Yue Yang could completely ignore these Level 2 and below beasts.
Although he was unable to fight by himself, his Innate skills were enough to avoid any danger around him.
Hui Tai Lang was also great here.
The Barbaric Cow could not be summoned and Little Wen Li was resting. So he bullied the little insects, snakes and lizards by himself, majestically, oppressing them along the road.
Yue Yang could see now that getting the ‘Heart of Oak’ was not the main goal of passing through the Blackstone Labyrinth. Allowing the plant-type beasts to have special training for cultivators throughout the trial was the actual goal.
A plant-type beast was necessary in order to pass through easily in many areas.
Otherwise, the cultivators would be like Yue Yang, who had a Level 4 Bronze Hui Tai Lang, sweeping past everything to rush through.
If a grimoire contractor like Yue Bing came to Blackstone Labyrinth to pass the trial and constantly fight, they would be likely to gain a huge improvement. Some battles were specifically meant for plant-type beasts. For example, some traps were ice-based and fire-based that completely restrained plant-type beasts. If the cultivator’s control ability was not good enough, they could not get past them at all… These basic trials also had the effect of cultivating team spirit. Some of the more dangerous areas needed teamwork to be easier to pass. If a person were to attempt it alone, it would require ten times the effort.
What surprised Yue Yang the most, was that this Blackstone Labyrinth had completely banned flying-type beasts.
Perhaps it was because plant-type beasts did not have the ability to fly. The entire Blackstone Labyrinth had the power to restrict aerial movement. Although Yue Yang sometimes wanted to jump onto the tall blackstone rocks to gaze further ahead to look for Yue Bing, he found himself unable to jump successfully, and the height of his jumps were much lower than those performed outside.
After six hours, Yue Yang had walked through what would have taken normal cultivators three days’ worth of work in the trial. He had reached the ten-thousand year old ancient oak tree guarded by nearly a hundred Dryad Guards.
Initially, Yue Yang had fantasized that this tree would have an old person’s face full of wrinkles and a crooked nose with a mouth that seemed to even be able to speak. However, that was totally not the case. Aside from this tree being large enough that dozens of people would be unable to link their hands around it, it was just full of a kind of mysterious life energy. Inside the treetop, a kind of spiritual glow was faintly stored. Yue Yang had a little bit of understanding now. The Heart of Oak was not a wooden tree heart, but a kind of life energy that would be applied onto plant-type beasts. The cultivators would accept the mission and the psychic ten-thousand year ancient oak tree would give a reward according to the cultivator’s level.
In front of the ten-thousand year ancient oak tree, there was a crystal pillar that glowed faintly white.
Tree roots twisted around its base. It looked like it was interlinked with the ten-thousand year old ancient oak tree. Cultivators would need to follow the missions carved on the crystal pillar to earn the reward of the ‘Heart of Oak’.
When Yue Yang took a look, the current Level 1 mission was the simplest, only needing to differentiate a hundred plant seeds behind the forest.
The Level 2 mission was to collect a hundred types of mushrooms from the mushroom forest. Of course these mushrooms could not be picked up directly. It was only possible with those mushroom-type beasts that could spray spores.
The Level 3 mission was to harvest a hundred red apples from the apple garden where Fanged Spiders and Spotted Tree Snakes resided. The Level 4 mission was to kill ten Pond Crocodiles in the Black Pond. Each Pond Crocodile was at least a Level 3 beast… If the cultivator had confidence, it was also possible to fight against the nine-headed monster in the Demon’s Blood Pond. It was unknown how many nine-headed monsters there were, but each of them were terrifying monsters that were Level 7 Bronze and above. This mission required cultivators to kill a single nine-headed monster and the rewards were enormous, gifting them with a thousand-year ‘Heart of Oak’.
“Should I wait here for Yue Bing, or test out the strength of the nine-headed monsters?” Yue Yang was a little hesitant, and in the end, took out a gold coin.
He would determine the fate of the nine-headed monster with a flip of the gold coin.
If it was heads, he would let it go for now and wait until Yue Bing came. Tails, he would go burst its balls.
The gold coin was flipped high up into the air…