Yun Xuan quickly came forward politely greeted the Transcendent Realm master, “Uncle Sun, I’ve kept you waiting.”
Sun Ying smiled and shook his head, “I just came. Have you been well, Little Yun?”
“Everything is fine with me, thank you in advance for your assistance here, Uncle Sun.”
“En,” Sun Ying nodded lightly, hesitantly following up, “If you have time, you should go see your father. He…”
“Uncle Sun!” Yun Xuan frowned, directly cutting him off.
“Alright, alright, alight. I won’t say any more,” Sun Ying sighed helplessly.
Seeing this scene play out, Yang Kai realized that this group had various different issues, but he smartly kept his silence and stayed out of it.
Yun Xuan turned to the other young woman next and nodded, “Junior Sister Ruan, I trust you’ve been well since we last met.”
Ruan Xin Yu coldly snorted, grumbling back unhappily, “If you had come earlier it would have been better. We’ve already been waiting here for you for several days. If not for the Union’s orders, I’d have insisted that my team complete this mission ourselves and claim all the credit.”
Yun Xuan smiled back faintly, “Junior Sister must be joking. Since the Union issued such orders, they must have a good reason.”
Ruan Xin Yu’s pretty face become gloomier, seemingly wanting to rebut Yun Xuan’s argument when Sun Ying suddenly clapped his hands and interrupted, “Good, that’s enough of that. You two girls are both disciples of the Union yet you always quarrel every time you meet. Do you really have such deep enmity that you can’t resolve it peacefully?”
Even with Sun Ying stepping in to mediate, Ruan Xin Yu maintained her cold expression while Yun Xuan wore her pale smile, causing this Transcendent Realm master no small headache.
“Oh…” Suddenly, Sun Ying discovered Yang Kai, a trace of suspicion flashing across his face, “Yun girl, how come your team has one more person today. Is he a new Union disciple?”
Saying so, Sun Yin quickly gave Yang Kai a once over with his Divine Sense, and after seeing his cultivation, he couldn’t help nodding lightly, thinking that possessing such strength at such a young age wasn’t bad. The only thing that confused him was that Yang Kai wasn’t wearing a Bold Independent Union’s disciple’s robes.
“He’s not a disciple of the Union,” Yun Xuan said.
This time, even Ruan Xin Yu and Zhuo Luo’s interest was piqued.
When Bold Independent Union disciples went out to execute missions, it was simply common sense not to bring outsiders along, so Yun Xuan’s behaviour was quite puzzling to them.
“He wants to join Bold Independent Union, so this time I brought him out to evaluate his performance in the field,” Yun Xuan calmly explained, secretly giving Yang Kai a wink.
Seeing this, Yang Kai remained silent and played along.
“So that’s it,” Sun Ying nodded, “Very good, then this old master will also take a look at his potential during this mission. However, if he passes, which team should he be assigned to? Your team is already full, Yun Xuan.”
“If you don’t mind, how about joining my team?” Zhuo Luo sent out an invitation.
Yang Kai’s brow wrinkled ever so slightly, somewhat uncertain about how he should answer. Thankfully Yun Xuan quickly stepped in, “There’s no need to consider such things right now, he might not even meet the Union’s requirements, let’s focus on completing our task first.”
“Good,” Zhuo Luo smiled and nodded, “Little Brother, work hard. I believe that Yun Xuan’s judgement isn’t bad, don’t bring shame to her this time.”
Ruan Xin Yu on the other hand just looked Yang Kai over and sneered, “Just a dull brat!”
Yang Kai hadn’t said one word the whole time, giving her the mistaken impression that he was a bit slow. Coupled with her grievances with Yun Xuan, naturally she found him not pleasing to the eye.
“Xin Yu, your team arrived here earlier and was responsible for investigating the situation, give us a brief explanation.” Sun Ying had also used his Divine Sense to explore the surrounding area, but he didn’t want to interfere as much as possible so he pushed Ruan Xin Yu to take the lead.
Getting down to business, Ruan Xin Yu’s expression became serious as she began explaining, “The situation here is similar to the information obtained from the Union’s survivors’ testimony. The Monster Beast that suddenly appeared here are Metal Devouring Beasts that mainly consume ores and minerals. Our Bold Independent Union’s Sun Tin Ore mine has essentially been taken over by them and they’ve built a nest inside. There are around forty to fifty of them in total, the majority of which are Sixth-Order with a few only at the Fifth-Order. So far no signs of a Seventh-Order have been found.”
“Metal Devouring Beasts?” Hearing this, Yun Xuan’s beautiful eyes lit up.
“En, Metal Devouring Beasts, everyone here should have heard of this Monster Beast before and know what they’re worth.”
Zhuo Luo suddenly got excited, “Of course we know. This is stroke of good luck. If we can grab all of these Metal Devouring Beasts, it’ll be a huge boost to our Union’s Artifact Refiners. As long as we properly rear these Monster Beast, we won’t have to worry about smelting Sun Tin Ore anymore. This will be a huge merit for us.”
Even Sun Ying showed a faint smile, “Your three teams’ respective strength isn’t weak so you should have no difficulty handling some Sixth-Order Monster Beasts as long as you don’t let them besiege you. Good, our goal then is to capture alive these Monster Beasts, not to kill them. Each of you must take that to heart, if any of them die it will be a big loss to the Union, understand?”
Everyone nodded and suddenly looked motivated, as if these Metal Devouring Beasts had some kind of great value to them.
Only Yang Kai remained confused.
“Yun Xuan, Zhuo Luo, Xin Yu, each of you send half of your members out to help this old master arrange a barrier to prevent those Metal Devouring Beasts from running away. It’s already getting dark, so once the barrier is up, everyone can rest for the night before we take action tomorrow,” Sun Ying directed.
A moment later, half of the Bold Independent Union disciples went out with Sun Ying to set up a barrier around the mine.
Yang Kai sat down cross-legged and began restoring himself.
The bearded man soon walked over with a sullen expression and sat down opposite Yang Kai, seemingly a bit bored.
Yun Xuan hadn’t brought him along so he was feeling somewhat disgruntled.
“Brother Ji, what kind of Monster Beasts are these Metal Devouring Beasts? Why did everyone suddenly become excitement when you heard their name?” Yang Kai hesitated for a moment before asking.
On the journey here, Yang Kai had gotten the impression that this groups mission was to exterminate these invasive Monster Beasts in order to obtain materials and monster cores. Yet after arriving here, their objectives had suddenly changed to capturing these Monster Beasts alive. This made Yang Kai wonder why these Metal Devouring Beast were more valuable alive than death.
Hearing Yang Kai’s question, Ji Hong’s jaw dropped slightly as he stared back at him blankly, “Have you never heard of Metal Devouring Beasts?”
Yang Kai shook his head.
“Just what hole did you crawl out of?” Ji Hong was thoroughly speechless, staring at Yang Kai as if he was a complete country hick.
“Haha…” Yang Kai laughed somewhat embarrassedly.
“I really can’t understand you,” Ji Hong shook his head and patiently explained, “From the name Metal Devouring Beast you should be able to figure out their distinguishing trait. These Monster Beasts don’t eat plants or flesh, only minerals. As a result, their physiques are quite special and after eating a sufficient amount of ore, they’ll automatically process it within their bodies, discharging a fully refined product later.”
“You mean they shit metal?” Yang Kai’s face went black.
“In the bluntest sense, yes, but that shit has many valuable uses to us. Compared to ores processed by ordinary Artifact Refiners, the ones refined by Metal Devouring Beasts have far fewer impurities. As a result, they can be used to refine stronger and higher quality artifacts. You should be able to understand why we are so interested in capturing them instead of killing them, right?”
“En,” Yang Kai nodded, “You want to bring them back to the Union and use them to refine your raw ores and minerals.”
“Exactly, with these Metal Devouring Beasts, the Union will be able to save a great deal of manpower, allowing the Artifact Refiners who are freed up to attend to other, more valuable tasks,” Ji Hong said enthusiastically, his face filled with excitement, “Forty or fifty Metal Devouring Beasts is quite a large number. The more our team catches, the better our rewards will be. Maybe this time, if we can snatch all of them up, we’ll all be able to become captains and interact with Yun Xuan on equal footing, hehe.”
Ji Hong was incredibly eager to get started, practically overflowing with energy.
“What is Yun Xuan’s situation exactly?” Yang Kai suddenly asked. Over the time they had been together, Yang Kai had noticed a great deal; he faintly felt that Yun Xuan’s identity was somewhat different than just Common Disciple of Bold Independent Union, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
Ji Hong’s enthusiasm immediately gave way to awkwardness, hesitating for a while before saying, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to discuss Captain’s circumstances. If you want to know, you should ask her yourself, but I can’t guarantee she’ll tell you.”
Yang Kai gently nodded and let the subject drop.
Later in the evening, Sun Ying and the others came back having completed the perimeter barrier. Now everyone was just waiting for the dawn.
That night, everyone sat quietly in meditation adjusting their condition as they looked forward to tomorrow.
A fragrant scent suddenly brushed past the tip of Yang Kai’s nose, causing him to blink and open his eyes where he saw Yun Xuan’s graceful figure standing in front of him. The sky was still dark, and from the surrounding blackness it seemed to be the darkest time before dawn.
“What’s the matter?” Yang Kai asked.
“We’re about to begin. When we do, make sure you act carefully and follow my instructions. Don’t make any mistakes. If you die, I don’t know how I’ll explain myself to Miss Shui.”
“Good, yesterday I said you wanted to join Bold Independent Union, but that was just a way to smooth the situation over, whether you want to join or not after we’re done here will be up to you,” Yun Xuan brushed her hair back gently, revealing a delicate earlobe and cheeks that seemed as ripe as a peaches.
Staring off towards the horizon where the first rays of dawn were rising, Yun Xuan suddenly asked, “How old are you this year?”
“Twenty,” Yang Kai replied casually.
“A twenty year old Immortal Ascension Boundary Seventh Stage, heh, time really does fly,” Yun Xuan’s beautiful eyes suddenly blurred as she stared towards Yang Kai, seemingly recalling some past memories, only returning to normal a while later and smiling, “You’re still so young, so you definitely can’t die, if you die, everything ends.”
Yang Kai brow furrowed slightly, feeling like Yun Xuan’s words carried some deeper hidden meaning, but just as he was about to ask, Sun Ying’s voice rang out, “Get ready to move out.”
Everyone who wasn’t already awake opened their eyes, a look of excitement appearing on their faces.
Yun Xuan’s expression also became serious as she quickly assembled the members of her team.
A short time later, everyone was ready to go, and under Sun Ying’s leadership, they made their way towards the Sun Tin Ore mine.
Halfway up a small mountain, there was a dark cave. This was the entrance to Bold Independent Union’s mineral lode inside Thousand Leaf Forest. Yang Kai perceived some kind of energy fluctuation around this cave entrance and figured it was related to the barrier the members of Bold Independent Union had set up yesterday.
Sending out his huge Divine Sense, Yang Kai quickly began probing the depths of the mountain and soon found the aura of a number of Monster Beast. If the information was correct, these were the Metal Devouring Beasts they were after; most of them were indeed Sixth-Order’s Monster Beast.
“Open!” Sun Ying shouted, holding up his hand and pouring his True Qi into the energy barrier, causing a visible gap to open.