169 Chapter 169
Everything was abuzz, people were running through the mine shafts pushing carts and even carrying stones by hands. Things like spatial rings were forbidden, the sect leaders not wanting workers to steal anything. This increased the workload on them though, but that was a price the men in charge were willing to pay.
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"Quickly, the Grand Elder has given his order, we must carry it out!"
Everyone was scared of the new Grand Elder that showed up. The people were speculating but they knew that something was off about this situation. The old Grand Elder Zhu was missing now, some came to the conclusion that he was probably embezzling funds from this mine and he got caught red-handed. He was probably getting punished now, but this didn't explain why they were gathering every single spirit stone they have mined into the biggest storeroom here.
The Grand Elder in question was just floating outside the gorge at the moment, seemingly looking into the air while flicking his finger. No one dared to comment as they just hurried up with their work. This mine wasn't all that huge, so in a couple of hours, the last minecart with some raw spirit stone ores was dumped into the storeroom.
The whole room was radiating with spiritual energy now, there was a big mountain of pure refined stones in one corner. Another large pile of the raw ores right next to it. People were even having trouble breathing in this room, too much spiritual energy in one spot could cause something akin to poisoning if your cultivation wasn't high enough to resist.
"This is all we were able to gather Grand Elder Ming!"
A man in a long robe and a funny looking long hat bowed while the elder named Wu Ming stood just before the entrance to the storeroom. He had a vacant look and was just staring at the piles of gem-like stones just piled up to the roof.
Matt twitched and coughed into his hand before turning to the sect manager that was responsible for gathering everything here.
"Mhm, is this all of it?"
"Yes my lord, everything that hasn't been shipped yet is all gathered here! It's half a year's worth of what the mine produces."
The man replied while looking at the shiny pile in the storeroom, the spiritual energy making his eyebrows shake slightly.
"This is half a year's worth..."
Matt mumbled to himself while the man next to him continued.
"Yes Grand Elder, you arrived a week before we were planning to ship the stones to the main sect, the processing of the stones takes a while so we don't ship it out often."
'They probably also have to have one of their nascent soul old farts act as a bodyguard. Probably that's also why they don't transport monthly.'
Matt's reasoning, in this case, was, that the old nascent soul masters would rather cultivate in peace than act as convoy security. They probably came to a consensus of doing it twice a year.
"Mhm, leave me now, I need to check on the spirit stone... quality... don't let anyone else enter this room!"
Matt waved his hand and the large door behind him closed shut. He was now alone in this room, he felt like he was getting a tan from just standing in this radiant blue glow. He moved over to the biggest pile of refined stones and slowly placed his palm on it.
Spiritual energy source detected, absorb Y / N ?
He tapped the 'Y' on the screen, the room quickly filled up with a bright light. The whole blue spirit stone mountain began compressing into itself the moment the system started its absorption process. Matt didn't have much time to react as the mountain of stones quickly turned into a fine powder. He quickly glanced at his spirit point count that was shooting up and reaching into the millions without much effort.
'Yikes, and this wasn't even all of them...'
He stretched out his hand and tried doing something else, he used his spiritual sense to make a connection with the Qi energy that the stones were radiating. To his glee, the system gave him the same prompt about detecting an energy source. He quickly accepted and the whole storage room began shining once more, just this time it was covering a whole lot more surface area than before.
In a matter of moments everything in the room vanished, the refined stones just turned into dust while the rough ores crumbled into smaller chunks of normal rock. The people outside the storage room blinked, they could feel that something was happening inside but they had no way of peeking inside to check.
Before they could come up with a theory they heard the door creaking open. Elder Wu Ming walked out, but he did it in such a fashion so the others couldn't peek inside.
"Mhm, lock the door and don't let anyone inside... also direct the slave workers to leave the mines. I must access the situation, there was an alarming report and it could get dangerous."
The manager looked at the Grand Elder and then to the side to some of his workers. No one was sure what this man was talking about, was there some unknown dangers in the mine?
"A-are you sure Grand Elder Wu? This mine has been open for years and all the beast within the area have been slain."
The man asked, but the moment he did he felt an oppressive force wash over him.
"You dare question me?"
The manager's face went pale instantly and he began sweating profusely.
"I dare not, please show mercy, Grand Elder!"
Matt sent a menacing glare at all the people that were standing there and then just walked off without saying much. He was sure that they would follow his orders throughout as they were far too afraid of the thing called a Grand Elder.
'People ruled by fear and power, its probably easy to implement in this kind of world.'
While thinking he made his way back into the mine, he had his map opened up and could see the little dots that were representing the people slowly leaving the corridors. His destination was a certain location, he found it through the help of his map. It looked like one big red blob on it, but if you followed it you realized it spread throughout the whole underground area.
This was a giant mineral vein that connected all of the spirit stone ores together, it was truly gigantic.
'I should get even more spirit points from this giant spirit stone vein than from what they gathered in that storeroom...'
He increased his pace, walking deeper into the dark insides of the now abandoned-looking underground mine. Everyone had bolted outside as they were forced by the sect members that were quickly following their elder's orders.
The people outside rubbed their hands together while moving closer. They had been living here for a while now, so they knew that if they stayed close to each other the bodily heat would keep them warm.
"What is happening, those sect uncles have been acting strange lately..."
One of the younger slaves' asked an older looking man, the man delivered a quick smack to the youth's head as a response.
"Be quiet, what will you do if they hear you and give you a good lashing?"
The youth rubbed his head and felt slightly disgruntled, but he knew that this old man was telling the truth.
"Still, old man Su they are acting strange."
The young man didn't give up, he just brought his tone down so that the angry-looking sect uncles wouldn't hear it. The older man nodded slightly, this thing sure was strange. He had been stuck in this god forgotten place for over 20 years now. He was blessed with a strong resilient body, so he managed to survive this long. In his long life as a slave, this was the first time his captors were acting like that. The slaves were never given time to rest in the middle of the day, something wasn't right.
The old man didn't need to wait much for a reason though. The whole glacial gorge began rumbling and the mine shafts started crumbling. There was a blinding burst of white light that shoot out from the corridors and then the walls started collapsing. It was as if parts of them were removed and the structural integrity of the whole place got compromised.
"W-what is happening, the mine is collapsing!"
The Dark Palm Sect members shouted out in shock. The involuntary workers did the same, luckily at this point in time, there were no people in those mine shafts as everyone was forcefully removed. The people started backing off while the whole side of the gorge that the mine was located in, started to vibrate.
Right in the middle of this was Matt, he was now covered in rubble and just sitting there with not much air to breathe. He pushed his Qi outwards and formed his bubble-like lightning shield that ejected the fallen mine walls from his face.
"Okay, that might not have been the best idea... this place is already falling apart."
He checked his map again, and just as planned he had managed to absorb most of the spiritual energy through the help of the massive mineral vein. The vein connected to most of the spirit stones, those crumbled into dust the moment Matt used his system. This, of course, caused a massive collapse of all the walls, he had just yanked out a massive clump of ore in one go. When the miners did it, they did it slowly and reinforced the walls to that the whole thing wouldn't collapse on them.
"I guess, it's time to go then, this farce has taken long enough..."
He released his divine thunder aura and covered his entire body in it. Matt then headed right upwards while bending his energies to form a makeshift drill. The people outside had taken their time to escape and were looking from afar as the whole place rumbled.
"W-wait, what's that?"
They saw a golden drill shot out from the ground, the energy fluctuations were clearly from a nascent soul master.
"Is that The Grand Elder, what is he doing?"
"Did he cause the mine to collapse, why would he do something like that."
On the other side of the gorge that didn't collapse was the majority of the people, they all had question marks in their eyes not sure what was going on. There was even a louder commotion after two men emerged from the rubble, these were the two guards that were stationed at the secluded chamber that Grand Elder Zhu was resting. The problem was that the same elder that everyone feared was getting dragged by them, and he was quite naked.
Matt looked down at the people gathered there, they were clearly looking between him and the naked man knowing well that only he would be able to put him in that state.
'Uh, they are already using their communication jades, guess the jig is up...'
He hovered towards the group of people that had evacuated to the other side of the gorge. This side had all the buildings and facilities, while the one that had collapsed was just the mine and didn't have much besides guard towers and walls to keep people from entering.
Matt looked at the slave workers that looked terrified, the sect members had no idea what was going on but they probably wouldn't attack or follow him if he just left. He looked at those workers that were in dire need of a warm meal and rest. He couldn't just leave them there, the mine was now gone. He feared that they would be abandoned or fall to the sect's rage after they found out that they got sacked by a fake Wu Ming.
So he made a quick decision after spotting a couple of flying ships in the back of that encampment. He was still going to play his part, so he remained in his disguise and just headed towards the people.
"I'll be taking the workers with me, along with those ships."
He pointed at the large wooden boats that had the dark palm insignia painted on them. The sect members present here still didn't know what this was about, was this Grand Elder crazy? Was he betraying the sect? They already figured out that he probably took all those spirit stones for himself from that storage room.
Before they could question him though he moved his hand forward, the three large ships that were in the back buckled for a while before floating up into the air. They were activated by Matt himself and were guided to where the mass of people was gathering.
"Okay, everyone that is not from the Dark Palm sect please gather on the ship, we will be leaving. Oh and one more thing, please gather up every treasure, item, spatial ring that is in the position from anyone from the sect. Follow my orders and no one will be hurt, unless you want to end up like that guy."
Matt pointed at Grand Elder Zhu, that was wrapped up in a blanket. The guards had rescued him had mostly tended to his needs out of sheer fear of what his title stood for. Though they were a bit hesitant as they had longe since noticed that he was crippled.
The slaves were confused, the sect members baffled by the fact that their own Grand Elder wanted to take all their items. Was this some kind of robbery?