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AWG - Chapter 0006: Let Us Work Hard Together

The clouds glowed with shifting sparkles as the rising sun broke through; dawn had just arrived.

A young man had already emerged from his den in the Smoke Signal Mountain Prison’s 68th cellblock. He sat with his legs crossed before his small hovel, forming a seal with his hands as he began to absorb energy.

The propitious energy of daybreak only manifested with the rising sun.

[TL Note: The propitious energy of daybreak, or literally translated as the purple energy from the east, refers to a good omen. However, in cultivation novels, it often refers to an energy that manifests at daybreak, which is pure and rich. As a result, it is also frequently said that daybreak is the best time to cultivate.]

The young man took advantage of the opportunity to cultivate his profound art. Catching a wisp of propitious energy, he swiftly absorbed it into his dantian, which consumed the incoming energy as if it had not been fed in days. Warmth rose from his dantain, sweeping through his body, and it wasn’t long before he heard two reverberating rings from within his twelve major meridians. Meanwhile, the Profound Energy within his dantain grew considerably denser.

Two Sweeping Melodious Energy events!

This signaled two consecutive breakthroughs, and the youth gained two more stones of strength.

An utterly satisfied smile broke across the young man’s face as he muttered to himself, “True to legend, theearly morning’s propitious energy is the best Profound Energy. I finally caught a wisp, and even that was enough to gain two stones of strength. If I keep this up, reestablishing myself as a Consummate Grade Foot Soldier will only be a matter of days.”

Coming from a noble clan, Yang Wu had heard the legend of the dawn’s energy from his clan’s experts many times. Unfortunately, he had never been able to absorb any of this rare energy using his family’s combat art. Relying on the Supreme Nine Profound Art, however, he finally saw results. 

Still, he was not complacent. Even if he recovered to his prior strength, he knew freeing himself this prison would not be easy. He would have to progress past his previous level if he wanted a reasonable chance of getting out for good.

A better life was not his only reason he wanted to leave. He also intended to visit his parents, who had been punished for his refusal, and his younger brother, who had been forced to relinquish his status as a top scholar to keep Yang Wu alive.

“Father, Mother, and Brother, wait for me. I will not be the reason the Yang Clan falls!” Yang Wu declared, shaking a clenched fist.

Not long later, he took up his crowbar and left to search for Skinny Monkey. Once the two found each other, they got to work. 

Skinny Monkey seemed far more energetic than the day before. He could feel his strength grow as he mined Scarlet Steel Rock. Swinging both arms, he pried free more than fifty kilograms of stone, and as he did, he noticed a strange melody reverberate within. Turning to Yang Wu, who wasn’t far from him, he cried out, “Brother, there’s some strange sound ringing … inside me.”

Yang Wu was astounded for a moment, then gave his friend a thumbs-up. “Congratulations. You’re now a Foot Soldier.”

Tears instantly began to roll down Skinny Monkey’s face. If he had not been in prison, he would have screamed with excitement. Ever since he was a boy, he had dreamed of becoming a cultivator. Now that his dream had come true, he could barely contain his joy.

“Don’t get too excited. We should continue mining and use this opportunity to train. An Inferior Grade Foot Soldier is only a little stronger than your average man. You need to advance to the Medial, Superior, and Consummate Grades. To survive a battlefield, we have to break past the Foot Soldier Realm and become Warriors. Let’s work hard!” Yang Wu told his sworn brother nonchalantly. 

Skinny Monkey took a while to regain his composure and, practically glowing, he agreed.“Alright, let’s do this!”

“Good. But the fact that you’ve broken into the Foot Soldier Realm in only a day proves how much talent you have for cultivation. It’s enviable!” Yang Wu offered sincere praise.

He had not exaggerated. He had started cultivating at a young age, becoming a Foot Soldier at ten. It had taken him another six years to reach the Consummate Grade, and his progress had been fast enough to earn him praise as a genius.

Yet after learning to absorb energy for the first time, Skinny Monkey had made a breakthrough in a single day, proving that he was exceptionally talented.

Motivated, the young man returned to mining, swinging his crowbar like a madman.

His sworn brother’s progress blew Yang Wu away. He had thought gaining three stones of strength in such a short time was remarkable, but seeing the speed with which Skinny Monkey had reached the Foot Soldier Realm sparked his competitive spirit, and he pushed himself to work harder, as well.

Mining was physically punishing for ordinary prisoners, but it actually helped cultivators like them hone their strength, allowing them to grow stronger faster. 

In each area he excavated, Yang Wu assumed a horse stance, which not only trained his arms, but his legs as well. He needed to work his upper and lower body in tandem to mobilize the energy within his twelve major meridians smoothly.

The Supreme Nine Profound Art he had received far surpassed the Yang Clan’s combat art, and although he could only practice the introductory techniques, it had proven significantly beneficial.

While he worked, the meager energy in the young man’s dantian continued to fluctuate. After some time, the wisp of propitious energy he had gathered that morning finally transformed into Profound Energy, and he sensed another strange ring from within his twelve meridians.

Three consecutive rings in a day, leaving him with a total of four stones of strength, meant the young man was now close to the Medial Grade Foot Soldier Realm.

Yang Wu did not feel worn out as the day passed. On the contrary, he felt radiant. However, he found his hunger grew faster than normal as he needed to replenish the energy he used.

The young man was surprised he had acquired four stones of strength in the span of two days. With a single hand, he could now lift a boulder weighing more than fifty kilograms effortlessly. 

On the other hand, Skinny Monkey did not have another breakthrough that day, but he did spend his time familiarizing himself with the Whirling Combat Art. Growing remarkably stronger, he believed it was just a matter of time before he gained another stone.

The two youths mined a few different areas of the quarry, each gathering a significant amount of Scarlet Steel Rock, enough to guarantee their dinner for the day.

Alas, these two were drifters, without protection. Naturally, other prisoners were bound to cause them trouble.

The Smoke Signal Mountain Prison was home to seven great gang leaders, all of whom had scattered their underlings throughout the cellblocks. Besides Wang Yan, who collected Scarlet Steel Rock on behalf of Little Ugly Girl, one of the seven big shots, block 68 was home to Centipede, a man who served another gang leader—Black Ape.

Anyone who wanted to leave the prison and free themselves of the prisoner status had to surrender fifty tons of Scarlet Steel Rock, after all. It was not an easy task.

The seven great gang leaders had proven themselves to be the strongest of the prison’s residents. To secure their release as quickly as possible, they had gathered others under their wings to collect Scarlet Steel Rock on their behalf. 

As the day came to a close, Yang Wu and Skinny Monkey were introduced to Centipede, Black Ape’s lackey.

“Hey, you two! Leave half of your Scarlet Steel Rock with us and join the Black Ape gang. We’ll take care of you,” One of the prisoners, known as Hedgehog, called out, leading four others to surround the two young men.

Hedgehog was one of Centipede’s lackeys and had the strength of an Inferior Grade Foot Soldier.

Skinny Monkey whispered into Yang Wu’s ear, explaining, “Black Ape and Little Ugly Girl, Wang Yan’s superior, are two of the prison’s big shots.”

Yang Wu nodded in understanding. After a quick glance elsewhere, his mouth curved in a fawning smile, “Half of our load wouldn’t be nearly enough. Why don’t you take all of it?”

Hearing that, a wide grin graced Hedgehog’s face. “Haha! Excellent! I see you know the rules well. I’m sure you have a bright future ahead of you.”

True to his word, Yang Wu presented his bounty to the gang’s representatives, baffling his companion. Skinny Monkey had never expected the young man to submit so readily. As it came time for Skinny Monkey to present his share, another group arrived on the scene.

“Are you looking for trouble, Hedgehog? How dare you collect Scarlet Steel Rock from this rascal?! Hasn’t anyone told you that Elder Sister Wang has her eye on him?” Shi Dan, another of Wang Yan’s minions, loudly accused the man, thrusting a finger at the spiky-haired prisoner.

Shooting Shi Dan a sidelong glare, Hedgehog’s reply dripped with disdain. “Centipede’s envoy is interested, as well. Besides, he’s already given us his Scarlet Steel Rock as a token of his allegiance. So, he’s under our care now. Little Ugly Girl’s gang better back off, or we’ll make you.”

Naturally, Shi Dan would not tolerate this. He was under orders to bring the youth back to his mistress. If he failed, he would pay for it.

“He’s coming with me. Just try and stop me!” he shouted before turning to the prisoners at his back. “Get this guy to Elder Sister Wang. Beat down anyone who gets in your way!”

“Shi Dan, your actions are an open declaration of war on Black Ape!” Hedgehog snarled, holding his crowbar across his chest.

“So be it! I’ll ruin you here and now.”

“Alright, and let’s see how you fare once I castrate your sorry ass!”

------

Translated by: Half-Cat 
Edited by: FluffyGoblyn
Checked by: DragonInWhite

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Written by I Am Pure 我本纯洁. Translated by DragonInWhite. Edited by FluffyGoblyn.