Chapter 1: Artifact Graveyard
Translator: Strivon / Ash Editor: Geoffrey / Lancent
Federal Special Waste Treatment Plant No. 23.
Also known as the “Artifact Graveyard.”
Growth of civilization has been fueled continuously by the powers of cultivation. Artifacts used to be out of reach back in the day, but the artifacts that could only be operated by Cultivators spread to every household. They became necessary items in ordinary lives, helping them with living, traveling, studying, and working.
They made the lives of people easier, but also brought forth a great deal of waste — artifact waste and metal scrap.
Artifact waste usually has quite some essence energy remaining in them, easily causing radiation pollution. The glyph arrays that compose the artifacts are highly volatile such that there is risk of explosion. If left unattended, artifact waste could cause major damage to the environment.
Therefore at the perimeter of every federal city, “Special Waste Treatment Plants” were installed in order to treat artifact waste.
Special Waste Treatment Plant No. 23, located at the southern outskirts of the Federal Cultivation City “Floating Spear.”
Underneath the hazy yellow sky, a purple polluted swamp emits a heavy stench. A mountain peak of metal shards protrudes from the swamp like the spine of a dinosaur. Fragments of flying swords lay scattered chaotically on the peak. Sitting next to the swords was a rusted crystal golem; it’s vacuous eye socket showed its spirit fire had long extinguished. The only thing left was an essence eating bug, which poked out of the skull, cautiously looking around in the “Artifact Graveyard” where danger lurks on all corners.
Closeby within another mountain of trash, a discarded artifact’s glyph array began to fracture. Its excess essence energy suddenly exploded and sent half the mountain flying through the air.
Countless metal parts scattered in the sky like a maiden scattering flowers, spattering in all directions. The surrounding mountains were triggered into chain reactions. Looking up, all that could be seen was smoke and dust. It gave the image of a dance of demons that covered the entire sky.
Here, it appeared that life was forbidden. Only insignificant cockroaches and worms could consider this a paradise.
Li Yao dormantly lurked behind a mountain of trash. Licking his cracked lips, he wore a dirt yellow windbreaker covered in dust that made him blend with the environment.
He shot a glance at the slowly rising mushroom cloud nearby. In his clear youthful eyes, no trace of emotion could be seen, no feelings rippled out.
Only when the dirt and metal shards spattered upon his refuge mountain of trash did he retreat somewhat deeper into the trash heap. At the same time, he slipped on goggles, covering half his face.
When the essence watch on his wrist began to vibrate, the youth became excited and the corner of his mouth hooked into a sly grin.
3:52:38 pm, the daily routine garbage disposal time, also known to “salvagers” such as Li Yao as party time!
The essence watch on his left wrist was an Elite Hunter Model produced three years ago by the cultivator guild ”Zephyr Guild”. He had found it within a garbage mountain and it took him no less than two months to repair.
It had an extraordinary function besides telling time. It could record the frequency of unique vibrations. When a unique vibration propagates in the vicinity, the owner is notified.
This function was intended to be used to alert hunters of the existence of powerful Fiend Beasts nearby.
However, after being modified by Li Yao, the function was changed to alert at the arrival of garbage ships.
Shortly, accompanied by an insignificant sound of buzzing, a dozen or so black dots appeared on the northern horizon.
Covering the earth and concealing the sky, the smoke and dust brought upon by the explosions still had not dissipated. The dozen or so black dots were mixed within and could not be distinguished.
Li Yao raised his nose. His finger brushed gently against the glyph located on the side of his goggles. “Swoosh.” A sheet of blood red appeared on the surface of the googles.
Under the red gaze, the garbage ships hidden by the smoke had their round silhouette rendered clearly.
The essence watch’s hunting function also allowed locking on to the unique vibrational frequency of a single garbage ship.
“Garbage Ship No. 1327, I choose you!”
From when Li Yao was born until he was ten, these ten years he stayed in the “Artifact Graveyard.” He knew every inch of dirt and every garbage ship in the sky, as if they were fingers on his hand. This “Garbage Ship No. 1327” was specifically responsible for collecting trash from Floating Spear Inner City’s Upper East Side.
The Upper East Side was the most luxurious of the rich districts, containing the residences of several cultivators. The artifacts they threw away were of most value.
Several of the artifacts were still in good condition. They were only discarded without care by the cultivators and the rich simply because they had gone out of style, or because a new generation of artifacts had been released.
From Li Yao’s perspective, this was not a garbage ship. It was a treasure ship filled to the brim with gold!
Li Yao’s pair of legs rippled out power. Like a shell being shot, he madly sprinted through the mountains of trash and charged into the smoke and dust, charging towards Garbage Ship No. 1327.
The mountains of trash all around him were on the verge of collapsing. Bubbles of the dangerous poison swamp rumbled beneath his feet. Li Yao was like the most nimble monkey of the mountains and woods. Every now and then, he would apply force somewhere on a mountain of trash, moving tens of meters with every step. His movements were like the floating clouds and running waters, giving a sense of tranquility.
“Li Yao, you bastard. You’ve come to fight over food with me again!”
At the moment, from behind the base of a few mountains appeared a dozen or so figures. They were dressed similarly to Li Yao, except they didn’t have the advanced red goggles and essence watch equipped on Li Yao.
Holding metal spades and rods, these people aggressively approached.
They were the same as Li Yao. They relied on “Special Waste Treatment Plant No. 23” for survival as garbage salvagers
Where there is profit, there is competition. A ship’s discarded artifact waste may only be trash for the upper echelon cultivators, but for these people at the lowest rung, these artifacts represent hope for survival. Li Yao was the salvager that had adapted the best to the Artifact Graveyard. Of course, this also made him the greatest thorn in the other garbage salvagers’ sides, a thorn in the flesh.
Actually, Li Yao did not care about getting along. With a laugh, his waist suddenly emitted power and his body twisted in a strange fashion. Without warning, he turned 90 degrees, splitting away from the glaring fat youth with furrowed brows that was in front of him. He seized the opportunity to use his foot to ferociously launch off of the fat face, propelling his whole body by 30-40 meters.
“Fatty Leung, everyone’s here to bring dinner to the table. It all depends on who is faster! You should lose some weight!”
The fat youth’s face was stamped red, his nose nearly sunk into his fatty flesh. He was angry to the point of tantrum. Unable to accept this, he commanded his men to pursue and they quickly entered the smoke and dust filled area.
As an explosion had just occurred, the area was super unstable. Dozens of garbage mountains could collapse at any time, causing even the diabolical Fatty Leung’s group of youths to have no other option but to slow their steps and stare blankly at Li Yao’s lightning speed.
Seeing this, Fatty Leung could not help but spit a mouthful of saliva.
“This son of a b*tch! He really lives up to the reputation of caring about money more than his life! God, if you have eyes, may lightning strike him dead...”
True to those words, a mountain of garbage exploded near Li Yao. Thousands upon thousands of metal parts and broken artifacts flooded down like a torrent!
“It came true!” Fatty Leung and the youths were flabbergasted. They were at a complete loss!
However, a shriek pierced through the smoke and dust crying, “Small Black, Save me!”
A path more profound than the night sky, a black streak shot out like lightning and carved a hole in the flood of metal. It was rusted, it had a nicked edge, and it was completely black. This flying sword possessed a giant handguard that had the shape of two extending black wings. Li Yao was like a drowning man grasping tenaciously on a rice straw. He hugged the flying sword for dear life. Curling his entire body onto the black streak, he pierced into the sky.
In the middle of the sky, the giant figures of a dozen or so garbage ships had already emerged. Each garbage ship was hundreds of meters long and had a round plump figure like the mythological turtle that props the earth. On top of each “turtle shell” was carved tens of thousands of glyphs, all densely packed together. They flickered with the light of essence in five vibrant colors, helping those gigantic over-ten-thousand-tons guys resist the effects of gravity.
The ”giant turtles” opened the hatches on their bellies one after another. Out came a rain of metal parts and broken artifacts that blotted the sky, pounding relentlessly against the earth.
In a moment, the essence energy within the entire field was madly disturbed and shook. A perilous situation was triggered!
Even the over-ten-thousand-tons garbage ships shook left and right in the midst of the essence energy waves. Under the violent turbulence, they had no option but to use all their strength to separate from each other, in hopes of reducing the damage.
Fatty Leung’s group even more so did not dare to rashly approach. They feared being caught in the turmoil.
Li Yao was still riding on the black flying sword, dashing quickly through the waves of essence energy. His appearance was destitute to the extreme, but he moved nimbly just like mud fish.
Naturally, he did not dare to directly face the raging waves and stormy sea head on. Rather, he relied on over ten years of survival experience, striving to discover areas where the tides of essence energy destructively interfered with each other and cancelled into tranquility, solely for the sake of approaching as close to the location of the dumped artifact waste as possible. The pavilion closest to the water was the first to bask in moonlight.
After nearly 10 minutes of dumping, the garbage ships let out a rumble like a behemoth. They changed their direction, lazily returning home. The smoke and dust gradually dissipated as well.
Fatty Leung had just barely climbed into the center of massive garbage dumping. He saw right away Li Yao sitting comfortably on a newly made mountain of garbage, looking at him with a beaming smile.
“Sh*t!” Fatty Leung’s face was shaking in anger, but his heart was a mess.
Li Yao chose this garbage mountain rather cleverly. It was not the largest, and it also did not seem to have the most abundant of materials.
There were still dozens of garbage mountains all around, all containing priceless discarded artifacts.
As for the salvagers, there were more than just these two parties...
If Fatty Leung continued to compete with Li Yao, it was possible that some of the profits may be snatched up by other fishing salvagers.
The figures of other salvagers had already faintly emerged. Joyful cries could be heard from the peaks of several garbage mountains; people had discovered valuable treasure.
Not to mention...
Fatty Leung had heard that this loathsome kid, Li Yao, was a student of Floating Spear City’s famous Crimson Nimbus Guild's Second Affiliated High School.
The Crimson Nimbus Guild was a famous sect located in the southern part of the Federation. Their strength was tyrannical and they had numerous experts.
Although Li Yao may not have learned any true techniques of masters, he was not someone who could be handled with just three fists and two legs. Otherwise, he would not have made a living battling for over ten years in this Artifact Graveyard, still being perfectly healthy and spry, also seizing the nickname “Vulture!”
But how could Fatty Leung just let it go? Where did his face go? His nose was still embedded inside his flesh!
While his heart was a mess, a gale of wind swept by. Fatty Leung subconsciously grasped out his hand, and his hand felt something ice-cold. In his hand was actually a scrapped crystal processor unit the size of a fist.
Li Yao laughed heartily, saying, “Fatty Leung, everyone’s here to make a living. I just snatched a”Starlight” class CPU from you last time. It’s not like I murdered your father. Isn’t it unnecessary to go this far, to be unceasing until the point of death? Here, I just found a ‘Brave Dragon-17’ CPU produced by the Viridian Dragon Guild. It’s the newest model, capable of calculating over 5000 telepathic thoughts per second. Even though it’s fried, I reckon you can get three or four thousand bucks for it. Just take it as a sign of respect from me, big brother Fatty Leung. From now on we’re even, what do you say?”
“You...” Fatty Leung did not expect Li Yao to say something like this. He was immediately stunned and was somewhat distrusting, as he scratched the fat on his face.
“Yo! Look over there. Wild Wolf’s men are almost here. They don’t run solo like this guy. They will absolutely digest dozens of garbage mountains completely bare. They won’t leave behind a single screw for you!” said Li Yao as he rapidly pointed towards the west.
Fatty Leung’s face changed color. He squinted his eyes for quite a while and finally made a resolution. He immediately gave Li Yao a giant thumbs up, squeezing out a sentence, “Alright kid, you’ve got chops! Let’s go make out with the goods asap!”
A party of salvagers scattered in all directions, charging towards garbage mountains in every direction.
Li Yao let out a long sigh of relief. His butt was sitting on a garbage heap and big beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. The grin on his face transformed into wailing as he suddenly got up.
“Die Fatty! I painstakingly found that Brave Dragon-17 Processor, and it became yours for nothing!”
“Just you wait. Do you think it is that easy to take from me, the ‘Vulture’ Li Yao? There will be a day where what you’ve eaten of mine will be spat back to me. I will take back what you took from me with interest. I will make sure it's of high interest too! I will let you know... Why everyone calls me the ’Vulture who values money more than life’!’”
“No, this won’t do. I need to be faster. Wild Wolf’s Gang, those bunches of mince-meat, they’re even more unreasonable than Fatty Leung!”
Li Yao pulled down his goggles so that it rested on his neck. Rubbing his hands together, his pair of eyes contained a gleam of light. Licking his lips, he rushed towards a newly created garbage heap!