Although it was easy to for the guard to miss the count before, it was still impossible for the slaves to escape because there was only one entrance and exit of the mine which was heavily guarded. If they were assumed missing, they would have been able to escape with the help of their cultivation base. But now, there would be an investigation that would be launched.
The king was keeping a close tab on the prince and was looking out for each mistake that he made, thus the prince was rather paranoid and did everything to prevent that. This lead to him keeping a close eye on the workings of the mine.
Just like this another year passed by and it had been two years total since the Lost immortal had become a cultivator. Because of the terrible conditions and lack of resources, the lost immortal was barely able to reach the early stage of the qi refining realm.
The old man had also discovered that the cultivation technique he practiced was rather unsuitable for the physique of the lost immortal. This left him with no choice but to give him another cultivation technique that was inferior to his own.
Still, the lost immortal did not mind this and cultivated wholeheartedly. He never let go of any free time that he got and used every second to the fullest. At first, it was quite difficult for him to balance cultivating and mining as he had to fulfill a certain quota. If that quota was not fulfilled, he would not get food and thus would not be able to gain vital energy.
Vital energy was essential in the Body tempering realm and without it, he would never be able to progress, thus at the start, he focused on fulfilling his quota as much as he could with the old man chipping in.
In terms of the old man, his cultivation was also quite slow and he had barely reached the mid stage of the qi refining realm.
A year after becoming the old man’s disciple, the lost immortal finally reached the eighth stage of the body tempering realm and decided to enter the qi refining realm and become a cultivator officially. Still, this was no easy task, and it took him nearly three months before he was able to sense the spirit qi and another three months before he was able to absorb it.
The old man did not say this to him at that time as he did not want to demotivate him, but the lost immortal perhaps had the lowest talent he had ever seen. The old man knew that without proper resources and a suitable cultivation technique, it would be quite hard for him to progress.
Six months passed by like this, and the resolve of the Lost immortal was only getting stronger. Eventually, a day arrived when another collapse happened. This time too a lot of slaves died, but the lost immortal and the old man were able to escape it successfully.
This lead to another head count to be initiated. The lost immortal and the old man knew that this was the right opportunity to escape, thus they started to plan. Going out of the entrance was rather impossible, as there were some cultivators that were guarding it.
These cultivators were none other than the prince’s own personal guards who had taken up the job. The Old man was not confident that he or the lost immortal would be able to fight against them, when they were still so weak, thus they tried to find an alternate route.
The head count would take a month to complete during which they could delay their turn rather easily by hiding inside the tunnels. The problem with food was solved as they were able to steal the leftover stock of food during the collapse.
The aim of the lost immortal and the old man was to find a secondary tunnel that led up to the surface. Even if they did not lead all the way to the surface, as long as they came close the old man was confident that they would be able to dig their way up.
Both the old man and the lost immortal were now strong enough that digging through some rocks was easy for them. It took them three months, before they were able to find a suitable tunnel. It took them a lot of trial and error, along with hiding from the search parties that were sent down.
In the final week, they started their digging and their journey began. During this, they experienced a setback due to another collapse that happened. This led to the floor below them, collapsing into a cave.
This cave was closed off before and was undiscovered thus they had not expected to have a fortunate encounter there.
Within the cave, there was a pool of water that was about two meters wide in radius and a meter deep. This pool of water glowed with a faint light, which attracted the attention of the old man. Upon taking it he was excited as he knew that they had found a treasure.
The pool of water was actually a primitive spirit spring. A spirit spring can be considered as the embryonic form of spirit stone mines. The water that was present in the pool contained dissolved spirit qi that would eventually condense to form the core of a spirit stone mine.
This core was also the point from where the Spirit Stone mine would start to grow and accumulate more spirit qi. But looking at the size and condition of the spirit spring, the old man knew that it would take hundreds of years before this spirit spring would be able to turn into a spirit stone mine.
The old man instructed the lost immortal to absorb the spirit qi in the pool, due to which his cultivation started increasing at a rapid pace. Still, due to the low talent of the lost immortal, his benefits were not as great as they would have been for a normal cultivator.
The lost immortal was able to reach the mid stage of the qi refining realm and was even able to break through to the late stage of the qi refining realm barely. In the process, the spirit spring was completely depleted and with it, the possible fortune of the kingdom was also lost.
If this spirit spring would have become a spirit stone mine, the kingdom would have definitely sensed it and would have become incredibly rich and powerful with its support. They would have been able to create en rite generations of cultivators with it, and their status would have skyrocketed.
But alas, fate was not in their favor and instead befitted the lost immortal. This was his second big fortune after having multitudes of misfortunes.
Now with his new found strength, the old man and the lost immortal began their journey back to the surface. They broke through rock after rock, shattered one boulder after the other, and eventually reached a new tunnel.
But it was here that the fortune of the lost immortal came to an end, as they were discovered by a search party.