Chapter 2: Ant Nest
Ever since he had obtained that phone, Zhou Wen had spent nearly every moment grinding on it with a game. In turn, he received all kinds of dimensional crystals.
In the past, his Strength was 7, Speed was 4, Constitution was 7, and Primordial Energy was 1. After receiving the dimensional crystals from grinding, he had raised all these values in slightly more than a month. If it were in the past, it might have taken him years to develop so quickly.
After using large numbers of dimensional crystals, Zhou Wen realized a set of rules. No matter which dimensional crystal it was, as long as its value was higher than his, using it would result in his stats directly rising to the same value as the said dimensional crystal.
But if the dimensional crystal's value was lower or the same as his, it could only replenish some of his energy. Then, by cultivating the Primordial Energy Art, he could raise his own stats instead of a direct raise.
This also meant that the higher the dimensional crystal's value was, the better. Its effects on Zhou Wen would also be amplified. However, having killed so many Vigor Ants in the Ant Nest, the highest Strength Crystal he had seen was a 9. The highest Constitution Crystal was only an 8. Speed Crystals were all low in value. Primordial Energy Crystals were extremely rare. The 5 he had received today were the highest valued he had seen to date.
Zhou Wen had considered the possibility that it had something to do with the Vigor Ants' natural makeup. They were outstanding when it came to their Strength and Constitution, but their Speed was lacking. This was also why the Strength Crystals that he received were relatively high in value, while Speed Crystals weren't much to speak of.
However, even low-valued dimensional crystals could be used as energy supplements, allowing Zhou Wen to quickly cultivate Ascetic Meditation; thus, it wasn't completely useless.
The only regret was that the crystals that dropped in the game were directly absorbed upon contact with the blood-colored avatar. They couldn't be brought to the real world; otherwise, just the sale of the low-valued crystals he had no use for would be enough to make him quite a wealthy person.
There were many ants in the Ant Nest, and whenever they discovered Zhou Wen's blood-colored avatar, the number that gathered only increased.
After killing over a hundred Vigor Ants, another dimensional crystal dropped. Unfortunately, it was a Strength Crystal 3 and could only be used for energy replenishment.
The drop rate of dimensional crystals wasn't high, and most of them were valued at 3 or lower. The higher-valued ones had extremely low drop rates, so Zhou Wen could only rely on massive amounts of grinding to raise the chances of him getting them.
This was also the reason he often slept in class and stopped cultivating—apart from classes, he spent the rest of his time grinding, even at night. He didn't have the time or energy to cultivate or pay attention in class.
Even so, the rate at which he strengthened himself was incomparable to the past. If he had only cultivated Ascetic Meditation like before, the time it took to raise his Primordial Energy to 5 would have been several times or even dozens of times longer.
As the number of Vigor Ants increased, Zhou Wen was beginning to feel overwhelmed. Before long, the blood-colored avatar was inundated by Vigor Ants, and the screen went black.
Zhou Wen had no choice but to restart the game by dripping a drop of blood onto the game's screen. His blood was akin to a 1-Up in games—one drop of blood was a life.
With the game launched, he embarked on his grinding again, killing one Vigor Ant after another. However, Zhou Wen wasn't too lucky this time. Not a single dimensional crystal dropped despite killing over a hundred Vigor Ants.
Since Zhou Wen was a sedate person and not quick-tempered, he continued to patiently grind in the Ant Nest.
Suddenly, he saw a somewhat special Vigor Ant amidst the hordes.
This Vigor Ant was blood-red in color as though it was completely covered in blood. It stood out among the other black Vigor Ants, and its head was slightly bigger. Zhou Wen noticed it immediately.
Upon noticing the red Vigor Ant gearing for a charge, Zhou Wen cautiously probed it and found its Strength and Speed was far greater than other black Vigor Ants. However, it was still manageable for him.
After positioning the blood-colored avatar several times, it managed to hit the red Vigor Ant, but only dealt minor damage to it. He had failed to slay it.
However, there was still clear progress—the red Vigor Ant's health bar was slowly dropping. Perhaps about a hundred strikes were needed to slay it.
Thankfully, the red Vigor Ant was only slightly faster than the typical black Vigor Ant. The blood-colored avatar had enough time to position itself and dodge, so killing it was only a matter of time.
However, the black Vigor Ants were increasing in number. The development worried Zhou Wen because, at this speed, he might be swarmed by the ant horde before he successfully killed the red Vigor Ant.
However, no idea came to mind for the time being. Zhou Wen could only do his best to control the blood-colored avatar's speed to deal damage to the red Vigor Ant.
Just as the red Vigor Ant's health bar almost depleted to zero, the surrounding Vigor Ants increased, giving the blood-colored avatar no space to circle around the former.
The blood-colored avatar failed to dodge in time and was bitten by a black Vigor Ant. Instantly, its health bar was almost halved.
Zhou Wen knew that he was at the end of the rope. All he could do was to use the blood-colored avatar to deliver one final strike with all its might at the red Vigor Ant.
When the punch landed, the red Vigor Ant's vital spot was struck. Its final bit of health was depleted and its red carapace instantly exploded. Two crystals burst out from its carcass.
Zhou Wen didn't have the luxury to see what type of dimensional crystals they were. His blood-colored avatar was in a critical state as the two crystals were picked up.
Moments after the blood-colored avatar picked up the two dimensional crystals, it was swarmed by the Vigor Ant horde, and before long, the screen went black.
Zhou Wen looked at the two notifications that appeared on the screen. He heaved a deep sigh of relief for he had had similar experiences. As long as he could pick up a dimensional crystal before dying, the effects would be applied.
"Killed Mortal creature, Vigor Ant. Discovered Primordial Energy Crystal."
"Killed Mortal creature, Vigor Ant. Discovered Vigor Ant Crystal."
Upon seeing the two notifications on the screen, Zhou Wen couldn't help but be taken aback. He had seen a Primordial Energy Crystal drop plenty of times, but a dimensional crystal named after Vigor Ants was a first.
After a brief pause, Zhou Wen reacted. Although he had never seen such dimensional crystals, he had heard of their existence. In textbooks and videos on the Internet, people had used similar crystals. However, they weren't Vigor Ant Crystals, but crystals of other dimensional creatures.
While Zhou Wen was feeling exhilarated, he felt a strange force from his phone spread through his body.