Though they’d succeeded in gaining the Metal of Ten-Thousand Poisons earlier than expected, it was still impossible to rescue Mu Linger and the rest in the middle of winter. For the sake of keeping Jun Yixie in the dark, they could only wait. Moreover, the Ning Clan troops had the important task of training those 30,000 battle horses!
Long Feiye never asked about the horses, but Han Yunxi had enough power to inquire herself. She had sent two queries back since leaving Three-Way Black Market. By now, Deputy General Xue had more or less taken care of the horse trainers sent back by Jun Yixie and would soon start breaking in the stallions.
Their other important task was to deal with Bai Yanqing. Although no news was good news, this didn’t apply to their enemy. They couldn’t be sure he wasn’t taking action even if they heard nothing about him. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were currently speculating on his goals and motives. If he wanted to sow discord between East and West Qin like the past, why was he keeping silent now? And why did Bai Yanqing hate the two dynasties so much in the first place? That man had too many suspicious points, just like the mysterious figure in the Poison Sect’s forbidden grounds. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi couldn’t make heads or tails of it all, but neither could they cast the problem aside.
Since they couldn’t puzzle through Bai Yanqing, they could only try to find the Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons as soon as possible! With Gu Qishao by their side, Long Feiye didn’t mind luring out Bai Yanqing for a good bout as soon as they found the last poison!
“Alright, then we’ll wait a while longer,” Han Yunxi agreed with Long Feiye’s plan.
Gu Qishao seemed distracted because he didn’t chime in. It wasn’t until Long Feiye looked at him that he recovered enough to say, “Sure, no problem.” Actually, he’d just agreed without thinking, because he hadn’t heard Long Feiye’s words at all.
“Have you gotten any intel on the Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons recently?” Long Feiye asked.
“Not a single bit,” Gu Qishao had started searching as long as a year ago, but hadn’t made any progress. Actually, if he hadn’t heard about the Qi Sha dagger before, they might have missed this time’s clues, too. Long Feiye had sent out his own shadow guards to investigate but also came up empty-handed.
“Is Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons an actual flame? Or other sources of heat?” Han Yunxi wondered what form it would take. In the five elements, “fire” could refer to both the flame or similar sources of thermal power.
Gu Qishao shook his head. Though he had ideas about the other four elements, he was stuck when it came to fire. Was it a flame of the earth or the skies? Perhaps even one from a stove? Was it a fire that burned eternally, or one that had yet to be lit? When it came to eternal flames, those were easy enough to track down. If it was the latter, or perhaps a fire that wasn’t burning at all, then searching would be difficult.
“Let’s rest a few days to think it over,” Gu Qishao was rarely so focused.
“Alright,” Han Yunxi agreed.
Just like that, Han Yunxi’s group settled down in Qingzhou Water City while searching for clues, keeping an eye on Northern Li’s civil war, and trying to find Bai Yanqing’s whereabouts. One day, Han Yunxi suddenly received a letter from the medical cottage of Pill King. After reading its contents, she ran excitedly into the courtyard.
“Long Feiye, good news! I have good news!” She was so happy that it seemed like she’d discovered the Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons.
Before Long Feiye could ask her for details, Gu Qishao had already jumped off the roof with a grin. “Poison lass, what’s gotten you so happy?”
“Our Doctor Gu can be saved!” Han Yunxi was truly joyful, even happier than any news of the Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons.
“Really? Where’s the news from?” Long Feiye grew delighted as well. He had sent so many people to look for the Returning Dragon Pill needed for Gu Beiyue’s recovery that he couldn’t guess who wrote back with updates.
“Who found the pill? They’re even faster than me, so they must be pretty skilled!” Gu Qishao chuckled.
But Han Yunxi’s next words froze him in place.
“It’s the old pill furnace master at the Medicine Requesting Cave. He didn’t find Returning Dragon Pill, but he did get a prescription for it. Moreover, he’s already collected all of the ingredients but one, so we need to hurry up and deliver it!”
Gu Qishao’s smile stiffened on his face, while Long Feiye asked urgently, “What’s missing?”
‘Wine! To make Returning Dragon Pill, one needs mellow snow wine aged for 100 years.” Han Yunxi grinned. “Something like that...Ning Cheng will have for sure!”
The so-called snow wine was wine brewed from water melted from snow. Accumulated snow over ten years old was filtered of impurities and turned into clean water to ferment alcohol. That version yielded ordinary snow wine, but hundred-year snow wine required both snow that had accumulated for 100 years as well as a fermentation period of one century. Many of the 100-year snow wines for sale in the markets were all sham. Even finding a normal 100-year old wine was difficult, to say nothing of snow wine.
To drink fine teas, one found Long Feiye; to eat fine pills, one found Gu Qishao; to drink fine wines, Ning Cheng was top pick!
“Xu Donglin, write a letter to ask Myriad Merchant Hall,” Long Feiye ordered. It was rare for him to be so impulsive unless Han Yunxi was involved.
By now, Han Yunxi was already looking forward to seeing Gu Beiyue’s shadow arts once again. The white-robed gentleman of the past was going to make his comeback! If Lil Thing knew the news, it would definitely be happy as well!
“Yes, this subordinate will do so right away!” Xu Donglin was moved as well. Once Gu Beiyue recovered, His Highness and the princess would have an extra helping hand. After he left, Han Yunxi turned around and saw that Gu Qishao had vanished.
“Where’d he go?” she asked doubtfully.
Long Feiye had noticed his departure too and glanced at the rooftop, but Gu Qishao was nowhere to be seen. Only then did Han Yunxi recall a certain detail. “Could it be…”
Long Feiye immediately understood and only replied, “As he likes.”
Han Yunxi had recalled the incident of the old pill furnace master requesting her to find his runaway disciple. He had said he’d give his entire pill furnace to her in exchange. They even wrote up an agreement which Han Yunxi kept on her person. Back then, she suspected that the “Little Loony” that the old man wanted was none other than Gu Qishao. She’d tried probing Gu Qishao a few times, but he avoided the topic so she stopped. She wouldn’t force him just for the sake of some pill furnace.
Three days later, Han Yunxi received the head elder’s letter from Myriad Merchant Hall confirming that Ning Cheng indeed possessed hundred-year snow wine. What’s more, he even had three total tankards!
Although it was impossible to get Ning Cheng’s permission to take them, both Head Elder and Han Yunxi decided to act first and report later. When she informed the pill furnace master of the news and made arrangements for a delivery, the old man actually wrote back with an unexpected request. He wanted her to stay with him for three years and look after the big pill furnace. Otherwise, not only would he refuse to make the pill, he’d even destroy the prescription. Only then did everyone remember that it was no simple feat to ask for pills from the Medicine Requesting Cave.
“Detestable!” Han Yunxi’s good mood instantly evaporated. Back when she first asked the pill furnace master to search for the Returning Dragon Pill, she had asked for his terms. He was quite easy to negotiate with, even saying things like old friends didn’t need to mind such terms and that he’d try his best. Long Feiye was uncertain and made her write another letter back just to check. In the end, the pill furnace master told Han Yunxi to 1) figure out all of the medical effects of the Returning Dragon Pill and 2) hand over a few of her more precious poisons.
Although there wasn’t a contract involved, Han Yunxi had kept all those letters between them! She knew the pill furnace master had a strange temper and capricious disposition, but that was no excuse to go back on his words! Who knew the Old Loony would ask for such an unreasonable request? Was he still holding a grudge from the year she threatened to destroy the big furnace back at Medicine Requesting Cave?!
“He can keep dreaming!” Long Feiye said icily.
During their last visit, he had been wary of the pill furnace and Medicine City’s strength. Now both of those forces were incapable of stirring him or Han Yunxi. Meanwhile, Medical City had long fallen to Gu Beiyue’s hands, while they had cultivated a true source of strength belonging to themselves from allying with Pill Fiend Valley in Medicine City. In terms of medicinal ingredients, they didn’t have to rely solely on Medicine City anymore.
“Xu Donglin, tell the pill furnace master that he already gave us his terms before looking for the pill. Any requests he makes now is simply extortion! Blackmailing the princess comes with a price! Have him refine the pill within ten days, or else…” Han Yunxi trailed off as she thought of an appropriate threat until Long Feiye chimed in.
“Or else, this crown prince will personally go destroy his pill furnace!”
Long Feiye’s warning was a direct hit to the pill furnace master’s sore spot!
“Yes!” Xu Donglin obeyed and left. Meanwhile, Gu Qishao watched them from the roof without batting an eye.
Very soon, Han Yunxi and Long Feiye received the pill furnace master’s reply. All he wrote was two words: No chance!
In all his life, Long Feiye had never received such a short yet provoking letter. Han Yunxi could only stared at it dumb-faced. She knew that they had to pay the man a personal visit now.
Coldly, Long Feiye said, “Xu Donglin, bring me brush and ink!”
Once Xu Donglin did, Long Feiye quickly wrote two words of his own: Seeking death!
After the message was delivered, Long Feiye immediately ordered, “Prepare the carriage, we’re going to the medical cottage.” He glanced at Gu Qishao, who immediately adopted an indifferent expression and leaped off the roof with a chuckle.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve gone to Medicine City. I rather miss its medicinal fragrance.”
Long Feiye only gave him a cold face and murmured, “The pill furnace master went back on his words first. It’s best if you don’t interfere!”
Gu Qishao’s eyes flashed with mixed feelings, but he continued to play the fool. “Heheh, what does that have to do with this old man? For the sake of Gu Beiyue, I’ll come along with you all. Let me say this first, I’ll only go as far as the medical cottage. I’m not stepping foot into somewhere as awful as that Medicine Requesting Cave!”
2. As a reminder, the medical cottage is located in a forest within Medicine City and is the place where Pill King lives. The pill furnace master lives in the Medicine Requesting Cave right next door.
Cough cough, is it Gu Qishao's time to shine again soon? I'm really looking forward to the Chekov's gun planted back in chapters 629-630, hurhur. And who else thinks that pill furnace's weird fire properties might be directly related to Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons? Don't be so quick to destroy what you need, Long Feiye...
So we've wrapped up the last story arch with Chapter 1006 (omg four digit chapter numbers huehue) and starting on the next arc today! New sponsored chapters GIF and music playlist are also up for your appreciation! Hehehe~