Pill King realized that Han Yunxi’s group had bad intentions after Long Feiye gave orders to set a fire! Although the pill furnace was part of the medical cottage grounds, he and the Pill Furnace Master rarely crossed paths or dealt with each other. As long as Han Yunxi’s group didn’t aim for him, Pill King was quite willing to stand by and watch the show. He had been slighted in his youth at the pill furnace too.
As soon as Long Feiye issued orders, his shadow guards began to move. They had come prepared because it wasn’t easy to enter the Medicine Requesting Cave to meet with the Pill Furnace Master. Although they had passed through the three trials last time, they would still need to face three obstacles upon re-entry, most likely with different challenges. Thus, the best way to meet with the Pill Furnace Master was 1) reveal their identities and have the man give them entry or 2) force the man out himself.
The former had them meeting Pill Furnace Master, the latter had Pill Furnace Master meeting them. But they weren’t here to beg for medicine this time, but to demand payment on a debt. Thus, it had to be the old man meeting them instead. No matter how many obstacles laid in wait, as long as they set a fire at the entrance to the Medicine Requesting Cave and filled it with smoke, the residents inside would be forced to come out. The shadow guards soon blocked the entrance with firewood and Long Feiye lit them up personally. Soon enough, there was a blazing inferno with black smoke stretching to the skies.
Xu Donglin personally watched over the flames and adjusted the firewood as necessary with the change in the winds. As it burned, thick coils of smoke drifted into the cave. Pill King watched from the sidelines while stroking his beard with a devious grin. He had no idea how Pill Furnace Master had offended Han Yunxi and Long Feiye, but only rejoiced that he had never forced the couple too hard at the start. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have a good end of it either. He was Han Yunxi’s master in name, so in some ways he’d even profited instead.
Han Yunxi and Long Feiye stood shoulder-to-shoulder watching the fire, her with her arms crossed and he with hands clasped behind his back. Han Yunxi wasn’t very tall, but her spine was ever straight, giving her thin back a mighty presence that would even quell men. There was no need to say more about Long Feiye, who could give off the air of an aggressive warlord scorning the world just by standing still. Both of them were expressionless.
Gu Qishao sat on a tree branch watching the pile burn. However, his eyes were dull and almost distracted. As the flames went on, they burned faster through the kindling until the shadow guards were forced to resupply the wood. Meanwhile, time trickled by. The shadow guards stationed at the back of the cave also came over to report twice that everything was going well. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had both experienced the Medicine Requesting Cave, so they knew it was a large place. They were in no hurry for their quarry to slip out.
But four full hours passed with no one emerging from its depths. What was...going on?
“Is there something fishy inside the cave?” Han Yunxi muttered. As soon as she spoke, something strange happened: all of the black smoke rushed inside the cave as if sucked up by some invisible force.
“Very fishy,” Long Feiye was surprised, but he didn’t lose his cool.
Gu Qishao grew restless as he kept switching positions on the branch before perching on its limb. His narrow eyes blinked in thought. After a while, Xu Donglin personally rushed over to observe the cave and reported, “Your Highness, the back entrance is the same. What should we do?”
“Understood,” Long Feiye was calm.
Attacking with smoke was simply probing at the enemy. Han Yunxi next brought out a vial full of poison and gave it to Xu Donglin. “Add this to the fire until it’s all burned up.”
Then the poison would travel along with the smoke into the cave before dispersing in the air. Although the Medicine Requesting Cave had multiple stone doors, smoke could travel through the smallest spaces and permeate through the entire space. Unless there was a poison storage space within the cave that could nullify the poisons, everyone inside would fall victim. It was guaranteed that Han Yunxi’s toxins would force anyone inside to come begging for an antidote!
Xu Donglin prepared to leave with the poison when Gu Qishao suddenly jumped off his tree. “Wait!”
Naturally, Xu Donglin stopped. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye exchanged glances and prepared to speak, but Long Feiye got the first word.
“I’ve already said, this has nothing to do with you! No matter who it is, those who go back on their words need to pay the price!”
Gu Qishao pulled a long face and looked towards Han Yunxi, who seemed even sterner. “Whether or not this fails or succeeds has no relation to you.” Her words were even blunter than Long Feiye’s. If they wanted to ruin Medicine Requesting Cave, then that was their business and not Gu Qishao’s. Even if they couldn’t handle Pill Furnace Master, they wouldn’t ask Gu Qishao for help.
Gu Qishao still looked displeased, but he didn’t say a word, making it hard for anyone to read his thoughts. Just what was he planning?”
“Xu Donglin, you’re still not going?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
Gu Qishao reached out an arm to block Xu Donglin before his severe expression suddenly broke into a smile. “Why does it have nothing to do with this old man?”
Is he...planning to meddle? But to help or hinder us?
If he wanted to help, how would he do it? Why would Pill Furnace Master give him any face? If he wanted to hinder, could he bear to let down Gu Beiyue? He should know better than anyone which side to choose!
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were still puzzling when Gu Qishao said loudly, “Gu Beiyue’s matters are my matters! I’ve got my sights set on the Returning Dragon Pill! Don’t destroy that pill refining furnace. Come, I’ll take you all inside!”
So Gu Qishao’s helping us?
If he was really the “Little Loony” that Pill Furnace Master wanted to find, then he must have a reason for avoiding the topic of his master every single time! If he helped them now, was he planning to acknowledge his identity?
“We can handle it! As long as he hands over the Returning Dragon Pill, I’ll definitely cure the poison!” Han Yunxi said. She didn’t want to force Gu Qishao’s hand.
But Gu Qishao only smiled even more carelessly and said, “Poison lass, you guys being tricked is the same as being tricked myself! In any case, I’m getting involved. If you guys won’t go in, I’ll enter myself!”
Gu Qishao didn’t give the couple time to react before slipping into the cave and vanishing in its darkness.
“All of you stand guard!” Long Feiye ordered Xu Donglin before pulling Han Yunxi in after him. They soon caught up with Gu Qishao, who glanced back with a chuckle.
“Follow me closely, don’t get lost.”
Han Yunxi and Long Feiye noticed that there wasn’t a hint of smoke within the cave. They didn’t ask Gu Qishao any questions, but simply followed in silence. Since Gu Qishao wanted to come in, they had no reason or right to stop him. In their impression, their first trip here led them to the medicine youth not long after their entry. The youth had wanted them to inspect and identify different pills before letting them pass. Soon enough, another youth emerged from the darkness while holding a plate.
Their fire had failed to affect any denizen of the cave. The little youth didn’t even mention it, but simply gave them the same set of instructions with the same expressionless face.
“As long as you identify the pills in this plate in the time it takes to burn a stick of incense, you may proceed. Otherwise, you’ll have to stay at the medical cottage for the rest of your lives. Violators will be cursed with a hundred illnesses with no cure.”
Han Yunxi’s detox system didn’t recognize the pills at first glance, because the youth had carried out not regular pills, but dan pellets. She wasn’t familiar with them!
The medicine youth didn’t care whether they were ready or not, but stood five paces away and picked up a pill in his palms for them to identify. Han Yunxi could discern some of its components with difficulty, but it would be hard to name them outright. Long Feiye was even less likely as this wasn’t his strong point. He crossed his arms to observe. Since Gu Qishao wanted in, this would be his responsibility. Han Yunxi glanced at Gu Qishao, waiting to learn from him and his skills. Who knew…
Who knew that Gu Qishao would suddenly dart forward, snatch all the pills from the boy, and toss them at Han Yunxi!
“Poison lass, for you!”
Han Yunxi was still reeling from the sudden influx of pills when Long Feiye helped her accept them all. Scared to death, the medicine youth pointed at Gu Qishao and yelled, “You, you...you’ll be cursed! You’ll catch 100 ills without a cure!”
Gu Qishao smiled coldly before he hauled up the youth by his collar and snapped back, “Cursed? You’re scaring this old man to death!”
So speaking, he tossed the boy aside before kicking open the next stone door. Han Yunxi realized for the first time that Gu Qishao could be domineering too! She also recalled that during their last trip, the second test had made everyone fall ill. Moreover, the sickness had attacked their vital organs until Gu Beiyue managed to cure everyone. What about this time? Would they get sick again?
Admittedly, Han Yunxi was a little worried. Curing illnesses wasn’t Gu Qishao’s forte. Yet as they walked through the cave, they met with nothing out of the ordinary.
Meanwhile, news of the latest encounter had already been reported to Pill Furnace Master, who was sitting atop his giant pill furnace.
“What’s the name of that fellow who stole the dan pellets?” Pill Furnace Master asked.
“He’s called Gu Qishao, the former foster son of Medical City’s ex-Academy Head Gu Yuntian. He’s also the master of Pill Fiend Valley,” this was all the subordinate knew.
Pill Furnace Master’s face fell. “No matter who he is, those who steal this old man’s pills will die without mercy!”
Last time Han Yunxi’s group had passed the second test, but this time would be harder. Moreover, that medical expert Gu Beiyue wasn’t with them. He’d like to see just how long that fellow Gu Qishao could keep blustering!
Those were Pill Furnace Master’s intentions, but Gu Qishao’s actions at the second trial made him topple off his pill furnace…
I'm back after missing another day! Sorry guys, work always gets busy before the Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons here!
On a side note, I'm also starting up Mystic Messenger again to clear Saeran's route. Wootwoot! My favorite is evenly tied between Jumin and Yoosung tho...what about you guys? >u> Anyways, with 8 chapters owed, I'm planning to
give out 3 releases today and 5 releases tomorrow to clear my debts (and celebrate Thanksgiving). do as much as I can for Thanksgiving before I knock out hahah~ See you then!
P.S. Anyone else watch/watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica? Junior bro and I are having unofficial streaming sessions of the anime. (Subbed) uwu