Pill Furnace Master had already agreed to make the Returning Dragon Pill, but Gu Qishao still wasn’t satisfied. His smile turned cold and disdainful as he stood on the towering furnace, his hands wielding the Moye sword spirit. Like a savage god, he showed nothing but contempt for those below him. A man like him didn’t demand respect like Long Feiye, but only fear and shivering fear.
Han Yunxi looked up at Gu Qishao and suddenly understood that Little Qi was already gone from this world, as well as Gu Qishao’s own heart.
Little Qi had long grown up!
“Old man, let me see the prescription first,” Gu Qishao wasn’t requested, but commanding.
Unhappiness flitted past Pill Furnace Master’s eyes before he asked loudly, “What do you want the prescription for? It’s not like you can understand it!”
“Who told you I can’t?” Gu Qishao retorted.
“This old man only agreed to make the medicine for you all, not hand over the prescription!” an indignant Pill Furnace Master turned on Han Yunxi. “When selling pills, one doesn’t hand over the prescription! This is an ages-old rule!”
Before Han Yunxi could answer, the taciturn Long Feiye took over. But he spoke to Gu Qishao, not Pill Furnace Master. “What are you dawdling for?”
Pill Furnace Master didn’t understand what he meant, but Han Yunxi’s lips were already quirked into a smile. With Long Feiye and Gu Qishao here, even the hardest conundrums had nothing to do with her. She could just ask Pill Furnace Master for a chair and sit down to watch the show.
As the sharp hiss rose into the air, Pill Furnace Master whipped his head back to see Gu Qishao using the Moye sword spirit to draw circles on the furnace.
“Gu Qishao!” Pill Furnace Master almost spat up blood in his fury. He suddenly flew up, but his movements only sped up Gu Qishao’s own, forcing Pill Furnace Master to halt. In the end, he reluctantly took out a prescription from his sleeve and tossed it at Gu Qishao. Immediately, Gu Qishao read its contents carefully. After a long time, he tossed it to Han Yunxi.
“Poison lass, you have a look.”
Gu Qisaho’s medicine knowledge was ranked number one in Cloud Realm Continent. If he couldn’t tell anything amiss, Han Yunxi wouldn’t be able to, either unless the prescription had poison involved. She grew guarded as she read over the contents, then asked, “Where’s the snow wine dosage?”
19 ingredients were listed, 18 of which had clear quantities. But there were no clear instructions for the 19th ingredient, snow wine, except for “some.”
Half-despairing, Pill Furnace Master said impatiently, “The so-called clear water is replaced by snow wine, to be added as needed. There’s no need to speak of quantities that way.”
“Alright, then there’s no other questions. Start making the medicine,” Han Yunxi said as she tossed the prescription back.
Pill Furnace Master immediately prepared the 18 other ingredients and divided them into the necessary quantities. Han Yunxi flew to his side and smiled. “Everyone else can withdraw. I’ll assist you personally.”
With the threat of Gu Qishao looming above their heads, Pill Furnace Master had no room to refuse. He could only dismiss his apprentices. Once all 18 ingredients were soaking in snow wine, they were boiled until their essences mixed and set aside to be used later. Han Yunxi had volunteered to help because two of the 18 listed ingredients would create a trace toxin called Drunken Craving when mixed together. Although not fatal, Drunken Craving, like its name suggested, induced the victim to become addicted to drink. Its effects were also very unique and not completely curable. The most the victim could do was use timely antidotes to fight the poison. To make the antidote, she would need the original dregs of the Drunken Craving poison as a base. Moreover, the antidote would need to be taken for at least three years.
In other words, if Gu Qishao hadn’t been prudent enough to discover this point, then let Han Yunxi discover a way to break through it, then Gu Beiyue would be at the utter beck and call of Pill Furnace Master after taking the Returning Dragon Pill. The only reason that Pill Furnace Master would want to tie down Gu Beiyue was to keep Han Yunxi by his side.
Han Yunxi didn’t plan on exposing Pill Furnace Master’s plans without proof, since he never clarified the dosage issue. If she couldn’t find evidence of his scheme, he could just play dumb to deny it! However, now that she was getting personally involved, the old man would know enough to stop trying more tricks.
As expected, under Han Yunxi’s “care,” Pill Furnace Master was like withered grass beneath the summer sun, disinterested in anything else. But really, it was an idiotic move to use poisons in front of Han Yunxi!
Gu Qishao was no patient man and loudly urged, “You, hurry up!”
Pill Furnace Master glanced at him. “I can’t go any faster. Meticulous work comes from slow care. If anything happens because I sped up--”
“Finefinefine, I’ll wait,” Gu Qishao cut in, “I’ll wait, alright?!” He sat crossed-legged atop the pill furnace and tapped against its surface with the Moye sword spirit, not as a threat, but because he was bored. Pill Furnace Master’s expression upon looking up could best be described as someone with nothing left to live for. He finally sped up to a point that Han Yunxi couldn’t even see his movements. She could only activate the detox system to measure the quantity of snow wine he was using.
Boiling the medicine, filtering it out, boiling it again, filtering it again, pounding the ingredients to pulp, rubbing it between one’s fingers, examining its color, smelling its scent, tasting its flavor...the repeated steps grew smoother with each cycle as Pill Furnace Master worked nonstop for an hour. Although his morals were disdainful, his medicine making skills were still worth prostrating before him.
After the hour, a portion of medicinal paste and a dense, creamy soup were presented before Han Yunxi. It wasn’t easy to cultivate a dan pellet, or else Han Yunxi and Gu Qishao could’ve done it themselves with the prescription in their hands. The paste and soup were only base ingredients for the pill itself, whose creation process had yet to begin.
Pill Furnace Master was already afraid of Gu Qishao’s tormenting and immediately opened up the second and third level doors of the pill furnace to place the ingredients inside. But it was then that Gu Qishao cried out, “Hold it!”
We’ve already gotten so far, so what does that annoying guy want? What else could he demand from me?
“What?” Pill Furnace Master asked with resentment.
Gu Qishao only chuckled and said, “Old man, just how many Returning Dragon Pills are you planning to make with this much paste and juice?”
Everyone present was intelligent enough to understand his question. Angry, Pill Furnace Master replied, “You guys just wanted one, so what’s it to you how many this old man makes?!”
“Nonono,” Gu Qishao waved his hand. “Old man, I’m asking you how many Returning Dragon Pills you can make after using up so much of our snow wine? My Pill Fiend Valley has plenty of the other 18 ingredients, so I can give you a few cartfuls if you like, but this snow wine is extremely rare. It can’t be given casually!”
In other words, he wanted them to take all the Returning Dragon Pills from this batch!
“You!” Pill Furnace Master was about to explode! He had never been so oppressed in this lifetime. His gloomy face wished he could tell them all to scram, but he held himself back!
“Five pills! All for you guys!” Pill Furnace Master shouted before tossing the ingredients into the furnace and slamming the doors shut.
Han Yunxi’s heart filled with gratitude. If Gu Qishao hadn’t reminded them, she wouldn’t have noticed this issue. It’d be strange if he wasn’t really Pill Furnace Master’s disciple, because he understood the old man too well. Five Returning Dragon Pills! What did that mean? That after they cured Gu Beiyue, they would still have four left to save experts who’d lost their internal martial arts! How could they hand over something so good to the Pill Furnace Master for free?
If Pill Furnace Master had kept his word, Han Yunxi might have considering sharing the spoils. Everyone had did their part to search for the ingredients. But his actions beforehand reassured Han Yunxi that she was justified in taking the other four too. Just count it as his payment for trying to trick us!
Seeing the furnace doors shut tight, Han Yunxi muttered, “Use this chance to see how this furnace cultivates the dan pellets.” Last time her group had already been curious. The furnace itself was as tall as a three-storey building and contains nine separate levels. Every level had six doors but no fire inside. Only darkness greeted their eyes, making it impossible to see the interior. The mystery of the furnace laid in the fact that it lacked flame and yet radiated heat. If it wasn’t for winter, Gu Qishao might have been cooked from his perch by now.
Cultivating dan pellets differed from making regular pills. The latter only needed to combine ingredients until they melded, sometimes taking two to three days if the components were complicated. Cultivating dan pellets needed a very long time. The briefer exchanges required two to three months, while longer time stretched into two to three years. From what Han Yunxi understood, Pill Furnace Master’s furnace had great capabilities not because it created miracle pills, but that it drastically cut down on completion times. What took two to three years in other furnaces only needed two to three months here. Thus, many patients in desperate need of pills would try their luck at the Medicine Requesting Cave.
Before, Han Yunxi had read in Pill Furnace Master’s letters that it’d take two months max to create the Returning Dragon Pill once all of the ingredients were complete. If that was the case, then faster times could yield them the pill within one and a half month. It wasn’t a bad idea to stay here and keep an eye on Pill Furnace Master while investigating the whereabouts of Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons and Northern Li’s civil war. At the very least, no one in the world would guess where they were. And like Han Yunxi, Long Feiye was curious about the workings of the pill furnace too.
Pill Furnace Master should announce its secrets this time, right? Yet he simply glanced wordlessly at Gu Qishao before grabbing at air. The next second, a ball of flame appeared in his palm. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had seen this before, so they didn’t react, but Gu Qishao’s gaze grew complicated at the sight. He almost looked like he wanted to jump off the furnace, but held himself back.
He’d been here for so long that he naturally understood what Pill Furnace Master was up to…
Thanksgiving Dinner tonight and super sleepy now so I'll see you guys later! <3