Pill Furnace Master’s gaze chilled before he sent the ball of flame flying towards Gu Qishao.
“Old man, you know how to play with fire, ah!” Gu Qishao feigned surprise with a shout before jumping out of the way. At the same time, the Pill Furnace Master flew up to the pill furnace. Gu Qishao’s surprise further cemented his belief that this wasn’t his former disciple.
Anguish flashed through his eyes before he knelt in the spot where Gu Qishao had been sitting to inspect the scars he’d left behind. He looked not like someone inspecting a furnace, but caressing his most favorite child. Gu Qishao watched on coldly as his smile gradually turned into ice. Yet he didn’t avert his eyes and continued to stare.
Once he finished touching all the scars, Pill Furnace Master raised his head and surveyed Han Yunxi, Long Feiye, and Gu Qishao. Word by word, he enunciated, “After this time, none of you three should every come to ask this old man for a favor again!”
In other words, he would never accept a request from Han Yunxi’s group to make a pill again.
“Old man, finish this time’s pills first. Otherwise...this old man promises that neither you nor the furnace will survive until the next time!” Gu Qishao threatened with a chuckle.
Pill Furnace Master did nothing but glare at him, too sick of talking with him anymore. No, truthfully speaking, Pill Furnace Master didn’t even want to look at Gu Qishao anymore. Not a bit!!! He stood atop the furnace and stretched out his arms until the lid of the furnace slowly rose into the air. As it hovered mid-air, he shifted into a horse stance and intwined his fingers while gritting his teeth to channel his energy. Gradually, a flaming fireball kindled into life beneath his hands and grew fiercer as he added more energy.
“Strange…” Long Feiye muttered under his breath.
Han Yunxi thought so as well. “What kind of martial arts is this?”
There were plenty of strange techniques across Cloud Realm Continent. Long Feiye didn’t care what kind of technique Pill Furnace Master was practicing, but he was curious about one thing. “This old man only has average internal energy. How could he change it into flame?”
Different martial arts showcased their internal energy in different ways. For example, Long Feiye’s skill in swordsmanship meant that his internal energy revealed itself as sword qi. If it was boxing skills instead, then internal energy would be expressed as punching power. Yet no matter what kind of external expression it took, one needed an ample supply of internal energy to supplement it in the first place. Pill Furnace Master was not a martial arts practitioner and his internal energy was exceptionally ordinary. How did he change that force into fire? Moreover, it was such a strong flame that was increasing in strength as they watched. Long Feiye determined that Pill Furnace Master’s secret must lay with the pill furnace.
He glanced at Gu Qishao, only to see the man enjoying Pill Furnace Master’s flames with interest. Nothing seemed amiss. If Long Fieye didn’t know the truth, he might never know that Gu Qishao was actually Pill Furnace Master’s disciple. How much of the pill furnace’s secrets did Gu Qishao know?
As Pill Furnace Master continued to exert his efforts, the fireball grew. Just when everyone was getting into the show, Pill Furnace Master suddenly rose into the air. At the same time, his fire spread outwards and grew into a gargantuan fireball as if inflated with air. It seemed as if it would explode at any second!
Just how much damage would such a fireball create?!
Long Feiye grew guarded and grabbed Han Yunxi’s hand, but Gu Qishao remained leaning against a wall as he enjoyed the scene above him. In fact, he was even smiling slightly. Although his actions seemed to show that the fireball was harmless, Long Feiye was still wary and didn’t release Han Yunxi.
As expected, the fireball didn’t explode, but simply changed into a fire dragon under Pill Furnace Master’s guidance and soon slipped into the pill furnace itself. Once all of the fire entered the furnace, the lid in mid-air abruptly fell back down with a clang that jarred their ears. Han Yunxi stared at the furnace, then at its multiple doors and openings, but saw no sign of fire inside. In other words, the giant fireball slipped into the furnace and vanished?
“Long Feiye, where’s the fire?” Han Yunxi asked.
Long Feiye was concentrating on the pill furnace’s second and third layers where Pill Furnace Master had placed the medicinal paste and soup. He could clearly sense the fire back then had transformed into a source of energy that flowed into those two locations. In fact, the force in those two levels seemed to be growing stronger.
“The fire...should be there!” Long Feiye said, just as fire illuminated the second and third levels from within, lighting up the carved patterns and blazing to life.
Yet the scene only lasted for an instant. Before Han Yunxi or Long Feiye could get a closer look, the fires on the second and third levels went out!
Pill Furnace Master jumped off from the top of the pill furnace and said coldly, “You can wait here or outside, whatever works! The furnace can only be opened after five years, hehe. I said there’d be five Returning Dragon Pills, but as to how many can be created in the end, this old man doesn’t dare to guarantee. This old man can only affirm that there’ll be at least one for you to save your patient.”
So speaking, Pill Furnace Master walked to a corner and sat down to rest with his legs crossed. Han Yunxi looked at Long Feiye, then at Gu Qishao, her expression a little floored.
Five years? What kind of joke is this?
Didn’t the letter say it’d take two months at most? If they waited for five years, they might as well go searching for a complete Returning Dragon Pill! Why waste all this time making their own instead?
“Old man, you don’t cry until you see your own coffin, huh?” Gu Qishao strode over. “If this old man has to wait that long, why would I find you in the first place?”
Although Returning Dragon Pill was rare, a normal furnace could make one in five years. Yet how could a giant pill furnace like this one take five years, too? Did Pill Furnace Master really take them to be ignorant outsiders?
Pill Furnace Master ignored him to look at Han Yunxi instead. “Lass, based on the snow wine you measured out, it would take 10 years to create Dragon Returning Pill. Even this old man’s furnace would take at least five years. If you guys destroy the furnace, this old man promises that no other will be able to make the pill within five years!”
Pill Furnace Master didn’t sound like he was lying. Han Yunxi grew stunned. She thought that Pill Furnace Master wanted to tie down Gu Beiyue and pressure them, but never expected the dosage of snow wine would affect the time it took to make the pill. In other words, Pill Furnace Master already had his plans in place when I went to assist him personally?
“And if you were the one controlling the dosage?” she asked.
“With this old man controlling the dosage, it’d only take one and a half months. However, the patient taking the pill would be poisoned with Drunken Craving and be forced to take an antidote for the next three years,” Pill Furnace Master replied. “Returning Dragon Pill can help a person recover their internal energy, which is already a defiance of natural order. Naturally, there are limits. Even if you lot find a completed pill, it’ll still poison the user!”
His diagnosis of the pill was identical to Han Yunxi’s own judgment, infuriating her. “Old man, why didn’t you say so earlier?”
Gu Beiyue would recover his vitality once he regained his internal energy again. A solid foundation like that would only help him, not hurt him. Although Drunken Craving was bad for the body, it was better than delaying his treatment and weakening his vitality for the next five years! It was worth more to recover his internal energy first, then deal with the fallout from Drunken Craving afterwards!
“It’s not like you asked, hehe. You were the one who measured out the snow wine too, so why resent me?” Pill Furnace Master laughed coldly.
“You!” Han Yunxi felt stifled. Would Pill Furnace Master have told her this much if she asked him? Would he even tell the truth? Pill Furnace Master had clearly predicted that she’d see the poisonous element in the prescription and intentionally held back. If Pill Furnace Master had sincerely wanted to tell her the truth, then he should have spoken up while she was preparing the snow wine so they could choose then.
Long Feiye’s face had already blackened, while Gu Qishao narrowed his eyes.
“I still have snow wine. Immediately make another batch!” Han Yunxi declared.
Pill Furnace Master only laughed out loud. “Too late, too late! No one can change the materials inside the furnace once the lid is shut. You have to wait until the dan pellet finishes refining!”
“There are other levels in the pill furnace!” Gu Qishao fumed.
“Heheh, the rest are all full. Even the fastest one will take another three years. You can just wait slowly.” Pill Furnace Master laughed happily after throwing them a shocking counterattack.
“You’re fooling with us, aren’t you?” Long Feiye said coldly.
Gu Qishao immediately took to the skies and withdrew his Moye sword spirit. He slashed hard at the pill furnace, but was instantly rebuffed by a scorching hot energy. Pill Furnace Master’s laughs intensified as he said in a wanton tone, “Once all the levels are filled in the Celestial Fire Qian Furnace, even the Ganjiang treasure sword is incapable of hurting it, to say nothing of your Moye sword spirit! Hehe, you lot can just keep waiting!”
Celestial Fire Qian Furnace? Tian Huo Gan Lu?
Hearing this, Han Yunxi’s first reaction was whether this furnace was part of a pair. The gan (乾) in “hollow furnace” was another word for “sky” when taken in relation to kun (坤) in the phrase qiankun (乾坤). The saying qiankun tianxia (乾坤天下) were opposites. If this furnace used celestial, or “sky” (天) fire, then was there another one that used earthly (地) flames? If so, then it’d probably be called Earthly Fire Kun Furnace.
Gu Qishao refused to buy it and wield the Moye sword spirit to hack at the thing. But no matter how much strength he used, he couldn’t even scratch the Celestial Fire Qian Furnace. At this moment, Long Feiye suddenly unsheathed his Profound Frost Sword. Seeing this, Pill Furnace Master only gave a snort of contempt before closing his eyes to rest.
Long Feiye didn’t attack the furnace itself, but cleaved harshly at the ground, creating a fissure! Pill Furnace Master gave a start at the sight.
Gu Qishao broke into guffaws. “Long Feiye, you’re vicious!”
So speaking, he too added a slash to the crack, widening the gap. Half of the floor sank as a result, leaving the pill furnace atop it toppling precariously.
The Celestial Fire Qian Furnace couldn’t fall, or else it’d be destroyed!
Hey, I hope all of you readers are doing well. With the recent spate of deaths in Asian entertainment (Goo Hara and Sulli's recent suicides as well as Godfrey Gao's sudden death), I thought it might be helpful to share some links on the subject from one of my favorite YouTube channels, AvenueX. It's mostly just her talking so you can play the video in the background while you do other stuff. I find her insights always thoughtful and worth listening to.
Chinese TV Industry's Toxic Work Culture
Do note that the content is rather depressing at times so brace yourself before you watch! And no matter what, I hope everyone stays happy, healthy (and warm!) as we inch towards the last of 2019.