A new father was simply going to be a father, so where was the question of real or fake?
Tang Li scratched his head, at a loss for how to answer. Pill Furnace Master only just found out the news and smiled at Tang Li. “Congratulations, Tang Clan Head, on the birth of your child.”
Tang Li gave a start before grinning back. “Old Pill master, you have to drop by for the child’s one-month birthday!”
“It is better to accept deferentially than to decline courteously!” Pill Furnace Master easily agreed.
Tang Li was thrilled and began to tell Pill Furnace Master all about the details of his baby as he relaxed. Han Yunxi couldn’t help glancing around. She knew Gu Qishao had to be nearby, but had no idea what he’d feel upon hearing the conversation. At that moment, a rumble of thunder sounded overhead. In a flash, everyone rose joyfully to their feet.
“There’s going to be lightning!”
“Pill Furnace Master, hurry--hurry and get ready!”
“This is definitely going to be some huge spring lightning!”
In the space of three sentences, the rumbling increased. It sounded like an army of thundering cars rolling through the clouds and trying to break apart the skies. Pill Furnace Master hastily brought the little furnace out of the tent. According to prior arrangements, Long Feiye brought him to the top of a large boulder on the right. Everything between it and the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace had been cleared of all debris, including rocks, trees, grass and flowers, giving Pill Furnace Master an unobstructed view of his target.
Meanwhile, a tall stone pillar had been erected upon the ruins of Fire Spring. The Earthly Fire Kun Furnace rested on top. In truth, this was a perilous move. Because copper was a high conductor of electricity and allowed its current to flow with small resistance, it would easily attract lightning bolts when raised up so high. Moreover, any lightning that struck it could quickly ignite into flames. But the celestial lightning required by the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace was unfathomable to Han Yunxi, so she could only go according to his plans.
Han Yunxi stood apart from the stone pillar to protect herself, not wanting to be struck dead by a bolt and giving those who hated her a chance to laugh at her state. Very soon, the low roars of thunder grew louder and louder before a lightning bolt zapped down on a nearby hill. Han Yunxi gestured to Pill Furnace Master and Long Feiye to signal that she was ready.
“Take care of yourself!” Long Feiye shouted.
Han Yunxi replied with another gestured, but Long Feiye shouted again, “Did you hear me?”
“I heard! You guys be careful too!” Han Yunxi had no choice but to yell. It seemed like that man wouldn’t stop worrying unless he heard her voice.
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had given prior instructions, so Tang Li and the rest all remained behind at the campsite. They were expecting both heavenly lightning and earthly fire, so no one could gauge the danger. Even Gu Qishao, who had been missing for days, was hanging near Han Yunxi. Soon enough, the skies were illuminated with another ear-splitting pierce of lightning. Pill Furnace Master opened up the furnace to reveal a wave of heat, but the light of the flames were very weak within. The celestial fire was a lot less vigorous than before. There were tongues of flame given form by Pill Furnace Master’s internal energy and saved until this moment. As time passed, the energy would dissipate and they would go out. After leaving the furnace, their heat would fade away as well.
As soon as Pill Furnace Master set down the furnace, it was to change his internal energy into more fire. Long Feiye followed suit. He had much deeper reserves than Pill Furnace Master and soon the tiny tongue of flame in the center of the furnace was flaring to life again, sending spurts beyond its confinement.
“Old Pill master, leave it to me. Just tell me what to do,” Long Feiye said.
“That might be as well. You can do as I say,” Pill Furnace Master agreed.
“Alright!” Long Feiye agreed.
Pill Furnace Master observed the skies and listened to the peals of thunder. Soon enough, he urged, “Quickly, get a flame dragon to go right over the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace!”
Long Feiye immediately used the Lustbite energy to change into a flame. In a flash, a huge flame dragon soared into the skies, illuminating the surrounding forest and peaks. Beneath its glow, the dark clouds looked ferocious. Everyone’s eyes were drawn to the skies, where the dragon appeared to be faltering. But Long Feiye soon gave it another burst of energy and pushed it forward. Now the dragon soared straight into the clouds at the same time lightning flashed inside a cloudbank. Thunder roared out at the same time, soon crackling from within the dragon as violet streaks of light. From a distance, the sight was both magnificent and thrilling!
This should be the true heavenly lightning! It was just like a cascade of fire from the skies. Abruptly, another peal of thunder boomed nearby. It sounded like the combined peals of all the thunder in the sky because it was so loud. Once its lightning bolt struck the ground, it’d be enough to split through a mountain. Everyone was shaken by the sound.
“Your Highness, the heavenly lightning’s nearly on its way down. We can leave!” Pill Furnace Master yelled.
“Han Yunxi, get back!” Long Feiye shouted.
But he’d hardly spoken when the fire dragon flashed with a vivid streak of violet lightning before a roar filled the skies. The fire mixed with lightning surged down from the skies and struck the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace full on with another massive BOOM!
After that, all of the fire’s light vanished as rocks were sent flying from Fire Spring. Black smoke rose in its place, but Han Yunxi had long taken to the skies to get out of the mess. There was so much smoke and flying debris that everything around Fire Spring was wreathed in a white haze. Add that to the dim skies, and it was impossible to see a thing. Han Yunxi landed on a nearby tree that was about two to three hundred meters away from the spring. She couldn’t see Long Feiye and the rest and was preparing to fly their way when the detox system suddenly shrieked out alarms in her head.
The toxicity of the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace was rapidly increasing. Moreover, its poison was spreading to the surrounding areas! Alarmed, Han Yunxi discovered her tree was quickly withering away. In a flash it was nothing but a dry, dead trunk and branches. She flew up just as the giant tree toppled beneath her. All of the surrounding plants were no more lucky. The poison was so potent and worked so fast that it completely outclassed Han Yunxi’s expectations!
“Long Feiye…”she cried, before soaring into the skies to shout. “Long Feiye, there’s poison, get away! Take everyone away! Leave this mountain, hurry!”
But she only saw Long Feiye, Tang Li, and Xu Donglin flying towards her instead.
“Get away!” Han Yunxi was so scared that her heart almost stopped. If they were poisoned, they’d died immediately with their bodies turning black! There was no way to treat this poison!
Hearing her words, Long Feiye’s group halted.
“Get away! There’s poison! Hurry and get out of here!” Han Yunxi shouted as she flew towards them. Long Feiye reacted immediately and grabbed Pill Furnace Master before flying to the top of the mountain. Tang Li, Xu Donglin, Baili Mingxiang and the various shadow guards all turned and fled for their lives. They only heard the urgency in Han Yunxi’s tone, but had no idea how dire the situation was. Still, Han Yunxi could see everything clearly behind her. The grounds beyond were all reduced to withered husks of their former selves. This poison was already spreading to the air. Han Yunxi started up the detox system so it could analyze the poison’s spread, which was only three steps away from the last shadow guard and Baili Mingxiang. If either of them slowed down, they would risk being poisoned.
“All of you go faster! Flee faster!”
“Mingxiang, hurry up, you’re in danger!”
Han Yunxi shouted as loud as she could, but they were all too far away to hear her.
What to do, what to do?!
The poison was still spreading like crazy, its speed increasing by the minute. She assumed they’d see the earthly fire once the lightning struck, but instead all they got was poison smoke! Steeling her heart, Han Yunxi could only think of cutting the thing off at its source. She whirled back and dove into the smoke, holding her breath to avoid choking. However, it wasn’t as hazy as she expected inside. Instead, she found an extremely bewitching violent flame about the size of her fist floating in the smoke while giving off a strange and mysterious air.
This fire was extremely poisonous!
The detox system’s alarms were almost blaring Han Yunxi’s ears off. She mentally muted the sirens and flew right to the fire, but ended up crashing into rock instead. Recalling that she’d placed the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace atop a stone pillar, she ignored her aching nose to fly straight up. Upon closer inspection, she discovered that the fire came the furnace itself. The Earthly Fire Kun Furnace was lit!
Han Yunxi was still worried about Long Feiye and the rest to be happy, much less wonder if this was Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons. She quickly opened the lid of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion and dripped a single drop into the flames.
The fire went out completely and disappeared. In its place sat a fire-red teardrop in the bottom of the furnace, identical to all the other poison teardrops she had collected in the past! Without a doubt, earthly fire was Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons. Han Yunxi had found her seventh poison teardrop!
Her tension eased at last, but that was when she breathed in a lungful of smoke and started coughing. She quickly took the poison teardrop into her poison storage space, then checked to make sure the toxicity had vanished from the furnace with her detox system, before finally leaving without worries. She was in such a rush to escape the smoke that she never noticed Gu Qishao had been following her the whole time. Instead, she went to look for Long Feiye and the rest.
Although she circled around the entire area, she only found chaotic remnants that resembled a battlefield. There was no sign of Long Feiye or anyone else.
Where are they?
Han Yunxi’s heart seized as she hurried to the top of the mountain next…
1. Also called the “full-moon” month, it’s a traditional Chinese celebration held after the baby is one month old (which coincides with the end of the mother’s confinement period). This is usually when the extended family and friends sees the newborn for the first time. More details here.
Camping and trying to light a fire, only to almost overcook your guests...sounds like a good ol' mountain vacation to me, guys!