Little Qi ran nonstop as soon as he left the gates of the medical academy, not daring to hesitate for a split second. He had no idea where he was going beyond away. He only dared to stop and rest once he made it into the forest. But he didn’t even get to sit down before he collapsed to the ground from exhaustion.
Silence surrounded him on all sides. There was nothing but the sound of his own labored breathing and the strange calls of insects nearby. Little Qi was already on edge, so the unknown noise only made him instinctively hold his breath. He followed the source of the sound with his eyes until he saw a man around 40-years-old crouched in the grasses nearby, smiling at him.
Little Qi prepared to bolt, but the man quickly grabbed him. “Little Qi, I’m Uncle Luo, ah! Did you forget?”
This man was none other than Luo Zuishan.
Little Qi didn’t remember him at all. Since he couldn’t break free, he simply bit down harshly on Luo Zuishan’s wrist, paining the man so much that his heart shook. Still, there was no time for that now.
“Little Qi, hurry and come with me. The Head Elder’s sent men out to capture you and bring you back!”
“Did you really forget me, Little Qi? I’m Uncle Luo, ah. Three years ago, you gave me a pill that saved my wife’s life.”
Little Qi finally recalled something from his words and followed the trail of thought back through his memories. At that time, Luo Zuishan had come to Head Elder Ling’s courtyard to beg for medicine. Head Elder Ling wrote a prescription for him to take to Medicine City’s Council of Elders so they could supply him the ingredients, but Luo Zuishan was too much of an unimportant figure to even have the right to beg the Council for ingredients. He ended up kneeling for Head Elder Ling to appear on behalf of him, but it was too inconvenient for the man, who refused him.
Little Qi happened run out after Luo Zuishan instead and gave him a single pill without a word. Because of that simple act, Luo Zuishan received a debt of gratitude.
“Hurry and come with me. I know you were wronged,” Luo Zuishan spoke sincerely.
Wronged… Grief suddenly flooded through Little Qi’s heart. He stopped hesitating and followed Luo Zuishan to flee. Not long after they left, the Head Elder’s men came looking. Unfortunately, they scoured the entire forest without finding a single trace of Little Qi. Both Academy Head Gu and Head Elder Ling panicked and sent more men to search for three days and three nights, but all in vain. Neither of them could predict that Little Qi hadn’t gone anywhere at all, but was hiding right in the medical academy.
Luo Zuishan had said that the most dangerous place was also the safest one. He didn’t tell anyone about Little Qi’s whereabouts, not even his own wife. He washed and cleaned up Little Qi and helped tie up his hair, before giving him a set of clothes and treating his injuries. Only then did he discover that Little Qi not only had marks from the eggs and stones, but various scars and bruises of different sizes, some newer than the rest. There was no place on his body that wasn’t unmarked, and even his fingernails had been ruined.
Luo Zuishan had been keeping tabs on Little Qi’s developments over the past few years. Once he heard that the boy had been accused of larceny, his first reaction was that something was up. But when he tried to look into the details, he found nothing. He wasn’t concerned with the real reasons behind Little Qi’s expulsion anymore. He only knew that no matter what Little Qi had done, Head Elder Ling would never let him escape so easily after making such a fuss in public. It wasn’t just him. Everyone in the medical community would have their eyes on this child!
Little Qi was a rarely-seen genius. His talent for discovering and creating new things in medicine was unimaginable. Looking at his scar-ridden body, Luo Zuishan only felt his heart ache. He shook his head and muttered, “The Head Elder and the rest...beat you?”
It wasn’t just beatings.
But Little Qi kept his head down and didn’t say a word.
A complicated look flitted across Luo Zuishan’s eyes. After a long silence, he asked, “Child, once events gloss over, I’ll send you off to Medicine City. With your skills, you won’t need to worry about starving to death. But whatever happens, you can’t let anyone know that you’re Little Qi from Medical City, understood?”
Little Qi still didn’t speak.
Afraid that Little Qi’s state was still unstable, Luo Zuishan didn’t dare to pry too much. But by the next day, he lost track of Little Qi altogether. The only thing left was a handwritten note. Little Qi had stolen all of the silver in his house as payment for the medicine in the past. In the future, the two of them wouldn’t owe each other anything. Luo Zuishan was both helpless and worried, but he didn’t dare alert anyone. He could only search for the child in secret on his own.
But Little Qi had left Medical City that very night to move towards Medicine City…
A chilly wind rose in the night, causing Gu Qishao to curl up in his perch on the tree branch as he slept uneasily. The moonlight illuminated his face, making him seem more handsome than usual. He tossed and turned a few times before groggily opening his eyes. As he stared at the bright moon above him, then the surroundings about him, he subconsciously wiped his eyes and felt something cold and wet.
He looked at the tears on his fingertips with surprise. Then he quickly recovered and shook his hands vigorously. “Dammnit!!”
He sat up as if nothing had happened before stretching lazily. Soon enough, he had jumped off the large tree and vanished out into the night. How could a single dream be enough to tell the story of everything that happened ten years ago? The hatred he had in his heart was for more than just one person.
The night was late, but no one could fall asleep. Even Han Yunxi, who had gone to bed long ago, wasn’t really sleeping. Her mind was still filled with images of the blank stele at the Poison Sect’s forbidden grounds. At first, she thought she was dreaming and tried her best to open her eyes, but no matter how much energy she used, she couldn’t wake up. Even her arms and legs weren’t obeying her commands.
But people aren’t self-aware in dreams! She remembered clearly that she had fell asleep and knew she was currently lying on a bed. With her senses so sharp, was her current environment really just a dream? While Han Yunxi’s thoughts wandered, the images in her mind suddenly took on physical form around her. She had returned once more to the blank stele in the forbidden grounds. The feeling was similar to the first time she entered the poison storage system. Could it be that my soul’s somehow made a connection with that sacrificial altar?
The dense air of rot and decay emanated from the stone stele. It seemed to come from ancient antiquity as it beckoned her to come closer. Han Yunxi tried to resist out of fear, but found herself unable to back away. Instead, she was quickly approaching it involuntarily. But the closer she came, the more mysterious things grew. She saw row after row of characters appear on the blank stele. They were clearly Chinese words, but their shapes and forms were strange. Despite this, she could read every one of them clearly.
This blank stele held a record of none other than the Poison Sect’s poison storage space!
Han Yunxi was greatly alarmed. Forgetting her fear and the reasons why she’d appeared here in the first place, she stepped forward and carefully read the fine, minute characters, afraid that the records might disappeared if she was too slow.
Soon enough, reality proved Han Yunxi right. Once the trail of characters reached the left side of the stone, they began to disappear row by row at a rapid pace. Han Yunxi grew desperate and started skimming ten rows at once, the words disappearing as soon as she read them. She was so nervous that she even forgot to breathe, afraid to pause even a second to think twice on what was being written. In the end, it got to the point where a word would disappear as soon as her eyes rested on it. She could only skim paragraph by paragraph to reach the end in time.
She was rushing and panicking at the same time!
Abruptly, her eyes flew open as she sat bolt upright in bed. She found herself back in her room in the secluded estate. Everything about the sacrificial altar and the disappearing words had been a dream! Han Yunxi panted for breath as her heart pounded. She climbed off the bed as she reviewed the phrases and words she’d read in her sleep. She didn’t manage to read to the end, but realized she still knew every detail from the text.
That...doesn’t seem much like a dream.
The text had recorded how the poison storage space was the strongest existence known to the Poison Sect. It wasn’t every relative of the Poison Sect who owned one. Some were born with it, while others cultivated one after decades of hard work. Some relied on their innate talents to unlock their space, while others lacked the skills to access it even if they were born with it. They were the ones barred from it all their lives. The poison storage space not only stored poisons, but contained three separate abilities. Storage was only the first step.
Level 1 was called Poison Storage and allowed the user to freely store and remove poisons founds in the world.
Level 2 was called Resistance and allowed the user to freely absorb any substances that were harmful to oneself.
Level 3 was called Acquisition and allowed the user to freely taken in any poisonous substances in the world!
Each level required meticulous cultivation to break through it. The first level needed mental strength, and a stronger mind made for easier storage sessions controlled by telepathy alone. Still, stronger poisons would cause the user to feel light-headed or to become unconscious while interacting with the system. Some of the strongest poisons might not be able to enter the system at all. Han Yunxi carefully thought back and realized the records matched her own previous experiences exactly.
Thanks to a never-say-die attitude and her own detox system, her mental strength was already very strong. Thus, she had inadvertently managed to unlock the poison storage space. Yet, because she lacked the cultivations to back herself up, she couldn’t move items freely in and out of the space with a mere thoughts. Many times, she’d ended up falling into a coma instead.
Han Yunxi felt even more strongly that she hadn’t just been dreaming. This seemed more like a legacy she had inherited on her own. And because she had her own poison storage system, she’d activated the blank stele into giving her the cultivation records for the Poison Sect’s most powerful tool.
Thinking up to there, Han Yunxi quickly went back to her bed to sit in a cross-legged position. She followed her memories to try activating cultivation energy, but naturally she failed to get results so quickly. Still, after sitting for an hour or more, she felt that her energy had improved greatly, almost as if she’d had a good night’s sleep.
“It wasn’t a dream!” she muttered to herself, convinced but shocked. She thought that her own detox system was already powerful enough, but never knew one could use the poison storage space like this. If I can cultivate to Level 2, does that mean I won’t have to do anything if people use poisons on me? Instead of fighting it off with antidote, I’ll just absorb it into the poison storage space? After all, the Poison Sect’s poison storage space wasn’t equipped with anything to distinguish between poisons, but her detox system was.
Level 3, which allowed her to take all the poisons she wanted, was simply a gift that defied the Heavens. If she wanted to use the poison storage space to take in all of the world’s strongest poisons, she’d still need to be able to tell the differences between their toxicity levels. Fortunately, the detox system could help her with that part.
It had to be said that the poison storage space, when combined with her detox system, made Han Yunxi practically invincible in the poison communities! Even if another expert from the Poison Sect showed up with access to their own storage space, they still wouldn’t be a match for her...