TGL Volume 3, Chapter 4 (5)

With Sister Ilya’s help, the fight against the Rainbow Phoenix Sect ended uneventfully. And right now, I’m resting on a bed. Consuming and burning through so many vials of Lucia’s impurities in such a short time severely damaged my internal organs and meridians. It’ll be over a month before I recover, and maybe it’ll take another ten years to become a sky-realm expert again, but it was worth it. With this, there shouldn’t be any more problems for Lucia—that I can handle at least; immortals might still be searching for her. But the threat of the Thousand Sect alliance, Righteous Buddha Sect, and Rainbow Phoenix Sect have been wiped out. There might be a few more people that want Lucia dead, but—

“Shadow Devil Sect! After offending Pill Valley, did you think your days would continue happily!?”

W-what? When did we offend Pill Valley? Pill Valley is a monolith! Its reach spreads throughout the whole Immortal Continent, selling medicinal pills and herbs to alchemists everywhere. They’re even rumored to have an immortal backing them! How did we offend an entity like this!? I’m injured, but as the Vice-Sect Leader, I have to show my face.

I teleported outside, and Brother Claw was already there, waiting at the foot of the steps leading up to our temporary headquarters. And standing in the sky above us, there were three people, each of them with gray hair and long beards, looking much like my grandfather. There were less sky-realm experts than when the Rainbow Phoenix Sect attacked us, but the pressure coming from the three’s background was much, much greater. “I am Vice-Sect Leader Moonlight. May I know how the Shadow Devil Sect has offended Pill Valley?” Did one of our disciples scam or rob a branch of Pill Valley? …Was it Brother Claw? I looked over, and his face was grim. “Was it you?”

“It shouldn’t be,” Brother Claw said and stroked his chin, which had dark stubble growing on it. “I exterminated the ancient Leaf family down to the last dog and chicken, but they didn’t have ties to Pill Valley.” A sword appeared in Brother Claw’s hand, an ominous red qi floating off of its blade. He pointed it at the three sky-realm experts in the sky. “Speak! What dogshit are you accusing us of?”

“Brother Claw!” Why are you being so rude!?

Brother Claw snorted. “I’ll never be polite to someone with bad intentions. Seeking trouble with us after we’ve had a major battle and have to recuperate? They’re trying to take advantage of us.”

“What advantage would we of Pill Valley have to take from a pitiful sect like yours?” The three sky-realm experts descended to the ground in front of us. Not even a second later, they flinched and ripped apart three talismans that they pulled out of their interspacial ring, creating a barrier around themselves. “W-w-what the hell?” The leader of the sky-realm experts pointed at me. “What forbidden formation have you created? Why is the ground so ominous!?”

“Oh? They noticed?” Sister Ilya appeared by my side, but not through teleportation. There weren’t any qi fluctuations that indicated she teleported. Then how did she get here? “What gave it away?”

“We’re the top experts of Pill Valley! If we can’t notice something trying to kill us, we wouldn’t be worthy of our titles!”

“Sister Ilya, what did you do?” Forbidden formation? Where would Sister Ilya get one of those? No, more importantly, when did she set one up?

“A lot of people died yesterday, right? There was a lot of blood and souls, and most of them were from earth-realm experts and above.” Sister Ilya rubbed her eyes, which had dark bags underneath them. As an earth-realm expert, even if she stayed up all night, she shouldn’t have any visible signs of fatigue. Just how hard did she work on this formation? “So, I set up a killing formation in case more sky-realm experts came to bother us. Using the blood and lingering qi inside of the earth-realm experts’ bodies, if someone triggers the formation, the sky-realm experts from yesterday will reanimate and attack.”

“Reanimate? But didn’t you harvest their corpses to perform experiments on?” Junior Mist had told me Sister Ilya was going around the battlefield with a happy expression on her face as she picked up dead bodies and amputated body parts.

“I mean, I could’ve broken them down and turned their body parts into weapons to let other people use, but why would I do that when I could just turn the corpses themselves into weapons? I’m lucky there was the Reanimating Corpse Sect’s technique in one of the jade slips that Lucia plundered.”

“T-that’s an evil technique!” We might plant heart devils in people, but the Shadow Devil Sect isn’t evil enough to reanimate corpses. “Stop researching corpse reanimation this instant!”

Sister Ilya stared at me. Then her gaze fell onto Brother Claw. “He’s a literal murderer.” Sister Ilya turned her gaze back towards me. “And you’re a molester. Of the three of us, I think I, the person who doesn’t ruin living people’s lives, am the righteous one.”

“M-molester?” I am not! I just use the Seducing Succubus Sect’s … slightly perverted … techniques….

“Anyway,” Sister Ilya said, not giving me a chance to offer a rebuttal. She turned to the elders of Pill Valley and pulled a scalpel out of her interspacial ring and spun the sharp blade around with her fingers. “Why are you three here?”

The three elders exchanged glances before one of them cleared his throat. He spoke with a much more respectful tone this time, “You see, one of our members discovered an invention that’ll spell disaster for Pill Valley and the Immortal Continent as a whole.” The elder stretched out his hands, and a stove appeared in front of him, behind the barrier that was still shining brightly. The stove looked suspiciously like the one Sister Ilya had created to automate pill creation. “It’s this. We asked around, and it turns out it originates from your Shadow Devil Sect.”

Sister Ilya crossed her arms over her chest. “Yeah, I created that. Remind me how it’s a doomsday device that threatens your valley. I don’t think I caught your explanation the first time.”

“This … you’re actually so young,” the elder said. “Let me explain the issue to you. With this invention, even a normal cultivator who hasn’t reached the saint realm can create low-ranked and mid-ranked pills. The success rate is phenomenal: out of a hundred tries, ninety-nine will succeed. With this, there’s no mental energy required to keep track of the pills. You can start the furnace, go off to do something else, and come back to fully created pills. Not only is its success rate phenomenal, but the pills are always created with very few impurities, almost none at all.

“Since it’s like this, how are our low-ranked alchemists supposed to compete? No one will come to them for business anymore with these stoves in circulation. The prices of herbs will go up now that the regular cultivator will buy those instead. Meanwhile, the price of low-ranked pills will drop down to their material costs. With these factors piling up on each other, becoming an alchemist, already an endeavor for the rich, is nearly impossible to get into without swallowing a huge loss at the start. With herbs being too expensive and pills selling for nothing, how are our alchemists supposed to practice to become high-ranked? If this continues, there won’t be any alchemists left in a few generations, and no one will be able to forge high-ranked pills! Don’t you see how this is a disaster for the Immortal Continent?”

A bright smile appeared on Sister Ilya’s face. I…, I’ve seen that smile before. It’s the one Durandal wears when bad things are about to happen to Lucia. Sister Ilya’s voice softened, almost becoming coquettish, sending a chill down my spine. “I understand your worries. Since Pill Valley specializes in pills, your profits must’ve been hurt immensely. And your fears of no high-ranked alchemists appearing in the future isn’t unfounded either.” Sister Ilya’s smile widened. “But for the low price of a trillion spirit stones and a small percentage of future profits, I’m willing to sell your Pill Valley my newest furnace design that’s capable of creating high-ranked pills at the same success and output rates as their predecessors. What do you think?”

“The same output…? Is that even possible!?” The three elders exchanged deep glances with one another. “We’ll have to discuss this with the one above us.”

Sister Ilya nodded. “Yeah, sure, take your time. Just know that I’ll be adding on some interest to my original price, compounded daily, of course.”

This…, is this how Sister Ilya behaves when Lucia’s not around to keep her in check? I hope Lucia comes quickly. Just where exactly is she?

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