Chapter 10: Quenching
Translator: Mogumoguchan/Zenobys Editor: - -
The hole was strange. It was completely even in size. When Su Ming saw the end of the hole some hundred feet later, he started slowing down.
He approached the exit carefully. As he looked out, he was momentarily stunned, then he took a deep breath.
This was a fire cave. There were vast amounts of stalactites hanging from the ceiling. The surface of these rocks were dry and cracked, as if they would crumble into pieces at any moment. The ground was black, but there were lines upon lines of red rocks flowing downwards, turning the place brown. The heat was even stronger in here compared to when they were outside.
There was a black skeleton hanging near him. The skeleton was about eighty to ninety feet long, and Su Ming could tell with just one glance that it was the skeleton of a python.
On the python's head was a horn about the size of an arm. It was black in color.
Su Ming had never seen such a long python before, but he remembered hearing from his elder that there was once a species of pythons in Dark Dragon Mountain. They were fierce creatures, and these pythons all possessed horns on their heads. They were known as Horned Pythons, and the sharpness of the horn could be given to the tribe as tribute.
There was one such horn in the Dark Mountain Tribe, and it was treated as the symbol of the tribe leader in the tribe.
"Could this be the Horned Python?" He looked at the Horned Python's skeleton, then at the cave he was located, and an answer formed in his head.
In his silence Su Ming took out one of the herbs from the basket and threw it downwards.
As the herb floated downwards and was about to touch the floor, it let out a sizzling sound. About fifteen minutes later, it withered. He tried a few more times to test the heat on the ground, and decided that while the heat was strong, he could withstand it for some time, as long as he did not touch the red stones.
Xiao Hong was already growing impatient. If it did not know the dangers of this place, it would have jumped down much earlier.
Su Ming climbed out of the hole carefully, then jumped downwards and landed on the floor. Immediately, there were sizzling sounds coming from underneath his feet. A wave of heat seeped into his body from his feet, but it would not be strong enough to burn his feet for the time being.
When Xiao Hong entered the fire cave, sweat poured down its body like a river. It pondered for a while before returning once more to the small hole, refusing to go back into the fire cave. Instead, it chose to go somewhere else to play.
Su Ming did not continue trying to persuade it, but chose to carry the basket on his back and hurry onward. He could tell that this was connected to the inner parts of Black Flame Mountain, and there just might be a suitable place for quenching herbs later.
Not far down the road was an empty space. Su Ming did not know where it was connected to. There were a few potholes on the ground, and the heat was even stronger over there. Su Ming could even feel a scalding heat underneath his feet.
He was just about to step on the empty space after a brief moment of hesitation when he felt a strong wave of heat bursting forth. Su Ming let out a yelp and immediately retreated, his pupils dilating in fear. He saw a blast of fire the size of an arm rushing forth from one of the potholes, lighting up the cave instantly.
Su Ming took in a deep breath and retreated once more until he reached the mouth of the cave. Then he cast his gaze forward. About half an hour passed before the fire gradually disappeared. But no sooner than it did, another blast of fire emerged from another pothole.
As soon as it disappeared, another blast of fire came out once more. It was an endless cycle.
"Fire..." Su Ming stared at the potholes, then his eyes gradually lit up in excitement.
"There is fire here! But they will appear only once in a while, and it's not a stable source of fire either..." Once the excitement faded, Su Ming took a moment to gather to gather his thoughts, feeling a little disappointed.
"No matter. I might be able to reach the deepest parts of the mountain through the peak of the mountain, and I might even find a better place which might be hidden here. If there's any danger, I can leave quickly as well."
"Very well, this will be my very first place to perform quenching!" Su Ming's eyes were bright with excitement as he looked around.
"I have fire now, so the only thing I'm missing now is the Barren Caldron...I'll make one myself!" Su Ming then cast his gaze on the scattered rocks on the ground.
These stones have been here for many years, but have not turned into ashes. They must be able to withstand a great amount of heat, so they should be able to be used for quenching..." Su Ming scratched his head then changed the herbs underneath his feet before jumping down once more. He chose a more suitable looking piece of stone, then touched the surface after a brief moment of hesitation. It was not too hot, just a bit warm.
Once he was certain of using the big stone as a material, Su Ming took out his own spatula. The spatula was extremely sharp and had been constantly polished by Su Ming himself. As he took up the spatula, he used every ounce of his strength and started cutting into the stone.
It was an extremely dull process, but one Su Ming was already used to. There was no hesitation within his movements, but as he was cutting into the stone, a thought suddenly crossed his mind. He looked at the skull of the python, and especially at the horn on its skull.
Su Ming went over quickly and looked at the skull for a moment. He gave a light knock at the skull, and when he did, there was a cracking sound, and the entire skeleton immediately turned into ashes.
Only the black horn remained unscathed.
"I knew it. This horn is extraordinary. I was just wondering how the python came to this place." Su Ming picked up the horn and sliced it across the wall to his side. There was a crack following his motion, but the scene did not surprise Su Ming.
"But why did the Horned Python climb into this place?" Su Ming did not understand, but he still took up the horn and went to the rock and started cutting into it.
With the help of the horn, after a few hours, a stone stove that was almost similar to the Barren Caldron in Su Ming's memories was born. Su Ming even made a lid for it to keep the heat from escaping from within the caldron.
"Let's try it out first." Su Ming was excited. He pushed the Barren Caldron to the potholes and forced himself to calm down as he waited.
After a few hours, after numerous blasts of fire, fire finally emerged from the pothole near Su Ming.
As soon as the fire erupted, Su Ming pushed the stone stove right on top of the erupting pothole.
Su Ming was nervous. It all depended on whether the caldron he made could withstand the heat now.
Very soon, the caldron became red and heat rolled off from its surface. There were even sizzling sounds, and Su Ming saw the surface of the caldron cracking in multiple times. Su Ming felt his heart still, but when there were no signs of the stone crumbling, he gradually began to relax.
"Two hours... There is only two hours each time. I don't think it's enough." Su Ming sank into his own thoughts. It can even be said that he was truly spending all his effort to make sure this quenching process would work.
"Then how about this?" Su Ming took a few steps back. He may have a plan in his head, but he did not dare act recklessly. Instead, he stood at a place that was not too hot and focused on those potholes. A day passed by while he was doing that.
During that period of time, the little monkey dropped by and left some fruits on a place that was not too hot before leaving once more to play.
As for the stone caldron, it withstood the test of fire and did not crumble no matter how many times it was burned.
"There seems to be some sort of rule for the eruptions, but there doesn't seem to be any rules either..." After a day, Su Ming picked up the horn and went to the potholes, cutting a ravine on the ground, connecting one of the potholes underneath the caldron.
He did not stop there, but instead make six other ravines before retreating. Very soon, one of the potholes erupted once more, and most of the flames flowed into the ravine and went underneath the caldron.
"I made it!" Su Ming only looked at it for a moment before going off to make another five ravines, then he backed off to observe for another day. As he was sure his method worked in extending the period of time for the fire underneath his caldron, he became relaxed.
To tell the truth, he was worried about it. The lines of the ravines were not drawn on a whim. He had to make sure that the flames underneath the caldron were not too strong or too weak, or else the pills would come out misshapened.
After all, there were times when several potholes erupted at once. If this happened multiple times, then it might be dangerous.
Once he solved two of the most basic of his problems, Su Ming calmed down and began his very first quenching process according to the memories in his head.
He had the little monkey preparing his meals for him, and there were times when Su Ming went out to hunt some smaller prey before bringing them into the cave to roast it. Su Ming also used the chance to tell the hunting team from his own tribe about the elder in Black Mountain Tribe as he met them by chance while he was out hunting.
Time passed by, and sounds of frustrations could be heard from this place that he claimed as his own for the purposes of quenching. Half a month had passed by. Su Ming's eyes had turned red by this point. For the entirety of the half a month he spent, for all the numerous times he tried refining the herbs he had, there was not once where he was successful!
He was now at the first level in the realm of Blood Solidification, and he even manifested four blood veins. If only he could manifest two more, then he would reach the second level in the realm of Blood Solidification.
Once he reached the second level, then Su Ming would be able to use the first of the Berserker Arts which he inherited from the statue of the God of Berserkers!
This was a dream for Su Ming, and also the reason why he did not give up on trying to create the medicinal pills.
But after a month's worth of failures, Su Ming was at the verge of giving up. But his obstinacy did not allow him to give up so easily.
"I won't believe it! Xiao Hong, collect herbs for me again!" Su Ming threw the basket towards the little monkey baring its teeth at the mouth of the cave, then continued trying to create the pills.
The little monkey caught the basket and grinned before running out.
Failures upon failures...
Another half a month passed by. During this day, as Su Ming stood in front of the caldron with his hair in a mess, he held two herbs in his hands. They were both red in color. One of them had six petals, and the other five petals.
"Which one should I use..." Su Ming knew he did not have much time to think, so he grit his teeth and made his decision.