Chapter 146: Refusal
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
True Element Sect
The sect was situated in the Eastern Gorges, everything around were mountain ridges. The mountain that they were on wasn't high, and a monastery was built atop the peak of that mountain. It was called the True Element Monastery.
The True Element Monastery had been built nineteen years ago. They had been subjected to constant assault and fires by rebels from the previous chaotic dynasty. Soon after, they received an edict to rebuild and reconstruct the entire monastery. The newly renovated monastery had been standing for the past seven years, giving worshippers a place to hide from the constant rain around the area.
"Aunt!" Ye Su'er headed to the back of the monastery, where she saw a greenish jade colored pond, and could hear the sound of someone playing the guqin, an ancient stringed instrument. The sounds were extremely calmly and soothing. When Ye Su'er peered in, she saw a lady playing the instrument. After listening for some time, she finally capitalized on the pause between pieces and shouted, "Aunt!"
The lady frowned, "Within the sect, refer to me as Master."
"Master." Ye Su'er replied obediently.
"Su'er, why aren't you cultivating? Instead you've come to look for me. What's the matter?" The lady looked up at Ye Su'er, whose hair was long and flowing down perfectly. She had a white hairpin atop the head and dressed in clean and fresh robes. Her eyes were clear and gave off an extremely intelligent look. She looked to be no older than twenty.
"Yes, Master. I heard that you were going to take a trip to Peach Blossom Origins Monastery, and I wish to go with you." Ye Su'er took her hands and started to shake them pleadingly.
The lady was a Sect Leader in True Element Sect. At this point she was having a headache, knowing that she shouldn't be spoiling her disciple. She thus hardened her face, "Your foundation years were supposed to last three years. It's only been a year, have you forgotten our agreement?"
Ye Su'er's eyes were filled with hope. Hearing these words, she started tugging on her master's hands once more, "Master, but I've already cultivated up to the seventh level. Besides, I've been doing nothing but cultivating every single day, it's getting boring. Let me come along!"
"What? Weren't you at the sixth level? Since when did you manage to break through the seventh level?" Although the lady had seen and understood her innate talents, she did not expect it to be this strong.
"Master, I've only managed to break through recently. Why don't you check it for yourself." Ye Su'er reached a hand out as she spoke.
The lady then started feeling around her palms. She had indeed cultivated up to the seventh level. Her expression was one of pride and happiness. Seeing her aunt react this way, Ye Su'er knew that she had won her over. She thus pressed on, "Aunt, please let me come. Please Aunt."
The lady then finally relented, "Fine, fine. Since you wish to go there to have a change of scenery, fine. But you must listen to me."
Hearing that her aunt had agreed, she excitedly planted a wet kiss on her aunt's cheeks, "Many thanks, Aunt!"
She wiped off the saliva on her cheeks before extending a hand and lightly tapping Ye Su'er on her head. Her expression then turned suspicious as she eyed Ye Su'er, "Why are you this happy? Are you trying to seek out the romance you've left behind a long time ago? And hope to see your everlasting paramour of yours?"
Hearing these words, Ye Su'er looked up at her aunt. She noticed that her aunt did not look the least upset or resentful, instead she had a look of pity and regret. Could it be that her aunt had a lover once before as well?
All of a sudden, Ye Su'er recalled the times she overheard the conversations between her fellow sisters. They had said something about her aunt having a relationship with an official of the Imperial Court many years ago. It was said that she had loved him deeply. However, since Imperial Qi was not compatible with the Dao, they let each other go. She never married after. Could all these rumors be true?
Ye Su'er was deep in thought when the lady turned around and started walking away. After taking several steps, she noticed that Ye Su'er wasn't following her, "Su'er, come with me."
The lady spoke, and Ye Su'er reacted, hurriedly following her out.
Dang gui, ginseng, lin zhi, Hemostatic herbs, deer antler and chinese knotweed were placed by Pei Zi Yun into a furnace.
Pei Zi Yun opened the lid and placed the various herbs and ingredients into the furnace. The entire pill concoction room had a dense and musky smell of medicine, which caused anyone who inhaled the fumes to gag and cough.
"Cough cough. Fellow Brother, are you trying to concoct the six flavors replenishing pill?" The little Daoist asked.
"Of course. This pill would help to replenish energy and can be used after a long duration of cultivation." Pei Zi Yun concentrated hard on concoction of the pill and started stirring the pot. Thinking of all the possible uses for each of the herb and ingredients.
"Senior Brother, I have little experience in pill concoction, but I know that all these six ingredients are extremely effective in replenishing energy. However, doesn't the chinese knotweed have a small degree of poisonous effects?" The little Daoist frowned as he asked.
Pei Zi Yun added more ingredients before speaking, "That's why we would need the heat from the furnace to counteract the effects of the poisonous properties."
"Oh, so it seems the furnace can eliminate the effects of poison, Senior Brother." The little Daoist looked like he reached a sudden realization. This little Daoist boy had been specially assigned to Pei Zi Yun to assist him with the pill concoction process.
"Congratulations to Senior Brother for concocting such a brilliant pill to help with cultivation." The little Daoist smiled widely. It's been a long time since anyone came to concoct pills. This was the first time he had seen someone concocting a pill, and had learnt something from this episode.
Pei Zi Yun then forced smiled, "It's not that easy to concoct a good pill. Without the ninth level of cultivation, concocting any pills would be impossible. That is because the person's inner energy would not be enough to dispel certain poisons without that cultivation level."
"Besides, once a person breaks through the gates of heaven and becomes a Yin Master, this energy replenishing pill wouldn't be needed anymore. This is because the pill would have very little effects on their vast amount of energy and would not increase by much. Much less for Daoists who had reached immortal statuses."
Hearing Pei Zi Yun's words, the little Daoist looked into the fire and frowned, "Senior Brother, what's the reason for that?"
"In the early stages of cultivation, pills like this must not be taken. It's only during the final few stages, just before the full circle foundation would pills like these be of use. Also, once the gates of heaven are opened, these pills would no longer have much use. Besides, the costs of just one pill is extremely high. Just these few ingredients cost me fifty taels of silver. Hence, most people feel this was not worth it, and are not interested. Hence, the pill concoction occupation has slowly been in decline."
"If the pills are so effective, then why isn't there anyone within the inner sect who would concoct pills?" Pei Zi Yun asked to reaffirm his point.
"So that's the reason, Senior Brother. Does that mean there aren't any pills for immortals?" The little Daoist had clearly heard stories of magical immortal pills from people, and cast a disappointed look as he spoke.
"Really?" The little Daoist's eyes filled up with hope once more.
"It's true. There are a wide variety of mythical items who contain special properties. The secret to a good pill concoction is to draw the special properties from these items and fuse them with other desirable properties to concoct a pill suitable for direct consumption and absorption."
"The highest quality of pills could even be absorbed by normal people and cause them to develop powers."
"But all these are just myths."
"The precious mythical items under the heavens are extremely rare, stop thinking about them."
"Does that mean that the disciples from our sect would not have a chance to obtain them?" The little Daoist asked.
"That I do not know, as there are no records of pills within the sect." Pei Zi Yun said blandly.
These mythical treasures would be filled with magical properties. Even if they existed, most of them would have been taken into Paradise. Such items were extremely beneficial to the person who possessed them. How can there be people willing to smelt and break down these items to form pills? It was unthinkable that such items would be lying around waiting for people to pick them up as they would be guarded fiercely.
Pei Zi Yun did not say these, but instructed the little Daoist, "The next step would be the refining phase. Go outside and help me stand guard at the door, do not let anyone in."
When Pei Zi Yun was done, he started muttering some incantations, causing the furnace to sizzle. A fire was burning strongly beneath the pill furnace as the different herbs started to congeal and mix together.
He could remember all the processes from the memories of his Senior Grand-Uncle and the original owner. Hence, he was rather familiar with the refining process. With a "ding" Pei Zi Yun then halted and looked in. He saw ten pills formed. They were a deep shade of red, and a fragrant aroma floated throughout the entire place.
Pei Zi Yun then took the pills out before placing it into a vial. After sniffing the pills, he then decided to pop one into his mouth. His eyes opened wide before sighing, "Such a pity."
'Without any items with mystical properties or an extraordinary skill, no matter how the pill is refined, it would still be nothing more than a normal pill. At this point the pill doesn't even have major replenishing properties which most pills would. However, it was able to provide a slight boost in recovery from wounds and provide a small amount of energy. For a normal Daoist, it might be of use. However, since I'm already at the tenth level, it would not have much effect.'
'Even if I were to persevere on with this pill refining matter, I would be wasting my time.'
'However, the pills are still considered pure, and can be given to mother to help her with her health. Then, it wouldn't be considered a waste of materials.' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself, 'As for the earlier discussion, if the pills were to be effective, the entire cultivation world would be filled with pills. How could it be possible that I would be first person to discover pills?'
'It seems like in this world, the only way to get a true increase in spiritual energy would be to meditate within the Exponential Powers Cave!'
'Although I cannot guarantee that there are no such pills, there would definitely be some exceptions. It seemed like Shen Zhen was able to find some magical pills. His blood was boiling and he was near death when he managed to discover a mythical pill with special properties. Not only did the pill heal him, it benefited his cultivation. Hence it must be made up of a special treasure of some kind.'
'However, as a result of taking the mythical item and breaking it down in order to refine it into pills, the Daoist pill maker Zhu Zhen suffered the wrath of heaven and died. As the saying went, a person which could not hold onto such a precious item deserved to die, and allow the next person to benefit from it.'
Just as he was thinking, Pei Zi Yun noticed Yu Yun Jun walking over. As soon as she was face to face with him she said with anger, "Sect Leader is being unreasonable."
"Master, what happened?" Pei Zi Yun asked, seeing how Yu Yun Jun was flushing with rage, and her face looked downcast as well. She mumbled to herself for some time, her brows were creased in evident displeasure. She sighed, "You have to be mentally prepared."
"The Exponential Powers Cave request, has it been denied?" Pei Zi Yun frowned and asked. The last time, the Sect Leader had rejected his admission into the Core Disciples group. What about this time?
"The Sect Leader said the energy within the Exponential Powers Cave is limited, and that each time would only allow a single person to cultivate within. He said that you have won the privilege to cultivate within the cave, but you have to wait for Song Zhi to succeed and leave the cave. Only then can you use it." Yu Yun Jun spoke.
Although Pei Zi Yun was somewhat prepared for this piece of bad news, his expression was still crestfallen. The Sect Leader had indeed acted in accordance with Pei Zi Yun's expectations, and intended to push Song Zhi up and allow nobody else to contend with him for the spot. This was the only reason he was acting this way.
"Hm, since there's only one Exponential Powers Cave, all the spiritual energy from this year would be freely given to Song Zhi. This clearly shows that he is biased toward him." Pei Zi Yun spoke out bitterly.
Yu Yun Jun was furious as well, and bore a look of resignation on her face. She then said slowly, "You have to wait for at least a year. The Sect Leader's intention is to assist Song Zhi, and place his hopes in him, anticipating that he would be able to break through the gates of heaven within the next six months and become a Yin Master."
"Elder Zhao supported me in my requests, and yet the Sect Leader refused to budge. He insisted that we wait for another half a year. I have run out of ideas at this point."
"Huuuuu!" Pei Zi Yun exhaled deeply after taking several strides and did not speak. Yu Yun Jun was clearly disheartened, "As for this matter, I shall report it to the Patriarchs. In behaving this way, the Sect Leader is clearly abusing his authority and is oppressing you too far."
"Many thanks Master." Pei Zi Yun acknowledged, his heart was feeling extremely uncomfortable and slighted. The Sect Leader had ignored all his requests just to ensure that Song Zhi would finally attain the spot of Honorary Disciple.
"Let's speak no further about this matter. However, about the other request, you have some information here." Yu Yun Jun then handed Pei Zi Yun a white slip of paper. In it, there was a name and an address.
"Don't look at me. Although the Sect Leader rejected your request for the Exponential Powers Cave, he remembered your other request. He managed to locate the person and found out more details about him." Yu Yun Jun had a slightly regretful tone.
Pei Zi Yun paused. This was the matter regarding Shi Mu Zhong. He didn't expect results to show so quickly. He then thought to himself, 'The Sect Leader is not intentionally trying to make things difficult for me. It's just that as long as my requests does not place Song Zhi at a disadvantage, he would accept. Besides, I know that he thinks very well of me.'
Pei Zi Yun sighed deeply before looking carefully at the paper. There were several places listed on it. He laughed coldly, "Monasteries, residences, brokerages, shop houses. He's really hiding everywhere possible and avoiding crowded places. If I were to search him out myself, I wonder how long I would take before I could track him down."
He then saw a familiar name written on it and was stunned, 'Qin Gao?'
'This man was Xie Cheng Dong's man in Yong Prefecture, and one of my targets from that area as well. I didn't expect him to show up here in Ying Prefecture. So it seems like after I cleared out Meng Luo Gong, Xie Cheng Dong was startled and decided to send someone here to investigate and get rid of me?'
Just as Pei Zi Yun remained silent, deep in thought, Yu Yun Jun spoke out, "There had been traces of activities from these two men, and they're residing close to our mountain in the Northern County. They were careless and revealed their tracks. Even Shi Mu Zhong is there."