Medicine King's Valley, Hidden Cloud Peak, halfway up the mountain, Yang Kai and Dong Qing Yan, both carrying a medicine basket, searched around the forest looking for herbs.
This task that Old Xiao had given them was not difficult to complete. The herbs they needed to find where nothing rare and could be found growing in the wild quite easily.
The only reason they did not immediately finish was that the required age of each herb was quite high.
For each one, they needed to be at least thirty years old.
The two of them scoured the mountain for most of the afternoon, yet they still couldn't find a few of the herbs they were searching for.
"Aunty Xiang said that for the Iron Bone Grass, ten stalks would be enough." Dong Qing Yan cracked her fingers, her brow wrinkling slightly, "Cousin, we're still missing one."
Yang Kai looked around him at the forest and also frowned, "I'm afraid Hidden Cloud Peak doesn't have any more of these herbs, we should probably go to other places to search."
Dong Qing Yan glanced towards him and giggled, "You mean... Pill Saint's Peak perhaps?
Yang Kai glanced back at her.
And so, the two of them, reaching a tacit understanding, began walking towards Pill Saint's Peak.
Pill Saint's Peak was the ultimate forbidden zone in Medicine King's Valley, Common Disciples could not even approach to within three thousand meters of its summit; however, the region below three thousand meters was still accessible.
With their objective set, the two of them proceeded towards Pill Saint's Peak.
"We should split up to search." Yang Kai said as he lightly coughed.
"En." Dong Qing Yan nodded and laughed, she clearly knew what Yang Kai wanted and naturally wouldn't bring it up, instead simply saying, "Be careful out there."
Carrying his basket, Yang Kai strode slowly towards Pill Saint's Peak while casually looking for Iron Bone Grass and secretly observed his surroundings for any signs of movement.
Half an hour later, as Yang Kai meandered back and forth, he 'unintentionally' found himself only a thousand meters away from Pill Saint's Peak.
Quietly, he looked up, Yang Kai was surprised to find a great stone statue standing at the top of Pill Saint's Peak. Obviously, this statue was of the Pill Saint himself.
This stone statue was at least a hundred meters tall, a magnificent work of art. Even separated by a thousand meters, Yang Kai could still clearly see its top half.
The stone was worn here and there, yet after all these many years, enduring wind and rain, it was still proudly standing.
Yang Kai wanted to release his Divine Sense in order to get a better look, but he hesitated.
Although he could not see anyone right now, there was no doubt a master guarding the peak.
"Old Demon, can you sneak in and check what the situation is like?" Yang Kai asked.
"If there is an Immortal Ascension master up there, Old Servant would have no hope of escaping." Old Demon responded.
Right now, his strength was still not too high, so he simply couldn't hide his own Devil Qi. On top of that, his appearance was too obvious. Appearing as his Soul Breaker Awl shrouded in black gas, there was no way he could hide from an Immortal Ascension Boundary master's eyes and Divine Sense.
Was there really no way? He had stayed on Hidden Cloud Peak for more than a month, yet he was not even clear about what mystery he had been sent here to discover.
"You there!" Just as Yang Kai expression was turning bitter, a thundering voice angrily called out from above him.
In the next instant, a man flew down from the summit, landed directly in front of Yang Kai and glared at him coldly.
This person was definitely a master at the Immortal Ascension Boundary, and his strength was not low. Although most of the disciples in Medicine King's Valley were Alchemists, there were also a number of masters who were responsible for fighting and defense.
"What peak are you a disciple of? Don't you know that no one is allowed within three thousand meters of Pill Saint's Peak?" The man roared, his expression filled with anger.
Yang Kai frowned as his thoughts swirled.
"Who is your master? Did he not tell you what the consequences of approaching Pill Saint's Peak were?"
Yang Kai eventually had no choice but to reply, "Disciple greets Senior, this Junior belongs to Old Xiao's Hidden Cloud Peak and was sent here today to pick herbs."
"Grandmaster Xiao?" The man looked surprised for a moment before suddenly realizing, "You are the young boy who a month ago worshiped into Hidden Cloud Peak?"
"I am the one!"
The man examined Yang Kai up and down cautiously, using his Divine Sense to sweep over him once before retracting it.
Finishing this, the icy cold look in his eyes slowly faded.
Yang Kai quickly followed up, "This Junior was only looking for herbs and unintentionally wandered too close, I hope that Senior can please forgive me."
The man nodded before saying, "If you were any other disciple, although you would not be killed on the spot, you definitely wouldn't be able to avoid some punishment! But seeing as you have only recently joined Medicine King's Valley I will forgive you just this once. Do not let it happen again!"
Helpless, Yang Kai could only retreat.
It wasn't until confirming that Yang Kai left that the man soared back up to Pill Saint's Peak's top and resumed his watch.
Now far away, Yang Kai looked back once more.
Confirming there really was an Immortal Ascension Boundary master on guard, how could he be feeling good? If there was a way to get close to the Myriad Drug Pond, then maybe he could have glimpsed what mysteries it hid, but now that he couldn't even approach the mountain's summit, there was no way for him to learn anything.
With a depressed expression upon his face, Yang Kai walked back when from afar came the sound of Dong Qing Yan arguing with someone. He quickly increased his pace, and a moment later the voices became clear.
"I discovered this stalk of Iron Bone Grass first, how can you just lay claim to it like that?" Dong Qing Yan said in a wronged tone.
Another person's voice shot back, "Junior Sister must be joking, this herb is the property of my Medicine King's Valley. Naturally it is first come, first serve. Moreover, if we go by the logic of what Junior Sister has just said, then all the herbs here should be ours since we discovered them first, we have lived here since childhood after all."
"Who is your Junior Sister?" Dong Qing Yan angrily said, "I am Grandmaster Xiao's disciple; according to seniority, all of you have to call me senior!"
*Keke...* When Dong Qing Yan shouted these words, the three young Medicine King's Valley disciples she was arguing with had their expressions turn bitter as they were unable to refute.
Xiao Fu Sheng was quite old, so even though Dong Qing Yan was very young, she technically belonged to a higher generation than most of the Medicine King's Valley disciples her age, and instead was closer to being sister disciples with the likes of Qin Ze, so naturally these young people were a generation below her.
"What is it? Do you little nephews want to snatch the things your Aunty fancies? Hm?" Dong Qing Yan triumphantly snorted.
"Aunty..." the lead disciples muttered in dissatisfaction, "You just had the good luck to pass Grandmaster Xiao's test and worship into his Peak. If Grandmaster Xiao was willing to let me try that poison pill, I could certainly pass as well."
"Hmph!" Dong Qing Yan frowned as she scoffed at these three, "Talking about what ifs are useless now. Obediently hand over this Aunty's herbs or else, I'll tell my master that you all... that you all intentionally offended me and refused to respect your seniors!"
As she reached the end of her speech, Dong Qing Yan became increasingly abrupt.
The several young Medicine King's Valley disciples' complexions immediately changed. If such an incident was reported, they would likely no longer be able to remain in Medicine King's Valley. On top of that, the regulations imposed on Hidden Cloud Peak were quite loose, or more accurately, Hidden Cloud Peak had no regulations. It was essentially a free entity, very much unlike the other peaks which were governed by many rules, so given its master's influence and prestige, if he decided they had committed some kind of wrong, then they had committed a wrong.
But in the end, the few of them were all older than Dong Qing Yan and had their own pride as men, so how could they be willing to simply bow down in front of this little girl?
The group leader's eyes suddenly flashed as he thought of something, a big grin appearing on his face, "Respected Aunty, since you have worshipped into Hidden Cloud Peak, naturally you must be an Alchemy genius!"
"Obviously!" Dong Qing Yan proudly stated. Since she was a little girl she had been obsessed with Alchemy, instead of praise about her beauty, she was happier to receive praise about her Alchemy technique, so when she heard these words, her ego couldn't help inflating.
"Respected Aunty is looking for Iron Bone Grass correct?" The man asked again.
"There aren't that many Iron Bone Grasses in Medicine King's Valley right now. I wonder how many stalks Respected Aunty has found?"
"I require ten, but have only found two stalks so far..."
"Hoo, what a coincidence, we happen to have collected a number of Iron Bone Grasses, it should be enough to satisfy Respected Aunty's requirements."
"So you're willing to give them to me?" Dong Qing Yan smiled brightly, suddenly feel that these nephews of hers weren't so annoying anymore.
The lead man also showed a big grin, "Giving them all to you is naturally impossible... however, nephew is willing to use these Iron Bone Grasses as a wager in a contest. Let us exchange pointers and if Respected Aunty can win, not only can I offer up our stalks of Iron Bone Grass, if any other herbs we have on us catches Respected Aunty's eye then you may take them too. How about it, is Respected Aunty willing to play?"
Hearing this challenge, Dong Qing Yan frowned as she bit her lip.
Suddenly from the side, Yang Kai's voice rang out, "If you want to exchange pointers, I will take you on!"
"Escort Yang!" Dong Qing Yan expression suddenly became bright again, smiling as she waved towards Yang Kai.
Yang Kai's image flashed as he suddenly appeared in front of Dong Qing Yan, glancing at the three Medicine King's Valley disciples in front of him, "You want to exchange pointers?"
"It's him! The other guy who managed to pass Grandmaster Xiao's disciple test, he's also a disciple of Hidden Cloud Peak!" One of the Medicine King's Valley disciples shouted, his face filled with envy and jealousy, as he desperately wished he could take this no-name's place.
"Bullying a woman only shows how incompetent you are, why don't you try me instead?" Yang Kai glared at the trio.
Yang Kai acting so rampantly immediately provoked these three Medicine King's Valley disciples' anger, and the lead man shouted, "Good, since you asked for it, I will let you see my ability!"
"Wait a minute!" Yang Kai raised his hand and asked, "What you just said about betting your Iron Bone Grasses, does that still count?"
"Of course it still counts!"
"Excellent." Yang Kai nodded, "You three come together."
The three disciples couldn't help being stunned by these words. Each of them looked at the other two in confusion.
"Please enlighten me!" Yang Kai voice had hardly faded before his body disappeared. The three disciples only caught a glimpse of a shadow before a heavy impact sent each of them flying. In the blink of an eye, the three Medicine King's Valley Alchemists were sprawled out on the ground crying out miserably.
"So weak?" Yang Kai frowned as he looked at these three suspiciously.
Yang Kai had thought that since these people dared to act so rampantly, they must have possessed at least some ability, but little did he expect that none of them could withstand a single one of his strikes. On top of that, the attacks he had made were merely meant to test the waters, so he had held back at least half his strength.
"You... why the hell did you hit us!?" One of the Alchemists who had just been knocked down roared as he trembled and pointed towards Yang Kai in both fear and anger.
"Nonsense!" Yang Kai sneered, in an exchange of pointers how could there not be any hitting?
Not bothering with them anymore, Yang Kai went up and opened the trio's medicine baskets, plucking out all of their Iron Bone Grasses and placing them into his bag.
"Escort Yang, let's go!" Dong Qing Yan's pretty face was flushed bright red as she pulled Yang Kai and dashed towards Hidden Cloud Peak.
"How dare you deceive us!" Desolate cries filled with unwillingness rang out from behind them. "I'll tell Grandmaster Xiao about this and let him punish you!"
"What the hell are they on about?" Yang Kai frowned. "Didn't they want to exchange pointers? Why are they whining about losing now, it's their own fault for being so weak."
*Keke...* Dong Qing Yan's face became even redder as Yang Kai spoke.
"Why do we have to run away? These Iron Bone Grasses are what they wagered in that fight, it's not like we robbed them or something, we won them fair and square!."
"Stop talking, you're making us lose face."
Silavin: Bonus chapter thanks to Alexander! Thanks for your support!