Chapter 73: First Refinement
In the narrow cave the flames within the cauldron casted shadows onto the cavern walls, creating shadows of dancing fangs and claws of wild beasts.
Xiao Yan concentrated with every fiber of his being as he watched the surging flame attentively, his pale face was streaked with beads of sweat. Refining medicine for long periods of time was a task that consumed an extreme amount of Dou Qi. Since Xiao Yan’s Qi Method was the lowest ranked Low Xuan, his Qi foundations and endurance were nothing special. Thus it was not an easy task for him to persevere for almost two hours in front of the cauldron.
Yao Lao squinted his eyes as he gazed upon Xiao Yan, who had once again successfully refined a Blood Clot Grass into a fine white powder. Knowing that Xiao Yan had already reached his limit, Yao Lao gave a slight nod and gently said: “Well done, take a break.”
Hearing this, Xiao Yan’s shoulders immediately dropped and his body softly fell to lie on the ice cold floor as if all the energy in his body had been suddenly drained away. Gasping for air, his chest rose and fell rapidly; battered with exhaustion, he could barely even lift a finger now.
“Training now would give the best effect.”
Yao Lao said indifferently as he cast a glance towards the Xiao Yan who lifelessly laid on the ground.
Laziness and diligence clashed in the heart for a mere moment before Xiao Yan internally howled in anguish as he unwilling sat up. His trembling hands formed into a training seal as he slowly closed his eyes.
Seeing Xiao Yan’s stance, Yao Lao laughed as his sight turned towards the ten plus jade cases before the cauldron. These cases were filled to the brim with pale white powder refined from the Blood Clot Grass and were results of the efforts of Xiao Yan.
From left to right, the pale white color of the powder became richer and richer until the last case, in which the color of the powder had almost reached a pure white.
Gazing upon this extremely obvious improvement, Yao Lao felt pleasantly surprised as he nodded his head approvingly; in his heart he once again praised Xiao Yan’s outstanding spiritual perception.
He shot a glance towards the Xiao Yan who was currently recovering his Dou Qi before sitting himself crosslegged against the stone wall, leisurely closing his eyes to recuperate. Xiao Yan had only refined the first type of ingredient, there were still two more types waiting for him to slowly practice on.
After training close eyed for almost an hour, the Qi Cyclone within Xiao Yan’s body once again emitted a bright light after it had previously gone dark from the depletion of Dou Qi before. Furthermore, the brightness this time seemed to be a little bit clearer than it was a few hours before.
Gradually opening his eyes, the powerless feeling from before had retreated by more than half. Stretching his neck, the cracking sounds made Xiao Yan sigh in happiness.
“Done training? Continue then.” Yao Lao smiled as he opened his eyes to look upon the now lively Xiao Yan.
Bitterly laughing as he shook his head, Xiao Yan who had experienced the painful process of alchemy had finally understood that he had been ‘conned’ by Yao Lao. When Yao Lao had previously done alchemy, all he did was twirl his hands about as he refined the ingredients to create the elixirs that people would go crazy for. This simple looking process had left a strong impression in Xiao Yan’s mind that alchemy was extremely easy. Yet now that Xiao Yan had tried a hand at it personally, he now knew that alchemy was more difficult than being a miner.
This understanding had come too late, thus Xiao Yan could only sigh as he once more sat before the cauldron and started to refine the essence of the other two types of medical ingredients.
Equipped with the previous experience of refining Blood Clot Grass, Xiao Yan, this time. was clearly much more relaxed than before. After burning eight Lively Fruits and ten Poppy Flowers, he finally managed to extract the components needed to make the healing medication.
From the Lively Fruit, an almost fully black and small kernel was obtained. This kernel had the effect of improving blood circulation. If an experienced mercenary was injured in the wilderness while lacking healing medication, often times, he would grind a Lively Fruit and use it to alleviate the injury.
From the Poppy Flower, a light red liquid was obtained. This kind of fluid had a numbing effect and can be used to relieve pain.
Eyeing the three medicines which had been arranged neatly in front of Xiao Yan, Yao Lao nodded slightly and quietly said: “All of the required ingredients have been refined, now fuse their medical abilities together. This is the most important step in alchemy.”
With a deep sigh, Xiao Yan respectfully nodded. Proficiently throwing the pure white powder into the cauldron, he smoked it under a warm fire for about ten minutes until the pure white powder turned slightly reddish before speedily pouring the Poppy Flower liquid in too.
Just as the liquid entered the cauldron, it wrapped around the pure white powder. Boiling for a short time in the flame, the two ingredients slowly fused into a light, red and viscous liquid.
His spiritual perception strove to control the temperature of the flame as the viscous, light-red liquid was slowly smoked.
As it was continuously baked above the flame, the viscous liquid gradually changed into a dark red paste.
Through the transparent lens, Xiao Yan stared unwaveringly at the dark red paste within the cauldron. Slightly hesitating, he finally threw in the tiny black kernel from the Lively Fruit.
Though the tiny black kernel entered the cauldron, nothing happened. The tiny kernel bounced about in the flame, refusing to fuse into the dark red paste.
“Different ingredients have different resistances to temperature, so you need to learn how to control the temperature of any part of the flame. In areas that require a low temperature, you have to suppress the flame while in areas that require high temperature, you have relax your control to increase the temperature of the flame…..” Yao Lao lectured as he gazed upon Xiao Yan who was perspiring in worry.
Xiao Yan licked his dry lips as he nodded. He promptly divided a part of his spiritual perception to exert control over the flame below the tiny kernel to gradually increase its temperature.
As the spiritual perception relaxed its control over the temperature, a single uncontrolled flame fiercely soared up and burnt half of the tiny black kernel to ashes in an instant, causing Xiao Yan to break out in cold sweat as he hastened to desperately suppress the flame.
One part of his spiritual perception had to maintain the temperature of one side of the flame while another part had to increase the temperature of the other side of the flame. This kind of multitasking caused a headache for Xiao Yan.
However, after going through a few more perilous situations, Xiao Yan finally calmed down from his flustered state. He wiped away the sweat that had gathered on his forehead as he sighed deeply before concentrating the rest of his Dou Qi into the fire outlet.
Within the cauldron, the tiny black kernel could no longer bear it and finally ruptured under the increasing temperature of the flame. Fine jet-black powder gradually floated into the light red paste and dyed the latter in a deeper shade of color.
As the last pinch of jet-black powder floated into the paste, Xiao Yan finally let out a long sigh. His hands slowly separated from the fire outlet and the flame within the cauldron gradually died down.
At the sight of the panting Xiao Yan, Yao Lao faintly smiled as he waved his hand, lifting the cauldron lid and settling it onto the floor. With his right hand, he willed the huge lump of crimson red paste to leap up, where it remained floating in midair.
Yao Lao glanced at the crimson red paste which was emitting a strong medicine smell. His hands made cutting motions in the air as the dark red paste was cut into at least a hundred tiny pieces.
Taking the Storage Ring from Xiao Yan, Yao Lao flicked it as over a hundred small jade bottles suddenly spread out all over the narrow cave.
After arranging the jade bottles, Yao Lao waved his hand again as the liquid like paste in the air accurately landed into the jade bottles.
Randomly choosing a jade bottle, Yao Lao smiled as he passed it over to Xiao Yan while bantering: “Congratulations, your first attempt at alchemy was a success!”
Impatiently receiving the jade bottle, Xiao Yan gazed at the slightly impure crimson red fluid within while in his heart feelings of excitement and pride welled up.
“Haha, from this point on, I can also be considered an alchemist!”