Bai Xiaochun looked at the trembling black shadow, and then pulled out a violet jade pendant and said, “Get over here!”
The shadow trembled again, then slowly floated over to Bai Xiaochun. Now that it was in front of him, he could just make out a face inside the black mist.
With that, he reached out to grab it, only to find that his hand passed through the mist. Apparently, the gargoyle didn’t actually have a physical body. Bai Xiaochun was now more intrigued than ever.
“The Blood Stream Sect’s gargoyles and the Spirit Stream Sect’s evil ghosts are similar in some ways. Ghost come from the souls of people who have died, but what about gargoyles? Where do they come from?” After pondering the issue for some time, he couldn’t come up with any theories. However, there seemed to be some connection between him and the gargoyle, something other than the jade plaque of control that had been given to him by Nameless Peak.
Eventually, he came to the conclusion that the gargoyle must have something to do with the giant hand and the Undying Live Forever Technique....
Even as Bai Xiaochun sat there in thought, the face in the mist suddenly twisted into a ferocious expression, and the mist pounced on Bai Xiaochun.
Icy coldness spread out, a coldness filled with intense ferocity. It was almost as if it wanted to consume Bai Xiaochun’s soul. The gargoyle’s sudden outburst startled him so much that he unleashed the power of his cultivation base and flicked the thing.
The gargoyle let out a miserable shriek, and the mist faded a bit. Having no other options, it hastily retreated to the corner where it remained, trembling.
“What gall you have!” Bai Xiaochun said angrily. Stomping forward, he aimed a kick at the shadow, which promptly dodged out of the way. Bai Xiaochun gave a cold harrumph and looked down at the jade pendant. Not only could the pendant be used to control the gargoyle, it also contained descriptions of the various punishments and rewards that were usually used to train them.
The most common method was to feed the gargoyle one’s own blood, which would strengthen the connection and also improve the gargoyle’s ability to understand orders.
As the gargoyle grew, and its own cultivation base improved, it was also common to allow it to kill other things and drink their blood, which also would help the gargoyle grow stronger.
The description also mentioned that if the gargoyle showed any signs of misbehaving, it was important to crush such behavior as quickly as possible. Attempts at rebellion would only grow more intense until the gargoyle became impossible to control.
“You trifling, newborn gargoyle!” he said angrily. “How dare you try to bite the hand that feeds you!” With that, he used the jade pendant to lock the gargoyle in place, then walked over and kicked him a few times. The gargoyle’s mist faded even more, until only a bit was left, whereupon he began letting out plaintive shrieks.
“You remember this,” Bai Xiaochun said sternly. “I'm the top dog here. If you dare to provoke me, I won’t hesitate to put you in your place. Hmph. Now, what should we call you? How about Shadow?” After giving him a name, he ignored him, and focused on the medicine formula that the blood master of Nameless Peak had given him.
“Undying Blood Pill....” he murmured thoughtfully. He had heard of this pill before. It had been created years ago by a patriarch who had gained enlightenment of the Holy Pill Wall Fragment. It had come to be one of the most useful spirit medicines in the entire Blood Stream Sect.
Not only could it lead to spectacular results when raising gargoyles, it could help with refining corpses, as well as with the body refinement techniques of Lesser Marsh Peak. Because it had so many varied uses, the Undying Blood Pill had been in high demand in the sect from the moment it was first invented.
Unfortunately, it was very difficult to concoct. The tier-3 version was relatively easy, but the tier-4 version wasn’t easy at all. When it came to tier-5 Undying Blood Pills, they were far beyond the ordinary, and could be used to summon some of the deepest reserve powers available in the Blood Stream Sect. Even tier-4 versions could be used to try to awaken some of the most ancient gargoyles.
The more Bai Xiaochun studied the medicine formula, the more shocked he was. It required 97 types of medicinal plants, each one of which contained numerous transformations that had to be suppressed with Heavenspan River water. It even needed spirit blood from the enormous hand. Only after all of that could the Undying Blood Pill be produced.
“Even the slightest mistake in the ratios of the medicinal plants will result in a failure. Furthermore, when it comes to combining the plants, some aspects of the connections need to be neutralized, whereas some aspects need to be fused together. The result is that nine different streams of blood qi will be created!
“One stream of blood qi is a tier-1 version, and so on. The Nameless Peak blood master wants me to concoct a tier-4 Undying Blood Pill, which would contain four streams of blood qi!” Bai Xiaochun’s eyes glittered as he continued to study the formula. As he did, his admiration for the person who had created it grew and grew.
“No wonder this pill is so difficult to concoct. One stream of blood qi is a simple matter, but even just two requires vast amounts of augury and other calculations, along with incredible skill in the Dao of medicine. Working with three streams of blood qi is even more complicated, about ten times more so than two streams. And then four streams. That’s almost ridiculous. Clearly, the only way to succeed is to use the All-Creation Plants and Vegetation technique to simplify matters!” Bai Xiaochun eyes shone with a strange light. Obviously, concocting the Undying Blood Pill in the usual fashion was far too difficult. The only option was to do things backwards!
Having reached this point in his train of thought, Bai Xiaochun pulled out a pill furnace and some medicinal plants, and started to familiarize himself with the concoction process. Instead of trying to succeed the first time around, he decided to do a bit of testing first.
Time passed. Before long, half a month had gone by. Bai Xiaochun never stepped out of the immortal's cave even once. He was completely immersed in his medicine concocting. He would concoct multiple batches per day, and whenever he ran out of bloodflame stones, he would simply ask for more. It was the same with medicinal plants.
It got to the point where medicinal plants were being sent over every day. Thankfully, the mountain peak had deep reserves. Bai Xiaochun became more and more familiar with the Undying Blood Pill, and yet, as he did, he ruined one batch of spirit medicine after another.
In the past, he would have simply discarded such ruined spirit medicine, but this time, he hesitated, and looked over at the cowering gargoyle over in the corner.
“I wonder if gargoyles eat spirit medicine? They’re ruined, but they still have some power left in them.” After some thought, he tossed one of the pills over to the gargoyle.
“Eat it,” he said, looking on in anticipation. The gargoyle’s intelligence was only starting to develop, but he understood what was being said, and pounced on the medicinal pill. Within a moment, the pill had turned into black smoke which the gargoyle quickly absorbed.
“Wow, he does eat them!” Bai Xiaochun was quite pleased. From then on, he tossed all of the ruined pills over to the gargoyle. After absorbing the smoke from each pill, the gargoyle would burp loudly, and then laze off to the side with an intoxicated look on his face. Eventually, he would fall asleep.
“Hahaha! So smart of me! These ruined pills have a use after all.” After ensuring that the gargoyle wasn’t suffering any ill side-effects, he felt more than ever that he'd done something great. With that, he continued to concoct pills, looking over at the gargoyle every once in awhile and tossing him a ruined pill. He wasn’t stingy at all.
Time passed. Gradually, another half a month went by.
During that time, Bai Xiaochun concocted many batches of pills, but every single one was a failure. Although he had gained enlightenment of the All-Creation Plants and Vegetation technique, he wasn’t familiar enough with it to use it consistently. Problems continued to crop up. However, Bai Xiaochun always came up with ways to overcome such problems. Furthermore, he didn't waste any of the ruined pills, but instead, fed them all to the gargoyle.
“I don’t have anything else to give you, just these ruined pills.” Bai Xiaochun was actually quite pleased with the situation. Cultivators couldn't consume ruined pills, but they seemed harmless to gargoyles. In fact, the gargoyle had grown quite a bit in the last month. Instead of looking like a tiny imp, he was now about as large as a seven- or eight-year-old child. Of course, he was pitch black, and surrounded by pulsing black mist.
Most noteworthy of all was that the gargoyle seemed a lot more intelligent already. Instead of being completely useless, he was now able to assist Bai Xiaochun a bit when given simple orders.
There were a few times when he seemed reluctant to consume the ruined pills, and yet he didn’t dare to defy Bai Xiaochun’s orders....
On one occasion, Bai Xiaochun made a mistake, and could tell that the pill furnace was about to explode. He immediately backed up and called out, “You handle it, Shadow!”
Shadow raced over and passed through the outside of the pill furnace. Once inside, he took a deep breath, absorbing all of the spirit medicine. Afterward, he lay down on the ground off to the side, twitching, a glazed look in his eyes.
Bai Xiaochun made a clicking sound with his tongue, very impressed by the gargoyle's behavior.
“Not bad, Shadow, not bad.” Excited, he continued with his concocting. At one point, the pill furnace began to emit pulsing black smoke, which Bai Xiaochun knew would cause some sort of disaster, either acid rain, diarrhea, hallucinations, or something else.
Yet again, he called upon Shadow.
“You handle it, Shadow!”
Shadow pounced, breathing in deeply and sucking away all of the smoke. Then he lay off to the side while the smoke wreaked havoc on his insides. If he had saliva, he would definitely have been frothing at the mouth.
Bai Xiaochun was moved.
“Great job, Shadow. You’re awesome!” Bai Xiaochun was very excited, and had already determined that he needed to bring Shadow with him whenever he concocted medicine. Shadow was truly outstanding. Whether it was ruined pills, noxious smoke, or exploding pill furnaces, he could solve all of the problems that cropped up when dealing with the impurities in the pills....
Bai Xiaochun was so immersed in his medicine concocting that he didn’t notice the rising spark of intelligence in little Shadow’s eyes, that was apparently a result of consuming all of the impurities. Normally, he kept it well-hidden, and always tried to seem dazed and foolish in front of Bai Xiaochun.
At one point, Bai Xiaochun eyed a failed batch that had resulted in a mystery pill. He had no idea what the pill did, and was just about to put it into his bag of holding, when he looked over at Shadow.
Blinking, he said, “You handle it, Shadow.”
A tremor ran through Shadow, but then he flew over and took the pill. After consuming it, he flopped over onto his side.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I started working on an AWE glossary. It's not even close to being complete, I literally just started it and began thinking of characters to throw into the list. I'll build it up over the coming days and weeks. Hopefully it will be of help as the story unfolds. If you have suggestions for it, please leave comments in the typo thread on the wuxiaworld forums, in a message on Twitter, or in a comment in the most recent chapter. The link will be included at the bottom of every chapter.
EDIT: When the site upgrade happened, the links got broken! If you want to check out the glossary, visit the table of contents page for AWE!