“Three requests?” Inside the gazebo, Lu Yun’s eyes were as wide as saucers. “Immortal crystals aren’t the auction currency?”
“Wait, you didn’t know?” The other youths looked at him with some confusion. Lu Yun wasn’t the only one surprised; his clansman Lu Shenhou was equally bewildered.
“What am I supposed to know about?” he quickly retorted.
“The Panorama Pavilion already secretly informed various factions that, rather than pay crystals and treasures, we must fulfill their three requests to the best of our ability!” Wu Tulong replied, confused by Lu Yun’s confusion. “They sent the Immortal Martial Sect a message half a month ago, but we weren’t much interested so we didn’t make any preparations. Did they not tell the Lu Clan?”
“It seems the Panorama Pavilion no longer considers us a great clan.” Lu Shenhou ground his teeth from the slight.
“What are the requests, exactly?” Lu Yun remained nonchalant, not taking the insult nearly as personally.
“Recognizing herbs, processing herbs, and refining pills,” answered Wu Tulong. The young man nodded to his friend in acknowledgment before sinking into thought.
“We’ve already informed many of you about the necessary preparations for today,” , Fairy Qing Xun’s voice sounded again from upon the platform.
Some in the audience beamed with confidence, while others gaped with consternation. Before the latter group could respond, their host conjured a thousand and eighty kinds of immortal herbs in the air overhead.
“These thousand and eighty materials are extinct in the present world. The guild dug them up in an ancient tomb. Now, let the auction for the first treasure begin. The Skydragon Tendon is the tendon of an ancient skydragon’s remains. It contains a portion of the dragon’s power, while being a rare treasure material in its own right. The one who recognizes the most types of herbs and their effects will receive the tendon!”
“A thousand and eighty types of herbs….” Lu Yun frowned slightly.
Yuying’s experience could only identify one hundred thirty-four of them. Feinie, Huangqing, Aoxue, and Xuanxi’s memories added maybe seventy more. Yet leveraging his first envoy’s acumen led him to an inkling that these thousand and eighty herbs might be refined into a legendary pill. Not that Yuying was capable of figuring out the recipe at present, but still.
If I can already recognize this many, then a little bit of analysis will help me recognize even more. Lu Yun cast his consciousness forth in order to scrutinize the herbs on the platform more closely.
A number of people came to the platform to try their hand. The Panorama Pavilion was entirely unafraid of potential theft. All of the herbs were freely accessible to the pill masters for them to look, touch, and sample. Some tried tasting the herbs while others brought out their pill cauldrons. No matter what they wanted to do, Qing Xun gave them free rein.
Twelve hours passed in no time at all. No one near the platform bothered to talk during that time, either to themselves or anyone else.
“Ahem!” A grey-robed old man suddenly spoke. “My sincerest apologies. I hold three millennia of experience, but I can only figure out eighty-one herbs. Fairy Qing Xun is exactly right. These eighty-one are extinct in the present world.”
“Greetings, Senior Gu Zun. I did not expect you to come in person,” Qing Xun congenially greeted the old man.
Gu Zun was a renowned pill master in the world of immortals. Though he was only a golden immortal, he could refine supreme pills that were effective even for dao immortals. The old man nodded, then continued, “From what I understand of these herbs’ properties, sixty-four can be used to refine the Dao Fruit Pill—alongside eight other types of supplemental herbs.”
He added the last part because Qing Xun didn’t look particularly impressed with his results.
“The Dao Fruit Pill!” Bored immortals instantly boiled over in their various gazebos. “Master Gu Zun can reconstruct the recipe for the Dao Fruit Pill!”
The Dao Fruit Pill was a pill long since disappeared from the world. Much like the Aurum Openia Pill, it was very popular once upon a time, but had dwindled from existence following the death of its creator.
A peerless immortal had to become one with heaven and earth in order to pluck a dao fruit. The latter part of the breakthrough was exceptionally dangerous. Failure meant a lethal backlash; the chance of reaching dao immortality was sometimes less than ten thousand to one.
A Dao Fruit Pill allowed a peerless immortal to freely blend in with heaven and earth, increasing the possibility of plucking their dao fruit by fifty percent. In some ways, it was a miracle pill.
Even the previously calm Qing Xun was affected. “What are the other eight herbs, Master Gu Zun?” Palpitations filled her chest as she voiced her curiosity.
“Ahem!” Gu Zun reddened. “The other eight herbs are extinct ninth-rank materials as well. I simply had the chance to read about them in an ancient text.”
The audience let out a collective sigh of relief. The Dao Fruit Pill was so powerful that it’d likely disrupt the balance of power in the present world. It was much better that it didn’t appear.
“I can only recognize seventy-two of these, but I can refine a ninth-rank pill with them!” another attendee exclaimed.
More and more pill masters began to voice their findings, but Gu Zun remained on top.
“Alright, enough squabbling.” the tinkling voice of a girl spoke out. A silver moon seemed to materialize in the sky. “I recognize five hundred and two of them.”
Yue Longsha sashayed out of her gazebo onto the platform. Everyone who beheld her involuntarily held their breaths. She was too beautiful! Even peerless and dao immortals found it difficult to ignore her natural grace. She was a bright, glistening moon that dimmed the stars around her.
“These are the five hundred odd herbs’ properties.” She didn’t talk about what pills she could refine with them, just handed over a detailed jade slip.
Qing Xun looked rather pleased. Whatever pill recipes were possible was hardly important. Knowing the herbs’ properties was far better.
“It seems the Skydragon Tendon is mine,” Yue Longsha smiled in light of the others’ expressions.
“Many say that you’ll become the best pill master in Nephrite Major one day, Miss Yue. Some claim you’re more talented than Yuying, the Pill Fairy from twelve hundred years ago. Today, I see you live up to your fame,” Gu Zun bestowed his heartfelt approval upon the girl.
Recognizing these herbs had nothing to do with one’s pill refining skills. As a member of one of the greatest clans in Nephrite, Yue Longsha had plenty of experience to draw on. Deducing more than five hundred of the herbs’ properties and uses, however, was sufficient proof of her talent.
“You’re too kind, senior Gu,” Yue Longsha giggled.
“More talented than Yuying?” suddenly objected a low voice. “If the Pill Fairy were here in person, she’d be able to recognize at least eight hundred. I cannot quite match her, but I recognize six hundred and some.”
Wayfarer flew onto the platform, still concealed in his Obscuring Shroud. A true pill master didn’t need to touch an herb to figure out what properties it had. Color, veins, the shape of its roots and leaves… these provided enough evidence to fuel substantially accurate conjecture. Yue Longsha had this expertise, but so did Wayfarer.
“These are the properties of the six hundred and thirty-six herbs I recognize.” Wayfarer handed a jade slip to Qing Xun.
Yue Longsha fell silent, while Gu Zun gaped with shock.
“Nephrite Major has many hidden sages indeed. The Skydragon Tendon is yours, good sir.” Qing Xun verified the new jade slip cheerfully.
Wayfarer inclined his head, his face entirely devoid of expression.
“This new master looks a little unfamiliar. If I may ask…” Gu Zu ventured.
“I serve the King of River Province. You may call me the Painter.” Wayfarer answered coldly.
“A retainer of the king!” the audience gasped in understanding.
River Province was the largest province in eastern Nephrite Major and was wealthy beyond compare. Its king was... Zhao Changkong, the former crown prince. Having lost his claim to the throne, he received a lofty post instead; his new title was embarrassingly inconvenient.
“This is the Skydragon Tendon.” Another wave of Qing Xun’s hand produced the treasure, which she proffered with both hands.
“Hold!” A crisp voice interjected as a youth in white came out of a different gazebo. He quickly bridged the space to the central stage.
“Ah, it’s the First Youth Sovereign. What insight have you come to offer us, Your Excellency?” Qing Xun asked with some astonishment. She knew who he was, but didn’t believe he would be able to recognize very many herbs.
Cultivators who were exceptional warriors—Lu Yun and Wu Tulong, for example—generally spent most of their time and energy on cultivation, rather than the auxiliary paths. Moreover, the Panorama Pavilion hadn’t informed the Lu Clan about the requests beforehand. The governor had only come with a few other youths today, no pill masters were in his company.
“Insight is a stretch,” Lu Yun grinned, “but I know all thousand and eighty types of herbs here.”
“What?!” His wild claim stupefied everybody. All… thousand and eighty… types of herbs… here? They were all extinct in the present world! Even the pill masters here could only rely on their experience to make heuristic deductions about their properties. How could this young man make such a bold claim?
Yue Longsha’s eyes gleamed with interest, while Wayfarer flared with bloodthirsty annoyance. “Don’t make things up, Lu Yun.” Zhao Changkong wanted the Ten Orientations Stone, but he was personally after the Skydragon Tendon.
“Here are the herbs’ properties, all thousand and eighty of them. Oh, their names as well.” Lu Yun ignored the bristling artist.Previous Chapter Next Chapter