Under Han Li's manipulation, the purple fire that the eight dragons spat out became almost as thick as a finger. As the silver threaded cauldron’s rotation speed slowed down, the flame's center started to faintly tremble.
As time passed by, the small cauldron released a medicinal fragrance that could stir up a person’s spirit. However, Han Li clearly understood that at this moment, he was still very far away from forming a pill; at the very least, he would need to use an even more intense flame and coagulate the pill in an instant. Only in this way would he be able to produce the pill.
With this thought, the purple flame under Han Li’s control became even more dazzling, becoming even as thick as a bowl, causing the entire silver threaded cauldron to be enclosed within the flames. From afar, the small cauldron had already become a massive fireball, and the medicinal fragrance became increasingly heavy.
Han Li knew without guessing that this was the medicinal powder beginning to coagulate into a pill, and so he became increasingly careful.
But right at that moment, a muffled explosion came from the cauldron; although its sound wasn’t loud, it caused Han Li’s heart to sink, and his expression was somewhat ugly.
After hesitating for a moment, Han Li sighed and stopped the Earth Fire. Then, with a wave of his hand, he opened the lid of the scalding small cauldron and reached his head out to take a look.
Within the cauldron were numerous chunks of light-blue solids that had split; it seemed like they were the waste products from the yet-to-coagulate pill!
Han Li shook his head and retrieved another jade box, placing it on the ground. Then, he controlled the silver threaded cauldron and flipped it, dumping these waste pills into the box, then stowed them away. Even if these were waste pills, they were still composed of various spiritual medicinal powders that had yet to coagulate; Han Li could not bear to just throw them away like that. Who knew if in the future he would have any other uses for them!
After completing all of this, Han Li went back to sitting on the prayer mat until the silver threaded cauldron had completely cooled down before starting to refine pills again.
He performed the same procedure with the same powder ingredients and the same technique when controlling the flame, but unfortunately, each time he still failed on the coagulation step.
This time, Han Li’s face had no expression; when his condition had been properly adjusted, he silently began the next cycle......
…A month’s time passed. The ugly man, seeing that Han Li had yet to come out of the Earth Fire room, felt very shocked. However, he was even more excited, because in this way he could charge even more fees.
After two months, stone door number eighteen still did not open; apart from the elation in his heart, the ugly man also felt great astonishment.
After six months, Han Li still showed absolutely no indication of coming out. Now, the ugly man’s joy had long since disappeared completely, leaving behind only an expression full of anxiety and a stomach that felt unsettled.
Nearly half a year’s time, with regards to pill or weapon refining, was not actually a very rare occurrence. The ugly man had seen even longer periods of seclusion numerous times!
But the people who had spent that much time in the Earth Fire room were all at the very least disciples above the Foundation Establishment stage! It was truly his first time seeing a Qi Condensation disciple like Han Li spend so long inside there refining pills.
In addition, Qi Condensation disciples could only hold out at most a month without eating; could this disciple of Martial Ancestor Li have brought in food and drink with him, allowing him to persevere for so long?! The ugly man thought with a doubtful expression.
Inside of the Earth Fire room, Han Li sat cross-legged on the prayer mat, looking at the twenty or so vividly blue Foundation Establishment Pills floating in front of him, an expression of deep thought on his face.
These pills were all the rewards that Han Li had received from spending countless amounts of his blood, sweat, and tears during this past half year. Obtaining them was truly difficult beyond comparison!
Han Li had been unable to pass even the coagulation step for the first twenty or so refinements. Looking at each of the waste pills, his heart felt very pained. He had almost given up, deciding that after he had returned and learned the proper alchemy techniques from other alchemists, he would start refining Foundation Establishment Pills again. Although the amount of time he would waste would be incredibly long, it would be better than for him to vainly squander his spiritual medicines!
However, before he was about to leave, he decided, perhaps by a stroke of divine inspiration, to open the cauldron and make another refinement. And this time, as if by the aid of the gods, the pill actually coagulated; in addition, when he opened the furnace to retrieve the pill, he was miraculously able to successfully retrieve it on his first try. Thus, he obtained his first Foundation Establishment Pill that he had created by his own hands.
This Foundation Establishment Pill, apart from being slightly smaller, was exactly the same as the other three medicinal pills that he already had. This caused Han Li’s spirit to be greatly stirred up!
With this time’s encouragement, Han Li gritted his teeth and dispelled the idea of returning; he calmed his heart and continued.
Following this time’s experience of success, Han Li’s success rate in coagulating the pill immediately began to increase like crazy; within three refinements, he successfully coagulated the pill once. As for opening the furnace, Han Li had extraordinary innate skill; he successfully retrieved more than half of the medicinal pills from the furnace on his first try. This was something that Han Li had never expected could happen!
During this period of time, when Han Li felt extremely hungry and thirsty, he would take out the bottle of fasting pills that he had received from the little old man and eat one; then, he would be able to persevere for another month! He had obtained this bottle of fasting pills by exchanging them for a few hundred-year-old herbal medicines! Today, they just so happened to come in handy.
Like this, when the raw materials Han Li possessed were almost completely used up, he had obtained this batch with a frightening amount of Foundation Establishment pills; the number of medicinal pills in this batch greatly surpassed his initial expectations!
Early on, when he had heard about the great difficulties of refining pills, he reckoned that it could be considered pretty good if he were to even obtain seven or eight of them! But today it seemed that it was not as excessively difficult to refine as he had heard from the cultivating world! Could those alchemists be misguiding other cultivators? Or was it that he truly had an innate talent for refining pills!
Han Li felt perplexed!
In reality, Han Li had thought too far to the left; the technique for refining pills was actually even more difficult than was spread around in the outside world. It would be impossible for one to groom an alchemist with average talent without twenty to thirty years of time and a nearly astronomical amount of money.
And the Han Li of today, with respect to his skill in refining Foundation Establishment Pills, could already be considered part of the upper echelon when compared with other average alchemists! The reason why such an inconceivable phenomenon could occur was completely due to Han Li’s nearly half a year of refining the same pill.
One had to know that even the most rich and imposing sects would have no way of having an adequate supply of precious ingredients to allow an alchemist to refine the same pill for half of a year’s time.
This kind of thing was somewhat possible if one were to consider the lowest grade medicinal pills! However, if it were low-grade medicinal pills, what need was there for one to purposefully refine and accumulate experience? In any case, the ingredients were cheap, and if it was not refined successfully one could just start again.
Han Li did not understand this, and so naturally he did not figure it out; however, after briefly mulling over it, he let it go. This was because he had suddenly had the idea of immediately swallowing the Foundation Establishment Pill and attempt to break through the Foundation Establishment bottleneck.
This thought was extremely strong, causing Han Li to consider very seriously the possibility of undergoing closed-door cultivation in this Earth Fire room.
After eleven months, the stone door to the Earth Fire room that Han Li was in remained tightly shut with no sign of opening.
On this day, the ugly man was numbly gazing at the nineteenth stone door with an anxious expression! He was certain that something had definitely occurred to Han Li inside. Otherwise, even Foundation Establishment cultivators should have already come out.
He was not actually worried for Han Li as a person; rather, he was seriously afraid that Martial Ancestor Li would, after discovering his disciple’s mishap, would take out his anger on him. In addition, although he was a close relative of Sect Leader Zhong, which was the reason why he could watch over this area, the ugly man was very clear that if Martial Ancestor Li really became angry over this, his supporter would definitely not get him out of this predicament.
Just as the ugly man’s stomach was filled with anxiety, the stone door in front of him suddenly flashed with a white light, then it opened soundlessly. Next, a person walked out, flushed with success; this was Han Li, who had been inside of the room for close to a year.
The ugly man reacted after a long time and was instantly both surprised and happy; he hurriedly took a few steps forward with a mouthful of complaints:
“Junior Martial Brother, why have you only come out now? If you hadn’t come out, I would’ve... Yi! You......!”
The ugly man had just spoken a few sentences when his eyes suddenly became round, as if he had seen a ghost. He pointed at Han Li, his mouth open and his tongue tied; he was unable to say anything!
“What, is there something wrong with me?” Han Li asked with a slight smile, glancing at the light that suddenly flashed across the person’s face.
“Your...... your cultivation! Am I......? Could...... could you be in the Foundation Establishment stage?” The ugly man regained his focus after a long time and asked while stammering with a confused and alarmed expression.
“Yes! After I refined the pill, I felt that the environment here wasn’t bad, so I swallowed a Foundation Establishment Pill and underwent closed-door cultivation. In the end, I successfully broke through the bottleneck; now, I truly am a Foundation Establishment cultivator!” Upon hearing the other person ask in this way, Han Li declared proudly while stretching lazily.
“Reach Foundation Establishment here?”
The ugly man glanced at the Earth Fire room behind Han Li, then glanced at Han Li, still unable to believe it! Undergoing Foundation Establishment inside of an Earth Fire room specifically for refining pills, this was truly his first time hearing of anything like this!
However, after moving his lips a few time, he did not voice the questions that he had. Not only was the other person Martial Ancestor Li’s disciple, simply based on his identity as a Foundation Establishment cultivator, he was already not someone that a Qi Condensation disciple like him could afford to provoke.
“What, is it not allowed?” Han Li casually glanced at the other person and asked impolitely. He immediately emitted the pressure that only Foundation Establishment cultivators could release. This caused the ugly man, who was very close to him, to instantly be forced many steps backwards, and he began to sweat profusely.
“Of course it isn’t; there are no such nonsensical rules from above. Congratulations to Martial Uncle on his great success during his seclusion!” The ugly man was actually very clever, immediately nodding his head and bending over at the waist, saying this while laughing with him. Even his previous way of addressing Han Li as “Junior Martial Brother” was immediately changed to “Martial Uncle”.
Since the other person had successfully reached the Foundation Establishment stage today, he could be considered the ugly man’s elder; to be somewhat more deferential was a necessity.
The ugly man was able to adopt a very lighthearted perspective! He understood very thoroughly what the appropriate behavior should be towards those with greater power in the cultivating world!