Chapter 44: Antidote
The sun hung high up in the sky. Despite this time of year being the beginning of autumn, the heat from the sun was scorching hot.
Doctor Mo was in his room, fidgeting. Although he was confident in his methods of dealing with Han Li, he could not be completely at ease.
Suddenly, sounds of footsteps could be heard, slowly approaching his residence.
When he heard the sounds of the familiar footsteps, Doctor Mo was filled with joy. He rushed hurriedly and opened the door.
As expected, standing outside the door was his long awaited target – Han Li.
Looking at him as Han Li walked towards him, Doctor Mo fiercely suppressed the glee in his heart before allowing a trace of smile on his face.
“Not bad, you are indeed punctual. Seeing that you have made no attempts to escape, I’m truly happy. This means that you are intelligent. Let us enter the house before we have a good discussion.”
The expressions on Doctor Mo’s face was like that of a kindly elderly neighbor. The smile on his face was akin to a blooming flower.
“You can relax, I didn’t set any traps in the house,” Doctor Mo quickly explained to him, seeing the alertness in Han Li’s eyes.
“Hmph! Since I’ve dared to come, why would I be afraid to enter your residence?” Han Li immediately replied, as if he couldn’t stand the slightest provocation.
After he replied, Han Li took a step to enter the residence.
Doctor Mo immediately shifted his body to the side, allowing Han Li to enter. After Han Li entered, he extended his hands, attempting to close the door, but before he could do so, Han li interjected without turning back his head:
“if you dare to close the door, I will assume that you have some tricks up your sleeves. There’s no way I would still discuss anything with you.”
After hearing Han Li’s words, Doctor Mo panicked. However, he swiftly recovered and left the door open. Unsatisfied, he exclaimed:
“I truly want to have a discussion with you. I mean no harm towards you. Since you are not willing to let the door be closed, we will just leave it open then.”
After saying this, Doctor Mo reclined on his chair. The two of them silently stared at each other. They have not met for half a year, and thus, they were considering and gauging each other carefully.
In Han Li’s eyes, Doctor Mo had clearly declined a lot. He looked even more aged and withered now, no different from a 70 year-old grandfather. Involuntarily, he murmured in his heart, “Could it be that what he said was true? All he wanted to do was to recover his vital energy? Was there truly no other sinister plan?. Did I overthink things? “
As Han Li studied his surroundings, his pupils swiftly contracted. That muscularly built, mysterious figure was standing silently at one corner, like some sort of corpse. If Han Li had not meticulously scanned every corner, he would surely have missed him.
After his prior inspection of Han Li, Doctor Mo was extremely satisfied with his condition. As such, he warmly stated, “Looking at the current you and comparing it to the person who had just entered the sect back when he was only ten years old, you have already grown so much.”
The sudden shift in conversational topic and the change in atmosphere caught Han Li off-guard, making him wary of Doctor Mo’s intentions. However, in his heart, Han Li raised his alertness to its maximum level. This sly old fox, the salt he had eaten was much more compared to the rice Han Li had consumed*. If Han Li was the slightest bit careless, he would undoubtedly fall into a trap.
(*chinese idiom meaning that the Doctor Mo’s experience was far greater than Han Li’s)
“Old Mo, I will forever engrave your care towards me in my heart, never forgetting it. Whatever request you have, I will try to fulfill it.” Han Li’s expression warmed, as if he had turned back to the obedient disciple he had been ages ago.
“Excellent! Excellent! Your words prove that I have not wasted my time and efforts on you. Come, let me see how much your progress with the Eternal Spring Arts has improved.” At that moment, Doctor Mo seemed to assume the role of the kindly teacher. Standing up, he directly attempted to take Han Li’s pulse.
“Sly old fox, how cunning and thick-skinned.” Han Li cursed in his heart as he swiftly side-stepped, avoiding Doctor Mo’s hand.
“Old Mo, don’t be in such a hurry, I can truthfully tell you that my Eternal Spring Arts have reached the fourth layer. However, I want you to give me the antidote to the Insect Corpse Pill first. After I’m cured, I will let you inspect my progress.” Han Li smiled as he used a sincere tone while talking to Doctor Mo.
“Oh! Oh my, my mind must have become muddled. My memory is no longer as good as before. Initially, I intended to give you the antidote the moment you stepped in.” Shock adorned his features as Doctor Mo seemed to have recalled something.
He withdrew a silver flask from inside his robes and took out a black-colored, ordinary looking pill, which he tossed towards Han Li.
Han Li acted clumsily and “barely” managed to catch the pill that was tossed over to him. Bringing it to his nose, he sniffed it. Waves of spiciness were released from the pill. He inclined his head to look at Doctor Mo, only to find Doctor Mo smiling at him.
He hesitated, suspecting the authenticity of this antidote.
Yet, there was no way for him to avoid ingesting it because the Insect Corpse Pill would soon activate. If he did not ingest the antidote now, it was equivalent to committing suicide. Han Li believed that Doctor Mo would continue acting cautiously and refrain from giving Han Li a fake antidote. Han Li’s expression turned heavy as he chose to swallow the antidote, waiting for its medicinal effect to take place.
At this moment, Doctor Mo was extremely relaxed. He began to chat nonchalantly with Han Li, as if he had forgotten what his real purpose was.
Not long after, Han Li could feel a surging wave of immense pain originating from his stomach, but the pain swiftly subsided. He quickly began to inspect his own body and realized that the Insect Corpse Pill had disappeared without a trace. Joy filled his heart, and his face broke out with traces of a smile.
Naturally, the changes had not escaped from Doctor Mo’s notice. He waited for Han Li, who was completing his inspection. With a huge smile on his face, he said:
“Ah, Han Li, when I gave you the Insect Corpse Pill to ingest, it was merely to give you extra motivation. If not for that, I think you might not have broken through to the fourth layers of the Eternal Spring Arts so easily!”
“Thank you for Doctor Mo’s beautiful intentions. However, I hope that such intentions will not be needed in the future.” After recovering, Han Li’s state of mind improved, and he began to slightly believe Doctor Mo’s sincerity. He was not as directly opposed to Doctor Mo as before.
“Now, will you allow this old man to take your pulse?”?
Doctor Mo’s words caused Han Li’s expression to grow unsightly. To think that Doctor Mo would still request examine his cultivation. Who knew whether Doctor Mo would decide to grab this opportunity to further control and harm him?