The Great Yu Skysword Sect was firmly top three amongst all first rank sects. It was singular in its pursuit of sword dao, and made mighty because of it. The entire sect acted with a uniform style of efficiency and sharpness. Jiang Chen was happier to deal with sects like these. They tended to lack plots and stratagems as there was little to worry about in terms of curveballs.
The ceremony that greeted his arrival was stately and grand. Understandably so, for the Ancient Reformation Pill was a burning need for them.
“Haha, I didn’t expect Brother Mo to have come with Sir Shao Yuan. We are truly honored to receive you both.” The person responsible for their reception was, surprisingly, the sect’s third sword emperor and great emperor, Han Qiansui. He was also the clan brother of the Great Yu Skysword Sect’s leading great emperor, Han Qianzhan.
Both Qianzhan and Qiansui were outstanding geniuses of the sphere, representatives of the pinnacle of sword dao prowess. They served as the sect’s pillars and cornerstones. And so, Emperor Peerless’s acquaintance with the man was completely understandable.
“Brother Qiansui.” He laughed. “it has been at least several centuries since our last meeting. How is your older brother, Qianzhan? Not coming out to receive an old friend is a little ill-mannered, no?”
His words revealed a familiarity with multiple leaders of the sect and his behavior was more casual because of it.
“My brother has entered sealed door cultivation for many years now.” Han Qiansui smiled in kind. “Unfortunately, only I am available to welcome you two this time.” 
“Well, never mind.” Emperor Peerless waved a hand. “I was hoping for another chance to see his face. The sealing of his doors is an unforeseen damper on things. Shame, maybe next time.”
Han Qiansui nodded, then saluted Jiang Chen with a cupped fist. “I have long heard your name, Sir Shao. Our humble Skysword Sect has waited many moons for your eventual arrival.”
“It’s my fault,” Jiang Chen coughed apologetically. “My personal affairs regretfully held me up.”
Han Qiansui was a little surprised at the youth’s mildness. He’d expected a much more intolerable temper from the exceptionally young and adept genius. Why else would he have delayed his trip so? But it seemed that his guess missed the mark by a mile.
“Are the materials all ready?” Jiang Chen asked.
“Yes, absolutely.” Han Qiansui affirmed. “Do you need additional preparations, Sir Shao? Do you need to select an auspicious day, perhaps?”
“I’m just refining some pills, right?” Jiang Chen burst out in laughter. “No need to be so particular about everything. If the materials ready, then you can take me to them now.”
“Now?” Han Qiansui smiled wryly. “We’re in a bit of a rush, but we can easily spare a few bits of time here and there. It’s late in the day. Let us enjoy a refreshing evening and rest to conserve our strength. We can begin tomorrow.”
Jiang Chen was happy enough to listen to the arrangements of his hosts.
“Then let it be as you wish, Sect Head Qiansui.” There was little difference whether he began today or tomorrow. The Ancient Reformation Pill was a difficult one, but Jiang Chen was supremely confident in his own skill. Three days if he was lucky, five to seven if not.
During the welcome meal, Han Qiansui marveled at the fact that Jiang Chen and Emperor Peerless treated as Jiang Feng and Liu Zhen as equals, despite their differences in strength and position. He was clever enough, however, to avoid probing them on the subject or even pointing it out. He merely treated the entire party with equal politeness and no preferential treatment. Jiang Feng and Liu Zhen were given the same respect accorded to their companions.
Jiang Feng’s emotions were a bit stirred up, but as he was ultimately benefiting from the ability of his son, he didn’t consider it too closely. Liu Zhen, on the other hand, was almost brought to tears by the scene. He was being given the chance to publicly dine in the company of great emperors! He’d never imagined that he could one day sit together with experts of such caliber. They were even toasting to him. He was close to being hysterical. For this, his entire life had all been worth it.
The night passed merrily.
Waking up the next day, Jiang Chen was personally led into the pill room by Han Qiansui. Every kind of material was prepared for him, with plenty of each kind to spare.
“Sir Shao, do you need some other pill kings to help you out? Do you have any other special needs?”
“The bounty mission from before,” Jiang Chen smiled, brushing past the question, “mentioned both the pill and the recipe. I’ll get you the recipe in a bit.”
Han Qiansui was overjoyed. “Very good, Sir Shao. You are a man of your word. Then, I’ll wait outside for your good news.”
Refining pills was Jiang Chen’s original line of work and expertise. But even so, he didn’t appreciate strangers’ observation and participation. After all, many methods that he used during the process would only scare and alarm others. Therefore, it was better to avoid having any kind of an audience in the room during the refining phase.
The Ancient Reformation Pill was a pill with incredible effects. One could almost say magical. Its materials were prohibitively expensive. From this, the Skysword Sect’s wealth and endowment was palpable. The pill had also existed since ancient times. Experts back then used them to reform their physical bodies when said bodies crumbled. It was a sort of miracle pill.
Jiang Chen examined each and every material carefully to make sure they were untampered and sound. Only after that did he began to heat up his cauldron.
Three days went by, resulting in the successful refinement of a cauldron of Ancient Reformation Pills. Jiang Chen received a little more than he’d expected with four pills being refined. He stashed three of them unceremoniously into his own bags and put the remaining pill into a pill bottle, then recovered his breath and stamina before leaving the room.
Han Qiansui had been waiting outside quite a while. Anticipation was written all over his face and a sliver of unease as well.
“How did you do, Sir Shao?” He gulped down a mouthful of saliva.
Jiang Chen casually tossed up the pill bottle in hand. “Congratulations, Sect Head Qiansui. I did just as I promised. Here is the Ancient Reformation Pill you wanted.” He took out a corresponding pill recipe as well. “Here’s the complete recipe. Please take it for safekeeping.”
Han Qiansui was overjoyed. He snatched the bottle and recipe out of Jiang Chen’s hands excitedly. “You perform miracles everywhere you go, Sir Shao. I’ve just received news about you from the Tilted Moon Region. Countless pill kings couldn’t find the problem with the Moon God Sect’s Precious Tree, but you solved it in the blink of an eye. You are a true master!”
It had been a month or two since Jiang Chen’s diagnosis of that tree. It was unsurprising that news would’ve spread here by now.
“How is the Moon God Precious Tree doing, nowadays?” Jiang Chen asked, curious.
“I hear that it’s been restored to its former vigor. Because of it, your fame is being spread far and wide across the Upper Eight Regions’ northern reaches.”
“Undeserved,” Jiang Chen smiled. “I was just a bit luckier than the rest.”
“No, no, no. It wasn’t just luck. You are a pill dao legend for sure, Sir Shao. Nobody can deny that. It’s widely held public opinion that you are definitely above a pill king. You could easily be crowned a pill emperor. Even the emperors who live secluded lives can’t deny this.”
Having the Ancient Reformation Pill finally in his hands thrilled Han Qiansui. His admiration for Jiang Chen was heartfelt. Anyone else who received such praise would be uncontrollably ecstatic, but Jiang Chen was mostly unaffected. ‘Easily be crowned a pill emperor’? Pshaw. Sheer vanity and air.
Jiang Chen’s true ability was much greater than that. He was one of the best at pill dao in the heavenly planes, how was he be a mere pill emperor? Pill emperors weren’t worthy to be his pageboys in fetching firewood!
“Sect Head Qiansui, I’m glad to have done my part. I think it’s time for me to depart.”
“Sir Shao, you are in too much of a hurry,” Han Qiansui urged. “You have done us a great favor, and we must be a proper host for you. Please, stay a few more days and let us entertain you. There’s no need to be shy.”
The Skysword Sect was direct in all their dealings. They found it disconcerting to be unable to repay their debts. Jiang Chen was a bit embarrassed.
“Sect Head Qiansui, you’re making me all flustered. I mostly refined the pill for the bounty attached.”
“The bounty means nothing,” Han Qiansui shook his head. “The mission wouldn’t have been left untaken for eight hundred years otherwise. In the end, it’s your skill that’s carried the day. You’ve done much better than those fame-chasing pill emperors could ever do. In my opinion, you’re the best there is!”
“You speak too highly of me,” Jiang Chen roared with laughter.
Regardless of how he tried to refuse, Han Qiansui’s passion was unabated. Jiang Chen was asked again and again to stay for a few days. Helpless, he settled for agreeing to three more. Finally placated, Han Qiansui departed with joy on his face. Calling for a steward, he instructed the man to take good care of their guests.
The degree of hospitality that the Skysword Sect showed was indisputably great. The sect attached an enormous amount of importance to this batch of guests, the same that would be given to the heads of another first rank sect.
In a certain secret realm deep within the sacred grounds of the Skysword Sect, a sealed door disappeared without warning. Han Qiansui’s figure shot into the now-clear opening. His voice trembled when he reached the entrance of a specific abode. “Eldest brother, the heavens have taken pity on us. We finally have an Ancient Reformation Pill. It’s been eight hundred years, and now you can finally see daylight once more!”
“Hmm?” A somewhat hoarse sound responded from within. “Qiansui, has the person that Elder Lu told me about finally come?’
“Yes, yes. I persuaded him many times before he finally acquiesced to staying three more days. Eldest brother, we of the Skysword Sect have a top-notch martial dao heritage in the Upper Eight Regions, but we’re missing a real meister of pills. If we can get Sir Shao to stay with us, then our advancement will know no bounds!” Han Qiansui had spent so much effort on keeping Jiang Chen around a bit longer for a very utilitarian reason. He wanted to make Jiang Chen’s acquaintance and ideally even recruit the pill king.
The hoarse voice from within the cavernous abode was the Skysword Sect’s sect head, Han Qianzhan. He had explored a secret realm about a thousand years ago. During his time there, a demonic poison had unexpectedly infected his body. It caused his flesh to begin to rot, and no matter what suppressive method he used, he could not stop the poison’s force.
As a great emperor, it was difficult for him to find a different body to take. That was why he’d announced his retirement into closed door cultivation, for which he should be undisturbed. He stayed like that for several centuries. Later on, Han Qiansui had then made a key discovery: the Ancient Reformation Pill, and its ability to reconstruct and reform bodies. That was why this Skysword Sect had looked for the pill at all costs.
Today's regular! Apologies, I got caught up in other things today and haven't had time to prep the celebratory #4 release. That'll come out tomorrow!