Chapter 851: An Easy Capture
Regardless of whatever means Pill King Lu Feng had used to obtain the items, he had readied everything that Jiang Chen had requested. Jiang Chen relaxed when he saw that the preparations were complete. He was much more confident with these items in tow. “I will set up a formation immediately once we find a spacious location. Good thing that Ole He’s return wasn’t delayed much. Otherwise, there’ll be bigger trouble after the parasites’ first incubation period passes.”
Jiang Chen could see that only three or four days remained until then. After the first period of growth, the parasites would mature, and the essence within the first host’s blood would be sucked completely dry. The parasites would then break out of that body to find a new host. Once the parasites broke out, there was no knowing how many people would be infected due to lack of preventative measures. The more hosts there were, the more parasites they would breed. From one person to ten, from ten to a hundred. It was no wonder that the bugs had caused even prominent dynasties to fall in a matter of months. A total collapse of order had ensued, and their lands became hell on earth. These were not exaggerated rumours; they had significant basis in truth. Thankfully, the first period had not yet passed.
Pill King Lu Feng’s residence had many spaces, with ample room to maneuver. Jiang Chen chose a secluded corner, then instructed the pill king to forbid anyone else from entering. He took out his formation flags and set up a meticulously designed formation. Around it, he constructed several more with spirit herbs.
“This kind of parasite is called the Wood Demon Parasite. According to legend, it was first refined and bred by the Wood Demons, a bloodline of the demon race. In ancient times, the Wood Demons relied on this parasite to conquer countless continents and planes. The most impressive characteristic of this kind of parasite is its ability to remain concealed. It cannot be detected by human eyes, nor by one’s consciousness. Once implanted, it does not make itself known until the outbreak and when that happens, it’s generally very difficult to deal with.
“Ole Lu, be sure to pay close attention. You must memorize every detail of my actions,” Jiang Chen warned in a serious tone as he set down the formation. “Ole He has apparently been struck by these Wood Demon Parasites for no rhyme or reason, and I suspect that the demons of myth are ready to make trouble once more. His Majesty Peafowl’s worries are likely to come to fruition. The Wood Demons’ methods are quite terrifying. It’s good for you to learn this now, so you know how to deal with them in the future.”
Pill King Lu Feng straightened up his irreverent attitude at once, sincerely listening to Jiang Chen’s words. He was concentrating fully with the mindset of a disciple studying from his master.
“This Wood Demon Parasite has few natural enemies, but they do exist. Out of the five elements, there is a kind of fire called the Fire of Firstdawn which has the power to thoroughly eliminate it. It is only found during the initial moments of each sunrise, filled with the essence of night giving way to day. No matter if the parasite is a larva or a queen, it will die upon touching this fire. However, this Fire of Firstdawn is very difficult to find,” Jiang Chen explained patiently. “Therefore, it is the natural enemy of the Wood Demon Parasite only in theory and doesn’t have much widespread application.”
“Amongst the elements, water is effective as well… a soak with Dragonwhisker Water will cleanse away Wood Demon Parasites, though its effect is a little diminished when compared to that of Fire of Firstdawn. Aside from those two elements I mentioned, there are spirit medicines that can suppress the Wood Demon Parasite as well. However, that’s only suppression, and not extermination.”
“Are these the spirit ingredients you mention?” Pill King Lu Feng looked at the spirit ingredients he’d prepared.
Jiang Chen shook his head. “These ingredients must be refined and their essences extracted. Then they must be dried in the sun to turn them into a fragrant powder to be scattered around one’s body. Wood Demon Parasites hate this powder most of all. What we need to do right now is to process the powder and inject it into Ole He’s veins. This is a risky venture for him. The powder will have some side effects when it enters his bloodstream. However, it will force the parasites out.”
“So that’s it. Then we have to spread the powder out very evenly, too. There can be no gaps in its coverage. There will be big trouble if even one parasite is left behind.”
Jiang Chen nodded, “You don’t need to worry about that. I am capable enough to do this much, at least.”
“Ole Lu, start processing these ingredients first. After you’re done refining them, use your arts to dry them as quickly as possible into fragrant powder. Then, set down a line of defense to prevent the parasites from getting anywhere else after they’re forced out. This line of defense will serve as a double safety precaution alongside the formation.”
Pill King Lu Feng inclined his head as well, “Sounds good.”
There was no time for delay. Pill King Lu Feng couldn’t have all of his concerns addressed. He took out his caudron and began refining the powder. Thankfully, the process didn’t require much technique. However, the required volume was uncommonly large in turn. Large batches of fragrant powder was produced after about an hour of work.
“Put down the defenses,” Jiang Chen instructed.
As a disciple, Pill King Lu Feng didn’t mind assisting at all. He did as his master commanded and handled everything properly. Jiang Chen spoke again, “Now, watch closely off to the side. Be ready to act if things don’t go well.”
“Ready to act?” Pill King Lu Feng blinked, inquiry plain in his eyes.
“He means, be ready to kill me,” He Hongshu said.
Pill King Lu Feng glanced back at Jiang Chen, who nodded. “That’s only the last resort. I don’t want to do it either, but if something unexpected happens, then it must be done. Do you understand?”
“I understand,” Pill King Lu Feng was resolute. “Ole He, we’ve known each other for many decades, but public and private matters are separate.”
“Don’t worry about me, I get it. Do what needs to be done. What do I have to fault you for? Whatever my fate is, I will accept it calmly,” He Hongshu acknowledged. With things being this bad already, he had no option either way.
“Sit tight. I’m going to seal the important acupoints all over your body. I will use a controlling technique to manage your vitals, which will slow your blood flow. Only then can I inject the fragrant powder into your veins at leisure. This entire process will be a bit painful, and since you’ll be under my control, you can’t struggle or move. You can only endure it. You’ll need to prepare yourself.”
“What could be more painful than death, now?” He Hongshu laughed openly. “I’m not even scared of dying. How bad could a little pain be?”
“Alright.” Jiang Chen continuously struck Ole He’s vital acupoints as he spoke. With the acupoints held in place, the patient’s blood flow began to stagnate. Observing this closely, Jiang Chen flourished his gold needles, injecting the fragrant powder into the acupoints with each stab. At the same time, he constantly pressed the powder down, injecting it into the veins with a special technique. It was quite painful for the subject of the treatment. Pea-sized sweat drops rained down from He Hongshu’s forehead. However, the man himself gritted his teeth, refusing to groan even a little. Seeing this, Jiang Chen was mildly impressed by the man’s tenacity.
“There’s no problem if you want to make noise. You don’t need to hold back.” Jiang Chen said.
Ole He shook his head. “Keep going.”
Jiang Chen was increasingly impressed by Ole He’s fortitude. “As you wish,” he nodded. His hands moved continuously, injecting more powder with the gold needle in hand the entire time. Jiang Chen looked relaxed during the entire process, but it was costing him a lot of mental strength. He had to continually observe and pay close attention to the parasites’ movement.
The parasites could not be seen by regular eyes. Even with the God’s Eye and the Evil Golden Eye, Jiang Chen could only barely see the tracks of their activity. Thankfully, Jiang Chen had also set fragrant powder about them in a formation in order to guide these bugs along a certain path. There was a basin of fresh blood on the other side of this formation. It had been placed there deliberately in order to lure the parasites over.
“Ole Lu, be careful and don’t get too close. Stand outside the powder’s circle and don’t step in. These bugs will make their nest in you otherwise.” Jiang Chen spoke in hushed tones.
Pill King Lu Feng paled at his words, subconsciously taking a few steps back. “Master, don’t scare Ole Lu. I’m an old man, I can’t take too much of that.”
Jiang Chen wasn’t intentionally scaring Pill King Lu Feng. The Wood Demon Parasites’ bloodlust gave them an almost perverse acuity. They loved live human blood most of all. As more of the fragrant powder entered Ole He’s body, the parasites were finally fed up. They swarmed out from the man’s pores. Though the bugs themselves couldn’t be seen individually due to their small size, the clusters were so numerous that they made even Jiang Chen’s skin crawl. He had a bit of trypophobia, and seeing the hordes of parasites together made his hairs stand on end.
The parasites would completely overlook his cicada bloodline, but he had prepared an alternative solution in advance just in case. His entire body was smeared with fragrant powder. This way, the parasites wouldn’t even get close to his body, instead frenziedly surging through the route Jiang Chen had designed. The better part of an hour passed like this, and Jiang Chen made several rounds of checks. He was finally certain that He Hongshu’s body no longer contained any Wood Demon Parasites. There wasn’t even a single bug left.
It cost a lot of mental energy to inspect the blood vessels for any traces of parasites inside, but Jiang Chen had no intention of skimping out on the process. Extra caution was warranted in order to ensure complete the parasites’ complete annihilation, with no remaining survivors. The call of fresh blood drew the parasites towards the basin. When all of the parasites were gathered within, Jiang Chen poured the entire basin’s contents into a pre-prepared gourd—blood, bugs and all. He layered several seals upon it before rubbing a thick layer of fragrant powder over it as well.
“We’re finally done.” Jiang Chen let out a long breath. He made sure that there was nothing he’d overlooked before standing up again. He felt a little tired after spending such a long time on the operation. “Ole He, you don’t have any parasites in you anymore. However, you’ll still need to take the time to expel the powder.”
“Pill King Zhen, thank you for saving my life! Even if Ole He were to work myself to the bone, I’ll still make sure to express my gratitude.” He Hongshu was very thankful.
“Don’t mention it,” Jiang Chen waved a hand. “If you don’t get along with getting rid of that fragrant powder, you won’t have much time left in your life anyway.” His idea hinged on fighting fire with fire. Compared to the parasites, the fragrant powder was much easier to get rid of.
Keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow's double! I'll announce an event that runs over the weekend for bonus SOTR releases due to the launch of Return of the Swallow!
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