Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 53
Chapter 53: Poji Pellet
Translator: Actias-Myriea Editor:
After no successes even after more than five attempts, Fang Xing began to grow anxious. Just as he was about to continue practicing, he realized that the remaining Qi he had was now scarce and without other options he took a sip of his spirit wine to recover. This particular spirit wine had been made by soaking ground up beast core with ordinary wine inside the bottle gourd.
It was an uncomplicated method he had discovered while in Mount Miasma, but by using it, the beast core would be better absorbed by the wine without as much waste. With zi'zhi of only rank D, Fang Xing could not draw Qi from the world around him, and the only way he could gather it was through relying on manual supplements from outside sources of Qi.
Fang Xing's cultivation had gradually improved and his physique had already been cleansed twice, allowing him to now absorb a small amount of Qi without the aid of an outside source despite his poor zi'zhi. However, it was still not comparable to those who were A-Ranked;they would usually require less than six hours to recover their Qi naturally, whereas it would take a good two days before Fang Xing could recover his. If Fang Xing used Spirit Stones to help, it would take just half a day, and it would require only an hour if he used these spirit wines. It was because of this that those with bad zi'zhi would end up using a lot more cultivation resources to achieve the same result as those who were gifted.
It wasn't just by chance that sects would separate disciples into categories and rankings based on their naturally endowed zi'zhi. Unless Fang Xing successfully broke through into the Foundation Stage, there would always be this gap of difference between him and an A-Ranked disciple. Whether it was learning a new skill or everyday Qi fluctuations, all of these would require the usage of resources and as the numbers accumulated over time the gap would only grow larger. This was a solid principle within the realm of cultivators: if one's innate talent was lacking, one must make it up through outside resources.
It wasn't until the day that a cultivator stepped into the Foundation Stage that such differences would disappear.
Of course, Fang Xing had no lack for resources right now, so none of this currently worried him.
'Hrm? After I fill up my Qi once it's been completely emptied, it feels like the overall amount of Qi has increased?'
Although the proficiency in [Dragon Catching] didn't improve much, Fang Xing had noticed a very minimal change within his Qi. It seemed that completely using up his Qi and then filling it back straight away would result in a slight increase in his overall cultivation level. His already stagnated late-third tier was quietly heading towards the peak of third tier.
'Cultivation must be similar to a person's strength. When my first uncle taught me some martial arts, he had mentioned that a person's strength would increase by first using it all up, then the overall strength would increase once it recovered. It must be the same theory behind cultivation, too;as long as I repeatedly temper myself through this more extreme fluctuation process, I will become stronger with a much more solid foundation.'
Fang Xing pondered some of the principles of cultivation by himself. Outer court disciples who were of no interest to anyone of importance were left to comprehend these principles by themselves.
After Fang Xing established the theory, he immersed himself back into the repetitive practice of [Dragon Catching]. As time passed, his cultivation level also quietly increased from a stone's throw away from the peak of tier three up to where he had complete mastery over the peak of tier three. One day, he felt that there was no more room left for any extra Qi.
It was time for the next step.
This was already a month after the robbery of Meng Xuanzhao. Up to now, Fang Xing had also made several trips to recover all of his belongings he had hidden outside the sect, causing him to be a secret millionaire within the outer court. Since he had such an abundance of wealth, he was looking at ways to get himself a Poji Pellet.
Now that he had reached the peak of tier three, there would be no space for improvement no matter how hard he tried unless he broke into tier four. Not only would tier four bring him an enormous increase in power, it also meant he would be able to become an inner court disciple, which would then allow him to freely view all of the scripts and manuals collected within the Pavilion of Appreciation. Only then would he be able to acquire powers such as flying through the air and swimming through the earth that would distinguish him from mortals and designate him as a true cultivator!
However, this single step would require a Poji Pellet. It was for sale within the Qing-Mu Hall, but its price...
... was a thousand Spirit Stones!
A single Poji Pellet, one thousand Spirit Stones. A hundred taels of gold could be exchanged for a single Spirit Stone;a thousand Spirit Stones was equivalent to that of a hundred thousand taels of pure gold. Golden taels, not silver. A hundred thousand taels of gold was enough to purchase half a city in the mortal realm.
During the most wealthy days back at the Guiyan Valley, they'd only had thirty thousand taels of gold and seven thousand taels of silver, and this was the combined wealth of all nine of his uncles saving up from their killings and robberies for an entire decade.
Cultivation, it seemed, truly wasn't for just anybody.
The alternative to buying it was collecting all of the raw materials and then asking an alchemist at the Danxia Valley for the final touch on crafting the pellet. This way, after factoring in the fees charged by the alchemist, it would cost no more than half of the purchase price: around five to six hundred Spirit Stones along with all nine of the raw materials, including the Ore Essence Powder.
Either pay a thousand Spirit Stones for the ready-made product, or take the risk of having to start all over again by paying half the price to have it crafted from scratch by an alchemist.
Fang Xing was not considered poor. He had made a good hundred Spirit Stones from the Duty Talisman mission alone and had managed to get around two hundred Stones from Hou Qing, Lyu, and Qian's belongings. After factoring in the ones robbed from Meng Xuanzhao and those gifted to him by Hei San, his Spirit Stone tally stood at around the five hundred mark. It was a sizeable amount of fortune within the outer courts.
Despite this, Fang Xing still needed at least double this amount in order to purchase the pellet straight off. If he were to find an alchemist to craft it from scratch, however, it would leave him with plenty of Stones to spare.
For cases like this, usually only the rarer materials would need to be prepared by the client, as all of the other materials would be readily supplied by the alchemist for a small fee. For the Poji Pellet, the only rare material would be the Ore Essence Powder, which Fang Xing already had. In other words, he would only need to spend two hundred more Stones on the remaining eight raw materials before he could have the pellet crafted.
Fang Xing had been in the sect for some time, and this was basic knowledge in the realm of cultivators.
There were a total of five titles for alchemists: Blue-Furnace Pupil, Red-Furnace Expert, Purple-Furnace Master, Black-Furnace Grandmaster, and Jade-Furnace Saint. Each title was separated into ten rankings, and the higher the title and rank, the greater their success rate and ability when it came to potion and pellet crafting.
Within the Qing-Yun Sect was a branch specifically dedicated to the study of alchemy: the Danxia Valley. Out of the hundreds of disciples within this branch, the majority of them held the Blue-Furnace title, while the top disciple was within reach of the Red-Furnace. This particular disciple, Fang Xing had also met once before, as she was the one who had taken Xiao Mahn from the Recruitment Ceremony: Xu Linyun.
The highest titled alchemist within the branch was one of the sect's chief elder by the name of Qin'nyao. She had stepped into the Red-Furnace Expert title, but no one knew her actual rank within it.
The higher the ranking of the alchemist, the higher their success rate, and naturally the cost would also be higher. As for the exact price, Fang Xing had no one to ask since most of the people around him could not afford to hire an alchemist. Most of what Fang Xing was able to find out was by asking around about the most generic information.
Thus, he had decided to check it out himself.
Once the decision had been made, Fang Xing headed to the Herbal Essence Hall to purchase some herbs for an Alleviation Pellet, a pellet that was used when a cultivator required an outside aid to calm a large amount of Qi that had reached dangerous levels. These pellets were of a low tier but were complicated to craft, making them perfect to test an alchemist's proficiency.
At the end of the day, there was only enough Ore Essence Powder for one chance at crafting a Poji Pellet. Fang Xing was not impetuous enough to just ask anyone to make it, so he had decided to use this Alleviation Pellet to test the waters since its complexity was actually higher than that of the Poji Pellet. If an alchemist was able to successfully craft an Alleviation Pellet, there shouldn't be too many problems for them to craft a Poji Pellet, either.
Only after Fang Xing found such an alchemist would he then begin negotiations for crafting a Poji Pellet.
While carrying all of the raw materials for the Alleviation Pellet, Fang Xing arrived at Danxia Valley, located to the west of the Yunyin Summit and past the herb fields. The valley was almost secluded off from the Qing-Yun Sect, and the disciples within this branch did not usually have contact or many exchanges with ordinary disciples. An ordinary outer court disciple would live in a wooden cottage at one of the various locations throughout the entire sect, whereas all of the Danxia Valley disciples even those in the outer court had a cavernous estate of their own.
All of these disciples were students of alchemy. Their cultivation level did not matter as much as their alchemical achievements, and the more they achieved and the higher their rank, the more respect and resources they would receive from the branch. To join the Danxia Valley, it was necessary to either have exceptional talent in medication or herbal remedies, or to be born with wood- or fire-element bloodlines, both of which were suitable for the purposes of alchemy.
The reason Xu Linyun had been so interested in Xiao Mahn was precisely because of her wood-element bloodline. Being endowed with the wood element meant that the person was born with a familiarity to spiritual and medicinal herbs, and some could even use their ability to change an herb's age and quality. When studying on the path of alchemy, such a thing allowed the person to halve the effort yet double the result.
Fang Xing entered the valley. It was secluded and calm, full of mist and the smell of herbs, with a small paved road that went into the depths of the unknown.
’’Who are you looking for?’’
Fang Xing stood in front of the valley entrance and scratched his head. As he looked around, there was a cave estate right ahead with a young man weeding in his front garden. Fang Xing forced a smile and before he had even opened his mouth to inquire the man looked at Fang Xing without any emotion and spoke, ’’One attempt, no matter what it is. Whether it is a success or failure, ten Stones.’’
Fang Xing was surprised. ’’Uhh, how did you know I was here for this?’’
’’What else would an outer court disciple want here at Danxia Valley?’’ the man replied, still emotionless.
'Who the hell do these alchemists think they are!'
Fang Xing gave a bitter smile. ’’Uh, okay, I want to make a cauldron of Alleviation Pellet ’’
Before Fang Xing had finished, the man cringed his brows and interrupted, ’’Alleviation Pellets are extremely complex, requiring three turns of the Twelfth Fire and seven times of refinement of the Nine Demonic Spirit. Ten Stones would be too cheap. This would require thirty Stones before even a single attempt.’’
Shaken by his words, Fang Xing carefully added, ’’Let me ask you one more question. What is your exact success rate for this?’’
The man immediately appeared to grow annoyed. ’’Do you not know the rules around here? When we alchemists start a cauldron, it is based on one, the fate of the heavens;two, the flow of the earth;and three, the skills of the alchemist. To succeed or not to succeed would all depend upon the will of the gods. Who asks for exact success rates?’’
Fang Xing was left without words as he rolled his eyes. ’’I'm paying you to make some pellets for me. Why can't I ask you for your success rate?’’
The man then stood up and shook his head helplessly. ’’What has become of this world to have people like you who disregard the rules! Fine, to be honest with you, I am a rank-two Blue-Furnace, and for this Alleviation Pellet, I can guarantee... a thirty-percent success rate.’’
’’SH*T!’’ Fang Xing jumped at the answer. ’’Thirty percent and you want to charge me thirty Stones? Do you really think my Stones flew into my hands with a simple gust of wind?’’