Off to the side, Bai Xiaochun saw a pile of a few dozen bags of holding. Upon checking them, he gasped at the sight of 10,000 earthflame crystals. Furthermore, everything else that he had asked for was there, without exception.
Even the spirit alcohol he had requested had been provided in full measure.
"Bai Lin wasn't just showing off. Three days! It only took him three days to get all of this!" By this point, his eyes were shining with excitement and determination. Furthermore, he was determined that, considering Bai Lin had kept his promise, there was absolutely no reason to hold back from working hard to keep his.
Having reached this point in his train of thought, Bai Xiaochun looked over at the major general.
"If it's not too much trouble," he said, "please let the general know that I won't hold anything back in my work!"
The old man nodded. "These are four of my best soldiers. You have a big responsibility to bear, so I'm going to leave them here to stand guard and make sure nobody disturbs you." With that, the old man turned and left.
The four young men had cold expressions on their faces as they walked some distance off and then sat down cross-legged. From the look of it, they weren't there to protect him, but to keep an eye on him.
After all, the items which had just been delivered were extremely valuable, and had only been acquired through some effort on Bai Lin's part.
Bai Xiaochun immediately ignored the gazes of the four young men. He was simply too excited. The sight of so many pill furnaces and so many medicinal plant ingredients had him itching to get to work.
"It's been a long time since I concocted any medicine...." he murmured, licking his lips. Having nothing to fear regarding future ramifications, Bai Xiaochun couldn't help but feel that everything in life was going perfectly at the moment.
He even threw his head back and laughed merrily. As for the four young men, they looked over at him and frowned, but did little else.
"To make my Soul Convergence Pills more powerful, I can't just add more medicinal ingredients. I need to completely readjust the formula...." With that, he sat down cross-legged and began to take the medicinal plants out of the bags of holding. Then, the light of augury flickered in his eyes as he began to analyze them on a deep level.
Soon, the foundations of a new medicine formula appeared in his head. Three days went by in a flash, during which time Bai Xiaochun didn't sleep or rest. He was completely immersed in the process of adjusting the medicine formula. His eyes soon became shot with blood, and occasionally he would stand up and pace around in the courtyard, muttering to himself.
"No, that won't work!
"Should I use smelting techniques? There isn't much spiritual energy here, so it would be hard to make that work....
"Completely seal the pill furnace? The impure vital energy would make the ingredients melt faster, but with so much qi in the mix, there would be a bigger risk of the furnaces exploding...."
Bai Xiaochun muttered and frowned, seemingly bedeviled. As for the four guards, they often exchanged awkward glances at Bai Xiaochun's strange behavior.
Meanwhile, the other grandmasters in the Armory had heard that Bai Xiaochun was beginning to concoct medicine, and their hearts were all filled with cold laughter. Some of them even went over to Bai Xiaochun's residence to try to get a peek at what he was doing.
The guards didn't pay them any attention. As long as they didn't enter the residence itself, they wouldn't do anything to interfere with them.
"He's being deliberately mystifying. I can't wait to see the true level of his skill!"
"Hmph! If he doesn't concoct the first batch successfully, his head will be on the chopping block!"
Of course, even to these grandmasters, the sight of a hundred top-quality pill furnaces was shocking, and led to quite a bit of jealousy and envy.
Two more days went by, and some of the grandmasters who had gathered outside started to get impatient and leave. Before long, only eight remained behind. Bai Lin also came for a visit, his face grim because of the fighting that was going on outside. After looking at Bai Xiaochun for a moment, he decided not to disturb him, and left.
On the afternoon of the sixth day, Bai Xiaochun suddenly looked up. His eyes were bloodshot, and his face a bit wan. However, a strange gleam could be seen in his pupils.
"I need to use the cloudysoul leaf as the main ingredient. Yes. I'll bolster the formula with just a bit of earthspirit tuber, add in the unique properties of the atmosphere flower, and then seal the pill furnace up tight. That should increase the power of the Soul Convergence Pill by several times! Well, there's only one way to find out if I'm right. I'll start out with ten batches." By this point, Bai Xiaochun had lost track of time, and wasn't even aware that there were people around watching him. Convinced that he was going in the right direction, he waved his right hand, causing ten pill furnaces to fly over and land in front of him. Then he waved his sleeve, sending their lids flying off.
Next, he tossed some earthflame crystals underneath the pill furnaces, and unleashed their earthflame power. In the blink of an eye, the ten pill furnaces turned bright red, and began to emanate intense heat. The four young guards all looked over, intense expressions of concentration on their faces.
Bai Xiaochun was completely focused on the furnaces. Even as they continued to heat up, he unhesitatingly began to put the medicinal plant ingredients inside, following the formula that currently existed in his head. Because this was his first test, he was careful with every action, hoping to prevent any failures from cropping up at the end of the concocting process. He even put all the ingredients into the furnaces in very careful order. In this session of concocting, he was at his peak state, whether that meant his thinking, or his actions.
That was why he had selected only ten furnaces, and also why he was being very careful about the order he put the ingredients in. Finally, his eyes shone as he put the lids back onto the furnaces, performed a double-handed incantation gesture, and then roared, "Seal!"
Numerous magical sealing marks flew out from his hands, landing on one of the furnaces, which trembled in response. After the sealing was performed, its lid was closed tighter than ever, leaving not even the slightest opening.
He employed more than a hundred such sealing marks, until he was sure that the furnace was absolutely shut tight. It wasn't even possible for smoke to emerge from it.
Having accomplished these things, Bai Xiaochun had sweat dripping down his face. However, he didn't look away from the furnaces. Slapping his bag of holding, he produced a bottle of spirit alcohol, downed it, and then continue to add sealing marks to the furnace. When he was satisfied, he went on to seal the other nine furnaces, after which he took a few steps back, face a bit pale. Settling down cross-legged, he began to do some breathing exercises.
The four young guards had been watching the whole time, and although they pretended that they understood what was going on, they really didn't. However, the surrounding grandmasters apparently did.
"Is he sealing the medicinal ingredients?"
"No, that can't be right. You don't seal the ingredients by sealing the furnaces, do you? What is he thinking?"
"Sealing the furnaces increases their chances of exploding. Does this Bai Xiaochun really know how to concoct medicine?!"
"He's wasting all of those precious medicinal plants!! I guarantee you that those furnaces will explode within eight hours! Hmph! When the time comes, you people just wait and see if I'm right!" The disdain that the grandmasters felt for Bai Xiaochun was very clear.
Time passed, and soon the eight-hour mark approached. The grandmasters were all staring at the pill furnaces, and just as they had predicted, the furnaces were not just bright red, they were trembling and emitting cracking noises. There were even heatwaves spreading out in all directions.
The situation seemed especially dire with five of the furnaces. Cracks were spreading out over their surfaces, and it seemed very likely that they were going to explode.
Bai Xiaochun's eyes went wide when he saw those five particular furnaces. Backing away, he shouted, "Those furnaces are gonna blow. Everybody, heads up!"
Even as he edged away, his hands flashed in a double-handed incantation gesture as he tried to protect the five pill furnaces that weren't cracked.
As for the four young guards, cold smiles could be seen on their faces. These young men had fought in countless battles, and had profound Core Formation cultivation bases. As far as they were concerned, they had seen everything there was to see, and therefore, a few exploding pill furnaces wasn't anything to worry about. Right?
As for the grandmasters outside of the residence, they were all looking on disdainfully, and even with disinterest.
"What's the big deal about a few trifling pill furnaces exploding? This Grandmaster Bai really doesn't know how to keep his cool."
"When a concocting session ends with the pill furnace exploding, the size of the explosion depends on the type of pill furnace and the type of pill. A tier-3 pill furnace will make a bit of a bang, but it's nothing to be scared of."
"Sealing the pill furnace might make the medicinal pills inside slightly stronger, and can lead to the furnace exploding, but won't add that much power."
When the four young guards heard what the grandmasters were saying, they calmed down a bit. However, considering how close they were to the pill furnaces, some of them brought out defensive magical devices just in case.