Translator: Silavin & PewPewLaserGun
Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain
From Xiao Fu Sheng’s simple explanation, Yang Kai immediately understood that the poison pill must have had some kind of hidden trick.
The method of refining those poison pills was not complicated. Even the required materials were not expensive, otherwise there would not be so many of them.
But the greatest effect of the poison pill was to test a person’s Yuan Qi purity.
Alchemists were also cultivators. Their bodies all contained Yuan Qi, but this group of people had set Alchemy as their main focus, and increasing their cultivation and strength was only a means to improve their Alchemic abilities.
After swallowing the poison pill, if one’s Yuan Qi was pure enough, they could completely refine and eliminate the toxins from their body, otherwise they would fail.
The purity of one’s Yuan Qi’s was related to many things, a cultivator Secret Art, Martial Skills, the pills they had consumed, their physique. All kinds of factors played a role.
Those Alchemists who had attempted this test, although Alchemy was their profession, because of various different experiences, their Yuan Qis had become impure, so they had not passed Xiao Fu Sheng’s test.
Since he began cultivating until now, Yang Kai had only ever used a single Secret Art, the True Yang Secret Art, so it was not surprising that the purity of his True Qi could meet Xiao Fu Sheng’s requirements.
Dong Qing Yan’s situation was similar, she had been cultivating a fire attribute Secret Art specifically chosen for her by the Dong Family and had now reached a cultivation of Peak Separation and Reunion Boundary. In order to prepare for her promotion to the True Element Boundary, the Dong Family had used a lot of Precious Treasures on her, so it was natural that her Yuan Qi would be pure.
Xiao Fu Sheng wore a wry smile and continued, “In fact, this Old Master’s poison pill was designed specifically so that 99% of all Alchemists would be unable to pass the test because they have not paid enough attention to their cultivation and the purity of their Yuan Qi. While they are refining pills, many Alchemists have to personally sample their creations, causing various medicinal effects to build up inside their bodies, eventually leading to their Yuan Qi becoming impure. But it might be a different story for those gifted talents who cultivate fire or yang attribute Secret Arts.
Yang Kai suddenly understood; no wonder the time it took to resolve the poison pill was even shorter than Dong Qing Yan’s, it was because of such a reason.
But of those who came to participate in Xiao Fu Sheng’s disciple recruitment test, who was not an Alchemist? Only cultivators like Yang Kai, who had ulterior motives, would even bother.
Clearly, Xiao Fu Sheng had some kind of difficulties with his successor already being an accomplished Alchemist.
Dong Qing Yan being able to successfully pass this test was likely due to the Dong Family not supporting her study of Alchemy. If she had grown up learning the Alchemic Path, this test would likely have ended in disappointment for her.
“About the Alchemic Path, many people are wrong, even this Old Master is wrong!” Xiao Fu Sheng let ou
t a deep sigh, his voice mixed with loneliness and regret.
Yang Kai frowned suddenly and thoughtfully said, “Grandmaster, if what you said is true, wouldn’t it be better for you to find a child with the appropriate aptitude and train them starting from a young age?”
“A child…” Xiao Fu Sheng shook his head and smiled wryly, “This Old Master cannot wait that long.”
Yang Kai’s brow twitched as he looked towards Grandmaster Xiao with surprise.
The two beautiful women wore a look of sadness but remained silent.
Dong Qing Yan went pale, and hesitantly asked, “Grandmaster, you…”
Xiao Fu Sheng suddenly let out a chuckle, his expression carefree, “Well, it’s nothing serious. I’ll live a few more years yet, but in this lifetime I fear I will not be able to break through the Mysterious Grade Top-Rank and see just what kind of level lies beyond that.”
As he spoke, one could hear the longing and regret in his voice.
Shaking off this gloomy atmosphere, Grandmaster Xiao suddenly said high spiritedly, “Although I may be unable to accomplish this, I want to cultivate a Spirit Grade Alchemists who will one day break free of this world’s shackles. So I will be counting on the two of you!”
It was for this reason that Xiao Fu Sheng had suddenly decided to find a successor. His entire life had been dedicated to Alchemy, yet he had always been unable to ascend to the Spirit Grade, so how could he not have regrets?
However, in this world, he had an unparalleled understanding of Alchemy and also his own experiences on the Alchemic Way, so he was convinced that he could train a disciple who would no doubt one day surpass him!
Realizing Xiao Fu Sheng’s passion and determination, Yang Kai struggled for a moment before saying, “Predecessor Xiao, please forgive me, the reason this Junior came to Hidden Cloud Peak, in fact, was not to learn Alchemy.”
Xiao Fu Sheng wrinkled his brow at these words as he looked towards Yang Kai.
“My goal is to rise to the Martial Peak; if I were to try to study Alchemy as well, I’m afraid it would just be a distraction.” Yang Kai confessed with full sincerity. Him coming to Hidden Cloud Peak was only because he wanted to get close to the Pill Saint’s Peak.
Seeing Xiao Fu Sheng speak completely openly with them, Yang Kai did not want to deceive him. He certainly wouldn’t talk about wanting to sneak into the Pill Saint’s Peak, but he also could not learn Alchemy here, otherwise he would likely not be able to come and go freely.
Hearing his confession, the two beauties couldn’t help frowning as they directed slightly unhappy gazes towards Yang Kai.
However, Xiao Fu Sheng only smiled meaningfully and said, “Who says an Alchemist cannot stand at the Martial Peak?”
Yang Kai was suddenly shaken and fell into deep thought.
His first meeting with Xiao Fu Sheng had left a very deep impression on Yang Kai. Although he already had one foot into the grave, his fierce passion and his mentality of wanting to challenge just how high the Heavens were was something even many young people did not have.
In the end, Grandmaster Xiao did not let Yang Kai and Dong Qing Yan immediately worship him as their master and instead asked them to live on Hidden Cloud Peak for a time.
For the next few days, the number of times Xiao Fu Sheng appeared was quite small, but when he did, Dong Qing Yan adhered to the attitude of a disciple meeting her master while Yang Kai would only call him as Old Xiao.
Although the two beautiful women were not very pleased with Yang Kai’s attitude and tone that day, both of them had excellent self-restraint and did not make things difficult for him, still smiling each day as they greeted him and taking meticulous care of his everyday needs while he was on Hidden Cloud Peak.
After spending a number of days like this, Xiao Fu Sheng called Yang Kai and Dong Qing Yan to his house.
As they stood in front of Old Xiao, Yang Kai remained indifferent while Dong Qing Yan couldn’t help fidgeting a bit.
Xiao Fu Sheng faintly smiled and nodded repeatedly, “These days I did not teach you anything but was instead observing your characters. Although it takes time to see through people’s true nature, but this old master for better or worse has lived for many years and seen many people. Yan’er, you have a kind heart, much unlike many of the spoiled young ladies born into great families. If you inherit this old master’s mantle, I believe that in the future you will not commit any deeds unworthy of my name. If you are willing to, this Old Man will take you as his disciple.”
“Disciple is willing!” Dong Qing Yan hurriedly replied, her face filled with joy.
Xiao Fu Sheng nodded and then looked towards Yang Kai, “You on the other hand are a different story. Although you are young, you have suffered and endured much which has caused you to mature much faster than those of your generation. Your True Qi has been forged into a sharp sword along with your will, something that can only be achieved through taking many lives. But though your methods are decisive and ruthless, you are not someone who would slaughter the innocent!”
Yang Kai nodded silently, not trying to refute.
As people age, their eyes truly became sharp.
“You and Yan’er pursue different paths, so even though your aptitude is better than Yan’er’s, I will not insist and will instead allow you to make your own way. As such I will not take you as a disciple or teach you Alchemy.”
“Master!” Dong Qing Yan exclaimed, thinking her new master was going to expel him.
However, Xiao Fu Sheng waved his hand to stop her and smiled, “But… since you passed this old man’s test, it can be considered fate that you are here, so I will instead pass some other things to you and allow you to remain with Yan’er for the time being on Hidden Cloud Peak”.
“Thank you, Old Xiao!” Yang Kai couldn’t help feeling relieved. If Xiao Fu Sheng really wanted force him out, there would be very little he could do, so now that he knew he could stay on Hidden Cloud Peak, it was only natural for his nerves to relax.
This way, there were no longer any burdens holding him backs.
“This is a copy of a special Secret Art. The two of you take this and study it, but remember you can only cultivate it for an hour every day.” Xiao Fu Sheng handed both of them a set of exercises then close your eyes.
After accepting this Secret Art, Yang Kai and Dong Qing Yan both left the house.
Half a day later, the two of them had familiarized themselves with this Secret Art and each had gone back to their respective houses to cultivate.
Yang Kai did not know what kind of Secret Art this was. It had no name, and its circulation path was quite strange. However, one fact was clear, it required one to simultaneously utilize 108 of the body’s meridians, a staggering number.
Yang Kai and Old Demon had gone over it together for a long time, but even with Old Demon’s profound knowledge, he could not decipher what role this Secret Art served, and was only able to determine that it was harmless to cultivate.
Xiao Fu Sheng did not have much time left, and now that he had finally received Dong Qing Yan as his disciple, naturally he wouldn’t try to harm her.
Thinking so, Yang Kai sat cross-legged on his bed, adjusted his breathing, and began to cultivate this unknown Secret Art.
Time rush by and in the blink of an eye an entire month had passed.
During this month, Yang Kai rarely had a moment of leisure. Each day he woke up early in the morning to greet the rising sun and cultivate his Unyielding Golden Skeleton’s Tempered Body Record.
After this he would focus on his own cultivation.
This caused each day to pass by very quickly.
During this time, Yang Kai repeatedly inquired about the Pill Saint Peak’s situation, but with no suitable reason and excuse to approach, he would often be shooed away before even getting close, leaving him feeling slightly helpless.
On the plus side, the two beautiful women on Hidden Cloud Peak were very good to Yang Kai. Every day they cooked delicious foods containing many medicinal benefits for both him and Dong Qing Yan. Their cooking techniques were truly superb. Even with simple materials, they were always able to prepare delectable dishes.
Dong Qing Yan’s feelings towards these two beautiful women also greatly increased over the past month. After all, they were all women, so they naturally felt comfortable around one another.
After one month of this bitter work, Yang Kai’s strength and cultivation did not grow much. The unknown Secret Art he was told to cultivate did not increase his True Qi at all, and there also didn’t seem to be any other effects. However, just as Xiao Fu Sheng had said, once he tried circulating this Secret Art for more than an hour, he would feel his True Qi suddenly become like boiling water, causing piercing pain all over his body.
Exactly one day after this first month, as Yang Kai and Dong Qing Yan were eating breakfast, the two beautiful women hand them each a large basket.
“Aunty Xiang, what is this for?” Dong Qing Yan asked with a puzzled face as she reflexively accepted the medicine baskets and passed one to Yang Kai.
Aunty Xiang laughed, “Master has assigned a task to you two.”
“Really!?” Dong Qing Yan was very excited. All this time she had been here she had done nothing but cultivate, and Xiao Fu Sheng had not taught her a single bit of Alchemy, so she had been quite depressed.
The entire reason she had wanted to enter under an apprenticeship in Hidden Cloud Peak was to study Alchemy, but until now she hadn’t even seen the shadow of a pill, so she couldn’t help feeling uneasy, but now that her master had given her a task, naturally she couldn’t wait to put forward her best performance to gain her master’s approval and then take the opportunity to ask her own questions about Alchemy.
“What kind of task?” Yang Kai asked lightly.
“Master would like you to gather some herbs.” Aunty Xiang smiled and quickly listed the names of the herbs they were to collect while also describing their habitats and characteristics.
Yang Kai and Dong Qing Yan both carefully remembered all of this information before lifting their baskets and leaving their residence.