Translator: Silavin & PewPewLaserGun
Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain
When Xiao Fu Sheng conducted Xia Ning Chang's test, he also had Yang Kai and Dong Qing Yan sit and listen.
Old Xiao obviously wanted his own disciple to broaden her knowledge of Alchemy from this experience. As for Yang Kai, he was probably only invited as a courtesy.
This test lasted for an entire day, Old Xiao asking a variety of questions about the Alchemic Way, from shallow to deep, step by step, slowly but surely increasing in difficulty.
Xia Ning Chang answered each question seriously and meticulously on the opposite side.
Half a day later, Old Xiao wore a pleasantly surprised expression, and after a full day, his face had become filled with shock, while the way he looked upon Xia Ning Chang had also changed.
It was like he had suddenly found a rare and priceless treasure, his eyes leaking a green light containing a mix of greed and envy.
Meng Wu Ya on the side laughed proudly.
Dong Qing Yan also had an expression full of worship and admiration as she watched Xia Ning Chang, only Yang Kai remaining nonchalant.
A day later, Old Xiao exhaled a long breath.
"So, how about it?" Meng Wu Ya glanced at Xiao Fu Sheng, grinning arrogantly.
Xiao Fu Sheng looked dignified, pondered for a long time in silence before finally summarizing, "Both her basic skills and theoretical knowledge are as solid as Mount Tai, and she has clearly gained many insights that even this old man has not."
Over the course of evaluating Xia Ning Chang, Old Xiao has also benefited from her various answers. This had not been so much a test as it had been a discussion between two peers, the difference being that Xiao Fu Sheng was asking the questions while Xia Ning Chang only answered.
"That's only natural!" Meng Wu Ya said flatly.
However, the pride he had in this apprentice of his was very apparent, his grin almost extending from ear to ear.
Xiao Fu Sheng chuckled before glancing at him with great meaning. "Theory is one thing, but sometimes knowing theory is not as good as moving one's own hands."
Meng Wu Ya was suddenly like a cat that had its tail trampled on, "Old Man Xiao, if my disciple cannot let you be convinced, this old man will change is surname to yours and call you Father!"
At this point Dong Qing Yan couldn't help herself, doubling over in laughter, her hand clutching her stomach as her shoulders trembled non-stop.
Xiao Fu Sheng could only let out a sigh and wryly smile, turning his attention to Xia Ning Chang and asking, "So far, what is the highest grade of pill you have successfully refined?"
"Mysterious Grade Low-Rank…" Xia Ning Chang replied softly.
Hearing this, Xiao Fu Sheng's entire body tensed up, his old face immediately changing colour, quickly staring at the young woman before him, trying to see if there was any sign of her joking with him. But the pair of star-like shimmering eyes didn't contain the slightest trace of impurity, remaining very bright; where was there any trace of her lying?
Mysterious Grade Low-Rank …
Could it really be that at such a young age she was already a Mysterious Grade Low-Rank Alchemist?
Medicine King’s Valley's top disciple Qin Ze this year was thirty-five years old, yet he was only a Heaven Grade Top-Rank Alchemist! In terms of age, Qin Ze was almost twice as old.
How could there be such a terrifying genius!
"What is your success rate in refining Mysterious Grade Low-Rank pills?" Xiao Fu Sheng asked.
"I've only succeeded once… and at that time it was still quite difficult."
"Oh…" Xiao Fu Sheng couldn't help exhaling a long breath, thinking to himself that this was reasonable; it seems that she had only luckily managed to refine a Mysterious Grade Low-Rank pill. Essentially it didn't really count.
Quickly changing the question, "What about Heaven Grade?"
"What!?" Xiao Fu Sheng was again shocked, "You never fail?"
Xia Ning Chang nodded softly in reply.
"That's impossible!" Xiao Fu Sheng’s brow wrinkled up, "Even if it was this old master personally performing Alchemy, I cannot guarantee a 100% success rate."
Alchemy was always accompanied by a certain risk of failure. Although Xiao Fu Sheng had reached the very peak of this world's Alchemic Way, he still couldn't completely avoid this and could only say that his chance of failure was very small.
But Meng Wu Ya just chuckled, "There is nothing that is impossible, Brother Xiao, if you have doubts, just try it and you'll understand."
Xiao Fu Sheng’s face became serious as he hesitated for a moment before standing up and motioning to the crowd, "Come with me!"
As he took the lead, everyone else hurriedly kept up.
Entering a different room inside his residence, Old Xiao brought everyone to the entrance of an underground passage. From the looks of it, one could obviously tell that Hidden Cloud Peak had a large underground space.
This group of people were all cultivators so descending a long distance was not an issue; after passing a few bends, they suddenly came to a huge stone room.
The stone chamber was the size of ten regular sized houses and was filled with a variety of Pill Furnaces surrounded by many medicine shelves, each of these shelves was filled with a variety of herbs, even with just a cursory glance anyone could tell that the amount stored here was massive.
"You have a lot of good things here." Meng Wu Ya commented as he looked around, picking up a few items and examining them, often appearing reluctant to let go.
Xiao Fu Sheng did not mind, casually saying, "These are all of this old master's income from a lifetime worth of hard work."
Everyone who had ever come to ask Xiao Fu Sheng to perform Alchemy would always bring many precious treasures to compensate him, most of which had been stored here over the years.
Now inside this stone chamber, Xiao Fu Sheng turned towards Xia Ning Chang, "Little niece, you may use anything in here, choose some ingredients and refine the best pill you can, let this old master take a look at your skills."
"Yes!" Xia Ning Chang politely replied before wandering around the stone room.
Dong Qing Yan and Yang Kai also quickly followed after her, the two of them helping Xia Ning Chang carry the herbs she picked out.
Less than half a cup of tea later, the three juniors came back with a selection of herbs, but when Xiao Fu Sheng came over to inspect their choices, he couldn't help wrinkling his brow, "These materials are all for refining Heaven Grade Mid-Rank pill’s. Is Little niece confident?"
However, Xia Ning Chang simply nodded.
"Very well, then begin, use whatever pill tripod around here that you'd like, this old master has plenty after all." Xiao Fu Sheng smiled.
"There's no need…" Xia Ning Chang softly said.
"No need for a pill furnace…" Xiao Fu Sheng had not even finished his sentence before he saw Xia Ning Chang's True Qi suddenly surge.
Gently picking up one of the materials with her delicate hands, Xia Ning Chang formed her True Qi into fine silk threads and injected it into the herb, its medicinal essence quickly being extracted as a result and then floating mid-air like drops of crystal rain, a fragrant medicinal liquid quickly forming.
Flicking her wrist, the drop of liquid was transferred to her other hand where it gently floated above her jade white palm.
Xia Ning Chang then picked up another herb, followed the same procedure, and soon after another drop of crystal liquid appeared.
Every time she extracted the medicinal essence from an herb, it would lose its spirituality and soon wither.
"Heavens…" Dong Qing Yan eyes filled with indescribable shock, her face showing an expression of pure awe.
This was simply not Alchemy; instead it was some kind of magical world shocking display.
Xiao Fu Sheng was equally surprised, his mouth constantly muttering, "Medicinal liquid can be refined like this, how could it be, how is this possible?"
Less than a quarter of an hour later, all the herbs had their essences condensed into medicinal liquid which had been gathered in Xia Ning Chang's delicate palm.
Next she gently waved her hands and molded her True Qi into this ball of liquid. A moment later she suddenly gripped her fist and the surrounding World Energy quickly swirled together. After this rapid and unexpected change, once she opened her hand again, a green pill impressively appeared.
The pill was perfectly rounded, not containing the slightest impurity, and on its surface, there was a network of fine lines that gave the whole pill a look of mystery and spirituality.
"Pill Veins!" Xiao Fu Sheng’s eyes nearly popped out as he suddenly screamed.
Yang Kai's brow also twitched.
He remembered that the first time he saw Xiao Fu Sheng, he had just finished refining a pill. At that time when he was examining that pill, he had been muttering about these 'Pill Veins' as well.
"Uncle, please examine it!" Xia Ning Chang gently held this pill and passed it towards Xiao Fu Sheng.
"Careful, careful little Aunty, please be careful not to damage the Pill Veins…" Xiao Fu Sheng stretched out his trembling hands and extremely gently received the pill, as if it was some kind of divine object that he was paying homage to.
"Hmph, good-for-nothing!" Meng Wu Ya teased in a timely manner.
"Fool, you know shit!" Xiao Fu Sheng viciously cursed, lightly turning over the pill as he carefully examined it.
"They real are Pill Veins… real Pill Veins." At the moment Xiao Fu Sheng no longer had any trace of a Grandmaster’s demeanor; he was totally like an ignorant country bumpkin who had suddenly come to the big city, gazing in wonder at the marvels before him.
"Master, what exactly are Pill Veins?" Dong Qing Yan asked softly.
"Pill Veins…" Xiao Fu Sheng gently sighed, "The appearance of Pill Veins is one of the highest achievements an Alchemist can attain in Alchemy. These faint lines which appear on the pill's surface are akin to our body's meridians, in other words, Pill Veins are a pill's meridians!"
"Whether or not a pill has Pill Veins, its grade does not change, but there is a big difference between a pill with Pill Veins and one with none. Pills with Pill Veins have absorbed the energy of Heaven and Earth and are therefore more than twice as potent as ordinary pills! In addition, the existence of Pill Veins can prevent a pill from losing any of its medicinal effects, which means that no matter how many years it is stored for, its efficacy will not decrease!" Xiao Fu Sheng explained, his voice filled with emotion, "This old master has been studying Alchemy for many years and recently I have focused on the refinement of Pill Veins, but only when refining Common Grade pills will I have occasional success, for Earth Grade, Pill Veins almost never appear, and as for Heaven Grade… I've never succeeded."
Turning around, his eyes shining, Xiao Fu Sheng gazed towards Xia Ning Chang, "Little niece, when you refine Heaven Grade pills, what proportion of them have Pill Veins appear?"
Xia Ning Chang immediately bit her lip and timidly looked at Meng Wu Ya, not sure how she should answer.
She had already given Grandmaster Xiao a huge blow today and she really couldn't bear to answer this question truthfully.
However, Meng Wu Ya only grinned, "Just tell him."
"About five to six percent!"
*Hsss…* Xiao Fu Sheng gasped.
Five to Six percent of the Heaven Grade pills had Pill Veins, and each of these would have more than twice the ordinary efficacy… such methods exceed the realm of skills.
It could only be recognised as a heavenly blessing!
Still wearing a look of shock, Xiao Fu Sheng quickly asked, "Pill cloud? Has the legendary Pill Cloud which is even above Pill Veins appeared?"
Xia Ning Chang slowly shook her head.
"Hmm, it should be that your cultivation is not high enough, if you can break through to the Immortal Ascension Boundary, you should be able to refining the legendary Pill Cloud." Xiao Fu Sheng nodded, his hands still trembling, pacing back and forth inside the stone room for a while before suddenly declaring, "Everyone else out, I have something to discuss with Brother Meng!"
The three young people, although startled, quickly bowing before leaving.
A moment after they had left, the sound of Meng Wu Ya’s furious voice rang out from below, "Not in your wildest dreams! Having designs on this old man's apprentice, how dare you! If I knew you are such an ungrateful wolf then I would never have saved your damn life, if would've been better to let those Sixth-Order Monster Beasts rip you into a hundred pieces!"
Xiao Fu Sheng shot back, "It only makes sense; you don't understand Alchemy, what can you teach her? Such a good piece of jade, her running around by your side is simply a waste of Heavenly gifts; her worshipping this old master is a far better idea."
Meng Wu Ya sneered again and again, "Even if I can't teach her, can you?"
"I can teach her all of my life's experiences! I can let her in the shortest possible time become a Mysterious Grade Top-Rank Alchemist!"
"Mysterious Grade Top-Rank counts for shit, you're looking down on my background far too much!
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