Inside the Painting of the Nine Immortals.
Liao Cang Qiong was very content. He held the Qing Hua Dan with seven imprints in his hand, and a smile bloomed on his aged face.
A seventh-ranked Qing Hua Dan was not something anyone could brew easily. Even though he simplified the recipe and changed it from a sixth-realm Dan to a ninth-realm one, it was still hard to brew. Definitely harder to brew than the best quality ninth-realm Dan of Cleansed Marrow.
To have been able to see through his intentionally set up trap after the first brew and to have been able to produce a seventh-ranked Dan, this indicated Ling Xian's ability to soon march into the Eighth-Realm Alchemist door. This represented his amazing alchemy capabilities and how he is now better than most ninth-realm alchemists.
Remember that Ling Xian was only 14 years old this year!
A 14-year-old Eighth-Realm Alchemist with such great heaven given talent, it was unbelievable!
"To be only 14 years old and have already achieved such greatness, I am impressed." Liao Cang Qiong stroke his beard. He was very satisfied with the amount of talent his apprentice has demonstrated. "Not bad. However, compared to me, he still lacks a little. Back in the day, I entered the Ninth Realm at the age of 13. Then it only took me half a year to break through the Eighth Realm. If he wants to break my record, he must work a little harder."
It was true that Ling Xian could not break Liao Cang Qiong's 30,000 year long record right now. However, he was naturally talented and was blessed with treasures from the Immortal. His starting point was a lot higher than Liao Cang Qiong's. Even though he was still a few steps away from becoming an Eighth-Realm Alchemist, what would happen after that?
Nobody could really predict where he will end up.
"I remember when I was 15 and entered the seventh realm…" Liao Cang Qiong reminisced as anticipation flashed across his eyes. "If you are able to break that record of mine, then the student will truly become the master. It will be an earth-shattering news with no precedent. I am really excited for the arrival of that day."
Inside the Heaven Cauldron room, Lin Qing Yi's tiny palm carried the Qing Hua Dan in a gentle manner. Like she just acquired a rare treasure, her dazzling eyes were scanning it again and again. She could not get enough of the Dan.
Not only was this a spiritual Dan that has been long lost, but she was also mesmerized by the character that was carved onto the milky white Dan.
Immorality was the final destination for every cultivator. Did he mean it that way or did he mean it as a symbol for himself? Or was it a character in his name?
Lin Qing Yi let her thoughts wander and only snapped back to reality when she realized Ling Xian was leaving. She hastily shouted, "Grandmaster, please wait a moment."
"Hmm?" Ling Xian turned around. "Is there anything else?"
"I have a few questions in regards to alchemy. I was wondering if you are able to help me out with them?" Lin Qing Yi brushed her hair behind her ear. Her simple movement was alluring.
"I didn't know that you are an alchemist too. How come I've never heard of your name before?" As soon as he asked the question, he remembered the day at the Mayor's house, when Ye Xiao Tian paid an unusual amount of respect to Lin Qing Yi. How he said, he was counting on her skills and alchemy experience. Ling Xian realized then that the lady before him was an alchemist also.
However, other than himself, there were only three alchemists in the city. One of them was Master Fang, the other one was Master Lin. The last and most mysterious one was someone he didn't know the name nor the gender of. Could it be that… it was her?
"With the little amount of alchemy skills I have, it's not worth remembering my name. To have not heard my name is very normal." Lin Qing Yi's eyes dimmed in slight disappointment. She was used to this feeling by now. The first time they met, the way he reacted also hit her hard and made her disheartened.
It wasn't entirely Ling Xian's fault for not recognizing her. Lin Qing Yi has always been low key and mysterious. Those who lived in the City of Qing always talked about her like she was a myth. On top of that, Ling Xian lived at the bottom of the societal level where very few people communicated with him. To have known about the three alchemists in the city was already impressive. How could he have known about the mysterious Eighth-Realm Alchemist?"
"Uh…" Ling Xian muttered before popping the question, "could it be… you are the Eighth-Realm Alchemist in the City of Qing?"
"My name is not worth mentioning," Lin Qing Yi grinned movingly.
"You are the name that struck my ear like thunder all my life." Ling Xian calmly nodded and then calmly turned his body in an attempt to walk away.
What a joke. She was the only Eighth-Realm Alchemist in the City of Qing. What expertise did he have to help her out with her questions?
He had to run fast before he humiliates himself!
Just as he was about to march out, he found his body petrified. Like a giant hand had grabbed tightly onto him, disabling him from moving.
[Hehe, why are you in such a rush to leave? To have a beauty wanting to ask you questions is a rare occasion. This is a good opportunity to snatch her heart.] Liao Cang Qiong's teasing laughter appeared in his mind.
[Master you need to stop digging me into holes. She is an Eighth-Realm Alchemist, and I belong in the ninth realm. What qualifications do I have to teach her? Rather than losing my face, it's better to run away now.] Ling Xian said in a rush.
[Why would I dig you into holes? Don't blame me and say I didn't warn you. This young lady's beauty puts the moon and flowers to shame. I've never met anyone so beautiful in my life. She is taking the initiative to ask you a question, and you are willing to miss this opportunity? If you run away, you will for sure spend a lot of time regretting that decision.] Liao Cang Qiong snickered.
Ling Xian wasn't sure if he should laugh or cry. [Master, stop playing with me. I promise you I won't regret this decision. Let me go now, please. If I don't run away now it'll be too late!]
[I am thinking for your benefit. Think about what a great opportunity this is. First you can appear to be an alchemy grandmaster before a beauty, you can enjoy her admiration, and finally, you might be able to steal her heart. Three birds with one stone.] Liao Cang Qiong said.
[Master, you are just trying to avenge me for not falling for the trap you set for me! You think I embarrassed you so now you're trying to embarrass me!] Ling Xian hit the nail on the head.
[What nonsense! I have always offered advice that is for the betterment of you, yet you always think the worst of me. I am very sad.] Liao Cang Qiong's voice turned into a pained tone. [Also, you are an apprentice of mine. How could you be scared to a point where you are running away from an Eighth-Realm Alchemist? Shame!]
[There is no need to try and provoke me. It's useless and ineffective.] Ling Xian refused to listen to him.
[Alright, then I just won't let you go. What can you do about it?] Liao Cang Qiong laughed, and no matter how much Ling Xian called for him, he never responded.
Ling Xian was speechless. Now that Liao Cang Qiong was done talking, he felt a little more confident. He was, after all, an apprentice of the famous Liao Cang Qiong and he had inherited the "Bible of Alchemy". Why should he be scared of an Eighth-Realm Alchemist?
Lin Qing Yi blinked and stared at him curiously, "What's wrong, Grandmaster?"
"Nothing." Ling Xian shook his head and noticed that he could move his body again. However, he had pep talked himself and no longer had the intention of running away. He replied with a smile, "I have some businesses to attend to later. If you have any questions, ask me now."
"I have three questions in total to ask of you. The first question is one I have asked many alchemy predecessors, but none of them could give me an answer I am satisfied with." Lin Qing Yi beamed, "Dare I ask you, how do you define the term alchemy?"
"Define alchemy?" Ling Xian froze. This question was rather profound, and an uncareful answer might appear too shallow. He thought about it and asked her instead, "How did others respond to this question?"
"One master said, alchemy is to think of the cauldron like the king and to treat each ingredient like a star," Lin Qing Yi answered.
"That is not what alchemy is, it is simply a way one may treat alchemy." Ling Xian shook his head and asked again, "any other answers?"
Lin Qing Yi thought about it for a moment and said, "another master said, alchemy is to think of the decay as extraordinary and to accept the earth as both round and square."
Ling Xian nodded as an answer formed in his head. He said, "this question of yours has no accurate answer. Everyone would have their own individualistic views, and no one answer is right. If there were 10,000 alchemists, then there would be 10,000 answers. Like the cultivation journey, every cultivator is different. Some people only have one end goal in mind, and that is to reach immortality. Some cultivators train to become famous and leave a legacy. Everyone has a different goal and view, so of course, everyone's answer is different."
"Yes, that is true," Lin Qing Yi agreed, "then what is alchemy to you?"
"Alchemy to me…" Ling Xian smiled and pointed at the Qing Hua Dan in her hand. "How was this Dan brewed?"
"First the essences were drawn out of the eight ingredients, then they were joined into one to become the final Dan." Lin Qing Yi did not seem to understand the point to his question.
"This is what I think alchemy is. There are no fancy ways or words to describe them and no profound meanings. The process of fetching the ingredients and brewing them into a Dan is alchemy, understand?" Ling Xian's lips curved up greatly. To think of the cauldron like the king and to treat each ingredient like a star? To think of the decay as extraordinary and to accept the earth as both round and square? What nonsense! They were purely fancy vocabularies and phrases people said to sound intelligent.
To Ling Xian, alchemy was simple. It was just the process of Dan brewing. It was the idea of mixing together many different types of spiritual medicines and allowing different abilities to take effect, so they can then benefit the general public as a result.
This was the fundamental idea of alchemy. Any other word to describe it would be excessive.
Ling Xian has reached a level of simplicity where when he sees a mountain, it is merely a mountain, and when he sees water, it is merely water.
"To think with simplicity." Lin Qing Yi was deep in thought.
After a long while, realization appeared in her eyes. She bowed. "Thank you for showing me the way when I have been confused."
Ling Xian helped her up with his left hand and lightly smiled. "I guess you understand now."
"Back then, many grandmasters have tried to give me answers, but I always felt like the answers were missing something, so I was never satisfied." Lin Qing Yi was full of appreciation. "Today, grandmaster, you have shown me the way with your great words. I feel like I have just been hit in the head and it helped clear my drunken mind. I now realize the meaning behind everything. I am now aware of what alchemy truly is. I am very thankful."
"Alright, save your thanks for later. What about the other two questions?"
"About that…" Lin Qing YI's lips curved up slightly and her eyes were somewhat cunning. "I have gained a lot of knowledge today, and I'll need some time to digest all the information. The other two questions… How about we conclude that you owe them to me?"