White Jade was still brilliant with flowers everywhere despite it being the frigid winter. The sweet fragrance of cassia permeated the nose. This was a scene full of life and ethereal beauty - something akin to visiting the flower garden of immortals.
The young prodigies were staying outside. Only the big shots from the last generation were eligible to enter the important area.
“Brother Su, Brother Heaven Calculating, the two of you got invited too?”
Feiyun met these two at the cassia garden so he quickly walked over to greet them.
Su Yun was a dragon among men, the most handsome out of them all. He wore a brilliant embroidered robe with his hair tied up in a bun covered by a crest. The noble ladies here all turned to look at him with glimmers in their eyes, shocked as if they had just met a celestial.
He was indeed the perfect man.
Scholar Heaven Calculating wore a daoist robe and walked alongside Suyun. He had a feathered fan and tied up his hair with a cloth ribbon. There was a glow of wisdom and elegance to him.
“All the prodigies in the capital are on the invitation list, so of course we got one too.” Su Yun might be blind but he was still spirited as before. His smile nearly made the girls nearby faint.
The scholar added: “The clan master wants to find a groom for the Fourth Lady before Princess Luofu’s selection.”
He slightly looked over and saw the Evil Woman behind Feiyun, causing his soul to tremble. He quickly looked away and didn’t reveal anything outwardly by wearing a smile still.
Though he had never met the Evil Woman before, he could tell who she was upon the first meeting.
“How about we find our table first, let’s have a good drink tonight?” Feiyun proposed.
“That’s my thought too.”
They sat down near the river in an area with eight crystallized cassia trees spanning at twenty meters. The verdant leaves and branches had birds playing on them.
Below the trees were four maids serving wine in a delicate yet free manner.
The Evil Woman sat to Feiyun’s right with her eyes slightly close, not drinking or talking.
“You’re right, a lot of prodigies are here.” Feiyun looked around and saw more than ten young kings. Each had an oppressive and tyrannical aura. Perhaps they were the successors from big clans.
Wolong Sheng was also on the list. Feiyun called him over for a drink as well.
The number one of the Wanxiang Pagoda, Yan Ziyu, was also present. He was eighth on the upper list and were friends with the scholar.
“My White Swallow got stolen.” Yan Ziyu had an awkward expression while glancing around to find the thief that stole his spear.
White Swallow was his spirit treasure. He carried it with him wherever he went but now, it was taken away. This thief must have been a master.
“Must be that damned Bi Ningshuai.” Yan Ziyu had a twisted expression.
The scholar smiled: “Brother Yan, just sit down for now, no need to find him. I’ll take care of it for you and will bring it back safe and sound.”
“I’m rest assured now after hearing this.” Ziyu said.
After three rounds of drinking, Feiyun stood up and apologized: “Gentlemen, I have a small matter that needs taken care of, I’ll return right away.”
Having said that, he headed for the ward. The Evil Woman also followed him.
His goal was to find materials to refine the Heavenly Core Pill. The feast hasn’t begun yet so he wanted to get his business done first.
He went to find Dongfang Yiye and gave him the list of eighteen main ingredients. These important ones were precious and rare. Then there were another thirty-six supporting ingredients but he didn’t bother listing them since they were common.
“Black Jade Root.”
Yiye was an expert but he could only recognize seven of them, the other eleven were a mystery to him.
Nevertheless, Feiyun didn’t expect to find all eighteen right away. Just getting half was good enough and he could find replacements. Alas, the medicinal effect would be inferior.
“These are all spirit ingredients so even our ward has a hard time gathering them. If you want to buy them all, perhaps we can go to the Alchemy Garden.” Yiye suggested.
Feiyun smiled and said: “Then please show me the way.”
“Don’t be so polite now, Your Excellency. Please follow me.” Yiye was wily enough to know that this must be the list for a supreme pill so he had memorized all eighteen.
Feiyun was aware of this but he didn’t mind at all. Just the eighteen main ingredients weren’t enough to create the pill - the other thirty-six side ingredients were necessary as well.
The Alchemy Garden of the Yin Gou had the greatest concentration of rare herbs and medicines, unavailable to outsiders.
Feiyun and the Evil Woman waited outside. It didn’t take long before Yiye invited an old man. The wrinkly-faced old guy had a bent back with his head nearly touching the ground. He carried a garden hoe around just like a farmer.
His status was not simple at all. This was the guardian of the Alchemy Garden so Yiye was very respectful towards him.
“Second Boss, this is His Excellency, the Divine King.” Yiye introduced.
“Divine Cat??” The old man was confused.
“It’s Divine King.” Yiye bent down and whispered to the old man.
“A devil?!” This scared the old man.
“It’s Divine King!” Yiye’s mouth was about to touch the old man’s ear and screamed.
The old man finally understood and apologized with a sincere smile: “Ah, my apology! This old ear is useless now, so it is His Excellency, the Divine Fur, excuse me, excuse me.”
Yiye turned and gave Feiyun an apologetic smile. But Feiyun didn’t mind at all.
He took out the list of ingredients and came closer, afraid that the old man wouldn’t hear him: “Senior, can you find me these eighteen ingredients?!”
“Don’t yell like that, I’m not deaf.” The old man complained, clearly annoyed that the guy didn’t know how to be polite before an old man. So uncouth!
“...” Feiyun was speechless.
The old man took the list and his muddled eyes quickly lit up. He put down the hoe and contemplated before looking up at Feiyun: “Divine Fur, you are trying to refine a pill to increase your cultivation? A high-ranking one too, it should need some side ingredients.”
Clearly a master! This old man was not as simple as his appearance.
Feiyun nodded with a smile.
“Second Boss, the Divine King is our friend, so try your best please.” Yiye purposely stretched out the words, Divine King, in order to remind the old man that he was saying the wrong thing.
The old man didn’t pry because this formula belonged to someone else. He gave it back to Feiyun and said: “I’ve only heard of fifteen things on this list and the ward only has eight. The other ones only exist in the ancient scrolls. Oh, for three of them, I’ve never seen their name before either.”
Finding eight was already better than Feiyun expected. Many ingredients were interchangeable with a lesser effect.
To find eight ingredients meant that he could create a pill at 30% effectiveness.
The old man waited a bit before asking: “Well, in terms of alchemy ingredients, the Yin Gou Ward isn’t the best. There’s another place.”
Feiyun was ecstatic to hear this: “Where?”
“The current Grand Tutor is the best alchemist in the dynasty at the third rank, specialized in pills. He has plenty of ingredients there too, maybe you can find a few.” The old man said.
“The Grand Tutor.” Feiyun murmured before slightly bowing his head: “Thank you, Senior.”
“Haha, don’t be so reserved, Divine Fur. Finding these ingredients will take some time, you should go to the feast first then come back for them later.” Having said that, the old man picked up his hoe and stumbled back to the garden.
Yiye shook his head and smiled awkwardly at Feiyun: “Second Boss is like that, don’t mind him. Alright, let’s go to the forecourt, maybe the party has started.”
“No rush, no rush, I wish to see your Fourth Lady, would that be alright?” Feiyun had something important to talk to Dongfang Jingyue.
After seeing Yiye’s expression as if he was in a predicament, Feiyun said: “We’re good friends, I have something important to discuss with her.”
He wanted to talk to her about the shrine by the Jin River and the village named Duo. Jingyue said she had seen a painting about it when she was younger. The painting’s name was Duo Village, so Feiyun wanted to find some clues.
He felt that this village and the goddess must have something to do with Shui Yueting.
1. This whole sequence works in Chinese but it sounds weird in English. First, Divine Cat and Devil are both common terms, so someone with bad ear could make this mistake. Of course, in English, King/cat/devil are so different that this joke is just ruined. I tried to come up with words sounding similar to King for this joke to work, but couldn’t.