Sounds could be heard from the training ground early before the sun rose. Two figures could be seen engaged in combat with wooden practice weapons. A tall female figure quickly weaved in between the multiple strikes of the smaller male figure. The female struck at the male with a thrust who quickly parried it to the right with his sword before disarming the woman. The woman was distracted for a split second when her attention was elsewhere.
The male quickly stabbed his sword towards the throat which the female deflected with her arms and took the male down in a single smooth motion.
The female spoke, "You still have a long way to go Ye Xiu if I am able to grab your weapon in mid-strike so easily."
The male pouted before speaking, "I know, it's definitely harder to hit somebody who taught me most of my basics."
"Stop being such a child, go and freshen yourself up. We'll have breakfast then you can go to the Pill Hall for your lessons."
"Alright, mum." The boy left to wash up, leaving the mother alone in the courtyard.
"Ye Qiu, you can stop hiding in the trees now. It's quite creepy when you do that. I know you developed your hiding skill because of your pervertedness but seriously, using that skill just to watch us train?
"Heh, you've caught me! I just wanted to see how the training would go for the two of you. I mean you've never really helped others train too often."
"Qiu'er, I've been helping him to train for over a year and you really think I would be unable to train him safely and effectively? Wait... have you been watching every single training session we've done together?"
"I'm just going to spar you to stop you from watching. If I win you stop. You win you can continue your peeking." She took out a simple, sleek metal sword and held it at the ready. "Shall we begin?"
"Sure, begin whenever you are ready." Yu Er disappeared from her position before appearing by the side of Ye Qiu. Multiple thrusts were aimed at the weak spots of Ye Qiu's defence but he was able to dodge the thrusts extremely deftly.
His Qi arrows formed in his hand as he pulled the bowstring back. His muscles were taut as held the bowstring back watching Yu Er's movements. He shot two directly towards her body whilst three other arrows was covering her advances' path. Yu Er quickly infused the weak sword with Qi to slice throw the arrows before charging forwards. She got hit by two of the arrows but it only left scratches on her body.
Her body and sword started swaying as she moved. Ye Qiu was unable to predict the direction she was going to move because of the style's similarity to a drunk person. Ye Qiu gave up because it was nearly time for breakfast and he knew that eventually, Yu Er would just beat him into submission in different ways. "I give up. You win as usual. Now let's go clean up in the bathroom."
- 2 hours later -
Ye Xiu was heading over to the Pill Hall when he realised that he didn't read the book that Lao Xiu had given him. Slapping his forehead, he decided to carry on walking and see if Lao Xiu would punish him for not reading it.
He entered the building without knocking, knowing that Lao Xiu would probably already know he was here according to Lao Lan's words about the formations informing him about his arrival.
The door opened as Ye Xiu entered; Lao Xiu and Lao Lan walked out of the room and greeted Ye Xiu. "You certainly are earlier than I expected you to be, guess Lao Lan's habits haven't rubbed off on you. That's good. I'll just pick up my explanation from where I left off."
"We were last talking about pills, so I'll talk about some of the disadvantages of pills. Consuming too many pills can cause a buildup of pill toxicity. Breaking through with pill toxicity still in your body is extremely bad for your future because it slows down your cultivation speed and it also makes the foundation unstable. The amount of Pill toxicity you gain in your body usually depends on the quality of the pill made. The pill qualities are split into 3 grades, low, middle and high."
"Pill toxicity can be slowly removed from the body through various means. There is a fast method and a slow method. Alchemists and Medicine Masters can get rid of pill toxicity quickly with the same method of how we guide our Qi to heal a person's body. Obviously, if the person removing the pill toxicity is unskilled or his concentration falters then the damage done to the body is just as bad because it's still Qi guiding the toxicity around the body. So the Qi would rampage around the body whilst the toxicity would spread."
"It's best to get rid of pill toxicity as early as possible because the Pill toxicity builds up over time otherwise. The normal way for cultivators to get rid of the pill toxicity is deep meditation. As they meditate they don't focus on their cultivation method but the toxicity that is hidden in their body. They can only remove this bit by bit because they aren't consciously moving the toxicity away with Qi. They have their body consciously remove it slowly."
"Next is Pill immunity. For certain pills, especially ones which increase your speed of cultivation start to build up an immunity to you. This is why most people consume pills just as they are about to break through, this increases the chances of success and it is the biggest benefit you will get instead of consuming it for normal cultivation. Other pills don't have the same restriction and can be used excessively. However, the price of buying a batch of pills is usually exorbitant."
"Lower ranked pills usually have a side-effect. The ranking system for pills is Grade 1 up to Grade 9, Grade 9 being the highest. Pills of Grade 1 and 2 that improve the cultivation speed or cultivation level usually affects the user's potential for growth in the future. This is why most cultivators only touch pills after they can afford pills Grade 3 or above. The cultivators who are stuck in the Body Refining realm or the Qi Cleansing realm usually rely on these pills so they can finally advance after years of effort."
"Pills which help recover from injuries or help refill your Qi pool can be used as many times as you want no matter the grade. However, the amount of Qi toxicity in a pill for lower grades is always going to be higher than higher grade pills."
"Now we can move on to how Pill formation works. Remember how I said how heat needs to be applied to the cauldron whilst forming a pill? It's very important because the heat that is applied has to be adjusted according to the situation within the cauldron. A slight misstep can cause the quality of the batch to fluctuate."
"Depending on the type of pill and method of making the pill, the speed for formation is always different. Alchemists have to rely on their observation skills to see when the pill is complete. They also rely on their observation skills to see the situation inside the cauldron."
"There is a technique for Alchemists to see inside the cauldron without needing to look over it. We can see through the cauldron which makes Alchemy much easier for us. I'm going to teach you the technique and you'll have to practice it. I'll be there to infuse qi around the cauldron walls and inside the cauldron itself after you manage to see into it without any obstructions."
"This is because when you are forming pills, your Qi will always be there to infuse it into the Pill. This means that you'll have to be able to see past the Qi when you are practising alchemy. This technique isn't only used for Alchemy but can also be used for the Medical Arts and fighting. Typical cultivators won't know this technique because it's only taught to the Medical Arts and Alchemy disciples. It's to give an edge for the crafting profession since they have to focus more on their Alchemy."
"I'll also have you learn how to infuse Qi into pills with other sources of Qi. Most Alchemists only learn this at higher ranks because their control isn't that great yet, however, Lao Lan has told me that you have control which would take others years to achieve whilst you achieved it in a single year. Your control should be enough for you to take the Qi and infuse it into the pill."
"This exercise will also help you in the future for the Medical Arts when you have to place your Qi into another person's body. The concept is similar and will allow you to train in that area with ease. The observation technique can be trained in conjunction with infusion so it'll be two birds with one stone in any case."
"I want you to come here every day to be in deep meditation for 2hours at least. I have something that can increase the growth rate of your mind and soul slightly and it should be beneficial for you to be ahead of your peers from the very start. If you train under me, I'll have you be my apprentice for Alchemy until you can surpass my skill and rank."
"There are 8 important points of the Cauldron. These points correspond to the directions in a compass. Each of these points will be where the ingredients would be placed. Placing it in an incorrect region would result in failure. The timing for the placing of ingredients is also important because adding it too early or too late would affect the quality of the Pill."
"It'll take practice for you to add the ingredients at the correct time but it is important. It'll also be one of the first things we'll rectify every time we begin a new pill recipe. I plan for you to amaze all your peers when you come out into the public. It'll stop the weaker people from challenging you over and over again and allow you to be granted harder challenges in the form of stronger opponents. This way it'll have the effect of making you work harder."
"Enough of that brother, allow me to tell him about refining exercises." Lao Lan interrupted the explanation.
"Fine, go ahead."
"Thank you. Refining is an important aspect to Alchemy. It removes the impurities that can be found in your ingredients and allows for higher quality pills. It's even possible for refining to increase the rank of the pill. Though this is rare, it is definitely possible. There are many different types of Refining techniques that can be used, but the way of refining it is always different for the type of pill."
"The technique that the both of us use is called the Graceful Fingers Technique. It is a delicate technique which requires extreme control of Qi. The technique is to slowly extract and refine the ingredient or pill in question with your fingers creating a Qi bubble around the ingredient whilst moving your fingers continuously. It should look like you are weaving. This technique has the potential to remove up to 75 percent of the Pill's current impurities however the both of us can only remove up to 40 percent."
"Our skill with the technique has decreased with old age due to stiff joints. This was because we learnt the technique at too late of an age so we weren't able to achieve the highest level of the technique. We'll be starting you on this technique as early as possible to refine your ingredients. We'll have you refine ingredients every day inside the cauldron whilst training the observation technique and the infusion technique. What my brother didn't mention was that you will have to be multitasking when you are creating pills. Ingredients are best refined during Pill formation but they can be refined earlier as preparation but the Pill quality will not be as high."
"Now scoot off. Come back in a week after you've read the book we gave you. I know you didn't read it considering I placed a formation to tell me if you did." Lao Xiu said.
"Thank you for the lesson." Ye Xiu bowed before leaving.
Ye Xiu made it home and did his normal training before falling asleep on his bed. Ye Xiu's last thought before sleeping was, 'What an interesting occupation to learn. Just what else can the world bring to add to the excitement?'