Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The structure was 100 feet tall and divided into two levels. From afar, it looked like a wine gourd. The chief designer, Li Changshou, probably had inspiration from the Dharma treasure that Jiu Jiu constantly carried with her—the Evil-Vanquishing Ruyi Sword.
That was the wine gourd that could expand and minimize, and carry people into the air.
The structure stood inside a pond. 800 feet in front of the door was a well. Water from the well and the pond mixed.
If one looked down at the structure from the sky, they would see a Yin-Yang diagram embedded in the forest, measuring about 1,000 feet in diameter. The pond was in the shape of the Yin and Yang fish, while the structure and the well formed the eyes of the fish.
This was a Feng Shui array formation, which could attract good luck and avert evil. What’s more, since the Immortal Du Sect belonged to the Ren School, the Yin-Yang diagram held a significant place.
If one looked up in front of the structure, they would be able to see a wooden sign. On it was written ‘Little Qiong Peak’s Pill Chamber’.
If one looked closer, they would find two lines of words underneath: ‘Permitted by the Bai Fan Hall to build small infrastructure for refining pills.’
Simply put, this was a licensed building!
Walking through the main door, the first thing one would see would be a wooden screen. Behind the screen was a huge pill furnace which stood about 60 feet tall.
This pill furnace took up a lot of space. Its base was broad, and it narrowed at the top. Made out of huge slabs of violet gold, it was engraved with magic clouds and leaves and came with many restrictions.
The only catch was that there were large quantities of ‘patches’ in the pill furnace’s upper parts. This made it look quite unpresentable.
Someone had thrown this pill furnace away. However, only the top half of the pill furnace had been destroyed by the explosion. Li Changshou had made use of his network in the Bai Fan Hall to obtain this pill furnace. Then, he had taken another six months to repair it. Finally, he managed to activate it.
The pill furnace had three legs, two ears, and a full, round belly. There were ‘windows’ on each of the four sides of the furnace, which were shaped like Yin-Yang fish. The fire-congealing array and spirit-equalizing array underneath the furnace were working well.
After Li Changshou repaired the furnace, it recovered 70% of its original efficiency and power.
What was rarer was that Li Changshou did not have to pay a single cent in order to obtain this furnace.
The violet gold could suppress huge amounts of the medicinal properties of spirit herbs. One could say that this furnace was the most valuable thing on the Little Qiong Peak now.
The entire structure was built around this pill furnace.
There were several shelves around the furnace. On the shelves were jade bottles, wine gourds, and jade boxes of all sizes. There were also several spirit pills and herbs that were produced by this pill furnace. However, these were quite common pills and herbs.
The place was kept neat and tidy by Lan Ling’e. This junior sister was currently cultivating in seclusion as she was trying hard to improve her cultivation level.
When Jiu Jiu jumped into the Pill Chamber from outside, she saw Li Changshou standing beside the pill furnace, dressed in a light-blue robe. He held more than ten pale-gold pills in his palm. It looked like he was trying to improve his comprehension of alchemy.
“Little Changshou, what new pill did you create this time?” Jiu Jiu walked over curiously.
“Aunt-Master, do you want to try it? I just produced pills to clear your heart and focus your mind. I altered the flavor slightly. I think it would be quite effective,” said Li Changshou casually.
He slowly handed two spirit pills to Jiu Jiu, who popped them directly into her mouth. She chewed them for a while and then swallowed them. Soon after, she belched, emitting a clear fragrance.
“Very sweet!” Jiu Jiu held out her right hand and said, “Give me a few more!”
Li Changshou took a white-jade bottle and filled it with pills. Then, he handed the bottle over to Jiu Jiu.
Jiu Jiu did not retract her hand. Instead, she said, “This month’s Drunken Immortal and Beauty’s Charm!”
“Don’t worry. I won’t forget Aunt-Master’s share.”
Li Changshou gave her a small smile, before handing her two palm-sized jade pots obediently.
Unable to wait any longer, Jiu Jiu opened the pot and sucked in a deep breath. Finally, she sighed satisfactorily.
“Good. Changshou, your ability to refine pills and make wine are advancing at the same time. Do you need my help today? You have not been building any more array formations these two months. I can’t possibly take all of these for nothing.”
“I don’t need your help today,” replied Li Changshou, smiling. “In 20 days, I want to activate the pill furnace and refine a more difficult immortal pill. I hope that Aunt-Master will be able to assist me then.”
Jiu Jiu patted her chest joyfully, causing her hemp garment to sway. “No problem! Count on me! 20 days, right?”
“That’s right, 20 days,” replied Li Changshou with a serious expression. “Refining this pill is extremely important to me. What’s more, the moment I start the process, I cannot stop. If Aunt-Master cannot spare the time, please inform your disciple. Apart from this, I wonder if Aunt-Master can keep this matter a secret for me.”
“What pill is that? Why are you so secretive?”
“It’s a poisonous Immortal-Melting Pill.”
Jiu Jiu jumped. “The Immortal-Melting Pill? Isn’t it said that this thing could kill even Perfected Immortals? I think I heard Fifth Senior Brother talking about this a long time ago. What do you want to produce this for?”
Li Changshou smiled and answered, “Poison is a type of medicine. It’s just like dishes with different flavors—sweet, salty, and spicy. Poisonous pills can be used to kill or save people. Don’t worry, Aunt-Master. Your disciple does not have any enemies. I love leading the life of a cultivator. I would not do anything to harm others. If I can successfully produce the Immortal-Melting Pill, I will give you a year’s worth of Beauty’s Charm as thanks. This is on top of the amount that we agreed upon earlier.”
Jiu Jiu’s stretched out her right hand and clenched her fist in front of Li Changshou’s face. Li Changshou imitated her and touched his fist to hers. Immediately, Jiu Jiu grinned.
“I will come back in 20 days.”
“Take care, Aunt-Master.”
Still laughing, Jiu Jiu mounted her wine gourd and flew up into the air, above Little Qiong Peak.
When she looked back, Jiu Jiu saw thin fog rising out of the forest she just left. In the blink of an eye, the fog covered the entire forest. However, after a gentle breeze, the fog disappeared.
The forest within a 15-kilometer radius looked exactly the same as before, but Jiu Jiu knew that the huge array within had already been activated.
“If I want to prank Number Seven and Number Eight in the future, I can trick them into coming here,” Jiu Jiu mumbled under her breath.
However, soon afterward, Li Changshou’s serious expression surfaced in her mind once more. “I’ll have to tell this fellow in advance. Otherwise, I will have to endure his fervent lectures again.”
Shaking her head, Jiu Jiu steered her wine gourd higher into the air. Soon, she arrived at the back mountain of the Heaven-Breaking Peak. She flew through several overlapping arrays and disappeared into thin air.
This was where Exalted Wang Qing’s eight or nine disciples secluded themselves to cultivate. A building had been built among the mountain.
The ‘Nine Jiu Immortals’ was only one of the lines in the Heaven-Breaking Peak. However, the one with the lowest cultivation and who had entered the peak the latest among them was Jiu Jiu, who was already a Perfected Immortal. Naturally, the treatment she got was vastly different from Qi Yuan and his disciples.
Not only was there an excellent spirit-gathering array there, but there were also many disciples who were in charge of odd jobs. On top of these, protective arrays, which were restricted by the sect, had been set up around various buildings. One could say that this was an ideal place for cultivators to live.
Jiu Jiu was the youngest and was naturally pampered and loved by her senior brothers and sisters. Her accommodation was close to Jiu Wu’s and was in an ideal spot to be protected by her other senior brothers and sisters as well.
If Jiu Jiu went into seclusion, the others would surely guard her house vigilantly.
Under the watchful eyes of several handymen, Jiu Jiu flew back into her building, kicked off her cloth shoes, and jumped barefoot into her bed, which was carved out from jasper. She hugged the two jade pots, which she just brought back with her, and then began to giggle.
“Should I drink you or you first this time? Little Shoushou is not bad. He could think of making such things. Three years are about to go by. The ‘Ganges River’s Dry Wine’ that he buried the last time is going to emerge soon. Then, I will drink to my heart’s content! Slurp! I will enjoy some Beauty’s Charm today.”
“Cough! Cough, cough!”
Outside the building, a short, five-foot-tall Daoist coughed. Jiu Jiu, who had been lying down on her bed, covered both jade pots and looked outside cautiously. When she saw who it was, she heaved a sigh of relief.
“Fifth Senior Brother, just come in. I didn’t even activate any arrays.”
“I was just reprimanded by Big Senior Sister before. We might be close, but I must not forget my manners,” answered Jiu Wu as he laughed. He took two steps forward and paused again.
There was no space for him to advance.
He surveyed the wine jars, blouses, and undergarments scattered around the floor. Finally, Jiu Wu smacked his forehead and said, “Little Jiu, you’re already 1,800 years old. Why can’t you tidy up your own house?”
Jiu Jiu sniffed and waved her hand, saying, “There’s no weird smell anyway. It’ll be fine.”
She casually put her jade pots into her storage Dharma treasures, and then sat cross-legged on her bed.
With much difficulty, Jiu Wu opened a path in the mess on the ground. Then, he sat beside the short table and spoke in a low voice. “Jiu Jiu, you’ve been going to the Little Qiong Peak very often recently.” Jiu Wu laughed. “What do you do there?”
“I play. What else can I do there?” Jiu Jiu blinked. “Fifth Senior Brother, why are you suddenly asking me this?”
“It’s nothing, it’s nothing.” Jiu Wu waved his hand and then scratched his head. He thought about the tasks his various senior and junior sisters gave him. All of a sudden, he did not know what to say.
‘How should I put this? I can’t possibly ask my Junior Sister if she has fallen in love with someone in the Little Qiong Peak, can I?’
Jiu Wu regained his composure. “Cough! I remember the first tens of years after you joined the sect. You were quite close to that Junior Brother Qi Yuan.”
“That’s right,” replied Jiu Jiu, nodding. “Back then, Senior Brother Qi Yuan took very good care of me.”
Jiu Wu hesitated. “Then are… you…?”
Jiu Jiu frowned. “Fifth Senior Brother, what’s the matter with you today? Why are you stuttering?”
“I… I… Ai!”
Jiu Wu stomped his foot and said, “I’m going to be straightforward! Little Jiu, you’ve been heading to the Little Qiong Peak every day during this period. Even though you’re on an alcohol ban, you look extremely energetic! Your Senior Sisters were wondering if you… er, if you were…”
“Me?” Jiu Jiu frowned, her eyes filled with confusion.
Jiu Wu’s voice became sharp as his heart raced. He sucked in a deep breath and spat, “Are you?! Going to break through—”
“Is it so easy to break through?” Jiu Jiu rolled her eyes. “Tell my Senior Sisters not to worry. If I hit a bottleneck, I will ask you about it. I will not be hard-headed and try to force my way through.”
“That’s good, that’s good. I’ll go back then. Continue cultivating.”
Jiu Wu quickly excused himself as he stood up and walked to the door. At the door, he turned around again and asked, “That’s right Little Jiu. The spider that you brought back from the Little Qiong Peak the last time is dead. Ask Martial Nephew Changshou if he has any more. I’ll use my treasured pills to trade.”
“Alright, I got it. I’ll ask him for you the next time I go there.”
Jiu Wu smiled subtly.
‘Gee, since Jiu Jiu brought back the Strong-Pupil Three-Headed Spider the last time, I obtained spiderwebs, which would help me see things from a distance. Life has become much more interesting since. Especially when I place the webs in the waterhole where my Dao companion often bathes in. The scene is…’
“Cough, cough.” Jiu Wu lowered his head and walked away quickly.
‘Fifth Senior Brother is acting so strangely today. Forget it. Maybe he quarreled with Fourth Senior Sister.’
Jiu Jiu shook her head and activated the array outside her building. Then, she lay down on her mattress and retrieved her two jade pots. Once again, she tried to resolve her beautiful dilemma.
At the Little Qiong Peak’s Pill Chamber…
Li Changshou stood in front of the pill furnace. The ingredients he required for the pills had already been prepared. He turned towards the futon on the left.
He held a jade token in his left hand as he tried to sense the changes happening in various parts of the huge array. Once he confirmed for the third time that there were no dangers, he activated the pill furnace’s restrictions. Flames immediately appeared inside.
Li Changshou sat down on the futon on the left. However, just as he was sitting down, a plume of green smoke exploded beside him. His figure disappeared, leaving behind a paper doll.
In the blink of an eye, the paper doll took on Li Changshou’s form. The green smoke quickly entered his nostrils and disappeared.
Illusive techniques were the old Daoist priest Qi Yuan’s forte. Naturally, his older disciple had mastered it a long time ago.
In fact, the number of things Li Changshou now knew how to create illusions of was many times that of his master’s.