Chapter 11: The Pearl Gathering Pavilion
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Useless elixir, as the name implied, was the class of elixirs that were refined and were considered unsuitable for use.
Elder Liu did not know that the two Earth-tier elixir pills he got yesterday were created when Jiang Yi injected two wisps of essence force. Instead, he assumed that he had accidentally added other medicinal ingredients and changed the original elixir formula, thereby unintentionally refining an Earth-tier elixir.
After spending an entire night researching the components that had mysteriously appeared in the elixir, he was unable to identity them. So he tried to add all types of medicinal ingredients today, hoping to refine the pill of Earth-tier elixir just like the ones he received the day before.
Alchemy was a very rigorous job. The ingredients used in the medicinal formula had to be exact—no more, no less. Every medicinal ingredient also had to be precise down to the closest five grams. Even the smelting time, the method to form the elixir, and the reheating process all had to be done with precision. Otherwise a useless elixir would be formed.
The elixir Elder Liu was refining today was based on the formula for Spirit Pills used the day before. However, every time he refined he added another medicinal ingredient. The conclusion need not be stated in deep detail—naturally, all the elixirs turned out to be useless, not at all the Man-tier superior-grade spirit pills that were supposed to be refined, to say nothing of them possibly being Earth-tier elixirs.
An alchemist usually treats his own products with the utmost importance. As such, even if a useless elixir contained boundless medical healing power, he would never allow its existence and the potential destruction of his reputation.
If the efficacy of a useless elixir was questionable, any problems surfaced after consumption would forever be a stain tarnishing the alchemist’s reputation.
Jiang Yi did not comprehend any of this. As he could not learn how to refine elixirs in such a short period of time, and as he did not dare to touch any elixirs in the alchemy lab, he had no choice but to make use of the useless elixirs.
He heaved a deep sigh before finally making up his mind to give it a shot. The command token he had given to the Fengyue Brothel as collateral was etched in his mind like a sharp sword hanging over his neck, pressuring him until he could not breathe…
Skipping lunch, he decided to first gather the ten or so pills of the useless elixirs. As Elder Liu had been doing trials all morning, he did not waste too many of his medicinal herbs; thus, every cauldron contained just three of four elixir pills.
He pretended to clean up the alchemy lab. After waiting, and seeing that Elder Liu had not returned, he immediately took action. He retrieved three elixir pills and threw them into a small cauldron, before copying Elder Liu and heating up the small cauldron with coal. He slowly injected blue essence force after waiting for a while and, through this essence force, sensed the conditions in the cauldron.
“Yeah, almost there! I shall keep trying!”
Jiang Yi had only observed for a single morning and as such, was not very familiar with the refining methods. Sensing that the interior of the cauldron had become piping hot, and that the two useless elixirs were absorbing his blue essence force, he immediately circulated a wisp of black essence force and injected it into the cauldron.
The entire cauldron trembled with the force of a large reverberating shockwave and as Jiang Yi fell, his eyes were filled with glee. Weren’t the two Earth-tier elixirs that day refined only after the original pills exploded?
He hastily got up and opened the cauldron lid, glancing at the interior. However, he could not help but laugh bitterly. The two useless elixirs in the cauldron… had completely exploded to smithereens!
“How on earth do I make these?”
Jiang Yi was confused. He had heard before that elixirs could be reheated and refined, but he did not know how to perform the specific process. If all he needed was to observe the refining process for a morning before being able to reheat and refine elixirs, he would probably be a genius in alchemy…
After mulling over the situation for a while, he once again threw in three elixir pills, before using coal to heat up the cauldron and continuously injecting blue essence force. The result this time was that while the elixirs did not explode, when he lifted the lid to take a look, he discovered that the pills inside had not changed from their original state at all.
“Why don’t I just add some medicinal powders and experiment?”
Jiang Yi sat on the floor and thought for a long while, before finally deciding to just randomly experiment. Besides, those useless pills were not worth anything. On top of that, should he deplete all of his black essence force he could always refine more.
He took some medicinal powders from the ingredient storage room at random and sprinkled them into the cauldron, before throwing in the three useless elixir pills. After heating them to the right temperature, he injected blue essence force. Lastly, he callously injected two wisps of black essence force.
Once again the entire cauldron trembled violently. When he lifted the lid and took a look, his expression turned to one of angry dismay. The three elixir pills inside, in addition to the two original pills, had exploded completely and turned to smithereens, with not a single pill left…
“Damn it! How on earth do I do this?”
Jiang Yi sat cross-legged on the ground and started to reflect on what happened. He pondered for a long time, but he had absolutely no clue as to what to do. Suddenly, his eyes lit up. Slapping himself on the forehead, he stood and walked towards the interior of the side room.
There were many books on elixir-refining on the bookshelf in the side room. Perhaps he could find the method on how to reheat and refine elixirs.
After scanning through five or six difficult manuals, he finally found a simplified manual on the alchemy-refining process. Flipping through a few pages of the book, he found the correct method for the elixir reheating process.
“So, the elixir reheating process requires the addition of a simple neutral medicinal ingredient like rehmannia powder. One only needs to restore the elixir to a neutral state, so that after reheating it, an elixir is formed…”
Jiang Yi suddenly realized what he should do. He picked the book “Record on Medicinal Herbs” and hurried to the medicinal ingredient room to search for the rehmannia powder. Quickly he found some rehmannia powder in a porcelain pot and started reheating the cauldron once again.
When he threw in the three elixir pills and injected a wisp of black essence force, a deep explosive sound came from the cauldron. When he lifted the cauldron lid to check the contents, he discovered that the three elixir pills in the cauldron had once again exploded…
“Forget about it, I’ll try again one last time. However, if I fail again, I’ll just return home and have my meal.”
Feeling irritated, Jiang Yi threw the seven remaining useless pills into the cauldron, before retrieving some rehmannia powder and conducted the reheating and refining process one last time. On top of that, this time around, he injected all three wisps of black essence force that were left in his dantian into the cauldron.
As Jiang Yi expected, an explosive sound came from the elixir cauldron. He wasn’t really hoping for anything but when he lifted the cauldron lid, he discovered that three of the elixir pills had actually not exploded at all, but were instead lying silently in the cauldron, much to his surprise. The top of the pills had black light circulating around, with the pills having a faint vein-like pattern—the pills looked strangely pretty.
“Hahaha, does that count as success?”
Jiang Yi was wild with joy. Retrieving the three black elixir pills from within the cauldron, and smelling the faint fragrance emitting from the cauldron, he became so excited that his body started shaking uncontrollably. He stared at the three pills in his palm intently—the pills were as alluring as three beautiful naked ladies.
“Same! They are the same! They look just like the two Earth-tier elixirs from yesterday! Tsk, Tsk! Earth-tier elixirs, how much does one pill cost? Perhaps… if I sell these three elixir pills, would they be worth ten taels of purple gold?”
Jiang Yi felt a rush of excitement as he hurriedly retrieved a small empty porcelain bottle and stored the pills inside. After cleaning up the Alchemy Lab, he closed the door of the Lab and walked towards the small courtyard of his own house.
Jiang Yi had returned home and was having his meal when Jiang Xiaonu, who was sitting beside him, suddenly spoke in a low voice, “Young Master, Chunya mentioned that someone is needed at the restaurant at South Street to wash dishes, and I am thinking of going with her to…”
“No! Definitely not !”
Jiang Yi cut her off immediately and warned her, “Xiaonu, you must remember, from today onwards you will never be allowed to leave the Jiang Residence Central Courtyard. Otherwise, you can forever forget about recognizing me as your Young Master.”
Jiang Xiaonu’s eyes revealed her anxiety. Gritting her teeth, she responded, “If we are unable to settle the debt within a month, and if people from Fengyue Brothel come here demanding their money, the Disciplinary Courts would definitely punish the Young Master. It’s alright if I get beaten to death, but Young Master…”
Jiang Yi put down his chopsticks and stroked Xiaonu’s head. Smiling, he replied, “Xiaonu, don’t worry, believe in your Young Master! We will have the money soon enough!”
Thinking about the three elixir pills in his chest pocket, Jiang Yi grinned widely. The speed with which he was gobbling his food increased several times. Like a whirlwind that swept away scattered clouds, he finished his food and left the house courtyard before giving Jiang Xiaonu a short briefing.
This time, he did not walk towards the Alchemy Lab, but quietly turned his way from the Western Courtyard and walked speedily in the direction of the city. He was going to the biggest merchant-house in the city—the Pearl Gathering Pavilion!
It was said that the Pearl Gathering Pavilion was the property of the Ji Family, the family that held city’s administration. The Pavilion held countless precious treasures inside. It was said that anything you could think of, you could buy it there. The Pearl Gathering Pavilion at the same time, was recognized by the public as the best location to sell off their treasures, without the fear of being cheated.
Jiang Yi could not randomly choose a location to sell his elixirs, because in case he aroused suspicion and greed in others, trouble would follow. The entire Skyplume City belonged to the Ji Family—what all types of treasures Pearl Gathering Pavilion had not seen before? Naturally, they wouldn’t cheat a small fry like him.
On way to the Pearl Gathering Pavilion, he suddenly stopped in his tracks and entered a nearby garment shop. It was not long before when he came out dressed in black from head to toe, along with a cloak enveloping his head.
He is a descendant of the Jiang Clan. What if someone spotted him going into the Pearl Gathering Pavilion and, that too to sell elixirs! This would easily raise people’s suspicions about him stealing the elixirs from the Alchemy Lab and selling them outside. And because of that he had to be more careful.
After five minutes, he arrived in the City Plaza in the middle of Skyplume City. People came around and went in and out of the plaza The square bustled with activity due to the heavy traffic. Since he was enveloped in a pitch-black robe from top to bottom, Jiang Yi did attract the attention of some people; however, as the city was crowded and noisy, not many people noticed him.
Lowering his head, Jiang Yi walked speedily forward, quickly arriving at a vast imposing three-storey building at the south side of the city plaza.
The Pearl Gathering Pavilion!
Jiang Yi lifted his head to glance at the huge plaque, with its three bold cursive golden characters, hanging above the main door. Pursing his lips and gritting his teeth, he raised his feet and walked into the Pavilion.
The interiors of the Pearl Gathering Pavilion were wide and spacious. In one glance, one could see ahead an expanse of several hundred feet. Various sales counters were spread across the the Pavilion, with a salesperson standing attentively behind each counter. Countless people in luxurious attires were milling and moving about, giving the place an atmosphere akin to a small market-place.
This was the first time Jiang Yi had visited such a large place; he did not know what to do… After standing at the same spot for a long while, a middle-aged man wearing a managerial robe walked over to him and inquired, “My dear guest, can I be of any assistance to you?”
“The Pearl Gathering Pavilion is definitely special!”
Jiang Yi nodded silently. The black robes he bought outside were of cheap-quality, yet not only did this manager not chase him out, he was very courteous. The number one merchant-house of Skyplume City was indeed special.
Jiang Yi cupped his hands in a greeting and, lowering his voice said, “I wish to sell some elixirs. Do you accept them here?”
“Of course we accept them, so long as they are high-quality elixirs.”
The manager nodded his head and asked, “Can I ask you, dear guest, what is the quality grade of your elixir? If it is just Man-tier inferior-grade… it surely can’t be only at that level? We don’t expect it to be of Earth-tier grade, but surely the elixirs should at least be of Man-tier superior-grade?”
Jiang Yi hesitated for a while before replying, “They are not of Man-tier inferior-grade.”
The manager nodded his head and nonchalantly replied, “Very well then, please follow me.”
Jiang Yi followed the manager into an elegant booth at the side. The manager offered Jiang Yi a seat before raising his hand and said, “Please display your elixirs. If they are of good-quality, we will give you a reasonable monetary offer.”
Jiang Yi took out the porcelain bottle from his chest pocket and handed it over to him. The manager poured a pill out of the bottle, inspected it carefully for a moment and whiffed it. Finally, he gave a frown and said, “Your elixir… I’ve never seen it before… so I have no way to appraise it. Please wait, I shall invite our alchemist working at the Pearl Gathering Pavilion to appraise it.”
Saying that, the manager put down the elixir and walked out of the booth. It was not long before he brought a white-haired old man into the booth. The elderly man was dressed in a moon-white long robe, his facial expression revealing his impatience.
As the elderly man walked in, he became even more displeased seeing Jiang Yi whose entire body was concealed in a cloak and black robes. He readily picked the elixir bottle lying on the table. He took a pill out and sniffed it. With much disdain he said, “This is a Spirit Pill that was refined to a useless state, then reheated and re-refined, isn’t it? On top of that, a few miscellaneous medicinal powders were added. I estimate that its medicinal efficacy has also been reduced. The value of this elixir is not high. Manager Liu, you take care of it yourself!”
“This alchemist is so powerful!” Jiang Yi thought silently in awe of him. Deep in his heart he felt a sense of disappointment and was perplexed. How could it be that the black essence force did not increase the medical efficacy of the elixir? It seemed like these elixir pills were not worth much, and perhaps the buying party might not even want them…
Just when the alchemist was about to throw the pill back into the porcelain bottle, his turbid eyes suddenly lit up with two bright sparks. His facial expression turned graver. With his eyes wide open, he carefully inspected the elixirs once again.
“That’s right, that’s right, this is indeed…”
After looking at the elixirs for a while, the elderly man actually trembled slightly. With a burning gaze he glanced at Jiang Yi and suddenly cupped his fists and asked him excitedly, “Distinguished and honorable guest, may I ask if you refined this elixir yourself?”
Jiang Yi was taken aback. He hurriedly stood up and, shaking his head, he answered, “No, no! I am just selling the elixir on someone else’s behalf…”
What a joke!
Since this alchemist was from the Pearl Gathering Pavilion, his abilities were definitely not poor. Elder Liu was a superior-grade alchemist and was of a high Elder status at the Jiang Clan. One could easily tell that the status of alchemists was high. How could he ever dare to accept this one greeting?
That alchemist revealed a sliver of disappointment on his face. Looking at the elixirs once again, he quickly turned his body and walked out of the booth. At the same time, he instructed the manager by saying, “Entertain this customer well, I need to consult with Second Young Mistress for a moment.”
The manager was startled for a second but quickly regained and beamed. Waving his hand, he ordered, “Someone come over here, and serve some premium tea!”