Chapter 22: You’re Suited to Be an Alchemist
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Jiang Yi stared at her blankly. He was sure that when he was at the Pearl Gathering Pavilion that day, this Young Mistress Ji should not have seen his face. How could she recognize him with one look?
Manager Yang similarly stared at her blankly while the three gentlemen stared at Jiang Yi, who was wearing a bronze mask, with much astonishment in their eyes. How could Young Mistress Ji, with a power level at the eighth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm, possibly choose to fight with a little bronze token-grade sparring partner? Would her finger alone not be able to stab Jiang Yi to death?
However, the three gentlemen quickly woke up from their astonished trances. They all thought that it was Ji Tingyu’s attempt to deliberately avoid them, and it made them unwilling to comment any further. Instead, they stood around at their original spots, feeling embarrassed.
“Lone Wolf, it’s time to do battle!”
Although the Martial Arts Hall was not under the administrative purview of the city administration, with the Ji Family effectively being the local lords of the land, Manager Yang naturally did not dare to offend Ji Tingyu. As such, Jiang Yi could only smile bitterly as he followed Ji Tingyu at a quick pace into one of the Technique Practicing Rooms.
The door to the room slammed shut. All three gentlemen stood at the same spot for a while before simultaneously turning around and leaving at a quick pace. This Young Mistress Ji had never been receptive to the three men’s attempts at courtship over the past few years after all. This circumstance was something they were already used to, and so they did not dare to entangle themselves in her affairs too much.
In the Technique Practicing Room, Jiang Yi awkwardly glanced at the alluring and beautiful young lady from the Ji Family standing opposite him. His evasive gaze was symbolic of his fear of looking at her directly. Thankfully for him, he was wearing a mask, and so Ji Tingyu could not see his blushing-hot face.
Ji Tingyu’s eyes revealed a faint expression of happiness. She stared at Jiang Yi with much curiosity until she could hold it in no longer. It was only then that she opened her mouth to say, “Young Master Yi, long time, no see!”
Jiang Yi smiled with some bitter agony. That day, he had used that pseudonym “Yi Jian” at the Pearl Gathering Pavilion. However, after being so easily and quickly recognized, his heart did not feel as wrung and pained as before. Instead, he looked at Ji Tingyu with a tranquil gaze and asked, “Young Mistress Ji, how did you recognize me? You did not see my eyes that day, did you?”
“I simply guessed!”
Ji Tingyu calmly laughed and explained, “I was just somewhat startled how you took a look at me outside this room and immediately tried to hide your body. After we entered the room, upon seeing your build, I couldn’t help but feel that you seemed vaguely familiar. Finally, I was able to guess after taking a look at your shoes.
Jiang Yi bent his head down to take a look, and he started laughing bitterly upon seeing the worn-out tattered cloth shoes he was wearing. This pair of shoes was sewn for him by Jiang Xiaonu. As he had not procured new shoes in over half a year, there were three patches on his shoes which were very eye-catching.
After glancing for a while, he muttered in an attempt to mock himself, “Young Mistress Ji, I think you shouldn’t call me a young master. Why don’t you call me Yi Jian! Have you ever seen a gentleman or young master wearing such tattered shoes?”
“You’re wrong, Yi Jian!”
Ji Tingyu shook her head and replied, “Who is immediately destined to be a great person upon birth? No one can ever let go of one’s own family background, but we can dictate and control our own destinies. I call you ‘young master’ out of respect, not because of your birth or background. The number of youth in Skyplume City, who is handsome and talented, is virtually countless, and yet I’m usually too lazy to even speak to most of them. Do you get what I mean?”
“I thank you for your advice!”
Jiang Yi’s eyes lit up. He cupped his fists raised them in gratitude. A heroic spirit roused and soared highly in his heart. Smiling, he replied, “In the future, should I achieve greatness, I would definitely not forget Young Mistress’ teachings and advice.”
Seeing Jiang Yi’s eyes glow with vigor and high spirits from under his bronze mask, Ji Tingyu was stumped for words. Originally, she had just wanted to say some simple words of comfort and consoling, out of fear that Jiang Yi would feel too awkward. However, what she did not expect was that Jiang Yi would become so touched, as though he had changed and become a completely different person. The sense of confidence and grandeur emitting from his body actually gave her a mysterious feeling of familiarity, as though he was like… her father, back when he was given the title of City Lord of Skyplume City.
Seeing Ji Tingyu continuously stare at him in silence, with her pair of pretty phoenix eyes giving off a misty look, he felt awkward once again and quickly opened his mouth to say, “Young Mistress Ji, since you came searching for me for a practice match, how about we spar against each other in a match now? I hope that you will be merciful to me.”
“Spar in a match?”
Ji Tingyu was once again stumped for words. Jiang Yi, with such a tiny amount of power, was actually ready to spar with her in a match. Even though both their essence forces had been sealed off from use, shouldn’t the difference between their powers be too wide? Was it possible for her to just stand her ground, be still, and allow Jiang Yi to attack? Is this what it meant by allowing him to be her sparring partner?
However, since Jiang Yi offered, she did not feel it was right to be so impolite and let him lose face that way. Besides, having already entered the Technique Practicing Room, not having a martial arts combat match with a sparring partner would raise suspicions over what happened. Ji Tingyu had no wish to let others know the circumstance that Jiang Yi could bring in elixirs with vein patterns. As such, she smiled and replied, “Young Master Yi, please do not spare me either, and let’s fight!”
Jiang Yi very quickly came to realize something—was he not the one who was the sparring partner? How could he be the one to start attacking? As such, he could only smile dryly and say, “Young Mistress, please start. This partner will make an all-out effort to correspond to your moves.”
Whilst cultivating power just now, Jiang Yi had been able to store two wisps of black essence force for future use. At the moment, he could potentially withstand attacks for a short amount of time, just enough distance and duration to test the use of the black essence force on a much-more-powerful martial artist.
Ji Tingyu decided not to be affectionate any longer. Skipping a beat with one of her legs, she fluttered over like a flowery butterfly. Her hands danced about in the air, as though they were fiddling with the strings of a guqin, producing multiple images of figures made from the traces of her hand gestures, the figures leaving one bedazzled and confused. In the midst of doing these actions, her voice rang out like a silver bell, saying, “Watch out, Young Master Yi! This martial arts technique is from our Ji Family—it’s the man-tier superior-grade technique Fantasy Spirit Hands.”
What a great move! Black essence force!
Jiang Yi shouted to himself in his mind as a black flash sparked in his left eye. The speed of the originally rapid-moving hand gestures before his eyes immediately slowed down. His legs applied the Psychedelic Step technique, allowing him to quickly move to the side and dodge the incoming attack.
Ji Tingyu was originally afraid that she would send Jiang Yi flying with just one move, and so she did not dare to apply her full force in this initial attack. She had even used a man-tier martial arts technique. Who could expect Jiang Yi to actually avoid the attack with such ease? His movements were relaxed and smooth, natural like moving clouds and flowing water.
The pride in her heart was greatly aroused. With a leap of both her legs, she increased her movement speed by several notches before once again circulating her Fantasy Spirit Hands technique and attacking in the direction of Jiang Yi.
What left her astonished was that Jiang Yi, whose power level was only at the second stage of the Cast Tripod Realm, could actually easily avoid her attack once again. This time she failed to touch even the corner of Jiang Yi’s robes.
This is so strange. Could it be that this Young Master is secretly concealing his great power?
Ji Tingyu was silently bewildered by what she had just witnessed. Deciding not to reduce and conserve her power any longer, she tiptoed and continuously stepped point by point on the ground as she moved in a sweeping motion towards Jiang Yi at a high speed, akin to a strong gale. The ten fingers on both her hands were like playing a magic guqin in mid-air, conjuring up an image figure made from her hand gestures to entangle with Jiang Yi’s whole body.
The power of the eighth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm is indeed enormously great! If such a person were to rely on his or her bodily strength and abilities alone, that person’s natural speed would even reach a level on par with someone using their third or fourth stage power in the Cast Tripod Realm!
Seeing the hand silhouettes cover up the surrounding air as far as his eyes could see, Jiang Yi slightly sighed with regret. Deep down in his heart, he was unwilling to lose face in front of a beautiful lady. He knew deep down that his speed would definitely be unable to beat that of Ji Tingyu. As such, he simply decided to stop trying to avoid incoming attacks any further and use his eyes to firmly lock on to Ji Tingyu’s hands instead. With his mind spinning at a quick speed, he was able to estimate his opponent’s attack trajectory and stretch his two hands forward like a strand of seaweed in turn.
Before Jiang Yi’s Silk Hand technique could grab hold of Ji Tingyu’s palms, his opponent’s palms had cut his hands down in a chopping movement. A fresh agonizing pain reverberating from his hands forced him to pull back immediately in shock while a great shockwave caused him to continuously retreat backward by three steps. As for Ji Tingyu, her figure remained rooted and standing with attention at her original spot while she herself observed him with a bright smile on her face.
“Young Mistress Ji’s power is enormously great, I truly admire it and admit being weaker.” Jiang Yi smiled with some bitter agony. The combat ability of a martial artist with a power level in the eighth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm was indeed formidable. If not for both their essence forces being sealed off from use, it was likely that he would not even be able to withstand a single attack technique.
Ji Tingyu smiled faintly and shook her head, her pretty eyes revealing a look of extraordinary splendor. She praised him with much earnestness, saying, “It was Young Master Yi who gave Tingyu a big surprise! I had after all just attacked with full force just now; even the gold token-grade sparring partners would be unable to block off my attacks, no?
“Sigh… unfortunately, Young master, your Cast Tripod Realm stage power levels are too low. Otherwise, our match would definitely provide much assistance to my training. Of course, you don’t have to feel discouraged or dejected, Young Master. There are many late-bloomers in the world that still end up accomplishing great things.”
In her heart, Ji Tingyu sighed silently about how—unfortunately for Jiang Yi—he was already so old, and yet his power level was only at a measly second stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Unless greatly large powerful family clans invested a great number of resources on training him, his accomplishments would forever remain severely limited. The higher a martial artist cultivated his power level, the more difficult it was to increase his or her power level further. Also, relying on elixirs alone could not instantly produce a powerful martial artist. The resources needed were something ordinary families could not afford to spend and consume on—or rather, the family clans within Skyplume City did not have such ability.
Jiang Yi, on the other hand, did not find this that big of a deal. His power level was originally already at a low Cast Tripod Realm stage. Not only was he not dejected about it, but he even looked forward incomparably towards the future. He wondered how powerful his combined combat ability would be… once his power-level had continuously increased, expanding to the fourth or even fifth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm.
“Alright, Young Master Yi, I’ll be leaving!”
Ji Tingyu stood up and walked towards the exterior of the room. She only turned her body around once she reached the door to say, “Young master, I still think it’s best for you to continue learning alchemy from that alchemist. That alchemist… is very knowledgeable and powerful, with an immeasurable great future prospect. If you continue following him, you’ll be prosperous and without worry for the rest of your life.”
Young Mistress Ji opened the room door and walked out, leaving Jiang Yi whose pupils were revealing a look of perplexed bewilderment. He wondered about her suggestion to continue following ‘that alchemist’ to learn the art of alchemy. With which alchemist? Could she be talking about Elder Liu? What could he do, considering that he’s already dead? Besides, how great a life could he have by being just a first-rate alchemist?
After thinking for some time, Jiang Yi could not come up with any suitable ideas and ended up not overthinking about it any longer. After informing Manager Yang, he walked out of the Martial Arts Hall and returned to the Jiang Residence.
Even though Jiang Yi had confirmed his employment matters with the Martial Arts Hall, he had a steady natural disposition. Without the ten taels of purple gold in his hands and not having redeemed the command token back, he once again did not reveal to Jiang Xiaonu the details of the experiences he faced in the Martial Arts Hall. He only told Xiaonu that since he was now working for the Martial Arts Hall, she had nothing to worry about and also instructed her not to head out of the house for any kind of work.
With a simple and naive personality, Jiang Xiaonu did not think too much about what Jiang Yi said and felt happy for him instead. After all, the Martial Arts Hall was a big place. In her perspective, working for the Martial Arts Hall definitely meant that he was doing great things. She scarcely realized Jiang Yi was employed there for being the lowest-grade sparring partner.
The next day, after finishing the tasks given by Chief Rong early in the morning, Jiang Yi once again went over to the Martial Arts Hall. Manager Yang once again gave him three Spirit Pills. For the rest of the entire day, besides Yi Lingxue ordering Jiang Yi specifically by name to join her in a practice match as a sparring partner, Manager Yang did not call out Jiang Yi once and allowed him to concentrate on cultivating his power instead.
This time, Yi Lingxue insisted on allowing Jiang Yi to make the first move and attack her. Jiang Yi had no choice but to use his martial arts skills. In the end… it was a sad case for Yi Lingxue. Every single time, Jiang Yi was able to pre-empt her moves and take the initiative to strike first, allowing him to easily strike her. Thankfully for her, every time Jiang Yi did not overexert his force in his attacks and stopped once he touched her. Otherwise, Yi Lingxue’s elegant and fragile body would have to be subject to much physical abuse.
Having been abused in one match, Yi Lingxue did not feel a shred of discouragement; rather, she was unbelievably excited. After promising to return the next day for a rematch, she twitched her round buttocks and walked off at a wide pace. Observing her movements, the other sparring partners were all feeling envious. They were all clearly jealous of Jiang Yi’s luck with women.
However, Jiang Yi himself had no intentions aimed towards Ji Tingyu. He was well aware that she was totally different from the second young mistress of the Yu Family in terms of class and social status. Besides, he was also aware that this young mistress had no romantic intentions towards him and merely enjoyed sparring practice with him. As for… Yi Lingxue, Jiang Yi did not even dare to consider the possibility.
With free Spirit Pills being limitlessly provided to him, plus the thick heavenly and earthly spiritual aura in the Martial Arts Hall, in addition to the stimulus provided by the black essence force, Jiang Yi’s power cultivation achieved rapid progress—so fast that it left him speechless in his heart.
However, the amount of essence force needed to break through from the second to the third stage of the Cast Tripod Realm was double than that of the original. His power level had already been stuck at the first stage of the Cast Tripod Realm for over a year. To be able to break through to the third stage of the Cast Tripod Realm there and then was unthinkable, even if he had such obscenely fast essence force cultivation speed. It would be impossible to accomplish this breakthrough without spending more than half a month in cultivation practice.
All was peaceful and calm over the next few days. Ji Tingyu did not appear again, Jiang Henshui and Jiang Rulong did not show their faces either. Jiang Yi spent every single day running between the Martial Arts Hall, the Western Hills, and the Jiang Residence Central Courtyard, only either sparring in combat with Yi Lingxue or conducting power cultivation. His days passed by rather substantially and satisfactorily.
On the tenth day, as per their agreement, Manager Yang gave an advance of ten taels of purple gold to Jiang Yi. After Jiang Yi received his purple gold, without wasting a single second, he apologized to Manager Yang and rushed over to the Fengyue Brothel, burning with much anxiety.
As it was noon, there was not a single customer in the Fengyue Brothel. When Jiang Yi walked into the Fengyue Brothel, he indeed saw that housekeeper from that day. Beside that housekeeper, he also unexpectedly saw a man, a young master of a great family clan whom he had seen twice at the Martial Arts Hall.
He did not know the name of that gentleman, beyond his surname of ‘Ma’. At the moment, that housekeeper was speaking to him in a low voice and with much flattery, giving an impression that he was a servant. With just one look, Jiang Yi immediately understood the great power backing the Fengyue Brothel. It was none other than the Ma Family, which was one of the five great family clans of the city.
This is going to be troublesome…
The Ma Family and the Jiang Clan were mortal enemies. Additionally, this housekeeper knew that he was a son of the Jiang Clan. Jiang Yi muttered to himself that something was amiss. However, seeing as he had already caught the attention of that housekeeper, he could only brace himself and walk further into the building.