First of all, there was a medicinal cauldron. Many, many medicinal cauldrons.
They were divided into three models of small, medium, and large. There were ten small-scale cauldrons, four medium-scale cauldrons, and two large-scale cauldrons. Each medicinal cauldron was of exceptionally high quality and their structures were elaborate. They could be rated as top-quality cauldrons. Just one look could make people feel that these were extraordinary. They were every pharmacist's dream cauldron.
After that, there were stoves.
Because Gongyi Tianheng read through those prop books, although the pharmacists of Tianwu continent could refine pills, he took to heart that they could still produce medicinal cuisines and decoctions. So, he prepared eight different types of stoves. In the cabinet to the side, there were many kitchen implements placed according to sequence — each and every one shone with rays of inner light. It could be seen that the material of these things were just about the same make as the medicinal cauldrons.
This was probably for the sake of expediting the refining process.
Finally there were large medicine cabinets with many drawers occupying two large walls. Each drawer was filled with medicinal ingredients. To the side, there were two large chests that were densely packed with all sorts of materials used for refining medicine.
A wave of medicinal fragrance smacked him in the face, practically enthralling him!
Not to mention, there were many metal racks near the chests. Hanging from the racks were all sorts of wild beasts of all five elements. Small beasts were kept intact as whole carca.s.ses. Wild beasts with comparatively large builds were butchered into manageable sizes, and the most important parts were presented. These wild beast ingredients were all very fresh. Although the stench of blood was masked by the medicinal fragrance, an amateur would be able to tell that these beasts were hunted and delivered very recently.
In addition to the jars, barrels, and other containers with household tools, there were those that were sealed tightly.
Housed within them was a supply of pure water with special qualities.
If a sentence was used to describe Gu Zuo's state of mind right now, it'd be: a little stupefied.
After that, he was very eager, nearly itching with the need, to throw himself into the piles of medicinal herbs!
Seeing Gu Zuo in such a state, Gongyi Tianheng laughed a little: “Ah Zuo, are you satisfied?”
Gu Zuo quickly nodded.
Satisfied, too satisfied!
Tianheng asked again: “Then, do you want the first set of lists?”
Gu Zuo reacted and patted his cheeks with both hands: “Right, right, right. Of course, I'll take it.”
After they finished talking, he quickly walked to the medicine cabinets and large chests ahead, and opened them up to compare their contents. He remembered everything on the lists and found that there weren't any items missing. Otherwise, when the time came for him to refine, he'd discover that his preparations were unfortunately insufficient.
Naturally, there were no problems.
This made Gu Zuo's heart feel at ease — his patron's subordinates were people who were very careful and disciplined.
He turned his head: “Young master Tianheng, shall I start?”
Gongyi Tianheng looked at him being so energetic, and something glimmered in his eyes: “Please make yourself at home.”
Gu Zuo turned around, practically leaking excitement and ready to throw himself into it.
…Certainly, this was his first time handling kitchen tools.
In order to tightly hold his patron's golden thigh, Gu Zu wouldn't forget that his number one priority was treating his patron's illness. And to treat it, everything started with the medicinal cuisine.
Therefore, the journey of refining medicine began with cooking!
Gu Zuo promptly chose the ingredients.
The Tiandu Body was too cruel. As of right now, his pitiful patron couldn't withstand the strength of the first seven dishes of The Eight Meals, let alone skipping straight to the eighth.
And the first serving of the recipe was the most troublesome to deal with. It required ten wild beasts and ten medicinal herbs of all the elemental attributes: fire, water, earth, wood, and metal. Also, each kind of attribute had to be equally split between Yin and Yang; and identical parts selected couldn't be used in the same dish twice.
Considering that his patron was eating the medicinal cuisine for the first time, the twenty chosen ingredients had to be relatively mild and the medicinal properties kept weak. Thus, the cooking method had to be adjusted to slowly rejuvenate Tianheng.
For example, for the first wood element ingredients, he chose the seeds  of the amethyst bamboo and the liver of the drilling  skylark; for the second set of wood element ingredients, he used the crushed juice of the soaring cloud gra.s.s  as well as the gall bladder of the green armored beast … Only, the wood element ingredients were already so entangled, the remaining sixteen parts would be very difficult to combine.
Luckily, Tianheng's financial reach was huge. Everything on the lists were all delivered without exception, and he didn't know how much manpower or expenses were used to make it possible.
However, this wasn't what Gu Zuo was worried about.
Concerning the ingredients for the first round, he'd already ordered enough stock to produce twenty servings of the entire recipe. Thus, first he wanted to wait and slowly observe his patron's recovery.
If his luck was good, Tianheng's internal organs should strengthen after ten rounds of servings. His vitality would improve and his weakened meridians would become stronger.
At that time, when it was time to carry out the next treatment, the medicinal effects could be upped to a stronger dosage.
Gu Zuo didn't hesitate to pick up a knife, and began to process the ingredients.
Many ingredients had their own methods of preparation, so he needed to do these things by hand. Furthermore, some ingredients were still whole and intact and he didn't need large quant.i.ties to cut up… Not too long after, there were distinct ingredients piled up on ten large platters.
After, he placed a large pot on the stove and ignited a strip of silver wood charcoal. Pieces of fire stone were placed in the four corners of the stove, which drew in the flames and promptly heated up the pot on top.
He poured half a bucket of untainted  water into the large pot. Such water would be free of pollutants from the earth or air as well as other elemental attributes. Therefore, it had no impurities — at this time, the pot began to boil.
While boiling the water, Gu Zuo placed another large platter in front. Activating the Divine Medicine cultivation method, his two hands were placed near his chest and his fingers began moving continuously.
At this moment, Gu Zuo's actions held a bit of nervousness.
Fortunately, he had previous experience cooking and no matter how apprehensive he got, when he used the hand art, his fingers still resembled fast and elegant b.u.t.terflies. From each of the ten platters, he fast fingers would pluck an ingredient and, one by one, pat, hit, twist, or knead them together into a harmonious ma.s.s. As each ingredient originally had its own unique scent, they became meek and harmless. Gradually a very mellow and full flavor came forth and felt very balanced. He made them take shape as a single form without any dissonance.
Soon, he was more than halfway through his hand art. Some ingredients had bones in them, and it seemed like the bones were becoming soft and malleable. Gu Zuo detected that within his own body there was some kind of slight force emerging. It bundled up the unique flavors, which would make people feel like it was finally “perfect” .
With great difficulty, the harmonization was finished. Gu Zuo's forehead was sprinkled with beads of sweat.
As the water in the pot boiled, his hand art also changed. His fingers were like the wind as he tossed the ingredients into the pot one at a time! It was unusual; as each one entered the water, not a single drop of water splashed around. The trajectory arc of the ingredients was like the ribbon of a fantastic comet streaking through the sky — considerably special.
At this moment, Gu Zuo let out a small sigh.
At least there were no problems during the first half. After that, he paid attention to the heat control and continued his hand art.
Gu Zuo simultaneously activated the cultivation method and closely watched the big pot.
Perhaps, since the stove itself was rather short, it was to allow him to conveniently observe the pot. Although the pot was over half a meter tall , he could still watch the spectacle occurring within very easily.
Suddenly, he discovered that his sight became much clearer — maybe not clearer, but rather he gained a strange ability.
In a split second, he was able to see that the medicinal ingredients in the water had several distinct and colorful streams of qi trying to escape the pot!
Gu Zuo reacted almost immediately as he subconsciously activated his hand art.
In an instant, the qi scattered in nearly all directions. The slashing movements of the hand art held an attractive cadence and rapidly imprisoned the qi directly above the pot.
Following the endless fluctuations of the hand art, the qi slowly converged. Five colors blended together to form a l.u.s.trous color that could only be described as a chaotic mess .
Gu Zuo promptly applied the final two movements of his hand art!
Just as he saw the qi begin to expand, there was an abrupt contracting movement beneath it — Crash!
There was the sound of splashing water as the chaotically colored qi was pushed back down into the pot. After that there was the sound of a crisp ringing noise: Ping! It was the sound of Gu Zuo placing a lid on top.
Next, it only had to boil for another two hours. Then a serving would be ready.
It would be reasonable to a.s.sume that Gu Zuo ought to be able to wipe away the sweat of his toils and relax, but on the contrary, there wasn't enough time at all.
Because after he suppressed the chaotically colored qi within the pot, he discovered that there was an incredibly slow-moving, milky-white qi leaking out.
To the naked eye, it was clear to see that while that qi was weak, it was condensing rapidly.
Gu Zuo suddenly felt that he was very lucky, and within his mind he cried out in alarm: Medicinal qi!
In an instant, the milky-white qi came together and formed a “tiny snake” the width of a finger and the length of about one-sixth of a meter. It was swaying and shaking before there was a “whoosh” and disappeared from his sight.
[Collected one strand of medicinal qi. May the Host continue to struggle and work even harder.] 
Gu Zuo felt relieved.
Sure enough, this was medicinal qi. Not only that, but it seemed that his proficiency level wasn't too bad. Refining medicine for the first time and smoothly collecting medicinal qi — then, this serving of medicinal cuisine ought to be done refining?
For another half an hour, the pot's lid constantly stoppered the fragrance inside that wanted to burst forth. The pot itself was trembling as if it wanted to shake off the lid immediately.
Gu Zuo reached out with his hand at high speed and his fingers swiped across — in a split second, the lid was removed, and the fragrance of the medicinal cuisine filled the whole room.
He quickly filled the first bowl with a ladle and turned to give it to his patron.
However, he just turned around to discover that Tianheng was leaning against the door frame… He was attracted by the smell and came over, or he never left to begin with and was watching him refine medicine the whole time?
Whatever. It didn't matter which, both were unimportant.
Gu Zuo offered the bowl with both hands, still slightly nervous: “Young master Tianheng, taste it?”
 竹米 - Zhu mi, bamboo seeds.
 穿 - Chuan, besides meaning to wear, it also means to penetrate or drill. Mostly needed a decorative modifier for the skylark.
 翔云芝 - Xiang (to soar), yun (cloud), zhi (literally Zoysia pungens, a species of gra.s.s).
 青甲兽 - Qing (Green) jia (armor) shou (beast).
 无根净水 - Wu gen jing shui, in ancient times, water used in medicine. This kind of water is thought to be purified because it had never touched the earth, such as snow melt or morning dew.
 天衣无缝 - Tian yi wu feng, seamless heavenly clothes, an idiom.
 两尺高 - Liang che gao, one 尺 is about 0.3 meters, so two would be 0.6 meters.
 混沌 - Hun dun, in Chinese mythology, the primal chaos or the formless ma.s.s before creation, but it also means muddy or messy.
 再接再厉 - Zai jie zai li, literally continuing to meet foes head on in a fight and sharpen one's blade, an idiom. The System is not necessarily teasing Gu Zuo here…or maybe it is, haha.
T/N: So I expect I'll have much more time over the holidays to pump out more chapters. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc.
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