Gongyi Tianheng watched Gu Zuo wave him off as he returned to refine more pills, and stopped bothering him.
Sure enough, he discovered that this pill-refining kid took a comparatively long time the first attempt. The speed of refining a cauldron of Qi Generating Pills rapidly increased between the second and third tries.
In each batch, there were hardly any exceptions to the qualities compared to the first sixteen. And even the time of refining was shorter than the previous one.
This kid was endlessly amusing to Tianheng, and his improvement could be seen by the naked eye… Spending all that money on him was not in vain.
After the third batch of successful refining, Gu Zuo's forehead was drenched with sweat. He sensed that very little time had pa.s.sed and felt that he could still continue refining pills. But before he could really proceed, he was stopped.
Without him knowing when, Gongyi Tianheng was already behind Gu Zuo and a hand held his left shoulder. His tone was very mild and considerate: “Ah Zuo, you're already very tired. You should rest for a bit to avoid injuring yourself.”
Gu Zuo's brows furrowed: “Young master Tianheng, I can still…”
Tianheng laughed a little, and his words were soothing: “I'm not in a hurry. If you're too impatient, your growth in the future will be wrought with difficulties… After all, you still need to cure my illness.”
Gu Zuo reacted. That's right, he shouldn't be looking for benefits in the short term. This was just a little bit different from how he used to work; getting hurt on the job might become very troublesome!
His patron was a very smart person, and he'd listen to whatever smart people had to say.
Thinking clearly, Gu Zuo nodded his head. He refreshingly said: “I'll listen to young master Tianheng.”
The side of Gongyi Tianheng's lip curled into a smile. Gu Zuo slowly walked out of the pharmacy and entered his patron's bedroom.
The bedroom was relatively private and very s.p.a.cious. It was connected to the study via a side door. Not only did it have a huge, comfy bed, but there was also a smaller bed to the side. The other bed was newly added and was obviously for Gu Zuo.
The distance between the two beds was about three to five meters. Beyond his expectations, there was plenty of s.p.a.ce to avoid b.u.mping into each other.
Gu Zuo looked at it and was very satisfied.
He might have lost his personal s.p.a.ce, but he himself didn't have much to hide. He pretended like he was going to college  with his cla.s.smates, living together in shared dormitories! And this time around, his “cla.s.smate” was a top student; it was all good.
He didn't need to say much to Tianheng. Gu Zuo took off his shoes, sat on his bed and said: “Young master Tianheng, I'm going to start cultivating.”
Tianheng looked at him and gently said: “It isn't urgent, but I'd like to consult Ah Zuo about something.”
Gu Zuo blanked: “What happened?”
Gongyi Tianheng broke into laughter: “The quality of the medicine Ah Zuo refined is pretty good. Whether if it's by the Gongyi Clan's allocation or if I sold it directly, it'll go for a high price. According to the distribution of profits, how much did Ah Zuo want to claim?”
Gu Zuo was a little confused: “Young master Tianheng, the materials I used had all come from you. I just used it for practice, so naturally all the finished product belongs to you. What's there to distribute?”
Originally, he forced his patron to support him when he had no one to rely on, which was already very contemptible. After he found a way to heal him, it was merely a successful deal, but he no longer felt so guilty. His patron not only agreed to believe in him, he also gave him tons of medicinal ingredients without batting an eye. Preparing so many high quality prescriptions and refining tools…the investments were not small at all. Tianheng issued all these things; it was only the right thing to do by handing everything over to his patron. Where could he find room for profit distribution?
To behave with integrity, one cannot make a profit at another's expense . He couldn't be such a shameless person!
Tianheng listened to what he had to say, and something unknown flashed through his eyes.
He walked pa.s.sed Gu Zuo and ruffled his hair. He smiled, saying: “Later, if you want, we can discuss this at any time.”
Gu Zuo felt that there was nothing to discuss, but nodded anyway to show that he accepted his patron's kindness.
After that, Tianheng walked out.
Gu Zuo's eyes followed his patron's back as he left the room. Then, he recalled something.
He promptly asked a question in his mind: System, when I previously refined those pills, did any medicinal qi form?
Because he was too nervous the first time refining pills, and too focused by the third time, he simply forgot all about this matter. In addition, he wasn't yet proficient in using his strange vision ability, so he didn't notice anything.
[Already collected three strands of medicinal qi. May the host continue to work hard.]
Gu Zuo was glad.
As long as he refined medicinal pills, he could obtain medicinal qi? In that case, there were still about twenty days left. He could refine medicine every day in this manner. Wouldn't he be able to save up thirty strands very quickly? This small life would certainly be safe!
But…suddenly a small doubt arose in his mind: By the way, after you collect thirty strands, I'll still be refining medicine. Will you still be collecting medicinal qi?
[This system will continue collecting.]
Gu Zuo asked again: After collecting, will it be put forward for the next month?
Gu Zuo wasn't willing to give up: Then, will you be taking the surplus medicinal qi?
[This system can stockpile the surplus. May the host discover its uses on his own.]
So it turned out he incorrectly blamed the system… Gu Zuo felt a little embarra.s.sed: Sorry about that. Then, can you help me stockpile the extra medicinal qi? Where can I look after it?
[After this system has absorbed thirty strands of medicinal qi, the surplus will be deposited in the storage s.p.a.ce. The host can check on it at any time.]
Gu Zuo understood.
He no longer asked any questions. He closed his eyes and continued using the Divine Medicine cultivation method.
In order to refine lots of medicine, he had to acc.u.mulate even more natural qi .
— That's right. Nowadays, he could already sense the subtle flow of qi through his body's meridians. Every time he used his hand arts, the qi would discharge at specific acupuncture points in his hands. Those regions should be the locations of his yao beads. By means of his cultivation method, the more qi he could acc.u.mulate, the longer he could persist when refining medicine.
On the other side of things…
After Gongyi Tianheng left his bedroom, he went to his study.
Dragon One appeared, carrying a large red gourd with both hands: “Young master, all the Qi Generating Pills have already been packed in this fire jade gourd. It has the ability to prevent others from sensing any medicinal fragrance inside.”
Tianheng gave a slight nod: “Right now, you're already at the third stage of Meridian Condensing?”
Dragon One respectfully replied: “Yes, young master.”
Tianheng was pensive: “Those most suited to use the Qi Generating Pill are Houtian martial artists up to the seventh stage. It seems like you're a ninth stage Houtian, so there shouldn't be much use.”
He didn't ask for Dragon One's opinion before he continued: “Open the gourd and take out a pill to eat so I can observe.”
Dragon One's body stilled.
He'd been following the young master for a long time, so it was only natural that he wasn't mediocre. There would certainly be a reason for the young master to order him to do something like this.
Thus, without any hesitation, he removed the cork from the gourd and dumped a pill directly into his mouth.
Dragon One's eyes instantly widened.
Once the Qi Generating Pill entered his mouth, it released a sweet flavor and liquified down his throat. Suddenly, a huge medicinal force flowed through his meridians and turned into a power with a pure essence, which converged within his his body's acupoints. 
The natural energy he'd stored unexpectedly increased!
Unlike his previous experiences taking the Qi Generating Pill with its dull sweetness, this medicinal pill was practically enjoyable for him. Not to mention the power contained within it, which was, at the minimum, one hundred times greater than the other pills!
Although he was a ninth grade Houtian martial artist, this Qi Generating Pill was very useful — it could be said that the power it supplied was superior to that of the Qi Linking Pill , which was favored by martial artists of the Meridian Condensing stage. Moreover, it seemed that the natural energy it gathered was of an even purer quality.
After carefully examining its effects, Dragon One didn't dare to neglect the tiniest detail as he reported everything he experienced to his young master.
Gongyi Tianheng muttered to himself: “Just as I predicted, the Qi Generating Pills refined by Gu Zuo are unprecedented.”
Dragon One heard this and his admiration for his young master increased.
Tianheng's eyes were as sharp as ever.
Using the insignificant medicinal ingredients of the Qi Generating Pill to create a “pill” that was superior to that of the Qi Linking Pill. For the young master, this should carry tremendous profits!
Gongyi Tianheng's expression was profoundly solemn: “Ah Zuo's affairs must absolutely not be known to anyone else.”
Dragon One completely understood what he meant, and immediately fell to his knees in obeisance: “The Tianlong Guard will blindly follow the young master. We are loyal and devoted. In no way whatsoever will there ever be those who would disobey your orders! May the young master be at ease!”
Tianheng smiled, nodding his head: “Naturally, I have faith in you all.”
After he finished speaking, he motioned for him to stand.
Dragon One stood up and looked at the red gourd in his hands. Eagerness flashed in his eyes: “Young master, then these Qi Generating Pills…”
Gongyi Tianheng smirked: “Of course, good things should be reserved for one's allies.”
He pondered for a bit: “Ah Zuo's efficiency is considerably high. Each and every one was successful. I will be keeping all of them, and according to the output scale, I will distribute them to my Tianlong Guard. But my Clan has established standards and there aren't any justifications for free labor . Transfer some funds from my personal storehouse, use twenty percent to purchase Qi Linking Pills, and mark down the purchases in a ledger. The ledger should be recorded under my name, but must be kept separate from my personal storehouse.”
Dragon One was apprehensive: “Young master will be paying Pharmacist Gu so much?”
He certainly understood what the so-called “twenty percent” and newly opened ledger were for.
Tianheng laughed: “He deserves this price. In the future, he'll be worth even more.”
Dragon One had an epiphany, and respectfully bowed his head: “Yes, young master.”
Gu Zuo was Tianheng's personal pharmacist. The medicinal pills he refined all belonged to him. Even though he would be supplying the Clan, the Clan still had to use their own funds to purchase anything.
Ordinary Families would revere pharmacists because they needed medicinal pills. All medicinal herbs were supplied by the Families, regardless of how much was wasted. At the same time, whether the Families used the medicinal pills for themselves or sold them, ten percent of the profits would be allocated to the refining pharmacists — Of course, if the refining pharmacist was particularly powerful, the payments could be amended.
Right now, Gongyi Tianheng wanted to give the medicinal pills to his Tianlong Guard to use. He was transferring twenty percent of the market price of the Qi Linking Pill from his personal storehouse. In other words, after tomorrow, these Qi Generating Pills would be sold externally at the same price as Qi Linking Pills. And twenty percent of the profits would be allocated to the refining pharmacist Gu Zuo.
Dragon One already understood.
With Gu Zuo's ability, if he steadily refined Qi Generating Pills with a better efficacy than Qi Linking Pills, both prices would be identical… The benefits would be unimaginable.
He believed that his young master would make these benefits even more terrifying.
 The actual words are 大学, college or university. However, Gu Zuo is fifteen years old and, unless he's a child genius, I think “boarding school” would be more appropriate. If I get more information about his circ.u.mstances, I might change it back to college. (Thanks to an unknown user for the help!)
 The characters are switched around, but it comes from the phrase 占便宜, which means to take an unfair advantage at other people's expense.
 天地之气 - Tian di zhi qi, the qi of heaven and earth. I've been translating it word for word before, but it's such a ha.s.sle. From now on, I'll be using “natural qi” instead. I'll probably go back and change the other references in earlier chapters to match as well.
 穴窍 - Xue (acupuncture point) qiao (hole, orifice), not sure about a direct translation, so I just used “acupoint” as a generalization to keep it separate from actual references to acupuncture points.
 合气丹 - He qi dan, direct translation.
 白用 - Bai (Free of charge) yong (employment).
T/N: For those who didn't understand, Tianheng intends to create a paper trail. The Qi Generating Pills Gu Zuo made are better than Qi Linking Pills. To account for the appearance of these terrifying pills, Tianheng made a “ma.s.s-purchase” (i.e., salary for Gu Zuo) as a cover up to explain the discrepancy. Ahhh, what our devious ML will do to hide his little MC.
Anyway, it's still 12/25 in my time zone. So here's a present for you all. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc.
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