“Hee hee! Good, good! I will prepare everything for Junior Martial Brother right now!” The ugly man, seeing that Han Li had actually given him a mid-grade spirit stone, immediately beamed with joy.
One had to know that although the generally accepted exchange rate in the world of cultivators was one hundred low-grade spirit stones for one mid-grade spirit stone, in reality those willing to use a mid-grade spirit stone to exchange for one hundred low-grade spirit stones were very few in number.
This was because everyone knew that under the same circumstances, the speed of absorbing Spiritual Qi from a mid-grade spirit stone was much faster than when using low-grade spirit stones. Just based on this point, everybody wanted to keep a mid-grade spirit stone and naturally would not pay much attention to low-grade spirit stones.
Of course, the situation when exchanging high-grade spirit stones with mid-grade spirit stones was the same.
After the ugly man had happily received this fire-attribute spirit stone, he treated Han Li even more obsequiously. He immediately led Han Li before a huge, five-colored stone door and pulled out a purple command medallion from his waist, pointed it at the stone door, and shook it.
Red light flashed across the purple command medallion and a wisp of rosy light shot from it, precisely hitting the door; this caused the five-colored flowing light to rapidly gyrate. Finally, with a few ear-splitting “creaks”, the stone door slowly rose, revealing a black tunnel behind it. This tunnel was a few tens of feet high and was square in shape.
“Junior Martial Brother, the room with Earth Fire is just past this walled stone path. Let’s head over there now!” said the ugly man to Han Li ingratiatingly as he squeezed out a few traces of a smile.
“En!” Han Li nodded his head without saying anything, then took the lead to walk into the tunnel.
“Although this dock stone cannot be considered a rare item, it is still not a very common material in this world. To be able to find so much at one time and then use it as bricks to construct the tunnel and the room, it was only after a few Martial Ancestors with great ability from previous generations had spent a great deal of effort that it was constructed. Due to dock stone’s ability to resist high temperatures and the strange effects of refining using Earth Fire, no big accidents have occurred yet ever since this Earth Fire began to burn!” said the ugly man, showing off a little as he led the way.
Han Li’s interest was greatly aroused when he heard this; he couldn’t help but touch the black stone wall off to the side and found that it was smooth and ice-cold!
“This dock stone, where is it produced? It can actually resist Earth Fire, which is thirty percent more powerful than true fire. It truly is something special,” Han Li expressed his approval, a rarity, and casually asked.
“This? I heard that although it isn’t too rare of an item, our State of Yue really doesn’t produce any of it; these were all obtained by the Martial Ancestors from a state extremely far to the west. It really was extremely troublesome!” explained the ugly man.
Just like this, Han Li followed behind the ugly man. In the time it took to roll one’s eyes they had passed the other two similarly large stone doors, finally walking out of the dock stone tunnel. They appeared within an extremely large, round-shaped lobby.
This large lobby was similarly constructed of dock stone, but it was four or five hundred feet in diameter and was taller than a hundred feet; it was shockingly enormous! Evenly distributed white stone doors of identical size surrounded the huge lobby, roughly thirty of them in total.
There were no traces of other humans in the large lobby, only Han Li and the ugly man, both of whom had just arrived.
Han Li, after curiously sizing up the place, heard the ugly man say with a laugh:
“Underneath this large lobby is the location where the Earth Fire gathers and burns the brightest; thus, the sect opened up a total of thirty-six Earth Fire refining rooms here; the best rooms for refining pills are number eighteen and number nineteen.”
“However, number eighteen is already occupied by a Senior Martial Uncle, so Junior Martial Brother should use room number nineteen! Although it is somewhat worse than number eighteen, the flame intensity and stability are also extremely outstanding,” said the ugly man with a grin. As he spoke, he led Han Li in front of a door with “nineteen” painted in gold on its surface,
Hearing this, Han Li did not say anything and silently nodded his head, indicating his assent.
The ugly man, seeing this, immediately pulled out a jade tablet and stuck it on the door, and the white stone door automatically opened. Then, the ugly man and Han Li entered this room.
The room was square; its surface area was average, only eighty or ninety square feet in size; however, in the heart of the room was a round heap a few feet wide, and a fist-sized gourd was hanging from each of the four walls. A jade green meditation mat was also in a corner not too far away.
The round heap was similarly made of dock stone and was extremely flat, only half a foot tall. However, eight lifelike, fire-red miniature dragon figures were inlaid at the edges of the round heap. In addition, the mouths of the dragons were slightly elevated, aimed at a location in the air above the heart of the round heap, and they assumed a very lifelike spitting position.
After clearly seeing the circumstances inside of the room, Han Li felt quite astonished, but before he even opened his mouth to ask, the ugly man had already gotten close to the round heap and took the initiative to explain to Han Li.
“Junior Martial Brother, this is this room’s Earth Fire opening; the Earth Fire needed to refine pills shoots out from these eight dragon bodies. In addition, one can adjust the intensity and height of the flames according to one’s needs. The exact technique to control it is inscribed on the surface of the stone heap,” explained the ugly man, pointing at the round heap.
However, he then pointed at the four gourds hanging on the walls and said:
“Within these gourds is spark sand, which can temporarily add to the intensity of the Earth Fire; if Junior Martial Brother feels that the Earth Fire’s temperature is not high enough, you can use these to temporarily increase its intensity, but the duration will not be long. In addition, Junior Martial Brother should carefully put away this jade tablet. Once the door to the room closes, all contact with the outside world will be cut off. Unless numerous Core Formation cultivators put their strength together, nobody can enter from the outside, so Junior Martial Brother can be assured that there will be absolutely no one who will disturb you!”
Hearing these words, Han Li began to rejoice quietly in his heart; this kind of a completely sealed off environment was just what he needed, and he couldn’t help but reveal a few traces of delight.
At this time, seeing that his explanations were good enough, the ugly man said goodbye and took his leave.
Han Li, after watching the ugly man walk out of the room, immediately used the jade tablet and caused the stone door to seal shut. Then, he excitedly walked to the round heap and, after circling it many times, began to closely inspect those eight spitting dragons.
In the past few years, Han Li had purposefully spent a huge amount of time researching techniques for refining pills, all for the sake of refining this Foundation Establishment Pill. Thus, he could not be considered a stranger to the Dao of Alchemy. He knew that whether or not refining a pill succeeded was related mainly to the control of the fire, as well as opening the furnace to retrieve the pill at the right timing.
As for the composition of the ingredients and their quantities, after being put into practice countless times by former generations, they had already been clearly described on the recipe, so one did not have to consider it. Of course, appropriately increasing or decreasing the quantities needed to form a pill once was acceptable. As long as one followed the fixed scale, both increasing or decreasing the quantities of the ingredients was permitted.
However, while it was easy to say, actually doing it would be extremely difficult!
After accurately controlling the pill furnace’s fire, one also had to grasp how to open the furnace at the right time. Who knew how many prospective alchemists these two great problems had confounded!
Even the current, most well-known masters of alchemy could not help but admit that even if they were to personally attempt it, the success rate of forming a pill would still not be too high, only roughly a fifty-fifty chance of success, and this was for refining the pills they were the most proficient at. Thus, one did not even have to mention any regular alchemist!
The success rate of refining a pill completely depended on whether or not the alchemist’s experience was plentiful. The more an alchemist had refined a pill, the higher their odds of successfully refining a pill would be. Thus, both alchemists and talisman masters were neck-and-neck for the two most profitable careers in the cultivating world, and thus they were also the two most popular occupations.
From his inquiries, he was actually clear about these things, and he knew that based on his novice self, wanting to refine a Foundation Establishment Pill at this moment was purely a dream. Thus, he had already planned out from the start to refine these Foundation Establishment Pills one by one!
In this way, no matter how many times he failed, he would not feel too distressed about the loss of spiritual medicines. And the amount of spiritual medicines he had prepared was enough to refine more than a hundred pills; he trusted that this many ingredients would be sufficient for him to accumulate enough experience early on.
Having made a decision, Han Li committed the method of how to use the dragons to memory. Then, he began to form the appropriate hand seals, and shot out eight streaks of red light towards the dragons in a row. The dragons immediately absorbed red light, and their mouths opened; a purple flame as thick as a chopstick spurted out from each of their mouths separately. Instantly, the high temperature of the flames began to diffuse throughout the air inside of the room, causing Han Li to be quietly shocked.
Then, Han Li tried adjusting the thickness of the flame, as well as finely manipulating the height of the flames spurting from the dragons. When he could control them with ease, he extinguished the flames from the dragons. Next, he walked towards the prayer mat and sat down cross-legged, then began to restore his energy.
Han Li sat for the greater half of a day; after feeling that his energy and physical strength had reached their optimal condition, he opened his eyes and stood up, preparing to begin refining the pills. Thankfully, Han Li’s cultivation technique had luckily passed the tenth layer, allowing him to refrain from eating; thus, he did not need to eat.
Now, Han Li fished out the silver threaded cauldron that he had bought that day from his storage pouch, then placed a floating technique onto it, causing it to stop in midair directly above the round heap. This magic technique was also one that he had specifically cultivated for today’s task, and he had used up many days learning it.
Han Li once again shot out red light towards the dragons, stimulating the release of the purple Earth Fire.
Because ingredients had not been placed inside of the cauldron, Han Li controlled the fire and made it extremely thin, as thin as a silk thread. Then, he caused the silver threaded cauldron to begin to rotate in midair under the heating of the eight flames.
After a quarter of an hour, the silver threaded cauldron was already blisteringly hot and emitted a shockingly high temperature.
Seeing this, Han Li pointed at the small cauldron, causing its lid to immediately fly into the air, revealing the opening of the cauldron. He flipped his right hand, and a white jade bottle appeared in it; the bottle contained a precise quantity of fine spiritual medicine powder that he had prepared earlier.
Controlling the small bottle, Han Li dumped the medicinal powder inside of the bottle completely into the silver threaded cauldron; then, he immediately tossed this bottle and retrieved another bottle from his storage pouch, continuing to repeat the same motion.
Like this, Han Li completely dumped all of the ten spiritual medicine powders that he needed into the silver threaded cauldron, finally replacing the lid and covering it up again. The first step was finally completed, seemingly in a perfect manner, and no mistakes had occurred.