Chapter 33: Subdued
The sea of flames was endless. The scorching heat licked at her skin and flesh and the pain was so great it seemed to penetrate her bones.
Her flesh body was burnt to dust inch by inch. Even the strongest soul would be tempered into water by this ordeal. Su Tingyun felt that she probably wouldn’t survive this time and couldn’t even muster the strength to struggle. However, she couldn’t resign herself to it. She had clearly struggled through so many trials, yet this was going to be her end.
She had obtained a pill fire and intended to subdue it. Yet, when she was filled with confidence and in high spirits, it turned out to be a pipe dream. Even she herself was about to cease to exist.
Right at this moment, a cool sensation came from her finger. That coolness spread from her finger to her limbs and bones and poured into her burning heart. It was like the clear rivulets that flowed down from the top of a snowy peak and converged to finally form a large river that rushed with tremendous force towards the sea.
The pain Su Tingyun felt instantly lessened. Her primordial spirit was also nourished by this flood and it made her feel so comfortable she almost moaned.
The flames immediately weakened.
However, they weren’t willing to give up and struggled with all their strength to ignite into blaze again. There was no way Su Tingyun dared to relax at this kind of either-you-die-or-I-die moment. She promptly wound her consciousness around the flame again and put to use mental pressure. She formed her spiritual consciousness into the shape of a hand and sent it to grab that flame. Ignoring the pain, she kept the flame contained in a death grip in order to prevent it from growing stronger again.
She would rather directly extinguish this pill fire than give it the chance to recover again because if it did recover, she’d be done for.
Did it hurt? It still hurt. It hurt even more than before. Earlier, she had been in so much pain that her senses had numbed and her consciousness had been faint. Now, the jade ring on her finger transmitted a continuous stream of refreshing coolness to her. It was as if she had almost been beaten unconscious by someone, then woken up with a bucket of cold water and strung up again to endure branding iron torture. Rinse and repeat.
Su Tingyun’s primordial spirit went through numerous ordeals. She didn’t know how much time had elapsed, but she finally won the prolonged war by a slight margin and her consciousness returned. Su Tingyun turned around with difficulty and reached up towards the table. Supporting herself with the table, she struggled to her feet and stood while leaning on the table. Her legs were still trembling nonstop.
Her body had returned to normal. Only her head hurt like crazy and her palm hurt as if someone had run a sword through it.
Su Tingyun opened her hand and found that there was a bright red flame mark on the heart of her palm. However, the color of that mark was dimming and soon it completely disappeared.
Meanwhile, there was now a red line on the simple, white jade ring on her finger. It was as if a wisp of blood that had seeped its way in. The fact that she managed not to die this time was really thanks to Su Lijiang’s jade ring.
In the past, when she sent her spiritual consciousness inside the ring, it didn’t react at all so she had always thought that this ring was useless. However, from the looks of it, it’s quite an amazing treasure. During critical moments, it knows to actively protect its master? That’s probably the case.
Su Tingyun’s attention shifted and she called out the pill fire. That flame was like that of an ignited match, it was just a tiny spark. It was even bluish white like a will-o’-the-wisp. Could it be that this pill fire was phosphorescence? (phosphorescence is light emitted by a substance without combustion or perceptible heat.)
After retrieving the pill fire, Su Tingyun concentrated her attention on the jade ring again. The ring was cool and felt exquisitely smooth to the touch. However, when she made contact with that wisp of blood-colored vein, she felt as if her hand was being scorched. The feeling was similar to the experience earlier of being burned.
She had absorbed the pill fire into her primordial spirit and she could also call it out. However, from the looks of this, the pill fire seemed to have also entered the jade ring. Could it be that she and the ring had split the pill fire between them? Su Tingyun sent her spiritual consciousness into the jade ring once again but like before, she didn’t find anything. She investigated for quite a while and still didn’t figure anything out so she could only set the questions aside for now.
At the very least this ring acted automatically and seemed to be useful.
Having subdued the pill fire, Su Tingyun started preparing medicinal ingredients. She was now seriously broke and could only use the medicinal grass she planted to refine the lowest rank medicinal pills. She sorted the ingredients in preparation, then meditated to restore her spiritual energy. After her body recovered to its optimal state, she started using the pill fire to refine pills.
The power of the pill fire was too strong. At the start, she couldn’t control it well but after a couple tries, she figured out the strength of the flame and could control it. However, it would still take a long time before she would be able to control it fully.
She tested it out nonstop, seeking to perfect her control over the pill fire. After her spiritual energy was depleted, she would immediately start practicing mental cultivation to absorb spiritual energy. As soon as she finished resting, she would start using the pill fire again. She was completely immersed in the process so time flew. Before she realized it, she had already been in seclusion for half a year.
Though Su Tingyun was still only able to refine low-rank medicinal pills, the pills she refined were now extremely pure. This meant that these types of pills didn’t contain any pill toxins and had amplified effect as well.
She had used up all her stock of medicinal grass and had even recondensed all the pills she had refined in the past. In total, she now had a hundred – they could be said to be perfect – second rank Revival Pills and twenty Meridian Moistening Pills. She planned to sell the Revival Pills, then buy more ingredients for refining Meridian Moistening Pills in order to refine more pills for Xiao Mei.
Before she headed out, she changed her clothes and tidied up her hair. When changing her clothes, she discovered that her robe seemed to be much bigger. While she had been in seclusion, she had only been absorbing spiritual energy and didn’t eat those unnecessary meals that she had in the past due to gluttony. Because of this, her figure had become much slimmer and she didn’t look as tough and stocky as before.
Su Tingyun’s body was tall and sturdy from the start, but now at least she looked a little younger again and her complexion was also pretty good.
Her exterior appearance was now about forty. The shape of her face was rectangular and her wrinkles were gone. The bags under her eyes that old people tend to have were gone too. Though her eyes were small, her gaze was bright and she seemed full of energy like a female officer in the battlefield. Su Tingyun was actually quite happy with this appearance. After all, this current appearance was much more pleasing to the eye than that of an old person who seemed to already have one foot in the grave.
After leaving the room, Su Tingyun stretched. Standing in the shade, she looked at the blue skies with white clouds and the picturesque green hills with misty peaks in the distance. She felt so refreshed that she wanted to cup her hands around her mouth and shout out her feelings.
However, before her ‘ah’ even gained volume, Su Tingyun heard something even louder!
She turned around and saw that the Orchid Tongue Grass in the pond had grown big. Its two leaves were like large lotus leaves. Their width was about the height of a person and they were each about an inch thick. It looked like a giant scallop there in the pond.
Currently, those giant leaves were opening and closing, emitting an enormous screech. The sound was so ear-piercing that Su Tingyun’s head hurt.
She hastily went over and jumped into the pond as nimbly as a swallow. She tried to calm the Orchid Tongue Grass down but it still cried nonstop. It was a plant so it didn’t need to breathe to cry out. Thus, its volume didn’t weaken the slightest even after a long time. In close range, the sound it made was so strong it seemed to reverberate inside one’s head. It was so much that Su Tingyun turned pale from it.
She thought for a bit, then stroked the Orchid Tongue Grass forcefully a couple times.
Su Tingyun hadn’t come out for half a year. During this time, there were no other medicinal grass planted in the pond. The Orchid Tongue Gass was the only thing here and it had already grown very big. It almost couldn’t fit anymore into the ring of rocks she had casually built back then but it was still abiding by their previous agreement and didn’t grow out of that circle.
Su Tingyun saw that the Orchid Tongue Grass’ fleshy leaves were sunken due to the rocks being pressed against them. The bottom of these originally chubby leaves was even a bit deformed. Su Tingyun felt a little bad and gently rubbed its leaves as she said, “You’re such a good child, you’ve suffered.”
The Orchid Tongue Grass started slapping its leaves together as if it was applauding. However, the sound it made was still the ‘hahaha’ sound of laughter, just like in the past.
Su Tingyun laughed with it. She stroked it a couple more times before she moved to gather up those rocks. However, as she was gathering them up, she noticed something was off.
Back then the Orchid Tongue Grass was such a tiny little thing. She remembered that she gave it less than a square meter of space but this circle seems to be really big?
Someone probably had moved the circle out for it. However, it’s a good thing someone did, otherwise it would have been so cramped, thought Su Tingyun. While she was moving the rocks, Yin Li and Du Du Xizhi had come over. They happily greeted her.
“Grannie, you’ve come out from seclusion.”
“I came right after hearing the Orchid Tongue Grass shriek. And I was wondering what was going on, so it turns out Grannie had come out,” said Du Xizhi. Then, he lowered his head, a bit disheartened. “Grannie has already come out, yet Master and the others still haven’t returned yet. I wonder what’s in the palace that so attractive no one’s willing to come back.”
“I just can’t get that sword technique, White Halo Pierces Day, right. I really hope Master will come back soon to give me some advice.” Du Xizhi revealed a pitiful expression. Yin Li, who was standing next to him, lifted her hand and smacked him. “You’re just dumb. No one else has Masters that give them pointers in their cultivation.”
Du Xizhi rubbed the back of his head embarrassedly as he mumbled, “Aren’t you also looking forward to Master coming back?”
Yin Li rolled her eyes at him, then turned around and pulled Su Tingyun’s hand with a sweet smile, completely unconcerned about the fact that Su Tingyun’s hand was soiled from moving the rocks. “Grannie, I sent Mei jiejie a transmission just now. She’ll be coming soon!”
During this half a year, Yin Li and Li Xinmei had become pretty good friends. Yin Li brought transmission talismans and also gifted one to Li Xinmei. With the talisman, as long as the holders were within the range of the transmission array formation, the holders could contact each other at any time.
“Thanks ah.” Su Tingyun didn’t move her hand away either. After smiling a little, she said, “Thank you guys for helping me look after Xiao Mei. Oh, and this Orchid Tongue Grass as well. Were you guys the ones that helped move the rocks for this Orchid Tongue Grass?”
“Orchid Tongue Grass? We didn’t ah!” said Du Xizhi with a completely confused expression on his face. After he finished speaking, the little lolita, Yin Li, glared at him again with a ‘hate iron for not becoming steel’ look in her eyes. (disappointment that he’s not learning from his mistakes)
However, she could only go with what he said. “We’re also busy with cultivating so we’ve only watered it a couple times.”
Orchid Tongue Grass were hardy and could survive even in the harshest environments. They could even grow from a crack in a rock. That’s why they didn’t really worry about it much. Not to mention, the Orchid Tongue Grass was occupying such a big pond all by itself and was growing so unrestrictedly. Was there any need for them to look after it at all?
Su Tingyun turned around to glance at the currently silent Orchid Tongue Grass and saw its leaves slightly tremble.
She was pretty much roaring in her heart.
It moved those rocks itself, didn’t it? Didn’t it!? It had clearly grown out of the circle ages ago, yet it shifted the rocks outwards so that they still made a full circle and pretended that it didn’t overstep the agreed on bounds. What exactly was it trying to pull!?
Su Tingyun slapped her hand onto the Orchid Tongue Grass and stroked it two times with a fake smile on her lips. The Orchid Tongue Grass emitted ‘hahaha’ sounds of laughter like before. However, this time, the laughter was clearly a little weak and simply got weaker. The last laugh sounded almost like its gas supply had been cut.
Su Tingyun: “…”
Fine, this guy is still pretty cute.
After the three talked for a little while, Li Xinmei arrived. Half a year wasn’t very long, but nor was short. Li Xinmei’s cultivation had increased by an entire level.
This speed didn’t count as very fast within the Spirit Condensation Stage cultivators, but it wasn’t very slow either. However, no onlookers could possibly imagine how much pain she had to suffer through to advance to this level.
Su Tingyun felt that Li Xinmei seemed to have gotten a little taller. However, her pallor wasn’t very good and her figure was even thinner than before. It seemed like just a gust of wind was enough to sweep her away. However, her eyes were still clear and bright. In her pupils, faint gold radiance whirled, creating a dazzling effect.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Yours Truly
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