Chapter 43 - Very Slow… Very Slow...
Chapter 43 - Very Slow… Very Slow...
“It cannot be… He is the Little Turtle!!” Everyone was in an uproar.
Compared to everyone else, the person who was shocked the most was Xu Baocai. He looked dumbstruck at Bai Xiaochun. His eyeballs felt as if they were going to pop out of their sockets. He had just scorned Bai Xiaochun in his heart for not taking the third volume of the spirit beasts seriously, but looking back, Bai Xiaochun didn’t really need to take it seriously……
“Mastery of herbs, mastery of spirit beasts… By being here, Bai Xiaochun is clearly ridiculing me now! However, this is too unbelievable, he has only been in the sect for a few years… He couldn’t possibly be the Little Turtle?” Xu Baocai took a deep breath. He quickly retrieved the small notebook and recorded everything. Deep down in his heart, he was thankful that his resentment towards the other party had already dissipated, and that the scorn in his voice wasn’t too obvious.
While everyone was still shocked, Bai Xiaochun stepped away from the arch with a sigh. In reality, if there was no need to reveal his attainments in the ten herb and spirit beast steles, he wouldn’t have exposed them either. After all, among Zhou Xinqi’s admirers, there are inner sect disciples as well.
But he didn’t have a choice today. He couldn’t let such reasons stop him from being promoted. Although he was annoyed, seeing everyone’s expressions and hearing their voices, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but feel touched.
“They really are a good bunch of fellow sect disciples. If everyone was like this, how nice would that be!” That was how Bai Xiaochun felt as he walked away from the arch. Under everyone’s gaze, he chose a pill furnace and sat down.
Elder Xu glanced thoughtfully at Bai Xiaochun, the corner of his lips giving away a hint of a smile which quickly disappeared. Calming down once again, he lightly spoke.
“There are ten herbs in the bags in front of you. The Grade One medicine which is to be refined ten times is the Black Incense!”
“Using the success rate as the basis for the assessment, two successes and you qualify. To the candidate who refines the most… The reward is five thousand contribution points. Begin.”
As soon as Elder Xu’s words reached them, the outer sect disciples observing the assessment were shocked.
“The assessment this time is actually Black Incense!”
“Even though this Black Incense is not the most difficult herb to refine amongst those in the first grade, the level of difficulty is not to be underestimated….. It is not like the Dried Incense that a lot of Spirit Children have practiced beforehand.”
“Humph, even a better way to test a person’s herb refining abilities. Have all of you failed to notice that the previously required fourth volume of herbs has already turned into the fifth volume? And now the increase in the level of difficulty for the medicine shows the examination’s difficulty will only increase more in the future.”
While everyone was whispering among themselves, the participants, who were sitting in front of their pill furnaces, were awaiting their assessment with composed expressions. Although many felt like crying in their hearts when they heard ‘Black Incense’, they did not have the luxury to be distracted. All of them quickly opened the bags and inspected the herbs.
Despite having heard of the five thousand contribution points reward from Xu Baocai, after hearing Elder Xu’s words, Bai Xiaochun felt his heart racing. He did not have many contribution points left and regardless of whether it was to purchase medicine recipes or to purchase herbs itself, it all required contribution points.
“If I can obtain the five thousand contribution points, it will save me a lot of work. I won’t need to think of ways to earn more for a while.” As Bai Xiaochun’s thoughts reached this point, he opened the bag in front of him. Besides the ten sets of herbs inside, there was also a jade piece. Pinching it in his hands, it turned out to be the medicine recipe for the Black Incense.
Bai Xiaochun did not immediately start refining the herbs. He concentrated, attentively examining the medicine recipe.
He inspected it very slowly. This was related to his habit of refining herbs. Even if it was just a minuscule problem, he felt the need to overcome it first in order to feel prepared.
This inspection took him an hour.
In this hour, Du Lingfei and the others had already completed their inspections of the herbs and had started refining them. In fact, they acted so fast that the first half of the sets had already been refined.
Looking at the whole arena, with the exception of Bai Xiaochun, the rest were all already refining their herbs. It was only Bai Xiaochun who was still inspecting the jade piece in his hands. This strange scene surprised the observing outer sect disciples, including Xu Baocai.
It was at this time that bursts of muffled rumbles rang out, showing the results of the first batches of medicine. Besides Bai Xiaochun, the eighteen other participants also fell silent. Black smoke emerged from within their pill furnaces. Their first batch had failed.
Only Han Jianye threw his head back and laughed. When his pill furnace rumbled, rich medicinal aroma wafted in the air and at the bottom of the pill furnace, a piece of Black Incense the size of three cun appeared.
(ED note: one cun is aproximately equal to 3.5cm)
The observing outer sect disciples immediately looked in his direction.
“The very first batch is successful!”
“This Han Jianye is adept in refining herbs!”
Han Jianye’s face showed his delight as his proud gaze swept the other candidates, especially Bai Xiaochun. Realising that Bai Xiaochun was actually still examining the medicine recipes, his eyes revealed disdain. Lowering his gaze, he took out the second set of herbs and started refining once again.
Du Lingfei and the others had disgruntled expressions on their faces. They all gritted their teeth and began refining once again as well.
Time passed and when the second hour ended, everyone’s second batch of medicine was completed one after the other. Dull rumbling sounds rang out once again. This time… not a single person had succeeded. Everyone failed.
It was at this point that Bai Xiaochun finally put down the jade piece. He had completely memorised the medicine recipe of this Black Incense. But just when everyone thought that he was going to start refining the herbs, they looked at Bai Xiaochun with shock when he took out one of the herbs and began scrutinizing again. He had a serious expression as he focused intensely.
“What is this Bai Xiaochun doing? He examined the medicine recipe for two hours. What more can he learn from this herb?”
“Even if it is an inspection, surely it shouldn’t be this slow…”
Xu Baocai’s eyes widened. He too felt incredulous seeing that the others were already on their third batch.
While everyone was wondering about that, the third hour arrived. This time, all of the eighteen participants failed once again. This followed in the fourth hour before finally in the fifth hour, there were four people that successfully refined the Black Incense. Du Lingfei, Chen Zi’ang and Zhao Yiduo were among those successful in refining their first piece of Black Incense.
Followed by a drifting aroma, Han Jianye’s proud smile appeared. He was the first to refine a second Black Incense stick. Looking at his surroundings, his expression became increasingly prideful while his contempt for Bai Xiaochun similarly intensified.
Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochun was currently studying the fourth type of herb. He even cut one open to inspect it. Not only were the observers finding it increasingly surprising, even Elder Xu couldn’t help but throw a couple more glances in his direction.
Time flew by and soon the sixth hour arrived. Everyone failed their sixth batch of medicine, except for Han Jianye’s sole success.
At this moment, an uproar rose among the observing crowd. Even Elder Xu slightly nodded.
“This Han Jianye has already refined three batches while the others have only done one!”
“In previous assessments, two successful refinements were enough to qualify, four successful refinements would mean he’s a genius. Han Jianye has a couple more attempts, if he succeeds in refining another stick, he would be crowned as a genius.”
While everyone was busy discussing, Han Jianye’s eyes revealed a surging confidence as he mumbled softly to himself.
“I will definitely be able to refine the fourth piece of Black Incense and be known as a genius, obtaining first place in the process!” He flourished his long sleeve in high spirits, beginning the seventh batch.
Du Lingfei had an ashen look on her face, viciously clenching her teeth. Following Han Jianye, she and the others began their seventh batches as well.
When the seventh hour ended, happiness was revealed in Du Lingfei’s eyes. Inside the pill furnace in front of her, a medicinal aroma flowed. It was mixed with the black fog formed by the surrounding participants’ residue. She was actually the only one who had succeeded with this seventh batch.
“I passed, I can now be promoted, but just passing is not enough!” Du Lingfei controlled her excitement by taking a deep breath, then she started the refining process once again under Han Jianye’s cold expression.
The eighth hour passed swiftly and this time, a thunderous rumble sounded out, once again …… everyone had failed.
At this point, among the nineteen candidates participating in the promotional examination, Han Jianye had succeeded thrice, Du Lingfei had succeeded twice and both Chen Zi'ang and Zhao Yiduo had succeeded once. As for the others… they had not succeeded even once.
On Bai Xiaochun’s end, he was now starting to examine the last type of herb.
“The assessment this time is just too difficult…”
The observing outer sect disciples could also feel the tension in the air. There were enough materials for only two more sets in front of most of the candidates. Other than Du Lingfei and Han Jianye that were sure to pass, if Chen Zi'ang and Zhao Yiduo succeed in none of the two remaining attempts, then they would fail the assessment today.
Compared to the four of them, the other ten or so candidates were even more bitter and distressed. This was because they only had one chance left. If they failed a ninth time, there was no need to go through the tenth try. Elder Xu would also prevent them from wasting the herbs in such a manner.
If they failed their ninth batch, their assessment too would have… failed!
Amids everyone’s nervousness and uncertainty, all of them focused their full attention and began the ninth batch…… Regardless of who it was, everyone was extremely focused. Those who had qualified hoped to obtain a better result, those who did not qualify were giving their last push.
Only Bai Xiaochun… sat there holding his last type of herb, as if he had come across a difficult problem, furrowing his brows while deep in thought. His presence… had already been completely forgotten by the others.
This ninth hour seemed to pass very slowly. While everyone was waiting, a rumble echoed out as soon as the the ninth hour ended. It came from a disciple that had failed to succeed from start till end. His expression turned ashen in an instant. Laughing miserably, he stood up, paid his respects to Elder Xu and left dispiritedly.
Everyone turned silent. Slowly, continuous rumbles echoed, and one by one, disciples silently got up and left the arena. In the end, the ones left in the arena were only the six people who were still refining at their pill furnaces.
Not long after, another thunderous rumble rang from the pill furnace of those six. Only one pill furnace had the medicinal aroma and it belonged to Zhao Yiduo.
Zhao Yiduo firmly clenched his fist while breathing unevenly. Both his eyes were red as his heart was filled with excitement. He had finally completed the requirement of the assessment. He had succeeded twice and qualified!
Some participants were joyous and some were in despair. Among the five that failed, two disciples that hadn’t succeeded yet laughed miserably. Sighing softly, they also stood up and left the arena.
Chen Zi'ang felt as if his whole being was on fire. He stared squarely at Zhao Yiduo, breathing rapidly with a feeling of bitterness in his heart. Retrieving his gaze, his eyes already red when he looked at the last set of herbs in front of him.
Du Lingfei furrowed her brow, closing her eyes to think. The pressure on Han Jianye was the least, however, he was not content to succeed in refining the medicine only three times. He wanted to break into the realm of geniuses.
“The last batch!” Everyone sucked in their breath, looking at the scene in the arena. Only five people were able to remain in the arena. Han Jianye, Du Lingfei, Zhao Yiduo, Chen Zi'ang and…… Bai Xiaochun.
The former three had already qualified. Chen Zi'ang had only one chance left. As for Bai Xiaochun…… Everyone glanced at him once and forgot about him once again. They even started to suspect Bai Xiaochun’s appearance here. He had used nine hours to examine the medicinal recipe and herbs themselves, even though the end result was yet to be seen. Could it be possible that he came just to see what the fuss was all about?
With unprecedented seriousness, Du Lingfei and her company of three started refining their tenth batch of medicine. Under everyone’s attention, the tenth hour slowly passed.
“Hong!” Black smoke rose from the pill furnace in front of Zhao Yiduo. He sighed. Even though he failed, it did not matter as he had already passed.
In the instant that Zhao Yiduo failed, a medicinal aroma rose from the pill furnace in front of Chen Zi'ang. But it was not only from his direction. The medicinal aroma also drifted from Du Lingfei’s pill furnace and even Han Jianye’s pill furnace!
The medicinal aroma quickly spread around. The expressions of those three revealed immense joy. All of them had succeeded!
“I succeeded! The fourth piece of Black Incense! I am first!!” Han Jianye stood up abruptly. His laughter contained his excitement which echoed in the surroundings. Du Lingfei also sighed. Although she did not achieve the status of a genius, succeeding three times was already impressive.
Chen Zi'ang felt as he had come to life, laughing heartily.
At this moment, after suppressing themselves for an hour, everyone broke out with cheers.
“The assessment this time was too difficult. With this level of difficulty, that Han Jianye still succeeded four times. He is indeed worthy of being titled a genius!”
“Du Lingfei thrice, Chen Zi'ang and Zhao Yiduo both twice…… They both fulfilled the conditions for the promotion. If not for the increase in the level of difficulty this time, I reckon that these three would have also achieved four successful refinements.”
Some people were talking to each other, while those who called themselves friends of Du Lingfei and company cheered for them from the sidelines. Elder Xu nodded, especially when he looked towards Han Jianye, his eyes shone with approval. But just when he was about to announce the results, suddenly, Bai Xiaochun moved.
3/4 guaranteed chapter of the week.
Translated by: Nat Nat
Edited by: Arch, Crimsonguard