Translator: Flying Lines
Shiao Chen slowly opened his eyes where a touch of depression could hardly be held in. A slightest deviation of the control over his Divine Sense had led to the failure of the whole alchemy process.
Closing his eyes to rest for a while until his mind was re-stabilized, Shiao Chen quickly cleaned up the dregs and started the alchemy all over again.
This time, Shiao Chen couldn’t be careful enough and didn't make any mistakes from beginning to end. After an hour, a strong medicinal fragrance came out of the elixir-refining furnace.
With trace of joy showing up on his face, Shiao Chen opened the furnace, finding a dozen of Foundation Establishment Pills were lying there.
He picked up one of them and examined with great care. It was exactly the same as the one he already possessed. Shiao Chen nodded with satisfaction and put the rest together in the jade bottle.
Mastering the technique, Shiao Chen was able to refine medical pills much quicker. And by the time when night fell, all the 30 packs of materials were used up. Except for one pack failed during the process, the rest 28 packs of materials were successfully turned into 400 Foundation Establishment Pills.
Looking at the four large bottles of Foundation Establishment Pills, Shiao Chen's face burst with exultation. Presumably, even those core disciples from the major sects had never seen so many Foundation Establishment Pills once for a life time.
Shiao Chen hesitated for a while and put three bottles into the storage bag.
"Three hundred pills are enough for me to build the foundation. The rest 100 could be used for further refining so that I might get pills of middle and even top grade, which will sure exert better effect for my cultivation."
Ten hours later, watching, in front of him, the nineteen Foundation Establishment Pills with much better gloss and fragrance, Shiao Chen also felt a little bit grudging for the pills wasted during the refining. Although he had reached the tenth level of Qi refining and his divine sense had greatly enhanced, the difficulty of further refining was beyond his expectation. Only after several rounds of consecutive failures did he succeed. Still, after one hundred trials, he only obtained 19 pills, a success rate of merely 20%. Shiao Chen sighed and carefully packed up the 19 middle-grade Foundation Establishment Pills. Swallowing a few, he closed his eyes and began to meditate.
Having refined Foundation-establishment Pills and then further purified them, Shiao Chen had consumed much of his divine sense and spiritual power, so even though he swallowed several elixirs, it took more than six hours for him to completely recover.
Shiao Chen took out another Foundation-establishment Pill and swallowed it. In an instant, the cool and tame spiritual power within his body began to turn violent and desperately rushed along his meridians all over the body again and again. As the medical effect was absorbed, the spiritual power grew stronger and also became purer. Shiao Chen closely guarded his spirit by not intervening in the inside changes and just letting it be.
An hour later, the almost boiling spiritual power within the body gradually subsided. Shiao Chen opened his eyes, wearing a twinge of self-deprecation on his face. Usually, for a person of middle-level talent, foundation could be established after reaching the eighth level of Qi Refining; but sadly for him, foundation was still not built even though he had reached the tenth level and taken many Foundation Establishment Pills, a proof of his poor aptitude.
Fortunately, Shiao Chen was well-prepared for this, so he quickly calmed down after self-ridicule. Carefully examining himself from the bottom to the top, he found that although the foundation-establishment failed, the spiritual power in his body had enhanced quite a bit. This seemed to be attributable to the effect of the elixirs. Shiao Chen collected himself and took one more Foundation Establishment Pill.
With the first experience, this time he assimilated the pill faster. Shiao Chen opened his eyes, swallowed another one and continue to absorb it.
Shiao Chen took the third Foundation Establishment Pill. As the elixir was absorbed, the boiling spiritual power seemed to have undergone some changes. Shiao Chen was delighted to himself, “Did I make it?” After the pill was completely assimilated, Shiao Chen slowly opened his eyes and attentively felt the changes in his spiritual power.
At this moment, the volume of spiritual power expanded once again, and also became purer than before. At the same time, his divine sense got more powerful than before. Shiao Chen opened his eyes but could hardly pull out a smile. Although he made a breakthrough, he definitely did not manage to establish a foundation. What was his current stage of cultivation? The eleventh level of Qi Refining? It seemed a level never heard of.
Shiao Chen contemplated for a while. Though he did not succeed in building the foundation, his cultivation was ceaselessly increasing. If this enhancement could last to the maximum, he could naturally enter the next phase of cultivation. He collected himself and took one more elixir, thinking resolutely to himself, “I have more than too many elixirs. If one is not enough, I’ll swallow ten; if ten is not enough, I’ll swallow a hundred. I can take as many as it takes to build the foundation!”
For two consecutive months, Shiao Chen secluded himself for cultivation. Days passed by in repeated elixir-taking, meditation and elixir-refining.
Twenty-five elixirs taken, Shiao Chen had the feeling of breakthrough for a second time, but the foundation still wasn’t built. And temporarily he defined the current stage as the twelfth level of Oi Refining.
Sixty-four elixirs taken, he made the third breakthrough; the foundation-building failed, and he reached the 13rd level of Qi Refining...
And then 157 elixirs taken, the forth breakthrough; foundation-building failed, and he reached the 14th level of Qi Refining...
By the fifth breakthrough, foundation-building failed again, and he reached the 15th level of Qi Refining...
Shiao Chen opened his eyes, which were full of unyieldingness. The refining of this middle-level elixir only made the spiritual power inside him purer but never increased the volume.
"Alas, it seems I’ve reached the ceiling of Qi Refining. But why can’t I establish the foundation?" This was his tenth attempt, and no progress was made in his spiritual power after nine Foundation Establishment Pills of low-grade were absorbed in a row. Therefore, Shiao Chen decided at once to give up and swallowed a middle-grade pill, but the effect was still greatly limited.
Cudgeling his brains, Shiao Chen looked somewhat painful. Although the 15th level of Qi Refining was reached, no breakthrough was made. Did he get this extraordinary alchemy technique just to find out his cultivation should stop at Qi-refining period?
Shiao Chen was never prepared to yield so he used the Qi concealing technique learned from Soul Muddling Scripture to stabilize his cultivation at the seventh level of Qi Refining. Swallowing a Disguising Pill, he walked out of the valley.
Disguising Pill was a kind of unorthodox pill made of costly materials. Its function was to change the taker's appearance for six hours and could be taken again every other hour. However, it was far from flawless. Anyone with cultivation more than a big realm beyond the taker could easily see through the disguise. Luckily, Shiao Chen had made it to the 15th level of Qi refining at this moment, a stage no weaker than an average cultivator in terms of either spiritual power or divine sense, so he didn’t have to worry about being recognized.
The only capable person — Chief Master had been guarding for Alchemy Taoist who was in his closed-door cultivation of breaking through the Gold Core Realm, so Shiao Chen could put his heart at rest.
Coming out of the herbal garden, Shiao Chen sprang into the air. Although no spirit tool was used, he was extremely rapid. In less than a quarter, he landed some distance away from the Books Pavilion of Luoyun Valley, a library where stored tremendous number of books and records on every aspect of cultivation. Above the pavilion there was a strong spell restriction which prohibited people under Foundation Establishment flying. Although Shiao Chen was able to do so, at the point he did not want to attract any attention, so naturally he would not do anything stupid.
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