Chapter 9 – Yao Lao

“Alchemist?”

Hearing the elder’s words, Xiao Yan paused before continuing: “In the Dou Qi mainland, everyone wants to become an Alchemist, but is it that easy to become an alchemist? There are so many harsh requirements…” Suddenly, Xiao Yan’s voice fell and he raised his head: “I MET THE REQUIREMENTS?”

Enjoying the shocked yet excited expression that Xiao Yan showed, the elder stroked his beard slowly. After looking over Xiao Yan for a few more seconds, he finally said with some helplessness: “Even though you barely make the cut, I owe you a favor. Hah, whatever, I’ll let this count as the favor returned…”

Looking at the reluctant elder, Xiao Yan thought that the geezer was lying about him barely making the cut, but he was too lazy to probe further. Despite his excitement, he still had his suspicions. “Even if I make the cut, alchemists are taught by other alchemists. Are you an alchemist?”

Looking at the suspicious little face of Xiao Yan, the elder straightened and with pride he said, “Yup, I’m an alchemist!”

Blinking his eyes, Xiao Yan’s gaze at the elder became bright. Alchemists, those are really rare…

“Mister, if you don’t mind me asking, what rank alchemist were you before?” Xiao Yan licked his lips and his young voice was infused with a hint of respect.

In Dou Qi mainland, even though alchemists were very rare, there were still differences between alchemists. From low to high, the stages for alchemists range from the lowest, 1, to the highest, 9. The Pill King Gu He that made the Gathering Qi Powder that Nalan Yanran offered was a sixth stage alchemist and within the Jia Ma Empire, he could be considered to be the top alchemist!

“What stage? Hehe, I don’t remember … . Hey, kid, do you want to learn it or not?” the elder impatiently asked while shaking his head.

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“Of course, I want to!”

Xiao Yan didn’t hesitate anymore and hurriedly nodded with his small head. Alchemists, even with forces as powerful as Faction of Misty Clouds, were treated with respect and deference.

“Hehe, you want to? Since you want to, then you should pay your respects to your teachers.” The elder sat on a green rock and coiled his legs beneath himself.

“I need to pay my respects to my teacher?”

“Ridiculous! To not pay your respects and still expect me to teach you all that I know? You’re dreaming!” The elder rolled his eyes, looks like the pedantic elder really cared about these student-teacher relationships.

Helpless with a dour face, Xiao Yan could only respectfully pay his respects to the elder to become an honorable alchemist.

After watching Xiao Yan finish paying his respects, the elder finally nodded his head, satisfied. In his voice, a hint of intimacy appeared: “My name is Yao Lao. As for my origin, you don’t need to know for now so that you don’t get distracted. All you need to know is that the Pill King is … only trash in my eyes.”

The edges of his mouth twitching, Xiao Yan watched the elder’s carefree expression and thought: What is this geezer? The famous Pill King Gu He in Jia Ma Empire is only trash? If this spreads then the whole of Jia Ma would probably assume that he’s mentally ill.

Lightly taking in a breath and pushing down his shock, Xiao Yan’s eyes darted around and with some droll he asked: “Umm teacher, how will you help me to get to 7 Duan Qi within one year?”

“Even though for the past three years your Dou Qi has always been declining, your foundation in Dou Qi is much firmer than other people. In Dou Qi training, the foundation is the most important! Later, you’ll be able to discover how many benefits these three years have brought you!” Yao Lao’s smile slowly disappeared and he took on a more serious expression.

Xiao Yan was stunned, he was never told that having one’s strength taken away would bring benefits.

“Then when are you going to teach me alchemy?” Xiao Yan steered his thoughts onto the most important thing.

“To become an alchemist, you need to have Dou Qi of the Fire-Attribute. So, before you become an alchemist you have to at least become a Dou Zhe and learn a fire attribute Dou Qi method!”

Xiao Yan held out his hand and laughingly asked: “Fire attribute Dou Qi method? Hehe, teacher, since I’m your student, you should give me a Tian Level fire attribute Dou Qi method, right?”

Hearing that, Yan Lao indignantly scolded Xiao Yan: “Really? Do you think that Tian Stage Dou Qi Methods are like potatoes in the ground? How could you say something like that?!”

“Geezer, since I’ve already become your student, you can’t possibly let me go into my clan to find Dou Qi methods, right? Our clan’s top fire attribute Dou Qi method is only a high huang level. That’s way too shabby for an alchemist!” Xiao Yan’s face showed how depressed he was.

“Brat, I’m your teacher, not a geezer!”

Hearing Xiao Yan’s disrespectful words, Yao Lao rolled his eyes when he realized that Xiao Yan didn’t care about being respectful to his elders.

“Hmph! Since you’re my student, I wouldn’t let you practice some shabby methods. Tian Stage Methods? I don’t have them! But I have a method that’s a lot stronger than a normal Tian Stage Method. Do you want to learn it?” Yao Lao’s turbid old eyes suddenly became conspiratorial.

“Stronger than a Tian Stage Dou Qi Method?”

His heart beats rapidly. Xiao Yan swallowed some saliva and in his pitch black eyes, a hint of anticipation could be found. “Then what level Dou Qi Method is it?”

“Low Huang Level.” Yao Lao’s light laughter made Xiao Yan’s face stiffen.

“Geezer, you were playing me?”

A furious voice sounded on the peak of the mountain.

Looking at the twisted face of the young man, Yao Lao started laughing. To be able to make the calm Xiao Yan that mad, he had a feeling of accomplishment.

“What’s strange about that Dou Qi Method?” Watching Yao Lao´s bantering face, Xiao Yan suddenly calmed down.

“It can evolve!”

Xiao Yan’s eyes widened and without blinking, Xiao Yan stared at Yao Lao’s face, trying to find a hint that Yao Lao was lying, but after a few seconds, he shook his head: “No way! I’ve never heard of any Dou Qi method that can evolve!”

“Huu, what do you know? Dou Qi mainland is huge and strange people and things happen all the time. In your limited mind, you haven’t even gone outside of Jia Ma Empire. There are tons of impossible things that are actually possible.”

Xiao Yan paused before saying: “Then have you ever heard about Dou Qi Methods that can evolve?”

Yao Lao’s smile stiffened: “Because there aren’t any other like it, this Dou Qi Method is unique!”

“It can evolve?” Looking at Yao Lao’s serious face, Xiao Yan couldn’t help but ask again.

“It can evolve!” Yao Lao seriously nodded.

“Have you tried it?”

“Oh… No.”

“Have other people tried it?”

“Oh… No.”

On Xiao Yan’s forehead, a vein could be seen. With his hands curled tightly, Xiao Yan tried to resist his impulse to go over and punch the elder. “If no one else has ever tried it, then how do you know that it can evolve?”

“It’s explained like that on the Dou Qi Method.”

“There really are such Dou Qi Methods?” His brows furrowed, Xiao Yan hesitated before saying: “Can you let me see it?”

“Hehe…” Looking at the curious Xiao Yan, Yao Lao’s mouth opened, but what came out wasn’t what Xiao Yan was expecting. “Never mind. There’s no use if you see it now so why don’t you become a Dou Zhe first before I pass it on to you.”

Xiao Yan’s outstretched hand paused and after the edge of his mouth twitched for a while, he spat out three words: “You’re ruthless!”

Happily laughing, Yao Lao ignored the anger-filled pupils of Xiao Yan and said: “Our current mission is to get your Dou Qi up to 7 Duan within 1 year.”

Xiao Yan pushed down his curiosity and anger for the Dou Qi Method and asked with clenched teeth, “How are you going to do that?”

Yao Lao with a serious face said: “When one begins to train their Dou Qi, their main focus is to build muscle and strengthen internal Qi paths so that they have a foundation for when they materialize their Dou Qi within their body. Because people at your age have weak internal Qi paths and can be molded, you need to take the training process step by step and you can’t use outside force to boost your training speed or else in the future when your Dou Qi becomes stronger, your internal Qi paths won’t be able to withstand the force of Dou Qi pushing through the paths and your Qi paths would burst which would be when you would die.”

Xiao Yan knew this as well as Yao Lao because in the three years that he was crippled, his father was very worried and quite a few times, he tried to forcibly push Dou Qi into Xiao Yan’s body, but every time, at the last second, he would stop so Xiao Yan knew the stakes involved.

Yao Lao glanced at the calm Xiao Yan and satisfiedly nodded his head. “But that only applies to others. You’re different. Your internal foundation was already solid and reliable three years ago and since then because of your firm personality, you never stopped training your Qi. Therefore, your foundation right now, I can say that it is great!”

“So you want to use outside forces to train my Qi? Like pills?”

“Pretty much. But with the toughness of your Qi paths right now, you won’t be able to take the force of any of the pills going through your Qi paths. Even the rudimentary Gathering Qi Powder, you wouldn’t be able to use!”

“The rudimentary Gathering Qi Powder…” Xiao Yan wanted to roll his eyes again. In Jia Ma Empire, a Gathering Qi Powder would fetch sky-high prices. But from his teacher, these Gathering Qi Powder became the most rudimentary things. The difference between the two left Xiao Yan stunned.

“Then your plan?” Taking a deep breath, Xiao Yan recovered and furrowed his brows again.

“Hehe, since pills are too fierce and can hurt your Qi paths, we need to use a milder method!” Yao Lao smiles and says: “Tomorrow, prepare for me three complete stalks of Purple Leaved Bluegrass, where the older they are, the better. Also, I need two stalks of Bone Washing Flower, the age of it doesn’t matter. Oh right, I’ll also need a level 1 wood attributed monster core. These are all low-grade material so you should be able to get them… Someone’s coming, I’ll go back into the ring! Also, don’t let anyone else know of my existence, including your closest family.” After saying that, Yao Lao ignored the stunned Xiao Yan and jumped into the black ring. The ring shakes a bit and flies onto Xiao Yan’s finger.

“Three stalks of Purple Leaved Bluegrass? Two stalks of Bone Washing Flower? A wood attribute monster core? Geezer, are you sure that’s right? Do you think that I’m some royal prince? These things, added altogether costs over a thousand gold coin! After a few years of saving money to the point where I would skip meals and never spend on luxury items, I only have 400 gold coins. That’s only enough for one level 1 wood attribute monster core!” Xiao Yan pointed at the motionless ring and cursed.

“That’s your own problem. Hehe, other people would lust after my nourishing fluids, but all I’m asking is for you to get the money for the material and you’re already crying about that…” Yao Lao’s taunting laughter sounded within Xiao Yan’s heart.

“Damn it! The things that alchemists make can only be afforded by rich people.” Xiao Yan helplessly laughed. His allowance each month was only 20 gold coins. This was by no means a small amount; it would be enough for a small normal family to feed themselves for an entire year! But the money that he had was barely enough to buy one of the items that Yao Lao required. This is the difference between alchemists and other people!

“Hah, looks like I have to borrow it from someone…” Sighing a depressed breath, Xiao Yan slowly regained his composure and his small face recovered to his normal calm face. Turning his head towards the path up the mountain, he could make out a purple figure climbing the mountain like a spirit.

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