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NETS - Chapter 138 – Specialty Pellets

Lu Ping returned to the side palace full of questions. When he got back, there was already no one remaining in the side palace.

After asking a disciple on duty, he was told that the disciples were already at the front square of the palace, ready to receive the Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters’ tests. All the pre-accepted disciples in the side palace had gone to the square to watch.

Lu Ping was naturally curious and rushed to the square to witness the tests set by the Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters that were ready to accept disciples.

The tests were numerous and came in many forms.

Some required disciples to recite a cultivation method within a certain period of time.

Some asked disciples to write an essay on a specific topic.

Some tests were more straightforward, disciples were told to compete with their combat prowess, with the winner to be accepted by the teacher.

Others were even stranger, asking disciples to pick a fishing rod and go fishing in the rivers of Tian Ling Mountain.

......

In short, there were all kinds of tests, some were sensible and some were strange. They really opened Lu Ping’s eyes.

Of course, there were also more professional ones.

For example, to enter the Pavilion of Alchemy, a disciple not only had to hand in their name, age, place of origin, cultivation base, masteries, and more, they also had to demonstrate the ability to concoct a certain type of medicinal pellet, achieving a particular rate of success, set by the Enlightened Masters.

Others such as the Pavilion of Smithery, Pavilion of Charms, also had similar professional tests with strict assessments.

Lu Ping lost interest after watching for a while. Instead, the palace maiden's emphasis on the gift of appreciation was playing on his mind.

However, Lu Ping also couldn’t guess which Enlightened Master was going to accept him as a disciple, moreover, a female Enlightened Master.

Originally, the ceremony was just a formality to announce and officiate the relationship between teacher and disciple. However, it was human nature to compare, so the gift of appreciation became a concerning issue.

Not to mention, it was the daughter of his future teacher who personally came to test him and repeatedly asked him to prepare a nice gift of appreciation. Naturally, Lu Ping couldn’t help but take it seriously.

He thought for a long time but couldn’t think of anything which would please a Core Forging Realm Enlightened Master.

He felt that if he really couldn’t think of anything nice, he could always give some spirit stones, a high-grade mystic instrument or even a top-grade mystic instrument. He was certainly not lacking any of these items.

However, on second thought, this would no doubt give off the vibe of a nouveau riche, making things feel more similar to a business deal than anything else. He was afraid that this might make his teacher unhappy.

Besides, a few top-grade mystic instruments alone, weren’t really anything significant to Enlightened Masters.

In fact, it wasn’t that he didn’t have anything that could attract the Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters’ attention. For example, the Azure Spirit Fire was something that even Enlightened Masters would be pleased to have. However, there was no way he would gift it away, unless he suffered from severe brain-damage.

Thinking of the Azure Spirit Fire, Lu Ping's eyes lit up. He could actually concoct some medicinal pellets for his teacher, especially as he was now an Alchemist. After all, no cultivator disliked having more medicinal pellets.

Even if the medicinal pellets he concocted weren’t suitable for his teacher, she could still reward the pellets to her other disciples. This way, not only would his teacher be pleased, he would also get along well with his other senior martial siblings in the future.

After making up his mind, Lu Ping returned to the cultivation room that was temporarily arranged for him and sealed it. After that, he took out the mid-grade cauldron and the Azure Spirit Fire which was burning on the spirit-gathering chassis.

It was a good thing that he had been refining the Bottleneck Breaking Pellets, with the Primal Giant Crocodile's blood as the main component. Therefore, he still had a lot of spirit herbs left in his possession.

Lu Ping quietly thought about which medicinal pellet to concoct, when he suddenly remembered a specialty pellet’s recipe that he found in the interspatial pouch of the Ocean Overturning Gang’s Yuan Shi-Kong, whom he had killed.

Lu Ping held the pellet recipe in his hands and studied it carefully. The recipe was for a very mystical-sounding medicinal pellet, known as the Beauty Everlasting Pellet.

However, this medicinal pellet wasn’t as magical as it sounded. A single Beauty Everlasting Pellet couldn’t make one’s appearance stay youthful forever.

After all, there was no such medicinal pellet that had an everlasting medicinal efficacy in this world. Otherwise, wouldn’t this mean that immortality pellets also existed? If this was the case, then why do cultivators still cultivate so hard striving for immortality?

This so-called Beauty Everlasting Pellet was just able to maintain a person’s appearance for years or decades. Once a certain number of years had passed and the medicinal efficacy had faded away, their appearance would continue to age as normal, unless they consumed another Beauty Everlasting Pellet.

The Beauty Everlasting Pellet was a specialty pellet that fell between Late Blood Condensation Realm medicinal pellets and Core Forging Realm medicinal pellets.

Lu Ping was used to concocting Late Blood Condensation Realm medicinal pellets, after he had reached a certain level of proficiency in concocting the Mid Blood Condensation Realm medicinal pellets. So, he wasn’t inexperienced.

However, the Beauty Everlasting Pellets required five thousand-year spirit herbs to concoct, which undoubtedly increased its difficulty. Luckily, Lu Ping had collected these five kinds of thousand-year spirit herbs in Fei Ling Island before.

Additionally, the Tome of Thousand Millets also had a few other spirit herbs, along with more than twenty 500-year spirit herbs. So, he had enough spirit herbs to concoct five cauldrons of Beauty Everlasting Pellets.

However, as the concoction would involve thousand-year spirit herbs, which were used by Master Alchemists to concoct Core Forging Realm medicinal pellets, the difficulty would be much higher than before.

Even when the majority of ingredients were still just 500-year spirit herbs, it would still take a quasi-Master Alchemist to concoct these medicinal pellets.

Lu Ping thought for a while before finally making up his mind to do it!

This was an unprecedented challenge for Lu Ping. If he succeeded, his alchemy would take a leap forward.

Lu Ping spent two full hours to calm down his mind, and then entered meditation, thinking about the process described in the pellet recipe.

According to the order of the pellet recipe, start the fire, warm the cauldron, open the lid, put the medicine, .......

After completing those steps, the various spirit herbs in the cauldron finally began to blend their medicinal properties together.

This was a long process, but Lu Ping didn’t dare to relax even slightly. He used his divine sense to pay full attention to the cauldron during every change.

At a certain point, Lu Ping made 27 hand seals in a row. Each hand seal was accompanied by a huge surge of arcane energy which entered the cauldron.

It took him an hour to finish this complicated set of hand seals. Lu Ping felt more tired right now, than when he had used the Verdant Dawn Sword in battle with a Late Blood Condensation Realm cultivator.

Lu Ping sat to the side of the cauldron and quickly regained the arcane energy in his body.

After two more hours, the medicinal liquid from the various spirit herbs in the cauldron finally finished fusing. However, Lu Ping still found that some of the medicinal liquid had been wasted through his divine sense.

But he couldn’t care about that anymore. He aroused his spirit and began to perform the hand seals to concoct the medicinal liquid into a paste, before finally forming pellets.

This set of hand seals were even more complicated, with a total of thirty-six hand seals which required the absence of a single mistake to succeed.

By the time Lu Ping had barely finished, even though his arcane energy was profound, he was sweating and panting.

Even though Lu Ping's divine sense was very cooperative, it was the first time he had concocted pellets like this. Therefore, he was so unskilled that some of the medicinal paste that had begun to solidify, turned into black ash.

Lu Ping didn’t have time to mourn right now. He struck out nine hand seals one by one to commence the final step of the concoction process. Each of the hand seals was performed with all of Lu Ping's arcane energy.

Suddenly, the cauldron rumbled. As the nine hand seals were finally completed, the cauldron lid lifted, accompanied with a loud bang. Two jade-colored medicinal pellets the size of grapes popped out from inside.

As if they had spirituality, the two medicinal pellets made a half turn in the air, seemingly to avoid being caught by Lu Ping. But as they reached some height in the air, they suddenly lost momentum and fell to the ground.

"Half-step spirituality. This really is a type of special pellet between Blood Condensation Realm pellets and Core Forging Realm pellets. It's a pity that their spiritualities aren’t high. They only flew out of the cauldron before losing their spiritualities."

Lu Ping's palm reached out and the two white, jade-like medicinal pellets flew into the Crystal Jade Bottle in his palm.

Lu Ping was very satisfied that he had succeeded in concocting two Beauty Everlasting Pellets in his first attempt.

After a night's rest, Lu Ping, who already had his first experience, continued to concoct the Beauty Everlasting Pellets the next day. This time, he was much more skillful, but he still only managed to concoct two Beauty Everlasting Pellets.

On the third day, Lu Ping was fully familiar with the concoction process and had increased the number of pellets produced to three pellets. On the fourth day, the success rate of the pellets remained the same.

By the fifth day, Lu Ping had finally concocted four pellets, which also meant that he had achieved a 40-percent success rate. From this point on, Lu Ping had taken a step closer to the level of a Master Alchemist.

Five days and five cauldrons. Lu Ping had successfully concocted 14 Beauty Everlasting Pellets in the end, with each pellet being able to preserve a cultivator’s appearance for 30 years.

Lu Ping used a Crystal Jade Bottle and filled ten pellets inside as a gift for his future teacher.

After that, Lu Ping carefully thought about the gift, and still had one more thing in mind.

The Beauty Everlasting Pellet’s recipe also contained another kind of specialty pellet.

This specialty pellet was called the Perfume Pellets. To put it bluntly, these pellets could provide a longer lasting fragrance for cultivators. Unlike fragrances that scent clothes, these pellets’ fragrance emanated from the cultivators’ skin themselves, and lasted up to three years after consumption.

Of course, the Perfume Pellets’ fragrances were selectable. Different Perfume Pellets could be concocted to have different scents according to the cultivators’ preferences.

The Perfume Pellets were created to cater to cultivators’ personal needs, and so weren’t difficult to concoct. They were only as difficult to concoct as Late Blood Refining Realm medicinal pellets.

Lu Ping used a few 500-year spirit herbs and easily exchanged the required ingredients from other disciples. He gathered a total of eight cauldrons of 100-year spirit herbs to concoct the Perfume Pellets.

Because of the low difficulty, Lu Ping could easily concoct all of them in one go. Moreover, with his current alchemy mastery, he had achieved a phenomenon known as the Pellet Excess when concocting Late Blood Refining Realm pellets.

Generally speaking, alchemists could concoct a maximum of ten pellets in a cauldron of spirit herbs. So, the number of pellets concocted was described as the success rate which was then used as the indicator to evaluate an alchemists’ performance.

Pellet Excess was a technical term used to describe the phenomenon whereby alchemists didn’t only concoct the maximum ten pellets, but rather eleven or sometimes even twelve pellets. This was because there was hardly any medicinal efficacy wasted during the concocting process!

Lu Ping kept the dozens of Perfume Pellets into jade bottles and waited for the Discipleship Ceremony to arrive the next day.

During these few days, Lu Ping didn’t just spend all his time in his room concocting pellets. Occasionally between concoction, he would also come out to interact with other cultivators.

Those cultivators who passed the tests naturally knew who their teacher was, since the tests were set up by their respective Enlightened Masters.

Those who had been favored and approved by the Enlightened Masters beforehand naturally knew who their teacher was. Similarly, those who had already found their teachers through their own connections, naturally knew who their teacher was. Their teachers were naturally consulted for their approval before the disciples were accepted, and it was very rare to see the teachers rejecting these disciples.

The only exception this time was Lu Ping. He was the only one who still didn’t know what the identity of the teacher that had accepted him was!

Some disciples wondered if Lu Ping had been eliminated in the tests and rejected long ago, but lied to stay here and wait for his chance.

However, the Enlightened Master in charge of the application process, personally told Lu Ping that he should wait in the side palace, which was the treatment for disciples who had already been picked by an Enlightened Master. This was a fact which had also been seen by many people, so it didn’t make sense to say that he was disqualified.

Lu Ping himself also couldn't understand which Enlightened Master would have this kind of leisure to joke with him.

He initially wanted to ask the Enlightened Master on-duty in Tian Ling Palace, but was told by the palace attendant that the Enlightened Master was out on an important affair for a few days.

As Lu Ping waited helplessly, Zhen Ling Sect's triennial Discipleship Ceremony finally began.

RD's Notes:

Weekly Chapters (1/5)
Editor: Immortal BloodRogue

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Currently translated up to Chapter 160.
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Written by SleepingAutumn. Translated by RD. Edited by Milkbiscuit, Immortal BloodRogue.