Chapter 44 - Garden
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As soon as Lu Ping returned to Huang Li Island, the Spirit Seeking Mouse Dabao immediately crawled over him. After eating half of the medicinal pellet Lu Ping had mistakenly given, it broke through from the First Layer to the Second Layer Blood Refining Realm. With its improved prowess, it also grew attached to Lu Ping.

Seeing Dabao’s excitement, Lu Ping asked with surprise, “Dabao, what is it? Did you find another spirit-gathering land? Does our Huang Li Island have so many spirit fields?”

Dabao nodded and shook. It pulled on Lu Ping’s trousers and scampered outside.

Helpless, Lu Ping had no choice but to follow Dabao.

This time, Dabao found two spots. Lu Ping understood after arriving at the place. They were not spirit-gathering fields but spirit-latent fields. In other words, these were unqualified spiritual fields.

In order to develop them into spiritual fields, he would have to spend spirit stones and cast the [Spirit Offering Art] on the fields. This would gradually stimulate and fill the area with spiritual energy so they would eventually reach the standards of a spiritual field.

Lu Ping gave it some thought. After using the [Spirit Offering Art] on these two spirit-latent fields, there would be enough to plant an acre of a spiritual garden. The [Spirit Offering Art] would cost 40 spirit stones to cast each time. But even so, after a year’s time, he would still be able to profit from the expense.

Not to mention, he’d learned a technique that could speed up the growth of the spirit herbs from [Sheng Tao's Travelogue].

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The secret technique also required spirit stones to cast. However, ordinary growth-stimulating techniques could only speed up the growth time by a quarter. With Sheng Tao’s growth-stimulating technique, [Spirit Avail Art], one could speed up the growth time by almost half.

The spirit herbs on the island were the results of Sheng Tao’s [Spirit Avail Art], aided by the mini spirit vein underneath the island.

Otherwise, it would be impossible to grow 500-year-old spirit herbs in a garden planted less than two hundred years ago!

Therefore, the spirit fields in Huang Li Island would mature and be harvested six times instead of three every year.

The [Spirit Avail Art] required 80 spirit stones per acre of land and its effect would last for a year.

Lu Ping would be able to earn an additional 1,200 spirit stones every year from the seven-acre spiritual fields on the island.

Although 1,200 spirit stones could only cover three months of cultivation resources, it was a huge improvement.

After that, Lu Ping returned to his normal gardening life.

He had a total of three bottles of Blood Vigor Pellets; one bottle each from Sheng Tao’s cave-dwelling, the side hall’s Medicinal Pellet Store, and Di Kun Island’s Medicinal Pellet Store. Lu Ping could now enjoy a luxurious life of cultivating with Blood Vigor Pellets for the next three months.

With these high-quality medicinal pellets, his cultivation progressed by leaps and bounds. Almost three months later, Lu Ping miraculously broke through his bottleneck and entered the late-stage Ninth Layer Blood Refining Realm. He was now a step away from the peak of Ninth Layer.

From encountering the bottleneck of Ninth Layer, to advancing into the Ninth Layer, and entering the late-stage of the Ninth Layer in the Blood Refining Realm, it all took Lu Ping less than a year to accomplish.

During these three months, Lu Ping also became obsessed with alchemy. He read [Sheng Tao’s Travelogue] and [Sheng Tao’s Book of Alchemy] not just once or twice, but multiple times. He even tried concocting basic Blood Refining Pellets with the low-grade spirit herbs he grew himself in the spirit herb garden.

Blood Refining Pellets were basic medicinal pellets consumed by cultivators entering the Blood Refining Realm. Even mortals could temper their bodies further with these pellets, provided they had a strong body and a good physique to withstand the medicinal efficacy.

Naturally, concocting these medicinal pellets didn’t require a high-grade Mystic-class spirit fire like the Azure Spirit Fire. Such a spirit fire would burn the spirit herbs into a pile of ashes in an instant, let alone concoct them into medicinal pellets.

Lu Ping used an arcane fire he morphed from his own arcane energy, but his cauldron was the mid-grade mystic instrument from Sheng Tao’s cave-dwelling. Frankly, using the cauldron was quite excessive for a small job like this.

But reality was cruel and it always hit hard. It was as if the recent events had favored Lu Ping too much and used up all of his good luck.

Over the three months, the sounds of explosions would often be heard coming from the center of Huang Li Island. Sometimes, bursts of flames illuminated the dark nights.

This made the islanders worry. They favored the new master immortal a lot. He was friendly and approachable, unlike his predecessors. He always reached out to help the islanders and had even saved their lives before. They only wished that he wouldn’t end up like the others and be forced to leave the island.

Lu Ping walked out of his residence with singed clothes, coughing from the acrid smell of explosions. He had yet to realize that his actions had thrown the islanders in a panic.

After a few failures, Lu Ping finally calmed down and began to earnestly study the [Sheng Tao’s Book of Alchemy]. He recalled his experience in concocting medicinal pellets; the timing required, the fire level, the speed, the proportions, as well as his understanding of medicinal efficacies for each spirit herb. Gradually, he gained a lot of insights in alchemy.

One day, at the origin of the two rivers on Huang Li Island, a short distance away from Lu Ping’s cultivation room. Lu Ping cast the last set of hand signs on the cauldron, the cauldron trembled and the arcane fire beneath it gradually subsided. A faint fragrance overflowed from the cauldron, bringing a radiant smile to Lu Ping’s face.

When the arcane energy finally flickered out, the cauldron stopped trembling.

Lu Ping opened the cauldron cover and a burst of steam rose from within. Two crimson pellets were seen lying on the bottom of the cauldron with eight other scorched black pellets.

This was the weakest and most fundamental low-grade medicinal pellets, and yet he only had a 20% chance of success. It should have been a depressing outcome, but Lu Ping showed no signs of dejection. Instead, he happily fed a Blood Refining Pellet to Dabao.

Filled with joy, the little mouse gobbled up the medicinal pellet.

Lu Ping dissolved the other pellet in water. He would distribute the medicinal water to the islanders with poor constitutions, greatly improving their health.

And so, the islanders who witnessed this miracle worshipped Lu Ping even more. His actions unknowingly quelled the panic caused by his attempts at alchemy.

After that, Lu Ping persisted in his efforts and decided to use all of the low-grade spirit herbs he’d harvested thus far.

Although the results of his alchemy varied every time, he eventually stopped producing whole cauldrons of wasted pellets. Most of the time, he could concoct one or two serviceable pellets per cauldron. In time, he raised his success rate to three and occasionally four successful medicinal pellets per cauldron.

After spending hundreds of low-grade spirit herbs and going through thirty batches, he was left with roughly thirty lowest-grade medicinal pellets. By then, the three months were also coming to an end.

The auction would happen soon and Lu Ping had more than 7,000 spirit stones in his possession. He had accumulated this fortune over the years through various means, making him a wealthy man compared to other Blood Refining Realm cultivators.

However, Lu Ping knew that his wealth was still far from enough—it was rumored that Blood Condensing Pellets would be auctioned off this time.

After studying alchemy, Lu Ping knew that the base cost price of a Blood Condensing Pellet was actually around 700 spirit stones. In reality, a Blood Condensing Pellet could be valued at more than 1,600 spirit stones—sometimes even more than 2,000 spirit stones—at an auction.

Furthermore, he was looking to purchase a mid-grade flying mystic instrument. Because of the recent conflict between Zhen Ling Sect and Xuan Ling Sect, he decided to put up for auction the flying carriage mystic instrument he plundered from the Xuan Ling Sect disciple.

After all, Xuan Ling Sect wouldn’t pressure Zhen Ling Sect and the Multi-Treasure Pavilion to hand over details of the consigner for a mere mid-grade mystic instrument.

Other than that, he still planned to purchase medicinal pellets for his cultivation, especially Blood Vigor Pellets. After experiencing the cultivation speed benefits from these pellets, Lu Ping wasn’t willing to give it up now.

So now comes the question: Did he have enough spirit stones to buy it all? 

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