Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
While they wait for the arrival of the pharmacy hallmaster, Ou Peng was unable to control his curiosity again as he picked up the last, seemingly ordinary box, his heart was filled within anticipation as he had seen more precious items than he ever did in his life during that short period of time it took for a kettle to boil. He wondered, could the contents inside the box be even more wondrous than the legendary longevity extending pill?
The box was cooling to the touch, and it felt very heavy. Ou Peng carried it to the front of his face for a closer examination; the box was a single item as a whole, its material was unknown, and there did not seem to be a trace of a lid or place for opening. Ou Peng tried pressing on all four sides of the box, followed by the top and its bottom, but there were no results from his effort. Surely he did not have to use his teeth? Ou Peng inwardly joked, as he placed the box onto the table and called the rest of the people to step forward for a closer look.
Everyone gathered around to look for half a bell worth of time; old fourth and old sixth also took their turns and tries various methods to no avail. Zhang Chengyue wrinkled his brows and asked “Sect master teacher, could it be that it requires a key?”
Old sixth snorted and said “Junior nephew, an object that requires a key would have a keyhole. This box does not have one, not to mention any hidden lock mechanism. How would we use the key?”
Zhang Chengyue turned slightly red, and stood aside without refuting his elder.
Wen Wenhai and Xue Qing had already seen the box at the secret area previously, and Wen Wenhai even tried to opened it before. Seeing that his sect master and senior uncles fail in their attempts, he did not dare to suggest anything new. Conversely, Xue Qing full of interest towards the box she personally won through scissors paper stone, she even placed her ear beside the box while she shook it to catch for any sound, but her attempts did not meet with any success.
Just as everyone finally ran out of ideas, the pharmacy hall’s hall master Bai Yun and elder He Yunpo entered the discussion hall, bowed towards the sect master before they were led by Zhang Chengyu to the table where the precious herbs were placed. Their reaction was out of everyone’s expectations, not because they were not surprised, but rather too surprised. When the two men saw the contents of the bundle, their pupils became still and their feet froze, as they pointed from their position at the herbs, their arms quivering and mouth salivating.
After half the time it took to boil a kettle of tea, the two men finally regained their senses. They did not mind the people aside who had teasing expressions on their faces, and mumbled between themselves “This, this is a six hundred year old ginseng, that is a four hundred year old Tianjing, this? A seven hundred year old Golden thread grass? That should be right; it matches the description in the <<Book of Herbs>>. What about this? Am I seeing things right, this should be a thousand year old beheading dragon grass. How could it be here? However, most of its roots are as fine as cord while slightly bent, the stem is erect with vertical folds, glabrous and slightly white hairs at the apex, leaves are pale green but deeper green on the underside, the leaves at the base are egg-shaped and jagged edged. Following the tooth-shape of the edges, a silver tooth edge signifies hundred years age, whereas a golden tooth edge signifies a thousand years of age, these edges… these edges are golden, am I dreaming now? Hallmaster Bai muttered a he slapped his face, before yelping from the pain.
Elder He Yunpo was in a similar state, he began to mutter words that appear foreign to the bystanders under his breath, with a face of disbelief, before picking up a palm-shaped herb, saying “What is this, a cactus?” Hallmaster Bai replied “Don’t talk rubbish. It is written on the <<Book of Herbs>> that cacti has thorns, did it prick your hand? That is fin grass.”
Elder He was obviously upset, and replied “The <<Book of Herbs>> states that fin grass has the shape of a hand with three fingers, this one obviously has four.”
Hallmaster Bai studied the herb more closely, and shook his head “I don’t know, I don’t know either. There are at least four to five types of herbs that I have not seen before. The question is if they are recorded in the <<Book of Herbs>>?”
Elder He squinted his eyes as he thought, before nodding his head “I don’t know as well. My knowledge is too narrow, I have not learnt enough.”
At this moment, Ou Peng interrupted “Hallmaster Bai, Elder He!”
His words surprised the two men, and they then realized that they were in the discussion hall and not at the pharmacy hall where they usually conduct such discussions. The two men quickly cupped their hands towards everyone and said “Please forgive us. We were caught up in our joy upon seeing so many top quality herbs, and thus got lost in our discussion.”
Everyone replied that they did not mind.
Ou Peng asked “These two sirs, how much would you value their usefulness?”
Elder He replied “May I know where did sect master obtained this herbs from? Ginseng, Tianqi, Tianjing, Heshouwu, etc. are not uncommon, but their value and scarcity increases with their ages. Hundred year old herbs are already rare, but the herbs here are at least three hundred years old. The golden thread grass, snake gall grass, etc. are used to treat serious external wounds, whereas the snake saliva grass, Shanhu grass, Shifengyao, etc. are used to treat severe internal injuries. The other herbs are also rare herbs, and when prescribed with other herbs, they can be used to produce quality medicine.”
At his moment, hallmaster Bai was also awakened from his senses, and he urgently warned “Sect master, you must not disclose the location where these herbs are found under any circumstances. Among these herbs are the beheading dragon grass and peacock grass, which are the main ingredients used to refine pills that strengthen Qi and improve one’s martial power.” His words shook everyone and their ears stood up.
Ou Peng asked “Does our library have any records on the recipe for the Qi strengthening pill?”
Hallmaster Bai replied “No, the recipe for the Qi strengthening pill has been long lost. The libraries only record a few pills of similar functions, but their efficacy pales greatly in comparison, while their recipes require rarely found herbs.”
Ou Peng then said “Hallmaster Bai, you can take these herbs back to the pharmacy for further study on their usages. Also research extensively on those pills which have Qi strengthening properties. If your research yields good results, then perhaps…”
Ou Peng did not finish his statement, but hallmaster Bai understood his implied meaning, and immediately replied “Your subject will follow your instructions.”
Thereafter, he and Elder He carefully packed the herbs back into the cloth bundle and carried it as they walked out of the discussion room.
Everyone’s sight fell again on the box which could not be opened. After thinking for a while, Ou Peng instructed Zhang Chengyue to call inventions hall’s hallmaster Shi Yukun. The inventions hall was where Piaomiao sect’s weapons and secret weapons were made, and hallmaster Shi is one of the leading weapon crafting grandmasters in Pingyang city.
Not long after, Shi Yukun entered the discussion hall. After inspecting the box for half a bell worth of time and using various methods, he ended up with no results like everyone else.
He then pondered, before suggesting to Ou Peng “Sect master, why don’t we let Shi Niu try as well?”
This Shi Niu was boorish fellow who trained in Piaomiao sect’s Adamantyl hands. He was not exceptional good in martial arts, but had superb strength, and when coupled with Adamantyl hands, his pure strength was ranked top in the sect.
Shi Yukun’s words broke the dreams of several people; the box was a tool to keep items, so it was safer to not break the box while retrieving the contents inside. However, since they were still unable to open it, then the only alternative left was to break the box apart. After all, the highest priority was still to obtain the items in the box.
Shi Niu then entered the discussion hall. He was a sturdy youth, whose height was at least one head taller than the rest of the people in the discussion hall, with rippling muscles all over his body. Seeing the naïvely loyal smile on his face, Ou Peng did not elaborate on an unnecessary details, and simply ordered “Open this.”
Shi Niu received the box, and without saying anything else, he exerted strength into his two arms to pry the box from its middle, but the box remained unchanged. Shi Niu then placed the box on the ground, took a deep breath and circulated the Qi in his dantian, and the muscles on his arms grew visible larger, even his fingers grew thicker than it was a moment ago. With a roar, he thrusted both arms onto the box, resulting in a “Ping” sound as his arms collided onto the box. However, the box did not break apart as everyone expected, but it sunk deeper into the discussion hall floor.
Shi Niu then picked the box up from the floor, and seeing that it was still undamaged in any way, he shook his head and glanced towards the sect master, with his helplessness evident on his face. In his heart, he though “What on earth is this thing?”
After sending Shi Niu away, Ou Peng felt burdened in his thoughts, how should he proceed with this box?
Suddenly, his eyes brightened, and he pulled out a precious sword from his waist before sheathing it back. The other spectators in the hall gleamed as they realized the intentions of their sect master. Without waiting for his master’s instructions, Zhang Chengyue automatically turned towards Shi Yukun and said “Hallmaster Shi, isnt “Breakwater” still in the hands of your hall? Why don’t you bring it out so we can try to open the box with it?”
Shi Yukun glanced at Ou Peng, and seeing that his sect master did not object, he said “Would sect master and everyone please hold on, I will leave and return in a short while.”
Ou Peng nodded in approval.
Shi Yukun returned soon after with sword. The sword had an appearance unlike ordinary swords, its blade surface was black in color, and the light reflected from it would be slightly eye-piercing, like black electricity.
Shi Yukun raised the sword and casually tested it on a corner of the box. However, under the swipe, the box did not have any reaction. Then, he took a deep breath and raised “Breakwater” high up, concentrated his gaze on the same corner of the box, and swung it down with his full power.
Unexpectedly, there was no sound of metal from the collision, nor was there any sound at all, as if the blade was just used on soft cotton. The box remained at its position, with no mark on change on its surface.
Seeing the failed attempt, Ou Peng said to Shi Yukun as the latter prepared for a second attempt “Pass the sword to me.”
Ou Peng received the sword from Shi Yukun, placed the box back at the dent on the floor which Shi Niu created, then circulated the Qi in his dantian, while the color of his face changed continuously until the sixth change, while old fourth and old sixth who were aside looked on with an envious gaze, thinking in their hearts “Senior brother sect master has such a deep understanding in this Piaomiao sect technique that he actually trained up to the sixth level.”
Ou Peng lifted “Breakwater” and covered the sword with Qi from his body, resulting in several colors appearing on its surface. With a resounding roar, Ou Peng swung the blade onto the box.