Weirdo

Being stared deeply at by her bright black eyes, Ji-Yoon suddenly felt a bit timid. He wondered how long it has been that he felt this way, probably since he won his self-sufficiency back then.

‘An adult man has to worry about adults’ things after all.’ He quickly set his mind on invincibility and his heart calmed down. He calmly sat close to them to wait along.

The woman just giggled and closed her eyes again.

After a few hours, Elder Yang said to them through his ethereal mind, “Come in.”

They entered the cave abode and felt the strong smell of medicine. It was sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, and a faint fog was present all over the way.

After a few steps, they saw a silhouette sitting in front of an alchemy cauldron, it was Elder Yang.

“Did you guys memorize the book I gave?” he asked without looking at them.

“Yes, Sir!” they replied.

“Good, sit beside me. Let’s start introducing ourselves to each other.”

The woman was called Feng Ling, the male disciple was called Jiang Wu. They and Ji-Yoon aren’t from the same batch of Trial Disciples but for some reason, they are registered at the same time as him.

“I will teach you the alchemy art of our sect now. The ‘Spring Flourishing Technique.’

“And also the complementary fire art: ‘Living Flame.’

“Since you guys memorized the book I gave, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to memorize and slowly learn those arts.”

Suddenly, a green flame appeared under the cauldron, it exuded strong vitality along with its heat.

“The ‘Living Flame’ is a technique which uses a bit of your vitality mixed with your True Qi, so be prepared to feel tired while learning it.”

Then, he started to put a set of herbs within the cauldron, they slowly melted together but didn’t burn. He explained while demonstrating:

“The vitality is necessary to use the ‘Spring Flourishing Technique’ because it requires you to keep all the herbs’ proprieties intact during the heating.

“After the herbs melt into the medicinal liquid, you should use your vitality to keep it unburnt while you heat it until it fuses the properties of the herbs completely, turning it into a heterogeneous liquid. The rest is simple, just keep it in a liquid form or make a pill out of it,  be careful.

“‘But what about the impurities?’ You guys might be thinking.

“Let me tell you, there’s nothing like this in immortal alchemy, unlike the medicine that martial artists use.

“Mystical and ethereal herbs have no impurities, just medicinal properties. Moreover, a cultivator’s body can digest anything at their level perfectly, are you afraid of pilling up impurities?”

When he finalized explaining, ten reddish pills flew out of the cauldron. They are exuding strong waves of vitality and energy.

“Do you have any questions?”

“Elder Yang, how should we practice? We don’t have cauldrons of our own,” Ji-Yoon asked.

“Well, you have one right here, just share it among yourselves. Alchemists will never grow without sharing experience, remember it well,” Elder Yang said with a mischievous smile.

The three disciples looked at each other and hesitated to speak.

“Don’t be in a hurry, you guys will have lots of time together. Just ask me any questions you might have.”

The others then started to ask their questions. Elder Yang answered all of them without problems, he was experienced in teaching disciples.

Ji-Yoon asked no more questions since everything seemed rather easy for him. It was probably because he perfectly memorized the book of Alchemy.

Elder Yang was inwardly a bit surprised by the fact that the childish-looking disciple was the more competent of the three and the fact that this disciple broke through two minor realms in a single week, even reaching the extreme peak of the Realm.

‘Was he suppressing his cultivation base before?’ he wondered but didn’t think too much about it, since the Realm was still too low to shock him.

Afterward, the three started to use the caldron in turns, with Elder Yang supervising everything and appointing their eventual mistakes.

Ji-Yoon didn’t hold back and tried his best to attract the elder’s attention. He made almost no mistakes when performing the two arts. His Living Fire was strong and full of vitality, and he didn’t feel tired because of his foundation as a peak martial artist.

When melting herbs, he committed close to no mistakes, with a few happening just because it was his first time doing it.

After a few repetitions, he committed no mistakes in any of the arts, successfully attracting the elder’s attention, who gave him praises.

“You three should take this cauldron with you, practice hard during this week and come to report without being late!” he waved his hand and the cauldron was thrown into a spatial ring.

“I’m giving you guys a few sets of herbs for practice,” he said and gave the ring to Ji-Yoon, “Remember, you should work hard in your missions to get enough contribution points to exchange for more in the future.

“Next week I will give you guys a simple pill recipe for you to work with.”

“Thank you, teacher!” the three cupped their fists and walked out of the cave.

“So, how are we going to share the cauldron?” Feng Ling asked, looking a bit tired and pale.

“Each one stays with it for two days and then we share it on the last day, sharing our personal experiences as Elder Yang said,” Jiang Wu said expressionlessly, he seemed to be unaffected.

“Might as well,” Ji-Yoon agreed, feeling as good as ever, “and if one of us is occupied with a mission, he or she should just pass their time to the others.”

Feng Ling shrugged and said nothing.

Ji-Yoon was decided to be the first to stay with the cauldron. He then bid farewell to them and walked toward the Alchemy Pavilion in quick steps.

“Junior Brother Yun, wait a bit!” Feng Ling suddenly shouted.

Wary of her, Ji-Yoon asked, “Do you need anything? Senior Sister Feng.”

“Are you walking towards the Alchemy Pavilion?”

Ji-Yoon calmly shook his head and said, “No, I’m going to the Human Dao Pavilion.”

“Is that so? What a coincidence! Should we go together?” Feng Ling smiled brightly.

‘Shameless!’ Ji-Yoon cried inwardly and said, “I’m sorry Senior Sister, but I lied. I am going to the Alchemy Pavilion.”

Feng Ling nodded and said, “I too.”

Ji-Yoon opened his mouth but was out of words and simply sighed bitterly.

“What’s wrong? Junior Brother Yun. Do I look scary for you to avoid me?” Feng Ling asked with narrowed eyes.

Ji-Yoon instantly thought about her unknown background. ‘What if I have to offend her or any random simp who likes her and then proceeds slowly towards the sect’s destruction? No! I have to avoid any trouble magnet aka beautiful women!’

“Senior Sister Feng, you are definitely a beautiful immortal flower, as pure as the purest material. How can I find you scary? It’s just that I don’t think I’m worthy to walk side by side with you,” Ji-Yoon said with a reverent expression, not dodging her gaze.

“You sure have a glib tongue…” Feng Ling giggled and rubbed his head as she muttered in his ear, “But it only makes me want to devour you whole, little cutie.”

A chill ran down his spine as he swallowed a load of saliva. “Senior Sister must be joking. Alas, I have something to do, goodbye!” Ji-Yoon disappeared from her field of vision in an instant, as if he was running for his life.

And he actually felt it was very dangerous, ‘She exuded a pedophile’s aura,’ he thought, and he was sure she wouldn’t hesitate to craft a scheme to “eat” him. Like going on a mission together or so on.

“Ara, he sure is perceptive for a kid.” Feng Ling giggled and walked away as if nothing had happened.

‘Why did such a thing happen to me? Wasn’t I supposed to be lucky? Moreover, doesn’t she care about the sect rules? Or her background is powerful enough for her to ignore them?’

At the same time, he suddenly understood what she truly means by saying “you look younger than your age.” It was just her wicked interest!

“Damn!” Ji-Yoon cursed out loud as he ran towards the Alchemy Pavilion.

Different from most novels, he couldn’t choose which mission he would go to, it is something decided by others. Since he was from the Alchemy Way, he would receive missions from them as well.

His first mission was to escort some people out of the sect. They are some merchants who had dealings with the sect.

He and another twenty outer sect disciples were ordered to escort them to Great Sun City, one of the biggest cities close to the sect.

They wouldn’t need to go on foot, since the merchants had flying ships. However, it would still take an entire week to arrive at their destination. The bonus is that Ji-Yoon and the other disciples would then be exempted from the next week’s mission.

Ji-Yoon had to inform Elder Yang about this and give the spatial ring with the cauldron to Jiang Wu.

‘Fortunately, she isn’t among us… Was she just trying to tease me?’ Ji-Yoon wondered.

The mission proceeded smoothly since no one dared to offend one of the biggest forces of this world. Basically, Ji-Yoon and the others are there just to make up appearances.

On the way to and back, Ji-Yoon also noticed that the rewards for checking in were slightly worse, confirming what the system said.

‘Alas, the outer sect disciples still have a difficult time cultivating. We are always wasting time with menial tasks…’

He arrived back at the sect just in time for reporting to Elder Yang.

Arriving at the elder’s cave abode entrance, he saw the two familiar figures waiting.

“I greet Senior Sister and Senior Brother,” he said with cupped fists.

Jiang Wu nodded at him and Feng Ling giggled.

“It has been just a week but I missed you a lot, Junior Brother Ji~,” she said with narrowed eyes and a smile that wasn’t a smile.

Ji-Yoon sighed and ignored her. What could he say, anyway?

“Come in,” Elder Yang said with his ethereal mind.

Everyone went inside calmly, feeling the familiar scent of alchemy.

Elder Yang was as usual, with his indifferent face and bearing.

“Sit down,” he ordered, “How is your progress? Tell me.”

“Master,” Ji-Yoon was the first to open his mouth, “I just arrived from my mission and was unable to practice.”

“It’s okay. The Sect orders are important, after all. But don’t worry too much, they won’t let you be without free time for cultivation and to practice alchemy,” Elder Yang comforted and smiled.

“Junior Brother Yun, if you feel it’s a burden to do weekly missions, you should hurry up and become an inner disciple,” Feng Ling said with a mischievous grin.

Ji-Yoon twitched the corners of his mouth after hearing it and was out of words for a moment. ‘Where is so easy to become an inner disciple? Even if I breakthrough through the Golden Core Realm, I would still be unable to get a promotion without enough time and merit.’

Elder Yang frowned slightly and said, “Don’t be in a hurry to become an inner disciple, it’s no simple feat…”

“Yes, Elder Yang!” Feng Ling and Ji-Yoon agreed at the same time, both thinking different things.

“Elder Yang, I have some doubts…”

After everyone asked about their doubts and demonstrated their progress, Elder Yang taught them a pill recipe, the simple ‘Qi Condensation Pill.’

“Practice well and report in a month. I will be giving you guys more time to practice because of your eventual missions. Don’t disappoint me! Don’t waste the herb sets I’m giving you for free!”

“Yes, Elder Yang!”

After getting out, Ji-Yoon was again decided to stay with the cauldron first, but this time for a whole week. He quickly ran away after that, without waiting for the dubious Feng Ling to open her mouth.

Seeing this, she stomped her feet on the ground in anger and pouted bitterly, but also smiled mischievously. A strange glow was present in her black eyes.

‘Don’t even think about running away!’

‘Don’t even think about getting close to me!’

Both thought similar but also opposite things.

‘Ais, why is it such a cliche… Wait, is it cliche anyway? It’s more like a disgusting plot,’ Ji-Yoon thought while entering his safe mountain hole, he finally felt everything was under control again.

“Damn, I can’t let her have the chance to be alone with me!” he thought in shame, why is he, a dignified adult, running away from a woman?

‘If not because of her unknown background and connections, I would definitely not be like this!’

He sat on his favorite cushion and started to comprehend the mysteries of the next Realm, the Golden Core Realm.

He wondered if he could get another cultivation technique from the system, or if he would have to cultivate the technique given by the sect.

Time passed quickly, and the next came for him in a blink.

[Ding! Dong! Host, it’s time for your daily check-in.]

‘Check-in!’

[Ding! Dong! Congratulations host on receiving the Mortal-grade item: Flow Manual.]

“Another manual?” he muttered, “Is it useful?”

“Follow the Mortal Vision, encounter the Mortal Dao. The Mortal Dao is everywhere, use it for yourself. Follow the flow to die, follow the flow to live. The Flow and the Dao are the same.” It was the only thing written on the manual.

“…Is it supposed to mean something profound?” he scratched his head in confusion and muttered, “Do I need another round of smart time to understand it?”

 

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