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Chapter 23

Bai Shuo waited in the herb garden until midnight but didn’t see anyone. Worried about Chong Zhao, she couldn’t resist going to Zhaori Hall quietly.

However, it was pitch dark there as well, and Chong Zhao was nowhere to be found. Anxious, Bai Shuo waited under the eaves of the corridor all night. Near dawn, she finally heard footsteps at the entrance of the hall.

Looking up, she saw a familiar figure.

“Ah Zhao!”

Bai Shuo rushed over and punched Chong Zhao on the shoulder, making him pause in surprise.

“Where have you been? It’s not good to be out all night, making me wait here exhausted!”


Chong Zhao’s voice was a bit hoarse. He hid the emotions in his eyes and smiled.

“I went to the back mountain to practice my swordsmanship.”

“Practicing again? Didn’t you just finish a seclusion?”

Bai Shuo frowned in disapproval.

“Cultivating immortality is important, but you can’t overwork your body.”

She muttered as she pulled out a small white porcelain bottle from her medicine bag and handed it to Chong Zhao, her eyes sparkling. “I overheard the senior brothers saying… you’ve advanced to an Immortal Lord. I made this immortal dew last night. We haven’t seen each other for a long time. Come, let’s go to my herb garden and celebrate!”

As Bai Shuo pulled Chong Zhao along, he didn’t move. She turned back in confusion and saw that there was no hint of a smile on his face.

“Just an Immortal Lord, nothing worth celebrating.”

Since coming to Piaomiao Island to apprentice as an immortal, Bai Shuo has never seen Chong Zhao so dejected and at a loss. She was at a loss herself, “Ah Zhao, what’s wrong…”

“Junior brother, why are you so discouraged? You are the most outstanding disciple of Piaomiao Island in a century. Advancing to Immortal Lord as a mortal in three years is enough to become a celebrated story in the immortal world.”

Er Yun walked in from outside the hall, speaking proudly. Her gaze fell on the hands Bai Shuo and Chong Zhao were holding, unable to hide her jealousy.

Bai Shuo felt Er Yun’s scorching gaze and let go of Chong Zhao.

“Bai Shuo, you’re just an outer disciple. Don’t spend all day running to the inner hall. Allowing a mere mortal like you to stay on Piaomiao Island was already a favor from my father back then!” Er Yun said displeased.

“Yes, Senior Sister Er Yun.”

Chong Zhao was about to speak, but Bai Shuo poked him hard in the back and said with a smile, “I’ll return to the medicine hut right away.”

Bai Shuo turned and left.

“Wait!” Er Yun snatched the porcelain bottle from Chong Zhao’s hand and handed it to Bai Shuo.

“Your immortal energy is impure. The immortal dew you make is likely to also be impure. Take it back and don’t hinder my junior brother’s cultivation.”

Chong Zhao’s anger was barely concealed. Bai Shuo paused, seeing his expression, and quickly took back the porcelain bottle.

“Yes, Senior Sister.”

Bai Shuo didn’t say more and turned to leave.

Seeing Bai Shuo being so obedient, Er Yun smiled with satisfaction. When she turned her head, she met Chong Zhao’s slightly darkened gaze.

“Junior brother, I… I’m just worried about you…”

“Thank you for your concern, senior sister. You are busy assisting the sect master in managing affairs on the island, which is tiring. There’s no need to worry about the matters of Zhaori Hall.”

After speaking, Chong Zhao turned and entered the room.

Er Yun, feeling slighted, angrily glanced in the direction Bai Shuo had left and left with a flick of her sleeve.

Bai Shuo returned to her medicine hut with the small porcelain bottle. The old turtle, seeing her dejected appearance, knew she had suffered a setback and made her water the plants, light the fire, and refine pills. Busy all day, her exhaustion and frustration from waiting all night dissipated.

In the evening, Bai Shuo leaned on a wicker chair under the old locust tree in the garden, with a plate of peanuts and two cups in front of her. She filled the cups to the brim and had just taken a sip when someone picked up the other cup and drank it all in one go.

Bai Shuo turned her head. In the twilight, Chong Zhao was no longer wearing the iconic flowing cloud robe of Piaomiao Island’s top disciple but was dressed in plain clothes from the days they left the capital together. Even in such attire, he now exuded an ethereal aura.

“If it was made for me, how could you not wait for me?” Chong Zhao leaned back on another wicker chair, staring blankly at the setting sun.

“Ah Zhao, you have something on your mind?” Bai Shuo asked sullenly.

Growing up with Chong Zhao, she could tell with just one glance when he was unhappy, even if he was now an Immortal Lord.

There was a moment of silence under the old locust tree. Even with two chairs between them, Chong Zhao instinctively leaned closer to Bai Shuo.

“I used to think that becoming immortal would allow me to do whatever I wanted. Now I realize that the vastness of the world means that becoming immortal is only the first step on the long journey of immortality.”

“You are already amazing.”

Bai Shuo stuffed the porcelain bottle into Chong Zhao’s hand.

“Didn’t Senior Sister Er Yun say today that you are a rare genius in the immortal world? Don’t say discouraging things. By immortal standards, you’re only three years old!”

Seeing Bai Shuo trying to comfort him like a child, Chong Zhao couldn’t help but smile. Then, remembering the injustice Bai Shuo suffered today, he felt guilty. “Ah Shuo, about today…”

“Senior Sister Er Yun’s temperament is well known. Saying a few words doesn’t hurt. It’s nothing. Besides, she wasn’t wrong. For a mortal like me with no immortal foundation, being able to stay on Piaomiao Island is already a blessing.”

“But it was you who saved Master back then…” Chong Zhao frowned, blurting out.

Bai Shuo quickly covered Chong Zhao’s mouth.

“Ah Zhao!”

She looked around, seeing no one, and then sighed in relief, speaking softly and urgently.

“Didn’t you promise me never to mention this again?”

“If I don’t say it, they will keep humiliating you. I will tell the sect master tomorrow that you were the one who saved Master back then and ask him to accept me as a disciple…”

“And then what? Without an immortal foundation, even if the sect master took me as a disciple or if a supreme immortal from the heavenly palace became my master, I’d still be just a mortal. I can’t become immortal.”

Bai Shuo shook her head.

“Besides, if the sect master found out, he’d surely conceal the truth and take it out on you. We saved Sect Master Songhe together. You didn’t lie.”

Three years ago, Bai Shuo and Chong Zhao were stranded on a deserted island and found the dying Songhe. As mere mortals, they couldn’t save an immortal. While Chong Zhao was at a loss, Bai Shuo cut herself daily to feed Songhe her blood to sustain him. After half a month, Songfeng found them and brought all three back. When Songhe awoke, Bai Shuo claimed Chong Zhao had cared for him day and night, keeping him alive until Songfeng arrived.

Seeing Chong Zhao’s deep immortal affinity and knowing he saved him in his time of need, Songhe took him as an apprentice and, on his deathbed, transferred all his immortal energy to Chong Zhao.

“Besides, as a mortal whose blood can save immortals, if others found out, I’d become a walking medicine cauldron.”

Bai Shuo made a face.

“I can only summon clouds and start fires. Don’t push me into the fire pit.”

Chong Zhao could only agree, nodding reluctantly.

“Alright, Ah Shuo, I’ll visit you every seven days at the medicine hut, so you won’t have to go to the main hall and suffer.”

“No need. I heard you’ll be going to Wutong Phoenix Island soon to participate in the ‘Wutong Martial Banquet.’ Wutong Phoenix Island is a sacred place for immortals, and the competition will be fierce. You focus on your training.”

Bai Shuo tossed a peanut into her mouth and leaned back.

“I spend my days growing herbs and basking in the sun in this garden. I’m not an immortal, but I’m happier than one.”

Chong Zhao gazed at Bai Shuo’s peaceful demeanor, and the gloom that had weighed on him all day dissipated. He smiled and said, “Your lazy nature hasn’t changed. General Bai would definitely scold you if he saw this.”

As he spoke, he paused, an apologetic look flashing in his eyes. He was about to say something but noticed that Bai Shuo had already fallen asleep.

A gentle breeze blew, stirring the strands of hair on Bai Shuo’s forehead. Her small frame was dwarfed by the oversized medicine robe, making her look frail. Now, only the two of them depend on each other. In Chong Zhao’s heart, besides revenge, Bai Shuo was the most important.

Unable to resist, he reached out to brush her hair aside.

“Ah Shuo, I just want you to be safe.”

Chong Zhao sighed lightly, conjuring a thin blanket to cover Bai Shuo. He suddenly coughed softly, a trace of blood appearing at the corner of his mouth. He quickly wiped it away and, without lingering, disappeared from under the old locust tree.

The moment Chong Zhao vanished, Bai Shuo opened her eyes. She glanced in the direction where Chong Zhao had disappeared, then suddenly got up and ran into the hut, rummaging through the box where she kept her pills.

She opened about ten pill boxes, all of which were empty. Bai Shuo was dumbfounded. She turned and dragged out the old turtle, who was sleeping soundly in the corner.

“Old Black, wake up! Wake up!”

The old turtle was shaken awake, its head wobbling and stars dancing before its eyes. It immediately planted all four paws on the ground. “What’s going on? What’s going on? An earthquake?”

Opening its eyes, the turtle saw no earthquake but Bai Shuo’s wide, glaring eyes.

“Where are my pills?” Bai Shuo demanded angrily, hands on her hips.

The old turtle glanced at the empty pill boxes scattered on the ground, shook its shell, and replied nervously, “I… I saw that those pills had been sitting there for a while. It was raining a lot recently, and I was afraid they’d spoil, so I… I ate them early…”

“You ate them all?!” Bai Shuo couldn’t believe it.

“Those were ten second-grade pills! It took me over a year to refine them!”

Seeing Bai Shuo’s face turn red with anger, the old turtle quickly tried to soothe her.

“Oh, those second-grade pills wouldn’t have done you any good. I ate them to extend my life. They were just sitting there. You can always refine more.”

“No, it takes at least three months to refine a single second-grade pill. There’s no time.”

Bai Shuo looked anxious.

“Xiao Bai, is something wrong?” The old turtle stretched its neck, sensing the urgency in Bai Shuo’s demeanor.

“Ah Zhao is injured,” Bai Shuo said sullenly.

“That boy, Chong Zhao, is injured?” The old turtle was surprised.

“Was it that octopus monster?”

Bai Shuo shook her head.

“I can smell the blood on him. It’s not from a monster. It’s…”

She paused, pushing down her speculation. “In three months, he has to go to Wutong Phoenix Island for the ‘Wutong Martial Banquet.’ He doesn’t have enough time to heal on his own.”

“That boy is an Immortal Lord now. Even if you gave him ten second-grade pills, they wouldn’t help much,” the old turtle yawned.

“Girl, don’t worry so much…”

“Would a first-grade pill work?”

Bai Shuo lifted the old turtle, staring into its eyes.

The old turtle was speechless.

“You don’t have immortal energy. How can you refine a first-grade immortal pill?”

“You have a way,” Bai Shuo insisted, staring intently at the old turtle, confident.

The old turtle’s gaze shifted nervously. It laughed dryly, “Don’t joke. I’m just a turtle. What way could I have… Hey, what are you doing…”

Bai Shuo hoisted the old turtle and placed it on the medicine cauldron. “I don’t care. You ate my ten second-grade pills. You owe me! If I can’t refine a first-grade pill, I’ll have roast turtle tonight!”

The flames crackled under the turtle’s shell, but the shell remained unscathed. Bai Shuo’s hands, however, turned red and swollen. The cauldron had absorbed the essence of the sun and moon for hundreds of years, becoming a rare and powerful alchemy cauldron. The temperature inside could melt even the hardest immortal materials, let alone Bai Shuo’s hands. Seeing Bai Shuo’s pale face, sweating, and about to collapse, the old turtle had no choice but to shout.

“Alright, alright! I’ll tell you! Just take your hands off!”

Bai Shuo’s face lit up with joy. She hurriedly took the old turtle down.

“Hurry up and tell me!”

The old turtle spat out a pill and grumpily nudged it towards Bai Shuo.

“Your hands are almost cooked; hurry and apply this.”

Bai Shuo crushed the pill and applied it to her hands. The swelling and redness disappeared immediately. She couldn’t help but click her tongue in amazement, grinning, “You really have some good stuff hidden away. As expected of my master.”

“Hmph, when there’s trouble, I’m ‘Master,’ and when there’s not, I’m just an old turtle. You’re a sly one,” the old turtle grumbled, knowing that Bai Shuo was always able to get what she wanted. He had no choice but to reveal everything: “I’ve said it before: refining a first-grade immortal pill requires an alchemist with at least supreme immortal strength. But if another condition is met, it might still be possible.”

“What condition?”

“Using first-grade immortal materials and treasures to refine the pill.”

“Where can we find first-grade treasures on Piaomiao Island?” Bai Shuo paused, then suddenly leaned closer to the old turtle.

“You know where it is, don’t you?”

“Xiao Bai, your master, I, may not be very capable, but as a thousand-year-old turtle, I’ve lived long enough to know a few things.”

“Please, do tell.” Bai Shuo immediately placed the old turtle on a rattan chair and poured a cup of immortal dew for it, “Master, take your time.”

The old turtle moved its claws, and the immortal dew slid into its mouth like a stream. Its small, bean-sized eyes instantly became drowsy, “Our Piaomiao Island, though tucked away in the East Sea, was once one of the ‘three mountains and six palaces’. But over the years, no notable talents have emerged, and the disciples have been single-mindedly pursuing martial arts, neglecting alchemy…”

“Master, keep it short,” Bai Shuo interrupted, pressing down on the old turtle’s claw and reaching for more immortal dew while maintaining a polite smile.

She knew her turtle master well; it could go on all night about the history of Piaomiao Island.

“Alright, long story short, in the easternmost part of Piaomiao Island, near the sea, there’s a patch of sea with a thousand-year-old red coral, our island’s only first-grade treasure!” The old turtle pointed decisively with its right claw.

Bai Shuo stared at the old turtle for a while without speaking, then suddenly grinned and set a full table of immortal dew.

“Good! Master, I’m off! Enjoy these drinks!”

“Go on, go on,” the old turtle waved its claw, its eyes drunken and blurry.

Bai Shuo tightened her small medicine pouch and hurried away under the cover of night.

The hut fell silent. After a while, the old turtle opened its eyes, clear and bright, with no trace of confusion.

If first-grade immortal materials and treasures were so easy to obtain, first-grade immortal pills would be everywhere. But this girl was straightforward; if she wasn’t tricked into leaving, she’d certainly cause trouble in the next three months.

The old turtle chuckled and began to drink the immortal dew heartily.

There was no moon that night. In a corner behind the main hall, Bai Shuo quietly pushed open a corner of the library and slipped inside. She ignited a faint light in her palm, rummaging through some old books in a nook. She blew the dust off one, revealing the title “Piaomiao Island’s Immortal Treasures Record.”

She flipped through a few pages and raised an eyebrow.

She had guessed right.

The old guy was deliberately deceiving her.

The book clearly stated that the thousand-year-old red coral in the East sea was merely a second-grade treasure. There were sect restrictions at the edge of the East Sea, and if she trespassed, she might be trapped for three to five months, making it impossible to help Chong Zhao.

Bai Shuo sighed, understanding that the old turtle had tricked her to prevent her from causing trouble. But if not the red coral, what could be the first-grade immortal treasure of Piaomiao Island?

Her eyes scanned the book, finally settling on a particular section. She pursed her lips, tucked the book into her robe, extinguished the light in her palm, and quietly disappeared into the night.

When Bai Shuo returned to the hut, the table was already in disarray, and the old turtle was snoring with all four legs in the air.

Bai Shuo recited a spell toward the medicine cauldron in the middle of the hut. The cauldron shrank to the size of a palm. She summoned it into her medicine pouch and turned to leave, but after a few steps, she returned to cover the old turtle with a blanket before hurrying out of the herb garden.

At the same time, in the demon realm, a powerful silver demonic energy streaked across the sky towards the east sea of the immortal realm.



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