“Hmm, maybe I should name you after all?” I said out loud to the little orange cat-loaf that was sitting in my lap, to the frustration of Labby.
I received a lazy meow from the cat, as he stretched his legs. And yes, I checked this time. It’s a he.
“You can’t secretly understand me can you?” I asked the cat, its light brown eyes looking at me, staring at me for a while, before he turned his butt to my face, tail held high in the air, and walked away to his drug garden.
I hummed to myself, at the slight Qi I sensed in his body. Which may very well have been residue from the spirit herbs.
I let the thoughts of the cat go, watching Labby sparkle and crackle as she played around with him. Sheldon seemed to be basking happily near the window watching over them. The little guy was actually quite smart, and would stop Labby if she ever got too excited by splashing her with some water.
Maybe I should teach him to shoot water from his mouth when I said water cannon, my handy turtle water gun that could probably actually drown people very easily if he wanted.
I laughed at the thought, before returning back to my notes. Symptoms of crippling, and Qi deficiency were written down, an entire note worth of things that I’d gathered from the library and from my own research and experiments with spirit plants.
The circles of the dantian and their role, alongside some names and procedures for how people had managed to fix their cores upon having crippled their cultivation.
As was to be expected, I didn’t find much in regards to potential cures to having a crippled cultivation. There were some stories of people having had their cultivations crippled who managed to break through and gain it back and become stronger than ever and what not, but I hadn’t found any detailed or accurate records of any such incident so far.
What I did find though, was a potential solution to Su Lin’s brother’s condition. While I couldn’t fix his dantian or cultivation, what I could do was patch his body in a way that would allow him to hold Qi within himself. He still couldn’t cultivate, or use any arts, but if the concept worked then his physique at least would return close to that of a cultivator’s.
All I needed to do was figure out how to establish a spirit herb garden outside my own dantian, and use him as an anchor instead. It’d allow for a direct transfer of Qi from the spirit herbs, and the essence could then be used to essentially fix the holes in his dantian to prevent any leaks.
Although the idea seemed sound in principle, I had no way to see if it actually worked or not. My knowledge of the human body was, despite modern education, not enough to be doing stuff like this. And the body of a cultivator and things like a dantian would not be following regular biology either.
What I needed was someone proficient in medical aspects, who I could trust with my deal with Su Lin, and the information about his brothers.
I smiled, as I took out a piece of paper and began to write a message to one such individual that I happened to know. The only one really.
“I wonder if the spirit somehow intended this as well…” I muttered out loud as I finished my letter rolling it up.
Now the question was how to send it to Liuxiang. I could send it through the sect, but I really didn’t want to. There was no sensitive information in there, but I also didn’t want the sect to have their hands involved in this either way.
I looked at Labby, sparkling and crackling as she stood on Sheldon’s shell, trying to do a jump kick and splashing into the water.
I turned my eyes towards the cat, sitting next to me as he licked his paws, grooming himself idly. I turned to stare at the little fellow as he looked back at me, before giving me a quiet meow.
“I think I’m gonna name you,” I told the cat, receiving a meow, as he returned back to his grooming, yet I could tell that he was listening.
“A cat, so… ah, indeed. I have just the perfect name for you,” I proclaimed, as I saw Labby’s ears perk up, even Sheldon was paying attention.
“Master is going to take him in as well? Well, Labby already has! But, Labby didn’t know Master was going to as well.”
“Yes Labby, from now on Nyan-Ni, or Nyan for short, will be with us as well. As long as he doesn’t run off that is,” I said, proclaiming the name.
There was no Qi swirl, no lightshow, no magic thingamajig. And I sighed. Guess just naming a cat wasn’t suddenly going to make him intelligent.
I was about to put away my scroll, to get up and find Liuxiang myself, when I saw Nyan approach the scroll before grabbing it in his mouth.
“So you do understand me, don’t you?” I asked the cat, sensing the faint Qi in him growing slightly. Similar to Labby before she had broken through, the cat was smart enough to understand my words.
“Can you send this to Liuxiang? You should know his smell,” I asked the cat, and I heard Labby squeak, telling him something as well. Nyan sniffed once, staring at me.
“You’ll get a spirit pill if you do so,” I replied and Nyan turned around jumping onto my table before leaping out the window.
Well, that was easy.
“Can Labby have a pill too?” I heard Labby asked with a squeak, looking at me with her beady eyes.
“Young Lady, you need to be taught something called Rehab,” I said, staring at Labby as she stared back at me confused.
“We’ll discuss that soon,” I told her, shaking my head. I needed to limit her pill feeding. Although it wasn’t harming her, an excess of anything was bad. With thoughts of working on Labby’s discipline I turned around and began to work with my cauldron. Preparing the needed herbs and ingredients for the last thing I needed before heading out to meet with Su Lin.
Plumes of smoke and the scent of various herbs had filled my room, slowly drifting out of the open window. I’d gone through many assortment of herbs and items in the last two hours as I’d been trying to make the right pill.
I checked my notes once again, looking at the Qi amount estimates, the Qi flow pattern I was testing alongside the combination of herbs I was working at.
This was the next step essentially, and something I’d be doing as an alchemist. Making my own unique pills. So far I’d only focused on refining the existing recipes and modifying them, which took out a major element of the alchemy process from the equation, which were the herbs, and the mixture of the right essence.
It had been like I was given all the chemicals, and was told to simply execute the reaction correctly before. And I’d gone around playing with those.
Now I had to find the right chemicals, understand how the essences interacted along with each other, and then connect those together to form the right pills.
There were obviously types of Qi and essences. Fire, Water, Wind, Earth were the basics. Then there were stuff like Lightning, Moon, Sun or Light, Shadow, Poison and so on and so forth. From what I had read, each Qi type was a mixture of the four bases of Fire, Water, Earth and Wind.
Nothing groundbreaking there, it was an elemental system with sub elements added. So Moon from Water and Yin, Lightning from Fire and Yang, etc. But what I was interested in seeing was how they described something like poison.
My research so far has been disappointing.
Poison, as a nature of Qi, is often only found among the descendants of certain clans. The Shie ducal clan being the largest, with many branch clans descending directly from the main bloodline, such as the Du, the Yi and many others have also been found to have Poison Qi. Some have even argued about the similarities of the Qi being similar to Gu, causing tensions with the Shie clan within the empire.
I stopped reading at that point as the book devolves into political talks on the clans and what not. But the core insight, or disappointing truth that it’d given me was that Poison Qi was simply considered outside of the elemental Qi. The same went for Blood Qi and other similar types.
I returned back to my cauldron. I’d noted down the essence and their reactions with others. Fire was not violent with water as would be expected, but instead mellow. It was Violent with wind instead and same with earth and vice versa. But there were also strange interactions of essence when both fire and water and earth essence herbs were combined, like a sizzling steaming rock pill with almost a metallic lustre that was so hard I couldn’t even crack it, and I could crack actual rocks.
I sat in silence for a moment, trying to think of a way to form the pill I needed before an idea came to me.
Turning around, I walked to my spirit garden, and to the moon lotus I had nearby. Unlike a regular lotus, this plant didn’t wither off as it produced seeds but instead formed little pods of tiny seeds filled with Qi beneath its petals. So far, none of the seeds had grown into another lotus blossom on their own.
I took a couple of seeds from the plant, walking away as I headed towards my cauldron. I added a mix of a few spirit herbs, letting the flames rise as I circulated my Qi refining them. Once the essence started to gush out of the herbs, I carefully opened the lid and deposited the lotus seeds.
The seed began to mix with the essence, and I continued to refine them together with the herbs. Within a few moments I felt the seeds start to suck in the Qi around them, mixing with their own essence as they started to coagulate into one sticky mass. I swirled my Qi smiling as I continued to work. I was close.
The Qi churned, the moon essence swirling within the cauldron as it bound the other essence together with it. A few moments later, I opened the cauldron and found a white pill, with hints of green sitting inside.
I had no idea what the pill did just yet. But if my theory had been right then the pill should allow me to form an anchor within Su Lin’s brother, fixing his Qi deprivation. And perhaps, eventually fixing his cultivation as well.
I heard the window thump as Nyan jumped back in. A different note in his mouth this time. I opened the note, reading the contents before putting them back in as I smiled, feeling excited. Liuxiang had agreed. All I needed to do now was to meet and tell Su Lin about it.
“Well then, let’s go then?” I told my spirits, and one not-yet-spirit cat.