“I will leave those matters to you, then. Come contact me if the trouble gets too large. I believe you had other reasons for coming here, though?”
Shi Yue nodded bleakly and fixed some of his glaring disciple’s messy hair. The boy was still glaring at him all the time but it looked quite cute, so he had started forgetting to scold him for it.
“Yao Ming used such weak herbs on him, he must already be aware that Xie Yi has no resistance. That means that he is bound to use poisons in the future. I would like to ask if Master has a way?”
The sect leader poured Xie Yi a new cup of nourishing tea as he thought about it. It was very unusual for a senior to pour tea for a junior, but Xie Yi didn’t notice at all and he wasn’t too strict with rules when it was about his disciple and grand-disciple.
“I have access to the garden here”, he said. “I am allowed to take out some herbs, and there are indeed some concoctions that can aid in raising one’s tolerance. The best way would be to continuously raise it by giving him smaller amounts daily or weekly, but those herbs will lay a foundation at least, so that we can even try that method.”
“Hey, Shi Yue, I can just eat some daily! That’s no problem at all! Let’s do it like that, okay?”, Xie Yi demanded excitedly, tugging at Shi Yue’s clothes. Just as he had worried about the matter, the sect leader had given him an idea.
“It’s ‘Master’. And, it’s uncomfortable and painful to ingest poison just to build tolerances”, Shi Yue noted with a stern face. “It’s only useful if you actually continue it for a long time despite that.”
“How painful compared to the cleaning-your-channels-thing?”, Xie Yi asked with wide, innocent eyes.
It wasn’t too comparable. Cleaning channels was like someone cutting open your body along your veins but ingesting poisons did depend on the nature of the poison. If they used a mixture, to create a more general tolerance, then it would be about as painful as having bad sunburn all over your body. Sensitive to touches and movement, skin prickling.
The cultivators that he knew had all given up after two days, lamenting that the feeling of wanting to just change out of your skin was truly too terrible. Whenever they moved, not only would their skin brush against skin, it would also brush against clothes, leading to a painful sensation.
“How bad did you think that was?”, Shi Yue asked carefully.
Xie Yi shrugged. “Not really a problem.”
“He might have a lowered sense of pain by nature”, the sect leader suggested. “You can let him try. Just start with a very low dose every second day, that way you can adjust according to how he feels. Hurrying with the matter will do us no good.”
“Yes. Thank you for the suggestion and your help”, Shi Yue gracefully replied, bowing his head again. He did have a wide variety of materials as a Grandmaster, but especially those that could create affinities and tolerances were beyond rare and hard to grow. Commoners liked to imagine that just because one was a strong cultivator, one could get whatever they wanted, but that wasn’t the case at all.
In this world, there is always someone stronger, or someone weaker but with a large backing. Even he couldn’t just venture into those areas where just the environment was lethal enough, let alone the beings that lived there. A normal human thought of the materials that young cultivators had as precious, a young cultivator thought of the materials that a Master had as precious, and so on… Alas, the herbs that a Transcendent grew were usually above his capabilities.
“I will go and gather the herbs. Why don’t you notify Xue Hua? It would be best for you to stay here tonight so that Xie Yi can recuperate fully.”
“Is that really alright?”, Shi Yue asked with a surprised face. Obviously, the place was great for cultivators. It was brimming with spiritual energy and the air was incredibly clean, but this was, in the end, the home of a Transcendent.
“I will contact him, but I have a feeling he won’t mind. Let the boy rest for a while”, the sect leader insisted. “The rooms here adjust to the ideal sleeping place of the person staying in it. There is no place where he can rest better than here.”
Shi Yue twitched lightly and remembered how Xie Yi had looked while sleeping in the tent. Having the ideal place to sleep would be good, right? He was still so young, it was important for him to get a good night’s sleep.
“In that case, we will take the offer”, he ultimately agreed with his disciple’s well-being in mind. “I hope I can find a way to repay the great master for this favour one day.”
“You have enough time”, the sect leader said before he curtly left the room. When he came back he had a crystal in his hand. It was yellow in colour and almost shining, the engravings pulsing softly. Even just a short look was enough to know that it was incomparably precious.
Holding it with both hands, the sect leader looked at Shi Yue who cleared out the table and laid down a silk handkerchief for the crystal to be placed upon.
With a touch of the Grandmaster’s hand, the crystal orb began to emit a warm light.
Moments later, the light began to shiver as a calm and absent-minded voice sounded out from it.
“Yes?”, the slightly distorting voice asked.
“Lord, it is me”, the sect leader said, bowing to the crystal although the Transcendent couldn’t see it.
They got a hum in reply. Xie Yi watched the crystal, which was something he had never seen before, closely.
“What is the matter? Do you wish to let your visitors stay over?”, the person asked. He sounded like he was focusing on someone else, but Shi Yue straightened his back even more when he heard that the man already knew he was there.
“Greetings to the Lord”, Shi Yue said with a deep bow.
“Hi. Are you the Transcendent?”, Xie Yi quipped in, hopping a step closer and leaning on the table to inspect the crystal. Shi Yue went white as he saw his disciple behaving so rudely and pulled him back by the collar.
Before he could apologize, the Transcendent answered in a nonchalant tone: “That’s correct. So you are one of the visitors. What’s your name?”
“Xie Yi”, the child responded, still watching. The crystal fascinated him so much that all tension was forgotten. The pressure from outside was completely gone and without it, just a voice wasn’t enough to snap him out of his daze.
“Do you like your master, Xie Yi?”
“A lot.” He lightly struggled against Shi Yue’s grip, trying to see if the man was going to let him go. Only when he felt continuing resistance did he stop trying to move. He was completely oblivious to the panic that the two adults were showing on their faces.
“What about the Demonic Sect?”
“I hate it.” That was the truth, so he wasn’t concerned about it slipping out from his mouth. Anyway, he really wanted to take a closer look…
“That’s fine then. You are free to stay here and come back as you please, Xie Yi. Of course, your master can accompany you.”
The voice stopped. As it faded away, a quiet comment could still be heard being said in a cryptic tone.
“Finally, no more messing with time…”
When the crystal’s glow subsided, Xie Yi was left in a trance. Everything that had just been so overwhelmingly attractive was now gone and he was feeling greatly disappointed.
The other two adults, who hadn’t gotten a word in at all, were standing rigid.
Great Lord, could we please have some explanations! Why are you suddenly so tolerant! How come you were so interested in the boy! And what was that about the master being allowed to accompany his disciple?! Isn’t it usually the other way around!
“I believe we can say for sure now that Xie Yi is someone we should teach carefully”, Shi Yue said breathlessly, loosing his tense fingers from around the boy’s collar. The child stood somewhat desolately in front of the table.
There really was no better way to determine whether a person was good or bad than a Transcendent bluntly allowing them to walk in and out of their house as they pleased. That did sound like Xie Yi had truly stopped meeting up with the Demonic Cultivators.
“Xie Yi, do you know that voice?”, the sect leader asked as he sat down slowly.
With a shake of his black hair, Xie Yi pursed his lips. “Dunno. But I like it.”
His master sat down as well, leaning on the table with his face in his hands. “Master… You warned me that reckless disciples might offend nobility or stronger cultivators and that I have to watch out that this kind of thing doesn’t happen.”
“That is indeed what I told you”, the sect leader replied in a tired voice, his eyes following Xie Yi as he walked around the table to glare at the crystal from various angles.
“I didn’t think that included Transcendents.”
“I was talking about disciples with common sense”, the older cultivator pushed the responsibility away.
Shi Yue turned his head in his hands to glare at Xie Yi, who froze at feeling the stare and lowered his head to give off an innocent look.
“...Yes”, the child responded meekly.
Ah, that was the tone that meant he was going to get a scolding.