An Taiping was momentarily silent before he asked a question, “Have you heard about ‘microbes’?
Xiao Hong blinked. And then she blinked again. ‘What the actual fuck?’
Unaware of Xiao Hong’s shock, An Taiping continued explaining, “Microbes are very, very tiny creatures that dwell within a human being’s body, Especially in mortals. They help in all sorts of things like digestion, oral health, even in keeping their respiratory tract healthy…”
“However, there are many more harmful microbes. In fact, the majority of the diseases that plague the mortals are caused by these harmful bacteria - they attack the human body, use it as a nest for their reproduction…”
Nangong Wan and Qi Lijuan cringed in disgust. The idea of their bodies being used as a nest for these microbes was awful!
An Taiping explained bacteria, viruses and other microbes in great detail.
“After we attain Earthen Origin, though, the Qi in our body is more than enough to destroy any and all bacteria that may harm us. This is the origin of the ‘immunity to disease and illness’!” An Taiping explained.
“Then why can it affect her? She is in the Divine Sea Realm.” Nangong Wan, who was immensely relieved that she couldn’t be used as a breeding ground for tiny disgusting creatures, asked curiously.
“...Well, with the combination of Spirit Energy and the vitality of the living being they occupy, there is a chance that they, too, would be able to gather Zhenqi…” An Taiping explained hesitantly, he himself wasn’t sure of the exact situation. After all, he’d only heard about it from that monstrous cousin of his.
On the other side, Xiao Hong’s mind exploded.
She stood there blankly for quite a while, thinking, ‘Bacteria can cultivate… Bacteria can cultivate… Bacteria can cultivate…’
After a while, she gathered her thoughts.
‘Actually, this should not be that surprising. The Spiritual Energy of Heaven and Earth is incredibly miraculous. Even stones can gather Spiritual Energy and learn to cultivate, much less bacteria, which are more ‘alive’.’
Xiao Hong paused as a fascinating yet terrifying idea struck her mind.
‘Since bacteria can cultivate… Can I do it artificially? Can I artificially cultivate a powerful strain of bacteria that can even affect cultivators?! And then control it to attack other cultivators?’
Xiao Hong’s mind raced, ‘Since Beastmaster and Gu Master are legit occupations, why can’t there be a Microbemaster occupation as well?!’
Xiao Hong’s heart thumped. She felt that she had discovered something incredible! One has to know that, compared to nuclear bombs, biological warfare is much, much more fearsome! Just think about all the pandemics that occurred throughout human history. The most recent pandemic took almost 7 million lives. Even Xiao Hong’s previous incarnation lost to it!
The more she thought about it, the more she believed her ideas to be plausible. Just a naturally evolved strain could leave a peak Divine Sea in this helpless state! Just imagine how powerful it would be, nurtured by a cultivator’s Zhenqi and later on Spirit Qi!
She immediately wanted to take a sample of this girl's blood!
‘No, Xiao Hong, calm down!’ she reprimanded herself. ‘It is very easy to lose control of these things! Just think about how you died last time!’
Xiao Hong’s previous self firmly believed that the pandemic was a biological weapon of some country that went out of control. Her previous self was not really a conspiracy theorist, but he wanted someone to blame! That his life was coming to an end because some weirdo decided to eat weird stuff felt like a rather cheap way to die.
‘Even if I am to use biological warfare, I must first ensure that me and my loved ones aren’t affected.
‘And even if I do, in the end, succeed without destroying half the World, it can only be used as a trump card. If people know of it, it won’t bode well for me.’
The higher one’s Cultivation Base is, the more miraculous and terrifying their powers are. Relative to a mortal, a Divine Sea cultivator like her seemed god-like. Similarly, to a Divine Sea cultivator like her, a Transformation Realm expert was essentially a Divine Being.
There were risks she could not afford to take.
That was why the whole biological warfare idea was a strategic trump card at best.
She calmed herself down.
“So, how should one cure it?” the City Lord excitedly, the light of hope shining through his eyes.
“Well, it requires a Grade 4 Alchemist to customise a medicine for her, actually…” An Taiping shook his head helplessly, “Without a Grade 4 pill’s targeted medicinal power, there is a good chance it will have no effect.”
Between Grade 3 and Grade 4, there was a massive chasm. Many Alchemists were stuck at the Grade 3 Alchemy, unable to breakthrough during their extended lifetimes!
This was because Grade 4 onwards, the Pills could be called Spirit Pills!
It meant that an Alchemist had to imbue Spirituality onto the Pills. Even if it was only a trace of Spirituality, the difference it brought about was greater than the difference between the clouds in the sky and mud on the ground.
Spirit Pills allowed for the medicinal power to be extremely targeted. Meaning the cultivator would not have to waste his own power to direct the medicinal power. Moreover, because the pill itself directs the medicinal power, there are no losses due to shitty control on the cultivator’s end.
Imbuing even that tiny amount of Spirituality onto the Pill was a massive hurdle the majority of the Alchemist could not cross. Forget imbuing Spirituality onto the Pill, the Alchemists had a hard time even condensing the Pill. The medicinal power was just too powerful to control properly.
The City Lord was a little disappointed. But he soon corrected his mentality. At least now, there was hope! He had a few connections with Grade 4 Alchemists as a City Lord. Even if he’d have to pay a certain price to enlist their help, it could still be done. He was willing to even sell his City, let alone a small price like that!
So, he turned to An Taiping, and once again gave him a light bow, “I will always be grateful to Sir!” He placed his hand over his heart and spoke in a solemn tone. “I, Huang, will accept any request from Sir An, as long as it is not against my moral code!”
An Taiping just spoke awkwardly, “Lord Huang doesn’t have to…”
Xiao Hong looked at An Taiping with a strange gaze. ‘You aren’t a protagonist too, right?! Gaining an expert’s favour so easily?’
Then the City Lord turned to the other Alchemists, cupping his fists “Thank you for taking your precious time to help this old man! I will always be grateful!”
He thanked them several times before he let them go.
Honestly, Xiao Hong was impressed with this City Lord. He braved the possibility of offending the genius Alchemists of a Super Sect just for a sliver of hope. One has to know that each of the Alchemists that came to this Secret Realm Trial had great hope of becoming a Grade 4 Alchemist, even Grade 5 was a possibility. If he accidentally offended them, it would be equivalent to gaining the ire of an Elder of the Purple Spirit Sect! If they achieved Nirvana before 30, it would be even worse!
So, it was quite ballsy on his part to do this.
Meanwhile, back in the Hall, Li Hao had finished refining his Pills and whipped around, holding the pills, “Haha! You were right, Alchemist Xiao…?
His voice trailed off as confusion set in, “Where is everyone…?”
Xiao Hong walked back to her room with a preoccupied expression on her face, as though thinking about something very deeply, when she suddenly heard a voice: “Junior Sister Xiao, please wait a moment.”
Xiao Hong just sighed inwardly and turned towards the voice. “Greetings, Senior Brother Qiao. Please forgive me for not noticing your presence, I was preoccupied with thoughts of Alchemy.”
‘Sigh, this fellow is really persistent… Don’t you know you shouldn’t disturb a beauty deep in thought?’
“It’s alright, Junior Sister, it is my fault for breaking you out of your profound contemplations.” Qiao Xuan smiled warmly, before continuing, “Junior Sister, I am here once again to extend an invitation to become an Alchemist for the Qiao Family.”
In the three months she had been in closed-door cultivation, she also went out to exchange Pills. During one of those times, Xiao Hong had encountered this fellow. He wanted her to join the Qiao Family as an Alchemist. The conditions he offered were genuinely enticing too! Xiao Hong was tempted to accept, but she knew she would definitely fall into this bastard’s clutches!
So she refused.
Sadly, Qiao Xuan did not know how to take no for an answer and kept bugging her every time he saw her. And he brought out more and more enticing conditions.
And now, he was here again!
Xiao Hong shook her head firmly, “As I’ve said before, Senior Brother Qiao, I have no intention of joining any family.”
Qiao Xuan, who was rejected for the umpteenth time, couldn’t help but feel angry. He had tried over and over but this bitch just didn’t listen. It was the first time someone had refused him after offering such conditions. And it was the most generous condition he’d come up with in his life! Any other girl would already have jumped into his bed. But this bitch really thought she was all that and refused him over and over!
“Junior Sister, are you sure you don’t want to accept?” Qiao Xuan’s tone was calm and measured, but his eyes flashed with a chilly intent.
‘Oho! Can’t hold back anymore?’ Xiao Hong sneered inwardly.
“Yes, Senior Brother, this is my final decision. I won’t change my mind no matter what.” Xiao Hong said firmly, seemingly oblivious to his emotional state.
It might be a good idea to pretend to agree and not earn his ire for now, but Xiao Hong decided against it. First, he would not be able to do anything in the next 3 years. Unless he wanted to offend every Alchemist, he had to hold himself back. He needed those Pills to reach Nirvana, after all! Even if didn’t need it, he still had subordinates that did.
Second, the Qiao Family’s power couldn’t be exerted here.
So, until the end of the Trial, he couldn’t do anything. And after the Trial… she wouldn’t be far from Nirvana. Plus, she would also be a Grade 3 Alchemist by then. Even he would have to step around her carefully - since he could not easily offend a Grade 3 Alchemist, let alone a genius Alchemist like her. If he attained Nirvana and joined the Inner Sect, he wouldn’t be able to do anything to her immediately, allowing her enough time to attain Nirvana and join the Inner Sect herself.
In short, Xiao Hong didn’t have to worry and could afford to offend him.
“Very well.” Qiao Xuan nodded stiffly. “Then, I won’t embarrass myself any further.” Saying so, he walked away. At a certain distance, he paused.
“My offer will always remain open, Junior Sister Xiao.” He continued to walk away.