Episode 27 – Quasi-Tempering Pill
Elaru sat down cross-legged on the rug before taking out a pillbox from her backpack. She opened the box which contained three candy-like pills. As she picked one up, she felt a familiar warmth spread through her fingers. So this is what happened to that Feather of a Firebird I got for uncle Ixos.
Initially, she had thought that plucking a feather from a firebird would be as easy as taking candy from a baby. Yet it had given her unexpected trouble. It wasn’t that finding a firebird was hard for her, it wasn’t that she couldn’t approach it or sneak attack it. No, the problem was quite peculiar:
A firebird didn’t have any feathers.
Where normal birds would have feathers, firebird was covered with flames instead. She lost count of how many times she cursed whoever named the item as the “Feather of a Firebird”.
Elaru shook her head. Misleading. Totally misleading! Then, without hesitation, she popped the pill into her mouth and swallowed it down.
As soon as the candy reached her stomach, it melted into a hot liquid. The liquid quickly passed through the walls of the stomach, seeping directly into her bloodstream.
Through her blood, it quickly spread to every nook and cranny of her body.
It was as if a flame had been lit up inside her. The warmth pulsated everywhere, heating her up. Her skin turned reddish and hot to the touch. Sweat started pouring down her forehead like a waterfall.
The warmth started burning her from inside out. This must be how a freshly roasted porkling feels like.
Searing pain assaulted her senses. She closed her eyes and took long breaths, her body posture shifted to that of meditation. Although her body ached, her face was the definition of calm, showing neither pain nor worry.
Tempering medicine was the kind of medicine she was the most familiar with. It took only a single glance for her to be able to tell that this particular pill was a quasi-tempering medicine.
Quasi-tempering medicine didn’t actually temper the body with mana, but rather, changed the body in a beneficial way that would ultimately result in improved mana resistance and tolerance.
This pill tried to make the composition of one’s body closer to the body of a firebird. Not only was its flesh resistant to fire, but it also had a better mana resistance and tolerance than the bodies of argel and elibu.
The firebird was always on fire, and its body consumed a lot of mana to sustain the flames. This increased consumption of mana, when compared to the consumption of argel and elibu, caused its body to excel in channeling mana.
This pill used the flame of the firebird to burn away all impurities within the body. Afterwards, it modified the cells using the flesh of a firebird as a reference.
The impure matter within the body negatively impacted the passage of mana, so removing these useless particles was desirable. It was a similar process to refining gold. Only by removing useless impurities would the gold be able to shine resplendently.
The burning pain persisted for several hours before starting to subside. By that time, Elaru was as drenched as if she had been swimming with her clothes on. She looked down at her sorry state, sighed and then proceeded to cast a cleansing.
After she was sparkling clean again, she got up from the floor and stretched. Her body felt a bit lighter, and her skin was even more radiant than before. It was so smooth and flawless it could give a baby a run for its money. (If babies had money.)
This should have removed the last bit of impurities that were left in my body. Uncle Ixos was right. This is indeed a miracle medicine.
After all the impurity removing pills she’d consumed, her body had almost no impurities left. It had reached the point in which no other medicine could improve it further. The fact that this medicine managed to remove the left over impurities that all others couldn’t was a testament to its extraordinary value.
She wanted to test how much her mana resistance and tolerance improved, but she needed to let her body recover to its best state first. She wanted to take another pill, but that also had to wait for her body to completely recover.
She looked at Kiel, who was still soundlessly sleeping. Technically, he wasn’t unconscious anymore. Because he was exhausted from his whole day of hard work and the mana tempering, his lack of consciousness had somehow turned into deep sleep. He would probably wake up in the morning, brimming with energy.
She looked back at the pill box she was holding in her hand, and then looked back at Kiel.
Say…Isn’t that ice block over there in a need of tempering pills? What a coincidence!
Elaru chuckled softly. No. When it comes to you and me…there might not be any coincidences at all…
She didn’t think about it for long before concluding: I’ll leave one of the pills for him. He is my soulmate now. I should treat him with more sincerity.
These types of pills that permanently altered the body had significant diminishing returns when consuming multiple pills. Depending on the type of the pill and the body of the person consuming it, the second pill would at most reach 40% effectiveness of the first pill. The third pill would at most reach 15%, and the fourth would barely reach 3%.
Therefore, even the rich nobles wouldn’t squander money to make their heirs take the fourth pill. At most, if the person in question was extremely important to the family, they would give them three pills.
This was exactly the reason why uncle Ixos gave her only three pills.
Elaru grinned widely as she looked at Kiel’s peaceful face. It’s your lucky day mate! You didn’t get a single strand of hair burned by the blasted firebird and you still get to enjoy a priceless treasure of a medicine.
Tsk…tsk…and you were even complaining how horrible it is to be stuck with me…
◈ Sunday morning, Rroda Mainhouse, Ashar ◈
It had been a pleasant summer morning in Ashar, yet the temperature in the disturbingly neat room was everything but warm. Only one word could be used to describe the biting cold – subzero.
The source of the imposing aura was an old man, looking to be in his sixties, seated behind a large work desk, in an armchair that looked nothing short of a throne.
The time had almost completely turned his black-blue hair into white. However, his chilling icy blue eyes showed no sign of age, still as piercing as ever.
The man held a tacky, luxurious looking teacup, adorned by many patterns and crystals, that looked out of place in the elegant yet sparsely decorated room.
His eyes flashed left and right, causing every person they landed on to shiver involuntarily.
Although there were several armchairs positioned in front of his desk, no one dared to sit down. The three men stood with their heads lowered, sweating profusely and avoiding his eyes as if their life depended on it.
His gaze stopped on the man who looked to be the leader of the group. “Care to repeat that?”
The sunlight came through the window behind the old man, casting a shadow over his face. However, even in the lack of light, his eyes were disturbingly bright. Like the eyes of a predator eying its prey in the darkness of the night.
Clem, the leader of the group of three, felt his hair stand on end. He gulped but didn’t know whether he should repeat himself or not. His panicked eyes looked at the butler standing behind the old man, pleading for help. The middle-aged butler stood with his back straight, dressed in a tidy uniform. His face was perfectly calm, as if he had long gotten used to witnessing such situations. He nodded at Clem briefly, encouraging him to repeat himself.
Clem swallowed another batch of saliva before speaking out in a weak voice. “Your grands…”
The old man’s eyes narrowed, making Clem’s words get caught in his throat. He gulped again and continued. “Master Kiel…left me instructions to bring his luggage here…to the mainhouse. He said he would stop by to pick them up later.”
The man’s cold face didn’t change at all as he held out his hand.
Clem looked at it briefly in panic, before realizing what the old monster wanted. He hurriedly gave him a paper with the previously mentioned instructions.
Venric Rroda glanced at the letter briefly, his expression remaining frozen the entire time.
Even though his expression still didn’t change, the temperature in the room seemed to plummet down again.
“Where is he now?” Venric Rroda spoke slowly, extenuating every word as if he was attempting to communicate with morons. A species that couldn’t understand the greatness of his words. Every cell in his body radiated innate arrogance.
The deep, cold voice made Clem feel as if there were ice needles piercing his heart. “We…we don’t know.”
The old man’s eyes flashed dangerously, his voice dropping down lower and lower.
“You. Don’t. Know?”
Even though Venric’s face showed no fury, instead wearing a chillingly cold expression, Clem felt that the word “terrifying” couldn’t do him justice at all. There was something about Venric Rroda that made him look like a demon in human skin; a viper that could end Clem’s pathetic life in an instant.
Clem’s scalp turned numb, his back had long since become drenched in cold sweat. He hurried to explain himself. “M…master Kiel didn’t leave us any other instructions…We…we believe he used a beacon to teleport somewhere…his aura just suddenly vanished…”
Venric Rroda placed the tacky teacup against his thin lips. His mannerisms were dignified and refined. His poise could make anyone feel like they were nothing more than dirt in front of him. After the agonizingly slow sip, he spoke out a single word: “Lawrence.”
The butler behind him bowed his head down and responded. “Yes, your grace. I’ll get it investigated right away.” The butler, whose name seemed to be Lawrence, put down the teapot he was holding and quickly made his way out of the room.
The entire time, Venric Rroda didn’t look at his figure at all. His eyes remained fixed on Clem. “And you…”
Did he forget my name? Clem didn’t dare remind him of it.
“Tell me everything you know. Did…the boy…exhibit any strange behavior before leaving? What caused the departure? Speak.” His authoritative voice exuded powerful pressure. His black clothes, pale skin, beard and mustache, his every feature made him look imposing.
It was like thousands of ghostly whispers were telling Clem he didn’t have the right to breathe the same air as Venric Rroda.
“Your g…” Clem coughed almost choking on his own saliva before he forcefully stifled it and continued. “On Friday…in the early afternoon…master Kiel came back with an elibu female. He proceeded to take her upstairs to his room where they…uh…attended to some private business…” Clem’s face flushed red.
Venric Rroda raised his eyebrow displeased but didn’t interrupt. “You see…uh…master Kiel never brings girls home…so it falls into the previously mentioned category of suspicious behavior.” Clem explained, his voice picking up pace, wanting nothing more than to quickly narrate everything he knew. “The girl was extremely beautiful and graceful. She had long red hair tied in a ponytail, tanned skin, and teal colored eyes. She was dressed in quest seeker garbs.”
Venric’s eyes narrowed. He couldn’t deduce her origin from the description of her hair and eye color. They weren’t among the well-known unique colors belonging to a specific bloodline.
“The girl arrived at Beyd about a week ago. She has had her eye on master Kiel ever since. But no one had seen master Kiel interact with her before that Friday.”
While Clem was animatedly describing everything he knew, Lawrence returned back into the room and assumed his previous position behind Venric’s back. He had delegated the job of finding the gate where Kiel Rroda teleported to, to someone else. His job was to serve the house master; he couldn’t afford to do it personally.
The more the servant talked, the more tightly Venric Rroda gripped his teacup. His wrinkled fingers turned completely white. Clem’s hands, which he hid behind his back, were shaking profusely. He was worried that the teacup wouldn’t be able to endure the pressure. If it broke and caused the tea to splatter on the man, who knows what sorry fate would befall them.
Lawrence didn’t seem worried about the matter at all. As Venric moved the teacup to the side, Lawrence took it as his cue to pour in more tea.
After the man was done narrating everything he knew, Venric’s chilling voice finally brought him some release: “Leave the luggage in one of the guestrooms. Dismissed.”
Clem bowed before scuttling out of the room. He rushed to leave so much he almost tripped over his own legs. The other two men weren’t in any less of a hurry, they darted towards the doors as if competing who would pass through them first. The three almost got stuck trying to leave the room at the same time. The doors weren’t large enough to allow all three of them to pass side by side.
As the door to the room closed behind the trio, Venric’s cold voice once again sounded in the quiet room. “Lawrence. Find out everything you can about this…girl.”
“Yes, your grace.” Lawrence once again bowed in respect and exited the room, leaving Venric to his own thoughts.
When he was finally left alone in the room, Venric’s cold face revealed some emotion at last. He sneered derisively. You think this is a place you can casually come and go as you please? Who gave you the permission to leave Beyd?
Useless bastard child. You better not cause me any trouble and go back where you belong.