Upon meeting their gaze, Ye Chen felt like he was bathed in a spring breeze. A pleasant smile hung on his mouth."Did you study after going back yesterday?" Master Apothecary Xuanyi's face softened as he asked Ye Chen gently.
"Yes, I looked back on what I learned yesterday and have made improvements." Ye Chen nodded.
"Very good." Master Apothecary Xuanyi smiled and nodded. "Let's go." He glanced at Xuan Yu, Chen Xian, and the others, and said lowly, "Stop kneeling. Get up."
Master Apothecary Xuanyi brought Li Xu, Ye Chen, and the others out of the courtyard.
Lei Yi watched Ye Chen's back with dark eyes. He could feel that Master Apothecary Xuanyi's att.i.tude toward Ye Chen was different unlike how he treated the usual registered apprentices. He glanced coldly at Xuan Yu, who stumbled to his feet and asked, "What happened?"
"It's all Ye Chen's fault!" Xuan Yu was pale as he wailed miserably, "Senior Brother Lei, you have to help us. Master's impression of us must be extremely poor!" Originally, he might have been accepted as an official apprentice if he worked harder but now, he felt that this dream had disappeared far away.
"You couldn't even handle a seventeen-year-old boy despite the large number of people with you. Trash. Don't waste your breath. We'll talk after reaching Lake Nekros!" Lei Yi said coldly.
Hao Feng and Yan Cheng exchanged glances. A boy who had just joined was already so arrogant. How could they keep their status if they did not teach Ye Chen a lesson?
More than thirty people sat on three boats and left the small island. They rode on the Nightwinds provided by the Imperial City bodyguards and galloped for three hours, heading north toward a vast and barren hill in the distance.
Despite galloping for more than three hours, they had not exited the Imperial City yet. The Imperial City was truly large.
"Brother Ye Chen, where are we going?" Little Wingsy asked anxiously. The only thing further ahead were barren hills.
"Master wants to take us fishing. I also don't know where we're going." Ye Chen smiled and shook his head. Little Wingsy sat behind him and looked curiously in all directions.
Li Xu urged his horse closer and rode side by side Ye Chen.
"Senior Brother Li, what exactly is this Lake Nekros? Its name sounds strange," Ye Chen asked Li Xu.
"Tens of thousands of years ago, the place where Lake Nekros is, used to be an ocean. However, it transformed into a barren mountain and a lake was formed. The lake was naturally formed and has several square miles worth of surface area but it's filled with a highly corrosive liquid. If it makes contact with a person's skin, it can instantly corrode the skin. However, there are some fish in the lake that are natural treasures that can be used to refine many rare pills. Thousands of years ago, the Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe discovered this place and took control of it," Li Xu explained with a smile.
"Is Lake Nekros the reason why Master is willing to stay in the Xiwu Empire?" Ye Chen seemed to immediately a.s.sociate something and asked. Master Apothecary Xuanyi had traveled to many countries but decided to settle in the Xiwu Empire. It was most likely for this reason.
"That's right." Li Xu nodded. He glanced at Lei Yi and the others and whispered, "Did you cause the incident yesterday?"
"Ah, they wanted to pick a fight with me and I taught them a lesson," Ye Chen said. He did not have to hide the truth from Li Xu.
"You didn't do anything wrong but you should still be careful. Lei Yi and the other two won't just let you go," Li Xu warned Ye Chen.
"I understand. However, I'll counter anything they throw at me. I'm not afraid of them."
Li Xu sighed slightly at Ye Chen's behavior. Ye Chen's youthfulness might cause him to suffer losses in the future.
However, Ye Chen knew that with the likes of Lei Yi and the others, it would be impossible for them to make him suffer.
As they talked, they entered the barren hills and pa.s.sed through the narrow path before finally seeing a few gold-armored imperial guards defending the area.
The gold-armored imperial guards immediately became respectful upon seeing Master Apothecary Xuanyi and gave them fishing gear, conical hats, gloves, and so on.
"These conical hats and gloves are made of natural gold silk threads and will not corrode in the lake's water. The fishing rod is made of Flameshadow black gold and is soft but tough. It's a priceless treasure painstakingly made by the Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe." Li Xu introduced and put on the conical hat and gloves. His body was very well protected, leaving no gap except for breathing areas.
There were many disciples but each person received one set. Ye Chen and Little Wingsy also wore their outfits. Little Wingsy's was the smallest but it fit him like a glove. It seemed that the children of the Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe went fishing with the adults.
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"Ye Chen, come here. It's your first time here so let Master teach you how to fish." Master Apothecary Xuanyi turned to Ye Chen and beckoned.
Master Apothecary Xuanyi had entered a strange state. Ye Chen sat aside and grew thoughtful. He could feel the silence of the world. They were supposedly fishing but it was as if they were cultivating. His Celestial Chi improved slightly, delighting Ye Chen.
Twenty minutes pa.s.sed in the blink of an eye. Master Apothecary Xuanyi's brow twitched when the float moved. He firmly pulled the fishing rod and a lively red fish was pulled out of the water. He caught the small fish in his right hand and placed it into a black sealed barrel made of an unknown metal.
Master Apothecary Xuanyi had caught a fish so quickly.
"Congratulations, Master. It's a Rainbow Fish." Li Xu and Lei Yi, who were sitting nearby, congratulated their master.
Master Apothecary Xuanyi chuckled, looking very satisfied.
Ye Chen immediately recalled some information. Rainbow Fish was a natural treasure. The fish could be stewed or fried and after eating one, it would extend the life of an ordinary person and temper the meridians of a dying one, increasing their lifespan. If it was refined into a medicinal pill, the effects would be stronger and it could greatly improve Celestial Chi cultivation. The fish that Master Apothecary had caught was around a finger long and had most likely grown for a year or two. Just this fish would be enough to sell for thousands of Chi-ama.s.sing Pills in large auction houses in the Central Empire. If the fish grew for another two years, it would be larger. If it grew to the size of five fingers long, it would be a world treasure. Even a tiny bit of the flesh would be invaluable.
Thinking about this, Ye Chen's heart could not help but race. How amazing!
At the side, Little Tanuki's eyes lit up upon the mention of the Rainbow Fish. Little Wingsy also smacked his lips, almost drooling. It started fantasizing about cooking the fish, wondering if it was delicious.
All the fishes belonged to the apprentice who caught it. Even if Master Apothecary Xuanyi took it away, he would exchange it with an equivalent value of medicinal pills.
Although Ye Chen could not see into the pond, he could tell that there were many fishes in the lake.
"If the fishes in this lake are so precious, why not use a net?" Ye Chen asked curiously.
Master Apothecary Xuanyi smiled and said, "Although gold silk threads can resist corrosion, they'll break if they're bitten by the fish in the lake, so they can't be made into nets or clothes. The fishing lines on these hooks are made from Nether Snakes' muscles and are very precious. Great Emperor Mingwu had only collected fifty despite using the strength of the entire country. Even if they were woven into the net, the effect would not be great."
So that was it. The fishes in this lake were difficult to catch!
 River Snow written by Liu Zongyuan - a writer, politician, and poet who lived during the Tang Dynasty
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