Chapter 273 - Poisoned?
After bidding farewell to Gu Bei, Nie Li and Lu Piao strolled through the Skysoul Institute and arrived at the Cultivation Hall.
This was the place where missions were assigned. After students completed their missions, they would return here to receive their spiritual stones, artifacts, and various other rewards.
With their monthly allowance, they would never have enough spiritual stones. Therefore, Nie Li and Lu Piao were forced to find other methods of acquiring them.
The Draconic Ruins Realm is an extremely cruel place where countless experts compete for the scarce resources. Regardless of how high one’s talent was, it would be difficult to raise one’s cultivation without spiritual stones. One of the best ways of obtaining them was to join a faction; after swearing loyalty, a faction would provide its talented underlings with large quantities of spiritual stones. However, this was definitely not an option for Nie Li and Lu Piao.
Aside from joining a faction, obtaining spiritual stones through the Cultivation Hall’s missions was also a valid idea.
The Cultivation Hall was filled with students from various districts of the Skysoul Institute. The hall was also filled with poster walls, each crammed thick with job listings.
Nie Li quickly checked the open missions. Many of them were hunting jobs that asked for the demon spirits of various kinds of demon beasts. Those demon spirits had to have at least an Extraordinary growth rate in order to be exchangeable for spiritual stones; therefore, the mission difficulties were rather high. Aside from these, there were also missions for forging weapons, collecting materials, etc. However, none of them could be called easy.
Lu Piao scanned over the missions and sighed when he found none of his level. “It seems like it’s pretty hard to obtain spiritual stones.”
“That’s for sure. The Divine Feathers Sect only controls a limited number of Deity's Lakes. Each lake produces a several tens of thousands stones for the disciples of the Inner Division of the Divine Feathers Sect. That means that once they get divvied up, there won’t be much left for us,” Nie Li explained.
“Obtaining spiritual stones is really hard! So what do we do now?” asked Lu Piao.
Nie Li pointed at a mission on the wall and said, “We can give this mission a try!”
“What mission?” Lu Piao turned to look at the listing that Nie Li was pointing to.
“The Gu Clan’s young miss Gu Lan encountered a problem during cultivation, which made her bedridden. If there’s anyone who’s well-versed in medicine who can cure the young miss’s illness, the reward will be one thousand spiritual stones.” Lu Piao muttered as he re-read the notice, “A thousand spiritual stones. The Gu Clan must be really rich. Gu Bei also seems to be from the Gu Clan. But Nie Li, are you really taking this job just to cure her illness and not to pick up girls? The notice says that they’ve already tried many well-known doctors, but young miss Gu Lan still hasn’t been cured!”
Nie Li rolled his eyes at Lu Piao, “Of course I’m going to cure her illness. Saving someone’s life is better than building a seven floored pagoda[1. Chinese idiom. Saving someone’s life earns you more respect and is more useful than when kings build great structures to display their power and fame.]. Do you understand?”
Nie Li was rather confident in his Daoyin Technique.
“If you really can cure her illness and earn spiritual stones at the same time, then it’s not a bad idea.” Lu Piao stroked his chin with his right hand and said, “That Gu Bei also seems like a pretty nice guy. He even offered to treat us to a meal!”
In his previous life, Nie Li had been somewhat aware of Gu Lan. She was Master Bei’s elder sister and a mysterious girl. Rumor was that when she was young, she’d been injured in a cultivating accident and left in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. She also couldn’t cultivate anymore due to her handicap. However, she still managed to live for two hundred years. Rumors also say that Gu Lan was the one who guided Master Bei in swordplay and that was the reason why he’d been able to reach the pinnacle of the sword.
In his previous life, Nie Li had heard many legends about Gu Lan that circulated throughout the Draconic Ruins Realm. Now, coincidentally, there’s a notice about it here, so it’s not likely a trap. Therefore, there’s no harm in giving it a try.
Lu Piao pointed to several notices that were stuck on another wall and said, “Nie Li, if you’re so confident in your medical techniques, then look over here. There’re at least a few hundred other postings about people who got into accidents during cultivation. If you managed to cure them all, then doesn’t that mean that we’ll have at least several tens of thousands of spiritual stones?”
Upon hearing Lu Piao’s words, Nie Li bitterly smiled and said, “Are you trying to work me to death? Not to mention that the Divine Feathers Sect’s political situation is extremely complicated. We have to be cautious with each step! If Gu Bei didn’t seem like such an honest guy, I wouldn’t even want to show my skills and risk attracting unwanted attentions.”
“Then we’ll talk about it after you’ve cured the Gu Clan’s Miss,” Lu Piao said as he smiled.
Together, Nie Li and Lu Piao left for the address written on the notice.
On the way there, Nie Li carefully recalled all the information related to the Divine Feathers Sect that he’d gathered in his previous life. Within the Divine Feathers Sect, there were three major factions: the Dragonseal Family, the Gu Clan, and the Ashen Flames Family, which is the Jin Clan that Jin Yan belongs to. Yan Hao’s Yan Clan was too low to be compared to those three major factions.
Nie Li intended to try and cure Gu Lan. Aside from the reward of one thousand spiritual stones, it’d also help pave the future for himself and Lu Piao. If they cured the Gu Clan’s young miss, then they’d be able to form a good relationship with the clan, or at least with Gu Bei.
Nie Li followed the address given on the notice and arrived at a vast courtyard in the southern area of the Skysoul Institute.
This was where Gu Bei and Gu Lan stayed, but was just one of the Gu Clan’s many properties. The large gate was shut tight, leaving only the side door open for entry[2. In ancient Chinese architecture, there are always two front doors: a large one and a small small one right next to each other.]. There were also two servants standing guard at the smaller door.
“May I ask who you’re looking for?” one of the servants asked.
“It’s like this. We saw the job notice in the Cultivation Hall and came here to try and cure your young miss’s illness,” said Nie Li.
The servant gave Nie Li a once-over, then he waved his hand and said, “It’s better if you leave quickly.”
“Could it be that your young miss’s illness has already been cured?” Nie Li asked curiously.
“The young miss has already been examined by many doctors who’re exceptionally versed in medicine, but even they could not cure her illness. Do you really think you can cure my young miss’s illness? Just leave quickly!” one of the servants said. Recently, the number of physicians who’d come to examine the young miss had already hit a few thousand, or at least several hundred. None of them could help her. Just how old was Nie Li? How could he possibly have much medical knowledge?
Nie Li furrowed his brows. “Your young miss is seeking medical assistance. How would you know if I’m capable or not, if you don’t even let me see the situation? Will you take responsibility for preventing her recovery?”
The servant never expected Nie Li to be so overbearing and hesitated for a moment, unsure whether he should bring Nie Li in.
Suddenly, a person walked out from the residence. It was Gu Bei.
“What’s wrong?” Gu Bei asked in solemn tone. He raised his head and saw Nie Li and Lu Piao and was stunned for a brief moment. “What are you guys doing here? Are you looking for me?”
Lu Piao chuckled from Nie Li’s side as he answered, “We’re not here for you. We heard that the Gu Clan’s Miss Gu Lan is ill. We came to take a look and see if we could cure her,”
Gu Bei’s brows twitched as he looked at Nie Li and Lu Piao in astonishment as he asked, “You guys know medicine?”
Nie Li nodded. “Somewhat.”
Gu Bei went silent for a moment. Although he was a little skeptical, he still nodded his head and said, “Then come in.”
Guided by Gu Bei, the two of them entered an extremely vast courtyard. Upon entering, the courtyard opened up into a large garden dotted with pavilions. There was even a small bridge with water flowing below. It was like a scene of paradise. Even the air carried the fragrance of heavenly flowers.
“My sister and I are direct descendents of the Gu Clan. My sister was once considered the most outstanding among our younger generation. However, she encountered trouble during cultivation, which paralysed her entire lower body. No one knows how or why it happened.” Finishing his words, Gu Bei’s eyes flashed with chilling rays.
Nie Li vaguely sensed an undertone to Gu Bei’s words. Gu Lan was probably the victim of the family’s internal conflicts.
Lu Piao pondered inwardly. So Gu Bei and his sister were only two out of many direct descendents. It seems like this Gu Clan was quite a large faction.
Nie Li and Lu Piao followed Gu Bei along the small path and reached a smaller courtyard. Inside, there was a girl clothed in white who sat quietly on a chair. Her clear pupils were like autumn water and were embedded into her beautiful and delicate face like gems. With a calm and peaceful expression, she quietly stared at a purple flower on a small artificial mound. She had a light-coloured lips that were as pale as water. Beneath the white clothes was her jade-bright skin. Traces of ill-coloured ash showed on her face, like a flower that might wither at any time.
“Beauty that lasts through the spring, the flower withers and people die unknowingly,” the white clothed girl muttered, with a trace of sadness between her brows.
“Elder sister.” A gleam of tears flashed through Gu Bei’s eyes. As he watched Gu Lan, his once high-spirited sister who had been rendered into such a state, Gu Bei felt as though his heart was being torn apart.
“Gu Bei, you’re back?” The girl in white revealed a faint smile. Her eyes then fell onto the two behind Gu Bei as she asked, “These two are...?”
“Both of them are my friends.” Gu Bei didn’t dare say that Nie Li was here to examine her illness. Every time a physician visited, she would always smile and reject them.
“Oh,” Gu Lan calmly smiled and nodded her head at Nie Li and Lu Piao.
Lu Piao couldn’t help wondering just what kind of illness this beautiful lady suffered from. For such a beauty in her prime to be forced to sit in a chair for the rest of her life, it’d simply be a cruel prank of the heavens.
Nie Li looked at Gu Lan with a thoughtful expression.
Gu Lan noticed that Nie Li had been staring at her and she knitted her brows. But because they were Gu Bei’s friends, she didn’t say anything.
“Nie Li, did you find anything?” Lu Piao asked in a soft voice.
“She’s not ill, nor had she run amok during cultivations. She was poisoned,” said Nie Li. His voice was neither too soft nor loud, just enough that it could be heard by Gu Bei and Gu Lan.
After Gu Bei heard this, his emotions were immediately stirred up as he looked at Nie Li and asked, “Poisoned? You’re saying that my sister was poisoned?”
Nie Li nodded. “That’s correct.”
Gu Bei was puzzled. “But that’s impossible! There have been so many physicians who’ve examined my sister before. If she’s been poisoned, why didn’t any of them notice it?”
Gu Lan, who sat to the side, also couldn’t help staring at Nie Li. This boy appeared even younger than Gu Bei, but could he actually be a physician? If she’d been poisoned, she would’ve definitely noticed it. So why couldn’t she sense it?