Chapter 56: Reflection Rock
After leaving the lake behind, Team Bright officially began their hunting expedition in the Thousand Ashes Gorge.
There were many natural resources within the gorge, including rare medicinal herbs.
Harvesting these herbs and hunting Vicious Beasts were the two main reasons people even came to the Thousand Ashes Gorge.
The former required lots of searching, while the latter required a lot of killing; searching required luck, while killing required strength.
Because of this, the strong teams from the Institute usually did things very differently than the weaker teams.
The weaker teams that didn’t possess enough strength generally focused on searching for medicinal herbs.
After all, in terms of luck, everyone here was equal.
The stronger teams, on the other hand, didn’t see much value in searching for these herbs. Sometimes, even if a valuable herb was directly in front of them, they would overlook it because they weren’t paying enough attention or they didn’t recognize it.
The same could not be said for Vicious Beasts, which they would kill on sight and harvest the rewards.
Although Team Bright’s name was chosen quite optimistically, they were very clear about where they fell on this spectrum.
They were a weak team!
Even though Su Chen had killed a Giant Adamantine Ape, that could not change everyone’s deep-rooted impression of a team without a bloodline, including themselves.
Thus, searching for medicinal herbs was Team Bright’s main goal.
They traversed the entire Thousand Ashes Pavilion, avoiding areas where strong Vicious Beasts prowled as well as they could. They focused on areas that were ignored by most people, not allowing themselves to miss a single medicinal herb of value.
Because of this, Team Bright obtained much more from medicinal herbs than from spoils from battle in terms of value.
This benefitted Su Chen the most – many of the medicinal herbs that the team found were directly bought by Su Chen.
Not only this, but he also bought medicinal herbs from other teams. It was much cheaper to buy here than in the city’s marketplace.
The same sprig of Hundred Spirits Herb that could be sold to a shop for about five Origin Stones and bought for ten were being sold by people here for four Origin Stones, since they wouldn’t need to make the trip to Long Coiling City to sell them anymore.
While buying medicinal herbs in bulk, Su Chen also sold his medicines.
Battles were always being fought in this kind of place. Every day, students and Vicious Beasts would clash.
Some students had already used up all of their injury treatment medicines. Their only option was to return unless their supply was replenished, in which case they could continue for another period of time.
By the same logic, medicines that would go for 100 Origin Stones per vial in the city could be sold here for even 120 Origin Stones.
Su Chen began to accumulate quite a large sum as he constantly made these sorts of transactions. The members of Team Bright were extremely jealous, and many of them had thoughts of becoming alchemists too.
However, upon hearing the amount of money that Su Chen had spent in the past four years on medicinal ingredients, they gave up on that idea.
Six hundred thousand Origin Stones!
The Immortal Temple gave him 150,000 Origin Stones worth of ingredients every year for four years in a row before Su Chen was able to reach his current level of talent. This sum didn’t include how much Su Chen had contributed himself.
In fact, one of the reasons why Su Chen had been willing to come to the Falling Eagle Mountain was because he had run out of money.
Research was an incredibly costly venture. Whether it was Su Chen’s alchemy studies or his research in other areas, he had to make a lot of monetary investments.
The Immortal Temple’s support only made up a portion of what was necessary, making it necessary for him to supplement anything that he was missing. Thus, he suddenly had fallen into a massive deficit of money.
Some may have felt this strange. Didn’t Su Chen know how to concoct medicines? He obviously could have made money just by concocting medicines and selling them.
That was true.
However, just like cultivating an Origin Skill, concocting medicines that he had already mastered didn’t help his skill as an alchemist improve at all.
If he wanted to increase his skill as an alchemist faster, he needed to constantly concoct medicines that he hadn’t mastered yet.
Of course, if he hadn’t mastered a specific medicine, his failure rate in concocting that medicine was much higher than usual.
If there was a medicine that he had completely mastered and could successfully concoct every single time, then continuing to make that medicine would not raise his strength at all.
In fact, this principle wasn’t just limited to concocting medicine. Almost everything operated under this principle.
Constantly repeating something that you have already mastered only leaves you in the same place.
Su Chen’s current skill as an alchemist was enough for him to be considered in the upper extremities of a Qualified Alchemist.
He had only accomplished this in four years because he would begin concocting and analyzing a new kind of medicine immediately upon mastering a certain medicine.
This made it so that both his speed of improvement and resource expenditure were enormous.
But back to the main story.
Team Bright stayed in the Thousand Ashes Gorge for ten days.
Within these ten days, Su Chen sold a massive amount of medicine, and he also obtained many medicinal ingredients.
Just like before, after a long day of careful searching, Team Bright returned to the Reflection Rock.
The Reflection Rock was a massive rock roughly three hundred feet in size. It was located in the southeastern part of the Thousand Ashes Gorge. Its surface was smooth and glossy, and it was possible to see one’s reflection in it. Unsurprisingly, it was named the Reflection Rock.
Because of its striking and unique appearance, this place became an agreed-upon gathering place for many students from the Hidden Dragon Institute.
Every day, different teams of students would gather here to do business with each other and supplement what the other lacked.
At this point, it was getting close to dusk, and most people were finishing up their work for the day. Thus, the Reflection Rock was exceptionally busy around this time.
The Institute’s students lined the large, massive rock.
The teams conversed with one another, filling the air with the sound of conversations and laughter. Vendors hawking their wares could also be heard.
“Fresh Purified Essence Fruit; high-grade medicinal ingredient, only 100 Origin Stones!”
“Purplescale Beast’s neck scale, thirty Origin Stones each.”
“Does anyone have poison antidotes? It needs to cure the Blackdeath Spider’s poison!”
“Is the paw or hide of an Earth Bear useful?”
The Reflection Stone was just like a busy marketplace, filled with the clamor of students yelling.
Su Chen and his followers weaved through the crowd of people, observing their wares and searching for the materials they needed. Simultaneously, they would sell any materials that they didn’t need.
As Su Chen weaved through the crowd, a specific vendor’s mat caught his eye.
The person who owned the wares was a burly, dark-skinned, and savage-looking student. Upon seeing Su Chen walk towards his spot, he asked him in a low and muffled voice, “Do you see anything you like?”
Su Chen pointed at a Fairy Ginseng and asked, “How much are you selling this Fairy Ginseng for?”
“Six hundred Origin Stones.”
“That’s too expensive.” Su Chen shook his head.
“This is a thirty-year-old ginseng!” The dark-skinned student replied unhappily.
This Fairy Ginseng was the best medicinal herb he had found. The dark-skinned student had placed all his hopes on it to make some money.
“Accurately speaking, this is a twenty-eight year-old ginseng. Also, Fairy Ginseng does not necessarily improve with age; a twenty year-old Fairy Ginseng has the densest medicinal properties. After that, it begins to grow outwards, losing its medicinal density. Six Hundred Origin Stones is what you would sell it for in the medicine markets in Long Coiling City, not here at the Reflection Rock,” Su Chen said.
The dark-skinned student evidently hadn’t anticipated that Su Chen would know so much. He was slightly caught off-guard.
Su Chen picked up another item.
This was a fiery red stone. “How much?”
“This is a Fire Origin Stone. I’m selling it for ten Origin Stones,” the dark-skinned student replied.
Su Chen shook his head. “It’s just a low-grade Origin Stone with a fire attribute on it, yet you want to sell it for ten Origin Stones? That’s almost robbery.”
The dark-skinned student was beginning to grow angry. “So what if I’m selling it for ten Origin Stones? Why do you have so many damned questions? Are you buying it or not?”
As he spoke, he clenched his fist, as if he was planning on beating Su Chen if Su Chen didn’t buy it.
Upon seeing this, Su Chen shrugged his shoulders and said, “Fine, I’ll buy it.”
Su Chen didn’t waste any words with him. He pulled out ten Origin Stones and tossed them over before he picked up the fire-type Origin Stone and left.
Du Qing asked curiously, “Why did you buy that?”
Su Chen waited until they were out of earshot of the vendor before replying, “This isn’t a fire-type Origin Stone; it’s a Flame Crystal.”
Du Qing was stunned.
A fire-type Origin Stone was just an Origin Stone that had fire-type Origin Energy infused into it. This kind of Origin Stone was relatively uncommon and it was hard to fill on one’s own. Thus, its price was many times more expensive than a regular Origin Stone. However, they were still not really anything special.
Flame Crystals were different. They were a crystalline form made of pure flame-type Origin Energy. The Origin Energy they contained could directly raise one’s cultivation base. When compared to a regular fire-type Origin Stone, they couldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath!
Su Chen pulled out a small dagger, cutting the external surface of the crystal. The transparent crystal and a rosy substance inside could be clearly seen. Indeed, this was a Flame Crystal that had been hidden under the guise of a simple Origin Stone.
Just this Flame Crystal alone was worth nearly three hundred Origin Stones.
No one had expected that Su Chen would be able to find such a treasure after only taking a cursory glance at everything. They were all quite jealous.
Su Chen didn’t care very much. To him, even if he had gotten it for a steal, it was just a few hundred Origin Stones. He had gotten used to spending and earning in large amounts in the past year, so to him that sum was nothing.
The only reason he had bought this Flame Crystal was because he actually needed it.
But the others didn’t think of it that way.
To most of them, a few hundred Origin Stones was more than worthy of envying.
Just as they were all secretly feeling jealous of Su Chen, they suddenly saw a group of people walking towards them.
It was Zhang Sheng’an and the others.