The willow branch bed slowly descended, carrying the unconscious Yun Qingyan on it. Meng Qi now sat on the ground. Her vision was unobstructed, she propped her chin in her hand and unabashedly gazed at Yun Qingyan.
Perched on the swing, Lin Yan followed Meng Qi’s line of sight. After a while, a faint smile graced her lips, revealing a shallow dimple. “He’s quite the handsome fellow.”
“Mmm,” Meng Qi nodded. There was no doubt about that. Even in Three Realms, where good-looking people were everywhere, Yun Qingyan’s look was totally on a different level.
“But that’s not only it, right?” Lin Yan mimicked Meng Qi’s posture, resting her chin on her palm as she scrutinized Yun Qingyan from head to toe. “If it were just about looks, the world abounds with handsome men and beautiful women.”
This time, Meng Qi did not respond.
“Oh, the incense is only one-third remaining,” Lin Yan didn’t press further. Instead, she raised her chin in the direction of the incense stick and commented, “Here, delaying time is futile. Hehe…” Amusement flickered in her eyes as she chuckled softly, “In this world, there are countless places where delaying time proves fruitless. The heavenly laws have long been set, and people cannot escape its grasp.”
Meng Qi suddenly turned to Lin Yan, “Senior Lin Yan, haven’t you also gone against the heavenly law to save someone?”
“Going against the heavenly law…” Lin Yan muttered, repeating Meng Qi’s words. She seemed to have thought of something amusing and suddenly burst into laughter. She turned her head and looked at Meng Qi, saying, “You are also a medical cultivator, so let me ask you.”
“Please go ahead, Senior.”
“If one day you were given the choice to save either the lives of numerous strangers in the city or the life of your loved one, with the condition that you can only choose one, how would you choose?”
Meng Qi was taken aback.
Lin Yan stood up and elegantly waved her sleeves. The ornaments on her body jingled with her every movement, making a beautiful chiming sound in the forest’s silence. Lin Yan paced a few steps left and right. It seemed that she wasn’t really expecting Meng Qi’s answer to the question. She smiled gracefully and said, “The incense is almost burned out. Little girl, I’ll spare your life, but if you don’t make a choice soon, then… none of them can leave!”
After Lin Yan finished speaking, she waved her hand, and the willow branch bed slowly rose. The towering Luoxin trees in the forest, which were originally calm and quiet, now rustled as if a breeze had blown through their leaves. The incense stick inserted into the ground remained only a short fragment.
Senior Lin Yan,” Meng Qi watched as the wisps of smoke rising from the incense stick, “May I ask a question?”
“You may,” Lin Yan replied generously.
As the two spoke, the final wisp of smoke from the incense stick rose and dissipated into the air.
“Time is up,” Lin Yan rose to her feet and looked at Meng Qi. She had been jovial and friendly moments ago, humming a tune and conversing warmly, even calling ‘Meng Qiqi’ affectionately. Now, her expression turned cold, and even her gaze became somewhat icy. “However, you can still ask one final question.”
Meng Qi pushed herself up from the ground and stood up. She closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them again, her gaze toward Lin Yan had changed. “Senior Lin Yan, I have only read about the Luoxin tree in books and have never seen it in the Three Thousand Worlds. The books mention that the leaves of the Luoxin tree can induce hallucinations, but it actually had another, very major usage.”
“Oh?” Lin Yan raised her hand, and a Luoxin leaf appeared in her palm. Her slender, fair fingers toyed with the verdant and dewy leaf, creating a captivating sight.
“During the ancient era tens of thousands of years ago, apart from the current sword cultivators, spell cultivators, and medical cultivators, there were also array cultivators, and…” Meng Qi’s gaze locked with Lin Yan’s. “Among the devil cultivators, there existed a specialized group called Puppet Masters. They had the ability to craft puppets that they could then control.”
“You know a lot.” Lin Yan’s lips curved into a slight smile, “There is indeed such a thing.”
Meng Qi continued, “At first, Puppet Masters could only create puppets using inanimate objects, such as woods, stones, or minerals, but their power was limited, and their combat strength was weak. However, the Puppet Masters eventually started secretly using living cultivators to refine their puppets, causing these cultivators’ minds to be clouded and their consciousness to collapse, leaving them under the control of the puppet master. This atrocity eventually sparked the fury of cultivators, who relentlessly pursued and eradicated the puppet masters, bringing an end to their legacy.”
This time, Lin Yan did not immediately react. She raised her head and looked straight into Meng Qi’s gaze with a glimmer of light in her eyes.
“The leaves of the Luoxin trees are the essential component used by Puppet Masters to control their puppet cultivators,” Meng Qi said. “It is known as the most powerful hallucinogenic substance in the Three Realms, yet it now only exists within the pages of books. The ancient powerhouses, in their endeavor to eliminate the Puppet Masters, eradicated it entirely.”
Lin Yan’s gaze drifted as she stared at Meng Qi for a while, then she suddenly burst into laughter. Her voice, reminiscent of tinkling bells, echoed through the forest, leaving behind an unsettling silence. It no longer sounded sweet but carried a hint of eeriness.
“Go on,” Lin Yan rose to her feet and took a few steps before Meng Qi. A faint smile played on her lips, while her gaze turned even icier than before. “I never would have guessed that someone as young as you possess such extensive knowledge.”
“Senior Lin Yan,” Meng Qi cupped her hands and bowed in respect, “Most of the knowledge I possess about the applications of Luoxin trees comes from your medical notes.”
“The last volume of the notes mentioned this Luoxin tree.” Meng Qi continued.
The medical notes that currently resided above Meng Qi’s spiritual sea were given by Lin Yan’s remnant will. Meng Qi originally could only read the first two volumes, but when Yun Qingyan almost fell into a qi deviation, the third volume opened, enabling her to learn the Five Aggregates Heart Clearing Spell.
Just recently, while she was alone in the forest, the medical notes hovered silently above her spiritual sea. Suddenly, it emitted a faint glow — the seventh volume, the final one, was now accessible.
As Meng Qi walked through the forest, she simultaneously skimmed through its recorded contents. Within the seventh volume, some of the content might have been Lin Yan’s unverified ideas from years ago, leading to a somewhat scattered compilation.
—And it was from this seventh volume that Meng Qi read the detailed notes about Luoxin trees.
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