The first thing Lu Sheng did after returning to the Crimson Whale was to find his Senior Apprentice Brother Hong Mingzi in the pill room and enquire about the treatment method of Four Spirit Flower.
After learning the detailed process of treating it, he let Hong Mingzi, along with the pharmacist, help with the concoction of the pill.
Seeing the thirty thousand year old Four Spirit Flower was like striking the lottery for Hong Mingzi and company. Originally, they suggested to Lu Sheng that it should be separately concocted in several batches because the medicinal effects of the herb were too potent. If the entire herb was concocted in a single batch, it would be too strong for consumption.
But Lu Sheng asked them to concoct it whole directly.
With no other choice, Crimson Whale Sect began gathering and collecting other herbs to complement the herb in preparation for the concoction.
Thankfully, the several Divine Prime experts who had gone out in search of herbs returned at that time, bringing back many stalks of thousand year old herbs.
From among them, the pharmacists selected auxiliary herbs to complement the Four Spirit Flower.
After three whole days of continuous concoction, a batch of Four Spirit Pills was finally produced. The recipe was not particularly difficult; it primarily removed the side effects of the herb and intensified its effects. Hence, it did not take much effort to concoct the pills.
Even then, however, Hong Mingzi and company were totally tired out by the end. Hence, Lu Sheng had transferred Qi to them on his own initiative, rewarding them with a year's worth of inner force each.
As for the pills, no one save for him could withstand their potency.
The herb's medicinal effect, so tyrannical that it should have been meant for ten separate servings, was put into a single batch of pills for him.
With the Four Spirit Pills in his hand, Lu Sheng returned to his sanctuary.
The stone door rumbled to a close.
Lu Sheng sat in the middle of the room cross-legged and swallowed one Four Spirit Pill in a gulp without hesitation.
Like a ball of snow, the pill dissolved instantly in his mouth, turning into a stream of icy cool liquid which flowed into his stomach. Lu Sheng sat still, but felt no effect.
Two hours passed. Then four hours passed.
He took out another Four Spirit Pill and gulped it down.
Another four hours passed.
The third Four Spirit Pill was swallowed by him.
This went on until Lu Sheng finally stopped after the fifth Four Spirit Pill.
By then, large amounts of water vapor were seeping out of the pores all over his body, shrouding him in fog.
The medicinal effects of the Four Spirit Pill were frightening indeed, surging left, right and center like a wild beast. But Lu Sheng's blood vessels and meridians were extremely tough; the slight cracks inflicted on them were quickly healed by Aquarius Qi.
The medicine was rapidly absorbed and digested by his body, converted into threads of pure inner Qi by his profound thousand year cultivation base, then integrated into his body.
The inner Qi formed by the medicine was evenly converted into Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies inner Qi and Yin Yang Jade Crane Aquarius Qi by Lu Sheng.
The seemingly massive power of the herb was, in actual fact, left with only less than ten percent of its original strength after conversion; the rest were impurities that had to be expelled.
And this remaining ten percent was further compressed and liquefied, losing much of its volume yet again.
By the second day, deep into the night, Lu Sheng had thoroughly converted all the medicinal power, adding three hundred years' worth of inner force to his cultivation base.
Both Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill and Yin Yang Jade Crane Aquarius Qi had grown three drops of liquefied Qi each. In actual fact, his entire inner force cultivation had increased by a fold.
However, another result surprised him.
Four Spirit Flower carried extremely potent Yang attribute to begin with; it was a herb that was extremely heaty to the point of being lethal. Not to mention a thirty thousand year old Four Spirit Flower.
The fire toxin within it was the key to Lu Sheng's inner force cultivation.
As he converted the medicinal power of the pill, the fire toxin had subtly integrated itself with Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill, augmenting the fire toxin property in this skill.
Originally, the fire toxin in Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill was terrifying enough. But Lu Sheng had all along been fighting demons, ghosts and Noblemen, and hence this effect did not amount to much.
But now, augmented with the fire toxin within the Four Spirit Flower, Lu Sheng felt as if some sort of radical mutation had occurred to Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill.
Thus, although he did not achieve a breakthrough in cultivation, the might of Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill had been increased. The liquefaction of Qi grew thicker, and under the effect of Yin Yang Balance, Aquarius Qi was also made denser.
Without a basis for comparison, even Lu Sheng himself was unsure how strong he had gotten.
Furthermore, from his step on the ground earlier, he noticed that whenever he activated the Light Void Skill and took a step, he was essentially executing a strengthened version of Force Step. And it was a significantly strengthened version indeed.
That was why he simply renamed Light Void Skill as Light Void Force Step Skill.
After a short confinement, Lu Sheng came out of his solitude. By then, the selection matches had ended as well.
The top ten disciples who emerged out of the matches were recruited into Crimson Sun Sect, becoming official Crimson Sun disciples. In actual fact, they were trained and taught by many Divine Prime Elders.
These Divine Prime experts took refuge under Lu Sheng's umbrella. Presently, Lu Sheng had become a standard and banner of the Northern Lands. Many believed him to be more than mere mortal, but more did not care. Lu Sheng had made his name with his martial arts; that sufficed.
After the selection matches was the initiation ceremony. Lu Sheng implanted Yin Crane Web in each of these new disciples, then began preparing for his wedding.
"You want to practice martial arts too?" Lu Sheng stared at Chen Yunxi, who was standing before him, in surprise.
The two of them were in Fragrant Tower, a building in the city which sold perfume pouches and cosmetic powders. But Lu Sheng had booked the entire topmost floor of the tower for Chen Yunxi to take her pick freely.
What he had not expected, however, was a request like that from Chen Yunxi.
"Yes! I don't want to lag too far behind you!" Chen Yunxi replied seriously.
"Lag behind?" Lu Sheng looked at the girl before him, noticing the burden in her heart for the first time.
"Yes." Chen Yunxi was calm and solemn. Clearly, this was not a spontaneous decision.
"That's fine. Practicing martial arts is a good thing." Lu Sheng thought for a moment. "But... can you take the strain?"
Even if he could impart inner force directly to Chen Yunxi through Yin Crane Web, what good would it do? Techniques, strokes, inner force mantras... none of them could be mastered in one day. The only result of imparting inner force thoughtlessly was to create a freak who was strong only in inner force but weak in all other aspects.
Moreover, it was highly dangerous for a person without any foundation to receive inner Qi via direct transfer.
Without one's own foundation, it meant subjecting one's untempered body to the massive strain and burden of inner Qi. That could easily cause internal injuries and hidden wounds.
It was akin to a child holding onto a machine gun with alarmingly heavy recoil. Each time they used it, they would instead be hurt by the massive recoil.
As inner Qi surged through the body's blood vessels and meridians in high quality and quantity, it would leave behind irremediable damage.
The more frequently that happened, the more it would hurt a person's normal longevity, not to mention failing to nourish the body and life force.
To strengthen the body, one had to start with the faintest thread of inner Qi, complemented simultaneously with the nourishment of the body. Only then could the body adapt.
Back when Lu Sheng upgraded his inner force, even he had accidentally overdone it. In the end, it took him a year of rest to recover.
Hence, whenever he transferred inner force, he would pick people with strong foundation. Not any Tom, Dick or Harry could be transformed into an expert if he simply transferred Qi to him.
"What martial art can I cultivate at this age? Will the Number One Expert of the Northern Lands please teach this little woman?" Seeing that Lu Sheng had agreed to her request, Chen Yunxi's was in an uplifted mood.
"Depends on whether you want to cultivate inner or outer force," Lu Sheng said simply and began explaining the differences between them.
Excitedly, Chen Yunxi picked an inner force skill that could preserve her youth and beauty. Lu Sheng taught her a simple one for her to study on her own.
After all, this was something that needed talent. Not everyone could cultivate inner force. So Lu Sheng had to give her a try to see if she was cut out for it.
But he did not have high hopes for her. At the very most, if she did exhibit talent, he would transfer a thread of inner Qi into her after she was initiated in the skill to heal any hidden injuries in her. Any more and it would harm rather than help her.
Ning San was a good example. For all his power, he would not dare to use it casually. Each time he used it, he suffered injuries to his body.
Right after that, Lu Sheng discussed their wedding with Chen Yunxi. Both Lu and Chen Family were already prepared and hence they fixed the wedding on a date around the corner.
Lu Sheng revealed his plan to leave the Northern Lands for the Central Plains. Although his old Dad Lu Quanan could not bear to part with him, he understood that Lu Sheng had his own path to walk and was long beyond the point where they could interfere with his plans. They could only accept it.
However, they did not intend to follow Lu Sheng to the Central Plains. This place, after all, was Lu Family and Crimson Whale Sect's base.
Chen Yunxi, on the other hand, wished to follow Lu Sheng, but was dissuaded from doing so. As an ordinary woman, it was very inconvenient for her to tag along beside Lu Sheng. She might even be used as a bargaining chip against Lu Sheng.
Time flew by. In the blink of an eye, several days passed and the date of the wedding was finally upon them.
"Sigh..." Lu Sheng sat in his bedroom in Lu Manor and sighed at length.
"Eldest Young Master, why do you sigh?" Qiao'er was brushing Lu Sheng's hair carefully and straightening out the creases in his robe.
Lu Sheng had donned a bright-red groom's robe, with his hair tied up with an intricate red sash. A golden rod used to lift the bride's veil was strapped on his back.
"I'm sighing because..." Lu Sheng sighed again inwardly.
It was not until right before his wedding that he thought of a frightening problem.
As a mere mortal, it was a huge question whether or not Chen Yunxi could withstand any liquid secreted from his body.
One had to understand that, back then, Lu Sheng had not been as powerful as he was now. Even the cells in a drop of blood from him could corrode metal.
With his current strength, the activity of his body had reached an unimaginable state. Once even a drop of that 'liquid' entered Chen Yunxi's body...
Lu Sheng was gloomy and depressed.
'Don't tell me I've first got to transfer Qi for Chen Yunxi and raise her to an extremely powerful state within a short time? No, that won't do... unless she can attain Bind realm in one sitting, otherwise it's pointless.
And the problem now is that her body is too weak and her cell activity is too low...'
"Eldest Young Master is finally getting married! May they have a fat little boy soon so the Lu Family may have an heir! The great Crimson Whale Sect will have an heir too! Congratulations! Truly congratulations!" Outside his door, his relatives loudly discussed the future joyously, their voices clearly audible on the inside.
"Fat little boy..." Lu Sheng's headache got worse.
He rubbed his temples, at a loss of how to solve this problem. He was too powerful. If he were to truly consummate his wedding with Chen Yunxi, things might turn out okay if he controlled his strength. But eventually, they had to have a kid. When that time comes, if something happens...
'Looks like she can't get pregnant just yet for now...' Lu Sheng made up his mind.
Some Noblemen with fading bloodlines also married mortals. In this trip to the Central Plains, perhaps he could find a solution.