The group finally reached a corridor with several doors on each side. So far, they had only seen a few rooms that had been empty save for some roughly made furniture. This time, things were different though.
Yu Jin waved at the others and then went inside, taking a look around. Several tables were arranged in two rows while shelves were lining the walls of the room. There were different ingredients for refining pills lying around, as well as some books that turned out to be alchemy manuals at a closer look.
Yu Jin looked at them with a thoughtful expression. “My Master said that when he found this village originally, there were some women who had collected herbs. And when we came here to check on it the last time, there were also several herbs growing at the periphery of the village.”
Cen Fu looked as if he had just been enlightened. “Then we could assume that they were likely refining pills in this hideout.”
Yu Jin glanced at him but didn’t answer. He just picked up one of the manuals and slowly leafed through the pages. Even though he had learned a lot of things, he only had a basic understanding of refining pills. That alone was not enough to understand the recipes and instructions that were written inside. “Whatever they were doing here seems to be far from the basics.” He turned to Nian Hong Fang, holding out so manual to him. “Would you mind having a look?”
Nian Hong Fang nodded and took the book, slowly looking through it as well. When he finished, he also picked up the other ones and leafed through the pages. In the end, he furrowed his brows. “Yes, it seems like these are all advanced manuals. Not only for pill refining but also for other branches of alchemy.
“For anything other than that I would need to take a much closer look. But I think that if this was a place used for experimenting with some ingredients by somebody who had Mastered Alchemy, then I would expect to see much more advanced manuals. This here is more the kind of manual that an advanced disciple would use. Somebody that is beyond the basics but still has a long way to go until they reach actual proficiency.”
The disciples’ expressions warped in worry. They had already feared as much when they stepped into the room just now and saw all the ingredients lying around but they had still held some hope that maybe they were wrong. Now, it seemed that they had indeed been right. It wasn’t a nice surprise.
Yu Jin nodded and then motioned at the others. “Alright, we should take this with us for a closer look. Also, we shouldn’t leave them with anything of use. It won’t necessarily keep them from doing anything but there is at least a chance that it will slow them down with whatever they are trying to do.”
The others nodded and then went to do what they were told. Since the disciples of the inner sect had the better equipment which included spatial bags that were able to hold quite a bit, they were the ones who held onto the books. Meanwhile, the outer sect disciples took the small ingredients and the few pills that were in the room.
Qiguan Cheng Da’s eyes gleamed when they got to this point. He hurriedly grabbed a few pills that seemed to be of a higher grade judging from the spiritual energy they gave off and then glanced at the other disciples, making sure that nobody had noticed anything. When they had gotten back to the Yun Zou Sect, he would just take these pills out together with the Amethyst Lightning pill and then request for it as one of the three things he was allowed to take. Wouldn’t that be good? Then at least that worry would be gone.
The other disciples paid him no attention. The inner sect disciples kept to themselves and were focusing on their task while Shao Hai and Xiao Dong always stayed together. The other outer sect disciple didn’t know Qiguan Cheng Da too well but wouldn’t have cared about what he did anyway. He was trying to use this mission as a chance to maybe get into the inner sect so he made sure that he exactly followed Yu Jin’s orders and did the best possible job at it. That way, he felt that his chances would be higher.
When the group had made sure that everything that needed to be investigated by the Elders, could be used to make things difficult for the demonic practitioners or give an advantage to the Yun Zou Sect was taken away, Yu Jin led the others out of the room and into the one behind it. Now, it seemed that they had finally found the place where the demonic practitioners were actually staying. There were still things lying in the room and most of them were of good quality.
The longer they checked, the more they felt that what Nian Hong Fang had said before was indeed true: This was not a place that a few reclusive Masters of the demonic faction used for their experiments. No, instead, it seemed like this place had been used to educate their disciples.
That wasn’t good news. If it was true, then that meant that these people likely had bigger goals. In the best case, they were only a small group but considering how spacious this hideout was, that was very unlikely. No, it would be much more likely to assume the worst case that they had somehow stumbled upon a newly-formed demonic sect. That truly wasn’t anything they would like to notify the Sect Master of but what could they do? This was what the clues suggested. Whether they liked that or not.