With Jinde and Zheng Yin working hand in hand, the process went smoothly. After an hour spent on creating the pill and then another hour of creating and fitting the bones, Zheng Yin finally stepped back from connecting the last piece, heaving a sigh of relief. For a moment, he just stood there and then fell to the ground, raising his hands to cover his face.
They had made it. To be honest, sometime in between, he had started to doubt whether he would be able to do it. Until then, nothing had gone wrong but such a long time spent on a task that needed so much precision was something that he had never needed to do before.
Refining pills and potions could take a different amount of knowledge and skill depending on what grade you went for. But at the end of the day, you weren’t working on an actual person’s body. If something went wrong, then there might be a failed product but nobody would have to live with the consequences.
You could take your time to slowly examine the results that came out of it, and then figure out if it had the effect you wanted, to the degree that you had intended, and if there would be any side effects. But when it came to something like what they were doing today, that was different.
One wrong move, one tremble of his hand, and the bones might be inserted wrong. Then in the end, not only would it be more difficult to add the scales and skin tomorrow, but he might also cause permanent pain to Xin Lan if he didn’t notice his mistake and rectified it in time.
Jinde had finished shaping the last piece of bone some time ago and had waited for Zheng Yin to finish his task as well, so he watched his reaction.
He smiled and got up from where he had still been sitting in front of the cauldron, and went over. He didn’t immediately speak to him though and instead put his fingers beneath Xin Lan’s chin, tilting his head up so he could look at the result.
After examining it for a while, he finally nodded his head. “Looks good. Now, take some time to rest up. If you want to, you can meditate and use some spiritual energy to speed up the process but it’s not necessary. The pill will work for a while longer so the process of integrating will be finished by tomorrow morning at the very latest.”
Xin Lan nodded and then went outside into the courtyard, sitting down next to the pond, and closed his eyes to meditate. He knew that he didn’t need to do it but he didn’t have anything else to do. And something told him that Zheng Yin and Jinde would need a break after all this and couldn’t use too many people around them. Also, there were still things to prepare until tomorrow. He’d rather not get in the way. If they needed him, they knew where to find him.
Inside, Jinde turned around and sat down in front of Zheng Yin, reaching out and putting his hands on his shoulders. “You did really well.”
Zheng Yin lowered his hands halfway, peering over his fingertips. “You didn’t find any mistakes, did you?” He was terrified of having done something wrong that he didn’t even notice. Even though Jinde had already said that it was fine, he wasn’t sure if he could absolutely trust that. It might also be that he had just wanted to calm down Xin Lan and would rectify whatever it was tomorrow.
Jinde shook his head though. “Don’t worry. I looked it over carefully and there wasn’t a problem. Actually, even if there was, it would be much more likely that I misshaped them in the first place than that you added them wrong. Making bones … it’s also not that easy.” He sighed but then shook his head. “Anyway, we’ve already finished that. As for tomorrow … it won’t get any easier so you have to prepare yourself.”
Zheng Yin nodded but his hands couldn’t help but tremble. He hastily clasped them and pressed them up against his body, hoping that it would stop.
Jinde kept quiet, not saying anything. Anyway, he understood why this was happening. There was always a time when you would do this kind of big procedure for the first time and it was terrifying. Just the thought that something could have gone wrong, that your abilities might not have been up to par, was nerve-racking. Zheng Yin would need some time to adjust. “Well, take your time. In the worst case, we will wait an additional day before we start. Also, we can prepare more things for tomorrow so I will be there to help out.”
Zheng Yin looked up, not quite sure about that. “What is there to prepare?”
“Well, the scales, of course. It is best to make all of them before we get to it so we will only need to fit everything together.”
Zheng Yin faintly furrowed his brows. He had been clear about the process but thinking about it now, he wasn’t sure if there wasn’t a problem with this. “The scales shouldn’t differ too much from the bones. If they are made immediately before the procedure, the effect will be better.”
Jinde tilted his head to the side, nodding faintly. “Yes, that is true. Originally, I was also thinking of doing it that way. But then, we only have four hands. There are only so many things we can do at the same time.
“Tomorrow, we will have our hands full with adding the scales and the skin on top, integrating them well in both directions. We can’t create them at the same time as well. It’s just not doable. If we had a third person maybe there would be a chance but I know anybody with a high-enough level.”
Jinde’s brows furrowed. He wasn’t happy with this either. He wanted to have the best possible outcome. As a refiner, that was what he usually went for, not to mention that this was Xin Lan they were talking about. He was a good friend. Of course, he didn’t want to have any accidents occur. But sometimes, you just couldn’t get what you wanted. You’d have to accept that the second-best option was the most you could do.