As Xing Bai stood there speechless and dumbfounded by what he had just witnessed, he quickly snapped out of it when he heard Worldly Skies' words.
"Wait a moment! I must object to this being a fair comparison to the Apothecary aptitude test." Xing Bai said in a sudden outburst.
"Oh? Could it be that the head of the Fireheart Apothecary Society intends to go back on her word?" Izroth questioned as he turned his gaze towards Worldly Skies.
"I pride myself in being able to keep my word and promises. I'm sure Xing Bai is simply expressing his concern for me. I hope that you can overlook this small matter as a sign of our new friendship." Worldly Skies said as she glared over in Xing Bai's direction.
"I meant no disrespect, however, I cannot stay silent in the face of the truth. I do not doubt Apothecary Izroth's skills when it comes to pill crafting, but there's one towering fact that can't be ignored. Of course, if Apothecary Izroth insists I withhold the truth then I shall no longer speak of the matter. But, I believe that he is not that type of man." Xing Bai said in a voice filled with confidence.
"Xing Bai-!" This was the first time that Xing Bai was unwilling to back down from a matter that Worldly Skies had already decided. Just as she was about to prevent him from going any further, Worldly Skies saw just how serious Xing Bai appeared to be. This made her stop and take a few steps back.
She had been so absorbed in watching every one of Izroth's moves that maybe she had missed something that managed to catch Xing Bai's eye. Since he felt so strongly about it, then Worldly Skies believed that it was her duty as the head of the Fireheart Apothecary Society to not turn a blind eye to his words.
Worldly Skies released a small sigh as she turned to face Izroth and said, "As head of the Fireheart Apothecary Society, I am unable to ignore the words of those under me. Therefore, I'll have to ask that Apothecary Izroth plays along with our whimsical behavior."
After seeing Izroth's skills when it came to pill crafting, even if he turned out not to be the Pill Emperor, Worldly Skies saw fit to acknowledge him as a fellow Apothecary. However, she was confident that she had not made a mistake in her visit to the Mystical Realm Palace.
"Since the two of you feel so strongly about it, how can I ignore the matter? Xing Bai, you said it's not a fair comparison to the Apothecary aptitude test, correct? Or as you've put it, a towering fact that cannot be neglected. I'd like to hear your reasoning behind this." Izroth said with a carefree expression on his face.
However, Worldly Skies and Xing Bai could feel an abnormal amount of pressure as Izroth spoke. With his piercing gaze, it felt as if he could see right through them which made for an uncomfortable feeling.
Worldly Skies had obviously heard the rumors that surrounded Izroth. From his first dungeon and world boss clear to taking first place in the Protectors of Amaharpe event. After all, she had gathered her fair share of information instead of walking into the Mystical Realm Palace blind. Therefore, she knew that Izroth was not some simple shopkeeper or player who depended solely upon luck to progress.
Worldly Skies believed that the man that stood before her was someone that it was better to be friends rather than enemies with.
Izroth figured that he should also show a bit of his serious side to Worldly Skies and Xing Bai. While it was not a bad thing to be friendly, being too compromising and over-friendly could lead to others thinking that he was some pushover.
Xing Bai was taken aback by the pressure, however, after taking a second to calm and gather himself he did not back down.
"As I've said before I don't doubt you or the Pill Emperor, but it is a well-known fact that the Bronze Cauldron used in the Apothecary aptitude test is only a D-ranked magical item with low durability. It clearly states in the usage that the Bronze Cauldron can only be used to create pills that are grade-two or lower." Xing Bai explained.
He then continued, "I shouldn't have to tell you what that means. Even if somehow the Pill Emperor was able to discover a grade three pill recipe, he would have been unable to create that pill with the cauldron provided by the aptitude test. Also, the chances of him having a cauldron of his own during that time capable of crafting a grade three pill is impossible. So I ask you, Apothecary Izroth, is this not something worth discussing?"
Worldly Skies eyes widened in shock. Of course, how could she overlook such a glaring flaw in Izroth's statement of only using the ingredients? The cauldron used had not been specified! So even if they were in the wrong for not paying closer attention, it would still be considered as their loss!
She had been too anxious to meet the Pill Emperor and too caught up in the sequence of events that she had totally neglected it!
'How perceptive. I suppose this is far enough.'
Izroth decided that it was time to inform Worldly Skies and Xing Bai of the truth since both his main and side goal had already been accomplished. Izroth's main goal was to draw in the Fireheart Apothecary Society to his side.
As for his side goal, it was the test Worldly Skies and Xing Bai not based upon their Apothecary skill, but their relationship as a leader and subordinate. There was no problem with being friends, however, in a group like environment such as the Fireheart Apothecary Society, it was important for certain roles to be defined. This was the same for the top guilds and the vast majority of other groups and guilds.
From looking at how Worldly Skies and Xing Bai interacted with one another, especially in a bizarre and unique situation such as this, it would throw them off any rehearsed routine. Essentially, Izroth could read Worldly Skies' personality, as well as, Xing Bai's from not too long after he met the two of them.
Worldly Skies was a passionate person and although passionate people were skilled in their craft, they were not that good when dealing with small details. As for Xing Bai, he balanced that part of Worldly Skies out and acted as her eyes and ears to prevent her from being deceived. The area she lacked in he made up for with his level of attentiveness.
Worldly Skies was capable of thinking and making decisions for herself, but she also listened to Xing Bai instead of completely dismissing him. It was important for leaders to have the ability to both make their own choices and listen to the advice of those around them.
If Worldly Skies had shut Xing Bai down a few moments ago then even if Izroth had her follow him, he would not have entrusted her with anything too important. There was nothing more foolish than a king who ignores the counsel of his generals and nothing worse than generals who overlook the faults of their king.
Of course, comparing the two to a king and his general was a bit much, but for what Izroth had in mind he needed these kinds of individuals.
Izroth finally revealed his identity as the "mysterious Pill Emperor". Worldly Skies and Xing Bai were startled, but not surprised. Worldly Skies already had strong suspicions from the beginning, but when Izroth showed off his pill crafting skills she was 99% sure that he was the Pill Emperor. The only reason they were startled was due to the fact that Izroth willingly revealed his identity to them.
He also explained that he was only able to successfully craft a grade three pill during the Apothecary aptitude test thanks to a special skill. He made sure to mention the cauldron exploding as the result of his daring actions.
The two apothecaries were dumbfounded. He exploded a cauldron, not because of a failed pill, but because he pushed the cauldron so far past its limits?! What kind of crazy excuse was that?! However, neither Worldly Skies nor Xing Bai doubted his words. After all, they had just witnessed him create the Five Cycles Pill out of low-quality ingredients.
The first appearance of the Five Cycles Pill in the auction house that caused a huge uproar coincided within the timeline of Izroth's statement. Without a doubt in their minds, Izroth was the Pill Emperor.
Worldly Skies released a long sigh as she said, "I did not think that you would admit to it so easily. I will not ask why you have decided to keep your identity as the Pill Emperor a secret, but I can promise you that neither myself or Xing Bai will discuss this matter with others."
Xing Bai gave a nod to show his approval and acceptance of Worldly Skies' promise.
"Still, to think that such an amazing skill exists that can allow an Apothecary to ignore cauldron restrictions. Though it's a bit difficult to say if the skill is worth it due to the cost of a single cauldron." Xing Bai said.
"More importantly-" Worldly Skies approached the Dark Abyssal Cauldron.
"This cauldron is a real treasure. Where did you get it? Also, that B-ranked fire core, I've been searching for another fire core, however, I've only been able to find one at the C-rank. Oh, and about adding that Isolated Water Droplet in first..." Worldly Skies went on a long rant and question spree as the excitement could be seen peaking in from the corner of her eyes.
Izroth took his time to answer all of Worldly Skies, as well as, Xing Bai's questions. As for leaking the recipe to the Five Cycles Pill, Izroth was not worried about such a thing. Not only did he trust his judgment of characters when it came to the two apothecaries, but even if he lost one grade three pill recipe it would not be a huge loss.
Besides, they were going to be on the same side now and this was a good way to show that his sincerity did not solely rely upon words, but actions as well.
After talking and experimenting for nearly three hours straight without rest, the three had lost track of time.
Izroth was surprised that Worldly Skies was knowledgeable about some things that he had no idea about. For example, pills had a hidden rank to them that went, normal, blessed, heavenly blessed, and divine when it came to overall quality. How did Worldly Skies know this? She possessed a unique trait that allowed her to examine the hidden ranks of pills and uncover any special effects they may contain.
While it was possible for normal players to see the effects provided by normal and blessed ranked pills, the same could not be said when it came to heavenly blessed and divine ranked pills. According to Worldly Skies, she had never viewed a heavenly blessed or divine ranked pill before, but she knew about their existence thanks to her skill's description.
'Interesting. It seems the pills I've been creating up to now have only been made with a normal hidden rank with a few blessed hidden ranks mixed in thanks to my Natural Pill Master trait. Will my Natural Pill Master trait also allow me to create pills with those hidden ranks or is there a special method required to do so? Still, for her to have such a skill is incredibly useful.'
After exchanging a few pleasantries and ironing out a some of the details about the future, Worldly Skies and Xing Bai decided to head back towards the Fireheart Apothecary Society's temporary headquarters to inform the members of the change.
As for their new headquarters, Izroth planned on adding a third floor to the Mystical Realm Palace that specifically focused on pill crafting. While it was a bit costly, it worked much better than the Fireheart Apothecary Society's current temporary place of residence. Also, he would not have to run back and forth between two places just to see how things were progressing in the future.
"Rest assured, Pill Em-... Izroth, while I cannot promise that all of the Fireheart Apothecary Society will follow along, at the very least, most of them will be willing to agree with the terms you've offered. You can expect us to make the transition later this week. Until then, I wish you a safe journey." Worldly Skies said in a respectful manner as she took her leave along with Xing Bai.
In the end, Izroth was satisfied with the results. With the Fireheart Apothecary Society on his side, Izroth could finally focus on expanding the Mystical Realm Palace. As for his next step, it involved Luna and the others. But, Izroth had to temporarily place that part on hold as he made previous arrangements.
'Now, how should I deal with that other matter? That person's intentions are still too suspicious.'
3 days ago a bit after Zenrou's declaration...
A shadowy figure had their eyes on Kryxelsia's estate in the magic capital city. It was the same shadowy figure that had been following Izroth in the Tiger's Mouth.
"I didn't expect him to complete the task so fast. Honestly, what a little monster. Maybe he does stand a chance of obtaining a decent ranking, however, he's still a bit weak compared to the others. But, we can't afford to wait any longer." The shadowy figured sighed.
"Though I have to admit, that person's foresight is frightening to see this far ahead. Now, how should I approach you little monster?" The shadowy figure said as his gaze locked onto Izroth.