46 Pills and Promises

A/N: So... just wanna say that this fic is now officially AU.

*Spoiler Alert*

I won't fully go into it but the last few translated chapters of ATG contain some extremely depressing revelations that basically reveal Qingyue to be an ephemeral existence cursed by Fate.

In other words, a tool, a mere piece of the Ancestral Goddess's Will that only exists to correct Yun Che's fuck ups and ensure he rises to the top.

And what do I say to that?

Fuck right off! My Qingyue is real and filled with fluff. Her fate and Destiny are min- *cough* her own to command and I won't be using any of that cliche stuff to forcefully separate them in the future.


A few moments later, the now red-faced and incredibly flustered Elder Pu He rushed back into the room holding a storage ring full of herbs and a pill cauldron made from Spirit Profound Grade materials.

He then bowed to Shane, offering both of the items without any of his previous majesty. Shane, however, only had eyes for the cauldron. In this backwater town of the smallest nation where a Spirit Profound sword was likely to be a family heirloom, there actually was a Spirit Profound pill cauldron.

Still, for someone who could easily craft their own tools and equipment to a much higher level than this, his surprise was only transient, enough for a simple acknowledgement and nothing more. "Hoh, interesting."

Saying this, Shane took the storage ring, then the cauldron and placed it on the table in front of him before eagerly holding his hand out to Ji Qianrou for the cores. With a wave of the man's own hand, twelve fist-sized cores ranging from the late to peak stages of the Earth Profound Realm appeared on the table.

'No, that's not right.'

Shane quickly realized that the two of them were different, they had a shimmering lustre that the other ten lacked and upon probing them, he could sense that the power contained within was many times that of the Earth Profound cores.

Sky Profound! Those were cores from early-stage Sky Profound Realm beasts, a level of power that New Moon City has likely never even experienced, and he pulled them out without even seeming to care for them at all!

Amidst the surprised gazes of Ji Qianrou and Elder Pu He, Shane wrapped his profound energy around the cores and floated them in the air above the cauldron according to their quality.

With a rare look of graveness, he warned them. "I need absolute silence and complete focus for this which means no probing with profound energy or senses during the procedure. Are we clear?"

Seeing the looks of reluctance, he continued, slipping the fake storage ring off of his finger ignoring the momentary soul-tearing pain, and placing it on the table. "I will even remove my storage ring as a show of good faith. Qingyue, if you would please cover the cauldron in your Profound Ice to keep the heat inside."

She nodded and raised her hand. "Yes, husband." Ice profound energy instantly formed and grew around the outside of the cauldron until it was covered completely as he summoned a ball of flames inside.

Then, the room watched in disbelief as the cores followed by a multitude of herbs steadily entered the cauldron and one by one erupted into visible clouds of multicoloured profound energy. Of course, the most surprised and shocked person in the room was no doubt Qingyue herself.

Being intrinsically linked to her husband's actions due to her profound energy she was able to 'witness' how half of the Profound Beast Cores and much more than half of the herbs simply disappeared into Shane's inventory while the rest erupted into the usual clouds of energy as his devour went into overdrive.

He was robbing someone with an unfathomable level of cultivation right in front of their eyes, while under the guise of healing them! Devious, really devious. Truthfully, from this alone, she was sopping wet down there and was rather thankful that she had decided to wear underwear inside her robes today for the first time in a week.

What Shane was doing was actually relatively simple. Simple for a cheat like existence such as him, anyways. He was devouring the cores and herbs and keeping the profound energy vapour contained within the cauldron while infusing it with his Will.

Those 'clouds' were also obscuring the other occupants' vision, allowing him to pilfer a huge quantity of the loot. Not that it mattered in any case as most of the widely circulated medicinal pills were so inefficient that they lost over half of the efficacy of the ingredients, especially when using Profound Beast Cores as ingredients.

When Shane was sure that the desired effect had taken hold he used 'Bestowal' to condense the whole mixture into a dozen vitality pills with an added effect of specific mental nourishment. Those pills would alleviate the symptoms of the poison on Ji Qianrou's mind through direct nourishment of his brain's functions rather than the entire body.

With a grasping motion, Shane's 'storage ring' flew back onto his outstretched finger, a jade pill case appeared on his palm and with another wave of his hands, the twelve milky white pills settled themselves within.

The box snapped shut with a click which brought everyone out of their reverie. Ji Qianrou's vision zeroed in on the box, his eyes flashing with extraordinary splendour, his Adams Apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed thickly.

In their momentary journey from the pill cauldron to the case, the pills had spread an irresistible and intoxicatingly thick medicinal fragrance throughout the relatively large room.

So much so, that even taking a single breath of said fragrance had temporarily muted the insanity-inducing voices pervading his mind and calmed the raging waves of pain that constantly assaulted his consciousness.

Faster than anyone could react, Ji Qianrou appeared in front of Shane with his fingers outstretched, only for the latter to hold the case tightly against his chest.

"Ji Qianrou, do you dare to bet with me?"

The man narrowed his eyes a little in annoyance before his expression smoothed out and was replaced by the usual teasing smirk. Sure, he could take the pills by force but where would the fun be in that?

"Ahh, little Shanshan, so distant! You promised to call this one Rourou. To think you would bully this one to such an extent." he said and bit his bottom lip, acting like a little wife who had been wronged.

Shane braced himself for the momentary shivers that 'womanly' expression would no doubt bring about but to his horror, he found that he was growing more used to this man's more… 'flowery' side as time went on. He would need some intense 'healing' from Qingyue after all this was over.

Funnily enough, said girl shivered almost imperceptibly as that thought passed his mind. "These pills should easily alleviate the symptoms to a manageable level for the foreseeable future and by the time you have consumed the last one, I will be perfectly capable of curing you completely."

He could probably do it now, in all honesty. By using devour to eliminate the foreign energy in the man's body, the same way he had been eliminating Qingyue's built-up ice, it would be a cinch but showing such unfathomable ability without the power to protect himself would be extremely foolish.

Shane was no fool. What he needed most, for now, were time and a safety net. If the talks with Frozen Cloud Asgard progressed in a negative way, he needed a large tree to help him weather the worst-case scenario of Qingyue being dismissed from the sect.

Keeping Ji Qianrou indebted to him was the most beneficial course of action for the time being. Was it wrong, probably. Did he care, not in the slightest. He would always take the option with the most benefits and only one person in this world currently had the ability to influence his decisions.

He would burn the world for her and she would watch it burn as long as he and, to a lesser extent, her family were left unscathed.

"Rourou, I want you to take an oath, that if my pills work and I am able to do as I had previously claimed at let's say… The Blue Wind Tournament in slightly less than two years' time, you will never act against me in any way that could be seen as malicious or harmful be it directly or indirectly."

Ji Qianrou closed his eyes in thought. "Hmm, little Shanshan you truly are very devious…"

"I aim to please." He said with a small theatrical bow. "In all seriousness though, what is there to hesitate about, do you even have anything to lose from this? If I win the bet, you not only gain a talented ally but are also cured of your affliction and have the path to Sovereign Profound Realm paved in front of you.

If I lose, you still have the pills and can surely kill me at your leisure."

The man giggled elegantly, ignoring the part about the pills or killing Shane and instead shamelessly continued. "In a bet, both sides are usually staking something of value, no?~~"

Shane blinked owlishly at him, cupping his stubble-free chin in thought. "Truly shameless. Rourou, it seems as if I have a lot to learn from you. Hmm, let's see then. If I am unable to do as I have claimed by the time the Blue Wind Tournament starts, then I will concoct pills for you, for free, for ten years."

Silence descended on the room and Ji Qianrous eyes widened in shock. "Deal! I Ji Qianrou vow to never act with the intent to harm Little Shanshan be it directly or indirectly, as long as his claims are proven to be true or may the heavens smite me down, scattering the ashes of my three lifetimes to the sea."

*Rumble* The sky darkened, and thunder boomed as an unfathomably huge pressure momentarily graced the room's occupants, signifying that the oath had been both heard and acknowledged by the very heavens themselves.

Feeling the weight of the oath shackle his soul, the man didn't even give it a passing thought. The only thing on his mind was those pills.

Reaching for the case resting on Shane's now open palm with a trembling hand, he immediately opened it, once again assaulting the room with a mouthwatering medicinal fragrance and directly placed one of the pills into his mouth.

Not for a single second, did he entertain the thought that those pills may contain something harmful to him. Even the most powerful Beast Core of the bunch was almost three full realms below him in strength.

That, and the fact that he had specifically ordered Elder Pu to bring only herbs that were safe to consume all but assured that no foul play could have possibly occurred.

As soon as the pill entered his mouth, it spread a delightfully gentle cooling sensation all the way through his profound veins and into his nervous system before enveloping his brain. There, the pill residue sank into his neural tissues and nourished them.

Some of the energy lay dormant, releasing pulses of cooling and healing effects from time to time, naturally countering the poison's attempts to worm its way into his psyche.

"We will take our leave then." Shane released a breath he didn't remember holding and whispered. After seeing Ji Qianrou close his eyes with an expression of utter bliss on his face, he decided to let the man be.

He then beckoned with his hand for Qingyue, the kiddos and the beasts to get a move on, quietly slipping out of the room and before long, out of the merchant guild itself.

Back in the room, after a few minutes had passed, Ji Qianrou slowly opened his eyes, wiping a shimmering teardrop away with a single, elegant finger and luxuriating in the clearness of his mind. How long had it been since he could think properly without being assaulted by that soul crippling pain?

He smiled softly. The one who had given him this grace would forever be a friend and ally. Oath or not, unless Shane turned his hand first, Ji Qianrou would never harm him. Keeping those words in his heart, his gaze turned sharp and deadly.

The full weight of his cultivation landed on the room's only other occupant, one that had been doing his best to look as innocent and inconspicuous as possible ever since his superior had arrived.

Elder Pu He coughed up blood under the pressure and collapsed to his knees. "Your eminence, please have mercy. I-I will never sa- AHHHHHHH!"

With a wave of Ji Qianrou's hand, a tidal wave of multicoloured petals rushed towards the man, swallowing him whole. Seconds later, the tide of petals turned ethereal, winking out of existence one after another, leaving an empty and unblemished room.

An elder at the peak of Earth Profound, someone who could be said to have strength unparalleled, at least in New Moon City that was, had disappeared from the world without a trace.

High above the Black Moon Merchant Guild, Ji Qianrou watched as Shane momentarily glanced towards the meeting room tower before smiling and dragging his wife into the city by her hand.

Licking his lips, he whispered to himself with slight hints of obsession. "Little Shanshan, so hateful. This one is truly jealous of having to clean up while that small girl enjoys your company. Though even this one must agree that she is blessed with both talent and beauty."

Spotting a few slack-jawed and well dressed local 'young masters' eyeing Shane's wife with impure intentions, despite her wearing a veil and loose robes, he casually waved a hand and erased them too.

Then, hoping against hope that his new doctor/ally/friend/crush? never encountered the continent's most infamous 'young master', his voice turned uncharacteristically serious. "Beauty can often be a curse, however."

Leaving those words, he stepped on thin air and simply… vanished.

Shane felt the momentary powerful spike of that familiar aura and turned to look back at the meeting tower, a small smile spreading across his lips. 'As expected, he would never take the chance.'

Though it wasn't a certainty that leaving the Elder alive with knowledge of his uniqueness would bring any harm, there was no way Ji Qianrou would allow that possibility to exist.

Although the man's character was on the better side for someone who had been a part of the Sacred Grounds and cultivation world as a whole for centuries, nobody could possibly live that long or reach the peak of the Tyrant Profound Realm with a clean pair of hands.

Shane himself would have made exactly the same decision.

Qingyue squeezed his hand, those fascinating bright blue eyes expressing her curiosity and endless affection. "Shane, what are you smiling about?"

He ducked down and pecked her on the forehead. "Nothing, just thinking about how lucky I am to have you as my wife!" That being said, she blushed up an absolute storm and Shane laughed raucously while pulling her towards a nearby restaurant.

"After all that, I'm famished! Let's have a proper date and sample some of the city's famous seafood while we're here."

Qingyue nodded and fell into step beside him before leaning her head on his shoulder and whispering in his ear. "While flattery will get you everywhere dear husband, I do expect you to explain later."

Swallowing audibly, he could only nod. Wasn't she being a bit more outspoken than normal today? 'Maybe it was due to what happened earlier, perhaps her physique is starting to awaken.'

Little did he know, Qingyue's heart had truly started to awaken, with him as the centre point of her existence.