Chapter 70: Breaking Through to the Ninth Level of Qi Condensation!
“This pill was concocted personally by Grandmaster Pill Demon of the Violet Fate Sect. Its…. Young Lord Ding, what is your relationship to Grandmaster Pill Demon…?”
“Name your price.” He said nothing else. He frowned, his eyes filled with a look that made it seem as if whether he wanted to or not, he had no choice but to sell the pill.
“A pill personally concocted by Grandmaster Pill Demon could be auctioned off for an amazing price. This pill….” The woman hesitated for a moment, then seemed to come to a decision. “I can give you two hundred fifty thousand Spirit Stones!”
Meng Hao was silent for a moment. Finally, he nodded and said, “Done.” He stood up.
The woman lifted her hand and flicked her finger toward the incense burner in the middle of the room. A clear and melodious sound rang out, and about ten seconds later, a young girl came down from the third floor bearing a jade platter. She quickly reached Meng Hao, then offered up the platter with both hands.
On the white jade platter was a bag of holding.
Meng Hao took it and looked inside, then turned and walked down the stairs. Amidst the gazes of the Cultivators on the first floor, he walked out of the Milky Way Workshop and off into the distance.
A while later, when he reached a place that wasn’t very crowded, he ducked into an alley and stripped off the outer garment. He quickly changed into another robe and then made his way off as quickly as possible, his head lowered.
Meanwhile, back on the second floor of the Milky Way Workshop, the woman stood respectfully next to an old man. The old man, who wore a resplendent garment, was currently standing at the window, looking off into the distance. In his hand was the Foundation Establishment Pill that Meng Hao had sold.
A long time passed before he finally opened his mouth. “Are you sure?” he said coolly.
“I of the junior generation already did some checking,” she said in a respectful tone. “There was indeed a Violet Fate Sect disciple surnamed Ding who arrived recently in the State of Zhao.”
“Are you sure that was him?” said the old man slowly.
“At first, junior was not certain. After all, Ding Xin is of the ninth level of Qi Condensation, and this person was of the eighth. However, his arrogant behavior on the first floor certainly seemed like that of a disciple of a great Sect. This was the first clue.
“Upon reaching the second floor, he didn’t select a chair near the window or the stairs, but rather in the middle of the room. This gives evidence of his confidence, as if he didn’t care that we might have made a move against him. This level of confidence is impossible for someone of the eighth level of Qi Condensation to have, unless of course they are a member of a powerful Sect. That was the second clue.
“Moments later, junior saw his white garments, as well as a jade pendant from the Violet Fate Sect. He revealed it intentionally, but this is the State of Zhao, after all. He has to take some precautions. This was the third clue.
“More telling, he directly gave the pill bottle to junior, as if he didn’t care whether or not I might consume the pill. When junior inquired about this, his response was one that a member of a State of Zhao Sect could never match. This was the fourth clue.
“Finally, the Foundation Establishment Pill is marked with the seal of Grandmaster Pill Demon. No one would dare to make a counterfeit of such a pill. Furthermore, junior has researched such things, and am certain the seal is genuine.
“Because of these five clues, junior is certain that this person was Ding Xin of the Violet Fate Sect. It is said that two years ago, Grandmaster Pill Demon accepted a novitiate with that name. It seems the person here today was none other than him.” The woman smiled, her expression filled with confidence, shrewdness and intelligence.
“Unless….” She suddenly seemed to hesitate.
“Unless what?” asked the old man, turning to look at her, his expression both warm and encouraging.
“Unless the person today was incredibly intelligent, and purposefully did all of these things. Perhaps he created the perfect cover story, and the seal on the Foundation Establishment Pill is actually fake. But, the probability of such a thing is remote. There is no disciple among the so-called Sects of the State of Zhao who could accomplish something like that.” The woman smiled, her expression once again one of confidence.
“Correct,” said the old man. “Being able to sort through all these clues in this way shows how intelligent you are, Mu’er. It seems you’ve really grown sharper in the past few years. This medicinal pill is real. It seems eighty to ninety percent likely that this person was none other than Ding Xin.” He looked fondly at the woman.
“Many thanks for your praise, Patriarch,” she said with a smile. Looking up at him, she asked, “Are you really going to let him go, just like that?”
“We cannot afford to cause trouble with the Violet Fate Sect. As for Grandmaster Pill Demon’s Foundation Establishment Pill…” The old man seemed to think for a moment, before softly saying, “Mu’er, considering that your latent talent is ordinary, why don’t you give the pill to your father?”
When she heard his words, her eyes suddenly flashed.
“He’s back?” Her voice suddenly seemed grim.
“He came back a few months ago. He left all those years ago to join the Reliance Sect, but the Sect was disbanded. As usual, he has yet to reach Foundation Establishment… you should go see him.” Looking at the woman, the old man frowned, then sighed.
She was quiet for a moment. “I have my responsibilities here to take care of,” she said coldly. “Whoever Patriarch gives the Foundation Establishment Pill to, well, it doesn’t have anything to do with me.”
“He’s your father, after all. Furthermore, it seems to me he has some weighty matters on his mind, and might leave again soon. You should think about it carefully.” Shaking his head, the old man turned and left.
“Father….” Shangguan Mu sat down quietly, looking out the window, her eyes filled with bitterness.
As for Meng Hao, after changing clothes, he left the black-walled Milky Way City without the slightest bit of hesitation. Some distance away from the city, he hopped onto the treasured fan and sped off into the distance, his body turning into a prismatic rainbow.
He kept going for several days, until it became apparent that no one was pursuing him. At that point, he felt a bit more relaxed. In the wilderness some distance away from Mount Daqing, he used a flying sword to cut out an Immortal’s Cave for himself and then entered into secluded meditation.
This time, he was determined to break through to the ninth level of Qi Condensation.
He had plenty of Spirit Stones which he could use to duplicate Heavenly Spirit Pills. When he consumed enough Heavenly Spirit Pills, and his Cultivation base reached the appropriate level, he would begin to push toward the next level.
Time passed slowly. Soon, several months had passed. Meng Hao did not leave the Immortal’s Cave. He sat there quietly, cross-legged, consuming medicinal pills and circulating his Cultivation base. As time passed, his Cultivation base grew more and more refined.
By the time the fifth month arrived, it seemed boundless. His Cultivation base roared, and his Core sea roiled. He had long since arrived at the peak of the eighth level of Qi Condensation. He was only a sliver away from the ninth level, and yet had been stuck at this sliver for two months already.
Thinking about the over one hundred thousand Spirit Stones he had spent already made Meng Hao’s heart hurt. But what hurt even more was that after spending all of those Spirit Stones, he still hadn’t been able to break through.
“Elder Xu told me that the fourth, sixth and eighth levels of Qi Condensation were bottlenecks. The year I broke through the fourth level, I had lots of Dry Spirit Pills. I broke through the sixth level when the North Sea demonstrated the Dao. Now I’m at the eighth level bottleneck… How do I break through?!” Meng Hao opened his bloodshot eyes.
Of the well over two hundred thousand Spirit Stones he’d had, only about fifty thousand now remained. The rest had been turned into Heavenly Spirit Pills. Currently, he was running low on Heavenly Spirit Pills as well.
As he had speculated, when relying only on medicinal pills to grow his Cultivation base, the effects grew weaker and weaker the more pills he consumed. He needed larger and larger amounts, a vicious cycle.
“I wonder what other people do in this situation,” he thought, frowning. Despite pondering the situation over and over, he couldn’t figure it out.
It seemed that no matter how many Heavenly Spirit Pills he consumed, and no matter how his Cultivation base grew, he just couldn’t make that final step.
Another month passed. Meng Hao had already spent half a year in secluded meditation. Today, he sat there, hair in disarray, eyes bloodshot. In the past month, he had duplicated ten Plateau Charging Pills, which were supposed to be effective in the ninth level of Qi Condensation. He had hoped that using them would enable him to break through the bottleneck. While they had been somewhat effective, they hadn’t produced the desired result.
“I must reach the ninth level of Qi Condensation!” He ground his teeth as he looked at what remained of his fifty thousand Spirit Stones. Not hesitating any longer, he took out the copper mirror. He had decided to duplicate the Foundation Establishment Pill!
A glow appeared, and there in front of him were two Foundation Establishment Pills. Including the original, he now had three Foundation Establishment Pills. If you showed these three pills to a disciple of one of the great Sects of the Southern Domain, they would gasp with astonishment. In the State of Zhao, it would be enough to cause a bloodbath if anyone saw them.
Today, Meng Hao would use these pills, not to reach Foundation Establishment, but to break through the bottleneck. Anyone who knew he was using the pills in this way would surely go crazy at the thought of such luxurious waste.
Through history, there were likely few people who would ever go to such extravagant lengths to break through a Qi Condensation bottleneck.
Meng Hao took a deep breath, then lifted up a pill, put it into his mouth, and swallowed it. A thunderous roar filled his mind, and his body shook. A majestic spiritual energy filled him that he never before could have imagined, exploding throughout his body.
During his half a year in secluded meditation, some events had occurred which he was unaware of. These events actually affected the entire State of Zhao. The first was the wildfire-like spread of the news of Meng Hao’s deal with the Violet Fate Sect disciples. It didn’t take long before Meng Hao’s name was known across the land.
Everyone knew that Meng Hao had mercilessly cheated the Violet Fate Sect.
Soon after this, the Cold Wind Sect and the Winding Stream Sect nearly declared war on each other. In the end, Sect priests of the Core Formation stage emerged and managed to calm things down. Shortly thereafter, the two Sects issued a joint order of arrest.
The evildoer Meng Hao of the Reliance Sect was now wanted. Anyone who killed him would receive a reward of Spirit Stones, medicinal pills and magical items. This was the first time in hundreds of years that two great Sects had joined together to issue an order of arrest. This news caused a great sensation in the Cultivation world of the State of Zhao.
Of course, no one really knew how to track down the man who had caused the bloody incident regarding the silver spear. But he had been marked for punishment, and the news spread quickly. Soon, Meng Hao was yet again the subject of discussion among all the Cultivators of the State of Zhao.
Whenever Cultivators gathered, they would end up talking about Meng Hao.
“I heard that when he was in the Reliance Sect, he robbed someone from one of the great Clans of the Southern Domain, a guy named Wang Tengfei who had joined the Sect. When he became a member of the Inner Sect, Wang Tengfei left in a rage.”
“That’s nothing. I heard directly from some former Reliance Sect members that Meng Hao opened a shop there. He ripped off a lot of his fellow disciples. They were all furious, of course, but didn’t dare to say anything.”
“Wow, it seems he’s been developing this devious personality for quite a while. It’s no surprise he cheated the Violet Fate Sect disciples, as well as Liu Daoyun and Sun Hua….”
“It looks like he just rips off whoever he runs into. He’s been cheating people ever since he left the Reliance Sect….”
Conversations and discussions like this filled the Cultivation World of the State of Zhao. If that was the extent of it, it would not have been a very big deal. Eventually the buzz would have died out. Except before that could happen, the three great Sects joined forces to recall the original arrest order and issue a new one. There was no discernable reason for this action.
The new arrest order was still for Meng Hao. However, killing him was now prohibited. Rewards would now be given, not for his death, but for his capture, or clues regarding his whereabouts!
According to the order, he could be injured or crippled, but not killed.
Such a strange arrest order instantly aroused the attention of quite a few people. Eventually, some of the most well-informed people were able to put the clues together to understand what was going on.
“The Core Formation Eccentrics of the three great Sects went last month to visit the State of Revelation. They paid respects to Lord Revelation, and asked him to divine whether or not Patriarch Reliance is really dead or not. According to his divination, Patriarch Reliance is weak to the point of death. However, the Immortal’s Cave he is in can only be opened by an Inner Sect disciple. Lord Revelation is already here with them in the State of Zhao, searching for where Patriarch Reliance is sealed in secluded meditation!”
As soon as the news began to spread, the three great Sects went to great lengths to stamp down the rumors. Anyone found spreading them would be punished by death penalty, and any city where the rumors appeared would be enveloped by a sealing spell casted by the three great Sects, preventing anyone from going in or out.