ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 216

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Chapter 216: The Meaning of Grandmaster

The instant the old man turned and looked at Meng Hao, his eyes filled with a bright light and he said, “You joined the East Pill Division with a recommendation medallion from a Furnace Lord. What is your purpose here?!” A mysterious pressure locked onto Meng Hao’s body.

As the man spoke the words, he took a step forward.

When the step fell, ghost images vibrated up everywhere, as if the area had been cut off from the rest of the world. Such a scene gave the feeling that any escape was impossible.

Even while his first words were still echoing out, he spoke again, “I’ve thoroughly investigated all of the Cultivators with the surname Fang in the entire State of Eastern Emergence. I couldn’t find any record of you anywhere. As an alien in the State of Eastern Emergence, tell me… why are you here?” It was obviously supposed to feel like an interrogation. Add in the display of power, and it seemed as if dark storm clouds were rolling Meng Hao’s way.

Inside, Meng Hao was calm. However, his face visibly paled, and he stood in place, body trembling slightly. His chin, though, was set stubbornly.

“State your real name, and reveal your purpose here! This is your last chance. If you refuse to come to your senses, then don’t blame me for being ruthless!” The old man took another step forward. When the step fell, the sound of rumbling thunder filled the courtyard. A fierce wind sprang up, and waves of pressure roiled out. The medicinal plants in the garden seemed as if they were being harmfully catalyzed; they were growing dark and ugly.

Meng Hao’s face grew paler. However, inwardly, he was as calm as ever. This old man’s Cultivation base was at the Core Formation stage, and his words seemed cold and merciless. In reality, though, he was obviously bluffing. Considering Meng Hao’s path of Cultivation, and the level of his experience and training, how could he not tell?

He had already been in the Violet Fate Sect for the better part of a year. After all this time, the fact the old man chose today to come visit was telling. Meng Hao only had to think a moment to come to a fairly certain conclusion.

Obviously, the promotion day was approaching, and although Meng Hao didn’t qualify to participate, his first rate latent talent had attracted quite a bit of attention in the East Pill Division. That was the whole purpose of this whole scene; the display of power was basically a warning of sorts.

All of these thoughts flitted through Meng Hao’s mind in an instant. He also thought about how he had crossed the chain bridge to enter the Sect, and his heart grew even calmer. He took a deep breath and, continuing to keep his face pale, clasped his hands and bowed deeply to the old man.

His expression bitter, his voice light, he said, “Sir, my name really is Fang Mu, and I am not from the State of Eastern Emergence. I have long yearned for the Dao of alchemy, and that is why I thirsted to join the Violet Fate Sect. I have no other purpose. I wholeheartedly wish to study alchemy.

“Unfortunately, the Violet Fate Sect does not accept outsiders, so I had to figure out another way to get the recommendation medallion from a Furnace Lord. In order to enter the Sect, I had no choice other than to use subterfuge. I had no option. Sir, if you believe junior is in error, then I will accept any punishment the Sect deems fit.” Meng Hao bowed down and held the bow, not lifting himself up straight.

Everything was quiet. The old man looked at Meng Hao. He had long since investigated Meng Hao, and knew there were some things about him that weren’t quite right. However, there were one hundred thousand apprentice alchemists in the Sect. More than a few of them had things about them that weren’t quite right. The fact that they had passed the Bridge of Truth, however, was evidence that they harbored no ill intent toward the East Pill Division. If they did have any such secrets, they would not be able to pass the bridge.

If Meng Hao was an ordinary apprentice alchemist without first rate latent talent, then the old man wouldn’t have paid him the least bit of attention, and things would have run their course naturally. However, Meng Hao’s latent talent had attracted not just the attention of this old man, but other Furnace Lords in the East Pill Division. When the question came up regarding his qualifications to participate in the promotion examination, he went against convention to acquire a spot for Meng Hao… which therefore led to the current scene.

Wang Fanming was quiet for a moment. Then, he looked at Meng Hao and coolly said, “Once you join the Eastern Pill Division, you may never forsake it, not for the rest of your life. Can you do so?”

Meng Hao finally stood up straight. Looking at the old man with determination in his face, he spoke in a voice that could chop nails and sever iron: “It is a great kindness on the part of the Sect to teach me about the Dao of Alchemy. As long as the Sect doesn’t kick me away, I will never forsake it!”

Actually, after living in the Violet Fate Sect for the better part of a year, being part of the East Pill Division, and studying alchemy, Meng Hao really had developed this view. As long as he could stay here and study alchemy, he would not leave the Sect.

The old man gave Meng Hao a deep look. “I don’t care about your background. If you say you’re Fang Mu, then you are Fang Mu. However, if you ever betray the Sect, I will take away your Dao of alchemy. If I am unable to, there will be another alchemist in the East Pill Division who can.” He flicked his sleeve, and a medallion shot toward Meng Hao.

It landed in Meng Hao’s hand, glowing mysteriously, radiating coldness.

“In one month, you may attend the examination for promotion to master alchemist. Only one candidate will be selected. Whether or not you are selected will depend on your luck.” With that, Wang Fanming turned and flew away, disappearing in the blink of an eye.

As he said, he didn’t care about Meng Hao’s background. There were many people in the Violet Fate Sect who had mysterious backgrounds. Even among the Furnace Lords were people who had previously been members of other Sects, or who had enemies in the outside world and joined the East Pill Division to hide.

Actually, Wang Fanming himself was not from the State of Eastern Emergence. It was only because of various circumstances that he ended up becoming a Cultivator of the East Pill Division.

This was the tradition within the East Pill Division, a tradition created by someone who commanded high prestige and universal respect in the Violet Fate Sect: Grandmaster Pill Demon.

Grandmaster Pill Demon had uttered the following words regarding the East Pill Division: “One must take the long view when traversing the great path of the Dao of alchemy. Any qualified alchemist may become a Cultivator of the East Pill Division. The only requirement is that he harbor no ill intentions, nor have the reckless ambition of wild wolves.”

Because of this, the traditions of the East Pill Division of the Violet Fate Sect had existed for a very long time. Unfortunately, it had also led to circumstances in which disciples forsook the Sect. Despite that, the techniques of the East Pill Division had never been revealed. Many outsiders wondered about this mystery, and also why those who forsook the Sect were so sentimental about it afterward.

In actuality, from time immemorial, all disciples who forsook the Sect were eventually brought back. Except for two. Those two had rocked the Southern Domain, and were the only two people other than Pill Demon to become Grandmasters of the Dao of alchemy!

Both of them had once been novitiates of Grandmaster Pill Demon. Eventually, they brought forth new ideas and innovations. Regardless of what outsiders thought, these two never believed their skill could outmatch that of their Master.

The reason they had become famous, and the reason they never returned to the Sect, was also because of the words of Grandmaster Pill Demon, words that continued to be passed down to this very day.

“Along the path of the Dao of alchemy, if a hundred flowers bloom, who has the right to permit only the Mudan peony to exist? Cannot the lesser peony and the orchid also coexist? Thus is birthed the flower garden. If the medicinal plant garden only contained one medicinal plant, how could the Dao of alchemy come into being? 1

“If those who inherit my Dao of alchemy are full of the ambitions of wild wolves, I will take back the Dao of alchemy. However, he who can weed through the old to bring forth the new, he who can tread the untrodden path, that person may establish his own school of thought. If he is able to bear the weight of the title Grandmaster, then it has nothing to do with me. In that case, there is no need to discuss returning to me.”

Because of this, there are three alchemists called Grandmaster. In reality, though, the Dao of alchemy in the Southern Domain has only one true Grandmaster!

Pill Demon!

Meng Hao watched Wang Fanming leave, and his eyes shone with a mysterious light. He never thought he would be able to secure a spot in the promotion examination so quickly. He looked down thoughtfully at the jade slip he held in his hand. His eyes glinted, and he cast Spiritual Sense into it. His mind suddenly shook.

In his head suddenly appeared the words:

Alchemy Scripture!

He sat down cross-legged in the courtyard, holding the jade slip in hand. He closed his eyes and immersed himself in the Alchemy Scripture which had appeared in his head. It wasn’t until the sun began to rise the following morning that he slowly opened his eyes. He took a deep breath, and looked off at the distant mountain peaks. His eyes were filled with reverence. He sat there quietly for a long time.

This so-called Alchemy Scripture was in fact not really a scripture. Actually, it was a record of events which had occurred in the East Pill Division in the thousand years since Grandmaster Pill Demon rose to fame.

There were many stories recorded, for example the origins of the two other Grandmaster alchemists of the Southern Domain, as well as various quotations from Grandmaster Pill Demon. After examining the entire Alchemy Scripture, an image appeared in his mind of a figure standing at the peak of the Dao of alchemy.

Now he understood why Wang Fanming was so quick to discard the issue of his hidden past.

Meng Hao slowly put away the jade slip. He took a few deep breaths, and then began his daily apprentice alchemist cultivation.

Time went by slowly. Soon, a month had passed. The news about the examination for apprentice alchemists with ten years of experience, spread like wildfire throughout the East Pill Division. It quickly became the only conversation topic among the apprentice alchemists.

Roughly eighty percent of the apprentice alchemists had ten or more years of experience. However, not all would participate in the promotion examination. Only thirty thousand slots were available for registration.

When the day of the test came, the entire East Pill Division bustled with noise and excitement. The furnace bells rang out, and an enormous pill furnace once again appeared up in the air. Tens of thousands of strands of light reached out toward the qualified apprentice alchemists, who were all bursting with excitement. Meng Hao was among them as they shot toward the pill furnace.

In the blink of an eye, thirty thousand people vanished. When they reappeared, it was not in the Celestial Land of medicinal plant fields. Instead, they were in an enormous public square paved with limestone. In the middle of the square was a gigantic blue-green pill furnace. Medicinal aroma wafted out from it, filling the square with medicinal mists and clouds.

Arranged in the enormous square were thirty thousand worktables. On the surface of each worktable was a black jade slip. As the thirty thousand participants arrived, there was no hubbub or racket. They all looked nervously toward the pill furnace, which was surrounded by eight old men, sitting cross-legged.

One of them was Wang Fanming.

The crowd of people looked down at the eight men, who slowly opened their eyes. They looked over everyone with kind, gentle expressions.

“In the promotion exam of the East Pill Division, one person shall be selected from your midst to practice the Cultivation of the Dao of alchemy! The examination consists of two rounds. The first round is an elimination round which only ten participants will pass. The second round is the final round, from which one master alchemist will emerge!

“One hundred thousand medicinal plants. One million variations. Your task is to silently list them out. Write down as many as you can think of! In front of you are thirty thousand work stations. Please organize yourselves among them and prepare to begin!”

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  1. The “Mudan peony” referred to here is the peony which once was the national flower of China. It is also called the “king of flowers.” What I’m translating as the “lesser peony” is another type of peony flower that resembles the Mudan peon. These two are sometimes contrasted. For example, in the ancient court, the Empress would be the Mudan peony and the concubines would be the lesser peonies

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56 thoughts on “ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 216” - NO SPOILERS

  1. 100,000 plants to list… what kind of inhuman memory would that take…

    I really like the Sect though. They seem to be genuinely beneficent toward their own members, unlike Reliance Sect.

    1. Well, they are cultivators. In another Xianxia the higher the cultivation of a person, the easier it would be for them to understand and remember things, so I would guess people in Xianxias have amazing memory (well at least the powerful people and the mcs). And the Reliance Sect didnt have many resources… If they had as many resources as the Violet Sect Im sure things wouldnt have been so bad. They still would have been bad but they would have been less killings (probably). If the Violet Sect didnt have so many resources, their disciples would fight each other for them, too.

      1. Nah, Patriarch Reliance deliberately set it that way so that the Sect will collapse, he even hate Elder Brother Chen for his righteous ways when he chose only the wicked to be Sect members ^^

  2. Thanks for the chapter.

    It feels like he could hide here forever. He’s happy, and the masters in the Pill Sect don’t bother.

    Or maybe they knew, but they’re just telling Meng Hao “you’re one of us, just don’t betray us” that kind of thing?

    I’m interested to see how his peaceful life pans out. Will he be yanked away again like how he was? Or will he be forced to abandon such a life that he was so happy about?

    And ultimate vexation, Meng Hao must find a way to subdue it!

  3. Interesting that Meng Hao has genuinely decided to stay in the Violet Fate Sect… We all know he’ll have to leave eventually for the sake of the story, but it probably won’t be of his own free will. 🙁

    Will the Sect betray ‘Fang Mu’?
    Will someone see through his disguise?
    Or will he reach the Grandmaster rank and be allowed to leave on good terms?

    That last one would be the best for everyone, but I can’t really see it happening, tbh. I think it would take way too long to reach that level, even with the nature talent of the Resurrection Lily. But then again, that possibility was brought up in this chapter for a reason (I would assume), so maybe there’s a chance after all…

    1. More likely Meng Hao will find another treasure that create another disaster that forced him to run away for his life again ^^ There’s no everlasting peace for Meng Hao but I hope he manage to become a Furnace Lord before he have to leave.

      Will the Sect betray him? If you see their harmonious nature it’s very unlikely (at least not the Eastern Alchemist division). I think Meng Hao will make some friends here that last like his old friends in the Reliance Sect even after his cover was blown.

      As for the one to see through his disguise, the best chance will be Chu Yuyan’s womanly intuition ^^
      Well, just wait for the drama that’s certain to entertain us 🙂

    2. I guess he becomes a grandmaster within less than 10 years and is the pride of the sect, until they find out about his true identity, which, considering how deep the hate runs, makes them try to kill him. He escapes and they think about how sad it is that such an amazing alchemist was Meng Hao and start to reconsider their bad opinion of him.
      Meng Hao is far gone by that point so he doesn’t know that the sect decides to stand behind him and support him. Pill Demon even decides to make him his successor should he pass on. In a few hundred chapters he will meet them again.
      That’s what I expect, I might be wrong though.

    3. I’d guess that he’ll be found out, eventually, but… While the hatred runs deep, it doesn’t have anything to do with the pill division; It’s an Inner/Outer sect matter. Some members of the pill division share in it because of Chu Yuyan, but the setup for her to end on friendly relations with Meng Hao is pretty blatant. So he’ll definitely be discovered, but wether it will mean the end of his time in the Sect is a different matter.

    4. Well, there are like 100 more chapters of him in the Violet Sect. So he is going to be there for a long time. He needs the violet core, to become Pill’s apprentice and so on. From Pill’s apprentice to grandmaster there is only one level of difference, so he may become one.

  4. I’m actually nervous about the ultimate vexation – what if it resurfaces at an unfortunate time? *Its also been a while now, so the three bullies would be nearly converted – what happens then?)

    1. Why would you think that they are almost converted? They probably still have about 20.000 years of sunsets to talk about before the topic of sunrise comes up 😛

  5. Loving the current arc’s slower pace and peaceful atmosphere.

    As a self professed “intellectual” (quotes added for various reasons :P), I love the notion of seeking the “Dao”. Though the translation has not gone far enough to tackle the premise of the “Dao” of self, it’s simply a wonderful scene to behold: the journey of a young man and his search of his own truth.

  6. This arc is really incredible. So far, Meng Hao actually never betrayed anyone if we think about it, it was always the other way around (people trying to seize something he found or scheming while trying to use him etc.)

    I wonder how this will end. I can’t wait to read more.

    Thank you for the great chapter!

    1. Right, this all comes down to greed and people exercising power they shouldn’t.

      Typically in this world, people above think they can simply take from people below. If those below them refuse, then the normal behavior of this is either a beating (and then having the item taken) or death (and then having the item taken) in which case it’s then over. Meng Hao either defeated or got away from those trying to enact an unjust action against him. In the end, the bad guy feels wronged even though he brought it upon himself, because the normal scenario would be they get what they want in a very selfish way of going about it. It’s like a world of spoiled children.

      Clearly, even those in a more ‘righteous’ sect like the solitary sword sect still have spoiled children.

  7. I will be very surprised if the plot possible progress to something like:
    1. “Fang Mu” is very successful! He progress to became another direct apprentice to Pill Demon!
    2. Pill Demon take a great liking to him, so as Chu Yuyan!
    3. Pill Demon decided to play matchmaker, command “Fang Mu” to married Chu Yuyan!
    4. Somehow, is discover that “Fang Mu” is Meng Hao! So again, he teleport away.
    5. Now he got 2 out of 4 great cultivator world beauties as his fiancee! So next he continue travel to get remaining 2!

    1. is kinda ironic meng hao strugle to chased ordinary beauty (sister xu) and get brotherzone
      but he get 2 from 4 most rare beauty (song jia and chu yuyan) for doing nothing.. if yun che hear that he will vomit a blood. lol

      1. Funny asshat Wang Tengfei tried chased both of them, one (Chu) was arranged by his family but due mistrust and his own action in participating in the Song groom competition event which asshat failed so badly, he that lost Chu for good and he can forget about Song.
        Wonder remaining 2 beauties will have event (competition?) and Wang show up again to be rekted?

  8. I always love it when Meng Hao basks in thoughtfulness. He’s different from Linley who draws attention meditating in the middle of events and then powers up. He’s just always looking beyond his immediate circumstances.

  9. I am so enjoying this arc. The alchemy part is so much fun. Meng Hao deserves this chance to really study something that truly interests him for once. And with the lily sealed he has all the time he needs to study. So nice.

  10. Oh God i just noticed

    Them poor bullies, hes been here months already. So that means they have been trapped with the Vex for months ;_;

    Wonder if it popping out and asking for more bullies will be what gives him away

  11. Roughly eighty percent of the apprentice alchemists had ten or more years of experience. However, not all would participate in the promotion examination. Only thirty thousand slots were available for registration.

    …Seriously? ONLY thirty thousand? are you freaking crazy? Please point me in the direction of any place that holds an examination test for thirty thousand people at the same time or at the same place and I’ll give you a freaking cookie. I could accept “only a thousand” since that sounds acceptable, more realistic, only the best of the 100k would get a chance. maybe even “only five hundred”, but what the hell, thirty thousand? That’s likely the majority of the people who’ve been there for 10+ years(since it’s around 100k disciples in total), there’s no “only” about it…

  12. *As long as the Sect doesn’t kick me away, I will never forsake it!”*
    I’m not certain, but I believe this should be:
    *As long as the Sect doesn’t kick me **out**, I will never forsake it!”*

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