ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 220

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Chapter 220: Promotion to Master Alchemist!

Meanwhile, outside the square, on a mountain peak in the East Pill Division, Chu Yuyan’s master, Grandmaster Pill Demon of the Violet Fate Sect, looked away from the pill furnace calmly and lifted his hand. There on his palm was a small pile of gray powder.

This was none other than some of the ash created by the burning Flying Ash leaf that had been catalyzed moments ago by Meng Hao.

Pill Demon lifted his hand and closely examined it, his eyes thoughtful. He then waved his hand, and the ash dissipated.

“No seepage of spiritual power….” he murmured faintly after a while.

Down in the square, Chu Yuyan silently watched Meng Hao along with the other nine complaining finalists. She wasn’t sure why, but she felt somewhat pleased to see what was happening. The sound of all the condemnation piling up against Fang Mu was quite pleasant to the ear.

As the nine other participants continued to make repeated requests, Wang Fanming and the seven others looked at each other, brows furrowed. After a moment of discussion, Wang Fanming stood up.

As he did, everything grew quiet.

“If all of you truly desire to be completely convinced, well, Fang Mu, do you agree to restart the round?”

Meng Hao smiled. He said nothing, but simply nodded.

Wang Fanming nodded back in admiration. “Very well. In that case, we shall restart the round. This time, all ten of you will receive exactly the same type of medicinal plant. Those who do not win, will have no grounds for complaint!” He waved his right hand, and ten identical seeds shot out toward Meng Hao and the others.

The seeds were crimson, and emanated a plant-like aura.

“Crimson Spirit sapling!” thought Meng Hao, his eyes glittering. The hearts of the other nine participants trembled. They frowned as they examined the crimson seeds in front of them.

A collective gasp could be heard from the onlookers as they peered forward.

“So, it’s a Crimson Spirit sapling. That’s a medicinal plant useful for the great circle of Foundation Establishment. It has the appearance of a fire type, but actually, all types of spiritual energy can be used to nourish it.”

“Considering the level of our Cultivation bases, catalyzing a medicinal plant like that would be just too difficult…”

On the pillars, all the participants except for Meng Hao hesitated for a moment, then clenched their jaws and grabbed the seeds which floated in front of them. Then they used all the power of their Cultivation bases to begin catalyzing.

Meng Hao reached up and took the seed into his hand. He looked at it closely, then closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, a violet glow appeared in his hand, encircling the crimson seed. Spiritual power emerged, and the catazlying began.

After enough time passed for an incense stick to burn, one of the middle-aged men on the pillars began to sweat profusely. His face was pale white, and his body trembled. However, he gritted his teeth and slapped his bag of holding to produce a Spirit Stone. He gripped the Spirit Stone in one hand and catalyzed the Crimson Spirit sapling in the other.

One by one, the other participants began to follow suit. An hour passed. Soon all of the participants, excluding Meng Hao, were relying on Spirit Stones to catalyze the plants. One and all had pale faces and bloodshot eyes.

Only Meng Hao looked as calm as ever. His gaze was fixed on the Crimson Spirit sapling as he carefully controlled his spiritual power. Not a drop leaked out. All of it poured into the seed of the Crimson Spirit sapling.

Clearly, none of the other participants were able to do such a thing. Of all the spiritual power they sent out to nourish the medicinal plants, only thirty percent actually ended up being used.

Another hour passed. The man who had been the first to produce the Spirit Stone suddenly staggered. Face white as a sheet, he coughed up a mouthful of blood and took a few steps back. He stared mutely at the seed in his hand. He had expended all of his power and hadn’t been able to produce a single sprout.

He shook his head bitterly and chose to withdraw.

Not much time passed before a second, third and then fourth participant left. By the time more than two full hours of the catalysis round had passed, only five participants were left.

It was then that a popping sound rang out, causing everyone to look toward Meng Hao’s right hand. There in his palm, a sprout suddenly popped out from the crimson seed!

Moments later, a sprout popped out from the seed of one of the other competitors. This seed belonged to the man who had lasted in the first round of the competition longer than anyone else except Meng Hao.

His face was somewhat unsightly as he tightened his grip on the Spirit Stone in his hand and then gave Meng Hao a grim look.

As for the other three participants, their faces were white. Despite using all the power they could muster, they were still unable to cause the Crimson Spirit sapling seed to sprout. All of them withdrew.

The true test of the second round had arrived. Once again, it was a battle between the middle-aged man and Meng Hao.

“I prepared a lot of Spirit Stones for this part of the examination,” said the middle-aged man, his eyes red. “There’s no possible way that I can lose to you.” The pillar he stood on was situated directly opposite of Meng Hao. He looked up and glared at Meng Hao, then pushed down on his forehead. A roaring sound filled the air as his Cultivation base suddenly began to soar.

It flew from the eighth level of Qi Condensation all the way to the ninth, the great circle of Qi Condensation! Clearly, he had been suppressing his Cultivation base the entire time, all with the intention of unleashing his true power in the end of the catalysis exam. In this way, it would only take one step to sweep past any opponents.

When the man’s Cultivation base suddenly erupted, it caused quite a commotion among the onlookers. At the same time, the Crimson Spirit sapling seed in front of him slowly began to grow.

Meng Hao’s expression was the same as ever. He didn’t employ the power of his Foundation Establishment Cultivation base. He relied only on the spiritual power of Qi Condensation to catalyze the Crimson Spirit sapling. He completely ignored the middle-aged man, and in fact closed his eyes to focus solely on catalysis.

More time passed. Both Crimson Spirit saplings continued to grow taller. Several hours passed. By now, both plants were about the height of a person.

The middle-aged man’s body quivered and veins bulged on his face. He had lost track of how many Spirit Stones he had used, and felt like he was beginning to grow crazy. As soon as a Spirit Stone was used up, he would produce another. His Qi passageways seemed unable to bear up under the strain, but he ignored them. Determination filled his eyes. He must win! He must become a master alchemist! For that, he would charge on regardless of anything.

Finally, blood sprayed from his mouth, and even as his body trembled violently, he pushed all out with his Cultivation base, which was now beginning to sink down in level. Spiritual energy which stemmed from his very life force poured out to catalyze the Crimson Spirit sapling. This instantly caused the plant to grow up about three meters. As of now, it no longer looked like a sapling, but instead a tree. The middle aged man staggered backward several paces, unable to continue. He had already risked his life, and to continue on would no longer be risking it, but delivering it up!

His Qi passageways burned as if with fire, causing his entire body to spasm. Sweat poured out, and his Cultivation base continued to sink lower. Despite all this, his eyes glowed with loftiness and pride.

Amazed discussions instantly broke out among the surrounding apprentice alchemists. Even Wang Fanming and the others exchanged glances. Chu Yuyan nodded her head. Clearly, what he had done was no slight accomplishment.

“My Crimson Spirit Sapling had grown so tall it’s now a tree! Your sapling isn’t even seventy percent as tall as mine. Let’s see how you secure the master alchemist position now!”

For the first time, Meng Hao looked over at the middle-aged man. “I’m not finished yet,” he said coolly. The Crimson Spirit sapling in his hand slowly began to grow higher. From seventy percent of the height of the other man’s, it grew to eighty, then ninety…. In the time it takes an incense stick to burn, the middle-aged man’s face grew paler and paler. His body trembled, and his eyes filled with disbelief. Meng Hao’s Crimson Spirit sapling was now three meters taller than his.

Everything was completely silent. Everyone stared blankly at Meng Hao. They had already been astonished by his nature talent in the first round. Now, in terms of catalyzing skill, the results caused everyone to stare with deep shock.

However, Meng Hao still wasn’t finished. He stared at the Crimson Spirit sapling, his eyes blazing with determination.

“If I’m going to put on a show,” he thought, “I might as well go all out. I’m really curious to know how much I can grow the Crimson Spirit sapling with this catalysis technique!” Eyes glittering, more spiritual energy appeared in his palm, pouring into the Crimson Spirit sapling. Of course, he did not use the power of Foundation Establishment; he wanted to show off, but he wouldn’t forget himself in the process.

Six meters, nine meters… slowly, the Crimson Spirit sapling stopped growing up, but began to grow out instead. Thicker and thicker it grew until it was now a large tree!

This tree might not be amazing enough to attract the attention of the entire world, but it certainly became the focal point of the entire examination square.

Meng Hao catalyzed the tree to such an extent that suddenly a single flower appeared on it, along with a fruit. It was a crimson-colored Spirit Fruit that instantly began to emanate spiritual energy.

When Chu Yuyan saw this, her eyes went wide and filled with an expression of disbelief. Wang Fanming rose to his feet, as did the other old-timers. Strange expressions filled their faces.

“The Crimson Spirit sapling is blossoming!! It’s bearing Spirit Fruit!”

“He’s a Qi Condensation Cultivator, but can do this? Inconceivable!”

The tens of thousands of observing apprentice alchemists couldn’t hold back; a buzz of discussion instantly filled the air. All the other participants who had failed stared blankly. As apprentice alchemists themselves, they were well aware of the significance of the Crimson Spirit sapling bearing fruit.

“Crimson Spirit saplings can be used to refine medicinal pills for the great circle of Foundation Establishment. But their fruit contain the essence of the entire plant; they can create medicinal pills for the early Core Formation stage!”

“I can’t believe Fang Mu did it! This technique can catalyze out all types of medicinal plants suitable for the Qi Condensation stage, and even some for the Foundation Establishment stage. But it’s impossible to use on medicinal plants needed for the Core Formation stage. And yet… he actually catalyzed Crimson Spirit Fruit!”

As the sound of conversation drifted in the air, Meng Hao took a deep breath and waved his right hand. The Crimson Spirit sapling abruptly trembled, as if it had suddenly lost its source of power. It began to wither. Even as it withered, though, Meng Hao’s left hand reached up and grabbed the Crimson Spirit Fruit. Without a moment’s hesitation, he placed it into his bag of holding.

The nine meter tall Crimson Spirit sapling was now completely withered. Amidst the continuous buzz of conversation, Meng Hao hopped off of the stone pillar.

Wang Fanming took a deep breath, then gave Meng Hao a deep look and said, “The person promoted to master alchemist today is… Fang Mu!” His voice rang out across the square, and then seemed to enter the pill furnace and echo out throughout all the valleys of the entire East Pill Division.

All one hundred thousand apprentice alchemists heard each and every word!

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67 thoughts on “ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 220” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. thanks!

    so.. he gets to restart, gets a more ‘difficult’ plant, and he actually enjoys attempting it?

    this guy must be some sort of masochist / a guy who loves pain?

    1. And why do you think it causes him pain to catalyze a plant?? if you don’t know, there are people in the world that enjoy things such as exercise, solving hard problems, etc… -__-

      1. i mean technically he already won round 2, but because others were envious, they demanded to restart the catalyse-the-plant examination.

        wouldn’t that be the same as forfeiting and gambling the chances of victory (then again MC is OP and has plot armor LOL)

        1. 1.) he’s not a masochist. He just likes to see the end or the output he’ll produce from catalyzing the seed. He got a fruit out of it in the end.

          He’s a masochist if he used the perfect foundation stage which will alert everybody on the tournament. He’s using the 6th stage of Qi condensation IIRC.

          2.) No, that’s confidence in your abilities and not plot armor. The others have the right to demand a rematch since they argued that he got lucky with the seed he got. Now that everything is standardized, they can’t find excuse anymore other than to use their own skills.

        2. I understand your points and your confusion. Tbh, by this point Meng Hao and that old man both have shown that they’re both eligible to be master alchemists and it was foolish not to promote both of them.

          This is a boring answer but unfortunately during this story development the author needs to emphasize MC’s OPness more so he elect some plot that enable that even if feels odd to us and made you wonder whether the MC is a masochist ^^. Let’s just call it OP service, the same way fan service gives you delicious and sexy moment in Japanese LN and try not to think it too much because Xianxia is riddled with this XD

    2. I’m just surprised the “Energy Convergence Technique” he learnt from the blood-tournament, was not actually forgotten and dumped. That was a pleasant surprise.

  2. Talk shit, use spiritual energy stemmed from your very life force, still lose. 🙂 And it looks like it will still be some time before Meng Hao gets a teacher. With alchemy, there is no rush.

    Thanks for the chapter ^^.

    1. I feel sorry for the middle-aged dude, even if he complained and was talking shit. He was clearly head-and-shoulders above the other contestants and has the qualifications to be a master alchemist… he just had the misfortune to meet Meng Hao in this examination. 😛

      It’s extremely harsh for these examinations to only take place every 10 years (?? still not sure about that) and only allow a single person to be promoted out of 30k participants… If the elders are smart/sympathetic, they’ll at least snatch up those other top 10 people as their personal assistants, I hope.

      1. Yeah. Instead of promoting the winner, i think, there must be a set degree that they must reach to be promoted to master alchemist. That man got talent, just that Meng Hao is abnormal. 🙂

        1. Yea, he was competing with a guy who “stole” the knowledge of plants from a plant.. and who steals the power from heaven. Basically the most op thief of knowledge and power there is 🙂 (With a cunning mind).

          Thanks a for this. I love reading about his alchemy adventures, a nice break and a refreshing departure from the rest (which is still awesome though). Can’t wait to see where this will bring him.

    1. I’m confident Grandmaster Pill Demon will accept him as a novitiate soon, regardless. That’ll be an even greater promotion.

      Either that or Chu Yuyan will force ‘Fang Mu’ to be her assistant so she can exploit his talent and while trying to figure out what he’s hiding. 😛

  3. It’s kinda strange how often these web novels completely spoil what happens in the chapter with the title… lol

    I wonder if that annoys the original Chinese readers as well.

    1. There wasn’t much spoil in the title, it was a given he’d be the winner since the previous chapter actually. This chapter was just like… proving to everyone he’s a monster.

      1. True, I don’t think anyone honestly expected Meng Hao to fail. The super spoiler titles is just something I’ve been noticing for awhile. They don’t bother me much personally, but it’s almost like the authors are sabotaging themselves sometimes, which is strange.

        Douluo Dalu is a good example. There was a big story twist in the last couple translated chapters, to the degree that Bagelson actually decided to give chapter 161 a new title (and only show the original title at the end of the chapter), because it completely spoiled the twist. To top it off, the chapter ended on an intentionally bleak/hopeless note, but then the next (162) chapter title spoiled the reveal of the situation’s silver-lining. Hahaha 😛 Not a big deal, just sorta funny how that happens.

    2. It’s indeed strange, but because Deathblade is awesome and doesn’t put spoilerish titles in the sneak peak as long as you are up to date the you will skip until the part were you left off (the end of the sneak peak) when the chapter is released. At least that happened to me right now haha. But I guess the chinese readers are probably pissed about unless the authors for some reason put the title at the end of the chapter.

  4. I feel bad for the other competitors to be honest. Spending decades working on learning the plants and mastering the skill to grow the plants and they are defeated by a rube with six months of training.

    I would be furious too.

    1. Yes but that very same guy got this all with his own willpower and even risked his life numerous of times how can someone who only sits in his cave and learns compare? That very guy fought for everything he now has and reached this level even though his own talent isn’t as good and he doesn’t conform to the rules but makes him own rules… The others that just follow the same steps as their predecessors have no right to complain and besides did that guy give it his all just like meng hao in all this decades? He even knew most of the plants with his own talent in this 6 months… What I’m trying to say is meng hao is the best guy ever so pssst

      1. They don’t know any of that. They just know Feng Mu is a 16-17 year old who’d been in the Sect for 6 months.

        Also like, Meng Hao knew a lot of the plants (bout half of them), but he didn’t know the hybrids/variations/etc – all that was ‘stolen’ from the Lily. Clearly, Meng Hao is a boss, he’s the MC, but even if the old guy knew Meng Hao was Meng Hao he’s still have the right to be pissed at losing

  5. “Behold you can’t win against this trump card I prepared to use in the final test; … which I apparently didn’t use when I thought the last test was the final, for … reasons.”

    1. I’m always worried that it’s just gonna pop out at any moment and troll the living hell out of Meng Hao and his cover will be blown.

      I’m 90% sure that’s how he will end up leaving the Sect.

  6. Methinks he’s going to get a lot of requests from Inner Sect Disciples and other such folk. Me also thinks he is about to be promoted to Furnace Lord in a very timely manner.

  7. I kind of feel bad for that one guy, since he was obviously a level above the other candidates. He deserves to become a master alchemist eventually.

    This chapter mentioned how Meng Hao is carefully avoiding blowing his cover, but there’s nothing more Meng Hao-like than how he quickly pocketed that fruit.

    Thanks to the team for this chapter!

  8. Thanks for the chapter!!!


    “His face was somewhat unsightly as he tightened his grip on the spirit stone in his hand and then gave Meng Hao a grim look.”

    “spirit stone” -> “Spirit Stone”

  9. Thanks for the chapter, Deathblade, Madam Deathblade, John Rogers, Lingson, MeeBoo and Yascob! Dear WuxiaWorld, many thanks to the Author, Translator(s), (Editors), (Donors) for the awesome chapter! With lots of love, Jack ❤

  10. how interesting. That was a marvelous series of chapters. I like how low key this story is over all. It doesn’t try to be pushy and changes tempo enough that things stay interesting.

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