Chapter 228: Falling Leaves are Beautiful; They Only Live One Season
Suddenly, laughter rang out. The four Chosen had already pushed their way through the crowd. Ignoring Liu Yanbing, they walked straight for Meng Hao, clasping hands respectfully as they approached him. Their expressions were serious and polite, but they spoke with smiles and laughter.
“Alchemist Fang, sir, I’ve always wanted to meet you! Now that we’ve run into each other, allow me to humbly act as host. Let’s drink some alcohol and gaze at the moon together. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?”
“Hahaha. Elder Brother Xu beat me to the punch. Alchemist Fang, your skill in the Dao of alchemy is the talk of the Sect. Since we happen to meet today, would it be an imposition to allow Junior Brother here to join you? We can all treat you!”
“Alchemist Fang, that pill order I placed recently isn’t urgent. Just get to it whenever it’s convenient. Please don’t leave yet! As Junior Brother Bai Yunlai knows, we sincerely wish to pay you our respects.”
As for Liu Yanbing and his friends, they were completely ignored. It didn’t matter if Liu Yanbing was related to a Patriarch of the Sect. How could his position possibly compare to that of a master alchemist? Fang Mu was a master alchemist with obviously unlimited potential, and one who didn’t shirk from using the Pill Blacklist… it was clear who was superior here.
Among the thousand master alchemists, some wouldn’t use the Pill Blacklist medallion even once in their entire life. Some would use it only if absolutely necessary. Generally, they would be hesitant, though. Most people are not decisive enough to do so. But Fang Mu used it without hesitation. The threatening aura this created permeated into the hearts of everyone present.
The four Chosen crowded around Meng Hao, as did the rest of the Inner Sect disciples who were with them. Smiles covered their faces. Even though it appeared as if Fang Mu’s Cultivation base were not even in the Foundation Establishment stage yet, they still treated him with utmost courtesy.
Meng Hao smiled slightly, clasped hands and bowed back to them. After a moment, he tried to make some excuses and get away, but couldn’t. Eventually, he decided it would be ungracious not to accept their kindness. Nodding, he followed them off into the distance, trailed by Bai Yunlai. The sound of their happy laughter and harmonious chatting echoed out.
Back in the square, Liu Yanbing stood there, his face pale white. His mind spun, and his eyes were blank and filled with despair. The other Cultivators in the square stared with various expressions. However, it was as this moment that off in the distance, Meng Hao suddenly turned to them and clasped hands in a bow. “Fellow Daoists and Sect members. Why don’t you join us?”
Hearing this, the eyes of the four Chosen glittered brightly. Giving meaningful looks to Meng Hao they also turned and beckoned for the others to join them.
Seeing this, the faces of the other Inner Sect disciples in the square lifted. They hurried over, clasping hands and bowing. Soon the whole group of dozens or more Cultivators all walked off into the distance.
Meng Hao was at the center of it all, a blazing moon surrounded by glittering stars. The laughter and talking drifted out with the wind.
Now only Liu Yanbing and his friends remained in the large square. Their faces were unsightly, especially the faces of those who stared at Liu Yanbing. Their eyes were filled with fury.
In the following days, Meng Hao didn’t spend all day every day concocting pills. He often went to the mountains and valleys of the Violet Qi Division. Slowly, more and more people began to recognize his face. Gradually, his reputation in the Violet Qi Division grew even better.
At the same time, he also spent time with the other master alchemists. He would call on them to visit, exchange pointers about the Dao of alchemy, and share recent experiences. He made sure that each visit was one of mutual gain; it was in this way that he gradually began to build up his social network.
As for Liu Yanbing, it was with great bitterness that he came to realize how truly horrifying the Pill Blacklist was. The master alchemists who used to concoct pills for him would now completely ignore him. It didn’t matter how much money he offered, none of them would concoct a single pill.
Furthermore, all the people whom he had used to be close to, gradually began to drift further and further away.
In fact, on one occasion when he went to visit his Clan Patriarch, he was severely berated and then sent on his way. In the Violet Fate Sect, master alchemists are not to be offended. Once the Pill Blacklist Medallion is used, the word would spread throughout the whole Sect. Even Patriarchs know that the most fearsome thing in the East Pill Division was not the Dao of alchemy, but the protection they had set up for themselves.
That protection was evident from the results of the Pill Blacklist.
Within the East Pill Division, there can be power struggles, and competition. But if outsiders dared to dishonor it, then the alchemists would stand together united in their fury, and desire for revenge. This is because master alchemists are NOT to be dishonored or offended. That was an ironclad rule of the East Pill Division.
That was how the Pill Blacklist Medallion arrangement began in the first place.
In the outside world, it might not be a big deal to offend a master alchemist who was not from the East Pill Division. Other master alchemists wouldn’t get involved. However in the East Pill Division, if you offended one, then you offended all.
In some ways, it might not seem very reasonable. But that unreasonable arrangement ensured that the master alchemists were treated with respect wherever they went, inside the Sect or outside.
Offend one, offend all. Few could afford to do such a thing.
Of course, if someone offended another master alchemist, Meng Hao would not go against the tide. As a master alchemist, the most important thing to him was to defend the position of all master alchemists.
And so, time passed. Meng Hao continued to concoct medicinal pills. Three batches per day. The new arrangement made the other master alchemists much less resentful.
After all, there were tens of thousands of disciples in the Inner Sect of the Violet Qi Division. Seeking out master alchemists involved certain rules, but as long as the alchemists didn’t get too greedy, there wouldn’t be too much resentment.
When you added in the fact that Meng Hao went out of his way to go visit the other master alchemists, it was like a cool wind blowing through their hair. Their sulkiness dissipated, and gradually, they all came to accept him.
As for Meng Hao, in addition to his three batches of pills per day, he spent a lot of time creating medicinal pills to hand over to the Sect. In addition, he used Foundation Establishment Day to slowly increase his Cultivation base.
Several months later, on one late night, Meng Hao sat cross-legged in his Immortal’s Cave. In front of him were three bottles of Foundation Establishment Day. After looking at them closely for a while, his eyes began to shine brightly.
“Today I will create my sixth Dao Pillar!” He took a deep breath. As of now, his sixth Dao Pillar was more than ninety percent complete. Because of the engulfing power he knew would appear, he had waited some time before attempting to complete the final ten percent. The preparations had taken some time, but now that he was certain it was safe, he was ready to start.
His eyes shined with determination. He picked up a Foundation Establishment Day, swallowed it, and closed his eyes. The sixth Dao Pillar began to congeal inside of him. A golden glow began to spread out from his body, within which were streams of magical symbols. All of a sudden, a garrulous chatter drifted out.
“Three bullies, three bullies. Less than three won’t do!” The noise, of course, came from the meat jelly, who had just woken up. It spoke the words and then spit out a mouthful of Qi.
The Qi spread out to cover the golden glow that surrounded Meng Hao. It made the Qi coming off of his Perfect Dao Pillars look ordinary. This way, the Violet Fate Sect wouldn’t detect anything unusual.
Time passed slowly. By dawn, Meng Hao’s body was trembling. His skin was withered, and an intensely violent gravitational force suddenly appeared. It seemed as if it had been thirsty for thousands of years and wanted to swallow up Meng Hao’s body and soul to sate its thirst.
Meng Hao was prepared for this, though. As soon as the gravitational force appeared, he immediately crushed the several pill bottles that remained in front of him. These were what he had worked so hard to produce: Foundation Establishment Day pills of ninety percent medicinal strength. He popped them into his mouth.
As soon as they entered his mouth, they exploded, transforming into boundless spiritual power that immediately began to be sucked into the sixth Dao Pillar.
At noontime, Meng Hao’s eyes snapped open, and they shined with a bright, glittering light. As he sat there cross-legged, he didn’t seem much different than before, except that he looked a little weaker. Inside, however, was a raging storm. The shocking ripples which emanated from his Cultivation base were consumed one by one by the meat jelly.
His sixth perfect Dao Pillar had appeared. Meng Hao took a deep breath and slowly closed his eyes. After a moment, he opened them again. They no longer glowed, but were calm, and filled with a strange light. The light was confidence born of his Cultivation base.
Six Perfect Dao Pillars. Mid Foundation Establishment. With one more Dao Pillar, he would be in late Foundation Establishment! At that point, a Dao Child with a Flawless Foundation wouldn’t qualify to even attack him. Their Dao Pillars would be reduced to trembling by the crushing pressure he could emit.
Even now, with his six Dao Pillars, he could easily exterminate any Dao Child.
As for the so-called Chosen, they were like ants or dried weeds that could be crushed on a whim.
“Perfect Foundation. Such incredible potency….” Meng Hao’s voice was soft, but his eyes shone with anticipation. This anticipation was for his ninth Dao Pillar, when he completed the great circle of Foundation Establishment.
There was a flickering in front of Meng Hao and the meat jelly appeared. It danced back and forth, it’s eyes wide. “Three bullies!” it cried.
After shedding, the meat jelly hadn’t transformed back into a parrot, but had maintained its meat jelly form.
“Three bullies! No less than three bullies!” it repeated in a voice that could chop nails and slice iron.
It appeared content. With a burp and some muttering, it disappeared into the bag of the Cosmos to find the Li Clan Patriarch and discuss noon-time naps.
Meng Hao stood and opened the door of his Immortal’s Cave. Dazzling morning sunlight filtered down. He took a deep breath. Winter was ending and Spring was beginning. There was no snow, like in the State of Zhao. Winter in the Violet Fate Sect had no snow.
He looked quietly up into the sky and suddenly realized that he had been in the Violet Fate Sect for more than three years now. In fact, now that he calculated it carefully, it would soon be four years.
“Time flies so quickly…” he said quietly. Practicing Cultivation on his own, he could truly sense the passage of time. His senses were no longer those of a mortal’s.
As he reminisced, he thought of Chen Fan, Elder Sister Xu and Fatty. Various scenes played out in his head. He knew where they were, but they… they had no idea where he was.
By this time, the name of Meng Hao was already a thing of the past. Few people brought it up any more. Soon, everyone would forget it. All the waves from the events four years ago had died down and disappeared.
“Life is like a dream, like a leaf that, no matter how beautiful, can only live for one season….” He looked at the buds sprouting from the great trees off in the distance and a smile broke out on his face. He liked his identity here as Fang Mu. He enjoyed how being in the East Pill Division felt like being in an institute of higher learning. He lifted his hand, and a jade slip appeared on his palm.
This jade slip had been branded by the Li Clan Patriarch at the behest of the meat jelly. It was branded with a Li Clan Conclave technique.
Self Will Incantation.