Chapter 279: Opening the Pill Furnace
The voice that Meng Hao had just heard was exactly the same voice he had heard coming from the Furnace Lord medallion four days ago. Considering that, as well as the expressions on everyone’s faces, how could Meng Hao not come to the conclusion that… this person was none other than the illustrious Grandmaster Pill Demon.
In Meng Hao’s eyes, Grandmaster Pill Demon looked completely ordinary. He did not possess the demeanor of a transcendent being, nor did he emanate some powerful, domineering fierceness. He looked just like a regular old man.
Then… Meng Hao thought about the 200,000,000 Spirit Stones, and his mood worsened. Of course, he couldn’t mention anything about that now. Next, he thought about how he had been told to return in four days, but hadn’t been told where to go. He had rushed over to the Sect only to be forced to scramble back in the opposite direction. It had left him completely drained.
All of these depressing thoughts caused Meng Hao’s expression to flicker with a bit of anger and frustration.
Chu Yuyan looked at him and let out a light snort. She looked away, ignoring him, gazing instead at Ye Feimu. Meng Hao stood there by himself, silently.
Most of the other seven just glanced at him, and then paid him no further attention as they focused on not allowing excitement regarding the Violet Furnace Lord promotion to show on their face.
An Zaihai looked over at Meng Hao, and a barely perceptible smile touched his face. He knew that Fang Mu was Grandmaster Pill Cauldron, and he also knew how his Master felt about the young man. Pill Demon had given Fang Mu free reign to enjoy himself in the Sect, and as far as the identity of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron, if Fang Mu wanted to reveal it himself, he could. If he didn’t want to, that was his business.
As far as the representatives from the other Sects and Clans, Patriarch Violet Sieve was the first one to give a friendly nod to Meng Hao. Zhou Jie’s face was expressionless, but when Han Bei looked at him, she smiled, her face as beautiful as a flower. The look she gave him was noticed by quite a few others. Chu Yuyan glanced over and saw it, and then frowned, although she wasn’t sure why. For some reason, she just was not in a good mood.
Fatty’s eyes were wide as he looked at Meng Hao, then Chu Yuyan and then back to Meng Hao. Finally he glanced at Han Bei out of the corner of his eyes, and his expression filled with admiration. As for what he was thinking, only he himself knew.
The representative from the Wang Clan was an old woman, her face covered with wrinkles. “So, this is the Alchemist Fang who rose to fame a few days ago in the western region.” Behind the old woman, other Wang Clan members sat cross-legged, including Wang Tengfei.
His expression was somber, and the entire time, he hadn’t even looked once at Chu Yuyan. She reacted to this with utmost calm, and not the least bit of negativity. It seemed as if she had placed the matters from previous years completely behind her.
“A hero at such a young age!” someone laughed from within the Song Clan representatives. It was none other than Eccentric Song, who sat far off toward the edge. He laughed again as he looked Meng Hao up and down, measuring him up.
Sitting around him were a dozen or so members of the Song Clan. Song Yunshu wasn’t there, but Song Jia was. She, of course was… Meng Hao’s fiancé, at least theoretically speaking. There she was sitting right next to Eccentric Song. Meng Hao hadn’t seen her for years now. She was slim and graceful, with an elegant expression on her face. She was beautiful, like an orchid in full bloom.
However, there was a slight furrow in her brow caused by years of gloomy thoughts. It made her entire person seem like an orchid, but a dark one.
The Li Clan representative was a senior member of the Clan, Li Guobang, who was over five hundred years of age, and had a Cultivation base at the late Nascent Soul stage. He was incredibly powerful and influential within the Li Clan. “Congratulations, Grandmaster Pill Demon, your Violet Fate Sect really has produced some amazing disciples!”
Sitting next to Li Guobang amidst the other Li Clan disciples, was Li Daoyi, who frowned as he looked over at Meng Hao.
Grandmaster Pill Demon smiled, but didn’t respond to any of the comments. He looked over Meng Hao and the nine others.
“Hailong, please explain the rules.” With that, he stepped off to the side and sat down cross-legged.
Lin Hailong, the most senior ranking of the Violet Furnace Lords, hastily stood up. He clasped hands and bowed to Grandmaster Pill Demon, then turned toward Meng Hao and the others.
“Violet Furnace Lord promotion is about more than just collecting medicinal plants, concocting pills, memorizing formulas, testing the Cultivation base and gauging the Dao of alchemy. It is a trial by fire! I myself have experienced this trial by fire, as have all of the other Violet Furnace Lords you see here today. Only by rising above your peers can you achieve the rank of Violet Furnace Lord!
“However…. since ancient times, the East Pill Division of the Violet Fate Sect has held a Violet Furnace Lord test seventy-nine times. Down to this day, only seventeen of those tests resulted in a successful promotion. In other words, in the other sixty-two tests, all the candidates failed, unable to make the furnace turn violet. Therefore, despite being qualified to participate in this trial by fire, there is a seventy percent possibility that you will fail.” A serious look was written on his face as he slowly looked over Meng Hao and the others, one by one.
Meng Hao’s face was placid. He was physically tired, but also excited. He had previously read that throughout the history of the Violet Fate Sect, there had only been seventeen alchemists promoted to Violet Furnace Lord. Two of them ended up forsaking the Sect, one of whom was Eternal Mountain; the other was surnamed Liu.
Of the fifteen others, in the past thousand years, five had perished. Two left the Sect to gain experience, and then disappeared without a trace. Grandmaster Pill Demon had personally searched for them, but hadn’t been able to turn up a single clue. The only thing he was certain of was that they weren’t dead. For some reason, though, they had disappeared from the Southern Domain.
Lin Hailong continued: “Even if you fail, you will be able to seize good fortune within the test. During the Violet Furnace Lord trial by fire, your life will not be in any danger. But… you may only participate in this test once in your life. If you fail, you will never get a second chance!
“Therefore, since ancient times, many alchemists have left personally created pill formulas and other personal information about the Dao of alchemy within the test. These things have been passed down within the test for many years, available only to those qualified to participate in the test. For example, I remember how I personally left behind information regarding my understanding and speculations of the Three Mortalities Pill….” Lin Hailong’s eyes filled with a look of recollection for a moment.
“The location of the trial by fire is a mountain in the Celestial Land. At the base of the mountain is the Mother of Furnaces. This Mother of Furnaces is the first stroke of good fortune of the ten of you will encounter. Inside, you will find your own Life Furnace. More precisely, at the same time that you select a furnace, that furnace will be selecting you! To complete the test, you must make your Life Furnace turn violet. If you do that, and are able to ascend to the peak of the mountain, then you will earn the right to be called Violet Furnace Lord!
“Unfortunately, only one person can earn such a right. If more than one person is able to reach the peak, then the final decision will be made by the Furnace Lords and the Violet Furnace Lords. Their approval will be critical in the decision of who becomes the next Violet Furnace Lord!”
Lin Hailong gave deep, meaningful looks to Meng Hao and the others as he spoke his final words: “The pill furnace behind you is a precious treasure forged thousands upon thousands of years ago by Reverend Violet East. Inside is a Celestial Land, and a towering Celestial Mountain. There are ten paths on the mountain, which is divided into four regions. Each of the four regions contains different trials and tests. Use your Dao of alchemy to pass through them. Based on your achievements, the color of your furnaces will darken. I must remind you, everything you do within the trial by fire will be seen clearly by everyone on the outside…. Do your best. I truly hope that this trial by fire will result in one of you becoming… my Ninth Junior Brother in the East Pill Division!” With that, he turned to look at Pill Demon. Pill Demon gave a slight nod.
Lin Hailong flicked his wide sleeve and said, “Chant the Alchemy Scripture to open the Pill Furnace!” As his voice rang out, the eyes of all the alchemists, Furnace Lord and Violet Furnace Lord alike, immediately closed. Their lips moved slightly, and an indistinct sound filled the air. It was impossible to understand or hear clearly. Even a Nascent Soul Cultivator wouldn’t be able to comprehend it.
Only alchemists of the East Pill Division would be able to make out that this mysterious so-called Alchemy Scripture was none other than the Alchemy Dao Transmutation Incantation!
Seemingly in sync with the droning sound, Eastern Emergence Mountain began to shake. Multicolored light spread out everywhere, filling the sky. Countless faces suddenly appeared within the clouds, their expressions dignified. From their mouths emerged indistinct symbols. The sound echoed about, causing the sky to be filled with bright colors.
The land around the mountain was peaceful. However, a mist sprang up, with Eastern Emergence Mountain at its center. It roiled out rapidly, quickly covering the entire State of Eastern Emergence. All the land and all the living things in it were submerged within the mist.
As the mist spread out, Violet Qi Division disciples flew out in all directions to keep guard and maintain peace.
Up in the sky, colorful lights danced about, beneath which, clouds and mist covered the land like a sea. Eastern Emergence Mountain rose up from it like an island, towering up. Far off in the distance, the enormous statue of Reverend Violet East also towered up above the sea of clouds, looking, not like a mountain, but an enormous giant watching over the land.
“The pill furnace is opened. Enter!” cried Lin Hailong.
The pill furnace emitting buzzing sounds. In the blink of an eye, its side began to ripple and grow transparent. It looked almost like a waterfall. Ye Feimu took a deep breath, and then stepped into the pill furnace, the first one to do so. He disappeared into the rippling water, followed by Chu Yuyan, whose eyes radiated determination.
Meng Hao looked back at Grandmaster Pill Demon, who sat there cross-legged, his eyes closed. Without a word, and without the slightest hesitation, he entered the waterfall. Coldness filled his body, and it began to grow transparent. He disappeared.
The other seven candidates entered as well, vanishing immediately. Although it might seem like these seven were people of little note, in reality, to be qualified to participate in the trial by fire showed how extraordinary they were. Such qualifications meant that they were inherently famous, the best of the best in terms of both personality and the Dao of alchemy!