Chapter 284: Three People; Three Daos of Alchemy
By the time Chu Yuyan and Ye Feimu were in the midst of creating their Foundation Establishment stage medicinal pill, Meng Hao had already finished with the Spiritualization Pill, and had begun to work on the Nascent Soul medicinal pill.
Medicinal Pills for increasing the Cultivation Base during the Nascent Soul stage were made from rare medicinal plants not often seen in the world. There were not many such pills in the Southern Domain; for four or even five people from a single Sect to possess one would be considered beyond incredible.
These were not pills that could be mass produced; one batch might make three, or perhaps five. Therefore, they were quite prized. Such pills were not common even in the Violet Fate Sect.
When you consider that a Nascent Soul Cultivator who practices breathing exercises can absorb all of the spiritual energy of Heaven and Earth within a three kilometer radius in a single breath, it is easy to imagine how important medicinal pills can be to them. If they possess such pills, all is well. If they don’t, the only remaining option is to take them by force.
However, when it comes to medicinal pills for Nascent Soul Cultivators, the most difficult type to concoct, as well as the most valuable, are pills which extend longevity!
The value of such pills is extremely high; a lifespan that does not exceed on thousand years, is not a defiance of the Heavens. The only way to live past one thousand years, to defy the Heavens, is to to sever the Spirit. Otherwise, one can only waste away in death.
Of all the medicinal pills for the Nascent Soul stage, the most basic are healing pills, and such pills are also the easiest to concoct.
Generally, they are of average effectiveness; however, no matter which way you look at them, such pills must be considered of the Nascent Soul stage. Meng Hao decided to concoct just such a simple medicinal pill for the Nascent Soul stage. As far as he was concerned, this wasn’t considered finagling, but rather, using the most simple method to pass this part of the test. He didn’t want to expend a lot of mental energy to concoct a unique, one-of-a-kind pill.
Therefore, several days later, one of the most common healing pills for the Nascent Soul stage emerged. Meng Hao held the pills from the four stages in hand, and then, pushed them into the boulder. The boulder began to tremble, and then a fissure appeared that snaked down the very middle of the boulder, a little over half a foot wide.
It almost seemed like the boulder wasn’t pleased with Meng Hao’s medicinal pills. However, he had met the requirements; each pill contained five of the ten million medicinal plant variations, although most of them had been obscured by Meng Hao using a technique just for that purpose.
He looked at the fissure and then cleared his throat. He knew that he was being observed by others; with a bit of a bashful and embarrassed expression, he lowered his head and walked up to the crack. By turning his body to the side, and exerting a bit of effort, he was just able to squeeze himself through. Then, with a solemn and dignified expression, and not the least bit of awkwardness, he continued along the steps up the mountain, toward the third region.
When the spectators in the outside world saw this, the master alchemists of the East Pill Division could be seen making bitter smiles. Those who were relatively familiar with Fang Mu seemed a bit embarrassed. Using such a method to pass this part of the test really was a bit of an eyesore.
This was especially after looking back at the earnestness with which Chu Yuyan and Ye Feimu persisted in their work. Meng Hao’s attitude immediately aroused the scorn of those who hadn’t liked him very much to begin with. A few of the eight Violet Furnace Lords also frowned.
However, regardless of anything, Meng Hao was the first one to make it past the second region. Hands clasped behind his back, he casually walked into the third region, looking exactly as if he were just going for a stroll and taking in the scenery.
One of the Violet Furnace Lords, a middle-aged man named Ye Yuntian, said, “Fang Mu doesn’t seem to be taking things very seriously. With such sub-par character, he’s clearly not suitable to become a Violet Furnace Lord.” His voice was cool and seemed to carry the weight of authority.
An Zaihai laughed and said, “Not necessarily. There’s no rule against using the simplest method to charge past.”
“That’s true, Elder Brother An,” replied Ye Yuntian with a smile. “Now, though, I’m very curious to see what sort of decision he will make in the third region.”
Moments later, more candidates emerged from the second region. Only Chu Yuyan and Ye Feimu remained. A total of five people came out. The other two were unable to complete medicinal pills with eighty percent medicinal strength, and thus declared forfeiture.
Now, only eight screens remained of the original ten above the pill furnace in the outside world.
When Meng Hao reached the boulder marking the third region, Violet Qi poured out. It was only a tiny thread, and lasted only for the space of about three breaths. He had succeeded, but the approval of the Celestial Land was not great.
After the strand of Violet Qi entered the pill furnace, Meng Hao looked at the boulder, then sat down cross-legged in front of it. He took a moment to erase the last bit of exhaustion in him, until he was filled with energy.
Chu Yuyan’s final pill emerged, and when it did, her face was pale. It had been extremely difficult for her to concoct the fourth pill. As for original creations, she had persisted up until the Foundation Establishment pill; as for the Core Formation and Nascent Soul pills, she was unable to create new versions of such pills. Instead, she had selected the most difficult of the pill formulas she knew to concoct the final two pills.
Wiping the sweat from her brow, she watched as a three meter wide fissure split apart the boulder in front of her. A self-confident smile on her face, she strode forward.
After her, Ye Feimu finished his pill concoction. Similar to Chu Yuyan, he had been unable to make original creations for all four pill varieties. He had succeeded in making an original pill for the Core Formation stage, but as for the Nascent Soul stage, he could not proceed. Having no other choice, he created the most high-level and difficult pill for the Nascent Soul stage that he could think of. It took ten attempts before he finally succeeded.
Everything happened relatively quickly, because everything moved more quickly within the world of the Celestial Land. Were it outside, it would take over a year to concoct the four pills he had.
Ye Feimu took in a deep breath as he watched a six meter wide fissure cracked open the boulder in front of him. A proud look filled his eyes as he strode through.
It was becoming readily apparent to the observers which of the various candidates were above the others. A buzz of discussion echoed out as they began to talk about the shocking sight of the fissure created by Ye Feimu.
As Chu Yuyan and the others reached the boulder marking the third region, dense Violet Qi poured out toward them. The Violet Qi which emerged for Chu Yuyan lasted for the time it takes an incense stick to burn before dissipating. Most shockingly was Ye Feimu. His lasted for the time it takes two incense sticks to burn; furthermore, his pill furnace had already turned light violet!
On their various respective paths, the other candidates’ pill furnaces absorbed the Violet Qi. Afterward, they began to concentrate on the boulder. Frowns appeared; the test for the third region was even more difficult than the first two.
Meng Hao finished his meditation. He opened his eyes, and they glowed brightly. He was completely recovered, and his eyes glittered as he examined the text on the boulder in front of him. A thoughtful expression appeared on his face.
Beyond the boulder, there were no stone steps. The path of steps seemed to end right here, and only clouds were visible.
“Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plants….” Meng Hao’s eyes narrowed as he looked at the carving on the boulder. It depicted a type of medicinal plant with nine flowers on it, each of which was a different color. “Three Treasures Pearl Curtains Plants are common. Six Treasures Pearl Curtain Plants are uncommon. As for Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plants… they are rarely ever seen! Each flower contains different medicinal properties. The nine petals all work in harmony with each other. This single medicinal plant can be used in over a thousand different pill formulas…. The formulas used and the quality of the medicinal pills concocted will determine how many steps appear….” Meng Hao closed his eyes for a moment to think.
On the other paths, the other candidates were facing the exact same test.
Chu Yuyan reached up to place her right hand onto the boulder. Immediately, a flickering, glowing light appeared, and the Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant materialized in front of her.
The Cultivators on the mountain peak in the outside world, including the representatives from the other Sects and Clans, were all paying very close attention to the incredible scene which was taking place within the trial by fire.
Violet Furnace Lord Ye Yuntian coolly opened his mouth and said, “The third region tests both pill concocting and decision making. How many pills must be concocted to magically create a perfect set of stairs? That is the key.” From start to finish, his gaze never left Ye Feimu’s screen.
His words caused the faces of many of the master alchemists to fill with astonishment. One by one, they began to focus intently on the various screens.
Chu Yuyan looked at the plant floating in front of her. A thoughtful look glittered in her phoenix-like eyes.
“The Dao of alchemy is like the great Dao of cultivation,” she thought. “Plants and vegetation grow within Heaven and Earth. However, Heaven and Earth are not alive. Concocting pills… is like refining the Heavens and transforming the Earth, finding a spark of life therein, and turning it into a medicinal pill. Therefore, pill concoction… is a search for life, a way to find that spark which doesn’t exist within Heaven and Earth!
“Nine is the ultimate number; therefore, I will make nine pills, and each pill will contain eight flowers. Furthermore, each pill will contain the medicinal properties of the one missing flower! These nine pills will form a cycle that will open up the path to the Heavens!” Chu Yuyan’s eyes glowed with determination now that she had made her decision. She immediately set to work concocting.
After thinking for several hours, a serious look filled Ye Feimu’s face, and he took a deep breath. His eyes narrowed as he flicked his sleeve; a Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant appeared in front of him, and he began to concoct.
“If I’m going to concoct a pill, I’ll only make one,” he thought. “It will contain the medicinal properties of all nine flowers, as well as that of an additional medicinal pill! I will concoct not the number nine, but the number ten! I will concoct a pill that contains a medicinal property that the Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant does not. In keeping with my identity, this tenth medicinal property will be unprecedented!”
It was difficult to say whose thinking in regard to the Dao of alchemy was more advanced. Between the two of them, one used the Dao of alchemy to refine life to the pinnacle. The other combined all the complex variations to create something unique.
At this moment, their skill in the Dao of alchemy was clearly visible to the spectators on the mountain top, and caused quite a stir. Everyone, including the representatives from the outside Sects, began to think deeply about the proceedings.
After Chu Yuyan and Ye Feimu made their decisions, the eight Violet Furnace Lords nodded in praise.
Grandmaster Pill Demon’s face, however, was unreadable, making everyone wonder which screen he was watching….
It was at this moment that Meng Hao opened his eyes, and they gleamed with a strange light. He lifted up his hand and pushed it onto the boulder. The Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant appeared, along with his pill furnace. He did not immediately begin to concoct, though, but rather stare at the medicinal plant, his eyes shining.
Within his mind flitted countless pill formulas. His skill with plants and vegetation was in full force as well. The Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant rotated in his mind as he mentally began to organize the various medicinal properties and how they worked together.
However, Meng Hao quickly decided to clear his mind. He looked at the medicinal plant, and then his eyes began to gleam even more brightly. He looked… interested. His bearing now was vastly different than the laziness he had displayed in the second region.
“I’m going to concoct ten pills,” he thought. “Nine minor pills, and one master pill. Nine is the ultimate number, representing strength. My body is the pill furnace, and my heart is the pill formula. Refine the Heavens, refine the Earth, refine the changes of Time. Concoct a pill that… contains the essence of nature’s simplicity!” A look both deep and bright shone in his eyes. Were this any other place, he would not display such an attitude toward pill concocting. But within this Violet Fate Sect trial by fire, his interest had been piqued. He would no longer conceal his true self; he would fully display his skill in the Dao of alchemy.