Chapter 285: Who is the Strongest?
Meng Hao took a deep breath. Then, he lifted up his right hand, took hold of a flower, and put it into the pill furnace.
Only the Violet Furnace Lords on the mountaintop could get an idea from Meng Hao’s actions what he intended to do. However, all of them had different expressions on their faces. Some were frowning, others seemed lost in thought.
“Fang Mu’s choice is… interesting…. However, he won’t be able to pull off something like that!”
“Even still, that type of thinking in the Dao of alchemy is laudable. It contains some of the frivolity of youth, but considering his skill in the Dao of alchemy, he definitely won’t be able to succeed. I still favor Ye Feimu. That kid’s Dao of alchemy contains persistence. Persistence is a necessity for all of us alchemists.”
The Violet Furnace Lords continued to discuss matters as they watched on.
Only An Zaihai gaped for a moment, before a bright gleam filled his eyes. “He wants to concoct….” An Zaihai’s breathing grew heavier. He did not agree with the others. Without thinking about it, he turned to look at his Master, Pill Demon. Grandmaster Pill Demon sat there cross-legged. A strange light flickered in his eyes, then disappeared.
Time passed, three days. Chu Yuyan had completed her first medicinal pill. When it appeared, 1,111 steps appeared up ahead of her.
For over one thousand steps to appear caused a buzz to rise up among the crowd on the mountain top.
Moments later, Ye Feimu also produced a pill. As soon as it appeared, so did the stone stairs, 2,000 of them. This caused the observing alchemists on the mountaintop to immediately rise to their feet, looks of astonishment on their faces.
What caused even more of a stir was that Ye Feimu looked at the pill with a frown, and then crushed it between his fingers. Immediately, the 2,000 stairs vanished.
It seemed that 2,000 steps… didn’t satisfy him!
In addition to Chu Yuyan, Ye Feimu, and Meng Hao, two others were concocting pills. All had made different choices in their concoctions, and all paled in comparison to Chu Yuyan and Ye Feimu. Each of them concocted three pills respectively, which produced a total of seven hundred stairs each.
They did not dare to crush their medicinal pills, though. No matter how many pills it took, they would cause all of the stairs to appear.
As for the alchemists who had fallen behind, they slowly showed up. After experiencing the difficulty of the second test, they sat there thoughtfully for a bit before beginning to concoct pills.
Of course, none of them produced results as spectacular as Chu Yuyan or Ye Feimu. They took the easy route; this was not in error, however, it did not count as being part of their personal Dao of alchemy.
Enough time passed for an incense stick to burn. Meng Hao was now finished with the first minor pill!
It emerged, a bluish-green medicinal pill, which Meng Hao had concocted using the bluish-green flower from among the nine.
The pill furnace was illusory; the Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant was also illusory. Therefore, the pill that was produced was obviously not real. Despite that, it could be held in hand, and it could be crushed.
This was one of the bizarre, miraculous aspects of the Celestial Land, a magic that could create something from nothing!
Meng Hao looked at the bluish-green medicinal pill in his hand, then lifted his head. Further up, the mountain path began to buzz. Suddenly, out of thin-air appeared… a step.
A single step!
Meng Hao’s face was the same as ever, without the slightest hint of change. Much earlier, he had predicted that this would happen. He looked back down at the Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant’s crimson flower, grabbed it, and began to concoct.
Seeing this caused a buzz to immediately rise up among the audience on the mountaintop. Of course, the Violet Furnace Lords didn’t participate, nor did the Patriarch-level Cultivators from the outside Sects. They only looked on in silent thought. Based on their concentration, their age, and their experiences in life, eccentrics like this wouldn’t easily show what they were thinking.
However, the disciples who had accompanied them had not reached such a level. Seeing what happened instantly caused astonished exclamations and discussions to fill the air.
“Alchemist Fang Mu only created a single stair…! That’s simply too few! Is he really a Furnace Lord?”
“At the very least, the other candidates created a few hundred stairs. Furnace Lord Ye created the most, 2,000, and wasn’t even satisfied with that. But Fang Mu… he doesn’t look even the least bit embarrassed!”
“Maybe he has some special plan….”
Such discussions couldn’t be avoided. Meng Hao’s medicinal pill, and the one stair it had produced, was immediately divisive. Everyone could clearly see what had happened, and it was only natural that people immediately began to make comparisons.
Han Bei frowned. She couldn’t believe that Fang Mu’s skill in the Dao of alchemy was so limited. After her interactions with him in the Black Sieve Sect, she knew of his extreme cunning, and was convinced that he must be pulling off some clever trick.
Zhou Jie’s expression was normal, without the slightest reaction whatsoever. It seemed as if nothing would cause him any surprise whatsoever.
Fatty was secretly clenching his fists. He knew that Fang Mu was Meng Hao, which caused him extreme anxiety inside, especially considering that he could not possibly charge forward and warn Meng Hao about what was happening.
Li Shiqi’s eyes glittered slightly as she watched Fang Mu on the screen. She then glanced at Ye Feimu, and frowned, as if she wasn’t quite sure the meaning of everything that was happening.
Of course, Meng Hao couldn’t hear any of the commotion which he had caused on the outside, nor would he pay it any heed if he could. He was thoroughly engrossed in concocting his second medicinal pill. Again, his bearing was completely different from before in the second region.
However, the more earnestly he worked, the more derision rose up from the outsiders.
A day later, Chu Yuyan finished her second medicinal pill. Just the same as before, 1,111 stairs appeared. Ye Feimu’s second pill also was completed. When it appeared, a great roaring shook the Heavens and rocked the Earth.
“4,000 stairs!! He’s… he’s no Furnace Lord! This Violet Furnace Lord Promotion definitely belongs to him!”
Violet Furnace Lord Ye Yuntian chuckled. He looked at Ye Feimu with an expression of deep praise. The other Violet Furnace Lords also looked at him with similar approval. They nodded, slight smiles on their faces.
Their praise grew even more obvious when they saw Ye Feimu once again crush the medicinal pill. The 4,000 stairs disappeared.
“Striving for perfection is Ye Feimu’s weakness, and also his strength,” said Ye Yuntian, smiling. “This kid’s determination is something you rarely see in others. I hope that after becoming a Violet Furnace Lord, he will retain his tenacity, and use it to tread into realms we have not.”
As they discussed the matter, An Zaihai sat there silently. He wasn’t looking at any of the other candidates, only Meng Hao. Slowly, the shock in his eyes grew more intense.
Fatty gave an inward sigh as he looked at the screen with Meng Hao on it. “There’s no way to compare. Ah, Meng Hao, why did you have to encounter somebody so inhuman? How can you possibly compare to this Ye guy…?”
As the discussions proceeded, the other alchemists on Violet East Mountain continued to produce medicinal pills, Meng Hao included. When Meng Hao’s pill was completed, a roaring sound filled the air, and a second stair appeared. This immediately caused muffled laughter to rise up from the Cultivators on the outside world. They seemed to find the appearance of a single stone step to be quite amusing.
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as ever as he began to concoct his third minor pill.
Time passed by slowly. Meng Hao was by far in last place. In this third region, Chu Yuyan held her spot in first place. She had concocted eight medicinal pills, and was currently working on her ninth.
Up ahead of her on the mountain were 8,888 stone steps. It was an astonishing sight, and was already being given great recognition by the observers in the outside world. She was now being viewed as a possible contender with Ye Feimu.
This was especially the opinion among many alchemists of the East Pill Division. Quite a few greatly admired Chu Yuyan, and as they watched, their eyes burned with passion and hope as they wished her luck.
Besides Ye Feimu and Meng Hao, among the other candidates was an old man who had concocted thirty pills to produce a total of more than 8,300 stairs. Before, he hadn’t attracted much attention, but now, of course, people were talking about him.
He had produced a lot of medicinal pills, however, all of them stemmed from his own Dao of alchemy.
As for the others, anywhere from 5,000 to more than 7,000 stairs had appeared. Meng Hao only had… 8 steps.…
A single stone step had appeared each time he concocted one of the eight minor pills. However, Meng Hao was not in last place; rather, Ye Feimu was.
Of course, nobody actually believed him to be in last place. He was currently concocting a pill for the ninth time. The previous pill, the eighth one, had immediately produced 9,300 stairs. That, of course, had caused a commotion in the outside world. Surprise had even been visible in the eyes of some of the Patriarchs from the outside Sects.
Slowly, everyone on the mountaintop grew quiet, settling their Qi and calming their minds. They looked at the paths on the eight screens in front of them; they could clearly see that the moment of truth had arrived in the third region test. Any moment now, people would begin to pass onto the next region.
After enough time passed for two incense sticks to burn, Chu Yuyan’s medicinal pill emerged. This was her ninth pill; immediately a black-colored cloud appeared above her pill furnace, the size of a hand. Electricity crackled, circling around above the pill furnace. The pill furnace emitted a roaring sound, and the ninth pill flew out; the path up ahead of Chu Yuyan immediately extended.
It grew from 8,888 stone stairs all the way to 9,999!
The absolute limit of stairs was 10,000. Chu Yuyan had created an incredible number of stairs. Reaching such an achievement in the Violet Furnace Lord trial by fire proved that she was an outstanding talent, worthy of being a Violet Furnace Lord.
Immediately, conversations broke out in the world outside.
“A Tribulation cloud appeared! That only happens for the most difficult to concoct medicinal pills…. Chu Yuyan is definitely worthy to be Grandmaster Pill Demon’s apprentice! This is clear proof that she is qualified to be a Violet Furnace Lord!”
“9,999 stairs! Chu Yuyan’s skill in the Dao of alchemy is shocking.”
All eyes were on her, including master alchemists, Furnace Lords, Violet Furnace Lords, Sect Patriarchs!
This chapter was sponsored by Vidya Pati, Karen Nguyen and Anonymous