Chapter 287: Creating Something out of Nothing
A moment passed, and there were still nine stone steps. Not one more, not one less.
Nonetheless, no one made a single comment. This was because… Meng Hao opened his hand, and the transparent medicinal pill therein floated up to hover in front of him. Then… it blossomed with nine, glowing colored lights. The light emanated out from the pill, slowly forming into the shape of a Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant!
The plant was vivid and lifelike, and the instant it appeared, it attracted everyone’s attention. The gazes were filled with countless thoughts. Shock, amazement, and disbelief filled everyone’s minds until they were complete blanks.
An Zaihai’s voice broke the silence. “This is… creating something out of nothing!!” He was panting as he once again rose to his feet. Earlier, he had guessed that this might happen, but to see it with his own eyes sent his mind reeling and shook his heart.
Normally he would never have made such an outburst. He was an alchemist, and stubborn pursuit was part of the Dao of alchemy. He was the type of eccentric who would never reveal his emotions regardless of whether he was happy or furious. But in this regard, his sentiments ruled him.
“A great Dao of alchemy. Returning to the simplicity of nature! Creating something out of nothing!!” As An Zaihai’s voice echoed out, everyone watched the screen as Meng Hao lifted his foot onto the first step. He walked slowly up the nine steps, then raised his foot out into the emptiness. As it descended, a tenth step appeared. He walked forward. As he did, more steps appeared beneath his feet.
The limitation of number had already been exceeded; this was a realm far past that of Ye Feimu. Most people didn’t even understand such a realm; however, the eight Violet Furnace Lords did!
His heart trembling, mind reeling, Lin Hailong was the second to rise to his feet. With a gasp, he said, “This… this is… Fang Mu didn’t just concoct a pill, he concocted a seed! A Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant seed!!” Shock filled his eyes. “It’s impossible… He took an illusory model based on the Dao of alchemy, and then concocted a real seed!!
“If you plant this seed, there is a high likelihood that within a few years, a Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain Plant will grow. But… but… the ingredients he used were all illusory, not real! This realm… it is creating something out of nothing!”
After An Zaihai and Lin Hailong finished speaking, silence reigned. The master alchemists sat mutely in their places. The Furnace Lords were breathing heavily. All of the people who had been laughing at him earlier now felt their minds spinning, as if they had been slapped in the face by an enormous, invisible palm. The slap had both cleared their minds and sent them reeling at the same time.
After the space of a few breaths passed, an incredible hubbub broke out.
“Creating something out of nothing? Fang Mu was able to take something that didn’t really exist and use it to make something real? What level of skill in the Dao of alchemy does that represent? It’s….”
“Is Ye Feimu the strongest? Or is this Fang Mu even better…?”
The people from the visiting Sects weren’t able to discern what was going on. The only thing that was abundantly clear was the shock they saw on the faces of the Violet Furnace Lords.
Of their number, only Ye Yuntian had a gloomy look on his face. He frowned as he looked at Meng Hao’s screen.
A breathtaking medicinal pill!
The disciples from the visiting Sects were shocked by the scene playing out in front of them. Truth be told, they had been shocked over and over from the moment this trial by fire began. However, this moment was the most shocking yet!
Creating something from nothing. Concocting pills in a Celestial Land. Refining the rules of alchemy. Turning an illusory Nine Treasures Pearl Curtain plant into an actual seed that could be planted. All of these things caused waves of shock to fill their minds.
As of now, they had forgotten Chu Yuyan and Ye Feimu. All eyes were fixed like glue onto Meng Hao. He was the focus of attention of all the people here.
Fatty was panting. Han Bei’s eyes shone with a strange light as she looked at Meng Hao. Li Shiqi’s expression was one of fascination. She herself had never imagined that Alchemist Fang Mu would concoct a pill such as this.
Chen Fan had never been very interested in Alchemy. But he gaped in astonishment, and admiration grew within his heart for Fang Mu.
Patriarch Violet Sieve from the Black Sieve Sect laughed. “Starting today, the name of Alchemist Fang Mu will be known to everyone within the Southern Domain.”
Sub-Patriarchs from the other Clans laughed and said similar things. When their words entered Ye Yuntian’s ears, his face grew unsightly, and unconsciously he glanced toward his Master, Pill Demon. Pill Demon’s face was expressionless, which caused Ye Yuntian to sigh with relief.
Turning his head to look at the other Violet Furnace Lords, he said, “Unless Master makes a specific choice, then everyone has a chance. Fang Mu may have some unique skills in pill concocting, but… the general trend is clearly favoring Feimu to become the next Violet Furnace Lord!” He gave meaningful looks to those among the Violet Furnace Lords with whom he was close. He felt a bit more calm after that, and when he looked back at Meng Hao’s screen, his expression was the same as ever. His heart, however, was filled with rancor and cold laughter.
Meng Hao had no way to know what was happening in the outside world. However, from the moment he had begun to concoct the pill, he had decided to make a big scene. At the moment, he was walking up the mountain path. Ahead of him was nothingness, but every step he took, more stone steps would appear to support him.
Time passed. The buzz of conversation still filled the outside world when Meng Hao stepped onto the final stone step of the third region. He wasn’t really sure how many total steps he had traversed. If he thought about it, then perhaps it was more than ten thousand.
Meng Hao didn’t actually care about a specific number; it wasn’t important.
“Who was it…?” thought Chu Yuyan, her breathing heavy. She still wasn’t sure who had caused the shocking scene just now. Whoever it was, that person was on a different path. Unless they were at the peak of mountain, it would be very difficult to see anything. At the moment, the first person that came to mind was, again, Ye Feimu.
But then, she hesitated. Suddenly she wasn’t so sure. Something inside of her was telling her that it probably wasn’t Ye Feimu. And yet from her perspective, other than Ye Feimu, none of the other candidates, including herself, could possibly have done something like that.
As she thought, determination filled her eyes. She turned and continued upward.
The most conflicted of all was none other than Ye Feimu. He stood mutely on the stone steps, thinking for a very long time.
“Who was it? What pill did they concoct…? I concocted one medicinal pill, the pinnacle! I can’t believe that someone else’s decision regarding the Dao of alchemy could surpass my own. In the third region, I definitely produced the most steps with the least amount of medicinal pills! I only concocted one! This person could not possibly have outdone me!” Ye Feimu’s pride caused pain in his heart, but it quickly vanished. “I must be in first place!”
His eyes glittering, he raced forward, hurrying toward the end of the third region. In his preparations to participate in this trial by fire, Violet Furnace Lord Ye Yuntian had actually violated Sect protocol by secretly telling him in detail about his own experience in the promotion trial by fire.
For example, Ye Feimu knew that at the end of the third region, it was possible to see who had passed through the region, what method they had used to do so, and what position they were granted by the Immortal Land.
His eyes filled with stubbornness, Ye Feimu hurried on, panting.
In addition to Chu Yuyan and Ye Feimu, there was also the old man and the middle-aged man. They were were also racing forward.
Time passed. The first person to reach the end of the third region was Chu Yuyan. She leaped across the gap created by the last few missing steps. Then, a tremor ran through her body. She had just seen the boulder marking the beginning of the fourth region. The first thing which entered her vision was not the requirements for concocting a pill, but rather, the rankings from the previous region, which floated in the air in front of the boulder.
In third place, was her own name, Chu Yuyan. Next to it were written the numbers 9,999!
She gasped, then looked up toward second place. It was Ye Feimu’s name, and the number was 10,000.
“Ten thousand…. He really does deserve to be called Grandmaster Pill Cauldron. Ten thousand steps marks perfection in the third region. However… how could he possibly have only placed second….” She stared at the name for a moment, and her heart began to pound. Slowly, her gaze moved up until she saw the listing for first place. Instantly, a roaring sound filled her head, and her eyes shone with disbelief.
“How could it be him…?” She was suddenly out of sorts. The boulder was spewing out massive amounts of Violet Qi, but she didn’t notice. All she could do was stare at the rankings.
“Fang Mu!” muttered Ye Feimu, his body trembling slightly. His eyes filled with disbelief and, even more so, shame. If it had been Chu Yuyan who beat him, he could have accepted it. But instead, it was someone he completely looked down upon. Furthermore, that person had surpassed him in the third region.
As far as he was concerned this was a complete humiliation. Actually, from the moment Fang Mu had been raised to Furnace Lord, he had aroused the dislike of the other Furnace Lords. That was especially true for Ye Feimu. He held nothing but contempt for the manner in which Fang Mu had received his promotion.
Next, Ye Feimu’s body trembled, and began to fill with rage. This was because he had just seen the numbers written after Fang Mu’s name. 10.
“Ten stone steps…. Ten stone steps…? I created a perfect set of ten thousand stone steps! How could a trifling ten stone steps even compare! Just what pill did this Fang Mu concoct?” Ye Feimu wouldn’t go so far as to question the fairness of the trial by fire, but inside, he just couldn’t accept it.
By now, he had already put the pieces together, and realized who the Pill Tribulation had come for.
Violet Qi poured out from the boulder, but Ye Feimu felt a sense of irony. His eyes filled with a cold light.
Meng Hao stood in front of the fourth region boulder, looking at the rankings. His right hand lifted up, causing the image to scatter. Massive amounts of Violet Qi poured out, dense to the extreme. Those watching in the outside world could easily see the boundless extent of the Violet Qi, and how much it exceeded that of Chu Yuyan’s and Ye Feimu’s
Several hours passed, during which time, this point was even further impressed upon all onlookers.
Meng Hao’s black pill furnace absorbed the Violet Qi, and as it did, its color slowly changed. Now, it was no longer pitch black, but tinged with violet. At first glance, it would be hard to tell whether it was black or violet. However, the pill furnace was now struggling about half as much as it had before, and no longer as fiercely.
About an hour later, the Violet Qi disappeared. Text gradually appeared on the boulder, revealing the requirements for the final region.
Become an apprentice!
Seeing these words caused Meng Hao’s vision to suddenly blur and twist. The mountain in front of him was no longer a mountain. The sky above… was no longer the same sky!
This chapter was sponsored by Kok Yan Leong, Reginald Cleckley, Edwin Wanjohi, and Lim Derek