Chapter 358: The Renown of Pill Cauldron
“I am fascinated by the illustrious Dao of alchemy of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron,” said the old man with the moon-shaped seal on his forehead. “Unfortunately, I have never been fortunate enough to be able to travel to the Southern Domain to pay him my respects.” His expression was sincere; obviously he had heard of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron, but not the events which had occurred at the Rebirth Cave.
Fourth Elder smiled and politely said, “As a distinguished apprentice of Grandmaster Pill Demon, and Elder Brother of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron, your Dao of alchemy can shake the Heavens and rock the Earth. I truly admire you, sir, truly! With you here, Grandmaster, Holy Snow City will never fall!”
Zhou Dekun laughed. Inwardly, he felt a bit emotional. Back in the Southern Domain, he could never have been so openly arrogant. But this was the backwater Black Lands, a place where continued existence was predicated by respect. Modesty was completely out of the question. Zhou Dekun had learned this lesson the hard way. So right now, he nodded proudly, indicating that the praise of him just now was absolutely correct.
In his heart, he sighed as he thought back to the despair he had felt after having been taken to the Black Lands. He thought of his bitterness at realizing he would never be able to return to his Sect. There had been no one to serve him, and no Cultivator Clans to give him gifts and take care of him. At that time, his life had seemed as gray as ash.
How could he ever have imagined that after the suffering would come happiness? He had managed to turn things around; he had been taken here because the people here viewed him almost like a treasure. After randomly concocting some medicinal pills, the locals had been shocked. He was provided with food and drink, and anything else he desired. He was even given two young female companions. His life was suddenly very comfortable, perhaps even more than back in the East Pill Division.
As he thought back on everything, Zhou Dekun sighed. He might never again be able to see his Sect, and yet, that wasn’t such a horrible thing….
Thinking up to this point, he cleared his throat and then continued on with his lofty boasting.
“This crappy little poison is nothing,” he said. “Just wait until I concoct some of my own poison. I guarantee that those Western Desert Cultivators will have no choice other than to give in.” He spoke with an air of self-assured authority.
First Elder thought for a moment and then slowly said, “If Grandmaster Zhou is able to both dispel and concoct this same poison, then perhaps we should ask that other Cultivator to just leave.”
Second and Fourth Elders nodded their heads at this, and were just about to voice their agreement when the old woman spoke.
“I disagree. Sir Zhou is clearly a Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy. However, it took several days of research for him to determine the nature of the poison. Besides, I’ve seen the results of that poison myself! If we make the other Cultivator leave, then we should really determine exactly how effective the poison is. Why not have a little competition between Sir Zhou and this other Cultivator? That way the man’s true self can be clearly seen.” She looked at First Elder.
First Elder hesitated for a moment, then made a gesture to Second and Fourth Elders indicating that they should hold their tongues. He gazed at Zhou Dekun. “Grandmaster Zhou, what do you think?”
Zhou Dekun laughed proudly. “That’s fine. I’m curious to lay eyes on this young mischief-maker and teach him a lesson. I’ll help him to understand that the Dao of alchemy of the Southern Domain is boundless, and that alchemists of the Southern Domain are unsurpassable.”
As he listened, First Elder nodded and smiled. He happened to very much admire this Grandmaster Zhou. He had sampled the man’s medicinal pills, and was confident that he was definitely number one in all of the Black Lands.
Laughing, he rose to his feet with clasped hands, as did the old woman and the other Elders. Amidst all the smiles, the old woman sighed lightly. She had done everything she could and had put up a good fight. At least she had done her best to pay back Meng Hao’s kindness in saving Hanxue Shan.
Naturally, people were sent to notify Meng Hao. The date for the “Dao of alchemy consultation” was set for three days later.
News of the matter spread through Holy Snow City like a whirlwind. Everyone heard about it, both Frigid Snow Clan members and outside Cultivators. Excitement grew. Everyone knew the name of Zhou Dekun. After all, during recent years in Holy Snow City, the reputation of Grandmaster Zhou was like the sun in the noon sky.
In fact, it was because of Grandmaster Zhou that so many Rogue Cultivators had been gathering in Holy Snow City. Regardless of the price they had to pay, they wanted to sample his medicinal pills.
Whether openly or in the heart, all of them took Zhou Dekun to be the number one alchemist in the Black Lands. Actually, many Cultivators who consumed his medicinal pills were so shocked that they claimed Zhou Dekun to be the ultimate Grandmaster even in the Southern Domain.
Therefore, Zhou Dekun’s name only continued to grow more illustrious in Holy Snow City. Unfortunately, this place was so far from the former Dongluo City that Meng Hao had never received any information about it.
The news that Zhou Dekun planned to give a consultation regarding the Dao of alchemy caused quite a stir among the local Cultivators. All of them planned to personally go watch the event, not only to cheer on Grandmaster Zhou, but also to see how pill concocting worked.
This news was shocking enough. However, shortly thereafter word was issued from the temple in which Zhou Dekun resided. Based on recent battle achievements, he would choose ten individuals for whom he would personally concoct medicinal pills! This new bit of information immediately caused a huge sensation.
As the entire city simmered, Meng Hao sat cross-legged in his courtyard, surrounded by lotuses, looking at the invitation card in his hand. A strange expression covered his face, like a smile, and yet not. Standing across from him was Hanxue Shan, who was completely unable to discern his thoughts.
“Hey, what kind of expression is that?” she said, trying to suppress her nervousness. She wasn’t sure why, but ever since the day Meng Hao had looked down at her from his position atop the giant’s head, smiled, and spoken those words, after which she had walked up in a trance to join him, well… for some reason she kept thinking about him.
Actually, as soon as she had heard of the matter of Grandmaster Zhou, she had immediately run over to tell Meng Hao.
“Nothing,” he said with a slight smile. “I just think this Zhou Dekun is kind of funny.”
“You!” she cried, stamping her foot and glaring angrily at Meng Hao. “Zhou Dekun is at the pinnacle of the Dao of alchemy, the number one alchemist in the Black Lands! He’s even famous in the Southern Domain, the personal disciple of Grandmaster Pill Demon! He’s also the Elder Brother of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron. Do you know who Grandmaster Pill Demon is? Have you even heard of him!?
“People such as them are like Chosen of Heaven, and you don’t even pay them any attention? All you can do is concoct poison! Aren’t you nervous?”
She was a pretty girl to begin with, but when she acted like this, it revealed another side of her beauty, as if she were vying with the surrounding lotuses. Meng Hao shook his head and smiled, a virtually imperceptible glitter in his eyes as he considered her words.
A perplexed look on his face, he asked, “I’ve heard of Grandmaster Pill Demon, ma’am, and I very much respect him. But who is this Grandmaster Pill Cauldron of whom you speak?”
“You don’t know who Grandmaster Pill Cauldron is?” she replied, her eyes wide and filled with disbelief. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You’re just a Rogue Cultivator, so you don’t know much about the Southern Domain. I bet you don’t even know anyone who’s been to the Southern Domain! Your ignorance of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron is understandable.
“Well, let me tell you, Grandmaster Pill Cauldron is the number one Chosen in the Violet Fate Sect of the Southern Domain.” A look of adoration filled her eyes as she spoke. “His name is Fang Mu, and he’s Grandmaster Pill Demon’s Legacy Apprentice. His Dao of alchemy rocks everything under Heaven. He’s an amazing person who will be the stuff of legends in the future. He’s an expert in poisons, and has a unique understanding of the Dao of alchemy. There isn’t anyone in the United Nine of the Black Lands who doesn’t know about him. I have a dream that one day in the future, I’ll be able to go to the Southern Domain and pay him a visit. I’ll plead with him to concoct a medicinal pill for me.”
Meng Hao gave a dry cough. “You’re exaggerating,” he said without thinking. As soon as the words left his mouth, Hanxue Shan’s gaze turned dangerous.
“You don’t believe me? You’re not convinced?” She glared at him with wide eyes. After he had saved her twice, she suddenly found that she was less reserved in front of him, and more open. “You can disbelieve others, or remain unconvinced by their words. But, you are not allowed to disrespect Grandmaster Pill Cauldron! Fang Mu joined the Violet Fate Sect when he was seventeen years old. When he was just an apprentice alchemist, he utilized the Violet Fate Sect’s East Pill Division techniques to cause a shocking scene! He displayed unprecedented talent, and caused everyone to be shocked.
“In fact, one of the East Pill Division Elders personally endorsed him to participate in the trial by fire to become a master alchemist. He was the first person to ever do so after having joined the Sect for less than a year! The way he became number one in the Sect was something exceedingly rare from ancient times until now!
“Thanks to his absolute superiority, he was promoted to master alchemist, after which he created a Bedevilment Pill, which sent the entire Southern Domain into an uproar. Later, he competed with Grandmaster Eternal Mountain and produced a Myriad Strength Pill, which was impossible to crush. That’s when he became a Furnace Lord!” By this point in her tirade, she really seemed to be upset. Her words came out in a rush.
“After that he took place in an alchemy duel in the Black Sieve Sect. His Dao was shocking. Later, he received enlightenment at the Ancient Dao Geyser. He cowed the Dao Child of the Black Lands Palace and slaughtered an azure-masked Core Formation Cultivator, causing his name to ring out under all the Heavens! Later, in the Violet Fate Sect trial by fire for Violet Furnace Lords, he took first place in unprecedented fashion, suppressing Chosen to become a Violet Furnace Lord and the Legacy Apprentice of the East Pill Division!
“He did all that in only a few years. Do you really think you’re better than someone like that? You really think you can measure up?”
Meng Hao stared at her in shock, his face a bit red. He felt somewhat embarrassed.
To be praised and commended in such a way was something he wasn’t used to. He almost couldn’t believe that Hanxue Shan knew so much about him.
“Could it be that she specifically investigated me?” he thought. He cleared his throat again, feeling a bit complacent. He couldn’t help but give a faint smile as he looked at Hanxue Shan. The look on her face said that she would fight to the death if he didn’t show respect to Grandmaster Pill Cauldron.
“If this Grandmaster Pill Cauldron knew he had a devotee like you here in the Black Lands, I think he would be very happy.” He laughed jokingly.
“Hmph! Don’t mock my love for Grandmaster Pill Cauldron. So what if I love him? He’s my dream beloved!”
Meng Hao laughed. Now he knew for sure that for some reason, the incident at the Rebirth Cave was not known among the Cultivators in the Black Lands. Perhaps the news hadn’t spread, or… perhaps the fact that he had left the Violet Fate Sect and fled for his life… had been suppressed!