Chapter 362: Still Won’t Believe
Yan waited for a long time, but seeing Zhou Dekun’s lack of even a nod, he finally clasped hands and bowed once again. His voice filled with sincerity, he said, “Grandmaster Zhou, I’m aware that such a request is a bit boorish. However, considering our mutual affection for the great Dao of alchemy, I am willing to trade one of the pills I personally concocted, just to be able to gaze upon that pill of yours.”
His Cultivation base was at the Nascent Soul stage, so for him to bow to Zhou Dekun in such a way showed the depth of his sincerity, as well as his devotion to the Dao of alchemy.
Everyone watching was of the opinion that for Zhou Dekun to not produce the pill for the man to look at would be extremely egotistical. After all, the man had made a polite request, and only wished to look at the pill. He was even willing to offer up payment to be able to do so.
Zhou Dekun’s face was turning pale, and he was about to speak when Yan frowned.
“Grandmaster Zhou,” he said earnestly, “I merely wish to look at the pill. Will you really refuse such a simple request? Grandmaster Zhou, please, fear not. I would never go back on my word! I only wish to look at it!”
Meng Hao blinked, but didn’t say anything. A faint smile twitched at the corners of his mouth, and he looked a bit embarrassed.
Anyone else who was bowed to so many times would feel honored. However, with each bow, Zhou Dekun’s heart filled with more trepidation.
Gnashing his teeth, he decided to throw caution to the wind. Things had already proceeded to the point where he couldn’t control the matter any more. He smacked his bag of holding to produce the pill he had just concocted, which he then threw over to Yan.
Yan’s eyes flashed with excitement as he caught the pill with both hands. He looked down excitedly, filled with his love of the Dao of alchemy. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes to settle himself and place himself in the optimal state of mind. He looked as earnest as someone about to go on a holy pilgrimage.
At the same moment as he had gazed earnestly at the pill, the young man from their group of three, the one who had provoked such a nervous reaction from the Frigid Snow Clan’s four Grand Elders, glanced around musingly.
“I can still sense father’s aura,” he said with a smile. “It seems he’s not dead after all. Although, his aura couldn’t possibly be any weaker. It seems that my father is still asleep.”
Theses words didn’t provoke any reaction from First Elder, but the faces of the other three immediately changed. They suddenly remembered an event which had occurred a very long time ago, a subject which was taboo within the Clan.
“Hanxue Zong!” said First Elder gratingly, staring angrily at the young man. 1
His words echoed out, booming in the ears of the three other Elders and stabbing into the hearts of the other Clan members. They gaped in astonishment and disbelief, apparently all recalling some particular matter.
Suddenly a great commotion arose among the Frigid Snow Clan Cultivators.
“Hanxue Zong? That guy…. I remember! In the Clan histories there is a record of a Chosen of the Frigid Snow Clan from one thousand years ago. His name was Hanxue Zong!”
“There was such a person! According to the Clan histories, he was incomparably evil, even cannibalistic! He reached the Nascent Soul stage in less than one hundred years, and then began to absorb the life force and Cultivation base of his own father Hanxue Bao, who was one of the two Spirit Severing Patriarchs in the Clan at the time!”
“I remember that too. However, the Clan histories didn’t say what happened to Hanxue Zong after he was defeated. Didn’t Patriarch Hanxue Bao kill him?”
All the other Cultivators who were present heard and were shocked. Meng Hao’s eyes glittered. If what the Frigid Snow Clan members said was true, then the young man with the ancient voice was someone truly to be feared.
The young man laughed. “I’ve been away for so long, I never imagined the Clan would remember me.” His eyes glittered brightly as his gaze fell upon Zhou Dekun.
Zhou Dekun’s face was unsightly. He actually didn’t care a bit about the gaze of the young man; his heart was like a pile of ashes as he continuously sighed. The reason for this, of course, was because of the strange look on the face of the Yan Cultivator.
It started out as one of incredulity, then perplexity, and finally disbelief. His body began to tremble.
“I’m finished, finished….” thought Zhou Dekun bitterly. His heart was trembling.
The man name Yan suddenly took a deep breath and slowly looked back up at Zhou Dekun.
“That Pill….” began Zhou Dekun. Before he could continue, however, Yan once again clasped hands and bowed deeply.
“Grandmaster Zhou, sir, my Dao of alchemy does not compare to yours. However, there is really no need to produce some other medicinal pill with the intention of shaming me.” His tone was cool, but deep in his heart he was furious. “I know that you didn’t concoct this medicinal pill, Grandmaster Zhou. Why would you embarrass me with something so shoddy!?”
“I….” said Grandmaster Zhou, feeling even more anxious. He was about to try to explain, but was cut off.
“Grandmaster Zhou, I only want to take a look at that one medicinal pill. If you’re not willing to show it to me, then would you at least concoct a new pill for me to take a look at? Grandmaster Zhou, I plead with you to fulfill my wish!” He continued to suppress the anger he felt at heart. His desire to personally see such a medicinal pill caused him to once again clasp hands and bow.
In his heart, Zhou Dekun was cursing. He was filled with despair, and wanted to yell out, ‘that is the pill I concocted!’
However, everyone was looking at him, including the four Grand Elders. Even more importantly, the two young women behind him were also watching on.
In addition, the surrounding Cultivators were now starting to throw out words of encouragement.
“Grandmaster Zhou, why not let this outsider look at your medicinal pill? Let him know how awesome our Black Lands alchemists are!”
“Yeah, that’s right, Grandmaster Zhou! Teach this guy a lesson, show him that you’re a true Grandmaster!”
“Grandmaster Zhou, make this Eastern Lands Cultivator’s wish come true! Show him what it really means to be a Grandmaster!”
Once voice after another rang out. Normally, such words would cause Zhou Dekun to feel quite smug. Right now, however, they made him want to weep.
“I… I….” In his heart, Zhou Dekun was letting loose a torrent of curses, but on the outside, he was smiling. However, his smiling face looked much more unsightly than a crying one. When he looked over and saw Meng Hao gazing at him with a bashful smile, he felt like he couldn’t take it any more. It was then that he suddenly realized that Meng Hao’s embarrassed grin looked very familiar. However, because of his nervousness, he didn’t have time to consider the matter.
Gritting his teeth, Zhou Dekun slapped his bag of holding and retrieved the best pill he had ever concocted in the Southern Domain. He threw it over to the man named Yan.
Yan immediately caught it. After studying it for a moment he frowned. He was losing control of his rage, and it was now seeping onto his face. His body was also starting to tremble.
“Grandmaster Zhou, there’s no need to repeatedly insult me! Your Dao of alchemy may be incredible, but these second-rate pills you keep producing are nothing compared to the pill from earlier. Have you reached such a level that you refuse to produce pills that you yourself have concocted?! Do I, Yan, really not qualify to even look at your medicinal pills? Grandmaster Zhou, to be so overbearing is really going overboard!! I… I just want to look at that medicinal pill. Why can’t you just do me this one little favor!?”
Yan was extremely frustrated. The favor he had asked was not a very big one was it…? Finally, he suppressed his anger, and once again clasped hands and bowed. “Grandmaster Zhou, again, I plead with you to grant my wish. This is the last time I will ask.”
This last bow was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Zhou Dekun was on the verge of collapse. Panting, he suddenly exploded in a fury: “Favor! Favor!? All you want is a favor!? I’ve given you my medicinal pills. You can see that I concocted them myself! My Dao of alchemy is only average. What’s it to you?! That’s how I am. The pill you were looking at before wasn’t concocted by me! That guy concocted it!!” He pointed at Meng Hao. “That was his pill!! You think you’re pissed off? I’m even more pissed off than you!! You’re the one who made the mistake! If you want to look at that pill from before, then ask that guy!”
Zhou Dekun flicked his sleeve. His face was ashen and filled with rage as he turned to leave. His heart was pounding as he scrambled to come up with a way to salvage the situation.
The man named Yan stared in shock, then spun to look at Meng Hao.
It wasn’t just him. Everyone, including the four Grand Elders, and the hundreds of surrounding Cultivators, all slowly turned to look at Meng Hao. All eyes were now glued on him and him alone.
Most of the gazes were filled with shock and incredulity.
“Whether or not you concocted that pill doesn’t matter,” said Yan to Zhou Dekun. “Events today have reached the point that an alchemy duel is required in order to prove who is the alchemist that I so revere!” His glare shifted from Meng Hao to Zhou Dekun.
“Grandmaster Zhou,” he continued earnestly. “After I defeat this guy, I hope that you will no longer humiliate me, but will allow me to look at that pill.” Without looking at Meng Hao, he lifted his right hand up, and a pill furnace appeared.
Zhou Dekun was on the verge of tears. Even after everything that had happened, he didn’t understand why this man just wouldn’t believe him. Perhaps the act he had put on before had simply been too convincing. The man apparently really did believe that he was looking down on him.
Meng Hao cleared his throat and then hesitantly said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not a local alchemist. I just lost a match to Grandmaster Zhou, and was told to leave the city. I’m afraid I can’t compete with you in alchemy.” He sighed, looking apologetic.
Hearing this, Zhou Dekun’s face immediately fell, and he began to howl inwardly with anguish. “You’re my ancestor, alright? My ancestor! Can you just not do this to me….”
Second Elder, the one who had previously demanded that Meng Hao leave the city, now looked angrily over toward Zhou Dekun. ‘Why can’t you just take out the medicinal pill, Grandmaster Zhou,’ he thought. ‘Why cause all this trouble?’
- Hanxue Zong’s name in Chinese is 寒雪纵 hán xuě zòng – Hanxue is the name of the Clan, which means Frigid Snow. Zong means “vertical” ↩