Chapter 365: A Grand Scam
“That’s impossible! How could it be…? This guy….” Yan Song glanced subconsciously over at Zhou Dekun. If he hadn’t already come to the conclusion that the man was truly a Grandmaster, then at the moment, he would definitely be thinking that the true Grandmaster was actually Meng Hao.
Despite his certainty, he was still shaken. After hearing Zhou Dekun’s words just now, it was hard to tell… whether he had planned all of this or whether it just happened because he had been embarrassed by Yan Song.
Yan Song wasn’t the only person looking at him in this light. The Cultivators in the audience, the four Grand Elders, and the former Frigid Snow Clan member Hanxue Zong were all inwardly moved by Zhou Dekun.
As they all looked over at him, what they saw was his cool, indifferent smile, and his expression of praise. He was clearly concerned about the member of the junior generation, which caused everyone to gape in astonishment.
His proud bearing, which exuded the air of a Grandmaster, caused everyone to muse about how Zhou Dekun truly was at the peak of the Dao of alchemy.
Even Yan Song was hesitating now. Zhou Dekun’s performance was really too perfect. In fact, it even caused Meng Hao to feel surprised. If he didn’t personally know Zhou Dekun, then even he would have been fooled.
Zhou Dekun’s tranquil smile actually covered up the quavering of his heart. Inwardly, he was filled with shock and astonishment. How could he ever have possibly imagined that what Meng Hao was waiting for was a bolt of lightning?
“He used lightning as his final main ingredient for the pill?” he thought. “He’s inhuman! A freak! He’s even more of an aberration than Fang Mu!” However, the more his heart trembled, the calmer his face was. This skill which he had been working on over the years in the Black Lands really had reached the acme. In fact, it was at such a level that sometimes he even convinced himself of his own marvelousness.
Most of the time, he was clearheaded about the matter, but right now, he was moaning inwardly. Because of his well-honed skill, he had gazed proudly up into the sky just now, an action which now caused the onlookers’ eyes to suddenly realize what had happened.
“So, Grandmaster Zhou was looking up into the sky just now because he knew all along that lightning was the main ingredient!”
“That’s right! I was wondering about that. Now it’s really obvious that Grandmaster Zhou is a true Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy!”
Yan Song took a deep breath, and his face filled with a look of admiration. This was not to mention even the four Grand Elders, and Hanxue Zong of the Frigid Snow bloodline, who didn’t really know much about the Dao of alchemy, but made their judgment of Zhou Dekun based on Yan Song’s reaction.
“What pill is that?” asked Yan Song, a serious expression on his face. As of now, there was no look of contempt on his face. Meng Hao’s medicinal pill had thoroughly proven the level of his Dao of alchemy. Yan Song was now very much interested in him, and even placed him on a similar level as Zhou Dekun.
Meng Hao smiled. “Just a simple pill that should be able to release a Lightning Sea.” This was not the type of pill that you could consume, but rather more like a magic pill. Meng Hao had come to the realization that using the five elements concocting method was more effective when used to concoct magic pills.
Yan Song stood there thoughtfully for a moment. There was no need for him to examine the pill closely. Considering he had observed the concoction process as well as the final result, he was now able to tell without a doubt that Meng Hao’s words were true.
This pill was something he himself couldn’t concoct unless he got incredibly lucky and had lightning fall during the concoction process to provide as the main ingredient!
In the past, he had seen lightning used to make pills, but it was usually just a shortcut used to improve the effectiveness of the five elements. It was nothing like what Meng Hao had done, in which he actually used lightning as the main ingredient.
The difference between the two made the superior and inferior completely obvious.
Zhou Dekun cleared his throat and then somberly said, “Excellent. That pill concocting technique of yours is very interesting. Going forward, you should put more thought into it. Perhaps you can open up a new path on the Dao of alchemy. When traversing the great road of the Dao of alchemy, one can never be complacent. Alchemy is boundless, and the Dao is infinite. We must maintain an inquisitive heart in order validate the great Dao of alchemy of Heaven and Earth!” His face was filled with the arrogance of seniority, as if he were a great master giving some pointers.
A strange expression was written on Meng Hao’s face, like a smile, but not. Yan Song took a deep breath and then clasped hands and bowed to Zhou Dekun.
“Grandmaster Zhou, your words are the pinnacle of truth. I, Yan Song, am now thoroughly convinced. There is no need for me to look at that medicinal pill from before. I also understand why you are not willing to let me look at it. You feel that my Dao of alchemy is insufficient, and that looking at the pill would disturb my heart and mind. Grandmaster Zhou, I will remember your kindness for the rest of my life.” Once again, he bowed with utmost sincerity.
Zhou Dekun’s expression was as proud as ever as he smiled indifferently. This, in turn, caused the other onlookers to view him with even more admiration. The four Grand Elders now looked at Zhou Dekun with even more veneration.
All of this caused Meng Hao to stare in shock. He looked down at the pill in his hand, and then over at Zhou Dekun. He wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. The pill he had laboriously concocted was casually commented on by Zhou Dekun, and then everyone took his words at face value.
“Zhou Dekun really has mastered some new skills here in the Black Lands,” thought Meng Hao. As he gazed at the man, Zhou Dekun looked at him, and suddenly began to tremble inwardly. Then, he opened his mouth with the intention of offering some true praise toward Meng Hao.
However, it was at this moment that the late Nascent Soul Cultivator who stood next to Hanxue Zong suddenly shot toward Zhou Dekun.
The four Frigid Snow Grand Elders had been watching this man for some time now, so as soon as he made his move, they flew to intercept him.
They all slammed into each other, and a huge boom echoed out. Blood sprayed from the mouths of the four Grand Elders. The old man from the Western Desert trembled. Suddenly, he changed direction and shot toward Meng Hao.
The four Grand Elders fell back, flashing incantation gestures, after which they pointed toward Zhou Dekun. A glittering shield immediately surrounded him.
Zhou Dekun’s heart was quivering, and yet without even thinking about it consciously, he caused utter calm to remain on his face. He looked as supercilious as ever. Seeing this caused Hanxue Zong to feel even more excited. He also shot forward.
He moved with incredible speed, appearing instantaneously next to the shield protecting Zhou Dekun. He lifted his hand up and pressed gently down onto the shield; it instantly shattered into pieces. The four Grand Elders howled, and were about to charge forward when Hanxue Zong waved his right hand and swept them away. At the same time, his left hand snaked out to grab ahold of Zhou Dekun.
Zhou Dekun’s body suddenly trembled in fear, and he was about to scream.
“There’s no need to be alarmed, Grandmaster Zhou,” said Hanxue Zong. “I won’t hurt you, sir. I just feel that leaving a Grandmaster as talented as you in a place like this is a true waste. Come with me to the Western Desert. The tasks you will face won’t measure up to the requirements laid forth in this place. However, if you refuse, then I’ll be forced to help you understand what it means to live a life worse than death!”
Having been grabbed in this fashion, Zhou Dekun was no longer able to keep up the charade. His face was pale white, his body shivered, and intense fear filled his heart.
“This is a mistake!” he blurted. “It’s all a misunderstanding. My… my… my Dao of alchemy can’t even compare to his!” He raised a trembling hand to point at Meng Hao. “If you want to take someone, take him! If you take me, you’ll be losing out big time!”
A cold light appeared in Hanxue Zong’s eyes. “Grandmaster Zhou, you could see the lack of lightning as the main ingredient in that pill. Don’t think you can fool me with such words!”
“I’m… I’m really not that good!” shrieked Zhou Dekun, his heart sinking. “I swear! Look, everything I said was just empty talk, not some sort of absolute truth! Take him! He’s the actual Grandmaster! He can compare with my Junior Brother Fang Mu…. He’s exponentially more amazing than me!”
When Meng Hao saw the Nascent Soul Cultivator approaching, he used the Bloodburst Flash without hesitation, disappearing and then reappearing several dozen meters away.
“Eee?” said the Western Desert Cultivator. He was about to continue in pursuit when Hanxue Zong flew up into the air, clutching the trembling Zhou Dekun in hand.
“There’s no need to cause trouble for him,” said Hanxue Zong coolly. “We came here to invite only the most outstanding Cultivator to join us. Now that we have Grandmaster Zhou, that other guy is unessential.”
“I’m not the most outstanding!” cried Zhou Dekun, his scalp going numb. “Dammit, I’m really not, okay!? This is a mistake! A misunderstanding! I was putting on an act just now. Really, it was an act! I’m not a Grandmaster, I’m just a regular old Furnace Lord from the East Pill division. That guy is the real Grandmaster. It’s true, he’s the Grandmaster. Take him, okay!?!?” He wished to weep, but no tears would come out. His deception had been too good and he had completely lost control of it.
He began to tremble and wail mournfully.
“There’s no need to act this way, Grandmaster Zhou,” said Hanxue Zong, laughing disapprovingly. “I was watching you this entire time, and couldn’t possibly be mistaken. Whatever method you used, you were able to spot the clues and identify the final main ingredient. That, is true skill! I, Hanxue Zong, could not possibly be mistaken. You are the true Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy. The act you are putting on right now, unfortunately, is simply too fake!”
“Correct,” said Yan Song. “From the moment I arrived until now, Grandmaster Zhou has been tuned in to all of the fine details, and has grasped each key moment. Whether it be the pill aroma or the lightning as the main ingredient, Grandmaster Zhou consistently had an expression of praise for the junior generation. Enlightenment regarding the Dao of alchemy is something that cannot be faked. I do not possess such skill, nor do other alchemists. Only Grandmaster Zhou has this skill. There are few people I truly admire, but as of today, there is one more on my list: Grandmaster Zhou!” With that, he clasped hands politely and bowed.
By this point, Zhou Dekun was actually wailing. He felt as if he were the one who had been scammed, not by others, but by himself…. The tears were welling up in his eyes. He looked down at the beautiful girls, and he already missed them. He thought about the barrenness of the Western Desert, and how frightening of a place it was, and he began to tremble and blabber more explanations.
“I’m really not a Grandmaster. I was in the wrong. Truly, in the wrong! I won’t pretend to be a Grandmaster anymore. Take him, okay! You should take him! Dammit! He’s the real Grandmaster….” Zhou Dekun’s heart grew dark and filled with regret. It didn’t matter what he said now, no one would believe him.
“Quit the act, Grandmaster Zhou,” said Hanxue Zong, laughing. “Even if he is a Grandmaster, you, Grandmaster Zhou, are the very person I have been waiting for!” Holding Zhou Dekun in hand, he flew up into the air.
The Western Desert Nascent Soul Cultivator gave Meng Hao a final cold glance, then turned and flew up into the sky. It was at this point that suddenly, a voice filled all of Holy Snow City.
“Screw off!” The words caused Heaven and Earth to shake. The protective spell formations outside of the city fell to pieces as if a massive wind had blown across them. Up in the sky, ripples could clearly be seen that were emanating out from the ground beneath Holy Snow City. As they passed the city walls, they turned into a cyclone that instantly shredded into pieces all of the beasts and Cultivators who were waiting there. In the blink of an eye, everything in the area thousands of kilometers around Holy Snow City was gone.
As the ground quaked, the minds of all of the Cultivators in the city reeled, and their faces filled with shock.
Hanxue Zong’s face fell. The Nascent Soul Cultivator’s body trembled as he coughed up a mouthful of blood. His face filled with astonishment. Yan Song also coughed up some blood before he hastily shot up into the air.
“Let’s get out of here!” said Hanxue Zong, his eyes flickering grimly and keeping a firm grip on Zhou Dekun, whose face was stained with tears. Then, glowing light surrounded the four of them, and their bodies began to grow blurry as a teleportation spell activated.
“This is really a mistake, okay? I was really faking, I’m really not a Grandmaster! He is! He….” Zhou Dekun’s plaintive cries echoed out in the air. Down below, the hundreds of Cultivators watched on with looks of fury and helplessness.
“Dammit, they came for Grandmaster Zhou!”
The faces of the four Elders were unsightly, but they could do nothing but watch as Hanxue Zong and the others disappeared.
Zhou Dekun’s cries fell upon the ears of all the onlookers, causing their hearts to fill with sorrow.
“Who would ever have thought that at the critical Moment, Grandmaster Zhou would try to put on such an act,” they thought. “If we didn’t know him, we might have thought his words to be true.”
As for Meng Hao, he stared with wide eyes. Everything that had happened was completely beyond his powers of prediction.
“This time, I wasn’t trying to scam anyone,” he thought reflectively. “How could things have worked out this way? Maybe I’ve just scammed so many people, that I ended up scamming myself?”
This chapter was sponsored by Rohit Tamu, Esteban Santiago, Valera McDaniel and Anonymous