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An Odd Choice of Materials

The round officially started after the judge’s declaration. Both participating pill kings were isolated inside a restriction that allowed the people outside to see through it, but not vice versa. Therefore, there was no need to worry about copycats. The one thing Jiang Chen was most familiar with during his past life was refining pills. The moment the restriction activated, he immediately became one with nature. The forty eight spirit materials appeared in his mind and merged with each other again and again. His mind was like highly precise machinery that was swiftly testing all kinds of combinations. To Jiang Chen, this state was as common as eating or sleeping.

The level of all forty eight materials wasn’t high. They were just saint rank spirit herbs that corresponded to origin realm cultivators. True saint rank herbs were the ones that corresponded to sage realm cultivators. The amount of true saint rank spirit herbs out of all forty eight spirit herbs were was pitifully few. There were only eight of them. They were obviously insufficient to make up a pill recipe.

Jiang Chen’s mind began to spin quickly. He had two lifetimes of pill refining experiences, and the thing he lacked the least was experience. These spirit herbs practically felt as familiar as his own fingertips. Countless thoughts and inspiration came to him. A couple of pill recipes instantly appeared in his own mind. However, the level of the pill recipes weren’t high. They could barely be considered a quasi-true saint rank recipe, but this wasn’t the result Jiang Chen wanted.

“This is an incredibly demanding round. I’ll be able to win as long as the pill’s level is high enough. Therefore, the key to victory for this match lies in the sophistication of my pill’s level, not its level of precision.” Jiang Chen understood the rules and knew that a high level rank would automatically deliver victory to him. If the spirit herbs were all of the same rank, then it would be a competition of precision, purity and quality.

Jiang Chen swept his gaze across these spirit herbs again. Once, twice… There was a time period of two hours allotted for this round. Therefore, it was unrealistic to dream of creating an exceptionally high level pill. However, he couldn’t guarantee victory if the pill’s level was too low.

Suddenly, an idea came into Jiang Chen’s mind. As of late, he had spent plenty of time in researching the Deviant Pill Faction. Wasn’t their creed one about using the strangest materials to create the most unique and famous pill recipes? The most direct pursuit of the Deviant Pill Faction was to use strange materials and unexpected refinement methods to create familiar pills. They also pursued cutting costs. A pill made by the Deviant Pill Faction might cost less than half of what other people used when creating the same pill.

The Deviant Pill Faction sported uncanny craftsmanship. They were often able to use cheap materials to refine high level pills. It wasn’t uncommon for them to come up with extraordinary results that looked like true alchemy. This was also the biggest charm of this faction, or they couldn’t have become an outstanding name among many other pill dao factions, drawing the fanatical admiration of countless pill masters and turned them into diehard fans of the Deviant Pill Faction. In summary, the Deviant Pill Faction used unusual materials and pursued different goals from the other pill dao schools of thought. Its objective was to save cost through special methods and excavate the maximum potential of a pill.

It was undeniable that many pill kings had great skills and abilities in pill refinement. However, most of them had a problem in which their wastage of materials was downright obscene. The high level pills they refined were the result of mountains of high rank spirit herbs. This was because they possessed great skill and high chances of success. Even if they wasted their materials, it only made them look better to their peers.

Meanwhile, the Deviant Pill Faction hated failure the most. If they could create a certain pill just using saint rank materials, they would never use a true saint rank materials. This was the charm of the Deviant Pill Faction. Their pursuit for cost reduction had reached an insane level of devotion. Quite a lot of inspiration came to Jiang Chen after he thought along the lines of the Deviant Pill Faction. Suddenly, a pill’s name appeared in Jiang Chen’s mind.

The Triphase Pill! This pill could create the element of earth, wood and fire inside one’s body. The term ‘Triphase’ represented the cycles of the three elements. Earth generates wood, wood generates fire, and fire generates earth… The Triphase Pill was different from the great five phase cycle. It was a three phase cycle that enabled cultivators who cultivated these three elements to instantly replenish their inner energy.

There were no cultivators – even the emperor realm cultivators – whose inner energy was inexhaustible. Cultivators cultivated energy, and energy was a consumable resource. A cultivator would use up large amounts of inner energy when they were fighting, travelling a long distance and practicing their art. Even Titled Great Emperors might exhaust their inner energy if they were embroiled in an intense battle and had executed several powerful techniques in a row. The Triphase Pill was a pill that replenished one’s inner energy.

Of course, the target of the Triphase Pill was extremely specific. It was made only for cultivators who attributes the power of earth, wood and fire. One could say that this pill was completely tailor made for this type of cultivators only. Moreover, the most amazing thing about the Triphase Pill was that it had no cultivation restriction. It could be used by either origin, sage or emperor realm cultivators. The level of the pill was the sole determinant of the user. If the pill worked for a sage realm cultivator, then it could be categorized as a true saint rank pill. If it worked for an emperor realm cultivator, then it could be categorized as an earth rank pill. In general, the Triphase Pill were most commonly used by sage realm cultivators and thus most often treated it as a true saint rank pill.

Jiang Chen stared at the materials in his hands and deduced that he absolutely could refine the Triphase Pill with them using the Deviant Pill Faction’s methods. Moreover, he was sure that the pill’s level would be quite high. This was how incredible the Deviant Pill Faction was. It wasn’t impossible to create an earth rank pill with saint rank spirit herbs. Of course, it was uncommon for such a ridiculous leap in rank to happen.

Generally speaking, a leap in one rank was pretty common, but a leap in two ranks was definitely a lot more difficult. An apt comparison would be the notion of refining a sky rank pill with true saint rank spirit herbs.  It was a difficult task even for a Deviant Pill Faction pill master. Even the masters of the Deviant Pill Faction had to pray for luck sometimes. They couldn’t always create a miracle anytime they wanted to. They had to combine all kinds of coincidences to be able to occasionally manifest a success.

Jiang Chen gave the pill recipe a thorough simulation and was confident that he had a ninety percent chance of success in refining the Triphase Pill. Normally, a pill master would jump straight to work unhesitatingly if the pill even had a thirty percent chance of success. Jiang Chen immediately calmed his emotions, took out the Skysnatcher Cauldron and began heating it…

He had spent a lot of time in researching the Skysnatcher Cauldron as of late, and in his opinion this cauldron looked more like the product of the Deviant Pill Faction. The style of its creation and naming looked like it would fit in with an outstanding achievement of the Deviant Pill Faction. Skysnatcher was as its name implied. Its function was to snatch fortunes from heavens’ hands. This school of thought was definitely deserving of this claim.

Jiang Chen had used the Skysnatcher Cauldron a few times beforehand, and the results were even better than he’d imagined. With the Skysnatcher Cauldron in hand, he felt like the chances of successfully refining the Triphase Pill had increased dramatically.

Two hours weren’t long, and Jiang Chen wasn’t willing to waste even a bit of time. Once he had selected all the materials that could be used to refine the Triphase Pill, he immediately discarded the rest in a corner. The speed at which Jiang Chen had chosen his materials surprised a lot of onlookers. The nine judges were exchanging glances at each other. They couldn’t possibly overlook the fact that there was only one true saint rank spirit herb out of all the materials that Jiang Chen had selected. The rest were all saint rank spirit herbs. Pill King Yu felt a twinge of surprise. Out of all forty eight types of spirit herbs, there were eight that were true saint rank spirit herbs. Technically speaking, Jiang Chen should have selected at least five of them to be able to refine a pill of the highest level. So why had this pill king of House Wei selected only one true saint rank spirit herb? The rest of his materials were all just saint rank spirit herbs. This choice of selection was quite perplexing.

Pill King Yu really admired Jiang Chen. The Tiger Eruption Pill, Heptarune True Dragon Pill and Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill were obvious signs that Pill King Zhen had great potential in his young age. The revelation of the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma especially, had laid out a new world before Pill King Yu’s eyes. But now, he was a little disappointed after seeing Jiang Chen’s choice of spirit herbs. With this selection of materials, the best Pill King Rong could refine was an upper level saint rank pill. Even if he overperformed, the absolute best he could come up with was a quasi-true saint rank pill.

What was the quasi-true saint rank? That was when the pill was in reality just a saint rank pill, though it could barely be categorized as a true saint rank pill. If the bar was set a bit lower, then it could be called a true saint rank pill. If the bar was a tad higher, only then could it be called a saint rank pill. That was what quasi-true saint rank meant.

“This Pill King Zhen had the benefit of an extraordinary teacher in pill dao when he was young, but he ultimately lacks in practical experience. He may be well versed with many high level classics and fixed pill recipes, but he is too young and poor because of his age. His knowledge might not be able to make up for his lack of experience.” Although Pill King Yu felt a little pity for Pill King Zhen, the former’s admiration hadn’t fallen because of this. In his opinion, Pill King Zhen was only suffering from a lack of age and experience. With his intelligence and power of understanding, he would most likely become a famous pill king in the future.

The rest of the judges were also shaking their heads on the inside after they saw Jiang Chen’s choice of spirit herbs because they’d seen what materials Pill King Rong had selected for himself. These judges were all experts in pill dao. They immediately knew from his choice of materials that he was going to refine a mid level true saint rank pill. It was very impressive that he was able to do this in just one hour’s time. Even if the judges were to take the field themselves, that was likely the best they could’ve come up with. Though this wasn’t the highest possible level of pill they could come up with, Pill King Rong had a ninety chance in winning this battle.

After all, even if the pill master wished to create a high level pill and came up with the materials to do so, two hours were simply insufficient to refine a higher level pill. This two-hour time limit was extremely important in that it prevented either party from creating a higher level pill with the available spirit herbs. There was both the limit on time and materials.

The audience wasn’t as professional as the nine judges, and their insight weren’t as sharp, but they still gleaned a bit from both pill masters’ choice of materials. No matter how they looked at it, the choice of materials made by Taiyuan Lodge’s Pill King Rong were of a much higher level than Pill King Zhen’s.

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