Chapter 363: A First Glimpse at the Five Elements
Inwardly, Zhou Dekun was constantly cursing, although he wasn’t sure exactly who he should be cursing. He was filled with consternation and regret.
The man named Yan frowned. He was starting to think that this Holy Snow City was really annoying. All he wanted to do was take a look at that medicinal pill. And yet after all this time, he hadn’t been able to lay eyes on it for even a second.
Face grim, he turned slowly to look at the young man.
Hanxue Zong had been watching everything that was happening. He gave a slight smile, and then his body flickered; a moment later, he was standing directly in front of Zhou Dekun.
First Elder suddenly said, “Hanxue Zong, I don’t know why you’re not dead yet, but….”
“But what?” he said with a laugh, cutting off First Elder. “The reason I’m not dead is because the old man was soft-hearted. However, his soft-heartedness hasn’t influenced my cultivation. I have nothing to do with the Frigid Snow Clan now. I’m a vassal of the Five Moons Tribe of the Western Desert, and I’m responsible for eradicating Holy Snow City! Furthermore, I’ve heard of this Grandmaster Zhou, and I’m interested in seeing for myself what his Dao of alchemy is like.”
The surrounding Cultivators immediately broke out into an uproar. The four Grand Elders’ faces were unsightly. After all, the old man among the group of three was at the great circle of the late Nascent Soul stage. His aura was threatening to the extreme, causing great pressure to bear down on everyone.
“Oh, don’t worry,” said Hanxue Zong with a slight smile. “Nobody understands Holy Snow City and its resources better than me. But I’m not here today to fight. I just want to see this Grandmaster Zhou in an alchemy duel! The stakes are a grand bit of good fortune! Or maybe you could say the difference between life and death. Whoever wins, I promise that the Western Desert Cultivators won’t attack the city for three months. That should give you plenty of time to prepare. Although, if you refuse, well….” It was at this point that shouts suddenly rang out from beyond the city walls. Prismatic beams of light shone in the air as a sea of wild animals appeared.
Spell formations glittered in the sky, surrounding everything with an intense pressure.
The Cultivators in the square were all shocked by the sight. Everyone in all of Holy Snow City looked up, minds reeling. The four Grand Elders’ faces were extremely unsightly.
Hanxue Zong’s appearance meant that all their previous preparations were now flawed. They would definitely need time to make adjustments. They weren’t sure why he was giving them three months’ time, but even if it was a trap, the Frigid Snow Clan had no choice but to leap into it. They needed those three months.
Hanxue Zong laughed as he looked at the Frigid Snow Clan Grand Elders. “However, it seems circumstances are a bit different now. Grandmaster Zhou isn’t willing to produce his medicinal pill. If Mr. Yan is willing, then why not first have a little competition with this youngster. That way, Grandmaster Zhou will be able to see if Mr. Yan’s Dao of alchemy can be taken seriously.”
First Elder looked a bit embarrassed, and was already quite irritated at Zhou Dekun. Second Elder was thinking the same thing. They had taken Zhou Dekun at face value, and determined that he was truly a Grandmaster. But now, it seemed he wasn’t willing to show off any of his skill, and was instead pushing someone else to do so.
They weren’t sure how to handle the situation.
First Elder frowned as he considered the situation. Finally, he sighed and looked over at Meng Hao. “Young friend, we would like to request that you concoct a pill. Regarding the matter of the Frigid Snow Larva, we can renegotiate after the current matter is settled. What do you say?”
Meng Hao smiled. He really didn’t want to cause Zhou Dekun to lose face. But as far as anyone else was concerned, he wouldn’t hesitate to humiliate anyone when it came to the Dao of alchemy, especially some self-proclaimed Eastern Lands alchemist.
So, he responded to First Elder with a nod.
Before he could even finish nodding, a flash of irritation could be seen on Yan’s face. Obviously, he thought Grandmaster Zhou suspected his Dao of alchemy and wanted to use this method to probe him out.
With a cold harrumph, Yan glanced over Meng Hao and then looked back toward Zhou Dekun. With clasped hands, he said, “I am Yan Song, of Mount Alchemy in the Eastern Lands.” This, of course, was the formal introduction before an alchemy duel. However, despite competing with Meng Hao, Yan Song obviously took it as a duel with Zhou Dekun. 
Zhou Dekun gave a bitter laugh in his heart. He was even more nervous and perturbed now. As far as he was concerned, everything on this day was a huge misunderstanding. However, there was no way to resolve the issue now.
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as usual. Seeing that this was an official alchemy duel, he took a deep breath and was about to introduce himself in the formal way when Yan Song flicked his wide sleeve.
“There’s no need for you to speak,” he said. “I’m not interested in your name or where you’re from. Just make the best medicinal pill you can make, alright?”
The disregard made Meng Hao frown.
Yan Song lifted up his hand, hovering above which was a pill furnace. Suddenly a flame emerged from his palm. This was no ordinary flame, but rather Nascent Soul fire. Only Nascent Soul Cultivators with a Fire-type Nascent Soul can produce such a flame.
The flame was reddish-orange and sent ripples out through the air. It took only a moment for the pill furnace hovering above his palm to turn bright red. Yan Song slapped his bag of holding to produce several small white bags, each of which was filled with various powders.
He measured out various portions of powder and then fed them into the pill furnace. Meng Hao narrowed his eyes at the sight of this, and Zhou Dekun took a deep breath.
“He’s not concocting pills with plants….”
“In Mount Alchemy in the Eastern Lands, we don’t concoct pills with plants,” said Yan Song coolly. “We use the five elements as the foundation. By procuring objects which conform to the five elements, then reducing them to powder, we can use the power of the five elements to concoct pills. This is the true great path of the Dao of alchemy!” His pill furnace began to emit intense rumbling sounds. Suddenly, dark clouds began to gather in the sky above and peals of thunder rang out.
Zhou Dekun’s heart began to race with alarm. It was obvious that the clouds up above were Pill Tribulation!
The surrounding Cultivators were shocked, and the four Grand Elders were breathing raggedly. They didn’t understand much about the Dao of alchemy, but they had heard of Pill Tribulation. To see it with their own eyes caused their hearts to tremble.
Yan Song glanced up proudly at the Tribulation. “In the Eastern Lands, we don’t worry about Pill Tribulation. In fact, inducing Pill Tribulation lets us harness the power of lightning, allowing the full power of the five elements to be unleashed!” As he spoke, booming sounds filled the air as multiple bolts of lightning shot down toward the pill furnace. In the blink of an eye, the lightning bolts merged together into a massive sheet of lightning
Yan Song lifted his head up and howled. He slapped the pill furnace with his left hand, causing the lid to open. A six-colored medicinal pill flew out, which Yan Song grabbed. Immediately, the clouds up above dissipated. However, the lightning continued to fall downward, slamming into the ground around Yan Song, making him look completely shocking.
“Unfortunately, the process was a bit rushed,” said Yan Song, glancing over at Meng Hao. “The end result is not the best it could be.” He then looked at Zhou Dekun, his eyes flashing, as if he were throwing down the proverbial gauntlet.
Zhou Dekun maintained his noble visage, but his heart was trembling violently.
Meng Hao’s eyes flickered in thought for a moment. Then, he waved his right hand to produce a pill furnace.
Yan Song glanced at Meng Hao’s pill furnace, and his previous tranquil expression began to fill with a proud aura. This was a look he hadn’t displayed when interacting with Zhou Dekun. Now that he was dealing with Meng Hao, however, he naturally acted differently.
However, after looking at the pill furnace for a moment, a look of surprise flitted across Yan Song’s face momentarily. This was the pill furnace Meng Hao had acquired in the Black Sieve Sect, the Ten Thousand Refinements furnace. [2. Meng Hao got the Ten Thousand Refinements furnace in chapter 257]
The instant Zhou Dekun saw the pill furnace, his mind began to spin. He had seen a Ten Thousand Refinements furnace before that looked almost exactly like the one Meng Hao currently held in his hand. When it came to pill furnaces, to find two that looked exactly the same, especially a Ten Thousand Refinements furnace, might not be a common occurrence, but wasn’t impossible.
Zhou Dekun hesitated for a moment and then suppressed his suspicions.
As for Meng Hao, his eyes glittered as he hefted the pill furnace in his right hand. Inside of him, the East Pill Everburning Flame kindled to life and then emerged to fill his palm. The flame itself was invisible, but the air around Meng Hao’s hand twisted and distorted.
The sight of it caused Yan Song’s eyes to narrow. For the first time, a look of doubt appeared on his face.
Based on an alchemist’s concocting technique, it was possible to get a vague impression of his Dao of alchemy. Yan Song could instantly see that Meng Hao’s techniques were beyond ordinary. That was especially true of the intangible flame which Meng Hao wielded. His heart filled with shock.
“That flame….” he thought. His heart filled with hesitation.
It was not the first time that Zhou Dekun saw Meng Hao’s invisible flame, but this time, he examined it more closely than the before. After detailed examination, his heart began to flutter. However, his face was still plastered with the same enigmatic expression. He sported a slight smile, along with a look of commendation, as if watching someone of the junior generation concoct pills made him very happy.
The look on his face made everyone in the audience feel reassured that everything that was happening was all part of Zhou Dekun’s plan, and that he really felt it beneath his dignity to let Yan Song look at his medicinal pill.
Inwardly, Zhou Dekun sighed. He felt bitter and nervous, and yet, also a bit proud. What he didn’t notice was that Hanxue Zong was looking at him with an expression of intense interest.
Meanwhile, after a moment’s thought, Meng Hao slapped his bag of holding to produce a medicinal plant. As soon as it appeared, he crushed it into a powder and fed it into the pill furnace.
For him to do so with only one medicinal plant was nothing special. However, Meng Hao subsequently pulled out one medicinal plant after another. Each one he crushed up into a powder before placing it into the pill furnace. This caused Yan Song to frown, and then smile coldly.
“So you want to imitate my five elements method of pill concoction,” said Yan Song coolly. “Well, I think you really overestimate your capabilities. You might be good at concocting pills, but when it comes to my five elements concoction method, unless your skill in the Dao of alchemy exceeds mine, then you will never succeed!” However, as soon as he looked at Zhou Dekun, his heart began to pound. Zhou Dekun’s expression was one of complete calm. His profoundly mysterious aura made Yan Song suddenly feel a bit uncertain.
This chapter was sponsored by Terrance Sims, Pedro Pulido, and Daniel Swisher