The Zhao Empire was within the Demonic Path’s domain of influence, so they also gained many of the Demonic Path’s simple and direct attributes. There weren’t many curves or roundabouts in how they handled things. Thus, once today’s ‘spar’ began, both sides went directly to the main topic.
“Everyone, please be quiet!” A middle-aged man in blue robes stepped out onto the blue stone platform. Even in this tense and thrilling situation, a gentle smile still hung on his face, making everyone feel subconsciously warm. This was the Four Seasons City Lord’s steward who had appeared outside the Dao Arena that one night – Sun San.
“Today, Chu Taidou has challenged Qin Yu in an alchemy competition. Today, we have invited three esteemed hosts to serve as witnesses for this event. The first is the Four Seasons City Lord, Lord Mei Ruliu.” Sun San respectfully bowed.
If one looked at the name Mei Ruliu alone, one would think they were a beautiful young woman. But, the truth was that this person was a sickly and sallow-faced middle-aged man with a weak and feeble aura. Perhaps because he was tortured by pain, numerous black spots covered his face. While he wasn’t to the point where he scared anyone that looked at him, his appearance still completely destroyed this name that should have been full of beauty and style.
“I have been troubled by illness recently. I just left seclusion the other day, so if little friend Qin Yu feels that I have neglected you in any way, I ask for you not to be offended.” Mei Ruliu smiled. He coughed several times as he spoke, appearing extremely fragile. However, if anyone really believed that he was weak and suffering as much as he appeared to be, they would really be choosing their own death.
The position of City Lord wasn’t a status that a sick and feeble individual could ever hope to ascend to. This Mei Ruliu absolutely wasn’t as harmless as he seemed.
Qin Yu cupped his hands together. “City Lord, there is no need to speak so seriously. I cannot hope to accept your words.”
Mei Ruliu laughed. “I’m glad you don’t mind. We should talk more in the future.” He turned towards Chu Taidou. “Grand Authority Chu once helped me refine a pill. His alchemy skills can be called mystical. Today, I hope that you can both wholeheartedly compete in this challenge and broaden my horizons.” As he finished speaking he turned and took a seat. There was another fit of coughing as he did, and his face flushed red.
Sun San’s manners were incomparably respectful. Once Mei Ruliu sat down, he stood up straight and said, “Second, we have the steward of the Dao Arena’s Four Seasons City Branch Division, Lord Kang Mingqiao.”
Kang Mingqiao smiled and walked forward. “Little friend is the honored guest of my Dao Arena, and as for Grand Authority Chu, I have some friendship with him. I hope that when you two compete against each other today, you will consider your safety first and not injure each other.”
These words seemed directed at someone.
Qin Yu looked at Kang Mingqiao as he sat down. A light flashed in his eyes. It seemed that today’s ‘spar’ wouldn’t be as simple as he thought.
“The third witness is the Honorary Director of the Zhao Empire’s Alchemy Association, Grand Authority Tao Yuan.” As Sun San’s voice fell, numerous people within the grand plaza cried out in alarm.
“The Pill Association’s Honorary Director. That is almost the highest personal honor that an alchemist can obtain. Every chosen candidate stands on the pinnacle of alchemy!” A cultivator shouted out in excitement. “I never expected that this lord director would appear today. If I can hear him give some comments, that would be a tremendous harvest!”
After hearing this, numerous cultivators started to stir restlessly with excitement. The competition hadn’t even begun but the atmosphere within the grand plaza had reached a boiling point.
Tao Yuan had a faint expression. His cheeks were thin and long and his wrinkles seemed chiseled in. He emanated a cold and severe aura. Of course, this could also be interpreted as haughty and indifferent.
Experts of such great skill mostly had cold personalities. Only like this could they display how they were different from all others…but if he kept up this act for the entire time, wouldn’t he eventually become tired?
For some unknown reason, when Qin Yu first glanced at this Honorary Director, he felt he was particularly cold. Then after that, he discovered that this Honorary Director didn’t seem to have any favorable impression towards him.
“My name is Tao Yuan. I was invited here by the Alchemy Association member Chu Taidou to stand here as witness to today’s competition. If your preparations are complete, you may begin.” He mentioned Chu Taidou but didn’t even glance at Qin Yu. This in itself was the greatest form of neglect.
Kang Mingqiao furrowed his eyebrow but a helpless look flashed in his eyes. To his side, Mei Ruliu kept his head hung down, an exhausted expression on his face.
Chu Taidou cupped his hands together and bowed. “I’ve troubled Grandmaster Tao Yuan. Then, my preparations are complete.”
Qin Yu lightly said, “I am also prepared.”
Tao Yuan directly stated, “Today’s competition is divided into three rounds. The first round is refining pills. As alchemists, in the end, our alchemy skills are our most vital asset. But since you both have such extraordinary alchemy skills, it is impossible to use common pills as a test. Thus, in the first round, you must refine an eighth-grade pill within 12 hours. The result will be determined by the quality of the pill.
“The second round will test your soul cultivation. For alchemists refining pills, there are extremely high requirements for one’s divine sense. And the stronger the soul, the stronger one’s divine sense. For the second round, you will enter the Mirage Bead with your divine sense and search for spirit medicines. Those that obtain the most spirit medicines will win. Allow me to remind you; the Mirage Bead has an extremely severe requirement towards one’s divine sense. If you don’t immediately admit defeat upon weakening, there will potentially be great damage caused to your soul.
“The third round will be to treat a patient’s illness. For alchemists, refining pills isn’t just for cultivation. Healing illnesses, saving others from pain and suffering, that is also the responsibility of an alchemist. I have found a patient that is in critical condition who cannot be treated using normal methods. Once someone finds the means to cure their illness and this method is confirmed, that person will be considered the winner.”
Tao Yuan swept his eyes around. “This method of competition is considered the most common amongst high level alchemists of my Alchemy Association and the best way to conduct a comprehensive examination. Chu Taidou already understands this and has indicated he has no opinion about it. Then, Qin Yu, do you agree? If you have any objections you can raise them now. Otherwise, once we begin then the rules cannot be changed.”
Qin Yu smiled. “I agree.” He indeed had no opinion, because in his opinion, he was doomed to beat up Chi Taidou in this competition. If so, why did he care about what methods he used to beat others? In any case, the more he spoke the more time he wasted. Every day that he hadn’t completed the master recognition process for the Soul Summoning Bell was another day where he couldn’t relax.
Tao Yuan finally looked straight at Qin Yu, as if surprised that he agreed so easily. “Very good. Since neither party has any objections, I will announce the beginning of the first round.” He turned around, “City Lord Mei Ruliu, I require your assistance.”
Mei Ruliu looked up. He smiled and nodded, “Alright.” With a flick of his sleeves, two stone buildings rose up from the blue platform. They looked exactly the same. “Grand Authority Chu, little friend Qin Yu, these two stone buildings are connected to the city’s array formation and can isolate perception outside. No one will be able to disturb you, so you can refine pills in peace. Of course, if you still don’t feel assured you can arrange your own array formations. As long as it doesn’t interfere with the pill refining process, everything is permitted.”
Chu Taidou cupped his hands together. “I feel nothing but trust towards the City Lord!” He stepped forwards. “Fellow daoist Qin Yu, I will go in first. We will see each other later.”
Calm and relaxed, he overflowed with confidence.
Many cultivators in the grand plaza widened their eyes, feeling even more confidence in Grand Authority Chu. In particular, as they thought about how the shadow of the Immortal Sect likely hid behind Grand Authority Chu, their confidence in him only increased.
Qin Yu laughed inwardly. When it came to playing around with the minds of others, this Grand Authority Chu really considered himself a master. Did he want to use this method to subconsciously put pressure on him? How ridiculous!
Qin Yu’s figure flickered and he flew towards the other stone building. With a flick of his sleeves, the door opened and he stepped inside.
Ning Liang had an intense look on her face. She clenched her fists together. “Qin Yu, you will definitely win!”
The two stone buildings closed one after another, shutting out everyone’s line of sight. But the observing cultivators didn’t feel bored. This was because Four Seasons City’s great array formation could sense the changes of aura within the stone buildings. Although it was impossible to clearly find out what was happening inside, one could understand the general situation and whether or not the pill refining process proceeded smoothly.
Suddenly, in the skies above Chi Taidou, a mass of crimson light appeared. Although this was only a phantom, as everyone saw it they felt their mouths go dry.
“Grand Authority Chu has lit the furnace fire!”
“This aura…just from looking at it, it makes me feel as if I’m being burnt to ashes. This furnace fire must be incredibly uncommon!”
“I heard that in the past, Grand Authority Chu once refined a variation flame of the heavens and earth into his body. It is almost like divine assistance in refining pills. This must be that flame.”
An hour later, a trace of green appeared in that red furnace flame. Although it was extremely dim inside that mass of red light, it actually gave off a calm and stable feeling. This was a sign that the aura of the pill had appeared, indicating that Chi Taidou had completed the approximate outline of the pill.
And once this outline appeared, it meant he had overcome the great hurdle in refining the pill. After this, he would only need to fill in the medicinal efficacy to refine the pill.
In other words, Chu Taidou had passed the most difficult part in refining the pill.
Countless cultivators revealed looks of praise. While everyone knew that Grand Authority Chu had unfathomably deep alchemy skills, they still felt frightened by what they saw. Was he going to refine an eighth-grade pill in a single try? It had to be known that this was the eighth-grade. It was regarded as the king of pills, the strongest, supreme rank!
Within the Land of Divinity and Demons, those that could refine seventh-grade pill could be called a Grand Authority. As for those that could refine eighth-grade pills…they were Grand Authorities amongst Grand Authorities. Even in the vast and boundless Land of Divinity and Demons, this was an extremely rare sight.
Tao Yuan was one of these people. At this moment he revealed a look of surprise that soon shifted to satisfaction. Chu Taidou really was a talented alchemist. With such a display of strength, there was no need to worry about the result of this competition anymore. This was also good. It meant he only needed to judge the competition impartially and wouldn’t need to go against his own conscience.
Mei Ruliu’s eyes flashed and he immediately sighed. “Grand Authority Chu is truly deep. I feel nothing but admiration!”
Kang Mingqiao revealed a shocked look. His eyes immediately clouded over. Chu Taidou might have the strength to refine an eighth-grade pill, but there was no way he could do this so easily!
There must be a hidden factor!
But since there was no warning from Four Seasons City’s great array formation, it meant that this method was permitted…Qin Yu, things were going to be troublesome now.
Ning Rufeng sighed. “The Immortal Sect is really dreadful. They can actually have Chu Taidou display a level of alchemy skill that far outstrips his original level. Qin Yu will be defeated!”
Ning Liang’s heart shrank and worry flowed in her eyes. Qin Yu…are you really going to lose? This might be good news for me, but why don’t I feel happy at all?
But you don’t need to worry. Even if you lose here today, the Ning Family will help you. Once you enter the Demonic Path’s small world, even the Immortal Sect cannot harm you anymore.
In the skies above Chu Taidou’s stone building, the green light within the red grew increasingly thick, giving off a lively and nimble feeling. Two hours had passed, but not a single sound came from Qin Yu’s stone building. The furnace hadn’t even ignited…it was like he had already given up!
Time continued to pass. Chu Taidou’s pill refinement process continued smoothly like passing clouds and flowing water, without any hiccups at all. By the sixth hour, the green light within the crimson was so rich that it seemed it would flow out.
This proved that Chu Taidou’s pill was nearing completion.
And as expected, once another hour passed, the aura phantom above the stone building suddenly trembled and vanished from sight.
Countless people stared with wide eyes. They watched as the door to the stone building was pushed open from inside and Chu Taidou walked out, calmly holding a jade bottle in his hand. Besides a slightly tired expression, there was almost no change to him.
Under the gaze of countless people, he faintly smiled and said, “I was lucky and didn’t fail. I have refined an eighth-grade pill.”
The light voice, supported by a powerful cultivation, spread throughout the entire grand plaza. What followed afterwards was the sound of many people sucking in a breath of cold air.
Although everyone had already guessed this, once they actually confirmed it, they felt their hearts skip a beat. In a single attempt, Chu Taidou had successfully refined an eighth-grade pill. Moreover, the entire process proceeded smoothly and easily. This in itself was enough to prove how formidable his alchemy skills were.
“Great!” Tao Yuan shouted out loud, a wide smile on his face. “Chu Taidou, I never thought that your alchemy skills would rise to today’s heights. My Zhao Empire’s Pill Association has gained another pillar that can support the heavens. Once this competition is over, I will personally recommend you to be an Honorary Director. This is a status that you deserve.”
Chu Taidou smiled and cupped his hands together. “Thank you, Grandmaster Tao Yuan.” He wasn’t surprised by this result. Although he was happy, he soon composed himself. He turned towards the other stone building, a look of astonishment on his face. “Has Grandmaster Qin Yu not yet started refining his pill?”
Tao Yuan had a cold expression. “Perhaps from the very start he never even tried to refine a pill.”
The meaning behind his words was obvious. Everyone’s thoughts raced and immediately revealed a trace of disdain.
This surname Qin must have thought that Grand Authority Chu also couldn’t refine an eighth-grade pill. This was why he easily agreed to begin with. He probably thought that he would just wait out the time and then both sides would end in a tie. Hum hum! How laughable! If he knew that Grand Authority Chu had only spent six hours to refine an eighth-grade pill, his eyes would probably blow up from widening too much!
A good play would be coming.
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