The atmosphere had shifted before anyone realized. Jiang Chen’s initial showing and disturbance had elicited general dislike because he’d interrupted the lecture. However, he was able to slowly change the crowd’s opinion of him. His performance, bearing, and presence far exceeded Pill King Hong’s. Moreover, Jiang Chen’s statements were extremely inflammatory. It didn’t take long before everyone started thinking that Pill King Hong was an agent of a foreign power here to cause trouble in Veluriyam Capital. As a result, even those who had a favorable impression of Pill King Hong couldn’t curb the beginnings of doubt.
The strong performance that the pill king had projected was being ever whittled away in the face of Jiang Chen’s domineering presence. The lofty image he had strived to build in the people’s hearts slowly crumbled. Folks were more afraid of comparisons than running into someone who knew their true worth. Not only did Jiang Chen’s success made him look utterly wretched, he wasn’t able to answer the young man’s question despite delaying for a long time. It lowered the public’s favorable impression of him even more.
Pill King Hong was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The question sounded simple, but it didn’t matter because he had no idea what the pill was. Do I really have to make a blind guess? After being urged to answer by countless voices, Pill King Hong gritted his teeth and stared at Jiang Chen. “The color of the Azurerune Brightmoon Pill is azure!”
Jiang Chen broke out in peals of laughter. “Did you say that just because the word ‘azure’ is in its name?”
“Just tell us if azure is the answer.” Pill King Hong didn’t want to debate.
Jiang Chen shook his head and smiled leisurely. “You’ll never get it right if you guess blindly. At any rate, allow me to reveal the answer. The color of the Azurerune Brightmoon Pill is pink because its main ingredient is the Brightmoon Flower. The ‘azure rune’ in its name refers to a particular pill rune, not its color.”
Pill King Hong nearly collapsed on the ground when he heard this. It was all just a misdirection! The term “azurerune” had nothing to do with color at all. Loud cheers broke out from all around them. The crowd felt that they had learned something new.
Surprisingly, Pill King Hong didn’t doubt Jiang Chen’s claims. Instead, he glared angrily before declaring, “Just you wait. The second question I’m going to ask is a lot more difficult. There’s no way you can get the correct answer. I will even the points with this next round!”
The young man chuckled. “Even if you manage to best me this round, you still have to answer my questions correctly in order to turn the situation around. Otherwise, you’ll always be a point behind me.”
Jiang Chen had already won the first round, so Pill King Hong would definitely bring out his most difficult questions. Still, Jiang Chen feared no one when it came to pill dao.
“Hmph, don’t get too full of yourself. I’ll win the next round.” Pill King Hong sounded incredibly certain, but also sounded like he was encouraging himself.
“Shoot.” Jiang Chen couldn’t be bothered to waste further breath on him.
“Listen well to this next question. Legends speak of a pill called the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill. How many runes are contained within this pill?”
The Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill? Jiang Chen was slightly surprised. This was a heavenly level pill! He didn’t think that there was anyone in the Divine Abyss Continent who’d ever heard of this pill.
Back when Regal Pill Palace still existed, Elder Yun Nie had spent countless effort to refine the Hexarune Black Dragon Pill. It was a pill that increased one’s chances of breaking through to the sage realm. Jiang Chen had handled the bottleneck the elder was stuck in.
The source of inspiration for the Hexarune Black Dragon Pill was in fact the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill. However, the Hexarune Black Dragon Pill was a lot simpler to refine. It was a simpler version that required a tenth or less skill. Still, the Hexarune Black Dragon Pill was a very attractive pill to a sage realm cultivator.
When it came to the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill, Jiang Chen didn’t think that a pill of that level was common in the Divine Abyss Continent, even during the ancient times. Therefore, he was quite surprised when Pill King Hong brought it up in a question. While he himself was extremely familiar with the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill, he hadn’t thought that anyone else on the Divine Abyss Continent would know of it.
Jiang Chen smiled. “The Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill is a legendary pill. The Hexarune Black Dragon Pill that exists in the pill market right now is in fact a simplified, low-end version of the pill. So I must ask: do you actually know the answer yourself? What if your knowledge is some random information you acquired from unofficial records?”
Pill King Hong actually felt encouraged when he heard Jiang Chen seemingly refusing to answer his question. The young man must be dilly dallying so much because he didn’t have an answer! He wouldn’t have wasted so much breath on such useless words otherwise.
“Hmph, I learned of the pill from an ancient scripture. The scripture is of very authentic origin, so the pill wouldn’t have been recorded if it wasn’t real. Why wouldn’t I know about it?”
Jiang Chen nodded as he examined Pill King Hong calmly. He smiled. “The Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill is a priceless pill. Some pill masters have never even heard about its name. Your wealth of experience surprises me. To think that you’ve heard of the pill!”
“Hmph! Are you going to answer the question or not?” Pill King Hong was displeased.
“The Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill has eighty one horizontal runes, eighty one vertical runes, and six thousand, five hundred and sixty one intersecting runes in total,” Jiang Chen answered smilingly. “My answer is absolutely correct. If it's identical to your answer, then I congratulate you for reading it from a correct source. If not, I must ask you this instead: what kind of trash pill did you mistake as the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill?”
Pill King Hong was completely stunned. He never thought that his opponent would be able to answer such an unusual question. The Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill was something he’d seen by chance from a one and only existing copy of an ancient scripture. He never expected to run into an opponent who also knew the ingredients of the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill. How would Jiang Chen be as informed as he was otherwise?
For a time, Pill King Hong was terribly worried and anxious. His expression betrayed his inner thoughts entirely.
Jiang Chen immediately knew that the pill king knew of the real thing, given the latter’s expression. That being said, knowing and refining it were two different things. Even if the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill was recorded and introduced in the ancient scripture, its refinement method likely wasn’t mentioned anywhere.
Therefore, Pill King Hong knew that the pill existed, but that was as far as the extent of his knowledge went. He wouldn’t have a clue on how to refine the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill and didn’t have the skills to either.
Jiang Chen asked leisurely, “I wonder if your answer is identical to mine?”
Pill King Hong was ashen-faced. He wanted to deny it, but couldn’t because it was part of the gamble. If he lied, the oath he swore would take effect.
“Hmph, lucky bastard. Your blind guess is correct, I suppose!” Although the pill king was almost shell-shocked to the point where he wanted to retreat, he still put on a mask of false bravado.
Jiang Chen didn’t try to explain himself after his opponent refused to give ground. He smiled instead. “Even if it was a blind guess, it's still my luck. I easily ‘guessed’ the answer to your question correctly, but you failed to guess the answer to mine. What does this mean? It means that you are lacking in both skill and luck.”
His words caused Pill King Hong’s complexion to flush red and white.
Jiang Chen spoke indifferently. “Alright, my second question. If you still can’t answer this, then there’s no need to move on to the third question.”
He had already won the first round, so of course there was no need for another round if he won again.
Pill King Hong couldn’t stop his heart from pounding faster. He wasn’t a man who couldn’t take a loss, but the consequences of losing this round were larger than he could handle. He might actually be in grave trouble this time. Still, he had no choice but to see things through. He snorted coldly. “Shoot. I don’t believe you’ll have another question that I can’t answer!”
Jiang Chen smiled coolly in response. “My second question isn’t complicated either. How many pill runes are there in the Connation Fireflow Pill.”
The Connation Fireflow Pill was also a pill that Jiang Chen had learned of in his past life. Although the pill didn’t have the word “rune” in its name, it was still one of the many formation style pills out there.
Pill King Hong’s brain buzzed with panic. He’d never heard the name before! He would’ve remembered such a uniquely named pill if he had read it somewhere. Sweat beaded the pill king’s forehead. The Connation Fireflow Pill? What was with this weird name?
The pill king couldn’t help but ask, “Are you really sure this pill has to do with pill runes? How can it be when it doesn’t have the word “rune” in its name? Are you really sure it belongs to this faction?”
Jiang Chen showed a hint of playfulness on his face and started jeering in earnest.
“Now your ignorance is completely exposed. It’s true that “rune” isn’t part of its name, but it still has to do with pill runes. If you’re looking for something to blame for your loss, look to your shallow knowledge, experience, and foundation. I’ll give you one last chance to answer my question? If you don’t, it means that you’ve lost twice in a row and consequently the bet as well.”
Pill King Hong instantly turned deathly pale and morose. Was he going to give up just like this? Was he going to admit defeat and surrender the name of the mastermind who’d sent him?
He didn’t want to!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This chapter in honor of Kingsmill's beautiful alliteration play in the comments! Pika! right back atcha. :D
This chapter has some semi-decent face slappin'. Btw, if any translators are reading SOTR, InVader (who translates TE) needs a new translator for xuanhuan God of Illusions, because the man is just too swamped! Please send in a note if you're interested~