Chapter 771: The Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma [1. In Chinese, this name is derived from puzzles often found in Chinese weiqi/Japanese Go. The stones are set on a weiqi board in a predetermined pattern, and it’s up to the player to determine the proper moves to finish it. Decans are 36 groups of stars used in Ancient Egypt astronomy as well as the East Asian zodiac. In the zodiac, the groups of stars form clusters known as the 36 Calendar Animals. There are four main clusters, with each cluster made up of nine deity animals. The four clusters represent the cardinal directions, and each cluster is further divided into triads of animals.]
Although Pill King Yu wasn’t sure where House Wei’s guest pill king come from, privately speaking, he admired Jiang Chen more of the two competitors. This was because of the three pills Jiang Chen had brought out. Despite their average rank, they had all been incredibly pure, with a level of quality that couldn’t be found at the hands of an average pill master. Moreover, all three pills had a unique personal style that Pill King Yu thought he’d encountered in the past. He just wasn’t able to put his finger on it. Be it the Tiger Eruption Pill, the Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill or the Heptarune True Dragon Pill, they all possessed the marks of a confident master’s hand. These pills were quite extraordinary. If he wasn’t a judge who was ensuring the match’s fairness, Pill King Yu would’ve admitted that he liked Taiyuan Tower’s pills more.
The reason Taiyuan Lodge had been able to win was because its pills was of a higher rank. To put it bluntly, they were just bullying the weak. They were using emperor rank pills to compete against true saint rank or even saint rank pills. Although they’d won the stage, their victory rang slightly hollow. Moreover, everyone knew where the Longevity Pill came from. Even Pill King Yu himself didn’t believe that Taiyuan Lodge had the capability to refine the Longevity Pill. It was likely the force who’d obtained the Longevity Pill’s pill recipe who had refined it. They had probably only entrusted the Majestic Clan with selling them.
Of course, the rules said nothing about the store refining their pills with their own hands. A consigned batch of products was still within the rules. Although Pill King Yu admired Taiyuan Tower’s pills more, he couldn’t go against his conscience and claim that the Longevity Pill wasn’t comparable to the Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill. Even if he did, the rest of the judges wouldn’t do the same.
Yet, House Wei’s pill king was actually calling out to Taiyuan Lodge with absolute confidence and fearlessness. His fighting will surprised even Pill King Yu. Regardless of the final outcome, Pill King Yu had to admit to feeling some sympathy and admiration for House Wei. After all, House Wei had proven themselves to possess genuine talent and skill. The fact that a ninth rank aristocratic family could resist the Majestic Clan this far was an incredible feat already. With Pill King Yu’s intelligence, how could he not notice that the grudge between Taiyuan Lodge and Taiyuan Tower was a ploy by the Majestic Clan to suppress House Wei?
Taiyuan Tower had sent their invitation to him early on, whereas Taiyuan Lodge’s invitation had only reached him last night. It was obvious from this alone that Taiyuan Lodge was aiming for Taiyuan Tower. To put it bluntly, the Majestic Clan had affixed House Wei in its crosshairs from the beginning. Pill King Yu was a person of great virtue and prestige. Although he had seen much darkness in this world, he hadn’t lost sight of what was right and what was wrong as a pill king. Even though his sentiment wasn’t so strong that he would unequivocally support House Wei, emotionally speaking, he was absolutely leaning towards their side. He stared rather meaningfully at Jiang Chen before casting a second glance at Pill King Rong of the Majestic Clan. Pill King Yu cleared his throat and spoke again, “The second stage of the first set is an ancient enigma. I’d come across this once in an ancient scripture long ago. To be honest, even after several hundred years of research, I have yet to crack all its mysteries…” At this point, Pill King Yu waved his hands. “I have two scrolls here written with a set of materials each. To be specific, 36 types of spirit herbs. The contents of the scrolls are completely identical. Your task is to use these 36 materials to brainstorm as many pill recipes as you can. The more the better. Whoever comes up with the most pill recipes wins the round. You have one hour. Remember, these spirit materials can be used infinitely. If you’ve written it down in one pill recipe, you can use it again in another pill recipe.”
Once he was finished, Pill King Yu shook his sleeves slightly and delivered the scrolls into Jiang Chen and Pill King Rong’s hands. Pill King Rong looked excited. It so happened that the pill recipe composition was one of his strengths. The thing he loved to research the most in his life was none other than the assembly and disassembly of all kinds of pill recipes. Jiang Chen revealed nothing on his face. When he received the scroll, he looked through it and felt the shapes of all thirty six spirit herbs flashing past his mind. Jiang Chen smiled inwardly when he looked through roughly thirty spirit herbs. He immediately figured out the true identity of the ‘ancient enigma’ Pill King Yu spoke of.
It was indeed an ‘ancient enigma’, and a very old one at that. This was because Jiang Chen had seen this enigma once or twice during his era. It possessed a very nice sounding name, the ‘Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma’. It was called thus because this puzzle contained a total of thirty six spirit herbs, and they secretly corresponded to the thirty six calendar animals of the skies. It also just so happened that these thirty six spirit materials could produce a total of thirty six pill recipes, not one more and not one less.
It was impossible for the puzzle to contain even one more pill recipe. But if the answer lacked even one pill recipe, the enigma was imperfect. Countless pill dao seniors had spent who knew how much effort to put together the ultimate list for this ancient enigma. It was an exquisite pill riddle that countless geniuses wanted to crack. Those who couldn’t solve it wanted to complete it even at the cost of their life. As for those who knew the 36 solutions, they wanted to overturn the answer key and come up with a 37th pill formula with equal determination. Unfortunately, no one had ever been able to come up with a thirty seventh recipe, despite the relentless efforts of countless pill dao masters.
Jiang Chen never imagined that this Pill King Yu would know the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. However, it sounded like he hadn’t mastered this pill enigma yet. Had he only heard of its reputation or understood only part of it? Either way, it wasn’t Jiang Chen’s problem, so he picked up his brush and paper and began writing in a masterful manner. He remembered this Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma so well that he could write it down backwards. He filled out all thirty six pill recipes of the puzzle in less than fifteen minutes.
It wasn’t as if this pill enigma was some supremely confidential industry knowledge. To put it bluntly, it was just an interesting interlude of the pill industry. It was just like scholars who challenged customers with rhymed couplets, or chess players who studied all kinds of ancient chess puzzles.
“Are you done?” Pill King Yu was stunned when Jiang Chen suddenly stood up and turned in his paper. He never thought that Jiang Chen would finish in just fifteen minutes’ time. An entire hour had been allocated for the round, but House Wei’s pill king was turning in his answer already? Was this fellow just giving up? If that really was the case, then Pill King Yu would have to withdraw that bit about admiring Pill King Zhen earlier. Pill King Yu’s original impression of House Wei’s pill king was favorable, but if he was a weak minded person who gave up so easily, then he would not amount to much in the pill field. After accepting Jiang Chen’s scroll with a flash of disappointment, Pill King Yu responded indifferently, “Please be seated and wait. The allotted time isn’t up yet, and we cannot review your answer until then.”
That was the proper rule. Taiyuan Lodge’s Pill King Rong was still busy racking his brains on the other side. Every onlooker were stunned when they saw Pill King Rong so deep in thought and Taiyuan Tower’s pill king submitting his answer so early.
What’s going on? Pill King Rong, the sixth rank pill king well known for his research in pill recipes was looking harried, but the unknown Pill King Zhen of Taiyuan Tower had turned in his answer in less than fifteen minutes? This scene puzzled and surprised people to no end.
“I told you, didn’t I? This Pill King Zhen of Taiyuan Tower is definitely a spy sent to House Wei by the Majestic Clan. He’s a trap!”
“Hah, I’m actually starting to believe you a little. It does look like he’s fooled House Wei.”
“Sigh, can he at least not make it so obvious that he’s screwing over his victims? Turning in his answer in fifteen minutes is just…”
Jiang Chen’s actions had once again drawn the suspicion of onlookers at the scene. After all, his behavior were just too unusual. However, Jiang Chen returned to his own seat and looked completely unmoved by the comments tossed in his direction. His consciousness would occasionally flit over to the judges. In reality, he understood that he didn’t need to worry about foul play. It was impossible that the judges would change his scroll or aid Pill King Rong in cheating.
The calmer Jiang Chen became, the more anxious and paranoid Pill King Rong became. Onlookers could freely suspect Jiang Chen of being a spy, but Pill King Rong knew that this Pill King Zhen of Taiyuan Tower certainly wasn’t a member of the Majestic Clan. Since he wasn’t sent by the Majestic Clan to trap House Wei, there shouldn’t be any reason to give up just like that. But if he hadn’t given up, then why did he turn in his answer so early? It couldn’t be that he had come up with enough pill recipes to be assured of a complete victory? He refused to believe this. There was simply no way a nameless small fry could possess such skill!
For a moment or two, Pill King Rong wasn’t able to calm down at all. It was Wang Teng who picked up some clues to his mood and sent a message to Pill King Rong, “Don’t panic. That kid may be trying to disturb your mind so that you lose your concentration. Don’t fall for his trap and just perform at your usual level!”
Pill King Rong trembled slightly when Wang Teng’s reminder reached his ears. Taking a breath, he calmed down. He concentrated on the enigma once more and studied it seriously.
On the other side, Jiang Chen wasn’t looking at Pill King Rong at all. He wasn’t even looking towards the opposite side. Pill King Rong’s performance wasn’t concerning him in the slightest. No matter how well he performed, the prerequisite to even get a draw with Jiang Chen was to master the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. In other words, this match was going to be a draw at best.
But if his opponent had mastered the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma beforehand, then he wouldn’t be scratching his head anxiously and furrowing his eyebrows in thought. He should’ve turned in his answer a long time ago just like Jiang Chen. That was why Jiang Chen’s mindset was as firm as a mountain. He’d known early on that this round was his already. Meanwhile, House Wei was unsure as to what Jiang Chen was planning. Thankfully, they had seen all sorts of miracles from Jiang Chen, so they didn’t try to interrupt him, even though they itched to do. However, they weren’t able to hide their anxiety from appearing on their face.
Finally, the hour passed. Although Pill King Rong was feeling a little reluctant, he turned in his paper obediently. He also shot a fierce glare at Jiang Chen in passing, as if it could increase his morale and aid him in beating his enemy. Jiang Chen smiled disdainfully and swept his glance right past Pill King Rong like he was watching an idiot preen.
Now that both scrolls had been turned in, Pill King Yu was anxious to look at Jiang Chen’s answer. He had been observing Jiang Chen since the beginning, and didn’t find any signs of the impatience he’d expected. So why had he turned in his answers so early?
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