Chapter 775: The Triphase Pill
Jiang Chen had never underperformed on the matter of pills. Though it was only a small display of skill, the requisite degree of technique for this segment was rather high. Only experts could appreciate artistry; the rest were just along for the ride. Jiang Chen's plain choice of materials was universally deemed mediocre, because no depth of skill could be appreciated from the act. But when Jiang Chen began to show his fire-controlling skills, the experts present began to recognize his finesse.
Moreover, the methodology that followed caused more than a little head-scratching. It completely defied common expectations. The materials were thrown in with almost careless abandon. It seemed completely random. In that moment, even Pill King Yu was perplexed by the eccentricity of Jiang Chen's technique. What pill is he refining, really?
Pill King Yu was more than a little confounded. Jiang Chen's technique seemed to follow no rhyme or reason, and very little about it looked routine. Usually when making pills, the timing of inserting materials and how the fire should be controlled followed a series of rigid steps. A certain mastery and precision of heat and timing was needed. Doubtless, Jiang Chen's haphazard technique would have left a terrible impression on any pill king with a serious and inflexible personality. How was this attitude suitable for making pills? He was playing like a child!
However, after a period of careful observation, Pill King Yu noticed a hidden order to Jiang Chen's madness. Though his placement of materials seemed random, there was still some logic to it, although not a pattern of thinking normal people could make heads or tails of.
"Pill King Zhen uses some strange techniques, but there’s a pattern. Each time, he first puts in an earth element spirit herb, then a wood element, then a fire element … this cycle is repeated three times, for a total of nine ingredients. ...Hmm? What a unique pill-making technique. Isn't it too simple with only materials from three elements? How would such monotonous elements be fused together?" Pill King Yu gleaned little insights from his observations. Though he didn’t miss a single detail, he couldn't put the full picture together. He was utterly mystified by the proceedings.
"Pill King Yu, Taiyuan Tower's pill king… what pill is he making?" Another judge poked his head over, asking in hushed tones. The other judges' faces were similarly lit up with curiosity. Jiang Chen's bizarre actions were too difficult for them to understand.
Pill King Yu smiled wryly, scratching at his head of white hair. "I can't make anything of it either. His choice of material and methodologies are too radical. If he's not just playing, then the only thing that comes to mind is that school that’s almost died out…"
"The Deviant Pill Faction?" Another pill king to the side piped up as a lightbulb flashed. The other judges turned solemn as well at the three words 'Deviant Pill Faction'. That faction?
It was a pill faction that was almost legendary. Rumors had been circulating for ages, but a true master of the faction was exceedingly rare. A few pills from that faction circulated through the open markets every so often, but many of those pills were such in form only, not in spirit. Though they claimed to be of the Deviant Pill Faction, they lacked the various essential qualities that were their trademark. Many followed the faction, but pill masters worthy of the name were pitiably few. Oftentimes, pill masters merely borrowed from the methods of the faction, or grasped only a few basics. They couldn't be counted as purists of the faction at all.
But, even so, as a mysterious faction in the pill world, the Deviant Pill Faction enjoyed an excellent reputation. Though some traditional pill factions were dismissive of the Deviant Pill Faction, and felt it was far too unorthodox for the mainstream, their discrimination and disdain was understandable. For the past thousand years or so, no master of the faction had risen in the Divine Abyss Continent. Let alone pill emperors, few pill kings were found worthy of representing the faction. Thus, the Deviant Pill Faction was quite a divisive topic for many. Those who worshipped the faction, and those who despised it—both sides took their views to the extremes. Of course, most pill experts didn't have such ardent views. They were amenable to learning from the philosophy of the faction without blindly worshipping it, and moreover would never go to the extent of declaring it worthless.
The sight of Jiang Chen's peculiar technique, coupled with Pill King Yu's reminder, shed a ray of sudden light into the hearts of those present. If not the Deviant Pill Faction, where else could such unusual pill-making techniques be found?
"It is said that the Deviant Pill Faction specializes in creating the extraordinary out of the ordinary. They focus on making high rank pills with low rank medicine. I wonder if this Pill King Zhen can show us such a miracle?" Out of the nine judges, two were rabid fans of the faction. The one who had spoken was an eighth rank pill king.
"Hmph, many up-and-coming youngsters call themselves adherents of the faction, but which one of that rabble has actually made a name for themselves? Ultimately, the Deviant Pill Faction is just that—a bunch of deviants." With fanatic admirers came stubborn critics.
"Haha, Pill King Zhao, your thoughts do not keep up with the times. With the Deviant Pill Faction, one is either a great genius whose name resounds under the heavens, or falls to the wayside." Hearing criticism of the faction, the enthusiast who'd spoken prior fired off a displeased retort.
"Great genius?" Pill King Zhao sneered. "Then let us see what tricks he has up his sleeve. Deviant Pill Faction, heh heh…"
Pill King Yu didn't quite have a dog in the fight. He paid more mind to the techniques themselves. From his perspective, House Wei's Pill King Zhen was very likely a genius with actual skill, and not someone who merely made empty boasts. Two hours was a short time, but waiting through these two in particular was particularly arduous. An anxious fire was lit in people's hearts. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the results, judges included.
In the Veluriyam Capital, observing techniques from the Deviant Pill Faction was exceedingly rare. Though some works surfaced from time to time, the pill masters behind those works never revealed their pill-making process. All of the faction's techniques were to be treasured in private, not casually shown to the masses. Their opportunity to publicly peruse Jiang Chen's technique was a rare occurrence indeed. Despite this, their ability to actually decipher the technique was uncertain, even after potentially watching it a dozen or hundred times. After all, there were many hidden details embedded within the techniques that couldn't be interpreted without extensive guidance. It was nearly impossible to decrypt the technique on one's own.
Time passed, and the two hours neared their conclusions.
Refining the pill was greatly taxing for Jiang Chen. Thankfully, everything went mostly according to plan, and he was just about to wrap things up. Nevertheless, Jiang Chen couldn't relax. Expertly making various hand seals without pause, Jiang Chen's fingers danced in the air.
"The Triphase Pill usually takes four to six hours to make. Compressing it into two really takes its toll." Jiang Chen felt a little fatigued, but he also felt very comfortable. He had a feeling that the batch of Triphase Pills would turn out well. At the same time, he rejoiced in his good fortune. "This kind of time saving refining process takes too much energy. I should be more careful about attempting it in the future."
As Jiang Chen slowly extinguishing the final embers of his flame, the temperature within the Skysnatcher Cauldron began to decrease. Tricolored smoke began to curl upward from the vessel. From the color of the smoke and the resonance of the pills audible to his Ear of the Zephyr, Jiang Chen knew that the risk he had taken had paid off. The time it took for the Skysnatcher Caudron to completely cool also signaled the conclusion of the two hours.
Opening the cauldron, Jiang Chen was greeted by the sight of six Triphase Pills. Like well-worn jade, they gave off strong waves of vitality. His eyes lit up. The rank of these Triphase Pills were even better than he expected. Even if they could no be counted as quasi-earth rank pills, they were still peak true saint rank.
On the opposite side, Pill King Rong’s refining was also coming to an end. His smile of satisfaction was a clear giveaway that he had been able to bring his skills almost fully to bear. As expected, he was the first to the judges' table.
"Honorable judges, I had the fortune of refining several Jade Marrow Pills of the true saint rank. Please feel free to give your judgment." The results that Pill King Rong submitted were not out of the judges' expectations. It had been easy to guess the pill king's intent of refining the Jade Marrow Pill from his choice of ingredients.
The Jade Marrow Pill was a true saint rank pill. Even a poorly made one would still be a lower true saint rank. A pill that was of somewhat better quality could be counted a mid true saint pill. If purity and flawlessness were achieved, then it was quite possible to appraise the pill as an advanced true saint pill. The Jade Marrow Pill was also a pill for restoring energy and was a commonly found pill. It was used by many sage realm experts. It was especially appropriate for human sage realm experts, but could also be used for those in the earth sage realm. For sky sage experts, however, the Jade Marrow Pill was somewhat insufficient.
Naturally, there was an improved version of the pill, the Jade Marrow Goldpill. As the improved version of the Jade Marrow Pill, the Jade Marrow Goldpill was specifically made for sky sage realm cultivators, and was of use even to those in the emperor realm.
Supposedly, those at initial emperor realm used Jade Marrow Goldpills when they were strapped for money. If one wasn't enough, two were better. Of course, despite a difference of only one word, there was nevertheless a significant distinction between the Jade Marrow Pill and the Jade Marrow Goldpill.
Pill King Rong's Jade Marrow Pill had been limited by the amount of available time, and didn't quite achieve perfection. Its wholeness and purity were both a little lacking. After a round of examination, several of the judges came to a reasonably unified opinion. The pill was mid true saint rank at most. The rest of the judges gave their feedback to Pill King Yu, who found nothing wrong with their judgement, and announced, "Taiyuan Lodge's Pill King Rong has refined the Jade Marrow Pill, appraised as a mid true saint rank pill."
A flurry of cheers from Taiyuan Lodge's side accompanied this announcement. Mid true saint rank was the most they'd expected. Materials and time had been both limited; that Pill King Rong was able to accomplish this in the short span of two hours was testament to his status as a sixth rank pill king. He had truly made the most of the situation. Those on Taiyuan Lodge's side threw looks of ridicule and derision at the Wei father and son duo. What did Taiyuan Tower have that could compare to a mid true saint rank pill? Though the work of Taiyuan Tower's pill king remained to be seen, everyone considered their loss to be certain!