“There are three methods to deal with this poison,” said the old man, collecting the bag of holding. “The third method is to simply alleviate the pain caused by the poison. There are three types of Spirit Fruit that you can eat which will have this effect.
“A second method can be used to suppress the effects of the poison and also reduce the frequency of the flareups. For this, you need a Spring and Autumn tree. One tree can suppress the poison for one year. By the way, this type of tree is actually capable of doing more than just suppressing a vast variety of poisons. It’s very rare, but not impossible to acquire. The only down side is that using it will cause the poisoning will deepen. Also that the rebound effect is severe; if the time comes when you cannot suppress the poison any more, it will erupt violently, and you will be unable to dispel it.
“As for completely eliminating the poison, and this is the first method, it’s actually quite simple. Find someone of the senior generation who is in the Spirit Severing stage. They can easily eliminate the poison for you using the power of the Spirit Severing stage.
“Very well, seeing how readily you spend such quantities of Spirit Stones, I might as well tell you of a fourth method. If you somehow have the good fortune to acquire a Poison Dispelling Pill personally concocted by Grandmaster Pill Demon, then you could use it to completely eliminate the poison.
“However,” said the old man calmly, “Grandmaster Pill Demon holds a lofty position in the Violet Fate Sect. It would be very difficult.”
Meng Hao thought for a moment, then without another word, pulled out another bag of holding. He cared a lot about Spirit Stones, but they were simple material possessions which could not compare to the value of his own life.
The old man accepted the bag of holding, eyes glittering, and a smile appeared on his face.
“I know what question you’re going to ask.”
“Where can I buy it!” asked Meng Hao coldly, his expression grim.
“There’s no way for outsiders to know about this, yet. But considering my status, I’m special, so I happen to have heard the news. In a month, a trading caravan from the Western Desert will arrive here. When they do, the Hundred Treasures Pavilion will host an auction. One of the items they will be selling is Spring and Autumn tree.
“Hundred Treasures Pavilion?” Meng Hao’s eyes flashed as he thought back to the Hundred Treasures Pavilion in Eastern Refinement City in the State of Zhao. 1
Meng Hao stood, and with a last glance at the old man, turned and walked to the door. When he opened it, the first thing he saw was a refined, beautiful woman. Their eyes met for a brief moment.
“Middle Foundation Establishment stage!” thought Meng Hao. His face showed nothing as he walked forward. The woman in white’s expression was normal. As Meng Hao left, she walked into the shop. As she did, her brow furrowed slightly, and she looked back at Qiu Lin and Meng Hao as they walked off.
“He seems familiar, but I can’t remember where I’ve seen him before.” Chu Yuyan didn’t pay much more attention to it. The year she had seen Meng Hao on the top of the East Mountain of the Reliance Sect, he had only been at the sixth level of Qi Condensation. Even though he had snatched away Wang Tengfei’s chance at joining the Inner Sect, Chu Yuyan hadn’t paid much attention to him at all. Six years had passed since then, and she had long since forgotten about him. [1 If you want to re-experience the introduction of Chu Yuyan and Wang Xifan, you can re-read chapter 35]
She had forgotten Meng Hao, but he hadn’t forgotten her!
Meng Hao couldn’t possibly forget the middle-aged Dao Protector who had stood there that night. Neither could he forget the woman who had seemed to be on such intimate terms with Wang Tengfei.
“That was definitely her….” Meng Hao walked faster, his expression cold, but his thoughts racing. Based on her reaction, she hadn’t recognized him. In any case, he had changed a lot recently, especially in terms of his Cultivation base. It would be difficult for anyone to connect the current Meng Hao with the old one.
“I was a nobody back then. She seemed so close with Wang Tengfei; she must be the disciple of a great Sect. I wouldn’t have made any sort of impression on her. But her Cultivation base is in the middle of the Foundation Establishment stage. I wonder… I wonder what Wang Tengfei’s Cultivation base is like nowadays?” He thought back to everything that had happened that year, and barely perceptible cold smile appeared on his face.
Qiu Lin walked beside him, looking thoughtful. He looked back, and then suddenly stopped walking.
“Now I know! That was Chu Yuyan!” he said.
“Chu Yuyan?” asked Meng Hao, his expression flickering as he looked back at Qiu Lin. “You mean the woman back there?”
“Yeah,” said Qiu Lin excitedly. “She’s a Chosen from the Violet Fate Sect, and also one of the Four Great Beauties of the Southern Domain. That was definitely her!”
“Oh?” Meng Hao’s eyes glittered.
“According to the rumors,” gushed Qiu Lin, “when she was born, a celestial lotus bloomed. Her latent talent is incredible, and her beauty is extraordinary. She was taken in by Grandmaster Pill Demon as a personal apprentice! Her beloved, Wang Tengfei, is a Chosen from the great Wang Clan. The year they got engaged, the entire Southern Domain was talking about it.” He might be well-informed about the affairs within the Southern Domain, but as he spoke, he didn’t notice the look which appeared in Meng Hao’s eyes.
They continued on, and Qiu Lin proceeded to talk about various matters related to Chu Yuyan. At Meng Hao’s request, he led him to an inn in a far corner of the city. Meng Hao asked him a few questions regarding the auction and then paid the Spirit Stones he owed. By the time Qiu Lin left, it was late at night.
Meng Hao sat cross-legged in his room in the inn, his eyes twinkling. His mind was filled with the various things Qiu Lin had told him about Chu Yuyan. Enough time passed for two incense sticks to burn. He frowned.
“I wonder if there is some way to use Chu Yuyan to get Grandmaster Pill Demon to make me a Poison-Dispelling Pill….” When he thought about Grandmaster Pill Demon, he couldn’t help but think about Ding Xin’s Foundation Establishment Pill.
“Ding Xin was also an apprentice of Grandmaster Pill Demon…” Meng Hao laughed bitterly. He had killed the man’s apprentice, and also offended the Violet Fate Sect. Dispelling the poison in that way would be very difficult.
After a while, he began to meditate. Meng Hao had found that after reaching Foundation Establishment, he needed larger amounts of spiritual energy, much more so than he’d needed in the Qi Condensation stage. In order to reach the middle of the Foundation Establishment stage, he would need to form four Dao Pillars.
“Right now I only have one Dao Pillar. Because of the crack on the Dao Pillar, I have a Flawless Foundation. Plus, I established my Foundation after reaching the thirteenth level of Qi Condensation. Furthermore, my Cultivation is based on the Sublime Spirit Scripture, making my Dao Pillar gold colored. My enlightenment is deeper, and I have much more Spiritual Sense. I don’t think that many people in the early stage of Foundation Establishment would be my match.
“I’ve never fought someone of the middle stage of Foundation Establishment, so I’m not sure, but I think I could hold my own.” His eyes shone as he thought of his match with the burly man surnamed Shan. At that time, he had come to have a much better understanding of the power of his Flawless Foundation. When the time came to form his second Dao Pillar, he would be prepared.
“I need some medicinal pills suitable for the early Foundation Establishment stage,” he said, taking a deep breath. He closed his eyes and spit out the Lightning Flag. A field of lightning mist sprang up, within which arcs of electricity sparkled. If anyone tried to make a move against him, they would immediately shoot out to protect him.
Within the mist, Meng Hao once again attempted to use the Eighth Demon Sealing Hex, and once again failed. However, with each of his failed attempts, he seemed to grow closer to enlightenment.
The night passed uneventfully. As dawn broke the next morning, Meng Hao opened his eyes. He left the inn to explore this city of Cultivators in the State of Eastern Emergence. He wanted to find some medicinal pills suitable for Foundation Establishment, and hopefully learn something about the Spring and Autumn tree.
Half a month passed, during which time he explored almost all of the shops in the city. This place was filled with an incredible variety of medicinal pills and magical items. However, the prices were very high. After considering his options for a long time, Meng Hao purchased a common medicinal pill which was useful during the Foundation Establishment stage.
This pill was called Massed Establishment Pill, and was suitable for the early Foundation Establishment stage.
“There are quite a bit of pills that are suitable for the Foundation Establishment stage, but it seems that their efficacy is just ordinary. The really high-quality medicinal pills are exclusively available from various Sects. It’s hard for outsiders to get their hands on them. The only chance to even see them would be during an auction.”
Another half month passed. Meng Hao had grown much more familiar with the city. At the moment, he sat in the restaurant of his inn, next to a window, looking down at the throngs of people below. In his hand was a cup of alcohol, which he sipped as he thought.
“I’ve consumed far too many medicinal pills over the years. I’ve pushed my Cultivation base with a quantity of pills far exceeding the average person.” He frowned. It’s not that the city didn’t have pills suitable for the Foundation Establishment stage, or that the prices were too high. It was a problem of the five medallions.
In the city there were five types of medallions available that determined who could have the chance to buy certain products. Without one of the medallions, even if you had the money to buy certain items, you couldn’t. That was the rule in the city, and also the way that the Violet Fate Sect could control the distribution of medicinal pills within the nation.
“Five types of medallions. The only way to acquire one is to do some sort of meritorious service. So annoying!” Meng Hao lifted up the cup of alcohol and took another drink. His frown deepened.
“Thankfully I don’t need a medallion to participate in the auction. As long as I have enough Spirit Stones to pay the entrance fee, I can get in.” Meng Hao’s gaze swept the street below. As he muttered to himself, time passed. Soon, the inn’s restaurant began to fill with Cultivators, who chatted and exchanged information.
Qiu Lin had selected a relatively well-known inn for Meng Hao. Here, they only served drinks. In fact, they only served one kind of drink, which was called Savor the Spirit.
The flavor of this alcohol was quite unique; it didn’t burn going down. It was very strong, but was infused with spiritual energy. It wasn’t a lot of spiritual energy, but it was enough to make the alcohol quite expensive.
“I heard that the trade caravan from the Western Desert arrived today. They brought way more people with them than they did in past years. I bet there’s going to be a lot of treasures up for grabs at the Hundred Treasures Pavilion auction.”
“There aren’t as many resources in the Western Desert as there are in the Southern Domain, but they have a lot of very unique material that we really need here. When they show up every few years, they usually bring representatives from around a hundred different merchant groups and a variety of Sects from different nations. The techniques of their Cultivators are very strange. I hope we have a chance to learn something from them.”
“I don’t think so. They’ve obviously brought more people than usual. There has to be a reason for that. I’d say there’s an eighty to ninety percent chance it has something to do with the corpse of that Immortal.” The sound of voices filled the restaurant, and most of them were discussing the auction which was to take place in half a month, and how it related to the arrival of the Western Desert trade caravan.
Meng Hao was getting ready to make his departure. The trade caravan didn’t interest him. However, when he heard mention of the corpse of an Immortal, his eyes flashed, and he sat back down and poured himself another cup of alcohol. He took a drink and continued to listen.
“The Immortal’s corpse… heh heh, it’s been a bloodbath over there recently. Three years ago, the five great Sects and the three great Clans tried to force their way into the area, but were met with failure after failure. They had no choice but to back off.” 2
“The Immortal’s corpse must have fallen out from the heavens that year because it wanted to enter the Rebirth Cave, one of the Southern Domain’s three Danger Zones. And yet for some reason, it landed about three thousand meters away from it. Actually, it didn’t just provoke a reaction from the five great Sects and three great Clans. The strange things that exist within the Rebirth Cave also have been emerging occasionally.”
“Everyone wants a piece of the Immortal’s body. Even just a bit of it would increase anyone’s hope of achieving Immortal Ascension!” As Meng Hao listened to the buzz of conversation in the restaurant, a strange look appeared in his eyes. He thought back to the time in the State of Zhao when the land had continued to shake over and over again. He had gotten the feeling that something from the Heavens had fallen down to smash into the earth.
“You know what I heard? When the Immortal’s corpse fell down, some people saw it with their own eyes. They said its pupils were gray, and that inside, seven stars glittered!” When Meng Hao heard this, he was just lifting his cup up to take another drink. Suddenly, a tremor ran through his body, and his hand began to tremble, spilling alcohol out all over. 3
If you want to refresh your mind about the Hundred Treasures Pavilion, as well as Meng Hao’s flirtatious encounter there, you can re-read chapter 53. ↩
If you want a reminder of what happened when the corpse fell from the sky, you can re-read chapter 61. ↩
If you are confused regarding Meng Hao’s reaction to hearing about the gray pupils and seven stars, you might want to re-read chapter 59.