Time flashed by, and soon two months had gone by. Meng Hao was now completely accustomed to life in the Violet Fate Sect. Because of testing in with first rate latent talent, he had been able to enjoy some special perks, although it wasn’t anything as amazing as others might have expected of some important person.
In fact, during the two months, he didn’t see the white-haired old man at all. Bai Yunlai, on the other hand, frequently came to visit. It was with his help that Meng Hao came to understand the Violet Fate Sect so quickly.
There were lectures regarding alchemic techniques every day, which Meng Hao almost always attended. In the midst of the hundreds of others also in attendance, Meng Hao didn’t stick out at all.
Different senior members of the Sect would give the lectures; they would rotate every few days. It seemed everyone’s understanding of matters was slightly different. By listening to all of them, Meng Hao quickly began to have a much deeper understanding of the catalyzing techniques.
In addition, when it came to growing medicinal plants, the Sect had a special area to distribute medicinal plant seeds, much the same as the Reliance Sect had distributed Spirit Stones. The purpose, of course, was to allow the apprentice alchemists a chance to practice planting.
The various lectures by senior members of the Sect gave the whole place a very tranquil atmosphere. There was no fighting to the death. Meng Hao couldn’t help but think that the Reliance Sect had been extremely different. To him, this place was in some ways more like an institute of higher learning than a Sect.
Every month, there would be a special sermon regarding medicinal scriptures. The officiators were always veteran master alchemists. Each and every one had risen up from the ranks of the apprentice alchemists. When it came to pill concocting, their skill was by no means shallow. Their alchemy lectures were not always limited to the topic of medicinal plants; they sometimes spoke of concoction techniques, too. Meng Hao learned a lot after only listening to a few such sermons.
In addition to all of the studying and planting of medicinal plants, apprentice alchemists also had monthly catalyzing quotas to meet. Every month, a certain amount of catalyzed medicinal plants were required to be delivered up to the Sect.
This was the life of an apprentice alchemist in the East Pill Division. Life was a never-ending cycle.
Currently, Meng Hao sat amongst throngs of apprentice alchemists, listening to a middle-aged man supposedly discuss methods of distinguishing between several easily misidentified medicinal plants. “Apprentice alchemists are involved in the growing, catalyzing, and picking of various medicinal plants, as well as other related tasks. In essence, your purpose is to serve the great system of alchemy instituted by our Sect. In actuality, the most direct way to serve the Sect, is by means of assisting the nearly one thousand master alchemists.”
Meng Hao sighed. “I think joining the Violet Fate Sect was the right decision. In all the Southern Domain, this is the only place where I can study true alchemy. Also, only the Violet Fate Sect can produce true Grandmasters of the Dao of alchemy! The Violet Fate Sect’s Dao of alchemy is such that the fame of the alchemy division actually exceeds that of the other division. All Sects and Clans in the Southern Domain recognize this.” Meng Hao sat there thoughtfully, his eyes shining with anticipation.
“If I want to have any contact with Grandmaster Pill Demon, and get his help in dispelling my poison, then I have to be a disciple here!” Meng Hao’s eyes glittered with ambition.
His true goal in joining the Violet Fate Sect was to become a novitiate of Grandmaster Pill Demon and study the most powerful Dao of alchemy in the entire Southern Domain. Then he would create his own branch of alchemic arts. Afterward, any medicinal pills he needed, he could create himself, and not have to go through great pains to acquire by other means.
He was lost in thought when suddenly, the sound of bells filled the air. The sound rang throughout all of the valleys of the East Pill Division, causing everyone to immediately lift their heads. Even the master alchemist giving the lecture immediately stopped and looked up.
Each and every apprentice alchemist in the Eastern Pill Division raised their heads. Their faces were filled with excitement.
“The furnace bells! Violet Fate Celestial Land day has arrived!”
“The last time was a year ago. I can’t believe a whole year has already passed. Finally, we can go back into the Celestial Land!”
As the excited voices echoed out, the peal of bells continued to ring out. Meng Hao’s eyes flashed as he looked up into the air, where suddenly appeared an illusory shape.
It was an enormous violet-colored pill furnace floating in mid-air, imposing to the extreme, tens of thousands of meters in diameter. Next to it, dozens of beams of prismatic light shot up from nearby valleys to sit cross-legged around it, as if to guard it.
At the same time, the glow of spells interlaced in the air, as if the entire area was being sealed. A radiant light filled the area, casting brilliant colors upon the massive pill furnace and the Cultivators who floated nearby it.
An archaic voice rumbled out, seemingly from nowhere. “Apprentice alchemists, enter the Celestial Land. Harvest nine mature leaves.” The enormous pill furnace began to glow, and suddenly, what appeared to be one hundred thousand strands of light snaked out and shot down. Meng Hao’s apprentice alchemist identification medallion began to glow, as did those of all the other apprentice alchemists.
The glowing strands and the medallions seemed to have some sort of connection. One of the glowing strands approached Meng Hao and fused into the medallion. A gentle power seemed to take hold of Meng Hao and pull him up into the air.
From the hundred surrounding valleys, one hundred thousand apprentice alchemists all lifted up into the air, carried by the glowing strands. They transformed into beams of prismatic light that shot toward the gigantic pill furnace.
The massive pill furnace seemed to be like a bottomless pit which instantly swallowed them all up.
Meng Hao’s vision grew blurry for a moment. When it cleared, and he saw what lay in front of him, he gasped. The scene was difficult to comprehend. The expression which appeared on Meng Hao’s face was one of complete and utter shock.
In front of him stretched endless fields of medicinal plants. This place was a different world; there were no clouds in the sky. However, nine suns could be seen. Next to each sun, was a moon. This place had nine suns and nine moons.
This incredible sky was the perfect place beneath which to grow medicinal plants. The whole world seemed to be under some sort of sealing; as soon as Meng Hao appeared inside, an indescribable medicinal aroma washed over him. It was intoxicating.
Most of the hundred thousand apprentice alchemists had been here before. All of them were excited, but few were as shocked and moved as Meng Hao.
Even more shocking to Meng Hao was that within the endless fields of medicinal plants, were thousands of enormous, three hundred meter tall trees. And there were giants. These giants seemed to be remnants of an ancient past. They carefully strode through the fields, occasionally reaching down to plant seeds.
Up in the sky were several hundred war chariots, which emitted an archaic aura. The chariots were enormous, and overlapped with each other to form what almost looked like clouds that cast shadows down on certain areas within the world.
Further off in the distance, Meng Hao could see another type of tree that appeared to be three thousand meters tall. Its trunk was violet, and its top was not dense with foliage, but rather an enormous, solitary eye. The eye was dozens of meters wide, and it looked around the area attentively. As Meng Hao looked around more carefully, he saw that there a few hundred other trees similar to this one amidst the fields of medicinal plants.
Meng Hao wasn’t sure when, but Bai Yunlai had appeared at his side. With an emotional sigh, he said, “The Violet Fate Celestial Land is a Blessed Land of the Violet Fate Sect’s East Pill Division! According to the legends, this place was once a Celestial Land of Immortals. However, Reverend Violet East moved it here to create this endless medicinal plant garden. There are some things growing here that are extinct in the outside world. Every once in a while, we apprentice alchemists are teleported here to harvest medicinal plants, which gives us a good chance to practice our skill in identifying them. This is the only place in the entire Southern Domain where you can see so many different types! They’re virtually endless!”
Suddenly, a roaring sound filled the air, along with the archaic voice. The various conversations of the apprentice alchemists all ceased.
“You have one month to harvest at least nine mature medicinal plants. You may only harvest plants which you recognize, and you must also be thoroughly familiar with their habits and characteristics. In one month, you will hand over your harvest, as well as a jade slip describing your findings. This will be one of the evaluation criteria for promotion to master alchemist. Now, you may begin.” As soon as the voice finished speaking, the hundred thousand apprentice alchemists took a collective breath, and then scattered.
Bai Yunlai didn’t follow Meng Hao, but instead went along a meandering route of his own toward some other location. Meng Hao’s eyes glittered, shining with excitement. His recent days had been spent devoted to reading medicinal plant scrolls. He had read several times about the hundred thousand varieties of medicinal plants, and although he hadn’t memorized all of them yet, he knew quite a few. Now, he would be able to test his knowledge. His body flashed as he shot off into the distance.
As the hundred thousand apprentice alchemists scattered in all directions, above them in the sky, in one of the rotating moons, appeared eight figures.
“See that kid? That’s Fang Mu, the one who I tested two months ago and found to have first rate latent talent.”
“First rate latent talent is quite rare. We examined the withered plant you brought, and it’s definitely not fake. Because of his latent talent, his spiritual energy is extremely suited to growing medicinal plants.”
“He’s just a seedling now. Let’s see how many medicinal plants he manages to harvest. If he has a talent for identifying medicinal plants, then perhaps we should consider including him in the next promotion examination.”
As the figures within the moon engaged in their discussion, Meng Hao walked away from the groups of other apprentice alchemists, out into the fields of medicinal plants. He took each step prudently, being careful not to step on any seedlings. He kept his head lowered, looking around in all directions.
“That’s… Spirit Shattering grass. I remember its description from the scrolls. However, why does it have more foliage on the right side…? Oh, right, it’s a hybrid. The right side is actually a Residence sapling…. This is Thunderbolt Elegance leaf, its shape is like that of a woman, and it sways back and forth entrancingly… When used medicinally, it can be concocted into pills suitable for the early Foundation Establishment stage.”
Meng Hao walked along, gradually identifying various medicinal plants and attempting to recall all the information he had read about them in the scrolls. The more he tried, the easier it became. A feeling of pleasure gradually filled his heart.
This feeling was different than that of making a breakthrough in Cultivation base. However, being able to master a branch of knowledge that had previously been elusive, filled him with a sense of profound confidence.
This was a Cultivation of the self!
From what Meng Hao could tell, his ability to identify all the different medicinal plants was a type of nature talent….
Meng Hao walked further and further away. Each time he saw a medicinal plant suitable for harvesting, he would immediately take it. At the same time, he would record a description and other information on the jade slip he had been given.
He continued to corroborate what he had studied recently; he was like a fish in water. He forgot about everything except the medicinal plants in front of him. His alchemy was advancing by leaps and bounds in this Celestial Land.
Meanwhile, outside in the Southern Domain, the name Meng Hao had caused an enormous search to begin among the great Sects and Clans. In recent days, everyone was looking for him. Soon, Meng Hao’s name came to be known to more and more Cultivators.
Of course, the Violet Fate Sect was one of the Sects participating in the great search. However, no one had been able to find even the slightest trace of Meng Hao. It was as if he had completely vanished.
This chapter was sponsored by Blake Zbikowski