Fang Mu had risen to prominence within the Violet Fate Sect. There was not a single Inner Sect disciple in the Violet Qi Division who didn’t know of him. The name of this newly promoted master alchemist reverberated like thunder in the ears of the other master alchemists of the East Pill Division.
Considering the situation with the Inner Sect disciples and the master alchemists, there is no need to even mention the Outer Sect disciples and the apprentice alchemists. The name of Alchemist Fang Mu swept across the Sect like a raging wind, and his prestige among the Violet Sect Disciples only grew greater.
Speculation began to run wild regarding Fang Mu. The general consensus was that he had an eccentric personality, didn’t speak much, didn’t like to go out or engage in social activities. In truth, very few people actually knew what he even looked like.
All requests for medicinal pills went through Bai Yunlai. As for Fang Mu, although everyone knew his name, no one ever had the opportunity to meet him. Because of the rules of the East Pill Division prohibiting the intrusion of Violet Qi Division disciples, Fang Mu became an increasingly mysterious figure.
This, in addition to his rule of only three orders per day, the results of which were equivalent to the work of Furnace Lords, only served to increase his reputation.
In fact, the rule of three orders per day had caused the Inner Sect disciples to create a trade system, in which prices continued to increase.
At this particular moment, deep within the East Pill Division, was a violet-colored mountain peak. The peak was not very high, and in fact was somewhat concealed by the surrounding peaks. However, an indescribable aura existed here which made it clear that while the mountain was not tall, it served as the heart of the entire mountain range.
Sitting atop this mountain was an old man. In front of him was a worktable, upon which lay a medicinal pill. He looked at it, his eyes glowing with a strange light. Behind this old man were three other persons.
These people were by no means young. All of them had Cultivation bases at the Nascent Soul stage. However, it seemed as if they didn’t dare to breathe too loudly in front of the other old man. Their expressions were filled with respect.
This old man was none other than Chu Yuyan’s master, Grandmaster Pill Demon, whose name could rock the entire Southern Domain.
He examined the medicinal pill in front of him for some time. Soon, the sun began to set. Finally, he slowly waved his hand and picked up the pill.
“Interesting,” he said, then began to laugh. He closed his hand over the pill and rubbed it. When he opened his hand again, ash drifted out into the wind.
One of the three men behind Grandmaster Pill demon hesitated for a moment, then quietly said, “Pill Demon, there is discontent within the Violet Qi Division….”
“Discontent?” said Pill Demon coolly. “Let them be patient. If anyone causes problems for the disciples of the East Pill Division, they will be cut off from medicinal pills for ten years.” With that, he flicked his sleeve and disappeared.
The three men exchanged glances. With bitter smiles, they bowed to the position Pill Demon had just occupied, then turned and left.
Beneath the evening sky, behind the short, violet-colored mountain was a towering peak which stretched up to the sky. Half way up the mountain was a pavilion, the greater part of which stretched out of the mountain to hang in mid-air. During the day, you could stand here to look out across the land. At nighttime, when the stars came out, it almost seemed possible to reach up and touch the sky.
This particular evening, the rays of the setting sun fell across everything, creating a languid atmosphere. The golden glow, combined with the rosy clouds on the horizon, led to a scene of incredible beauty.
Within the pavilion, the evening air stirred. The wind did not disperse the clouds, but did send strands of long, black hair drifting into the wind. The hair belonged to none other than Chu Yuyan.
She stood quietly within the pavilion, her hair dancing in the wind. Her brow was furrowed slightly as she lifted her hand up. There in her palm was a medicinal pill.
“How did he concoct it….” she thought. “Could it be that his aptitude with the Dao of alchemy is similar to his latent talent with plants and vegetation…? Is there really someone so gifted in the Dao of alchemy? It’s breathtaking….”
The pill was waxen and yellow, and did not seem to be a complete product.
By expending some Spirit Stones, she had been able to purchase a pill from an Inner Sect disciple. Of course, that medicinal pill had been the handiwork of Meng Hao.
After getting ahold of the pill, Chu Yuyan’s first reaction was that of disdain. But then she had studied it fastidiously. As she did, her expression changed. In the end, she stared wide-eyed and disbelieving.
After studying the pill for seven days, she had eventually ground it into powder. After such thorough examination, although she still felt annoyed at the thought of Fang Mu, she couldn’t help but admit that as for this medicinal pill… even she could only create it if she devoted her complete mind and spirit to the task.
Finally, she had used Grandmaster Pill Demon’s unique method to re-concoct the pill. She had taken the powder of the original pill to form a second pill. After the second refinement, the pill’s medicinal strength was actually sixty percent. That was her limit.
“If he learned my master’s refinement technique,” she murmured softly, “who knows what level of medicinal pills he would be able to concoct…?” She looked off at the rosy clouds in the distance, then back down at the pill in her hand.
“Master said that he might hold the secret to enlightenment regarding the Three Mortalities Pill. But he’s so arrogant! Last time I went to visit he locked himself inside and refused to come out!” Thinking of this made her more annoyed. Even the mere name of Fang Mu would cause her temper to boil up with irritation.
“This Fang Mu’s detestableness is second only to that damned Meng Hao!” she said, gnashing her teeth. Clearly, the two people she hated most in her heart were Meng Hao, first, and Fang Mu, second.
However, she still didn’t know why Fang Mu caused her so much irritation. Of course, if she knew that Fang Mu and Meng Hao were one and the same, then she would immediately understand why.
At the same time that Chu Yuyan was muttering to herself, Meng Hao sat in front of his pill furnace concocting a batch of medicinal pills. A roaring sound could be heard, filling the Immortal’s Cave. Meng Hao sighed. The past few months, he had spent every day concocting pills. He was just now finishing with all the pills he owed to various members of the Inner Sect. The pill furnace in front of him was reaching the end of its life; it would definitely crack to pieces soon.
Meng Hao rubbed the bridge of his nose, then opened the door of his Immortal’s Cave to look at the sunset. He took a deep breath. The mountain breath carried the chill of autumn. As he breathed it in, the tension slowly eased from his painfully swollen head.
“Once I finish with all the old orders, then all I have to worry about are the three orders per day, as well as the medicinal pills I need for my personal Cultivation. Spirit Platform Pills are already only nominally effective. If I concoct anything, it should be a Foundation Establishment Day!” His eyes glittered. Foundation Establishment Day was a medicinal pill suitable for the late Foundation Establishment stage. It was an incredibly potent pill, one of the most valuable types in all of the Violet Fate Sect for the Foundation Establishment stage.
Recently, Meng Hao had refined over a thousand batches of pills, and had acquired hundreds of formulas. One of them was the formula for Foundation Establishment Day. After some research, he’d come to the conclusion that in order to make any progress, he would have to rest some, then use all his skill to concoct a Foundation Establishment Day with at least ninety percent medicinal strength.
With such a pill, he could complete his sixth Dao Pillar and begin formation of the seventh.
“It’s too bad that the Violet Qi from the East manual is only available to Furnace Lords. It’s a legendary art, and there’s no other way to get a look at it. Careful records are kept of everyone who studies it.” Lost in thought, Meng Hao strolled down the mountain. This was the first time in a long time that he had been outside.
“Even Inner Sect disciples aren’t qualified to consult the Violet Qi from the East manual. They are forced to cultivate based on speculations. Only Conclave disciples of the Violet Qi Division or Furnace Lords can personally peruse the real manual to study the technique.” Meng Hao was determined to gain access to it. Only in this way could he prepare to form a Violet Core. With that foundation, he could consume the pill to form the Perfect Gold Core.
“I’ve searched for some of the medicinal plants required for the Perfect Gold Core, but am still missing quite a few. Once I become a Furnace Lord, it should become a bit easier.” Meng Hao passed through various valleys, lost in thought. Along the way, he ran into quite a few apprentice alchemists. Some of them recognized him, and stared in amazement. Then their faces would fill with excitement.
After all, thirty thousand apprentice alchemists had watched him be promoted to master alchemist. It was no surprise that many would recognize him still. However, now that he was a master alchemist, they didn’t dare to stop and chat with him. Instead, they simply saluted respectfully.
Meng Hao wanted to find a quiet place to think. After smiling in response to the apprentice alchemists, he disappeared in a flash. He left the mountains and valleys of the East Pill Division to enter the Violet Qi Division.
Here, very few people would recognize him. He walked happily amidst the mountains, wearing his master alchemist’s robe. No one stopped to question him, so he proceeded along quietly.
As he strolled, he looked around at the scenery. He had been in the Violet Fate Sect for roughly three years. Although he was relatively familiar with it, it was actually a very large place. There were many areas he had never been to. As he walked, he suddenly heard the sound of an argument in which his name was being mentioned
“That Fang Mu is definitely fishing for fame and compliments. He thinks his pills are so amazing, so he wants to make trouble for us. We can’t accept it! I already reported to the Elders about it and they’re going to get in touch with the people from the East Pill Division. Fang Mu will be punished! As for you, you measly apprentice alchemist, you had best apologize for your offense!”
“Elder Brother Liu, please calm your anger. This is my fault. However, it really is true that the next ten days or more worth of orders have already been filled…”
There was a jumble of conversation, then laughter. Meng Hao listened to a few sentences and was certain that one of the voices belonged to Bai Yunlai. He walked around an ornamental rock formation into a wide public square within which could be seen four pagodas.
Within the pagodas sat a handful of young men who were all looking at the square, where could be seen a few dozen Violet Qi Division Inner Sect disciples.
The young men sitting in the pagodas were not ordinary disciples, but Chosen of the Violet Qi Division. There were four pagodas in total, and four Chosen, one in each pagoda.
The handful of people who stood in the square, were scattered about, with Bai Yunlai in the middle. A blue-robed young man was currently pointing at himself and swearing at Bai Yunlai contemptuously.
“My words might not be rules in the Sect, but as far as you’re concerned, they are! If I tell you to slap yourself on the face and apologize, then you better well do it!”
Bai Yunlai’s face went pale and his body trembled. His Cultivation base was weak. He was a well-informed person, but quite a few people actually viewed him as being in a very low position. This was not the first time something like this had happened recently. However, he never told Meng Hao, as he didn’t want to distract him. He was always careful in his interactions, but there was always the possibility that he would end up offending someone.
As for this young man named Liu, he had relied on his relatively high position within the Sect to request medicinal pills of Meng Hao. However, only three orders per day were allowed, and they were first come first serve. Bai Yunlai had done his best not to provoke this Liu youth, but his conciliatory words had only caused him to become hostile.
Even lowly people have their honor. However, Bai Yunlai, trembling, bitter, stared at Liu. He lifted his hand, and seemed just about to slap himself in the face when…
Meng Hao’s calm voice echoed out. “Bai Yunlai!”