Self Will Incantation.
A Li Clan Conclave technique. In this technique, one’s will was the key in which magic can be Cultivated. Furthermore, if cultivated to a consummate level, then during Spirit Severing or Dao enlightenment, Karma could be seized.
The technique actually seemed more like a scripture. Except it wasn’t a scripture scroll, but seemingly a fragment of a scroll. Nonetheless, this short passage was enough to become a Conclave technique of the Li Clan.
Meng Hao examined it thoughtfully for a while. Then, his expression flickered and he waved his hand. The jade slip disappeared.
Not much time passed before Bai Yunlai appeared, walking up hastily. He formally greeted Meng Hao in a respectful tone. Ever since the matter with Liu Yanbing, Bai Yunlai carried himself differently in front of Meng Hao. They were still close, but it was now clear that their positions were different. There was a slight tension between them.
Meng Hao tried a few times to get him to act more like he had when Meng Hao first joined the Sect. However, it just made him nervous. So, he allowed Bai Yunlai to greet him formally every time they met, and to speak in a reverent tone.
Meng Hao could only sigh at this change. He understood that it would be impossible to maintain the same relationship they always had. His own Dao of alchemy was growing further and further away from Bai Yunlai’s, and as such, the respect the man showed grew deeper and deeper.
“Grandmaster Fang, these are the orders I’ve accepted recently. Please, take a look.” He handed over a bag of holding.
Meng Hao glanced it over and then tried to chat a bit with Bai Yunlai. Bai Yunlai’s respectful expression didn’t change, which caused Meng Hao to sigh again inwardly. With a slight nod of his head, he tucked the bag of holding away.
Bai Yunlai hesitated for a moment, then looked at Meng Hao and lowered his voice. “Grandmaster Fang, there’s only one more month until this year’s Pill Auction. Sir, I’m not sure if you plan to participate in the auction or not…?”
“Pill Auction….” Meng Hao thought back to four years ago when he had first joined the Violet Fate Sect. There had been a Pill Auction underway at that time. Now, he had quite a reputation in the East Pill Division. The Pill Auction was a place for master alchemists to manifest their reputation.
Also, it was a place where medicinal pills were directly sold for Spirit Stones in an official capacity. The Pill Auction only happened once per year, and Meng Hao had never attended one before. Suddenly, his heart began to thump. He was a master alchemist who was quite popular within the Sect. But he wanted to know how much a price his pills would fetch in the Southern Domain in general.
Master alchemists could offer their wares with their name attached to it, or anonymously. In the case of the latter, no one, not even members of the Sect, would know whose pill it was that was up for sale.
However, there is no wall in the world which can hold back any wind. It might be difficult for the Elders to figure out which pill was made by whom, but if Grandmaster Pill Demon wanted to know, then he could naturally be able to figure it out.
Meng Hao muttered to himself for a moment, and then nodded. Not only did he want to see how much his pills were worth in the outside world, he also wanted to replenish his supply of Spirit Stones. Copying the Foundation Establishment Day had cost him quite a bit. Even as a master alchemist who was frequently compensated by Inner Sect disciples for pill concocting, he still couldn’t afford such expenditures.
As of now, he had quite a collection of medicinal plants, but not a lot of Spirit Stones. This, of course, caused Meng Hao to sigh. When he was young, he had always dreamed of being rich. That dream seemed to be just as far away as ever.
He saw off Bai Yunlai and was standing there in thought, when suddenly a bright beam of light appeared off in the distance. The image of a slim, graceful woman was visible inside. It was none other than Chu Yuyan.
The instant he saw her, Meng Hao sighed at his bad luck, then immediately turned and entered his Immortal’s Cave.
The instant her voice echoed out, the door of the Immortal’s Cave shut and sealed. Then, Meng Hao’s voice could be heard:
“Fang Mu isn’t home.”
Chu Yuyan’s eyes blazed with killing intent. Her veins bulged as she stood outside the Immortal’s cave, gnashing her teeth. She had come to call on Meng Hao on multiple occasions during the past year, but he always seemed to be away, and never inside the cave. For him to act like this, as if he had just caught sight of some kind of devilish fiend, caused fury to burn within her.
Teeth clenched, she said, “Fang Mu, are you hiding from me because you have some secret you don’t want people to know about!?” Every time she came here and found the door shut, she would say something like this.
She was more and more certain that Fang Mu was harboring some secret. For him to act like this every time she came really set her on fire. Whenever anyone said his name, the irritated feeling would fill her and she would feel like doing something to him.
Meng Hao’s voice drifted out of the Immortal’s cave: “What you can’t see, can’t annoy you.”
Chu Yuyan’s stared with wide eyes. She banged her fist onto the door. A boom echoed out. The door rattled a bit, but wasn’t damaged in any way.
“Get out here!”
“I’m concocting pills.”
“Are you coming out or not?”
“Aiii. Elder Sister Chu, I’m concocting pills, really!”
“Who the hell said I’m your Elder Sister? I’m a Furnace Lord. You’re just a master alchemist. If you don’t come out here right now, we’ll see how long you can stay there in your Immortal’s Cave.”
“Fine, Fellow Daoist Chu. You know, last time, you camped out next to my Immortal’s Cave for seven days. Later, a lot of slanderous rumors spread throughout the Sect. It’s really not a good thing. Don’t you agree?”
“I, Fang Mu, am not married to any beloved, and am very concerned with my reputation. Such rumors are really intolerable. Fellow Daoist Chu, please refrain from harming my reputation in this way. Take your leave, quickly.” Meng Hao sighed. Actually, Chu Yuyan’s intuition frightened him. He had been avoiding her for years now, because he had the strong feeling that if he had any interaction with her, she might begin to pick up some clues.
If she somehow realized that he was Meng Hao… well, he didn’t dare to think of how horrific the consequences might be.
Chu Yuyan gnashed her teeth and stamped her foot angrily. Then she turned and left.
Sensing that she’d gone, Meng Hao sighed in relief. A wry smile appeared on his face. Everything about the East Pill Division was good except for Chu Yuyan. With her here, he didn’t feel secure.
“If she keeps causing problems for me, I might have to think of some other method to deal with her….” His eyes shined with a cold light, but his face’s usual calm expression returned. He stopped thinking about Chu Yuyan. With the wave of a hand, the earthly fire within his Immortal’s Cave sprang to life. A pill furnace appeared to hover directly over the fire.
This particular furnace of Meng Hao’s had three cranes carved onto its surface. As the furnace began to glow red from the heat, the three cranes turned the color of blood. They looked like they might fly out from the surface of the furnace at any moment. It was a cowing sight.
Meng Hao had traded a large collection of medicinal pills and plants with a veteran master alchemist to acquire this Blood Crane furnace. Having used it for some time, he was very familiar with it.
The furnace quickly became bright red, but Meng Hao stood off to the side, paying it no attention. A thoughtful look appeared in his eyes.
“What type of pill should I concoct for the Pill Auction…” he thought. Hundreds of pill formulas flashed through his mind, but none of them caught his attention. Enough time passed for an incense stick to burn. The pill furnace was as red as blood, and its glow filled the entire Immortal’s cave, causing everything to look red. Meng Hao’s eyes suddenly flashed.
“I’ll concoct a poison pill!” Based on Meng Hao’s understanding of the Dao of alchemy, poison pills generally did not have recipes that were handed down. They were usually created spontaneously or from memory by the master alchemist. This prevented unauthorized pill formulas from being passed around.
Poison pills were somewhat of a taboo. However, most master alchemists would research and concoct them at some point. It was a way to prove not only a master alchemist’s skill in the Dao of alchemy, but rather, his understanding of plants and vegetation. One must have a thorough mastery of the variations of plants and vegetation to be able to concoct a poison pill uniquely classified as belonging to a given master alchemist.
A pill created by one person that ten thousand people couldn’t dispel. All master alchemists thirsted to create something like this.
Meng Hao took a deep breath, then sat down cross legged next to the pill furnace. He allowed the heat from it to fill his body, and then closed his eyes. He sat silently in meditation. Days passed. The fire continued to burn. The Blood Crane furnace showed no signs of degrading; it maintained its bright red appearance the entire time.
Seven days later, Meng Hao’s eyes suddenly opened. His eyes were filled with determination.
“This poison pill will not be a pill to give to enemies, but to oneself. Poison, but not poison. Medicine, but not medicine. This pill….” He thought back to the time in the State of Zhao when he had killed Shangguan Xiu, and of the pearl Little Tiger had given him. The pearl caused one’s Cultivation base to rise by one level. Thanks to the help of the pearl, Meng Hao had been able to open the ancient path which led to the tenth level of Qi Condensation. 1
The images from that day sprung clearly into his mind. The pearl had fearsome power, and had left a deep impression on Meng Hao.
“Pierce the Qi vessels throughout the body, chop them like mincemeat. Turn the body into a treasure, split open the chest. Crush the mind, consolidate millions upon millions of murderous intentions. Explode the Dao Pillars within the Core Sea; killing intent can exterminate spirits. Use the mortal soul to fuse with spirits. Use the power of killing to subvert consciousness. The mind and the Core Sea, fused into nothing in the blink of an eye. This Devilish Will shall transform into a suicidal heart, which will cause the Cultivation base to climb to the skies!
“It is not a burning of the soul, it supersedes that! This pill… will be called Bedevilment Pill! That is because, this Will, can only belong to devils!” Meng Hao’s bloodshot eyes glittered. His right hand grabbed his bag of holding and then waved it in front of him. Immediately ten thousand varieties of medicinal plants appeared to float in mid-air in front of him. Bathed in the crimson glow, the scene seemed bizarrely demonic.
Meng Hao’s hands blurred, and a flickering shadow appeared beneath them. Meng Hao’s entire mind, all his energy, poured into the pill furnace. He catalyzed and pulverized medicinal plants. He created hybrids to look for one particular root he needed.
From the time Meng Hao had begun to study the Dao of alchemy, during all the various situations in which he had concocted pills, he had never been so possessed. It was his first time to make full and thorough use all of his skill in the Dao of alchemy, all of his nature talent of plants and vegetation.
His hair was wild and disheveled, and he lost awareness of everything. He was immersed in pill concoction. All his desire poured into the Bedevilment Pill. It was like he himself was possessed by a devil!
This Bedevilment Pill was actually… the first true pill ever created by Meng Hao in his time Cultivating the Dao of Alchemy!
There was no formula for this pill. It didn’t need one. This was a pill that contained the true will of a master alchemist, a pill that had been created by the influence of will. Therefore, its true value and price was impossible to describe. Even more important was the fact that, if a Furnace Lord could see Meng Hao in his current state, that person would surely go mad.
In Cultivation, there is enlightenment. The Dao of alchemy also has enlightenment. Pill Demon had experienced such enlightenment. So had the other two Grandmasters in the Southern Domain. Some Violet Furnace Lords might experience it once in their life, although that depended only on luck and fortune. Just now, Meng Hao had experienced alchemic enlightenment!
The pill created as a result of alchemic enlightenment was as miraculous as if it had been created by the Heavens themselves. It was unparalleled and unmatched!
This chapter sponsored by Yaa Botchey, David Bottlender, Gary Cosby, Minh H, and Jiashen Chen
The events with the pearl occurred in chapter 75 ↩