Lin Hailong eyed the pill. “Heresy! You’re so low, you don’t even deserve to make a fool of yourself here!” He imperceptibly exerted pressure with his fingers in an attempt to crush the pill, but failed. He was in the mid Nascent Soul stage, and had reached a point where he could destroy magical items without the use of magic. And yet, he wasn’t able to harm the medicinal pill in the least bit.
“The path of the Dao of alchemy is focused on creating new pills,” he said coolly. “Anyone in the East Pill Division could practice this heretical art. But no one would deign to do so! This doesn’t even deserve to be called a pill!” He waved his right arm, sending the pill flying back to Eternal Mountain.
“This pill was not created from gold or iron,” said Eternal Mountain calmly, catching the pill. “Nor was it fused with crystal or stone. It was concocted from 37,924 types of medicinal plants together with countless variations, and is perfect in all respects. It contains the full and complete strength of all the five elements, and is matchless in Heaven and Earth. This truly represents the Great Dao of alchemy, and does not count as a mere refining. Years ago, I observed that Heaven is round, while the Earth is square. It was this enlightenment that caused me to found the World Pill Division, and also seeded my desire to forge a great pill of Heaven and Earth. This very pill contains the Heavens, the Earth and the world itself!” He tossed the pill over to Fatty.
“Li Fugui is a Golden Frost Sect disciple who practices the cultivation of Spirit Stone consumption,” he said in a deep voice, his eyes glittering. “He was born with superhuman strength that is concentrated within his teeth. Elder Brother Lin, you call this pill a heresy, and claim that anyone in the East Pill Division could concoct it. Very well. If anyone can concoct a pill that this kid is incapable of crushing with his teeth, then I will give you the pill formula. However, if the East Pill Division cannot do this, then please request Master to reveal himself and provide an assessment of my pill.”
Even as his voice rang out into the silence, Lin Hailong snorted coldly. “The East Pill Division doesn’t want your pill formula.”
Before Lin Hailong even finished speaking, Tang Shicang of the Golden Frost Sect cleared his throat. He pulled out a pill bottle from within his robe. It was gray-colored and covered with blackish marks. It emanated a feeling of ancientness, as if it had been hidden away for countless ages.
Tang Shicang only uttered one sentence: “This is a product of the Dao of alchemy of ancient times, an Entrancement Pill of the tenth level of Qi Condensation.”
His words instantly caused all of the alchemists of the East Pill Division to stare at the pill bottle. An Zaihai’s eyes narrowed.
Even Lin Hailong seemed shocked.
The tenth level of Qi Condensation was a legendary realm. After the change in the Heavens, the path of Qi Condensation was not complete, and thus, Entrancement Pills appeared. They were the ancient Dao of alchemy’s response to the changes in Heaven and Earth, and a way to continue to tread the ancient path. With such a pill, a Cultivator could gain a chance to enter into the tenth level of Qi Condensation.
Unfortunately, pills like this were rare even in ancient times, and were not guaranteed to be completely effective. In any case, the benefits of being able to study an Entrancement Pill were hard to quantify.
It turned out, the Golden Frost Sect had come prepared with just such a pill!
Eternal Mountain spoke, neither quickly nor slowly: “This Entrancement Pill is complete. Elder Brother Lin, I would like to place this pill up as stakes of a wager…. Will you accept, or not?” His words instantly put a great pressure on Lin Hailong.
Accept, or not? It was a good question. If he accepted, but couldn’t produce a pill impervious to Fatty, then he would become a laughingstock. If he didn’t accept, then it would be obvious he was avoiding the challenge. If this were battle magic, it wouldn’t matter, but battling with alchemy was different…. Furthermore, the competition was only a Foundation Establishment pup….
Lin Hailong really had no choice but to accept!
The Golden Frost Sect obviously had foreseen this, which was the very reason they had come today. It was a very serious matter. They clearly wanted to force the issue, and make the East Pill Decision accept their challenge.
An Zaihai’s face looked unsightly. He and Lin Hailong exchanged a glance. Both clearly felt themselves to be in an awkward position. Their opponent had chosen a Foundation Establishment pup as champion, and the only stipulation of the challenge was to create a pill he couldn’t crush. If a Violet Furnace Lord of the East Pill Division produced such a pill, it might not count as a loss, but certainly wouldn’t be a win.
It wouldn’t even be fair for a Furnace Lord to participate; the position wasn’t compatible. A win would still be a loss, and a loss… would be a complete disgrace.
Wu Dingqiu frowned. As everyone sat there silently, Fatty walked forward to stand next to Eternal Mountain, clearly in very high spirits. He pulled out a Spirit Stone, placed it into his mouth, and crunch, crunch, crunched it into pieces. He looked around at the alchemists of the East Pill Division, grinning. Then he pulled out a flying sword and began to grind his teeth, apparently desiring to sharpen them.
All of this caused the people from the East Pill Division to gasp and stare wide-eyed in shock.
“What are those teeth…?”
“I’ve heard of this fat guy. They say his teeth can crush flying swords….”
As the discussions broke out, a strange look appeared on Meng Hao’s face. The sight of Fatty looking so triumphant, his teeth glittering, caused Meng Hao to sigh emotionally. He remembered all those years ago in the Reliance Sect how he had encouraged Fatty to focus his Cultivation on his teeth.
Lin Hailong and An Zaihai looked even more worried after seeing Fatty crush the Spirit Stone. They frowned, knowing full well they had to accept the challenge. However, if they accepted, it would only be appropriate for challengers from the ranks of the thousand master alchemists to participate. If one of them won, the results would be acceptable. If a Furnace Lord participated, it simply wouldn’t be appropriate.
Besides, if a Furnace Lord lost, it would be far too embarrassing for the East Pill Division. If a master alchemist lost, at least it wouldn’t be so embarrassing.
“Would the Violet Fate Sect please respond?” said the Golden Frost Sect’s Dharma Protector Tang Shicang, smiling.
An Zaihai, brow furrowed, glanced over at the master alchemists. Suddenly, his gaze fell upon Meng Hao. It was only a glance, but he instantly recognised him.
“It is beneath a Furnace Lord to concoct such a heretical pill,” replied An Zaihai quickly. “However, there is definitely one amongst the thousand master alchemists of the East Pill Division who can concoct such a medicinal pill.”
Lin Hailong had just been thinking about how to avoid the whole situation, but hearing An Zaihai’s words, he nodded slightly. His heart, however, was pounding. He looked over at Li Tao, who was standing next to Meng Hao. “Li Tao, please step forward and concoct a pill,” he said, completely ignoring Meng Hao.
Li Tao’s eyes filled with concentration, and he took a deep breath as he clasped hands and bowed to Lin and An. Considering he was a master alchemist of the East Pill Division, he didn’t need to formally greet Wu Dingqiu and the others from the Violet Qi Division.
Lin Hailong looked at Li Tao with an expression of praise. He had been paying attention to the man for some time. He may have been eclipsed by Pill Cauldron at the Pill Auction, but as far as Lin Hailong was concerned, Pill Cauldron was a mystery. Li Tao, however, had the potential for much future growth. “Take this Earthly fire,” he said “Quickly concoct the pill!” He flicked his sleeve, and a violet-colored crystal flew over to land on the ground. The limestones seemed as if they were about to melt from the intense heat of the Earthly fire.
Li Tao looked thoughtful for a moment, then produced a pill furnace and some medicinal plants and began to concoct.
The Earthly fire given by Lin Hailong made the concocting process go fairly quickly. Li Tao carefully performed his catalyzing and concocting, and after the time it takes two incense sticks to burn, the pill furnace roared, and a white medicinal pill flew out.
Li Tao had condensed hundreds of various hard medicinal plants into the pill. The concoction time had been relatively short, but he had employed all the skill he possessed. He was confident that even a fierce tiger would break its teeth if it bit such a pill!
When the pill emerged, Li Tao didn’t even look at it. He simply tossed it over to Fatty, who grabbed it from mid air. He cleared his throat, and then, as everyone watched, placed it into his mouth. With a crunch, the pill shattered.
“I can’t even grind my teeth with this crappy thing,” said Fatty, his face filled with disdain. He spit out the remnants of the pill, looking quite proud of himself.
Lin Hailong’s face was filled with embarrassment. He singled out one master alchemist after another, but the pills they concocted were are easily crushed by Fatty, then spit out onto the ground. Fatty’s dialogue grew even more arrogant.
“Ai, it seems it really is difficult to find a medicinal pill that my teeth can’t destroy. What a lonely life…. Do any of you have any skill? Come, concoct something I can’t crush.” He looked more and more complacent. The same gall he had shown at the Pill Auction, was now in full force. He seemed very much in his element.
Lin Hailong’s face grew more unsightly, and he slapped his palm down onto the table. Looking at Eternal Mountain’s expressionless face, his heart filled with fury. Suddenly, he said, “Master alchemists of the East Pill Division! Whoever of you can concoct a pill that this kid can’t crush will instantly be promoted to Furnace Lord!” His words echoed out through the mountains, all the way down to the master alchemists who were congregated at the foot of the mountain. Everyone’s faces filled with shock, and their eyes began to glow.
Meng Hao’s pupils constricted, and he stared at Lin Hailong, his heart pounding.
Being promoted to Furnace Lord was a very important matter. Barring unusual circumstances, before being considered for promotion, one usually needed to be a master alchemist for a full sixty-year cycle, be at the Foundation Establishment stage, and concoct over a thousand different types of medicinal pills with fifty percent medicinal strength. Even more importantly, the Sect required that the candidate master alchemist have concocted ten million medicinal pills for the Sect.
After meeting all those requirements, the approval of all the other Furnace Lords was also required. If there was more than one candidate, then a rigorous pill concocting competition was required, whereupon one person would be selected for promotion.
Meng Hao had previously thought about becoming a Furnace Lord, and had even considered using his identity as Grandmaster Pill Cauldron to attempt to do so. However, he was still hesitating and analyzing the whole matter. Hearing Lin Hailong’s words caused him to take a deep breath. His eyes began to glow.
To him, this was a chance that might only come once in a hundred years!
Of course, many other master alchemists were thinking the same thing. All of them began to pant; if they seized this opportunity to be promoted to Furnace Lord, it would be as if the gate of the Dao of alchemy had been opened. Granted, being promoted in such a way would arouse the ire of the other Furnace Lords, and would likely lead to scorn from others. However, it was still an incredible opportunity.
It didn’t matter if one was qualified or not. After becoming a Furnace Lord, one would have access to many special techniques, as well as secret formulas regarding various interactions of plants and vegetation. This in itself was enough to enable a master alchemist to advance by leaps and bounds. They would suddenly have access to plant and vegetation combinations that they would never otherwise be able to comprehend. The respect commanded by a Furnace Lord was enough to send almost all of the master alchemists into a frenzy.
Furthermore, the words had come out of the mouth of Lin Hailong himself, the most senior of the Violet Furnace Lords, and a sub-Grandmaster. No one would disbelieve him.
Meng Hao took a deep breath and looked at complacent Fatty. Feeling a bit guilty, he thought, “Fatty, brother, I don’t want to cause problems for you, but this is my only chance…. I am determined to prevail!”