As soon as the words were out of Meng Hao’s mouth, he slapped his bag of holding. A pill cauldron flew out along with some Earthly fire crystals and a host of medicinal plants, which Meng Hao began to work with. In front of everyone, he began to concoct a pill.
He worked at incredible speed. To everyone watching on, it seemed obvious that he must be doing all of this in an attempt to save Chen Jiaxi. Apparently in order to completely ensure his success, he even extracted a drop of blood from Chen Jiaxi’s forehead.
The blood entered the pill furnace, clearly as a way to make the medicinal pill more effective in purging the poison.
Everything was deathly silent, and all eyes were on Meng Hao as he concocted the pill. From the moment he had stepped foot into the Dao of alchemy, this was the quickest he had ever concocted a pill. It only took a few moments for a fragrant aroma to fill the square.
Meng Hao then waved his hand, and a pink-colored medicinal pill flew out. It shot like lighting into Chen Jiaxi’s mouth. His life clearly hung by a mere thread at the moment.
Tens of thousands of eyes were fixed on Chen Jiaxi. As soon as he consumed the pill, a tremor shook his body.
Then, even more shockingly, his hair began to rapidly change color, from black to white. His skin began to wither, as if his vitality had seeped away. In the space of a few short breaths, he seemed to have aged nearly a hundred years.
Before, he had been middle-aged, but now he looked like an old man with one foot in the grave. Wrinkles covered his face, and he emanated ancientness. Before, his Cultivation base had been at the late Foundation Establishment stage, but now it seemed to be vanishing because of his decrepitness.
The entire process, from beginning to end, only took about ten breaths’ worth of time. Chen Jiaxi looked completely different; he was now a feeble old man with no Cultivation base. However, the death aura which had been drifting off of him moments ago, had been replaced with life force.
When this happened, his eyes suddenly opened. Suddenly he coughed up a massive congealment of blood, along with what remained of the medicinal pill. It was about the size of a fingernail, half as large as it had been before.
It wasn’t the pill Meng Hao had concocted, but the pill everyone had taken to be the Primordial Heavenly Replenishing Pill!
As soon as he spat the pill out, Meng Hao waved his sleeve, collecting it into a pill bottle. Before he could put it into his bag of holding, however, Patriarch Violet Sieve’s eyes flickered. He waved his right hand, causing the pill bottle to fly out of Meng Hao’s hands and into his own.
Meng Hao ignored this, focusing instead of Chen Jiaxi, who was trembling, a look of confusion in his eyes.
“In the moment before the poison killed you, I managed to prevent it from continuing to dissolve. The poison is not impossible to dispel. However, given my current skill in the Dao of alchemy, I was unable to find the proper combination of medicinal plants in such a short time. Therefore, I used the simplest method possible, and also the most direct. I stimulated your life force, and shattered your Cultivation base. In this manner, I was able to force out the poison. As for your Cultivation base, if you practice recuperative cultivation, it should slowly recover.”
Chen Jiaxi said nothing as Li Yiming rushed over and helped him to his feet. Chen Jiaxi stared blankly at Meng Hao, then let out a bitter laugh.
“Eternal Mountain once said that alchemic battles are just like magical battles: death can come with a single thought. As of today… I am convinced of this truth.” With that, he clasped hands in salute. His body trembled, and he lowered his head to conceal the venomous hatred which seeped out from his heart.
Li Yiming also clasped hands and bowed to Patriarch Violet Sieve and the others. They clearly could not stay on the mountain, so, he took hold of Chen Jiaxi and flew up into the sky, disappearing off into the distance.
A few Black Sieve Sect Cultivators rose to accompany them as they left. Considering all of Meng Hao’s experiences, it was impossible for him to not notice Chen Jiaxi’s hatred. Had that hatred not been there, Meng Hao, well aware of how much he had come out on top, would have helped the man recover his Cultivation base more quickly.
But now, he abandoned such thoughts. Long before he had become Fang Mu, he had learned to treat his enemies with icy coldness.
Meng Hao turned to look at Patriarch Violet Sieve, who was currently examining the medicinal pill which Chen Jiaxi had just vomited out.
“Elder Violet Sieve,” he said with a polite smile, “I won that pill in the competition just now. If you would like it, sir, perhaps you could state what you intend to trade for it?”
Patriarch Violet Sieve laughed loudly. Shaking his head, he flicked his sleeve, and the medicinal pill in its bottle flew back to Meng Hao. He had scanned it with Divine Sense just now. Even though he didn’t know much about the Dao of alchemy, he was a Nascent Soul Cultivator, who had lived many, many years. How could he not have an understanding of things like the ancient medicinal pills? Actually, he had previously specifically studied ancient medicinal pills.
Just now, no matter how he examined it, he couldn’t see anything particularly special about the pill. In fact, when he held it in hand, he could detect a fishy, rotten odor. After a brief discussion with the ruddy-faced man using Divine Sense, they had determined that it definitely was a poison pill.
The fact that he so quickly returned the pill to Meng Hao had a lot to do with everything that Meng Hao had just said and done. Before, everyone in the Black Sieve Sect, including Patriarch Violet Sieve and his companions, hadn’t paid much more than a glance to Fang Mu. As of now, though, it was obvious to everyone that Fang Mu… far exceeded Zhou Dekun.
This was especially true of his final vicious display. From now on, Patriarch Violet Sieve would pay closer attention to this Fang Mu.
Meng Hao accepted the pill bottle with a smile, then casually tossed it into his bag of holding.
The alchemy lecture was now over. Zhou Dekun invited Meng Hao to join him at a feast thrown by the Black Sieve Sect, but he politely declined. His face covered with exhaustion, he returned to Black Welcoming Peak.
Back in his residence, he sat down cross-legged to restore his energy. Time passed by, and soon moonlight filled the sky. Meng Hao suddenly opened his eyes and waved his right hand. A pill furnace appeared, along with an Earthly fire crystal. He also produced his Furnace Lord medallion, and its protective shield.
After securing himself within the shield, he slapped his bag of holding to produce the pill bottle and the poison pill. He took a deep breath, and took out… the jade box! He had placed it in his bag of holding much earlier.
In reality, the medicinal pill really was one of the three ancient medicinal pills, the Primordial Heavenly Replenishment Pill!
It was only half of the original pill, therefore, the essence of Time AND the medicinal strength within the pill hadn’t completely vanished!
In ancient times, pills were not concocted using flames. Instead, the power of Heaven and Earth was used. The jade box was actually the final step of the concoction process. After being sealed inside, the pill would gradually become complete.
This was common knowledge; almost all ancient medicinal pills that had been discovered were like this. Despite being sealed in the jade box, the passage of so much time caused most such ancient medicinal pills to gradually dry out and become defective, although they generally contained a bit of medicinal strength.
Meng Hao had no idea how long this Primordial Heavenly Replenishment Pill had existed, but for some reason, it hadn’t dried out, and had contained the full level of medicinal strength. Furthermore, the pill contained the power of Time.
If Meng Hao had not mastered the technique to refine Time, achieved enlightenment regarding the Violet Will Incantation, and refined a Spring and Autumn tree, then it would have been very difficult to spot the uniqueness of this medicinal pill. All three were essential. If one were missing, he wouldn’t have been able to pick up on the clues.
Time was both visible and corporeal, yet at the same time, invisible and incorporeal. Ancient medicinal pills will dry out, and reveal their ancientness. This was a result of their passage through Time. However, this medicinal pill was different. It sucked in Time, filling the pill with its illusory power. This pill was actually… a Time treasure!
Because of that, when consumed, the pill would reverse the Qi and blood passageways, and immediately cause the body to begin to wither and age. However, after that, when the pill was fully dissolved, then the true power of the Primordial Heavenly Replenishment Pill would explode out.
That is exactly what had happened with Chen Jiaxi.
The so-called medicinal pill that Meng Hao had concocted was a ruse to cover up the truth. The only function it had served was to smear over the evidence of the Primordial Heavenly Replenishment Pill in Chen Jiaxi’s body.
Meng Hao’s true goal had been to first prevent Patriarch Violet Sieve and the others from picking up on any of the clues, and next connive his way into getting the pill for himself.
Meng Hao took a deep breath as he extracted the globule of blood from within the pill furnace and placed it into a jade bottle. Next, he put the Primordial Heavenly Replenishing Pill into the oven and began to clean the filth off of it. Then, he gingerly placed it back into its original jade box, which he then held up to examine.
“The true value of this pill to me is not its medicinal strength, but the fact that encased within it is the power of Time. When it comes time for me to forge my treasure of Time, I will be able to learn a lot from it! It will increase my chances of success by quite a bit.” Meng Hao was itching with anticipation. He could only imagine the power that he would be able to wield after producing his own treasure of Time.
“It’s too bad that Chen Jiaxi… will obviously never tell me where he got this medicinal pill. However… I should know soon enough.” He lifted up the jade bottle, inside of where he had placed the globule of blood. This blood… was from Chen Jiaxi.
“Once I’m able to produce a blood clone, the clone should be able to use its power to see the memories of whosever blood it was created from.” Meng Hao’s mind filled with excitement. As for Chen Jiaxi, he had chosen to fight with Meng Hao in terms of alchemy. His Cultivation base hadn’t been irreparably destroyed, and furthermore, they were in the middle of the Black Sieve Sect, and the victory had been made openly and fairly. Therefore, there were no negative repercussions.
A few days passed by in a flash. The World Pill Division left, leaving the Black Sieve Sect alchemy training fully in the hands of Meng Hao and Zhou Dekun.
Patriarch Violet Sieve personally requested that Meng Hao concoct some Soul Refining Pills for the Black Sieve Sect. Such pills were nourishing to the soul. Meng Hao decided to politely decline; he didn’t want to have to work in such close contact with the Black Sieve Sect. As for Zhou Dekun, he seemed excited with the current situation. He had been giving lectures throughout the Black Sieve Sect, and was feeling quite content with everything.
Meng Hao spent his time visiting the sights in the Sect and paying respects to some of the Conclave disciples. He tried in a roundabout way to get information about Xu Qing. After five days passed, he still hadn’t seen a trace of her.
As of now, he was starting to get worried; the Black Sieve Sect was a bizarre place. The incident with Zhou Jie had solidified this fact in his mind.
On this particular evening, Meng Hao was walking along in an area near the edge of the One Hundred Mountains. He lifted his head up, and saw a woman standing atop one of the mountains off in the distance. She wore a black robe, and stood upon a stone pillar which jutted up from the mountain. The wind caused her garment, as well as her long black hair, to flutter about her. The instant Meng Hao saw her face, his mind trembled.
This woman was beautiful, but cold and cheerless….
He had been searching for her everywhere, and then suddenly, here she was, floating in the wind.
Her expression was one of blankness. She stood on the stone pillar, looking like she wanted to float away.
This was… Xu Qing.