“Hey, Old Ao, have you also brought someone over?” During the time that the atmosphere in the hall was very quiet, an old laugh rang out.
Xiao Yan followed the voice and shifted his gaze. He realized that there were some old people wearing alchemist robes standing with smiles on a high platform positioned on the left side of the hall. The voice from before came from one of the snow white haired old men.
“That is the deputy chairman of the association, Qie Mi Er. He is also the Little Princess’s teacher.” Ao Tuo smiled and waved to the old man before tilting his head and speaking to Xiao Yan.
“Ah.” Xiao Yan nodded slightly.
“Just ignore these arrogant people’s eyes. Being able to become a tier three alchemist at such an age, their talents are naturally all very outstanding. It is expected that they would all be a little proud. They would not pay attention to those who have not reached their level. Most of the young people these days who have some ability are like this.” Ao Tuo glanced at those young people in the hall, patted Xiao Yan’s back and comforted him.
Xiao Yan smiled, but did not speak.
“Follow me to meet those old fellows. They are people who possess great capability within the Jia Ma Empire.” As Ao Tuo spoke, he led the way toward the towering platform at the side. Xiao Yan hesitated for a moment but could only follow.
Ao Tuo swiftly walked up the tall platform. He smiled and conversed with those old people around his age for some time. Xiao Yan quietly stood behind him and did not take any initiative to step forward and greet them.
“Old Ao. Is this the competitor representing your Black Rock City this time around?” After conversing with a smile for a while, The old man with snow white colored hair smiled as he looked at Xiao Yan standing to the side and asked.
Xiao Yan lifted his gaze slightly. He looked at this old man who clearly had quite a high position in the Alchemist Association. He wore an exquisitely made alchemist robe while his wrinkle filled face contained a smile and his slightly squinting turbid eyes were calm and gentle. At one glance, he appeared like an ordinary old man without any overly special aura, with the exception of the long robe that represented his status and the four silver colored ripples that were flashing a strange glow on his chest. However, this ordinary old man was in control of nearly half of the Alchemist Association’s strength.
As Xiao Yan was sizing up Qie Mi Er, the latter was also doing the same to him. Xiao Yan’s ordinary appearance also did not have any outstanding points. The only thing that caused Qie Mi Er to feel a little strange was the calm expression of the other party. Being able to maintain this unmoved manner when being watched by a tier four alchemist needed a mental strength that was quite rarely seen among young people.
“Ah. He is called Yan Xiao. His potential is quite great.” Ao Tuo smiled and nodded his head. After which, he turned to Xiao Yan and once again made the introduction, “This is the deputy chairman of the association, Grandmaster Qie Mi Er.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Deputy Chairman Qie Mi Er.” Xiao Yan smiled and bowed courteously at Qie Mi Er.
“Ke ke, Little Fellow, I hope that you won’t cause Ao Tuo’s recommendation to become invalid. Otherwise, it would really cause him to lose all of his old face.” Seeing the tier two badge on Xiao Yan’s chest, Qie Mi Er helplessly shook his head at Ao Tuo by the side. In a competition at this level, a tier two alchemist would have difficulty even entering the top twenty.
“I believe that I will at least be able to pass this test.” Xiao Yan shrugged his shoulders and said.
“It is good that you have confidence. However, as all of the people recommended by the head of each branch have slightly stronger abilities, therefore, this internal test will also have some difficulty.” Qie Mi Er nodded his head and said with a smile.
“I will do my best.”
“Ke ke. It is about time to start. We should not say any more nonsense. You should go down first. The test is beginning soon.” Qie Mi Er smiled and said.
Xiao Yan nodded his head, turned around and walked down the platform. After which, in front of all the gazes of the young people in the hall, he walked toward a corner and stood with his hands dangled down.
“Ah, Old Ao. Your Black Rock City is also considered a large city, right? There’s no way that you cannot find a young tier three alchemist.” Eyeing Xiao Yan’s back, Qie Mi Er spoke helplessly toward Ao Tuo by the side.
“I believe in him.” With both his hands inserted into his spacious sleeves, Ao Tuo said with a mysterious smile.
“Ah, you old fellow… if no one from your side has an outstanding performance at the Grand Meeting, do not blame us for having a reduction in your funds next year. These things must be done according to the books. Having good relationships does not help.” Qie Mi Er shook his head and said.
Ao Tuo smiled and nodded. He did not continue to worry about this topic and said, “It is time. Let’s start the test.”
Hearing this, Qie Mi Er did not say anything more. He turned his gaze toward everyone below. His finger pointed at the front of the hall. There were many black colored curtains hanging on the wall there. “Behind each of the curtains, there is a small personal room. That is your examination room…”
“As everyone knows, refining the medicinal ingredients is an extremely important step in refining a medicinal pill. Our test this time around is to test your refinement of the medicinal ingredients…”
“On a platform in each of the small rooms, the medicinal ingredients needed for the test have already been prepared. What all of you need to do is to use the shortest time to refine the medicinal ingredients into the highest purity that you can achieve.”
“When the sand in the hourglass has completely fallen, those who have not completed the refinement will be considered to have failed this test. Moreover, even if you successfully refine the ingredients, we, these old fellows, will be the judges. If the medicinal ingredients that you have refined do not meet our standards you will also be considered to have failed this test. The result of failing is to lose the qualification to participate in the main competition.” Qie Mi Er pointed to an hourglass on the table. He glanced at the young people below and smiled faintly.
Hearing such a severe penalty for failing, the young people below faced each other. Other than a small number of people, their expressions each had a slight change.
Sweeping his gaze slowly below him, Qie Mi Er suddenly paused at Xiao Yan who was standing in a corner with his hands dangling. He looked at the calm face and could not help but be stunned as he quietly muttered in his heart, “Does this fellow actually have some real ability?”
“Alright, begin. Pay attention to the hourglass’ time.” After moving his gaze away from Xiao Yan Qie Mi Er clapped his hands as he smiled and said.
Hearing this, everyone in the hall began to move in small groups as they headed toward their left side. After which, each of them pulled aside a black curtain and walked in.
Xiao Yan also chose a remote black curtain and was about to walk in when laughter was transmitted from behind him. It caused him to stop his footsteps and turned his calm face over.
“Ke ke, I did not expect that brother Yan Xiao would also be able to participate in this kind of internal test. We seem to have some fate tying us together.” Liu Ling walked closer to Xiao Yan as he smiled and said. However, his feminine smile caused Xiao Yan to frown slightly.
Xiao Yan faintly glanced at him and said, “I was simply pulled over by someone to make up the numbers.”
“Brother Yan Xiao really knows how to joke. Although your tier cannot make it, you have a strange object like the ‘Heavenly Flame’. I think that your results would not be too low.” Liu Ling roamed his gaze over Xiao Yan’s face. Honestly speaking, he still maintained a great doubt as to whether Xiao Yan possessed a ‘Heavenly Flame’. After all, this was only his guess. Although he had privately asked Nalan Yanran, she did not give him a precise reply on such a secret matter.
Xiao Yan was non-committal as he shrugged his shoulders before pulling aside the black curtain and walking in. This left Liu Ling standing on the same spot with his eyebrows slightly knit together.
“Big Brother Liu, aren’t you going in?” A clear voice sounded behind Liu Ling. The pretty Little Princess walked over, eyed Xiao Yan who had disappeared behind the curtain and smiled sweetly.
“I just met someone I know. If Little Princess has an interest, I can introduce him to you.” Liu Ling said softly as he gave a warm smile to the Little Princess.
“Forget it, a tier two alchemist… I don’t have a mood as good as yours.” The Little Princess lazily shook her head. Clearly, her interest toward Xiao Yan was not as rich as Liu Ling’s. After all, regardless of identity, strength, appearance etc, Liu Ling far exceeded him.
“Haha, it’s up to you.” Liu Ling smiled. The Little Princess’ manner of ignoring Xiao Yan caused him to have some joy in his heart. In the Nalan clan, Grandfather Nalan valued Xiao Yan greatly, causing Liu Ling, who had always been given great respect as a genius, to feel displeased in his heart.
“I will go in first. Big Brother Liu Ling better not lose to me.” Little Princess saucily blinked at Liu Ling before entering a black curtained room in a light and agile manner.
Liu Ling smiled and nodded his head. He eyed the hall that had become empty and did not delay any longer. With a comfortable pace, he entered behind a black curtain. His leisurely manner caused Qie Mi Er and the others on the high platform to nod their heads.
“The test question this time around is quite good. Refining medicinal ingredients is not only an essential step in refining medicine but it also tests one’s ability to control the flame. This very small thing should be able to roughly test out some of the abilities of these little fellows.” Eyeing the empty large hall, Ao Tuo turned around and said with a smile toward Qie Mi Er.
Qie Mi Er smiled and nodded. He sat down on a chair by the side, lifted his teacup and took a sip. With a smile, he said, “Next, let us see just who will be able to bring out the refined medicinal ingredients with the highest purity.”
Passing through the black curtain, a small room appeared in Xiao Yan’s sight. The room was not spacious, but it was quite elegant and tidy. Near the wall of the small room, there was a square green stone platform. An hourglass was placed on the rock platform along with a couple of neatly placed medicinal ingredients.
Walking to the side of the stone platform, Xiao Yan’s gaze drifted across a few pieces of black charcoal-like medicinal ingredients. Surprise clearly flash across his eyes. He muttered softly, “It is actually the ‘Black Iron Spiritual Leaf’ which is one of the most resistant ingredients to heat. This thing really exhausts one’s energy during the refinement. These old fellows really don’t allow others to have peace of mind.”
Xiao Yan shook his head and his finger rubbed gently over his storage ring. A dark red colored medicinal cauldron appeared on the table. Xiao Yan picked up a ‘Black Iron Spiritual Leaf”, placed it on his hand and kneaded it. After which, his eyebrows were pressed tightly together. He was troubled as to whether he should use the ‘Green Lotus Core Flame’…
After musing for a moment, Xiao Yan shook his head. He did not want to use his hidden card during a test at such an early stage. If he used the ‘Green Lotus Core Flame’ at such an easy test, it was undoubtedly like using a sledgehammer to slaughter a chicken.
With a gentle flick of his finger, a purple colored pill appeared between his fingers. Xiao Yan threw it into his mouth and chewed slightly. After which, he blew out. A cluster of purple colored flame immediately surged out and was held in Xiao Yan’s palm.
Holding this cluster of purple flame, Xiao Yan smiled gently. Since he had swallowed the ‘Purple Flame’ back then, he was still able to control the flame with greater familiarity now. Although it could not be compared with the high degree of control he had for the green flame, it should not be too big of a problem to refine the ‘Black Iron Spiritual Leaf”.
Xiao Yan’s Spiritual Strength was slowly extended out of his body and controlled this cluster of purple colored flame as it was slowly poured into the cauldron. Immediately, the icy cold cauldron’s temperature began to rise. The purple colored flame soared and writhed within it.
Xiao Yan eyed the bright purple colored flame indifferently. He waved his hand and the ‘Black Iron Spiritual Leaf’ left his hand and was thrown into the medicinal cauldron. The purple flame leaped onto it turbulently, wrapping it and began an intense calcining.
Xiao Yan’s ten fingers flexibly danced in front of him. A moment later, Xiao Yan. who had become even more smooth in his control, actually gradually closed his eyes. He completely relied on his feeling to control the burning of the flame.
During the time of refinement, the sand in the hourglass on the table was slowly descending.