Xiao Yan’s face was calm as he looked at the pill shooting out of the cauldron. His palm released a suction force which pulled it into his palm.
The instant the pill entered his hand, the little remaining sand finally fell down. On the big open ground, hundreds of red lights, behind those alchemists who had still not finished refining the pill, lit up.
Disappointedly looking at the flashing red light, those alchemists smiled bitterly and took back their respective cauldrons, their faces were dispirited as they exited the square.
Standing behind the green table, Xiao Yan looked at the contestants withdraw one after another. His eyes looked around, somewhat startled at his discovery. This was just the first round of assessments and yet unexpectedly one-third of the participants had been eliminated. He let out a sigh as he thought about the strictness and the harshness of the Grand Meeting.
Playing with the pill in his hand, Xiao Yan turned his head to the nearby Liu Ling. This fellow was throwing a smile at the pill in his hand, his whole face full of a proud color. He looked at Xiao Yan, his pill steadily grasped in his hand, and said with a smile, “Mr. Yan Xiao, ah you truly have good luck. Unexpectedly you managed to refine the pill at the last moment…. You had the best score for the internal test, so if you failed to pass even this round, it would have been a big joke.”
Shooting a look at Liu Ling’s triumphant appearance, Xiao Yan faintly smiled and said, “In any case, one would be considered to have passed as long as this is refined. Whether it is finished in the first moment or the last makes no difference at all….”
“Mr. Yan Xiao seems to be deceiving himself and others. In this Grand Meeting, attended by innumerable outstanding Alchemists, refining with the fastest speed in an undeniable skill.” Liu Ling laughed. He was naturally unwilling to let Xiao Yan diminish his achievements.
“Ha-ha, perhaps…” Xiao Yan shrugged as he no longer wasted his words on Liu Ling. He turned his head toward the Little Princess and smiled. Looking up at the VIP seats, he saw Fa Ma, waiting for his turn to speak.
In the VIP seats, Ao Tuo heavily exhaled. He used his sleeves to wipe off the cold sweat on his forehead. He faced Frank by the side whose face was also filled with cold sweat and said with a bitter smile, “No matter what this fellow does, he likes to keep doing it in such an extremely thrilling manner. Doesn’t he know how to think of us old fellows? We don’t have the kind of strong heart he has for these kinds of soul-stirring things.”
Frank similarly had a face with a bitter smile. Of course, on top of the bitter smile there was some relief and joy, “But fortunately, he managed to complete the test at the last moment. Otherwise, it would really be a great embarrassment if the person with the best result in the internal test actually failed to pass the first round…”
Hearing this, Ao Tuo felt the same as he nodded his head. If that had really happened, then it would really not be fun. He would have directly packed up and returned to Black Rock City…
Fa Ma stood at a spot on the front of the platform. He looked down from the top and watched the entire open ground. His gaze swept across it, eyeing the place where a third of the competitors had been eliminated. Nodding with a faint smile, Fa Ma’s hands pressed down on something imaginary. Immediately, the noisy ground began to gradually quiet down.
“Congratulations to all of you who are still standing in the plaza. You have more or less successfully passed the test for the first round; however, it has not completely ended…” Fa Ma said with a smile, “I think that everyone should also know that there are some cunning little fellows who like to create some bizarre things. Perhaps it may appear that they have successfully refined a medicinal pill that appears round on the exterior but they very well may not have even the slightest healing properties. Essentially, such creations have not even a little relationship with the words ‘medicinal pill’… Therefore, the next thing we need to do is to test the ‘Bone Growing Pill’ that all of you have refined and see whether it has achieved the required level stated on the medicinal formula…”
The slightly hoarse voice of Fa Ma slowly sounded in everyone’s years, “Now, can all the competitors please search for a green colored button located at the bottom left corner of your green stone table and press it.”
Hearing this, Xiao Yan’s gaze swept across the rock table and finally stopped at the bottom left corner which was not very noticeable. He was somewhat stunned to realize that there were a few different colored small buttons scattered there. His finger followed the instructions and stopped on the green colored button before pressing it down gently.
As the button was pressed, the bright and clean rock table suddenly trembled slightly. On its surface, a slate was slowly protruding out. Once it was raised by around half a feet, it sank slightly and finally revealed a tiny black hole.
“This is a testing machine. Place the ‘Bone Growing Pill’ that you have refined into it. If you have achieved the requirement, a green light will flash on the jade mirror in front of the table. If you have failed to meet the requirements, it will flash a red light: that represents failure. The result of failure is that you must exit the competition… Additionally, the brighter the green light, the closer your refined ‘Bone Growing Pill”s effectiveness to the real one described in the medicinal formula. On the other hand, the brighter the red light… Well, the opposite… the farther your pill is from the real ‘Bone Growing Pill’. It also implies that what you have created is a Danwan that has not the slightest effect. Of course, if it can be use to satisfy hunger, it would at least have a slight use…”
Hearing the humorous joke that sounded in the air above the open ground, laughter was emitted from both the audience seats and the VIP seats. Within the open ground, however, there were quite a number of alchemists whose expressions had suddenly changed…
“Haha, alright. Everyone, begin…”
As he fondled the round medicinal pill gently with his fingers, Xiao Yan calmly eyed the dark black colored hole of the testing machine. He did not hurriedly throw the pill in. Instead, his gaze swept around him.
At this moment, there were already some alchemists who had begun to throw their medicinal pills into the testing machine. Not long after that happened, the open plaza suddenly became very colorful. Strong and weak green and red lights interweaved as they glittered. Each represented either joy or gloominess…
“Bullsh*t testing machine…” A tier two alchemist with a dark expression angrily glared at the red glow flickering from the jade mirror. The red glow there was practically the densest among the entire open ground. Therefore, countless of stunned gazes were thrown at this gloomy-faced young man.
After smashing his fist violently at the rock table, the alchemist returned the medicinal cauldron into his storage ring and descended from the platform while cursing under the observation of countless of gazes. With a green face, he gnashed his teeth as he walked out of the open ground.
“Keep doing these messy nonsensical examinations… Will a serious medicinal pill refinement kill people? A group of old men who will not die… I used all my effort to merge those medicinal ingredients together. Yet, you actually gave me another test. You gave a medicinal formula that had not the slightest information besides the name, refine what…”
Xiao Yan eyed the tier two alchemist who had walked out of the place in front of him. When he heard the extremely angry curses from his mouth, Xiao Yan could not help but feel neither able to laugh nor cry. He did not expect that this kind of clown could actually pass through the soul-stirring examination earlier.
Following this round of the test, there were at least nearly a hundred alchemists who left the open ground with green or red faces.
“Ke ke, Mister Yan Xiao, why don’t we do it together…” Little Princess tossed the medicinal pill in her hands and suddenly spoke with a smile to Xiao Yan.
“Anything will do…” Xiao Yan indifferently shrugged his shoulders. He eyed Liu Ling whose eyes were fixated on him. Currently the contesting scent of the other party was extremely dense…
Xiao Yan smiled. The medicinal pills of the three of them were thrown into the dark black hole of the testing machine at almost the same time.
As the three of them threw in their medicinal pills, countless of gazes were immediately thrown at this spot which was the most eye-catching. Everyone all wanted to know who among these three, who were clearly considered the seeded level competitors, could refine a medicinal pill that was better than the others.
“Bang, bang, bang…”
The jade mirror was a little quiet. An instant later, a slight muffled sound erupted and three bright colored green light pillars were abruptly shot out from the rock tables in front of the three of them. The density of any of the green colored lights was clearly much denser than any of the green lights that had appeared in the open ground before.
Among the three green lights, the left was slightly pale, the right was a little better while the middle green colored light pillar was already green like an emerald. Its color was extremely attractive.
“Wow… what a dense color.” As they eyed the emerald like light pillar, numerous shocked voices from the audience were endlessly emitted.
“Haha, Mister Yan Xiao really had a well thought out plan. Although you used the most amount of time, the effect of this medicinal pill of yours is the best. Yue-er admits defeat.” Little Princess watched the emerald light pillar in front of Xiao Yan with shocked pretty eyes. She then shook her head and sighed.
“I was merely lucky.”
Xiao Yan carelessly smiled and turned his head over. When he saw the somewhat dark expression of Liu Ling, he shrugged his shoulders as he smiled and said, “I’m sorry, Mister Liu Ling.”
The corner of Liu Ling’s mouth twitched. He inhaled deeply, turned his head over and stared intently at the jade mirror which was flashing a green light. His heart suddenly had an impulse to smash it to pieces.
“Ke ke, Yan Xiao is indeed a notch above.” Fa Ma said with a smile as he eyed the three bright pillars of light.
“If it were not for the little fellow’s purple flame suddenly disappearing just now, I think that he would have refined the medicinal pill ahead of Liu Ling. Hee hee, I already said that this little fellow’s refining ability is not something that these children could compare with.” Hai Bo Dong proudly laughed.
Fa Ma smiled. He was about to say something when his expression suddenly changed. A soft exclamation was emitted from his mouth. His gaze swept through the huge open ground and finally paused on a remote corner. A human figure that was entirely wrapped in a gray colored long robe slowly dropped the medicinal pill in his hand into the testing machine.
“Why?” Seeing Fa Ma’s reaction, Jia Lao was stunned and he asked uncertainly.
“That fellow…” Fa Ma’s old eyes narrowed. A glint flashed within those turbid eyes. His finger gently tapped on the guardrail as he softly said, “That fellow seems a little strong…”
“Oh?” Hearing this, Hai Bo Dong and Jia Lao were a little surprised. Their gazes were instantly thrown toward the gray robed person. Immediately, they frowned and doubtfully asked, “What is it about him that you have discovered?”
“You both are not alchemists, therefore your Spiritual Perception isn’t very clear. But from what I have sensed, that fellow’s Spiritual Strength might well be much stronger that Liu Ling, Yue-er and even Yan Xiao. Among those in the open ground below, his Spiritual Strength should be the strongest. I remember that when Gu He participated in the Alchemist Grand Meeting back then, his Spiritual Strength wasn’t even as strong as this…” Fa Ma shook his head. He knit his eyebrows gently together and stared intently at the ground below. A moment later, the bright green colored light pillar abruptly shot out from the rock table in front of the gray robed person. The intensity of the light had vaguely surpassed that green light of Xiao Yan.
The sudden appearance of the strong light had almost instantly attracted all the gazes on the open ground over. When everyone saw that the person who had created this light pillar was a gray robed person who was reduced to a remote corner, their faces could not help but be filled with surprise.
The strong green light that had suddenly appeared had also simultaneously attracted the gazes of Xiao Yan’s group. When he saw the light pillar that was even denser than his own glow, Xiao Yan was momentarily at a loss. He immediately frowned slightly as he eyed that mysterious person whose body was wrapped within gray robes. He did not expect that such a strong person would actually appear at this moment. Moreover, by looking at his size and the position that he occupied, it was clear that this person was not among those that had participated in the internal test back then…
“Don’t tell me he is a free alchemist?” Xiao Yan muttered softly. He pursed his lips up as his gaze stared at the gray robed person. From his perception, he felt that this mysterious gray robed person would likely be his most troublesome opponent during this Grand Meeting.
Seemingly having sensed the gaze that Xiao Yan had shot over, the gray robed person lifted his head slightly. revealing half a section of his pale tender face. Hidden behind his bamboo hat, a pair of eyes where a blue light was flickering carried a little iciness as they eyed the former indifferently.
“Who is this fellow?” After looking at the strong opponent that had suddenly appeared with stunned gazes, Little Princess and Liu Ling exchanged glances with surprised faces that were utterly perplex.
“Qie Er Si, give me his information…” At the front of the VIP seats, Fa Ma suddenly turned his head around and said in a deep voice to Qie Er Si.
TL: New character, not important though
From the moment that Fa Ma emitted the shocked sound a moment ago, Qie Er Si had sensed that something was wrong. He swiftly identified the spot where the gray robed person was. After which, he took out a stack of documents and swiftly flipped through it. A while later, his flipping ceased and a thin paper that recorded the information appeared. The drawing on it was that mysterious gray robe man. It also had a clear up close drawing of the person. The face was that of an ice, pale-faced young man with a pair of blue colored eyes. From his appearance, he appeared to be around sixteen or seventeen years old, being strangely young…
After Qie Er Si passed the information to Fa Ma, the latter pressed his eyebrows together and carefully read through it. A moment later, his expression changed as he said, “It’s an alchemist from the Chu Yun Empire?”
Strictly speaking, the Chu Yun Empire and the Jia Ma Empire were enemy countries that frequently went to war. As the Chu Yun Empire held the occupation that was the deadly enemy of the alchemist, ‘Poison Masters’, in high regard. This resulted in the orthodox alchemists of the Jia Ma Empire to view them poorly. Of course, the most important reason was that during each time the two countries fought, those ‘Poison Masters’ would utilize those underhanded methods to release poison medicine, poison powder, poison liquid in many different places. Therefore, during each large fight, the number of Jia Ma Empire’s soldiers that died was a very shocking number.
Additionally, the alchemists within the Chu Yun empire did not oppose the ‘Poison Masters’. Some of them even cooperated with each other. This resulted in the alchemists within the Jia Ma Empire to feel angry and disdain for these fellows who had betrayed the purpose of the alchemist world.
It was also due to this reason that Fa Ma’s expression was so ugly when he saw that the mysterious gray robed person was actually from the Chu Yun Empire.
“Why is it written that he is only a tier two alchemist on this paper? From the Spiritual Strength that I sensed just now, that fellow should at least be a tier four alchemist!” Fa Ma’s eyes glanced across the tier that was recorded as he said with a frown.
“A seventeen year old tier four alchemist? Chairman, do you think that is possible? Regardless of how much talent he has, alchemy skills require time and experience to accumulate.” Qie Er Si smiled bitterly and said.
“My senses should not be wrong…” Fa Ma shook his head. His gaze stared intently at that tender face. For some unknown reason, he felt that this face was somewhat strange.
“Don’t tell me that he had altered his appearance and come here? Seeing his well practiced technique when he was refining medicinal pill, it totally did not look like something a teenage youth would be able to possess.” Fa Ma softly muttered.
“If he has altered his appearance, he would naturally be unable to escape our senses.” Jia Lao smiled faintly. As he said these words, the corner of his eyes swept to the spot on the open ground where Xiao Yan was, without anyone noticing. It appeared that he seemed to have discovered Xiao Yan’s disguise. It was just that he did not reveal it for some reason.
“But that fellow has hid himself so well. During this kind of competition, we cannot just stop the Grand Meeting and lift his hat, right? That way, other people would say that our Jia Ma Empire’s Alchemist Association is overbearing and rude.” Seeing the gray robed person who had covered his head very well, Fa Ma helplessly said.
“If he is unwilling to lift it up, then let us help him to do so…” Hai Bo Dong stood up, walked to Fa Ma’s side and softly said with a smile.
“You… won’t be discovered, will you?” Fa Ma expression moved slightly and he immediately asked with hesitation.
“Hee hee, although my strength has weakened a little, controlling the flow of coldness and unwittingly freeze that weak headdress until it become powder is something that I can still do…” Hai Bo Dong smiled and said. He naturally knew what kind of huge embarrassment it would be to allowed a Chu Yun Empire’s alchemist became the champion of the Jia Ma Empire’s Alchemist Grand Meeting.
“This kind of thing that requires subtle control is really most suitable for Old Man Hai’s ice Dou Qi to do. My Dou Qi affinity leans more toward being forcefully. It is suitable to split mountains and stones but now, it won’t do…” Jia Lao shook his head and said.
“Alright… then I will rely on you.” Fa Ma mused for a moment, nodded his head and said.
With a smile, Hai Bo Dong gradually narrowed his eyes. His shriveled hand was extended out of his sleeves and flicked slightly. Following a flick of his finger, a pale strange ripple was quietly emitted.
At the moment Hai Bo Dong secretly moved, Jia Lao and Fa Ma moved closer to him. It looked like they were discussing something, but it also coincidentally isolated the surrounding gazes.
“Looks like there is some unforeseen turn of events in the Grand Meeting…” Ya Fei’s eyes looked at Hai Bo Dong’s three man group a short distance away with eyes that held a deeper meaning as she softly said. With her eyesight that had been trained over so many years, she was naturally able to discover that ever since the strong green colored light appeared, Fa Ma’s expression was somewhat ugly. Qie Er Si’s follow-up action of flipping through the documents also proved some things.
“Yes… that mysterious gray robed man appeared to have broke the order of the Grand Meeting.” Yao Ye and Nalan Yanran nodded. They were not flower vases that were put on display and did not miss those things that Ya Fei was able to discover.
“The ‘Growing Bone Pill’ that the gray robed person had refined appears to be even more outstanding than Yan Xiao’s group… Originally I thought that only the three of them would be fighting for the champion of this Grand Meeting. It is really unexpected that such a dark horse has suddenly come running out…” Ya Fei knit her eyebrows slightly together and helplessly said in her heart.
A faint ice flow quietly passed through the air. A long while later, it shrouded the air above the mysterious gray robed person without leaving a trace. It was like a couple of ice snakes that were invisible to the naked eyes that were quietly emitting a fog.
At the moment, the gray robed person was slowly packing up the things on the rock table. In an instant, his moving hands abruptly stiffened. The blue eyes under the gray robe suddenly shrank as his feet heavily stomped on the ground. His body shot backward.
“Humph, where can you run?” Seeing that the gray robed person appeared to have discovered the ice flow, Hai Bo Dong was somewhat astonished. He immediately laughed coldly and tightened his fist abruptly, “Break!”
Following the tightening of Hai Bo Dong’s fist, the bamboo hat on the head of the gray robed person who had just moved his body abruptly turned into powder which then scattered.
When the bamboo had disappeared, the tender face that was covered under it immediately appeared in front of countless of gazes. Immediately, the audiences in both the regular and VIP seats emitted a sound of inhaling cold air. None of them had expected that this person who had obtained the most outstanding result in the first round would actually be such a tender looking youth…
The young man who possessed a pair of blue colored eyes extended his hand and touched the bamboo hat which had disappeared. A moment later, he suddenly lifted his head and shot his ice gaze toward Hai Bo Dong’s three man group at the front of the VIP seats.
“This fellow is definitely not someone simple. Not only did he discover my ice flow, but he also managed to use it to sense my direction…” Hai Bo Dong narrowed his eyes and watched that gray robed young man. He fondled his chin a little and coldly laughed, “Although I don’t know why he has such a tender youthful face, but if he is really seventeen as written on the information, I, Hai Bo Dong, don’t need to continue to come out. I can directly go and live in isolation for the rest of my life…”
Fa Ma and Jia Lao narrowed their eyes and slowly nodded.
“Looks like the Grand Meeting this time around will be quite interesting…”