“Heavenrain Leaf veins will only appear when they are soaked by heay rainfall. As far as what types of medicinal pills can be concocted with those veins, I know of 87,645 different types….
“Golden Mean Tree cannot be used as a primary ingredient. However, you can add it to the mix during the concocting process to increase metal-type energy. Furthermore, it will add a golden color to the medicinal pill.”
Meng Hao was currently standing on the platform. He had just introduced a variety of unique medicinal plants that were easily misidentified, and was now fielding questions from the apprentice alchemists.
Fang Qun sat down below, constantly asking questions about various plants and vegetation that he wasn’t clear about. He seemed very excited.
“Milky Way Stone isn’t really a type of rock. It’s actually a type of sea moss that grows in the narrow crevices rocks. Furthermore, the more cracks a stone has, the higher the quality will be.
“Nine Dragons Spice is not naturally occurring. No, it is actually the result of a graft of nine different medicinal plants. The grafting formula is actually a secret, so all I know about it is from my own conclusions based on what I’ve heard about the pill itself; I can’t actually be 100% certain of the exact method of grafting.”
Meng Hao spoke patiently to the apprentice alchemists and the excited Fang Qun. The sky was growing dark, but the audience didn’t seem tired at all. Quite the opposite. Many of them were excitedly recording the information Meng Hao was giving them onto jade slips.
Soon, the moon hung high in the sky, and yet, nobody had left. Eventually, passing apprentice alchemists from nearby mountains noticed that something was going on, and came over. When they saw that an alchemist was listening to this lecture about plants and vegetation, they were shocked. That was especially true after many of them recognized Fang Qun. In the end, these curious newcomers… didn’t leave either.
It didn’t take long before the mountain platform was packed tight with, not several hundred people, but several thousand. All types of questions were asked, and there wasn’t a single one that Meng Hao couldn’t answer.
Some people even started to intentionally ask trick questions, but Meng Hao didn’t even need to think before providing an answer. Everything he said was correct and complete, which caused even the questioners trying to trip him up to feel completely astonished.
Eventually, the mountain was packed. The new arrivals, who of course didn’t want to leave, had to float in the air nearby to listen.
Meng Hao tried to conclude the lecture on numerous occasions, but there were too many people in the audience, and too many questions. He wanted to leave, but considering that he was trying to rise to prominence in the clan, the Dao of alchemy was probably his best chance to do so. Therefore, he stayed.
Gradually, an entire night passed, and to these alchemy cultivators, Meng Hao’s lecture was almost like a sermon about the Dao. More and more apprentice alchemists crowded around. By the time the sun rose, there were over 10,000 people present.
That in and of itself sent the surrounding areas into a commotion. More people approached to hear Meng Hao’s lecture, and to ask questions. However, from start to finish, there seemed to be nothing Meng Hao didn’t know, and no question that he couldn’t answer, or even give him the slightest pause.
Shock spread through all hearts, and soon, some of the other alchemists in the area who had been preparing to give their own lectures noticed. At first they chuckled coldly, but soon their eyes grew wide with disbelief.
“His skill with plants and vegetation… it’s actually… it’s actually incredibly high!!”
“Heavens! The questions are never-ending, and they touch upon virtually all aspects of plants and vegetation. But this guy can actually answer all of them! What an incredible knowledge base!”
Gradually, the size of the audience grew. Meng Hao spoke for three days straight, and eventually, there were 30,000 people in attendance. The entire world of the apprentice alchemists in the Dao of Alchemy Division was shaken. There were even many tier 1 alchemists who came. As for the tier 2 alchemists, however, most stayed in the inner mountains. They rarely interfered with the affairs of the outer mountains, nor did they pay too much attention to what happened there. After all, most alchemists spent their time in seclusion, concocting pills.
“Three Immortals Leaf is a rare medicinal plant. I would never have expected the Fang Clan’s Dao of Alchemy Division to be able to grow them. If you use this medicinal plant as the main ingredient, a vast amount of medicinal pills can be concocted. Although I haven’t personally concocted anything using Three Immortals Leaf, I’m aware of around one thousand pill formulas that use it.
“Sun Blossom? That’s a legendary medicinal plant that has long since gone extinct. Naturally, I’ve never laid eyes on one, but I’ve heard that if you add Sun Blossom to a medicinal pill, you are certain to produce a one hundred percent consummate pill.” 1
Meng Hao was now seated cross-legged on the platform, smiling as he spoke. Everyone in the audience was still excited. Even after three days, they didn’t seem tired at all. All of them were deeply aware that this was a very rare opportunity for them.
Meanwhile, word spread to the Fang Clan ancestral mansion. Fang Yunyi sat in his Immortal’s cave, listening as an apprentice alchemist gave a lively description of Meng Hao’s lecture on plants and vegetation.
Fang Yunyi’s face darkened, and then after a moment, broke out into a cold smile.
“What does that prove?” Fang Yunyi said coldly. “Any tier 2 alchemist from the inner mountains of the Dao of Alchemy Division could go out and give a lecture on plants and vegetation. Any one of them would draw a crowd of tens of thousands, or even more.
“Piddling Meng Hao. You come here from a backwater place like Planet South Heaven, so even if you have a bit of skill, it’s still bound to be quite limited. You just joined the Dao of Alchemy Division and are already acting so arrogantly? You’re nothing but a loser who thinks he’s hot stuff.” He still constantly brooded over the events that had taken place on Planet South Heaven, and hated Meng Hao to his bones.
He really wanted Prince Wei to go punish Meng Hao. Unfortunately, Prince Wei never did anything, no matter how Fang Yunyi pushed the subject. Now, just as he was managing to quell his frustration, this apprentice alchemist came to tell him about the waves Meng Hao was making in the Dao of Alchemy Division. Finally, he snorted and sent the apprentice alchemist away, then sat there frowning.
“This damned Meng Hao, I can’t just let him trot around so happily!” Grinding his teeth, Fang Yunyi produced a transmission jade slip, imprinted it with divine sense as well as some various promises, and then threw it out.
The jade slip immediately shot into the air.
Shortly thereafter, somewhere within the 10,000 inner mountains of the Dao of Alchemy Division, on one particular mountain that was fairly close to the outer mountains, a middle-aged man was concocting some medicinal pills. He wore an alchemist’s robe that had two golden dragons embroidered on the collar.
The pill furnace in front of him glowed bright red, and flickered with light. A medicinal aroma wafted out from the furnace, which surrounded the entire mountain and seemed to nourish all of the vegetation in the area.
In the middle of his concocting, a jade slip suddenly appeared. It floated there off to the side, but the middle-aged man ignored it completely, instead continuing with his pill concocting. Two hours passed before the bright red color of the pill furnace began to fade away. When the furnace cooled completely, the man began to murmur to himself.
“I’ve been working on this batch of Mortality Convergence Pills for three months. It’s too bad I wasted so many ingredients…. I wonder if I succeeded this time. If not, I’m going to have to go get some more medicinal plant ingredients.” The man frowned and then waved his hand, causing the jade slip to fly over. After scanning it with divine sense, his eyes began to glitter.
“Fang Hao? Even I’ve heard of that name recently. He had a 30,000 meter Bloodline Gatebeam. However, in the Fang Clan, you can’t only rely on your bloodline.
“Fang Hao might be a Chosen….
“But this is the Dao of Alchemy Division, and things are different here. Nobody cares if you’re a Chosen or not. Furthermore, I have no conflicts with Fang Yunyi, and considering what he’s offering me, it won’t hurt to help him out this once.” He hesitated for a moment and looked at the pill furnace. If this batch of pills went bad, then he would have to go get more medicinal plant ingredients, which he really didn’t want to do. He thought for a moment, then decided not to refuse Fang Yunyi’s request. He quickly headed toward the outer mountains.
“What kind of ability could some trifling clan member from Planet South Heaven have? Besides, skill with plants and vegetation is a low-level fundamental skill, that’s all. Any tier 2 alchemist could get a whole bunch of apprentice alchemists to gather around them.
“As for the tier 1 alchemists, well….” He snorted coldly. In the Fang Clan’s Dao of Alchemy division, the only tier 1 alchemists who were stationed in the outer mountains were the ones who had no hope of advancing to the next tier.
“7191…. Right, I remember. That place is overseen by Fang Qun.” The man chuckled. Fang Qun was the lowest ranking of all the tier 1 alchemists. The fact that he had passed the test was a completely lucky break.
The man flew out of the inner mountains at top speed. Whenever any apprentice alchemists saw him, they respectfully clasped hands and bowed. He hurried to the outer mountains as quickly as possible, and after enough time passed for an incense stick to burn, he caught sight of Alchemy Lodge Peak #7191. The first thing he saw was the crowd of tens of thousands of apprentice alchemists packed together. It almost looked like a static cyclone.
The sight of it caused the middle-aged man to give a cold harrumph. He was actually a bit offended. Whenever he went to the outer mountains to give lectures, he would usually draw a crowd of about 10,000. However, there were clearly about 30,000 apprentice alchemists in attendance here.
The man neared, but because all of the apprentice alchemists were paying close attention to Meng Hao, no one noticed the newcomer.
The man frowned and then snorted coldly, the sound of which echoed out and caused numerous nearby apprentice alchemists to turn around in shock. When they saw him standing there, their faces fell and they quickly clasped hands in greeting.
“Greetings, Alchemist Xuzhong!” 2
“It’s Alchemist Fang Xuzhong!!”
It didn’t take long before everyone was turning to Fang Xuzhong and bowing in greeting. He nodded back proudly, and proceeded forward. People backed up, creating a path that he followed all the way to the mountain peak, where he stood on the platform next to Meng Hao.
He looked Meng Hao over a few times.
All of the apprentice alchemists, and even Fang Qun, rose to their feet, bowing to Fang Xuzhong with clasped hands.
Meng Hao was the only one who remained seated. It was obvious that this man came with ill intentions, and the measuring look in his eye also contained a bit of scorn.
“So you’re Fang Hao?” he asked coldly.
Meng Hao nodded, after which Fang Xuzhong smiled, and the disdain therein was clear. He waved his sleeve and coldly announced, “You’re only an apprentice alchemist, and yet you dare to give a lecture about plants and vegetation? How scandalous!
“However, I won’t make things hard for you. I’ll ask you about three types of medicinal plants, and if you can’t answer, you will put end to this commotion immediately, and focus on being a good apprentice alchemist instead of arrogantly assuming the mantle of a full alchemist!” After saying these things, Fang Xuzhong suddenly recalled an additional requirement that Fang Yunyi had laid out.
“Also,” he added coldly, “for however long you sowed chaos in the Dao of Alchemy Division with your lecture, you will kneel here for the same length of time!” 3
Meng Hao looked at the arrogant man standing in front of him, and frowned.
“I’m just an apprentice alchemist and you’re a full alchemist. Doesn’t this count as bullying? Also, what happens if I answer your questions correctly?”
“Then you can continue your lecture!” replied Fang Xuzhong with a cold laugh.
Meng Hao hesitated, as if he was debating whether to accept the challenge. Then he looked around, as if he was considering the face he would lose in front of all these people if he didn’t accept. Gritting his teeth, he produced a bag of holding and put it down off to the side. Eyes bloodshot, he looked over at Fang Xuzhong.
“I came here with good intentions to explain matters of plants and vegetation to fellow clan members. You’ve come to stop me. If I lose the challenge, you want me to kneel here in humiliation. However, if you lose, there is no loss on your part. That’s not really fair. Why don’t we REALLY throw down? If you match the number of spirit stones in that bag of holding, then I’ll accept your challenge!
“If not, then I might as well just leave.”
Fang Xuzhong frowned. Coming as he had in his role as a full alchemist really was a case of the big bullying the small. There were a lot of people watching, and he had to consider how the matter would affect their view of him. However, if he didn’t get Meng Hao to kneel, then he wouldn’t be meeting the requirements laid out by Fang Yunyi. Finally, he looked at Meng Hao and laughed coldly, imagining what it would look like when he was humiliated and kneeling on the ground. He would definitely have to make Fang Yunyi give him an extra bonus as a reward. Without further hesitation, he pulled out a bag of holding and threw it down next to Meng Hao’s.
He said nothing, but his eyes glittered coldly.
Meng Hao took a deep breath and licked his lips. A bashful smile appeared on his face, and he even looked a bit embarrassed.
“Many thanks, Alchemist Fang. Now, let’s throw down.”
Sun Blossom is the plant Meng Hao snatched from the black beetles back in the Ruins of Immortality in chapter 883 ↩
Fang Xuzhong’s name in Chinese is 方须中 fāng xū zhōng. Xu means ‘necessary.’ Zhong means ‘middle’ ↩
In Chinese culture, kneeling on both knees publicly is very humiliating ↩