When four hundred apprentice alchemists all challenged the Medicine Pavilion together, and over a hundred succeeded, the news didn’t cause a huge stir in the inner mountains, but in the outer mountains, a tempest erupted.
To any apprentice alchemist, passing the first level of the Medicine Pavilion was a major step in life, and something incredibly important. That was even more so for those who had been studying for dozens or even more than a hundred years, and yet still could not pass. They were on the verge of going crazy.
Then there were the apprentice alchemists who hadn’t been studying for very long. When they saw others who had been studying for a similar period of time suddenly succeed, and not because they were naturally gifted, but rather, because they had studied with Fang Hao, and listened to his lectures, it is easy to imagine how violent of an uproar it caused.
Even more so, the apprentice alchemists who had chosen not to pay merit points to listen to Meng Hao felt intense regret, and couldn’t help but think about how a few hundred merit points over the course of three months could have gotten them past the first level of the Medicine Pavilion. Then they would have been pre-qualified to become tier 1 alchemists, which could not be bought with merit points, no matter how many they offered to pay.
Meng Hao didn’t make an appearance for three days. In the meantime, the storm among the outer mountain apprentice alchemists continued. Tens of thousands had gathered outside of Peak #7191 to wait for Meng Hao. Some people even got into magical combat in order to get a good seat.
On dawn of the fourth day, Meng Hao appeared in the Dao of Alchemy Division. A soon as people spotted him, word spread like wildfire.
Meng Hao was quite pleased about all this. Murmuring to himself about how his methods really were effective, he eventually reached Peak #7191. When he saw how many people were waiting, he immediately got excited.
“There have to be about 40-50,000 people here,” he thought, panting. “At one merit point a piece for a two hour lecture, I would get around 50,000 merit points! If I lecture for four hours, it would be 100,000. If I lectured for eight hours, 200,000!!” Eventually, he took a deep breath. Smiling the whole way, looking like a preeminent Daoist master who viewed material wealth as filth, he slowly strode forward.
When all of the apprentice alchemists gathered around the mountain saw him, they clasped hands and bowed. Then, they joined voices in greeting.
“Greetings, Professor Fang!”
The combined voices of all the apprentice alchemists echoed out like thunder. Meng Hao stepped foot onto the platform, looked out at the audience with shining eyes, and then cleared his throat.
“Today, I will lecture for eight hours,” he said.
Immediately, Fang Xi flew out of the crowd with a jade slip in hand, and called out, “Professor Fang is kind and generous. To him, material wealth means nothing. In previous months, we had to force him to accept our payment. Now, because he cannot bear to watch the clan’s apprentice alchemists fail the examination of the Medicine Pavilion, he has come here to lecture about plants and vegetation. We can’t let him down!
“Come come. Everyone put some merit points into this jade slip. Even if Professor Fang doesn’t want it, we’ll force him to take it!” At the same time that Fang Xi yelled out these words, a group of several hundred apprentice alchemists flew out from the crowd in various areas, jade slips in the hand. They immediately began to accept merit points from the other apprentice alchemists in their area.
This time, not a single one of the 40-50,000 people departed. All of them paid their merit points, and then the several hundred jade slips were placed in front of Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s face darkened.
“What do you people think you’re doing!?” he snapped, flicking his sleeve and looked very displeased.
Yet again, Fang Xi took the lead in crying out.
“Professor Fang, this is only what should be yours by right. Sir, please accept!” When Fang Xi finished speaking, his hundreds of companions began to shout.
“Accept it, Professor Fang. If you don’t, we’ll be very upset!”
After listening for a moment, Meng Hao hesitated, then let out a long sigh and collected up the jade slips.
“Very well,” he said emotionally. “Since you demand it, all I can do is work as hard as possible to help you pass the examination of the Medicine Pavilion.
“Material wealth is nothing,” he said, shaking his head. “What I care least about in life is just that, money.” Inwardly, of course, he was extremely excited and was shouting about how he was rich now.
The eight hour lecture ended quickly. Meng Hao again talked about the key medicinal plants from the medicine pavilion. After a while, he would wave his hand, causing a thousand medicinal plants to appear, just like the examination in the Medicine Pavilion. Many of the apprentice alchemists who were experiencing this for the first time were instantly enlivened.
In the following days, Meng Hao was engrossed in lecturing about plants and vegetation. He lectured for eight hours a day, and as time progressed, more and more people came to listen, until the audience exceeded 100,000!
The area was packed full of people, and no end could be seen to the massive crowds. This only spurred Meng Hao on to put even more energy into his lectures. He even employed his cultivation base and some divine abilities to broadcast his voice out into the distance so that every person could hear him
He was now making hundreds of thousands of merit points every day. To Meng Hao, that income was a powerful motivating force. Eventually, his lectures became the center of attention of all the outer mountains.
As Meng Hao got more and more merit points, he was able to get more and more valuable medicinal plants. As such, the ingredients he needed for the Spirit Elixir were all replaced by what could be considered treasured items. Soon, the efficacy of the Spirit Elixir reached a terrifying level.
As for the leftover merit points, he would acquire other medicinal plants, which he would take to his Immortal’s cave to concoct medicinal pills. This enabled his Dao of alchemy to steadily improve with each passing day.
He would also exchange merit points for spirit stones, which he would use to duplicate the Spirit Elixir. The life force in the Nirvana Fruits continued to grow stronger.
Of course, not a few people saw what was happening, and their eyes went bloodshot. The other alchemists gazed over at Meng Hao like ravenous wolves. Although they had never thought to use a method like his, when they saw how much he was profiting, many of them began to imitate him. There were even tier 5 alchemists who left the inner mountains and began to lecture about plants and vegetation, all in order to earn merit points.
Because the Alchemist Council didn’t oppose what was happening, it meant they tacitly approved. In fact, they were happy that more alchemists were opting not to spend all their time concocting pills, but instead, were going to the outer mountains to speak to the apprentice alchemists about plants and vegetation, as well as the Dao of alchemy.
It was as if the entire Dao of Alchemy Division was invigorated, and now bustled with activity. Things were very different than before. Now that more alchemists were coming out of the inner mountains and charging to give lectures, some of Meng Hao’s audience was being drawn away. However, there were a million apprentice alchemists in the Dao of Alchemy Division, so even if a few left, others would take their place. The Dao of Alchemy became a place where numerous viewpoints and expressions were now being heard, and everyone was struggling to promote their own perspective.
Alchemists began using all sorts of methods to attract more apprentice alchemists to their lectures. Some would even lecture about their top secret methods. Gradually, because they were able to attract more and more attention, everyone was able to make a handsome profit.
Soon, tier 6 alchemists and even some tier 7 alchemists were moved to the point of emerging from the inner mountains. The atmosphere in the Dao of Alchemy Division had reached a peak, and even the main clan was was affected, and the Grand Elder, shocked, made a personal visit.
That event caused quite a stir, and word soon spread throughout the clan.
As the apprentice alchemists began to run low on merit points, they chose to perform service for the sect, all to get more merit points. People even began to compete over the tasks assigned by the Dao of Alchemy Division. Everything was flourishing.
“What a change in the Dao of Alchemy Division!” Even the nineteen tier 8 alchemists were very excited. They watched the developments in the atmosphere in the Dao of Alchemy Division, and could tell that if things kept going on this way, the Dao of Alchemy Division would definitely experience a great rise, and a new generation of alchemists would soon come forth.
All of it started with Meng Hao, and because of it, everyone was once again speaking his name!
Back in the ancestral mansion, the Grand Elder sat silently in the temple, his face dark. It had already been several months since he gave Meng Hao the Nirvana Fruits, and there had been plenty of time for him to concoct whatever type of Spirit Elixir he wanted. And yet, Meng Hao had not suddenly died. By this point, the Grand Elder was starting to put the pieces together.
“I underestimated him,” he thought with a sigh. “He must have detected something somehow. What a pity…. In any clan, clan rules are everything. All clan members must respect the clan rules. As for him….” The Grand Elder shook his head, and within his eyes could be seen a glint of killing intent.
In another temple in the ancestral mansion, Fang Xiushan and his father sat there, extremely grim faced because of the huge name Meng Hao was making for himself.
“That damned son of a bitch!” grumbled Fang Xiushan, frowned. “He actually thought up a scheme like this to earn large amounts of merit points!! The amount he’s earning on a daily basis is enough to cause even my eyes to turn red…. With things like this, it’s going to be impossible to constrain his development.” He looked over at his father.
The old man opened his eyes, and a cold glimmer could be seen within.
“What are you losing your head over?” he said coolly. “He’s just a child. The only reason he came up with this method was because someone from the direct bloodline is coaching him. Even still, it doesn’t matter.
“I have my methods to cut off his source of merit points!” With that, he produced a jade slip, imprinted it with some divine sense, and then flung it out the door.
“Just wait and see,” he said, closing his eyes once again.
As Meng Hao rose to prominence, Fang Donghan, who was a member of one of the neutral bloodlines in the clan, was watching. From the very beginning, he had been paying attention to Meng Hao and Fang Wei, and now that he saw Meng Hao becoming famous in the Dao of Alchemy Division, his sense of anticipation was growing. 1
“It won’t be long now before he and Fang Wei fight each other!” he thought. He took a deep breath and then smiled.
In the ancestral mansion, in the subterranean Immortal’s cave, Fang Wei sat cross-legged in meditation. Yet again, there were nine old men surrounding him, who trembled as their Immortal qi was absorbed by Fang Wei.
Fang Yunyi kneeled in front of him respectfully, eyes shining with zeal as he looked at Fang Wei.
A moment later, Fang Wei opened his eyes and finished his session of cultivation. Of the surrounding nine old men, three of them coughed up blood, and then their bodies rapidly withered away until they were desiccated corpses.
“What’s the matter, Yunyi?” Fang Wei asked coolly.
“Cousin,” replied Fang Yunyi, “your Cultivation base is incredible. You’re just a step away from the Immortal Realm. When you finally become Immortal, you’ll be able to sweep across all of the Chosen of the Ninth Mountain and Sea!”
Fang Wei’s expression was the same as ever, and he didn’t respond. He just looked at Fang Yunyi.
“Cousin,” continued Fang Yunyi, “do you remember Fang Hao? He’s that bastard who was disrespectful to you in the temple a while back. You are generous and open-minded, and would never sink yourself to his level, but he’s not like that. He is narrow and petty-minded, and already views you as a thorn in his side.
“Recently, he’s been using despicable methods to make a name for himself in the Dao of Alchemy Division, and he’s even started spreading harmful gossip about you. Cousin, he’s tarnishing your name, which really makes me mad. Unfortunately, I can’t beat him. I can only watch as he rises to prominence in the Dao of Alchemy Division.” Fang Yunyi chuckled bitterly.
Fang Wei’s expression was the same as usual. He seemed neither joyful nor angry. He looked calmly at Fang Yunyi, as if he could see all the way through him, as if he could tell exactly how much of what he had just said was true or false.
Seeing that Fang Wei was studying him, Fang Yunyi suddenly began to tremble in fear. He had no idea what Fang Wei was thinking, so he didn’t dare to say anything further. He was just considering leaving, when Fang Wei finally spoke.
“Tell me about it.”
Fang Yunyi was immediately enlivened, and began to explain in detail everything Meng Hao had done in the Dao of Alchemy Division.
After listening to everything, Fang Wei closed his eyes for a few moments. Then he opened them and coolly said, “There are a lot of people in the world who like to get things for free. When you have the option of getting something for free, or paying, most people will opt for the first. Fang Yunyi, do you get my meaning?”
Fang Yunyi gaped. After a moment of thought, his eyes grew bright, and he rose excitedly to his feet, laughing.
In chapter 826, Fang Donghan mused about Meng Hao and Fang Wei fighting ↩