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Chapter 766: Jiang Chen Loses His Cool

Tong Kun knew that the young lord was of a mind to work over the Wei father and son when he heard those words. He chuckled and put on a scathing tone, “There might be some things you’re unaware of, young clan lord. That father and son across the street are actually people of some importance. They’re actually a ninth ranked aristocratic house—House Wei under the Coiling Dragon Clan’s banner.”

“House Wei?” Wang Teng was nonplussed. “Isn’t House Wei a premier house beneath the Coiling Dragon clan? How could they sink to such a depth?”

“Who knows? Perhaps they’ve been irrelevant in the area of pills for too long and have thrown away the dignity befitting a ninth ranked aristocratic house. Maybe the desire for money has driven them crazy?” Tong Xianwei chuckled. “Young clan lord, please come this way. There’s no need to dirty your ears with this kind of talk.”

Wang Ten sighed on purpose, gracing the Wei father and son with a look of grave disappointment as he lifted his feet to walk inside.

“Pretentious posers,” Jiang Chen smirked coldly. House Wei didn’t even bother accompanying those two words; it was everything they wanted to say. Everyone present heard him, as the words hung in the air like an iron weight Wang Teng’s look of noncommittal elegance instantly dropped off his face as the Majestic Clan group simultaneously halted, glaring back over at House Wei with looks of concerted fury.

“Who was that?!”

“Which bastard spoke just now?!”

“Step out if you dare!” Those of the Majestic Clan were more than used to getting their way in Veluriyam Capital. The seven emperors rarely intervened in the mundane world, so the capital was normally left in the hands of the great clans, of which the Majestic Clan stood at the foremost. House Wei didn’t dare say anything in front of them, even at a situation like today’s. Therefore, while Jiang Chen’s insult had been a sweet thrill, it undoubtedly set the scene ablaze.

Jiang Chen smiled faintly in the face of such an imposing atmosphere and walked forward, his tone as casual as ever, “Did I speak incorrectly? My Taiyuan Tower has spent at least a month preparing for our opening and sent out the invitations long beforehand. We also thought of the store’s name well in advance. Who’s the one copying here? Who’s the one shamelessly imitating the other? Don’t try to talk yourself out of this in such a ludicrous fashion. Everyone here knows what’s really going on. Alright then, you copied us, so what’s with this act huh? You won’t be satisfied until you grind your imitation in our face, huh? You’ll die if you don’t strut around like you’re actually something, is it?”

Jiang Chen had been harboring a bellyful of rage, and he would’ve cussed out the clan lord of the Majestic Clan himself, much less their young clan lord. Their usage of “Taiyuan” had deeply triggered him. How could such vile, base characters defile his father’s title? He felt so much better after letting loose on them. He’d kept a low profile ever since he’d entered the Capital, and had held it all in even if he’d experienced a bit of suffering. But now, he would stay quiet no more! It was one thing for the Majestic Clan to use the Longevity Pill to stir up waves, and another thing to imitate Jiang Chen and open a Taiyuan Lodge. Even then, they would compete on basis of true skill, and Jiang Chen might have been fine with that in the end. However, these fellows had gone too far. They’d stolen his shop name, robbed him of the Longevity Pill, and then wanted to follow up all that with a kick to his head! This was the spark that set alight all of Jiang Chen’s accumulated rage! If even this can be tolerated, then what else is left?!

Pin drop silence reigned for a long moment after Jiang Chen’s words, and was promptly shattered by the loud abuse rising from the other side after they gathered their wits.

“And who the hell are you, brat? What kind of right do you have to speak here?”

“No respect for your superiors, ah? I think you’re looking to die, brat!”

“Young clan lord, I’ll go destroy that brat and teach House Wei some manners!”

Jiang Chen snorted coldly and readied himself. He wouldn’t give a damn even if they erupted in open hostility today. The gods fought over each worshipper, and humans fought over their principles. He truly couldn’t take this lying down any longer. There was no need for him to endure things. Just as the situation started to reach a dangerous precipice, a loud shout broke the air. “Wang Teng, you’ve been quite full of yourself lately! What show are you planning on putting on today?”

House Wei was delighted; they recognized that voice. It was young master Ji San’s voice!

Ji San was striding in from the distance, a large group of people with him. His retinue was a good six times greater than Wang Teng’s. Not only did they include his personal guards, but many of them were also Coiling Dragon Clan confidantes. Quite a few of them were all great personages in Veluriyam Capital, and they were all walking over to Taiyuan Tower.

When he saw Ji San appear, Wang Teng’s face sank. “Ji Ole Third, there seems to be none of your business here, hmm?”

Young master Ji San laughed heartily, “What nonsense are you sprouting? House Wei is a ninth ranked aristocratic house under my clan’s banner. I’ve specially come here on the day of Taiyuan Tower’s opening to prevent any riffraff from making trouble. Just as I thought, I happened upon some unsavory scenes.”

He was someone from the great clans alright. Ji San had taken control of the situation as soon as he opened his mouth, instantly clapping Wang Teng with the label of “riffraff”. When it came to throwing his weight around as a rich second generation, young master Ji San was an acclaimed adept in the Capital. It would be exceedingly difficult for Wang Teng to gain the upper hand against Ji San.

“Ji Ole Third, this is the opening day for Taiyuan Lodge, I can’t be bothered to bicker with you!” Wang Teng snorted coldly.

Ji San wasted no time in firing back, smiling lazily, “Taiyuan Lodge? Never heard of it. I’ve only heard of Taiyuan Tower opening today. What kind of cheap imitation is Taiyuan Lodge? Wang Teng, this is another one of your harebrained schemes, is it? Your Wang family always loves playing these dirty little tricks. Can’t you actually amount to something instead of wasting time and effort on these petty schemes? Can’t you be a bit more aboveboard? Do you think the likes of you actually has a chance of replacing my Coiling Dragon Clan as the top clan in the Capital?” Young master Ji San’s eloquence was quite off the charts, and everyone’s hearts trembled as the barbs kept coming. The Majestic Clan and Coiling Dragon Clan had always fought overtly and in the shadows, but no one had ever dared to openly speak of it. Young master Ji San was acting out of the ordinary today!

Wang Teng laughed coldly, “Ji Ole Third, you seem to be sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong! You can’t even handle affairs at home, and you want to interfere in my clan’s matters? You better go back and make your preparations. Who knows, your own backyard might be set afire one day.”

These words were obviously picking at the Coiling Dragon Clan’s wounds, hinting that they would lose power soon and fall into the shambles of internal conflict. As soon as the clan lord’s cultivation dissipated, they would surely sink into civil conflict. Young master Ji San waved his fan with a smile, “Even if we’re on fire, we’ll certainly take you down burning with us. Of that you can be sure of.”

These words were a blatant threat. You think your Majestic Clan is something? If my Coiling Dragon Clan falls into disarray, we’ll drag you straight down into hell with us! Indeed, Wang Teng’s face changed slightly. He really didn’t dare fire back. It wasn’t as if similar things hadn’t happened in the Divine Abyss Continent before. Some experts would crazy things right before they died. Sometimes they would hack their way into their enemies’ home and slaughter whoever they saw, committing suicide and taking down the strongest character on the enemy’s side. In this way, the enemy would be hurt almost as equally as them, and both sides would come out even in the end. This would prevent one’s own faction from being suppressed after the expert’s death. This kind of destructive ending was prohibited by the rules, but no one could guarantee that something like this really wouldn’t happen.

“Ji Ole Third, don’t try that shameless act with me. It’s useless on me! Today is the Taiyuan Lodge’s grand opening. You say that the Lodge is copying the Tower? I say the Tower is copying the Lodge! We can sit here and trade empty words all day, but it’s all just talk. We should have a contest of pills! If I recall correctly… House Wei has always been a non mainstream force when it comes to pills?” Wang Teng’s words took a turn as he diverted his firepower into another direction. Aren’t you trying to prove that you’re actually something? Have a contest of pills if you dare then! One had to say, this was quite a vicious move. Everyone knew that House Wei almost had no standing in the world of pills, and House Tong had always had a decent level of achievement in this arena. With the Taiyuan Lodge’s grand opening today, all of the guests had basically gone over to their side and hadn’t chosen Taiyuan Tower. This was evidence of House Tong superiority over House Wei and an example of how the Majestic Clan had surpassed the Coiling Dragon Clan! This was why Wang Teng was acting so triumphant.

Tong Xianwei also called out, “The young clan lord is right. Justice is determined by the people, and the fact that most chose to enter our Taiyuan Lodge explains everything.”

One had to say, the truth was very disadvantageous for House Wei, but it had also been carefully manipulated. Firstly, many of the customers had heard that Taiyuan Lodge was going to introduce an earth shattering pill today, and everyone wanted to be the first to lay eyes on it. Secondly, they all knew that the Majestic Clan was behind Taiyuan Lodge, and only House Wei stood behind Taiyuan Tower. There was no other power supporting it in the shadows. Thirdly, House Wei was in an awkward situation in Veluriyam Capital. They’d fallen out of favor with the Coiling Dragon Clan, and hadn’t switched to the Majestic Clan. Without a backer, House Wei was in a very delicate position. With House Tong and the Majestic Clan on one side, and only House Wei on the other, the natural risk averse tendencies of people would lead them to choose Taiyuan Lodge. This was the cruel nature of reality.

Young master Ji San also knew that the Coiling Dragon Clan had to bear a large portion of the responsibility for why House Wei was in this awkward position. Jiang Chen cast a glance at Wei Jie and the latter immediately understood. He spoke loudly, “The guests have only been hoodwinked. You say your pills are much better and that you didn’t copy us, but just what kind of pills can you bring out, hmm?”

Ji San also fixed his gaze on Wang Teng after he heard Wei Jie speak, “Right, Wang Teng, how can you prove it’s not you copying us after all that talk?”

Wang Teng was delighted to hear all this. “What, is a mere House Wei really planning on challenge House Tong to a contest of pills?”

Jiang Chen spoke faintly, “Stop bringing House Tong into this again and again. Just say the Majestic Clan already. Who doesn’t know that they’re actually the ones behind all this? House Tong? And what is House Tong? Dare you swear to the heavens that the true boss behind Taiyuan Lodge isn’t the Majestic Clan?”

Ji San laughed loudly, “Well said! Straight to the point. Wang Teng, everyone knows that your Wang family likes to play these shallow tricks!”







Chapter 767: Showdown Proposal

Jiang Chen tearing off Wang Teng’s mask of hypocrisy twice in succession infuriated the latter to no end. He’d never thought that a trivial pill master from House Wei would have the gall to offend the dignity of a scion from a great clan like him, and two times in a row at that! When had trivial pill kings from aristocratic houses become so bold? Ordinary guest pill kings only participated in matters related to pills, rarely involving themselves in the struggles between houses and clans. It was only natural for them to leave a backdoor for themselves, just in case the house they followed fell into ruin. They could then turn elsewhere and carve out a new living. Guests pill kings, in the end, were guests after all. Very few would choose to die together with their houses.

But this inexplicable pill master from House Wei seemed to defy convention, raining down abuse on him instead. Apart from anger, Wang Teng also couldn’t believe his ears. His gaze suddenly chilly, he stared at Jiang Chen and spoke coldly, “A tiny pill master like you? Why don’t you first consider your status before intruding in a conversation between great clans? Are you even qualified to interrupt?” Then, he fixed the House Wei father and son with a penetrating gaze. “No matter what, your House is still a ninth rank aristocratic house. Do you not understand even the most basic of manners? It seems someone needs to teach your house a lesson on how to behave!”

Young master Ji’s ire was roused at those words. “Wang Teng, is there no end to the nonsense you can spout? House Wei is a faction under my clan’s banner. If they required manners, we’ll be the ones who’ll take charge of teaching them. As a matter of fact, I’ve always admired Pill King Zhen, and I’ve consulted him multiple times on pill matters. His words may be unpleasant to hear, yet they’re still irrefutable. Isn’t your clan the one posing as a saint while acting like a villain? Isn’t yours the hand in the shadows? Wang Teng, it’s not that I look down on you, but you’re truly afraid to swear beneath the heavens’ watchful eyes. Your clan will forever be unable to act fairly and honorably, to face the public candidly.”

This was classic reverse psychology. It wasn’t very subtle, but it aimed straight at Wang Teng and cut off his retreat. If he admitted to anything, then the Majestic Clan would indeed be lacking forthrightness and uprightness. If he didn’t admit anything, then he’d appear to be weighed down by a guilty conscience. After all, the Taiyuan Lodge really did belong to the Majestic Clan. House Tong was merely the sidekick standing in front of the stage and raising a racket in their stead.

Wang Teng was clearly not longer eager to continue this line of conversation. He smiled, still as cold and arrogant as ever. “Ji Ole Third, you can’t conceal your guilty conscience no matter how much you squabble. When it comes to the pill business, what matters are the pills, not how much of a spectacle you make of yourself. If you’re certain of your skills, then take out a peerless pill and let us compete. If you don’t have the skills, then continue to feast on empty wind while you watch my Taiyuan Lodge make a fortune.”

Young master Ji laughed boisterously. “Does that mean you admit that Taiyuan Lodge belongs to your clan?”

“And what of it? Ji Ole Third, don’t take offense, but it’s rather embarrassing to watch you quibble over these trifles like a common street urchin.”

Without waiting for young master Ji to speak, Jiang Chen responded, “Well said. What matters are the pills themselves. Mighty young master Wang, since you’re so full of confidence, with the street packed so full of guests, we might as well have a pill contest right here. What do you say? Words alone hold no weight.”

A pill contest? Young master Ji, as well as father and son from House Wei, were all stunned by his words. All of them turned to look in Jiang Chen’s direction. Jiang Chen nodded at them, full of confidence.

Jiang Chen certainly couldn’t stay low-key any longer now that the situation had developed to such a degree. If he were to let Taiyuan Lodge have a successful opening, then it would certainly suppress his Taiyuan Tower in the future. It would be much more difficult for him to grow. Since they’d already dropped the act, he might as well throw everything he had in rather than letting them grab him by the throat in the future.

Wang Teng sneered at his words. “A contest of pills? Ji Old Third, does this underling of yours speak for you?”

“Wang Teng, don’t put me in your shoes. This Taiyuan Tower is House Wei’s property, it isn’t my place to decide in their stead.”

Wang Teng looked at father and son from House Wei, his eyes full of derision. “What say you, House Wei?”

Wei Tianxiao also realized there was no turning back, now that things had reached such a degree. If he were to fall back half a step here, they would never reverse Taiyuan Tower’s fortunes in the future.

“Why not, let’s have a contest,” Wei Jie took the initiative. “Why would my Taiyuan Tower be afraid of some bandwagoner?”

Wang Teng clapped, his smile a grim slash. He looked at Tong Xianwei. “House lord Tong, please invite all the guests inside to come back out. We’ll wage a contest right here in the market street for all to see. Let us see who is the real thing between Taiyuan Lodge and Taiyuan Tower!” It wasn’t blind arrogance on Wang Teng’s part. He truly had a basis for his confidence. Not only did he have the Longevity Pill as a marquee item for today’s opening, he also had several choice pills developed in the last few years up for display. They had been planning on launching them together in the wake of the Longevity Pill’s prominence, seizing the opportunity to break into the market and instantly build a name for Taiyuan Lodge. This wasn’t something Wang Teng had come up himself on the spur of the moment. Rather, it was a plan the Majestic Clan’s strategic council had come up with after repeated simulations and strict calculations. Therefore, Wang Teng felt very emboldened, especially with the Longevity Pill in hand, a pill that could almost topple the established order in the pill world. A mass launch was definitely bound to create a craze.

Tong Xianwei naturally knew the basis for the Majestic Clan’s confidence. He secretly sneered to himself at the thought that the reckless House Wei actually wanted to have a pill contest with the Majestic Clan. “Alright, I’ll go invite them.” Tong Xianwei was all smiles. The sidelong glance he shot at House Wei sent the clear message that he was looking at idiots. You can’t blame anyone else for the oncoming public humiliation. You’re feeling proud of yourself right now, but you’ll be crying until no tears are left in just a bit. Also, young master Ji, you want to wade in these turbid waters too? We’ll also slap your face in a little while, two for the price of one!

As the news that Taiyuan Lodge and Taiyuan Tower were going to hold a public pill contest in the streets spread, the guests in Taiyuan Lodge all filtered outside, brimming with interest. Jiang Chen signaled Wei Jie with his eyes. Catching his meaning, Wei Jie also called out all the customers who’d gone inside Taiyuan Tower.

The streets were suddenly drowning in people, approximately three thousand strong. The number kept increasing as others had caught wind of this and rushed to watch the show. Even those who hadn’t been invited came of their own volition. In normal circumstances, a showdown between House Tong and House Wei would be attractive enough already. But now, they also represented the Majestic Clan and the Coiling Dragon Clan standing at their backs, which made it all the more dramatic. One could almost say this was a head-on collision between the Majestic Clan and the Coiling Dragon Clan.

Just the build up was enough to make hot blood thrum in their veins, to say nothing of the eventual result. Opening on the same day with almost identical names, fighting each other tit for tat, any and every detail was proof this was a fight both sides would see to the bitter end. Out of those two pill factions, only one would be left standing!

No matter which side fell, it would be a significant change to the current landscape. Would the Coiling Dragon Clan suppress the Majestic Clan, or would the Majestic Clan overthrow the Coiling Dragon Clan? A collision like this at the very summit of Veluriyam Capital was very attractive. Soon, almost ten thousand people were crowding around these two stores. It was fortunate the avenue in the market was very wide, but it was still extraordinarily crowded, the sea of men packed like sardines.

Young master Ji was also aware that this matter might very well have a negative impact on the Coiling Dragon Clan if it were to be blown out of proportion. If Taiyuan Lodge were to gain the upper hand today, the Coiling Dragon Clan would also lose face. However, seeing Jiang Chen’s calm and confident manner, young master Ji became a little more confident without any apparent reason. He originally had some misgivings, but now he tossed them aside. What was the use in hesitating anymore? Retreating now would be an admission of fear. In any case, the Coiling Dragon Clan’s situation was already bad. The worst that could happen was that it would become a little worse, but what did that matter?

The most important factor was that young master Ji was particularly confident in Jiang Chen. Their meeting in Little Leisurely Clouds had definitely imprinted this Pill King Zhen from House Wei in young master Ji’s mind. The information about the Pinecrane Pill in particular had impressed the young master even more. He had the nagging feeling this Pill King Zhen would continue to bring him pleasant surprises.

“So, Wang Teng, how do you wish to compete?” Since Ji San had made his decision, he didn’t hesitate in stepping forward and showing his support for Taiyuan Tower.

“And how do you want to compete?” Wang Teng’s smile was cutting, his eyes a little contemptuous.

Ji San swept his eyes across the sons of great clans present at the scene. “Mere words carry no credibility. If there is to be a contest, we first need to find arbitrators. My first proposal is, why don’t we have some judges?”

“That’s for the best, or else you might refuse to acknowledge your defeat.” Wang Teng would naturally not be opposed.

The influence of the two strongest clans in the Capital was naturally nothing to be scoffed at. It took no time at all to select nine judges. Each of the judges were advanced pill kings. Even the worst among them was a seventh rank pill king. The highest ranked judge was actually a ninth rank pill king. With but a single step forward, he would be able to assume the mantle of a pill emperor. These judges all enjoyed outstanding reputations in the pill world. There was no need to be worried about partiality. The dao of pills had its own rules. At the very least, the pill kings had their professional integrity. They would never be partial to a certain side because of the degree of their relationships.

Of course, it was not to say that relationships wouldn’t play a little part, but none of these nine pill kings were especially close to either clan. The issue of impartiality was henceforth settled. The most important thing was that everyone had a discerning eye when it came to such contests. Favoritism would be very easy to detect. If a pill king were truly to be partial under several thousand pairs of watchful eyes, his credibility would plummet, damaging his personal reputation.

“Esteemed pill kings, since we are to have a contest, then we can’t be the ones to decide the rules. I would like to trouble the nine of you to formulate the rules of this competition,” Ji San proposed.

Wang Teng wasn’t one to fall behind, quickly nodding, “Each of you is a leading figure in the world of pills. The Majestic Clan has full trust in you. I apologize for troubling you this time.”

The spectators also made their views known, “Indeed, you nine pill kings are all great figures, everyone can trust you. You should be the ones to make the rules.”

“Esteemed pill kings, don’t fail to live up to everyone’s expectations!”

There was no need for House Tong and House Wei to speak anymore. Things had already progressed to where it was no longer a mere showdown between their two subordinate houses. It was more of a confrontation between the Coiling Dragon Clan and the Majestic Clan. While this confrontation might not influence the final situation, it would at least somewhat represent its future direction.

Neither wanted to lose; neither could afford to lose. Seeing that Wang Teng looked like he still had cards left to play, the majority of the crowd felt that the Majestic Clan had come prepared. Their odds of winning should be somewhat higher. After all, merely judging by their staffs and their styles, the Taiyuan Lodge that the Majestic Clan operated was on a completely different level compared to House Wei’s Taiyuan Tower.






Chapter 768: Let’s Go A Little Mad With the Gamble

When everyone looked over at the Taiyuan Lodge side, they immediately glimpsed several pill kings in their midst. The highest ranked one was obviously a high order one, and there were two more mid order ones at fifth and sixth rank pill king. There were even low order ones acting as assistants. That a pill king was acting as an assistant was a mark of how deep Taiyuan Lodge’s pockets were!

When their eyes swivelled over to Taiyuan Tower, the contrast was stark and jarring. They didn’t have a single person dressed in the clothing of a pill king! Jiang Chen stood next to the Wei father and son, wearing a set of casual clothes. It was difficult for anyone to match his appearance to that of a pill king’s. The blatant contrast caused a significant bias in the winning predictions of everyone present. Given House Wei’s lackluster performance in the pill arena as well as the Majestic Clan’s insatiable expansion in recent years, there didn’t seem a need for careful analysis. Even a three-year-old child knew which side victory was favoring. Some of the more reserved and mature onlookers shook their heads inwardly. The normally elegant young master Ji San had been far too brash this time. He’d finally fallen into the Majestic Clan’s trap.

“To think that the Coiling Dragon Clan is finally about to abdicate its status as the number one clan of Veluriyam Capital after two hundred years…”

“Ah, it’s truly a shame that the Coiling Dragon Clan’s lord is facing his twilight years.”

“As the foremost clan, though the Coiling Dragon Clan is a little forward, it has never tyrannized anyone. If the Majestic Clan really replaces it, I’m afraid that the situation in the Capital will become worse than before!” Many of the onlookers mulled over the tradeoffs in their hearts. They did not wish to see a drastic shift to the order within Veluriyam Capital. Such a change often necessitated much strife, conquest, conflict, bloodshed in its name…

As the foremost clan, the Coiling Dragon Clan had maintained reasonable order within Veluriyam Capital, and was a force to be reckoned with in the Upper Eight Regions. The Veluriyam Capital owed much of its past two hundred years of stability to the prominent work of the Coiling Dragon Clan. A change in leadership, to the Majestic Clan, birthed uncertainty in the hearts of many. After all, from what could be seen of its actions thus far, the Majestic Clan was without a doubt greedier, more profit-oriented, even tyrannical. Thus, though many of the guests chose Taiyuan Lodge, it didn’t mean they were actually loyal to the Majestic Clan. Their choice was merely an instinctive act of self preservation, a selection of the more favorable choice between the Majestic Clan and House Wei. At the bottom of their hearts, at least half of those present did not wish for the Coiling Dragon Clan to be replaced by the Majestic Clan.

The nine judges huddled together for only a short while before they drafted an outline for the contest. “Young master Ji San, young master Wang, we have the outline for the contest.” A ninth rank pill king with shockingly bright white hair walked towards them.

“Pill King Yu, please speak.” Neither Ji San nor Wang Teng dared flaunt their stature in front of the pill king, and showed only the utmost respect.

“Since today is the opening ceremony for both of the stores, and a store opening is naturally accompanied by new kinds of pills, the first round of the contest will be about pills. Each side will bring out three pills to evaluated by all nine of us judges. The side that receives more votes will be counted as the victor for this round,” Pill King Yu said. It was a predictable suggestion. Both stores were pill shops, so what would one bet on, if not for pills? This round was essential.

“There’s a first round, so there must be a second as well. What’s the topic of the second, if I may ask?” Wang Teng smiled slightly.

Pill King Yu declared, “Besides attractive pills, talented employees are important as well. Therefore, we believe that a competition between pill kings will be appropriate for the second round. Strong talent signifies a flourishing store—an indisputable fact, no?”

Every pill shop had its own in-house experts. Big stores had pill kings, but even the most insignificant of stores hired a few pill masters to hold down the fort. It was undeniably true that talented people formed the backbone of a pill shop. Any pill shop would be quite popular with a genius pill king sitting inside. A genius pill king was actually even more enticing than a desirable pill.

Pills were made by people. Even the hardest pill only took three to five years to make. But the development of a pill king took at minimum 30 to 50 years. It was not uncommon for ten times that time span to pass again before a pill king reached a high rank. A competition between pill kings? Everyone found the details of the second round amusing, especially those on the Taiyuan Lodge side. Insults and jests started to fly.

“Pill king? House Wei’s Taiyuan Tower has a pill king?”

“Isn’t this too hard on Taiyuan Tower? Haha, a competition between pill kings? We’d have to wait until House Wei finds a pill king first!”

“Look, you can’t say things like that. Perhaps House Wei is requesting a pill king from the Coiling Dragon Clan as we speak.”

“Do Coiling Dragon Clan’s pill kings have any relation to House Wei?”

However, those on House Wei’s side were unexpectedly calm. The was none of the panic and tension on their faces that Taiyuan Lodge wished to see. Young master Ji San was the first to speak, interjecting softly, “Pill King Yu, excuse my verbosity. Taiyuan Lodge has many pill kings, but do any of them have tokens identifying their employment? If not, doesn’t that count as cheating? If that is permissible, then I take it that I can call in support from the Coiling Dragon Clan’s pill kings?”

The question was certainly reasonable. Glancing at Wang Teng, Pill King Yu nodded, “Young master Wang, are all of these pill kings representative of Taiyuan Lodge?”

Wang Teng spoke equally unassumingly, “Is this round by specific designation? Or random selection?”

Pill Master Yu looked at House Wei, seeking their opinion.

“It is best for the contestants to be designated specifically, lest there be cheating,” Wei Tianxiao hurriedly responded.

Wang Teng scoffed in disdain. Cheating? Aren’t you guys overestimating your importance? Implying that we need to cheat to beat House Wei … what a riot. Wang Teng directed his question at the mass of pill kings behind him with a turn of his body. “Which of you is willing to take the stage?”

“I am!”

“Young clan lord, send me!”

“Is there a need to fight? Of course it’s me.” The pill kings scrambled over one another in their bids for the position, save for the higher-ranked pill king who stayed silent. Clearly, as a seventh rank pill king, he held himself in too high an esteem to make such a public appearance. Wang Teng had a sudden stroke of inspiration. “Does House Wei have a pill king?”

“Wang Teng, your eyesight isn’t very good, hmm? This humble one is House Wei’s guest pill king and am the sitting pill king at Taiyuan Tower.”

“You?” Wang Teng flicked a cold glance at Jiang Chen. How could he not know who Jiang Chen was? He had only asked the question in order to shame House Wei. In truth, Wei Tiantong and Pill Master Yu’s prior failure had already drawn attention to House Wei’s new pill king. Wang Teng looked over Jiang Chen coolly. The latter didn’t have three heads and six arms, nor did he appear to be an amazing pill dao prodigy. There was nothing for Wang Teng to beware of. He spoke to the sixth rank pill king, “Pill King Rong, you go. Teach this kid a lesson in life.”

The chosen pill king’s face lit up. “Understood. I will not fail my mission.”

After both sides locked in their choices, everyone focused their attention upon Pill King Yu again. The first round was a comparison of pills, the second round was a competition of pill kings, but what of the third? “We have rounds one and two, so there must be a round three, right?”

Pill King Yu nodded, “If each side wins a round within the first two rounds, then we naturally will have a deciding third round. But, if one side wins two in a row, then the third round is unnecessary. Still, let us mention it in passing. It will be a round based on personal judgments from the nine judges. The content being judged can be discussed when the time comes.”

All three rounds had been explained. “So, do both sides understand the rules?” Pill King Yu asked.

House Wei nodded in agreement, but Wang Teng was not content. “The rules are quite clear, and the nine pill kings are all pillars of the pill world. There is nothing for us to be concerned about. But, since it’s a competition, there should be some stakes as well. What’s in it for the winner? What happens to the loser?” He curved his lips in a grin.

This was the crux of the issue.

This extensive setup Wang Teng had orchestrated wasn’t simply for fun or show. His ultimate objective was to close Taiyuan Tower before it even had a chance to open, and thereby stomp House Wei into the ground completely. It would also be a slap to the face for the Coiling Dragon Clan.

“What do you want?” Ji San asked scornfully.

“Everyone knows the old adage that a mountain has no room for two tigers, not to mention two stores directly facing each other with similar names! I suggest… winner takes all,” Wang Teng laughed.

“Take all of what, exactly?”

“It’s very simple. The loser closes shop and removes their store sign. They’re also forbidden from appearing within a thousand metres of the winner’s store.” Wang Teng had everything thought out already.

“You call that ‘winner takes all’?” Jiang Chen smirked before young master Ji San had a chance to respond.

“Then what do you propose?” Wang Teng sneered.

“Winner takes all should be absolutely everything, including the deed to the properties!” Jiang Chen’s words bewildered not only the onlookers, but House Wei as well. This was not within their original plans. Seeing Wei Jie and Wei Tianxiao’s quizzical looks, Jiang Chen conveyed, “Lord Wei, if I lose, I will recompense House Wei with the formula for the Longevity Pill.”

The formula for the Longevity Pill. Wei Tianxiao was instantly reassured at these words.

The others present wore astonished expressions. The bystanders were especially dazed, a strange suspicion popping into their heads. Was House Wei’s mysterious pill king yet another double agent from the Majestic Clan? Why else would he up the ante in such an absurd way? Everyone knew that House Wei’s Taiyuan Tower would be the loser. Since their loss was assured, wasn’t it too much to offer up the property deed to the store as well?

After all, the store was located in one of the best spots in Farmer God Market. Moreover, House Wei’s store occupied a rather large area, and excelled in many aspects. Even the Majestic Clan had salivated over the store for a long time. Wasn’t House Wei’s pill king delivering the goods right to the door then? The previous pill king from House Wei was already suspected of being an undercover agent from the Majestic Clan. Given the current way of things, that the same thing was happening again was a natural conclusion for the onlookers to draw. The more they mulled it over, the more it appeared to be the case.






Chapter 769: Wang Teng, You Can’t Afford the Bet?

Jiang Chen didn’t care what the bystanders thought. His gaze was so intense that Wang Teng found it difficult to avert his eyes. One was an unknown pill master, and the other was a young lord of one of Veluriyam Capital’s foremost clans. For any normal person, the two weren’t even on the same level. But, to everyone’s surprise, the guest pill king of House Wei was fearlessly looking straight at Wang Teng.

Suddenly, Jiang Chen smacked his forehead with a laugh. “I almost forgot. The store opposite isn’t actually the Majestic Clan’s property. I don’t think young clan lord Wang can actually make any decisions here. Well now, since you can’t afford to make the bet, let’s pretend I didn’t say anything.” Jiang Chen’s words took a drastically different turn, tugging at the hearts of their onlookers yet again.

What was this? From his tone, it seemed that House Wei’s guest pill king really did want to pick a fight with the Majestic Clan. He really wasn’t an undercover agent? The challenge wasn’t particularly clever, but it was still sharp as a sword. The attack was a direct jab at Wang Teng, who found it difficult not to engage. As large as Veluriyam Capital was, how many people in it dared to say “you can’t afford to make the bet” to the Majestic Clan?

Was there a bet that the Majestic Clan couldn’t afford?

Though the store didn’t belong to the Majestic Clan, there were countless methods to take possession of it! Even though Wang Teng had reminded himself time and again to keep calm, he couldn’t help but feel fury eat away at him because of Jiang Chen’s attitude. Sneering, he turned his attention the Wei father and son. “Wei Tianxiao, no wonder House Wei has been more dead than alive. Bad upbringing and manners can’t be helped. Since when can a guest pill king act on House Wei’s behalf?”

Wei Tianxiao was cautious by nature, but he was surprisingly calm in that moment. He knew there was no backing out now. The Majestic Clan wanted to seize this opportunity to utterly crush House Wei. Even if Jiang Chen hadn’t made his promise about the Longevity Pill, they would still have to step up to the plate. Steeling himself for the worst, he smiled faintly. “Young clan lord Wang, there’s no problem with being forthright if you really can’t afford to make the bet. We at House Wei are not in the habit of forcing people’s hands. As for Pill King Zhen, I have already given him full authority for today’s matters. Anyone whom we entrust a position with has House Wei’s complete trust.”

It was another mention of “you can’t afford to make the bet”! Perhaps he might have begrudgingly endured things if the words had come from anyone else, but what kind of person was Wang Teng? Was he someone that a ninth-ranked house could say “you can’t afford to make the bet” to? Where was his dignity? Wang Teng’s angry grimace was telling of his extreme displeasure, his eyes glinting with disdain. “Good, very good, House Wei has some guts alright! If you really must give this store as a present to me, I’m happy to take it.”

Still, he couldn’t figure out House Wei’s intentions. Using the store as the ante had been wholly unexpected. The stakes were too high for them. From Wang Teng’s perspective, House Wei was blustering with all their might; they had no bite. They were feigning aggressiveness in order to force him to step back. But, what did they take him for? How could Wang Teng not take the bet?

Jiang Chen smiled coldly. “I wouldn’t hurry to accept if I were you. The winner is still undecided. If you want to put the property itself on the line, you should first acquire the rights to Taiyuan Lodge. Otherwise, who do we collect from if you’re betting with someone else’s belongings?”

He spoke as if House Wei’s victory over the Majestic Clan was assured. Wang Teng’s anger no longer knew any bound. He had never before been met with such arrogant provocation in Veluriyam Capital. Indeed, the Majestic Clan didn’t own Taiyuan Lodge. It was also true that the Majestic Clan had used forceful means to coercively rent the premises for a time. He scanned the surroundings for the owner of the store. It belonged to another ninth-ranked aristocratic house, not subordinate to either the Majestic or Coiling Dragon Clan.

“House Lord Teng, I am willing to use my family’s store in the Heaven Road section of the Farmer God Market as collateral. If I lose your store today, then that store will belong to you. As you know, it’s located in a superior position and occupies a larger area.” In his anger, Wang Teng was willing to pledge a superior store as collateral.

The lord of House Teng wasn’t comforted, however. He had no interest in meddling in these factional affairs. He complained with a wry face, “Young clan lord Wang, it’s not that I don’t trust your word, but something like this… there is no guarantee in a verbal promise.”

Wang Teng was enraged by these words. This house lord’s distrust was blatant. How could an entity as great as the Majestic Clan lose to a mere House Wei? Though the store was collateral, that was only in name. What else did he need aside from a verbal promise?

Ji San chuckled at the scene. “Wang Teng, you’re gambling in such a carefree way with someone else’s property. Generosity at the expense of others… truly a masterful plan. If you lose, you can just up and leave. Since there’s no guarantee, are you expecting House Teng to pry that store from the Majestic Clan’s hands?”

Ji San was adept at finding weaknesses. His commentary was clean and upright, and drew much cheering and applause from the crowd. After all, the Veluriyam Capital had twenty-eight clans. Though many of the other clans couldn’t compare to the Majestic Clan, that didn’t mean the latter held absolute power either. Wang Teng’s attitude carried an overbearing overtone that, alone, was enough to cause mild dissatisfaction amongst onlookers. He’d thought he was giving sufficient face to the lord of House Teng, but Ji San’s interjection made him look like a menacing bully instead. He suppressed the boiling anger in his heart, glancing at Ji San coldly. “Ji Ole Third, I’m not the type of person to cheat others out of something as insignificant as this. You on the other hand… what will you placate House Wei with after they lose the store, hmm?”

“Don’t try to change the subject by mentioning unrelated things. No guarantee, no bet,” Young Master Ji San smiled serenely. Wei Tianxiao loudly backed him up. “Young master Ji San has the right of it. Any bets that House Wei makes must be transparent and open. We cannot allow young clan Lord Wang to wager the property of others.”

Wang Teng had been backed into a corner by Ji San and Wei Tianxiao’s verbal barrage. “Get some pen and paper.” If he was going to leave some proof, he was going to be unequivocal about it.

“We are cultivators, what need is there for pen and paper? Even if written proof exists, what can House Teng do to you if you want to get out of it?” Young Master Ji San grinned coolly. “Cultivators are beholden to different rules. A heavenly oath is far more convincing than any contract.”

House Lord Teng’s eyes brightened, looking to Ji San with gratitude. Clearly, he was very supportive of an oath. Jiang Chen frowned. “Wang Teng, you are the young lord of a clan, yet you fuss like an old woman. Are we betting or not? If you aren’t confident enough in your chances, then say so earlier. Why waste everyone’s time?”

Wang Teng was so angry he almost spat blood. If looks could kill, everyone standing by House Wei would be a fresh corpse. Forcing himself to calm down with some effort, he locked eyes with Wei Tianxiao. “Wei Tianxiao, you’re freely taking potshots now, but just wait a while and I’ll show you what for. You won’t even be able to cry!” Saying this, he turned to the lord of House Teng. “Lord Teng, if you want a heavenly oath, I’ll give it to you. But you will soon know that your worry is unnecessary. The Majestic Clan’s victory is certain.”

In that moment, Wang Teng was filled with fortitude and pride, brimming with determination. He swore a heavenly oath with the crowd as witness. Wang Teng did not leave any textual loopholes in the oath, and expressed that if House Teng’s store really was lost to House Wei, he would reimburse House Teng with the Majestic Clan’s better premises within the Farmer God Market. With the oath made, Wang Teng cheered up greatly. “The wager is set. Now, let’s see what other tricks you have up your sleeve!” He looked contemptuously at his opposition.

“Pill King Yu, with both the stakes and the rules in place, why don’t we begin? Time is money. I’m sure this true for everyone.” Having lost the advantage in the verbal exchange, Wang Teng had a lot of frustration bottled up. He eagerly awaited a crushing, convincing victory against House Wei. He could almost taste the pleasure of taking their store for himself.

Pill King Yu reiterated the rules and the wagers for clarity. “No final questions from either side, yes? Then the competition begins!”

An empty space was quickly cleared. The nine judges fanned out in a solid line; the betting parties separated themselves to either side. Taiyuan Lodge had the absolute advantage in both line up and formation. “For the first round, each side must submit three types of pills. Remember, there is no need to deceive us with rare pills. The pills must be suitable for mass production and sale. Our purpose is not to view your personal pill collection, but rather to compare the quality of each side’s pill supply,” Pill King Yu warned sternly.

A duel between two pill stores had to involve pills actually available for sale. There was no point in bringing out the pills that were rare and sought-after, those kept solely in personal collections. After all, those pills were hardly representative of a shop’s capabilities.

Ji San had wanted to secretly return the Longevity Pill he’d accepted from Jiang Chen to bolster his side, but Pill King Yu’s words forbade it. From his perspective, Taiyuan Tower had no way of making the Longevity Pill. However, Jiang Chen had no intention at all of using the Longevity Pill from the beginning. The situation wasn’t even close to dire, so why expose himself? Moreover, it wasn’t as if the pills he’d prepared earlier were ordinary either.

He quickly picked out three types of pills. The Heptarune True Dragon Pill for breakthroughs, the Tiger Eruption Pill for battle strength, and the Half-Step Immortal Elixir Pill for poison. As for the cosmetic Aeons Evergreen Pill, Jiang Chen decided against taking it out in front of the judges. The pill kings here were all male, and this kind of pill held no attraction for them. To the contrary, it was possible that they would deem it as unorthodox tomfoolery.

For the sake of fairness, the three pills weren’t taken out simultaneously by both sides. Rather, they were presented one at a time, and neither would what pill the other would bring. The Heptarune True Dragon Pill Jiang Chen chose for the first round was placed in a jade box, labeled with Taiyuan Tower as its origin, and brought before the nine pill kings.

Each of the nine judges began to investigate and examine the two pills. They were all well-traveled and knowledgeable. Though the grade of pill presented was high on both sides, they were not shaken. After about fifteen minutes, voting began among the pill kings.

It wasn’t long before the results were out. As the first of three pills in the first round, Jiang Chen’s Heptarune True Dragon Pill scored the initial victory with a 6-3 advantage!






Chapter 770: Losing to Oneself

“The pill, the Heptarune True Dragon Pill, is excellent in quality, and a wonderful pill for the tribulations that come from breakthroughs…” Pill King Yu took the forefront on behalf of the judges to explain why the Heptarune True Dragon Pill had won Taiyuan Tower the first round.

The fact that Taiyuan Tower had scored first blood took many onlookers aback. A murmur began to circulate quietly among the crowd. It was obvious that no one had thought that Taiyuan Tower would actually possess skill. This Heptarune True Dragon Pill did indeed seem quite good, and the fact that it scored first blood seemed to be deserved.

However, this was only the first round of the first stage of the match. One had to win at least two out of three rounds in order to win the first stage. House Wei had won the first round, but could they win a second time? For a moment, the onlookers who thought that this was going to be a one-sided battle grew a little more hopeful. They were hoping that House Wei could surprise them even more and make this bet more entertaining.

Both sides presented their second pills amidst such expectations. This time, Jiang Chen presented the Tiger Eruption Pill. He wasn’t very sure that this pill would win because he hadn’t expected to fight a pill battle during the grand opening and thus, hadn’t prepared a particularly powerful pill to stun the crowd. This Tiger Eruption Pill was a result of his own improvisations of a pill from a rather neglected branch of knowledge in the field. Although it wasn’t bad, there was no telling if it could beat the Majestic Clan’s selection. As expected, his opponent had come prepared. Their second pill was obviously an entire level higher than the Tiger Eruption Pill.

The Majestic Clan had actually produced the True Emperor Pill! The True Emperor Pill was a quasi-emperor rank pill that could increase one’s chances of reaching the emperor realm by ten to twenty percent. Although listed as a true saint rank pill, the market viewed it as an emperor rank pill and priced it accordingly. The True Emperor Pill beat the Tiger Eruption Pill immediately after it appeared.

“The True Emperor Pill is a pill any peak sage realm cultivator must have. It is incredibly sophisticated and difficult to refine. Although Taiyuan Tower’s Tiger Eruption Pill is also a worthy pill in its own right and an interesting improvisation, it cannot close the level gap. Taiyuan Lodge wins this round,” Pill King Yu announced the result of the second round.

Jiang Chen wasn’t that angry to lose to the True Emperor Pill. He could refine this pill himself if he wanted to. After all, Taiyuan Tower had just taken its first steps. He hadn’t planned to kick things into high gear immediately. However, this consideration caused him to suffer quite the disadvantage.

The first stage of the match was now a 1-1 draw. The onlookers were actually disappointed to see Taiyuan Lodge winning the second round. They’d been hoping to see Taiyuan Lodge lose the first stage. House Wei’s pill master was almost fated to lose against the Majestic Clan’s pill king in the second stage. This outcome was almost a sure certainty. Now that Taiyuan Lodge had taken back a round, momentum was obviously back on Taiyuan Lodge’s side. They were disappointed to see the Majestic Clan reassert control once more. This was because everyone knew that the Majestic Clan had prepared a trump card. Everyone in Veluriyam Capital had heard the rumors.

House Wei was also feeling a slight bit of anxiety. It was obvious that they were slightly worried about how the situation was progressing. Although they had managed to score a draw after the first two rounds, Taiyuan Tower almost had no chance of victory if Taiyuan Lodge were to produce the Longevity Pill. The situation could change if Jiang Chen produced a Longevity Pill himself, but it was highly unlikely for him to do so.

Jiang Chen himself had thought of this possibility. He was also hesitating whether he should reveal his Longevity Pill. In the end though, he decided against the impulse. As everyone expected, the Majestic Clan produced the Longevity Pill amidst much cheering. The moment the Longevity Pill showed up, every pill king present was conquered. This was a truly unique pill, in fact, the only pill to cause a ripple of shock in the pill industry for the past few hundred years or so. It wasn’t that there were no other pills that increased one’s lifespan in the market, but their effects were all average and forgettable.

The Longevity Pill’s appearance had immediately filled up this void. Although it only worked for sage realm cultivators, that was impressive enough already. Jiang Chen knew that the third round was looking bad for him the second he saw his opponent produce the Longevity Pill. He had sent in the Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill, and would have likely won if his opponent had offered any other pill. However, no matter how impressive the Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill was, it was simply not as shocking as the Longevity Pill.

There was no need for a comparison at all. The judges’ opinions were unanimous. Although they were very impressed by the Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill, they had all cast their votes for the Longevity Pill. Pill King Yu announced, “I never thought that Taiyuan Lodge would produce the Longevity Pill. I believe all of you have heard of this pill by now. It is most definitely a revolutionary pill. Although Taiyuan Tower’s Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill was also excellent and made with astounding skill, it is ultimately a shade paler compared to the Longevity Pill. Therefore, Taiyuan Lodge wins this round!”

The color on the Wei father and son’s faces immediately drained when they heard this. Meanwhile, a cheer broke out from Wang Teng’s corner. House Tong was especially pleased as they laughed raucously. Even Wang Teng couldn’t hide the smile on his face. However, young master Ji San exclaimed, “Wait!”

The judges looked surprised for a second, then Pill King Yu asked indifferently, “Are you questioning my judgment, young master Ji San?”

Young master Ji San hastily replied, “I have no questions regarding your judgment, but I do have a question regarding the Majestic Clan’s pill. As we all know, Wang Teng spent 120 million saint spirit stones to win the bid of three Longevity Pills during the Joined Ridges auction. The rules of this stage of the match is that the sect must be able to mass produce and sell the pills they show.”

Pill King Yu thought that young master Ji San’s words had a lot of sense to them, and so he turned towards Wang Teng. “Young master Wang, young master Ji San’s question is reasonable. How do you answer?”

If the Majestic Clan had gone against the rules, then they would be declared the loser instead. If that happens, then House Wei’s Taiyuan Tower would turn the tables and win the first stage of the match with a 2-1 victory instead. Wang Teng smiled faintly and clapped his hands, “Bring over a batch of Longevity Pills and show them to Pill King Yu.”

Someone came over immediately and displayed twenty Longevity Pills at once! Now even young master Ji San was a little tongue tied. Pill King Yu nodded slightly and acknowledged Wang Teng’s proof. He was going to declare Taiyuan Lodge the winner of the first stage. But before he could answer, Jiang Chen suddenly asked, “I would like to ask just one more question: did Taiyuan Lodge really refine these Longevity Pills themselves?”

Jiang Chen didn’t believe that Taiyuan Lodge could refine the Longevity Pills. These Longevity Pills had most likely been refined by the Eternal Celestial Capital before they were entrusted to the Majestic Clan to be sold in Veluriyam Capital.

Wang Teng sneered, “I don’t think we need to prove this to you, do we? Are you saying that we need to report our store’s sources to you?”

Pill King Yu also nodded, “The rules only says that the pill must be an item that can be mass produced and sold. The number Taiyuan Tower produces is enough to prove them abiding by this rule.”

Wang Teng smiled and said, “The rules do say that the pill must be capable of being mass produced, but it never said that we must be the one to do it. We have our channels and our connections. They represent our abilities too!”

Although this logic was a little shameless, it was still acceptable. Pill King Yu ignored Jiang Chen and declared, “Taiyuan Tower is the victor of the first stage!” Seeing Pill King Yu making his declaration, Jiang Chen didn’t say anything else even though he was frustrated. The reason he’d even spoken up was because he was a little put off by the Majestic Clan beating him with his own pill. It wasn’t that he couldn’t take a defeat with grace.

Although he’d lost the first stage, this battle was far from over. His first loss was also a suitable reminder to himself that he should treat the next two stages seriously and not underestimate the enemy. His loss couldn’t be chalked up to a lack of skill. The Majestic Clan had used his own goods to beat him. He could even say that he had beaten himself, not the Majestic Clan. After all, hadn’t the Majestic Clan won the first stage using the Longevity Pill? And who was the real master of the Longevity Pill? Although Jiang Chen knew that the Majestic Clan had won this stage in a rather dishonorable manner, arguing further would only leave a bad impression on the judges.

“The first stage of the battle has concluded. The second stage will be a battle between pill kings. Just like before, the stage will be conducted in three rounds. The contestant who wins two rounds wins the second stage.”

The entire pill battle had three stages; the side who won the majority would be declared victor. The same went with the three small rounds in each stage.

“Sigh, House Wei’s foundations are ultimately too shallow. They’ll probably lose horribly.”

“I know right? I doubt they can even survive this second stage.”

“Sigh, have you guys ever heard of this pill king from House Wei? He seems pretty young.”

“I actually suspect he’s a Wang family spy. Why else would he have bet his own store? Oh poor House Wei, they’ve actually gone and made the same mistake twice.”

“Wei Tianxiao’s cultivation is strong, but as a house lord he seems a little naive.”

“The Pill King Rong that the Majestic Clan just sent out seems to be a sixth rank pill king. He’s only one step away from becoming an upper rank pill king. But I heard that this pill king from House Wei is a second rank pill king?”

“A second rank pill king versus a sixth rank pill king… where on earth does House Wei get their confidence from? Have they given up already?” The crowd buzzed with the rising and falling voices of hushed murmuring.

Both sides of this conflict looked nervous, but they were surprisingly silent. Pill King Rong walked over and cupped his fist towards the nine judges, “Please forgive me for my performance today, seniors.” He then turned to glance at Jiang Chen with a bit of a nasty smile. “Tell me your name, brat. I don’t bully nameless people.”

Jiang Chen smiled indifferently and answered, “The master and the servant are just the same, eh? If you want to fight, then fight already. Save the drivel for the mirror.”

Surprisingly, Pill King Rong didn’t grow angry, cackling oddly instead. “No wonder the young master told me to teach you better manners. You are as arrogant as you appear.”

“A dressed up animal dares to talk about teaching manners? What a joke,” Jiang Chen’s words were aimed at Pill King Rong, but his eyes had swept briefly and indifferently across Wang Teng’s face.

He cupped his fist towards the nine pill kings and said, “Please start the competition, venerable pill kings.” Jiang Chen had a stomach of anger to vent after losing the first round.







Chapter 771: The Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma 1

Although Pill King Yu wasn’t sure where House Wei’s guest pill king come from, privately speaking, he admired Jiang Chen more of the two competitors. This was because of the three pills Jiang Chen had brought out. Despite their average rank, they had all been incredibly pure, with a level of quality that couldn’t be found at the hands of an average pill master. Moreover, all three pills had a unique personal style that Pill King Yu thought he’d encountered in the past. He just wasn’t able to put his finger on it. Be it the Tiger Eruption Pill, the Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill or the Heptarune True Dragon Pill, they all possessed the marks of a confident master’s hand. These pills were quite extraordinary. If he wasn’t a judge who was ensuring the match’s fairness, Pill King Yu would’ve admitted that he liked Taiyuan Tower’s pills more.

The reason Taiyuan Lodge had been able to win was because its pills was of a higher rank. To put it bluntly, they were just bullying the weak. They were using emperor rank pills to compete against true saint rank or even saint rank pills. Although they’d won the stage, their victory rang slightly hollow. Moreover, everyone knew where the Longevity Pill came from. Even Pill King Yu himself didn’t believe that Taiyuan Lodge had the capability to refine the Longevity Pill. It was likely the force who’d obtained the Longevity Pill’s pill recipe who had refined it. They had probably only entrusted the Majestic Clan with selling them.

Of course, the rules said nothing about the store refining their pills with their own hands. A consigned batch of products was still within the rules. Although Pill King Yu admired Taiyuan Tower’s pills more, he couldn’t go against his conscience and claim that the Longevity Pill wasn’t comparable to the Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill. Even if he did, the rest of the judges wouldn’t do the same.

Yet, House Wei’s pill king was actually calling out to Taiyuan Lodge with absolute confidence and fearlessness. His fighting will surprised even Pill King Yu. Regardless of the final outcome, Pill King Yu had to admit to feeling some sympathy and admiration for House Wei. After all, House Wei had proven themselves to possess genuine talent and skill. The fact that a ninth rank aristocratic family could resist the Majestic Clan this far was an incredible feat already. With Pill King Yu’s intelligence, how could he not notice that the grudge between Taiyuan Lodge and Taiyuan Tower was a ploy by the Majestic Clan to suppress House Wei?

Taiyuan Tower had sent their invitation to him early on, whereas Taiyuan Lodge’s invitation had only reached him last night. It was obvious from this alone that Taiyuan Lodge was aiming for Taiyuan Tower. To put it bluntly, the Majestic Clan had affixed House Wei in its crosshairs from the beginning. Pill King Yu was a person of great virtue and prestige. Although he had seen much darkness in this world, he hadn’t lost sight of what was right and what was wrong as a pill king. Even though his sentiment wasn’t so strong that he would unequivocally support House Wei, emotionally speaking, he was absolutely leaning towards their side. He stared rather meaningfully at Jiang Chen before casting a second glance at Pill King Rong of the Majestic Clan. Pill King Yu cleared his throat and spoke again, “The second stage of the first set is an ancient enigma. I’d come across this once in an ancient scripture long ago. To be honest, even after several hundred years of research, I have yet to crack all its mysteries…” At this point, Pill King Yu waved his hands. “I have two scrolls here written with a set of materials each. To be specific, 36 types of spirit herbs. The contents of the scrolls are completely identical. Your task is to use these 36 materials to brainstorm as many pill recipes as you can. The more the better. Whoever comes up with the most pill recipes wins the round. You have one hour. Remember, these spirit materials can be used infinitely. If you’ve written it down in one pill recipe, you can use it again in another pill recipe.”

Once he was finished, Pill King Yu shook his sleeves slightly and delivered the scrolls into Jiang Chen and Pill King Rong’s hands. Pill King Rong looked excited. It so happened that the pill recipe composition was one of his strengths. The thing he loved to research the most in his life was none other than the assembly and disassembly of all kinds of pill recipes. Jiang Chen revealed nothing on his face. When he received the scroll, he looked through it and felt the shapes of all thirty six spirit herbs flashing past his mind. Jiang Chen smiled inwardly when he looked through roughly thirty spirit herbs. He immediately figured out the true identity of the ‘ancient enigma’ Pill King Yu spoke of.

It was indeed an ‘ancient enigma’, and a very old one at that. This was because Jiang Chen had seen this enigma once or twice during his era. It possessed a very nice sounding name, the ‘Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma’. It was called thus because this puzzle contained a total of thirty six spirit herbs, and they secretly corresponded to the thirty six calendar animals of the skies. It also just so happened that these thirty six spirit materials could produce a total of thirty six pill recipes, not one more and not one less.

It was impossible for the puzzle to contain even one more pill recipe. But if the answer lacked even one pill recipe, the enigma was imperfect. Countless pill dao seniors had spent who knew how much effort to put together the ultimate list for this ancient enigma. It was an exquisite pill riddle that countless geniuses wanted to crack. Those who couldn’t solve it wanted to complete it even at the cost of their life. As for those who knew the 36 solutions, they wanted to overturn the answer key and come up with a 37th pill formula with equal determination. Unfortunately, no one had ever been able to come up with a thirty seventh recipe, despite the relentless efforts of countless pill dao masters.

Jiang Chen never imagined that this Pill King Yu would know the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. However, it sounded like he hadn’t mastered this pill enigma yet. Had he only heard of its reputation or understood only part of it? Either way, it wasn’t Jiang Chen’s problem, so he picked up his brush and paper and began writing in a masterful manner. He remembered this Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma so well that he could write it down backwards. He filled out all thirty six pill recipes of the puzzle in less than fifteen minutes.

It wasn’t as if this pill enigma was some supremely confidential industry knowledge. To put it bluntly, it was just an interesting interlude of the pill industry. It was just like scholars who challenged customers with rhymed couplets, or chess players who studied all kinds of ancient chess puzzles.

“Are you done?” Pill King Yu was stunned when Jiang Chen suddenly stood up and turned in his paper. He never thought that Jiang Chen would finish in just fifteen minutes’ time. An entire hour had been allocated for the round, but House Wei’s pill king was turning in his answer already? Was this fellow just giving up? If that really was the case, then Pill King Yu would have to withdraw that bit about admiring Pill King Zhen earlier. Pill King Yu’s original impression of House Wei’s pill king was favorable, but if he was a weak minded person who gave up so easily, then he would not amount to much in the pill field. After accepting Jiang Chen’s scroll with a flash of disappointment, Pill King Yu responded indifferently, “Please be seated and wait. The allotted time isn’t up yet, and we cannot review your answer until then.”

That was the proper rule. Taiyuan Lodge’s Pill King Rong was still busy racking his brains on the other side. Every onlooker were stunned when they saw Pill King Rong so deep in thought and Taiyuan Tower’s pill king submitting his answer so early.

What’s going on? Pill King Rong, the sixth rank pill king well known for his research in pill recipes was looking harried, but the unknown Pill King Zhen of Taiyuan Tower had turned in his answer in less than fifteen minutes? This scene puzzled and surprised people to no end.

“I told you, didn’t I? This Pill King Zhen of Taiyuan Tower is definitely a spy sent to House Wei by the Majestic Clan. He’s a trap!”

“Hah, I’m actually starting to believe you a little. It does look like he’s fooled House Wei.”

“Sigh, can he at least not make it so obvious that he’s screwing over his victims? Turning in his answer in fifteen minutes is just…”

Jiang Chen’s actions had once again drawn the suspicion of onlookers at the scene. After all, his behavior were just too unusual. However, Jiang Chen returned to his own seat and looked completely unmoved by the comments tossed in his direction. His consciousness would occasionally flit over to the judges. In reality, he understood that he didn’t need to worry about foul play. It was impossible that the judges would change his scroll or aid Pill King Rong in cheating.

The calmer Jiang Chen became, the more anxious and paranoid Pill King Rong became. Onlookers could freely suspect Jiang Chen of being a spy, but Pill King Rong knew that this Pill King Zhen of Taiyuan Tower certainly wasn’t a member of the Majestic Clan. Since he wasn’t sent by the Majestic Clan to trap House Wei, there shouldn’t be any reason to give up just like that. But if he hadn’t given up, then why did he turn in his answer so early? It couldn’t be that he had come up with enough pill recipes to be assured of a complete victory? He refused to believe this. There was simply no way a nameless small fry could possess such skill!

For a moment or two, Pill King Rong wasn’t able to calm down at all. It was Wang Teng who picked up some clues to his mood and sent a message to Pill King Rong, “Don’t panic. That kid may be trying to disturb your mind so that you lose your concentration. Don’t fall for his trap and just perform at your usual level!”

Pill King Rong trembled slightly when Wang Teng’s reminder reached his ears. Taking a breath, he calmed down. He concentrated on the enigma once more and studied it seriously.

On the other side, Jiang Chen wasn’t looking at Pill King Rong at all. He wasn’t even looking towards the opposite side. Pill King Rong’s performance wasn’t concerning him in the slightest. No matter how well he performed, the prerequisite to even get a draw with Jiang Chen was to master the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. In other words, this match was going to be a draw at best.

But if his opponent had mastered the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma beforehand, then he wouldn’t be scratching his head anxiously and furrowing his eyebrows in thought. He should’ve turned in his answer a long time ago just like Jiang Chen. That was why Jiang Chen’s mindset was as firm as a mountain. He’d known early on that this round was his already. Meanwhile, House Wei was unsure as to what Jiang Chen was planning. Thankfully, they had seen all sorts of miracles from Jiang Chen, so they didn’t try to interrupt him, even though they itched to do. However, they weren’t able to hide their anxiety from appearing on their face.

Finally, the hour passed. Although Pill King Rong was feeling a little reluctant, he turned in his paper obediently. He also shot a fierce glare at Jiang Chen in passing, as if it could increase his morale and aid him in beating his enemy. Jiang Chen smiled disdainfully and swept his glance right past Pill King Rong like he was watching an idiot preen.

Now that both scrolls had been turned in, Pill King Yu was anxious to look at Jiang Chen’s answer. He had been observing Jiang Chen since the beginning, and didn’t find any signs of the impatience he’d expected. So why had he turned in his answers so early?






Chapter 772: Comparisons Beget Frustration

Pill King Yu was rather eager to announce the results—he simply couldn’t see through House Wei’s guest pill king. Was he a frivolous person pretending to be earnest, or did he truly have other tricks up his sleeves? The judge put Pill King Rong’s scroll to one side and opened Jiang Chen’s first. Nobody felt it odd that the earlier submission was being reviewed first. It was in the following moment that a truly baffling scene played out. Pill King Yu`s eyes were glued to the scroll after a first sweep through its contents. It was as if some invisible force was drawing him in. He jumped up from his seat in excitement—appearing both shocked and delighted as his face eventually lit up—it was almost as if he was intoxicated. Every change in expression were vividly displayed on his face.

The audience was stunned by the scene playing out before them. What within the scroll was so attractive that it could cause a dignified, solemn pill king to act in such an odd manner?

The other pill kings couldn’t help but come together to discuss this matter. The other judges were also racking their brains while glancing at the scroll. Their expressions were similar to kids fighting over candy; no one was willing to give way.

“Hahaha…” Pill King Yu suddenly broke into laughter. His eyes were tinged red as tears fell uncontrollably. He stayed hunched over the desk and sobbed. This odd scene petrified everyone present.

And what was the matter now? Why had Pill King Yu broken into tears without rhyme or reason? Was there a reason to be so emotional? Could it be that the pill king from Taiyuan Tower had submitted some melodramatic tale instead of pill recipes? How on earth could he have forced a pill king, who had lived for no less than a thousand years, to lose his composure and even break down into tears?

“I’d never have thought… thought that I would live to see a completed Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. Who would’ve thought? This… is this divine providence?”

Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma? Many pill kings were shocked after hearing these six words. They had heard of the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma before, but most of them were only familiar with the name and not its contents. They didn’t fully know the 36 spirit herbs, to say nothing of 36 pill recipes. However, many had still heard of the famed Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma.

Being a senior in pill dao, Pill King Yu was vastly experienced and informed. He was conversant with the 36 spirit herbs, but had never seen the completed 36 pill recipes of Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. That was why he had lost his composure so dramatically, and couldn’t help but break into loud sobs after seeing Jiang Chen’s answer scroll. He was particularly excited. Despite his advanced level in pill dao and the hundreds of years he`d poured into studying the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma, he’d only been able to unravel some twenty odd pill recipes. He’d always suspected, deep in his heart, that this Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma was bogus, a pretentious trick of their forebears. He’d thought that creating 36 pill recipes might not actually be possible. But today, he’d discovered that he was still truly a frog at the bottom of the well despite being a ninth rank pill king. The Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma was an ancient and renowned pill riddle. How could it be fake?

The other judges studying the scroll were intoxicated by the contents as they lost themselves within. It took a good while before they finally came back to themselves. They then turned to Pill King Rong’s scroll and found nine pill recipes described within. Under normal circumstances, completing this much within an hour was quite good. But it was no better than trash when compared to Jiang Chen’s scroll. After regaining control of his emotions with visible effort, Pill King Yu announced loudly. “For the first round, the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma, the victory goes to Taiyuan Tower by an overwhelming margin!”

A fair amount of subjectivity was obvious within Pill King Yu’s tone. Normally, words like “overwhelming margin” shouldn’t be used by a judge. Pill King Yu, however, still felt that to be insufficient to express the ecstatic delight in his heart. “Countless top ranked pill kings in the Divine Abyss Continent have been unable to crack this Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. Who would’ve thought that today, it’d be revealed in its entirety? Having lived for so long, I finally understand why a man enlightened in the morning would accept if he were to die in the evening!”

Although the less educated were unable to fully comprehend these erudite words, they were able to grasp the general idea. Pill King Yu was greatly moved and felt that being able to see the completed Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma was a great revelation. He would have no regrets even if he died then and there. Many turned pale with astonishment as word spread through the surrounding pill kings.

The completed Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma? There was actually someone in the Divine Abyss Continent who could complete the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma? This was a legend of the Divine Abyss Continent—a pill riddle for which there was no solution! A mere pill king of House Wei was actually able to decipher the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma and write down all 36 pill recipes?

This news once again petrified everyone present. Even Wang Teng couldn’t help but speak out. “Pill King Yu, I hope I don’t come across as skeptical, but I’ve also heard of this Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma. I`ve heard it to be an unsolvable riddle. Could this brat have deliberately misled everyone?”

Pill King Yu’s expression turned solem. “Young master Wang, are you suspecting our professional integrity or questioning our working standards?” Pill King Yu was obviously upset. The Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma was a divine puzzle to him. How could he tolerate Wang Teng’s blasphemy? He spoke loudly, “This old man has been trying to unravel the mysteries behind this riddle for hundreds of years and am most qualified to judge this matter. I’ve only been able to come up with twenty three pill recipes in total. The ones I’ve discovered are all in this answer scroll along with the thirteen that I haven’t! Whoever questions the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma is committing blasphemy!”

Pill King Yu’s attitude made everything clear. The other judges all nodded in agreement. They had all studied this Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma at some point in their lives and knew that the answer scroll wasn’t fake.

An unreconciled Wang Teng continued to press his case, “Pill King Yu is one of the most prominent experts of the pill trade in the Veluriyam Capital. Even you, your excellency, can only deduce twenty three recipes, and yet a mere guest pill king was able to decipher the whole pill chart in just a quarter of an hour. Does no one else find this odd?”

Wang Teng immediately shifted the spearhead towards Jiang Chen.

Jiang Chen smiled nonchalantly and glanced at Wang Teng as though the latter was an idiot. “Could it be that I’m required to report how I mastered the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma to Sir Wang?”

He was giving them a taste of their own medicine. When they had previously discussed the origins of the Longevity Pill, Wang Teng had stated that they had no need to prove nor report anything regarding the source of the pills to him. Jiang Chen was simply returning the favor in kind.

Wang Teng’s ears turned scarlet, momentarily lost for a retort. On the other hand, Pill King Yu was feeling a complex blend of remorse and curiosity. He was regretting looking down on House Wei’s guest pill king earlier, thinking the latter was giving up on the competition. But he was also curious as to how this guest pill king from House Wei was so knowledgeable about the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma.

“Pill King Zhen, this old man means no offense, but I hope you can indulge my curiosity. The Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma is an unsolvable conundrum of the Divine Abyss Continent. Where… where did you see this completed version?” Pill King Yu wasn’t deliberately making things difficult for Jiang Chen. He was truly just curious, and his tone was that of requesting a consultation.

Jiang Chen laughed, “Actually there’s no such thing as an unsolvable conundrum. I had the fortune of meeting a sage during my youth, from whom I learned the dao of pills for over ten years. My mentor was a rather eccentric senior. He told me many interesting stories about the field of pills and medicine. I heard of this Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma`s solution when I was ten, and committed it to memory ever since.”

Pill King Yu was absolutely dumbstruck when he heard Jiang Chen’s words. He had studied this riddle religiously for hundreds of years, but this person in front of him had mastered it at the age of ten. This… this is what was meant by comparisons begetting frustration! However, Pill King Yu was already an elder and naturally wouldn’t succumb to jealousy. He was surprised, but now even more curious after hearing Pill King Zhen’s description of his mentor. Just how powerful a pill dao expert would his master be? Pill King Yu’s mind was besieged with a great many questions. He wanted nothing more than to sit down and chat with Jiang Chen deep into the night, nay, for three days and three nights straight! But he didn’t forget that he was currently judging a wager between two houses. It wasn’t proper for him to express too much of his emotions at this point. It might lead to unnecessary finger-pointing.

He suppressed his curiosity for the moment and nodded slowly before glancing communicatively at the other eight judges. They all came to a unanimous final decision that there was no doubt about Taiyuan Tower’s victory in the first round. Wang Teng was utterly dissatisfied and full of suspicions. But the other party had no obligation to report anything to him, much like the matter regarding the Longevity Pill. He gnashed his teeth in frustration, but could only pinch his nose and eat the loss. Fortunately, this was just an unexpected development. “Damn, what a lucky bastard! This brat mastered the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma a long time ago. He just won by pure luck this round!” Wang Teng consoled himself.

Pill King Yu slowly regained control over his emotions. “The second round of the pill king contest takes a different approach from the first, but still moves in the same direction. This time, we’ll be testing not only the pill kings’ theoretical knowledge, but also their practical skills.” As he explained, he waved his hands to summon two assistants to his side.

Each assistants carried a large tray, on which was an identical set of forty eight spirit herbs. The grade of these ingredients weren’t very high. Most of them were only spirit herbs suitable for use by origin realm cultivators.

“You will both be given a set of forty eight spirit herbs with some of the strongest fusion properties. A large number of possible combinations are possible between them. Your objective is to compose a pill recipe with these and then refine your pill. The competitor whose product is of a higher rank will be declared victor. We’ll judge based on the purity and quality of the pills if the final products are of identical rank. Supreme rank pills are the most optimal, followed by upper rank, and then mid and lower rank.” Pill King Yu read the rules out loud. Jiang Chen was already quite familiar with them. These contests were quite popular in the Divine Abyss Continent. He had already experienced a similar competition back at Mt. Rippling Mirage.

After receiving their respective trays, the two contestants were immediately isolated from the outside world by restrictive formations. “Remember, the time limit for this stage of the competition is two hours. If every aspect of your products are identical, the person who first completes the refinement is the winner,” Pill King Yu reminded.







Chapter 773: An Odd Choice of Materials

The round officially started after the judge’s declaration. Both participating pill kings were isolated inside a restriction formation that allowed the people outside to see through it, but not vice versa. Therefore, there was no need to worry about copycats. The one thing Jiang Chen was most familiar with during his past life was refining pills. The moment the restriction activated, he immediately attuned himself with nature. The forty eight spirit materials appeared in his mind and merged with each other over and over. His mind was like highly precise machine that swiftly tested all kinds of combinations. To Jiang Chen, this state was as easy as eating or sleeping.

The level of all forty eight materials definitely wasn’t high. They were just saint rank spirit herbs that corresponded to origin realm cultivators. True saint rank herbs were the ones that corresponded to sage realm cultivators. There were pitifully few true saint rank spirit herbs in the given forty eight, just eight. They were obviously insufficient for a pill recipe.

Jiang Chen’s mind began to spin quickly. He had two lifetimes of pill refining experience, so the thing he lacked the least was experience. These spirit herbs felt as familiar as his own fingertips. Countless thoughts and inspirations came to him. A couple of pill recipes appeared in his mind. However, the level of the pill recipes weren’t that high. They could barely be considered a quasi-true saint rank recipe, but this wasn’t the result Jiang Chen wanted.

“This is an incredibly demanding round. I’ll be able to win as long as the pill’s level is high enough. Therefore, the key to victory for this match lies in the sophistication of my pill’s level, not its level of precision.” Jiang Chen understood the rules and knew that a high level would automatically deliver victory to him. If the spirit herbs were all of the same rank, then it would be a competition of precision, purity and quality.

Jiang Chen swept his gaze across the spirit herbs again. Once, twice… Two hours had been allotted for this round. Therefore, it was unrealistic to dream of creating an exceptionally high level pill. However, he couldn’t guarantee victory if the pill’s level was too low.

Suddenly, an idea came into Jiang Chen’s mind. As of late, he had spent plenty of time researching the Deviant Pill Faction. Wasn’t their creed one about using the strangest materials to create the most unique and famous pill recipes? The most direct pursuit of the Deviant Pill Faction was to use strange materials and unexpected refining methods to create familiar pills. They also sought recipes that cut costs to a minimum. A pill made by the Deviant Pill Faction might cost less than half of what other people used when creating the same pill.

The Deviant Pill Faction was known for their uncanny craftsmanship, seeking a path in pill dao that went against orthodoxy. They were often able to use cheap materials to refine high level pills. It wasn’t uncommon for them to come up with extraordinary results that looked like true alchemy as they sought to excavate the maximum potential of spirit herbs. This was also the biggest charm of this faction, or they wouldn’t have become an outstanding name among many other pill dao factions, drawing the fanatical admiration of countless pill masters and turning them into diehard fans of the Deviant Pill Faction.

It was undeniable that many pill kings had great skill in pill refining. However, most of them had an obscene amount of wastage when it came to their refining process. Any high level pill they refined was the result of mountains of high rank spirit herbs. They would ensure success with pure quantity, and then skill. Even if they wasted their materials, it only made them look better to their peers.

Meanwhile, the Deviant Pill Faction hated inefficiency to the core. If they could refine a pill just using saint rank materials, they would never use a true saint rank materials. This was the charm of the Deviant Pill Faction. Their pursuit for cost reduction had reached an insane level of devotion. Quite a lot of inspiration came to Jiang Chen after he started to approach things like one of the Deviant Pill Faction. Suddenly, a pill’s name appeared in Jiang Chen’s mind.

The Triphase Pill! This pill could create the cycle of earth, wood and fire elements inside one’s body. The term ‘Triphase’ represented the cycles of the three elements. Earth grows wood, wood feeds fire, and fire reduces all to earth… The Triphase Pill differed from the great five phase cycle. It was a three phase cycle that enabled cultivators who cultivated these three elements to instantly replenish their inner energy.

There were no cultivators – even the emperor realm cultivators – whose inner energy was inexhaustible. Cultivators cultivated energy, and energy was a consumable resource. A cultivator would use up large amounts of inner energy in battle, over long distances, or just practicing their art. Even Titled Great Emperors might exhaust their inner energy if they were embroiled in an intense battle and had executed several powerful techniques in a row. The Triphase Pill was a pill that sought to remedy that by replenishing one’s inner energy.

Of course, the target of the Triphase Pill was extremely specific. It was made only for cultivators whose attributes were that of earth, wood and fire. One could say that this pill was tailored for just those cultivators. Moreover, the most amazing thing about the Triphase Pill was that it had no cultivation restriction. It could be used by either origin, sage or emperor realm cultivators. The level of the pill was usually solely determined by the level of the user. If the pill worked for a sage realm cultivator, then it would be categorized as a true saint rank pill. If it worked for an emperor realm cultivator, then it would be categorized as an earth rank pill. In general, the Triphase Pill was most commonly used by sage realm cultivators. Thus, most often treated it as a true saint rank pill.

Jiang Chen stared at the materials in his hands and deduced that he absolutely could refine the Triphase Pill with them if he followed the style of the Deviant Pill Faction. Moreover, he was sure that the pill’s level would be quite high. That was how incredible the Deviant Pill Faction was. It wasn’t impossible to create an earth rank pill with saint rank spirit herbs. Of course, it was normally inconceivable for such a ridiculous leap in rank to happen.

Generally speaking, a leap of one rank was pretty common, but a leap of two ranks was definitely a lot more difficult. An apt comparison would be the notion of refining a sky rank pill with just true saint rank spirit herbs. It was a difficult task even for a Deviant Pill Faction pill master. Even the masters of the Deviant Pill Faction prayed for luck sometimes. They couldn’t always create a miracle anytime they wanted to. They had to combine all kinds of coincidences to be able to occasionally manifest a success.

Jiang Chen gave his Triphase Pill recipe a thorough simulation and was confident that he had a ninety percent chance of success. Normally, a pill master would jump straight to work if the pill even had a thirty percent chance of success. Jiang Chen took a moment to settle his emotions, took out the Skysnatcher Cauldron and began heating it…

He had spent a lot of time in researching the Skysnatcher Cauldron lately, and he had come to the conclusion that this cauldron was very much a product of the Deviant Pill Faction. The style of its creation and naming was very in keeping with an outstanding achievement of the Deviant Pill Faction. Skysnatcher was as its name implied. Its function was to snatch fortune from heavens’ hands. This school of thought was definitely deserving of this claim.

Jiang Chen had used the Skysnatcher Cauldron a few times, and the results had been even better than he’d imagined. With the Skysnatcher Cauldron in hand, he felt like the chances of successfully refining the Triphase Pill had increased dramatically.

Two hours weren’t long, and Jiang Chen wasn’t willing to waste even a second. Once he had selected all the materials to refine the Triphase Pill, he immediately discarded the rest to a corner. The speed at which Jiang Chen had chosen his materials surprised a lot of the onlookers. The nine judges were exchanging glances with each other. They couldn’t possibly overlook the fact that there was only one true saint rank spirit herb out of all the materials that Jiang Chen had selected. The rest were all saint rank spirit herbs. Pill King Yu felt a twinge of surprise. Out of all forty eight types of spirit herbs, only eight were true saint rank spirit herbs. Technically speaking, Jiang Chen should have selected at least five of them to be able to refine a pill of the highest level. So why had this pill king of House Wei selected only one true saint rank spirit herb? The rest of his materials were all just saint rank spirit herbs. This selection was quite perplexing.

Pill King Yu really admired Jiang Chen. The Tiger Eruption Pill, Heptarune True Dragon Pill and Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill were obvious indicators of Pill King Zhen’s youthful potential. The revelation of the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma especially, had laid out a new world before Pill King Yu’s eyes. But now, he was a little disappointed at Jiang Chen’s choice of spirit herbs. With those materials, the best he would be able to refine was an upper level saint rank pill. Even if he overperformed, the absolute best he could come up with was a quasi-true saint rank pill.

What was the quasi-true saint rank? That was the designation for pills that were in reality just a saint rank pill, though it could barely be categorized as a true saint rank pill. If the bar was set a bit lower, then it could be called a true saint rank pill. If the bar was a tad higher, then it could a saint rank pill. That was what quasi-true saint rank meant.

“This Pill King Zhen had the benefit of an extraordinary teacher in pill dao when he was young, but he ultimately lacks in practical experience. He may be well versed with many high level classics and fixed pill recipes, but he is too young and poor because of his age. His knowledge might not be able to make up for his lack of experience.” Although Pill King Yu felt a little pity for Pill King Zhen, the former’s admiration hadn’t fallen because of this conclusion he’d formed. In his opinion, Pill King Zhen was only suffering from a lack of age and experience. With his intelligence and comprehensive ability, he would most likely become a famous pill king in the future.

The rest of the judges were also shaking their heads inwardly after they saw Jiang Chen’s choice of spirit herbs. They’d also seen the materials Pill King Rong had selected. As experts in pill dao, they already knew from his materials that he was aiming to refine a mid level true saint rank pill. It would be very impressive if he was able to do this in just one hour’s time. Even if the judges were to take the field themselves, that was likely the best they could’ve come up with. Though it wasn’t the highest possible level of pill they could come up with, Pill King Rong looked like he had a ninety chance of winning this battle.

After all, even if the pill master wished to create a high level pill and came up with the materials to do so, two hours were simply insufficient to refine a higher level pill. This two-hour time limit was extremely important in that it prevented either party from creating a higher level pill with the available spirit herbs. A limit on time and material squeezed the competitors down to the wire.

The audience wasn’t as professional as the nine judges, nor their insight as sharp, but they still gleaned a bit from both pill masters’ choice of materials. No matter how they looked at it, the choice of materials made by Taiyuan Lodge’s Pill King Rong were of a much higher level than Pill King Zhen’s.
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