The stall owner of the blessing grass was a skinny young man, and he shouted, “100 spirit stones!”
Jing Yue, “…” So cheap? It seemed that the stall owner didn’t know the true value of this item.
He was just about to dig for money when he heard Zhou Xiaoxiu say to the stall owner, “This is a valuable guest of Tianshui Palace. Don't fool him.”
Only then did the stall owner notice Zhou Xiaoxiu's waist token and immediately cowered, “One spirit stone.”
He picked this item up for nothing and didn’t know what it was. He wanted to try his luck at the market but as a result, no one asked about it. Someone finally asked about it today and he wanted to hoodwink for a high price, but who knew he met people from Tianshui Palace instead. However, for mortals such as him, a spiritual stone was a huge profit. He felt better when he thought of it this way.
Jing Yue, “…”
He still felt guilty about it.
But of course, the more plants such as the blessing grass, the better, so Jing Yue asked, “Where did you get this plant?”
The stall owner dared not lie and honestly explained, “I was fortunate the other day and caught a big fish. I found some seeds in the belly of the fish.”
Jing Yue was overjoyed. “Where are the seeds?”
“I planted all of it.” The stall owner looked regretful. “It's a pity that only this pot has sprouted. I threw the rest away.”
Jing Yue held his chest, felt a sudden pain, and said in a trembling voice, “You, you…”
Qin Yanzhi suddenly drew his sword and pointed at the stall owner's neck. The other party was so scared that he froze into a coffin board.
Jing Yue was taken aback. “Yanzhi, what are you doing?”
Qin Yanzhi, “He made you angry.”
Jing Yue was so shocked by Qin Yanzhi's way of thinking that he stammered, “Angry… I’m not angry! Withdraw your sword quickly!”
Qin Yanzhi retracted the sword obediently, but the stall owner's eyes rolled, his mouth went crooked, and fell into a dead faint. His leg even symbolically twitched two times.
Jing Yue, “…”
Fortunately, they were all cultivators, and the stall owner soon woke up. He peeked at the young man who drew the sword in fear and grievance, and tremblingly said, “The seed… in cloth… perhaps more…”
Translated, he had put the seeds in the cloth bag, perhaps there were still a few grains left in the bag.
Therefore, Jing Yue expressed his desire to go home with him. Even though the stall owner was reluctant, how would he dare to object?
In the end, Jing Yue got the few remaining seeds of the blessing grass, but he was still unsatisfied and asked the stall owner where he caught the fish.
Stall owner, “Just near Bluewhale Island. It’s a kind of cruising fish. I only fished one by chance.”
Jing Yue sighed inwardly. It seemed that the chance was gone, but to get these seeds was already an unexpected joy, and he was very satisfied.
Before leaving, he threw a bag to the stall owner. When their backs disappeared, the stall owner took a look inside the bag. There were hundreds of brilliant white spirit stones, so his eyes rolled, his mouth went crooked, and he fell into a dead faint again.
Mm, this scene was a bit familiar.
After staying in Tianshui Palace for two days, the guests invited for the pill-making competition arrived in succession. Early in the morning, Jing Yue and the others came to the competition square with Zhou Xiaoxiu.
The pill-making competition of Tianshui Palace was a grand event in the cultivation world, and there were naturally a lot of participants. About two or three thousand cultivators gathered in the square, and countless more watching the excitement outside. From a distance, the visual was quite spectacular.
There were three segments of the competition, namely the preliminary competition, semi-finals, and finals. The preliminary competition was to test the rate of completion; the semi-finals to test the quality of the pills, and the finals to produce the pill each person was good at.
At this time, Zhou Xiaoxiu was introducing to Jing Yue the identities of the cultivators sitting at the front. Among them were the sect leader and elders of Tianshui Palace, as well as some established cultivators in alchemy Dao. They were also the judges for every pill-making competition.
At the end of the hour, Fairy Kushui, the sect leader of Tianshui Palace, spoke some words of encouragement. Then, she carefully took out a top-grade Golden Lotus Elixir and a lot of rather expensive pills, and placed them on the long table, attracting many fiery gazes.
“It's actually a high-grade? Weren’t they all medium-grade before? The high-grade golden lotus elixir is enough to increase the golden core formation rate by nearly 20%!”
There was a lot of discussion among the crowd and the cultivators in the field were eager to start. Many people looked at the golden lotus elixir and showed a determination to win it.
Fairy Kushui was heard saying, “The preliminary competition is to refine the Tranquility Pill, limited to three hours. Those who produce six pills in one furnace shall pass.”
As soon as she said that, the audience went into an uproar.
Someone asked, “Why six? Wasn't it always four in the past?”
Another person mocked, “In the past, it was always a middle-grade golden lotus elixir. Do you really think the high-grade elixir is that easy to get?”
At this time, Fairy Kushui flung a piece of white silk and hit a hanging gong. At the sound of the gong, it signaled the official start of the pill-making competition.
Wisps of green smoke rose and lingered in the air, and the pill fragrance filled the square.
The Tranquility Pill was a pill that most cultivators in Haotian Realm were most familiar with. Anyone Foundation Establishment and below could consume it and could help cultivators concentrate and meditate during practice, with certain auxiliary effects.
Jing Yue had been in this realm for more than ten years and had already studied all kinds of pill recipes on the market, so this pill was certainly not a problem. He unhurriedly selected several herbs provided by Tianshui Palace, put them into the furnace one by one, tweaked the hand seals, and controlled the fire.
This type of pill didn’t require a powerful spell, so Jing Yue only chose the most common one. His every gesture and rhythm was quite precise. Outsiders couldn’t really tell, but the judges on the stage had serious expressions.
They glanced at each other and could see the disbelief in each other's eyes. No one heard that the sect leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect could refine pills too, right? And he seemed quite good at it too? Fortunately, the spell that Jing Yue used was quite ordinary, so it was not that great of a blow to them, but no longer with smiling ease.
A few of them stared at Jing Yue fixedly. He threw another herb into the furnace and continued to perform the hand seals. But soon after, Jing Yue suddenly frowned, stopped his movements, and stared at the pill furnace in a daze.
This went on for a full quarter of an hour. The people of Tianshui Palace were secretly delighted and only assumed that Jing Yue was not familiar with pill-refining, and the performance just now was deliberately made just to save face. They breathed a sigh of relief and finally had the mood to pay attention to the next person.
Due to the large number of people in the preliminary competition, the audience didn’t notice Jing Yue's oddity for the time being, but the people of Mini Frostcloud Sect did. Daoist Tian Luo looked worried and wanted to discuss this matter with the other fellow disciples, but whether Qin Yanzhi or the other seven or eight disciples, their expressions were very calm. Even the little blue chicken that Jing Yue always took with him held its head high and looked a little proud at this time?
Thinking of the disciples’ blind trust in Jing Yue, he held back and swallowed the words that rushed to his throat.
Daoist Tian Luo was unfamiliar with alchemy and was inevitably apprehensive, and couldn't help but eavesdrop on other people’s discussions.
Coincidentally, an old man next to him was pointing at a blue-clothed cultivator on stage and said to the juniors who came with him, “Look, Zhang Liancheng is using the Iceheart Technique, which is also his best spell. Using the Iceheart technique to refine the Tranquility pill is the perfect match.”
The old man also pointed to a cultivator on the far side, “That person’s fire is burning too vigorously now. I’m afraid the pills in the furnace will be ruined.”
Daoist Tian Luo looked in that direction. Eh? Wasn’t that the cultivator from Bodhisattva Yu they met when they arrived? Seeing that the other party’s alchemy movements were very elegant, and the demeanor also cold and aloof, they thought his skills were very proficient, but it turned out to be for display only?
A loud bang was heard, black smoke filled the air, and the smell of burning overcame the pill fragrance.
“Oho, the furnace exploded! I told you the furnace is going to explode!”
“Wu-shishu is really spot-on! His prediction always comes true!”
Daoist Tian Luo, “…”
With a wave of Fairy Kushui’s sleeve, the black smoke dissipated in an instant. A man with curly hair and a dark face stood beside the shattered furnace. Where could a trace of his handsome looks be seen? He glared viciously at the old man who spoke, flicked his sleeves, and left.
The old man was oblivious and pointed to a beautiful woman in the distance. “She is Xu Fenglan, a new generation of alchemy genius in Tianshui Palace. Based on my speculation, the reason why Tianshui Palace would offer this high-grade golden lotus elixir was actually prepared for her. If she wins, not only will she bring fame to Tianshui Palace, but the top prize will also remain with them. Tsk, tsk, Tianshui Palace has full confidence in her, but even after careful planning, heaven’s will is often difficult to violate…”
Talking like this at the home court was quite provocative. The few juniors dared not respond to his words, but one of them suddenly said, “Wu-shishu, who is that person? Why is he in a daze during the competition?”
The old man narrowed his eyes in scrutiny and shook his head. “I don't recognize… wait, he looks a little familiar. Isn’t he the leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect?”
Daoist Tian Luo had long wanted to join their conversation and was about to jump in when the crowd suddenly became agitated like a boiling pan.
“Is it that Jing Yue?”
“I heard that only one person from Mini Frostcloud Sect is participating. It’s too shabby, right? It’s a big sect at any rate, but they act like rogue cultivators!”
“Alas, although Mini Frostcloud Sect has built up a good reputation over the years, they don’t have a solid foundation after all. Which other immortal gates didn’t send at least eight or ten contestants? As for them, they directly sent the sect leader to compete, but the sect leader still insists on showing off when he can’t make it. It’s really shameful!”
The person who spoke suddenly fell silent. He only felt a pain in his throat and couldn’t make a sound.
He only saw eight or nine people, including a chicken, staring at him with hostility, and a youth said, “What's the use of having more people? Aren’t they just for show?”
The man clutched his throat and opened his mouth wide in horror but the youth ignored him and turned around.
Seeing his pitiful sight, the old man from before comforted him, “Don't worry, that young Daoist only used spiritual energy to seal your throat. You’ll be fine once the spiritual energy dissipates.”
Qin Yanzhi curled his lips coldly and said nothing.
However, Daoist Tian Luo noticed it. It would be a matter of months before the spiritual energy dissipated.
After the small skirmish, even fools would have guessed that these people had a close relationship with the sect leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect and were probably disciples there. Seeing Mini Frostcloud Sect being so aggressive, they were annoyed but no one dared to object. After all, Tiangang Sect of the five immortal gates had been defeated by them.
Some people even put on a flattering face and fawned, “At first glance today, Sect Leader Jing truly possesses the posture of an immortal. With that appearance, maybe a fairy of Tianshui Palace…”
And then… his eyes and mouth were sealed by Qin Yanzhi.
This time, no one else spoke, and everyone moved away from Qin Yanzhi’s group.
However, the old man from earlier came forward to express his goodwill. He cupped his hand toward Daoist Tian Luo and said, “I’m Wu Changzi of Bluecloud Valley. Could this be Tian Luo-zhenren?”
Daoist Tian Luo returned the gesture, thinking that it was no wonder he was so bold. So, he had the backing of a big sect too. Since the other party had taken the initiative, he pretended to be indifferent and asked, “What do you think about my sect leader?”
Wu Changzi was in a difficult spot now. Although he was not afraid of Mini Frostcloud Sect, he couldn’t say anything bad about Jing Yue in front of a group of fragile hearts. Yet, he didn’t want to speak blindly against his conscience, so he compromised, “Perhaps your sect leader is not used to the furnace provided by Tianshui Palace.”
The crowd looked over and found that Jing Yue was indeed using the furnace issued by Tianshui Palace. So, he didn’t even have his own furnace? Why did such an amateur enter the competition?
Of course, everyone complained inwardly and dared not speak aloud.
The old man was right. Jing Yue was indeed in a predicament because of the furnace. He had never used such a trashy furnace in his life! Not only was the internal temperature not enough, but the fire was also unstable. Even the furnace he bought at the roadside stall of Minisun Town back then was better than this!
It was really disgraceful to organize such a large pill-making competition but provide such inferior pill furnaces!
Jing Yue silently despised Tianshui Palace. He recalled the furnace and the five-element mutated fire given to him by the Golden Pavilion that was lost in the Nine Heaven Rift and felt a pang of heartache.
He observed for a long time and slowly explored the rules of using the pill furnace before he finally found a clue. However, alchemy required success on the first try. The quality of his furnace was obviously not good enough, but he still had a chance since the prelims was about quantity.
Time passed slowly. Three hours later, Fairy Kushui announced the end of the preliminary competition.
The crowd was excited. They had waited so long just for this moment to open the furnace.
A dozen judges came down from the stage and opened the furnace with the help of the disciples from Tianshui Palace.
With the opening of the furnace, the cultivators who participated in the competition showed different expressions. Some were happy, some were sad, and some were as calm as usual.
In the arena, an elder of Tianshui Palace walked up to a cultivator and said warmly, “Liancheng, how is your master doing lately?”
Zhang Liancheng quickly saluted respectfully, “Thank you for your concern, senior. Everything is well with my shifu, but he’s in seclusion right now and couldn’t come with me.”
It was obvious the two knew each other. Daoist Tian Luo asked curiously, “Who is this Zhang Liancheng that you just mentioned?”
Only then did Wu Changzi realize that Daoist Tian Luo had been eavesdropping on his words, and somewhat felt amused. “He’s the disciple of the Master of the Medicine Valley.”
Daoist Tian Luo nodded. “No wonder.”
The friendship between Tianshui Palace and Medicine Valley was well-known in the cultivation world. After all, both parties liked alchemy.
As expected, the disciple of Medicine Valley was not weak. Although Zhang Liancheng's pill furnace only has six pills, they were all of the highest quality, drawing praise.
Suddenly, another wave of onlookers not far away exclaimed again and again. Daoist Tian Luo looked up and saw that everyone was focused on Xu Fenglan mentioned by Wu Changzi before. There were ten pills in her pill furnace.
“Ten pills!” Wu Changzi's face changed slightly. “This woman is really amazing!”
Daoist Tian Luo couldn't help but nod in agreement. Even he knew that every furnace would usually produce two or three pills. If there were six, it would be excellent. As for ten pills, it was a rare occurrence even for alchemy masters.
Wu Changzi, “Although there are only five mid-grade pills and five low-grade pills, ten is already the ultimate number. The prelims only look at the number of pills. No one is going to beat her.”
Daoist Tian Luo didn’t respond this time because Fairy Kushui had stopped in front of Jing Yue’s pill furnace.