Fairy Kushui still paid attention to Jing Yue before, but since Jing Yue started to drift off while refining, she didn’t regard the other party as a threat. So what if the movements looked good? It was just for display.
She watched with a half-smile as the disciple took the pills from the furnace. As Jing Yue used the standard furnace issued by Tianshui Palace, the mouth of the furnace was too small, so the disciple reached out and found two pills.
“Heh…” Fairy Kushui smiled slightly. Both pills were of low grade. Although she was a little surprised that the leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect could do alchemy, it was nothing to fear. She was still wondering how could there be anyone proficient in both alchemy Dao and talisman Dao at the same time.
She deliberately raised her voice and said, “Sect Leader Jing is really extraordinary. Not only is he good at refining talismans, but also good at making pills, producing two low-grade pills in one go.”
Many onlookers heard it, and those further away from Mini Frostcloud Sect even booed. As for those who stood close to them... Of course, no one dared to speak.
The disciples of Mini Frostcloud Sect looked as if they couldn't hear the sarcasm at all. With joy on their faces, they felt they could start bragging and said, “Sect leader is really invincible. He’s really a jack of all trades, an all-rounded talent indeed!”
Daoist Tian Luo hid his face with his hands, deeply embarrassed. Qin Yanzhi was as expressionless as always, and no one could figure out his thoughts.
However, the disciple who opened the furnace looked rather odd and whispered, “Sect leader, there are more in the furnace.”
The smile on Fairy Kushui froze before she pretended to be apologetic, “I seem to be mistaken.” After saying that, she glared at the disciple. “Hurry up and take the pills out for Sect Leader Jing.”
The disciple’s heart trembled as he fished out another two pills.
Fairy Kushui smiled again, and before she could say anything, the disciple fished out two more.
As the plot progressed to this point, Fairy Kushui could no longer hang on to her smile. Although the six were all low-grade pills, wasn’t the preliminary competition about the completion rate? Jing Yue actually passed?! What shocked her even more was that the disciple was still fumbling around…
She said angrily: "Are you finished yet? Can't you take them out at once? Sect Leader Jing is anxiously waiting!”
Jing Yue said leisurely, “No hurry, take your time.”
Fairy Kushui, “…”
The disciple was so aggrieved that he wanted to cry, so he grabbed a handful of them haphazardly in a hurry, and there were four of them.
At first, Fairy Kushui thought that four was not too bad, but then again, if the four were added to the previous six, that would be ten! Wasn’t this the same number as Xu Fenglan? One must know that Xu Fenglan was a genius that had not appeared in Tianshui Palace in the last century! And she had received focused training!
Fairy Kushui, the other contestants, and the crowd were all dumbfounded. They even had all kinds of ridiculous thoughts, such as—could it be that talisman Dao and alchemy were actually connected? Could it be that the person on the stage was not the leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect, but an alchemy expert invited by Jing Yue to take his place?
Even Wu Changzi, who had been chattering incessantly, felt his throat go dry and his eyes went straight. Daoist Tianluo was even more creeped out. He subconsciously looked at Qin Yanzhi and… still couldn’t discern anything.
However, it was not over yet. The disciple of Tianshui Palace put his hand into the pill furnace gloomily. Fairy Kushui couldn't help it anymore and was furious. “Aren’t you done yet?”
The disciple trembled slightly and fished out two pills again. “No, no more. Only these two left.”
‘Only’? Fairy Kushui was going crazy!
12 pills in one furnace?
No one had been able to do that since the founding of Tianshui Palace, no, since the emergence of alchemy in Haotian Realm! Everyone thought that ten was the ultimate number!
At this time, everyone looked at Jing Yue oddly. It was as if everyone thought there were only men and women in the world, but one day, a third gender was discovered, and it completely subverted common sense!
Daoist Tian Luo's mouth dropped open so widely that one Ji-ji could be stuffed into it, but the disciples of Mini Frostcloud Sect innocently didn’t understand what the 12 pills meant. They only thought that the sect leader was really amazing and started praising him to the skies and back again.
Qin Yanzhi still looked uninterested, but blue phoenix on his head was changing patterns while turning in circles, making his stoic appearance a little questionable.
“You…” There was a fire burning in Fairy Kushui’s heart, and not only one but two! One was for not being able to slap face but being slapped viciously instead, while the other was the excitement at another major breakthrough in alchemy. She even felt that her long-stagnant cultivation had also loosened a little. All of this came from the change of perception, which expanded her view and thinking. In that case, did she owe Jing Yue a debt of gratitude now?
“Thank you for giving way.”
When would be a better time to act pretentious? Jing Yue smiled blandly, brushed his clothes, and walked calmly in the direction where his sect’s disciples were.
Whether the participants, judges or the audience, all wanted to ask Jing Yue if it was his real ability or just a lucky break. But it was too embarrassing to ask him to refine another furnace, so they could only wait until the next day to verify it.
The results of the preliminary competition were soon announced. Around 90% of the contestants were eliminated, and only more than 300 people passed this round. It also proved how shocking the number of twelve pills in one furnace was.
As for the semi-finals, in the past, Tianshui Palace would select a kind of pill and prepare all the materials. Participants would pass as long as they could refine a top-grade pill.
However, it was different this time. Tianshui Palace had prepared more than 300 medicinal materials with different combinations, packaged them separately, and required the contestants to choose one randomly. No matter which combination was chosen, the participant would pass if they refined a high-grade pill.
Most of the participants were dissatisfied with the sudden change in rules. It was commonly known that everyone had limited pill recipes. What if the materials they drew didn’t match the recipes they knew? Even if it did, it might not be the kind they were good at making, so how could they produce a high-grade pill?
The elders who accompanied the various factions were not too happy either. Tianshui Palace didn’t notify them at all before this. They had reason to suspect that Tianshui Palace deliberately increased the difficulty of the semi-finals to help pave the way for Xu Fenglan, and might even have informed Xu Fenglan which combination to select.
They didn’t mind if Tianshui Palace wanted to groom Xu Fenglan, but they shouldn’t deceive others in the process. Now that they were using the other competitors to make her stand out, anyone would complain about this treatment.
Fairy Kushui was also a little embarrassed and said with a dry laugh, “Please don’t worry. Every set of materials is based on the recipe and will not involve a particularly unpopular recipe. For the sake of fairness, Xu Fenglan can be the last to draw.”
Since she had put it this way, it wasn’t appropriate to say anything else. But privately, they believed that Xu Fenglan must be proficient at the hundreds of combinations they had prepared.
When the semi-finals officially began, many of the participants were in a dilemma, not knowing which one to choose, but some didn't care, and Jing Yue was certainly one of them.
He went up and just grabbed the nearest one. Most of the audience was surprised and disagreed, but no one turned on the spewing mode. After all, the memory of yesterday’s face-slapping was too deeply engraved.
Someone whispered, “Isn’t Sect Leader Jing a little too reckless?”
Another said, “Perhaps he’s quite confident?”
“But even Zhang Liancheng didn’t choose as quickly as him.”
Suddenly, a cold voice sounded from behind, “Zhang Liancheng can't produce a furnace of twelve pills.”
The crowd looked around. Wasn’t that the cold-faced jinx of Mini Frostcloud Sect? Everyone immediately tensed. How did they end up with him?
Everyone suddenly went silent as if their throats were sealed, which made Qin Yanzhi a little surprised. He didn’t expect his deeds to spread in just one day, but he was satisfied with the status quo, so he coldly swept a glance at the crowd, turned back, and continued to focus on his brother.
At this time, Jing Yue had already opened his package. These packages were sealed with a spell to prevent the detection from divine consciousness, but the level was really not very good. At least, Jing Yue could easily break it open. But he was too familiar with pill-refining, so there was no need to cheat at all.
There were ten kinds of medicinal materials in his hand, two types of skin and flesh from ferocious beasts, one metal ore, and the remaining were seven different types of herbs. He knew at one glance that these materials were for beauty-enhancing pills.
Beauty enhancing pills, as the name implied, could make people look youthful and ageless. The refining process was somewhat troublesome and time-consuming, taking 16 hours to complete.
Although they were given two days for the semi-finals, Jing Yue really didn't want to go through that much trouble.
If he removed two items from these materials, he could refine a pill that didn’t exist in Haotian Realm yet—Erasure Pill.
This was a kind of poisonous pill, and its effect was to erase the cultivation base, but it was a low-level pill that would only work for cultivators in the Qi Refining stage. The difficulty for refining this pill was correspondingly much lower, requiring only seven hours.
Jing Yue’s thoughts shifted and asked, “Do we have to use every single material?”
His voice was not loud, and he intended to ask the disciples of Tianshui Palace nearby, but Fairy Kushui, who had listed him as a key target, was instantly alert. But after thinking about it, each package was prepared according to the pill recipe, and couldn’t be simplified. If he didn’t use all of them, what pill could be made?
Could it be that Jing Yue was clueless about the materials he had chosen and wanted to try his luck in another way? Thus, her mood became better and she said with a smile, “That's not necessary, as long as you can refine a high-grade pill.”
Jing Yue nodded. “Thank you.”
He looked so confident that Fairy Kushui was a little uncertain now, and inexplicably wanted to take back her words. But at this time, a disciple of Tianshui Palace said, “Based on Sect Leader Jing’s capability, it won’t be surprising even if he only used one herb to make a pill.”
The disciple spoke respectfully, her smile was warm, but her tone of voice was uncanny. It was obvious she didn't have good intentions, which made many people laugh.
Jing Yue raised his eyes and saw a woman in her 20s with a somewhat mean face.
Well, he had never seen her before, so he couldn’t be bothered.
Jing Yue’s nonchalant attitude of ignoring her made the woman mad. Her mother’s family had some connections with Tiangang Sect while one of her cousins was an inner gates disciple there. Moreover, she had a betrothal arrangement with this cousin, just waiting for both of them to reach the Foundation Establishment stage before they could become Dao partners.
She was proud of being betrothed to a young talent from one of the five immortal sects and often bragged about it. For a long time, many of her fellow disciples envied her.
However, Tiangang Sect was severely taught a lesson by Mini Frostcloud Sect some years ago, and the process was extremely humiliating!
She usually had a bad temper and had offended some people, and they deliberately came to embarrass her, making her unable to lift her head for a while, so her hatred for Mini Frostcloud Sect grew in her heart.
Jing Yue wasn’t aware of the woman’s internal struggles because he was already handling the medicinal materials seriously.
At this time, everyone had chosen a package, and there was a mix of reactions.
Zhang Liancheng was lucky. The recipe he drew happened to be one he was good at, so a smile could be seen on his face.
Xu Fenglan had already started up the furnace and tossed a handful of herbs into it without hesitation, tweaking the hand seals and started the refining. She was clearly very confident.
More people looked at Jing Yue and saw his leisurely stance, weighing each material with his hand before separating it and set aside.
Daoist Tian Luo smiled cordially at his ‘old friend’ Wu Changzi who had squeezed next to him again. “Do you know what my sect leader is doing?”
Wu Changzi said hesitantly, “He seems to be weighing the herbs.”
Daoist Tian Luo was stunned. “Just by using his hands?” He clearly saw that when Jing Yue was refining cinnabar, he often couldn't determine the weight of the ingredients and had to rely on the scale!
Wu Changzi, “If he was very familiar with the recipe, maybe he can do it.”
Daoist Tian Luo suffered a blow to his heart. He just couldn't understand how a person who became famous for refining talismans seemed to be more familiar with pills instead.
He turned his head and asked Qin Yanzhi, “Do you know that your brother is so awesome?”
Qin Yanzhi didn’t say anything, only raised his chin in sync with the chicken on his head.
Daoist Tian Luo, “…”
Jing Yue was indeed weighing the herbs by hand. After all, the amount of each material was a bit too much for the Erasure Pill. When everything was ready, he tossed a blade of Qiming grass into the furnace and refined it over a slow fire. A moment later, he used his spiritual power to mince a fierce beast's meat, sprinkled it with bitter grass powder, and shaped it into a ball before throwing it into the furnace.
Then, Jing Yue chose the most suitable spell and began to refine the pill. Now, he was more familiar with the furnace issued by Tianshui Palace. It was no longer as difficult to control as yesterday and he was more comfortable with refining pills.
As the participants entered the state one after another, the audience could not help their mouths.
Someone said, “What pill do you think Zhang Liancheng is going to make?”
“He only used four ingredients so far so I can’t be sure yet, but I guess it's most likely a Qi replenishing pill or similar.”
“I guess so too. He's really lucky.”
Qi Replenishing Pill was one of the most common pills to be found on the streets, and practically everyone knew how to make it. For Zhang Lian Cheng, who was good at alchemy, it posed no difficulty at all.
Another person said, “What about Xu Fenglan? She was the last one to draw the herbs.”
“Although she has only used seven herbs so far, from the way she handled them and the order in which she put them in, it can be inferred that it’s a Qi Gathering Pill. This pill refining technique is very unique and makes it quite easy to guess.”
“This Daoist friend has good eyesight. In that case, can you guess what pill the leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect is making? Why am I clueless?”
At these words, the scene was quiet again for a good while. No one could tell!
Suddenly, someone said, “Have you ever thought that it’s not any pill at all, and he’s just blindly making it up?”
“It can’t be. This is a pill-making competition. Besides, Sect Leader Jing seems quite well-versed in alchemy. Not to mention the twelve pills in one furnace yesterday, just the hand seals he has used in the past two days are as many as three to five types.”
“But after we’ve learned so many pill recipes, have we ever seen the one he’s making?”
“You haven't seen it because of your ignorance.”
An indifferent voice interrupted forcefully. The crowd turned around and saw that Qin Yanzhi, who was supposed to be far away from them, had stood behind them at some point.
D*mn it! He’s such a stalker!
Although the alchemy process was boring, most of the onlookers were interested in it, and the competition was also a way of learning for them. Especially those who could perform hand seals beautifully, in their view, it was like enjoying a dance by celestial fairies, and many people's expressions were enraptured.
However, Daoist Tian Luo practiced talismans and was a layman in alchemy. He endured for almost ten hours and didn’t see any big movements, not even the excitement of an exploding furnace. Jing Yue also kept repeating the same actions.
Gradually, he got bored and simply sat down on the ground cross-legged and started to meditate.
Under his influence, several disciples of Mini Frostcloud Sect also followed his cue. Although they were happy to see the leader show his power, it was not time yet, right? Even a golden core being like Daoist Tian Luo worked so hard, so they couldn’t lag behind!
Another hour passed, and even the self-proclaimed most loyal to Jing Yue’s blue phoenix couldn't help but yawned. Water mist appeared in its beady eyes and its head kept nodding, obviously extremely sleepy.
Only Qin Yanzhi stared at Jing Yue intently from the beginning to the end, unwilling to miss even a second.
14 hours later, many participants had just entered the middle stage of alchemy when they heard someone say, “Please open the furnace.”
Those not steadfast enough couldn't help but look for the source of the voice and found that it was Jing Yue who had produced 12 pills yesterday.
Everyone was dumbfounded. The pill recipes that appeared in the semi-finals had a certain degree of difficulty and had to be refined for at least 20 hours. What kind of pill did Jing Yue produce in this short time?
Some people noticed Jing Yue's remaining materials and speculated that he got the Beauty Enhancing Pill, but it couldn’t be this fast, right? Besides, two of the materials seemed untouched. How could it form a pill?
Fairy Kushui was also full of doubts. In order not to disturb the other participants, she grabbed Jing Yue's pill furnace with one hand and placed it in front of her.
The one who opened the furnace was an elder of Tianshui Palace. Unlike the dawdling disciple from yesterday, she skillfully took out the pills all at once. Instantly, the fragrance of the pills overflowed.
Fairy Kushui’s first reaction was to rejoice. She knew he was just lucky in the last round! But shortly after, she stared in astonishment at the elder's hand that held a few perfect round pills. Her eyeballs almost popped out of the sockets! Jing Yue actually succeeded in refining a pill?
And this pill…
Fairy Kushui picked one up and examined it repeatedly, smelling it again and again, couldn't wait to take one on the spot to try the effect, but how could one consume a pill so casually? In the end, she shook her head and said, “Forgive my lack of knowledge. I can't tell what kind of pill this is. Can any of you?”
If even she couldn't tell, how could the other elders recognize it? Other judges knew less than Tianshui Palace so no one came forward, but they were inwardly unimpressed. If even Tianshui Palace didn’t recognize it, it was likely something that looked like a pill but was actually a useless fake item.
The earlier mean woman's face was ugly after Jing Yue called out to open the furnace, but seeing that everyone was at a loss now, she instantly looked forward to it. If it was really a fake pill, Sect Leader Jing would be greatly humiliated!
Unfortunately, she was destined to be disappointed.
Fairy Kushui, “Sect Leader Jing, none of us recognize this pill. Can you tell us about it?”
She didn't think it was a fake pill. As the head of Tianshui Palace, she still had this foresight. This pill had good color, strong fragrance, and even glowed faintly, high quality at first glance. Perhaps it was an obscure recipe? After all, even Tianshui Palace dared not say they had all the recipes of the world.
Jing Yue stepped forward, took a pill, and said, “This is an Erasure Pill.”
Fairy Kushui, “Indeed, I’ve never heard of it.”
Jing Yue, “It’s normal that you’ve never heard of it because this is the first Erasure Pill in Haotian Realm.”
After he finished speaking, the scene immediately fell into a strange silence. Not only the judges heard it clearly, but many onlookers also had a change of expressions.