Shi Xuan’s tone was bitter and desperate. No matter how cunning and confident he’d been, no matter how much respect he’d garnered, he had no choice but to admit defeat.
He was a determined man. Given what’d happened, he recognized that the only thing he could do now to preserve his dignity was to commit suicide.
For him however, his dignity had never outweighed his life. He believed that one should always live to fight another day.
The thought placated him. He approached Jiang Chen with an impassive expression and dropped down to one knee. “Master, Shi Xuan hereby submits myself to you as a pill slave.”
The pill sovereign’s submission was more shocking than Jiang Chen’s display of the True Fires of Ninety Nine.
Shi Xuan surrenders??
Many pill dao experts of the Eternal Sacred Land wept, tears streaming down their face. Sixty years after Elder Zimu’s death, the elder could finally rest in peace. The sacred land had avenged him. Though Shi Xuan was still alive, his fate was even more humiliating than Elder Zimu’s death.
Elder Zimu had at least died with his dignity intact. Shi Xuan was going to live the rest of his life in shame.
High emotion thrummed through the three primes. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Who would’ve thought that Shao Yuan really be able to complete the mission?
What was more, the young man had made Shi Xuan his pill slave! Not even the three primes could think of a more satisfying way outcome.
They didn’t care if the Flora Sacred Land would be offended. After all, that hadn’t stopped Flora from making Eternal their enemy all those years ago. Besides, in terms of absolute strength, Eternal was far more influential than the Flora.
Flora had held a dominant position solely because of their foundation in pill dao. Many factions were unwilling to get on their bad side as a result. That had spoiled them, thinking that every other sacred land should submit to their whims and needs.
The two other Flora pill dao sovereigns were livid. One of them cupped his hands at the first prime. “First Prime, we came all the way from the Flora Sacred Land. Is this how you treat your guests?”
The first prime maintained a polite smile. “Daoist Zhou, there’s nothing wrong with the way we treat our guests. The wager was merely for entertainment. No one expected things to escalate to this point. Besides, there’s always a winner and a loser in a pill dao match. Is the Flora Sacred Land unable to take a defeat?”
They were indeed. Or, rather, they couldn’t afford to lose Shi Xuan. They’d be blamed for returning to home without him. They couldn’t possibly tell their primes that their most extraordinary pill dao master had been confiscated by the Eternal Sacred Land, could they?
“This is his whole life we’re talking about here, First Prime,” argued the old man surnamed Zhou. “Since it’s a friendly match, it should end in a friendly way. Their stakes didn’t match at all, with one betting on his life and the other betting a pill dao recipe. The uneven forfeit should render this match invalid.”
The first prime shook her head. She didn’t want to waste her breath. “If we forced Shi Xuan to make the bet, we’d let things slide. But he agreed to this. You may think you have good intentions, Daoist Zhou, but you’re damaging Shi Xuan’s reputation. The Eternal Sacred Land will not back down in this matter.”
When Shi Xuan had suppressed Elder Zimu and mocked the late elder, dooming him to death with every move, Flora certainly hadn’t showed any mercy. There was no way that Eternal was going to void the arrangement and let Shi Xuan off the hook. The humiliation they’d once suffered was still fresh on their mind.
“Have some mercy, First Prime. We’ll owe you a great favor and we won’t forget about it,” the old man persisted.
The first prime frowned. “Enough. If people can just take back their word as they wish, what’s the meaning of a bet then? I believe we’ve done nothing wrong here. ”
Shi Xuan had sworn an oath of his own accord, which he had now no choice but to honor. He could escape servitude only if Jiang Chen simply wanted to humiliate him and didn’t intend to take Shi Xuan as his pill slave, but that plainly wasn’t the case.
“Can’t you make an exception, First Prime?”
“An exception?” The first prime scoffed. “Why didn’t you make an exception for Elder Zimu? Why didn’t you show him mercy to maintain our friendship? You were the one who made us your worst enemy. We’re simply returning the favor.”
The first prime presented a powerful image as she made her argument.
The old man was rendered speechless. He knew that when all was said and done, they didn’t have the moral high ground here. Shi Xuan’s fate was set in stone.
Shi Xuan shook his head and went up to his companions with a pale face, muttering something soundlessly. They’d learned from having their messages intercepted and opted for a different method of communication.
In the end, he waved his hand at his compatriots, seemingly determined to stay as a pill slave.
Zhou fell silent. It was clear from his brooding expression that he wasn’t taking the outcome well, but he couldn’t say anything when Shi Xuan had given up himself. They were in the Eternal Sacred Land. If they made a scene, they’d join Shi Xuan in being kept here.
Someone laughed loudly. “Congratulations to the Eternal Sacred Land for not only winning the match, but also gaining a competent pill slave!”
His words started a chain reaction. One by one, people congratulated the Eternal Sacred Land. Those from the Flora Sacred Land watched in absolute silence.
Such was the way of the pill dao world. Anyone could fall from grace anytime.
Take Shi Xuan as an example, he’d made a name for himself when he was a young man, and he’d sailed through to success without difficulty until now. Yet unexpectedly, he’d lost everything when he’d reached just a hundred years old.
“The bet is over, Daoist Ziju. Would you mind giving us some information about the Taiyi Skymender Pill? It’s what we came here for.”
Ziju Min was very pleased to hear this.
“The Taiyi Skymender Pill was developed by our genius, Shao Yuan. No one’s more qualified to introduce the pill than he.
“Come on, Shao Yuan! Let’s hear from you!” The other participants prompted in unison, determined to get an answer.
Having just defeated Shi Xuan, there was no doubt that he’d been the one who invented the pill. He definitely wasn’t just a red herring that Eternal had brought out. Who else could it be?
Jiang Chen had cemented his placed in the pill dao world after the match.
“Since the beginning of time, the most difficult obstacle for a cultivator to overcome is the threshold between great emperor and empyrean,” he began with a smile. “Only less than one out of a hundred is able to ascend to empyrean realm. The Taiyi Skymender Pill aims to address that issue.”
Jiang Chen elaborated on the basics. He’d always had a silver tongue. Presenting the pill wasn’t a difficult task, not to mention that he knew the pill like the back of his hand.
The listeners weren’t fully convinced of the effects of the pill, but he didn’t try to change their mind. Many of them had a pill themselves. As long as they weren’t spectacularly blind, they’d be able to tell that the pill was legitimate.
“We now know about the pill’s effects, young Shao Yuan, and we know the main ingredient is the Taiyi Dragonscale Fruit. Would you mind telling us what the complementary ingredients are?” This speaker had crossed a line.
“The ingredients aren’t that complicated,” said Jiang Chen. “However, please don’t assume that knowing the ingredients will be enough for you to refine the pill. Without mastering the refining method and process, you’re better off not knowing anything.”
“Don’t try to scare us of, young man. We just want to know what the ingredients are. We aren’t scared of failures.”
In truth, Jiang Chen was cautioning them against experimenting without restraint and wasting ingredients.
The ingredients, especially the Taiyi Dragonscale Fruit, were scarce. It’d be a disaster if they were wasted. Moreover, Eternal wouldn’t be able to acquire any Taiyi Dragonscale Fruit if everyone gave it their go at refining.
Therefore, he wasn’t going to tell them anything.
“Please don’t think about refining the pill yourselves. I can guarantee that you won’t be able to refine it even if you know the ingredients. It’s highly technical. One single wrong step can lead to failure!”