Chapter 499: Astounding Answering Speed
One had to say, Linghu Xian had been well and truly caught in a web of his own making. As the Hall of Law Enforcement investigated, his crimes began to pile up, including threats towards disciples participating in battle, insubordination towards the Palace Head, and severe interference with the objectivity of the competition. Linghu Xian had even threatened the Precious Tree Sect, so he had the added crime of undermining the alliance between the two sects added to his list. When punishment was handed down for his crimes, he was immediately removed from his position and sent to the Regal Pill Palace dungeons.
Linghu Feng was likewise stripped of his competition qualifications and replaced with the disciple who’d ranked 31st.
With Linghu Xian gone, the power of the Linghu clan also plummeted. The Herbal Hall elders who were dissatisfied with Linghu Xian to begin with also stepped out to expose his crimes. When everything came into the light of day, it was greatly shocking and actually involved the loss of several lives.
Everyone within the Regal Pill Palace was enraged as they bore witness to a list of crimes too numerous to even fully record. Palace Head Dan Chi and several heavyweights came to an immediate decision that when the competition ended, Linghu Xian’s head would be displayed for all to see!
The rules had been strictly adhered to ever since Palace Head Dan Chi had taken power. All of the crimes that Linghu Xian had committed were enough for him to die ten times over. When he’d settled on Linghu Xian’s sentence, Dan Chi once again lectured the sect, a forbidding expression on his face. “Why is our Regal Pill Palace one of the six great sects of the Myriad Domain? It’s not only because of our rich heritage, but our strict sect rules. The rules that are the product of the combined effort of all those who have guided our sect with vision. A bad egg such as Linghu Xian envies talent and is corrupt. If he is not eliminated, he is certain to become the scourge of the sect. I hope the younger generation will treat this as the warning it is. The sect is everyone’s sect. Whoever seeks to bring disaster to it is the enemy of us all. The rules will be strictly enforced, and no one is exempt!”
It was easy to imagine the strong deterrence that the example of Linghu Xian set. “Elder Lian Cheng, Elder Yun Nie. Please keep a closer eye on things and don’t let any more unexpected developments occur in the competition.” The two elders bowed as they received their orders.
Linghu Xian was suitably punished, and Linghu Feng was revoked of his right to participate. This interlude imparted a more tense atmosphere to the competition. Everyone was finally aware of how important this competition was to the senior echelon of the sect.
The contests began after the interlude. The thirty pill dao geniuses participating in the finals gathered in a hall inside Shen Li Palace.
Elder Yun Nie swept bright eyes across the faces of all the participants. “Everyone, Palace Head Dan Chi, Elder Lian Cheng and myself have come to a decision after lengthy discussions last night. Anyone who enters the finals this time can advance to the Sky Pillar area for cultivation, even if you do not ultimately win out in the finals.”
The Sky Pillar Area was second only to the Sovereign Area in the Rosy Valley, and was far superior to the Soaring Clouds and Peerless Areas. Some of the participants in the finals were originally from the Sky Pillar Area, so this news didn’t have much meaning for them. But for those from the Soaring Clouds and Peerless Areas, this was obviously a solid benefit.
Many of those in the finals knew that they didn’t stand much of a chance of winning out. After all, there were only four combined spots from the martial and pill dao competitions. But to be able to advance to the Sky Pillar Area without obtaining a Sovereign Residence, that was an unexpected boon!
“Alright, I now pronounce that the pill dao finals as officially open. Begin!” Elder Yun Nie gave the order to officially start the finals.
“Ten years of practicing martial dao, a hundred years of refining pills. What does this saying mean? I’m sure all of you are well aware of its meaning. If a genius practices martial dao, not only will he see great improvement in ten years, but his speed determines his potential and future. The dao of pills, however, is a long term venture. Just as wine ages into its true fragrance, ten years is sufficient to identify a martial dao genius, yet a hundred years worth of winters and summers are needed to see the true potential of a pill dao heavyweight. Just from this, it is easy to see that the path of pill dao is not for the faint hearted.”
Elder Yun Nie continued. “You emerged from the masses of the Regal Pill Palace disciples and number among the top 30. You each have displayed a strength beyond your peers, and this is something to take pride in. Even if you do not succeed in the finals, I would hope that you do not give up on yourself, because competition in the dao of pills is one that spans decades. Perhaps you may not be on the same level as the premier geniuses today, but history has shown many pill masters who have risen to prominence well into their lives. Since my Regal Pill Palace was founded for pill dao, we have the foundation and ability to cultivate pill masters of all ages. Of course, I hope that all of you will bring forth your all. Leave no regrets behind, and give it your best shot.”
Elder Yun Nie began announcing the rules after a round of encouragement. “My Regal Pill Palace emphasizes four points in cultivating pill masters. The first is theory; this is the foundation. Progressing forward is something as intangible as the fleeting winds without a solid theoretical foundation. The strength of one’s theory will determine the level of a pill master.
“The second is vision. To a pill dao genius, strong vision and minute observation skills is the key that unlocks the prowess of a superb pill master.
“The third is strength of heart. A pill master faces critical moments at every refining, and without the requisite strength of heart to support their refining, they are sure to make mistakes at critical moments. It is very difficult for those to become a superb pill master.
“The fourth is one of manipulation. After all is said and done, dexterity is still vital. The deftness of a pill master’s hands is the most direct display of one’s competency.
“Therefore, we have four areas in the finals: theory, vision, strength of heart, and manipulation.”
Jiang Chen nodded inwardly after hearing Elder Yun Nie’s words. The Regal Pill Palace may not be comparable to the divine level of pill dao powers, its fundamentals were perfectly formed. Its thoughts were completely accurate from a pill dao perspective. These were indeed the four most important points for pill dao.
“And now, the first category of theory will officially begin. The time limit is two hours, and there will be a hundred points in every category. We will generate rankings based on the scores, and if two scores tie, the first to complete will be ranked higher!”
The rules stated that everyone would enter secret chambers according to their ranking in the preliminaries. Everyone was to be in their own sealed off chamber for the theory category. Each chamber was outfitted with all sorts of containment restrictions that made it impossible for participants to communicate with the outside world, preventing all cheating.
Jiang Chen had once arrived in the same world for the pill dao tests of Eternal Spirit Mountain. He’d used pill dao that year to farm points, drawing great attention to himself and inciting the geniuses of all four sects as well as the organizers to team up to suppress him. Therefore, he wasn’t the least unfamiliar with this kind of testing condition.
He entered the secret room and saw three scrolls placed on the table, having to do with the theory tests. He opened all of them to see that there were ten questions on each scroll. There were questions that were worth two points, worth three points, and ones worth five points.
There were 10 two point questions, worth 20 points total. 10 three point questions, 30 points total. 10 five point questions, 50 points total. The thirty questions all together made for 100 points.
Jiang Chen quickly glanced through the questions. They went from easy to complex in increasing difficulty. The two point questions were quite basic and didn’t cover a wide range of topics. They all had to do with raising spirit herbs and analyzing their properties, as well as spirit herb combination questions. This wasn’t difficult for a pill dao genius who’d made it through to the finals. He quickly went through the scroll.
Although the difficulty of the second scroll rose slightly and covered more topics, it was still a walk in the park for Jiang Chen. He quickly finished with it as well.
The five point questions were undoubtedly the hardest, and each question was very unique as well, covering a wide range of topics. Not only did it ask about growing spirit herbs and refining pills, it talked even more about the control of fire and cauldrons. The final three questions even had to do with ancient recipes, and they were undoubtedly the defining ones of this category. This was because when it came to ancient recipes, if one’s knowledge and breadth of experience was shallow in any area, it was possible that they wouldn’t be able to even start answering the questions.
With Jiang Chen’s grasp over ancient pill recipes, there wasn’t another who would top him in the entire Divine Abyss Continent, much less the Regal Pill Palace. To him, even if he didn’t recognize the recipe, he only needed to somewhat analyze it and find the advanced version in the memories of his past life. After working backwards from the advanced recipe, he’d be able to dissect the recipe in front of him.
It was just like the Hexarune Dragon Pill. He hadn’t known what it was originally, but after some analysis, he understood that it was the same as the Ennearune Heaven Grievance Pill, just simplified.
Jiang Chen finished all three question in one stroke. He then double checked his work, made sure it was fine, then rolled up the scroll and walked out of the secret room. Only one hour had passed.
Outside of the testing center, all the heavyweights of the Herbal Hall were sitting there solemnly, keeping an eye on all candidates. They were slightly surprised when he walked out. Only half of the allotted time had passed!
“Jiang Chen, once you exit the testing area, you won’t be able to return.” An elder spoke up in warning.
Jiang Chen smiled and nodded his head. “In response to all the elders, I have finished my scrolls and request entry to the second category.”
“What?” Ouyang De, one of the elders present, was flabbergasted. He looked at Jiang Chen incredulously. “Jiang Chen, you’re finished?”
“In response to the elder, I’m finished.”
Elder Yun Nie had been smiling without a word since he’d seen Jiang Chen walk out. He spoke up at this time. “Since you’re done, you can enter the second category. Send him along.”
An administrator immediately took Jiang Chen to the second area, leaving behind several shell shocked elders. Those thirty questions weren’t that easy, particularly the five point questions! Jiang Chen had finished them in only half of the allotted time? This performance was a bit too perverse! Or was it that he’d given up on them because they were too hard?