Chapter 517: Shen Trifire Bows in Defeat
One had to say, Shen Trifire was destined for a tragic outcome if he wanted to compete with Jiang Chen with pill recipes. Even if one searched through every nook and cranny of the Divine Continent, one wouldn’t be able to find someone on the same level as Jiang Chen in pill dao.
Jiang Chen’s mind ran swiftly through a variety of obscure, unpopular pill recipes. He selected one at random, making down two copies and obscuring three supplemental ingredients from one of them.
Shen Trifire had obviously come prepared. He also had an exceedingly obscure pill recipe in hand, one he’d obtained from one of the sect elders. This pill wasn’t an ordinary pill at all, and its application was rather odd as well. It followed an obscure offshoot on the path of divergent pills. A hint of a cold smile played about Shen Trifire’s lips when he was finished preparing his recipe. If Jiang Chen could decipher this recipe, then he was a genius indeed.
When the two were finished with their preparations, they both swore using the heavens as witness that they weren’t using a fake recipe to cheat. When they finished their oaths, they traded their recipes with each other.
Jiang Chen swept his eyes over Shen Trifire’s half completed recipe and smiled faintly. “Tsk tsk, Shen Trifire certainly came prepared. If I don’t mistake my guess, this is a recipe from the divergent pill faction.”
Jiang Chen had been a great pill master that had cast his eyes and ears over everything beneath the heavens in his past life. His knowledge of pill dao encompassed everything and anything. How would he not know this about the divergent pill faction?
They were called thus because they specialized in using medicine in the most devious way possible. They walked on the edge of a blade, seeking the most bizarre and strange way to craft pill recipes. The only common point of their pill recipes was that it would always contain something unexpected.
The pill masters of this faction were all great geniuses. Their greatest hobby was to use uncommon methods and ridiculous approaches to complete a pill recipe. The odder a method was, the happier and prouder they’d be.
Although they weren’t a mainstream faction in pill dao, they weren’t one to be easily overlooked. Jiang Chen was quite familiar with their ways, so he could put himself in their shoes. He looked over the recipe, managing to assemble a basic structure of the recipe after a little bit of analysis. He thought for a bit longer and began to slowly deduce the answer, filling in the missing three ingredients after a short while.
The ingredients had a couple of substitutes, so Jiang Chen also wrote in two more alternatives for each of the ingredients, just to be safe. According to the rules, writing in substitutes would also count as the right answer, but he could only write down two substitutes each. This mean that he could write down a total of nine ingredients for the three supplemental ones.
When Jiang Chen finished, he looked at the time to discover that less than half the allotted time had passed. When he looked at Shen Trifire again and how his forehead was tightly furrowed, it was obvious that his opponent hadn’t a clue about his recipe. Jiang Chen snickered coldly to himself. Doesn’t Shen Trifire fancy himself clever, hmm? Coming to bet against me with a recipe after receiving one from the divergent pills faction?
His opponent was just looking for humiliation with these actions. Jiang Chen had supplied a recipe that wasn’t particularly obscure, but it wasn’t one that Shen Trifire would know of at his current skill level. In addition, with his level of pill dao and knowledge, Shen Trifire didn’t have the ability to deduce the right answers either. Thus, Jiang Chen was certain that Shen Trifire was at his wits end right now.
He didn’t pity his opponent as he laughed with ease, “Daoist Shen, I’ve already completed your recipe. It’s just you left.”
Shen Trifire’s heart suffered a great shock as he stared incredulously at Jiang Chen. When he saw the other’s confident smile, Shen Trifire couldn’t help but wonder, can Jiang Chen actually see through a recipe from the divergent pill faction?
“Impossible! Utterly impossible! He must have given up after seeing such a complex recipe. He’s just guessing wildly and filling in random ingredients, trying to get lucky and beat my time.” Shen Trifire did his best to shore up his confidence, but that undercurrent of worry still managed to gnaw at his heart. As time dragged on, he searched for any clues in the recipe, but to no avail. It wasn’t until time was almost up that he blindly filled in a couple of answers out of resignation, hoping to score some points out of sheer, dumb luck. After all, even a blind cat could run into a dead mouse.
However, there were millions upon millions of spirit herbs in the world, and it was almost impossible for him to correctly identify the right ones when relying solely on luck.
The two recipes from earlier were laid out for the two to compare answers.
When Shen Trifire looked at Jiang Chen’s original answer, he was immensely depressed. He couldn’t help but curse, “Jiang Chen, what kind of recipe is this?! You’re cheating!”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly, “We’ve made our oaths to the heavens and earth. They will naturally punish me if I have. Don’t you worry about that.”
In the world of cultivation, oaths to the heavens and earth were highly effective. No one dared violate an oath sworn to the heavens and earth since retribution was always swift and calamitous, almost always occurring in this life.
Jiang Chen’s answers were right on point for Shen Trifire’s recipe. As a result, the latter had utterly lost this round, and further, had wholly and completely lost the bet.
Mu Gaoqi applauded. “Brother Chen has won two out of three matches. Shen Trifire, you’ve lost!”
Shen Trifire’s face was ashen; he couldn’t accept the reality in front of him at all. He hadn’t even been able to see through the three matches he’d come prepared with to the end. He had lost miserably.
“Jiang Chen… you… you…” Shen Trifire was so furious that he began to splutter, incapable of speaking a full sentence.
“Shen Trifire, do you still not accept the outcome?” Mu Gaoqi laughed coldly.
Shen Trifire’s mind was immediately cast back to the scene of the previous two rounds. No matter how he looked at it, Jiang Chen has trounced him as easily as beating a three year old! Could he not accept the outcome? There was no way he could reject it.
In that instant, Shen Trifire deflated. Like a defeated fighting cock, his head fell in dejection as he put away the pill recipe, only looking up at Jiang Chen to fix him with a meaningful glance. “Jiang Chen, if this is your true pill dao level, then you are already capable enough to take up residence in the Herbal Hall and fight for an elder’s position. I, Shen Trifire, acknowledge my defeat.” He was rather straightforward now; he had nothing left to lose anymore. When Shen Trifire realized that he really couldn’t contend with Jiang Chen, his heart was flooded with a sense of peace.
When Jiang Chen saw Shen Trifire ceding the challenge, he smiled faintly. “You have a natural born fire constitution and possess three fires refined into yourself. You have a great potential and should’ve been a unique genius in terms of martial or pill dao. Why are you content with relaxing under the shelter of another’s strength?”
Shen Trifire’s expression suddenly changed, sighing lightly. He didn’t say a word as he packed up his items, and took his leave without turning back. It was obvious that Jiang Chen’s words had hit a soft and tender part of his heart.
Geniuses were supposed to go their own way and rise above the common herd. Jiang Chen’s words at Shen Qinghong’s residence that day had struck a nerve, and now Shen Trifire himself had tasted defeat at Jiang Chen’s hands. The words he’d just heard had struck an even deeper chord in him.
He thought back, back to when he was proud and confident, back to his vigorous spirits from when he’d first made his way into the Sovereign Area. But ever since entering the area and coming face to face with the conflict between Shen Qinghong and Jun Mobai, he had subconsciously taken Shen Qinghong’s side.
Seeking succor from the strong and powerful was but human nature. It wasn’t a grave mistake that Shen Trifire had made, but he’d gradually lost himself in the mindset of a vassal and had grown content with his current condition. He had come to accept that it would be a good thing to become Shen Qinghong’s trusted right hand man.
After they’d fully grown into their power and took charge, if Shen Qinghong was the Palace Head, then he would least be in charge of the Herbal Hall, no? His contentment with the current situation and daydreams had made Shen Trifire’s steps grow heavier and heavier. He had lost his own personality in the haze of his daydreams.
Jiang Chen’s words now acted like a morning bell, tolling through his mind and waking him up with a start, making him reflect deeply on his current situation. The more he thought, the more he began to sweat heavily. He’d finally taken a clear look at the path he’d been walking on to learn that he’d long gone astray from the path of a genius!
“Young master, do we return to senior brother Shen’s residence?” A follower asked carefully.
Shen Trifire spread out his hands, his gaze still introspective. “No. I’m going into closed door cultivation and never becoming involved in the conflicts of the Sovereign Area ever again.”
The follower blanked, then became lost in thought himself.
The news of Shen Trifire’s defeat didn’t spread. Shen Qinghong waited and waited, but didn’t even receive a hint of response. When a couple of hours passed, his rage was writ all over his face, but an uneasy feeling also reared its head in his heart.
If Shen Trifire had won, he should’ve been back by now. If he’d lost, there would’ve been time enough for him to report back in. But now, it seemed like he’d simply vanished into thin air, leaving no echo whatsoever. This greatly perplexed Shen Qinghong.
“Da Yong, go check outside Jiang Chen’s residence to see what happened with Shen Trifire.” Shen Qinghong gave one of his followers an order.
Da Yong was Shen Qinghong’s right hand man, as competent as they come. Within the hour, he had returned with news. “Young Master, apart from Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi leisurely sampling tea in front of his residence, there is no one else. Shen Trifire has disappeared without a trace.”
Shen Qinghong was slightly astonished. “What? Where on earth did Shen Trifire go?”
Rong Zifeng was taken aback. “Can it be that Jiang Chen’s offed Shen Trifire?”
Nie Chong snorted coldly. “What kind of crazy talk are you spouting? This is the Regal Pill Palace! He’d be courting death if he dared kill his own peer. Even still, though this kid has some achievements in martial dao, he’s still not enough to kill Shen Trifire.”
Rong Zifeng also smiled ruefully. He knew that Shen Trifire was eighth level origin realm, that the former’s cultivation was also slightly worse than his own. Although Jiang Chen did have some skill to his name, his prowess was entirely due to a couple of unorthodox tricks. He wouldn’t be able to believe it either if Jiang Chen had truly killed Shen Trifire.
“Then where’s Shen Trifire gone? Did he go make his challenge at all?”
A witness ran in as they hurriedly conversed. “In response to Senior Brother Shen, Shen Trifire left without a word after battling Jiang Chen outside his residence. He went straight back to his own residence and is said to have permanently sealed himself in for cultivation, not to emerge until he reaches a goal.”
This news made everyone’s mouth drop. What was Shen Trifire doing? He should’ve come back! Even if he had lost, he should’ve come and said something, or at least sent someone with a message for his senior brother even if he’d entered closed door cultivation!
“That bastard Shen Trifire! How boorish and rude!” Rong Zifeng cursed loudly.