Chapter 521: The Utmost Pill Battle (I)
Shen Qinghong hadn’t rushed to Jiang Chen’s residence at first light after receiving the Skypeak Cauldron. He’d gone back to make his preparations and adjust his condition to the most optimal state.
The next day, he brought a large retinue and set up camp on Jiang Chen’s doorstep, ready to engage in a battle of the ages.
When he arrived, he found that Jiang Chen wasn’t even at home. This left Shen Qinghong at a bit of a loss.
He’d sent out the challenge early yesterday morning! In his eyes, Jiang Chen should’ve been here, waiting. However, he discovered that his thoughts had been rather one sided. Compared to the other Rosy Valley geniuses, Jiang Chen didn’t play by the book. If it’d been anyone else, they would’ve long since waited patiently had they heard that Shen Qinghong was arriving.
“That little thief Jiang Chen is truly petty!” Rong Zifeng had no place to vent his anger as he fumed.
Nie Chong called out to Shen Qinghong. “Senior brother Shen, I’ll go cause a fuss.”
Shen Qinghong waved his hand, his face frosty. “Don’t be in a rush; this kid is definitely playing a mind game and wants to mentally exhaust me beforehand. How would I allow him to succeed?”
“Then we wait here?” Nie Chong asked with a bit of uncertainty.
“We wait!” Shen Qinghong waved his hand. “Proclaim to the entire Valley that I am waiting at his doorstep. If Jiang Chen doesn’t emerge, then he has a guilty conscience and is afraid.”
Rong Zifeng was delighted. “Fantastic! Jiang Chen wants to play mind games, but the senior brother’s move shoves all the pressure on his side. Let’s see how he cowers in his shell then!”
Shen Qinghong smiled proudly and sat down cross legged, growing quiet. He knew better than anyone present that Jiang Chen wasn’t an easy target. He had to keep himself in peak form for this match.
Rong Zifeng had just sent out their proclamation when the doors to Jiang Chen’s residence opened. Jiang Chen walked out, yawning and stretching. The vestiges of sleep were apparent on his face as he peered forward. “So early?”
Jiang Chen looked blearily at Shen Qinghong, astonishment filling his tone. “Yo, isn’t this senior brother Shen?”
How would Shen Qinghong not know that Jiang Chen was doing this on purpose?
“Cut the blather, Jiang Chen. You can’t avoid this match.”
Jiang Chen stretched again, and his tone took an undercurrent of urgency. “Senior brother Shen, how many spirit stones did you bring?”
Shen Qinghong’s face darkened. This Jiang Chen was just like an old miser! Talking about spirit stones every other sentence, how was this the kind of a bearing a genius disciple should have?
“I won’t keep you company if you don’t have the spirit stones.” Jiang Chen complained. “Wait for me, I’ll go wash up. Although, I’ll be blunt first. With senior brother Shen’s position, I’m not playing with you if you don’t have at least ten thousand upper rank origin spirit stones.” Jiang Chen plodded slowly back in after speaking.
When he saw Jiang Chen’s doors close once again, Shen Qinghong was almost overwhelmed by the urge to go on a rampage and disregard his mannerly demeanor. This Jiang Chen is simply too lazy! He’s treating me, the first ranked genius, like dirt! He shows not even a speck of basic respect! All he talks about are spirit stones, is he possessed by a destitute ghost?
It was a good thing that ten thousand spirit stones were still but a mere hair from his leg. No matter what tricks Jiang Chen was going to play, he wouldn’t give up! He was going to tear Jiang Chen’s facade into shreds and thoroughly step on him!
Execute one as a warning to a hundred!
Jiang Chen trudged back into his sight an hour later. “Senior brother Shen, show me the ten thousand stones first or I’m going back inside.”
Shen Qinghong smirked dismissively and waved his hand, having one of his followers lay out the ten thousand stones. “Jiang Chen, your breadth of vision is only worth this bit of wealth. If you can win over me, these stones will be yours.”
Jiang Chen chuckled. “I made a rough calculation. Senior brother Shen is the first ranked genius, and it’ll be tough to defeat you. I can at most come to a draw with you.”
How would Shen Qinghong know Jiang Chen’s words were a trap? He snorted coldly. “If I can’t defeat you, these spirit stones will be yours even if I lose.”
Jiang Chen’s eyes gleamed. “Really?? Everyone listen up! If I can fight to a draw with senior brother Shen, he’ll gift me these stones as a welcoming present!”
When Shen Qinghong saw how much Jiang Chen cared about the stones, his opinion of his opponent dropped by another notch. “Did this penniless Jiang Chen have the fear of being poor beaten into him from that poor backwater region? His breadth of vision is so low, he only cares about spirit stones. Even if this kind of person has some potential, his future is severely limited. He’s probably even less than Jun Mobai! Ah forget it, I cannot pay attention to this kind of drama in the future after today’s match. I must concentrate on assailing the sage realm.”
Shen Qinghong’s contempt for Jiang Chen only grew the more he thought about it.
Jiang Chen could naturally guess Shen Qinghong’s thoughts. He didn’t bother enlightening the other about his mistaken assumptions. “Senior brother Shen, you’ve waited so long already. Tell me, how would you like to bet?”
Shen Qinghong almost sobbed when he heard these words. He’d waited so long and arduously for them! He cut straight to the chase. “Jiang Chen, the assessment of a pill master ultimately has to be done with pill refining. I will bet on refining pills with you, with one match determining the victor.”
Jiang Chen nodded and ask faintly. “We can bet on the speed of refining pills, sure. What pill do you plan on refining?”
Shen Qinghong responded, “It’s not up to you or me to decide what pill to refine. Let luck decide that.”
“You come up with five recipes, and so will I. We’ll select one at random from the ten of them. That’s the fairest.”
Shen Qinghong was different from Shen Trifire. He was proud at heart and disdained using small tricks to try and put one over Jiang Chen. Jiang Chen rather admired this straightforwardness of his.
He didn’t object to Shen Qinghong’s suggestion and smiled. “What if the recipes we take out are quite obscure and the other hasn’t seen it before?”
“So the recipes can’t be obscure, and whoever suggests the recipe must also have the ingredients to refine the pill.”
Whoever offered up the recipe would have to bring the ingredients. This was rather fair and would prevent someone from taking out a very obscure recipe. Jiang Chen thought for a minute. It seemed that Shen Qinghong had come prepared.
“Alright, we’ll go with that then.”
Jiang Chen didn’t care what pills they were refining. His abilities in pill dao weren’t anything that Shen Qinghong could estimate.
Jiang Chen thought for a moment and wrote down five pill recipes. Shen Qinghong also prepared five, and placed them all into wax balls he’d prepared. Mu Gaoqi represented Jiang Chen, and Nie Chong represented Shen Qinghong.
The two of them shook the bamboo container separately, completely mixing up the ten wax balls. No one could possibly cheat by the time the jumbling was done.
“Who will choose?” Shen Qinghong asked.
Jiang Chen smiled. “Doesn’t matter, you go.”
“You go.” Shen Qinghong frowned. He didn’t want to give others the chance to say that he’d cheated.
The two of them were trying to hand off responsibility to the other when a hearty laugh sounded from the side. “If the two of you trust me, then let me!” The person speaking was standing a hundred meters away, wearing the outfit of a Confucian scholar—Jun Mobai. He was waving a folding fan and looked the very picture of an elegant gentleman.
“Junior sister Ling, since you’re here, why don’t you do it.” Shen Qinghong suddenly directed his words to corner, refusing Jun Mobai’s offer.
Ling Bi’er had been standing off to the corner when Shen Qinghong called her out. She didn’t hide as she walked out from the shadows. She was outfitted in a brilliant white robe that easily rivalled the delicate snow. Her face was as frosty as ever as she greeted everyone. As she walked forward, it was like a glacial peak descending on everyone present. Behind her came a diminutive young girl who looked quite young, but had a pair of stunning weapons on her chest. She was wearing a short, leopard skin skirt which revealed a pair of snow-white thighs, full of the vigor of youth. The twin peaks of fatal attraction shook as she walked, swaying and rocking with her movement and dazzling the eyes. The girl behind Ling Bi’er was her twin young sister, Ling Hui’er.
Of the pair, one had an icy bearing and gave others the feeling of being inviolable. The other was young and sexy, full of the strength of a young girl. They were obviously quite different in terms of bearing.
“Jiang Chen, you won’t mind if junior sister Ling selects the recipe, won’t you?” It seemed that Shen Qinghong purposefully wanted to suppress Jun Mobai as he ignored the latter’s offer to volunteer.
Jiang Chen smiled casually. “I didn’t mind when it was senior brother Shen doing the picking, why would I mind senior sister Ling?”
Although Ling Bi’er had an indifferent nature, giving others the feeling of an ice beauty, she was still a relatively dependable person. She walked up with no change in expression or another word, reaching out her jade-like hand into the container, fishing out a wax ball.
It was rather Ling Hui’er who cocked her head, looking at Jiang Chen with a hint of a smile. “Jiang Chen, how did you know that my sister is your senior sister? Are you younger than her?”
Jiang Chen hadn’t thought that Ling Hui’er would ask this kind of question. He grinned at her as he responded. “Those who entered the sect first are the seniors. With your sister’s strength and status, calling her senior sister is only proper.”
Ling Hui’er chuckled. “You’ve got a sweet mouth alright. No wonder my sister says you’re quite a character.”
Ling Bi’er’s face frosted over even more as she admonished her sister. “Hui’er, be quiet! There’s no place for you to talk here.”
Ling Hui’er stuck her tongue out and made a funny face at Jiang Chen, “Jiang Chen, I’m favoring you! Remember, if you win, you have to teach me how to refine pills.”
She giggled and then retreated behind Ling Bi’er like a little child who had made a mistake. She stayed docilely behind Ling Bi’er, allowing her sister to berate her as she would.
“Aeonian Dream Pill!” The pill chosen was revealed when the wax pill was crushed. Shen Qinghong smiled faintly. “Jiang Chen, it looks like luck is on my side. This Aeonian Dream Pill is one of mine.”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “Luck has never been important in the dao of pills. Your recipe is of a higher order and you need to prepare the materials. This time, I’ve actually saved on the costs of the ingredients.”
Shen Qinghong smirked coldly. All Jiang Chen talked about was the cost of this and that. In his eyes, Jiang Chen wasn’t fit to be presented in public at all. Yet Jun Mobai and Ling Bi’er kept cool heads, staying true to their role as bystanders.
They didn’t think that Jiang Chen’s attitude was one of saving on ingredients. In contrast, they were taken aback by his self-possessed attitude. The recipe was Shen Qinghong’s and this should’ve put Jiang Chen at a great disadvantage, but the latter didn’t seem to think so at all! If it wasn’t Jiang Chen missing a few screws in his head, then that meant that he didn’t care what recipe was selected. To be so blithe was only something they’d expect from someone who was completely confident of success, confident that they’d worked everything out.
Had Jiang Chen’s pill dao potential already reached the realm of firmly suppressing everyone else with ease?