Chapter 547: The Way of Divergent Pills, Jiang Chen Finds an Opening
Even with Wei Xing’er’s coquettish and wanton personality, she was still stunned by Jiang Chen’s three spankings. She’d never known shyness in her life, but she’d completely lost her composure now. Her almond-shaped eyes glared at Jiang Chen. “You… you dared hit me there!”
Jiang Chen snorted coldly. “What are you still here for? Haven’t you been spanked enough?”
Wei Xing’er grew incensed. “Hmph! Just you wait, Jiang Chen! One day I’ll make you drink the water with which I wash my feet!”
She flushed red and turned to flee. She even viciously slammed the door shut on her way out.
Jiang Chen’s expression was indifferent as he murmured to himself, “This Wei Xing’er seems to think that the greatest beneficiary of her using the Azure Smokesnare Powder would have been the Walkabout Sect. In reality, had she succeeded, Ding Tong would’ve been the one lucking out instead.”
However, if Jiang Chen had been successfully disabled and prevented from participating in the fourth round, it certainly would’ve impacted the overall scores of the Regal Pill Palace. At that point, it may have been possible for the Walkabout Sect to surpass the Regal Pill Palace. Jiang Chen frowned as his train of thought ran into darker straits
This Wei Xing’er possessed a wanton and indulgent personality. If Jiang Chen hadn’t known how to read people or if Ling Bi’er hadn’t reminded him beforehand, or even if he’d been unaware of the Walkabout Sect’s deft use of poison, then he may not have been as guarded as he had been. Thankfully, since he’d been forewarned, that Smokesnare Powder hadn’t posed a threat to Jiang Chen.
But even so, he still didn’t dare relax his guard around her. Her natural sense of seduction came from her inherent glamour constitution. Her every gesture and look, even her words were suffused with the skills of charm. Strung together, they were enough to boil a man’s blood and overcome his reason with lust.
This small interlude wasn’t enough to disabuse Jiang Chen of his sense of self. He sat down cross legged to recompose himself, and shortly forgot about the entire matter.
The candidates all reconvened after a day, gathering in the most holy of halls in the Rippling Mirage Hall, the Dan Li Palace. It was a sacred place for the refinement of pills and pill competitions.
A thousand refining formations glittered within the hall. Each formation was enclosed by restrictions that clearly separated its interior and exterior. Once again, the elders took the left side, and the geniuses the right.
“All candidates, enter your respective refining areas according to your number.”
The candidates only took a short while to find their respective formations. Entering their formation would activate the restrictions, sealing them inside.
“From this moment on, no one can leave this area until the competition is over. If you attempt to leave on your own, you will be attacked by the formation.”
Everyone was well aware of this rule, and so weren’t surprised by the announcement.
“Once again, a perfect score in this topic of refining pills is 600 points, same as the previous topic of spirit herb cultivation. Similarly, there are also three sections within this one round, each worth 200 points. Your time for this round has now been extended to half a month.”
This meant that the candidates couldn’t leave this area for the next half month.
“The first section consists of completing pill recipes. There are ten incomplete recipes in front of you, each missing a variety of ingredients. Your task is to fill in the missing pieces. Keep in mind that a recipe may be missing more than one ingredient. There may even be up to three ingredients that have been removed. Incorrect answers and omissions will both be regarded as failures, earning you no points for that recipe. This round has a total of 200 points available, meaning each complete and correct recipe will earn you 20 points.”
Ten recipes worth 20 points each. These rules were rather straightforward, but the caveat was that incorrect answers or omissions would also dock all the points that could be earned from that recipe. This was a much more difficult requirement to satisfy for the pill masters.
“The second section deals with the analysis of pill medicines and recipes. Each of you will be given a pill. Your task is to analyze the pill and reconstruct the recipe by writing down the ingredients. Once again, this section has a total of 200 available points. With ten ingredients for each recipe, each correct ingredient can net you 20 points. However, each incorrect answer will result in a 20 point deduction. The more incorrect answers you put down, the more points you will be docked. So remember, if you are not confident in your answer, don’t write down the ingredient.”
Everyone listened to these rules with solemn faces. This section was even stricter than the previous, with points being docked for incorrect answers. If one answered eight correctly yet two incorrectly, this meant that one would only earn six answers’ worth of points. That would greatly affect their final score. As such, it would be most prudent to leave answers blank if they weren’t sure of their choice. The only silver lining was that even if they lost all their points for this section, their winnings from the previous section would be untouched. Otherwise, their score for this round could even dip into the negatives.
Jiang Chen remained as serene as a mountain. No matter how strict the rules, they wouldn’t be able to affect his ability. The strong would always remain the strong. As long as his pill dao foundation remained intact, it wouldn’t matter how stringent the rules became. In the end, this competition tested one’s foundations, and he was confident in his.
“The third and final section will test your skills in pill refining. Once again, a perfect score is 200 points. This section will not only test your ability to refine pills, but also your logical reasoning skills. Each of you will receive a list of refining ingredients. From that, you will have to craft a pill recipe, then refine the pill according to your recipe. The resulting pill will be evaluated according to a grading scale ranging from A to D. A grade of D will considered as 50 points, C as 100 points, B as 150 points, and A as 200 points.
“You might be curious about how the grading scale evaluates your pill. I can tell you that if you refine a pill of the true saint rank, then even if the pill is a lower rank pill, you will receive a grade of A and the corresponding 200 points.”
“If the pill is an upper tier saint rank pill, it must at minimum be an upper rank pill to receive full marks.
“If the pill is a mid tier saint rank pill, then it must at minimum reach supreme rank of great perfection to be awarded full marks.”
The mention of “true saint rank” and “saint rank” referred to the classification of the pill itself. Whether the pills were successfully refined or not, each pill was strictly classified within a larger framework of pill dao. As for lower, mid, upper, and supreme tier—those were the categorizations that dealt with the quality of the refined pill. Even mortal rank pills could be divided based on their quality. Jiang Chen naturally understood this theory. Generally speaking, it seemed that the higher the pill’s level was, the greater its chance of receiving an A grade. But if the pill level wasn’t high enough, then it was up to the quality of the refined pill to determine the final grade.
With the rules of the competition announced, the pill refining round could begin.
The first segment was one of recipe completion.
Ten recipes were arrayed in front of Jiang Chen. Everyone had the same set of recipes, making the competition quite fair.
When it came to pill recipes, it really wasn’t easy to stump Jiang Chen. Setting aside the fact that he’d seen most of them before, even if he hadn’t, he could easily extrapolate the missing ingredients from the ones left in the pill recipe.
He took less than two hours to finish completing the recipes, but he didn’t dare be careless and carefully checked everything over once. Due to the rules of this segment, overlooking even one ingredient or answering one incorrectly meant that he would forgo all the points for that recipe.
Jiang Chen didn’t wish to make a mistake in this area. Nevertheless, there were still two recipes in front of him that were so obscure that he wasn’t a hundred percent sure he had extrapolated the right answers.
Of course, he wouldn’t waste any more time here. Even if he didn’t get those correct, he would only lose 40 points in total. Given that he already held an almost 200 point lead over second place, he could afford a 40 point loss. Besides, what guarantee was there that Ding Tong would claim the full 200 points for this section? At the very least, Jiang Chen didn’t think it possible.
Still, there was no such thing as an absolute. If Ding Tong had done his research properly, a healthy dose of luck would make it possible for him to correctly fill out all the recipes in this first section. Although Jiang Chen had known much in his past life, he still hadn’t devoted much time to researching pill recipes in this life. Most of his accomplishments had come from relying on his formidable memory. But if he’d had a couple of decades to devote to research, Jiang Chen firmly believed that no recipe in the Divine Abyss would be capable of stumping him.
He entered the second section right after he’d checked over his answers from the first. This section involved analyzing pill medicines and recipes, which was actually the reverse process of refining pills. One had to deconstruct a refined pill, distilling its essence down to its core ingredients and then reconstruct the pill recipe.
Jiang Chen loved this kind of pursuit in his past life. He would always summon his pill dao disciples to join him in deconstructing a pill he’d newly received and then reconstruct its recipe. This test wasn’t foreign to him at all.
A pill cauldron was also needed to deconstruct pills, but the procedure involved in it was diametrically different than the process of refining pills. If nothing else, it required a far more delicate touch.
Ordinarily speaking, there weren’t that many pill masters in the Divine Abyss Continent who were willing to spend time and effort to analyze pills. It was a frustratingly complex process that devoured one’s energy and mental strength. It was only because of the almost preposterous amount of spare time Jiang Chen had at his disposal in his previous life that he’d immersed himself in the pursuit of deconstructing pills.
However, when he’d braced himself for the task of delving into the pill analysis and picked up the pill he’d been allocated, he couldn’t help but burst out in laughter. He actually recognized this pill!
“The Skyheart Rebirth Pill!”
Jiang Chen immediately recognized the pill that rolled around in his hand. It was one of the hallmark products of the divergent pill faction. The effects of this pill were actually similar to the One Buddha Powder that Jiang Chen had introduced in the Eastern Kingdom, but far more advanced. In terms of level, if the One Buddha Powder was level one, then the Skyheart Rebirth Pill was at least level twenty. This pill was used for calming the heart and mind. It was extremely useful to powerful cultivators for suppressing internal demons and clearing the consciousness of stray thoughts.
Contextually, this pill was a rare treasure in this world. It was almost nonexistent in the Myriad Domain.
“Could it be that this pill is a part of the Myriad Empire’s legacy, and that the various sects are unable to put it to use?” Jiang Chen’s guess was correct. There were many legacies that had been left behind by the mighty Myriad Empire in the Rippling Mirage Hall. Lifting the restrictions and selecting the appropriate test items from within required the combined efforts of the six great sects. It also had the added benefit of ensuring that no one would be able to cheat. However, as long as the pill appeared in the Pill Battles, it would then be spread to the rest of the Myriad Domain.