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Chapter 773: An Odd Choice of Materials

The round officially started after the judge’s declaration. Both participating pill kings were isolated inside a restriction formation that allowed the people outside to see through it, but not vice versa. Therefore, there was no need to worry about copycats. The one thing Jiang Chen was most familiar with during his past life was refining pills. The moment the restriction activated, he immediately attuned himself with nature. The forty eight spirit materials appeared in his mind and merged with each other over and over. His mind was like highly precise machine that swiftly tested all kinds of combinations. To Jiang Chen, this state was as easy as eating or sleeping.

The level of all forty eight materials definitely wasn’t high. They were just saint rank spirit herbs that corresponded to origin realm cultivators. True saint rank herbs were the ones that corresponded to sage realm cultivators. There were pitifully few true saint rank spirit herbs in the given forty eight, just eight. They were obviously insufficient for a pill recipe.

Jiang Chen’s mind began to spin quickly. He had two lifetimes of pill refining experience, so the thing he lacked the least was experience. These spirit herbs felt as familiar as his own fingertips. Countless thoughts and inspirations came to him. A couple of pill recipes appeared in his mind. However, the level of the pill recipes weren’t that high. They could barely be considered a quasi-true saint rank recipe, but this wasn’t the result Jiang Chen wanted.

“This is an incredibly demanding round. I’ll be able to win as long as the pill’s level is high enough. Therefore, the key to victory for this match lies in the sophistication of my pill’s level, not its level of precision.” Jiang Chen understood the rules and knew that a high level would automatically deliver victory to him. If the spirit herbs were all of the same rank, then it would be a competition of precision, purity and quality.

Jiang Chen swept his gaze across the spirit herbs again. Once, twice… Two hours had been allotted for this round. Therefore, it was unrealistic to dream of creating an exceptionally high level pill. However, he couldn’t guarantee victory if the pill’s level was too low.

Suddenly, an idea came into Jiang Chen’s mind. As of late, he had spent plenty of time researching the Deviant Pill Faction. Wasn’t their creed one about using the strangest materials to create the most unique and famous pill recipes? The most direct pursuit of the Deviant Pill Faction was to use strange materials and unexpected refining methods to create familiar pills. They also sought recipes that cut costs to a minimum. A pill made by the Deviant Pill Faction might cost less than half of what other people used when creating the same pill.

The Deviant Pill Faction was known for their uncanny craftsmanship, seeking a path in pill dao that went against orthodoxy. They were often able to use cheap materials to refine high level pills. It wasn’t uncommon for them to come up with extraordinary results that looked like true alchemy as they sought to excavate the maximum potential of spirit herbs. This was also the biggest charm of this faction, or they wouldn’t have become an outstanding name among many other pill dao factions, drawing the fanatical admiration of countless pill masters and turning them into diehard fans of the Deviant Pill Faction.

It was undeniable that many pill kings had great skill in pill refining. However, most of them had an obscene amount of wastage when it came to their refining process. Any high level pill they refined was the result of mountains of high rank spirit herbs. They would ensure success with pure quantity, and then skill. Even if they wasted their materials, it only made them look better to their peers.

Meanwhile, the Deviant Pill Faction hated inefficiency to the core. If they could refine a pill just using saint rank materials, they would never use a true saint rank materials. This was the charm of the Deviant Pill Faction. Their pursuit for cost reduction had reached an insane level of devotion. Quite a lot of inspiration came to Jiang Chen after he started to approach things like one of the Deviant Pill Faction. Suddenly, a pill’s name appeared in Jiang Chen’s mind.

The Triphase Pill! This pill could create the cycle of earth, wood and fire elements inside one’s body. The term ‘Triphase’ represented the cycles of the three elements. Earth grows wood, wood feeds fire, and fire reduces all to earth… The Triphase Pill differed from the great five phase cycle. It was a three phase cycle that enabled cultivators who cultivated these three elements to instantly replenish their inner energy.

There were no cultivators – even the emperor realm cultivators – whose inner energy was inexhaustible. Cultivators cultivated energy, and energy was a consumable resource. A cultivator would use up large amounts of inner energy in battle, over long distances, or just practicing their art. Even Titled Great Emperors might exhaust their inner energy if they were embroiled in an intense battle and had executed several powerful techniques in a row. The Triphase Pill was a pill that sought to remedy that by replenishing one’s inner energy.

Of course, the target of the Triphase Pill was extremely specific. It was made only for cultivators whose attributes were that of earth, wood and fire. One could say that this pill was tailored for just those cultivators. Moreover, the most amazing thing about the Triphase Pill was that it had no cultivation restriction. It could be used by either origin, sage or emperor realm cultivators. The level of the pill was usually solely determined by the level of the user. If the pill worked for a sage realm cultivator, then it would be categorized as a true saint rank pill. If it worked for an emperor realm cultivator, then it would be categorized as an earth rank pill. In general, the Triphase Pill was most commonly used by sage realm cultivators. Thus, most often treated it as a true saint rank pill.

Jiang Chen stared at the materials in his hands and deduced that he absolutely could refine the Triphase Pill with them if he followed the style of the Deviant Pill Faction. Moreover, he was sure that the pill’s level would be quite high. That was how incredible the Deviant Pill Faction was. It wasn’t impossible to create an earth rank pill with saint rank spirit herbs. Of course, it was normally inconceivable for such a ridiculous leap in rank to happen.

Generally speaking, a leap of one rank was pretty common, but a leap of two ranks was definitely a lot more difficult. An apt comparison would be the notion of refining a sky rank pill with just true saint rank spirit herbs. It was a difficult task even for a Deviant Pill Faction pill master. Even the masters of the Deviant Pill Faction prayed for luck sometimes. They couldn’t always create a miracle anytime they wanted to. They had to combine all kinds of coincidences to be able to occasionally manifest a success.

Jiang Chen gave his Triphase Pill recipe a thorough simulation and was confident that he had a ninety percent chance of success. Normally, a pill master would jump straight to work if the pill even had a thirty percent chance of success. Jiang Chen took a moment to settle his emotions, took out the Skysnatcher Cauldron and began heating it…

He had spent a lot of time in researching the Skysnatcher Cauldron lately, and he had come to the conclusion that this cauldron was very much a product of the Deviant Pill Faction. The style of its creation and naming was very in keeping with an outstanding achievement of the Deviant Pill Faction. Skysnatcher was as its name implied. Its function was to snatch fortune from heavens’ hands. This school of thought was definitely deserving of this claim.

Jiang Chen had used the Skysnatcher Cauldron a few times, and the results had been even better than he’d imagined. With the Skysnatcher Cauldron in hand, he felt like the chances of successfully refining the Triphase Pill had increased dramatically.

Two hours weren’t long, and Jiang Chen wasn’t willing to waste even a second. Once he had selected all the materials to refine the Triphase Pill, he immediately discarded the rest to a corner. The speed at which Jiang Chen had chosen his materials surprised a lot of the onlookers. The nine judges were exchanging glances with each other. They couldn’t possibly overlook the fact that there was only one true saint rank spirit herb out of all the materials that Jiang Chen had selected. The rest were all saint rank spirit herbs. Pill King Yu felt a twinge of surprise. Out of all forty eight types of spirit herbs, only eight were true saint rank spirit herbs. Technically speaking, Jiang Chen should have selected at least five of them to be able to refine a pill of the highest level. So why had this pill king of House Wei selected only one true saint rank spirit herb? The rest of his materials were all just saint rank spirit herbs. This selection was quite perplexing.

Pill King Yu really admired Jiang Chen. The Tiger Eruption Pill, Heptarune True Dragon Pill and Half-step Immortal Elixir Pill were obvious indicators of Pill King Zhen’s youthful potential. The revelation of the Ingenious Decan Pill Enigma especially, had laid out a new world before Pill King Yu’s eyes. But now, he was a little disappointed at Jiang Chen’s choice of spirit herbs. With those materials, the best he would be able to refine was an upper level saint rank pill. Even if he overperformed, the absolute best he could come up with was a quasi-true saint rank pill.

What was the quasi-true saint rank? That was the designation for pills that were in reality just a saint rank pill, though it could barely be categorized as a true saint rank pill. If the bar was set a bit lower, then it could be called a true saint rank pill. If the bar was a tad higher, then it could a saint rank pill. That was what quasi-true saint rank meant.

“This Pill King Zhen had the benefit of an extraordinary teacher in pill dao when he was young, but he ultimately lacks in practical experience. He may be well versed with many high level classics and fixed pill recipes, but he is too young and poor because of his age. His knowledge might not be able to make up for his lack of experience.” Although Pill King Yu felt a little pity for Pill King Zhen, the former’s admiration hadn’t fallen because of this conclusion he’d formed. In his opinion, Pill King Zhen was only suffering from a lack of age and experience. With his intelligence and comprehensive ability, he would most likely become a famous pill king in the future.

The rest of the judges were also shaking their heads inwardly after they saw Jiang Chen’s choice of spirit herbs. They’d also seen the materials Pill King Rong had selected. As experts in pill dao, they already knew from his materials that he was aiming to refine a mid level true saint rank pill. It would  be very impressive if he was able to do this in just one hour’s time. Even if the judges were to take the field themselves, that was likely the best they could’ve come up with. Though it wasn’t the highest possible level of pill they could come up with, Pill King Rong looked like he had a ninety chance of winning this battle.

After all, even if the pill master wished to create a high level pill and came up with the materials to do so, two hours were simply insufficient to refine a higher level pill. This two-hour time limit was extremely important in that it prevented either party from creating a higher level pill with the available spirit herbs. A limit on time and material squeezed the competitors down to the wire.

The audience wasn’t as professional as the nine judges, nor their insight as sharp, but they still gleaned a bit from both pill masters’ choice of materials. No matter how they looked at it, the choice of materials made by Taiyuan Lodge’s Pill King Rong were of a much higher level than Pill King Zhen’s.

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