Chapter 841: Consecutive Moves
Refine the Longevity Pill with different ingredients? Not only was Jiang Chen's proposal fresh and stimulating, it was also very entertaining. It was enough to instantly capture everyone's attention. Even those from Sacred Peafowl Mountain hadn't expected Jiang Chen to come out with such a proposal. After all, the pill recipe Jiang Cheng had gifted to Sacred Pill Mountain was also a fixed recipe. There had been no mention of interchangeable ingredients.
For a divine pill like that, everyone thought that every ingredient and every detail of its refining had been perfected after thousands of trials and experiments by masters of the dao of pills. It shouldn't be possible to alter it at will. Even people from Sacred Peafowl Mountain suddenly felt a little skeptical. Was Pill King Zhen bluffing Pillfire City on purpose? Was he deliberately using a stratagem, because he knew his odds of victory were slim?
Only Great Emperor Peafowl maintained a faint smile on his face. He too was a little astounded by Jiang Chen's proposal, but he didn't let anything show. On the contrary, he vaguely thought that Jiang Chen might perhaps really have something up his sleeve.
Pillfire City's side was at a loss. Great Emperor Pillzenith had never imagined that this insignificant Pill King Zhen from Veluriyam Capital would be this crafty and come up with so many tricks. Pill King Ji Lang bore into Jiang Chen with his eyes, as though he wanted to read the other's deepest thoughts. But it was to no avail. Not a clue could be gleaned from Jiang Chen's face, but Ji Lang could see traces of skepticism from the others of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. The doubt on their faces was enough to spark delight in his heart. This kid is definitely trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Looking at the people from Sacred Peafowl Mountain, they clearly don't know anything about whatever changing ingredients. This is definitely a cheap trick the kid just came up with. Trying to bluff me?
"Sir, is there any use to such sensationalism? The Longevity Pill has gone through a thousand revisions and fine-tuning, where is there any place for alternate ingredients?" Ji Lang said with a cold smile.
Jiang Chen was precisely waiting for those words to come from Ji Lang. His lips slightly curled in a cold smile. "Is this what they mean when they talk about showing your true colors? The Longevity Pill has indeed gone through thousands of revisions and fine-tuning, this much is true. It's precisely because it's gone through so many corrections that we can research many different ways to reach the same result. You say it's impossible to use different ingredients? If I can use different ingredients, will Pillfire City admit to theft from Sacred Peafowl Mountain?"
Each of Jiang Chen's words was interwoven with the others, full of interlinked traps. As long as his opponent fell into one of those traps, he would have to face all the following ones. It was simply impossible to escape from this ever tightening noose, unless they voluntarily conceded defeat.
Ji Lang was unable to answer on the spot when he saw Jiang Chen brimming with such confidence. With a cold smile, Jiang Chen gave him no time to think. "Pill King Ji Lang, your every word exposes your rank amateurism. In fact, this challenge seems entirely useless. I believe everyone already has a good idea of who created the Longevity Pill. It's obvious even with a mere glance."
Ji Lang suddenly frowned. "What a sharp tongue. Are you already proclaiming victory on your own?"
Jiang Chen's returning smile was faint. "Speaking of sharp tongues, if you have an even sharper tongue and can refute my arguments, then I'll concede defeat. What's so hard about it? Sacred Peafowl Mountain is the Longevity Pill's original creator, so I can boldly talk about changing ingredients. Your Pillfire City calls itself the original creator, but do you have the confidence to say the same? You don't, because you merely stole one of the recipes. Meanwhile, Sacred Peafowl Mountain has researched many different possibilities for this recipe. They're all interchangeable. Even some ingredients can be switched around. Can your Pillfire City use an entirely different recipe to refine this pill?"
One stab following another. Jiang Chen's words were even more ferocious than sharp swords, the sting so penetrating Ji Lang actually felt like he couldn't withstand them. Great Emperor Pillzenith suddenly laughed out loud. "Brother Peafowl, this pill king of yours, is he a smart aleck or a pill king? I'm really curious. In a contest of pills, where does so much nonsense come from?"
Great Emperor Peafowl was impassive. "Brother Pillzenith, your words sound a little sulky. To put it bluntly, in this Longevity PIll contest, we need to demonstrate our technique and knowhow for everyone to see. What Pill King Zhen said is entirely related to the core issue of knowledge. I'm certain that the various pill experts we invited didn't come just to see us refine a few pills and call it a day. If the duel were so crude and simple, wouldn't we be letting down the distinguished gathering here? Wouldn't we be letting down everyone who took the trouble to come here?"
The judges thought Great Emperor Peafowl's words to be entirely reasonable. If this duel merely consisted of both sides refining one pill each, then it would be too dull and boring. Everyone wanted to see skill and technique put on display. The higher the skill, the more spectacular the show. The judges chose that moment to speak up. "Your Majesties, we have no intention of favoring either side. But since it's a duel of the very top, then both sides naturally need to to showcase their outstanding talent and superiority when it comes to skill and knowhow. That's why we have come to a decision. If you merely refined two pills, then there are too many random factors to truly determine the owner. It would be very hard for us to come to a fair judgment."
"I actually find Pill King Zhen's words rather reasonable. If you're the original creator, then after hundreds of years of research, you should be able to demonstrate higher skill and better technique. To simply refine a single pill would leave too much to chance." It was obvious to see that these judges were fanatics when it came to technique. Everyone wanted to see a spectacular show, so more than half of the judges instantly agreed with Jiang Chen's proposal. The other half didn't express any opinion, but they in fact thought Jiang Chen's proposal to be more reasonable as well.
Jiang Chen struck while the iron was still hot. "Let me first present the esteemed judges with one recipe for the Longevity Pill. Please take a look. I can guarantee that any recipe Pillfire City can come up with is identical to the one provided, because it's the one they stole. I can even declare right now that I'll admit defeat if they can come up with a second pill recipe."
A scroll opened in Jiang Chen's hand with a slight shake. The Longevity Pill's recipe was suddenly exposed for all to see. Only, he had obscured some critical details, so while people could see a rough outline of the recipe, they wouldn't be able to plagiarize it. Many pairs of eyes zeroed in on the scroll in Jiang Chen's hand. They didn't dare blink, as though they were afraid of missing anything. After displaying it for everyone to see, Jiang Chen declared loudly, "If Pillfire City can present a pill recipe different from this one, and successfully refine the Longevity Pill, then I'll concede right here."
"Pill King Ji Lang, what say you?" His tone was aggressive.
Ji Lang had been forced on the back foot with Jiang Chen's repeated attacks. His smile had gone terribly cold, "Pill King Zhen, I'll admit I'm not your match when it comes to grandstanding. Since you're talking about different recipes, how about you show us another one?"
Jiang Chen chuckled with mischief. "If I provide another one, will you concede defeat in the name of Pillfire City?"
Ji Lang's momentum suddenly took a sharp dive.
"You dare not, because you have a guilty conscience! Thieves will ever be thieves! In front of the original, no matter how big your reputation, no matter how great your fame, you'll still hide a guilty conscience!"
Great Emperor Peafowl chuckled slowly. "Brother Pillzenith, on this subject, your Pillfire City is indeed falling behind in momentum. I offer the same terms. If you can show us a different pill recipe, then we'll concede defeat. We can do it, but dare you agree to the terms?"
Great Emperor Pillzenith's face was a little dark, but his words still sounded tough. "No matter how many pill recipes there are, doesn't it end up in the same Longevity Pill when all's said and done? I persist in thinking that only the Longevity Pill's quality can determine the winner."
Such sophistry sounded rather weak.
Jiang Chen laughed contemptuously. "You didn't have the guts to take me up on my first proposal. I propose something else, and you still don't have the courage to man up. Is the so-called number one faction sitting at the pinnacle of pill dao really not as much as everyone makes it out to be? Fine, since you keep talking about comparing pill quality or whatever, then let's have that duel first, so that you Pillfire City can be wholeheartedly convinced of your loss."
With that, Jiang Chen cupped his fist in a salute to all the judges. "Esteemed judges, do you perchance have a most ordinary pill furnace with you?"
According to the previous agreement, the pill duel required the use of the most ordinary of pill furnaces and the most ordinary of pill fires. Equipment cheats were out of the question. An ordinary pill furnace was something the judges would naturally have collected a few of. They took out countless commonplace pill furnaces. Jiang Chen waved his hand with poise. "Guests first. Pill King Ji Lang, you pick one first."
Ji Lang told himself to calm down, but after being continuously derided by Jiang Chen's words, his mind was still a little unsteady. Especially since he had to use an unfamiliar pill furnace, an such a mediocre one at that; Pill King Ji Lang was a little uncertain whether he'd achieve the desired result. On top of that, he couldn't even use those outstanding divine fires, but rather the most ordinary pill fire. This was another challenge. After selecting a pill furnace, both sides presented their ingredients. The ingredients went through a strict inspection before finally being handed back to the two of them.
The judges declared, "First round, a refining contest. The one with the higher quality pill will win. If the quality is identical, then the one who finishes refining first wins. If everything is identical, then it'll depend on the success rate of your refining. The one with more successful pills will be the winner…"
The established rules were very detailed, but they were all rules commonly seen in pill contests, the standard rules used all over the world. Both sides proceeded with their final preparations. One could tell that the ever-changing rules of this duel had completely disturbed Ji Lang's arrangements. He had no choice but to stay on his toes to try and catch up.
They didn't have much time to prepare. With an order from the judges, the curtains finally lifted on the pill contest. The ordinary pill furnaces only seemed ordinary to pill kings. But for Jiang Chen, the most ordinary pill furnace wouldn't be worse than the ones he'd used back in the Myriad Domain. The most important thing was that Jiang Chen had never been heavily reliant on pill furnaces when it came to refining pills. He hadn't refined the Longevity Pill too many times in this life, but he'd refined them quite often in his former life.
Add that to his special training in the past few days, he didn't have any sense of unfamiliarity when he received his pill furnace. Warming up the furnace, controlling the fire, the entire sequence proceeded as smoothly as flowing water.
After all, this process was truly too familiar to him, whether in his former life or in his present one. Jiang Chen's vigorous and spirited appearance vanished entirely as soon as he started refining, replaced by a look of utter concentration.