Published at 10th of December 2020 11:04:28 AM
After the courtesy had been being slowly dispensed at the Hundred Pill Meeting, the clans’ delegates stepped in the widespread arena . Meanwhile, the guests had slowly gathered and the audience seated .
Regent Estate, Hell Valley, Pill King Hall, and Merry Woods were guided to the eastern stand . Huangpu Qingyun watched the prize on the pedestal, already sporting a winner’s attitude, and smiled .
On the other hand, the Veiled Dragon Pavilion, Sword Marquise Abode, and the ones who stood in favor of Drifting Flowers Edifice, were guided to the western stand . Long Jiu was with Xie Tianyang and the rest, watching the endless stream of people with a critical eye . However, there was no sign of Zhuo Fan .
[If this kid doesn’t show, who will deal with the Vicious Pill King?]
Seconds ticked by, then minutes, as the arena was gradually filled with contestants .
“Oh, if it isn’t Master Huang! You’re also competing?”
“Yeah . Everyone aims for higher standing . Drifting Flowers Edifice’s Hundred Pill Meeting happens once every few decades . How could I not come?”
“Hhha, I’m the same . I hope to rise in fame as well . Even if I cannot enter Drifting Flowers Edifice, I can at least make an impression on some of the first rate clans . Eh? Isn’t that Master Zhang? It’s an honor to meet you…”
“Oh, Master Chen, such an honor…”
The competition had yet to begin and the contestants were greeting each other . Suddenly, an elderly with a powerful aura stepped in, with a split mustache on the corners of his mouth . He glowed with confidence .
Before his presence, everyone halted what they were doing .
“aren’t you the head alchemist of the Ximen clan of Thriving City, Liu Yizhen? Ximen clan is a first rate clan, and you’re even their head alchemist . Why on earth did you come here?”
“Yeah . Everyone has heard of your skill already . You earned second place at the Great Alchemy Tournament in the imperial capital . You were but seconds behind completing your refining . Only to end up forfeiting the first place to the Pill King Hall’s genius disciple, Yan Fu . You are already well known, so why come to this competition among nameless juniors?”
“Indeed, you are a famous grandmaster, a glorious 5th-grade alchemist . So why come to this competition? You should give us all a chance too…”
Everyone was complaining when Liu Yizhen showed up . Yet, the elder had a faint smile, and a poised face, as if he relished every bit of rancor aimed at him, “Hhha, I may have a bit of a name in alchemy but I still have so much to learn . I have come today not to seek fame, but to open my eyes and learn from everyone . ”
[As if! Who are you kidding? You clearly came to enter Drifting Flowers Edifice . Everyone here knows Ximen is great, but they are still not one of the Seven Noble Houses . ]
He was looked down on and despised by everyone . The result of the contestants’ deep seated fear .
Liu Yizhen was greatly known throughout the empire for his alchemy . They would have no chance now that he was here .
More and more reproachful gazes settled on him, but he responded with a haughty attitude, as though he was the king of the world!
“Settle down, everyone!”
A sweet voice, soothing to the ear came . It was followed by a young lady in a violet dress, who floated down from the sky .
Silence ensued so deeply that the clamor of before seemed more like an illusion .
The lady nodded, pleased, “Greetings and welcome competitors, to our Drifting Flowers Edifice’s Hundred Pill Meeting . I am the judge of today’s competition, Xiao Ya . ”
Xiaoya clapped lightly and a string of demure girls appeared in a line, with each settling at every cauldron .
“This time, every participant will be accompanied by one of our disciples to prevent cheating . ”
“Drifting Flowers Edifice is truly great, settling every detail!” Liu Yizhen was the first to gush praises and give his thumbs up .
“Indeed, with a beauty around, refining will be a breeze . This young master appreciates it, hhha…”
They all sighed in admiration . Only one of the seven houses could employ such a method, to have thousands of alchemists paired with one disciple each .
Xiao Ya extended her hands at the 20 most prominent cauldrons, “Everyone has different masteries, and alchemists are no different . These 20 cauldrons are for the most outstanding alchemists . If you are confident, please stand in one of them . ”
The arena was quiet .
The majority of the thousands of alchemists here were of equal skill . There was no way to know who was the best . Except for a few superior figures around, who could say they were in the top twenty in this group?
Liu Yizhen twirled his mustache, his face beaming with pride, “Hhha, alchemists may appear to be refining on the surface, but they are actually refining their mind . Without even a bit of confidence, will one be able to make any passable pill?”
“Grandmaster Liu is right . We don’t know who among us is the best, but he is definitely among them!” Someone instantly spoke for Liu Yizhen .
Laughing towards the sky with pride, Liu Yizhen continued, “I am not conceited, only confident as an alchemist . To refine great pills, one must believe he is the best alchemist in the world . ”
“As such, I will not shy from my duty!” Liu Yizhen strutted to the first cauldron while laughing .
But his third step was welcomed by a cold shout, “You’re in my way! Beat it!” Yan Fu stomped by him .
Liu Yizhen faltered and his face twitched, cursing inside, [Damnit! Why is this rotten prick here as well? Why join the Hundred Pill Meeting when he’s already in Pill King Hall?]
“Isn’t he the winner of the Great Alchemy Tournament in the imperial capital? Yan Fu of Pill King Hall? Why is he here?”
Someone recognized him and also peaked at Liu Yizhen’s frozen state, whispering, “Grandmaster Liu, your opponent is here . What if…”
“Hhha, Yan Fu is indeed an alchemy genius seen once a century . He managed to win last time . So, let him have this one, while I take the second cauldron!”
“I truly admire Grandmaster Liu’s modesty!”
Liu Yizhen’s light tone earned the crowd’s praise . [A true grandmaster!] But how would they know Liu Yizhen was cursing Yan Fu in his heart .
[Wretched spawn, you got ahead of me in the imperial capital, and now you followed me to the Hundred Pill Meeting? Are you being hard on me on purpose?]
In the middle of his inner rant, an aged voice came .
“If you’re not going, stand aside!”
An elderly shoved him, slowly moving forward . That green face got everyone scared . Liu Yizhen almost jumped in fright .
“Who is that old woman? Such a scary face . Is she also an alchemist?”
Liu Yizhen watched her figure dumbfounded, “Why her too?”
“Grandmaster Liu, do you know her?”
Liu Yizhen was close to cursing again, “Of course I do! 30 years ago, when I was a 2nd-grade alchemist, sage doctor Tao made a name for herself as a 5th-grade alchemist . She is as famous as the Vicious Pill King . But isn’t she the head alchemist of the Drifting Flowers Edifice? What is she doing here?”
His words spread shock to others . There was actually someone equally renowned as Vicious Pill King!
No one had seen this coming . The small Hundred Pill Meeting was now a gathering of experts . But Liu Yizhen’s forlorn figure eased their shock .
“He-he-he, Grandmaster Liu, don’t be so down . Isn’t there a third spot? It definitely belongs to Grandmaster Liu . ”
Liu Yizhen took a deep breath and stood up straighter as his eyes spat out flames of rage, “It is as you said . I may not be the first, or the second, but winners always come in threes . Even in third place, it will not be the least bit lacking from the first two . ”
[Uh, Grandmaster Liu, that’s just self-comforting!]
They now realized their words of comfort were wasted on Grandmaster Liu, could contort anything to be positive .
“Don’t block my way! Take a hike!”
Then, another aged man shouted . A green figure passed through the crowd, his eyes sending shivers through their bodies .
Vicious Pill King, Yan Song!
This scared them witless . Vicious Pill King, the head alchemist of Pill King Hall was joining the Hundred Pill Meeting as well? [The hell is he doing here?]
[For heaven’s sake! You’re the best in the empire for crying out loud! Can you be any more obnoxious?]
“Grandmaster Liu, your third place, seems to be gone!” Someone sympathized with Liu Yizhen’s situation .
His lips trembled and Liu Yizhen felt more wronged than ever watching the three up there . Just then, someone ran into him hard, ruining his calm and lofty image as he broke out a string of curses, “We are all damn famous here, alright? Why in goddamned heaven are all of you taking part in this competition? Stealing my seat? You’re going too damn far!”
The crowd froze, their faces twitching . They all thought to themselves .
[You’re one to talk…]