HSSB53: The Expert Reborn
“The smoke of the pill furnace taking form?” Old Mr Wang stared at the little pill furnace on the ground, his eyes opened wide, “This is a phenomenon that only appears when one’s skill in alchemy has reached the point of perfection ah.”
His skill in alchemy was steadily amongst the top three in the Eastern Tang Kingdom, but even he could only cause such a phenomenon whilst concocting pills once in a while, and only by coincidence.
It was only after quite some time had passed that he suddenly raised his head, looking towards Zhao Hao, “Earlier in the Pill Pavilion, you didn’t reveal all of your ability?”
Zhao Hao laughed arrogantly, “Now, it might also not be everything ah.”
Old Mr Wang coughed a little, before continuing to press him, “Previously, on asking about Sixteenth Prince’s Master, Sixteenth Prince had always been unwilling to answer; could you reveal it to me now?”
“This old man has no other intentions, just wishing to meet that expert once.”
Zhao Hao said mildly, “I already said it earlier. No one taught me to concoct pills; I just learnt it for myself through experimentation. It is up to you whether or not you want to believe me.”
Having been spoken so rudely against and contradicted, Old Man Wang was not angered.
He only continuously shook his head, sighing, “If Sixteenth Prince does not wish to tell me, this old man will also not make things make difficult for you.”
He turned his head, looking towards Zhao Yuan and Zhao Sheng whereupon he sighed, “Having personally coached Eldest Prince and Third Prince before, their skill in alchemy is something that this old man knows very well.”
“Amongst those of a similar age, they can be considered superior, only…sigh!”
Old Mr Wang did not finish his words, but what he had left unsaid, everyone knew.
He looked at Yan Zhaoge somewhat like it was intentional, but also somewhat like it was not.
As this Elder saw it, having already said things to this point, he had actually already given Yan Zhaoge an extremely obvious hint.
If Zhao Yuan competed in the dao of alchemy with Zhao Hao, there was no way he would win. If Yan Zhaoge still insisted on continuing with the gamble, it would be as good as him freely gifting Zhao Shilie the Radiant Sun Wheel for nothing.
As old Mr Wang saw it, let alone Zhao Yuan, even if Yan Zhaoge himself personally competed, he would also definitely be unable to win against Zhao Hao.
After all, he had never heard of Yan Zhaoge being proficient in alchemy before this.
As one of the Sacred Grounds of the current world, Broad Creed Mountain naturally did not lack great alchemists.
With the legacies he had received, perhaps Yan Zhaoge did have a few tricks up his sleeve, but winning against Zhao Hao-the chances of that happening were just far too slim.
This was because according to his predictions, aside from a few techniques that he was temporarily unable to use because of his cultivation currently being too low, Zhao Hao’s alchemy skills was already sufficient to compete with any one of the current world’s alchemy grandmasters.
Yan Zhaoge momentarily fell silent, seemingly hesitating, before he raised his head to look at Zhao Shilie, “What does Your Highness Jin think?”
Zhao Shilie narrowed his eyes before he slowly said, “If there are festivities to help liven up the occasion, this competition would naturally be more meaningful. If Zhaoge insists on the gamble, this Prince will just go along with it then.”
Staring at him, Yan Zhaoge suddenly broke into a smile, “Alright, let’s do it then.”
Looking at Yan Zhaoge’s smile, Zhao Shilie vaguely felt as though something was wrong.
After pondering for a time, he said, “What you will be competing in will be pill concocting techniques and skills, and not who has obtained unique or precious pills or pill formulas.”
“You can all just concoct a simple kind of pill simultaneously.”
“The overall judging criteria will be the quality of the concocted pill, the speed of concoction, and then the amount of medicinal dregs that are left behind, in that order.”
Yan Zhaoge smiled, knowing that Zhao Shilie had said this because he was afraid of him providing Zhao Yuan with one of Broad Creed Mountain’s secret pills in order to help him get through this trial.
His worries weren’t ungrounded; however, Yan Zhaoge didn’t actually need to make use of Broad Creed Mountain’s pills.
The pill formulas he had learnt from the Divine Palace’s collection had been many, and amongst those were many of the most efficacious pills and wonderful medicines.
But even from the start, Yan Zhaoge had also never intended to use such a method.
Zhao Hao, on the other hand, retained the same uncaring attitude, “Whatever; even if it is comparing whose final medicinal product is of a higher grade, I’d still go along with it.”
Hearing his words, Zhao Shilie glanced over at him.
While this kid had gradually caused him to feel threatened, more than that, he just seemed like a fat goat to be fleeced.
Yan Zhaoge gave Zhao Hao a sideways glance, thinking, “As I thought, you were indeed the one who spread the Smoke Cloud Powder.”
Although it was a little strange and he could not completely confirm it yet, the more Yan Zhaoge looked at it, the more Zhao Hao’s figure corresponded with that of a person who had already long since been buried by history and turned into a legend.
Wild and arrogant, unwilling to be under others, acting outrageously without fear of anything whatsoever, his fangs bared wide.
A Martial Saint of days long past, proficient in both alchemy and the sword, the Pill Fire Divine Sword Gao Zhe.
Undoubtedly, the Smoke Cloud Powder which had suddenly appeared in the markets of the Eastern Tang originated from Zhao Hao.
Because of his dealings with the Pill Pavilion, Zhao Shilie, from old Mr Wang, had managed to find out about the superb alchemy skills which Zhao Hao possessed.
Thinking about it, the King of the Eastern Tang would definitely know about this as well.
However, as he saw it, another one of his sons turning out to be so talented was naturally a good thing, and something to be happy about.
Currently, they believed maybe that Zhao Hao had had a fortuitous encounter, or even that he had been hiding his talents all along.
However, they probably would not have thought that within the shell of this Sixteenth Prince who had all along been completely ordinary, there now probably resided another soul.
A reincarnated Martial Saint expert.
“….But, why I do feel that he’s so stupid?” Yan Zhaoge was a little speechless, feeling extremely curious at this.
Because he had long grown used to being above all others in his later years, he had been unable to adjust to the differences brought about by his change in identity and adapt to the situation before him?
Or was it that he just didn’t want to adapt to it at all?
But truly, he was really being stupid…
Yes, the Pill Fire Divine Sword was wild and unbridled in his younger years. But, having been able to walk to such heights, he shouldn’t be such a stupid person, right?
However, to me, the stupider you are the better.
In truth, Yan Zhaoge didn’t actually care much about whether Gao Zhe had really reincarnated.
It was just that from the rumours, the relationship between him and Broad Creed Mountain had not been so good.
From Zhao Hao’s earlier speech and actions, Yan Zhaoge had also vaguely felt this.
His currently standing on the same side as Zhao Shilie in looking for trouble should also be due to this.
Although he didn’t understand why exactly he was doing so, since the other party dared to find trouble with him, Yan Zhaoge completely didn’t mind slapping him back!
“Earlier, we had already agreed that what we would be testing would be both sides’ pill concocting abilities. Naturally, it won’t have to do with the grade of the medicinal pill and things like pill formulas anymore,” Yan Zhaoge smiled mildly, “Let’s begin immediately then.”
Zhao Hao was not polite as he just opened his pill furnace to begin his concoction even before the other two had made their preparations.
That smoke which resembled mountains and rivers converged, resembling a real entity as it carried the medical ingredients, slowly bringing them within the furnace. All of it seemed so illusory, as if it was all in a dream.
Zhao Hao began his concoction, as smoke began rising unceasingly from within his pill cauldron, the image of mountains and rivers once again manifesting above it.
Everyone could see the mountains and the sea changing, as though the vast sea had instantly turned into an endless plain.
Before everyone could regather their spirits, Zhao Hao slapped at the air, as all the smoke withdrew back into the pill furnace once again.
The next moment, the fire within the furnace was extinguished.
They all stared blankly, “It’s over already?!”
Zhao Hao’s gaze swept over Yan Zhaoge, Zhao Shilie and old Mr Wang as he just said dismissively, “You should go check it; it’s better to confirm the product.”
His gaze lingered on Yan Zhaoge for a little longer, as the ridicule within the depths of his gaze grew.
The pill that Zhao Hao had concocted was one of the most ordinary pills on the market, the Treatment Pill. After the Smoke Cloud Powder had appeared, the demand for this kind of pill had plummeted considerably.
Still, Zhao Shilie and old Man Wang were both shocked after checking the pill. The efficacy of the Treatment Pill that Zhao Hao had concocted had actually almost caught up to that of the Cloud Wind Powder!
Old Mr Wang sighed; the Smoke Cloud Powder that the Pill Pavilion was currently selling was also divided into different levels of quality.
The very best ones, were always the ones that Zhao Hao regularly came over to concoct.
As for the Treatment Pill that Zhao Hao had just concocted, its efficacy was almost already on the same level as the Smoke Cloud Powder that others could produce. At this, the Elder couldn’t help but sigh in admiration and wonder once again.
Meanwhile, Zhao Yuan and Zhao Sheng had overcast expressions on their face.
They couldn’t directly admit defeat, because they really didn’t have that face to lose. However, if they were to go on with the competition, the final result would only be more embarrassing for them.
Zhao Yuan unconsciously looked towards Yan Zhaoge, but could still only feel a sense of desolation.
Even under the assumption that Yan Zhaoge could win against Zhao Hao in the area of alchemy, it was not like he could get the former to participate in the competition in his place.
And in alchemy, it was also not like giving a few pointers through words alone could instantly raise one’s proficiency by a few tiers.
No matter how he looked at it, he had no hope of winning this competition at all…
Yan Zhaoge smiled slightly, as he sent over a sound transmission with his aura-qi. After listening to it, Zhao Yuan’s eyes gradually began to brighten.